TAC Meeting Minutes for May 21, 2013

Meeting Summary

Regular Meeting – May 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM – Express Lanes Operations Facility Center, 6440 General Green Way, Alexandria, VA 22312

TAC Members in Attendance: Chairman Jeff Parnes (Sully), Vice Chairman Jenifer Joy Madden (Hunter Mill), Ed. L. Tennyson (At-Large), Secretary Roger Hoskin (Mason), Frank Cohn (Mt. Vernon), Kevin Morse (Braddock), Carrie Nixon (Providence),  Ann Pimley (Fairfax Area Disability Board), Eric Thiel (Springfield), and Harry Zimmerman (Lee).

TAC Members Absent: Chad Quinn (Dranesville).

Others in Attendance: FCDOT Staff: Calvin Lam.

Note Taker:  Kevin Morse

Meeting was called to order by Chairman Parnes at 7:35 PM. 

Main Topics Discussed

Express Lanes Operations Facility Center Tour

Pierce Coffee, Transurban Marketing Director, invited the TAC to visit the Express Lanes operation facility center at the meeting on November 13, 2012.  Robert Kerns, Roads Operation Manager, gave an informative tour of the center.  The center has 32,000 square feet and it is built on the ground of the old ADC map building.  There are about 50 Transurban people and 50 contractors working in the building (no VDOT personnel).  TAC members visited the training room and the control room.  The control room has cameras that cover the entire length of the Express Lanes.  At any time, there are at least two people working at the control room overseeing traffic, operation, incidents, etc.  There are two types of cameras: CCTV and automatic incident detector cameras. 

In the Q&A session, there were several questions from TAC members about the usage, operation, pricing, technical, incident management, etc.  Chairman Parnes asked about the usage, camera, and the minimum charge for the entire length of the Express Lanes.  The minimum charge is $2.05.  There are two price signs place in advance of the entrance and about 200 feet from the entrance confirming the price.  Commissioner Pimley asked about the historical pricing.  It is available on the Express Lanes’ website.  The microwave detectors are placed every 1/3 of a mile to detect volume and speed.  The police are responding to accidents, and Express Lanes are responding to disable vehicles. 

Commissioner Morse asked about the worst ever accident; Mr. Kerns replied that it was during the first week of operation.  Commissioner Zimmerman asked about educating the public on the Express Lanes.  Mr. Kerns replied that it is ongoing mostly through the website.  Commissioner Cohn asked about the placement of the cameras.  Mr. Kern replied that cameras are placed one for every mile.  Commissioner Thiel asked about system security.  Commissioner Zimmerman observed that there are rooms on the board for six additional cameras.  Mr. Kerns replied that they will be used for the I-95 Express Lanes.

After the tour, Ms. Coffee gave a briefing on the Express Lanes.  The Express Lanes has been open since November 17, 2012 with the dynamic tolling system, variable messaging signs, and operations center operating well.  She stated that the operation’s month ending with optimum performance.  The dynamic pricing is working well with the 45 MPH speed maintained.  The toll price is ranging from $0.25 to $7.55 (higher prices due to accidents).   HOV traffic makes up about 8% of users.  Average daily traffic grew 13% or for the March quarter compared to the December quarter.  The average workday trip for the March quarter is 26, 294.  E-ZPass usage has been increased, and the “Miss A Toll” feature is working well.  The Express Lanes is working with VDOT on signage and other markings to improve safety.

Commissioner Morse asked about the marking pavement (similar to Old Keene Mill Road) and will forward his suggestion to Ms. Coffee.  He also raised a question about keeping the waiting time to a minimum at the traffic light before the entrance to the Express Lanes.  Commissioner Cohn asked about the signage on Gallows Road, and Ms. Coffee took note of it.  Chairman Parnes asked about more signage to direct traffic from regular lanes.  Ms. Coffee responded that it is not feasible.

TAC Proposal to be Submitted to Members of Fairfax County Transit Study

Commissioner Thiel provided his thoughts on Commissioner Cohn’s proposal via a presentation.  There is a need for a plan to acquire right-of-way (ROW) for future demands.  It is a planning issue nationwide and not a Fairfax County’s problem alone.  In the future, teleworking will be greatly improved which could affect long term for commuting demand.  He suggested working on this proposal, or step back to get the consensus.

Commissioner Zimmerman stated that ROW acquisition can be expensive and not easy for residents.  He suggested that FCDOT to study the amount of ROW needed for rail, for future demands, and asked for clarification on ROW reservation.  Commissioner Cohn agreed with Mr. Zimmerman’s suggestion.

Chairman Parnes noted technology changes, the changes of future personal auto transportation, and agreed with the suggestion of reserving ROW.  He noted the distinction between reserving ROW and buying it.  Vice Chair Madden asked the County planners about the mass transit plan for radial rail.

The TAC came to a consensus that the County will be asked if enough consideration is being given to ROW acquisition.  Chairman Parnes asked Commissioners Cohn, Thiel, and Zimmerman to work on the proposal.

TAC Transportation Achievement Award

The TAC annual award for transportation achievement for Fairfax County employees will be announced.  The deadline for submission is June 28, 2013.  Vice Chair Madden, Secretary Hoskin, and Commissioner Pimley will host the selecting subcommittee. 

Other Business

Meeting notes from April 16 were accepted with the following correction:  Commissioner Kevin Morse’s name was missing from the “TAC Members in Attendance” list; Mark Canale’s last name of the 4th paragraph under Dulles Rail Silver Line Project Update.

Chairman Parnes gave a summary of the Board Transportation Committee meeting on May 7, 2013.  He noted that the TAC would not take up the Vienna bus route unless specifically requested by TAC members. 

Several public meetings were mentioned.  Chairman Parnes added a topic on Metro loading in 123/Tysons Silver Line locations.  He indicated that TAC meetings could be hold at different locations around the County if Commissioners can suggest appropriate locations.

Commissioner Cohn noted repaving issues on Route 1.

Agenda for the June 18, 2013, meeting

  • Countywide Transit Network Study – Tom Burk, FCDOT

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

  • July 16, 2013: Recommendations on Parking Requirements in Transit Oriented Development Areas – Dan Rathbone, FCDOT
  • August 20, 2013: Board Four-Year Transportation Plan – Karyn Moreland, FCDOT
  • September 17, 2012:  Route 1 Transit Center Study – Caijun Luo, FCDOT
  • 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).
  • The projected loading statistics for the Dulles Metrorail Silver Line. With all the redevelopment approved for the McLean station, how much capacity is left for the other three Tysons Corner stations and Wiehle Avenue?


Meeting Adjourned: at 9:45 p.m.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

June 25, 2013             10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Board Transportation Committee Meeting

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

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

August 6, 2013                         7:30 pm           TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

August 20, 2013                        7:30 pm          TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)

September 3, 2013                     7:30 pm           TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

September 17, 2013                    7:30 pm          TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)


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