I was able to attend the Fairfax County Park Authority meeting yesterday which discussed the new Tysons Park System Concept Plan. We previously summarized many of the elements of the plan in a previous post, but the meeting brought up some interesting clarifications we were not aware of.
The concept for the trail loop is more of a way finding and place making that will be implemented onto existing bike paths and new to be built bike paths as part of the overall County Master Bike Plan. The key will be new signage and paint which will distinguish the path as the circulator loop to help people understand where they are and where they can go.
The goal of the Tysons Park System Concept Plan isn’t a regulatory authority. In other words, this isn’t a law or requirement for developments to adhere to. Instead the comprehensive plan provides guidance on how much and what type of parks are required for any new approval. This document is a guidance and coordination tool for developers and the county to work towards a unified goal, so that new parks won’t be disconnected from each other and so that residents and park goers feel a sense of commingling and communication between each park and plaza.
We got a tour of the only current public recreation field in Tysons, Westgate Park which sits behind Westgate Elementary (currently undergoing a field replacement and school improvement plan of its own). The goal of the new concept plan is assure that community spaces like Westgate Park are fully utilized and properly introduced to the community when population triggers occur, so that no lag time occurs.
There were several county officials in attendance, including Providence Planning Commissioner Lawrence, as well some private partners like Tom Fleury of Cityline. An important element of the concept plan is a tracking of what has already been accomplished in terms of agreements for new parks, of which both Meridian and Cityline are showing active participation towards. In fact, Cityline will ultimately build 3 recreational fields, dozens of parklets and plazas, and two significant natural conservation areas between their three major rezonings.
The ultimate goal of the plan is to help fortify a future great city, because public spaces are at the core of any well planned urban environment. In that respect, the plan accomplishes a great vision, and I think is another step forward in doing something special here in Tysons.
You can see the plan here and staff are urging residents to please provide comments on the plan by the deadline June 16th.