Tysons, VA

To get ready for summer platform work, WMATA is closing several Orange Line stations this weekend, affecting riders in Vienna, Falls Church and Merrifield.

Riders can expect trains every 16 minutes between the West Falls Church and New Carrollton stations with additional trains between Ballston and New Carrollton from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 8), according to WMATA’s website.

Free shuttle buses will replace trains at the Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church stations.

The bus routes will be:

  • between East Falls Church and Ballston
  • between Vienna, Dunn Loring and West Falls Church
  • express bus between Vienna and West Falls Church

Riders can expect trains to single track through the East Falls Church station. The West Falls Church station will stay open.

“Customers on Ballston-bound Orange Line trains who are continuing on to West Falls Church should exit the train at Virginia Square for a same platform transfer,” according to the website.

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Fairfax County wants to give commuters another way to access the McLean Metro station in Tysons.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to vote on a funding application that seeks to add a new entrance to the Metro stop.

The county is looking for $1 million to add a new entrance on the north side of the station to make it easier for pedestrians coming from Scotts Crossing Road and the Capital One campus.

“The increase in the number of residential dwelling units in the area presents an opportunity to capture commuters that would otherwise drive single-occupancy vehicles on the Dulles Connector Road and 1-66 Inside the Beltway in efforts to reach Arlington and downtown D.C,” according to county documents.

Ridership at the McLean Metro station has continued to rise, according to stats from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC).

Compared to the four stations in Tysons, the McLean station saw the largest spike in ridership from April-June, rising 25% over the last year, followed by the Greensboro Metro station at 18%.

The Metro entrance proposal is one of three project submissions to NVTC that the board is set to consider endorsing tomorrow (Tuesday) for the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 I-66 Inside the Beltway Commuter Choice Program.

The two other proposed projects include:

  • $8.6 million for a new bus route from Reston to Arlington and bicycle and pedestrian improvements around Reston
  • $500,000 for fare buy down on Express Route 599, since the current $7.50 express fare is higher than the $4.25 fare on other Fairfax Connector express bus routes

In total, Fairfax County is requesting roughly 10 million from NVTC. County staff recommends that the McLean Metro station project be the top priority, according to county documents.

Map via Google Maps

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Two Orange Line Metro stations will be closed this weekend due to preparations for the upcoming summer shutdown, according to the WMATA website.

Both the Vienna and Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro stops will be closed on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 25-26) to let crews prepare for the Summer Platform Improvement Project, the website said.

The summer project will include the addition of slip-resistant tiles, updated LED lighting, charging ports and lit handrails.

This weekend, travelers can expect buses to replace trains between the Vienna and West Falls Church stops.

Besides those two stops, the Metro is scheduled to run trains every 12 to 15 minutes.

The Silver Line will not be affected by the work this weekend and will run on a normal schedule, according to WMATA.

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Monday (Jan. 20)  is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Here’s where and when to expect closures or reduced schedules for government buildings and public transit options in the Tysons area.

Around Fairfax County, all governmental offices will be closed along with recycling centers,  the Department of Motor Vehicles and general district courts, according to the county website.

Fairfax County Public Schools will also be closed on Monday, giving kids a break from classes.

The Fairfax Connector will run on a holiday weekend schedule. Several routes will not run at all and route 980 will come every 12 to 15 minutes.

The Metro will start its service at 5 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m., according to a press release, which added that off-peak fare will be in effect all day. Trains will operate on a Saturday schedule.

In Vienna, the Vienna Community Center (120 SE Cherry Street) will be open but running on a reduced schedule from 10 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Town offices will be closed but waste collection will run on a regular schedule, according to Vienna’s website. 

In the City of Falls Church, the Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be closed and will reopen on Tuesday with normal hours from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m, according to the city’s website. The community center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., but all other government offices will be closed.

The planning commission meeting for Falls Church that was originally scheduled for Jan. 20 will be rescheduled to Tuesday (Jan. 21) at 7:30 p.m.

From 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. there will be road closures in the city due to a remembrance ceremony, according to a press release.

The press release said that this will include the temporary closures of several interactions including:

  • S. Washington Street and Tinner Hill Road
  • S. Washington Street and Hillwood Ave
  • S. Washington Street and Annandale Road
  • S. Washington Street and E Fairfax Street

Tysons Reporter will also be on a break Monday.

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Happy Friday! Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

New Tenants in Tysons — Bisnow has a roundup of the new businesses that signed leases to come to Tysons. [Bisnow]

Metro Metrics Released — “People are returning to Metrorail but avoiding Metrobus, according to 2019 figures released Wednesday by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority suggest.” As for Metrorail, the fastest-growing stations were McLean, up 28%, and Greensboro, up 22%. [Washington Business Journal]

New Fitness Event in McLean — “The McLean Community Center is introducing a new event to help people work toward their goals. Be Fit McLean Health and Wellness Fair will happen from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18.” [Patch]

AJ Madison Showroom Opens in Tysons — “Michael Gross, Isaac Gross and Rabbi Chezzy Deitsch, together with a minyan of Chabad Tysons congregants, got together to open up a new premium appliance showroom.” [Connection Newspapers]

Sneak Peek: Tysons Reporter plans to cover the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals’ public hearing for Newport Academy’s proposed treatment facility along Kurtz Road in McLean.

Weekend Send Off: Let Tysons Reporter know what your plans for the weekend are in the comments section.

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As Tysons grows, so do the opportunities for tourism around the area.

Visit Fairfax, a non-profit organization that works to encourage tourism around Fairfax County, plans to promote a series of new initiatives to boost visitation in 2020, according to President and CEO Barry Biggar.

Among the upcoming changes, the organization plans to capitalize on student and international markets and expand capabilities to host large conferences in Tysons, Biggar told Tysons Reporter.

Biggar brought up how many locals see the constant construction in Tysons as a negative thing, but said perception changes depending on who he asks. For example, he said many international travelers see it as a sign of prosperity within a community.

As someone in charge of oversight for the marketing, sales and visitor services for Visit Fairfax, Biggar monitors larger trends across the county.

Fairfax County made over $3.2 billion in 2018 from tourism, according to Visit Fairfax’s website, which also noted that the county brings in the second most money for tourism in Virginia.

Though there are not yet statistics available for Tysons specifically, Biggar said he hopes to break down the numbers within the next year.

“When I think of Tysons, I think immediately of the opportunities we have for business travel,” he said. 

A large reason for the uptick in corporate and business events being held in Tysons, according to Biggar, is partially thanks to the expansion of the Silver Line to Tysons in 2014 and its upcoming expansion to the Dulles International Airport.

“Come 2020 we will have Silver Line service all the way to Dulles. Having that access all the way to Tysons or Reston will be significant in growing the business travel market,” Biggar said.  

Currently, the Sheraton Tysons ranks as the largest venue for conferences and events in the entire county, according to Biggar. But, Biggar hinted that this may soon change as the skyline view keeps shifting and making way for new developments like the Capital One Hall, which promises space to host not only corporate events but also theatrical productions.

Around Fairfax County as a whole, Biggar said Visit Fairfax is currently in the process of writing proposals to host an upcoming National Senior Games, which is a bi-yearly event under the United States Olympic Committee to bring together senior citizens from across the U.S. to compete in athletic challenges.

He said that Visit Fairfax wants to host more reunions for members of the military and armed services, because of Fairfax County’s proximity to Arlington Cemetery and the upcoming National Army Museum in Fort Belvoir.

Now, Visit Fairfax is working with the Tysons Partnership, an organization that promotes social and economic development of Tysons, to coordinate marketing efforts and help one another.

“We know them very, very well and will assist them with any information or intelligence that they may need,” Biggar said. 

One of the major gaps around Tysons, Biggar said, is the lack of live entertainment and nightlife. He said that the Capital One Center and other upcoming businesses are already planning to fill this niche market.

“If we look at Tysons Plaza or even Merrifield to see how they use their central green space to bring in performers, all of the development that is happening in Tysons should look at incorporating that,” he said.

“It brings about energy and creates an ongoing desire to go back and see what else is happening.”

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New work and plans are underway at the Scotts Run development near the McLean Metro station.

Development company Skanksa announced today that it will invest $221 million in a new 28-story apartment building in the Scotts Run development.

Named “The Heming,” the luxury apartment building will have 410 units, the company’s press release said.

Construction is set to start this month and be completed in late 2022, according to Skanksa.

In 2018, Cityline Partners sold a portion of the development to Skanska. Now, Cityline is set to sell another part of the development.

Bisnow reported yesterday that the Lennar Multifamily Communities is under contract to buy part of the development from CityLine.

Plans have been filed for a 26-story, 447-unit apartment building with 18,000 square feet of retail at the intersection of South Dartford Drive and Chain Bridge Road, according to Bisnow.

“Cityline Partners Managing Director Donna Shafer tells Bisnow that Lennar approached Cityline unsolicited to propose the deal, and that she thought its proposed project would complement the other buildings that have moved forward on the site,” according to Bisnow.

Last year, ground broke in October on the Archer Hotel , which is tentatively set to open in 2021 with a fitness studio and a bar and restaurant operated by chef Charlie Palmer.

The 425-unit apartment complex called The Haden and the 14-story office building Mitre 4 have already been completed in the mixed-use development.

Image via Cityline Partners

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People in the Tysons area had a chance last night to provide feedback on several preliminary concepts that would change the Silver, Orange and Blue lines.

The concepts are a part of a two-year study to address both short- and long-term needs. For people in Tysons, one option would let trains turn back at different areas along the Orange, Blue or Silver Lines, while another option would create new Silver Line connections north or south of I-66.

Around 5 p.m. last night (Tuesday), a dozen attendees showed up to the open house at the Courtyard by Marriott Tysons-McLean (1960A Chain Bridge Road) — just in time for a presentation by Mark Phillips, the project manager for the reliability study.

Phillips said that capacity issues at the Rosslyn tunnel for the three lines prompted the study.

“It’s created reliability issues,” Phillips said. “If there is a breakdown, which has happened a couple of times this week, on one line, it impacts the other two.”

Phillips said that dangerous activity — like people holding the doors open and overcrowding — and an expected increase in ridership along the three lines also prompted the study.

By 2040, an 18% increase in daily ridership — roughly 40,000 new riders — is expected on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, according to informational boards at the meeting.

Informational boards gave the benefits and trade-offs for all of the preliminary concepts, along with a board comparing how the concepts do or do not meet Metro’s four goals: capacity, reliability, flexibility and sustainability.

People have until Jan. 6 to provide feedback via an online survey.

The list of ideas will get narrowed down once feedback from the public and external stakeholders — including six technical and advisory committees — has been received. A cost/benefit analysis is set to happen in the spring or summer, followed by a recommendation in the fall.

Phillips said that he expects the recommendation to include both short- and long-term changes.

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Metro riders now have tentative dates for when they can expect four stations along the Orange and Silver lines to close in Northern Virginia next year.

“While full-service information will be announced in March, Metro is advising customers today that three stations will be closed between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2020” — the Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church stations, Metro said in an announcement yesterday.

The work will include rebuilding the platforms.

Meanwhile, the West Falls Church station will stay open, becoming the “western terminus of the Orange Line during the summer months,” Metro said, adding that riders can expect trains to run less frequently from the station.

Over at the East Falls Church Station, trains will still pass through the station even though it will be closed to riders.

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Last week, Metro revealed several preliminary concepts that would change the Silver, Orange and Blue lines.

The concepts are a part of a two-year study to address both short- and long-term needs.

For people in Tysons, one option would let trains turn back at different areas along the Orange, Blue or Silver Lines, like the West Falls Church or East Falls Church Metro stations, while another option would create new Silver Line connections north or south of I-66.

Now, Metro wants to hear from community members that would be affected by any changes.

People can provide feedback about the ideas at several meetings this month, including a Tysons-area meeting next week.

The meeting is set to take place on Tuesday (Dec. 17) at the Courtyard by Marriott Tysons-McLean (1960A Chain Bridge Road) from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

People can also provide feedback via an online survey that will be open until Jan. 6.

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