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Council Orders Up Study for Taming Traffic

Townwide traffic-calming study initiated.

The Town Council awarded a $40,000 contract Monday to consulting firm ATCS, P.L.C. to conduct a townwide traffic-calming study.

Although the town has employed traffic calming techniques such as speed tables for years, Vienna's Transportation Safety Commission has been discussing a comprehensive study of possible solutions since 2002.

In the coming weeks, ATCS will conduct studies of traffic volumes and speeding around town during different times of day and will also be studying the origins and destinations of vehicles in order to determine how many represent cut-through traffic on a given road.

In its request for proposals, the town expressed a hope to keep cut-through traffic below 40 percent on all roads, with the exception of Maple Avenue. Pedestrian safety measures are also to be considered. The firm's final report will propose and prioritize site-specific solutions and give cost estimates for the measures suggested. The report is expected to be completed within the next three or four months.

According to its proposal, ATCS is leaving its options open, considering solutions from speed humps to traffic circles and from street closures to time-of-day restrictions.

Addressing the company's Senior Vice President Young Ho Chang and Project Manager Larry Marcus at Monday's Town Council meeting, Councilmember Maud Robinson asked what ATCS thought of the town's existing traffic calming measures. Marcus said they seemed to balance traffic-calming and safety concerns reasonably well in most instances.

In response to a question from Councilmember Dan Dellinger, Marcus said the firm had planned to study traffic only Monday through Friday, as the project's price tag would only cover so many hours per week. Council members suggested that the hours ought to be shifted in order that Saturday traffic is also studied.

Marcus also noted that, although traffic on Maple Avenue will be taken into account, it will not be counted.

Mayor Jane Seeman noted that the impact of developments planned for areas surrounding the town, such as Tysons Corner, remains unpredictable, but she asked that they be taken into account as much as possible. She told the company representatives she would appreciate it "if you can possibly look into that crystal ball and see what the potentials are, so we can kind of be ready for it."

"This is something that we've been, literally, saving up for for a few years, because we wanted to have a town-wide approach," said Councilmember Laurie Cole, noting that she looked forward to seeing the study's results. "We know we can't approach the issue just intersection-by-intersection or street-by-street."

Also at Monday night's meeting, the council unanimously disapproved a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would have allowed residential apartment use in more commercial buildings. It was decided that such changes should wait until decisions are made regarding possible zoning changes on Maple Avenue.

The council also voted to apply for a state grant of $114,240 for construction of the proposed Northside Connector Boardwalk Trail, approved a memorandum of understanding between the town and the Fairfax County School Board regarding the management of Waters and Caffi fields, and accepted a letter of resignation from Community Enhancement Commissioner Inrid Rapavy.