A citizen task force assigned to study Fairfax City's road conditions has recommended that council members not widen Chain Bridge Road as a way to relieve the city's traffic problems.
In a study sent to the council last week, the group said the council should preserve the area's residential flavor and focus road construction on upgrading secondary streets and building bypasses around the Northern Virginia community.
"We don't think it is a function of the city to simply transport traffic through Fairfax City. There are values in the residential, small-city character of Fairfax that should be preserved," said Frank C. Frantz, a committee chairman.
Last March, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman John F. Herrity told city officials it was crucial for the area to clear its daily north-south traffic jams on Chain Bridge Road (Rte. 123).
He said the county government would consider moving its headquarters out of Fairfax City if road conditions did not improve.
But task force member Clesson C. McDonald said his committee was not worried about the county's threat to relocate outside the city.
"We were looking at the traffic study as residents from Fairfax City," McDonald said. "In our group, no one was discussing the concerns of the county."
The task force was established by council members in May to study an earlier consultant's transportation report that recommended widening the two-mile stretch of Rte. 123 to four lanes and straightening the road's scenic Rust Curve.
Council member Allen C. Griffith said he was impressed with the committee's report and that "in general, they recognized the severity of the traffic problem."
He said the report's recommendations will play a vital role in the new five-year Capital Improvement Plan.
The committee, composed of a cross section of about 30 Fairfax City residents, told the council in its report that it should widen other major arteries in the city, such as Jermantown Road, Rte. 50 and Rte. 236, rather than restructure Rte. 123 which, the report maintains, would detract from the area's small town atmosphere.
Frantz said the new Vienna Metrorail Station could cause more congestion in the eastern edge of the city, but "with a good connector bus system and an extension of Pickett Road . . . it will make the situation manageable."
Council member Robert F. Lederer Jr. said he agreed with the task force's recommendations. "Nothing in the report surprised me . . . . I think it will have a tremendous amount of impact on the council ."
The council will discuss the task force's recommendations at its Aug. 27 meeting. Final action on proposed roadway improvements is scheduled for January.