In December 2009, Montgomery and Fairfax Counties were assigned $300 million in federal money to help adjust to BRAC traffic.
"I hope that the funding means we have money for some highway improvements. That is what we need desperately," [Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova] said as she outlined the impact of expansion of Fort Belvoir. Fairfax is hoping to widen Richmond Highway (Route 1) and improve pedestrian access.
Much like the Andrews BRAC transportation improvements, there doesn't seem to be any plans to make Ft. Belvoir more accessible by bicycle. This, despite the fact that the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations and the Coalition for Smarter Growth both called on the Army to include bicycle access in their plans.
The EIS does list encouraging cycling - by providing showers and secure bike lockers - as one possible Transportation Demand Management strategy and building a trail network that connects with the existing county trails and the Metro system as another; but they don't go so far as to say they will do that.
The only possible bicycle project they note is the Potomac Heritage Scenic Trail, which was recommended by the Department of the Interior as partial mitigation. Their response was
The trail will be included in the upcoming Fort Belvoir Master Plan update as part of that document's Trail Plan, and the project will be analyzed in the Master Plan's NEPA document. Funding is being sought for this work. Fort Belvoir will continue to evaluate the potential for other recreational and nonmotorized transport opportunities.
But it appears they consider that more of a recreational project than a transportation one, as elsewhere they state:
The National Scenic Trail on Fort Belvoir would be completed to offset loss of recreational opportunities due to BRAC realignment.
After that, the only place cycling is mentioned is in the comment section and in their responses to those comments. In other words, they would not have discussed it at all, had they not been required to by law. It turns out they got a lot of questions and comments on biking.
In a letter, Gerald Connolly, then with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, called on them to do more for nonmotorized transportation, specifically that they create trails consistent with the county's Trails Plan, including a trail along Accotink Creek, create a trail that links the Engineering Proving Grounds (EPG) site to the Cross County Trail, develop a non motorized transportation plan, complete the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (which would include a bicycle element), provide pedestrian and bicycle connections between on-post and/or near-post housing and on-site employment areas, require new buildings to accommodate bicycle commuting (e.g., secure parking facilities, locker and shower facilities) and to identify mechanisms through which new trails will be funded and constructed.
To which they responded
A trail plan is planned to be included in the upcoming Fort Belvoir Master Plan Update.
But, in a response to another comment from Connolly encouraging them to build to the trail plan and include other trails that connect to employment sites, they reply that these trails are outside the scope of the EIS and that siting of specific DoD buildings would not allow for public trails along Accotink Creek due to security concerns.
In a lengthy section on trails Connolly writes:
The Accotink Stream Valley provides a major greenway corridor through the Springfield area of Fairfax County. The Cross County Trail, a 40-mile trail that runs from the Occoquan River in Lorton to the Potomac River in Great Falls, traverses a portion of the Accotink Stream Valley. As the EPG site is developed, additional trails along the Accotink Stream Valley should be developed and planned to link up with the Cross County Trail to provide a link between the EPG area and the Springfield Community Business Center as well as Lake Accotink to the north.
As noted earlier, we have particular concerns regarding the Accotink Creek stream valley on the EPG site, as the proposed land use plan map identifies the entirety of the EPG site in the “Professional/Institutional” category and as it is not even clear that the stream valley will be accessible to the public. We continue to stress the need for dedication of the EQC area to the county’s Park Authority and the provision of a stream valley trail in this area.
In addition to the major regional trail systems noted in our scoping comments, there are other such trail systems in the area, including the Interstate Route One Bikeway and the Fairfax County Parkway Trail among others. All of these trails are identified on the county’s adopted Trails Plan, and we recommend that Fort Belvoir’s planning efforts (including BRAC) incorporate trails consistent with the Trails Plan.
The EIS should include a map of planned pedestrian and bicycle trails and demonstrate how they will connect to those shown on the adopted Countywide Trails Plan. Development of appropriate segments within and adjacent to Fort Belvoir should be examined.
Furthermore, trails along Richmond Highway and the Richmond Highway/Telegraph Road connector road as well as the Potomac Heritage Trail should be identified and incorporated onto the map of planned trails.
The Army again replies that a trail plan is coming. Later when someone asks for bike lanes, they reply
In determining the scope of the EIS, the Army did not include proposals for nonmotorized transportation measures. As circumstances warrant, the Army can in the future put forth proposals for alternatives to vehicular travel.
None of this bodes well for a more bicycle-accessible Fort Belvoir post-BRAC. They tentatively plan for one trail - that they view as recreational, meaning they may not try to connect it to anything useful, they have nebulous ideas of things they could do to encourage cycling as part of TDM and at some point they'll put together a trails plan. On the downside, they plan to build in a way that will - in their opinion - make the Accotink Trail impossible. Gerald Connolly is now in Congress, and one would hope he still backs this trail and biking around Ft. Belvoir in general.