Tysons, VA

The announcement of more delays for the Silver Line have led to concerns from Supervisors Dalia Palchik and John Foust that Metro isn’t giving the communities around the Tysons area a fair shake.

Metro was one of several topics the supervisors spoke to the McLean Citizens Association about earlier this week.

“They are currently talking about reducing Metrorail service across the system to 80%,” Foust said. “Except that they’re saying they don’t have the funds to commence service on Phase II of the Silver Line.”

While Foust said the second phase of the Silver Line expansion isn’t quite ready for opening, it will be soon, and Foust said it deserved to be treated like any other wing of the Silver Line. Foust was particularly vexed by arguments from WMATA that Metro lines that had been operational before the shutdowns will be prioritized for service.

“If they get 80%, we should get 80%,” Foust said. “We’ve invested $6 billion into the Silver Line… I’m advocating for opening Phase 2 of the Silver Line as soon as possible.”

Palchik said these issues have been exacerbated by lack of communication between WMATA and Fairfax County.

“We found out, maybe hours before the public, that the Orange and Silver lines were being shut down,” Palchik said. “The lack of communication between our boards and the WMATA boards is frustrating beyond compare. [We] need to ensure we’re not seen as the wicked stepchild of the metro system.”

Staff photo by Michelle Goldchain

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The Board of Supervisors approved the receipt of a $58,212 compensation package to Fairfax County as reimbursement for this summer’s shutdown of stations along the Silver Line at the meeting on Sept. 29.

The planned shutdown had been in the works pre-COVID, but the nature of the closure changed when the pandemic hit.

“On December 11, 2019, WMATA announced the temporary closure of three Orange Line Metrorail stations west of Ballston Station during Summer 2020,” staff said in a report. “This temporary closure is part of a large construction project to rebuild 20 outdoor station platforms. The Summer 2020 shutdown was originally planned to impact four stations: Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church. Access to West Falls Church Station would be restricted but was going to remain open during the project because, it is equipped with three tracks and two platforms that can be reconstructed, one at a time. The West Fall Church Station was supposed to be the western terminus of the Orange Line during the summer months.”

When COVID-19 hit, Metro expanded those plans to include reconstruction work on all five Silver Line Metro stations, including West Falls church, to connect to Phase II of the Silver Line.

In total, nine stations were impacted.

The compensation is meant to help cover some of the costs to Fairfax County, like supplemental bus services, providing customer service and fare card loading services at the stations as Metro users were sent to buses.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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The Metro Transit Police are looking to identify a suspect in a report of an attempted rape on a Silver Line train yesterday (Tuesday) in Northern Virginia. 

The incident took place at approximately 11:35 a.m. between the McLean and East Falls Church stations, according to a statement from the WMATA. The statement says the suspect boarded the train at the Wiehle-Reston East station and physically assaulted an adult female, exposing himself and attempting to remove her clothing. 

According to the statement, the female was able to escape the train at the East Falls Church station, where Metro Transit Police detectives were able to respond. The victim’s child was apparently the only other individual on the train at the time of the incident. 

The suspect was apparently wearing a dark-colored shirt with the words “Piranha Joe” on the left sleeve, a logo of a circle and a fish on both the rear and left breast of the shirt, according to the statement. 

Tysons Reporter contacted Metro Transit Police this morning for updates but was told police could not discuss the case further.

Anyone with more information can contact the Metro Transit Police detectives at 301-955-5000. 

Photo via the WMATA

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Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors voted in favor of changing the name from the McLean Metro station to McLean-Capital One Hall Metro station.

The decision still has to go to WMATA’s Board of Directors for approval, but it seems likely station could take on the name of the planned performance hall under construction nearby.

Naming a Metro station for a nearby company is an unusual move — something the Board of Supervisors opposed Metro doing November. Supervisors were quick to say the station is not named after banking giant Capital One, which is headquartered adjacent to the Metro station, but for the performance hall.

This is a very particular situation in which we do have an agreement between the county and Capital One Hall to provide a minimum of 100 days of use,” said Supervisor Dalia Palchik, representing the Providence District. “It’s going to be our very own Strathmore. It’s a very specific request to have this name put on the Metro station so people know we have this asset here in Fairfax County.”

How do you feel about the proposed name change?

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved a proposed name change of the McLean Metro station to the McLean-Capital One Hall Metro station, but it isn’t the end of the line for the name change yet.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the change, though several supervisors made sure to clarify the name change was to draw people towards the upcoming performance center and not as advertising for the banking giant whose headquarters the facility is part of.

“This is a very particular situation in which we do have an agreement between the county and Capital One Hall to provide a minimum of 100 days of use,” said Supervisor Dalia Palchik, representing the Providence District. “It’s going to be our very own Strathmore. It’s a very specific request to have this name put on the Metro station so people know we have this asset here in Fairfax County.”

Palchik admitted that at first, seeing the corporate name attached to the Metro station gave her some pause, but concluded: “this is not a slippery slope, this is a very unique situation.”

Supervisor John Foust, representing Dranesville, was similarly supportive of the name and pushed back on the idea that the county had sold the naming rights.

“I’m supportive of the name change, but I don’t support every proposed name change,” Foust said. “This is not selling a naming right to a single corporate entity. It’s not being done for the exclusive benefit of a single land owner. Capital One Hall is a state of the art performing arts center. It will play a significant role in implementing the comprehensive plan for Tysons. It is absolutely in the public interest that we draw attention to this center and by this name change I think we will do this.”

Supervisor Jeff McKay clarified that Capital One would pay for changing the Metro signs and would not be publicly funded.

Though the name was approved by the Board of Supervisors, the proposed renaming will still have to be approved by WMATA, which has its own guidelines for changing a station name.

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The Vienna and Dunn Loring stations will reopen to riders right after Labor Day, Metro announced yesterday (Monday).

The two stations are set to reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The stations temporarily closed a few months ago for platform reconstruction.

“Rail service has returned to near pre-pandemic levels, and Metrobus service will increase dramatically beginning Sunday, August 23,” Metro said in the announcement.

Meanwhile, the East Falls Church station, which was originally set to open around Labor Day, is now expected to reopen two weeks ahead of schedule on Sunday, Aug. 23. Metro said that riders will be able to use a new free Bike & Ride facility at the East Falls Church station.

On Sunday (Aug. 16), five Silver Line stations, which temporarily closed for Silver Line Phase 2 work, and the West Falls Church station returned to service.

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Metro’s services are gearing up for a return to a “new normal.”

More buses and trains and expanded hours of service are set to begin this Sunday (Aug. 16), restoring most service to pre-COVID-19 levels. The McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and Spring Hill Metro stations are set to reopen on Sunday, along with the West Falls Church stop.

The Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church Metro stations are expected to reopen around Labor Day (Sept. 7), according to the announcement.

Metrorail plans to add 15 more hours of service per week. Opening times will also return to normal, with the system closing two hours later each night in anticipation of ridership increases after Labor Day.

The system is expected to restore roughly 75 percent of its pre-pandemic service beginning Aug. 23. Buses would operate until midnight and weekday service would return with 174 routes.

The reopening of six Fairfax County stations on the Silver Line is also on track for this Sunday.

Here’s more from Metro on the planned service changes:

Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. on Sundays and close daily at 11 p.m.

Weekdays Red Line trains will operate every 5 minutes during peak periods and 12 minutes off-peak; all others lines every 8 minutes during peak periods and 15 minutes off-peak.

On weekends Red Line trains will operate every 12 minutes; all other lines every 15 minutes.

Six stations west of Ballston re-open — McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, Wiehle-Reston East and West Falls Church.

Arlington Cemetery Station remains closed as Arlington National Cemetery is currently closed to the general public.

Face masks or covering are required to travel on Metro, including at stations, trains, buses and MetroAccess vehicles.

Metro also warns that social distancing may be impossible due to projected ridership increases. Customers can consider traveling during off-peak hours.

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Metro to Give Out Masks — “Metro will start to hand out 500,000 cloth masks it received from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the transit agency announced [in late July]. It’s unclear exactly when and how they will be distributed throughout the system.” [DCist]

Northam’s Approval Rating Drops — “Approval ratings for Gov. Ralph Northam’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic have dropped 15 percentage points since a similar survey in April, according to a new poll from the Center for Public Policy at VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.” [Inside NoVa]

New Law Looks to Cut Back Predatory Payday Lending — “A new law in the commonwealth aims to curb predatory lending practices by limiting the annual rate of interest to 36% plus a monthly service fee. By comparison, the current average annual rate is 251% for payday loans and 217% for title loans.” [DCist]

Teaming Up on Testing — “Virginia is joining five other states in a new effort to expand the use of rapid antigen testing for the coronavirus.” [Inside NoVa]

Local Senior Sets State Golf Record — “In a duel between high-school teammates, rising Langley Saxons senior Kelly Chinn emerged as champion with a record-setting performance at the Virginia State Golf Association’s Junior Stroke Play Championships.” [Inside NoVa]

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McLean Man Found Dead in Potomac River — “A body found Tuesday night in the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland near Great Falls has been identified as a McLean resident.” [McLean Patch]

What a COVID-19 Surge Could Mean for Metro — “Metro expects to bring rail service to 90% of pre-pandemic levels by Aug. 16, but if a new surge of Covid-19 cases should plunge the region into a second wave of shutdowns, the system would likely follow suit, Paul Wiedefeld, general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said Thursday.” [Washington Business Journal]

Virtual Option Pushed for Falls Church Public Schools — “Out of an abundance of caution in the midst of the current Covid-19 pandemic, F.C. Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan changed his mind this week and now wants everyone to stay home this fall when classes are due to resume Aug. 24.” [Falls Church News-Press]

School to Be Named for Late Rep. John Lewis — “The Fairfax County School Board on Thursday voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School after the late U.S. Congressman John R. Lewis. The new name will be effective for the 2020-21 school year.” [Inside NoVa]

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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is aiming to finish work on the Orange Line stations in Northern Virginia around Labor Day.

“[The] Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church are on target for completion around Labor Day, Sept. 7,” WMATA announced today.

Additionally, riders can expect several stations west of Ballston to reopen on Sunday, Aug. 16: the McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, Wiehle-Reston East and West Falls Church stations.

The six stations are temporarily closed for Silver Line Phase 2 work and platform reconstruction.

The news is a part of WMATA’s announcement that it is restoring most of its service with longer Metrorail hours and increased bus service.

More from WMATA:

Metrorail will add 15 hours more service per week, with opening times returning to normal and the system closing two hours later each night in anticipation of potential increases in ridership after Labor Day.

Metro today also announced a significant investment to support the region’s overnight workers by doubling the discount customers receive when using Lyft during times Metro is not available.

Metrobus will offer more buses, running more frequent service beginning Sunday, August 23 restoring approximately 75 percent of pre-pandemic service. Weekday service will improve on 174 routes with most routes operating close to normal. Buses will operate until midnight, an additional hour.

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