In an effort to relieve the transportation problems around the state, Gov. Mark Warner (D) laid out plans for several quick-fix solutions, including shuttles for the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) at both the Burke Centre and the Rolling Road stations. Warner's directive included 26 projects, totaling $9.9 million for Northern Virginia and $9.3 million in Hampton Roads. It put the time frame at one year from July 1.
According to information released by the governor's office, "Each project is designed to reduce traffic congestion, enhance air quality, and be implemented within 12 months from the date of funding availability."
Burke Centre has no map etched out for the shuttles yet, said VRE spokesperson Mark Roeber.
"We're looking at putting in shuttles at both locations," Roeber said. "Fairfax County is working with us to make it more direct. The hope is to free up spaces at the stations."
Burke resident Susan Stanger used to live in Burke Station Square near the Rolling Road VRE station. She had trouble pulling out of her development at rush hour because of the traffic out of the VRE parking lot.
"I know they've had a problem with security," she said. "A shuttle would be a good idea. They've got to do something. If they're going to get people to commute, they need to make concessions."
Patricia Parsons looked at the traffic along Roberts Road, which leads down to the Burke Centre VRE station.
"It would cut down on traffic, especially in and out of that area," she said.
According to a Fairfax County Department of Transportation spokesperson Ho Chang, a staff group was organized to work on the shuttle plan. The group consists of a representative from Fairfax County Department of Transportation, VRE and the Fairfax Connector bus system. The Connector bus system is run by a contractor, and the group plans to use the same contractor for the shuttle. The whole shuttle concept is in the early stages of development. Chang mentioned the timing has an influence on the system.
"I think we’re looking at the best way to provide it. Timing is a key factor," Chang said.
ONE THING VRE is planning to do this month on the Manassas Line, which services the Burke and Springfield lines, is put in more bi-level cars, according to Roeber.
"In June, we'll be bringing more of the Pullman Galleries," he said. "On each train, it will give you a couple of hundred extra seats."
Roeber compared the increased ridership from April 2002 to April 2003. The group did a rider count.
"If you look at April last year and April this year, you see a 16- or 17-percent growth," he said.
VRE will incorporate the bi-level cars in the train and put the single-seat cars on the end of the train.