Board Transportation Committee (BTC) Meeting - December 1, 2015


Date: December 1, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location:
Rooms 9 & 10, Government Center

Agenda

1. Approval of Minutes of the October 13, 2015, Meetings

      2. Dulles Metrorail Silver Line Phase 2 Status and Funding – Mark Canale (FCDOT) and Joe LaHait (DMB)

      3. Fairfax County Parkway Corridor Study – I-95 to Telegraph Road – Neil Freschman (FCDOT)

      4. Future Revision of the Transportation Priority Plan – Tom Biesiadny and Ray Johnson (FCDOT)

      5. Comprehensive Transit Plan – Randy White and Stuart Boggs (FCDOT)

      6. Bicycle Helmet Ordinance – Susan Cooke (County Attorney’s Office)

      7. Countywide Transit Network Study – Leonard Wolfenstein and Dan Rathbone (FCDOT)

      8. New Business

 

Minutes


Members in Attendance:

Supervisor Jeff McKay, Chair
Chairman Sharon Bulova
Supervisor John Cook
Supervisor John Foust
Supervisors Penny Gross
Supervisor Catherine Hudgins
Supervisor Linda Smyth

Members Absent:

Supervisor Michael Frey
Supervisor Pat Herrity
Supervisor Gerald Hyland

County Executive: Edward L. Long Jr. and Deputy County Executive Robert A. Stalzer.

TAC Member in Attendance: Jeff Parnes, Chair; and Frank Cohn (Mt. Vernon).

Supervisor McKay called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m. The minutes of the October 13, 2015, meeting were accepted without any changes.

1. Dulles Metrorail Silver Line Phase II Status and Funding

Mark Canale (FCDOT) briefed the Board on the status of Phase II of the Dulles Rail Project. The County continues to work with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to resolve 37 open punch list items associated with Phase I. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has the majority of the remaining punch list items. The Dulles Transit Partners Project Closeout is anticipated at the end of 2015. The Art-In-Transit project is scheduled for completion by the end of February 2016. The final budget for Phase I is $2.982 billion.

Mr. Canale reported that Phase II is at 26 percent completion. The design is 94 percent complete, and construction is 10 percent complete. Construction and/or utility work is underway at all stations in Fairfax County. The Phase II budget is estimated at $2.775 billion. MWAA and Capital Rail Constructors (CRC) are negotiating a contract extension.

At the Herndon Station Garage, MWAA, CRC and Fairfax Connector have been coordinating a maintenance-of-traffic project to facilitate utility work in the kiss-and-ride area. The land-use applications (Special Exception) for Innovation North and Reston Town Center North are under review by the Department of Planning and Zoning. Ongoing work and permit coordination continues with MWAA for site and existing garage interface, stormwater management, utility relocations, etc. Ongoing coordination continues with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for Parking Access Revenue Control Systems (PARCS) and SmartTrip, and integration with MWAA work/schedule. The total project cost estimate for the Herndon Station Garage is $56.7 million. Construction of the garage is expected to begin in April 2017 and finish in May 2019. The garage will have 1,950 spaces for commuter parking, 80-100 spaces for bicycle parking, and a kiss-and-ride lot.

The total project cost estimated for the Innovation Center Station Garage is $57 million. The garage will have 2,032 spaces for commuter parking, 80-100 spaces for bicycle parking, and a kiss-and-ride lot. The Proffered Condition Amendment (PCA) is scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission in December 2015 and the Board in January 2016. The timeline shows that the construction will begin in spring 2017 and completion in spring 2019.

Supervisor Smyth asked for the estimated completion date of Phase II. Mr. Canale replied that it will likely be late 2019. She also raised a concern that SmarTrip cards cannot be used at private parking lots near the McLean Metrorail Station. Mr. Biesiadny responded that staff will look at that issue. Supervisor Foust asked about parking supply around Tysons. Mr. Biesiadny replied that there is a lot near the McLean Station which has about 900 spaces, and an additional parking lot at Silver Line Center near the Tysons Corner Station which has about 100 spaces. Currently, there are rezoning cases near the Greensboro and Spring Hill areas that will provide an option for more parking. Staff has made a number of outreach efforts to the community about using their lots for commuter parking, but have received a limited response. Supervisor McKay stated that as WMATA parking rates went up, parking usage went down. Chairman Bulova requested statistics on mode shift regarding parking, bus service, pedestrians, etc., after the opening of the Silver Line. Mr. Biesiadny replied that people’s travel patterns have changed somewhat, and staff will return to the Board for updated information.

2. Fairfax County Parkway Corridor Study – I-95 to Telegraph Road

Neil Freschman (FCDOT) briefed the Board on the Fairfax County Parkway Corridor Study. The study, from I-95 to Telegraph Road, evaluated existing conditions, developed short-term improvements and identified projects that can be scoped, designed, and implemented within the next five years, as funding becomes available. The study recommended eight improvements. Staff prioritized and analyzed improvements, based on a benefit-cost analysis, minimizing right-of-way impacts, and overall operational benefits to the corridor. Mr. Freschman explained the four prioritized improvements in detail:

- Improvement C: Terminal Road – add left-turn lane along eastbound approach
- Improvement D: Backlick Road Connector – realign Backlick Road, northbound approach
- Improvement F1: John J. Kingman Road – extend southbound left-turn lane storage
- Improvement F4: Southbound Fairfax County Parkway – add an auxiliary lane along southbound FCP from John J. Kingman Road to US Route 1

Other improvements were identified for future consideration. The next steps of the study are to identify potential funding sources, establish timelines, scope projects and the design, right-of-way acquisition as needed, maintenance of traffic (MOT) plans, utility relocation, and construction.
Regarding Improvement F1: John J. Kingman Road - extend southbound Left-Turn lane storage, Supervisor McKay asked if the County might receive any help from Fort Belvoir since most of the traffic is coming to and from the base. Mr. Freschman replied that Improvement F1 primarily benefits the mainline of Fairfax County Parkway by removing vehicles waiting to turn left from the southbound through lanes.  There are other improvements that were considered at John J. Kingman Road that were not included on the priority list.
Supervisor McKay directed staff to review Fort Belvoir's master plan to determine if there are any additional improvements or alternatives to enter the post in this area. He also inquired about the operational benefits of Loisdale Road and Fairfax County Parkway (Improvement B2). He requested that the project should be broken into three individual projects. After some discussion, Mr. Biesiadny agreed that FCDOT would undertake further analysis to determine the operational benefit and costs for the improvement to each individual approach at the Loisdale Road intersection.

Supervisor McKay and Chairman Bulova suggested looking for opportunities to move forward quickly with the preferred improvements.  Mr. Biesiadny replied that staff will look for opportunities to do that.  Commissioner Parnes, TAC, suggested having a bigger map to show all improvements.

3. Future Revision of the Transportation Priority Plan

Tom Biesiadny and Ray Johnson (FCDOT) briefed the Board on the Transportation Priorities Plan Future Updates.  On January 28, 2014, the Board adopted the six-year transportation project priorities for FY 2015-FY 2020.

The Transportation Priorities Plan (TPP) included approximately 220 projects worth approximately $1.4 billion from multiple local, regional and state funding sources.   Mr. Johnson stated that seven projects have been completed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), two projects are under construction, and four major roadway projects are under early design, since January 28, 2014.  Several projects are under study or preliminary engineering.  Staff has discussed updating the Board’s TPP on a recurring basis to revise project costs, timelines, and revenue estimates, and identify additional projects for consideration, perform benefit-cost analysis on new projects and conduct outreach. 

Regarding the proposed schedule of activities, staff will complete project cost updates from summer 2015 to winter 2016, conduct outreach efforts by spring 2016, meet with individual Board members in summer 2016, conduct formal outreach by late fall 2016, return to the Board in spring 2017, and begin a new six-year plan no later than fall 2017.  There are some factors that could potentially impact the TPP update, due to the revenue uncertainty about VDOT’s new HB2 prioritization process and the revised cost estimates. 

County staff will submit projects to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) for inclusion in the TransAction plan.  HB2 applications for FY 2018-FY 2023 will be due in fall 2016.  Next steps are to receive feedback from the Board on staff’s proposed schedule and process for the TPP update, begin working on scheduled activities, provide periodic updates to the Board, consider the long term impacts on the TPP of the I-66 Outside the Beltway project, and to return to the Board in February 2016 with funding allocation adjustments based on changes since January 28, 2014.

Chairman Bulova asked staff to explain the HB2 process to the audience.  Mr. Biesiadny explained that the General Assembly passed HB2 to formalize the selection process for transportation projects in the state using six measured criteria for each project submission.  Fairfax County submitted 10 projects for the current round of project's submission for state funding.  The projects will be ranked on a statewide basis and within Northern Virginia.  The statewide funding will be allocated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).  In addition, each of VDOT's construction districts will allocate funding among selected projects as well. 

Supervisor McKay stated that the proposed schedule is appropriate and needs to be coordinated with the TAC on the outreach planning effort in spring 2016.  Supervisor Gross inquired about the status of the Seven Corners Interchange Project.  Mr. Biesiadny stated that he will provide a response to her request.   Supervisor Foust asked if this is a revision of the project list that the Board approved.  Mr. Biesiadny replied that staff have not recommended any changes to the previously approved list of projects, but will provide supplemental funding for some of the projects which are moving toward construction.    

4. Comprehensive Transit

Randy White and Stuart Boggs (FCDOT) briefed the Board on the Fairfax County Comprehensive Transit Plan (CTP) and Transit Development Plan (TDP). The 2015 CTP and TDP update Fairfax County’s 2009 Transit Plan. The CTP and TDP will provide a roadmap for future bus service investments. The CTP is a financially unconstrained plan with a ten year planning horizon through 2025. The TDP is a financially constrained plan that anticipates revenues over six years.

Staff assessed current travel patterns and transit services, utilized the Council of Government’s regional travel demand model to project future travel demand and patterns, developed transit suitability measures, and collected public input through a two-phase outreach process. The outreach effort was branded as “Connections 2015” and was conducted County-wide using various methods to maximize public engagement. The technical reports were reviewed by the study's Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and consultation with various County commissions and committees.

The general recommendations are to enhance existing service, address missing connections, improve cross-county and regional connections, and to better utilize resources and respond to ridership trends. The study recommended commuter services for I-95/395, I-66 and Fairfax County Parkway; enhanced bus service in the Richmond Highway Corridor and for Route 7/Leesburg Pike -Alexandria to Tysons trips; and changes associated with new Tysons redevelopment. For the new connections, the recommendations were for the Silver Line Phase 2; Springfield-Richmond Highway; Merrifield Circulator; Springfield CBC Park-and-Ride enhanced service; Fair Oaks-Springfield; Huntington-National Harbor; and Tysons-Bethesda. New service concepts requires further study. The study presented the near-term and long-term recommendations based on the region and/or a specific corridor. The Transit Development Plan was scheduled to be presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval consideration on January 12, 2016.

Several Board members provided suggestions for the Plan including: coordinating with Fort Belvoir to provide better regional connections and to receive comments and suggestions from them; provide a new connection between Huntington to National Harbor; the need to serve Dunn Loring and Fairfax Hospital; outreach to Human Services agencies for service changes; and a new plan for Columbia Pike and, coordinating with various County agencies for planning of the East County Human Service Center. Supervisor McKay agreed with the need to coordinate with various County agencies and further suggested signal preemption and coordination with the Fire & Rescue Department, DPWES, etc. The Board also discussed the need for the North-South County connections, the projected ridership, the list of the missing links/connections, and the demand to and from Woodbridge to Fort Belvoir. Mr. Biesiadny stated that the study did look at the connections to Fort Belvoir and also service for the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project from Prince William County to Fairfax County.

5. Bicycle Helmet Ordinance

Susan Cooke of the County Attorney’s Office briefed the Board on a proposal to amend County Code Section 82-6-38.1 to require children under the age of 14 to wear a helmet when operating a toy vehicle, an electric personal-assistive mobility device, or an electric-powered bicycle. The purpose of the discussion was how to bring the County’s ordinance into conformity with the authority granted by state law. Virginia Code Ann. Section 46.2-906.1 authorizes localities to require persons under the age of 14 to wear helmets; and to require that the helmets meet safety standards promulgated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Currently, the ordinance requires persons under the age of 15 to wear helmets and the standard specified is the American National Standards Institute or Snell Memorial Foundation.

The Board asked for the definition of toy vehicles, personal-assistive mobility devices, and whether or not this included Segways or other similar devices. Supervisor McKay directed staff to come back to the Board with the requested definitions.

6. Countywide Transit Network Study

Leonard Wolfenstein and Dan Rathbone (FCDOT) briefed the Board on the draft recommendations for Fairfax County's proposed High Quality Transit Network (HQTN) to establish the most effective way to serve the County's future growth by improving public transit. The study team is currently conducting an analyses of the most recently adopted (October 2015) Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) and will subsequently present the proposed HQTN to the public in early 2016.

The proposed HQTN supports the County's concept for future development by focusing on service to and from activity centers both within the County and region-wide. HQTN provides improved travel speeds and reliable travel times, typically on exclusive right-of-way, i.e. commuter rail, Metrorail, light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT). The study examined service appropriate for each corridor based on traveler needs and land use context to provide access for destination corridors and mobility for commuter corridors. Four concepts were reviewed by the public in November 2012. The proposed HQTN concepts utilize the best ideas from each for a context-sensitive fit to individual corridor needs. The study was prepared with extensive coordination with current studies in the past two years: Transform 66, Richmond Highway, Envision Route 7, Alexandria Transitway Planning and Route 7 West of Tysons.

The proposed HQTN builds upon the existing CLRP transit investments to create an interconnected network of commuter and destination corridors, supported by connecting express bus routes. The choice of LRT or BRT will be finalized during alternatives analysis. The proposed HQTN would result in changes to the Transportation Plan Map, including mode and alignment details for several corridors. The study recommends the following in addition to the current CLRP, in Fairfax County:

- Metrorail: 34 new miles and 10 stations
- LRT/BRT: 33 new miles and 27 stations
- Supported by express bus: 113 new miles and 25 stations

Next steps are to complete documentation (early 2016), publish a draft final report (early 2016), obtain additional public comments (early 2016), present a final report to the Board for endorsement (mid-2016), and to initiate processes to incorporate study recommendations in the Comprehensive Plan (mid-2016).

Supervisor Smyth noted that the section at Gallows Road between Merrifield and Tysons should include more accommodation for residential neighborhood areas. Mr. Biesiadny responded that staff will look at the issue of enhancing local service, in addition to the BRT/LRT service. Supervisor Hudgins requested improvements for bus service on Reston Parkway. Supervisor Gross inquired about the Duke Street Transitway. Mr. Biesiadny stated that in Envision Route 7 study, there is a connection through Fairfax to South Van Dorn Street. Chairman Bulova cautioned staff about the many community outreach efforts concurrent with this study. The public may be confused with so many transit outreaches which prompts the need to coordinate the effort. Mr. Biesiadny agreed.

Commissioner Frank Cohn will retire at the end of this year. The Board acknowledged and thanked Frank for his contribution and service to the County.

The meeting ended at 12:20 pm. The next BTC meeting has not been scheduled.

Presentations

 Agenda Item 2

Silver Line Update: Dec. 1, 2015 from Fairfax County

 

Agenda Item 3

Fairfax County Parkway Corridor Study from Fairfax County

 

Agenda Item 4

Transportation Priorities Plan: Future Updates from Fairfax County

 

Agenda Item 5

Fairfax County Comprehensive Transit Plan and Transit Development Plan from Fairfax County

 

Agenda Item 7

Fairfax County Countywide Transit Network Study: Proposed High Quality Transit Network from Fairfax County

 


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