A new year has begun and there is a lot of potential for another successful year in Tysons for achieving the goals laid out by the Tysons 2050 plan. Beyond the construction which continues at break neck speeds in town, there are several developing stories which may define 2017 for the growing city.
Bridge to the Future
Say what you will about the Jones Branch Connector. It could have been improved and retooled with different priorities leading the way, but regardless of all that, the new bridge is the most critical internal improvement to Tysons in a decade. McLean patch reports that the ground breaking will be early this year. Once completed traffic from north central Tysons which is looking to use the Dulles Toll Road, or to get to McLean/points east will be able to bypass the intersection of horrors that many have become accustomed to at Westpark/Tysons Boulevard. If there is any one intersection which has been the bane of the commuters existence it is the insanely wide and yet insanely inefficient Westpark/Tysons. The new bypass could help divert thousands of otherwise jammed up vehicles, and help connect central Tysons to the new amenities and offices located in Tysons East.
Big Sale Might Mean Big Ideas
Whenever a property is sold for nearly $100 million dollars it garners attention. The last time such a big sale came, it involved the Meridian Group purchasing the SAIC headquarters at Greensboro Station with the purpose of creating “The Boro”. The latest sale also involves Meridian Group, in the sale of the Tysons Tech Center located off of Old Gallows Road at a part of Tysons often off the radar for new development. The sale made a pretty penny for Meridian, garnering 50% profit in just 5 years. The purchaser is not yet known, but considering the property had previously initiated a rezoning concept, it is possible the new buyer is interested in expanding and developing the property further.
Tysons Comprehensive Plan Gets Refined
After a two year long process of public meetings and input, the planning commission will hear the county planning departments recommendations for the Tysons Comprehensive Plan on February 8th. Fairfax County’s focus was split into three components; land use, transportation, and lastly parks and public spaces. Major changes implemented by the newest amendment was an elongation of the planning period from 35 years to 40+ years, and considering how the city will grow beyond the previous focus period of the comprehensive plan amendment. The amendment will also include a new memorandum of agreement with VDOT for streets in Tysons which do not fall into the same design standards as the suburban/rural roadway designs typical in VDOTs manuals. There are several dozen more changes that are critical, which we will cover more in depth as the Planning Commission date nears.
BikeShare and Metro Improving Multi-Modal Connectivity
The Silver Line has been serving Tysons for quite some time, but the Safetrack work in 2016 severely affected both Orange and Silver line corridors. Despite those impacts, Silver Line ridership from Tysons continued to grow, counter to the general ridership occurring elsewhere on the system. That is because thousands of new residents have moved to Tysons since the Silver Lines opening, and several thousand more will move here over the next couple of years. All of that density means much higher transit usage. That is an overall benefit to sustainable transit service in Tysons and elsewhere in the region, and it is also a good dynamic for a smaller but growing BikeShare base. More people using BikeShare and transit means less traffic for those who don’t have good connectivity to other means of transportation, and in tandem helps move people and keep Northern Virginia’s economy continue to grow.