For those seeking a calmer but still urban lifestyle within a short walk of parks and of the emerging downtown Tysons, the East Side might be your best bet — and that will only become more true as the Tysons Comprehensive Plan is implemented.
The East Side extends along the eastern fringe of Tysons, from Route 7 in the south to the Dulles Access Road in the north, bounded by Magarity Road in the east and Tysons East to its west. Today, it’s mostly composed of garden-style apartment developments like Tysons Landings and the Dolley Madison Apartments.
Over the next few decades, it will remain primarily residential, forming a smooth gradient of transition from downtown Tysons to single-family Pimmit Hills. It will not witness rapid increases in density like Tysons East, but rather it will gradually take on a more urban character. That means neighborhood retail, like corner stores and local restaurants, and it means a more cohesive and walkable network of streets.
The district might include some offices, which planners hope to configure into a “live-work” combination — imagine the 21st-century equivalent of a craftsman living upstairs from his shop.
This district is closely tied to Tysons East, and in a way it is the residential backyard to that district’s vibrant center. Right now, the two are separated by a forest, the Scotts Run Stream Valley Park, that can make it difficult to get from one to the other.
This year, though, Fairfax County will be taking the first steps to change that park from a barrier to a gateway, building pedestrian and bicycle paths to connect the East Side to Tysons East through one of Tysons’ greatest natural treasures.
Most of the East Side is only a short walk away from the McLean Metro station, and that walk will become significantly easier – and more pleasant — with the opening of the Scotts Run Trail. The 3T bus on Magarity Road offers reliable and comfortable service to downtown Tysons and to the center of Falls Church.
However, right now it is remarkably difficult to walk from anywhere on the East Side to downtown Tysons. That will soon change, though, with the construction of a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Beltway. The bridge will link the East Side directly with Tysons Corner Center and contribute to a more complete network of access throughout the area.
The Comprehensive Plan calls for a circulator system of public transit to span the entirety of Tysons, and although its precise location is still in question, the Plan indicates that it will likely be placed along Old Meadow Road.
In stark contrast to nearby Tysons East, which is slated for near-total redevelopment in the next few years, the East Side will see change come more gently — or, at least, in the farther future.
The only project currently on file is a new hotel, and even that is located in the extreme southern part of the East Side — its only office-focused corner. Just because change is coming more slowly, though, does not mean it will never come.