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Road diet and bicycle lanes proposed near Dunn Loring Metro station

Prosperity Avenue outside a Dunn Loring Metro station parking lot (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County is designing a new layout for Prosperity Avenue near the Dunn Loring Metro station.

The new configuration will reduce the roadway from four to two lanes by adding a road diet and protected bicycle lanes between Gallows Road and Prosperity Metro Plaza, the two-building office center whose tenants include U.S. Customs and Immigration Services’ D.C. field office.

The project will also convert existing on-street bicycle lanes that start to the west and continue until Hilltop Road into protected bike lanes.

Design funding will come from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), whose Transportation Planning Board awarded $80,000 to the project last week as part of its Transit Within Reach program.

COG is “excited” about the county’s proposed improvements to Prosperity Avenue, which currently has a “very wide” design that “encourages drivers to speed and discourages people from walking and biking,” according to John Swanson, the principal transportation planner for the regional nonprofit.

The affected section of Prosperity Avenue has a 35 mph speed limit. A 19-year-old man from Chantilly was killed in a crash on the road last December, but that occurred to the south between Route 29 and Arlington Blvd.

“This part of Fairfax is undergoing a lot of change and the county is really committed to making the Dunn Loring station the center of a vibrant, walkable community,” Swanson said. “…This kind of project will make a real difference at the local level and will serve as a model for the region.”

The idea for the Prosperity Avenue safety project emerged out of discussions that started in April between representatives of businesses along the roadway and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s office.

Since then, the district office has been working with county and state transportation staff to develop their proposal.

“I am delighted to see that this project design was approved for funding!” Palchik said in a statement. “After hearing from local businesses about safety concerns for their staff and visitors, my office worked diligently with FCDOT and VDOT on a proposal for a road diet for Prosperity Avenue. This design work will help improve safety for our pedestrians, especially for staff and community members visiting the USCIS offices or attending naturalization ceremonies.”

The Transit Within Reach funds will cover the project design up to 30% completion, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. That will encompass the bicycle lanes from west of the Metro station to Hilltop Avenue, which is expected to be completed around the end of 2024.

The COG funding will also give the county an estimate for how much it’ll cost to implement the project.

“Once complete, FCDOT will identify funding to complete the design and construct the project,” a department spokesperson said.

Launched in 2021, the Transit Within Reach program provides consulting services for the design and preliminary engineering of “small, high-impact bicycle and pedestrian projects,” per COG.

The Transportation Planning Board approved a total of $250,000 in funding from the program at its meeting last Wednesday (Oct. 18). The other projects were a shared-use path in Gaithersburg and a sidewalk in D.C.

FCDOT is also working on a separate study to identify potential improvements on Gallows Road. Staff told community members at a meeting last month that traffic congestion, crashes, a lack of sidewalks and general pedestrian, bicycle and transit safety are all issues on the 7-mile corridor, Annandale Today reported.

While that study won’t assess or make recommendations for Prosperity Avenue, it could “be informed” by the road diet and bicycle lanes project, according to FCDOT.

Image via Google Maps

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