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Transportation Tops Hyland Board Matters

With construction of the second span of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge just getting underway, the potential of adding Metrorail to the completed bridge gained three more advocates during Monday's Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting.

As a result of a Board Matter introduced by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland, a joint resolution by Hyland, Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman and Board Chairman Gerald Connolly was adopted calling for "designating the inner lane of each span of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge for a new public transit rail line to connect Metrorail's Yellow Line in Virginia with the Green Line in Maryland."

The resolution also proposes "efforts to secure federal funding to begin the Alternative Analysis and other appropriate studies to begin the process." The new bridge was designed to support a mass transit mode, either rail or bus. However, the establishment of either would be a combined local decision as opposed to one made by either the Maryland and Virginia departments of transportation.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's 10-year Capital Improvement Program, adopted in September 2002, included a proposed Metrorail expansion on the bridge, according to the resolution. Such a line would "greatly increase the capacity of the bridge, provide Fairfax County residents with more transportation choices, and help prepare for National Harbor traffic," the resolution stated.

Other plusses cited by the triumvirate, include easing Beltway traffic and offering an alternative commuting mode to thousands of additional personnel scheduled to be relocated to Fort Belvoir as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Report. They also cited several environmental and economic pluses to be gained by such a bridge crossing.

One of the primary driving forces behind the resolution's timing is the fact that "under the six-year Federal transportation bill, the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts Program authorizes funding for alternative analysis and preliminary engineering of a transit route over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge." That federal funding authorization expires in 2009. The second span is scheduled for completion in 2008.

IN ANOTHER MATTER of long standing, Hyland proposed that the replacement of Woodlawn Road, connecting Route 1 and Telegraph Road, be named Mulligan Road. His rationale was to alleviate any confusion with the existing Old Mill Road which "exists primarily on the east side of Richmond Highway further to the north," according to Hyland.

"It has come to my attention that the new connector road may traverse over an earlier proposed roadway labeled by Fort Belvoir as Mulligan Road," he said. As a result, his proposal asks that "the total stretch of the proposed new connector road" be named Mulligan Road. This would have to be accomplished in conjunction with the VDOT and the Federal Highways Administration.

A THIRD TRANSPORTATION ISSUE raised by Hyland was more elevated. It dealt with a waiver granted by the County Zoning Administrator for a blinking red light atop a monopole located near Fort Belvoir's Davidson Airfield.

"I had concerns about the flight patterns of Davidson Airfield and whether the waiver of this light could cause safety problems with the aircraft and helicopters" that utilize that airstrip, Hyland told his fellow Board members.

He also pointed out that Virginia State Code Amendments require local jurisdictions to adopt airport protection zones. "Years ago, our Department of Planning and Zoning worked to get such a zone established around Davidson, but was unable to do so because they could not get all the information they needed from the Department of the Army," Hyland stated.

Hyland's request on this was that the County Executive be directed to provide a recommendation "as to whether or not the granting of this waiver may cause safety problems at Davidson Airfield." He also sought additional background on airport protection zones and whether such a waiver was warranted at Davidson Airfield.

OTHER BOARD MATTERS introduced by Hyland at Monday's meeting included:

* Requesting that the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs provide written and electronic information on the upcoming march of Revolutionary War re-enactors from New Jersey to Yorktown, Va., passing through Mount Vernon District Sept. 21 to 23 with a supposed encampment at Pohick Regional Park. They will leave the Mount Vernon area Sept. 24 via the historic route to Colchester. The march commemorates the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route to Yorktown where the final battle of America's war for independence from Great Britain took place.

* Seeking clarification as to which county agency is responsible for assisting residents with the removal of dead animals from their property. This matter was trigger by a Hyland constituent's discovery of "a large, bloated dead deer on her property. She apparently contacted both Animal Control and the County Health Department both of which declined to become involved, according to Hyland. Finally, the suggestion was made "to drag the now putrid deer to the road so a VDOT crew would pick it up, which finally occurred," according to Hyland's account of the incident. His request was that residents be informed which County agency can help them in the proper disposal of animal remains and that this information be circulated by the Office of Public Affairs.