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]
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]
Work at the Vienna Market project at Maple & Pleasant is about to get a little loud. Steel beams for the commercial building will be driven into the ground over the next few weeks. pic.twitter.com/Tfa2LGWhY4
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) May 11, 2020
Photo courtesy Tejal Patel
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
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
Starting next week, pedestrians and cyclists along the Washington and Old Dominion will need to take detours 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
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
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.
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]
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.
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.
Get to Route 7 and Gallows and take Gallows down all the way to the W&OD trail; most of Gallows will have an unprotected bike lane, which definitely helps. You then take the trail all the way to downtown Reston. Not sure if I would do a CaBi for this ride, but to each his own.
— Jofi Joseph, CPA (@Jofi_Joseph_99) September 20, 2019
Darn — I had adjusted that map to match my preferred commute but when I shared it, it defaulted back to google’s recommended bike route. The google way is flatter, has many more turns, and uses the brand new short Vesper Trail. I suppose on a CaBi, the flatness would be helpful.
— J.T. E (@jtedc) September 21, 2019
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.