Back in November 2005, VDOT held a public meeting about traffic problems on Route 28, Braddock and Walney Roads in Centreville. It also presented its proposal to improve things.
After lots of citizen outcry, as well as suggestions, VDOT representatives returned in September with what they contended was an even better plan. Trouble was, VDOT didn't delete anything from its initial proposal; it simply added more traffic restrictions to it.
And at its quarterly meeting last week, members of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) were still bothered by what they heard — or didn't hear — from VDOT.
"I was concerned that there wasn't a clearer response given to suggestions made, such as having part-time lanes used only during rush hour," said WFCCA President Ted Troscianecki.
He then asked the panel members whether the WFCCA should provide its official opinion on this issue to Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) to pass on to VDOT.
Currently, morning-peak traffic on Route 28 north backs up into the I-66 ramps. And afternoon-rush traffic on Route 28 south backs up to Westfields Boulevard.
Making matters worse, said VDOT transportation engineer Sunil Taori, this intersection is "in the worst 2.5 percent of all [similar] intersections in the state. And in 2005, the crash problem spread out [along the area], causing secondary crashes in the back queue."
So in the name of safer and smoother traffic flow, VDOT in November recommended a partial median closure at that intersection and installation of a median island.
Drivers could no longer cross Route 28 between Braddock and Walney, and the traffic signal would only permit northbound left turns and east- and westbound right turns. Walney's left lane would disappear, and traffic could only turn right from Walney onto Route 28 north, through a channelized island.
Both lanes coming from Braddock onto Route 28 would turn right (south) only. Motorists couldn't turn left (north) onto Route 28; they'd be directed to the Westfields Interchange.
Drivers could still turn left onto Braddock from Route 28 north, but Route 28 south traffic couldn't turn left onto Walney. But traffic on Route 28 north could still turn right onto Walney.
In September, VDOT added these recommendations:
* Install a traffic signal at Walney and Westfields.
* Install route-guidance signs directing drivers to travel on the main arteries, rather than on local roads.
* Eliminate the ramp spur from Route 28 north to I-66 west.
* Eliminate the ramp spur from I-66 east to Route 28 south.
* Redirect traffic to Route 29/I-66 via Routes 28/29 interchange with route-guidance signs.
* Restrict the senior center at Route 28/I-66 to right-turn in, right-turn out, only.
* Encourage traffic-calming on Sequoia Farms Drive, with the county, VDOT and residents working together.
* Redirect traffic from Route 28 north to I-66 west via Route 29 west/south.
* Redirect traffic from I-66 east to Route 28 south via Route 29 east/north.
But at the Monday, Oct. 16, WFCCA meeting, several of these ideas worried both the panel members and residents. "[VDOT] said they mitigated the impact on Sequoia Farms and said we could get traffic calming," said Jana Reddy of that community. She said Sequoia Farms already requested it, but was told it didn't meet all the necessary criteria.
WFCCA's Carol Hawn also had serious concerns. "We need to bite the bullet, and they need to decide what they're doing with this intersection in conjunction with I-66," she said. "I believe the one thing that would help — as you pass the E.C. Lawrence [Park] entrance — is alerting people that they may have to stop. And I think it would be a big fix for some of the rear-end collisions."
Besides, added Centreville's Cheryl Repetti, "having more traffic on Route 28 doesn't necessarily address the safety problems."
Troscianecki had two main areas of concern. One was whether VDOT was adequately addressing the traffic flow on Route 28 north from eastbound Braddock Road, as well as its access to Poplar Tree Road and Sequoia Farms. And he noted that Poplar Tree will eventually be widened from two to four lanes.
His other issue had to do with the residents of Cabell's Mill and how VDOT's plans would impact them. "I'm not clear on Cabell's Mill's position, being cut off from Centreville's businesses," explained Troscianecki. "They'll need to go two miles north and one mile south to get to the same point."
And, added Judy Heisinger of Bull Run Estates, "As soon as you run into the traffic backed up from Prince William County, it doesn't matter what you do to Braddock and Walney."
"Should we provide input about our specific concerns to Supervisor Frey, and should the individual homeowners associations do it, too?" asked Troscianecki. Replied Heisinger: "I think both the homeowners associations and WFCCA should do it."
"If they close off the Walney/Braddock Road intersection, what will they do to improve the other routes people will take?" asked Virginia Run's Ray Gustave. "I think this concern should be addressed."
Perhaps, he suggested, VDOT should "put in a diamond-interchange bridge across [Route] 28 so you'll have traffic from both sides." And both he and Troscianecki worried that — although billed by VDOT as "temporary" — VDOT's traffic solutions "might become permanent."
"VDOT's taking the cheapest, easiest solution for them," said Gustave. Troscianecki then said he'd draft a letter expressing all these concerns and send it to Frey's office, as well as to WFCCA's member homeowners associations for their comments.