Tysons Corner, VA

Fairfax County is looking to scrutinize Fairfax Connector routes for riders around the Tysons area starting next year.

The county plans to start looking at five-year route optimization next year for riders in the Vienna and Merrifield areas next year, FCDOT officials told the Board of Supervisors during the Transportation Committee meeting today (Tuesday).

Then, the county would turn to Tysons, McLean and Falls Church areas in 2021.

Currently, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is seeking the public’s input on proposed service changes to routes in Herndon and Reston.

FCDOT is looking at Fairfax Connector routes because overall ridership is below targetted levels, according to the presentation. Additionally, shifting demographics and job opportunities have changed travel patterns.

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Restoration recently finished on a stream in McLean as part of Fairfax County’s larger efforts to improve water quality and reduce flooding.

Restoration started at Bull Neck Run, a stream just north of Tysons, in 2018 and included improving the ecological function of the stream and extracting nitrogen and phosphorous from the soil.

Before the project, the banks of the stream were eroding and the stream bed was identified as instable.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust celebrated the project’s completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday (Oct. 21).

“Projects like this will help ensure the health of our watersheds for generations to come and I look forward to continue working with the community on these improvements,” Foust said in a press release.

The project cost $1.6 million and was funded through the county’s stormwater service district.

Lewinsville Coalition, a local advocacy group, provided input during the project’s design and construction, along with pushing for trails to stay open while work was underway, according to a press release from Foust.

“The work involved restoration of approximately 2,000 linear feet of Bull Neck Run and several tributaries and will remove 800 pounds of nitrogen and 71,000 pounds of suspended solids per
year,” according to the press release.

Work to restore the native trees along with other landscaping is expected to wrap up next month.

The project is the latest stormwater project completed.

Upcoming projects include the restoration of Dead Run toward Georgetown Pike and work on Tucker Avenue in Falls Church.

Photo courtesy John Foust 

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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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Tonight, locals can find out more information about the status of the project to bring new sidewalks to Chesterbrook Road in McLean.

The work plans to stretch along the road from Chesterford Way to Maddux Lane.

“The project will include a new 5-foot wide sidewalk, curb and gutter along the south side of Chesterbrook Road, with storm sewer and water utility infrastructure improvements,” according to Fairfax County.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will hold the meeting tonight at Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road) at 7 p.m.

The project is the latest of nearby sidewalk improvements in McLean.

Map via Google Maps

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Swinks Mill Road Reopens in McLean — Severely damaged by flooding in July, the road at Scotts Run reopened Friday (Oct. 18). [VDOT/Twitter]

McLean Resident Retires From NVTC — “Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) president and CEO Bobbie Kilberg is set to retire on June 30 after 22 years leading the organization.” [Technical.ly]

Pedestrian Killed Along Route 50 in Falls Church — “A police cruiser struck and killed a man who was crossing an intersection in West Falls Church, Virginia, early Sunday morning, police say.” [NBC4]

Home Catches Fire in Dunn Loring — Firefighters responded to a house fire in the 8100 block of Timber Valley Court in Dunn Loring area on Saturday. The fire is now out. “No reported injuries at this time.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]

How Walkable is Tysons? — Find out what it’s like to stroll around Tysons with a walkability researcher, who measured the noise levels and air quality. [Greater Greater Washington]

New Leader at McLean Private School — “BASIS Independent McLean, a preK to grade 12 private school in McLean, Va., recently named Paul Geise as its head of school. As a veteran educator with more than 40 years of experience, Geise excels in leadership of schools in the United States and United Kingdom, specializing in strategic plans and fostering student and community development in schools.” [Patch]

Marshall HS Students Visit Capital One HQ — “Members of Marshall High’s Latinos United Club took a field trip to Capital One’s headquarters in McLean to meet with their mentors. Students learned about the vast career opportunities in technology at Capital One and participated in various activities with the mentors including job shadowing, panel discussions, and a tour.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

USA Today May Phase Out Print Edition — “After a nearly 40-year run, USA Today and its digital sites are about to undergo a major restructuring that will include building up digital marketing while phasing out the print edition.” [Poynter]

Falls Church Receives High Bond Ratings — “For the second consecutive year, the city has earned the highest credit rating from all three major bond rating agencies.” [City of Falls Church]

Falls Church Polling Place Moved — “Due to delays in a renovation of the Falls Green apartments (formerly Oakwood), the City of Falls Church’s Ward 2 polling place has to be moved for the upcoming Nov. 5 election.” [Falls Church News-Press]

New Natural Health Center in Vienna — “The Health Improvement Center, a natural health care center, has moved to a new location in Vienna. The move to a larger space happened in August, while a ribbon-cutting is set for Nov. 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The new location is 407 Church Street NE Suite C.” [Patch]

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(Updated 10/21/19) Firefighters extinguished a blaze that broke out in a McLean home this afternoon (Friday, Oct. 18) near the Charles Wesley United Methodist Church.

Firefighters from Fairfax and Arlington counties were dispatched to the fire in the 1700 block of Maxwell Court shortly after 4 p.m. today (Friday).

“Crews checking for extension,” according to a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweet. “One person being transported [to the hospital] with minor injuries.”

The one person who was home at the time of the fire sustained minor burns while trying to extinguish the fire, according to the fire department.

“The occupant was cooking on the stove when the oil ignited in the pan,” the fire department said in a press release. “The cause of the fire was the auto-ignition of cooking oil that spread to nearby combustibles.”

The fire department said that the person was displaced because of the accidental fire, which totaled roughly $123,750 worth of damages.

Map via Google Maps

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The two candidates vying for the Dranesville District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors debated last night in McLean.

The debate was hosted by the League of Women Voters-Fairfax Area at the McLean Community Center last night. Incumbent John Foust and Republican Ed Martin sparred on issues ranging from traffic congestion to gun regulations.

While they both agreed that it’s difficult to afford to live in the county and that focusing on climate crisis is important, the two men took very different approaches to how they would tackle the issues in the audience-submitted questions.

Foust pointed to his experience on the county board — he was first elected in 2007 — to emphasize that the local government will continue to make progress, pointing to the expansion of Balls Hill Road at Georgetown Pike to address traffic and the county’s conversion of existing streetlights to LEDs.

“We’re doing what’s necessary to prepare for the growth,” Foust said in response to a question about infrastructure and population growth. “[We need to do] more of what we’re doing.”

Meanwhile, Martin, who moved to Fairfax County three years ago and currently lives in Great Falls, pushed for lower taxes, more pressure on Richmond and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan about the traffic on I-495 and reconsideration of the One Fairfax policy — a social and racial equity policy.

“I reject One Fairfax,” Martin said, adding that equity is in the eye of the beholder. “Don’t we like equity? I like exceptional.”

While the debate was mostly civil, the conversation became heated around guns and whether Fairfax County should be a “sanctuary county.”

Foust passionately said that he supports banning guns from public facilities. “It’s scary. It is not fair to people,” he said.

While Martin said that he would defer to law enforcement’s opinion on guns in public facilities, his answer mostly criticized Foust for not taking enough action on the trailers at McLean High School.

“Having trailers behind a school is not safe,” he said before transitioning to his position that sanctuary counties can lead to violence.

Foust responded that he wants to see the trailers go away as well. While Martin noted safety several times throughout the debate, Foust said that Republicans wanting to limit gun regulations have made “none of us safe.”

“We are constantly rated the safest community for our size in the country,” Foust said, adding, “We are not a sanctuary county. I will tell you, we don’t go out and enforce civil warrants by ICE.”

By the time the debate wrapped up, the candidates had taken several jabs at each other.

Martin said Foust’s “I delivered” statements show Foust is part of antiquated leadership, while Foust dragged Martin for being a newcomer to the area — “I have never seen you at a community event” — and also for not filing some of his campaign finance reports.

The election is on Nov. 5.

Images via Fairfax County and voteedmartin.com

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(Updated 10/18/19) In-person absentee voting starts today (Thursday) at the McLean Governmental Center, along with several other locations around Fairfax County.

In total, 10 locations will offer in-person absentee voting until Saturday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m. — the last day to vote absentee in-person.

Voters in the Tysons area can head to the McLean Governmental Center (1437 Balls Hill Road) and the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive) between 3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

All of the locations will be closed on Sundays.

The last day to apply for an absentee ballot was Oct. 29.

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The McLean Medical Building’s days are numbered now that Sunrise Senior Living is building a senior living facility on the site.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved the facility, which will add 140 beds, 40 employees at peak times and a public garden, along with open space for private use by the residents.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust praised Sunrise at the meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 15), calling the facility’s public garden “an excellent contribution to downtown McLean.”

Sunrise tried to bring a senior living facility to McLean two years ago.

In 2017, the board nixed Sunrise’s plans to open a facility at 1988 Kirby Road over concerns that it would overwhelm the surrounding residential area and worsen traffic.

“The last time Sunrise came before this board in Dranesville, it wasn’t this much fun,” Foust said. “The funny thing was a lot of the testimony pointed to this [location].”

Now, Sunrise plans to raze the McLean Medical Building on the site at 1515 Chain Bridge Road. A historical link was uncovered earlier this year tying the building, which is not listed on any official historical register, to the doctor behind the first polio vaccine.

“They have taken the perfect site and done it exactly right,” Foust said.

First image via DPZ, second image via Fairfax County

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Work to fix cracked sidewalks and replace old benches in McLean is slated to happen by the end of the fiscal year 2020.

The improvements are apart of Fairfax County’s efforts for five community revitalization district (CRDs). The Department of Public Works and Environmental Service runs the CRD maintenance program.

A six-month-long study identified 28,000 features, including benches, bike racks and bus shelters within the CRDs that the county could maintain.

“The CRD program is responsible for slightly more than half of the features, with the other half maintained by utilities or the private sector,” according to the county.

PJ Tierno, one of the CRD program managers, told the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday (Oct. 8) that people will see old benches replaced and cracked sidewalks fixed in McLean within the upcoming fiscal year.

So far, the program has made 1,113 repairs in FY 2019 to trip hazards up to 2 inches deep in McLean through a company called Precision Safe Sidewalks, Tierno said.

Coming in FY 2020, 13,350 square feet of sidewalks in McLean are set to be repaired, Tierno said.

“That is the largest [square footage] of any of the CRDs,” Tierno said.

Old wooden benches in McLean will also be replaced, added.

“This is an awesome program,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said at the meeting, saying that he likes that the county is maintaining VDOT’s sidewalks.

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