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Fairfax County board seeks approval of Tysons Fire Station relocation

A rendering of the proposed new Tysons Fire Station #29 from the southeast (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has submitted plans for its Tysons Fire Station and Bus Transit Facility project.

As shared at a public meeting in November, the project will relocate Fire Station 29 from Spring Hill Road to the 8300 Jones Branch Drive site now occupied by Fairfax Connector’s West*Park Transit Station, which will be replaced with a smaller, one-story building with offices and a commuter waiting area.

The new two-story, 20,000 square-foot fire station will have a garage with five engine bays as well as storage and administrative space, including offices, a kitchen, an exercise room, and bunk rooms for workers.

With Tysons becoming more populous and developed, county leaders say the station is needed to meet anticipated future demand for emergency services.

“The existing station is 3-bay only, outdated and having limited room on site for expansion,” a statement of justification said. “This project provides the opportunity to serve the Tysons area with a 5-bay fire station, replacement transit station and a new access to the [Dulles Toll Road].”

To build the facilities, the county board wants to remove the 4.2-acre parcel from a proffer agreement with a developer that limited its use to a bus station, kiss-and-ride lot, or mass transit facility, according to the application submitted on Jan. 4.

In response to traffic circulation concerns raised by some county staff, project manager Jun Li said that maintaining a clear separation between vehicles and pedestrians has been a design priority.

The conceptual plan for traffic circulation at the Tysons Fire Station and Bus Transit Facility (via Fairfax County)

The overhauled site is expected to produce fewer trips during peak hours than it does now, because the number of bus bays for passenger loading will be reduced from seven to five, and shift changes for fire station personnel will occur outside of peak hours.

A traffic study approved by the county and state transportation departments estimated that the fire station will see a total of four trips per hour, based on projections of how many calls the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will receive in the area.

The proposed plan allocates 46 parking spaces to the fire station and eight spaces for the bus facility, including two spaces each designated for people with disabilities. The transit station currently has 40 parking spaces total.

According to Li, the new bus facility is envisioned more as a transfer station, rather than a park-and-ride lot, so the county doesn’t anticipate a lot of cars or bicycles at the site.

However, the county is considering adding a shared bicycle and pedestrian lane along Jones Branch Drive and has committed to providing 8-foot-wide sidewalks on Jones Branch and Spring Hill Road.

The facility will feature electric charging stations for both buses and cars. The county hopes to reduce energy and carbon emissions by at least 30%.

“We are also in process of studying net zero,” Li wrote.

The application notes, though, that the project as proposed would eliminate all existing tree cover.

“As the project moves along, more effort will be investigated for preserving the tree canopies as much as possible when getting into design details,” the statement of justification says. “Given the lack of tree preservation, the balance of the tree canopy cover requirement would need to be met with new on-site tree planting.”

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