Richmond Highway: Design Guidelines

Project Overview

County Staff is in the process of developing urban design guidelines for the Richmond Highway Corridor.



In March 2018, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Embark Comprehensive Plan (the Plan) amendment (Plan Amendment 2015-IV-MV1). The Plan envisions the revitalization of the Richmond Highway corridor through mixed-use redevelopments that support walking, biking and a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that runs along Richmond Highway. The corridor is envisioned to be transformed into a series of distinctive and vibrant urban environments that are integrated into a range of multimodal transportation options, including a connected street network, pedestrian and bicycle connections, and nine potential BRT stations. Among its many components, the Plan contains a number of urban design principles and recommendations.

About The Urban Design Guidelines

Following the adoption of the Plan, the Board directed County staff to work on a number of implementation tasks. One of these is the creation of urban design guidelines to elaborate on the urban design guidance in the Plan, to include the overall design, appearance, character and function of streets and streetscapes, parks, and plazas; the form of buildings and their relationship to streets and public spaces; and, specific information related to street furnishings and other streetscape details.

This effort builds on Volume I: Urban Design Guidelines for Commercial Revitalization Districts and Areas , which includes broad recommendations and urban design ideas applicable to all of the County’s Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRDs) and Commercial Revitalization Areas (CRAs). The Design Guidelines for the Richmond Highway Corridor will serve as a companion document that is tailored to the community’s specific preferences for the Richmond Highway corridor area.

Get Involved

Community participation is an essential part of the development of these urban design guidelines. An Advisory Group representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders was created and holds periodic meetings to advise the county on the project. In addition, there are a number of other ways in which the county is engaging with community stakeholders. The first of these was an interactive workshop held on December 8, 2018 to kick-off the urban design guidelines. Two POP-UP STUDIOS were held in April 2019 at the Mount Vernon Shopping Center. An online survey was available for those who couldn’t attend the event.

The final outreach will be in October 2019 when a draft of the document will be available for review and comment on this webpage. Presentations on the draft will be held with community stakeholder groups such as the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce, Mount Vernon Council of Civic Associations, and the Lee District Land Use Committee.

  • April 2019 POP-UP STUDIO and Online Survey Results
  • The POP-UP STUDIOS and online survey showcased pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and building design ideas for the Richmond Highway area. The work presented incorporated many of the ideas that resulted from the December workshop. Over 150 people attended the event and nearly 100 people provided comments using the online survey.

  • Pop-Up Results Summary
  • Pop-Up Images and Presentation Materials
  • December 2018 Workshop Results
  • Approximately 70 people attended the workshop and provided ideas about the desired character and appearance of the Richmond Highway corridor’s Community Business Centers (CBCs). The results are being used to better define the design character and specific streetscape elements of the CBCs.
    North Gateway CBC
    Penn Daw CBC
    Beacon Groveton CBC
    Hybla Valley / Gum Springs CBC


    It is anticipated that the Design Guidelines for the Richmond Highway Corridor will be completed and presented to the Board for its endorsement by early 2020.

    Introduction to the Richmond Highway Urban Design Guidelines from Fairfax County

    For More Information:

    JoAnne Fiebe
    Program Manager at the Office of Community Revitalization

    Related Links and Resources:

    Embark Comprehensive Plan

    Volume I: Urban Design Guidelines for Commercial Revitalization Districts and Areas

    Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit

    OCRR - Fairfax County, Virginia

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