As GGW wrote last week in a post on how the choices for a new FBI headquarters location, and their proximity to Metro, will impact traffic
The FBI wants to leave its aging headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, and many in the District would not be sad to see it go. The FBI, like other security-related agencies, wants a high-security fortress with impenetrable walls and what amounts to a moat. That's not ideal in downtown DC, where shops, restaurants, condominiums, and top-tier office space are all in high demand. The block-size dead zone that is the Hoover Building in its current state is bad enough.
Another, less critical choice when looking at traffic, is how bike-friendly the location will be. And here, as is true with transit, the Greenbelt and Springfield locations are the best locations for multi-modal travel.
The Greenbelt location would place the FBI headquarters on what is currently the Greenbelt Metro parking lot. This is adjacent to Indian Creek, one of the tributaries of the Anacostia along which the Indian Creek Trail runs. That trail currently ends about 2500 feet south of the Metro station at Greenbelt road, but the 2009 Prince George’s County Bicycle Master Plan recommends extending that north, as can be seen in the map below of planned bike facilities in the area.
The FBI doesn't plan to expand on this any if they choose this site and they note that building here "would possibly limit the extent of the proposed mixed-use trail on the Greenbelt site." Nonetheless, they expect about 2% of commute trips to be made by bicycle (approximately 226 bicycle roundtrips daily). They add that "It is assumed that there would be bicycle facilities on-site to encourage the use of the bicycle mode of travel." That also assumes that there will be no bikeshare at the site by 2022.
The Landover site is located near the intersection of Brightseat Road and Landover Road in Prince George’s County. The proposed bike network in this area is a little less extensive, with a sidepath along Landover Road, a trail along Cattail Branch and some nearby bike lanes included in the county bikeway master plan.
Under the build condition, they expect about 1% of commute trips to be made by bicycle (approximately 113 bicycle roundtrips daily). Again, "It is assumed that there would be bicycle facilities on-site to encourage the use of the bicycle mode of travel" and no bikeshare. But the area is so poorly-suited to biking that they aren't sure daily bike commuters here are a good thing "the increase in projected bicycle volumes would have a direct, long-term, adverse impact to the study area. There would be a negative impact because, without bicycle facilities, those who choose to bicycle would need to use sidewalks, conflicting with pedestrians, or use the roadways, creating conflicts with an increased number of vehicles on the road. There could be direct, short-term, adverse impacts to the bicycle network during construction caused by construction vehicles crossing the lanes and intermittent lane and sidewalk closures."
So they have another condition, the build with mitigation condition, that's a little more aggressive stance when it comes to cycling. In this condition, the Landover Road side path and the Brightseat Road and Evarts Street bike lanes be built as part of the project's "roadway mitigation." [If you go to the DEIS, I'm pretty sure that Figure 6-38 is mislabeled as "Recommended Bicycle Mitigation" but is actually the current bike network]. In this condition, they expect "direct, long-term, beneficial impacts caused by the addition of new corridor based bicycle lanes and paths." [For the Greenbelt Alternative, pedestrian network, bicycles, public transit, and truck access do not require any mitigation].
The Springfield site is located south of the FranconiaSpringfield Parkway, east of I-95, and west of the CSX railroad right-of-way. The area is surprisingly well served by bike trails, even if they're counting "a few sidewalk accommodations that appear wide enough to be considered a multi-use path (portions of Frontier Drive)"
A multi-use path is present on the northern side of the site, along Franconia-Springfield Parkway. This trail follows the Franconia-Springfield Parkway and crosses I-95 via a pedestrian bridge near the site, then continues west for several miles, before becoming the Fairfax County Parkway Trail. Near this transition, the trail also connects with the Cross County Trail. There are several other multi-use paths in the study area, including one extending south from the site along Loisdale Road, paths around the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and along the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station Access Road, a path that connects the Metrorail station to Barry Road through the VRE station, and a multi-use path or wide sidewalk along the eastern side of Frontier Road north of Spring Mall Drive. The Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan also shows a segment north of and parallel to Metropolitan Center Drive as an existing off-road trail; however, this pathway appears to be very overgrown based on Google aerial imagery from 2015 and may need improvements to be considered a usable mixed-use trail
In addition to the planned bicycle improvements, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has committed funds in FY2015-2020 for installing covered bicycle parking to accommodate at least 30 bicycles at the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and VRE station (FCDOT 2014b). With this project, access driveway pavement, lighting, and security improvements may also be provided. The Board of Supervisors has also committed funds to enhance both bicycle and pedestrian access from the Northern Virginia Community College ‒ Medical Campus, adjacent to the Springfield site, to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and nearby activity centers. These improvements would undoubtedly benefit future pedestrians and bicyclists
So Springfield has a lot of facilities, and more in the pipeline, which means, that like Greenbelt, the bicycle mode split to the site is projected to be 2%.
Unlike Greenbelt, the bicycle network would get some attention in the Build with Mitigation alternative.
Although the “segment north of and parallel to Metropolitan Center Drive” is shown as an existing off-road trail in the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan, this pathway appears to be overgrown. Therefore, one recommendation is to rehabilitate this off-road trail along GSA-owned railroad right-of-way as a mixed-use path and create a short bicycle connection along Joseph Alexander Road between the Springfield site and the overgrown trail.
The off-road trail in question is the diagonal blue line just north of the site, and calling it overgrown is charitable. But, a new rail trail...how exciting.
When compared to the Build Condition, there would be improvements to the bicycle network under the Build with Mitigation Condition. The recommended mitigations would improve the level of impact from not measurable to direct, long-term, beneficial bicycle network impacts because the recommended mitigation measures would expand the area’s bicycle network
I say keep pushing that trail south along the railroad line all the way to Ft. Belvoir on it's abandoned railroad network.
So, it may be that - from a bike commuting and bike enhancement standpoint, the Springfield site is the best (though that should be just one small factor). I wonder what the bicycle mode split is at the current HQ.