Remarks for Arlington County Board meeting on April 21, 2018.
Although I’m a member of the Arlington Transportation Commission, I’m speaking on my own behalf, and my opinion does not reflect that of the Commission on the matter at hand.
I applaud Wesley Housing Development Corporation’s ambitious plan to put in affordable housing at Route 50 near George Mason Drive. But analysis of the traffic impact analysis (TIA) prepared by Wells + Associates belies its claim that the traffic impacts of the project will be negligible.
In performing its analysis, Wells agreed to examine several intersections, including Pershing Street and George Mason Drive and both the east and westbound Route 50 service road access ramps at George Mason Drive (p. 5).
The TIA indicates that these three intersections are operating over capacity under existing conditions during the AM and/or PM peak periods:
“During the AM peak hour the eastbound approach and westbound left-turn at the N. George Mason Drive/N. Pershing Drive intersection currently operate at LOS “E and LOS “F”, respectively. During the PM peak hour the westbound approach operates at LOS “E”. The N. Pershing Drive approaches at N. George Mason Drive operate at or beyond capacity primarily due to the allocation of green time to mainline N. George Mason Drive. At the N. George Mason Drive/Eastbound Route 50 Access Road the southbound-left currently operates at capacity LOS “E” during the AM peak hour (p. 23).”
Yet the TIA concludes:
“Table 3-1 indicates that similar to results under the 2016 existing conditions, all signalized intersections will continue to operate at acceptable levels of service during both the AM and PM peak hours (p. 26).”
This is clearly an exercise in double speak, as roads cannot operate at acceptable levels of service when they are already at or over capacity.
The TIA points to Table 3-2 which shows virtually no change in queuing numbers at these intersections in 2020 with or without development.
Considering that the development will triple the housing density of the site from 65 units to 199, the numbers in this chart strain credulity. The current parking ratio of Whitefield Commons is .66 or 43 spaces total (TIA Executive Summary). These spaces will remain.
In addition, the TIA assumes that the new development will provide 102 garage spaces plus 42 lot spaces for 19 townhouses or 187 total (p.13). So the vehicles stored on site will more than quadruple. How can such an increase in vehicles accessing one square block NOT impact traffic conditions on arteries located one block way?
Testifying before other commissions, civic leaders, who have pointed out that the immediate vicinity of the development is already congested, have been totally ignored. Yet the contradictory language of the TIA impeaches its own conclusion that the traffic impacts of this development are nil.
To Board members who take the conclusions of the Red Cross TIA at face value, I have some real estate near a cypress swamp off Route 50 on the Eastern Shore that I’d like to show you.