Tolls off the table for Fairfax County Parkway

Max Smith - WTOP Around Town

Via WTOP

By Max Smith

Tolls are off the table for Fairfax County Parkway, and long-planned High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes in the Virginia County may even be a stretch.

“I just want to emphasize here, tolls are not included in our proposed strategies,” Fairfax County Department of Transportation Planner Thomas Burke told the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee Tuesday afternoon.

He presented other new options for the coming decades based on public comments heard this fall.

“Tolls were definitely, loud and clear, not something the citizens wanted to see,” Burke said.

The idea of HOV lanes also drew opposition, although there appeared to be more support for HOV-2 — which require at least one person besides the driver in the car — than HOV-3 if HOV lanes were to be implemented.

Those who commented did support widening the Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield parkways using some other source of funding and offered some more limited support for better transit and sidewalks.

Other alternatives being considered are:

  • Additional widening and interchange improvements. The parkway would be six to eight lanes for its entire length
  • Expanded bicycle and pedestrian paths on both sides of the road rather than just one side
  • Limited HOV lanes only in short segments near the Dulles Toll Road, Interstate 66 and Interstate 95 that would have better connections to those roads
  • Improved transit service along the parkways including with a single lane each way dedicated to HOV-2+ and additional park and ride spaces. The road would be widened to six to eight lanes for its entire length

The plan assumes that ongoing projects — likethe plan to widen the parkway between 123 and U.S. 29 past Popes Head Road if funding is available — will move forward independently of this long-range plan. The long-range plan is not due to be fully approved until next year.

Supervisors were asked to provide feedback by next week, ahead of the next round of public meetings on the long-range plan expected in the next few weeks.

As an example of the long time frames involved, a 2017 study identified about 350 shorter-term improvements that could be made along the length of the corridor. Forty-nine of those are complete.

Fairfax Connector does already plan a route between the Herndon Metro Station due to open as part of the second phase of the Silver Line in 2020, Franconia-Springfield and Fort Belvoir North.