Dead-End /Stub Street Beautification

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In the Beginning 

In 1999, the Community Appearance Committee (CAC) studied the many dead-end/stub streets in the City of Fairfax. Typically these stubs exist because original plans for subdivisions were never completed, leaving roads that led to nowhere. The study found the following about these stub streets:

  1.     They often become areas for dumping trash or parking old vehicles.

  2.     The city must pay to resurface them when adjacent streets are repaved.

  3.     Asphalt is not as pleasing to the eye as green grass.

  4.     There are environmental advantages to grass and trees.

The CAC did a survey and found that there were more than 30 of these streets in the City, many of which were good candidates for renovation. Depending on the particular case, the land can be retained by the city as a green space or a park or, in some cases, may be returned to adjacent private property.

City Council Approval

The CAC recommended to the City Council that funds be appropriated for the renovation of many of these stub streets. The Council approved the measure, and the project was added to the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) in the Fall of 2000. In 2001, the first funds became available. Planning took time, but on May 20, 2002, the first stub street renovation work began on Shiloh Street in the Mosby Woods subdivision.


First Project: Shiloh Street

The first step in the Shiloh Street project was to remove the asphalt and unneeded sidewalk, curbs, and gutter. Next, the area was leveled with fill dirt. Then the City staff laid sod and planted trees. New curbs, gutters, and sidewalk were added to close the gap.


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Second Project: Ranger Road

The second project was done in the Fall of 2002. It is located at the east end of Ranger Road in the Cambridge Station neighborhood. The dead end was eliminated and the road was curved into the existing residential parking lot. Several trees were planted in the space. As with the Shiloh Street project, the neighbors were consulted in the project design.


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Third Project: St. Andrews Drive

The St. Andrews Drive project was completed in Spring of 2003. St. Andrews Dr. also reaches a dead end at an entrance to Daniel’s Run Park. Though St. Andrews has a closed curb in this area, the dead end was open. Drainage from the open end spilled across the trail that leads into the park. Also, the transition from sidewalk to park trail was confused, leading pedestrians to cut across a neighbor’s property. The end of the street was rounded off and closed up with curb and gutter. The sidewalk (present on both sides of the street) was wrapped around the end and smoothly transitioned into the park access trail. A handicapped ramp/service vehicle access ramp was added at the top of the arc at the end.


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Fourth Project: Estel Road

The Estel Road project was completed in Fall 2003. Estel Road originally crossed another street, continued approximately 150 ft. between two private properties, and reached a dead end at an entrance to Daniel’s Run Park. There were no driveways or other private access off of the 150 ft. segment. All the pavement beyond the cross street was removed, leaving a "T" intersection with some parking for the park entrance. The park sign itself was moved forward 150 ft., thus making the park more prominent. The gravel park trail was extended from the park out to the intersection. The area where the road surface was removed was replaced with some native trees and a layer of mulch was added to prevent erosion. Further plant maintenance is not planned. Due to the surrounding trees and woods in the park and neighboring private property, it is expected that the area will naturally become part of the wooded park area.


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Spring Lake Terrace and Dale Drive


This double project was begun in the Fall of 2004 and completed in the Spring of 2005. It involves two dead ends that met one another on opposite sides of a creek. The original roadway connection across the creek was never built, though a pedestrian bridge was put in place. On the Spring Lake Terrace side, the dead end segment came off of a curved street, producing a three-way intersection with a wide expanse of pavement. After careful consultation with the adjacent neighbors, it was decided to remove most of this excess pavement, leaving a smoothly curved street and no dead end. One neighbor’s driveway was extended to reach the new curb line. This part of the project alone resulted in the largest removal of asphalt in the history of the dead end removal program. The Dale Drive part of the project was more modest. Dale Drive extended past a cross street and between two private lots. There was no driveway access off of this segment. In consultation with the adjacent landowners, a small parking area was retained while the remainder of the segment was removed.


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What’s Next?

Now that these projects are finished, there is almost no hint that stub streets ever existed on the spots. We expect that these completed projects will turn out to be typical of most stub street projects.

The Dead-End/Stub Street Project is monitored by the Dead-End Street Subcommittee of the CAC. Questions or comments may be directed to Heather Turley, City of Fairfax, Department of Public Works, 3410 Pickett Road, Fairfax, VA 22031, 703-385-7995; or email