|Article Prepared By Robert Michie
Trails and Sidewalks Committee, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 29 July 2007
A citizen recently asked Fairfax County to consider a land acquisition or the purchase of an easement across a tract of vacant land between Brookview Drive and Oakwood Road. The objective is to allow improved public access across the property. This parcel is identified on the Department of Tax Administration web site as 5807 Oakwood Rd. (PARID: 0812030012A), Alexandria, VA 22310--owned by Oakwood Van Dorn (OVD) Associates, LLC of Bethesda, MD.
The actual location is shown in the map in Exhibit 1. This property map identifies the area of interest as 5701 Oakwood Road, or Lot 21 in Section 3 of Oakwood Road. The address provided by the citizen is part of RZ-94-L-035, as is Lot 21. OVD Associates planned to build a mixed-use development which would have featured about a million square feet of office space in this general area. Changes in the office real estate market in the mid-1990's kept the project from getting beyond the planning state. Today, Oakwood Section 3 is mostly undeveloped, with only a few small businesses and isolated residences in the area. Lot 21 is empty.
The red line connecting Brookview Road and Oakwood Road in Figure 1 is the approximate location of an existing footpath. Also shown by the blue line is a substantial creek bed that bisects the lot. The ad-hoc trail's popularity with the residents of the 700-home Brookland-Bush Hill community is not in question. The citizen describes "...flattened cardboard boxes, ceramic tiles, and painted logs have been placed upon the path to make it passable on foot when rains and snows that drain into the adjacent stream conspire to turn it into mud (it is a natural wetland throughout the year)." He also speculates that a public right of way or easement across the property may already have been established by long-time unbroken use [of the citizens].
In fact, the path has its negatives. It is definitely a fair weather,
daytime route. Walking time to the Metro Station fare gates is about 20
minutes for commuters on the west side of BBHCA, and about forty minutes for people
on the extreme eastern side. Nevertheless, this path is popular because it takes
advantage of the pedestrian tunnel on
Oakwood Road, and the well-marked Van Dorn Street Trail to Eisenhower Avenue and
the Van Dorn Metro Station. Exhibit 2 (below) shows the potential customer base
for an improved trail.
Field Check 29 July 2007:
Local citizens - at least 500 households within the Brookland-Bush Hill community - will benefit from an improved Brookview Road-to-Oakwood Road path. The path is in a wetland area, and it is subject to development in the future by Oakwood Van Dorn Associates LLD, or its successors. Whoever develops Parcel 21 will have to contend with a substantial creek bisecting the lot. Dealing with an eight-foot wide trail should not present much of an additional problem.
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