Fairfax County presents updated BRT system design plans


Community members view roll maps at FCDOT's April 28 open house on BRT design updates.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) officials held the first of three planned in-person meetings April 28 to report on the progress of the Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. Held at Bryant High School, the meeting was focused on system design updates and intersection improvements made since FCDOT’s 30% design update in June 2021.

According to project manager Vanessa Aguayo, the main updates at 60% design completion involve reductions in the property impact of BRT in select locations, including a single lane transit way from Penn Daw to Shields Avenue and reduced property impacts along Boswell Avenue and at the Village at Gum Springs Townhomes. Additionally, the system design now reflects a reduction in the speed limit from 45 to 35 miles per hour along the Richmond Highway corridor to ensure a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

Credit: Fairfax County Department of Transportation

The most significant project updates, however, involve proposed intersection improvements at North Kings Highway and Shields Avenue. To address earlier concerns from community members and to improve BRT operations, the project team has modified design plans for three sections of the intersection:

  • Furman Lane will be extended from South Kings Highway to Richmond Highway, providing a connection between the two highways once the new Penn Daw BRT station severs the existing connection between them. These design updates reflect recommendations made in the Richmond Highway Embark Plan Amendment of 2018.
  • The existing six-leg intersection of Richmond Highway and North/South Kings Highway will be converted into two T-intersections, simplifying BRT operations and enabling the creation of a plaza for a better pedestrian and bicyclist experience.
  • Shields Avenue will be connected to North Kings Highway at School Street, reducing the 90-degree turns required for BRT travel between Richmond Highway and North Kings Highway. FCDOT also is proposing the installation of a new traffic control device for pedestrians at Mount Eagle Elementary School.
Credit: Fairfax County Department of Transportation

To display the proposed design updates, FCDOT has posted updated static roll maps of each section of the BRT system. The interactive BRT map will be updated on the website by mid-May, said FCDOT officials.

About half of the funding for the $795 million BRT project is in place, and most of the remainder will likely come from a federal grant that Fairfax County is pursuing, said FCDOT director Tom Biesadny. The county continues to seek additional funding from private, state and local sources like the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s Six Year Program, which allocated $250 million for BRT back in 2018 and is presently considering the county’s request for an additional $80 million.

“The NVTA funding is a critical part of the entire picture,” said Biesadny. “If for some reason we didn’t get it, we would be applying again in the next cycle,” he said.

Biesadny said community members can help increase the county's chances of securing NVTA funding for both the BRT and Richmond Highway widening projects by providing feedback during the ongoing public comment period, which lasts until May 22.

FCDOT’s next BRT public information meeting will focus on the turn lane analysis and will take place at the Community Center in Lee District on Tuesday, May 3 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. FCDOT is still working out the details of the third in-person meeting, which will focus on community charm initiatives at BRT stations.

Earlier this year, Fairfax County officials launched the brand identity for the BRT system, which will be known as “The One.”

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