Prince William Sends Letter Opposing Park & Ride Location, Chairman Takes Issue with VDOT

| October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments | News

Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland speaks with Chairman Corey Stewart and Jeanie Heflin outside Piney Branch Elementary School.

Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland speaks with Chairman Corey Stewart and Jeanie Heflin outside Piney Branch Elementary School. [Photo by Diana Meiser, Candland Aide.]

At a special meeting of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors Monday morning, board members voted unanimously to send a letter to Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne to convey their opposition to VDOT’s (Virginia Department of Transportation) proposal to build a park & ride on the Heflin farm property.

“This letter is an official request to remove the Heflin property as the proposed site for the park and ride and to look at other feasible alternatives before making a final decision on the location of the Haymarket commuter lot,” the letter reads.

In addition to the board strongly opposing VDOT’s location for the commuter lot, Chairman Corey Stewart (R) told Bristow Beat he is unhappy overall with VDOT’s handling of various issues surrounding the I-66 widening.

“I’m not very happy with the way VDOT has proceeded with the 66 widening project, they have not reached out to the community. The majority of the users are going to be from Fauquier and further west. [As for] all of the HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes that VDOT is going to be putting in place, it very easy to get onto the lanes but very difficult to get off the lanes,” Stewart said.

According to VDOT’s preferred alternative, the park & ride lot would be located on scenic Antioch Road. Residents are concerned that a commuter lot may open up the Rural Crescent and that the location is inconvenient.

Stewart, who participated in a press conference about the park & ride last Wednesday, believes it is the absolute wrong place for the lot.

“There has to be park & ride lots, but it is a very insufficient use of land. We don’t want to supplant land for economic development, and we don’t want to take farm land that is very scarce in Prince William County,” Stewart said, adding. “Why does Prince William County have to be home for all these ugly utilitarian uses?”

A special meeting was required as a directive did not pass. Supervisor Frank Principi (D-Woodbridge) initially rejected the directive but later at the meeting agreed to the letter.

Stewart said he is also very unhappy with the way VDOT has handled  tolling on I-66, saying it is a “disservice to Prince William County” because HOT lanes might discourage new business from coming into the county.

In regards to the Inside the Beltway improvements, Stewart said Arlington County will reap the benefit of tolls paid by Prince William residents “[who get up at] zero ‘dark 30 to get to work.”

“This is just an attempt to tax Prince William County residents for the benefit of the greedies in Arlington County,” said Stewart, explaining the tolls will build bike paths and pedestrian walkways in Arlington County, not improve the highway on which commuters are traveling.

“People need to get to work, but, if you are going to tax people to use the highway, the least you can expect as a commuter is that that revenue will be used to improve the highway,” he said.

In regards to tolling, Stewart aims to make sure Prince William County is heard.

“We’re going to fight this tooth and nail,” said Stewart. “Prince William County will break off all cooperation with this project if they insist in pushing forward with this. We’ll take that as indication they [VDOT] don’t care what Prince William County thinks.”

The CTC is meeting tomorrow in Virginia Beach. The board will be voting on  the preferred alternative tomorrow for the I-66 Outside the Beltway, a vote which directly impacts Prince William County. Stewart said the location of the meeting is frustrating.

A high level VDOT representative said the park & ride location can still change. She wants the community to know that VDOT hears its concerns.

One thing Stewart is happy about is the unanimous vote at the special meeting.

“I was very happy with it, and the Heflins were just delighted. They were relieved,” Stewart said.

Stewart also held a public meeting, Thursday, at Battlefield High School, to discuss the bevy of issues surrounding the I-66 widening.

Although Stewart said it could have been better attended, he said it served as an opportunity for the community to speak out on the issues, which VDOT did not allow at its meeting in Gainesville last Wednesday. Without public input, he said it could hardly be called a public info meeting.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: News

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

banner ad