Vienna transportation study recommendations range from those ‘right in front of us’ to big and bold

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This is a news release from the Town of Vienna published verbatim.

When planning and design engineering firm Kimley-Horn began the Maple Avenue Corridor Multimodal Transportation and Land Use Study on behalf of the Town of Vienna this spring, the transportation consultant knew, says Project Manager David Samba, that its task was to “identify some of those existing challenges, but also to recognize that there are great opportunities here as well. We are trying to address the fact that transportation and mobility are happening in many different forms today.”

Fast forward six months to today and Kimley-Horn is prepared to present its recommendations to the Vienna community at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 4, at Town Hall. Samba says that some of Kimley-Horn’s recommendations will be big and bold while others will be more grounded, but still impactful.

“We wanted to come to the community and say, if traffic is an issue for you, here are some ideas that are going to push up against what maybe you think is possible, but really might address the issue in a way that’s most impactful,” says Samba. “At the same time, we also wanted to step back…there are some solutions that are right in front of us, that won’t take that much time to design and implement and that will have meaningful impact on the daily lives and travel of the community.”

The study, which looks at transportation along Maple Avenue, from James Madison Drive to Follin Lane, and includes Church Street from Lawyers Road to East Street as well as Courthouse Road and Locust Street, examined existing transportation conditions in the corridor as well as the impact of potential development, both within Vienna and beyond, on future transportation conditions.

One of the challenges identified in the study, Samba notes, is Maple Avenue’s dual functionality as a local street and a regional road that serves those traveling between Oakton and Tysons and points beyond.

“When you look at Maple Avenue, the first thing people tell you is that there’s too much traffic,” he says. “So some of our recommendations are geared toward finding ways to alleviate traffic congestion and bottlenecks.”

One of the strategies employed by Kimley-Horn is to look at specific intersections to see how capacity can be improved and delays reduced. Other recommended strategies will address how to make the corridor more viable for transportation modes other than vehicles.

“We recognize that Maple Avenue has to function in a way that still supports majority auto use,” adds Samba, “but also allows for and enhances that pedestrian travel, that bicycle travel, and that transit use that the community is ready to embrace.”

Kimley-Horn’s recommendations will be informed by study findings as well as input and feedback from the Vienna community. The firm received more than 150 responses to a community survey and obtained feedback and insights at two previously held community meetings.

Samba says that the Kimley-Horn team has enjoyed the opportunity to work with such an engaged community. “They’ve asked really good questions,” he says. “They’ve challenged us where they needed to challenge us, and they’ve asked for the data to back up what we’re saying.” He hopes that the September 4 community meeting will offer another opportunity for Vienna residents to provide feedback. “Let us know if we’ve hit the mark or we’re just slightly off, and if there are some more recommendations that we can bring to the table.”

The Town of Vienna’s $80,000 multimodal transportation and land use study is funded through capital improvement bond funds.