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Jones Branch Parcel in Tysons

495 Parcel in Tysons Could Become More

As the largest land owner in Tysons, VDOT is charged with helping move residents and commuters inside and outside of the city. All cities need varying levels of infrastructure, both small scale and at times mega-scale. 495 has long been a presence in Tysons, without which Tysons never would have come into existence.

But over the past two decades the ever-growing Beltway has become a greater obstacle to the future urban goals of Tysons. A common recurrence is the creation of remainder parcels with each modification that occurs to the Beltway. One such parcel exists at the future Jones Branch Connector.

When the 495 Express Lanes project was completed, it included an onramp bridge from Jones Branch to the express lanes, as well as a nearly 4.5 acre parcel which as to date has sat unused. With the announcement of the Jones Branch Connector, which uses part of the 495 Express Lanes bridge for its pathway of connecting North and East Tysons, the parcel is an opportunity to do more with less.

One issue that has been brought up previously with the Jones Branch Connector is the difficult terrain it spans for pedestrians, and its massive length, which may by function reduce use by any travel mode except vehicles. Using the existing 4.5 acre parcel may create either relief or a purpose, with the goal of creating a place which is a wayward point worth traveling to.

There are, of course, negatives of this parcel as well. The adjacency to the massive 495 infrastructure is certainly not great for air quality or acoustics. The topography of the parcel itself includes some severe slopes that would need to be avoided (along the boundaries). It lacks any natural or existing aesthetic qualities. However, 4.5 acres is a lot of land, and you would be surprised how well proper plantings and design could isolate even smaller parcels from the surrounding concrete jungle around it.

In my opinion this parcel could focus on the following goals:

  1. Primarily focus on pedestrian and bicycle users
  2. Improve air and noise quality
  3. Provide a benefit to those traversing between north and east Tysons, as well as being a destination of its own

Certainly Tysons needs more public oriented spaces; dog parks are lacking, quiet forest lands are always a benefit, maybe you think Tysons just needs a place to have a picnic? Or perhaps activating this parcel as a private development makes more sense?

What do you think?

  • Adrian

    The bridge could also make it a place (another place) where air rights over the highway could work. Anything built over the inner loop would only be a short walk to McLean station.

  • David

    I’ve always wondered why similar “clover leaf” parcels don’t get developed. E.g. the four clover leaf enclosures formed by 123 and 495, although these are a bit smaller than the Jones Branch parcel.

    I think the location in the middle of an interstate pretty much rules out anything residential. And I think that even with increased pedestrian/vehicle traffic on the Jones Branch bridge, this is still going to be a relatively isolated parcel, so it would be difficult to sustain retail establishments.

    Perhaps a park would be possible if with sound barriers. I could also see this being used for a well-insulated office tower.

  • Kent Holland

    Are you sure the proposed Jones Branch Connector is drawn correctly. I thought it went over the top of all lanes of 495 and did not ramp or connect to any of 495. The drawing shows it with a ramp to 495.

    • Really?

      The bridge in the picture is already there. It was built as an access point to the HOT lanes. They are in the process of extending it all the way across the beltway towards the Capital One building.

    • TheTysonsCorner

      Kent, below is correct, the first half of the JBC is shared with the 495 HOT lane access points. The renderings VDOT has released start from this location

      You can see this in the following link


      Albeit, it’s a tiny picture, but the parcel in question does show up there. Thanks for the question and conversation.

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