Trail Waiver #025943:
All Saints Episcopal Church
Franconia Road near Telegraph Road

 
  Article Prepared By Robert Michie
NMTC, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 11 November 2003
 
 

Summary:

The subject area is located on the south side of Franconia Road, between Norton Road and Telegraph Road. The site is occupied by the Church itself. A Plan Change triggered the trail requirement. The Church is adding a substantial patio to the site.

The applicant is required to provide an 8-foot wide Type 1 trail along its property frontage, and a 6-foot wide Type 1 trail along the Virginia Power Easement. Applicant's Request: Wave the construction of a trail because of the following issues:

  1. The County does not specify which side of the street the trail has to be on.
  2. There is already an 8-foot wide Type 1 trail on the opposite (north) side of Franconia Road.

[ Map: All-Saints Episcopal Church Franconia Road ]

Figure 1: Map of Subject Area

Discussion:

In the last ten years, this area received two townhouse developments and improvements to Franconia Road. For unaccountable reasons, no thought was given to improving pedestrian traffic in this area. Neither side of Franconia Road has a public sidewalk from Norton Road to Telegraph Corners Lane (a small medical office that abuts Telegraph Road), a distance of over a third of a mile. The net effect is that the residents of one of the developments, Governor's Grove, cannot walk to bus stops on Norton Road or Telegraph Road. Two single family homes that abut the subject area to the west also have no walking access.

Field Check  6 November 2003

These photographs present views of Franconia Road in the vicinity of All Saints Episcopal Church.
[Photo 1: Franconia Road Eastbound in the Subject Area. ] Photo 1: North side of Franconia Road approximately 600 feet south of intersection of Norton Road. The signs on the right belong to All Saints Episcopal Church. The Governor's Grove development is on the left. The camera is pointing east.
[Photo 2: Franconia Road Westbound in the Subject Area. ] Photo 2: North side of Franconia Road, approximately at the common border between Cameron Methodist Church and Governor's Grove. The boundary fence marks the terminus of a 8-foot wide Type 1 general purpose trail. Governor's Grove is in the background.

There are no public sidewalks on Franconia Road east of Norton Road, except for about a hundred foot section at Telegraph Corners Lane. Photo 1 shows this area in its best condition, with a gravel road shoulder on the north (Governor's Grove) side of Franconia. The shoulder itself abruptly disappears a few yards behind the photographer for a distance of 600 feet westbound to Norton Road. There are no shoulders at all on the south side of Franconia Road in this area. Just behind the grey light pole in this photograph is one of two ornamental gateway into Governor's Grove. Not visible in the photograph is a Type 1 Trail behind the gateway that runs the full width of Governor's Grove frontage. The west end of this trail is roughly even with the photographer's left shoulder. However, the gully prominently visible on the left of the photograph makes an impassible barrier between the roadway and the trail.

Photo 2 shows the Type 1 Trail from the eastern end. The barrier is at the border of Governor's Grove property and the property of Cameron Methodist Church. Trail users must rejoin the shoulder for the next 150 yards before reaching a short sidewalk at Telegraph Corners Lane. Note the second of two ornamental gateways in the background of Photo 2. The Governor's Grove homeowners have a sign posted there that is oriented in such a way that it is directed to trail users. The sign warns trail users that they are on private property and no trespassing is allowed.

Recommendation:

Grant the waiver on condition of a suitable contribution to the District Walkway Fund for future mitigation projects for the following reasons:

  1. This area badly needs a walking trail. All Saints Episcopal Church commands a substantial frontage in this area.
  2. The trail cited by the applicant is not a public trail.
  3. The crucial segments needed to make a trail work are west of the Property. There are consolidation and infill opportunities here that may help finance mitigation projects in the future.
  4. Considering the overall condition of this segment of Franconia Road, there is no point in asking All Saints Episcopal Church to immediately build a walkway on their frontage. The connection issues must be worked out first.

As a separate issue, Fairfax County should reexamine the permits and proffers offered by the developers of Governor's Grove. It is almost certain that a trail requirement or proffer is in the package. The trail in place at Governor's Grove could go a long way to mitigate pedestrian safety issues, if it is declared a public trail, and if access to it on the west side can be improved.

 

 
 

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