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September 30, 2010 Published in 2010 In Review, Top Stories, Traffic & Transportation

Moran Samples Mark Center Commute

The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan will send 6,400 defense personnel currently working in Metro-accessible leased office space in Northern Virginia to the new Mark Center facility in Alexandria by September 15, 2011.

The Department of Defense and the City of Alexandria hope to mitigate BRAC’s resulting traffic gridlock by running an express shuttle from the Metro station at Franconia/Springfield to the Mark Center site. To test the viability of this plan, Virginia Congressman Jim Moran (D-8th) took a shuttle from the Franconia station to the Beauregard facility during morning rush hour. The 7.4 mile one-way trip took 49 minutes and 30 seconds.

Both the Virginia Department of Transportation and the military have conducted extensive studies of the situation. Most recently, DoD issued a report concluding that even with the current transportation management plan (which includes a shuttle bus service), I-395 and local roadways and intersections will experience “failing levels of service” that will dramatically increase traffic during rush hour.

“While the shuttle service may help, this test run makes clear that additional measures are needed to spare commuters the agony of an even longer morning commute,” Moran said. “It took the shuttle 50 minutes to get from the metro station to the Mark Center without the 3,800 cars expected to be added due to the move. The DoD should support additional traffic mitigation measures, including the construction of a direct access ramp to the Mark Center from I-395 before the facility is fully occupied.”

Moran has included language in the FY11 Defense Authorization bill that would cap parking at the Mark Center at 1,000 spaces (less than 30% of total parking capacity) until a transportation fix is identified, funded and built.