Tysons, VA

People can provide feedback on Fairfax Connector’s proposed service changes for this fall, which include expanded service from the McLean Metro stop.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is asking people to submit input via an online survey, email ([email protected]), phone (703-339-7200, TTY 703-339-1608) or mail, according to the county’s website.

“FCDOT normally conducts several community input meetings on proposed changes to Fairfax Connector service, but as a result of current public gathering restrictions due to COVID-19, transit staff recorded a presentation which is available online for viewing instead,” the website said.

The proposed service changes include several routes — the existing 334, 340/341 and 721 routes and the new 722, 350 and 351 routes.

More about the proposed changes to the Tysons-area routes:

Route 721: Chain Bridge Road – McLean Metrorail Station – Includes expanded weekday midday service every 30-minutes from the McLean Metrorail Station to the George Bush Center for Intelligence (GBCI) facility in Langley, Virginia. The buses will operate with 30-minute headways.

Route 722: McLean Metrorail Station – GBCI – Includes new weekday express service every 15 minutes during morning and afternoon peak hours between the McLean Metrorail Station and the GBCI facility in Langley.

People can submit comments until Friday, June 5. A presentation on the proposed changes on YouTube, the routes’ draft schedules and a PowerPoint presentation are available online.

FCDOT plans to present the final proposed changes to the county’s Board of Supervisors in July and, if the board approves them, the changes will go into effect by or before Oct. 31, the email said.

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With sunnier and warmer days ahead, a portion of Tysons Blvd is poised to become a space for cyclists and pedestrians looking for more room to social distance.

Robin Geiger, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Transportation Department (FCDOT), mentioned the plans during a town hall with county officials yesterday.

“We’re going to close a portion of Tysons Blvd to allow for safer biking and pedestrian access for exercise, to increase social distancing, so people can get around Tysons,” Geiger said.

The upcoming closure is part of a pilot project with Tysons Partnership, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, Geiger said. While Geiger did not say when the partial road closure is expected or which portion will be closed, she said that FCDOT will announce more information soon.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik praised the project, saying that “it does take quite a bit of coordination” for the county and VDOT to work on road projects.

“I’m just thrilled,” Palchik said.

Closing roads to give cyclists and pedestrians more space during the pandemic has been gaining traction around the U.S., WAMU reported.

“I know bikes are being sold quite a bit these days,” Palchik said, adding that “we take this opportunity to improve our bikeability and walkability.”

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated 5/20/2020) Before Orange and Silver line stations temporarily close this Saturday (May 23), Fairfax County officials for the Tysons and Vienna areas want to know more about the closures’ impact.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn plan to hold a virtual town hall on Thursday (May 21), according to staff from Palchik’s office.

The discussion will include representatives from WMATA and the county’s transportation department.

All Orange and Silver line stations west of the Ballston station will be closed through the fall for platform reconstruction at the four Orange Line stations and work to connect the Silver Line with the upcoming stations running from Reston to Ashburn.

The town hall is set to start at 6:30 p.m. People can register online.

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The Fairfax County supervisors representing Tysons and McLean voiced support for a proposed change that would allow residents to access roads with restricted turns during peak-hours.

Currently, a joint program from the transportation departments for Virginia and Fairfax County restricts access to neighborhood roads during peak-hour traffic — including the residents.

Fairfax County has three cut-thru restrictions in place. Four additional ones are at various stages, including:

  • Dead Run Drive/Carper Street in McLean
  • Electric Avenue/Williams Avenue/Overlook Street in the Tysons area
  • Allen Avenue in the Falls Church area

Earlier this year, Virginia General Assembly passed a law allowing local jurisdictions to create a program to issue permits or stickers to residents to make turns into or out of a designated area during certain times of the day when those turns are not allowed.

Now, Fairfax County is considering creating the program with permits.

“Permits would not be available for visitors, caregivers, service providers, non-resident owners, relatives, or other non-residents,” according to a presentation to the Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday).

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has submitted a budget request for fiscal year 2021 to pay for the change.

“We have not received any funding to pay for this,” Henri Stein McCartney, a transportation planner for FCDOT, told the board.

While the supervisors mostly agreed that cut-thru traffic is — as Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay called it — a “bad problem” made worse by navigation software like Waze, they disagreed on whether or not to pursue the proposed change.

Chairman Sharon Bulova said that she is worried about not allowing people who need to get to the homes in the cut-thru area but aren’t residents.

Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross echoed Bulova’s concerns, saying that the program would create an “equity problem.”

“I don’t see anything that is broken here that needs to be fixed,” Gross said.

Gross also said that she does not support the “enormous” cost of the $230,000 software needed for the change.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust argued that residents should have access to the cut-thru areas, saying that the proposed change would allow more people in instead of keep more people out of the areas.

“Not being able to turn into your own neighborhood is what keeps neighborhoods from doing [the cut-thru program],” Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth said. “We need to have some sort of selectivity here.”

Other supervisors, like McKay, voiced indecision on the proposal.

FCDOT now plans to work on a draft ordinance for a Board of Supervisors public hearing.

Photo via Facebook

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Plans for a new speed hump aim to slow down drivers near a high school and senior center in Pimmit Hills.

Last Tuesday (Dec. 3), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors backed adding a speed hump to Griffith Road between Magarity Road and Lisle Ave.

The speed hump will be located in front of the building (7510 Lisle Avenue) that houses the Pimmit Hills Senior Center, the Pimmit Hills Alternative High School and the Pimmit Alternative Learning Center.

The county board voted to urge the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) to install the speed hump as soon as possible after residents in the area called for measures to reduce the speed of traffic on the road, according to county documents.

Back in October, FCDOT received support from the nearby community for the traffic calming plan for the road after FCDOT had an engineering study done on the road, the county said.

Now, the Virginia Department of Transportation will review the plan, which is a part of FCDOT’s Residential Traffic Administration Program.

The new speed hump is expected to cost $8,000, according to county documents.

Map via Google Maps 

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The new trails underway along I-66 now have a name: the “66 Parallel Trail.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the name on Tuesday (Nov. 20) for the trails that will be added by the county and the Transform 66 Express Lanes Project.

In addition to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) creating 22.5 miles of express lanes from I-495 to Prince William County, people can expect 11 miles of new pedestrian and bike trails in Fairfax County.

“Trail segments that cannot be accommodated within the highway right-of-way are to be funded by Fairfax County and constructed as part of VDOT’s locally administered projects,” according to county documents.

The county’s Department of Transportation (FCDOT) gathered name suggestions and held two public meetings in the spring. After 1,124 respondents took an online survey with name options, FCDOT staff recommended the “66 Parallel Trail” to the county board.

The names in the survey included:

  • Sixty-Six or 66 Parallel
  • Sixty-Six or 66 Ramble
  • Capital Gateway
  • Dogwood Trail
  • East-West Gateway
  • Heart of Fairfax Trail
  • Kaleidoscope Trail
  • Mid-County Trail

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook jokingly said that he wanted the name to be the “Smyth, Cook, Herrity and Smith Trail” — after the last names of the supervisors whose districts are affected by the name change.

Chairman Sharon Bulova said that “66 Ramble” was her favorite.

Images via VDOT

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strike against the contractor of Metrobus could affect service by the Fairfax Connector.

The union that represents Fairfax Connector drivers indicated that a strike is possible amid an ongoing labor dispute with Transdev, the operations contractor of the Fairfax Connector service.

The county has recently warned that ongoing negotiations for a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1764 could result in service delays. 

Here’s more from the county:

The Fairfax Connector operations contractor, Transdev, is currently negotiating a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1764, which represents Fairfax Connector drivers and mechanics. Even though Fairfax County is not a party to any labor negotiations between Transdev and labor unions, Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has encouraged negotiations in good faith with the goal of completing a new contract prior to the expiration of the current one on Nov. 30, 2019.  

FCDOT strives to provide effective communications and excellent customer service to our customers. We understand that you depend on us to take you where you need to go with reliable service. If the current negotiations are not successful and labor action occurs, FCDOT will communicate with passengers about service impacts and travel alternatives. 

The county offers updated about Fairfax Connector service online. Residents can also sign up for email service alerts through the county’s BusTracker.

This story was written by Fatimah Waseem 

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A meeting tomorrow night is set to give locals an update and a chance to comment on proposed changes to Magarity Road.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is gearing up to make walkway improvements to Magarity Road, which creates the border of where East Side neighborhood of Tysons stops and the Falls Church area of Fairfax County begins.

The project is set to provide a  continuous curb and gutter and an 8-foot-wide asphalt walkway along the south side of Magarity Road and in front of Westgate Elementary School, along with new crosswalks across the road at  Tremayne Place, Cherri Drive and Ware Road, according to county documents.

The project also plans to make the drop-off and pick-up turning movements at the school safer and relocate several bus stops.

More from Fairfax County about the project:

Residents of Pimmit Hills, the neighborhood south of Magarity Road, and the Westgate Elementary School requested a walkway on the south side of the street to allow more children to walk and bike to school safely.

The project will provide connectivity to the school, with other area planned trail projects, and to the McLean Metrorail Station.

The meeting is set to take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 13) at the cafeteria at Westgate Elementary School (7500 Magarity Road) in Falls Church.

At the meeting, FCDOT staff will give an update on the scoping and design changes since the June 2018 meeting.

People have until Nov. 27 to provide feedback and can submit comments online or in writing to FCDOT.

Map via Google Maps

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Plans to regulate motorized scooters are zooming ahead in Fairfax County ahead of the end of the year deadline for creating regulations.

Staff from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) and the Department of Cable and Consumer Services presented the proposed ordinance during the Transportation Committee on Tuesday (Oct. 29).

The county has until Jan. 1, 2020 to implement regulations on motorized scooters, skateboards and bicycles. After that date, the scooter companies can zoom around however they please.

Scooters are an increasingly popular alternative transportation option and are already in use in the county. (The City of Falls Church and the Town of Vienna are also in the process of creating their own pilot programs.)

The proposed ordinance would create a new chapter in the code that would exclude Capital Bikeshare. The ordinance would allow for an initial fleet size of 300 shared mobility devices — and up to a maximum of 600 after the company’s meet certain requirements, according to the presentation.

Scooters would be allowed on highways and sidewalks — unless signs say otherwise, according to the presentation.

Rebecca Makely, from the Department of Cable and Consumer Services, said that county staff knocked down the proposed speed limit from 15 to 10 miles per hour.

“We do believe that this is a conservative approach,” Makely said, adding that the county is considering pedestrian safety along with the proposal.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who has expressed concern about a 15 mph speed limit, said that Tysons Partnership wants to see higher speed limits and larger numbers of vehicles allowed.

Next Tuesday (Oct. 29), the Board of Supervisors is set to vote on whether or not to authorize a public hearing about the proposal on Nov. 19.

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Fairfax County officials are set to consider changes to the intersection of Swinks Mill and Lewinsville Roads in McLean later this fall.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is currently studying the intersection.

The study “included survey, operational analysis, intersection concepts and collaboration with Fairfax County,” Jenni McCord, a VDOT spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter.

A traffic signal, a traffic signal with intersection modifications and a roundabout are under consideration, she said.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said that the intersection would need more than a traffic signal to improve congestion and safety.

“Given the layout of the current intersection, installing a traffic signal is not straightforward,” Foust said. “Even though the intersection meets the VDOT warrants for a traffic signal, VDOT is required to evaluate other measures to make the intersection safer.”

Foust said that he plans to meet with VDOT and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation in late fall to discuss the options and funding.

“The final report is being drafted and should be completed later this fall, and will include high-level cost estimates for all three concepts being analyzed,” McCord said.

Map via Google Maps

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