Tysons, VA

Metro riders will now be able to make calls, listen to music, and scroll through social media while commuting without risking any service interruptions.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it has finished establishing a systemwide wireless network, bringing WiFi to all 91 Metrorail stations and throughout 100 miles of tunnels.

The Silver Line in Tysons was one of the last three segments of the network to come online, along with the tunnels from Dupont Circle in D.C. to White Flint in Maryland and the Yellow Line between L’Enfant Plaza and the Pentagon.

According to a Metro press release, the project had been underway for more than a decade and involved partnerships with three major wireless carriers — AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

“Bringing this project to the finish line gives riders added security and all the conveniences of wireless connectivity,” WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said. “Customers can text, talk, and explore the internet and apps, including Metro’s mobile payment options to load value and manage their SmarTrip account while traveling on Metro.”

Congress ushered in wireless service for Metro with the passage of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which included an amendment authorizing grants for WMATA maintenance projects and requiring the transit agency to ensure access to wireless provider services.

Funded by an agreement between Metro and the wireless carriers, the project required the installation of more than 400 miles of cabling and infrastructure. WMATA attributes the lengthy timeline to the fact that much of the work could only be done when trains were not operating, limiting workers to three or four-hour overnight maintenance windows and scheduled track outages.

The completion of Metro’s wireless system will improve the safety of Metro riders and workers, according to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who helped facilitate the project with the rest of the D.C. region’s Congressional delegation.

“The federal government and the region have made substantial investments in making this system safer and more reliable, from rebuilding tracks to introducing new rail cars,” Warner said. “Now passengers will be able to use their cellphones underground throughout the system.”

Wiedefeld says systemwide wireless coverage will pave the way for Metro to implement technology that provides real-time communications with customers and allows the rail system to operate more efficiently. It could also be critical for enabling first responders to communicate in an emergency.

The wireless carriers will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and maintenance of their own networks, including testing and enhancements.

“This significant joint investment provides a communications network that allows each provider’s customers to stay connected with their friends, families and favorite content when using the Metro system,” AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon said in a joint statement. “The cooperative approach adopted by the Providers and WMATA was critical in bringing this project to fruition.”

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Alexandria coffee shop Java Loco is planning to open a new location in Tysons starting this weekend.

Java Loco is scheduled to open on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7516 Leesburg Pike in the Tysons Station shopping center.

“We can’t wait to serve customers at our new location in Tysons Station,” Nga Ho, owner of Java Loco, said in a press release. “We always love inviting customers into our relaxing space and we’re so appreciative of the customers who have supported us with their business over the years. We’re so excited to become a part of the Falls Church community.”

 The location will be a 1,385-square-foot space with gourmet house coffee, Italian espresso, espresso-based drinks, and exotic drinks like Cuban or Vietnamese coffee. The beverage menu also includes a selection of decaf items, fruit smoothies and bubble tea from Ocha Bubble Tea in Annandale, which is also owned by Ho.

The location is planned to offer a limited breakfast and lunch sandwich selection, along with bakery items like muffins, croissants and pastries.

The Tysons Station location of Java Loco will be open from Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Photo via Java Loco/Facebook

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Peet’s Coffee has left Tysons Station, along with closing its spot in the Town of Vienna.

A Peet’s spokesperson told Tysons Reporter this week that both locations have permanently closed.

When Tysons Reporter previously asked about the Vienna location, the spokesperson did not respond to questions about when or why it closed.

Fans of the coffee chain can still order drinks on the mobile app from the Tysons location (8150 Leesburg Pike).

Image via Google Maps

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Pike 7 Plaza in Tysons and Idylwood Plaza and Tysons Station in the Falls Church area will soon have a contact-less pick-up program for their restaurants.

Federal Realty’s Pick-Up program launches next Friday, May 15 in the D.C. area, to allow curbside pick-up for eateries at its properties, according to a press release from Mittie Rooney at the Axiom Communications Group.

“The program is made available to all tenants and customers looking for comfortable ways to return to shopping at their favorite stores,” the press release said. “Customers will be able to place orders directly with stores by phone or on-line, and arrange for same day pick-up, or a time most convenient to them.”

Federal Realty’s three shopping centers in the Tysons area will have the program by the end of the month, Rooney  said.

“We see this as a long-term solution to finding even more convenient ways for customers to shop,” Stuart Biel, the senior vice president of regional leasing for Federal Realty, said in the press release.

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Updated 3/17/2020 — Adds information from Federal Realty Investment Trust.

Tysons Cakes is no longer open along Leesburg Pike in the Tysons Station shopping center.

While Yelp says that the bakery is set to reopen on April 24, Emily Gagliardi with Federal Realty Investment Trust told Tysons Reporter that the bakery will not reopen.

Gagliardi said that the bakery’s closure at 7500 Leesburg Pike a few months ago was unrelated to the coronavirus.

“Orange Theory Fitness will be using this space for their pre-sales area, as they are under construction across the street, and we have a permanent deal pending on this space following that,” she said.

The bakery used to make colorful cakes and still has photos from last year of cakes with unicorns, “Sesame Street” characters and even a wedding cake with Pikachus on its Facebook page.

Image via Google Maps

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People who stop by Ledo Pizza in Tysons Station next week can help raise money for Freedom Hill Elementary School.

The upcoming fundraiser is a part of the parent-teacher association’s plans to raise at least $10,000 in donations this year.

A member of the school’s PTA told Tysons Reporter that the “family dinner out” at Ledo Pizza will be next Tuesday-Wednesday (March 10-11) at 7510 Leesburg Pike. The restaurant will donate part of the money from the two nights to the PTA.

The school’s PTA is also hosting a read-a-thon through tomorrow (March 6) to encourage students to read. The PTA is seeking donations.

More from the event page:

This year, Read-a-thon’s proceeds will go towards classroom libraries, school reading materials, and to help replace aging projectors.

This year we hope to beat last year’s reading totals (202,000 minutes read), and exceed our fundraising goal of $10,000. If we reach our fundraising goal, Asst. Principal Kopacz will get a pie in the face and Principal Zapadka will be duct-taped to the wall!!

Image via Google Maps

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Trader Joe’s has a planned expansion in the works at Tysons Station.

Building permits at the vacant space next to Peet’s indicate that the grocery store (7514 Leesburg Pike) plans to demolish the interior and turn it into a commercial use.

Federal Realty, the real estate investment trust behind the shopping center, shows the space already incorporated into Trader Joe’s — totaling 15,286 square feet for the grocery store — on its brochures.

Other changes are also happening at the shopping center.

The space that used to house Tysons Cakes (7500 Leesburg Pike, Suite 12B) is listed as available for rent on the brochure.

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