FCDOT to hold virtual public meeting on grant funding candidates


An existing segment of the Mason Neck Trail along Gunston Road (Credit: Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is holding a virtual public meeting Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. to discuss several projects being submitted for FY25 Transportation Alternatives grant funding. 

Transportation Alternatives, according to FCDOT, are federally funded, community-based projects that expand travel choices and enhance transportation experience by integrating modes and improving the cultural, historic and environmental aspects of the county's transportation infrastructure. The Transportation Alternatives Program is administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

One of the five projects under consideration for funding is the Mason Neck Trail — specifically the construction of missing walkway links along Gunston Road in Lorton from Richmond Highway to the entrance of Pohick Bay Golf Course, where the existing segments of the Mason Neck Trail begin. 

Map depicting the Mason Neck Trail, including the completed segments 2 (a.k.a. 2B), 2A and 3 (Credit: FABB)

Construction of the eventual 5.5-mile pedestrian and bike trail first began 20 years ago with the building of a segment between the entrance to Mason Neck Park and the southern section of Pohick Bay Regional Park. Since then, two additional segments have been completed, with two more to go. Once complete, the trail will stretch from Route 1 to the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge and be part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.

One of the trail's key supporters is the Mason Neck Citizens Association (MNCA), which has championed the project since it was first conceived in 1995. In a letter to VDOT from September 2021, MNCA President Nancy Wilochka requested support for an earlier round of Transportation Alternatives funding, noting that existing segments of the trail were well used by pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.

Among the reasons she cited for completing the northern end of the trail were safety, accessibility to Mason Neck's unique resources and the creation of opportunities for low-income families in the area.

"Being able to safely walk or bike to a park should be available to every child in Fairfax County," wrote Wilochka. "Completion of the Trail would provide families a safe way to reach Gunston Elementary School and the parks on Mason Neck."

To attend the FCDOT meeting, you can join online or by phone at 571/429-5982, Access Code 726415250#.

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