Greater Greater Washington

Transit


Like a big city, Tysons will be a transit hub

Tysons Corner has more office space than downtown Baltimore, Richmond, and Norfolk put together. It should be the center its own large transit network. The Silver Line and express buses on the Beltway HOT lanes are good first steps, but in the long run Tysons is going to need more routes, connecting it to more places.

In the long run, Tysons needs something more like this:

In recent years, planners in Virginia have begun to seriously consider a Tysons-centric rapid transit network. It doesn't have a name, and isn't officially separate from any of the other transportation planning going on in the region, but it shows up on long range regional plans like SuperNoVa and TransAction.

In addition to the Silver Line, HOT Lanes Buses, and Tysons' internal circulation network, officials are beginning to study light rail connections to Maryland, Falls Church, and Merrifield, and BRT on the Chain Bridge Road corridor.

It will be years before any of these additional routes are implemented, and they could look very different from this map once they finally are. Details don't exist yet, because at this point these are little more than ideas.

But to work as the urban place Fairfax County officials hope Tysons will become, this is the sort of regional infrastructure it's going to need.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a professional transportation planner for the Arlington County Department of Transportation. He has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and lives a car-free lifestyle in Northwest Washington. His posts are his own opinions and do not represent the views of his employer in any way. He runs the blog BeyondDC and also contributes to the Washington Post Local Opinions blog. 

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I also read today that there are several new fairfax connector routes that will run from Burke to Tysons which is an encouraging sign the Fairfax is realizing that a lot of people in the county have commutes that take them north to south rather than the more traditional east to west.

Which link proposes the BRT from the city of Fairfax via Old Lee hwy?

by drumz on Jan 14, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

Oh yes, quite. Roads are only part of the issue. Getting transit to work on them will be just as important.

One of the great things about super-wide suburban arterials is that they have so much real estate for center-running transit, cycle tracks, and wide sidewalks. Their spacing is just right for such service, too, ensuring everywhere is close to inexpensive, quality surface transit.

by David Edmondson on Jan 14, 2013 3:48 pm • linkreport

This is great. VA and MD really need to get serious about TOD (outside of of some inner suburbs which stand as positive models.) Tysons Corner seems to be going in the right direction (and not having been out there in many years it's hard to believe) but much more needs to be done to use existing resources efficiently. There is so much potential for infill on existing metro lines and some well placed streetcar projects. The Silver Line in my mind is not a boondoggle because Dulles needs a rail link. From now on money would be better spent on high quality bus improvements and high density development around existing and future (infill) stations.

by Alan B. on Jan 14, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport

I believe part of the Route 7 widening outside of Tysons also includes a dedicated bus lane. I have not been able to confirm this.

Good post btw.

I also had in mind a way to connect the purple line/red line to the silver line. In my concept we would also draw off some of the orange line to run an Orange Line Express (bypassing Arlington direct to DC) across the river crossing that would be a shared rail/road bridge. Then only half the trains from the orange would cross the existing tunnel, allowing for increased blue service (back to pre Rush schedules).

If you are interested;
http://thetysonscorner.com/concepts-for-a-shared-railroad-bridge/

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 14, 2013 3:56 pm • linkreport

>> Which link proposes the BRT from the city of Fairfax via Old Lee hwy?

It's in TransAction. It's listed as priority bus, but BRT was discussed as an option, and they didn't develop details for it as part of that study.

You couldn't fit a dedicated busway along some parts of that route (like downtown Fairfax City), so at best it would be a fairly low-level BRT.

by BeyondDC on Jan 14, 2013 4:07 pm • linkreport

The King Street light rail ought to be separate from Columbia Pike and go straight to the King Street Metro and/or to the heart of Old Town.

by Andrew on Jan 14, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

Interesting post. Years ago, and of course they do, I said that Fairfax County needs to do its own transit/transpo plan irrespective of WMATA. The redevelopment of Tysons and the Silver Line operation will spark such planning, as you point out.

2. It's time for another "Regional Bus conference" like WMATA did in 2005/2006 (I can't remember which year), but it needs to look at things more along the lines of the metropolitan, suburban, and center city transit subnetworks that I outline in the metropolitan transit planning presentation.

Probably RideOn needs some reconsideration too, alongside the planning for some BRT in MoCo.

etc.

by Richard Layman on Jan 14, 2013 4:16 pm • linkreport

@drumz

There is one express route started the other day, from Burke to Tysons. There will be two more in March - I think one each from Springfield and from Lorton. There is already a PWC bus to Tysons, which I assume has been routed onto the HOT lanes.

@Richard L

I thought the fairfax-MoCo discussions include coordination on bringing MoCo BRT into Tysons.

wrt 123 - right now that corridor has no transit lane, and no bike lanes, and has mixed appeal to peds. But yes, if there is the political will to convert it into a complete street, the width is there. To add LRT is going to be difficult - to make the costs of rail work, you need development to pay for it - and while there are plenty of shopping centers on 123 in Vienna that COULD be converted to medium density mixed use (similar to Columbia Pike plans) I am pretty sure the Town of Vienna is dead set against any such thing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 14, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

as to Rte 7 - FFX county currently envisions maintaining the 'suburban character' of Pimmit Hills, between Tysons and the Falls Church city line. Presumably the positive apporach to dense development expressed by some in Falls Church, and the County priority for transforming Seven Corners and Baileys Xroads, will over come the lack of redevelopment potential in Pimmit Hills.

I doubt that it will run to King Street station though - too much untouchable low density in the area along King Street NW of the metro station.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 14, 2013 4:31 pm • linkreport

@ David Edmondson

"One of the great things about super-wide suburban arterials is that they have so much real estate for center-running transit, cycle tracks, and wide sidewalks." VDOT will not permit any loss of lanes. Either the new use proposes to share space with traffic or the new use must provide its own right-of-way. This issue came up in connection with the Tysons circulator. I would suspect, however, VDOT would look at proposals if the sponsor could guarantee an actual reduction in car trips because of the new use.

@ Tysons Engineer

"I believe part of the Route 7 widening outside of Tysons also includes a dedicated bus lane. I have not been able to confirm this." The stakeholder task force formed by VDOT to provide input to the Route 7 widening west of Tysons is looking a number of transit options that would be a part of the widening of Route 7. No final recommendations or decisions have been made. It is very unlikely any final plan would not have provisions made for transit. The Tysons landowners have huge TDM targets to hit, and the surrounding communities (both Tysons and Route 7) are pushing very hard for more transit.

by TMT on Jan 14, 2013 4:35 pm • linkreport

Dan, this is a nice rendering. As someone who used to go to school right off 123, I'd say the BRT service east of Tysons is ambitious. You have very limited density and subdivisions that really are very walled-off from the arterial. That being said, I see two viable stations, one in downtown McLean (perhaps at intersection with Old Dominion), and one at the CIA. And, of course, if local public bus improved, I could see stations being more plentiful as drop-off points. Still, I think the two stops I mention would merit enough ridership for at least consideration.

by thesixteenwords on Jan 14, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

As someone who rented an SFH in Pimmit Hills for a year, I'd say route 7 could really, really use either BRT or light rail. Light rail into tysons or falls church city would have been an awesome alternative.

Pimmit Hills needs bike connections. biking on the 3 foot wide sidewalk to get to the WFC metro was no fun when I did it for a year.

by Steve on Jan 14, 2013 5:25 pm • linkreport

AWITC -- good point... but those conversations are recent, while I am referring to stuff I wrote 5-8 years ago. In fact, some of my first posts on transportation were about a Fairfax County private conference on transportation in March 2005.

- http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2005/03/dr-transits-prescription-for-fairfax.html
- http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2005/03/fairfax-talks-transportation-privately.html
- http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2005/03/maybe-virginia-railway-express-and.html

Although the mass transit planning stuff was re-codified more recently (in 2010). It's important. Too bad TPB doesn't really use that method. Anyway, while I am proud of it, it's an extension of concepts I first was introduced to in the ArCo master transportation plan.

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2010/07/metropolitan-mass-transit-planning.html

So in that context Fairfax needs to plan for how it leverages the Metropolitan Transit Network and extends it through its primary and secondary transit networks.

And I need to add a third level to the suburban framework, that of the tertiary network (which is part of the framework for the center city). It might have to be 3-4 subnetworks, but would include provision for intra-district transit, such as within Tysons as a distinct subnetwork.

by Richard Layman on Jan 14, 2013 6:10 pm • linkreport

What I don't understand is why one of the Tysons Metro stations wasn't built as an intermodal transit center.

by ceefer66 on Jan 14, 2013 7:09 pm • linkreport

Pimmit Hills needs bike connections. biking on the 3 foot wide sidewalk to get to the WFC metro was no fun when I did it for a year.

The bigger problem is crossing the I66 ramps. There was a proposal years ago to open up the WMATA employee entrance on Idylwood to pedestrian customers (avoiding the need to cross the 66 ramps) but it was shot down by the Pimmit Hills Homeowners Association. Apparently, they thought it would bring too much traffic, especially in front of the elementary school.

The other biking problem is the beltway interchange ramps if you're headed toward Tysons.

by Falls Church on Jan 14, 2013 7:32 pm • linkreport

The question for NOVA will be whether they spend their transit money on building out the Tysons hub or separating the blue line to increase capacity going downtown. I don't see both things happening. It probably makes more sense for NOVA to spend their money making it easier for Virignians to get to jobs in Virginia (the Tysons option) vs. making it easier for Virginians to get to jobs in DC (separated blue line).

by Falls Church on Jan 14, 2013 7:34 pm • linkreport

FC, barely any Fairfax transpo funding is going to Tysons because of the tax structure they have created. We are basically only asking for something like 10 million dollars of county assistance per year over the next 40 years (most of which goes to County wide improvements anyways). Within Tysons the real estate taxes alone (of which every property in Tysons pays to the normal county coffers, not the new 7 cent tax) constitutes 40-50million as of today alone.

I think the blue line separation is of a state wide importance, and frankly of regional importance, so I think it can find funding over the next decade. The bigger question is whether Orange Line can be extended and Blue Line Separated within 1 decade. Now that I am more dubious about.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 14, 2013 7:54 pm • linkreport

@TE

The special tax district money is for transpo projects within Tysons. I don't think it can be used for any of the projects noted in the author's map which are more regional in nature.

by Falls Church on Jan 14, 2013 10:07 pm • linkreport

"What I don't understand is why one of the Tysons Metro stations wasn't built as an intermodal transit center."

There's a large bus hup in Tysons, and i wondered why the rail didn't go there, or the bus hub move to a station, like the one between the malls.

by dseain on Jan 15, 2013 2:35 am • linkreport

Falls Church -- in 2003, due to a then recession, WMATA devolved expansion planning responsibilities to the separate jurisdictions.

And the separate jurisdictions aren't responsible for mitigating the impact of new additions like the Silver Line on other parts of the system (e.g., the recent stuff that came up about the turnaround just past RFK not being robust enough to support frequent turnarounds, so that Silver Line trains won't be able to be turned back there--arguably, Virginia should pay for that too, but it's in DC and it's not their responsibility).

Because for the most part the separated blue line (and I was talking with a former DDOT now WMATA planner about this last night) would be in DC, it is DC's responsibility.

Although I have argued that the Silver Line expansion should have been used to push the separated blue line through DC as well. (Again, something I wrote about first maybe 7 years ago.)

On the other hand, DC elected officials don't see a separated blue line as a priority (as crazy as this sounds) because they see it mostly being done to assist Virginians, even though it would add many stations to DC, serving DC residents, not to mention that if it is uncomfortable to use transit stations in the core of the city (capacity is expected to be reached in the next decade) then this will reduce the desire to locate places of employment within the Central Business District, diminishing the value of locating business in DC, diminishing commercial property values, etc., which will have significant negative effects.

2. ceefer66 makes a good point about an intermodal center. While the Silver Spring Transit Center isn't a good example, I wonder why more thought wasn't put into thinking and providing infrastructure for considering how the Silver Line could be leveraged more broadly in terms of multimodalism.

cf http://publictransport.about.com/od/Transit_Projects/a/Review-Of-The-New-El-Monte-Bus-Station.htm

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2013 5:03 am • linkreport

Not just Tysons being a hub, but connecting to other hubs. There are massive benefits to be gained by directly connecting Bethesda with Tysons by a heavy rail link; build a branch of the Silver Line that way or make a Gold Line, or upgrade that part of the Purple Line. There's no reason to have to go through DC.

by Andrew on Jan 15, 2013 10:07 am • linkreport

Tysons Corner only has slightly more office space (27m sq ft vs 21m sq ft) than downtown Baltimore (which is fully built out).

Why lump in the small, irrelevant backwaters of Richmond and Norfolk 3-5 hours outside of the Metro Area?

by Marc on Jan 15, 2013 11:19 am • linkreport

One thing I don't understand is why we need to make everything transit hubs. Take Silver Spring, Anacostia, Pentagon, Rosslyn many buses end at those stations when they could do slightly further to provide better connections.

Almost no buses go from Pentagon to anywhere in DC just across the river outside of rush hour so you force people to take the train and the same with its almost the same with Rosslyn and Anacostia both of which only have two buses crossing the river that's near them

We need to utilize the Legion and Chain bridges as neither has any transit service traveling across them instead of forcing everyone via the same route

@ Richard Layman

Regarding the trunaround just beyond Stadium Armory couldn't DC just tell WMATA or Virginia that Silver Lines are going to end at East Falls Church or Rosslyn unless someone wants to pay up.

by kk on Jan 15, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

Couldn't Fairfax tell WMATA, if that were the case, it will stop paying the 2nd highest subsidy on the system even though it has only 3 stations to date and almost no WMATA bus service, and the ones that do exist end at 10pm?

Lots of things could be said, let's not forget

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 1:22 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church,

Sorry some confusion, I was referring to the comment about the ability to fund the blue line and that county money wouldn't be available because of Tysons Construction.

Tysons construction for infrastructure is very much quarantined from the rest of the funds needed for Fairfax. It was done that way on purpose. For some transit links that exit Tysons and for some of the overall road widenings proposed like Route 7 outside of tysons and DTR toll ramps, those will be shared between county and Tysons specific.

The County will likely end up gaining signficant revenue from the triggering of those events however because the general real estate funds (the money they already get irrespective of the new 7 cent tax) for the new assessed massive development will far outweigh any costs incurred on County residents. In other words, even though Fairfax will assist with some of the costs for Tysons, when that occurs it will be pooling from a fund that has been made much larger because of those very same triggers.

So the blue line connection isn't infeasible for funding, atleast not because Tysons is taking away any mony.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

As important as Tysons is, there are people in Fairfax who want to see radial extensions of metrorail - Orange line to Centreville, and something southward. IIUC the river crossings are a constraint that prevents that.

Commuting to DC is still economically important to Fairfax, in particular to the southern part of the County. While I can see delaying the seperate blue line (I presume Va covers the tunnel, and DC covers the part within DC?) until some more Tysons feeder lines are done, I think focusing only on Tysons while ignoring the seperate blue line and its impact on future metrorail extensions would be viewed unfavorably by the southern half of the County.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

Couldn't Fairfax tell WMATA, if that were the case, it will stop paying the 2nd highest subsidy on the system even though it has only 3 stations to date and almost no WMATA bus service, and the ones that do exist end at 10pm?

No, not really.

Rail subsidy is allocated based on a formula. Fairfax does not pay the second highest subsidy (DC, MoCo, PG all pay more for Metrorail). In 2012, Fairfax's share of the total Metrorail subsidy was 14.1%

Fairfax has only regional Metrobus service - non-regional Metrobus service is solely paid for by the jurisdiction it serves.

http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/board_docs/033120_3ASubsidyReview.pdf

Also, Fairfax has 5.5 stations for the purposes of Metro's formula. Don't forget the southern part of the County - Huntington, Franconina-Springfield, and Van Dorn St (split 50/50 with Alexandria).

by Alex B. on Jan 15, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

the "subsidy" formula is based on the number of stations in your jurisdiction. So DC pays the most.

wrt bus service and hubs, WMATA justifiably works to push longer distance trips to Metrorail, so that's why no buses go between DC and the Pentagon. Given that a bus carries 50-100 people, that makes sense to me.

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2013 1:53 pm • linkreport

the "subsidy" formula is based on the number of stations in your jurisdiction. So DC pays the most.

That's 1/3 of it. Another 1/3 is the jurisdiction's share of the average weekday ridership, and the final 1/3 is based on the jurisdiction's urbanized area population, weighted by density.

And again, that is for Metrorail only, not Metrobus.

See the last slide on this presentation:
http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/docs/subsidy_allocation.pdf

In 2012, DC paid more than any single jurisdiction for rail (34.5%), but not more than Maryland's two counties as a whole (36.7%).

by Alex B. on Jan 15, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

Virginia's rail lines pay the system back frankly. I don't want to get into a cross river whine off, but WMATA gets enough money from Virginia especially considering no one helped us build our new extension, even though plenty of DC residents do work in Tysons.

Either way, I think if you come at Virginia and say something like that, you might just end up losing all of the Virginia money so maybe you shouldn't try to provide us with ultimatums considering we get sub-par service compared to DC and Marylands empty buses and trains.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 2:59 pm • linkreport

Ah, pointless discussions.

AFAICT, WMATA makes OPERATIONAL decisions itself, with input from its board (composed of reps of all the participating jurisdictions) so no, the District govt could not ban silver line trains from DC. And there is huge incentive to work together. Va needs to pay for the tunnel, at minimum. DC can attempt to cover their local share of the piece to be built under land in DC with some kind of tax increment financing. If they can't make that work, I suppose FTA could arrange to have a disproportionate part of the federal share go to the onland portion, so Va effectively takes on a larger share, though no Va $$ are actually spent for anything other than the tunnel. The need to cooperate to make these things work is large (and I would imagine Arlington will be player as well, and City of Alex will be effected too, since it will effect frequency of blue line trains).

But each jurisdiction needs to decide its a priority.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 3:08 pm • linkreport

Virginia's rail lines pay the system back frankly. I don't want to get into a cross river whine off, but WMATA gets enough money from Virginia especially considering no one helped us build our new extension, even though plenty of DC residents do work in Tysons.

Ok, paying for system expansion and paying for annual operation subsidies are two very different things.

System expansion is not funded via Metro's formula, so I'm not sure why a) you were bringing it up, and b) I wanted to correct some of the errors in your statement.

Either way, I think if you come at Virginia and say something like that, you might just end up losing all of the Virginia money so maybe you shouldn't try to provide us with ultimatums considering we get sub-par service compared to DC and Marylands empty buses and trains.

Slow down, buddy. Who is issuing ultimatums?

Again, let's not conflate allocating capital expenses for system expansion vs. allocating operating subsidies.

The operating subsidies are divided quite fairly - we could nitpick the formula a bit, but it's not egregiously unfair to any one jurisdiction.

Second, it's not like VA (or FFX) could just opt out of Metro and expect their investment in the system to remain. Like I said, these kinds of ultimatums aren't realistic or helpful.

Third, the point that was made about the new Blue line is a simple one - further expansion of the system will stress the core of the system beyond capacity. This is a regional problem. Do you disagree with either of those statements?

by Alex B. on Jan 15, 2013 3:13 pm • linkreport

"VDOT will not permit any loss of lanes. Either the new use proposes to share space with traffic or the new use must provide its own right-of-way."

Do VDRPT and VDOT talk to each other? because the VDRPT document clearly envisions light rail/BRT on both 123, and on 7 SE of Tysons. And BRT in mixed lanes isnt really BRT. And I don't think when VDPRT says light rail, they are envisioning street car in mixed traffic (like PikeRail). Perhaps VDRPT assume VDOT will widen the roads in question?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 3:19 pm • linkreport

"Third, the point that was made about the new Blue line is a simple one - further expansion of the system will stress the core of the system beyond capacity."

I don't think Va will pay for any part of the seperate blue line beyond the new tunnel. I'm not sure if, given that, there is a way to do the project without some district share. District share I would hope could come from development/landowners via some kind of creative financing, but I don't know for sure.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

@AWITC You do know that Virginia doesn't own the river right? So any tunnel would be within the District.

As far as the defensive stance, it was in response to someone saying "Regarding the trunaround just beyond Stadium Armory couldn't DC just tell WMATA or Virginia that Silver Lines are going to end at East Falls Church or Rosslyn unless someone wants to pay up."

And my point to that, if you are DC or WMATA, I dont think you want to start messing with Virginia because we won't put up with the incompetence on top of this kind of ultimatum. I think I in many ways speak for even the most progressive of Virginians, we don't need that kind of attitude.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity

You raise good questions about the RoW issues. VDOT did tell Fairfax County and the Tysons stakeholders they could not take any existing traffic lanes on public roads within Tysons for the Tysons circulator. However, it's probably moot since Fairfax County has decided any circulator would be a bus and would not have its own RoW except for possibly by the rail stations.

VDOT also vetoed proposals by the former Tysons Task Force to take two lanes on Route 7 for on-street parking. The Feds would likely have vetoed the idea also had it remained alive.

by TMT on Jan 15, 2013 3:43 pm • linkreport

1. I don't see DC paying for the tunnel, despite where the border is. I just don't. Really, do you think Va will pay nothing? If thats the case DC probably won't be interested at all. And that would be very bad for the large number of virginians who do commute to DC via metro rail - and it would be bad for those who commute to DC via highway - and it would be bad for property values in places like Burke, Springfield, Annandale, Lorton, and other part of Fairfax where large numbers of residents are DC commuters - and it will almost certainly mean no further radial metrorail extensions (VDRPT and FCDOT both seem to believe that extended Orange line is coming)

2. The statement about DC stopping silver line trains was silly and uninformed. Pointing that out would have been enough.

3. There IS no ultimatum. That was a comment on a blog. And there is incompetence to go around.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 3:49 pm • linkreport

"VDOT did tell Fairfax County and the Tysons stakeholders they could not take any existing traffic lanes on public roads within Tysons for the Tysons circulator. However, it's probably moot since Fairfax County has decided any circulator would be a bus and would not have its own RoW except for possibly by the rail stations."

I would guess that by the time they are ready for a seperate ROW transitway WITHIN Tysons, there will be additional streets creaated by the new developments, which would have to be considered in the mix.

"VDOT also vetoed proposals by the former Tysons Task Force to take two lanes on Route 7 for on-street parking. The Feds would likely have vetoed the idea also had it remained alive"

On street parking (though a potentially desirable amenity) it does not directly create mobility (but is instead a way to calm traffic, which I guess VDOT does not see as a proper stragety for Rte 7). A dedicated transitway or bike lane OTOH is a way to move people (if not private motor vehicles) and under an expanded view of what level of service means, might not harm LOS (even IF it worsens conventionally defined LOS)

OTOH it seems from the FCDOT plan that FCDOT envisions widening rte 7 SE of Tysons, Gallows south of Mosaic, and 123 between Vienna and City of Fairfax (but NOT between Tysons and Vienna or between Tysons and Mclean). Which I am sure will create contention.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 3:55 pm • linkreport

I know for a fact VDOT derailed (pun not intended) the idea of future possibilities for a circulator light rail or trolly on Westpark Drive.

Arbor Row had no problem with the roadwork necessary for it (wider median), but VDOT purposefully took away the ability to provide the light rail by reducing the median size indicated.

Just another way that VDOT loves to screw over NOVA, by getting involved in land use and transit options too.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 4:04 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

No, I think Virginia would be very interested in separating out the blue and yellow lines, especially with the revitalization that is being attempted along Route 1. My point was directed at a regional separation that is occurring. I know the comment was just on a blog from one commenter, but in the past 3 years we have heard similar issues about bridge concepts into Maryland (some that i disagree with like the outer beltway, and some I agree with like expansion of chain bridge road).

Additionally, of late us Virginians have felt very fed up with how much disruption we are feeling on our side of the river, as well as the general incompetence coming out of WMATA, all the while DC and Maryland has not seen those kinds of cuts in bus routes that Virginia has seen.

For the record, I am FOR Virginia, specifically the state, proposing more money towards capital projects and improvements at Cores in the system. However I also believe that automation (something that DC/WMATA refuses to consider more for employment reason) would be FAR more capable of improving the river crossing than a new tunnel for a much smaller cost. Best of all the system is capable of being automated, it's just not because of the very powerful WMATA union.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 4:12 pm • linkreport

However I also believe that automation (something that DC/WMATA refuses to consider more for employment reason) would be FAR more capable of improving the river crossing than a new tunnel for a much smaller cost.

I recently visited Vancouver and rode their automated Metro, SkyTrain, extensively. Loved it. I think automation has great promise.

However, don't oversell it.

For one, it would be very expensive to automate the entire Metro system. You'd need a lot more changes to the track systems. You'd also likely start with implementation on the Red line, as that line is segregated from the rest and would make installation and testing easier.

Two, it does not change the huge capacity challenges that a New Blue line is meant to solve. The current signalling system is nominally capable of 135 second headways, but can supposedly do 90 second headways. So, that's the max - automation or not. Automation won't do better than trains every 90 seconds, and the question of achieving that standard is based more on station dwell time and reliability than raw frequency.

Three, automation of the system will not add any capacity to the existing track network. The whole problem a New Blue line would aim to solve is that branching of a transit line divides frequency (and therefore divides capacity). A new Blue line not just adds capacity in the core, but also allows both the Blue and Orange lines in Viringia and Maryland to run at greater frequencies and therefore greater capacities, too.

Additionally, of late us Virginians have felt very fed up with how much disruption we are feeling on our side of the river, as well as the general incompetence coming out of WMATA, all the while DC and Maryland has not seen those kinds of cuts in bus routes that Virginia has seen.

What kind of routes are being cut? If they are non-regional routes, than the blame does not fall with WMATA, but with the local jurisdictions.

by Alex B. on Jan 15, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

05A has been changed to no longer stop in Tysons in order to squeeze 15 minutes out of the run.

23A, 28T have seen longer headways, and overall the ridiculousness of ending at 10pm for systems that connect Virginia to WFC, Vienna. I can't get a bus home from WFC to Tysons. DC pretends that Virginia is this hamlet where nothing is open and no one goes out and that the densities dont make sense for late night transit.

Tysons has 18,000 people mostly located within 1/2 mile of the transit center (about as dense as most parts of even the densest portions of DC). WFC is as dense as Adams Morgan or U Street portions of the city. And it may shock some people but it isn't all 50 year old families of 5. It is total crap that we get 5 hours less service on Metro buses in much of Fairfax.

All that being said, it is understandable as Virginia is not as transit friendly (atleast overtly in our politics) as DC.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 4:57 pm • linkreport

WMATA already has every kind of automation that SkyTrain has EXCEPT for the fact that someone has to sit in the operator's cab and open the doors. Currently WMATA trains are in manual mode but when they operate in automatic mode again in a few years (hopefully) then it will return to that type of operation.

About the only thing fully automated trains do is let you operate frequent (5-minute) service all the time. Now, that's a big deal but it isn't going to give you a bunch of capacity during the peak period because the system already does everything automation does. Peak period labor costs aren't that much lower with full automation because those employees who would operate trains are still needed on platforms to solve issues like doors not closing, etc.

by MLD on Jan 15, 2013 5:03 pm • linkreport

@ tysonsengineer

A rail-based circulator has been tossed by both Fairfax County and the Tysons landowners. It was simply too expensive (numbers in the range of $750 million and up). The Tysons Partnership has not discussed the topic for months. FC DOT has already decided that any circulator will be bus-based. It's got nothing to do with VDOT at this stage.

by TMT on Jan 15, 2013 5:04 pm • linkreport

" WFC is as dense as Adams Morgan or U Street portions of the city."

WFC - WTF.

huh? thats not the West Falls Church I know.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 5:04 pm • linkreport

@AWITC - Perception can be tricky. Most detached units are on 0.1acre lots, several hundred apt and condo units within walking distance. Easily a few thousand residents with 1/2mile.

I'm not saying it looks as nice as either of those areas, I'm not saying it is as walkable as those areas. But if you are asking about population (ie resident density) yes it is as populated.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 5:09 pm • linkreport

@ Tysons Engineer

Funding issues. The Tysons transportation infrastructure plan adopted by Fairfax County uses the entire county's C&I tax revenues for a significant number of years. That's a pretty significant commitment from the County to the success of Tysons, IMO. The Plan also assumes state and federal funding will continue. The Plan examined state and federal transportation funding for about 20 years and made future projections based on history. The Plan seems quite reasonable and fair.

by TMT on Jan 15, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

@MLD

Why would they be needed on the platforms for doors not closing issues? Also, those "same people" wouldn't be paid at the same rates as a train engineer who with benefits rakes in 6 figures. Perhaps that is an appropriate rate for a train engineer, but I am 100% sure it is not the appropriate pay grade for someone who's sole job is to keep people from clogging up doors.

Safety at platforms would improve with automation, with the money saved we could do like the majority of the world and provide separator walls to avoid deaths from people falling on the tracks as well as the trend we are currently seeing with suicides. Reducing deaths is a big cost saving also.

I understand it wouldn't solve anything, but a 40% improvement in efficiency is a major benefit for atleast the next decade, and I doubt it will cost anywhere near the 4-6 billion dollars that a separate blue line tunnel/system would require.

On top of that, the money saved from letting go of several dozens of 100k earners would decrease costs allowing WMATA to (don't hold your breath) plan for the future expansions by actually saving some money for capital improvements.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 5:20 pm • linkreport

but A = those areas are larger than the one half mile from the WFC metro stop.

You're basically saying there is ONE bus stop that it would make sense to stop at (and thats with same bus share - but of course walkability will effect bus share - as will parking - lots of parking free units in AM and U Street, and I doubt any near WFC metro.

So it doesnt sound like you would get huge numbers on that bus.

Ive taken express and local buses in NoVa - only ones really crowded were on Columbia Pike in Arlington (more conventionally urban). I'm not complaining - but I dont see evidence NoVa is shorted on buses.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 5:20 pm • linkreport

TMT,

30% of those C&I tax revenues come from Tysons anyways, but I agree with your statement. I was referring to Gen Funds from residential taxes outside of Tysons. Good point though.

I also agree about the conservative estimate from the state/fed sources, it was something like 7million per year (minuscule considering the economic boon for the state this will bring). I think under the current administration it will be less than that, but under more friendly administrations it will far exceed expectations especially when you consider the lump sums that will likely come for Route 7 improvements.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

"I understand it wouldn't solve anything, but a 40% improvement in efficiency is a major benefit for atleast the next decade"

but as any blue line rider will tell you, we already have frequency issues, NOW. In one year we get Silver line phase 1, by 2018 we get Silver Line phase two. AND we get increased residential density (and transit ridership) in Crystal City, Old Town Alex, and in the RB Corridor. So we use up a lot of the capacity even before look at any new rail extensions.

Plus its not just the tunnel - its also the movement through the big transfer stations in DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 15, 2013 5:25 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

Thats not accurate about the geography of WFC. The 1/2 includes all lands to the W&OD trail in WFC. There is significant development in mid-rise condos on Route 7 as well as garden styles on Haycock as well as all of the residents in between in townhomes and houses. All of them have perfectly acceptable sidewalks along Route 7 and Haycock all the way to the metro, not to mention the tens of thousands of residents on the way between WFC and Tysons, Pimmitt Region, and Tysons itself (8000 next to the transit center, soon to be 9000 with the opening of Park Crest Two this year).

There are plenty of people who live on this corridor. For the parking, yes I don't disagree, but when it comes to late night service there are many who would like the ability to leave the car at home, something I would say we should strive to assist with.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 5:29 pm • linkreport

@AWITC, hey I don't disagree that eventually another tunnel is needed also. But I think to ask for money for a new tunnel to be completely supported by Virginia (or largely funded by Virginia) without first looking at whether DC has tried to automate and improve efficiency in costs by considering laying off engineers an in place providing automation (something that will improve headways also)... is not gonna sell well with a state which frankly thinks a lot of unions drive up cost on the consumers.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 5:33 pm • linkreport

WFC has the same density as Adams Morgan? WTF?

City of Falls Church - 5,200 people per sq mile
Adams Morgan - 20,000+ people per square mile

Not sure where you're getting a 40% improvement in efficiency from either. I agree that platform attendants would not be paid the same as train operators. But what I am telling you is that SkyTrain has these people for when something goes wrong. And no, it's not a station manager who has to waddle down from wherever to solve things.

Regardless, saving on labor costs doesn't give you any capacity increases. Full automation doesn't give you capacity increases either, because like I said, WMATA already has that with the exception of opening and closing doors.

by MLD on Jan 15, 2013 5:36 pm • linkreport

05A has been changed to no longer stop in Tysons in order to squeeze 15 minutes out of the run.

Makes sense - very few people ever got on at that stop when I've ridden the 5A. That's not exactly a local bus.

23A, 28T have seen longer headways, and overall the ridiculousness of ending at 10pm for systems that connect Virginia to WFC, Vienna. I can't get a bus home from WFC to Tysons. DC pretends that Virginia is this hamlet where nothing is open and no one goes out and that the densities dont make sense for late night transit.

Save the 'DC thinks this' stuff.

Tysons has 18,000 people mostly located within 1/2 mile of the transit center (about as dense as most parts of even the densest portions of DC). WFC is as dense as Adams Morgan or U Street portions of the city. And it may shock some people but it isn't all 50 year old families of 5. It is total crap that we get 5 hours less service on Metro buses in much of Fairfax.

Look at the NYT's handy Census 2010 data map. http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/map

18,000 within a 1/2 mile radius of that transit center seems high, but plausible. However, the density of the densest Census tract in that area is only about 14,000 people per sq mile. Adams Morgan's densities are easily twice that (at least), and the densest Census tracts in DC are more like 65,000+ people per square mile.

So, your density comment is incorrect.

by Alex B. on Jan 15, 2013 5:42 pm • linkreport

@MLD

Using overall regional densities means nothing. That only proves that DC is in dire need of open space. In this location, near WFC, those densities are FAR greater within that 1/2 mile radius.

Perhaps the Adams Morgan statement was a reach, but considering there is 3am bus service to Petworth which is mostly SFH.

Point being thousands of people. Yes it looks green, but thats because we have trees. Next to those trees are highrises. Underneath those trees are SFH on 0.1acre lots. You are just perpetuating the same believe that Fairfax is an low density suburban zone homogeneously.

We have massive open space areas, THAT is what drives down our densities. We also have 1.1 million residents, far more than DC. Many of those residents do live in zones that are just as dense as parts of the city, especially on the eastern side of the county (as in this case).

Either way, I think I have beaten a dead horse. You are right, Adams Morgan is far more dense than Tysons (sigh) as well as Merrifield (sigh)

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 6:03 pm • linkreport

@Alex B, thank you for proving my point that there is a large bias against Virginia. I live next to that transit center, and as I said there are more people within 1 block of that bus stop than anything in DC, 7 12-story high rises in the Rotonda, 2 in Parkcrest (1 more if you include the midrise Avalon Park Crest, Avalon, Post, etc.

Here's a question for you, how many people ride the K6 line on a Thursday at 12:25 from the metropolis of Hillandale to the bumping hot spot of Fort Totten?

Im not even saying it needs to run every night, by Friday and Saturday night? It would be nice to have A TRANSIT option available for all of us in this low density nowheres-ville known as Tysons.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 7:07 pm • linkreport

I'll help you locate Hillendale

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=hillandale+MD&hl=en&ll=39.026085,-76.973026&spn=0.009052,0.021136&sll=38.997174,-76.888161&sspn=0.072442,0.169086&t=h&gl=us&hnear=Hillandale,+Montgomery,+Maryland&z=16&iwloc=A

Whew looks like an urban paradise to me, no wonder they get late night service instead of Tysons.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 7:09 pm • linkreport

"Tysons Corner has more office space than downtown Baltimore, Richmond, and Norfolk put together."

Well that's just not true at all. Downtown Baltimore is 18 million square feet and Richmond around 11 million. Tysons Corner is a generous 26 million.

by bmd on Jan 15, 2013 7:42 pm • linkreport

@bmd - What is a "generous" 26 million. Do you believe that time space is being warped in the region of Tysons and that measurements are not dependent on the observers position?

I dunno what Richmond, Baltimore, or Norfolk have to do with the discussion but I thought I'd ask about that ;P

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 8:07 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer:
23A, 28T have seen longer headways, and overall the ridiculousness of ending at 10pm for systems that connect Virginia to WFC, Vienna. I can't get a bus home from WFC to Tysons. DC pretends that Virginia is this hamlet where nothing is open and no one goes out and that the densities dont make sense for late night transit.
I'm not seeing how DC is responsible for WMATA routes that never leave VA. Could you enlighten me there?

And if you're trying to get from WFC to somewhere near the Tysons transit center on the 23A or 28T, you're doing it wrong. Fairfax Connector 425 and 427 go directly there (even driving on the shoulder at times), running every 8 minutes during rush hour and about every 20 late into the night. Sure, they can't be bothered to install GPS so that you know exactly where the next bus is, but still: why complain about WMATA routes when there are more direct FFC routes?

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 15, 2013 8:07 pm • linkreport

fwiw, any bus cuts in Virginia ultimately would have had more to do with funding from the various jurisdictions than Metrobus/WMATA.

In any case, the DC Metrobus lines have the highest ridership by far of any of the lines in the system. I don't know what the highest ridership is from the various jurisdictional services, but I can't imagine any are that big, certainly not near the 14K to about 20K that the top lines in DC have. (Although the 30s/70s/S lines do include riders from Maryland as the lines terminate at either Friendship Heights--30s, or Silver Spring--70s/S.)

by Richard Layman on Jan 15, 2013 8:10 pm • linkreport

thank you for proving my point that there is a large bias against Virginia.

I'm just trying to post some facts here. Any bias is in your percetion.

I live next to that transit center, and as I said there are more people within 1 block of that bus stop than anything in DC, 7 12-story high rises in the Rotonda, 2 in Parkcrest (1 more if you include the midrise Avalon Park Crest, Avalon, Post, etc.

There's little chance this is true. As I noted, the density of that census tract is only about 14,000 people per sq mi. Several DC census tracts of similar size have 2, 3, and even 4 times as many people in them - which would, of course, mean that your statement isn't true.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see better transit service in Tysons. I don't think you need to exaggerate and distort to make your case, however. You certainly don't need to turn it into a pissing match with other jurisdictions and then try to claim 'bias.'

by Alex B. on Jan 15, 2013 8:28 pm • linkreport

@Gray, Im glad you are suddenly the expert on Fairfax Connector lines, but the 425 and 427 dont run on weekends

Also on weekdays (the only days they run) the last bus to Tysons is at 11pm... not necessarily the easiest to get back from a night out from WFC if you have to be back at WFC by 11. That means leaving DC or Arlington probably around 9:45 just to be safe seeing as it has half hour headways and its the last bus.

And I am very confused as to your statement about WMATA and buses in Virginia. The 23A and 28T are WMATA buses, not Fairfax Connector.

http://www.wmata.com/pdfs/bus/VA.pdf?

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 8:45 pm • linkreport

@Alex B I have no idea what the problem with that census was. First of all, it takes the highest density portions of Tysons and splits it into 3 portions right at the center of the highest density.

My building alone has 400 units (19 stories of 22 units per floor, and slightly fewer on the top two floors). Those units have on average 2 people per unit if not more. That alone is 800 people in a single building. Rotonda has 7 buildings similar to my building and it is literally across the street. I can see it now, hello Rotonda! It exists, and it is very well occupied. Between my building and Rotonda exists Post (a 4 story garden style that I assure you has atleast 200 units), Avalon Crescent (another 4 story garden style), Avalon Park Crest (mid rise partially occupied).

Thats somewhere on the order of 8000 residents, soon to be more as I said when Park Crest Two opens (with its 300+ units).

Are you questioning if these exist? Or if they are within a 1/2 mile?

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 8:54 pm • linkreport

@Richard

There have been no reductions to the bus subsidy from Fairfax unless I missed something. It remains quite high at 47million, 48 if you include FFX City. Strange too, when you look at WMATAs bus map it is a wasteland in Fairfax... I wonder where all that money goes. It certainly is not for off hour coverage. Also odd because the entire Fairfax Connector system, with its far larger reach only costs 65million.

I would really like if someone could answer my question about the line in question above and why IT has late night service. I would really really love for someone to tell me that THAT bus is packed on a wednesday latenight.

Hillendale Maryland folks (all 2000 of you, most of which are nowhere near this bus stop and lack sidewalks) feel free to weigh in on the K6 and how you have to have it to get to Fort Totten at 12:30am on a Wednesday

Thanks

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 9:04 pm • linkreport

K6 helps decent number of retail and restaurant workers along NH Ave to head back towards home.

Metrobus drivers earn more than the local bus systems's drivers for one. I bet frequency of service along Route 1 (REX and 9 series buses) and Columbia Pike (16 series buses) account for a lot of the cost.

I also noticed that the Metrobus map does not show all the service. Ah, here we are, http://planitmetro.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/WMA_Msys_mapVA_draft.pdf it's a draft, though the main map refers on to the Metrobus Virginia System Map, and this is all i could find.

by dseain on Jan 15, 2013 9:30 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer:
@Gray, Im glad you are suddenly the expert on Fairfax Connector lines,
Not sure how this is helpful, but I guess you think that attitude's working for you.
but the 425 and 427 dont run on weekends
Well, okay, but your original complaint was that two WMATA routes are seeing longer headways. I pointed out routes with much shorter headways. And of course, on the weekends you could take the 401/402 between Tysons TC and Dunn Loring. It runs every half hour during the day, which isn't great but I believe it's better than the WMATA routes.
And I am very confused as to your statement about WMATA and buses in Virginia. The 23A and 28T are WMATA buses, not Fairfax Connector.
Here's what I said before: "I'm not seeing how DC is responsible for WMATA routes that never leave VA." What part of that do you not understand? The 23A and 28T are WMATA routes that never go into DC. It seems that Fairfax in particular has made a conscious effort to invest in Fairfax Connector buses at the expense of WMATA routes. How is that remotely DC's fault?

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 15, 2013 9:32 pm • linkreport

Wow, guys you need to take a reality check in your defense of WMATA.

I'll start combining the correction of these statements

@dseain - Wrong, REX shouldn't equate into the WMATA subsidy funding for buses. #9 system for the most part is in Alexandria, though the 9 does extend partially into Fairfax... hardly enough (a couple of stops prior to huntington) to account for any sizable amount of money.

Next the 16 series are within Arlington and serve no parts of Fairfax, again not part of the 47 million in subsidy Fairfax pays. Arlington pays plenty too, and gets good service, atleast better than Fairfax... so thats something.

The local bus drivers are not part of the WMATA subsidy that I am referring to. Fairfax Connector has had to expand because WMATA is not providing service as it should be for the large 47million subsidy Fairfax pays. The good news is, you are right, they are a lot cheaper... helps when they dont get 35% benefits packages. If thats gonna be how it is, I'd rather Fairfax keep the 47million and WMATA stop the poor service of a few lines, none of which run late night, and many of which only operate during rush hours.

@Gray - Because you are questioning me as to my knowledge of buslines in my own city as if I am the one who is missing something. The point is Fairfax Connector is not WMATA, and WMATA is getting a lot of money from Fairfax. Fairfax Connector can definitely be expanded to do the things I am talking about... to do so I would suggest they tell WMATA to go pound sand and get back 47 million to invest into the FFX only system.

Fairfax County has done no such thing as far as investing in one instead of the other. The thing is, WMATA is just not being a very good partner for Fairfax. We pay plenty (I know you pointed out Montgomery and PG County that they pay more) but frankly they get a hell of a lot more than we do in Fairfax and they dont pay that much more.

I am blaming DC (and Maryland) because while we are told that WMATA cant afford to expand service in Fairfax, they have late night midweek service to Hillendale Maryland, population 2000. Perhaps the K6 makes sense in parts of DC, but I refuse to believe it is highly used after Fort Totten.

I'm not trying to be confrontational necessarily (eh.. thats not true either I think sometimes confrontation can bring problems to light) but the fact is FFX is not getting any return on subsidy because the money is siphoned to parts of the system that make no sense whatsoever, all the while there is nothing tying Tysons to a metro system in WMATA system after 11pm on a weekend.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 15, 2013 9:59 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer

I spend a lot of time in NoVA, but I admit that most of my knowledge about transit comes from my transit-dependent BF in Annandale. What I do know is that he often takes the Fairfax Connector 401/402, which runs along Gallows Road and Backlick Road between Tysons Corner and Springfield until 1am or later 7 days a week.

The population density isn't particularly high on this corridor - there are a couple of Census tracts in Annandale with 20,000 people/sqmi, but it's mostly in the 3000-5000 people/sqmi range - but there are 3 malls, a major hospital, 2 Metro stations (3 with the Silver Line) and of course Tysons Corner with all its jobs. That's what justifies this line - lots of destinations that people are coming and going to all day and night.

Likewise with the K6, which is in my neck of the woods. It doesn't have a Tysons Corner, but it is the only direct route to the FDA campus (9000 jobs), serves two major shopping areas (White Oak and Langley Park) and serve three dense communities with above-average transit ridership: Takoma Park, White Oak and Langley Park, parts of which have over 40,000 people/sqmi (comparable to Columbia Heights!) And, of course, it connects to one of only 4 Metro stations in the entire system (and the only one outside of downtown DC) where 3 Metro lines converge. As @dseain noted, it carries a lot of low-income retail and restaurant workers home late at night - not unlike the 401/402.

That's not to say that Northern Virginia doesn't need and deserve better transit service - I know my BF would agree with that and benefit greatly from it - but residential density isn't the only justification for it. You need destinations, you need at least some transit-dependent riders, and you need enough demand to last throughout the day.

by dan reed! on Jan 15, 2013 11:32 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer: Culmore (16B,E,J,P). Baileys Crossroads and Skyline City (16L) all enter Fairfax County for a portion of their routes. As do the 9s to Huntington. Small part in each case, but all do enter Fairfax County.

Egads, the 9s have been trimmed -- i used to take the 9A to Lorton to see my mom.

by dseain on Jan 16, 2013 1:15 am • linkreport

Tysons Engineer,

Fairfax Support. The County is committed to funding 17.7% of the total Tysons transportation costs, from the C&I tax, GO bonds and the General Fund. Thus, everyone in the county is paying something for Tysons.

As far as federal and state funding is concerned, the Staff went back (I want to say 15-20 years) and determined how much money the county has received on average each year from those sources that could be used for Tysons. (I.e., money appropriated specially for BRAC would not be considered.) After inflating the figures, estimates were made. They do not consider any extra or special appropriations that might be made in the future. This is business as usual. The County also took into account both good and bad economic times. When the former occur, construction would be accelerated and vice versa.

In sum, the funding plan for Tysons is reasonable, manageable, and conservative. Unlike what the nation regularly sees from Congress year after year, the Fairfax County plan is very achievable.

by TMT on Jan 16, 2013 8:26 am • linkreport

@Dan Reed

My problem isn't necessarily with the K6 through the city, it is that IT stretches far outside of density zones, past Fort Totten and maintains late night service.

You bring up the 401. That is an excellent point actually, those DO connect Tysons Mall (an Isolated region of the city not near many residents) to Metro. Unfortunately you are getting your systems mixed up though. Fairfax Connector is run by Fairfax, not WMATA. The K6 is run by WMATA.

My point here being that WMATA is robbing Fairfax of money, providing superior service elsewhere, and as dseain said "trimming" services to Virginia residents. This trimming was not associated with a reduction in our subsidy money... so what's the deal?

The 425 and 427 shouldn't have to be expanded to make up for cuts to the 23A and 2T. If they are going to be, then we better receive back substantial funds for our complete lack of a WMATA bus system that makes any sense.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 9:03 am • linkreport

TMT,

You don't need to convince me of Fairfax county excellent foresight in the planning process (I do after all discuss and cover it with regard to Tysons in large detail on my blog). I think mistakes have been made, I think they are correctable.

I think ultimately it will be the residents who push for more transit on Route 7 when that project comes up, and ultimately in 20 years I see Tysons attitudes very much in line with Arlington which is why I believe that the decisions to avoid slight Right of Way increases in medians for future LTR possibilities is short sighted and will cost a few extra sheckles in the future.

We can discuss offline if you want, feel free to email.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 9:05 am • linkreport

"Also on weekdays (the only days they run) the last bus to Tysons is at 11pm... not necessarily the easiest to get back from a night out from WFC "

But what does that have to do with pop density close to WFC metro? they would walk from the metro at 11Pm. They would use bus service to Tysons for commuting or shopping.

You seem to be upset that its hard to get back from the metro at night. I know the 401/402 runs to tysons from Dunn Loring metro late, and on weekends. I do not know if it goes to where you live. This sounds like its all about complaining about the difficulty of going car free, in a location (the new residential buildings in Tysons) where few do so - yet. In any case, I imagine the issue is not how DC vs Fairfax, but what FFX and City of Falls Church have asked WMATA for. They do pay for metro bus service, but there are many, many bus lines in the County (I find your references to Tysons as a city confusing, as FFX cty does not so refer to it - its an urban sector or something) and I am pretty sure WMATA defers to them in which lines to prioritize. Its possible that the trimming of service on those routes was due to increased service elsewhere in the County. I would suggest contacting your supervisor, or contracting the office of Ms Bulova or Ms Gross.

As for the density that is coming, thats not really relevant - bus frequency can easily be adjusted upwards when that is built. And of course all the bus routes will change when the Silver line opens.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 16, 2013 9:46 am • linkreport

And AWITC you continue to ignore that the density already exists in Tysons. Yes I know 18,000 people doesn't sound alot, but they are cluster largely on 3 blocks and in the Pimmit Area. 3 contiguous blocks with somewhere between 7000-9000 people is plenty to support bus service especially when, as I said, the K6 runs to a portion of Maryland with a population of 2000.

This isn't the middle of nowhere and you continue to ignore that. Did I say anything about future density? With future density its a no brainer. When Arbor Row opens 4 new residential highrises and Park Crest Two adds to that, there will be somewhere on the order of 13,000 residents on a 1 mile stretch of Westpark Drive alone.

My use of the term city is irrelevant, there are cities in Virginia which are FAR less developed than Tysons. You should look up how the cities and incorporation in Virginia began (effort to stop land grabs between jurisdictions). If you must, read all previous and future posts and replace words like cities and town with zip codes 22102 and 22101.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

"Did I say anything about future density?"

yes, yes you did

"All of them have perfectly acceptable sidewalks along Route 7 and Haycock all the way to the metro, not to mention the tens of thousands of residents on the way between WFC and Tysons, Pimmitt Region, and Tysons itself "

My sense is that most of the current density in Tysons is at the older, autocentric, Rotunda. Ive been to the new building on Westpark(?) went into the Harris Teeter. Its a very nice start, but its hardly U street. And I doubt it will generate that many midnight bus riders from WFC metro.

but again, I do not see the point of spending so much time arguing about bus service that is going to be revised within a year anyway. And again, I very much doubt it has anything to do with WMATA cheating FFX county. I imagine it has more to do with shifting priorities in FFX, and probably with actual ridership numbers. Ultimately actual ridership is more important in determining bus frequency than modeled ridership based on census data. Thats an advantage of buses, its easy to tweak routes based on actual ridership.

"When Arbor Row opens 4 new residential highrises and Park Crest Two adds to that, there will be somewhere on the order of 13,000 residents on a 1 mile stretch of Westpark Drive alone."

who will not need to take a a bus to WFC metro, BECAUSE they will be so close to the new Silver Line stations.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 16, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

"My use of the term city is irrelevant, there are cities in Virginia which are FAR less developed than Tysons. You should look up how the cities and incorporation in Virginia began (effort to stop land grabs between jurisdictions). "

I am not questioning if Tysons is urban. Im saying that calling it a city is confusing. The county refers to it as the Tysons Corner Urban Center. That has specific boundaried (which I think are not the same as the two zips?) It would be easier to refer to it at by that name, or just as Tysons. When you say City, I dont know if you mean Falls Church, if you are using your own term for Tysons, or if you are using your own term for something else (Fairfax county? NoVa?)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 16, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

The Westpark Community is outside of the 1/2 mile radius to any metro station. It will rely mostly on buses for transit, so it is important. I will give you that Arbor Row will be close to the silver line, but that doesnt really help people get to Falls Church, Merrifield, or Vienna.

I brought up some future developments, but in terms of this discussion I am saying the density is already there to support bus service. Park Crest Two will be done this year so its not "future density" its eminent density as is the first building of Home Properties at Arbor Row and Ascent by Greystar.

If the bus lines change in a year that is great, I think more likely is that FFX Connector will change and WMATA will continue to cut back service on the 23A, 2T, and 28T which forces more and more people to drive on what could be 2 or 3 mile trips.

Either way you are defacto (though not addressing) supporting bad transit routes by WMATA in other areas not in Virginia that simply do not warrant buses while quibbling over whether the Rotonda is auto-centric or not (it isn't by the way seeing as it is cat corner to the tysons transit center which is consistently used whether you want to believe it or not).

Is it 500 people lined up for buses? No, though I doubt it is in many many parts of WMATA routes also, but it also isn't a ghost town. In fact I have never caught a bus there when there hasnt been atleast a dozen other people as well.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

And about FFX,

Fairfax has not shifted priorities elsewhere. To my knowledge there hasn't been a single WMATA expansion proposed as far as smaller headways with more buses, increased distance of coverage, longer duration of service, or new lines to the system this year.

There have however been several cuts to those elements this year brought by WMATA onto Fairfax County... yet no corresponding subsidy cut.

Please don't bring up local service transit (FFX Conn, REX, any other private entity) because this has nothing to do with the core issue, the WMATA bus service and the subsidy.

Food for thought.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

What part of the formula that calculates Fairfax's share of Metro bus contributions do you have a problem with, Tysons Engineer?

by selxic on Jan 16, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

Doing a study on it. I am measuring the total bus miles covered, as well as total bus minutes covered.

It is my belief that in both of those categories Fairfax is being shortchanged. The ratio of subsidy towards bus (48 million) and those two measures will be less than that for DC and MD. Its going to take a couple weeks, but I will gladly let you know.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

It is my belief that in both of those categories Fairfax is being shortchanged.

How so? That they screwed up the formula calculations? Or that the formula should be changed?

Regional bus subsidy is allocated as follows:

25% density weighted population
35% revenue hours
25% revenue miles
15% avg. weekday ridership

by Alex B. on Jan 16, 2013 3:16 pm • linkreport

I'd like to simply see how the ratio of subsidy to bus minutes and subsidy to bus miles equates to other jurisdictions.

The issue on NOVA buses isn't necessarily poor ridership, the FFX Connectors do fine and don't require as much of a subsidy for how much they serve. So I'd like to see why 48 million is necessary compared to other regions services.

I think whatever the formula is, that the study will show that Fairfax receives less miles and less hours than Maryland and DC... and whether that being the case we should be having WMATA buses at all in Fairfax.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 3:35 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer
Here's the subsidy calculation doc from a couple years ago:
http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/board_docs/033120_3ASubsidyReview.pdf

by MLD on Jan 16, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

Guys Im not some noob, I have seen the calculations. I appreciate the help, but it comes off a bit like you think I just don't know better. I know plenty about the level of service in the state of Virginia, specifically in Fairfax County.

Thanks if it was meant earnestly in an attempt to help my study.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

You asked for it specifically:

I'd like to simply see how the ratio of subsidy to bus minutes and subsidy to bus miles equates to other jurisdictions.

MLD's link shows you exactly that. It's also patently obvious, being that revenue hours and revenue miles comprise 60% of the regional bus formula, therefore there is bound to be a strong relationship between the two.

I think whatever the formula is, that the study will show that Fairfax receives less miles and less hours than Maryland and DC

Yes, the forumla does show that. It also shows FFX paying less, too.

by Alex B. on Jan 16, 2013 4:05 pm • linkreport

To the ratio Alex, obviously to the ratio. I didn't think I would have to pick my words so excellently after about 3400 words on the subject above that response.

I don't believe at all that is the accurate break down in total bus miles and total bus minutes.

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 16, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

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