Tysons Corner, VA

Virginia is for lovers, but the “LOVE” letters currently in Merrifield are for boosting sales.

The sign is a traveling display making its way around Fairfax County after launching last month at Tysons Corner Center.

The letters are currently on display outside of Caboose Commons (2918 Eskridge Road), a Merrifield location for the Vienna brewery that opened last fall. The letters are positioned between the main building and the outdoor dining section.

Staff at Caboose Commons said the sign’s reaction has been positive so far.

“A few people have stopped by to get pictures with the sign,” the staff person said. “It’s boosted our visits so far.”

The sign is scheduled to remain at Caboose Commons until July 1, after which it will move to George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill near Mount Vernon, but it will return back to the area on July 12 for a stay at Wolf Trap.

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The regionwide Capital Bikeshare is now open in Merrifield.

On Friday, June 21, Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth kicked off the launch of Capital Bikeshare at the Dunn Loring Metro station.

The new stations are located at the Dunn Loring Metro station, the Mosaic District and Merrifield Town Center.

“These will be part of a network in Fairfax County including other stations in Tysons, Reston and West Falls Church,” said Smyth.

The expansion is part of a broader Capital Bikeshare expansion throughout Fairfax, with new locations planned along Route 123 in Vienna, City of Fairfax and George Mason University.

For a monthly $8 membership, bicycles can be used for any ride under 30 minutes for free. Trips under 30 minutes are available for $2 systemwide for non-Bikeshare members.

The Capital Bikeshare expansion is part of an ongoing effort by Fairfax County to close the gap between the Dunn Loring Metro station and the Mosaic District, including a recent proposal to add in an autonomous shuttle running back and forth between the two locations.

Photo via Fairfax County

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A proposal to launch an autonomous shuttle program in Merrifield was awarded a state grant, making it the first state-funded pilot of its kind in Virginia.

The Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board approved $250,000 in grant funding for Fairfax County to test driverless technology in public transportation, according to a press release. Fairfax County will provide $50,000 in local match funding to the pilot.

The program was the topic of extensive discussion at a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors work session yesterday (Tuesday). The pilot project will have an autonomous shuttle running from the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station to the Mosaic District, closing a 1-mile transit gap between the two locations.

The project is a collaboration between Fairfax County and Dominion Energy, which would identify, select and purchase the shuttles.

The shuttle would be free to ride with no ticket or pass needed.

The work session included a discussion of safety challenges related to operating an autonomous shuttle, particularly the challenge of getting the shuttle across Lee Highway. The press release noted that the shuttles will undergo extensive testing before passenger service can begin and a safety steward will be on board to monitor operations.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to consider the formal partnership agreement at the Tuesday, June 25, Board of Supervisors meeting.

Rendering via Optimus Ride

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Fairfax County is moving toward autonomous vehicles connecting the Mosaic District to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro.

At a work session today (Tuesday), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors reviewed plans to start a pilot program for self-driving vehicles as a shuttle service.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Leonard Wolfenstein, chief of the transportation planning section. “We have several partners in the public and private sector.”

Wolfenstein said the mile of distance between the Metro and the Mosaic District was one of the main reasons it was being eyed for the autonomous vehicle pilot.

“The Mosaic District is a vibrant and active growing sector of the county,” said Wolfenstein. “Mosaic is roughly a mile from the Metro, so it’s a great first-last mile type of environment to test this out.”

Under the planned partnership, Dominion Energy would identify, select, and purchase shuttles while Fairfax County government would oversee its operation. Who actually operates the shuttle is still to be determined.

Staff noted that concerns about safety, like how shuttles would affect pedestrians and cyclists, are still to be determined. In particular, staff said the “tricky situation” is figuring out whether the autonomous vehicles will safely be able to cross Lee Highway.

“The proposed path would create an environment where there are opportunities for all those users,” staff said. “At the end of the pilot, there will be a report published to establish a regulatory framework. This is the only pilot like this in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Clinton Edwards from the Department of Rail and Public Transportation said that the department was reviewing the business case for automated vehicles. Edwards said the department was considering cost, insurance, liability concerns and private-public partnership issues.

But for members of the Board of Supervisors, most of the questions focused on how to get the public on board with the idea.

“The key is to create buzz,” said Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust. “People need to think of Fairfax County when they think of autonomous vehicles.”

Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth said the partnership should rely heavily on Edens, the Mosaic District property management company, for that.

“Turn the marketing of this over to Edens,” said Smyth. “Let them do what they do best.”

Image via Optimus Ride

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Wednesday (June 19)

  • Kiki’s Delivery Service at Angelika Film Center7 p.m. at Angelika Film Center (2911 District Avenue) — As part of their Studio Ghibli summer festival, Angelika Film Center will be screening Kiki’s Delivery Service — the anime classic about a young witch striking out on her own — on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Thursday at 11 a.m. Tickets are $14.50.

 Thursday (June 20)

  • The Boro Summer Kick Off — 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at The Boro — Boro Tysons is hosting a summer kick off event with food trucks, music, lawn games and “puppy therapy.”
  • Summer Reading Party 7-8 p.m. at Bards Alley (110 Church Street NW) — The Bards Alley bookstore in Vienna is hosting a summer book party with finger foods and lemonade available. Booksellers will be in attendance sharing their favorite summer reads.
  • Vienna Stories Book Talk — 7:30 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) — Marie Kisner, a former public information officer for the Town of Vienna, collected newspaper stories about Vienna into a new book called “Vienna Stories 1950-2000.” Kisner is also planning a book signing at the Freeman Store on Saturday, June 22, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Friday (June 21)

  • Echosmith at Tysons Corner Center 3:30-9:30 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — HOT 99.5 and Tysons Corner Center are hosting a free concert with the band Echosmith. The show is scheduled to start for 6:30 p.m. but attendees are encouraged early to grab a seat.

Saturday (June 22)

  • Daylily Walking Tour 10:15-11:15 a.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court) — The Northern Virginia Daylily Society President Janice Kennedy will lead a walking tour through the gardens showing the daylily collection including a few award-winning varieties. The tour is free and those participating in the tour will have free admission.
  • Georgia Peach Truck — 12 p.m. at Merrifield Garden Center (8132 Lee Highway) — The Georgia Peach Truck is planning to roll into Merrifield at noon on Saturday with beaches brought up from Georgia available to be purchased by the box. One 23-25 pound box is $45.

Sunday (June 23)

  • Providence Democrats Unity and Summer Solstice Celebration — 4-7 p.m. at Nouvelle Apartments (7911 Westpark Drive) — Following a crowded Democratic primary that saw Dalia Palchik voted as the Democratic nominee for the vacant Providence District Board of Supervisors seat, Providence District Democrats are hosting a buffet and silent auction fundraiser with the nominees and the other candidates. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP early.

Photo via Meadowlark Botanical Gardens/Facebook

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Thursday (June 13)

  • Teacher End of School Year Happy Hour Party3-7 p.m. at Blackfinn Ameripub-Merrifield (2750 Gallows Road) — Blackfinn is hosting a celebration of teachers at the end of the school year with complimentary appetizers for teachers, prizes and giveaways, and drink specials. The event is free, but seating is limited.

Friday (June 14)

  • DevFest DC 20199 a.m.-6 p.m. at Capital One Center (1680 Capital One Drive) — The 8th annual DevFest DC — a meeting of developers throughout the region — returns this Friday. Industry expert speakers from technology companies and various coding sessions are planned throughout the day. Tickets are $70 for a regular pass if purchased before Thursday, or $100 if purchased on the day of the event.
  • National Flip Flop Day 2019 2-7 p.m. at Tropical Smoothie Cafe (2672 Avenir Place) — As part of “National Flip Flop Day,” anyone stopping in at the Tysons Tropical Smoothie can get a free 16 ounce Sunshine Smoothie.

Saturday (June 15)

  • Family Father’s Day Stroller Strides Class8:45-10:30 a.m. at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — The FIT4MOM group usually hosts exercise programs for mothers with babies, but the group is holding a special fathers-focused class. Tickets are available online.
  • Summer Concerts on the Green: Nowhere Men6:30-8 p.m. at Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) — Vienna’s free summer concert lineup starts with an acoustic Beatles tribute band, Nowhere Men. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs, but to leave their pets at home.

Sunday (June 16)

  • Bike Chains and Derailleurs Workshop9-11 a.m. at REI (8209 Watson Street) — A workshop at REI will help cyclists learn how to tune their bikes to avoid grinding gears, rubbing derailleurs and squeaky chains. Attendees can bring their own bike or practice on one at the store. Tickets are $40 for members or $60 for non-members.
  • Father’s Day Brunch and Dinner11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Inca Social (2670 Avenir Place) — Fathers get their first beer for $1 for a brunch and dinner special at INCA Social. Kids 6 and younger eat for free.
  • Dad Jokes on Father’s Day5-7 p.m. at Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — The Tysons Biergarten is hosting a comedy night specifically for the best — or worst — original dad jokes from several local comedians. Tickets to the comedy show are free.

Photo via Town of Vienna/Facebook

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Happy Friday — today is National Doughnut Day.

The U.S. national day takes place annually on the first Friday in June. If you want to celebrate, here are some spots around Tysons that sell doughnuts:

Camba Cafe

Doughnuts aren’t the only items on the menu at the Bolivian restaurant (7177 Lee Highway) in Falls Church. Camba Cafe also serves breakfast sandwiches, cheese bread, empanadas and lunch sandwiches. The cafe is open today from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken

The Falls Church location (7511 Leesburg Pike) offers doughnuts, fried chicken, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, coleslaw, tater tots and cheddar biscuits.

The June special doughnut flavors are cake batter, raspberry lemonade, chocolate espresso Cookies n’ Cream and blackberry passion fruit Boston cream pie.

The spot is open today from 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts will offer a free doughnut with any drink purchase today while supplies last at participating stores.

The chain’s local locations:

  • Tysons: 8119 Watson Street; open 24 hours
  • Merrifield: 2750 Gallows Road, Unit E; 5 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Vienna: 314 W. Maple Avenue; 5 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Falls Church: 101 E. Annandale Road; 5 am.-10 p.m.

Photo via Camba Cafe

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Updated at 8:45 a.m. on 6/12/19 — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has determined the fire was accidentally started in the knee wall space of the second-floor master bedroom by electrical malfunction involving the wiring circuitry to the HVAC unit. 

From the fire department:

One worker was present inside the house, and several workers were outside, when the fire was discovered. The worker inside noticed electrical arcing from the main electrical panel. 9-1-1 was then called. Smoke alarms were present but did not alert due to the location of the fire… The house was vacant at the time of the fire. Red Cross assistance was not needed. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $75,000.

Earlier: Firefighters have extinguished a fire that broke out in the attic of a Merrifield home.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted at 11:52 a.m. today (June 4) that firefighters were on the scene of the fire in the 2900 block of Cedarest Road.

The fire department then tweeted at 12:22 p.m. that the attic fire is now out.

A spokesperson for the fire department told Tysons Reporter that everyone in the house is OK and that the fire likely started in the attic area and spread up through the roof.

“Crews are performing gross decontamination cleaning on personnel to wash contaminates/potential carcinogens off firefighters’ gear,” the fire department tweeted at 12:48 p.m.

Catherine Moran and Vernon Miles worked on this story.

Map via Google Maps

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Fairfax County police officers decided to chip in to buy a new car seat for a Merrifield mom after she was in a car crash.

It all started when Officer E.J. Green from the McLean District Station stopped to make sure everyone in a two-car crash in Merrifield on Sunday (May 26) was all right.

No one was hurt, although one of the cars needed to be towed. Its driver — a mom who lives in Merrifield — decided to walk home.

“Green offered to take her child’s car seat to her so she wouldn’t have to carry it, but quickly noticed that the car seat was old and in rough shape,” the Fairfax County Police Department wrote in a Facebook post.

Green then talked to the rest of the McLean daywork — the A squad — about how the car seat wouldn’t protect the child, and they all decided to pool their money to buy a new car seat for the mom.

Green and Officer Brian Hungarter surprised the mom and her daughter with the new car seat about an hour and a half later at 1:30 p.m., a spokesperson for the police department told Tysons Reporter.

“The woman was grateful, calling the officers’ actions sweet, kind and unexpected,” the police department wrote on Facebook. “We applaud these officers for making a positive difference in the lives of our community members!”

Photo via Facebook

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