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Panel approves traffic plan for new DoD office complex

Sep. 2, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Although the NCPC approved the plans for the Pentagon administrative complex Jan. 7, 2009, the NPC recommended that the Army submit a transportation plan that would look at how employees would commute to the site, situated along Mark Center Drive and Seminary Road near I-395.
Although the NCPC approved the plans for the Pentagon administrative complex Jan. 7, 2009, the NPC recommended that the Army submit a transportation plan that would look at how employees would commute to the site, situated along Mark Center Drive and Seminary Road near I-395. (Marc Barnes / Army Corps of Engineers)

The National Capitol Planning Commission (NCPC) voted 8 to 3 on Thursday to approve an Army transportation plan for a new Pentagon administrative complex in Alexandria for more than 6,400 civilian and military employees.

Although the NCPC approved the plans for the actual building space Jan. 7, 2009, the NPC recommended that the Army submit a transportation plan that would look at how employees would commute to the site, situated along Mark Center Drive and Seminary Road near Interstate 395.

The current building project contains employee parking spaces at a 1 to 1.7 ratio, but residents concerned about increased congestion have opposed the relocation.

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., inserted language into the 2011 Defense Department spending bill that would limit parking spaces to 1,000 unless the Army could fully mitigate the impact on local traffic.

The Army transportation plan calls for 40 percent or more of non-single occupancy trips in order to minimize traffic. It also anticipates that about 500 employees will live within two miles, and plans to install 167 bike racks and 44 shower facilities within the complex.

The Army will also institute a shuttle service from five metro stations: Ballston, King Street, Franconia/Springfield, Pentagon and West Falls Church. While the Army expects 23 percent of its employees to use transit, its transportation plan says it is ready for double that number.

The Army also proposes to build a third left-turn lane from westbound Seminary Road to southbound North Beauregard Street and to construct a second southbound-to-eastbound left-turn lane at the North Beauregard Street and Mark Center Drive intersection.

The Army has also pledged to monitor how employees will get to the new site and will release a report within six months on the subject that the Army will use to modify its efforts. It has also pledged quarterly reports to the City of Alexandria and the NCPC and has said it would hire an employee transportation coordinator.

Building plans call for about 1.7 million square feet of building space on the 16-acre site. Two high-rise office towers will house nearly 1.4 million square feet of office space the East Tower at 15 stories and the West Tower at 17 stories in a "T" configuration in the south section of the campus. The bottom 10 floors of the two towers will be connected so common facilities such as a cafeteria, fitness center, conference and training rooms and computer server rooms can be shared.

Adjacent to the East Tower will be a nine-level parking garage with 1,854 spaces and an access ramp off of Interstate 395. This will be the main access point to the campus for both employees and visitors.

A separate, seven-level parking garage in the north section of the campus will accommodate another 2,044 spaces. A pedestrian bridge will connect the north parking garage to the visitor's center, which is between the north parking garage and the south campus office towers.

A remote inspection facility, planned for the southeast corner of the property, will allow for trucks to be inspected and screened for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.

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