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McLean Neighbors Ask: Can We Get to Metro From Here?

Answer: Not Yet

McLean neighbors living both east and west of Tysons Corner came to the McLean High School cafeteria Tuesday night to ask county transportation officials a simple question --- can we get to the shopping mall and the new Metro stations from our homes. The answer: Not yet.

The meeting attended by about 100 people was the first of four that county officials are holding with Vienna and McLean residents to figure out how to get residents to the four new subway stations now under construction in Tysons Corner for the Silver Line. None of the stations has parking.

One of the frustrations of McLean residents: With all the planning for the subway and the millions of dollars spent, there are still no plans to insure that residents can walk, bike or bus to either the mall or a subway station.

"You have to get people from the neighborhoods to the Metro and that's what they forgot," said Jody Winter, of Vienna.

Instead of a plan, county planners came equipped with four hard-to-read maps that show existing and planned bus routes, location of sidewalks, missing crosswalk segments and planned trails.

 “There is certainly nothing we can promise," Kris Morley-Nikfar, a county transportation planner,  told the audience. "This is the first step in finding out what you want and what you all need.” But he quickly added that they county has only $4 million to spend on these "infrastructure" improvements.

"I like that we could look at maps and see the details," said Nancy McGuire of McLean, but "the proof is in the pudding. We're commenting on how there are no bike paths and no pedestrian (sidewalks). Will they do anything with this information? Cars tend to take precedence."

The county consultants said repeatedly they want citizens to establish priorities for what they wanted then the county would be back with a plan. So most of the two-hour meeting was spent with the audience divided into six groups taking about who wanted what.

"I want a community bus from the McLean business district to the closest subway station, a shuttle bus," to get people from downtown McLean to the Metro, said Maya Huber, a member of the McLean Planning Committee.

The neighbors from the west side of Tysons talked about the difficulty of getting across the  entrance ramp to the Dulles Toll Road to the new subway stations along Route 7 in Tysons Corner. Neighbors on the east side of Tysons talked about navigating Dolley Madison Boulevard, the location of the two other subway stations.

"Initially I thought it might be a waste of time but then it became evident that the planners seemed open to citizen input," said Winter after the meeting.

Elizabeth Yu, of McLean,  said "I think it was helpful because it brings people into the process."

Next Step:Morley-Nikfar, the county planner urged residents to take an online survey to express the priority or their wants.

The county will be back in July with a plan and hopefully the answer to: Can we get there from here?

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Upcoming meetings

  • Wednesday March 23, 2011 – George C. Marshall High School Cafeteria
    7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043
    7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

  • Thursday March 24, 2011 – Westbriar Elementary School Cafeteria
    1741 Pine Valley Drive, Vienna, VA 22182
    7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

  • Thursday March 24, 2011 - Teqcorner Building
    1616 Anderson Road
    McLean VA 22102
    11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Correction: We have corrected an earlier version of this story said neighbors on the west side of Tysons Corner would have trouble crossing Route 7. The problem is in crossing the Dulles Toll Road entrance ramp.

Correction: We misidentified the county speaker in an earlier version of this story. The story now has the correct name. We deeply apologize to our readers.

Allison March 24, 2011 at 04:32 PM
I wish I was able to go. Did they talk at all about what they plan to do with making some of the streets around the metro permit only parking for residents? I am the President of The Westerlies which is off Anderson Road and we are concerned that if they permit the streets around us (Anderson, Magarity, Pimmit Hills) we might have a lot of metro travelers trying to park in our parking lot.
Tom March 24, 2011 at 10:55 PM
I vote we build a sky-car system like in Disneyland. You know, on cables, elevated, not subject to the whims of traffic. Build hubs in the neighborhoods and have it terminate at a Metro station in Tysons. Hey, if Disney can do it, why can't we?
Ted Jones March 25, 2011 at 05:05 AM
I think the best plan to involve McLean would be creating a streetcar express system, running from Tysons East along the median of Dolley Madison (route 123), turning southeast at the intersection of 123 and Old Dominion and then terminating at the intersection of Chain Bridge and Old Dominion. Trolleys are on the comeback, and service is inexpensive to install as well as fast and efficient--and service would be especially good if the route between the trolley station and Tysons Corner ran in between 123 (separated from traffic). I feel there's still somewhat of a stigma attached to buses, while trolleys lack the negative connotation... a bus-rapid-transit route would be acceptable as well (also separated from 123 as well, obviously). Not only would McLean residents have quick and easy access to Tysons Corner (perhaps extend the service further into Tysons, and into Vienna as well eventually), but McLean's downtown could finally get the boost it needs. Limited development--actually turning downtown into a walkable, livable area instead of strip malls--would be wonderful for McLean.
Heather Maier March 25, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Thank you so much for covering this! I was wondering the same thing.
Rob Jackson March 26, 2011 at 02:41 PM
It's important to remember that Routes 7 and 123 are each state roadways that are also part of the national highway system. Therefore, they must meet federal and state standards. The Tysons Land Use Task Force wanted to make these highways boulevards with parking on the sides, but were not allowed to do so because of the state and federal requirements. These standards emphasize moving traffic as rapidly and safely as possible, which precludes many other uses for the rights-of-way, such as taking existing lanes for light rail. It is likely that additiional land would need to be obtained at relatively high cost for any trolley right 0f way. Also, many of our neighborhoods lack sufficient density to support regular bus service. Both light rail and bus service would likely require significant taxpayer subsidies. One alternative that should be examined is private jitney buses. They might be able to provide transportation to neighborhoods on a cost-effective basis. Much of Tysons success will depend on the use of effective Traffic Demand Management programs, most especially the use of paid parking in Tysons to provide more incentives for workers and residents to take transit to and from Tysons.

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