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Campus Commons developer could give county $1.7M to fix dangerous pedestrian crossing at Wiehle Avenue

Fairfax County could ask a developer to pay $1.65 million to find a safer crossing at Wiehle Avenue in Reston (via Fairfax County)

The developer of a major mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station could have to pay $1.65 million to help fund a safer alternative to a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Wiehle Avenue at the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramps.

At a board meeting yesterday (Tuesday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn introduced a board matter that would require developer TF Cornerstone, the developer of Campus Commons, to pay the proffered funds to build an alternative crossing for the area.

The board deferred a vote on the matter to the board’s next meeting later this month so staff could determine whether there might be legal concerns posed by the county dabbling in the implementation of proffers for developers.

“This is very unusual,” Alcorn said. “Frankly, this is the implementation of a proffer approved before I was supervisor. It’s probably not a process I would want to do again.”

The move came after Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross expressed concerns about the county’s involvement with proffers.

“I just want to make sure that we’re within our lane here with this request,” Gross said.

Alcorn says an at-grade crossing of Wiehle Avenue should only be explored if the improvement “can be achieved through enhanced multimodal design that demonstrates acceptable operational conditions and incorporates pedestrian safety measures” that are in line with his office, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

The move comes nearly three years after the board approved TF Cornerstones’ plans for Campus Commons — a project that would transform an aging office park at 1900 and 1902 Campus Common Drive into a 1.3 million-square-foot development.

Resounding community concerns about safety at the proposed at-grade crossing prompted the formation of a study group that evaluated three proposed options for the site.

But virtually all members voted against the three options proposed by TF Cornerstones. Instead, 71% supported a crossing with an underpass — which comes with a hefty price tag — and 59% supported an enhanced at-grade pedestrian crosswalk with more multimodal improvements. The conclusion came after 15 meetings between December 2019 and August 2021.

With none of the options in the approved Campus Commons plan finding support, Alcorn’s board matter suggests that the developer instead give the county money to build an alternative that would be refined after study on the Wiehle Avenue corridor and in coordination with future designs and crossings at Wiehle.

The developer plans to build three buildings with 655 apartments, more than 520,000 square feet of office space, and a little over 28,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. A 24-story tower and two small towers are proposed.

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