VDOT is pushing to create a new highway in Northern Virginia referred to as the Outer Beltway or Bi-County Parkway. As we see it, this controversial new highway would cut through a National Park, open up over 100,000 acres to new development, and has the potential to actually increase traffic congestion on other roads.
Making matters worse, recent VDOT presentations confirm the road will be designed to carry freight and other cargo at speeds in excess of 65mph -- splitting neighborhoods from their schools, and greatly increasing sound and air pollution.
See VDOT's aerial maps >>
In short, this will be the most important land use decision that will be made in Virginia in the next 5 years.
The letter highlights the water, air and climate impacts of the proposed roadway. It also lists a number of available alternatives.
Our proposal, detailed in the report Rethinking the Bi-County Parkway, focuses on fixing east-west routes for commuters, it provides lower impact local road fixes and connections to help local residents, it preserves the Rural Crescent and Transition Area, and could allow for the roads to be closed through the Battlefield (although it’s not clear that would ultimately be necessary, due to the reduced traffic that would result from implementing the alternatives we’ve suggested).
More about Rethinking the Bi-County Parkway, a report from the Piedmont Environmental Council, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Southern Environmental Law Center, National Trust for Historic Preservation and National Parks Conservation Association.
When it comes to the Outer Beltway proposal, a lot has happened in 2013. Our friends at The Coalition for Smarter Growth put together this quick list to help get folks up to speed:
VDOT has posted detailed aeial maps sowing where the 600-ft-wide study area is located along the 10.4 mile Bi-County Parkway Cooridor. According to VDOT, if the Bi-County Parkway is designated, the final right-of-way would be 150 to 200 feet wide.
Our own GIS Department has also created some great maps to highlight where the proposed highway will be located. Information taken from the Virginia Department of Transportation was used to create them.