Residents of several Ballston neighborhoods have objected to a plan to extend North Quincy Street from Wilson Boulevard to North Glebe Road.
Arlington County proposes spending $8.6 million for the project, a four-lane extension to ease traffic congestion.
But residents who live in the surrounding neighborhoods are worried that the extension will increase traffic on side streets, particularly Henderson Road. If the project is completed, motorists will be able to travel down North Quincy Street, across North Glebe Road and down Henderson Road to Arlington Boulevard.
"I am not interested in developing better commuter patterns for Fairfax County," said Joella Hartzler, one of about 50 residents who spoke at a public hearing on the project last week. "I'd really like to help out Arlington."
The North Quincy extension, some residents argue, could increase congestion on North Glebe Road. Some neighbors worry that pedestrians will have difficulty crossing at the expanded North Glebe Road and North Quincy Street intersection. Extending the street also would bring more cars into the area, they said.
"I just don't understand how we're going to add all that traffic," Cynthia Hilton Bowman said. "It's too jammed as it is."
Twelve apartments at the Buckingham Village complex, which houses low- to moderate-income residents, will be demolished if the project is approved. The Buckingham swimming pool, which serves residents and the community, also would also be removed. The county is working with residents to find replacement housing.
Many residents are advocating that Fifth Street North be closed to maintain pedestrian safety and the residential quality of the neighborhood.
"Fifth Street is the backbone of the neighborhood for pedestrians," Robin Harman said. "Every day there's a stroller and tricycle parade."
Many neighbors support a plan to add "green space" as a buffer zone between the expansion and the residential area.
"Arlington as a county is overly concerned with increasing the density of the corridor and not enough about the neighborhoods along the corridor," said resident Victor Muniec. "We want to protect the neighborhoods as much as possible and keep density at a minimum."
The extension plan will include 14-foot curb lanes for shared automobile and bicycle use. Sidewalks would be at least six feet wide, which some residents say would be insufficient for increased pedestrian traffic. Neighbors also are worried about noise and air quality with the addition of more cars to the area.
"An extension is just going to make it worse, bringing more people in," James Clayton said. "It's going to really be a mess. We have to start thinking about the people who live here."
In 1980, about 4,000 people lived in the Ballston area. By 1990, the population had increased to about 9,000 and is projected to be more than 12,000 by 2000.
A working group, which includes members of area civic associations and the planning and transportation commissions, has met four times since July to discuss the project's effect on the neighborhood. The transportation commission, which advises the County Board, has recommended that the group be expanded to include additional civic representatives and county staff to help reach an agreement by March.
"I'd have serious reservations about the draft report as it stands now," said Transportation Commission member Kathleen N. Ausley. "There has been insufficient county response to non-transportation issues."