Close to 100 Braddock District residents gathered inside the Junior Achievement Finance Park at Frost Middle School in Fairfax on Saturday to participate in Supervisor John Cook's day-long Citizen Governance Conference.
"We are at our best when we don't spend all our time pursuing our own interests, but fully engage in our citizenship opportunities," said Cook in his introductory remarks. "Policy is best when it is informed by engaged citizens."
“This conference is meant to provide the information and structure to help Braddock District residents form and participate in a number of Advisory Committees that will work directly with me and my office, helping create a long-term vision for Braddock District,” said Cook.
The morning featured plenary sessions on Braddock District demographics, a review of current comprehensive land use and transportation plans, and a brainstorming session on Braddock District's future.
Citizens were especially interested in several transportation plans mentioned by Cook, including:
- Potential addition of a lane on Braddock Road between Guinea Road and Burke Lake Road to ease congestion.
- Adding a turn lane on Braddock Road at Wakefield Chapel Road to improve traffic flow.
- Developing the plan for buses to travel from the Burke Centre VRE station to Tysons using HOT lanes on Braddock Road.
- A long-term plan—not yet funded—to build a Rt. 123 overpass at Braddock Road.
Cook said the Braddock District is fairly stable population-wise, but traffic congestion continues to increase because many commuters from outside the district are now using Braddock Road as an alternate to heavily congested Rt. 66, and 123 as an alternate to the Fairfax County Parkway. "We have I-66 and I-95 and then our neighborhood streets," he said.
In the afternoon, conference attendees participated in one of five breakout sessions, according to their personal interest.
The sessions were:
- Land Use and Environmental Management
- Aging in Braddock
- The Fairfax County Budget
The day ended as each sub-group reported back to the entire group about their discussion. "The vision of and the future for Braddock District should not be determined by me alone,” said Cook.
"A lot of the nuts and bolts of committee structures still remains to be determined," said Kiel Stone, chief of staff for Supervisor Cook. "It will take a little while to compile all the details and schedule the next meetings," he said. "But at the end of the day, there was vibrant communication."