Proposal for a Comprehensive Visioning Process for the Richmond Highway/Route 1 Corridor
History and Potential: The Richmond Highway Corridor passes through some of the most historic land in our Nation including the home and lands once owned by our first President. It has streams and wetlands connecting to the Potomac, and parks including Huntley Meadow and the Mount Vernon bike trail. It is marked by the diversity of peoples that are modern Fairfax, with a variety of neighborhoods and housing. From Beacon Hill one can see the landmarks of our nation’s capital including the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.
Challenges: Yet, the corridor also faces significant challenges. It has not attracted public and private investment like other parts of Fairfax and hasn’t seen the revitalization one might have expected from the most recent economic boom. The 1999 Brookings Institution “Region Divided” report noted the challenges facing the Route 1 corridor which Brookings chose as the boundary line for the east-west divide. Even the expansion of Fort Belvoir threatens to bring more traffic without sufficient private investment according to some studies. Lack of jobs means longer commutes for area residents, while the economic downturn has been particularly hard on lower income residents of the corridor. Streams have been severely damaged by runoff from acres of parking lots and buildings, and the corridor may not be fully capitalizing on the wealth of nearby historic sites.