Tysons Corner, VA

Pedestrians will have to wait a few more weeks before the northbound sidewalk along Dolley Madison Blvd (Route 123) by the McLean Metro station reopens.

The sidewalk is maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Jenni McCord, a VDOT spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter.

“This sidewalk has been closed for about three weeks for construction under a developer site plan and permit,” McCord said.

The sidewalk is closed due to work related to Cityline Partner’s Scotts Run project, which will add an 8 million-square-foot mixed-use development.

The project includes several apartments and office buildings — including the completed 425-unit apartment complex called The Haden and the 14-story office building Mitre 4 — along with the Archer Hotel and retail space.

“Our site contractor is completing a new road connection to Route 123 and was required by VDOT to close the sidewalk during construction,” Cityline’s Managing Director Tasso Flocos told Tysons Reporter.

The new connection will include new asphalt pavement, ADA-compliant handicap ramps and pavement markings, McCord said.

The sidewalk will stay closed until paving is finished, Flocos said, adding that the contractor expects to be done by the end of October depending on the weather.

Until then, pedestrians can use the detour that takes them around the work area.

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Drivers have one week left to use the Vaden Drive Bridge over I-66 before it closes and gets replaced by a new bridge.

The bridge, which is near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station, will be closed for about 10 months starting at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.

The closure is apart of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s multi-year Transform 66 project.

“The previously announced bridge closure is expected to cut in half — from 24 months to 12 months — the time needed to demolish the existing bridge and construct a new one,” according to an update yesterday from VDOT. “This shortened schedule will help reduce construction impacts on adjacent communities and roadway users.”

A new bridge is getting built to accommodate more cars and the I-66 widening. People can keep a lookout for the construction to start on the new bridge in November, with an anticipated opening next September.

While the bridge is closed, drivers will be detoured to Nutley Street to get to I-66. Pedestrians will be detoured to the pedestrian bridge at the Metro station.

Demolition of the bridge is expected to be finished by early December, according to VDOT.

Crews will also work on the intersection of Saintsbury Drive and Nutley Street while the detour is in place.

The parking garages at the Metro station will remain open.

Image via Google Maps

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The developer of two mixed-use developments by the Spring Hill Metro will likely have to wait until next year for Fairfax County to determine the proposals’ fates.

Georgelas LLC is looking to redevelop car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road into developments called West Spring Hill Station and North Spring Hill Station.

The development — particularly West Spring Hill Station — has faced concerns from county staff and the Planning Commission, including the projects’ synergy with The View, school overcrowding, and the abundance of artificial turf.

At the request of the developer, Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, pushed the decisions last night (Thursday) about the projects to the end of the year.

“Since the public hearing on the Georgelas application, we’ve had a series of discussions with the applicant that represent progress but more attention needs to be given to some of these specifics,” Niedzielski-Eichner said.

The proposed North Spring Hill Station would replace the existing Tesla dealership with four new buildings, including two residential towers, one office tower and a parking garage with an athletic field on top. The existing Verizon telecommunications facility on the site would stay.

Meanwhile, West Spring Hill Station would add four buildings — two for residential, one for residential or office space and the final one for offices — and three public parks.

Fairfax County planners said that the North Spring Hill Station addresses the expectations in the Tysons Comprehensive Plan — but not the West Spring Hill Station.

“[West Spring Hill Station] does not fully address the criteria, particularly with regards to providing a comprehensive, functioning grid of streets; the provision of open space; and, coordination of development,” the staff report said.

The staff report also notes that the West Spring Hill Station may require further development of the Koons Tysons Toyota site.

The Planning Commission deferred its decision on the projects to Dec. 11.

While the developments were set to go before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 15, the agenda indicates that the public hearing will get pushed to a later date.

Since the Board of Supervisors’ last full meeting of the year is on Dec. 3, the fate of the two developments probably won’t get determined until 2020.

Images via Fairfax County 

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Car Tax Due Today — Fairfax County “mailed more than 800,000 annual bills to vehicle owners, and because Oct. 5 falls on a Saturday, this year’s deadline to pay [the] bill is Monday, Oct. 7.” [Fairfax County]

Expect Metro Delays Today — The Orange, Silver and Blue lines will be impacted today due to an overnight rear-end train collision outside Farragut West. [WMATA]

CaliBurger Coming to The Boro — “Locally, the West Coast-styled company’s fries and burgers are served out of a teal-toned NoMa food truck at Wunder Garten. Under a newly inked deal, Caliburger will open next spring in the splashy Boro Development coming together in the heart of Tysons.” [Eater DC]

Art Around Tysons Metro Stations — “Public art not only adds beauty to a place, it can also help people orient themselves and find their way around. Tysons is no exception… Let’s take a look at four public art pieces at Metro stations in Tysons.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Mystery Set at Tysons Mall — “Like [Ellen] Butler’s first two Karina Cardinal mysteries, the setting of the book is local, starting with a mystery criminal absconding with diamonds from a Tysons Corner jewelry store.” [Patch]

The Grass is Greener — “New artificial turf has been installed at Larry Graves Park, replacing the natural grass field where bad weather contributed to game delays and cancellations. City officials hope the revamped surface will be more durable to the climate as well as to its users, but the installation wasn’t well received by all.” [Falls Church News-Press]

County Chair on Explosive Growth — “Sharon Bulova first won political office in Fairfax County 31 years ago on a slow-growth platform. She’ll leave the stage in January having presided over perhaps the most explosive period of growth in the county’s history. It’s a contradiction that Bulova fully acknowledges, and embraces.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Metro ridership might be plummeting overall, but ridership in the Tysons area is continuing to increase.

All four stations in the Tysons area saw increased ridership in the spring of 2019 as compared to the year before, continuing an upward trend this year.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission’s new stats compared ridership in April, May and June of 2019 with the same period in 2018.

Ridership at the McLean Metro station by the new Capital One headquarters has continued to spike. Out of the four, the McLean station saw the largest increase in ridership during the three-month period, rising 25% over the last year.

On the other side of Tysons, the Greensboro Metro station spiked to 18%.

Meanwhile, ridership at the Spring Hill station increased 7% and Tysons Corner station increased 5%.

“Ridership at the McLean station has now gone up dramatically for three quarters in a row: first by 18.6%, then 20.6% and now 25%,” Tysons Partnership tweeted, thanking Capital One and The MITRE Corporation.

As for Greensboro, the partnership pointed to Meridian Group’s The Boro development.

“Ridership at the Greensboro station has now gone up dramatically for two quarters in a row: first by 18.4% and now by 18%,” Tysons Partnership tweeted.

Graph via Tysons Partnership/Twitter

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to move forward two projects aiming to make Tysons and Vienna more walkable and bikeable.

At Tuesday’s meeting (Sept. 24), the board is slated to approve an extra $3 million for a project that will add a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-495, connecting the east side of Tysons to Tysons One Place.

“The project will provide for the design and construction of a 10-foot shared-use path along Old Meadow Road beginning at the intersection of Route 123 and Provincial Drive, and terminating at Tysons One Place near the intersection with Fashion Boulevard,” according to county documents.

Construction is slated to start on the project in spring 2021 and finish in spring 2022, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“The project area has a mix of retail, business, and residential communities with no bicycle and pedestrian access across I-495,” the document says.

Previously, the project was fully funded, but changing right-of-way estimates and construction costs increased the costs, according to the county.

The board is also set to authorize the director of the county’s transportation department to work with VDOT on improving bike access to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station.

The project includes:

  • construction of a new shared-use path along the south side of Virginia Center Blvd
  • removing the existing sidewalk on the west side of Sutton Road
  • construction of a two-way cycle track and sidewalk along the south side of Country Creek Road
  • adding bike wayfinding signage and shared lane markings

The work on the trails is part of the I-66 project, according to county documents.

Map via VDOT

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Local Schools Receive “Common Sense Recognition” — Chesterbrook Elementary School in McLean and Cunningham Park Elementary School in Vienna are two of the 23 Fairfax County Public Schools recognized for their digital citizenship. [FCPS]

Ramen Chain Coming to The Boro — “A Japanese ramen chain that has 61 shops in 10 countries will make its D.C. area debut this fall, when it’s expected to open a branch in Tysons Corner… [Santouka] is expected open inside a modern, brick-lined space in the new Boro mixed-use development (1636 Boro Place, McLean) by early November.” [DC Eater]

Parking May Arrive Along Maple Avenue — “A consulting firm aiming to squeeze some additional parking in Vienna’s commercial core has come up with a unique option: Turn parts of Maple Avenue into parking strips.” [Inside NoVa]

Capital One Hosting Code Fest — “Girls Computing League, a nonprofit working to empower underrepresented groups in technology, will host its first national code fest InnovateGCL later this month. The Sept. 14 event at the new Capital One headquarters in Tysons Corner, Virginia, will have over 150 students showcase and develop new ideas on the topics of artificial intelligence, health, finance, education and many more.” [WashingtonExec]

Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing Falls Church Pawn Shops — “An Arlington man previously convicted of a pair of bank robberies in Alexandria is facing more jail time. Budder Khan, now 29, pleaded guilty today to robbing two pawn shops in Falls Church, federal prosecutors announced. [ARLnow]

USAID Deploys Fairfax County Rescue Team to the Bahamas — “Members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team [were] deployed to the Bahamas as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) responding to Hurricane Dorian.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Blue, Yellow Line Metro Stations Reopen — “The six Blue and Yellow line stations south of Reagan National Airpor — Braddock Rd, King St-Old Town, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield — will reopen as scheduled Monday, September 9, with completely rebuilt platforms and several customer improvements.” [Metro]

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A meeting tonight (Wednesday) will provide an update on the upcoming work near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is currently working on its Transform 66 project.

The meeting will provide a construction update on:

  • the planned closure of Vaden Drive Bridge over I-66 from fall to summer 2020
  • rebuilding the Route 123 interchange
  • the design for the Nutley Street interchange

The meeting will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive) with presentations at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Image via Google Maps

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Community leaders and city officials celebrated the start of an infrastructure project located in the heart of an upcoming mixed-use development in the City of Falls Church.

During a keynote address for the groundbreaking today (Monday) ceremony at George Mason High School, Councilmember David Snyder said that this $15.7 million dollar project will create a safer and more economically successful community around the West Falls Church Metro.

The new improvements, according to the City of Falls Church, include:

  • synchronization of four new traffic signals
  • a high-intensity, pedestrian-activated crosswalk on Haycock Road
  • pedestrian access improvements, such as widening sidewalks
  • bus stop enhancements
  • bicycle access improvements, including near the newly installed Capital Bikeshare stations near the high school campus
  • utility undergrounding and relocation

The money for the project was acquired through the Northern Virginia Department of Transporation.

Infrastructure issues that have been building up over many decades will finally be addressed with this project, Snyder said.

“Twenty years ago this project would not have occurred,” Snyder said. “This is a classic example of the system working.”

The project is still in the “beginning stages,” according to the City of Falls Church website, adding:

The timing of project design and construction will be coordinated with the new High School construction and future Little City Commons development. City staff expects that design, engineering, and environmental work would begin in Fiscal Year 2021, with construction beginning in Fiscal Year 2022.

Lindy Hockenberry, who taught at George Mason High School for 30 years, served for eight years on the Falls Church City Council and spent another 11 years on the city’s Planning Commission before retiring, attended the groundbreaking to show support for the project.

“Its been my life dream to replace George Mason,” she said adding that the school has serious infrastructure problems, like leaky ceilings.

The new high school campus is already under construction and is slated to be completed by early 2021.

Until then, the students will remain in the same building, which will eventually be demolished for a new commercial center, similar to the Mosaic District, Hockenberry said.

“This will be truly multi-modal,” Snyder said, adding that this these updates will allow people easier access to the Metro.

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Look around Tysons and you’ll find art near every Metro station.

Tysons Reporter has rounded up the outside artworks in the area that are Instragram-worthy and easy to walk to.

“Early Bird”

Maybe you’ve spotted the dozens of bronze birds scattered around The Plaza outside Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road). If you haven’t — just take a look around at the seating and railings.

The birds depict five species — the morning dove, the red-tailed hawk, the robin, the crow and the cardinal — and were created by a trio of George Mason University artists, according to the university. In total, there are 63 birds.

Fun fact: “Early Bird is the name of Intelsat’s first communications satellite. It was launched into orbit on April 6, 1965,” according to the university.

“The Thought”

It’s hard to not notice the nearly 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture outside the Walmart (1500 B Cornerside Blvd) in Tysons West where an enormous face rests its chin on a hand.

Robert Cole created the structure with copper pipe before covering it with welded bronze plates. His assistant, Josh Yavelberg, helped with the creation of the piece, according to the D.C.-based Robert Cole Studios.

Cole, who had art at other Metro stations and around the D.C.-area, died in 2013.

“Solar Sails”

Known for his use of glass, artist Ray King created “Solar Sails” outside the Tysons Corner Metro station (1943 Chain Bridge Road) in 2015. The laminated glass panes and tension pulled steel measure 50 feet long outside, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

“By creating dynamic interactions with the sun and refracting light into colors — rainbow-like emanations that shift and change as the viewer moves or as the light source changes — King creates an environment that appeals to viewers’ sense of wonderment and delight,” WMATA’s website says.

“Hoop-La” 

Alice Aycock created the aluminum and powder-coated steel sculpture in front of the Capital One headquarters (1680 Capital One Drive) by the McLean Metro station.

According to a description from Capital One:

For the Capital One project, Alice tried to visualize energy, thoughts and ideas as a series of spiral vortexes gathering momentum — each emerging from the vortex below as whirlpools of thought. She designed the work to appear to spin off into the air, forming a dynamic, three-dimensional mixture of forms.

The sculpture is a metaphor for the way ideas connect in energetic and unpredictable ways in the pursuit of knowledge.

Much of Alice’s work in both public and private spheres has been a meditation on the philosophical ramifications of technology, from the simplest to the most advanced tools. Many of these works have incorporated images of the wheel and turbines and references to energy.

“Voyagers”

Located on the ground level at the McLean Metro station mezzanine (1824 Dolley Madison Blvd) are 26 laminated glass panels. Martin Donlin hand painted and airbrushed the panels, which include etchings of poetry from Virginia Poet Laureates, in 2015.

“‘Voyagers’ represents both the physical and cognitive idea of travel and transportation,” the WMATA website says.

“Eccentricity”

Standing 40 feet tall, the stainless steel and concrete work by Barbara Grygutis greets people outside the west entrance pavilion plaza outside the Spring Hill Metro station (1576 Spring Hill Road), according to WMATA.

More from WMATA about the sculpture:

This large iconic columnar sculpture and plaza demarcate the Spring Hill Road Station along WMATA’s Metro Silver Line. The sculptural form displays shifting moiré patterns as the viewer moves about the piece — from pedestrians at ground level and above on the train platform, to vehicles and bicyclists passing at varying speeds. The plaza includes an offset concentric ring design in two shades of concrete with poetry by previous Poet Laureate of Virginia Lee Pelham Cotton in aluminum within the concrete. In the evening, the pillar is illuminated to create a peacemaking feature around the clock.

WMATA commissioned Grygutis to create the piece, which was finished in 2016, according to the artist’s website. People can see it driving or walking along Leesburg Pike by the Metro stop.

“Tysons Luxury Lilies”

People getting off the Greensboro Metro station and folks heading to the Tysons Biergarten have surely seen the massive mural featuring water lilies at 8346 Leesburg Pike.

Created by Lawrence Atoigue, professionally known as Naturel, the 100 by 200 foot mural was launched in 2016 as part of a placemaking effort by Tysons Partnership.

The mural, located on a wall owned by Beacon Capital Partners, was inspired by Claude Monet’s “Water Lily” series, according to Tysons Partnership.

“Technology Triangle Colonnade”

Columns standing 21 feet tall are located on opposite sides of Leesburg Pike at the Greensboro Metro station (8304 Leesburg Pike). David Dahlquist created the metal, fiberglass and concrete columns with LED lights in 2016.

“The symbolic triangle, representative of the connection of government, industry, and consumer, becomes a dramatic iconic marker,” according to the WMATA website. “The sculptural columns create a dynamic connection to the station.”

People who look closely can spot the poetry by Virginia Poet Laureates in the bands around the base of each column.

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