Greater Greater Washington

Many Silver Line riders have no way to safely reach their offices

Tysons now has four Metro stations, but workers trying to get from those stations to nearby offices often have no choice but to cross wide, high-speed roads without any crosswalks.


The south side of Tysons Boulevard and Galleria Drive. Photo by the author.

I saw several Tysons Corner workers walking across streets with up to 9 lanes of traffic in order to take the Silver Line this morning, due to the continued lack of crosswalks in Tysons. It's a matter of time before a Silver Line rider is struck by a car in Tysons Corner.

At the Tysons Corner station, the entrance north of Route 123 (the side with most of the offices) is on the west side of Tysons Blvd between 123 and Galleria Drive. There's no legal way to walk east on Galleria Drive, because there are no crosswalks on the south or east side of the intersection of Tysons Blvd and Galleria Drive.


There are no crosswalks from Tysons Corner station for workers walking east along Galleria Drive. Base map from Google Maps.

Many Silver Line riders therefore walked across nine lanes of traffic on Tysons Boulevard.


The south side of Tysons Boulevard and Galleria Drive. Photo by the author.

My company's office is at 7900 Westpark Drive along with dozens of other tech companies. The main topic of conversation around the office this morning was the safest places to jaywalk to get to the Silver Line.

I've endured the lack of crosswalks in Tysons Corner for years as a pedestrian, but assumed that Fairfax County would add crosswalks before the Silver Line began operation. The county needs to create safe pedestrian pathways immediately, rather than waiting until someone gets hurt or killed.

Ken Archer is CTO of a software firm in Tysons Corner. He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and son. Ken completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. 

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Voice the issues to those who are dependent on our votes. More people need to speak up, otherwise the County will ignore Tysons as it has for decades.

@FairfaxCounty
@VaDOTNOVA
chairman@fairfaxcounty.gov
huntermill@fairfaxcounty.gov
Supervisor Smyth

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

It's a lost cause...VDOT will never remove these slip lanes, let alone travel lanes.

I'm serious too. The best Tysons can hope for for the next few decades is to be another Rosslyn/Crystal City. At best.

by Come on man on Jul 29, 2014 12:28 pm • linkreport

Not to mention that the two crosswalks you point out are timed to make pedestrians wait for an extremely long time. I crossed several times yesterday, and quickly grew tired of waiting the designated time as no cross traffic was coming.

While less of a pressing safety issue, there's also a role for building managers and commercial tenants in making Tysons more pedestrian friendly. Many of the office buildings are oriented toward their parking lots or decks, not toward the street. That PwC building shown on the map above is a great example. The only entrance at ground level is through the Firehook bakery/cafe. It's not accessible, and presumably only open when Firehook is open. The main entrance of the building is all the way around the back and up a hill.

by Gray on Jul 29, 2014 12:28 pm • linkreport

" He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown" Can I ask which bus? Ive been looking for a commute that doesn't include several train/bus changes.

by oisine on Jul 29, 2014 12:28 pm • linkreport

The first pedestrians struck ought to directly sue the relevant supervisors for criminal negligence, for letting this develop this way.

by Come on man on Jul 29, 2014 12:29 pm • linkreport

If only city planners knew the Silver Line was coming... wait a minute, they knew for HOW long?!? Second the idea of suing for criminal negligence.

by yup yup on Jul 29, 2014 12:33 pm • linkreport

Perhaps the County could mandate emergency easements (by assuming any liabilities resulting from them) in the form of forcing property owners to remove portions of the fencelines dividing properties and creating basic walking paths.

For example, "extending" Jones Branch Drive to Tysons Blvd in the form of a cheap asphalt walking path.

Navid - Are there any plans to extend Jones Branch to Tysons Blvd?

by Come on man on Jul 29, 2014 12:34 pm • linkreport

Sadly, this is pretty much SOP at the start of such developments. E.g., it wasn't til after the NoMA Metro Station opened that DDOT figured out they needed to improve the routes to and from the station.

Obviously, it doesn't have to happen that way. I meant to write a post, I never got around to it, about the failure to launch the Tysons Transportation Management Association (TMA) in advance of the Silver Line opening.

I can't read every plan out there, but I imagine there were station area plans created in advance of each station dealing with these issues. Maybe they weren't good enough, but in the best case scenario, what do you expect, given the alignment of the Metro in between a massive arterial.

For example in the draft plan I did for Western Baltimore County, I made specific guidelines recommendations, including sidewalk widths, bike connections, etc., with regard to the coming Red Line light rail system in Western Baltimore County.

Or there is a similar program in Seattle, in association with new LR stations there:

http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/projects/link/north/northgate/20120524Board_briefing.pdf

FWIW, you should have written such a post 6 months ago to have had some effect in advance of the stations opening.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 12:36 pm • linkreport

@Richard, I didn't just write such a post, I spoke directly with people in charge and they used the same "we are working on it" still nothing has changed. They haven't done anything except the station access elements, and even those were oriented towards car drivers not the pedestrians.

It all comes from a basic false premise, no one will walk. Well in fact, people are walking, and you are making it dangerous. And more people would walk if they weren't negligent or dismissive of other people in the site planning/development/engineering field telling them they are wrong and being negligent.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 12:40 pm • linkreport

... I know there is FABB. I doubt there is a walking advocacy group out there. Just as ACT delves into nontransit issues (biking, walking) even though they haven't changed their name, maybe FABB could broaden their purview.

Starkville in Motion in MS is an example or Feet First in Seattle, Walk Boston, etc. (or the way Arlington County brands "BikeArlington" and "WalkArlington".

http://starkvilleinmotion.org/

Anyway, it'd be easy to get PR by doing a public event of a ped. safety audit for one or more of the stations.

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/resources/fhwasa09027/190.htm

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 12:41 pm • linkreport

Some of this stuff isn't even scheduled to be done until 2015 and 2016

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/silverline/tysonsimp.htm

by districtRich on Jul 29, 2014 12:42 pm • linkreport

I wonder if this is an issue with the fact that MWAA built the line and not WMATA - the stations don't belong to WMATA until 60 days before opening, therefore they don't do any station access planning in coordination with the locals.

by MLD on Jul 29, 2014 12:43 pm • linkreport

@Come on Man, not sure where Tysons Blvd would hit Jones Branch, they run parallel. Jones Branch does have plans to extend across 495 tying to 123 eventually. This will not be in place for another 5 years minimum.

Ah now I understand. Where Jones Branch curves. Ok so the plan is Jones Branch will extend past 495. The part that is curved was attempted to be a road link, but Lerner balked at tying into Arbor Row. Arbor Row has the stub provided, but the massive parking garage being built with 1775 will pretty much any hope of that ever tying into Tysons Boulevard. Another case of the mitigators (ie planners) failing.

Either way, I'm really tired of talking future. No one is being unreasonable here. We in Tysons aren't asking for the grid of streets tomorrow (which is what Chris Wells and FCDOT is basically accusing us of). Why can't we have a simple cross walk design that works? Why are people being forced to cross defacto highway ramps without as much as a stop sign.

It isn't that this stuff costs money, or takes time, its that they are chicken $&@! of pissing off car drivers.

In other words, it was a bunch of bravado about how they are changing it, but so long as this current group are the ones in charge, the priorities will remain, and people's lives will be put in danger.

This one example is just 1 of several we have been trying to get officials to look at for the past 2 years. There are many, many more, and no one is so much as walking the location with us, let alone putting in the ground work to solve it sooner than (sometime before 2050).

As a resident, and a person who saw his tax payments increase hundreds of dollars this year to pay SPECIFICALLY for transportation improvements residents, I am appalled and will use every tool I have to hold people accountable.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 12:45 pm • linkreport

Navid -- yes, that's very frustrating. I'm used to it, sadly.

E.g., it's such a joke to see public meetings by people like Sen. Kaine or columns by Robt. McCartney in the Post about not having a second crossing over the river in association with the Silver Line when I wrote/raised the issue quite a bit dating to 2006.

2. But see my second comment. It's a great opportunity to spur change forward, even if the phasing/timing is off.

I didn't go to the "grand opening", I did something else, and got to Wiehle Station more than 4 hours afterwards. OTOH, in Tucson for their streetcar grand opening they did events all day at each station.

The walking-biking-bus end could have been promoted for these stations similarly, as a way to push forward change objectives.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 12:45 pm • linkreport

One other example. I pleaded with Tom Biesadny to take a look at the 45 mph designation on Westpark, mind you this is in a residential neighborhood with 4000 residents TODAY, and dozens of kids. His response was, sorry, the speed limit is remaining 45 mph.

Thats it.

And btw, I have family (a wife) and myself who use these streets. I know they are not safe, and I know who is to blame for it and have the emails to prove the negligence. If anyone does get hurt because FFX had their heads too far up their proverbial unlit regions to pay attention, the lawsuits will be quite easy to establish.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

Richard,

I've attempted to start an organization for residents in Tysons, the TCA. Its tough without getting more people knowing about it. I also held a Tysons First Mile Walk event, again, not a lot of people came, and 0 public officials. Its not frustrating, its eye opening that the lessons were never learned, and I agree with many who think the lesson wont be learned until someone loses a life because of the failure of the County.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 12:50 pm • linkreport

Navid, I think you're gonna have to create "Tysons in Motion" to move things along, bring other people into it, get organizational buy in etc.

I'm even willing to do a presentation (e.g., I've presented at ACT and MoCo planning's speaker series, some forums, etc., oh and many years ago to the Clarendon Alliance.

A couple years ago I think, but it could have been this year, I was critical of a presentation about accommodating biking at a Tysons building at the League National Metting, saying that the bike parking requirements were pretty minimal. FABB people came up to me saying they are great recommendations, based on Arlington's.

I said if you really talk to the Arlington people, you'll learn that they aren't able to continually upgrade their recommendations based on iterative learning, and that they believe they need to increase the minimum requirements.

But the Fairfax advocates didn't do that kind of evaluation I guess.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 12:50 pm • linkreport

BTW, on that Tysons First Mile Walk, we specifically noted the poor design of the intersection at Tysons Blvd and Westpark/Galleria, it was the last leg of the walk.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 12:53 pm • linkreport

VDOT needs to step up. They took out a side-walk in Rosslyn as well on 19th between Lynn and Moore. Many people are now walking in the street. Someone will get hurt.

@ Richard:in Tucson for their streetcar grand opening they did events all day at each station.

They may do another celebration when the new cars show up. Right now the old trains can't even have silver LEDs to indicate it's a silver line train.

by Jasper on Jul 29, 2014 12:54 pm • linkreport

Didn't know about that stuff that you've been doing.

But (1) building a citizens movement is a process and (2) when you do single events, you already have to have next steps planned, so that you can pull people forward, give them stuff to do, build momentum, etc.

E.g., for H St. Main St. I didn't want to do it, but we ended up doing monthly street cleanups. It ended up being very important for visibility and community building.

That means doing "Tysons First Walk" every month, events on the W&OD, organizing a "train the commuter" program (modeled after Community Cycling Center of Portland, etc.),

One of the things that I've been really impressed with is WalkArlington, and how they politicos to lead walks.

Rather than do full blown ped audits, just focusing on some of the particularly egregious problems is a start.

... including speed limits.

Anyway, my "Ideas for Making Cycling Irresistible in DC" and "Best practice suburban bicycle planning" posts/presentations have lots and lots of ideas for how to move walking and biking forward. (They are more about biking, but the ideas are extendable to walking.)

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 12:56 pm • linkreport

@Richard, I will take all of your suggestions to heart. It can be tough because Tysons for so long been such an isolated community, to get any identity and unity and leadership going. Its equally tough considering the normal issues any citizen has, time commitments, work, etc but of course someone has to do it.

Thanks for the motivation, I will push even harder, try to get more people involved. Could certainly use some help from larger organizations like smartgrowth/fabb

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 1:00 pm • linkreport

1. Isn't the problem there that the sidewalk on the north side of Gallery Drive is not there due to construction of 1775 Tysons Blvd? (otherwise I am not sure why you need crosswalk access to the south side of Gallery Drive). By the time you get VDOT to okay a crosswalk, 1775 will probably be done, right? I suppose you could ask for modification to the construction site to get ped access, but I think that is in the hands of the permitting folks, NOT FCDOT. IIUC Fairfax regularly gives out permits to construction to close sidewalks, without any real coordination with FCDOT.

2. WRT FABB

FABB does consider itself an advocate for pedestrians as well as cyclists. However FABB as a practical matter is a small group of people, with a very large amount of its activity done by one person, and doesn't have the resources to do all it wants to do in terms of bike advocacy (and note, in the absence of a county sponsored BikeFairfax, FABB does cycling promotion, etc as well as advocacy) Note that includes the bike master plan, advocating for keeping the county bike coordinator position, addressing bike accommodations on road projects around the County, etc.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 29, 2014 1:05 pm • linkreport

Walk Boston is another best practice ped group.

2. DK if Fairfax has a County Ped and Biking Committee. In the recommendations I made for Balt. County, I outlined how each Council District could have a parallel, interconnected subcommittee devoted to walking and biking improvements by council district.

They took it out of the posted draft, but when the Council implemented legislation based on the plan, I lobbied the Councilmembers to put that piece back in, although only one district representative, David Marks, has done so, but that's why his district is moving forward more quickly on bike and walking issues compared to the other areas of the county.

Maybe that's another direction to move.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 1:05 pm • linkreport

RL

I am pretty sure FFX has no county ped and biking committee. FABB talks to FCDOT regularly, through the bike coordinator. There are also many other informal contacts between FABB members and individuals in Fairfax governance, and FABB participates in the TyTrans, but I think thatss it for formal discussions.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 29, 2014 1:11 pm • linkreport

re crossingbrooklynferry -- yes, Fairfax is quite big, and that makes FABB's mission more than a handful. (Balt. County has a similar problem. It's 600+ square miles. I was amazed when they had community planners, each was responsible for a district larger than DC.)

Navid -- yes, community organizing, involvement is tough, very difficult and time consuming. I had been interested in urban issues most of my life and a student activist, but I didn't get involved in DC til around 1999, because I figured if I didn't, my neighborhood would never improve (at least it hadn't in the 10 or so years that I had lived there).

wrt it, it's frustrating too because of the people who jump on the bandwagon in later phases and take lots of the credit (not that you do it for credit). But they tend to misrepresent the reality of what happened, how it was accomplished, etc., which makes it harder for others to learn from it and apply it to their own situations.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 1:11 pm • linkreport

@CBF - 1775 isn't affecting the sidewalk, in fact unlike over at Arbor Row, due to the older format of the design plan for the site, its set back. So no interference from 1775. People are crossing on that side because the crosswalks beg buttons dont work, and you have to wait 4 minutes, cross, the time is so short before you get to the other side the dont walk has occurred and you cant press the second beg.

Ultimately people are making that movement because all the housing is on that side of the road as you go down Tysons Blvd.

I've been suggesting people use the private road between the ritz and parking garage instead of looping at Tysons Blvd, because of that condition.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 1:11 pm • linkreport

@Jasper; was that VDOT or Arlington?

What else don't I see -- shade!

I only worked for tysons for 6 months, but I distinctly remember how unpleasant the sun felt everyday.

by charlie on Jul 29, 2014 1:12 pm • linkreport

(one of the people on the Balt. County D5 bike and ped committee in Balt. County was the bike and ped planner for Baltimore City. Another is a very good new urbanist who does consulting but years ago worked for Parsons Brinckerhoff. Etc.)

Is the Tysons district the "Providence" supervisor district? Maybe you could start with her and this idea of a district committee? I presume the Reston organization already has a committee dealing with biking and walking.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 1:15 pm • linkreport

@Richard - Its both Supervisor Smyth and Hudgins, depending on the area of Tysons (its split).

The problem is they started a committee for Tysons, it meets infrequently, and doesn't have community voted folks in it, just people who represent the major land owners.

Here was our story from a while ago on it

http://thetysonscorner.com/tysons-advisory-panel-provides-important-voice/

But it hasn't become what it was entailed and sold to be.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 1:19 pm • linkreport

could some of the money from the tax, it wouldn't have to be alot, fund some of the kinds of things we're talking about, community organizing kind of stuff, focused on the walking-biking-transit usability end.

As models, Walk Boston or Starkville in Motion are pretty tame and shouldn't scare off monied interests. Although they might believe that a TMA is enough. Get a commitment that the TMA has to have a robust walking and biking program.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 1:34 pm • linkreport

(sorry about all this writing.)

what I argue lately is that there are 5 elements to successful revitalization:

- comprehensive visionary plan
- implementation framework and organization for program delivery
- financing
- integrating branding, marketing, and identity systems
- accountability mechanisms

That's pretty much how achieving any element of revitalization comes to pass.

by Richard Layman on Jul 29, 2014 1:35 pm • linkreport

@ charlie:@Jasper; was that VDOT or Arlington?

Either/or. I could not care less. A dangerous situation was created, people will get hurt, and the government is hiding behind idiotic nonsense on who's responsibility it is.

by Jasper on Jul 29, 2014 1:48 pm • linkreport

There are tons of quite good plans and studies for ped/bike improvements. There's the Tysons Stations Access Plan, Tysons Comp Plan, and Tysons Bike Master Plan.

There was community outreach, surveys done, and studies written, some of which was all wrapped up by 2011.

My understanding of the issue is that much of the plans are not funded (or weren't until recently funded) in VA's Six Year Transpo Plan. Apparently, spending around $60M in ped/bike improvements to get utility out of transit investment that's 100 times as large wasn't a priority.

Some info on the plans:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/tmsams/

by Falls Church on Jul 29, 2014 1:48 pm • linkreport

As a carless DC resident who took the Silver Line on Saturday to go to Tysons Galleria for the first time, I decided pretty quickly that I will never visit the Galleria via Metro again. Tysons Center, maybe, with its spiffy new walkway over Route 7, but the overwhelming message on the north side of the Metro station is that they don't want us. So fine, you won't get my DINK-generated, white-collar money.

by obie on Jul 29, 2014 1:51 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church, this shouldn't be a funds thing. We are talking about spot improvements for crosswalks. They have funds in the reserve now from 1 year of special tax. They should be able to fund a 20k cross walk improvement. Its about their fear of imposing on vehicle drivers, and the backlash politically of putting things like stop signs.

For example, my case of the 45 mph road. There is basically no cost to correcting this to the proper 35mph (or god forbid 25mph). The speed on Westpark has nothing to do with traffic, in fact there is no traffic on Westpark. They are simply being lazy, status quo, and dismissive because politically they have no reason not to.

Jobs done for them, studies complete, pass it on to 2050.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 1:54 pm • linkreport

@Obie, write Lerner, ask why a crosswalk or pedestrian improvements is not desired at Galleria.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 1:55 pm • linkreport

[i] could some of the money from the tax, it wouldn't have to be alot, fund some of the kinds of things we're talking about, community organizing kind of stuff, focused on the walking-biking-transit usability end. [/i]

My understanding is that Fairfax is exploring the possibility of creating a BikeFairfax program, modeled on BikeArlington. That would do bike promotion, safety etc and at least allow FABB to focus on advocacy. I know that doesn't address the walkability concerns or Tysons specific concerns.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 29, 2014 1:57 pm • linkreport

@Navid

That's why it's a lost cause. The regional sorting has already taken place...those who favor pedestrian accessability have moved to Arlington and Alexandria and are involved there. Those who are more reactionary and hesitent to anything which impedes their driving have moved to Fairfax County.

Hence, Fairfax supervisors probably rightly fear that obstructing motorists will be the end of them. After all, motorists will tell them that their traffic delays are "too large" as it is. Now their elected officials want to slow them down even further?

I'm sorry, but come join us in Arlington/Alexandria. Your efforts will be far less in vain.

by Come on man on Jul 29, 2014 2:00 pm • linkreport

@Come on Man, its sad to put it that way, but if Fairfax doesn't show they are actually addressing, myself and many other younger, well off professionals, will continue to do this and the Tysons concept will fail under its own ineptitude.

I haven't given up on it yet, projects like Arbor Row/Tysons Plaza and others still show that pockets of development will change the areas identity and I like being a part of the change, but the County has to atleast show some movement to ending the over prioritization of the car drivers through things like speed limits/signage which are easily in their control.

The decision (as LeBron put it) will likely happen sometime in the next couple of years for me.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 2:03 pm • linkreport

How do Fairfax planners expect to achieve their goal of a "walkable, transit-oriented Tysons" if people can't even cross the street to get to/from the Metro (or practically anywhere else)?

I don't have a degree in planning but even I know not providing crosswalks at every Metro station from day one was a major error. If they have been installed a while ago and operational during the train testing over the last few weeks so drivers would be used to them by now.

And in response to Navid Roshen, I say go ahead and slow down the people who drive through the area. Tysons will never become a real urban destination as long people can drive through it like banshees. And I say that as someone who mostly drives.

by august4 on Jul 29, 2014 2:13 pm • linkreport

Given the amount of development in Tysons, the sorting doesnt matter that much. Not everyone sorts for lifestyle preference relative to modes - plenty of people who will find walking convenient will live in Tysons because they do not want to reverse commute. And to the extent there are reverse commuters, employers in Tysons will benefit from improved walkability from the mettro stations.

And walkability WILl improve as the developments are completed, and as the planned public improvements are made, even if the attitude navid mentions does not change. Why even now its easier to cross Rte 123 from Tysons Corner Center to the Galleria than it was a week ago. When the apt buiding the Macherich project opens the walk from the mall to the metro station (one of the most important ped connections in Tysons, if not the region) will suddenly get much easier.

Loweing speed limits, and getting all side crosswalks is going to much further down the road, I think.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 29, 2014 2:14 pm • linkreport

@Navid, can Fairfax put a crosswalk on a road they don't control (as virtually all roads except in Arlington are controlled by VDOT)?

Re: Great Sort

As North Arlington and the Blue Line corridor become too expensive for many folks, those who like walking/biking will be sorting themselves into Fairfax. It's already happening in Falls Church (e.g., GGW contributor Cavan). The auto-only folks are moving to Prince William.

by Falls Church on Jul 29, 2014 2:16 pm • linkreport

I will never understand how this region spends billions on an infrastructure project and then doesn't consider crosswalks, sidewalks, and traffic signals.

by massysett on Jul 29, 2014 2:17 pm • linkreport

The adherence to VDOT standard is a false idol that Fairfax needs to find a way to remove as an impedence, under the former administration that would have been impossible, but this current governor is more workable with Fairfax Staff. They should have been working on this for over a year to get exceptions from poor VDOT standards via variance.

That being said, maintenance ownership = much more difficult due to costs if an equivalent amount of funds is not return in lieu. That, would be unlikely from a state level (here take your money).

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

massyet

sigh. As FC pointed out there is a list of improvements for sidewalks, signals, etc, that has been developed over more than two years. As Navid said, though, its been focused on medium to long term change. I don't think they really took seriously that there would be large numbers of pedestrians from day one - at least not seriously enough to focus on every piece of low hanging fruit. I think FCDOT is still, like state DOTs, more project focused than transportation system focused. Tell them about a new sidewalk or trail, and they work hard on it. Tell them about a change signal timing at a particular crossing to improve the walking network NOW, and they are less focused on it.

And yeah, they are scared of making walkable Tysons look like a "war on cars".

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 29, 2014 2:23 pm • linkreport

To your point FC, I can understand FCDOT and Fairfax County not being in control of these things, but thats what the approval of the comp plan was supposed to remove. They have the plan in place, its blessed, they have the mechanism to say Westpark is a X-road type, and have it conform to the new comp plan requirements.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 2:24 pm • linkreport

" He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown" Can I ask which bus? Ive been looking for a commute that doesn't include several train/bus changes.

For the past 4 years I've been taking Circulator/38b from GTown->Rosslyn, Orange Line to WFC, then 425 Fairfax Connector to Tysons.

by Ken Archer on Jul 29, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

There's no legal way to walk east on Galleria Drive, because there are no crosswalks on the south or east side of the intersection of Tysons Blvd and Galleria Drive.

Is Virginia law that anti-pedestrian? Under the laws of virtually every state, these are unmarked crosswalks. Not only is it legal to cross, but pedestrians have the right of way. Are you sure that the law is different in Virginia?

Assuming that the pedestrians are well within their rights, Fairfax County does have the option of enforcing the crosswalk rule. If everybody who fails to yield to a pedestrian gets a ticket, the word will get out. They had police out there to prevent traffic jams or illegal parking. Sounds like the police were sent to address the wrong problem, and should be redeployed to enforce the law whose violation creates a safety problem there.

by JimT on Jul 29, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

@JimT, there is legal, and then there is sane. Sure they might have the right of way, but this is a defacto highway ramp coming off of 495 that fairfax county refuses to address with speed limit and signage. Without a crosswalk, or even with a crosswalk, they need to stop motorists fully. A stop sign and a crosswalk is the only thing Virginia drivers will understand. Otherwise these people should stay on the curb until its clear or face likely death from a truck going 45mph.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 2:43 pm • linkreport

"Assuming that the pedestrians are well within their rights, Fairfax County does have the option of enforcing the crosswalk rule."

ROFLMAO!

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 29, 2014 2:46 pm • linkreport

The benefit of this is GGW (and the NPR story that ran the other week) are high profile. Fairfax County might get shamed into actually doing something for once. Continue to keep the pressure on them.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 2:50 pm • linkreport

I'm sure this was affected by the time of day, but I rode the Silver line on Saturday opening day and got off and walked to Tysons Galleria without any trouble at all. I recall waiting a bit for a crosswalk but other than that didn't have any issues. Obviously these are real issues but I was just surprised to see this called out as the worst place to cross as I found it pretty easy.

by abe on Jul 29, 2014 2:58 pm • linkreport

@abe, try crossing to get to 7900 Westpark where Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and several other businesses are. You can't legally (or atleast at a crosswalk). There is no way to cross the road at a crosswalk to get on that side of the road. This is the epitome of lazy and bad design. I agree you can get to Galleria, but not to the residential and offices along Westpark that rely on walking to get to metro.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 3:02 pm • linkreport

The Virginia statute you guys want to review regarding "unmarked" or "implied" crosswalks is Va Code 46.2-924 (link below). The pedestrian is entitled to the right-of-way at a marked crosswalk, "[a]t any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block," and "[a]t any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway or street where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 miles per hour." In all the foregoing situations, the pedestrian is obligated to obey any traffic lights (whether "Walk"/"Don't Walk" or "the man and the hand" or just normal traffic lights) or any law-enforcement personnel directing traffic. At an uncontrolled crosswalk, the pedestrian has the obligation to give due regard to approaching traffic (in other words, you're not entitled to step out in front of a moving car that's two feet from the crosswalk and then to yell and scream when the driver doesn't stop for you).

Of course, such laws are all well and good, but it doesn't help to be "right" if you wind up "dead right." If there's anywhere I wouldn't want to walk in Fairfax County, most of Tysons Corner would be high on the list!

Link to statute:
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-924

by Rich on Jul 29, 2014 3:04 pm • linkreport

I know quite a few people from my office walked to/from the Silver Line yesterday. Unfortunately, almost no thought went into figuring out how those who work east of Route 123 will access the Greensboro Station. You can walk pretty far out of your way to cross 123 at the Koons dealership (but there is no crosswalk, lots of vehicles turning all over the place with the service roads there), or walk under the underpass along Route 7, which basically has you walking in the street. Is this really the best they can do?

by Mike on Jul 29, 2014 3:23 pm • linkreport

Our neighbor described to us a "sting" operation in Vienna. They had a "pedestrian" with a baby carriage that would step out at an intersection, and a motorcycle cop that would hand out tickets to those who failed to yield to the pedestrian.

Probably the cheapest thing to do would be for the county to mark some of the crosswalks, which might help to increase awareness that there is a legal space for pedestrians to cross. But at the end of the day, it is VDOT that you need to convince, as they and not the county are the ultimate arbiter of what gets changed.

There are other places (such as trying to get from Greensboro metro to the east side of 123) where something else (not sure what) needs to be done. And eventually the speed limits is going to have to come down as more and more people are walking. The cars won't like it, but 45mph isn't compatible with lots of pedestrians trying to cross the streets.

by Eric on Jul 29, 2014 3:36 pm • linkreport

Didn't mean to say that there were no challenges. Was just more interesting to me that in my extraordinarily limited sample size, I was impressed how easy it was. Just goes to show how limited anecdote is.

by abe on Jul 29, 2014 4:07 pm • linkreport

"Our neighbor described to us a 'sting' operation in Vienna. They had a 'pedestrian' with a baby carriage that would step out at an intersection, and a motorcycle cop that would hand out tickets to those who failed to yield to the pedestrian."

The California Highway Patrol does that sort of thing from time to time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb6nYkO8Nrc&list=UU1Qc4Ql_FAcXrv4KR97VaGw

by Rich on Jul 29, 2014 4:12 pm • linkreport

Vienna and Falls Church are quite different than Tysons culturally even though they're so close geographically. In FC, I've had left turning vehicles wait until I've crossed the entire intersection even though there's a median and they can turn since I wasn't past the median. Sure, sometimes drivers won't see you because they're not used to looking for peds but when they do see you, they treat you very neighborly.

Tysons on the other hand brings out the worst in people or brings out the worst people. Not sure which one. I imagine some of the folks acting so politely in FC and Vienna are the same folks driving around like maniacs in Tysons.

by Falls Church on Jul 29, 2014 4:18 pm • linkreport

I contacted this website 2 or 3 times over the past year asking you guys to go out and document the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks so that pressure could be placed on officials. I'm disappointed that not only did I never get a reply, but as expected, you waited until after the line opened and it was too late.

"Why didn't you do it JJJJ"

I have no reason to ever ride the SL in my life, until maybe the Dulles part opens.

by JJJJ on Jul 29, 2014 4:34 pm • linkreport

@JJJJ, lets note this has nothing to do with the SV. This can not be stressed enough. MWAA in terms of their obligations and contract, did what they were supposed to.

This blame is at the feet of FCDOT, VDOT, and Fairfax County. I dont know if GGW can necessarily go around to every area in the large metro region to point out lack of crosswalks, but at my blog specifically about Tysons we have been noting these problems for a long time, and FCDOT and VDOT and Fairfax have basically ignored.

I am thankful that GGW is now putting additional pressure on the county, and I have contacted news and traditional media folks to let them know as well and many are also going to start running this story with the hope that Fairfax will have to address.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 5:03 pm • linkreport

BTW, on the way home today saw a pregnant woman walking back and forth trying to figure out how to cross this station without putting her child and herself at risk. Great job Fairfax County.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 5:03 pm • linkreport

hey, don't worry about crossing there, if you're a cat, you got 8 lives left..

by asffa on Jul 29, 2014 5:12 pm • linkreport

Urged on by Richard, we've started a petition to end the status quo excuses they are feeding us about pedestrian safety.

Please sign, and please spread the word, I know that Fairfax officials won't listen to anything but numbers.

http://thetysonscorner.com/no-more-excuses-in-tysons/

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 5:45 pm • linkreport

I will never understand how this region the Commonwealth of Virginia spends billions [...]
FTFY.

The Silver Line was not built by WMATA or any other regional agency. It was built and funded by VA.

by dcmike on Jul 29, 2014 6:36 pm • linkreport

@Navid Roshan

Yes, the problem is everywhere, but this project has full exposure AND a multi-billion dollar budget, and GGW also has lots of exposure. Combine them, and a post about missing crosswalks (back in March), could have easily meant useful crosswalks today.

People respond to "theyre spending HOW MUCH and aren't even doing it right???" much more than "this street has been badly designed for 27 years"

by JJJJ on Jul 29, 2014 7:45 pm • linkreport

JJJJ but there in lays the problem. They weren't spending any money. MWAA contract has nothing to do with this. Conflating the two would be a disservice. Silver Line is 1 element, standard transportation and planning is another.

You wouldn't blame a house owner for a subdivision intersection being dangerous would you? Same reason you shouldn't blame the Silver Line for this situation. Fairfax County deserves all of the blame. MWAA deserves plenty of blame for other things (delays, lack of communication, playing the legal card for 4 months) but not this issue. WMATA will definitely be to blame for plenty in the future, but not this one.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 8:03 pm • linkreport

@JJJJ

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is today.

Now that the stations are open, the audience for these sorts of grievances is much wider today than it was even three months ago. Tyson’s has Metro now, so the focus should be on improving the space around the stations on a go-forward basis, not worrying about what should have been around on day 1. If this post leads to better pedestrian access at the station three months from today, it’s a good thing for the area.

by Jason on Jul 29, 2014 8:06 pm • linkreport

Richard and Navid -- it sounds like the two of you are singing the same song. How about singing together somewhere productive instead of this dialogue? The two of you have great ideas. Someone needs to help you implement them. Navid, I know you have been tireless trying to get folks at Tysons to listen, but many don't listen until the reality hits. It's here now, and you will be able to get a constituency by handing out flyers now as people are playing frogger trying to get to and from the station. Set a series of meetings, invite people, get Firehouse bakery to provide snacks, and start making a Walkable Tysons group a reality. If I was in Tysons, I'd help you. I have my hands full with the unfinished infra around the Reston station.

by Enough Already on Jul 29, 2014 8:21 pm • linkreport

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] Tysons ain't the only thing where money needs to be spent.

by Frankie on Jul 29, 2014 8:26 pm • linkreport

@Navid

To Joe taxpayer, government expenditure = government expenditure. You can agency this, agency that, but in the end of the day, billions of tax monies went in, crosswalks didnt come out. Thats a failure. I asked GGW to publish the lack of pedestrian improvements, which in turn would have applied pressure to local government. They can turn around and handle the nitty gritty - which agency pays for what paint. Thats not our problem.

Your example makes no sense to me. When Lennar builds a subdivision, they build the home AND the roads. So yes, I blame them if my new home is near a badly designed intersection.

@Jason Basic safety engineering has to be done in day 1. Yes, the audience is bigger, so is the number of people who might die. Thats a good thing?

by JJJJ on Jul 29, 2014 8:46 pm • linkreport

@Navid and Rich: my point about enforcement was not meant to disparage some engineering improvements. Rather it was meant to address the previous comments suggesting that the county has no power to do anything.

Well the County does have the power to enforce state law, and if that gets VDOTs attention, all the better. Partial solutions that are implemented are often more useful than complete solutions that have not been implemented.

In this case, freeway ramp or not, people who fail to yield to pedestrians deserve a ticket. My hypothesis is that a bunch of motorists complaining about getting a ticket simply for putting someone's life at risk, will get VDOT's attention almost as effectively as someone getting killed. And more effectively than people choosing not to walk.

If Fairfax County doesn't want to slow the traffic enough to enforce that is a different story. I doubt that painting crosswalks will haveuch of an effect without enforcement.

by JimT on Jul 29, 2014 8:59 pm • linkreport

@JJJJ:

There are crosswalks, they're just inconvenient. Even now, for an attentive pedestrian, risk of death is very low, so that's really a strawman kind of argument. The real concern is long wait times for walk signals, having to walk far out of the way to get to a destination, and getting fed up with transit to the point where driving is preferable. Improvements to walkability in Tyson's address all of that. Safety is just one part.

I agree that it'd be great if the situation were better already, but complaining about what should be here now doesn't solve that problem. Instead, we need to partner with Fairfax County / VDOT / whoever else on an ongoing basis to make sure that we can call this issue solved three months from now. Today would have been preferable, but three months from today is better than six months from today. Transforming Tyson's (even the low-hanging fruit like this) won't happen overnight.

by Jason on Jul 29, 2014 9:26 pm • linkreport

@Navid

Do you have to be a FFX resident ( or even a VA resident) to sign the petition?

by watcher on Jul 29, 2014 9:29 pm • linkreport

The petition has a zip code portion, as long as you put the zip code honestly, it doesnt matter if you are inside or outside of Fairfax (after all many Tysons commuters come from outside of Fairfax).

Jason: It is a matter of there literally isnt a cross walk also. As another poster mentioned, there is no way from 7900 Westpark, to get to the Silver Line without illegally (or without crosswalk) crossing a major road without any traffic control. There are two locations one can cross without the cross walk, both are at very dangerous curves in the road which, a crosswalk would be fine if a signal or stop sign was implemented.

At other posters telling me to be quiet. Ok? I'll be quiet, who will speak up then. Its not like Fairfax cares about the 20,000 residents of Tysons, they are busy placating the 1.1 million residents elsewhere. If it comes off as nuisance posting, I apologize... this is however a post about Tysons, a subject I'd say I'm fairly familiar with and vested in. I am passionate about this because it could be myself or my wife who dies because of the negligence of Fairfax County to provide adequate safety measures. This intersection is just one of dozens where they simply forgot to put in safety controls. I've mentioned Park Run and Tysons Blvd before, there is the having to walk in the road portion of Westpark (two different locations), and missing crosswalks along Jones Branch and Greensboro as well. It is an indicator, not the end all be all of the issues in Tysons.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 29, 2014 9:48 pm • linkreport

@Navid:

There are legal ways to do it. For Tysons Corner Metro to 7900 Westpark, there's a marked crosswalk at Westbranch and Westpark (albeit without a traffic signal). There's also another marked crosswalk (this one with a traffic signal) at Park Run and Westpark. If you insist on only crossing at marked crosswalks, either of these are options, although both are really far out of the way and not really practical for 7900 Westpark. That said, these routes are practical options for some of the other buildings in that area.

More practically for 7900 Westpark, until improvements are made, pedestrians going to that particular building will find another way to cross. From personal experience, this most likely means using the pedestrian signals to get onto Galleria Drive east of Tyson's Boulevard, waiting for a break in traffic to jaywalk to the concrete/grass median, then waiting for another break in traffic to jaywalk the rest of the way. It's time consuming, inconvenient, and illegal, but as long as a pedestrian waits for traffic to clear before jaywalking, they're unlikely to get hit.

Even more realistic for 7900 Westpark? People will continue to drive, which is a shame.

For the record, I agree that improved pedestrian access needs to happen sooner rather than later, but [deleted for violating the comment policy.] Plans for the Tyson's stations have been in the making for twenty years, but the stations themselves are only four days old. Transforming Tyson's will take time.

by Jason on Jul 29, 2014 11:48 pm • linkreport

@Jason, read the story look at the map, due to the lack of temporary walkways, that crossing across Westpark is fine but then the sidewalk is blocked forcing people to walk in the street.

Secondly, you are not understanding, there is no way from that side of the street to cross twice or even 3 times to get there. People come off the 495 ramp and shoot around a defacto (no stop turn) ramp onto Westpark.

The last part is reality, people will continue to drive, or dangerously continue to cross this road until someone gets hurt.

Again, a pregnant woman was stuck trying to run across 45mph road with no safe path for her to go. She was stuck. My point isn't that everything has to happen for a long time, but many people have been telling FCDOT for a long time that these particular intersections need work.

They've had 3 years. That is enough time. Now they complain well it will take a long time. It takes a long time because they put 0 leg work in while that construction was on going. Heck, it was delayed by almost 9 months and they STILL? didn't have time to fix some of these minor issues (minor in cost, major it seriousness)?

Excuse making at its worst. Sounds very similar to what FCDOT told us. Its not just time consuming or inconvenient, it is a blind curve where cars go 45mph (when going the speed, often we see much higher speeds).

by Navid Roshan on Jul 30, 2014 8:23 am • linkreport

Trust me, I looked at the map. I also know the area well, and have walked on those same roads for years (though not to 7900 Westpark specifically). Like I said, the legal crossing meant walking north on Tysons Boulevard after crossing Galleria Drive, rather than walking east on Galleria Drive. From there, you’d walk down the Westbranch Drive Hill and legally cross Westpark Drive in the crosswalk at the bottom of the hill (or backtrack to Park Run drive if you need a crosswalk with a walk / don’t walk signal). Finally, now that you’re on the right side of the street, you can walk southeast along Westpark Drive to get to 7900 Westpark Drive.

As I said, it’s needlessly out of the way and much longer than it should be, but it’s possible to do it legally. Jaywalking into the road is not the only option, but I understand that as a practical matter, people going to that building will either jaywalk or drive.

Perhaps it's excuse making, but I tend to have an optimistic view that these things will happen if you give them time. Yes, they’ve had years, but for most of those years, the site was an active construction zone operated by an entirely different group. That adds to the complexity in coordinating this sort of thing. Also, connectivity near the new Metro stops isn’t the only item on their agenda. For instance, they’ve got a Phase 2 station set to open at Herndon in four years. Would it be wise to stop current projects now (including those in Tysons) to make sure that Herndon is 100% walkable by day 1? It’s clearly not that black and white, and it’s better to do both, but with limited resources, I’d prefer the county focus on the existing stations rather than worry about building crosswalks at Herndon today that would sit unused for four years and needlessly disrupt car traffic in the meantime.

Look, it’s not ideal. I know that. But it’s 100 times better than it was a week ago. I think that’s worth celebrating.

by Jason on Jul 30, 2014 9:44 am • linkreport

Navid, have you thought about tackling the issue more directly? Next year is a Board of Supervisors election year ...

by Thad on Jul 30, 2014 10:34 am • linkreport

In addition to the big problems, they have long neglected little things. Here is a satellite view of a sidewalk than ends 10 feet before the crosswalk one block from the McLean station entrance. This sort of thing never would happen if anyone bothered to think about what pedestrians need. https://www.google.com/maps/@38.923507,-77.2074475,38m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

by John Z Wetmore on Jul 30, 2014 10:49 am • linkreport

John

That's a construction site. Even jurisdictions like DC and ArlCo have issues around construction sites, IIUC. FFX, AFAIK, has simply never really bothered worrying about walkability around construction sites until very recently. FCDOT is new to it, the folks who hand out permits for construction are new to it, etc.

FFX county, 60 years ago, was a rural county. For most of the last 60 years it has been a completely autocentric suburban county. There is a lot of learning that needs to take place at all levels, from the Board of Supervisors on down to the lower levels of County Govt - FCDOT, FCPD, DPWES (which does permitting IIUC), etc. I am glad Navid and others are pushing things forward - simply accepting the status quo won't lead to change. But at the same time its good to be aware of the context.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 30, 2014 10:58 am • linkreport

CBF
Actually, no, that side of the road is not a construction site. That sidewalk was built years ago when the Mitre office complex was built. They stopped ten feet short of the crosswalk. No one has taken responsibility to fill in the gap, but it was stupid not to have taken the sidewalk all the way to the crosswalk when it was originally built.

by John Z Wetmore on Jul 30, 2014 11:42 am • linkreport

Navid Roshan - your concerns are valid, and I hope they fix it with a underpass or something (I'm not an engineer). What you are dealing with is not just a Tysons problem, it's a problem for all those coming to Tysons for work in the area.

by asffa on Jul 30, 2014 11:50 am • linkreport

@Navid

I signed your petition. I hope others do as well.

In case anyone missed the petition link:

http://thetysonscorner.com/no-more-excuses-in-tysons/

by Falls Church on Jul 30, 2014 2:00 pm • linkreport

So true. This week I am testing the Metro method of commuting to my office in Reston and must take a bus (and in the near future, bike) about three miles from the Wiehle station for the final leg of the trip.

Reston is a nightmare for both bikes and pedestrians. The people around here are very car-centric and seem to consider pedestrians and cyclists a nuisance (I've biked to Reston a few times from NE DC). I hope this new line spurs positive change regarding better/new sidewalks and bike paths. (W&OD is good, but you must eventually get off the path.)

by NE John on Jul 30, 2014 2:56 pm • linkreport

@John Z Wetmore

I know of something very similar in Jersey. It wasnt an oversight, it was on purpose.

If the new sidewalk had reached within 10 feet or whatever or the existing construction, it would trigger ADA upgrades for the entire intersection. And they were not interested in helping the disabled, so they didnt.

by JJJJ on Jul 30, 2014 3:36 pm • linkreport

Build it ... then plan for it... then wait for the money to be allocated.

Yep. That's Virgina!

by Va Where Planning Comes Last on Jul 30, 2014 3:43 pm • linkreport

@Jason, I hear you, I don't want to blame but I've tried sensible discussion and they are often ignored for the louder voices of commuters who would not see any difference in their commute in the long run for the types of changes I am talking about, but often it is their voice that ends up being listened to over sensible people who actually live in the "improvement" areas.

I don't blame any one engineer, I don't blame Chris Wells (although I found his response to be dismissive), I blame the system that we have set up where a city (Richmond) has the right to control how we design and set up our regions roads via design manuals that are so disturbingly backwards that it is maddening. At the end of the day it is the residents and communities that suffer for these 8 to 10 month wait times and the poor solutions they end up with which remain focused on output of vehicles instead of safety and access of people.

And the optics are terrible. The only thing FCDOT has talked to us residents about (outside of much grander master plan issues that will happen after many residents are long gone) is widening 123 and adding a toll road ramp. Thats not what we want. We just want small but sensible solutions, that yes might have to inconvenience commuter drivers. We want leaders to stick to the things they said they would.

by Navid Roshan on Jul 30, 2014 5:42 pm • linkreport

I think the problem is that VDOT doesn't maintain roads in cities. They maintain them in rural areas and in suburban areas. In almost all of their territory, car is king. Tysons is perhaps one of the few exceptions to this way of thinking.

People need to convince Virginia and Fairfax County that it is in their best interests to improve Tysons. It will have huge economic benefits for the entire state and county if Tysons is successful. There needs to be a way to convince them that "Tysons is something new, something different" in terms of how they think. VDOT's Northern Virginia District is definitely the most progressive of all of them. But even in dense Northern Virginia, most of the development is suburban in nature with everyone driving around. There are already many areas in which VDOT's NOVA District, "does things differently than the rest of the state." We just need to encourage them to keep doing this even more so, and that it is an urgent because Tysons needs to be successful.

As for the lack of infrastructure, the Americans with Disabilities Act is a major part of why we don't have as much ped/bike infrastructure as we need. You can't just throw down paint to have a crosswalk. You need to have the proper ramps installed, with the bumpy domes, appropriate signs and traffic signals, etc. If there is only room for a 4 foot sidewalk, you can't have any sidewalk. You can't squeeze it in, you have to have the full 5 foot width to allow it to be accessible. All of this equates to time and money. It costs money to make the design plans, it costs money to pour the concrete, the design plans go through review, yadda yadda yadda. And as someone else mentioned, even if you make some tiny improvement, that could trigger ADA for the entire intersection, which there might not be budget for, so people are hesitant to touch it at all until they can do it right.

Now that said, there is no excuse for 1) the funds to not be available (they had billions for Metro, they should have a few hundred thousand for ped improvements), 2) not getting started long in advance of the opening of Metro on design/implementation, and 3) not prioritizing improvements in Tysons over all other areas of the County in the immediate time leading up to the opening of the Silver Line. Yeah, I'm sure some people out in Herndon might complain that its not fair that money is all being dumped into Tysons. But like I said, improving Tysons now to get the best return on the huge investment into Metro is something that will benefit everyone in the county.

I tried Metro for a couple days earlier this week. I gave up, because it is too dicey to get across 123 from Greensboro station. The circulator stops are nowhere near the office, even though the bus goes right past the front door. So, I guess when they finally get a real crossing of 123 along Route 7, I can actually use Metro. Until then, I'll have to continue to bring my car into the area everyday.

by Mike on Jul 30, 2014 8:57 pm • linkreport

There are other places that should also be mentioned

Route 7 south of Route 123 and Greensboro Station (the only option is to walk for blocks to get across 123 or take a bus that would circle around most of Tysons before going to your destination if it stops nearby)

The pedestrian Bridge not finished at Tysons Corner Center due to construction (that should have been finished by December of last year when the station was originally planned to be open)

Tysons Galleria

Going from between Route 123 and any side streets east of the Beltway to anywhere west of the Beltway you have to take the train, bus or drive walking is not an option.

and any street that has you walking in a damn circle (West Park Drive, Towers Cresent Drive)

I really feel like the Tysons Corner station should have been located between Tysons Blvd and Westpark drive with entrances on both streets; the one on Tysons Blvd with a bridge over to Tysons Corner Center and another up the hill to Galleria Drive and the other entrance at ground level on Westpark Drive with the bus bays there.

by kk on Jul 30, 2014 10:24 pm • linkreport

The county has had plans for bike improvements in Tysons for several years. The Tysons Bicycle Master Plan was completed in April 2011 but has not yet been adopted. It's been folded into the County Bicycle Master Plan that was completed in July 2012, and that plan hasn't been adopted. Public hearings are scheduled in October.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/bike/county_bike_master_plan.htm

The Tysons Metro Station Access Management Study was completed in November 2011. There are numerous recommendations that include fixing some of the problems mentioned here.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/tmsams/

I think the major problem has been the conflict between moving cars and moving people, as Navid has said. There is money available to fix the problems. VDOT controls the roads and historically has focused on providing better Level of Service (LOS) for cars, basically ignoring LOS for peds and bikes. That is starting to change as evidenced by an excellent plan to provide ped/bike access into Tysons from the west on grade-separated trails along Route 7 (although VDOT was heavily criticized by Supervisor Herrity for spending too much on bikes and peds, a common them to his positions on transportation).

http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/route_7_over_dulles_airport_toll_road.asp

FABB focuses our work on bicycle issues. While we work closely with pedestrian advocates, ped/bike facilities often have very different requirements and planning for one is not the same as planning for the other. FABB was formed in part because the county does not have a bicycle advisory committee (BAC). It doesn't have a pedestrian advisory committee either. It has a Trails & Sidewalks Committee composed of pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian, and disabilities advocates with a rep from the builders industry association. They spend a lot of time battling developers who apply for waivers for not building sidewalks.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/trails/

The county doesn't currently have a bike or pedestrian plan. We will soon have an adopted bike plan but as far as I know, there are no plans for a pedestrian plan. There is a map of proposed sidewalks, trails, and bike routes that hasn't been updated since 2002.

In a county of over 1 million residents there are maybe 4 people working on ped/bike issues. The bicycle and pedestrian programs have no operating funds. They have project funds but no funds for education, encouragement, evaluation (counting), and there is almost no speed or crosswalk enforcement. The Board of Supervisors needs to devote the resources to making the county more bike and ped friendly. Instead of advocating for that, last year FABB spent considerable resources fighting to retain the bike coordinator position that was on a list of budget cuts (thanks to Supervisor Herrity).

Bruce Wright
Chairman, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

by Bruce Wright on Jul 31, 2014 9:01 am • linkreport

Bruce,

What would it take to get the County to have a bicycle advisory committee? Or a pedestrian advisory committee?

by Thad on Jul 31, 2014 10:27 am • linkreport

Please check with Lerner management, Fairfax Police, and County members on the number of complaints they are received over the past 5 years. Neither have done anything about the safety of humans until someone gets hit and dies first. One major internal comment and complaint pool is to ask the employers in the area who have begged for some kinda of structure to help keep people safe from the erratic drivers rushing to get home. Its Nutz like frogger

by Sig on Jul 31, 2014 10:29 am • linkreport

Umm, don't remember which commenter, but fixing Tysons isn't my job... but I do provide advice and suggestions to people for addressing these issues in their communities, have written plans, etc.

Obviously, Navid has been doing plenty for awhile. Sadly, in most area jurisdictions (even DC), officials don't get the need for changes until the infrastructure is in operation.

When I comment or write it's to engender understanding broader issues. As I mentioned, I meant to write a few months back about my surprise about the failure to organize a TMA (transportation management association) in advance of the Silver Line opening.

This discussion has made me think about the "need" maybe to fund public advocacy as a part of physical and social change associated with new infrastructure. Creating a "Tysons in Motion" organization in advance of the opening of the line could have been a good idea, and helped bring change forward more quickly.

While I think it's true that FC doesn't get it now, they will change. That's why they wanted the line to begin with.

I will be writing about this, partly to contrast what's happened in Tysons vs. what's happening in the Robinson district of Greater Pittsburgh, where the "Airport Corridor Transportation Association" runs a shuttle to move people from regional bus services to individual business locations and where they just opened a high quality intermodal bus stop.

http://www.acta-pgh.org/
http://www.post-gazette.com/local/west/2014/07/30/Robinson-welcomes-super-shelters-for-bus-riders/stories/201407300031

by Richard Layman on Jul 31, 2014 10:32 am • linkreport

Thad, one of the recommendations of the bicycle master plan is formation of a bicycle advisory committee. It would likely mean that the Trails & Sidewalk Committee would split into a bike committee and a ped committee.

by Bruce Wright on Jul 31, 2014 10:43 am • linkreport

Bruce, is the recommendation for a Bike and Ped Committee, commission in the master plan draft?

When I did the Western Balt. County plan, there had been a recommendation for a bike and ped committee in the Eastern Plan too. But it didn't move forward.

I repeated the recommendation but laid out a specific method for appointing representatives, by each council member + the county exec.

The thing in Fairfax County is that there is less turnover of elected officials. What happened in the 2010 election in Balt. County is that 4 new County Council members were eleccted (out of 7) and a new County Exec. The majority shifted to positive wrt bike and ped issues, and advocates went to two of the new Council members who were the most predisposed to deal with bike and ped issues (one new member, while a Republican, worked for the state DOT previously and was particularly active in safe routes to school issues).

The advocates got the councilmembers to write and introduce legislation upping the county's commitment to biking and walking, including the creation of the county wide committee. (This legislation, drawn from the recommendations in my plan for the most part, passed almost 2 years before the actual plan was approved.)

Plus the councilmembers added a provision that I put in the draft plan, but was taken out by the powers that be, to have the option for each councilmember to create a district-level bike and ped committee to complement the countywide committee.

At the very least, now, FABB and Navid should go to the two district supervisors representing the Tyson area, and ask them to create such a committee.

note that in Orange County, California, the local transpo authority (with multimodal responsibilities) did some similar kinds of planning and improvements in a specific political district, at the impetus of the elected official. That's another example.

http://www.octa.net/Share-the-Ride/Bike/Bikeways-Planning/Regional-Bikeways-Planning/

In Balt. County, where they aren't particularly well organized across the county on these issues, the two districts where they are most organized (D1 and D5) they are getting the most results in terms of the creation of infrastructure for walking and biking.

I wrote about it in many entries, but especially here:

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2010/04/best-practice-bicycle-planning-for.html

the presentation that is there I also gave to MoCo Dept. of Planning as part of their speaker series, it explained the "back story" of how I was approaching doing the plan.

by Richard Layman on Jul 31, 2014 10:58 am • linkreport

sorry, missed your comment. DK if having separate committees is better or worse. Two committees does provide more opportunities for membership, more focused advocacy.

I think that allowing and encouraging district level P&B committees is very important.

But if you have one supervisor now who is open to P and B issues, you should ask them to organize such a committee now, as an example.

Plus, isn't there a commmittee as part of the Reston Assn. that deals with such issues too?

by Richard Layman on Jul 31, 2014 11:04 am • linkreport

"I really feel like the Tysons Corner station should have been located between Tysons Blvd and Westpark drive with entrances on both streets ...."

Bear in mind part of the reason that stop is located where it is has to do with the tunnel the line enters just southwest of the Tysons Corner stop. The tunnel had to be located where it is because of the existing buildings, and associated underground structures, already in place between International Drive and Route 7. For example, the Courtyard by Marriott is the closest building to the corner of International Drive and Route 123. It has a parking garage underneath it (I just parked there Monday night when we went to dinner at Fleming's). I'm not sure how deep the garage is relative to the tunnel's bellmouths, but presumably the tunnel had to be constructed in a way that avoided the existing underground structures already in place because otherwise it'd have to be too steep. Putting the Tysons Corner stop closer to Tysons II would have posed the problem of either requiring a sharp S-curve southwest of the station or else making the tracks too steep.

by Rich on Jul 31, 2014 2:21 pm • linkreport

@ Rich

Nobody said anything about moving the station further north!

Where I suggested would be about 100 feet east of the current location with the western entrance about where the eastern end of the platform stops.

Basically it would be direct across 123 from the VITA apartment building and not across and then to the left of it. I said extended the pedestrian bridge up to toward WestPark Drive & Galleria Drive not the station!

by kk on Aug 1, 2014 10:05 am • linkreport

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