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More gas stations on Richmond Highway? No thanks

Tuesday - 4/17/2012, 4:02pm  ET

It is no surprise that people who live and work in Fairfax County's Richmond Highway corridor want to see more restaurants, entertainment options, boutique stores and mixed use.

But gas stations? Really?

For its 2012 consumer survey, the Southeast Fairfax Development Corp. asked 903 people what new businesses they want on Route 1. Respondents could choose more than one option.

The results: 593 want new restaurants, 475 new entertainment, 373 "boutique," 266 mixed use, 227 big-box stores, 136 gas stations, 110 commercial space, 96 "services," 81 fast-food spots and 81 residential space.

Have things improved on Richmond Highway? More than 56 percent said, yes, they have. Are you concerned about traffic? Of course, said 86 percent of those surveyed.

But for people stuck in Route 1 traffic, the last thing they should be worried about is running out of gas.

There are 13 gas stations on Richmond Highway, more than 100 restaurants (including numerous fast-food joints) and at least a half dozen big-box stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.), according to the SFDC business directory.

There's more coming. The shuttered Sunoco at 5928 Richmond Highway, at Huntington Avenue, will soon reopen as a six-pump station with a 3,000-square-foot convenience store. Just up the road, on the site of the former Mount Vernon Multiplex Cinema, Costco will open its 143,416-square-foot foot in 2013.

I've written before about what Richmond Highway needs to turn itself around. High-end, or at least mixed-income, residential may be the key because it will lure in higher-income residents and, eventually, higher-end stores.

But gas stations? That's the last thing Richmond Highway needs more of.