Tysons, VA

Fairfax County has requested approval to change the Tysons Corner Metro Station’s name, dropping the word “corner” so it becomes “Tysons Station.” 

According to a press release from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the name would be changed on all system maps, digital signs, the WMATA website, SmarTrip app, in-system directional signage, and more. 

Prince George’s County is also looking to change Prince George’s Plaza Station to “Hyattsville Crossing.” 

Under Metro’s policy, requests to rename a station are considered by the Metro Board of Directors, who will approve or deny the request. 

The board of directors has released an online survey to gauge what riders think of changing the station  names as part of the process, welcoming feedback. 

According to the release, the jurisdiction making the name change request must commit to funding the full cost of the change, including reprinting maps, making new signs, and reprogramming systems that provide customers information. 

Additionally, according to the release, the policy has three major guidelines for any new station name:

  • Names should identify the station locations by geographic features such as landmarks or centers of activity.
  • Names should be distinctive and evoke imagery in the mind of the patron.
  • Names should be no longer than 19 characters, except for transfer station names, which should be non longer than 13 characters. 

Survey responses will be accepted through Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.

Photo via Tysons Reporter

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The McLean Governmental Center and Providence Community Center are among the most popular sites for early voting in Fairfax County after the county expanded early voting to 13 satellite locations on Oct. 14.

While voters have shown up in droves throughout the county, turnout has been especially high at those two Tysons-area sites, Mount Vernon Government Center in Alexandria, and Reston’s North County Governmental Center, according to county officials.

The Fairfax County Government Center, which has been open for early voting since Sept. 18, also remains popular, but the addition of the satellite locations has eased some of the pressure there after weeks of unusually long lines and wait times.

The wait time for voting in-person now generally ranges from 20 to 40 minutes, though it varies depending on the time of day and day of the week, Fairfax County public information officer Brian Worthy says, noting that mornings tend to be busier.

Sen. Mark Warner (D), who visited the McLean Governmental Center and other early voting sites in Northern Virginia on Saturday (Oct. 17), called the strong turnout “a great sign.”

“This is the first year we’ve had early voting, so I think maybe in future years, [we could think about] opening up additional sites earlier,” Warner said. “But I also think it’s a great sign of how healthy our democracy is if this many people are coming out to vote.”

Saturday represented the biggest turnout yet for Fairfax County. The nearly 11,000 early votes cast on Oct. 17 exceeded the biggest day for early voting in 2016, which came on the final day for early voting in that election, according to the county elections office.

Election workers at the McLean Governmental Center on Saturday told Tysons Reporter that the number of people arriving to cast ballots grew throughout the week, starting around 500 people and peaking at 800 people that Friday (Oct. 16).

Turnout continued to be brisk on Saturday, but the lines were shorter and moved more quickly, because some people instead went to Great Falls Library, which opened on Oct. 17 and is only available for early voting on Saturdays. Read More

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Over the past week, Fairfax County recorded its highest seven-day average for COVID-19 cases since mid-June, a potentially worrying development as the weather turns colder and forces more activities indoors.

Fairfax County’s weekly average for new COVID-19 cases hit 118 on Oct. 14, its highest since the county averaged 126 cases over seven days on June 13, according to the latest data from the Virginia Department of Health.

While the seven-day average has dipped back down in subsequent days to 85 cases on average as of Sunday (Oct. 18), Fairfax County joins the rest of Virginia in seeing an upward trend in cases in October, even if its numbers remain significantly lower than those seen in other parts of the state.

On top of reporting two new deaths, both of them on Oct. 17, Fairfax County added 598 COVID-19 cases during the week of Oct. 13-19. The Fairfax Health District has a cumulative total of 22,916 cases, 617 deaths, and 2,239 hospitalizations.

The zip code 22042, which contains West Falls Church south of Route 29, remains the most heavily affected part of the Tysons area, adding 28 cases over the past week for 1,173 cases overall and 3,497 cases per 100,000 persons in a population of 33,537 people.

Though COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County have ticked up in October compared to late September, the county has not yet seen another surge in transmissions like the one that hit this spring, which peaked with a weekly average of 303 cases on May 31.

Since that spring surge, Northern Virginia in general has been reporting lower case rates than the rest of the state, with a moving seven-day average of 238 cases as of Oct. 19 compared to 799 cases on average for all other regions.

As a whole, Virginia recorded a seven-day moving average of 1,037 on Oct. 19, and the state has added 7,258 COVID-19 cases over the past week for a statewide total of 166,828 cases. Virginia has reported 11,882 hospitalizations and 3,457 deaths.

With public health experts predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic will worsen this winter as the weather gets colder, Fairfax County officials are discouraging people from engaging in trick-or-treating, indoor costume parties, and other traditional celebrations for Halloween this year.

“In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread,” Fairfax Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu said. “For people who are more likely to experience severe illness from COVID-19, celebrating virtually or with members of your own household may be the safest way to enjoy the holiday.”

Image via CDC on Unsplash, Virginia Department of Health

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After conditions stabilized in July and early August, the sliding average of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County is slowly on the rise.

Although the increase is best described as an uptick, the weekly average of new cases hit a count of 105 yesterday (Monday). Following a dip in July, the rolling weekly average of new cases hovered in the 90s.

In October, the health district also hit the highest number of new daily cases since June 7 when 399 cases were reported. State data show 185 new cases were reported on Oct. 8. 

Overall, there have been 22,089 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County, 2,195 hospitalizations, and 599 deaths.  After a slowdown in the rate of new cases per week in June and July, the number of weekly cases grew slightly in August and September. The weekly average for both months hovered around 424 cases. In June and July, that number hovered in the low 300s.

The West Falls Church area south of Route 29 has seen the highest case count in the Tysons area, with that zip code (22042) recording 1,145 COVID-19 cases to date. At 3,414.1 cases per 100,000 people, it has the sixth-highest case rate in Fairfax County, according to county data.

With four additional cases since early September, Dunn Loring remains disproportionately affected by COVID-19 with the 10th highest case rate in the county. Despite having a population of just 2,362 people, the 22027 zip code has reported 75 cases, or 3,175.3 per 100,000 people.

Despite these numbers and the size of the jurisdictions, Fairfax County’s case rate is somewhat low compared to other jurisdictions and health districts. As of today (Tuesday), the case rate is 1,919. Alexandria’s case rate is 2,512 while Arlington’s is 1,772.

Statewide, the number of COVID-19 cases is nearly 160,000, with 3,361 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

County health officials continue to urge residents to get tested if symptoms develop or if exposure is possible.

Image via CDC on Unsplash, Virginia Department of Health

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Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) community centers are scheduled to reopen beginning today (Tuesday). The nine community centers that are reopening include three in the Falls Church area:

The other reopening community centers are Gum Springs and Huntington in Alexandria; Mott, David R. Pinn, and Providence in Fairfax; and Southgate in Reston.

Because of space limitations, community members must make reservations and sign a waiver in advance to visit a community center, according to a press release from the NCS.

The centers will be open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., offering self-directed activities, technical support and the Parent Connect program only. Organized sports and activities will not be permitted, according to the release.

Children who are under 9 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

The community centers will be holding temperature checks and health screenings upon arrival. They will also be requiring masks and social distancing, and they will be frequently cleaning high touch surfaces.

To make a reservation, participants can call their local NCS community center. More information is available on the reopening website.

Image via NCS

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Updated 8/10/2020 — Clarifies White started the advocacy group and how much money the GoFundMe raised.

Vienna pickleball players looking for facilities of their own in Fairfax County now have a new club and advocacy group.

Sally Unger, a new ambassador for pickleball in Fairfax County, wants to persuade county officials to further support pickleball players by providing more and better facilities. 

She has created the Vienna Pickleball Club Facebook group, which was created in June and now boasts 92 members. After the Vienna Pickleball Club formed, Unger said Helen White, the USAPA District Ambassador for Northeast Virginia and D.C., started the Fairfax County Advocates for Pickleball (FCAP).

In Fairfax County, there are zero courts dedicated to pickleball, according to Unger. Instead, players have to adapt the game to tennis courts, which Unger said makes for an inauthentic game. For example, a pickleball net is shorter than a tennis net, and both games have different court lines. 

“It’s pretty frustrating,” said Unger, who is one of the advocacy group’s members. 

FCAP is fighting for a facility pickleball players can claim as their own. 

Unger’s three goals upon becoming an ambassador were to create a pickleball club, collect data about pickleball activity in the county and to understand how funding within the county works to ask for more support. She recently sent out a survey measuring trends and demographics within the pickleball community to bring to the county. 

While pushing for official pickleball facilities, FCAP is also looking for derelict tennis courts to save and remodel for pickleball play. They are already working with the Town of Vienna to consider resurfacing Vienna’s Glyndon Court into four pickleball courts. 

According to Unger, the public reception to the club and the advocacy has been “phenomenal.” One supporter of the group created a GoFundMe to raise money for nets, locks and other court essentials. The GoFundMe raised more than $1,900 in 72 hours, Unger said. 

Unger also credits some of the sport’s popularity to the pandemic — since the game is played outside and players are relatively distant, it makes for a safe way to stay active.

“It’s a great way to meet people and build a sense of community,” said Unger. “When we’re restricted to our own yards and it’s the only outlet where I have social contact, it keeps me sane.” 

People with questions or who are interested in joining can email [email protected] or visit the Vienna Pickleball Club’s Facebook page. 

Photo by Frankie Lopez/Unsplash

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Want to help lead the Fairfax County Democratic Committee? The political committee is currently looking for a new executive director.

Frank Anderson, the former executive director, will now serve as Fairfax County Supervisor-elect James Walkinshaw’s Chief of Staff, according to Blue Virginia.

Interested applicants can expect a pay range between $50,000-$60,000 along with benefits.

Here’s the job summary:

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) is seeking an energetic, forward-looking, self-starter as a full-time Executive Director to manage a broad spectrum of political functions for the County Committee and to manage the operations of FCDC’s office.

These duties include, but are not limited to, support of fundraising and volunteer recruiting, organizing volunteers and supervising interns, performing a variety of office and political functions, maintaining internal and external communications, ensuring equipment remains functional and the office operates effectively and efficiently, advising the Chair and Steering Committee on committee business and political operations, organizing various political events, and coordinating with political campaigns in Fairfax County.

The Executive Director is currently the only paid staff member of the committee but from time to time may be assisted by volunteers, interns, and contracted staff. The Executive Director works independently with general direction from the committee Chair and FCDC’s leadership.

The application is open until Jan. 15. and the new hire would start that month.

Image via Fairfax County Democratic Committee/Facebook

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Val Sotillo, Northern Virginia-based Realtor and Falls Church resident. Please submit your questions to her via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What can you tell me about living in the City of Fairfax?

Answer: The City of Fairfax is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, gets its name from Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, who had five million acres of land located in Northern Virginia. It is home to George Mason University but it’s more than just a college town. The city is rich in history and its attractive blend of commercial, office, retail and residential properties combines the charm of a small town with the opportunities of a thriving urban area.

What’s Great About The City of Fairfax:

Location — Fairfax is located minutes away from Tysons. It has its own Metro Station (Vienna-Fairfax) and it’s the last stop on the orange line. It is located off of Route 50 and I-66, which provides quick access to Dulles Toll Road, 495 and can take you to D.C. in 25 minutes. You can get to Dulles Airport in 20 minutes. Overall, it’s a great location.

Great sense of community — Fairfax has a great sense of community and they do an excellent job at keeping residents informed with all their news, events and activities with their monthly newsletter.

Things to do — Parades, festivals, fireworks, concerts, farmer’s market, bingo at the Fire Station… you name it! A few of my favorite events are Celebrate Fairfax, and the upcoming City of Fairfax Fall Festival, a festival with over 400 arts, crafts, food vendors, children’s activities and three stages of music and entertainment for all ages.

You can visit Civil War sites such as Ox Hill Battelfield Park, enjoy one of the many parks and recreational areas including basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. Or take Fido to the brand new Fairfax City Dog Park.

Scooters and bikes are now available for rent to stroll around the city, just keep in mind that the City of Fairfax does not allow e-scooters or e-bikes on sidewalks or walking trails, but they are permitted on the road and in bike lanes.

There are endless dining and entertainment options, but a few favorites are The Auld Shebeen for drinks, live music, or trivia, Sisters Thai and Artie’s for great food.

Here’s a map with the best Fairfax attractions.

Housing

There are many different options for detached homes, townhomes and condos. Within the City of Fairfax limits there are 62 properties for sale, ranging from a 1 bedroom condo in Mosby Woods for $175,000, to a new custom built 5 bedroom single family home for $1,295,000. You can see the active listings here.

Seventy properties are under contract, ranging from a 1 bedroom condo at $179,900, to a new custom built, 5 bedroom single family house at $1,295,000.

In the past 6 months, 41 condos were sold for a median price of $220,000; 36 townhouses were sold for a median price of $646,500; and 149 single family homes sold for a median price of $575,000.

What’s Next For Fairfax City?

Amongst current developments, Point 50 is under construction (10412 Fairfax Blvd) with 48,199 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store under 30,000 square feet and 18,000 square feet of additional retail/restaurant space. Scout on the Circle is another development close to completion.

The city is definitely keeping up with the ongoing growth and development and continues to evolve to accommodate changing needs of residents and businesses. The City of Fairfax 2035 Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the City Council and it was developed around 14 content areas, categorized into the Land Use, Multimodal Transportation, Environment and Sustainability, Economic Development, and Community Services chapters.

Their goal for 2035, is to be a city with a close-knit community and a population that is diverse in its culture, demographics and lifestyles, that capitalizes on its location in the center of the growing region and with easy access to the nation’s capital.

I will keep you posted!

If you’d like more information, or would like a question answered in my bi-weekly column, please reach out to [email protected]. I hope to hear from you soon.

Val Sotillo is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite #10C Arlington, VA 22203, 703-390-9460.

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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has the opportunity to step up their safety protocols thanks to a new grant.

The fire department is one of 25 departments across the nation that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) thought would benefit from a pilot program that helps departments develop a community risk assessment tool.

The $7,000 grant includes a data analytics system that allows the fire department to identify risks to property and life while also finding different conditions that exacerbate the threat.

The money will go towards the creation of a personalized dashboard that will be active through July 31, 2020 and specialized training to accompany the program, according to the department.

“Not only will access to the tool give us invaluable information about our community’s needs, but it is rewarding to know that using the tool will increase its effectiveness and help other fire departments in the long run,” Battalion Chief George Robbins, who leads the department’s community risk reduction department, said.

This September, the NFPA will hand out another 25 grants to departments. The departments are chosen based on size, geography, community support and other indicators. So far, 150 departments have applied for the grant.

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The long-awaited Tysons Technology Park near Leesburg Pike is about a month away from opening.

The athletic field just south of the intersection of Leesburg Pike and the Beltway will replace a surface parking lot with a five-level parking garage and a full-sized athletic field. The athletic field includes amenities like LED lighting, bleachers and bicycle racks.

The project was built as part of a proffer — an accommodation from a developer to qualify for zoning exemptions — from the Meridian Group for the nearby Boro project. Once opened, the field will be operated and maintained by the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Mike Killelea, a communications manager with construction contractor L.F. Jennings, said the project is a few weeks from completion.

“We should be turning it over to the Park Authority by the middle of May,” said Killelea “We should be done with construction by May 1.”

Killelea said after the handover to the Park Authority, the project will likely have to go through some paperwork and review before the it opens. Staff at the Park Authority said that until the park is handed over, it would be difficult to determine exactly how long that process will take, but that ribbon-cutting for the park is still tentatively planned for mid-late May.

Image courtesy L.F. Jennings

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