As the much-anticipated FBI headquarters relocation project awaits approval, officials with the General Services Administration provided an update Monday on traffic mitigation for one of the three sites.
One major change at least six dozen people heard at the Greenbelt Public Library would be to increase parking spaces from the previous 3,600 to 6,200 at the site in Greenbelt.
“We will never have a safe environment,” said Judy Blumenthal of neighboring College Park. “All of Route 1 that goes through Greenbelt, College Park and Berwyn Heights already has major traffic. You bring 6,000 more cars twice a day, you are waiting for a catastrophe.”
Aaron Hassinger, project manager for GSA’s design and construction division, said the Greenbelt station being at the end of the Green and Yellow lines has commuters who live to the north to park there and ride a train into D.C.
“The end of line plays against you a little bit,” he said after the one-hour presentation. “The last thing we want to do is build this site, short it on parking and then have people still driving to work and parking in the street in people’s neighborhood.”
GSA officials held two other public sessions this week in Landover and Springfield, Virginia, to discuss relocating FBI and its 11,000 employees from the current northwest D.C. headquarters.
Because the procurement process remains ongoing, Douglas Grant, program management officer of the FBI project, declined to comment about possible developers or construction costs.
Federal, state and local officials have expressed frustration a decision on the project hasn’t been made sooner.
To further the process along, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved in December for Congress to fund a 2.5 million square-foot building that cannot exceed $2.1 billion.
A resolution comes with a recommendation from the National Capital Planning Commission to consider transportation impacts “on parking and proximity to Metrorail.”
The Greenbelt location sits the closest to a Metro station. However, only four acres can be developed.
Because the Greenbelt tract sits adjacent to the Greenbelt Metro station, which also has a MARC train operation that stretches into Baltimore, some believe public transit makes this site the most attractive option of the three.
“It’s a powerful location, being right on the Beltway,” said Greenbelt Mayor Emmett Jordan. “It sounds like [GSA] is pretty firm in making a record of decision. I hope so.”
The tract at the former Landover Mall sits on 80 acres and has the largest developable land with 16 acres off the Beltway, but shuttle bus service would be recommended with two Metro stations about one to two miles away — Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center. A traffic description shows 7,300 parking spaces for FBI employees and another 323 for visitors are needed at that site.
About nine acres could be developed on the 58-acre Springfield tract, but nevertheless is the smallest area of the three proposed sites. Although the Franconia Springfield Metro station sits in proximity to the proposed FBI site, the GSA still recommends employees are provided with shuttle service.