On Monday, Oct. 7, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will open a new park and ride lot at University Boulevard near I-66 in Gainesville with more than 1,000 spaces, the new lot will provide commuters new opportunities to travel by slugging, carpool, vanpool, or bus service while I-66 construction is underway. Other areas of the lot will remain under construction and are expected to open with about 1,000 additional parking spaces, as well as additional access from Route 29 (Lee Highway) and convenient access to and from the I-66 Express Lanes by December 2022. On Monday, drivers should access the lot from University Boulevard.
The University Boulevard commuter lot is the first lot in Prince William County to include slug pickup stations. Slugging along I-66 corridor started during the Metro Safetrack 2016, it picked up momentum when I-66 inside beltway transformed from HOV to toll lanes. There are more than 1000 commuters along I-66 corridor are coordinating rides using the I-66 FaceBook Group and about 100 commuters from Gainesville area using the Gainesville Facebook Group. Slugging is expected to grow along I-66 corridor when HOV-2 requirement for a toll free drive change to HOV-3 to in 2022.
To start with there will be two Sluglines one going to the Arlington destinations (Rosslyn, the Pentagon, and Crystal City) and other line to DC destinations (NavyYard, L’Enfant, 14th, and 18th). Preferable pickup time to at University Blvd. is between 6:30 and 7:30 AM. Afternoon slugging to Gainesville will be coordinated using Gainesville Facebook Group. Commuters are advised to join the Gainesville Facebook Group to coordinate rides and discuss destinations.
There are about 16000 vehicles that lost their Clean Fuel tags on September 30th, 2019. Most of the Clean Fuel Vehicle drivers had HOV exemption outside belt way. Now, with the new commuter lot with the designated slug pickup station they have an opportunity to pickup slugs and get back on HOV lanes.
This also includes bus bays with covered waiting areas. OmniRide commuter bus service is scheduled to begin Oct. 28, with Gainesville-Pentagon express service being rerouted from its current location at the Limestone Commuter Lot. Buses run five trips each morning and evening, with half-price fares ($3.45 each way)
“We’re pleased to see our Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project private partner I-66 Express Mobility Partners and their design-builder FAM Construction successfully deliver these vital improvements and meet this interim project milestone,” said Susan Shaw, P.E., VDOT Northern Virginia Megaprojects Director.
As part of the overall Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Express Lanes public-private partnership, more than 4,000 new park and ride spaces will open to commuters on I-66 by late 2022. In addition to the University Boulevard Lot, a new commuter lot with 1,100+ spaces is being built at Century Park Drive off Balls Ford Road in Manassas, and Fairfax County is designing and constructing a parking garage with 800+ spaces near Monument Drive and the Fairfax County Government Center using funds provided through the Transform 66 Project. In December 2018, VDOT opened a 230-space parking lot near the I-66/Route 15 Interchange in Haymarket. New and expanded commuter bus service will be provided from these park and ride lots to major regional destinations including Arlington, Washington, D.C., Tysons, Reston, and Merrifield.