Northern Virginia Hearing for VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Remarks of Allen Muchnick, President
Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation
Since 1999, ACST has advocated expedient and permanent solutions to traffic congestion on I-66 inside the Beltway via better traffic demand management and public transportation options. We commend Secretary Homer for committing to fund a comprehensive alternatives study for the I-66 multimodal corridor, with the active involvement of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, WMATA, and the District of Columbia. We ask that this multimodal study and stakeholder involvement be initiated immediately and include meaningful external oversight of VDOT’s current "spot improvements" study.
VDOT’s current Idea-66 spot widening project is unnecessary, counterproductive, and not warranted by any fair and transparent study. Virginia still can’t afford to waste highway expansion dollars on a project that will create new I-66 bottlenecks, narrow safety shoulders or travel lanes, worsen traffic congestion overall, reduce carpooling and Metrorail ridership on both the Orange Line and Dulles Rail, and desecrate the landmark USDOT Record of Decision that established the I-66 multimodal corridor.
Since the proposed "spot improvements" have been rationalized as relieving traffic congestion and facilitating emergency evacuations, we ask VDOT to conduct full, fair, and peer-reviewed traffic modeling to ensure that this project won’t worsen traffic congestion on eastbound I-66, on freeways linked to westbound I-66, and at nearby Arlington and Fairfax County intersections, as well as on westbound I-66, both during months of construction and at two new westbound bottlenecks at Glebe Rd and Sycamore St. We also ask VDOT to study and report on a "spot improvement" alternative of providing a continuous wide inside shoulder on I-66 for emergency evacuations; for improved police enforcement, incident management, and motorist safety; and for potential use as a busway when the I-66 travel lanes are congested.