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Revitalizing Fairfax Boulevard: A key goal for September workshop

Aug 22, 2011

If there’s one dramatic indication of how Ranson and Charles Town intend to guide their futures, it will be the design, during the September 8-14 collaborative workshop, of a $1.4 million “Green Corridor” along Fairfax Boulevard and George Street.

The Fairfax Boulevard / George Street project area, to be redesigned during the Ranson Renewed workshop in September. Click for larger view.


The planning is made possible through a combination of federal grants, signaling the national interest in the kind of approach Ranson and Charles Town are exploring. Read about the grants and their objectives here.

It’s an ambitious enough initiative to serve — say Ranson/Charles Town leaders who proposed the idea — “as a national model for how small, rural cities on the fringe of a major metropolitan area can foster sustainable economic development, transit, and community livability through targeted and strategic planning and infrastructure investments.”

The focus of the corridor design will be Fairfax Boulevard from 12th Ave. to the north and Washington Street to the south. What the design team will be doing, says transportation engineer Rick Hall, is “reaching back to an era in which boulevards were for walking, biking and transit, or walkability for short,” between shops, residences and offices.

“Then,” says Hall, “we’ll blend that 1900s-era walkability with mobility options of the 21st century, including automobiles, bikes and transit.”

The result, in the parlance of contemporary planning, will be a “complete street,” maximizing access to commercial and residential uses along the boulevard and ways of getting there. Expanding mobility choices reduces dependence upon private automobiles alone and the greenhouse gas emissions that come with car-only transportation. That’s where some of the “green” in the “Green Corridor” comes in.

Hall and fellow designers will also be addressing a second component on the transportation menu, the creation of a regional Commuter Center in historic Charles Town. The Center will be a convenient place to walk or bike to from downtown, to arrive by bus or to be dropped off by car. “You grab a Danish and a cup of coffee and catch a bus to the regional rail connection,” says Hall. “Then, you’re off to Washington or Baltimore. This will enhance the commute,” which is already a daily activity for many folks who live in the Ranson/Charles Town area.

The Green Corridor/Commuter Center design work will be combined with the drafting of a new regulatory plan to guide growth in harmony with what people love about the region and with what draws them to the area to live and to start businesses.

You can read all about these goals in the column to the immediate right and check out opportunities to participate in the idea-testing and refining that will take place during workshop week here.

Join us in person when you can. And by all means, follow the workshop’s progress here on this website. From September 9 to September 15, we’ll be posting the latest news, interviews and design ideas every day.

2 Responses to “Revitalizing Fairfax Boulevard: A key goal for September workshop”

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  1. Ranson Renewed | Former Md. Gov. Glendening, EPA’s Stanislaus and Others to Help Kick-Off Sep. 8 Event 30 08 11
  2. Ranson Renewed | Charles Town Connected | New Ways to Shape Growth: For Old Ranson and beyond 10 09 11

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TERMS OF USE: This online forum is an extension of the public process with the same expectations for respect and civility. Comments may be moderated for relevance and decorum, but will not be edited on the basis of their ideas. If you have specific questions that require a formal response, please submit them directly to our project contact(s), accessible via the site navigation at the top of each page.

  • Headline

    SPU Logo

    Ranson and Charles Town's next 100 years begin now.

    From September 8 through the 14th, we're charting the course for our next century. And everyone's invited.

    In an unprecedented week-long mega-workshop, city officials, residents, business community and a team of international consultants will be considering ideas and actions to help guide Ranson, Charles Town, and Jefferson County towards a future rich in opportunity for our families and businesses.

    The Ranson-Charles Town community has been selected by HUD, DOT and EPA to serve as a national model for how small rural cities on the fringe of a major metropolitan area can foster sustainable economic development, transit, and community livability through targeted and strategic planning and infrastructure investments.

    To facilitate this transformative change, planning funds are being used for the following linked and interdependent project components:

    + Develop a new zoning overlay district for downtown, as well as undeveloped, outlying areas of the Cities;

    + Redesign the Fairfax Boulevard-George Street Corridor into a "complete street" with green infrastructure, to promote a better transportation route for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit;

    + Design a new regional Charles Washington Commuter Center in downtown Charles Town that will facilitate access to regional rail and bus transit systems for Ranson, Charles Town and Jefferson County; and

    + Create a master plan for downtown Ranson that spurs job growth and economic development in former dilapidated manufacturing sites.

    It all starts with an opening presentation on September 8.

    “We couldn’t be happier about the way this process is shaping up,” says Ranson Mayor A. David Hamill. “It is our goal to continue evolving Ranson into a vibrant community where residents can live, work, and recreate within cohesive neighborhoods. Exciting things are beginning to happen, and I expect the next 12 to 18 months to be even more exciting as the real work begins to plan our future.”

    Come, and lend your voice. There'll be all kinds of ways to participate, even for events you can't attend in person. So don't miss it.

    Review adopted files of our Comp Plan update and new zoning option here. FEDERAL GRANTS
    Moving forward, whenever appropriate, you'll see our news posts identify the respective source(s) of project funding with one or more of these icons:

    This video explains the grants, along with the process overall.

    June 2016
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