Tysons, VA

Vienna Consulting Firm Acquired — “RyanSharkey LLP, an accounting and consulting firm in Vienna, will become part of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP (DHG) as of Dec. 1.” [Virginia Business]

W&OD Trail Face Lift in Falls Church — “The scenic Washington & Old Dominion Trail that courses through the City of Falls Church is undergoing a serious facelift, with a host of benefits expected to boost the city’s transportation infrastructure and the region’s environment when the project is completed by the fall of 2020.” [Falls Church News-Press]

FCPS Scores High on Environmental Ranking — “Fairfax County Public Schools has earned “Platinum” status in the Virginia School Board Association’s “Green Schools Challenge” for 2019.” [Inside NoVa]

Tysons Office Sold For $80 Million — “A six-story Tysons office building has sold for $80.5 million, roughly three times what it sold for just four years ago… Northridge Capital and partner KAMCO Investment Co., a Kuwaiti-based investment firm, has acquired 1550 Westbranch Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

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A driver arrested for allegedly striking and killing a woman in the West Falls Church area is now facing additional charges for homicide and drug possession.

In August, Betty Ana Bernstein-Zabza, a Falls Church resident who worked for the State Department, was fatally hit by a truck near the intersection of Shreve Road and Hickory Street — less than a mile away from her home.

Zabza was walking near the busy W&OD Trail with a child, who was treated for minor injuries after the crash, according to Fairfax County police.

“They entered a crosswalk that connected the pathway to a sidewalk when they were hit by a stolen 2013 Nissan Titan pickup truck,” police said.

Shortly after the crash, police arrested the driver of the truck, 46-year-old South Riding resident David Alan Francis and charged him with one count of felony hit and run. At the time of the arrest, police said that Francis fled the scene uninjured and that “both speed and drugs appear to be factors.”

The police department announced today (Tuesday) that Francis faces additional charges of felony homicide, felony hit and run, aggravated involuntary manslaughter, possession of schedule I/II narcotics and driving under the influence of drugs.

“On Monday, evidence was presented to a grand jury who indicted David Alan Francis,” police said of the new charges.

Since 2009, Francis has faced 30 charges including many traffic-related ones like driving under a revoked or suspended license, operating an uninsured vehicle, speeding and improper driving, according to court records.

Francis is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond, police said.

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How do you bike from Tysons to Reston? One person took to Twitter to ask that very question on Friday (Sept. 20).

While most of the tweets said the Washington and Old Dominion Trail is the way to go to, several people shared different routes for getting to the trail.

One person recommended that cyclists head from Leesburg Pike (Route 7) to Gallows Road down to the W&OD Trail. The trail follows Piney Branch Stream from Vienna to Difficult Run River, before heading north to Plaza America and Reston Town Center in Reston.

For cyclists who don’t want to head that far south, another person recommended a route behind Walmart (1500 B Cornerside Blvd) by the Spring Hill Metro station that connects to the W&OD Trail.

Another person suggested the new Vesper Trail, which runs through the Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley Park as another way to get to the W&OD Trail.

Tysons has some changes underway aiming to make the area more bikeable and walkable.

The Route 7 Corridor Improvements Project plans to add paths between Reston and Tysons. Meanwhile in Tysons, the Jones Branch Connector is slated to open this fall, connecting the Tysons East and North Central neighborhoods.

For cyclists looking to rent bikes, Capital Bikeshare has brought more than a dozen bike-share docks to Tysons.

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Construction on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in the City of Falls Church is almost over.

The W&OD Trail closed at Grove Avenue and N. West Street starting Aug. 19 and is expected to open back up on Friday, Sept. 6, according to a tweet.

The closure brings a series of changes including the temporary rerouting of paths, paving paths that were previously gravel, widening paths, burying utilities, creating safer crossings and eventually realigning the path with the new Founders Row development, Mike DePue, a W&OD Trail spokesperson, said.

DePue said the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is also in the design process to install dual paths that will ease congestion.

“The goal of dual surface trails is to separate bike traffic from pedestrian traffic to improve user safety and enjoyment of the trail,” he said.

Photo via The W&OD Trail/Twitter

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Vienna police arrested a 33-year-old resident in connection with several recent incidents of indecent exposure along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

After an investigation, police charged Enoc Isaac Vasquez with four counts of obscene sexual display — a charge similar to the Indecent Exposure statute, police said.

Police in a press release that the charges are connected to reports of a man exposing himself along the trail on Aug. 2 and then last week on Monday (Aug. 12), Tuesday (Aug. 13) and Thursday (Aug. 15).

Vasquez was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where he was released on a $1,000 secured bond, police said.

More from the press release:

Patrol Officers received a tip from citizens which led CIS detectives to the 200 block of Park Terrace Court in Vienna.

Detectives began surveillance in the area and eventually identified a person of interest. After interviewing numerous witnesses and obtaining corroborating statements from the suspect, police detectives obtained arrest warrants to charge Vasquez…

The Vienna Police Department would like to acknowledge the citizens and witnesses who came forward to provide information about these cases and to thank residents for their patience during this investigation.

Anyone who has additional information can contact MPO Juan Vazquez at 703-255-7845 or [email protected]

Photo via Vienna Police Department

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The Vienna Police Department may soon crack the three indecent exposure cases reported last week along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

Deputy Chief of Police Dan Janickey told the Vienna Town Council last night (Monday) that the police have “promising leads” for the three separate incidents with “what appears to be the same individual.”

A woman told the police that she saw a man masturbating in the woods between Park Street and Branch Road SE shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 12. The next day (Tuesday), another report from a woman said a man was masturbating in the woods near Park Street and Dominion Road SE.

Two days later on Thursday (Aug. 15), a woman told police that “she was walking near the W&OD Trail when a man came out from a wooded area and approached her with his pants down, exposing himself to her” around 7:30 a.m. near Park Terrace Court SE, according to a police report.

Janickey said that surveillance and patrols have increased along the trail and that the police department expects to close the case in the next couple of days.

Photo via Facebook

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The Vienna Police Department is investigating three indecent exposure incidents reported this week along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

A woman told the police that she saw a man masturbating in the woods between Park Street and Branch Road SE while she was running on the bike trail shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 12.

The next day (Tuesday), the police department received another report from a woman about a man masturbating in the woods — this time near Park Street and Dominion Road SE.

Police said they searched both areas but were unable to find the man.

Then yesterday (Thursday), a woman told police that “she was walking near the W&OD Trail when a man came out from a wooded area and approached her with his pants down, exposing himself to her,” according to the police report.

That incident occurred around 7:30 a.m. near Park Terrace Court SE.

“The woman stated the man began to follow her until a trash truck approached and he left the area,” police said.

The police department is also investigating a report of a man masturbating by Wildwood Park from earlier this month.

A woman told police that the incident took place shortly after 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 2, by Alma Street SE and Delano Drive SE.

Photo via Facebook

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A new tavern coming to Vienna will cater to beer lovers and W&OD Railroad Regional Park visitors.

Construction on the upcoming Bear Branch Tavern, owned by Chris Lefbom and Adam Lubar, began last week after city officials gave the green light on June 20. The faculty will serve a full restaurant menu, cocktails and more than 20 draft beers, Lefbom said.

Located at 133 E. Maple Avenue, the tavern will offer a large variety of amenities for patrons including two bars, a patio, indoor and outdoor fire pits, an oyster bar, frozen drink machines, bike racks as well as water coolers for people along the nearby W&OD trail.

“We took over an old bank so we decided to keep the framed drive-thru area and turn it into a three season-enclosed porch area with operable windows,” co-owner Chris Lefbom said.

The owners hope to open the tavern for operation in February 2020. Lefbom said that they will have “a little more clarity on the menu” once they hire a chef, which they are still in the interview process for.

“Adam and I have lived in Northern Virginia since we were toddlers and have always loved the small-town feel of Vienna,” Lefbom said. “We feel the area could use the addition of a neighborhood tavern and we love being next to the W&OD trail in the heart of Vienna.”

Image via Google Maps, second image via Vienna Planning Commission

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(Updated at 4 p.m. 8/6/19) A driver has been arrested after police say he struck and killed a woman who was walking with a child in the West Falls Church area Saturday afternoon.

The victim was identified by police Sunday (Aug. 4) as 60-year-old Betty Ana Bernstein-Zabza of Falls Church. Police said Bernstein-Zabza died as a result of injuries from the crash, which happened shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Shreve Road and Hickory Street.

“Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit have preliminarily determined that [Bernstein-Zabza] was walking with a juvenile northbound on a pedestrian pathway adjacent to Shreve Road,” police said. “They entered a crosswalk that connected the pathway to a sidewalk when they were hit by a stolen 2013 Nissan Titan pickup truck.”

While police said that couldn’t unable to provide any information about the identity of the child, WUSA9 reported that the child was Zabza’s son.

The crash scene was near the busy W&OD Trail.

Police arrested the vehicle’s driver — 46-year-old South Riding resident David Alan Francis.

“Detectives believe [Francis] lost control of the truck causing it to exit the roadway and hit Bernstein-Zabza and the juvenile,” police said.

More from FCPD:

Bernstein-Zabza was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased.

The juvenile was treated for minor injuries. Francis ran from the scene but was arrested a short time later. He was not injured.

Both speed and drugs appear to be factors. Francis was charged with one count of felony hit and run. He was taken to the Adult Detention Center where he is being held without bond. Additional charges are anticipated.

Detectives believe Francis may have been involved in additional criminal events yesterday in both Fairfax County and adjoining jurisdictions.

Since 2009, Francis has faced 30 charges including many traffic-related ones like driving under a revoked or suspended license, operating an uninsured vehicle, speeding and improper driving, according to court records.

An FCPD spokesperson told Tysons Reporter that police preliminarily believe that within the hour prior to the fatal pedestrian crash, Francis was involved in the following incidents:

  • hit and run crash with injury at Route 50/Pleasant Valley Rd around 2:15 p.m.
  • hit and run property damage crash in the 7600 block of Virginia Lane
  • subsequent hit and run property damage crash in the 7600 block of Virginia Lane
  • Falls Church City incident
  • subsequent Falls Church City incident
  • fatal pedestrian crash dispatched at 2:47 p.m.

Police ask that anyone with information contact the Crash Reconstruction Unit at 703-280-0543. Anonymous tips can also be submitted through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477).

Image via Google Maps, photo via FCPD

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Currently, e-bikes are not allowed on Fairfax trails, but that could be changing soon.

NOVA Parks regulations currently group motor-assisted bicycles in with motor vehicles, and they are only permitted where motor vehicles are allowed. The regulation was originally intended to regulate the use of mopeds and does not fully address e-bikes.

As a result, NOVA Parks is recommending a change in Fairfax County’s regulation to allow legal use of e-bikes where other pedal-powered bicycles are permitted.

The new regulations add a specific section — fittingly section “E”– governing e-bikes:

Electric power-assisted bicycles (e-bikes) equipped with pedals that allow propulsion by human power are considered bicycles and non-motorized vehicles for the purpose of these regulations, and are allowed in the same places that traditional, pedal-powered only bicycles are allowed.

Under federal law, e-bikes are broken up into distinct classes, but in Virginia, e-bikes are regulated by power with a maximum allowed speed of 25 miles per hour. In Fairfax, the new regulations would limit e-bikes to those with 750 watts of power or less and limit speed to under 20 miles per hour. E-bikes would be allowed anywhere pedal bikes are.

Like pedal bikes, guidelines say e-bikers should yield to pedestrians and equestrians.

A study by NOVA Parks found that e-bike users exhibit nearly identical behavior as regular bike users, with lower than standard bike speeds and a similar crash rate.

Allowing e-bikes in Fairfax can be a contentious topic, with safety concerns about the size and speed of the vehicles. Large vehicles fitting under the nebulous “e-bike” categorization have been spotted speeding along the trail.

But Alexis Glenn, a board member of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) and an e-bike rider, said it’s practically impossible for most bikes to go more than 10 or 15 mph and are often passed by other pedal-powered bikes on the trail.

“Safety on trails will always, always be an education and culture issue, not an equipment issue,” said Glenn. “The weight of e-bikes actually makes it take longer for a rider to get them up to or maintain high speeds. And, if an e-bike user is somehow able to buzz down a trail at 20 mph without encountering a curve, bump, or other users to slow her down, then the battery will drain fast, rendering the e-bike to just a bike.

“My inclinations aside, yes, speeds are a valid concern and NOVA Parks are working on regulations regarding this,” Glenn continued. “I’ll say it again, speed is a user education issue, not an equipment issue. When a driver speeds recklessly we don’t cite the make and model of his vehicle as the culprit, it’s his bad behavior.”

Glenn said FABB supports the proposed policy change as part of promoting greater use of bicycles for recreation and transportation.

Judy Pedersen, public information officer for Fairfax County Park Authority, said the Park Boards are likely to make a decision on the regulation in the spring.

But in the meantime, Pedersen asked e-bikers to obey current park rules and keep off the trails.

“Until the new regulation is approved by both Boards riding e-bikes on trails would be a violation of park regulations,” said Pedersen. “Current park regulations define any vehicle with a motor (gas or electric) as a motor vehicle, therefore excluding their use on park trails.”

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