Tysons, VA

The W&OD Railroad Regional Park may get parallel walking and bicycle trails in the City of Falls Church.

The city’s Planning Commission held a work session on the proposed plans last night (Monday).

The dual-path would run between N. West and Little Falls streets, according to the city documents.

“The project would include replacing the existing 10-foot wide shared-use trail with an 11-foot wide bicycle trail and an 8-foot-wide pedestrian trail separated by a 2-foot-wide stamped asphalt buffer,” the documents say.

The city is also working on updating four W&OD crossings:

  • N. Spring Street
  • N. Oak Street
  • Great Falls Street
  • Little Falls Street

Staff said at the meeting last night that the new paths and crossings would improve safety.

Stormwater management still needs to be coordinated between the city’s Department of Public Works and Nova Parks, staff said.

The proposed plan appears to match the city’s vision for the W&OD. The city’s W&OD Master Plan calls for separated walking and biking trails, along with improved intersection crossings, new plazas and restored lighting, according to the city.

Meanwhile, the city’s Comprehensive Plan desires either trail widening or adding a parallel pedestrian path, the documents say.

While the commissioners voiced support for the plan, Chair Russell Wodiska said that he wants to give residents a chance to comment on the proposal. Locals can expect a public hearing to happen in the near future.

Images via Falls Church

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Dozens of community members gathered at Shrevewood Elementary School last night to hear about the latest work to address safety concerns along Shreve Road.

The road, which runs through the City of Falls Church and Fairfax County, has been the focus of a push for improved safety from the Shreve Road Community Working Group, a coalition of residents and community associations advocating for improvements to the corridor, along with elected officials and residents.

“What brought us here originally is the terrible tragedy,” Jeremy Hancock, the co-founder of the Shreve Road Community Working Group, said at the meeting, referring to the Falls Church resident who died from a hit and run near the intersection of Shreve Road and Hickory Street.

Hancock said that 140 people submitted feedback about the road in a survey and that the group is pushing for changes to both specific things, like crosswalks for the school, and also address systemic issues, like speed.

“We have heard for a long time the concerns along Shreve Road,” Hancock told Tysons Reporter. “Our greatest impact is getting the community together.”

Del. Marcus Simon (D-53rd) kicked off the town hall informing locals about accomplished and upcoming actions by local officials for the road “right now.”

Here are some of the things locals can expect, according to Simon and Allison Richter, the liaison to Fairfax and Arlington counties for VDOT:

  • lowered speed from 35 to 30 miles per hour from Leesburg Pike (Route 7) to Wieland Place
  • replacing older signs that weren’t reflective anymore
  • trimming back vegetation covering the signs
  • reducing sign clutter by taking out old signs that are no longer needed

“At the end of the day, there was good reason to decrease the speed limit on that portion, but traffic engineers found other speed limit was adequate,” Richter said about the recent speed study.

New signs with the new speed limit will be up soon, she said.

Even with the speed reduction in the one area, several attendees in the audience voiced concern that the speed is too high and dangerous.

“Speed is a big factor to results of a crash,” one person said.

“We want to make sure we don’t artificially lower the speed limits,” Richter responded to attendees’ comments. “People drive the speed they want to drive and then it becomes a burden on the police department.”

An attendee who claimed to be a former police officer with Fairfax County said that drivers can often go up to 10 mph above the posted speed limit without fear of getting a ticket. The police representatives at the meeting declined to comment on the attendee’s comment.

In response to concerns about the sharp turn on Shreve Road near Oldewood Drive, Richter said, “If we straighten the curves and widen the lanes, it encourages speed.”

Simon mentioned that there are bigger projects proposed for the road that require grant funding.

Richter and Simon said proposed changes include:

  • changing the intersection of the W&OD Trail and Shreve Road
  • creating a new walking route from Route 7 to W&OD Trail
  • federal funding for three new crosswalks along Shreve Road, including at Fairwood and Virginia lanes

“Let us get all of this implemented plus give it a little bit of time and see how traffic adjusts,” Richter told the attendees. “And if we’re still having a lot of issues, we can continue to talk.”

Bonnie Kartzman, the co-founder of the Shreve Road Community Working Group, said that community involvement with sending letters to elected officials and attending meetings help the cause.

Kartzman urged attendees to sign up for the working group’s email newsletter and volunteer.

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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.

https://twitter.com/chrislfrench/status/1175115801319366656?s=20

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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