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Reston Association pushes for VDOT to redesign ‘pork chop’ road island

Reston Association wants the Virginia Department of Transportation to redesign the island (staff photo by David Taube)

Reston Association is calling on state and local officials to push forward the redesign of a circuitous traffic island near Lake Anne Plaza.

At a meeting last night (Thursday), RA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a letter asking the Virginia Department of Transportation, state officials, and county departments to consider fixing what directors dubbed “pork chop island.”

The island allows pedestrians and cyclists from Village Road to pass a right-turn lane and continue along Baron Cameron Avenue.

“The Board has received numerous and strong complaints about that facility, specifically the traffic separator (‘porkchop’) island in the south leg of that intersection, especially after Reston Now published its Jan. 27 story and photo,” the letter states. “RA’s Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee has detailed to the Board a list of the facility’s problems, and we are aware of concerns expressed by the Reston Accessibility Committee and others.”

The previous design provided a straight shot for pedestrians, but the latest redesign requires a more adventurous undertaking and may actually present more challenges for people who use wheelchairs or have other physical constraints.

“It really is hard for all pedestrians crossing at that intersection but especially with seniors and other persons with limited mobility,” said board member John Mooney.

He thanked Reston Now — a sister site of FFXnow — and RA’s Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee for bringing up the issue.

The letter outlines a litany of issues associated with the island. For example, the crossing-signal button is too hard to push, the crossing time across Village Road is too short, and the median refuge in the middle of Baron Cameron is unsafe and hard to negotiate.

RA’s board says ensuring that area is walkable is particularly important because of its proximity to the Lake Anne House, a 240-unit facility for seniors.

“The residents of Lake Anne House themselves should be consulted appropriately about this design,” the letter says. “We believe it would also be useful to have an on-site meeting of representatives of the county, VDOT, the developer and RA to discuss the problems and redesign.”

Board Director Tim Dowling encouraged RA to ensure the letter was strongly worded and leveraged the association’s “collective voice” as an organization that represents more than 20,000 households in Reston.

VDOT is currently re-examining the design of the facility.

“Unfortunately the construction of the pedestrian improvements contains deficiencies that must be remediated. We have been working with Fairfax County and the permittee regarding said remedy,” a spokesperson told FFXnow.

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