Trail Waiver# 6562-WTL-001-1:
Browne Academy

5917 Telegraph Road

  Article Prepared By Robert Michie
sidewalk and Trails Committee, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 11 March 2007
Revision 2.0


Browne Academy is an independent, coeducational, day school in Alexandria, Virginia, serving 275 students in preschool through 8th grade. Browne Academy is adding a two-story building to their property. Substantial construction and other work are proposed in the site plan.  The applicant is required to provide an 8-foot wide Type 1 trail along its property frontage. Applicant’s request: Relocate the trail "closer to where it will actually be used," or wave the trail requirement completely for the following reasons:

  1. Sidewalks already exists along the frontage.

  2. An easement is in place that will allow the County or the State to add a trail as part of future improvements to Telegraph Road.

  3. No trail or sidewalk is in place on the properties to the North of the Browne Academy entrance.

  4. Numerous utility and improvements already in place are in the way.

[ Browne Academy Property Map ]

Map 1: Map of Subject Area


Telegraph Road has intermittent sidewalks on its East and West sides from Wilton Road to Burgundy Road. These sidewalks were constructed with widths varying from four feet to five feet eight inches. The typical width in the vicinity of the Browne Academy is four feet ten inches. As elsewhere in Fairfax County, sidewalks often come to abrupt ends, and are not always continued on the other side of the street.

The sidewalk segment in the vicinity of Browne Academy begins at Florence Lane and runs North on Telegraph Road. The East (Browne Academy) side of the street's sidewalk switches from concrete construction to asphalt trail within 15 yards, and remains as an asphalt trail until it terminates at a County bus stop for the last 20 yards of its run. It has an interesting feature of veering away from the road and joining the Browne Academy property line in the vicinity of Lot 31a shown on Map1. Finally, Photo 2 shows the trail making a sharp turn and ending at a concrete hard stand that serves as a bus stop. Across Telegraph Road on the West side of the street is the intersection with Sharon Chapel Road.

The trail provides alternate walking access to a day care center located in the building on Lot 31a, as well as a northbound walking path for residents coming from Florence Lane. There is a 20 yard segment gap between the Bus Stop and the Browne Academy driveway.

The setback from the street is an interesting and useful feature. Sidewalks and trails located a yard or more from a street do not get buried when streets are snow plowed. They will also clear themselves in a few days. Sidewalks only a foot or two from a street will be buried deep, and may take weeks to clear by themselves.

Four single family homes connecting to Telegraph Road are North of Browne Academy. There is no sidewalk frontage, but there is a five-foot wide paved shoulder extending from the driveway of 5909 Telegraph Road (next to the School's driveway) to the intersection of Marl Pat Drive where the concrete sidewalk extends all the way to Huntington Avenue. A thirty foot strip of asphalt is needed in the area to repair broken asphalt on the shoulder. Once in place, pedestrians can use the shoulder as a sidewalk until a permanent one is installed as part of future improvements.

Field Check  16 December 2006

[Browne Academy Entrance on Telegraph Road ] Photo 1: Telegraph Road, East Side, facing South. The Sidewalk ends at the bus stop flag in the background of the picture.
[ Northbound Browne Academy Bus Stop at Sharon Chapel Road ] Photo 2: Northbound Bus Stop at Browne Academy. Note abrupt termination of the Trail. Also note that the Trail is about twelve feet away from the street.

Second Look 11 March 2007

[ Northbound Telegraph Road at Browne Academy Entrance ] Photo 3: Telegraph Road East Side, Facing North. This picture was taken from the Bus Stop shown in Figure 2. It shows the space available between the utility poles and the curb.
[ Telegraph Road looking Northbound from the Browne Academy Entrance ] Photo 4: Telegraph Road East Side facing North from Browne Academy Entrance. Four private properties -  5909, 5905, 5903, and 5901 - have no sidewalk. There is a five foot wide paved shoulder extending to the next intersection.
[ Browne Academy Entrance ] Photo 5: Browne Academy Entrance. The "numerous improvements" are attractive plantings and signage in the area, all of which are portable. Most disturbing is the fire hydrant obscured by ornamental foliage.


Deny the Waiver on the following grounds:

  1. There are no significant obstacles to extending the sidewalk along Brown Academy's property line,.
  2. Allow Browne Academy to maintain the five-foot width of the existing asphalt path for the sidewalk extension. Allow Browne Academy flexibility to route the sidewalk around existing utility equipment, and to assure that the path does not interfere with the fire hydrant.
  3. Redesign the ornamental plantings and signage at the Browne Academy driveway to accommodate the Trail, and to increase the visibility of the fire hydrant in the planting area.



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