Two Metro stations in Tysons will receive shuttle bus service as part of Metro’s plans to reopen more than a dozen stations this Sunday (June 28).
Metro announced yesterday (Monday) that the Greensboro and McLean stations in Tysons, along with the East Falls Church station are the three stations that will soon have shuttle buses but still won’t offer rail service.
A dozen other stations, including Clarendon, Smithsonian and College Park, will reopen this Sunday with rail service. “Beginning Monday, June 29, buses will be added to the system’s 14 busiest bus lines to provide more capacity and more frequent service as the region reopens,” according to Metro.
Metro closed 15 stations earlier this year due to limited cleaning supplies and decreased ridership. Once the stations reopen this Sunday, Arlington Cemetery will be the only station left without regular service, Metro said.
In addition to the reopened stations, Metro riders can expect bus service realignment starting Monday, June 29.
More from Metro:
Metrobus customers on the region’s busiest routes will notice more frequent buses, less crowding, and more regular service beginning Monday, June 29. An additional 136 trips are being added across 14 routes: 54, 70, 92, 30N, 30S, A4, A6, A8, P6, V4, W4, F4, P12, and T18.
To make these improvements possible, Metro will temporarily suspend bus service on four routes that currently have extremely low ridership — NH2, C14, G2 and M6. Customers along these routes are asked to use other Metrobus routes nearby.
Starting Monday, weekday service will be improved with additional buses on the 54, 70, 92, 30N, 30S, A4, A6, A8, P6, V4, W4, F4, P12, and T18.
Service will be temporarily suspended on the NH2, C14, G2 and M6. Use alternate bus service nearby.
Plans to Make Juneteenth a State Holiday — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday he will propose legislation to make Juneteenth, a celebration observed on June 19 commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, be recognized as a paid state holiday.” [Vienna Patch]
Transportation Webinars Start Today — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, the City of Fairfax, Fairfax County, the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Mason’s Department of Parking and Transportation teamed up on a series of webinars on active transportation. The series kicks off today at noon. [George Mason University]
No Phase Three Yet — “Virginia won’t enter Phase Three of its reopening plan this week, Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday. Speaking during his twice-weekly news conference in Richmond, Northam said that although the state’s health metrics are trending in the right direction, he’s not ready to lift restrictions further that were designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.” [Inside NoVa]
The event will include local employers, retail and office owners and county staff focused on transit and economic development to talk about how to creatively address transportation issues caused or impacted by COVID-19, according to the event’s description.
Panelists will include:
- Hillary Zahm of Macerich
- Jon Griffith of Capital One
- Alex Iams of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
- Eric Teitelman of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation
- Andrea Ostrodka of Toole Design
- Michael Rodriguez of Smart Growth America
The meeting is open to the public and set to run from 4-5 p.m. People will receive the link to the Zoom webinar after they register for free.
People can provide feedback on Fairfax Connector’s proposed service changes for this fall, which include expanded service from the McLean Metro stop.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is asking people to submit input via an online survey, email ([email protected]), phone (703-339-7200, TTY 703-339-1608) or mail, according to the county’s website.
“FCDOT normally conducts several community input meetings on proposed changes to Fairfax Connector service, but as a result of current public gathering restrictions due to COVID-19, transit staff recorded a presentation which is available online for viewing instead,” the website said.
The proposed service changes include several routes — the existing 334, 340/341 and 721 routes and the new 722, 350 and 351 routes.
More about the proposed changes to the Tysons-area routes:
Route 721: Chain Bridge Road – McLean Metrorail Station – Includes expanded weekday midday service every 30-minutes from the McLean Metrorail Station to the George Bush Center for Intelligence (GBCI) facility in Langley, Virginia. The buses will operate with 30-minute headways.
Route 722: McLean Metrorail Station – GBCI – Includes new weekday express service every 15 minutes during morning and afternoon peak hours between the McLean Metrorail Station and the GBCI facility in Langley.
FCDOT plans to present the final proposed changes to the county’s Board of Supervisors in July and, if the board approves them, the changes will go into effect by or before Oct. 31, the email said.
To improve multi-modal transportation, the Northern Virginia Transit Authority (NVTA) wants to hear from the public about 41 project possibilities — three of which are in Falls Church and Vienna.
The updates will be part of a project called the Six Year Program that spans from fiscal years 2020-2025. The program aims to reduce congestion around the region, according to a press release.
“The projects being evaluated cover multiple modes of transportation, including roadways, transit and pedestrian/bicycle facilities,” the release said.
Local Projects Under Consideration
The Town of Vienna proposes an expansion of its Capital Bikeshare program to help people get to the Metro, according to NVTA documentation. Changes would include the addition of four new bike stations.
“This town implementation of the Capital Bikeshare system will connect residents and the surrounding community to transit and trail options in the I-66 corridor, including the Orange Metrorail line, planned commuter buses, the W&OD, and the planned I-66 trail,” the document said.
Costing $282,400, the project would be completed in 2025, according to the proposal.
The City of Falls Church proposed $8.3 million to improve walkability and bike-friendliness along Park Avenue and West Broad Street, which are typically hectic area.
“Park Avenue connects to many of the city’s civic, recreational, and cultural resources,” documentation said.
If chosen for funding, this project would be finalized in 2026.
Another project proposed by the city would address safety needs near the West Falls Church Metro station by encouraging multi-modal transit and fixing problematic areas, documentation said.
“A pedestrian fatality occurred on this stretch of Shreve Road earlier this year,” the document said. “The scope of this project includes professional and construction services for a new multi-use path to better connect the W&OD Trail with the West Falls Church Metrorail Station.”
This proposal would cost $6.9 million.
A complete list of project propositions from other NoVA counties and localities can be found online.
How to Get Involved
Due to the demand for funding and a budget cap of $522 million, NVTA cannot fund all of the projects and must choose which ones to complete based on a variety of factors, which include community input.
“Public input is an important part of the Six Year Program Update process,” the press release said. “Feedback is encouraged and all public comment provided will be reviewed and considered.”
People interested in leaving feedback can either visit the website or call 703-642-4652. The deadline to leave a comment is Sunday (May 24).
Final projects are set to be adopted on July 9 at a NVTA meeting, according to the press release.
Image courtesy NVTA
(Updated at 6:25 p.m.) Locals way have to wait a little longer than expected for safety solutions along Shreve Road in the Falls Church area due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The road, which runs through the City of Falls Church and Fairfax County, has lately been the focus of safety concerns from local residents and the Shreve Road Community Working Group.
A study is underway by the Virginia Department of Transportation to address the road’s issues. Allison Richter, the liaison to Fairfax and Arlington counties for VDOT, gave an update on the study during a virtual town hall on Monday (May 4).
“We expect there are going to be some solutions that will have to take a little longer,” she said.
Richter said that the COVID-19 pandemic and Virginia’s stay-at-home order have hampered data collection.
“[VDOT is] not doing traffic counts because it’s not as it normally is,” she said. “We’re a little bit held back in some of our studies.”
Status of Projects Along Shreve Road
So far, the traffic engineering group has reviewed and replaced “obsolete signs,” Richter said.
Dalia Palchik, the Providence District representative on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said during the meeting that the county is waiting for contractors to finish work near the intersection of Shreve Road and Virginia Lane.
Additionally, she said NoVa Parks is working with an engineer to address work at the W&OD Trail crossing and Shreve Road.
Palchik said that drivers should keep an eye out for lane closures near Gordon Road and Route 7 due to pipe installation.
Providence District School Board Member Karl Frisch said in his email newsletter today that 10 new parking spots have been added to Shrevewood Elementary School.
“Weather permitting, phase two will begin on May 15. When completed, about 17 new spots will have been added,” Frisch said.
Palchik said that the meeting that the new spaces will “help get the cars off of Shreve and into the school.”
Next Steps for Safety Solutions
The study is aiming to identify short- and long-term solutions, along with areas where upgrades are needed and people have continually reported issues, Richter said.
VDOT has lowered the speed from 35 to 30 miles per hour from Leesburg Pike (Route 7) to Wieland Place. Richter said that calls from residents to reduce the speed further to 25 miles per hour is still a possibility.
“I’m not going to rule that out, but we’ll also be looking at other measures like increasing enforcement or traffic calming tools,” she said, adding that a speed study was done in 2019.
People can expect the final report sometime in November, according to Richter’s presentation.
Public Support Sought for Grant Application
The Shreve Road Community Working Group’s website notes that people can submit comments on a grant application to Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA).
According to the group’s website, the $6.9 million transportation grant would be used to:
- install a 10-foot multi-use path and 6-foot planting strip along Shreve Road
- add a crosswalk near the intersection of Shreve and Gordon roads
- add a landscape buffer and lighting changes
Image via Google Maps
Drivers and pedestrians who traverse the Cedar Lane Bridge over I-66 between Vienna and Merrifield will soon have to use a detour.
The bridge is set to close around May 15 for demolition and construction on a new bridge, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
“The bridge will be rebuilt to accommodate the widening of I-66 and will include a shared-use path and wider sidewalk,” VDOT said in an email update.
More from VDOT:
Closing the bridge for this planned six-month period will reduce the duration and impacts of construction activities on travelers and surrounding neighborhoods. Other options were considered, including partial closure approaches that would have taken more than two years to complete. The full bridge closure also maximizes construction activity over Metrorail tracks during the planned Metro Orange Line shutdown between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.
The bridge will be closed for roughly six months. People who normally use the bridge will have marked detours to use Gallows Road to cross the interstate, according VDOT.
The bridge work is a part of VDOT’s multi-year Transform 66 project. The new bridge is expected to open in late November of this year, followed by the I-66 Express Lanes in December 2022, according to the project’s webpage.
Image via Virginia Department of Transportation
Vienna residents shared mixed feedback on a proposal that would relax lot coverage requirements earlier this week.
At a town hall on Monday, town officials and staff listened to dozens of residents’ thoughts on a proposal that would allow for more decks, patios and other types of “outdoor living space.”
Councilmember Nisha Patel’s outdoor living space proposal would allow extra amenities as long as stormwater management systems are implemented
Currently, Town Code says that buildings, accessory buildings, automobile parking spaces and access, sport courts, tennis courts, patios, and terraces can only take up 25% of a lot.
Patel said that the proposal was sparked by people who said they didn’t know their builder had maxed out the lot coverage or couldn’t get out of their driveways safely because they don’t have a turnaround space.
“It’s open for modification, which is why we’re having this meeting tonight,” Patel said at the start of the meeting. “Should we allow 1%, 3% or 5%?”
Patel added that the proposal does not aim to encourage larger houses.
People who spoke in support of the proposal said that it could benefit people who live in older homes and fix drainage issues in the town.
Christine Silvia-Degennaro said she supports the proposal because she lives in a rambler and ran into zoning issues with her driveway when trying to put an addition on her house.
“I think that it would be a very beneficial thing for people to make this small adjustment,” she said. “We’re not speaking as somebody who has a 600,000-square-foot home. We have a very modest home in Vienna.”
Another person, an engineer, who spoke in favor of the proposal said that the stormwater management would fix drainage issues in the town.
Other residents opposed or critiqued the proposal, while a few said they have mixed feelings about the idea.
Some people said that people buying an expensive home in Vienna had a responsibility to be aware of lot coverage rules. “It’s not OK to claim ignorance,” one person said.
Other residents asked how the proposal would affect homes that have already been built versus future homes, raising concern that it could make a loophole allowing larger homes.
Shawn Thompson, who said he lives in a McMansion, summarized a NextDoor thread with concerns about privilege, protecting older residents, developers abusing rules and huge homes.
“It feels like privilege to me that the problem we’re having here is I bought my $1.5 million house and I don’t have even lot coverage left to put in the patio for a grill.”
Thompson said that he’s heard concerns from residents that older residents won’t be able to afford to live in the town.
“One of the reasons we all love Vienna is because grandma grew up here,” Thompson said. “Do we want grandma to have to move to Herndon or Loudon County?”
Meanwhile, Chuck Anderson, a former Planning Commissioner for the town, told the town officials and staff to be cautious with how they relax the lot coverage rules, if the proposal moves forward.
“Be very careful about selecting changing lot coverage rules on an ad hoc basis, because you don’t know the unintended consequences,” Anderson said, recommending that the lot coverage be considered on a comprehensive basis that could promote aging in place.
Sarah Couchman, the current vice chair of the Planning Commission, said that the proposal would boost her landscaping business, yet Couchman said that she’s concerned about developers building to the limit.
Ultimately, town staff said that they are looking to get more data and bring on a consultant as they consider reorganizing the zoning code, which hasn’t been overhauled since 1969.
Residents can submit comments and fill out a questionnaire through Monday, March 9.
During the second half of the meeting, attendees were asked to prioritize recommendations from the Maple Avenue Corridor Multimodal Transportation and Land Use Study.
The 16 near and mid-term recommendations range from under low cost to up to $150,000. They include:
- improving Church and Mill streets
- redesigning W&OD Trail crossings
- filling “vital” sidewalk gaps
- creating a bicycle network
- having a parking supply and demand study
- considering a local circulator
The town asks that people rank their priorities online or on a paper version by 5 p.m. on Monday (March 9).
“We hear stories and we’re not sure how many people are affected,” Patel said about the significance of the town hall. “It’s important that we get a sense of what the community wants.”
Three images in story via Town of Vienna
Town of Vienna officials plan to host a meeting next Monday to get feedback from residents on outdoor living space and projects recommended in the Maple Avenue Corridor Multimodal Transportation and Land Use Study.
Councilmember Nisha Patel has a proposal that would allow for driveway expansion, decks, patios, outdoor sports courts, terraces, screened porches not enclosed by four walls, lead walks and pools, according to a press release from the town.
More from the press release:
The current Town code states that not more than 25% of a lot shall be covered by buildings, accessory buildings, automobile parking spaces and access, sport courts, tennis courts, patios, and terraces. Decks are regulated separately and may not cover more than 5% of the total area… These amenities, classified as outdoor living space and improvements, would be permitted as long as stormwater management systems are implemented, functional, and in compliance with current required standards.
Now, the councilmembers want to know what residents think of the plan: “Is it a good idea to allow for outdoor living space and other amenities in exchange for [the] implementation of a current stormwater management system on their property?”
“What we’d like hear on March 2 are residents’ thoughts about the pros and cons of this idea,” Patel said in the press release. “We’re looking for feedback on ways this concept could be modified. Help us figure out the right thing to do.”
Additionally, councilmembers want to know what residents want to be prioritized from the draft final report of the Maple Avenue Multimodal Transportation Study.
The study includes several recommended projects, along with an initiative currently underway to upgrade signal timing infrastructure and technology, the press release said.
The meeting is set to take place between 7-9 p.m. at the Town Hall. At the meeting, residents will have a chance to ask questions and engage in interactive exercises, according to the press release.
The ideas include:
- keeping Metrorail open until midnight Monday-Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
- adding more weekend service on Metro bus routes
- increasing Metrorail fares during peak periods
increasing bus fares for people loading their SmarTrip card with cash
- creating a flat fare for Metrorail
- eliminating low-ridership bus routes
- eliminating transfer fares between Metro trains and buses
“Today, riders pay for Bus and Rail trips separately and get a $0.50 discount when transferring,” according to Metro. “Under this proposal, transfers between Metrorail and regular Metrobus services would be free.”
Before Metro’s budget year begins before July 1, people can submit comments via an online survey and provide feedback through March 2. Metro also plans to have open houses in Arlington, D.C. and New Carrollton.
What do you think of Metro’s ideas?