Newsletter

Morning Notes

IBM and Chima buildings at Towers Crescent in Tysons (photo by Phil Foss/Novafoto.co)

Fairfax County Leader Criticizes Senate Vote on Masks — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the Virginia Senate for passing a bill that would let parents opt out of school mask requirements, arguing that it usurps local school boards’ authority. He says local officials have asked the governor to work with them on “an offramp” for when to stop using masks but “have not received any response to that suggestion.” [Jeff McKay/Twitter]

I-66 West Ramp to Vienna Metro Reopens — The ramp from westbound I-66 to the Vienna Metro Station, via an exit to Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard, has reopened to traffic after an extended closure that began on Jan. 21. The closure was needed for utility work related to the project to extend the I-66 Express Lanes from I-495 in Dunn Loring. [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Park Authority Highlights History of Freedom Hill — “Drive through busy Tysons, Virginia, and the traffic, buildings and construction make it hard to imagine the place as anything but a busy urban center. But did you know that it was once a rural community made up of free Black Fairfax County citizens?” [FCPA]

Tysons Company Faces Facial Recognition Concerns — “Two days after the Internal Revenue Service said it would transition away from using facial recognition for taxpayers to access certain IRS documents online after a wave of privacy complaints, Tysons, Virginia-based ID.me said it would make the use of ‘selfies’ optional for all of its government clients.” [WTOP]

Farmers’ Market Managers Sought — The Fairfax County Park Authority is currently recruiting volunteers to manage its 10 farmers markets, including a McLean market that will operate from May 6 to Nov. 11 at Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road). The market managers provide on-site support by setting up supplies, enforcing rules, answering questions, and helping with vendor selection and community outreach. [FCPA]

Photo courtesy novafoto.co

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I-66 trail map near Vienna (via VDOT)

Fairfax County is looking for $7.3 million to help create two links for the upcoming I-66 trail.

The county’s Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead on Tuesday (Jan. 25) for its transportation director to apply for the funds via the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

One of the links is a 5,000-foot-long cycle track along Country Creek Road/Virginia Center Boulevard and a 10-foot-wide paved path along Sutton Road near the Vienna Metro station. The connection would run from the Nutley Street interchange to Blake Lane.

“Funding will assist in completing a high-quality, long-distance active transportation route along the I-66 corridor, conveniently connecting a large segment of Fairfax County population to transit facilities, employment centers, recreational destinations, and other jurisdictions,” county staff said in the board meeting package.

It’s part of the I-66 trail and the application serves as an integral connection, Fairfax County Department of Transportation spokesperson Robin Geiger said.

FCDOT confirmed the project had been unsuccessfully submitted for funding from NVTC before. It previously received a score of 47 out of 100, and the transit group advanced higher-scoring transit proposals.

Geiger said it’s common for funding requests to be renewed, though.

The trail is part of a package of projects that the board sent to NVTC for consideration in the fifth round of its I-66 Commuter Choice program, which funds transit and capital improvement projects in the corridor using highway toll revenues.

Another NVTC funding application the county agreed to seek was $4.3 million for an I-66 trail segment that would cover a 2,750-foot-long portion from the Monument Drive commuter parking garage to the West Ox Road transit center.

Additionally, the board approved seeking $1.2 million in funding to help continue funding Express Route 698 connecting the Vienna and Pentagon Metro stations and $2.2 million to increase bus service on that route.

Funding decisions for the fiscal year 2023-2024 I-66 Commuter Choice program could be announced in May from NVTC, followed by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in June. Virginia’s fiscal year starts on July 1.

Photo via VDOT

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Morning Notes

I-66 Ramp Near Vienna to Close Tonight — The ramp from westbound I-66 to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station will close for approximately three weeks start at 11 p.m. today (Friday). The closure is needed for utility work related to the I-66 Express Lanes expansion. Drivers will be detoured via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) South and I-66 East, with the Nutley Street exit as an alternative. [VDOT]

What Happened to Yesterday’s Snow — “After our forecast of a coating to two inches of snow in the region, most places saw no accumulation Thursday morning. Some spots didn’t even see a flake, only raindrops…The flawed predictions can be traced to computer model errors and the inability of human forecasters to adequately account for them.” [Capital Weather Gang]

ABC Stores Change Hours Due to Covid — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Authority will adjust operating hours at all of its stores to noon starting Monday (Jan. 24), citing reduced staffing capacity due to COVID-19 cases among workers. Closing hours remain the same, and curbside pickup and delivery services are still available. [WTOP]

McLean School Awards Student for Service — “The Potomac School has announced its first-ever Potomac School Award for Exemplary Service to recognize individuals who make a difference through service to others. The inaugural award went to Ericc Powell, a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland.” [Patch]

County to Talk Affordable Housing — “Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, in partnership with the George Mason School of Business, is planning the third annual Fairfax County Housing Symposium for Thursday, March 17, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Affordable Housing: A Foundation for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Opportunity.'” [Housing and Community Development]

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County Police Bust International Burglary Ring — “The pattern was quickly becoming familiar to Fairfax County police: an expensive home; Asian or Middle Eastern residents; a rear door or window smashed; and jewelry and luxury goods taken but expensive electronics left untouched.” [The Washington Post]

I-66 Lane Closures in Vienna Start Tomorrow — I-66 East will be reduced to a single travel lane approaching Cedar Lane in Vienna during overnight hours, starting at 10:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday). Lasting until 5 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 20), the closures will allow workers to install bridge beams for a new access ramp to the future I-66 Express Lanes. [VDOT]

FCPS Turns to College Students for Substitute Teachers — Fairfax County Public Schools has opened substitute teaching positions to college students in a response to high vacancy rates. The school system’s substitute teacher fill rate is typically about 80%, but it has hovered around 70% during the pandemic, dropping to 55-60% during the current COVID-19 surge. [WTOP]

Original Fairfax County Chief Fire Marshal Dies — “It is with great sadness that the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department announce the passing of retired Fire Administrator, and first Chief Fire Marshal, Willis H. “Bill” Burton, Jr. Chief Burton passed away peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by family, on Sunday, January 9 at the age of 91.” [FCFRD]

Electoral Board Gets New Member — “Christopher P. Henzel was recently appointed and sworn in by the Fairfax Circuit Court as a member of the Fairfax County Electoral Board for a three-year term. He replaces Steve Hunt, whose term ended after serving eight years on the board.” [Fairfax County Government]

McLean Central Park Revision Meeting Set — “The public is invited to attend an information meeting on the McLean Central Park Development Concept plan on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held online so that members of the public can participate safely and conveniently from their homes.” [FCPA]

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An aerial view of the old Gallows Road bridge in October 2021 next to the new span currently serving two-way traffic (via VDOT)

Eastbound drivers on I-66 can expect overnight delays this week as crews demolish the old Gallows Road bridge in Merrifield.

Crews are taking apart an old concrete deck with jack hammers, saw cutters, and hoe rams. The overnight work began last night (Sunday) and will repeat each night through Jan. 16.

A new Gallows Road bridge opened to traffic in October as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is adding express lanes, upgrading interchanges, replacing bridges, and improving pedestrian routes along 22 miles of the interstate from I-495 in Dunn Loring to Gainesville.

The hazardous conditions mean that three lanes on I-66 are closed to eastbound traffic starting at 10 p.m. each night this week. They will reopen at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on the weekend.

“Drivers should expect periodic stoppages of up to 20 minutes nightly Sunday through Thursday between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., and Friday and Saturday between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a news release.

Gallows Road will remain open, but there will be traffic shifts at times, and changes could occur. VDOT noted that people can receive project updates via email by signing up on its website.

The new Gallows Road bridge, which currently has four lanes, will eventually shift to just a northbound link over I-66. Once crews finish the demolition work, a new southbound bridge will be built.

“The bridge will include three lanes southbound and two lanes northbound (with width to add a third northbound lane in the future),” Justin McNaul, with the engineering consulting firm ATCS that’s assisting VDOT, said in an email.

The new bridge will be longer and wider than its predecessor. It will also feature 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes in each direction with a sidewalk to the north and barrier-separated path to the south in an effort to improve access, including to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.

The bridge is slated to be completed in the fall, and the new I-66 express lanes are expected to open in December.

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Morning Notes

Joint Statement Released on Settlement of FCPS Disability Lawsuit — As first reported by The Washington Post in late November, Fairfax County Public Schools has settled a lawsuit over its use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities. The students and disability advocacy organizations that filed the case say they hope “this resolution will ensure that no other student will ever have to experience such trauma.” [FCPS]

Thousands Donate Child Face Masks to County — “Thank you to the community for coming together to donate child face masks! We have collected 12,065 masks! Thank you to @FairfaxCountyPD for hosting the donations bin and @VolunteerFFX for all your help putting together donations!” [Ready Fairfax/Twitter]

Metro to Testify on Safety Issues in Congress — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) says he will call on Metro’s top leaders to testify at a congressional hearing about the safety issues spotlighted by October’s train derailment, which have kept more than half the transit agency’s fleet out of commission for almost two months now. Connolly, who represents Fairfax County, calls Metro’s failure to report the issues when they were discovered years ago “a mortal sin.” [NBC4]

Fairfax Stands Alone With Court Records Paywall — “While all other Northern Virginia jurisdictions provide free, remote public access to basic docket information for individual criminal and civil cases in circuit court, Fairfax County’s CPAN system costs $150 per quarter, or $600 per year.” [WTOP]

I-495 Lane Closures in Tysons Continue — “Lane closures and ramp closures on I-495 North and I-66 East will be implemented during the overnight hours again this week, December 13-17, as bridge beam installation for a new flyover ramp from I-495 North to I-66 West continues at the I-66/I-495 Interchange as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]

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Morning Notes

Franklin Sherman ES Kicks Off COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Rollout — “Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) kicked off the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5-11 today, when the school division welcomed First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to a clinic at the school where the first Polio vaccine was administered in 1954.” [FCPS]

Fire Department Now Accepting Toys for Tots — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is participating in the annual National Capital Region Toys for Tots campaign, where firefighters and paramedics collect new, unwrapped toys that will be delivered to children for the holidays. Collection boxes will remain outside local fire stations until 8 p.m. every day until Sunday, Dec. 12. [FCFRD]

National Airport Opens New Security Lines — “Passengers will see a new way through security at Reagan National Airport starting Tuesday at 4 a.m. It launches as air traveler traffic is picking up to nearly 30,000 passengers a day at DCA and that’s expected to increase with the busy holiday season just weeks away.” [DCist]

Extended Closure Scheduled for I-66 West Ramp at Nutley — “The ramp from I-66 West to Nutley Street North and South will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, November 12, continuously through 11 a.m. Monday, November 15, for paving operations. Traffic will be directed farther west to the exit to Vienna/Fairfax/GMU Station, stay to the right onto Country Creek Road, continue onto Virginia Center Boulevard, then at the traffic signal turn left to Nutley Street North or turn right to Nutley Street South.” [VDOT]

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Morning Notes

Victim of West Falls Church ATM Shooting Dies — “A 73-year-old man has died days after he was shot at an ATM in Falls Church, Virginia, during an attempted robbery, police said days after the attack. The victim was identified as Nelson Alexander, a loving, family-oriented man and involved member of his church who sang in the choir, his loved ones said.” [NBC4]

FCPS Hires Firm for Superintendent Search — The Fairfax County School Board has awarded human resources recruitment firm GR Recruiting a contract to conduct a nationwide search for Superintendent Scott Brabrand’s successor. Fairfax County Public Schools says parents, students, staff, and community members will be involved in the process, with the next superintendent taking over on July 1, 2022. [FCPS]

Another Full I-66 West Closure Coming Tonight — “All lanes of I-66 West approaching Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) will close Monday night, October 25, for continued bridge beam installation at the I-66/I-495 Interchange. Traffic will be detoured using Route 7 and I-495. Multiple lanes of I-495 North approaching I-66 will be closed, along with a full closure of the 495 Express Lanes North and associated ramps at the interchange so that this work may be implemented.” [VDOT]

Nonprofit Opens New Office in Vienna — “A nonprofit organization focused on providing day programs for adults with disabilities held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and talent show on Thursday as it celebrated the opening of its new administrative office in Vienna. The new office for the nonprofit SPARC is at The Church of the Good Shepherd, a United Methodist church located at 2351 Hunter Mill Road in Vienna.” [Patch]

County Board Looks at Waiving EV Permit Fees — “Fairfax County supervisors on Oct. 19 directed the county’s Department of Land Development Services to analyze the possibility of waiving permitting fees associated with installation of electric-vehicle infrastructure. The intention is to reduce barriers to switching to environmentally friendly alternatives, said Chairman Jeff McKay (D).” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Metro Announces Reduced Service Today — “As part of the investigation into the Blue Line derailment, Metro is holding out of service all of its 7000-series railcars, which is nearly 60% of its rail fleet. Without these railcars, Metro will operate about 40 trains tomorrow — offering a basic service pattern on all lines of trains departing about every 30 minutes.” [WMATA]

Why a Police Helicopter Dropped by Vienna on Friday — “Look what dropped into Vienna today — Fairfax 1, the FCPD helicopter! More than 100 children of police officers who were killed in the line of duty spent the day at the Vienna Community Center to participate in fun activities, including getting a close-up look at Fairfax 1.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Major I-66 and I-495 Closures Start Tonight — “All lanes of I-66 West approaching Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) will close nightly, Monday through Thursday, October 18-21, for continued bridge beam installation at the I-66/I-495 Interchange…Additionally, multiple lanes will be closed on the northbound I-495 general purpose lanes near I-66, as well as a full closure of the 495 Express Lanes, and associated ramps at the I-66 and I-495 interchange so that this work may be implemented.” [VDOT]

Vienna Hit by Pumpkin-Throwing Spree — Three different Vienna residents told police that someone threw a pumpkin at their parked vehicle overnight between Oct. 12 and 13. The tossed squashes shattered the windshield of a resident in the 500 block of Birch Street, shattered the rear window of a vehicle at 1200 Ross Drive SW, and damaged the trunk of a resident in the 900 block of Echols Street SE. [Vienna Police Department]

McLean District Police Report Robberies — Five or six men with a gun approached a victim in the 7200 block of Arlington Boulevard on Thursday (Oct. 14) and took personal property, according to police. Three days earlier, two men reportedly assaulted an individual and demanded property in the 7900 block of Tysons Corner Center. No injuries were reported in either case. [FCPD]

Volunteers Sought for Tysons Block Party — Celebrate Fairfax is seeking volunteers for its next Tysons Block Party, which will take place at the former Container Store now known as The PARC (8508 Leesburg Pike) on Friday and Saturday (Oct. 22-23). Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up through a form linked in the organization’s Twitter bio. [Celebrate Fairfax/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Metrorail Returns Normal Service After Train Derailed — “On Friday, October 15, normal service will resume on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. Intermittent delays are possible as the investigation into Tuesday’s derailment continues.” [WMATA]

Vienna ExxonMobil Now Serves Up Indian Cuisine — “Raja and Bindu Puri opened Chit Chaat cafe inside the gas station at 200 Maple Avenue E a few months ago. The husband and wife do all the prep and cooking. Their children Neil, Maggie, and Nikki take on respective roles in operations, finance, and social media. Although it’s not the family’s first restaurant, it’s their first one surrounded by fuel pumps.” [DC Eater]

Sexual Assault Reported Near Bailey’s Crossroads — Fairfax County police are looking for two men who reportedly broke into a woman’s apartment in the 6000 block of Knollwood Drive around 5:10 a.m. yesterday morning (Thursday). The woman told police that she woke up to one of the men sexually assaulting her. He punched her, and they ran from the apartment. [WTOP]

Tysons Senior Living Development Lands Construction Financing — “Mather, an award-winning senior living provider, announces that it has secured $300 million in construction financing for The Mather, a luxury Life Plan Community being constructed in Tysons, Virginia, with the syndicated transaction led by The Huntington National Bank. Expected to open in 2024, The Mather is a $500 million development.” [The Mather]

I-66 Paving Work to Close Lanes and Ramps in Vienna — I-66 East will be reduced from four to three travel lanes throughout the day tomorrow (Oct. 16), with just a single lane open overnight today and tomorrow. The Nutley Street North and South ramps will also be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for paving work as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]

Tysons Consultant Plans Major Spending — “Tysons-based consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton plans to step up its spending on acquisitions over the next few years, targeting companies…in areas such as healthcare technology and cybersecurity services, the Wall Street Journal reported. Booz Allen plans to spend about $4 billion between April 2022 and March 2025, largely on acquisitions, executives said last week at the company’s investor day.” [Fairfax County EDA]

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