If you find trips on the Capital Beltway into Maryland nightmarish now, imagine what they would be like without any transit options.
That’s the scenario posed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) in a new study on the value of the region’s transit network, including Metro, local bus services like Fairfax Connector and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE).
Released today (Thursday), the study found that the American Legion Bridge — the only direct link between Fairfax County and Maryland — would need to carry 24,653 or 8.2% more vehicles per day in 2025 if there was no transit (325,619 vehicles) compared to the projected traffic volume with transit (300,965 vehicles).
The other bridges across the Potomac River would see even bigger differences, led by a 39.2% increase on the Arlington Memorial Bridge.
“These bridges are congested today, and congestion will increase in the future. Without transit, however, the capacity constraint on the bridges would be substantially greater,” the study report says.
The report notes that rush-hour traffic on all of the Potomac crossings is projected to exceed capacity in 2025 regardless of transit availability. The American Legion Bridge would exceed capacity by 3,651 vehicles under the “base” conditions and by 7,379 vehicles under the “no transit” scenario — a 102% difference.
Construction is underway to widen the Capital Beltway (I-495) by adding two toll lanes in each direction from the Dulles Toll Road to just south of the American Legion Bridge. The Virginia Department of Transportation has forecast that the 495 NEXT project will move approximately 2,500 more people per hour in both directions, starting in 2025.
However, Maryland’s plans to replace and expand the bridge remain in limbo following the exit of its private partner. Replacing the American Legion Bridge would allow the Beltway to move 5,400 more people an hour, VDOT has said, but the endeavor will cost an estimated $1 billion.
According to an NVTC spokesperson, the study’s calculations incorporated the 495 NEXT project, but it didn’t include the possibility of future bus service between Tysons and Bethesda, as proposed by both Fairfax Connector and Metro.
“Our study evaluated the difference between what’s currently planned for 2025 and a scenario in which all transit in Northern Virginia is removed,” NVTC said. “That means the proposed future route from Tysons to Bethesda, using the American Legion Bridge, was not included since it won’t be in service by then.”
Widening the Potomac crossings without also providing transit “is not a viable scenario,” NVTC says in its report, noting that the low-income households most dependent on transit “would likely not be able to live in Northern Virginia without” it.
“Even with planned capacity improvements, the region would not be able to accommodate the number of households and employment numbers currently forecasted for 2025,” the report said.
According to the report, NVTC projects that 193,558 transit trips will be made from Fairfax County, including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, in 2025. About 72% will be taken by households earning $100,000 or less.
Overall, the county would see 122,918 more vehicle trips without transit, a 4.7% increase. The impact would be widespread for outgoing trips, but trips coming into Northern Virginia would be concentrated around employment centers, including Tysons and the I-66 corridor as well as Reston and Herndon along the Dulles Toll Road.
Transit generates $1.5 billion in annual personal income and sales tax revenue for Virginia, about $1 billion of which can be attributed to Metro, according to NVTC, but ridership for all of Northern Virginia’s systems is still below pre-pandemic levels.
Fairfax Connector had just under 5.2 million riders in fiscal year 2022, which ended June 30, 2022. That’s 62% of the riders seen in FY 2019 and just 53% of the 9.7 million riders reported in FY 2015.
Metro usage in Virginia is even lower, with buses sitting at 56% of FY 2019 levels and rail at 33%.
The region saw a total of 52.3 million transit riders in FY 2022 — 40% of the nearly 130.9 million seen in FY 2019 and 33% of the 158.2 million riders in FY 2015.
NVTC says it used 2025 as the target date for its study to take into account “the impacts of a post-pandemic travel environment.”
The Value of Northern Virginia’s Transit Network to the Commonwealth Study will be presented at the NVTC’s commission meeting at 7 p.m. today.
The Town of Vienna Police Department will once again usher in summer with a hardline approach to stop sign violations.
The department launched a campaign today (Thursday) that will see officers step up their enforcement of traffic safety laws, especially those governing stop signs, after seeing “a noticeable increase in such violations.”
“For the entire month of June, we have taken the initiative to address the repeated violations that have been reported by both residents and Town of Vienna staff members,” VPD Public Information Officer Juan Vasquez said.
Like in a similar campaign organized last June, the crackdown will involve a particular focus on drivers who roll through or ignore stop signs:
Officers will be actively present to issue tickets and remind drivers about the importance of coming to a complete stop when approaching a stop sign. Whether facing a solid or flashing red light, drivers must stop before entering the crosswalk, intersection, or stop line. It’s worth noting that, under certain circumstances, a stop sign violation can be cited as reckless driving.
Motorists who receive a ticket for a stop sign or red light violation will face a fine and three demerit points on their driving record. The Vienna Police Department emphasizes the need for defensive driving, courteous behavior, and strict adherence to all traffic laws to ensure safe arrival at destinations.
Virginia law defines reckless driving as anyone who drives a vehicle “in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person,” which can include a failure to yield the right-of-way.
Reckless driving is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries maximum punishments of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. It can be elevated to a Class 6 felony if the driver doesn’t have a valid license and the incident resulted in another person’s death.
Pride Month starts today (June 1), and opportunities to celebrate in Fairfax County extend through the month.
This Saturday (June 3) features events in the Mosaic District, Reston and the City of Fairfax. Closer to the end of the month, folk-rock musician Brandi Carlile will headline the Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
Pride Month marks the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan and has become an occasion to celebrate LGBTQ individuals and communities.
Below are more details about Pride Month celebrations across the county this June:
Mosaic Pride Festival
Saturday, June 3
A parade begins at 2 p.m. in front of One Medical (2987 District Ave.) and will proceed down District Avenue to the main stage. Performances will feature drag queens, dance, and live music by George Mason University’s Green Machine band and more.
Saturday, June 3
Lake Anne Plaza
Indie pop trio BETTY will headline the Reston Pride Festival at Lake Anne Plaza (1609-A Washington Plaza). The event will also feature comedian Chelsea Shorte and local businesses including Elden Street Tea Shop and Scrawl Books.
Saturday, June 3
Old Town Hall
The City of Fairfax and George Mason University are hosting the first Fairfax Pride at Old Town Hall (3999 University Drive). The evening will begin with face painting, crafts and other activities. Later, there will be drag queen performances and a dance party.
Tuesday, June 6
Starr Hill Biergarten at Capital One Center
Drag queens Crimsyn and Logan Stone will host a drag bingo night at Starr Hill Biergarten at Capital One Center (1805 Capital One Drive South, Suite 1100). There will also be music and drinks. An encore is scheduled for Sept. 12.
Pride Flow and Celebration
Sunday, June 11
Celebrate pride with a colorful outdoor yoga class at Lakeside Park (5216 Pommeroy Drive). Attendees should bring their own yoga mats and water and plan to wear bright colors.
The Out & About Festival
Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25
Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods performances at 10:30 a.m.; festival starts at 4 p.m.
Wolf Trap National Park
Brandi Carlile, Yola, Rufus Wainwright and other artists will gather at Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Road) in the last weekend in June for a three-stage festival. The festival features LGBTQ+ artists and allies.
Pride Month Poetry Reading
Saturday, June 24
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
Poets Sunu Chandy, Kim Roberts, Holly Mason Badra, and Malik Thompson will convene at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly (5040 Walney Road) for a reading. “This reading lifts up a variety of voices and experiences to honor the rich legacy and contributions of poets and poetry in the queer community,” according to the event description from Arts Fairfax.
Fairfax County Public Library is also hosting events throughout the month, including a “crafternoon” on Sunday (June 4) and a screening of the 2018 film “Rafiki” on June 7.
Photo via Mosaic District/Twitter
The Pimmit Hills neighborhood has officially reached the “let’s put on a show” stage of its battle against a planned Washington Gas pipeline.
Faced with escalating legal fees, residents have banded together to stage a “Protect Pimmit Hills Hoedown” benefit concert from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday (June 3) as a fundraiser for four of their neighbors who were sued by the utility company.
The concert will be held at Pimmit Barn (1845 Cherri Drive) with “limited” food available for sale from the food truck, The Big Cheese. Providing the music will be the Pimmit Hillbillies, a band that neighborhood residents formed for this occasion.
“We hope this concert helps reinforce our community spirit by getting neighbors out and meeting each other to join fight this project that affects us all,” resident guitarist Tom Gillespie said. “We will bond over great tunes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and chocolate chip cookies while we talk about our ongoing pipeline battle.”
Filed by Washington Gas on March 3, 2022, the lawsuit challenges a Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals ruling that a special exception permit and 2232 review are required for the natural gas pipeline, the last phase of the Strip 1 Tysons project to upgrade about five miles of pipe from Tyco Road to Pimmit Drive.
A bench trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court had been scheduled for April 25 and 26, but the judge postponed it to the first week of September after the Virginia Supreme Court voided the zoning ordinance that guided the BZA’s decision, according to Christina Chen Zinner, one of the Pimmit Hills residents involved in the case.
Though the ordinance known as zMOD was readopted on May 9, it remains unclear how the Supreme Court’s ruling affected zoning decisions made during the two years when the code was initially in effect.
Because of the trial delay, Zinner and her fellow defendants shared earlier this month that they need to raise an additional $20,000 to cover their legal costs, which have climbed to $45,000. With the help of a recent neighborhood pizza party, they’ve made progress on that goal, raising $38,700 through Gofundme.
The Pimmit Hillbillies hope to finish the job. The band emerged from a virtual meeting, where residents brainstormed fundraising ideas.
“Knowing that I like to sing and play guitar, and compose my own songs, [my wife Stephanie] challenged me during the meeting to compose a protest song to help us promote our Gofundme drive,” Gillespie recalled. “I feel so passionate about fighting this pipeline that the lyrics and notes just flowed out of me.”
Gillespie presented a demo of the song — “That Pipe Don’t Belong Here!” — and soon, other residents volunteered their own musical abilities, from additional singers and another guitarist to Zinner on the violin.
The band also has an electric bassist, a drummer, a saxophonist, and a singer who plays the banjolele, a cross between a banjo and ukelele.
In addition to “That Pipe Don’t Belong Here!,” songs planned for Saturday’s hoedown include covers of protest tunes like Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is My Land” and retro classics, such as the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” and Tom Petty’s “Refugee.”
The concert is open to all community members, with Del. Marcus Simon (D-53) among the supporters expected to attend. Former Pimmit Hills resident Greg Garcia — creator of the TV shows “My Name Is Earl” and “Raising Hope” — has also backed the fight against the 24-inch-wide pipeline, which residents argue will be too big and high pressure for a residential neighborhood.
According to Gillespie, Garcia recently shared “encouraging words” with the current residents of Pimmit Hills, which inspired the fictional Pimmit Hills Trailer Park in “My Name Is Earl”:
Once a Pimmit Hillian, always a Pimmit Hillian, and as a proud alumni of your neighborhood I applaud your efforts to keep the neighborhood safe for you and your children. Stay strong and continue to fight the power. Or fight as long as you can, and then have a block party barbeque but use charcoal instead of natural gas. That’ll show ’em! Good luck!
Second Arrest Made in Idylwood Double Homicide — An 18-year-old from Falls Church was charged on Tuesday (May 30) with robbery resulting in death in connection with Monday’s fatal shooting and stabbing at the Tysons View Apartments. Police announced earlier that a 17-year-old had been charged in the incident, which left two people dead and two injured. [FCPD]
N. Va. Dems Criticize National Guard Deployment — “Local Democrats slammed Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s decision to deploy Virginia National Guard service men and women to Texas to ‘secure’ the southern U.S. border with Mexico.” Democrats, including Fairfax County senator Scott Surovell, blasted Youngkin for “using service men and women for political gain” as speculation swirls that he plans to run for president. [Inside NoVA]
Man Hospitalized in Annandale Nightclub Shooting — “A man was shot at the Diamond Lounge, a nightclub in Annandale, at 2 a.m. [Wednesday], the Fairfax County Police Department reports…The Diamond Lounge, at 7203 Little River Turnpike, has been the scene of several violent incidents. In 2020, a man was fatally shot in the Diamond Lounge parking lot.” [Annandale Today]
FCPS Revises Messaging for College Help Program — Fairfax County Public Schools has taken out mentions of race and ethnicity from an email and website seeking applications to a College Partnership Program, which assists students who face barriers to higher education. The Virginia Attorney General’s office told FCPS on March 9 that the original message violated the Virginia Human Rights Act. [WTOP]
Amtrak Works to Address Traffic From Train Backups — Amtrak has added a message board and revised its queuing procedures at the Lorton Auto Train Station (8006 Lorton Road) after community members raised concerns about traffic spillover from vehicles being loading onto trains. For a permanent solution, the South County Federation has proposed that more land for an outbound vehicle queue is needed. [On the MoVe]
Snake Rescued After Wandering into Springfield Home — “Sneaky snake! [On Monday], Animal Protection Police Officer Paisley rescued a copperhead snake after it slithered into a home in Springfield and got stuck in a glue trap. Officers worked carefully to free the snake and send it on its way!” [FCPD/Facebook]
GMU to Compete for College World Series — “For the eighth time in school history, the George Mason Patriots will send a baseball team to the NCAA Division I Regionals. The school has not advanced to that level of play since 2014, but now GMU will be one of 64 teams vying for a chance to compete in the College World Series.” [WUSA9]
County Marks National Pollinator Month — “June is National Pollinator Month and the Fairfax County Park Authority is encouraging residents to celebrate and raise awareness about the significant impacts that bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and even bats have on our surroundings and what we can do to protect them.” [FCPA]
It’s Thursday — Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Northeast wind around 7 mph. At night: Mostly clear, with a low around 60. Southeast wind around 6 mph becoming calm in the evening. [Weather.gov]
After a recent study showed an uptick in homelessness, Fairfax County staff say that data connects pretty cleanly to a matching rise in evictions over the last year.
The county saw a 10% increase — 119 people — in people experiencing homelessness for an estimated total of 1,310 people.
“In many ways the connection between housing and homelessness are logical, as homelessness is essentially defined as not having housing,” said Tom Barnett, deputy director of the county’s Office to Prevent and End Homelessness. “Much of the work of a homeless system is helping people in housing crisis find and secure new housing opportunities that match their means and unique needs.”
Barnett said the increase in evictions, in turn, came at the same time as the end of federal and state eviction moratoria.
“The latest trends in evictions coincide with the ending of federal and state eviction moratoria and declining federal resources for emergency rental assistance from pandemic-era funding,” Barnett said. “The federal eviction moratorium ended in August 2021 and the Virginia eviction moratorium ended on June 30, 2022.”
According to the county’s eviction dashboard, there were 2,674 formal writs of eviction issued between June 1, 2020 and the end of 2022. Before Virginia’s moratorium ended, there were only two months in that period with 100 or more writs, but those numbers soared to 280 in October, 317 in November and 248 in December.
Barnett noted that some households are “evicted informally” and can’t be tracked.
In 2021, the county established a Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program that assisted households who couldn’t pay rent or utilities during the pandemic, allowing thousands to stay in their homes when they might otherwise have been evicted.
A new program was set up to cover some of those expiring benefits, but Barnett says the $14 million funding that program only accounts for a fraction of the $95 million in federal assistance provided over the last three years.
According to Barnett:
In anticipation of expiring federal benefits, [Health and Human Services] created the ERA Bridge Program in May 2022 and began accepting applications on July 1, 2022. The goal of this program is to keep significant resources in the community while beginning to transition to a new post-COVID operating and funding level still to be determined. The ERA Bridge Program totals approximately $14.0 million and is funded through a combination of federal and County funding. This funding is supplemented by leveraging community-based organization funds (private and federal) in addition to their Consolidated Community Funding Pool (CCFP) funding. This support is facilitated through the County and nonprofit partnership model that existed pre-COVID-19.
It is important to note that pre-pandemic, all rental and transitional housing assistance funded through CCFP totaled approximately $4.0 million. It is understood that post-pandemic funding needs will significantly exceed that amount, and the ERA Bridge Program provides time and space to evaluate future funding level needs.
Barnett said the long-term answers are going to come from investing in housing stability and eviction prevention.
The county has partnered with the Legal Services of Northern Virginia to provide legal aid for residents in the court system and has participated in direct outreach to landlords. The legal services partnership is funded for one year, with staff set to determine whether or not those services are required beyond that.
Within the court system, the county has also worked to streamline the rental assistance process and to proactively identify and assist residents at risk of eviction, Barnett said.
Even so, Fairfax County is experiencing higher demand in shelters for those experiencing homelessness, particularly in shelters designed for families, according to Barnett.
Shelter demand for families with children has surged since late 2021, which has increased the number of families in emergency shelters. As of March 6, 2023, County-contracted family shelter providers were serving 140 households, which is 246 percent of the number of households that they were contracted to serve in shelters. Similar trends are seen in the County’s two domestic violence shelters.
To address increased demand, HHS is currently working with emergency shelter providers to evaluate existing program models to determine if additional investments are needed to support emergency financial and rental assistance to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. HHS is committed to working with its nonprofit partners to ensure that no families with children are unsheltered.
The dog days are coming early to Tysons this year.
Canines will first be unleashed on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center this Saturday (June 3) for the mall’s second annual Paws on the Plaza, a free event with pet-centric vendors, a dog park and a beer garden.
“Pups are invited to roam the dog park with obstacles and splash pads, while adults are invited to enjoy the Beer Garden, visit local vendors…or take part in other activations, like a pet friendly photobooth and free caricatures of your pet,” Tysons Corner Center said in a press release.
Paws on the Plaza will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Vendors will include two sponsors of the event: Becky’s Pet Care, which has locations in Springfield and Herndon, and PetMedic Urgent Care, a clinic slated to open in Tysons West this summer. The vacuum company Dyson is also a sponsor.
Participating vendors range from shelters like Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and Homeward Trails to retailers like Doodlebug Quilts and services, such as Woofies of McLean. There are also several businesses that make food for pets, including Barbie’s Doggie Bakery and the food truck Woofbowl.
A full list of vendors can be found on the event page.
The puppy love will continue the following Saturday (June 10) at The Boro, which will host Bark in Boro Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
While the scheduled training sessions have already filled up, the event will also offer a craft and “activation area” for kids, and a treat bar from Bluestone Lane with free food and drinks for both dogs and humans.
Wolf Trap Animal Rescue will also be on site with puppies to provide information about pet rescues and adoptions.
The first 100 visitors can get a live tag engraving for their pet, according to The Boro.
Bark in Boro Park was scheduled to coincide with LGBTQ Pride Month. Unlike last year’s “Yappy Hour,” where a portion of drink proceeds went to the Alexandria-based nonprofit Safe Space NOVA, there’s no similar nonprofit partner since admission and all of the Puppy Treat Bar items will be free.
“This year’s event is free for all to attend in the spirit of welcoming more of our neighbors to The Boro,” a public relations representative for The Boro said.
A fast-casual chicken salad company is planning a move into Fairfax County, but exactly when and where it will stake its claim remains to be seen.
Chicken Salad Chick, which bills itself as the only fast-casual chicken salad concept in the U.S., has signed a development agreement with a local family to open eight new franchises in Fairfax and Arlington counties over the next five years, the business announced yesterday.
The franchises will be owned and operated by Devon Chamberlin — a mental health professional whose experience includes working in Fairfax County Emergency Services — and her father, Patrick Cavanaugh, and father-in-law, Barry Chamberlin.
All of them were born and raised in Northern Virginia, according to Chicken Salad Chick.
“After being a consumer of the brand for over a decade, it is a dream come true to have the opportunity to bring something so beloved to our community,” Devon Chamberlin said. “…People connect through their hearts and their stomachs, and we seek to do just that. I’m beyond grateful to run this operation as a family business and bring Chicken Salad Chick to the community.”
The first of the eight locations is slated to open in Arlington next spring, but an exact Fairfax County location isn’t ready to be announced yet, a Chicken Salad Chick spokesperson told FFXnow.
Founded in Auburn, Alabama in 2008, Chicken Salad Chick was born out of a desire by its founder, Stacy Brown, to craft the perfect chicken salad. It is now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and has more than 200 restaurants in 17 states.
In addition to various chicken salads, whose flavors range from Fruity Fran to spicy Jalapeño Holly, the menu offers sandwiches, salads, and signature soups that change for each day of the week.
Chicken Salad Chick CEO Scott Deviney says the company sees “tremendous growth opportunities” in Virginia, where it has five currently operating locations with another 14 in development. The existing restaurants are in Christiansburg, Hampton, Mechanicsville, Richmond, and Roanoke.
The Southern company’s northward expansion won’t stop with Northern Virginia, according to Deviney.
“As we make our way toward Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, we are gaining brand awareness and fueling our mission to become America’s favorite place for chicken salad,” he said. “That mission is shared by Devon, Patrick, and Barry who bring immense enthusiasm, knowledge, and expertise to our brand. We can’t wait to see the positive impact they’ll have throughout their community.”
Plans for a Route 7 bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Tysons are starting to take more concrete shape, outpacing an ongoing study of the corridor further to the south.
The service will initially launch in Tysons, operating between the Spring Hill and West Falls Church Metro stations, before later expanding into Falls Church and Alexandria, Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff told planning commission members at a May 11 committee meeting.
“Since the northern portion is kind of on a fast track, we would make this the first phase to see how it works,” Sean Schweitzer, a senior transportation planner for FCDOT, said. “It would work in the interim as a closed system until the rest can catch up.”
During the interim phase, the BRT will have nine stops, according to a comprehensive plan amendment proposed by county staff:
- The West Falls Church Metro station
- Westbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) at Chestnut Street
- Patterson Road, near the Tysons Station and Idylwood Plaza shopping cneters
- George C. Marshall Drive
- Fashion Blvd, serving Tysons Corner Center
- International Drive and Fletcher Street
- International and Greensboro Drive, next to Tysons Galleria
- International and Lincoln Circle
- Spring Hill Metro station
In the future, the Fletcher Street station could serve as a transfer point for an “enhanced” Gallows Road transit system, Schweitzer said. A study of that corridor down to Annandale is only just gearing up.
The route follows the preferred alignment along International Drive that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved in 2021. The West Falls Church Metro was chosen as an interim southern terminus so buses can turn around, but the county hasn’t ruled out the possibility of making it a permanent station.
“If [the BRT is] better served by going directly to the Metro station, where it can pick up more passengers versus staying on Route 7, we could make that adjustment and have that be the ultimate alignment,” Fairfax County Transportation Planning Chief Mike Garcia said.
Except for the Metro stations, each stop will have separate platforms for east and westbound travel, staggered to reduce right-of-way needs, according to county staff.
The buses will mostly utilize dedicated median lanes, but they have to join other traffic at the Metro stations and to make the left turn from International Drive to Spring Hill Road. Spring Hill and Tyco roads will have “Business Access and Transit” (BAT) lanes limited to buses and drivers turning into the commercial area east of the Spring Hill Metro station.
To accommodate the BRT, FCDOT is proposing:
- Two dedicated BRT lanes from Haycock Road to the Capital Beltway (I-495), where the Tysons Comprehensive Plan already recommends widening Route 7 from four to six lanes
- Two dedicated lanes from the Beltway to International Drive, where Route 7 is slated to expand from six to eight lanes
- Repurposing of two travel lanes on International Drive to Lincoln Circle for the BRT
The proposed BRT plan will be presented to the community next week during virtual meetings at noon on June 7 and 6:30 p.m. on June 8.
However, some details of the project won’t be available yet, including what pedestrian and bicycle improvements will be provided, to the disappointment of some planning commissioners.
“I just think that’s really important to the success of Tysons, to this 30% modal shift we’re trying to get people to get out of their cars,” Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina said.
According to Schweitzer, FCDOT is currently developing plans for bicycle and pedestrian facilities as part of the study’s next phase, which will also look more closely at the right-of-way impacts, station platform configurations, and possible intersection improvements.
“We started last fall, and we are planning to complete that effort by next spring,” he said, explaining that the county needs to amend the comprehensive plan now so it can pursue funding for the project.
The plan amendment is scheduled to go to the planning commission for a public hearing on June 21, followed by a Board of Supervisors hearing on July 25.
Designed to operate more quickly than a local bus route, the Route 7 BRT will run from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Buses are expected to arrive at each station every 10 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during off-peak hours, according to a report released in summer 2021.
Since the BRT will cross multiple jurisdictions, a study of the overall Route 7 corridor is being conducted by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, whose attention is currently focused on the Falls Church area. Service will ultimately extend to the Mark Center in Alexandria.
Local Orange Line Stations to Close This Weekend — The Vienna, Dunn Loring and West and East Falls Church Metro stations will be shut down Saturday (June 3) so a 40-year-old steel rail between the Vienna and Ballston stations can be replaced. Free shuttles will be provided throughout the closure, which will last through June 25 for the Falls Church stations and through July 16 for Vienna and Dunn Loring. [WMATA]
Former Fairfax County Resident Launches D.C. Music Venue — “As a teen growing up in Northern Virginia, Dave Grohl remembers attending shows at the old 9:30 Club and finding community. ‘I got to witness hundreds of bands that inspired me to become a musician myself,’ he recalled at the grand opening of the new Atlantis music venue Tuesday morning.” [DCist]
Developer Puts Plans for Huntington Apartments on Hold — Elme Communities has “paused development activities” at Riverside Apartments (5860 Cameron Run Terrace) near the Huntington Metro station. The developer had planned to expand the 28-acre complex with 767 new units, but says it will now wait for construction loans to become less pricey. [Washington Business Journal]
Baking Company Opens Kitchen in Fairfax — Liberty Baking Co. started in owner Allison Friedman’s home in Fairfax City. After moving to Herndon early in the pandemic, the business has returned to Fairfax with a commercial kitchen that opened on May 6. While there will be an occasional pop-up, orders are generally placed online for pickups at the kitchen or deliveries. [Patch]
Bicycle Crashes Increase in Virginia — “So far this year, there have been 160 bicycle-involved crashes on Virginia’s roadways, resulting in the deaths of nine bicyclists and injuries to 156 others, DMV officials said on May 30. This is a 125-percent increase in bicyclist-related fatalities compared to four last year at this time, they said.” [Gazette Leader]
Local Teens Campaign to Protect Maryland Forest — Four members of Girl Scout Troop 153 in Fairfax County are petitioning Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital to sell over 600 acres of forest in East Marlton to a group that would preserve it, instead of to developers. The organization got the land as a donation in 2019 and hopes to sell it to fund outdoor programming, camps and other operations. [The Washington Post]
Grants Available for Local Arts Organizations — “ArtsFairfax announces that one month remains for local arts organizations to apply for Ticket Subsidy Grants. Awarded up to $5,000 each, this grant funds free and reduced-price tickets for performances, workshops, classes, and camps for people who may not have regular opportunities to experience professional arts.” [ArtsFairfax]
Hurricane Season Begins Tomorrow — “Hurricane season officially begins on Thursday, June 1 and ends Nov. 30…Hurricanes can cause damage to property as well as loss of life and limb; it’s important to be prepared with an emergency kit and plan before one potentially strikes this summer.” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
It’s Wednesday — Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. Northeast wind around 6 mph. At night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. Northeast wind 3 to 6 mph. [Weather.gov]