Updated 11:15 a.m. — The VDOT in-person meeting will be held on Oct. 8, not Oct.7.
As traffic congestion increases on I-495, the McLean Citizens Association approved a resolution at last night’s meeting in support of a project to add express lanes.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is considering the express lanes as part of an expansion along the highway in McLean leading up to the American Legion Bridge
The changes, as they stand, would extend the I-495 Express Lanes north from the I-495 and Dulles Access Road interchange up to the American Legion Bridge and add two new tolled express lanes in each direction.
Discussion during MCA’s meeting last night on the express lanes focused on environmental concerns and the Maryland Department of Transporation’s plans to update its side of the bridge.
When it comes to environmental factors, the proposed changes would destroy 118 acres of trees and interfere with Scott Run’s Nature Preserve along with the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, according to the proposal.
Yet another concern with the removal of trees would be the elimination of sound and visual barriers for some McLean residents, a board member said.
To minimize harm to the trees, MCA requested in the resolution that VDOT conduct a study to determine the species of trees that will be removed and that VDOT tries to minimize harm to healthy and established foliage, like having a replanting program.
Additionally, the project currently does not have a stormwater management plan, despite evidence that watersheds and drainage ponds would be interrupted.
The MCA indicated conditional support for the project as long as VDOT address these issues and make amends for potential damage.
“[The] greatest impact of the project will fall on the Scott’s Run Nature Preserve and GW Parkway. And every effort should be made to minimize the footprint of the facility and avoid temporary use of parkland during construction,” an MCA board member said at the meeting.
In terms of MDOT’s involvement with the project, many board members expressed concern about misalignment with the state’s timelines.
For example, the VDOT 495 NEXT project is expected to be completed years before MDOT improves the American Legion Bridge and the portion of I-495 between the GW Parkway and I-270, according to the resolution.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said earlier this year that timeline misalignment would be a “huge” mistake.
Still, VDOT predicts that Virginia’s part of the work will reduce cut-thru traffic on local roads, increase I-495’s capacity and improve travel time on I-495 — even if Maryland doesn’t do anything, the resolution said.
Despite barriers and concerns, MCA Transportation Committee Chair David Wuehrmann suggested at the meeting that other board members vote in support of the resolution.
“If you’re not inclined to vote for this, you need to think about what will replace it,” he said, noting the importance of congestion relief on I-495.
Inevitably, the resolution passed last night by a 25-5 vote from the MCA board members.
Going forward, VDOT is scheduled to have an online public hearing on Oct. 5 and an in-person meeting on Oct. 8, according to an MCA board member.
Wuehrmann said that the MCA now has three goals when it comes to the 495 NEXT project — to reaffirm support for the project, encourage VDOT to commit to environmental relief and work toward congestion relief at the American Legion Bridge and connecting roads.
Image via Google Maps
Vienna Welcomes New Elected Officials — “The new Town Council members, elected during a year with a bumper crop of candidates but virtually no door-to-door campaigning, already are working well together, [new mayor Linda] Colbert said.” [Inside NoVa]
Citizens Group Calls for More Police Accountability — “The Fairfax County Police Department implemented multiple measures following a series of controversial incidents in recent years, but the McLean Citizens Association’s board of directors wants the department to do even more to make officers accountable.” [Inside NoVa]
New Names — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants school districts across the state to change school names that honor Confederate leaders, writing Monday in a letter to school board leaders that those names ‘reflect our broken and racist past.'” [Patch]
Call to Defund SROs — “Fairfax County NAACP and State Del. Kaye Kory (D) sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam Tuesday asking him to reallocate state funding away from supporting police officers in schools and putting it toward more school counselors.” [Patch]
Local Companies Land “Inno on Fire” List — Both McLean-based Somatus, which focuses on kidney care, and Tysons-based RunSafe Security made DC Inno’s list of the companies, organizations, people and initiatives focused on innovation. [DC Inno]
More Falls Church Businesses Get Micro-Grants — “This round was open to a wider range of small businesses and non-profit applicants than those awarded to 84 businesses in a first round in May… All 42 eligible applicants will receive funding thanks to the [Falls Church] EDA.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Ransomware Attack — “A DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) subsidiary has experienced a ransomware attack on some of its systems, the Tysons tech firm disclosed Monday. Xchanging is a global standalone insurance managed services business, according to a release from DXC. The company does not believe that the attack compromised any customer data, however, some customers currently do not have access to the platform.” [Washington Business Journal]
“Vienna is for Lovers” — “To aid small businesses during the pandemic, the Vienna-based owner of custom apparel maker French Press Printing has held T-shirt fundraisers in Vienna and Oakton. Now French Press Printing’s Sarah Bohn is featuring a local artist’s original work and donating a portion of proceeds.” [Vienna Patch]
Citizens Group Backs Subdivision — “The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board of directors passed a resolution July 1 in favor of a rezoning that would allow a three-house subdivision to be built at 8801 Jarrett Valley Drive.” [Inside NoVa]
Citizens Group Raises Concerns About Tysons Project — “A proposed Tysons development might be the right thing for a spot now occupied by low-rise commercial buildings, but the applicant should resubmit the proposal after making several improvements, McLean Citizens Association board members said July 1.” [Inside NoVa]
FCPS Town Hall Tonight — “Join FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Sloan Presidio, and director of the office of special education procedural support Jane Strong for an FCPS virtual Town Hall on Monday, July 6, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Tysons Company Donates Thousands of Masks — “Fairfax County received a donation of 15,000 FDA-approved KN95 masks from Portals Global, a Tysons-based consulting firm. Portals Global’s CEO Omo Igiehon said he chose Fairfax County as the donation recipient in order to give back to the community that he has lived in for 21 years.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
New Mayor, Town Council Members — “New Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert and the new Town Council will be sworn into office at a public ceremony on July 6. The ceremony will be held outside the Vienna Community Center at 6 p.m.” [Patch]
MCA Backs Building Changes for CityLine — “McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board members on June 3 unanimously backed a resolution supporting CityLine Partners LLC’s proposed development amendments to build one building instead of two at a site in [Tysons].” [Inside NoVa]
Fairfax Officer Arrested After Tasing Black Man — “The actions of a Fairfax County police officer who used a Taser to subdue an African American man on Friday were “horrible” and “disgusting,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. says… The officer, Tyler Timberlake, has been charged with three counts of assault and battery and faces up to 36 months in prison if convicted.” [Inside NoVa]
ICYMI: Hundreds Gathered at Falls Church Protest — “Hundreds of people filled Cherry Hill Park on Sunday afternoon for the ‘Falls Church Justice for Black Lives Rally.'” [Tysons Reporter]
High Demand for Libraries’ Curbside Pick-Up — “Across the entire Fairfax County library system, customers demonstrated their hunger for the library’s services by checking out 11,000 items from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, the first day of curbside service. For comparison, on the last Monday prior to branch closures in March, when libraries were operating at full capacity, there were about 12,500 checkouts between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.” [Vienna Patch]
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) June 5, 2020
A list started by a woman to “help local businesses in McLean get the word out” quickly became a resource naming roughly 300 businesses and charities in the D.C. area.
The project, created by Lori Boerner, consists of a Google Doc and map, so people either seeking assistance or wanting to help during the pandemic can efficiently find an organization that suits their needs.
Perusing the information provided, people will see a places collecting donations, restaurants offering takeout and delivery, fitness centers offing online classes, retail stores with curbside drop off and even corporate companies that are offering free services.
Part of Boerner’s inspiration for the project came from chatter from local forums and social media. She noticed that people wanted to help those in need but lacked a direct, coordinated list of resources.
“It was initially time-consuming,” she said, adding formatting the information and researching places took a substantial amount of time.
Now that the list is somewhat complete, she told Tysons Reporter that she still spends a few early mornings a week before work to update it with tips sent to her.
For example, the mother of a McLean teenager that works at Sweet Bites Café & Bakery told Boerner to help get the word out that the bakery is still open since its business has slowed substantially.
“A lot of it feeds upon itself — once people see it, they send things in,” Boerner said, especially since the list’s popularity continues to grow.
Since its creation, the list has been promoted by regional organizations such as the McLean Citizens Association, which Boerner is a member of.
Boerner had practice coordinating a similar list after she made one to assist people during the government shutdown in 2019.
“Things are different now and people are helping in any way they can,” Boerner said, adding that not everyone may be able to donate financially, but they can promote resources through social media channels and networks.
Image via Google Maps
In the coming weeks, a local nonprofit assisting community members facing food insecurity or homelessness will receive assistance from the McLean Citizens Association.
SHARE of McLean was chosen by the MCA at last night’s meeting (May 6) to be the recipient of incoming monetary donations to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is one of the most efficient charities we could possibly find,” MCA President Dale Stein said, adding that requests for food from SHARE have doubled since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
MCA members voted to donate a minimum of $1,000, which has already been crowdsourced, to the nonprofit.
“I really do think this is good for our community and MCA,” Stein said.
Several members at the meeting asked that MCA raise the match amount.
“Let’s get the $1,000 to SHARE and then set up a working committee to get more funds donated and send in a second donation later,” Sowjanya O’Neill, an MCA at-large member, said. “I know there are a lot of people out there who are in need right now.”
Ultimately, they came to a compromise to re-examine donation amounts in the future.
“We can always decide to increase that at future meetings,” Stein said, adding that the board will review the project and possibly add onto it.
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck/Unsplash
Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:
The Books Are Back — “The Mary Riley Styles Public Library’s temporary location in Falls Church [opened] this Monday, March 9 at 9:30 a.m. The trailers outside of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, 160 S. Oak St. will be home to the library while its permanent location on N. Virginia Ave. undergoes an expansion and renovation.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Firefighters Honor Owner of Little City’s Oldest Business — “On Friday, we presented Brown’s Hardware in Falls Church with a fire helmet honoring Mr. Hugh Brown… Mr. Brown’s father, Horace E. Brown, was one of the original trustees of the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department in 1925, and we can think of no better place to say ‘thank you’ than at Brown’s Hardware Store, our city’s oldest business at 127 years old, founded by Hugh’s grandfather in 1883.” [Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook]
McLean Group Reviews Tysons Redevelopment Plan — “The McLean Citizens Association board of directors got down to business quickly March 4, approving resolutions that touched on a redevelopment proposal and a proposed county-government plan amendment… The MCA board approved a resolution supporting plans by the Tamares Group to convert the former Gannett/USA Today headquarters building at 7950 Jones Branch Drive in Tysons into a commercial building with restaurants, retail, conference spaces and a fitness center.” [Inside NoVa]
New Coronavirus Cases in NoVa — “The Virginia Department of Health announced Monday night that two Virginia residents, the wife of the patient in Fairfax City and an unrelated patient in Spotsylvania County, have tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus COVID-19.” [Inside NoVa]
Small Fire at Tysons High-Rise — Sprinklers extinguished a “small fire” on the 11th floor of a high-rise in Tysons in the 1500 block of Anderson Road on Friday, March 6. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]
Oh deer! Earlier today Station 13, Dunn Loring, B-Shift worked with @FairfaxCountyPD Animal Control to free this little doe who got caught between fences. Once removed the uninjured doe was free to happily scamper away. #FCFRD #FairfaxCounty pic.twitter.com/S3sDDxBrtl
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) March 7, 2020
The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) is supporting a recent request for federal funding for work on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
MCA sent a letter on Feb. 17 to the Department of Transportation, urging support for the National Park Service’s grant applications.
The funding from the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program would help rehabilitate 8 miles of the parkway from Spout Run Parkway to I-495.
NPS is looking to:
- repave the road
- repair stormwater management systems and walls
- rehabilitate two historic, scenic overlooks
- replace guardrails
- construct new curbs
- build emergency turnarounds along the north end
“The condition of this stretch of the GW Parkway has been deteriorating, and urgent action is needed to perform reconstruction of this portion of the road system,” the letter notes.
More than 33 million vehicles per year travel on the GW Parkway, according to Fairfax County. Last year, emergency work had to fix the cause of a sizable sinkhole on the GW Parkway, disrupting traffic for months in the area.
Noting that the grant program is “highly competitive,” the letter goes on to say that the work will also improve the “historical and cultural characteristics that make the Parkway one of the most scenic roadways in the country.”
Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors is also backing the federal funding ask.
Image via Google Maps
A Tysons citizen group recently sent a list of concerns to Fairfax County officials.
The Greater Tysons Citizens Association was founded in 2008 and is made up of residents and organizations in the Tysons area, including the Vienna Town Council and McLean Citizens Association.
In the letter dated Jan. 29, the association noted that with the upcoming 10-year-anniversary of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, the group is worried about the impact of Tysons’ transformation on surrounding communities.
The letter was sent to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and School Board.
The letter goes on to outline four main concerns:
- traffic congestion
- reaching the goal of 20 urban athletic fields in Tysons
- infrastructure funding and Tysons school planning
- recent interpretations of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan
The association then provided requests for each item.
For traffic congestion, the association would like the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to look into short- and long-term solutions with community members.
As the athletic fields, the group would like the Board of Supervisors to revisit a follow-on motion decision that allowed a developer of The View to make a monetary contribution to be allocated to a community center.
“We urge investigating and pursuing other funding sources for construction of the Tysons community center,” the letter says. “We urge the PC and BOS to return to the long-accepted practice of requiring in-kind contributions rather than monetary contributions when the calculated field contribution exceeds 1/3 field.”
The association had several suggestions for the school issue:
- complete the revamp of the methodologies used in the capital improvement and proffer formula for better school population projections
- increase staffing in the facilities branch of FCPS
- identify and implement new options to acquire land and fund construction of new schools
Finally, the group requested that the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have an in-depth review regarding interpretations of the comprehensive plan and any “potential ramifications.”
Tysons Reporter received a copy of the letter from the McLean Citizens Association (MCA).
Sally Horn, the chair of the Greater Tysons Citizens Association, is set to discuss the letter with the MCA tonight.
The MCA meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).