The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 19 selected “66 Parallel Trail” as the name for a collection of pathways that will run along Interstate 66 in the county.
The 11-mile-long pedestrian-and-bicyclist trail, the name of which still must be approved in early 2020 by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, is being constructed by the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation’s “Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Express Lanes Project.”
That project will install a pair of “dynamically tolled” express lanes in each direction along 22.5 miles of I-66 between I-495 and University Boulevard in Prince William County.
Fairfax County will finance sections of the new trail located outside the highway’s right-of-way. The county’s Department of Transportation solicited possible names for the trail at two public meetings this past spring.
County officials narrowed down the list to eight finalists, which also included “66 Rambler,” “Capital Gateway,” “Dogwood Trail,” “East-West Gateway,” “Heart of Fairfax Trail,” “Kaleidoscope Trail” and “Mid-County Trail.” The county then surveyed residents who lived in the districts the trail would cross and received 1,124 responses.
“My personal favorite was “66 Ramble,’” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) of the various names suggested. “It was not the winner, however. An understandable name is ‘66 Parallel,’ which helps people to understand where they’re going.”
Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence), who noted the trail section through her district probably was the most complicated, said the board went with a name that could apply if the trail were extended to Prince William County.
“We couldn’t have anything too Fairfax-centric with this,” she said. “It needed to be something descriptive and easily extended.”
Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock) joked that the pathway should be named after the supervisors whose districts it will cross.
“Actually, the preferred name was the Smyth-Cook-Herrity-Smith Trail,” he said. “It was too long and a little too Fairfax-centric.”
Fairfax County will have to pay for producing, placing and maintaining wayfinding signage for the trail, but that estimated $100,000 expense will be financed via already-budgeted funds for such initiatives and will have no further impact on the county’s general-fund budget, officials said.