Citizens for Balanced Growth

Tag: Bi-County Parkway

Board of County Supervisors remove Bi-County Parkway from county comprehensive plan in 4-3 vote; former supporter Stewart absent; Principi claims ‘dirty politics’; Candland calls vote ‘big win’ for citizens

by Jill Palermo, InsideNOVA.com, 18 March 2016

Bi-County Parkway presser
[Pictured:  “Alan Johnson (left) and Philomena Hefter, both residents on Pageland Road in Gainesville, hold a banner that says ‘Say “No!”  to Tri-County Parkway’ during a 2013 protest. Behind Johnson is state Senator Dick Black (R-13th).”]

 

“The controversial planned Bi-County Parkway was dealt yet another blow this week.

“In a surprise move Tuesday, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 3 to remove the future 10-mile roadway from the county’s long-range planning blueprint, known as the ‘comprehensive plan.’

“The vote was unexpected because the board verbally agreed March 8 to open a public hearing on matter Tuesday but delay their vote until April 5 because Chairman Corey Stewart, R-At Large, said he would be traveling for business and would not be able to attend the March 15 meeting.

“But those plans apparently changed when the road’s opponents realized they had the votes needed to extract the Bi-County Parkway from the comprehensive plan.

“The vote split mostly along party lines, with Republican Supervisors Ruth Anderson, Occoquan, Maureen Caddigan, Potomac, Pete Candland, Gainesville, and Jeanine Lawson, Brentsville, voting to nix the road, while Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, joined Democratic Supervisors John Jenkins, Neabsco, and Frank Principi, Woodbridge, in voting against it.

“Candland said Thursday several supervisors believed the parkway had been debated long enough and that many believed their voices  ‘would be diminished’ if the vote were delayed.

“ ‘It was time we addressed it,’ Candland said.  ‘The vote was a big win for the citizens of Prince William County who have been held hostage by this poorly designed Bi-County Parkway routing plan.’

“Principi said he tried to protest the vote by reminding his fellow supervisors of their public statement March 8 promising to move the vote to their first meeting in April.

“But County Attorney Michelle Robl advised that because the board never voted on the delay, the verbal agreement was not binding.

“ ‘That is just dirty politics,’ Principi said Thursday. ‘It’s just not good for our community.’

“The parkway, which has been on state and local long-range transportation plans since the 1980s, would extend Va. 234 north to U.S. 50 in Loudoun County. The road is planned to be a four-lane, limited-access parkway that would ease trips between Prince William and Loudoun counties and open up another access point to Dulles International Airport.

“The road is considered key to accommodate current and future population growth and as well as economic development. For that reason, it is widely supported by business and development groups.

“But the road is also planned to skirt the western edge of the protected Manassas National Battlefield Park and is considered a threat to the county’s rural crescent, where residential development is limited to one home per 10 acres. Both are key points of contention for the road’s many opponents.

“Caddigan has been a vocal critic of the parkway because residents in neighborhoods along Va. 234, including Montclair and Ashland, fear it would draw heavier truck traffic between Dulles and Interstate 95.

“Supervisors were cautioned against removing the parkway from the comprehensive plan, however, by both the Virginia Department of Transportation and their own transportation department, because of the effect to other roads in the county.

“According to VDOT projections, the loss of the parkway would exacerbate congestion on nearly every other main north-south artery in the county, including Va. 234, Prince William Parkway, U.S. 15, Sudley Road and Pageland Lane.

“VDOT also predicts 20 percent increases in traffic on several secondary roads, including Waterway Drive and Joplin, Spriggs, Delaney and Hoadly roads.

“Also, the move could come with a big price tag. VDOT has already purchased right-of-way property along Va. 234 for which it could now ask the county for reimbursement, according to a VDOT staff report.

“It is not immediately clear how much the county might have to pay the state, however, since those details were not included in the report.

“It also remains unclear what effect the supervisors’ vote will have in the long term, considering the parkway remains on state long-range plans as well as those in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

“Principi said he, too, has ‘issues’ with some aspects of the Bi-County Parkway as planned, but contends that taking it off the county’s transportation blueprint is not the responsible way to deal with those challenges.

“ ‘The vote on the Bi-County Parkway was a vote to stop that other conversation,’ Principi said.  ‘The system is broken if we don’t build this road.’ ”

Planning Commission votes unanimously in support of removing Bi-County Parkway from county’s comprehensive plan

by Jill Palermo, InsideNOVA, 23 February 2016

“For the past 30 years, the controversial Bi-County Parkway has existed only as a line on local and regional transportation planning maps.

“Last week, the Prince William Planning Commission voted unanimously to remove it from the county’s long-range blueprint, formally called the ‘comprehensive plan.’

“The proposed 10-mile roadway would extend Va. 234 north about 10 miles to U.S. 50 in Loudoun County, skirting the western edge of the protected Manassas National Battlefield Park.

“The road has been the subject of hot debate in recent years, as opponents have argued it would spoil the protected battlefield without providing enough relief to Prince William County commuters, who would be better served, they say, by improvements to Interstate 66 and Va. 28.

“Supporters, meanwhile, say the future four-lane road is critical to accommodate population growth and facilitate economic development in both Loudoun and Prince William counties.

“The matter was before the planning commission Wednesday because of concerns among some members of the Prince William Board of Supervisors that the Bi-County Parkway could amount to an ‘outer beltway,’ that would direct heavy truck traffic from Dulles International Airport to Interstate 95 along Va. 234 through Manassas and Dumfries.

“Supervisors voted last year to begin the process of removing the road from the comprehensive plan and undoing plans to widen Va. 234 from the current four lanes to six lanes from Country Club Drive to Bristow Road. The move is considered another means of discouraging the construction of the new parkway.

“On Feb. 17, the eight-member planning commission took the first step toward removing the parkway from the comprehensive plan, but declined to reverse course on Va. 234, citing the need for more study.

“In the same vein, the commission called on supervisors to initiate a study of county’s overall transportation grid to identify alternatives to the Bi-County Parkway.

“ ‘The Bi-County Parkway is hypothetical and has been hypothetical for a very long time,’ said Planning Commissioner At Large Don Taylor.

“ ‘My feeling is, let’s wipe the slate clean and quit arguing about this abstract thing and take a look at what we really need here to solve our transportation challenges.’

“The planning commission vote moves the matter to the board of supervisors, which has the final say on removing the road from the comprehensive plan. The board is expected to take it up in March or April, Taylor said.

“At this point, removing the parkway from the county’s comprehensive plan is largely symbolic. The road remains on the regional long-term planning map as well as state transportation plans for the Northern Virginia corridor.

“Still, opponents of the road consider the step an important acknowledgement that the road was never a good deal for Prince William County, said Page Snyder, an outspoken critic who lives beside the battlefield.

“ ‘It’s gratifying to see our planning commission unanimously recognize the negligible benefits and the great cost of the Bi-County Parkway to our county as opposed to the huge benefits to Loudoun County,’ Snyder said.

ANOTHER VICTORY  —  The Bi-County Parkway (BCP), a north-south non-solution to western Prince William County’s east-west commuting nightmare, but a future boon to residential developers who wish to build throughout the Rural Crescent, has been removed from the county’s Comprehensive Plan.  Thanks to the PWC Planning Commission for its unanimous vote on 17 February 2016 to remove BCP from the Comp Plan.  Thanks to the PWC Board of County Supervisors’ Peter Candland, Jeanine Lawson, Maureen Caddigan, and Ruth Anderson for deciding the issue in a 4-3 vote on 15 March 2016.  And thanks to the many citizens and neighbors of the Rural Crescent who fought hard for a long time to stop BCP.    Happy Easter and Passover to all.

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