Thursday, August 25, 2005

The BRAC Impact in Northern Virginia

If the Base Realignment and Closure Commission approves a plan to move tens of thousands of jobs from D.C. and the inner suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria out to Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, it will wreak havoc on the local road networks, say opponents. And they've put out a draft study to back up their argument.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth hired its own consultant to analyze traffic data from a broader regional study and came up with these examples: If the move is approved, says the group in a release, "17,935 more cars will leave the Fort Belvoir area between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays in 2010 than will be able to, given the limited roadway capacity. In 2020, even after widening Route 1 north, Route 1 south, Telegraph Rd., and Pohick Rd, the model calculates that there will be 14,541 more vehicles leaving the Fort Belvoir area between 4 p.m. and p.m. than the roads can handle."

From coalition executive director Stewart Schwartz: “Even if it were feasible to provide sufficient roadway capacity, the cost could be hundreds of millions of dollars, and possibly more, at a time when area jurisdictions are already struggling to fix existing transportation problems.”

The group also dismissed the idea of extending Metrorail to Fort Belvoir, arguing that the less-dense land use and setbacks required by BRAC would be a poor fit for transit: "No amount of capital investments in transit will be able to recreate the quality of transit service in Fort Belvoir that currently exists in Arlington."


At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This raises a good argument. However, I have also heard that a large proportion of the workers at the offices scheduled to be closed live outside the immediate Washington, D.C. metro area (many to the south). If so, these people are driving anyway (most likely up I-95) and moving the offices to Fort Belvoir would actually shorten their commutes.
I don't know what the facts are, but I'd like to be assured that the Smart Growth group isn't just carrying water for the commercial landlords in Arlington and Alexandria.

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous SDH4VBT said...

You've got to have quite a suspicious mind to think the Coalition for Smart Growth is carrying water for the commercial landlords. The network feeding those complexes has developed over many years, and while some are coming up from the south, some are coming in from Gainesville and Loudoun and Maryland, too. I haven't seen the data but the worries make sense on their face. The BRAC planners had no interest in worrying about traffic in plotting their disperal plan based on terrorism fears. Osama may have chalked up another blow to our way of life (and of course it is double whammy with unrest in the Middle East pushing up the price of gas. Ka-ching.)

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stewart Schwartz is a great guy and has some very good ideas. But the Coalition is carrying West Group's water at Tysons and for Pulte Homes at (Vienna) Metrowest. By arguing that those projects represent smart growth and, thus, should be built, the Coalition is helping the developers to obscure the fact that the added growth will cause the Fairfax County to crash & burn. Fairfax County lacks the infrastructure to support today's population, much less growth from a zillion high-priced condos. Until development pays its own way through cost-based impact fees on everything, smart growth is as bad as sprawl for its impact on the current residents of Fairfax County and their property tax bills. For their impact on the residents of Fairfax County, there's not much difference between Jerry Halpin's West Group and Osama bin Laden's Jehadists. Both are strong threats to ordinary people's way of life and prosperity.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Previous studies have show a traffic increas of less than half a percent. Anthony downs at Brookings says there is virtually nothing a region can do to dontorl its growth. Many Arlington workers already live to the south. Mixed use development is going to mean that we cannot continue to have DC centered jobs.

Schwarz & company now claim that mixed use in areas other thatn the core will lead to sprawl.

The real agenda is open space, sprqwl, economics and taxes be damned.

More compact places are harder and nore expensive to run, they require more energy and cause more pollution.

Schwarz & company have engineered a political catch 33: can't build roads, can't move jobs, and can't sprawl.

Good luck Charley.


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