Traffic concerns were among the top issues flagged in a survey of Town of Herndon residents.
Despite those frustrations, the survey by Priority Metric Group found high levels of satisfaction with town services and quality of life in the town.
Priority Metrics Group owner John Barrett emphasized that the results are based on a weighted sample, specifically for household income and ethnicity, in a presentation to the Herndon Town Council on July 11.
He said respondents were repeatedly instructed that the survey is intended to evaluate town services, not issues beyond the town’s purview.
Most respondents — a little over 60% — in the survey were white, while 16% of the sample was Hispanic, 15% was Asian and 7% was Black. Comparatively, the town’s population is 31% Hispanic, 41% white, 14% Asian, and 6% Black, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
The average survey participant lived in the town for 13 years, and 84% worked outside of the town. Roughly 15% of respondents plan to move from the town in the next year, largely due to the cost of living or housing.
The survey found that most respondents were very satisfied with professionalism of the police, trash and recycling services, and customer service at both the Herndon Municipal Center and the Herndon Community Center.
Satisfaction was lowest when it came to traffic flow, with just 52.3% of respondents saying they’re “satisfied” or “very satisfied responses” compared to 64.7% in a 2018 survey.
The survey also gauged thoughts on the conditions of the town’s sidewalks and streets, the overall appearance of the town, the police department’s ability to address neighborhood problems, traffic and parking code enforcement, and access to town facilities for people with disabilities.
Overall, the town continued to receive average performance ratings on six criteria, but declined on six others, including overall appearance and neighborhood safety. The most substantial decline was related to traffic.
Key issues related to the appearance of the town include challenges on Elden Street, the stalled redevelopment of downtown Herndon, and overall trash and cleanliness of the town and parks.
Still, 88% of residents are satisfied or very satisfied with quality of life in the town.
Most respondents pointed to Herndon’s small town appeal as the community’s most magnetic factor by far.
“Even though you’re kind of in the middle of this hub of activity right next to Dulles, right next to D.C…is this small community feel,” Barrett said. “People love it.”
Updated at 7:45 p.m. — All lanes on I-495 have now reopened after a pair of crashes during the afternoon rush hour, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Earlier: Two separate vehicle crashes have brought the Capital Beltway to a near-standstill in the McLean area just north of Tysons.
A Virginia State Police trooper told a dispatcher at 4:06 p.m. that there were “two major incidents,” both involving multiple vehicles, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.
One crash involving a tractor-trailer occurred in the express lanes near the Lewinsville Road exit, initially blocking all northbound lanes on the Beltway (I-495), according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
As of 4:50 p.m., one lane of traffic on the far right side of the highway was getting by.
Virginia State Police also responded to a crash in the northbound I-495 lanes near Georgetown Pike at 4:12 p.m., a spokesperson said.
“There are no reported injuries. The crash remains under investigation,” VSP said.
VDOT traffic cameras showed multiple police cars and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue vehicles near Old Dominion Drive.
On the emergency scanner, a dispatcher told responders with the Virginia State Police that a witness saw a man leaving the scene of that crash with a pocket knife.
“On I-495N Express Lanes at mile marker 44.1 in the County of Fairfax, motorists can expect major delays due to other security/police activity,” VDOT’s 511 traffic information system said at 4:31 p.m. “The north left shoulder and left lane are closed. Traffic backups are approximately 2.0 miles.”
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) July 6, 2023
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is asking for public input on how to reduce congestion and the number of crashes on two half-mile sections of road in Springfield.
A new survey is open through June 15, asking residents about their traveling habits and safety concerns along Franconia Road between Backlick Road and Loisdale Road. The survey also focuses on Commerce Street between Amherst Avenue and Franconia Road.
The survey marks the beginning of a STARS (Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions) study that will help develop “proposed improvements that localities can pursue for funding,” a press release says.
Those two sections of roads, particularly Franconia Road, are of concern because they often have traffic congestion due to the nearby I-95 interchange. There’s also a high number of crashes, according to VDOT.
That half-mile section of Franconia Road averages about 69,000 vehicles a day and has had 162 crashes between January 2015 and October 2022, per a VDOT presentation. That includes at least one fatal crash and several that resulted in severe injuries.
The portion of Commerce Street in the study has much less volume, with only about 19,000 vehicles every day. But there have been even more crashes along the road during that same time period.
A large number of the 171 crashes have resulted in property damage only, but several did lead to severe injury.
VDOT is looking into a number of improvements along those roads focused on safety, the presentation notes.
That includes “innovative intersections” that have different shapes or traffic flow patterns. It could also mean adding Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons, high-visibility crosswalks and improved bicycle facilities, including better bicycle lane transitions and pavement markings.
What exactly will be done will, at least partially, depend on the results of the public survey, VDOT said.
In the questionnaire, respondents are asked to rank their top concerns, with traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, public transit access, and speeding among the options listed. They are also asked when they typically traveled along those roads, by what method of transportation, and when they typically experience congestion.
The survey “will be used to help develop potential safety and operational alternatives that will be evaluated and presented during the second round of public involvement scheduled for this winter,” the project website reads.
The study is set to be completed in spring 2024. No construction timeline has been set as of yet, per the press release.
If you find trips on the Capital Beltway into Maryland nightmarish now, imagine what they would be like without any transit options.
That’s the scenario posed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) in a new study on the value of the region’s transit network, including Metro, local bus services like Fairfax Connector and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE).
Released today (Thursday), the study found that the American Legion Bridge — the only direct link between Fairfax County and Maryland — would need to carry 24,653 or 8.2% more vehicles per day in 2025 if there was no transit (325,619 vehicles) compared to the projected traffic volume with transit (300,965 vehicles).
The other bridges across the Potomac River would see even bigger differences, led by a 39.2% increase on the Arlington Memorial Bridge.
“These bridges are congested today, and congestion will increase in the future. Without transit, however, the capacity constraint on the bridges would be substantially greater,” the study report says.
The report notes that rush-hour traffic on all of the Potomac crossings is projected to exceed capacity in 2025 regardless of transit availability. The American Legion Bridge would exceed capacity by 3,651 vehicles under the “base” conditions and by 7,379 vehicles under the “no transit” scenario — a 102% difference.
Construction is underway to widen the Capital Beltway (I-495) by adding two toll lanes in each direction from the Dulles Toll Road to just south of the American Legion Bridge. The Virginia Department of Transportation has forecast that the 495 NEXT project will move approximately 2,500 more people per hour in both directions, starting in 2025.
However, Maryland’s plans to replace and expand the bridge remain in limbo following the exit of its private partner. Replacing the American Legion Bridge would allow the Beltway to move 5,400 more people an hour, VDOT has said, but the endeavor will cost an estimated $1 billion.
According to an NVTC spokesperson, the study’s calculations incorporated the 495 NEXT project, but it didn’t include the possibility of future bus service between Tysons and Bethesda, as proposed by both Fairfax Connector and Metro.
“Our study evaluated the difference between what’s currently planned for 2025 and a scenario in which all transit in Northern Virginia is removed,” NVTC said. “That means the proposed future route from Tysons to Bethesda, using the American Legion Bridge, was not included since it won’t be in service by then.” Read More
One person got trapped and needed to be extracted from a vehicle in a crash on the Capital Beltway (I-495) in McLean this morning (Tuesday).
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported at 9:05 a.m. that it had units on the scene of the multi-vehicle crash on northbound I-495 at the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange.
“Occupant being evaluated by EMS. Only one lane open on I495 NB. Expect delays,” the department tweeted.
As of 9:25 a.m., traffic backups extend nearly 7 miles, almost to the I-66 interchange in Dunn Loring, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic cameras.
Units on the scene of a multi-vehicle crash on I-495 NB at George Washington Memorial Parkway. One occupant was trapped and extricated by #FCFRD crews. Occupant being evaluated by EMS. Only one lane open on I495 NB. Expect delays. #traffic pic.twitter.com/H6uVm4cXyK
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) March 14, 2023
A tractor-trailer carrying sewage flipped over on I-395 in Springfield earlier today (Thursday), resulting in a tough morning commute for drivers headed away from D.C.
The Virginia Department of Transportation reported at 7:35 a.m. that the vehicle had overturned and spilled its contents on the southbound I-395 ramp to southbound I-95. All lanes were blocked.
Drivers already on the highway were directed to detour to the Capital Beltway (I-495) or Old Keene Mill Road, while VDOT advised those not yet caught up in the jam to seek alternate routes.
Update: Left lane is getting by on the 395SB ramp to I-95SB. Right lane is still blocked. Pls continue to expect delays. https://t.co/0Yu6q0iQeV
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 26, 2023
By 8 a.m., vehicles were able to get by on the left shoulder, and VDOT said that there had been no injuries. However, the department revealed that the truck’s contents turned out to be sewage.
Per 511Virginia, VDOT’s live traffic camera site, the southbound right shoulder remains closed, and traffic backups extend approximately 1.5 miles, as of 9:38 a.m.
Update Springfield: Ramp from 395SB to 95SB:
The good news: no serious injuries and left shoulder getting by.
The bad news: the spill is sewage. Pls check 511Virginia before you go bc things can get backed up. pic.twitter.com/2yhM6hiAl1
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 26, 2023
Currently stuck in this
— Michael Pegram (@MichaelPNews) January 26, 2023
As Fairfax County starts expanding its efforts to curtail cut-through traffic clogging up neighborhood streets, a new corollary could allow local residents to skirt those limits.
Currently, there are three neighborhoods around the county with cut-through mitigation restrictions. Those restrictions involve signs that prohibit turns into those neighborhoods from major transit corridors during the morning and/or evening rush hours.
While the restrictions aim to prevent local streets from getting clogged up by drivers trying to get around traffic on major highways, that also makes it difficult for residents on those streets to legally access their homes.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is considering shifting to a “residential cut-through permit zone,” which would let residents in the affected neighborhoods get permits for their vehicles. Signs that currently prohibit turns during rush hour would be changed to say “resident permit required.”
The draft ordinance would include specifications for eligibility for permits, set rules and permit fees, and provide information on enforcement and penalties for violation.
Fairfax County is also looking to expand its cut-through mitigation project to five neighborhood streets, including preventing cut-through traffic from rocking down to Electric Avenue.
- Dead Run Drive and Carper Street in McLean
- Thomas Avenue in Great Falls
- Electric Avenue/Williams Avenue/Overlook Street in Tysons/Vienna
- Allen Avenue in Falls Church
- Hidden Meadow Drive in Chantilly
A single-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer brought the Capital Beltway (I-495) in McLean to a standstill yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.
The tractor-trailer was traveling south on I-495 when it crashed near the Georgetown Pike exit, the Virginia State Police said. The impact of the crash caused the vehicle to catch fire.
Police responded to the scene around 1:06 p.m., closing all southbound I-495 lanes and diverting traffic onto Georgetown Pike.
“The driver was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries,” the VSP said in a news release. “The crash remains under investigation.”
More than two hours after the crash, traffic queues stretched north into Maryland, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. It wasn’t until around 6 p.m. that the first lane on I-495 was able to reopen.
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 8, 2023
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) One person was killed this morning in a multi-vehicle crash on the Capital Beltway (I-495) in Tysons.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department had reported that one person had sustained injuries considered life-threatening, but the fatality wasn’t confirmed until just after 10 a.m. by the Virginia State Police.
VSP said it responded to the crash in the northbound lanes of I-495 near the exit for Route 267 at 6:52 a.m.
According to VSP, the driver of a 2019 Ford F-150 pickup — identified as Robert A. Blakely, 71, from D.C. — was “ejected from his vehicle” and died at the scene. A passenger in another vehicle received treatment for minor injuries.
The crash shut down the northbound Express Lanes and multiple general lanes on I-495 at the Dulles Access Road for hours during this morning’s rush hour, prompting vehicles in the toll lanes to be diverted at Route 7.
By 9 a.m., traffic backups extended approximately 9.8 miles to the end of the Express Lanes in North Springfield, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic cameras.
This is the second major crash on the Beltway in as many days. During yesterday’s evening rush hour, a man died after being struck by an SUV near the Braddock Road exit. He had gotten out of the tractor-trailer he was driving following a collision with a sedan.
Units on scene of a multi-vehicle crash on I495 NB at Dulles Access Rd in Mclean area. One life-threatening injury. NB Express Lanes and multiple lanes of I495 NB closed for unknown duration. Expect delays. Seek alternate route. View Map: https://t.co/ooNN1smrhc #FCFRD #traffic pic.twitter.com/AQysAWs8dn
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) December 1, 2022
Update: delays now extend past Little River Turnpike, with debris cleanup in progress. Reconstruction will occur at a later time. Expect general lanes to begin opening soon, followed by express lanes. #VATraffic #DMVTraffic https://t.co/im0z6oJxRN
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) December 1, 2022
If you plan on driving the newly extended I-66 Express Lanes next month, make sure there are at least two other people in the car to avoid paying a toll.
The entire length of the I-66 toll lanes will shift from HOV2 to HOV3 in early December, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently announced.
Starting Dec. 5, only those with traveling with three or more people will be able to use the lanes for free. This is a change from the previous standard of two or more passengers.
Single riders or those traveling with just two passengers will have to pay a toll, with the price varying based on traffic volumes (known as “dynamic tolling”).
The change will apply to the entire 32-mile length of the I-66 Express Lanes, including the existing 9-mile section inside the Beltway (I-495) from Dunn Loring to Route 29 in Rosslyn. A new Beltway ramp to I-66 just opened this week.
That portion of I-66 operates as HOV on weekdays during peak hours and in peak directions. Otherwise, the express lanes are free and have no occupancy requirement.
VDOT also notes that, in order to use the lanes during rush hour, drivers need an E-ZPass transponder.
The state transportation agency said in a press release that the new requirements are “consistent with HOV requirements on the other express lanes in Northern Virginia.”
In a statement to FFXnow, a VDOT spokesperson said consistency and federal environmental standards were the biggest reasons for the change:
This change supports the National Capital Region’s Transportation Planning Board’s policy to change HOV-2 to HOV-3 throughout the region in order to move more people with fewer vehicles and comply with the federal Clean Air Act Amendment. This change is also consistent with the other express lanes in Northern Virginia on I-95, I-395, and I-495, and is aligned with Virginia’s policy that HOV-3 be the requirement for toll-free travel on all privately-operated express lanes in Virginia. This rule applies to I-66 Express Lanes Outside the Beltway, which are operated by I-66 Express Mobility Partners under a public-private partnership with the Commonwealth.
The switch from HOV2 to HOV3 was first approved in 2016 by Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board.
The portion of the express lanes inside the Beltway opened five years ago, accompanied by a good amount of griping about the high toll prices.
The 22-mile section outside of the Beltway is almost fully operational after about six years of work. A 9-mile stretch from Route 28 in Centreville to Route 29 in Gainesville opened in early September, and the westbound lanes from I-495 in Dunn Loring to Route 28 became operational yesterday.
The eastbound lanes could open as early as tomorrow, a few weeks ahead of schedule, VDOT says. Work in the corridor will continue through mid-2023 on other elements of the Transform 66 project, including new interchanges and a parallel shared-use path.
A version of this story appeared earlier on FFXnow’s sister site, ARLnow.