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Parnes, WFCCA Talk About Traffic Problems

Sully District Transportation Commissioner Jeff Parnes got an earful, Tuesday night — but he wanted it.

Attending the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use meeting, he requested input about local transportation problems and then asked the members how they wanted him to handle these things.

"I'VE ALWAYS been in favor of moving traffic quickly, without spending lots of money," said Parnes. "For example, some problems can be solved by changing stop signs to yield signs or re-striping lanes."

He asked residents to contact him at jeff@parnes.net if they see any places in the local area that could be improved in this manner. He also welcomes transportation suggestions about the major highways.

WFCCA's Richard Smith told him, "Every Thursday or Friday, the I-66 westbound lanes should be opened up to green arrows at 2 p.m., instead of 3 p.m.," because of the volume of traffic. Replied Parnes: "Send me those types of things, and I'll send them to the folks who need to know."

Although he's only been Sully's representative on the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) since fall, Parnes has already made an impact. Because of the significant amount of traffic on federal holidays, he asked if I-66's green-arrow lane could be opened up then, even though HOV restrictions aren't enforced on those days. "Last night [Presidents Day, Feb. 16], they did," he told the WFCCA members.

WFCCA's Carol Hawn suggested making the speed limit on Route 28 uniform. "There are places where it varies between 45 and 55 mph," she said. "It needs to be consistent."

AT-LARGE Planning Commissioner Jim Hart suggested it be made 45 mph so it would be safer for pedestrians crossing Route 28 at New Braddock, at Machen Road near the movie theater and in the area between Burger King and McDonald's. Parnes said that, if WFCCA comes up with an official position on this matter, he'll support it.

He also noted that the county is planning a bond referendum on transportation, but it didn't ask TAC directly about which roads should be included in it. However, he said he's sure that Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) and Elaine McConnell (R-Springfield) are "sufficiently aware of" the area's traffic problems to make those decisions, as well.

Hawn said another speed limit in need of changing is on New Braddock, which was raised to 45 mph before construction of the Route 28/29 interchange. "There's been at least one fatality on that road," she said. "That is a blind intersection at Singleton's Way from New Braddock westbound turning toward the Green Trails/Heritage Forest Area. You can't see the cars coming over the hill, and it's very dangerous. It cannot be a left turn on green — it has to be an arrow."

"People call the stretch of New Braddock between Singleton's Way and Union Mill 'the Autobahn,'" added Hart. "People are going 60-65 mph." But when Parnes asked Hawn which she'd prefer more — a lower speed limit there or a green arrow — she said the arrow.

Hart also noted that the sharp S-curve on Braddock Road is "only getting worse because the road improvements that were made have washed away [after all the rain]. And the southbound lane of Pleasant Valley Road is completely flooded."

WFCCA'S JUDY Heisinger said something will have to be done about Bull Run Post Office Road north. "Just as you get into Loudoun [County], there's a four-lane, divided road — Cedar Crest — that goes from Bull Run Post Office to Gum Springs Road," she said. "And this will bring more traffic to Bull Run Post Office."

"Our roads are going to be increasingly impacted because there's going to be more and more development just over the [Loudoun County] line," agreed Hart. However, replied Parnes, "We can't ask them not to drive on our roads. And there'll always be more traffic flow."

Parnes also said he supports the philosophy of his TAC predecessor, the late Dick Frank, that a Tri-County Connector is necessary. The road would link Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and proponents say it'll improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.

Others are concerned because its roughly 10-mile alignment through Fairfax County goes south of Route 29 in Centreville, swings eastward and then turns south again to bisect Bull Run Regional Park and the residential area along Bull Run Post Office Road north.