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Fairfax County Approves Continued Study of Proposed Tysons Bus Rapid Transit

A new bus route in Tysons is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday (Feb. 23) to move forward with a Phase IV-1 Mobility Analysis Study as a part of a Envision Route 7 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project being undertaken by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC).

Launched in October 2018, the project aims to connect the Mark Center in Alexandria to Tysons through Bailey’s Crossroads, Seven Corners and Falls Church along Route 7 via bus. Three phases of the study have already been conducted, with the most recent one completed in fall 2019.

The fourth phase that the board approved Tuesday is “to evaluate and determine the mobility benefits and impacts resulting from the proposed BRT from Tysons to Seven Corners,” according to the board’s agenda package. The study will also identify right-of-way concerns and any other potential issues along the proposed project corridor.

The mobility analysis study will add about 3.5 miles to a micro-simulation model that the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) developed to evaluate current and future traffic conditions from Tysons to the City of Falls Church.

Last year, NVTC got a $560,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation to fund the Phase IV-1 study. The state will cover half of the cost, while the localities involved in the study will collectively match the remaining $280,000.

Under a memorandum of agreement that the Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday, Fairfax County will contribute $140,000 to the local match. The funds will come from state aid held in trust at NVTC.

In the first phase of the Envision Route 7 study, NVTC assessed the existing issues and opportunities to improve the Route 7 corridor. The study team then determined that a BRT system from Mark Center to Tysons — via the East Falls Church Metro Station — could be a viable transit solution before conducting a conceptual engineering study.

NVTC says on the project website that the mobility analysis study is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

Working with the Virginia Department of Transportation, FCDOT is supplementing NVTC’s project with a Route 7 BRT study of its own that focuses specifically on Tysons from the Spring Hill Metro station to the I-66 interchange. The county says it will host a public meeting on its study in early March.

Image via NVTC

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