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Public asked to help add ‘charm’ to planned Route 1 bus stations

A future Richmond Highway BRT station in need of “community charm” (via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County is seeking the public’s help with adding “charm” to the upcoming Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations.

Announced Tuesday (Aug. 2), a public survey is now open, surveying residents on what locally inspired design elements and artwork — “community charm” — should be added to each of the nine new BRT stations set to come to Richmond Highway by 2030.

“The ‘Community Charm’ initiative is focused on integrating artwork into each BRT station to reflect the history, identity, and character of the neighborhoods surrounding each station area,” the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) said in its news release. “Students from local schools [are] to design artwork for the windscreen area based on themes developed with the community.”

The county notes that over the last several years, it has asked the community for input into the station’s “potential themes.” This survey, which closes on Aug. 14, provides a final chance for thoughts prior to those themes being chosen.

Questions in the survey focus on ranking the importance of including historical, cultural, and physical landmarks in each station’s artwork.

For example, for the Penn Daw station, the survey asks residents to rank how they would prioritize the corridor’s history of roadside and historic motels, diversity and multiculturism, and physical landmarks of Hunting Creek and the Potomac River.

At the Woodlawn station, it asks to rank in order of importance the Pope-Leighey House, Woodlawn Plantation, the history of enslaved people in the community, Dogue Creek, and the Quaker community.

After the survey closes, the county’s Department of Planning and Development and History Commission will develop “narratives” for each station using the publicly-chosen themes. Starting around late fall or early winter, students will work on the designs before presenting them to the community for more feedback next spring, according to FCDOT.

After all that, a Richmond Highway BRT Executive Commission is expected to vote on the final designs in late spring 2023.

With pop-up events scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 9-10) at Gum Springs Community Center and Old Mount Vernon High School, respectively, county staff will be available to talk in person about the community charm initiative as well as the overall BRT project over the next several weeks.

Named “The One” earlier this year, the Richmond Highway BRT will consist of nine stations built along an 8-mile stretch. The stations will be constructed in two sections. It’s not expected to be completed until 2030.

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