Town of Herndon officials are seeking state funds to complete sidewalk improvements between Center Street and School Street.
The $1.8 million Elden Street project would improve a critical pedestrian area to improve accessibility and walkability, especially as Comstock kicks off the redevelopment of downtown Herndon later this year.
Planned improvements include wider sidewalks, landscaping, new curb ramps, new crosswalks and new accessible pedestrian signals at the intersection with Grace Street.
The town is seeking federal funds administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Projects are approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The town’s Planning Commission is set to consider a resolution for the project today (Monday). A public hearing will begin at 7 p.m.
Currently, this particular area along Elden Street has limited pedestrian connections. Pedestrians must walk along a narrow sidewalk. here are little to no crosswalks.
“It is an uncomfortable and unsafe environment for any pedestrian, and is unusable for someone with a stroller or someone in a wheelchair,” according to a staff report.
Here’s more from the report:
The improvements will include reconstruction of the existing sidewalk to a continuous 5′ wide sidewalk with brick pavers, construction of a grass strip between the sidewalk and curb, and the addition of ADA-compliant curb ramps., High visibility crosswalks and accessible pedestrian signalization will be provided at all intersection approaches at Grace Street . The grass strip is expected to add a minimum 3′ wide separation between the sidewalk and the curb and travel lane. This buffer may be increased to 4′ or 5′ and include trees, dependent on final engineering and design.
The end result is expected to offer a safer, more comfortable facility for pedestrians that is separated from vehicle traffic and accessible for all users. This project is not expected to require right-of-way acquisition since the curb will be moved north into the existing eastbound travel lane. To accommodate this, the existing roadway, which consists of a travel lane in each direction, separated by a stamped concrete median and dedicated turn lane, would be reduced in overall width. The travel lanes would be 11.5′ wide and the median/turn lane would be 12′ wide. With those lane widths, there is no expectation of impacts to vehicle mobility.
The segment of Elden street is within walking distance of shops, restaurants and civic facilities. It also connects directly to downtown Herndon and is a short block from Herndon Middle School and St. Joseph’s Catholic School.
In order to receive funding from VDOT’s set-aside program, the town must request funding by passing a resolution.
Photos via Town of Herndon/handout
Comstock’s newest redevelopment plans for downtown Herndon are moving forward.
Town Manager Bill Ashton told the Herndon Town Council at its public session last night (Feb. 26) that the staff has finished reviewing the fourth resubmission of the site plans. The staff began the review at the start of February.
Now, the staff is preparing to send a consolidated list of questions back to Comstock.
“It’s something we’re working on diligently, but it’s deep in the staff weeds right now,” Ashton said.
The next step will involve the Heritage Preservation Review Board, he said.
At the meeting, the Town Council approved a special exemption to increase the number of nonresidents from four to seven in a 24-hour period at a home-based business.
The change affects a hair salon at 767 Monroe Street. The salon’s website says:
The salon is located in an English basement on a private residence. Please park in the driveway. On the left side of the house you’ll see a fence gate, if it is closed please let yourself in, then follow the concrete sidewalk all the way around back where you’ll find a staircase down to the salon.
“We really want to make it easier for home-based businesses to thrive in Herndon,” Councilmember Cesar del Aguila said, urging locals to share any advice they may have.
The Town Council also approved an amendment to the town’s Comprehensive Plan to create a design concept for improvements on South Elden Street between Sterling Road and Herndon Parkway.
“I know this is the first step, and we need to secure the funding so we can get into the nitty-gritty with trash cans and raised medians,” Mayor Lisa Merkel said. “As the Metro station opens, this does need to be a more walkable and friendly area.”
The Herndon Planning Commission is still seeking funds for South Elden Street improvements that are meant to increase visibility and pedestrian safety.
The improvements would add an 8-foot, shared-use path on the western side of Elden Street running from Sterling Road to Herndon Parkway and improve the existing five-lane section to be a four-lane section with 11-foot-wide travel lanes, a raised median and protected turning lanes.
It would also add enhanced crosswalks at the intersections of Elden Street and Alabama Drive, the intersection at Dulles Park Shopping Center and the intersection of Elden Street and Sterling Road.
The Town of Herndon has until Oct. 1 to adopt a policy for the work under a previously approved $65,000 grant or repay the grant to the state after that date.
In August, the Town of Herndon also submitted a SMART Scale application to the Virginia of Department of Transportation for a statewide funding program. VDOT will let them know if they get are awarded the funding this spring. If it is, the project could get completed in 2029 with a 10-year timeframe.
While the street project is already in the town’s comprehensive plan, an amendment is needed to reflect the work as part of the proposed Major Street Network, which includes a timeframe to 2030.
The commission unanimously approved the comprehensive plan amendment at last night’s meeting.
Images via Google Maps and Planning Commission
Planning is underway for a host of improvements along South Elden Street in anticipation of the adoption of a concept plan next year.
The improvements will be partly financed through a $65,000 grant by the Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment in order to ensure transportation needs are addressed as more development happens along Elden Street between Herndon Parkway and Sterling Road. Anticipated changes will also make the stretch of the road more accessible and safe for pedestrians and vehicles.
Changes include increasing the visibility of crosswalks; updating ramps, signals and crosswalks for ADA compliance, adding bus stop shelters, widening existing sidewalks by three feet, and installing pedestrian refuge areas in medians.
A concept plan will be presented to the Town of Herndon Planning Commission on Nov. 19, with a public hearing set for Dec. 3. The town council will likely adopt plan next year. The town must spearhead planning this month in order to avoid repaying grant funds to the state.
Photos via handout/Town of Herndon