Wow – in what universe is Cushing Road planned to be a “center”?

The dot-du-jour proposed as a Mixed-Use Development/Transit Oriented Development center of growth: Cushing Road, as identified in a Transportation/Land Use Connection grant application.  

VDOT will hold a public hearing on May 27 to discuss a 400-450 car Commuter Park-and-Ride lot there.  That’s when many people may discover plans for new bus service on Balls Ford and Linton Hall roads.  It’s not VDOT’s job to explain the county’s land use plans… but don’t hold your breath waiting for a county meeting to discuss the potential of this site for a new town center.

Ugh, Cushing Road?  Isn’t that a one-lane dirt road now?

At the intersection of the Route 234 Bypass and Balls Ford Road, there’s a 7-11.  Cushing Road is the dirt road that runs behind the store, paralleling the bypass to a dead-end at Interstate 66.  

That location received no discussion during the last two years as various revisions of the Transportation Chapter and Land Use Chapter were drafted for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.   There’s no town center proposed at that location on any of the transportation plans or land use plans considered in two years of discussion. 

Check the map of “centers” proposed by Planning Department staff in the last 60 days… and the Wellington location (#8 on the map) is on the other side of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks from Cushing Road.  Now, the proposed Park-and-Ride lot has been elevated to be one of the four places highlighted for Mixed-Use Development/Transit Oriented Development planning.  

In Prince William, our land use planning process is… absurd.  The Planning Department staff, Planning Commission, and Board of County Supervisors are congenitally unable to plan for reasonable growth based on the county’s own demographic/business projections.  

County officials over-plan, as if we’re really gonna grow so dramatically by 2030 that Gainesville will be larger than Tysons Corner.  County officials over-plan, as if we’ll have sufficient development on Cherry Hill to justify both a new VRE station and a ferry.  (That “looks good on paper” town center on Cherry Hill will go to foreclosure soon, a measure of how the site is uncompetitive.)

County officials are abdicating their responsibility.   Coloring wide “you tells us where and what you want to build, and then we’ll react” swaths on maps and inviting developers to propose projects, without any linkage to realistic projections of demand and no integration with transit projects that are likely to be funded, ducks the responsibility of county officials to p-l-a-n.   

County officials are telling developers “you make the proposal, and then we’ll discover if neighbors and other stakeholders will erupt.”  That just invites confrontation, project by project. 

If we stay this course in the next Comprehensive Plan update, county officials are just planning to create more controversies (such as South Market or Village on the Parkway).  If we stay this course, county officials will be tossing around a lot of smart growth language – but they are not planning to steer Prince William towards Mixed-Use Development/Transit Oriented Development.

Remember, county officials are responsible for local land use planning.  They can’t blame their failure to do this job on Richmond, Washington, the economy, sunspots…


2 comments so far

  1. Patrick on

    A town center is over the top for that location, but for a commuter lot- its a heck of a lot better than the Portsmouth lot (assuming the busses will go directly onto 66 from there).

  2. […] Prince William, on the other hand, continues to support spending public money for dead ends.  Broad Run will never stimulate private sector, tax-generating development.  There’s no two-fer opportunity to use any parking structure there for any other purpose, due to airport safety restrictions.  Any parking deck at Broad Run will sit empty on nights and weekends, just like the planned Cushing Road park-and-ride lot. […]

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