TAC Meeting Minutes for February 19, 2013

Meeting Summary

Regular Meeting – February 19, 2013 at 7:30 PM – Fairfax County DOT, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax Virginia

TAC Members in Attendance: Frank Cohn (Mt. Vernon), Roger Hoskin, Secretary (Mason), Jennifer Joy Madden, Vice Chair (Hunter Mill), Kevin Morse (Braddock), Carrie Nixon (Providence), Jeff Parnes, Chair (Sully), Chad Quinn (Dranesville), Edson Tennyson (At-Large), and Eric Thiel (Springfield).

TAC Members Absent: Ann Pimley (Fairfax Area Disability Board) and Harry Zimmerman (Lee).

Others in Attendance: FCDOT Staff: Calvin Lam and Christy Wegener.

Note Taker:  Frank Cohn

Meeting was called to order by Chairman Parnes.  The meeting notes of the January 15, 2013 meeting were accepted without change.

Main Topics Discussed

Fairfax Connector Outreach Plan for Dulles Rail Phase I - Christy Wegener, FCDOT

Ms. Wegener provided a comprehensive briefing on the Bus Service Plan being developed in support of the Metro Silver Line. The briefing was enhanced with a series of charts which are available on line on the FCDOT Web Site. As of the date of our meeting, FCDOT had completed 6 public meetings with a total of 258 signed-in guests and an additional 9 meetings are projected to be held before the final plan is submitted to the Board of Supervisors for approval,  during the May – June time frame.

The detailed plan consists of 12 new routes, 21 routes which have been modified and 6 routes which have been deleted. However, bus service remains available on the deleted routes.  In view of this fact, Chairman Parnes recommended that the adjustments be presented under the title of ‘Consolidation’. The past briefings have already provided insights about public acceptance and concerns about the proposed changes. FCDOT is amenable to add presentations wherever a group is ready to listen.  The greatest objection appears to be the elimination of the bus route which is being replaced by the Silver Line.  While the bus connects directly with the Pentagon, on the Metro, a change of trains will be required.  Although the trip will now be less expensive, it is the potential increase in time, rather than the money which is being emphasized as the more important factor.  Obviously, a competition between bus and Metro is not going to be staged. The ‘NIMBY’ (not in my back-yard) mind-set must also be overcome. Some want to keep busses off ‘their’ street, no bus stop in front of their residence, and some histrionics about children being killed by busses.  TAC members advised the need to present reliable statistics during the presentations, to counter spurious arguments.

FCDOT will be attentive and flexible with the proposed bus routes, even after the final plan is approved.  There are many considerations involved. The proposed route lay-outs must be easily managed by drivers, hair-pin turns cannot be permitted.  TAC members suggested that on some roadways permission should be sought to enable busses to use the shoulders which will then have to be designated as bus lanes. Convenient bus transfers must be made available to passengers at critical locations to preclude lengthy walks. Cost-benefit studies will be needed to assure that fare amounts remain reasonable; calculations need to encompass parking fees and Metro fares.

The kick-off for the campaign to familiarize the public with the approved bus plan will be this year’s ‘Celebrate Fairfax’ affair in early June.  TAC members cautioned not to exert too much orientation effort too early, since the new bus plan operation will coincide with the opening of the Silver Line which will not occur until December. The time of the October Fest might be the right time to start the emphasis. Additionally, the location of the ‘Plan’ on the web site needs to be re-examined; the approved plan must be readily available to viewers. Currently it is difficult to discern how the ‘Plan’ can be viewed when the web site is opened.

Ms. Wegener promised to return and provide an update on a later, convenient date.

Comments and Feedback on Previous Meeting’s Presentations

There were no comments concerning the past meeting presentation. 

Other Business

TAC members presented the following:

Commissioner Cohn distributed a draft pertaining to a vision for rail and bus traffic within the County which could be presented to the members of FCDOT’s current Transit Study. The past exclusion of rail by FCDOT for Richmond Highway led to the proposed draft. As Richmond Highway is facing widening, the design will require advance information if rail is envisioned in the future.  Route 7 appears to have a similar requirement.   Suggested changes were provided by members of the TAC and a revised draft will be developed before the next meeting.

Commissioners Thiel and Nixon provided some insights about the placement of signage on the new 495 Hot Lanes.  The sign on the Express Lane to the exit at Route 123, as you approach Tyson Corner, appears to be too close to the exit and thereby presents a safety hazard.  A similar problem appears when you try to exit unto Route 66. When approaching the Express Lanes from southbound 495, there seems to be some confusion about whether the left-hand lanes are for the 66 East exit or for the Express Lanes. Anecdotally, two cars were observed hitting the barrier when they realized they were getting into the Express Lanes rather than exiting for 66 East. Also, as raised at an earlier meeting by Chairman Parnes, there is some continued confusion about the entrance to the Express Lanes from Route 50.

 It is recommended that VDOT re-examine the placement of the exit and entrance signs supporting the Hot Lanes. A briefing on the status of the 495 Hot Lanes should be scheduled for the June 2013 meeting, when six months of experience can be evaluated.

Agenda for the March 19, 2013, meeting:

  • Final Super NoVa Transit and TDM Vision Plan – Amy Inman, DRPT

TAC agreed to following topics in roughly this order for future meetings:

  • Dulles Rail Phase II – Final Engineering Study – April 16, 2013
  • Recommendations on Parking Requirements in Transit Oriented Development Areas – May 21, 2013
  • I-495 Express Lane Status Report – June 18, 2013
  • Countywide Transit Network Study Update (Postponed from January 15, 2013 Meeting)
  • Bus Rapid Transit Presentation
  • Columbia Pike Street Car Line Progress (and additional possible candidates)
  • CTB Determination of Corridor of Statewide Importance through Loudoun/Prince William Counties
  • Regional Transit System Plan
  • Comprehensive Plan staff and Planning Commission discussions with TAC on what their vision is for future development and any changes in planning and zoning guidelines that may be needed to account for future work environment given the pace and impacts of technology advances (including guest speaker to explain impact of self-driving/smart cars, buses and trucks on traffic, roadways and intersections). It was suggested that this topic include more exposure of a planning initiative called “Fairfax Forward”.
  • Board Four-Year Transportation Plan


A former member of TAC, Stephen Still, has been appointed as Chair of the COG Transportation Planning Board.

The Fairfax Federation has selected Peter Murphy, a member of the Fairfax Federation Planning Committee, as its Citizen of the Year. Five others will also be honored at the Fairfax Federation function on April 7, 2013.

Calvin Lam was congratulated by TAC members on his recent marriage.

Meeting Adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

March 5, 2013                         7:30 pm           TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

March 19, 2013                      7:30 pm          TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)

April 2, 2013                           7:30 pm           TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

April 16, 2013                        7:30 pm          TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)

May 7, 2013                            7:30 pm           TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

May 21, 2013                         7:30 pm          TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)

June 4, 2013                            7:30 pm           TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

June 18, 2013                         7:30 pm          TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)



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