Fairfax County wants the public to weigh in on the projects that it plans to submit for funding as part of the Transportation Alternatives initiative, a federal program that gives grants to smaller community projects that expand non-motorized travel or enhance transportation infrastructure.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is reviewing four projects that it has proposed submitting for the federal grants: the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro Station bicycle connection, Safe Routes to School projects for Shrevewood and Bush Hill elementary schools, and the Mason Neck Trail.
The virtual meeting will occur at 6 p.m. on Thursday (May 27). County staff will give a presentation at the meeting and provide a Q&A session. Attendees can join online or call 1-844-621-3956 with access code 173 919 2128.
FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger said that, once projects are identified, the county often seeks multiple funding sources due to the competitive nature of grants.
The Shrevewood Elementary Safe Routes to Schools project has been the beneficiary of a Transportation Alternatives grant before. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors accepted $560,000 from the Virginia Department of Transportation in March to support the project, which will add crosswalks, curb ramps, and other improvements outside the school in Falls Church.
The Metro station bicycle project will add dedicated bicycle facilities to Virginia Center Boulevard and Country Creek Road from Nutley Street to Sutton Road, county staff said. It will also include a connection to the I-66 parallel trail being planned with the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project through protected bike lanes, narrowing an existing median and adding trail connections, according to the county.
The Transportation Alternatives initiative is overseen by the Federal Highway Administration. Projects through the program can assist students, people with disabilities, pedestrians, cyclists and others by adding sidewalks, lighting, and other safety-related infrastructure.
Photo by Michelle Goldchain
Fairfax County School Board Adopts Budget — The Fairfax County Public Schools fiscal year 2022 budget includes funding for 50 new positions for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, school-based technology specialists, and 18 new social worker and psychologist positions to meet state requirements. It also covers technology support fees previously charged to families and a 2% market rate adjustment for all employees. [FCPS]
Bike to Work Day Is Here — The D.C. area’s annual initiative to encourage people to ride their bicycles to work marks its 20th anniversary today. The Tysons area has pit stops at Tysons Corner Center, the Mosaic District, and the MITRE Corporation headquarters in McLean, where cyclists can pick up a complimentary T-shirt, win giveaways, and in some cases, get a free bicycle tune-up. [Bike to Work Day]
Park Police Chief Calls Ghaisar Shooting “Tragic” — Park Police Chief Pamela Smith called the 2017 shooting of McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar “tragic” yesterday (Thursday) when announcing that the agency will outfit all officers with body-worn cameras by the end of this year. She didn’t comment on Fairfax County and Virginia prosecutors’ recent request that the Justice Department take up the case against the Park Police officers, which is now in federal court. [WTOP]
Scott’s Run Security to Intensify on Memorial Day — The Fairfax County Park Authority will increase the presence of security at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean starting on Memorial Day (May 31). Security personnel will be on site throughout the week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to enforce park rules, including the prohibition of alcohol and glass bottles and safety measures in the waterfall area. [Patch]
Mill Street Building Sold for $5 Million — The 23,000 square-foot building at 319 Mill Street in Vienna was sold last week to a local businessman identified as MITCO Mill Street LLC. Zoned for retail or industrial use and occupied by three long-term tenants, the property is part of an effort to revive Mill Street with new retail businesses, including a Cubesmart that’s now under construction. [Vienna Business Association]
McLean American Legion Post Honored — “It took an extra year because of pandemic-related delays, but American Legion Post 270 in McLean and its former commander, W. Glenn Yarborough, on May 19 finally received ceremonial copies of honorary resolutions passed last year by the General Assembly.” [Sun Gazette]
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (May 18)
- Fit4Mom Stroller Strides — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave) — Fit4Mom Stroller Strides is a 60-minute workout that includes strength training, cardio, and core restoration, along with entertainment for the little ones in your stroller. Classes meet in Strawberry Park in front of Mom & Pop. Register online. Your first session is free. A second class will be held on Thursday (May 20) at the same time.
- Mainstreaming African American History in the Schools (Online) — 7 p.m. — Come join a discussion on integrating local African American history into Falls Church City Public Schools curriculum. Panelists include Falls Church Historical Commission Chair Ronald Anzalone, Vice Chair Edwin B. Henderson II, and FCCPS Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan. Topics of discussion will include the school renaming efforts. Email Pete Sullivan for the Zoom link.
Thursday (May 20)
- Epidemics of the Past — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Historic Huntley (6918 Harrison Lane) — Learn about epidemics of the past and how they’ve shaped the society we live in today. The program will be outdoors and costs $8 per person. Register online and call 703-768-2525 for more information.
- A Conversation with Author Angie Kim (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — Angie Kim, author of the Edgar Award winner Miracle Creek, will have a public Q&A discussion on issues and experiences that have shaped her life and work as an Asian American. Registration is required. A Zoom link will be sent 24 hours in advance of the event.
Friday (May 21)
- Fredricksburg Nationals Game — 4-11 p.m. — The Old Firehouse is taking a trip to see the Fredricksburg Nationals play the Salem Red Soxs in a minor league baseball game. The cost is $60 ($50 for MCC district residents) for the tickets, dinner, and transportation to and from the game. Bring extra money for souvenirs.
- Bike to Work Day — 6:30-9 a.m. at Strawberry Park — Visit the Mosaic District on National Bike to Work Day for a free T-shirt and entry in a raffle for more prizes. Participants should register in advance to be eligible for prizes. Masks are required for participants at rest stops. For more information, visit the Bike to Work Day Metro DC website or check out @MosaicCommutes on Twitter.
Sunday (May 23)
- Virtual Afternoon Tea (Online) — 2 p.m. — Green Spring Gardens is hosting its weekly virtual tea. This week’s topic is personal grooming throughout history. Learn about how bathing was a public affair for years and how it turned into a private event. Register online for the Zoom link. For more information, call 703-941-7987.
Photo via Angie Kim/Twitter
New Cancer Treatment Facility to Open in Merrifield — “Virginia Cancer Specialists, which operates 10 locations in Northern Virginia, will be opening its new 60,000-square-foot facility on April 13 in the Merrifield area. The new center located at 8613 Lee Highway will replace the VCS’ current center at 8503 Arlington Blvd.” [Patch]
Tour de Hunter Mill Coming to Vienna — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn will host the inaugural district-wide bicycle tour, which will take cyclists from Reston to Vienna and back again through the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons. The event will take place on May 15 with a $25 registration fee for anyone 16 and older. [Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office]
Vienna State Senator Skeptical of Marijuana Legalization — Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposal to amend a bill legalizing marijuana to make it effective on July 1 appears to have enough support to pass when the Virginia General Assembly reconvenes this month, but State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) says he’s “not a fan of setting up a marijuana industry in this state, which appears to be the purpose of the legislation.” [Associated Press/WTOP]
Online Forum Scheduled for Vienna Town Council Candidates — An online candidate forum for the upcoming Vienna Town Council election on May 4 will be recorded and available to view starting on April 12. The event will be posted to the town government’s YouTube channel and air on TV regularly until the election. [Sun Gazette]
Tysons Company to Bring Broadband to the Arctic — “OneWeb plans to start offering broadband from space in the Arctic region this fall, a capability the company hopes will attract U.S. military and other national government customers…Following the latest launch of 36 satellites on March 25, OneWeb has 146 in operation.” [Space News]
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a series of virtual discussions next month for community members to share their thoughts on walking, bicycling, and other modes of travel that don’t involve getting inside a car.
The community conversations are intended to give county staff insight into people’s travel habits and areas where the county could improve bicycle and pedestrian access or facilities as part of FCDOT’s efforts to develop a new ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan.
“Community input is critical to the success of this planning effort,” FCDOT spokesperson Anna Nissinen said in a statement. “We want to hear all perspectives, from families biking and walking within the community to individuals who use scooters and bike share as part of their commute. This is the only way to create a comprehensive and functional plan that truly supports the needs of the community.”
12 online meetings have been scheduled, starting with an evening conversation for Mason District residents on April 8. The meetings focused on the Tysons area include:
- Dranesville District (McLean): Tuesday, April 20, 7 p.m.
- Hunter Mill District (Vienna): Monday, April 19, 7 p.m.
- Providence District (Tysons, Merrifield): Wednesday, April 28, 7 p.m.
There will also be a meeting in Spanish on April 15 at 7 p.m. and two “Lunch and Learn” sessions at noon on April 13 and 23.
A recording of the event and the presentation will be available on the ActiveFairfax webpage for anyone unable to attend a meeting. There is also an online survey for community members to share their perspective on barriers to non-motorized travel, potential trail and bicycle network improvements, and other topics.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed FCDOT to review its plan for active transportation — defined by the county as “self-propelled, human-powered travel” such as walking, cycling, or using a scooter or wheelchair — in January 2020.
Launched last summer, the project is divided into two phases. First, FCDOT is developing a vision statement laying out the county’s goals, evaluating existing conditions, and creating a plan for a systematic safety program. Then, the department will come up with recommendations, including potential comprehensive plan updates and project and policy prioritization.
Local officials have been looking at ways to enhance Fairfax County’s bikeability and walkability, particularly in urbanizing areas like Tysons and Reston, to improve safety and reflect people’s evolving travel habits.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board’s most recent Regional Travel Survey found that the number of bicycle trips in the D.C. area has doubled over the past decade, though the amount of daily walking trips has remained steady.
“The plan will establish a vision and a roadmap for implementation of safe, convenient, and enjoyable streets, sidewalks, bike facilities, and trails in Fairfax County for people of all ages and abilities,” Nissinen said. “The plan will support livable street design through the development of a transportation network that connects people to where they live, work, play, learn and take transit.”
Photo by Michelle Goldchain
The Virginia Department of Transportation’s period for public comments on proposed pedestrian and bicycle improvements around the Vienna Metro station will close on Monday (March 29).
VDOT held a virtual public information meeting on March 18 to discuss its plans, which are being developed in conjunction with efforts to construct a network of pedestrian and bicycle facilities along Interstate 66 as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.
The I-66 parallel trail network will cover 11 miles between Gallows Road in Dunn Loring and Centreville, connecting existing regional trails — including the Washington & Old Dominion Trail — and adding new pedestrian bridges over I-66, according to Andrew Beacher, VDOT’s preliminary engineering manager for Fairfax and Arlington counties.
“The Vienna Metro bicycle and pedestrian improvements project is a key portion of that larger network that’s going to be implemented in the coming years,” Beacher said. “…It is an extensive planned network that we hope will ultimately serve the community well.”
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation told Tysons Reporter in February that the Vienna Metro portion of the project is being implemented separately, rather than as I-66 is widened, because the trail has to deviate from the interstate “for engineering reasons and for access-to-the-community reasons.”
Divided into three segments between Blake Lane and the Vienna Metro surface parking lot, improvements currently being considered include:
- The addition of a 10-foot-wide shared-use path on Sutton Road
- Removal of one eastbound through lane on Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard, which would create room for a road diet and two-way cycle track and sidewalk on the south side of the road
- The construction of a new 10-foot-wide shared-use-path on Virginia Center Boulevard close to the westbound I-66 ramp adjacent to the parking lot
- The installation of new pavement markings and signs
- Upgraded crosswalks, traffic signal optimization, and other intersection changes
In addition, two new bus stops will be added on Sutton Road “to provide convenient access to Oakton High School faculty, staff, and students,” and six existing stops on Country Creek Road will be relocated to align with the proposed new crosswalk locations, FCDOT project coordinator Caijun Luo said during the March 18 meeting.
At Fairfax County’s request, VDOT is also looking at possible interim solutions to bridge the anticipated gap between the completion of the Transform I-66 improvements in late 2022 and the conclusion of the Vienna Metro project, which is not expected to finish construction until spring 2025.
State transportation planners have proposed restriping Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard to create a two-way, 10-foot-wide cycle track with a buffer of concrete or flex posts to separate bicyclists from drivers.
According to VDOT project manager Zamir Mirza, it will be harder to implement temporary measures on Sutton Road due to variations in road width, especially approaching the curve near the southern entrances of Oakton High School.
“We are considering design options for this segment, including removing parking on the northwest side of the site for the bicyclists,” Mirza said. “We may need to consider widening the existing sidewalk also, or have a combination of the two options.”
Mirza added that the project website will be updated when VDOT finishes studying the proposed interim options for Sutton Road.
The Vienna Metro improvements project has a total estimated cost of $9.4 million.
A public hearing on the project design will be held this summer before getting approved in the fall. VDOT plans to begin right-of-way acquisitions and utility relocations in the spring of 2022, and construction is expected to begin in summer 2024.
Image via VDOT
Virginia Extends Tax Deadline — Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Friday (March 19) that the state taxation department will extend deadline for filing and paying individual income taxes from May 1 to May 17. The move came shortly after the IRS and Treasury Department pushed the deadline for federal income tax filings and payments from April 15 to May 17. [Virginia Governor’s Office]
Bicycling Still Hazardous in Tysons, Study Finds — A market study commissioned by the Tysons Partnership found a lack of the protected bicycle lanes and connections between neighborhoods and streets needed to make the area friendlier to cyclists. Nearly 10 miles of road in Tysons rank in the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s most dangerous category, compared to just two miles receiving the highest bikeability rating. [Greater Greater Washington]
Vienna Police Arrest Man Suspected of Burglary — The Vienna Police Department arrested a 58-year-old man on March 15 after receiving calls about a man “pulling on doors, possibly trying to enter businesses in the area” and later entering a resident’s home while they were sleeping. Police are looking for assistance in identifying jewelry and other property that the man allegedly stole. [Vienna Police Department]
CDC Updates Social Distancing Guidance for Schools to Three Feet — “Fairfax Superintendent Scott Brabrand said Friday in a message to parents that the new guidance was “very encouraging,” but under review. He said he will meet with principals and county health officials next week to work on the issue.” [The Washington Post]
Dranesville District Budget Town Hall Tonight — Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust is holding a virtual town hall at 7 p.m. to discuss Fairfax County’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget. The meeting will be televised on Channel 16, streamed online, and streamed live on Foust’s Facebook page. [Supervisor John Foust/Facebook]
Bike lanes could soon connect Leesburg Pike and Idylwood Road via Pimmit Drive in Tysons.
The Fairfax County and Virginia transportation departments will hold a virtual public meeting at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) to gather input on that proposal, along with plans for additional bike lanes in Oakton, as part of the 2021 Providence District paving and restriping program.
According to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the proposed Pimmit Drive bike lanes would run from Leesburg Pike to Idyl Lane “where space permits.”
“This proposal will maintain most legal on-street parking on both sides of the road but will remove on-street parking along the Idylwood Plaza frontage to improve road safety,” FCDOT said.
The county is also looking to add bike lanes in both directions on Idyl Lane from Pimmit Drive to Idylwood Road, resulting in a half-mile stretch of bike lanes between Leesburg Pike and Idylwood. FCDOT says the Idyl Lane project would preserve existing on-street parking on the east side of the road but remove it on the west side.
In addition to passing by Idylwood Plaza, the bike lanes would be in fairly close proximity to the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library and several parks, including Ruckstahl Park, Idylwood Park, and Lemon Road Park, though the latter would still require crossing Route 7.
“The proposed bike lanes on Idyl Lane and the western section of Pimmit Drive will improve bicycle access to Tysons, the McLean Metro [station], and the W&OD [trail],” FCDOT’s active transportation team said in a statement to Tysons Reporter. “This improvement is in line with the recommendations put forward in the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan.”
Community members can register online to attend the meeting, which will be held through WebEx. A video of the meeting presentation will be available online afterwards, and comments can be submitted electronically to FCDOT through March 24.
The Virginia Department of Transportation repaves and stripes roads in Fairfax County every year from April to November as part of its annual maintenance work. The county says it routinely uses the occasion to implement road and crosswalk improvements intended to improve driver, bicycle, and pedestrian safety.
Updated at 3:55 p.m. on 2/19/2021 — The virtual public information meeting on the proposed Vienna Metro bicycle and pedestrian improvements has been postponed.
VDOT Northern Virginia spokesperson Kathleen Leonard says the meeting is being rescheduled for late spring, but the project team has not determined an exact date yet, since elements of the project are still being refined.
Earlier: The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a virtual community meeting
next Wednesday (Feb. 24) to discuss a proposal to improve the safety and accessibility of the Vienna Metro station for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The project site is located to the area north of I-66 between Blake Lane and the turn-off into the Metro station’s surface parking lot. It will focus on Sutton Road between Blake Lane and Country Creek Road, as well as a roughly half-mile stretch of Country Creek Road as it turns into Virginia Center Boulevard.
According to VDOT’s project page, the improvements currently being considered include:
- Shared-use paths along Blake Lane and Sutton Road from the I-66 bridge to Country Creek Road
- A two-way cycle track with adjacent sidewalk along Country Creek Road/Virginia Center Boulevard from Sutton Road to the Metro North Parking Lot entrance
- A road diet along Country Creek Road/Virginia Center Boulevard from Sutton Road to the Metro North Parking Lot entrance
- A realignment of the I-66 westbound ramp to Country Creek Road
- Traffic signal modifications at the intersections of Sutton Road and Blake Lane, Country Creek Road and the ramp from westbound I-66, and Country Creek Road and Vaden Drive
- The installation of new pavement markings and signs
The upcoming meeting marks the start of a public comment period that will conclude on Mar. 8, though A public hearing on the project design is not expected to take place until this summer. Under VDOT’s current schedule, the right-of-way acqusition process would start in the spring of 2022, with construction not getting underway until fall 2024.
The estimated total cost of the project is $6.5 million, though VDOT says that could change as the design is further developed.
According to Chris Wells, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s Active Transportation Program manager, the proposed Vienna Metro improvements stem from VDOT’s plans to construct a trail along I-66 as part of its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is adding express lanes on the highway between Gainesville and I-495 in Dunn Loring.
While most of the trail will be built as I-66 is widened, this particular segment has to separate from the interstate “for engineering reasons and for access-to-the-community reasons,” Wells says.
Next week’s virtual information meeting will start at 7 p.m. A link to register for the meeting and a brief survey for community members to share their thoughts on the project can be found on the VDOT website. If inclement weather prompts a cancellation, the meeting will be rescheduled to Mar. 8.
Image via VDOT
Fairfax County Cancels Vaccine Clinics Due to Storm — The Fairfax County Health Department has canceled the COVID-19 vaccination clinics it had scheduled for today, with the National Weather Service predicting snow and ice will make travel difficult. People who had appointments will receive an email with a link to reschedule. [Fairfax County Government]
Fairfax County and Falls Church City Close for Winter Storm — Fairfax County government offices and courts are closed today, and employees have been granted emergency administrative leave. The City of Falls Church has shuttered all city buildings, including the community center and library, but virtual services are still available. The City “cautions residents to stay home and off the roads as conditions are very icy.” [Fairfax County Government, City of Falls Church]
FCPS Cancels All Classes and Other School Activities — Fairfax County Public School buildings are closed today, and all in-person and virtual classes have been canceled, along with other activities on school grounds. The Fairfax County School Board will still hold a virtual meeting tonight starting at 7 p.m. [FCPS]
Virginia to Allow Up to 250 People at Outdoor Sporting Events — “Virginia governor Ralph Northam announced Wednesday he will expand the number of spectators allowed at outdoor sporting events to 250 people. The expansion of capacity limits will be officially implemented Monday.” [Washingtonian]
Bicycling Advocates Praise Fairview Park Nursing School Plan — The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the Arizona College of Nursing’s proposal to create a school in an office building on Fairview Park Drive in Falls Church on Jan. 27. The project agreement includes a commitment to provide space for a future shared-use bridge over I-495 and install bicycle racks outside the building. [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling]