A consultant study has recommended the county spend at least $4.7 million—and likely much more—to build four sidewalks in Sterling.
The sidewalks would be along Church Road east of Cascades Parkway to Sterling Boulevard, Cascades Parkway between Loudoun Park Lane to Potomac View Road, Potomac View Road between Cascades Parkway to west of Benedict Drive, and across Park View High School property from the entrance on North York Road to the Scout Trail at Claude Moore Park. In total, it would build about 130,000 feet of sidewalks connecting to existing pedestrian paths.
Although not part of the study, the consulting firm also noted people are walking without a sidewalk along Cascades Parkway from Victoria Station Drive to businesses at Woodlawn Road, and estimated it would cost $1 million to build a sidewalk there.
However, the study, for which the county paid just under $10,000, did not consider some important factors for cost—such as locating underground utilities, title research and property appraisals, or detailed engineering. Depending on what the county finds, the cost of those sidewalks could be much higher, as evidenced in other cases where the need to move underground utilities in particular have greatly increased the cost of county projects and delayed their completion.
In many cases, the county would also need to get waivers on sidewalk design standards from the Virginia Department of Transportation to work with conditions and lack of space along those Sterling roads.
Supervisors have added those sidewalks into the county’s new sidewalk and trail program, which is designed to construct three miles of sidewalks and trails every year. That plan was originally scheduled to start in fiscal year 2024, but supervisors reshuffled $20.1 million in their budget this year to move up the program and trade funding for an Atlantic Boulevard shared-use path for pedestrian improvements at three intersections on Rt. 7 near Northern Virginia Community College.
The sidewalk and trail program is already scheduled for $69.5 million in total, most of that beyond the county’s six-year horizon for detailed capital plans.