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FREDERICKSBURG

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Juan Piniella

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Fredericksburg is an independent city in Virginia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,286, up from 19,279 at the 2000 census. The city population was estimated at 28,118 in 2015. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.

Located 47 miles (76 km) south of Washington, D.C. and 56 miles (90 km) north of Richmond, Fredericksburg is part of the Northern Virginia region[ and is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Fall Line, Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during the colonial era. During the Civil War, the town, located halfway between the capitals of the opposing forces, was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg, preserved in part as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Tourism is a major part of the economy, with approximately 1.5 million people visiting the Fredericksburg area annually, including the battlefield park, the downtown visitor center, events, museums and historic sites.

Fredericksburg is home to several major commercial centers including Central Park (as of 2004, the second-largest mall on the East Coast) and Spotsylvania Towne Centre, located in Spotsylvania County adjacent to the city line. Major employers include the University of Mary Washington, Mary Washington Healthcare, and GEICO. Many Fredericksburg-area residents commute to work by car, bus, and rail to Washington and Richmond, as well as Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington counties.

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According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.5 square miles (27.2 km2), of which 10.4 square miles (27.0 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.67%, is water. The city is part of the boundary between the Piedmont and Tidewater regions, and as such is located on the fall line, as evident on the Rappahannock River. US 1, US 17, and I-95 all pass through the city, which is located 53 miles (85 km) south of downtown Washington, D.C.

The city is bounded on the north and east by the Rappahannock River; across the river is Stafford County. The city is bounded on the south and west by Spotsylvania County.

Fredericksburg has a four-season humid subtropical climate, with cool winters and hot, humid summers. Daytime temperatures for much of the year average slightly higher than in Washington, DC due to the southerly aspect, although the inland location and distance from the urban heat island present in the nation’s capital make for significantly cooler low temperatures.

Despite recent decades of suburban growth, reminders of the area’s past abound. The 40-block Fredericksburg Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places, embraces the city’s downtown area and contains more than 350 buildings dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. Crowds of tourists are drawn to the historic district of Fredericksburg during the summer months.

Fredericksburg is traversed by a series of rural and suburban four-lane highways and a multitude of small, two-lane roads. Among the major arterial roads is U.S. Route 1, providing north-south transportation from the region to Stafford County, Washington D.C., and points beyond. Route 3 (Plank Road) is a major east-west route that connects downtown Fredericksburg (via the Blue and Gray Parkway bypass), southern Stafford and King George counties, and Route 301 to the east with the large shopping centers, Spotsylvania Town Center and Central Park. To the west, Route 3 reaches Culpeper, where it meets Route 29 and Route 15.

Most of Fredericksburg’s traffic flow is to or from the north (Washington D.C. metropolitan area) during peak commuting hours, primarily via Interstate 95 and US-1. As an alternative to I-95, some commuters use the Virginia Railway Express rail service to Washington. Long-distance rail service is available on Amtrak, which serves Fredericksburg via the Northeast Regional and Carolinian/Piedmont routes. Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED) is a recently started bus service in Fredericksburg which serves most area communities, retail shopping centers, two VRE stations, and downtown Fredericksburg.