Update: On November 4, City Staff posted responses to the comments made at the community outreach meeting. Thanks to all for the comments!

On Tuesday November 1, the City of Fairfax will have a community outreach meeting regarding the proposed University Drive extension. The purpose of this meeting is to continue the dialogue with the community and create a space for all to hear the feedback.

I have heard from community members who are excited for this project. I have heard from community members who have concerns over this project. I have also heard from community members who have stated that they did not know there was a project at all.

In thinking about this upcoming meeting and the range of responses I have heard from community members, I thought of an earlier post I had done on September 6 on the purpose of this blog:

“By sharing my experiences along the way, I want to do my part to reach out to everyone – in particular those that may have a different point of view – on not only the issues, but how to be engaged in the process of developing solutions.”

Looking at each project as an opportunity to continuously learn from our efforts to reach all community members, I believe we can continuously refine and hopefully increase the ability for all of our community members to engage.

In the case of this outreach meeting, it has given me an opportunity to ask community members if they have seen the page on the City website regarding this project:

University Drive Extension (Proposed)

It has given me a chance to ask community members if they are aware of the previous discussions by Council on this project and how they were communicated to the community at large. Below is a list of those discussions starting in September 2015.

1) The September 2015 City Scene on page 5 lists the agenda for the September 8, 2015 meeting including:

“Discussion of House Bill 2 project proposals for Government Center Parkway extension and University Drive extension.”

2) The discussion can be seen during the City Council work session on September 8, 2015 by clicking on the agenda “a. Discussion of House Bill 2 project proposals for Government Center Parkway Extension and University Drive Extension” or by viewing the staff presentation for the September 8, 2015.  At the close of the discussion, staff let the Mayor and Council know that they would be bringing these projects forward to have the Council pass a resolution of support at the September 29th meeting (see the 4 hour 15 minute mark).

3) The action can be seen during the City Council Meeting on September 29, 2015 during the Consent Agenda – the resolution is listed under the Consent Agenda Item 7D “Consideration of a resolution to approve the City’s submission to the Virginia Department of Transportation for FY 16 HB2 Funding” or by reviewing the staff report for the meeting on September 29th regarding FY 16 HB2 Funding (including the language for the resolution.)  is located here:

4) The November 2015 City Scene on page 6 notes that Council unanimously approved (with Councilmember Loftus absent) “Consideration of a resolution to approve the City’s submission to the Virginia Department of Transportation for FY 16 HB2 Funding.”

5) The next discussion on the project (now listed under “Smart Scale” instead of “HB2”) can be seen during the Council Work Session on July 13, 2016 by clicking on the agenda “c.  Discussion of next steps and schedule for the City's two Smart Scale projects, Government Center Parkway Extension and University Drive Extension” or by reviewing the staff report for the meeting on July 13th.

6) The next discussion on project can be seen during the Council Work Session September 27, 2016 by clicking on the agenda “3. Update on the proposed Smart Scale (formerly HB2) funding application for the George Snyder Trail Extension for the FY 18-22/23 funding cycle, as well as a status update on the Government Center Parkway Extension and University Drive Extension Projects” or by reviewing the staff report for the meeting on September 27th.

This brings the history to the outreach session set for Tuesday November 1, 2016. This was announced in the November 2016 City Scene on page 3 and on page 5.

In addition, the November 2016 City Scene on page 5 lists the agenda for the November 8, 2016 meeting including:

Discussion and follow-up on the proposed University Drive extension project.

The purpose of tracing this history is to highlight the approach to outreach on this project. I am hopeful that we will have the chance to, as a community, ask the questions what worked well in the outreach, what did not work well and what lessons can we learn for future projects.  The goal remains the same: to ensure all have a chance to be engaged in the process of developing solutions for our community.