Board Transportation Committee (BTC) Meeting
Date: September 17, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Rooms 9 & 10, Government Center
- Approval of Minutes of the June 25, 2013, Meeting
- Dulles Metrorail Silver Line: Phase 1 and 2 Status and Funding Updates - Nick Perfili (FCDOT), Len Wales (DMB), and Joe LaHait (DMB)
- I-66 Environmental Impact Study - Lauren C. Mollerup and Morteza Farajian (VDOT)
- Continuation of Countywide Dialogue on Transportation: Project Selection - Tom Biesiadny, Ken Kanownik (FCDOT)
- Countywide Transit Network Study - Dan Rathbone, Leonard Wolfenstein, and Tom Burke (FCDOT)
- Next Steps for Urban Street Standards - Eric Teitelman (FCDOT)
- Study of Route 1 Transit Options - Leonard Wolfenstein (FCDOT)
Master Bike Plan - Charlie Strunk (FCDOT)
- Staff Analysis of Bike Arlington
- Would It Work for Fairfax County?
- Dulles Corridor Ramp Study - Seyed Nabavi (FCDOT)
- Dulles Corridor Air Rights- Dan Rathbone, Leonard Wolfenstein, Kris Morley-Nikfar (FCDOT)
- New Business
Members in Attendance:
Supervisor Jeff McKay, Chair
Chairman Sharon Bulova
Supervisor John Cook
Supervisor John Foust
Supervisor Michael Frey
Supervisor Penny Gross
Supervisor Pat Herrity
Supervisor Catherine Hudgins
Supervisor Gerald Hyland
Supervisor Linda Smyth
County Executive: Edward L. Long Jr. and Rob Stalzer (Deputy Executive)
Supervisor McKay called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
1. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting
The minutes of the May 7, 2013, meeting were approved unanimously without any changes.
2. Dulles Metrorail Silver Line: Phase 1 and 2 Status and Funding Updates
Tom Biesiadny, Director, Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT); Nick Perfili, (FCDOT); and Joe LaHait, County Debt Coordinator, Department of Management and Budget (DMB), briefed the Board on the status of the Dulles Rail project.
Mr. Perfili stated that Phase 1 construction is 96% complete. The Wiehle Avenue garage is substantially complete. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) turn-over of the project to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will be delayed for eight weeks. WMATA will determine the date for passenger service. Phase 2 design work continues. Fairfax County has committed funding for the design of the Herndon and Innovation Center Station (south) garages. FCDOT submitted the conceptual design of the Town Center Parkway tunnel to WMATA, MWAA, and VDOT for review. The Phase 2 contract for package A has been awarded.
Mr. LaHait provided the update on the financial status of the Dulles Rail project. He stated that the County submitted the letter of interest for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan, answered questions, and is now waiting for the formal response from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Supervisor McKay raised a question about who is responsible for the landscaping at the existing and new WMATA stations. Mr. Biesiadny responded that WMATA is responsible for the landscaping around the stations. The County is responsible for the landscaping on the Route 7 median leading to the stations. Supervisor McKay stated that the existing stations are in need of upgrading as well.
Supervisor Hudgins stated that marketing of the Silver Line should be on the regional system stations as well as on Fairfax County stations.
On the issue of WMATA’s opening date for passenger service, Supervisors
Gross and Foust asked if the date is confirmed or not. Mr. Perfili stated
that WMATA has not set the opening date yet. Supervisor Hudgins stated
that WMATA’s budget depends on the opening date. County Executive Ed Long
stated that WMATA has 90 days to perform the operation and safety testing
after the system is turned over to WMATA. He stated that the County does
not want to encourage unrealistic expectations and that WMATA is working
hard to narrow down the opening date.
3. I-66 Environmental Impact Study (EIS)
Lauren Mollerup, Transportation and Land Use Director for Arlington and Fairfax Counties, VDOT, introduced to the Committee the following VDOT staff: Morteza Farajian, Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA) Program Administrator; Angel Deem, VDOT Richmond, Environmental Location Study Manager; Dusty Holcombe, PPTA Deputy Director; Helen Cuervo, VDOT Northern Virginia District Administrator; and Renée Hamilton, VDOT Northern Virginia Deputy District Administrator.
The I-66 Corridor Improvement study is about 25 miles long from US 15 in Prince William County to I-495 in Fairfax County. The study is to improve multi-modal mobility along the I-66 corridor by providing diverse travel choices in a cost-effective manner and enhance transportation safety and travel reliability. The study has ten alternatives on improvement concepts.
VDOT has completed the Tier 1 process, public hearings, and is waiting for the record of decision from Federal Highway Administration. The study will go to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December 2013.
Supervisor Smyth asked about the noise mitigation issue for the Tier 2 process, and the public meeting dates and locations. Ms. Mollerup responded that they are working on the logistics and plan to have two meetings. The Fairfax County meetings will likely be at Oakton High School. However, there were no confirmed dates or locations.
Supervisor Smyth asked that the meeting information to be sent to her office as soon as possible, and the conceptual map showing the details, the traffic impacts, the worst case scenario, and the interchanges be provided to the public. Mr. Farajian stated that he does not have a detailed map yet, but will do the best to show the details. Ms. Mollerup promised to work with Supervisor Smyth’s office to provide the information. Supervisor Herrity thanked VDOT for moving quickly on this project.
4. Continuation of Countywide Dialogue on Transportation: Project Selection
Mr. Biesiadny provided an update on the Countywide Dialogue on Transportation and the proposal to engage the public on project selection.
Mr. Biesiadny stated that the purpose of the project selection is to prioritize projects for the next six years (FY 2014 – FY 2020), and to utilize the funding to meet the need of the unfunded project priorities. The total estimate funding is about $1.2 billion. The estimate of unfunded transportation needs, based on the original estimate prepared in February 2012, is about $79 million per year for the next ten years.
Mr. Biesiadny stated that the project list came from last year’s public meetings and from each magisterial district, the Comprehensive Plan, and citizens. These projects were analyzed through the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) model that evaluates projects based on congestion reduction, air quality, and travel time savings. He cautioned that this is only one of the many factors for project selection. The ultimate decision of approving a priority project list will rest with the Board. Mr. Biesiadny proposed four Countywide public meetings from October to November 2013, and ways to communicate to the public via different methods: website, social media, news releases, interviews, and presentation by request.
Supervisor McKay asked about the timeline of 2013 funding, and if it is consistent with VDOT’s Six-Year Plan. Mr. Biesiadny replied that he is looking at a comprehensive prioritized project list, and that for FY 2015 the County’s schedule will be on the same time frame with VDOT and NVTA plans. Supervisor McKay stated that each funding source has different criteria, and there are many important factors to consider beside the CBA ratio. This information needs to be emphasized at the public meetings. He encouraged each Supervisor to check the projects on their respective district’s list to ensure that they are shown correctly.
Supervisor Cook reiterated the restrictions on the HB2313 and asked the County Attorney for a written opinion on the issue. He stated that the County needs to develop a process for project prioritization with the restrictions of the HB2313 and that it matches VDOT’s list before the County submits its list to NVTA. Supervisor McKay agreed, and added that there are projects that are important to the County, although they may not meet the HB2313 requirements. Mr. Biesiadny pointed out the flexibility of local revenue versus regional revenue and will ultimately align projects with appropriate funding sources. Supervisor McKay stated that the public needs to understand this project matching funding process.
Chairman Bulova stated that those regional projects not only need to address the congestion, but also the capacity issue. Chairman Bulova agreed with Supervisor McKay and suggested having a chart to show the revenue sources and how the funding can be used.
Supervisor Hudgins stated that the priority goal is to connect our network to the regional network and needs to show the balance among priorities, quality of life, and the economic development.
Supervisor Foust asked that, with the increasing number of projects, how would staff manage the incoming number of projects, the workload, and issues with VDOT reducing their construction work force? Mr. Biesiadny stated that his staff has been focusing on these issues and meeting with VDOT and DPWES to discuss ways to streamline implementation. He will report the progress back at the December meeting. Staff will be focusing on the Board adopted transportation goals.
Supervisor Smyth asked about the State funding for widening Route 7 from I-495 to I-66. Mr. Biesiadny replied that this project is funded by the Tysons Transportation Funding Plan previously approved by the Board.
Supervisor Gross raised questions about bike and pedestrian facilities, sidewalks, handicap ramps, and the American Disability Act compliance, and the need to notify her office of construction projects in her district.
Supervisor Herrity stated that he was glad to see the CBA, and emphasized the importance of spending money for congestion relief. He cited the HOT Lanes project as an example of a congestion relief effort. Supervisor McKay agreed that the CBA is a good tool, and staff needs to let the public know that it is just one of the many factors in the project prioritization process.
5. Countywide Transit Network Study
Leonard Wolfenstein and Tom Burke of FCDOT briefed the Board on the progress of the Countywide Transit Network Study. Mr. Burke stated that this presentation was the summary of the July 10, 2013, public workshop that incorporated changes made in response to stakeholder comments to clarify the relationship between the proposed high quality transit network concept and corridors under current study.
Supervisor McKay commented that this is a very good but complicated study, and asked when staff will come back to the Committee, and the next steps. Mr. Burke replied that the study is an on-going process, and he will coordinate with the I-66 EIS effort, and Route 1 Multimodal Alternative Analysis (headed by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation or DRPT) study, and will come back to brief the Committee.
Chairman Bulova asked about the Route 1 Study. Mr. Burke replied that he does not have anything to compare with their study and will wait for the recommendations. Chairman Bulova asked for the details of the transit plan. Mr. Burke replied that there will be a map, routes, detail rights-of-way, and specific recommendations will require further study. The transportation corridor in the Comprehensive Plan will be replaced by the transit network map eventually. Future Metrorail stations will be added to the map.
Supervisor Smyth asked about the Merrifield-McLean Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network. Mr. Burke explained the demand from Fairfax Hospital to the McLean area.
Supervisor Hudgins asked for clarification on slide 3 of the presentation about activity centers, and the goal to connect communities with transportation connectivity to economic development.
Supervisor Frey asked about the subsidy cost for transit trips and funding strategy. Supervisor McKay stated that staff needs to combine the funding strategy, cost, and benefits together in the study. Mr. Wolfenstein stated that they will be combined, but it is a transit vision for 2050 long-term study, and there is no well-defined transit plan yet. Supervisor Herrity stated that the study did not have the cost effective component. He suggested combining the destination and commuter corridors. He stated that express bus is a high quality transit network option, and suggested having express bus on I-95 and I-395 corridors.
Supervisor McKay stated that this long-term analysis is needed to help to envision transit improvements and connectivity to communities.
6. Next Steps for Urban Street Standards – Eric Teitelman (FCDOT)
Eric Teitelman, Capital Projects and Operation Division Chief, FCDOT, provided an update on the Next Steps for Urban Street Standards. The purpose is to develop a set of urban transportation design standards that can be used within the County’s urban activity centers and revitalization areas. The County, VDOT, and DRPT have been working cooperatively to develop the urban standards and implementation approach. Once the Board approves this study, Fairfax County will develop the road cross sections and amend the Comprehensive Plan (with the adoption of the Countywide Bicycle Master Plan). The final plan will be approved by the Board before taking the standards to VDOT for their final approval.
Supervisor McKay stated that the Springfield- Franconia Transit Station Area (TSA) needs to be included in the study. Mr. Teitelman agreed. Supervisor Hudgins stated that she wanted to have these standards for the Reston Station applications to reduce the waiver agreement process with VDOT.
7. Route 1 Multimodal Alternative Analysis Status Update
Mr. Wolfenstein, FCDOT, provided an update on the study of Route 1 headed by DRPT in coordination with Fairfax County, Prince William County, the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, and VDOT. The purpose of the study is to develop and evaluate solutions to improve mobility along a 14-mile segment of Route 1 from Woodbridge to I-495. The improvements will include transit, roadway, bike and pedestrian facilities and a combination of all of them.
8. Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan
Charlie Strunk, FCDOT, provided an update on the Bicycle Master Plan. It is a summary of many meetings, workshops, and a survey. Mr. Strunk summarized the highlights from those meetings, explained the survey, and a layout of the next steps.
Supervisor McKay stated that due to the lack of time, the following presentations will be deferred to the December 10, 2013, meeting: Dulles Corridor Ramp Study, and the Dulles Corridor Air Rights.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:04 p.m.