Tysons, VA

The Town of Vienna celebrated its 100th birthday in 1990 with the ringing of bells and a giant birthday cake — and now its 130th birthday this year, residents are challenged to participate in a virtual race. 

Titled “Distance Matters,” the race is inviting all Vienna citizens to walk, run, bike or hike a 130K throughout the month of July. People who complete the 80.8 miles will receive a medal at the end of the month. 

People who are interested in participating will receive a log to track their miles over the course of the month. Miles can be achieved by running on a treadmill, cycling around the town or walking down the trail — participants’ choice. Whatever mode of exercise residents choose, the race is an easy way to maintain a feeling of community despite social distancing restrictions.  

The town was originally planning a large community event called “Bluez and Brewz” on Saturday, June 20, to commemorate Vienna’s 130th birthday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the idea was changed to something that people could safely participate in — at a distance.

The celebration had included live blues bands, barbecue trucks and more, according to Natalie Duncan, the town’s teen center program coordinator. 

“Upon the realization that we had to cancel Bluez and Brewz, we came up with the idea for the 130K,” said Duncan.

The organizers noticed other jurisdictions holding virtual races and decided it would be a fun way to keep the community participating. “The month of July is Parks and Recreation Month… the 130K is a way of keeping residents engaged and involved.”

Local sports and bike merchants, as well as coffee shops, are promoting the event. While running and biking have always been a staple of Vienna with the Washington and Old Dominion Trail running through town, the pandemic has fueled resident interest in the outdoors, according to Duncan. 

“Now with the coronavirus, people are more open to using the trail and running around their neighborhoods,” she said.

In the past, Vienna has drawn major crowds for town events including birthday celebrations, Civil War reenactments and celebrating the new millenium, according to the Vienna Recreation Program Manager Amy-Jo Hendrix.

“Vienna is such a close-knit town,” said Hendrix. “Everyone comes together and enjoys whatever activities we have going. It’s a lot of fun to put these on and see the success that we have and how it brings all the neighbors together.”

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Northern Virginia is rolling back COVID-19 restrictions on businesses as residents are under a “safer at home” recommendation. As the weather continues to warm up and more people head outside, people are finding limited transportation options.

Silver and Orange Line stations west of Ballston are currently closed for summer work. Meanwhile, work is underway to revamp I-66 with lane closures and 30-minute stoppages in the Vienna area.

In late May, staff photographer Jay Westcott captured what transportation looks like now in Tysons: cyclists and pedestrians along the W&OD Trail in Vienna and closure signs at the Tysons Corner Metro station.

Westcott spotted a dog named Cora watching her owner Chad exercise in the parking garage at Tysons Corner Center. He photographed Leesburg Pike, almost empty of cars, by the malls and empty parking garages around Tysons.

Let us know how you’ve been getting around Tysons and if the pandemic has impacted your transportation choices by commenting below.

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Managing the Money — “Fairfax County is taking prudent steps, from budget cutbacks to carefully spending federal stimulus funds, to help the county weather the COVID-19 pandemic, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay suggested to the McLean Citizen Association (MCA) during the group’s May 21 ‘virtual’ membership meeting.” [Inside NoVa]

NoVa May Reopen Soon — “Elected officials from 10 Northern Virginia jurisdictions sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday saying they’re making preparations to transition the region into phase one of the state’s reopening plan beginning Friday. The officials also asked the governor that Northern Virginia move into the second phase of reopening with the rest of the state.” [Washington Business Journal]

Furloughs at Tysons Software Company — “Cvent Inc. is laying off or furloughing 10% of its global workforce, citing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on its business with the meetings and hospitality industries… A company spokesman said the move involves about 7% of the company’s staff in Greater Washington.” [Washington Business Journal]

Governor Goes Maskless — “On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam confirmed he planned to announce a statewide mask policy after the Memorial Day holiday. On Saturday, he was filmed in Virginia Beach, maskless and surrounded by people.” [Inside NoVa]

W&OD Trail Serves as Popular Outdoor Pick — “City officials, park administrators and trail users appear to be balancing the safety needs of the trail’s pedestrian and vehicle users with opportunities to enjoy outdoor exercise and a break from being pent up during the Covid-19 pandemic… With residents longing for outdoor exercise, however, numbers have risen.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Vienna police say that a pedestrian was taken to the hospital after being hit by a vehicle on the W&OD Trail in a crosswalk earlier this month.

A man driving eastbound on Church Street hit the pedestrian, who was on heading south on the W&OD Trail, in the crosswalk, according to the town’s crime recap. The incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 7.

“[The pedestrian] was transported to an area hospital by rescue personnel with non-life-threatening injuries,” police said.

Police issued a summons charging the driver with Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian.

Photo via Facebook

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Police Make Arrest in Assault Along W&OD Trail — Falls Church police arrested a 23-year-old man from Stafford for allegedly pursuing a woman along the W&OD Trail on Saturday, May 9. [City of Falls Church]

Metro May Limit Operations Until 2021 — “As states start to reopen their economies, Metro has crafted its plan to slowly ramp service back up — but don’t expect pre-pandemic levels of service until sometime in early 2021.” [DCist]

FCEDA Head Tapped for COVID-19 Group — “Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), is one of 45 experts tapped to serve on the Washington, D.C.-area’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force. Hoskins is the only member on the task force representing one of the region’s economic development organizations.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

Stuff the Bus is Back — “On Saturday, May 16 and Tuesday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fastran buses will be parked at locations throughout Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax to collect food donations. However, unlike past years, the buses will not be parked in grocery store parking lots.” [Fairfax County]

U.S. Census Response in Fairfax County — “As of Friday (May 9), Fairfax County’s self-response rate is 72.7% — well above Virginia’s overall rate of 63.5%, according to census data.” [Reston Now]

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How’s the Local Hospital Doing? — “Several hospitals in Virginia and Washington, D.C., received top grades for safety, while others didn’t quite measure up, according to new spring 2020 ratings released by the Leapfrog Group recently.” The Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church received an “A” grade. [Patch]

Police Investigating Suspicious W&OD Trail Incidents — “Falls Church Police are seeking information after receiving a report of a man following a woman in a suspicious manner on the W&OD trail this past Monday… Police say they are investigating two other incidents similar to Monday’s, that happened on April 18 at about 1 p.m. and April 21 at about 1 p.m.” [Falls Church News-Press]

MCA Says OK to New Office Building Plan — “McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board members on May 6 unanimously backed a resolution supporting Capital One’s proposal to convert an unbuilt hotel into a new office building.” [Inside NoVa]

Vienna Man Promoted in U.S. Army — “The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s (USASMCDC) deputy commander for operations – Vienna native David Stewart – was promoted to brigadier general in a ceremony at the command’s Peterson Air Force Base headquarters on May 4.” [Inside NoVa]

Photo courtesy Tejal Patel

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The Town of Vienna’s newest public art piece is a familiar message to Virginians.

A “LOVE” sign is now greeting people at the entrance along the W&OD Trail to Northside Park, the town tweeted on Tuesday.

Like the “LOVE” sign that traveled around Fairfax County last year before finding a permanent home in Lorton, the Vienna sign is spreading the “Virginia is for lovers” slogan.

The metal tube letters were donated by a “kind local couple,” the tweet said, adding a shout out to the Vienna Public Art Commission’s Mark Stahl for the installation.

Image via Town of Vienna/Twitter

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In the spring, Vienna and Herndon want locals to take part in a biking and walking event featuring raffle tickets for prizes.

Caboose to Caboose,” which will take place early May, aims to encourage people to shop, dine and explore their town and the other one. The towns want people to go from caboose to caboose — Vienna’s is at 234 Dominion Road, while Herndon’s is at 777 Lynn Street.

The total roundtrip distance is 16.6 miles, and people who don’t want to make the whole trip can stop halfway if they want, the flyer says.

Google estimates that the bike ride one-way takes 50 minutes, while walking would take roughly three hours on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

The towns’ parks and recreation departments came up with the idea during a meeting in October, Amy-Jo Hendrix, who works in Vienna’s parks and recreation department, told Tysons Reporter.

Participating restaurants and businesses in both towns will give out raffle tickets during the event. Brandy Wyatt, another employee in Vienna’s parks and recreation department, said that all of the raffle tickets will be mixed together.

“There are a variety of things that are on the raffle,” Wyatt said, adding that people can expect the prizes to include store gift cards and sports tickets.

The first 200 registered participants will receive a t-shirt representing their town — blue for Vienna and red for Herndon, according to the website. The town that gets the most people to register for the event will win the “Mayors Cup.”

“I want to win!” Mayor Laurie DiRocco enthusiastically told attendees at the Vienna Business Association’s event last week.

Admission is $10 for people ages 15 or under and $18 for people ages 16 and older. People interested in participating can contact Vienna’s parks and recreation department at 703-255-6360.

The event will take place rain or shine on Saturday, May 2, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Photo via Lisa Emrich/Facebook

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Starting next week, pedestrians and cyclists along the Washington and Old Dominion will need to take detours from near Idylwood Park.

The Virginia Department of Transportation recently announced that the part of the trail that runs along the south side of the park will be closed starting Monday (Feb. 24) for utility work connected to the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.

People can expect the portion of the trail between Virginia Lane and the trail bridge over I-495 to be closed for about one week, according to VDOT.

Different detours will be in place, according to VDOT:

  • Pedestrians: detour through Idylwood Park during the park’s operating hours using footpaths and the parking lot
  • Cyclists: on-road detour to Virginia Lane and Nottingham Drive using W&OD Trail access at the end of Nottingham Drive

VDOT noted that the work is dependent on the weather.

The I-66 project is working to add new Express Lanes, change bus service and transit routes, add new pedestrian trails and improve interchanges. The part of the project outside of the Beltway is slated to finish in December 2022.

Map via VDOT

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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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