Proposed Beltway On-Ramp Closure Concerns Some Reston Commuters

by Fatimah Waseem July 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm 37 Comments

Pushed by McLean residents concerned about rush hour traffic, state transportation officials are considering plans to close an on-ramp from Georgetown Pike to the Capital Beltway.

But some Reston residents, particularly those who commute to Maryland, said they feel sidelined by the process, which they say would significantly increase traffic on the Beltway during peak rush hour.

“Every community would like less traffic, noise, disturbances  but if we give special treatment to one community than the same should be given to another and in trying to improve traffic, this idea produces more traffic and costs to drivers and begins a program of treating communities differently,” said Kevin Sullivan, a Reston resident.

Sullivan said he was especially concerned because he feels many area residents are not aware of the possible ramp closure. He also said the closure would force some commuters to opt for routes with more tolls.

The Virginia Department of Transportation could close the ramp from Virginia Route 193 and Georgetown Pike to the Inner Loop between 1 and 7 p.m. on weekdays only. The closure would go into effect for a pilot period of four months. State officials will monitor the closure’s effect on local and Beltway traffic prior to making a final decision about the closure.

Eliani Korawajczuk, a Herndon resident, worries the closure will divert traffic onto Route 7 in order to access George Washington Parkway.

“It is already [a] painful return from Maryland… Now imagine what will happen if nobody has options,” Korawajczuk said.

“Why can we have more traffic and McLean residents don’t?” she added.

A public meeting on the proposal is set for 7 p.m. on August 2 at McLean High School. Requests for comment from Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins were not returned.

File photo

  • idj4fun

    Correction: George Washington Pike should be Parkway! If this becomes permanent, there goes my shortcut (and I’m sure many others) to spend as little time on the Toll Road and Beltway to travel over to River Road and beyond. UGH.

    • Guest

      Georgetown Pike.

  • Chris Christie Style

    I don’t even know how it would benefit the locals, they have to backtrack all the way to Tysons. From there stop and go to the bridge. Whoever the brain child, its a stupid idea, very immature: “with so much traffic – hey – lets close down an exit”.

    Anyways, I paid my taxes so I should be OK to drive on public roads.

    • Mike M

      “Anyways, I paid my taxes so I should be OK to drive on public roads.”

      Interesting point. And now you will increasingly pay a toll to a private firm for that use. Did you know the toll road was to become a free road upon paying back the cost of the road. Instead the tolls continue to climb on a staggering angle.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Blame Hudgins,Plum and Clinton bagman Kaine

    • Kristen

      Good point…those commuters who live anywhere on GTown Pike from Old Dominion Eastwards will have to take a major roundabout to get to work if they travel the Inner Loop. This makes no sense. And if people currently take this route to avoid the MAJOR traffic on the toll road to the Beltway, what is going to happen when all of a sudden ALL the drivers are having to get on the Inner Loop at the same exit. It spells a nightmare for Reston commuters and westward.

      • Webster

        This closure would be from lunch time till the end of afternoon Rush hour. It would not affect many people going to work.

  • Martin

    I guess the Mclean residents that want the exit/ramp be closed are the ones that do not drive or if so they don’t have to go to work (rich people) like the majority of regular people.

  • Generic User

    This doesn’t affect my commute, but I sense that this will make more people take more of the toll road. Hmmm, more tolls equal more revenues. Suspicious. Besides, rich people don’t like your traffic, so of course they get it through.

    • Chkitout1

      I believe you discovered the true intent of this road closure. It’s a commuter tax in the form of tolls on Maryland drivers.

      • Chris Hong

        If they don’t like it- they really should push their elected officials to allow a much-needed second Potomac crossing!

        • Chkitout1

          I agree with you, however; that additional river crossing undoubtedly would be a toll bridge.

          • Chris Hong

            Nice to have options!!

  • Amy Sue

    How did something such as this even come to be considered? It makes no sense and reeks of corruption/backroom dealing. Would they ever consider closing such a major route in a poor or middle-class area?

    • 30yearsinreston

      It came to be considered because they didnt have Hudgins/Plums ‘leadership’

      • Why do you bother?

        And because McLean = megamoney.

        • 30yearsinreston

          Mclean is NOT a peoples republic

  • 30yearsinreston

    Requests for comment from Hudgins were not returned

    Did anyone seriously expect one?

  • kiki

    People are being stuck on their driveways in Mclean neighborhoods because of Maryland commuters using the neighbors to get onto the beltway during rush hour. No one wants commuters to use neighborhoods as a main road way. They also cut through Great Falls from Loudoun to get onto the beltway. These 25-35mph roads not highways. Georgetown Pike already prohibits semi trucks due to safety.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Restons future
      Thank Hudgins

    • Ankur Sethi

      I think you are right.

      What is also true is that the people of McLean live in an area close to the beltway. Therefore we should increase their taxes in order to pay for proper access to the beltway if they don’t want it going through their neighborhood. Prime real estate values are not free.

      • Tee

        They pay the most real estate taxes in the county already. Use the highways, toll roads, hot lanes and metro you demanded. You can always tell who doesn’t pay property taxes in the county.

    • 35yr DWM prof/athletic

      Kiki I think we should meet, I am single. 4ever ♡

      • Mike M

        PS: Let me know how it goes.

    • Why do you bother?

      McLean residents don’t have a monopoly on having driveways blocked in traffic. They just have the money (read: power) change it.

    • Webster

      Then why do they have ramps to and from the Beltway?

    • Amy Sue

      Sorry, but the only reason 193 hasn’t been widened is because the wealthy residents would scream. 193 IS a major thoroughfare because of its location. It’s not the fault of commuters.

      • EuropeWatcher

        That is not true. 193 is a STATE OWNED road and it on the National Register of Historic Places. It cannot be widened. It was a toll road until 1934 when it was purchased by Lucy Madeira (of the Madeira School) who then turned it over to the state for ownership and maintenance. Stop with the class warfare lies Amy Sue. And exactly how do you think it would be widened anyway? There are houses all along Georgetown Pike. Additionally, it runs through Great Fall Village. Are you going to seize all the property and the public library and newly built fire station through eminent domain?! How about down near Scott’s Run with the streams and forest? How exactly do you think they’d even expand that winding section? You don’t know what you are talking about.

  • KIKI

    Journalism is dead. This article leaves out many facts.

  • cRAzy

    The proposed closure would mostly affect CIA and other intel employees as well as people diverting from the GWPkwy to avoid the huge backups at the American Legion bridge. The consequence, which I don’t think McLean residents seeking this closure have considered, is that most of this traffic will go directly through the heart of McLean on Rt. 123. But, in the words of the philosopher king Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”

    • Chris Hong

      We McLean residents have mixed opinions re: the closure- many need the ramp to head into MD in the pm!

  • Off_He_Goes

    So are we just going to ignore the fact that the file photo used in this article is River Road at 495 in Maryland and not of the Georgetown Pike exit?

  • JohnSmoot

    The idea of closing the ramp to 495 is clearly rejected in the referenced VDOT links: “Citizen Idea Matrix”. I read the documents and cannot figure out what the author is quoting.

  • EuropeWatcher

    Navigating to and from Cooper Middle School and Langley High School in the past two years has become nearly impossible. Traffic now backs up on the Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive to Spring Hill Road where we live at Greenway Heights by 4:45pm. 75% or more of those vehicles are from MD and DC. I know because I’m usually counting them out loud to keep my sanity. Getting my kids at Langley after sports – or getting them to sports practice after 5:00pm – can take over an hour, and I’m only four miles from the school. Countless parents are late for (or never make it to) plays, sporting events and Back-to-School nights thanks to the volume of out-of-state commuters on our local roads.

    There are 3000+ students attending Fairfax County public schools along the Georgetown Pike. Our FCPS school boundaries are the longest in the county – 17 miles stretching from the Fairfax County Parkway to Langley HS. These students and families in McLean and Great Falls deserve to take part in their public school activities as much as anyone else in the county.

    This all comes down to the fact that the quality of life for thousands of Virginians SHOULD NOT be compromised for a majority of out-of-state commuters using our neighborhood roads and the Georgetown Pike to avoid the Dulles tolls and Beltway traffic.

    These are public roads we are talking about, but the interests of those who live nearest those roads and use them all day, everyday and whose taxes pay for these roads, should be prioritized.

    When you can’t go to the grocery store because out-of-state commuters are literally idling in front of your driveway, your lifestyle becomes seriously impacted. When you tell your child there is no more Little League for them or high school activities because because the four mile drive takes an hour or more, that’s a serious problem.

    This is not about class warfare and perceived “rich” McLean residents. This is about the right to having our neighborhood streets accessible and being able to walk our dogs and have our kids ride their bikes without dodging MD and DC drivers speeding through to the Georgetown Pike. After getting flipped off by one too many rude MD drivers who are using our neighborhoods as speedway by-passes, I have no more sympathy for them.

    • Amy Sue

      Then ask the county to widen 193. That’s what really needs to be done. The traffic from 193 to Langley high school has been horrible for years. The solution is to find ways to lessen the bottleneck, not cut off a major thoroughfare for commuters. BTW, I’m a Virginia and Fairfax county resident and I regularly use this route. I pay taxes just as you do. I hate the growth in development that is making everyone’s life more difficult. But the solution is not selected restrictions in some communities. I’m sure people in Maryland and DC would rather not have Fairfax County or NOVA traffic on their roads but the solution is not to start shutting down roads. Also, you have to admit that the only reason this closure is even being considered is because many Mclean residents have deep pockets.

      • EuropeWatcher

        Georgetown Pike is a designated Historic Road and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It cannot be widened, and that would not solve the back-up issues at the American Legion Bridge anyway. It would simply permit even greater numbers of commuters avoid the Dulles toll road and tolls. Additionally, only the northbound ramp is being proposed for closure for very select hours. Based on the vehicle counts using that northbound ramp during those hours, it is 75%-80% Maryland drivers.

        And this is not about class warfare and perceived wealthy McLean residents. This is about the right to having our neighborhood streets accessible and being able to walk our dogs and have our kids ride their bikes without dodging MD and DC drivers speeding through to the Georgetown Pike.

        These are public roads we are talking about, but the interests of those who live nearest those roads and use them all day, everyday and whose taxes pay for these roads, should be prioritized. Fairfax County is a community. We are families raising children. Our concerns about regaining the same quality of life that other NOVA residents enjoy should not be cast-aside in favor of out-of-staters want to avoid paying tolls by cutting through our neighborhoods and blocking our local routes to schools, stores, churches and recreational facilities.

  • Chris Hong

    Will not affect most NOVA commuters- mostly affect MD commuters who work near Langley


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