Some Richmond Highway BRT stations may be renamed


Rendering of future Richmond Highway BRT station (Credit: FCDOT)

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is reconsidering the names of several future Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations.

During a Sept. 28 meeting of the BRT Executive Committee, FCDOT officials said some members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Richmond Highway community members had shown interest in renaming certain stations to “align with community identity and foster community ownership.”

Earlier this month, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck told On the MoVe that three of the nine BRT station names are in question. One of those stops, he said, is the Penn Daw station, which some community members reportedly feel should be known as Kings Crossing. Other options under consideration include Spring Bank and Mount Eagle.

Location of the BRT station currently known as Penn Daw (Credit: FCDOT)

The other two stops being considered for name changes are Hybla Valley and Gum Springs. 

Queenie Cox, president of the New Gum Springs Civic Association, has been an outspoken critic of both station names based on their location and history. The BRT station targeted for Richmond Highway and Fordson Road — presently designated as “Hybla Valley” — is situated at the main entrance to Gum Springs, the oldest African American community in Fairfax County, Cox pointed out. Meanwhile, the proposed “Gum Springs” station is currently planned for the intersection of Richmond Highway and Sherwood Hall Lane, which Cox noted is named for a white family.

“Do folks not see what is wrong with this picture?” asked Cox.

Locations of the currently planned Hybla Valley and Gum Springs BRT stations (Credit: FCDOT)

To address some of these community concerns, FCDOT plans to hold an informational open house at the Hybla Valley Community Center on Oct. 12 regarding the potential renaming of the three BRT stations. That meeting will be followed by a discussion with community stakeholders and a public survey. FCDOT wants to have the names finalized by December to keep the station design process on schedule.

Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, whose district includes part of Hybla Valley, said the prospect of switching up the current Hybla Valley and Gum Springs station names “makes some sense,” barring confirmation of any controversial historical connections. An FCDOT official noted at the Executive Committee meeting that the Hybla Valley name was flagged for further study earlier this week due to the existence of a “Mount Hybla” where people once were enslaved.

Renaming the station at the intersection of Sherwood Hall and Richmond Highway would make the new Hybla Valley stop closer to the Hybla Valley Community Center, observed Lusk, though he acknowledged it was largely the call of Mount Vernon District residents as to where Gum Springs officially begins and ends.

“I am open to the potential for the renaming of stations but look forward to hearing from the community, first through the survey and public outreach process, before making any determinations,” said Lusk.

Meanwhile, the themes for the nine BRT stations have been finalized by FCDOT, thanks to the feedback they received from the community charm survey conducted this past summer. The refined themes, displayed in the table below, will help guide how the stations artistically reflect the history, identity and character of their surrounding neighborhoods.

Credit: FCDOT
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