By January 1st, the Mark Center is slated to house 5,000 Defense Department employees, a move that has been determined in multiple studies and reports will cause gridlock at I-395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, negatively affecting the travel of some 200,000 daily commuters.
Last week, as reported by the Washington Post, the latest, most damning report was released. This time by the Department of Defense’s own Inspector General (IG). The IG report revealed serious, galling flaws in the Army’s Transportation Management Plan. It makes clear, once-and-for-all, that the decisions that went into planning for the Mark Center were grossly inadequate and the full relocation of employees needs to be slowed in order to construct the necessary transportation improvements.
The report revealed many deeply troubling findings including:
- The Army used incorrect information, conducting traffic counts on the roads during federal holidays when traffic is dramatically lower (35 percent less than normal);
- The Army ignored national standards and failed to properly study the entire roadway network surrounding the Mark Center;
- The Army focused only on 6 key intersections; a normal study following national standards would have looked at a 2 mile radius; the result would have been 63 intersections affected;
- No assessment of traffic safety was completed;
- No assessment of emergency response needs was completed;
- No assessment of the effect the construction of transportation mitigation measures would have on traffic;
- The Army failed to consult with local transportation professionals from VDOT, Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria.
We are not just at the eleventh hour, it’s 11:59. I have joined Senators Jim Webb, Mark Warner, and Representative Gerry Connolly to repeat our call for a cap to be placed on the number of parking spaces being used at the building until sufficient transportation infrastructure is put in place. The recommendations made by the IG must also be implemented expeditiously. I will keep you updated as any new developments arise in the coming days.
James P. Moran