A developer-proposed solution for a new crossing at Wiehle Avenue at the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramps in Reston is officially off the table.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday (Tuesday) to consider a different proposal for the controversial crossing, which was the subject of vigorous debate during the approval of TF Cornerstone’s Campus Commons project.
Community concerns about the safety of an at-grade crossing led to the formation of a study group that identified several options for the crossing. Not one member of the group — which met 15 times between December 2019 and August 2021 — supported the developer’s suggested overpass options or an at-grade crosswalk. Most favored an alternative crossing through an underpass — which comes with a hefty price tag.
With a deadline looming to make a decision on the proffer, the board has officially decided to ditch the developer’s proposed options and explore what Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn says will be the most appropriate pedestrian crossing option.
Alcorn says a final decision on the crossing will come after the county completes a corridor study of Wiehle Avenue between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The study was approved in September of last year and will begin six months after phase two of the Silver Line opens.
Yesterday’s board matter formalizes language that the board will not support the developer’s proposed overpass options. The developer will either construct the crossing ultimately selected or provide $1.65 million as laid out in the proffers.
So far, the county has hinted at pursuing a “high visibility” at-grade crossing.
In his board matter, Alcorn said the proposal should “address documented concerns raised by the community…to ensure that this improvement is designed to be aesthetically pleasing, highly efficient, safe and accessible for all users.”
The Campus Commons matter was initially deferred last month for clerical changes and the refinement of legalese.
The vote comes nearly three years after the board approved the Campus Commons project, which will transform an aging office park at 1900 and 1902 Campus Common Drive into a 1.3 million-square-foot development.
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.