Tysons Corner, VA

Construction recently started on a new trail in Tysons East that will connect Westgate Elementary School to the McLean Metro Station.

Scott’s Run Trail will provide a half-mile, 8-foot wide trail spanning Magarity Road to Colshire Meadow Drive near the McLean Metro station.

Robin Geiger, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, told Tysons Reporter that construction on the trail started July 8.

“Work is just starting now with the placement of erosion control items prior to grading activities,” Geiger said.

Located within Scott’s Run Stream Valley Park and Westgate Park, the trail will be lighted and include two bridges — a 90-foot bridge over Scotts Run Stream and a 50-foot bridge over a tributary.

The $3.3 million project is being funded by the Federal Regional Surface Transportation Program and Fairfax County.

Geiger said that construction plans to wrap up in next September.

Photo via Fairfax County Department of Transportation

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Construction on improvements to Kirby Road south of Chesterbrook Elementary School is slated to start in September.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation gave residents an update yesterday (Wednesday) on the sidewalks project spanning from Birch Road to Corliss Court along Kirby Road.

Latesa Turner, an FCDOT engineer, gave a presentation to a small group of people at Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road) last night shortly after 7 p.m.

The project would add the following new elements to Kirby Road:

  • a 5-6-foot wide concrete sidewalk and ADA-accessible curb ramps
  • concrete curb and gutter
  • drainage inlets and pipes
  • driveway entrances
  • pedestrian crossing and median refuge at Powhatan Street
  • re-alignment of Chesterfield Avenue intersection
  • water main reconstruction and upgrades
  • road pavement and striping

The first phase of the project, which will last between three to four months, will involve closing the westbound lane of Kirby Road to construct the water line relocation, according to the presentation. Drivers can expect traffic maintained in both directions during the lane closure.

Then, the second phase will involve closing the westbound lane of Kirby Road for drainage and utility work, along with work on the curb ramps, driveway entrances, sidewalk and gutter. The second phase is expected to last five to six months, according to the presentation.

The contractor will come out within the next week for clearing and tree removal. Then, construction will start in September. The first phase is slated to be done around December and most of the work will be completed by February. All of the work is slated to be finished by April 2020.

Once finished, Turner said that the Virginia Department of Transportation will maintain the sidewalks.

When asked why it took two years for the project to start construction, Turner said that many steps had to take place after the idea was approved including finalizing the plans, receiving VDOT approval, permitting and bidding for the project after the land acquisition in late 2017.

Despite some grumblings among attendees about waiting for the improvements, many expressed support for the upcoming work.

“I’m really glad you’re doing this,” one attendee told Turner toward the end of the meeting.

Image 4 via Fairfax County

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An upcoming meeting will provide the latest information on new sidewalks slated for a portion of Kirby Road in McLean.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation are scheduled to hold a public meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) evening about the project, which stretches from Birch Road to Corliss Court along Kirby Road.

The project includes new 6-foot-wide sidewalk, curb, gutter, storm sewer and water utility infrastructure on the north side of Kirby Road. The improvements are funded by County Commercial and Industrial Property Tax funds, according to the county.

The meeting will take place in the cafeteria of Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road) at 7 p.m.

Image via Fairfax County 

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Bus riders in the Tysons area can expect to see blue and white Fastran buses on some Fairfax Connector routes starting today (June 3).

The buses are meant to help riders impacted by the summer shutdown of several Metro stations during the summer.

The Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and Fairfax County Department of Transportation teamed up to bring Fastran buses to a few Fairfax Connector routes, as the Fairfax Connector offers more service on two express routes from the Springfield area to the Pentagon.

The Fastran buses will cover these Fairfax Connector routes:

“Fastran buses do not have route numbers and destinations listed outside of the buses,” according to Fairfax County. “The Fastran buses will stop at each bus stop on affected routes to make sure passengers know to board. When boarding, please look for a sign inside the bus to verify your route.”

Riders won’t be able to check real-time arrival information for the Fastran buses, since the buses do not have the technology. Fairfax County urges riders to get to their bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus’ scheduled arrival time, which can be found via the static schedule information on BusTracker and by texting 41-411.

Metro recently closed several stations on the Blue and Yellow lines south of Ronald Reagan National Airport for platform reconstruction that will last until September.

Fairfax County is deploying the Fastran buses through September.

Let us know below if the Metro shutdown will affect you during the summer.

Photo via UCM of Alexandria/Facebook

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An upcoming meeting this week will help select improvements for the intersection of Lewinsville and Spring Hill roads in McLean.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has two options for revamping the intersection.

The first alternative was chosen from alternatives discussed at a public meeting last May, while the second was developed after further review and considering community feedback, according to FCDOT.

FCDOT identified the intersection’s need for improvements during the Tysons Neighborhood Study.

“The intersection has a significant skew and experiences peak hour congestion, significant cut-through traffic, long queues and has a documented crash history,” according to FCDOT, adding that the intersection’s proximity to Spring Hill Elementary School also contributes to the recurring congestion.

A community meeting on Wednesday (June 5) will inform the community of the study background and status, along with seeking feedback on the two preferred alternative concepts.

The meeting will take start at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Spring Hill Elementary School (8201 Lewinsville Road).

Image via Google Maps

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Updated at 5:05 p.m. — Tysons Reporter interviewed FCDOT Director Tom Biesiadny, who provided more information about the driver shortage and advice for bus riders.

The Fairfax Connector currently doesn’t have enough bus drivers.

A service operation alert on the Fairfax Connector BusTracker website today (May 7) says that the shortage is affecting the entire bus system. The alert says:

The Fairfax Connector bus operations contractor is experiencing a shortage of bus drivers which is impacting service delivery. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate our passengers’ patience as the contractor is working diligently to recruit drivers and add staffing, when possible, to minimize further impacts.

Tom Biesiadny, the director of Fairfax County’s transportation department, told Tysons Reporter that work is underway with MV Transportation, the current bus system’s operator, on the shortage.

“We are working with the contractor to make sure we have the staff that is needed to operate the bus system on a daily basis,” he said.

In addition to the contractor hiring more drivers — something that Biesiadny said has always been a challenge in the area, FCDOT is working to figure out which routes will be least impacted by missed or delayed buses.

“What we’re trying to do is to ensure that if there are trips that are going to be missed that we make sure that it’s not affecting the same route all of the time,” he said.

He said that the driver shortage varies day by day, with Fridays tending to be more problematic. “This is a relatively recent problem to the extent it is affecting all of our trips,” he said.

The shortages began about a week after the announcement that Fairfax County awarded a five-year contract to Transdev North America to operate the Fairfax Connector starting July 1.

Biesiadny said that the contractor switch may be one of the causes behind the shortage.

“Anytime you’re transitioning from one contractor to another contractor there are uncertainties in the workforce,” he said. “I wouldn’t discount that. I wouldn’t say that’s the entire reason.”

Some people took to Twitter to share delayed buses — or ones that never showed up at all — have caused transportation headaches.

One person noted that the same driver shortage alert popped up earlier this month on Friday, May 3.

The reader who tipped Tysons Reporter off about the shortage also expressed concern for people using alternative transportation in the Tysons-area tomorrow (May 8) — the same day that some Uber and Lyft drivers plan to strike.

Biesiadny stressed the importance of planning trips and using resources like Twitter, Facebook, BusTracker, texting stop IDs to 414-11 and the customer service number as a way for people to find out the bus schedules.

“We’re trying to reach out to passengers but also we also want passengers to reach out to us,” he said.

Photo via Facebook

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Locals can provide input on proposed road improvements near Tysons Corner Center at a meeting tonight (Wednesday).

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) have teamed up to provide residents the opportunity to speak directly with road engineers and transportation planners at a community meeting.

VDOT and FCDOT are considering a redesign of the connection between Gallows Road, Tysons One Place and Route 7, possibly creating a three-way stop condition at the intersection of Kidwell Drive and Tysons One Place to improve traffic flow.

The design also suggests creating a designated space for left-turning vehicles and bike lanes in both directions on Kidwell Drive, which would complete the designated bike route between the Washington and Old Dominion Trail and downtown Tysons.

A separate proposal would stripe parking lanes where parking is allowed along West Street.

The meeting is set to start at 6 p.m. at the Providence Community Center at 3001 Vaden Drive in Fairfax.

The comment period for the proposal ends on April 3. Paving work will then start later that month and end in November.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Morning Notes

Skepticism About McLean Intersection Plan — “While there were a few who expressed their overall approval for Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s (FCDOT) recommendation for improvements to the Balls Hill Road and Old Dominion Drive intersection in McLean, the majority of those who attended the meeting at Cooper Middle School on the evening of Nov. 28 were less than satisfied with the outcome of more than two years of study and analysis.” [McLean Connection]

Disruptive Restaurant Employee Arrested — “Vienna police on Nov. 20 at 3:01 a.m. dispatched officers to Amphora Restaurant, 377 Maple Ave., W., after receiving a report that an employee, who appeared to be intoxicated, was yelling at customers.” [InsideNova]

Starbucks Customers Threatened in Falls Church — “Police responded for a report of an unknown subject approaching customers and threatening physical harm. Following an investigation, the suspect was identified, and the victim declined prosecution.” [City of Fall Church]

Flu Shots at Grocery Stores — “Giant Food announced today that flu shots are once again available at all of its in-store pharmacies for both adults and children. The vaccinations are administered by Giant’s certified in-store pharmacists and are often covered in-full by most insurance plans.” [FairfaxNews]

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