New Road to Connect Fairfax Campus to Downtown
Posted: August 28, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Dave Andrews
Efforts to improve traffic flow in and around Mason’s Fairfax Campus never cease. City and campus transportation officials are already taking initiatives to create a smooth transition for the opening of the new 2,600-space parking deck in fall 2009.
On Tuesday, Sept. 2, the City of Fairfax plans to begin construction to connect George Mason Boulevard on the north end of campus to downtown Fairfax. Having the new road in place next fall will allow the city to divert traffic away from University Drive. The construction will begin on the end closest to campus and work its way north.
“The opening of the parking deck next fall means there will be many more cars traveling through that area,” says Josh Cantor, director of parking and transportation services at Mason. “We’re doing all we can to create the most efficient traffic patterns. And the city’s plans to connect George Mason Boulevard should prove to be an effective strategy.”
Plans to begin construction have been in the works for more than a year. But now, with no more delays in sight, city planners are certain the project will be under way on time.
The bulk of the project belongs to the City of Fairfax and will be funded using federal and state money. The total cost is expected to be slightly more than $2 million.
The only university money used for the project will be put toward creating a right turn lane on University Drive turning north onto the future connecting portion of George Mason Boulevard. The added turn lane should ease the amount of traffic coming out of the new parking deck.
Once the new road is complete, University Drive will be permanently blocked off to through traffic between the campus and downtown Fairfax. Large planters will be placed at the north and south ends of University Drive — one at the intersection of Armstrong Street, and another at Patriot Circle — to channel traffic onto George Mason Boulevard.
“With the increasing volume of traffic, this is largely an issue of safety,” says Alex Verzosa, transportation director for the City of Fairfax. “Being in a much less residential area, the new road will not intersect with any driveways, making it much safer for residents.”
The middle portion of the project is already complete, as a portion of George Mason Boulevard currently exists. Developers will simply have to connect the north and south ends. The road is expected to be complete in May 2009.