Tysons, VA

The next week promises to be an unusual one, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Inauguration Day prompting government buildings and services in the Tysons area to close or change their operations.

With the Washington, D.C., region bracing for potential violence before President-elect Joe Biden gets sworn into office, the City of Falls Church is taking the most aggressive approach, closing public facilities from MLK Day (Monday, Jan. 18) through Inauguration Day (Wednesday, Jan. 20) Jan. 18-20.

The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will not provide curbside pick-up services starting on Sunday through Wednesday, but the community center will still hold scheduled activities and programs on Tuesday.

“Closing City facilities to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday is out of an abundance of caution for the Inauguration Day activities,” Falls Church City Police Chief Mary Gavin said. “Doing so allows our officers to prepare and react to events within the City and the region, if a response is needed.”

Fairfax County and the Town of Vienna will both close government offices, including the Vienna Community Center, on Monday and Wednesday, but operations will be normal on Tuesday. Waste collection services will also continue as usual for both county and town residents.

Fairfax County Public Schools is observing MLK Day and Inauguration Day as holidays with no classes or meal service for students who get food through the school system. Bus routes and Grab and Go locations will provide three days of meals today and two days’ worth on Tuesday, when meal kit sites will also be open.

While the McLean Community Center will be closed on MLK Day as well as Inauguration Day, MCC has been commemorating the civil rights leader with its annual MLK Day Celebration, which is taking place online this year with a book talk, podcast discussion series, and storytelling community service project.

People looking for more active ways to mark the MLK Day holiday can visit a Fairfax County RECenter or park, which will be open with the exception of historic sites, the Frying Pan Farm Park visitor center, and the Green Spring Gardens historic house.

The National Park Service is also holding its first fee-free day of the year on Jan. 18, providing free admission to all of its venues, including Great Falls Park in McLean.

The two occasions will affect transit service as well.

Fairfax Connector will operate according to a holiday weekday schedule on Jan. 18. The county bus system announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily suspending service for two routes that go into downtown D.C. through Jan. 20 due to road closures related to the presidential inauguration.

For MLK Day, Metro will operate rail and buses on a Saturday schedule. Trains will run every 15-20 minutes on all lines except for the Red Line, which will have trains every 12-15 minutes. Stations will be open from 5 a.m.-11 p.m. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at all facilities.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced on Jan. 13 that it will close several stations and detour bus routes in downtown D.C. starting today through Jan. 21 to accommodate a security perimeter for the inauguration.

Photo via René DeAnda on Unsplash

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The City of Falls Church’s recycling center is closed today (Tuesday) to accommodate repairs to an underground pipe.

The self-serve facility at 217 Gordon Street will be closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic throughout the day, though it is expected to reopen tomorrow.

The City recommends that residents looking to dispose of their recyclables today go to the Fairfax County I-66 Transfer Station on West Ox Road, which is open daily from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Glass can be recycled at various Purple Can locations throughout Fairfax County.

The Falls Church Recycling Center is typically open to drive-in vehicles from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and to pedestrians from dawn to dusk on Mondays through Sundays. It accepts certain kinds of clothing and textiles, glass bottles and jars, scrap metal, cardboard, and mixed paper and plastic products.

Photo via City of Falls Church

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Updated on 12/2/2020 — The McLean Metro Station is one of 19 stations that would close if the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority adopts a new budget proposed for Fiscal Year 2022.

The stations being considered for closure were identified based on low ridership levels or their proximity to another Metro station. They were all shut down earlier this year as part of Metro’s efforts to conserve resources during the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WMATA said on Mar. 24 that the McLean Metro Station only recorded 148 Metrorail trips the previous day, making it among the least frequented stations in the system.

The Greensboro Metro Station is also on the list for potential closure, since it is within less than a mile of the Spring Hill and Tysons stations.

The potential station closures are among several drastic cuts on the table as WMATA attempts to fill a nealry $500 million deficit in its upcoming budget.

Scheduled for discussion during the WMATA Board of Directors’ finance committee meeting on Friday (Dec. 4), the proposal also suggests eliminating all weekend rail service, limiting weekday train service to every half hour, and slashing bus service from 60 to 41 routes.

Under the proposal, Metro would offer an “affordable bare-bones service network to sustain essential travel and support the region’s recovery.” Ridership would be reduced to around 45% of pre-pandemic levels, and the system would only operate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

The proposal also calls for the elimination of 2,400 jobs in addition to workforce cuts already enacted this year.

“We’re facing, obviously, a historic budget crisis. It started in [Fiscal Year] ’21 and will continue in ’22,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

Metro could possibly avoid this grim outlook if Congress passes another federal COVID-19 relief package that with funding for public transit.  According to the American Public Transit Association, public transit needs $32 billion just to survive.

Metro was awarded $800 million from the CARES Act in May — funding that runs out early next year.

“The latest proposed cuts to WMATA employees and service is a crisis for our region and frankly, the country,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement. “…Congress needs to step in immediately to fund WMATA and the countless ripple effects these cuts will have.”

If WMATA adopts Wiedefeld’s proposed budget, the 19 stations that would be closed could reopen based on the financial health of Metro.

The opening of additional Silver Line stations into Loudoun County will not be affected by the budget slashes, according to the presentation.

Metro’s fiscal year begins in July. Public hearings and outreach campaigns are planned until March.

Angela Woolsey contributed reporting

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, and the holiday means it’s time to take a look at which community sites will be open, and which will be closed. 

City of Falls Church government offices will be closed, along with City Hall and the Mary Riles Styles Public Library. 

The city will air a pre-recorded Veteran’s Day Ceremony on Falls Church Community Television Channels and Youtube starting at 11 a.m.

All Fairfax County government offices will be closed. Libraries and courts will be closed as well.

The Fairfax Connector will be operating on its Holiday Weekday Service, with several routes altered. 

Fairfax County Public Schools will hold an all-virtual, two hour early release day for all students. 

All parks in Fairfax County will be closed with the exception of Frying Pan Park, which will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The county’s nine RECenters will be open, offering free service to all veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families for the day. A military identification is needed to receive the complimentary access. Due to COVID-19, reservations will be required. 

The McLean Community Center and the Vienna Community Center will both be closed for the day.

Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash

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Labor Day is around the corner and there will be closures around the area.

All Fairfax County government offices, public schools, and public libraries will be closed on Monday (Sept. 7), according to the county website.

Trash and recycling will be collected on a regular schedule if community members are customers of Fairfax County, the website said, which added that people with a private company should contact the company directly. However, the administrative office will be closed on Monday.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a Sunday Schedule on Monday.

The Metro will be running on a Sunday Schedule from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Monday, according to the WMATA website.

The Mary Riley Styles Library in Falls Church (120 N. Virginia Ave) will be closed on Monday, according to the website, along with all city offices.

In the Town of Vienna, all government offices and the Vienna Community Center will be closed but waste collection will run on a regular schedule, according to the website.

The McLean Community Center will be closed on Monday.

Tysons Reporter will also have the day off Monday.

Photo via Jon Sailer/Unsplash

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Peet’s Coffee won’t reopen its doors in the Town of Vienna.

A Peet’s spokesperson confirmed to Tysons Reporter that the Vienna location (332 Maple Ave E.) is permanently closed. The spot is still listed at “temporarily closed” on the coffee chain’s website.

The spokesperson did not respond to questions about when or why the Vienna store closed and instead offered a statement saying that Peet’s opens and closes coffee locations each year for different reasons.

“While not easy decisions, regional adjustments to our coffeebar presence are important for effectively managing our resources and for developing our business,” the statement said.

The statement went on to say that Peet’s works with employees from its closed shops to find them jobs at other Peet’s locations.

While the company is no longer in Vienna, coffee drinkers can still find Peet’s in the Tysons-area.

The Peet’s mobile app shows that the Tysons location (8150 Leesburg Pike) is accepting orders. Tysons Reporter reached out today (Monday) about the status of the shop at Tysons Station and will provide an update.

Image via Google Maps

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After construction-related closures, commuters can expect several Silver Line stations to reopen ahead of schedule, according to a press release from the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.

On Aug. 16, WMATA plans to reopen the McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East stations along with the West Falls Church station.

“Assuming the platform work continues at its current pace, the remaining three west-of-Ballston stations (Vienna, Dunn Loring, and East Falls Church) are expected to reopen around Labor Day,” the press release added.

The timely completion of the projects can partially be contributed to the drop in ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the press release said, adding that ridership is down 90% from this time last year.

“Metro has been working to efficiently use track access time during a period of historically low ridership,” the press release said. “Earlier this year, the transit agency combined Orange Line platform reconstruction and Silver Line signal integration into a multi-month summer shutdown of the nine rail stations west of Ballston”

Free shuttle busses will replace trains until the stations reopen, the press release said. “However, Vienna and Dunn Loring customers will be able to connect to Metrorail at West Falls Church, rather than Ballston.”

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After temporarily closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Pizza Hut location in Vienna has shuttered permanently.

The location previously at 541 Maple Ave W. said on its Facebook page that it is “permanently closed,” but there was no post explaining why. Additionally, the location’s page was removed from the list on the eatery’s corporate website.

Just last year, the chain closed more than 500 locations nationally, according to USA Today.

People hungry for pizza in the area can check out a variety of other pizza parlors near Maple Ave, such as Lombardi’s and Church Street Pizzeria (115 Church Street) and the newly opened PizzaRoni (235 Maple Ave E.)

Photo via Pizza Hut/Facebook

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The Boston Market in McLean is closed for good, according to the property’s realtor.

Though it is unclear when or why the company decided to shutter the location (1408 Chain Bridge Road), another Boston Market shuttered recently in Arlington.

Tysons Reporter reached out to Boston Market’s corporate office for comment and has not received a reply.

The chain served home-style food like chicken, meatloaf and a variety of sides, according to the website, which no longer lists the Arlington and McLean locations. The closest one now is in Fairfax, according to the website.

Image via Google Maps

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COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease up around Fairfax County today (Friday).

Now that the county is joining the first phase of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan, here’s what people who live and work around the Tysons area need to know about county-operated facilities.

Parks and Recreation 

Parks and parking lots controlled by the Fairfax County Park Authority are open with the exception of dog parks, visitor centers, playgrounds and public restrooms, according to the website.

Athletic fields will officially open for unpermitted groups of 10 or less on Friday (May 29) under phase one of plans to reopen the county.

Both publicly and privately run pools are currently not allowed to open yet, the website said, adding that certain pools might open for lap swimming during phase one. Pools run by the Park Authority will not open at all this summer.

At schools in Fairfax County, both the tracks and tennis courts have been reopened but playgrounds, basketball courts and athletic fields will remain closed for the time being, according to the website.

Fairfax County summer camps have already been canceled, according to a press release.

For people indoor entering public spaces, the Virginia Department of Public Health announced that they are required to wear a mask or protective face covering. This order will go into effect on Friday (May 29) but the Centers for Diseases Control have suggested for weeks that people cover their mouths and noses to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Anyone with additional questions can check out the website or email staff members from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets will look different this year with the implementation of preorder options and social distancing guidelines.

In the City of Falls Church, people can visit the market only to pick up preordered goods. Shopping and browsing will not be allowed, according to the website. A list of vendors at the Falls Church Farmers Market can be found online.

The future of the McLean Farmers Market, which is run by the county, is still unclear. Opening dates have not been announced yet, according to the Fairfax County website.

Libraries

All Fairfax County Public Library branches will be closed until further notice, according to the website — but this doesn’t mean that libraries aren’t offering online resources for patrons.

Anyone with a library card can check out digital resources such as e-books, audio files, online magazines and videos.

People can also pick up a new hobby like learning a new language, redesign their home using tips from the library and even learn about family heritage, according to the website.

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