Route One


The following excerpts were chosen from the document Preliminary Plan for Lower Potomac Mount Vernon, Rose Hill, and Springfield published by Fairfax County in February, 1975. These are official statements and comments concerning the Route 1 corridor extending through the Groveton community.

"Portions of the corridor have been significant transportation routes since pre-colonial days. Although still used as a major transportation artery, Route 1 corridor changed from a primarily national roadway when the Shirley Highway was constructed. From that point, much of the interstate traffic that had utilized Route 1 shifted to I-95, and Route 1 increasingly became a corridor for local and regional traffic.

"Today the corridor is best known as an unattractive example of strip commercial development. Despite the problems, however, the corridor has considerable opportunity for improvement."

* * *

"Retail commercial activities comprise the key land use of the corridor, including: 44 service stations, 44 restaurants, most of which provide short orders only and 'fast foods' service, 23 motels, 10 banks, 6 auto dealerships, 7 supermarkets, 8 furniture stores, 10 mobile home parks with a total of 1,712 pads, 5 car wash facilities, and a number of other businesses, ranging from Roberts Karate to Madam Gray Palm Reading."

* * *

"Residents of the area have pointed out the proliferation of identical uses and services in the area, specifically service and short order eating places. There have been instances of new service stations opening within a short distance of stations that had but recently closed from lack of business. The same pattern has been observed for eating facilities."

"While there are a few attractive individual structures in the complex area, the lack of attention to siting, signing, landscaping, and relationship to adjacent structures has resulted in an overall level of design quality that is poor. There is no conscious pattern and few desirable use relationships that are apparent to the customer. Many management decisions are made not only outside the Route 1 corridor, but outside the Washington Metropolitan area! This pattern of control may form a major obstacle to any proposal for transformation of the area."

* * *

"Accident Rate (Number of accidents per 1 million vehicles miles traveled)
Year
1970    1,072
1971    1,141
1972    1,081

The import of these numbers is that a person is 3 times as liable to be killed and 4 1/2 times as liable to have an accident along the Route 1 corridor strip as one who is traveling on the parallel section of Interstate 95.  (p.40)

* * *

"The northern part of the corridor is affected by the extensive flood plains and stream valleys of Dogue Creek."

"Air quality is seriously affected by automobiles exhaust emissions aggravated by the start/stop traffic pattern which is so common along Route 1. Noise levels are also high because of the extensive automobile usage." (pp.40-41)

"As one drives the length of Route 1 in either direction, one of the immediate perceptions is the lack of district identity; that is, to one who is not very familiar with the corridor, anyone place along its length looks like any other place along its length. Service stations are repeated brand for brand; the same franchised fast food restaurants are seen at irregular intervals; and in some instances, marginal uses go in and out of business in fairly brief periods of time, with only slight remodeling of structures occurring. The clash of advertising signs in the corridor, all competing for attention of the motorist driving by, results quite predictably in a barrage of advertising structures and facilities, none of which is entirely effective in bringing the merchant's or product's name to the attention of the potential consumer. To put it simply, the eye gets confused by the mass of signs that line the road on either side. One suspects that a great deal of the cost and effort represented by this type of advertising may be not only inefficient but counterproductive." (p. 41)

 

Volume Two, Table of Contents
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