Suzanne Hren, architect, and David Mayeda, civil engineer for the Directorate of Public Works on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, will be tabulating the results of an installation-wide survey to include the Forts Myer, McNair and Henderson Hall portions of the joint base. The survey results will be studied by Myrtle Bowen, DPW’s chief of master planning, along with her team, including Hren and Mayeda.
The survey was formulated by the DPW team, and available online June 19-22 for servicemembers, federal civilian employees and contractors as well as Family members and other guests frequenting the installation.
“The National Capital Planning Commission has an interest in [JBM-HH] developing a transportation master plan and wants us to develop one, so they can tell how many cars are coming and going onto the bases from the road network and how [installation] traffic impacts other highways and interstates [in the National Capital Region],” Hren said. “They would like to be able to gauge the demands for certain roads at various times of the day, how many people are coming onto and off of the roads. These installations around the NCR impact these roads in a big way.”
Hren said this is the reason this survey was expedited and available for base employees, Family members and visitors. “We need some data, some raw facts,” said Hren. She said there may have been a survey in the 1990s but with roads and installations changing vastly in the NCR over the past two decades, updated information is imperative.
“Traffic is very heavy at different times — particularly over at Fort McNair with the Nationals Stadium close by,” she said. “We also have different needs at National Defense University [on the Fort McNair portion of JBM-HH], which has grown a lot in the last 10 years. The Inter-American Defense College has expanded as well.”
In addition to the joint base renovations, which affect traffic, there’s also the unique issues with the officers clubs — which can be rented for weddings, as well as an array of events hosted at the clubs during holidays. Other areas on JBM-HH which pose unique transportation issues are the base exchanges, the commissary, the Cody Child Development Center, traffic to the chapels for services and funerals, picnic areas and, of course, Twilight Tattoo during the summer months.
“What’s going on with traffic over at the Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. side of the installation is a very different picture than what’s going on here on the Arlington side,” said Hren. “We have seven gates on JBM-HH and we don’t really have a good picture or understanding about how many people come onto the installation, what they do, how long they stay.”
Based on the results of this survey, Hren said this will give a quick snapshot of traffic and parking issues. “We will do another survey in September, so we can compare results at different times of the year with different traffic patterns and other factors,” said Hren. “After schools start up again, we will have a different picture of the traffic ebb and flow during that time of year.”
“Our goal [developing a comprehensive transportation plan for JBM-HH] is to assess our existing transportation plan to include traffic, pedestrians, mass transportation, to look at how we can enhance the traffic flow,” said Bowen. “It has a significant impact on the development of our installation as it relates to pedestrian walkways and making it possible for individuals to get from one location to another.”
Bowen’s role in this project is to have the JBM-HH master plan approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission, she said.
Important issues being studied include how the installation can maintain its historical character and make the footprint usable for everyone involved, according to Bowen.
Bowen said the DPW team works with Directorate of the Emergency Services “So we know when the gates are opening and closing and the impact of that on traffic. We also work closely with Arlington County, so we know what they’re doing on the other side of the fence.”
She said the goal is to make the installation user-friendly.
Follow-up results of this survey, future ones and more information on the transportation study will be published in a future issue of the Pentagram. The results will also be published on the JBM-HH Facebook page.