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News Blog

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  • Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:52 AM | Anonymous member
    http://www.wtop.com/120/3493746/Va-gov-calls-Greenway-tolls-a-burden-on-working-families

    How much is too much to pay to get from the Capital Beltway to Leesburg?

    A hearing before the Virginia State Corporation Commission, set for Nov. 12, could shake up a long-standing contract with a private company and determine what drivers pay.

    That company, Toll Road Investors Partnership II, owns the 14-mile Dulles Greenway where tolls could go up again early next year under a long-standing contract between the state and the company.

    Combined with tolls along the connecting Dulles Toll Road, it will cost $16.80 for a car to travel round-trip during peak hours once the latest rate hike takes effect for Dulles Toll Road drivers on Jan. 1.

    That doesn't include any toll hike the Greenway owners could impose in 2014.

    The legal challenge before the commission, brought by Delegate David Ramadan and others, will challenge the Greenway's entire toll structure and its authority to raise tolls yearly.

    In an interview Tuesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell wouldn't comment directly on the hearing. But he calls the tolls a very heavy burden.

    "I really feel for those people. That's an extraordinary burden on a working family to pay that kind of toll," says McDonnell.

    But he is not sure what can be done with a contract signed in the 1990s.

    "When I was attorney general, we looked at some of the legal issues and really couldn't quite, at that point, craft a solution that didn't violate the terms of the contract," McDonnell says.

    But he does say another look may be worth it.

    The Dulles Greenway was built under a public-private contract and opened in 1995.

    According to the company's website, the highway is the sixth largest taxpayer in Loudoun County and has paid in $30.7 million in local taxes since 1997.


    Related Stories:

  • Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:28 AM | Anonymous member
    http://www.wtop.com/149/3493220/Officials-Silver-Line-will-carry-passengers-in-February

    Tysons Corner could be getting a long -waited Valentine's Day gift. Officials say the Silver Line could be ready in February.

    After a few missed deadlines on the $2.8 billion Phase One of the Metro rail extension, and a lot of controversy, leaders on both sides of the project say they're confident it will be ready before March.

    "We're still shooting for a November substantial completion. Obviously there's work we have to do between now and then," said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Christ Paolino. MWAA is building the line.

    Paolino says the five stations and track will be turned over to Metro after the slated November completion. Then, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles says 90 days of training and testing are needed before the Silver Line and its five new stations are open to passengers.

    The line will run through Tysons Corner and to Wiehle Avenue at first. Phase Two, where construction is just beginning, will go to Dulles Airport and farther.

    WTOP's Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergWTOP and @WTOP on Twitte

  • Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:20 AM | Anonymous member
    http://www.wtop.com/149/3493372/Vandals-shoot-destroy-windows-of-60-cars-in-Fairfax-County

    Vandals destroyed the windows of more than 60 cars over the past two nights in Fairfax County, police say.

    Fairfax County police are asking for the public's help to solve the cases.

    They say the vandal or vandals used a BB gun early Monday morning and early Tuesday morning, targeting cars in the Centreville area.

    In the Sully District, reports of broken windows came in from Little Run, Rocky Run, Singleton's Grove, Old Centreville Crossing and the Green Trails communities.

    In the Fair Oaks area, officers responded to cases in the Penderbrook community.

    Lucy Caldwell, police spokeswoman, says the incidents occurred on isolated roads, often behind townhouse communities when not a lot of people were around.

    The vandals targeted cars on Little Rocky Run Circle, Flamborough Road and Green Trails Boulevard, Caldwell says.

    The crimes started around 1 a.m. each night.

    Anybody who saw or heard anything unusual in the affected communities is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477. People can text "TIP187" plus a message to CRIMES/274637 or call police directly at 703-691-2131. Tips also can be emailed through the Crime Solvers website.

    WTOP's Kristi King contributed to this story. Follow @kingWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

  • Monday, October 28, 2013 10:39 AM | Anonymous member
    By   (http://thetysonscorner.com/around-the-corner-49)

    Ascent Tower from Spring Hill Road, click to enlarge

    Mitre’s 14-story office expansion has begun construction on Colshire Drive. It appears the building pre-dates new comprehensive plan standards and will be a single use office (perhaps with some employee dining included). It isn’t clear if the commercial interest of additional companies moving to Tysons (CVent, Mitre Expansion, Intelsat, etc) is acting as a stimulus on the residential development in the area. This upcoming year three high-rise residential projects will be delivered (Vita, Ascent, and Ovation) to be followed up by Hanover Arbor Row (already under construction) and four 2014 anticipated projects: Garfield Parcel by Cityline, Home Properties Arbor Row, Spring Hill Station building 2, and Tysons West mid-rise.

    undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined

    Speaking of Cvent, they announced a permanent home in Tysons with a lease of 130,000 sf at MRP’s campus on Solutions Drive. That lease will likely help accelerate plans for non-developed portions of the property (the parking lots) to be developed as the deal has drastically reduced the amount of vacant space at the property. Additional good news from the deal includes plans for Cvent to hire 400 new jobs. Some might consider the $1 million grant to the company to assist in their permanent office move had a lot to do with the decision. In reality that amount is less than 1% of what the company earns in revenue per year and likely had little to do with the decision. Cvent acknowledged that the Silver Line played a major role in their decision to stay in Tysons. (FCEDA)

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    Another bank was robbed in Tysons, the 5th robbery involving a bank in the Tysons/McLean/Vienna area in the past 12 months. Two of the previous incidents resulted in arrests of the suspects. Police do not believe that the suspects used mass transit, or the yet to be completed Silver Line, to commit the crimes, to the befuddlement of many a xenophobic NIMBY. Police say the suspects likely got away in a single occupied vehicle they are referring to as a “car”. (Sun Gazette)

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    A host of retailers announced intentions to expand into Tysons. Under ArmourStar Nut, and Sweetgreen top the list this month.

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:18 AM | Anonymous member

    Use this new smartphone friendly online tool to discover trails in Fairfax County

     

    Fairfax Trail Buddy is a web-based mapping tool that allows you to discover Fairfax County's extensive network of over 900 miles of trails, bikeways and sidewalks for non-motorized transportation that have been mapped using a Geographic Information Systems database. Fairfax Trail Buddy also provides access to the Bike Fairfax Interactive Bike Map, which highlights the most desirable on-road and off-road bike routes for recreational and commuter bicyclists. The web map is accessible from all types of devices and operating systems.

     

    On Trail Use with a Smartphone: Taking the Fairfax Trail Buddy with you on your hike is easy and requires downloading a free mobile application.  For  iPhones and iPad devices, go to the itunes App Store and search for the ArcGIS application and install it to your device. For Android devices go to Google Play Store and search for the ArcGIS application and install it on your device.

     

    For more information visit the Trail Buddy website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/trails

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:09 AM | Anonymous member

    The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority continues with final work on Phase I of the Silver Line Metrorail service.  The new line runs from East Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue on the eastern edge of Reston with four stations in Tysons (McLean Station, Tysons Station, Greensboro Station, Spring Hill Station) and one Reston station (Wiehle-Reston East Station).  

     

    Silver Line Phase I is now 96% complete.  Project completion was originally scheduled for December 31, 2013, but has been delayed several weeks.  The Wiehle garage is 99% complete and was recently tested with simulated Connector bus operations.  The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority now projects that service will commence on the Phase I Silver Line in early 2014.

     

    Phase II is projected to be completed in 2018.  This final 11-mile section of the Silver Line includes six stations:  Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles International Airport, Route 606 and Route 772.  In May of this year, the design and construction contract was awarded to Capital Rail Constructors, a joint venture of Clark Construction Group and Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.



    Also, metro has launched a new website, www.silverlinemetro.com, to provide information on the Silver Line.  The site will be updated frequently with new service details, destinations, and partner information.  If you have additions to suggest or links you would like Metro to include, please email your comments to externalrelations@wmata.com.



    For construction-related emergencies including noise, please use the project HOTLINE at 877-585-6789. For further information about the project, please visit the project website at www.dullesmetro.com  or call 703-572-0506.

     

    For more information about the Metro Silver Line project, please contact Benjamin Wiles in the office of Supervisor John Foust at Benjamin.Wiles@FairfaxCounty.gov.

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:03 AM | Anonymous member

    Sponsored by Supervisor Foust and the McLean Citizens Association


    On September 26, in recognition of September as "National Preparedness Month",Dranesville Supervisor John Foust and the McLean Citizens Association (MCA) sponsored a program titled "The 2012 Derecho Storm: Lessons Learned and Improvements Made".  The event included an in-depth discussion by high level County officials and Dominion Virginia Power experts, focusing on what was learned from the massive storm and what steps have been taken to make improvements across all facets of emergency preparedness and response.  Also included was a discussion on how residents can be better prepared for emergencies.  Participating in the panel were David Rohrer, Deputy County Executive for Public Safety; Steve Souder, Director of Public Safety Communications for Fairfax County; Roy Shrout, Deputy Coordinator, Fairfax County Emergency Management Department; Steve Willey, Lead Instructor for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT); and Tim Sargent, Government Affairs Director, Dominion Virginia Power. MCA President, Sally Horn and Dranesville Supervisor John Foust also addressed the group.

     

    The Derecho hit Fairfax County at approximately 10:00 p.m. on June 29, 2012.  Its fury was felt throughout the area.  After every emergency, the County reviews its performance and prepares an after-action report.  After the Derecho, Supervisor Foust and Mt. Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland introduced a motion that directed staff to address specific issues in the report and to make recommendations for improving response to future disaster events.  Much of the September 26 presentation covered material requested by their motion.


    Be trained to help with emergency response in your community 

    Supervisor Foust welcomes audience.

     

    One way to get involved is by joining the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

    The CERT program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the preparedness and safety of the community. The CERT training addresses disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, light search and rescue operations, and disaster psychology. The CERT training is adjusted to accommodate the physical abilities and limitations of the individual student. Safety is paramount to all CERT activities. 

    All CERT training is overseen by trained instructors and first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course conducted by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 

    For more information on this program or to register to participate in training, please visithttp://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem/citizencorps/cert.htm or contact Patti Dinkelmeyer in Supervisor Foust's office at Patricia.Dinkelmeyer@fairfaxcounty.gov.

     

    Prepare your home and family to be self-sufficient for three days at any time.

     

    Follow these steps:

    • Develop an emergency kit for your home, business and car.  For details on essential kit supplies visit Ready Virginia at http://www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
    • Establish a family communication and emergency plan.
    • Get your neighbors and work associates to do the same.
    • Understand your emergency plan at work and school:
      • Find out where it is located.
      • If none exists, encourage your office to establish an emergency plan.
    • Take emergency response training.
    • Establish relationships and partnerships with key organizations.
    • Sign up for an emergency warning notification service.
    • Spread the word in your various communities about being prepared.



    Emergency Preparedness Resources 

    Fairfax County

    State / Regional

    National / Federal

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:01 AM | Anonymous member

    The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is considering amending the County's zoning ordinance to expand affordable housing options in the County. As currently proposed by County staff, the amendment would allow up to 75 Residential Studio Units (RSUs) of up to 500 square feet in size, in most residential, commercial and industrial districts and in all planned development districts. RSUs would only be allowed by the approval of a special exception or as part of a rezoning.

     

    The Board of Supervisors raised several concerns about the proposal as presented by staff and directed the Fairfax County Planning Commission to conduct public outreach sessions and to consider recommending revisions.  As part of that process, Supervisor Foust has asked staff and the Planning Commission to consider options that would exclude low density residential zoning from the ordinance.  The Planning Commission's public hearing on the RSU amendment is now scheduled for late February 2014.

     

    The Planning Commission conducted work sessions on the residential studio amendment on September 26 and October 2. They have also formed an RSU Committee. The Committee's meetings to gather public input are scheduled for October 28,November 20December 9January 6 and January 22. These meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.and are open to the public. The meetings will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax), with the exception of the November 20 meeting that will be in the Herrity Building (12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax).

     

    The McLean Citizens Association will also hold a meeting on the proposed RSU amendment on October 30 at 7:30 p.m. at McLean High School (1633 Davidson Road, McLean). County staff will be present.

     

    Please attend one or more of the meetings to give the Planning Commission an understanding of any community concerns and to discuss options to staff's proposal. This will help them as they re-work the amendment.

     

    Please visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/zoningordinance/proposed for more information.

     

    For more information please contact Benjamin Wiles in the office of Supervisor Foust at Benjamin.Wiles@fairfaxcounty.gov 

  • Sunday, October 20, 2013 10:04 PM | Anonymous member

    VIENNA, Va. - Later this month, commuters will get a chance to talk to leaders about how to spend new transportation money to fix traffic congestion in Fairfax County.

    With more than a million residents, Fairfax County is one of the biggest and most congested suburbs in our entire region. From the Fairfax County Parkway to Route 28, Route 123, Route 50, Route 29 and Route 1, there are no shortage of locations that could use some congestion relief.

    "Reducing congestion is a very important piece of the puzzle, but it's not the only piece," says Fairfax County Transportation Director Tom Biesiadny. "I could come up with the best project in the world that relieves the most congestion and is the most cost effective, but if it runs through someone's backyard and the community doesn't support it, we're probably not going anywhere with that project."

    Fairfax County is getting the new transportation money under the transportation bill passed in the General Assembly earlier this year. Under the law, each jurisdiction gets to keep 30 percent of the revenue generated within its borders from the new taxes, including a higher sales tax, and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) will receive 70 percent of the funds. While it's unclear exactly how much money Fairfax County will raise in the first year, NVTA officials have said they believe the overall number will be about $280 million region wide.

    Four meetings are scheduled across Fairfax County to talk about traffic problems and where the money should be allocated:

    • Wednesday, Oct. 30 - Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria
    • Monday, Nov. 4 - Falls Church High School, 7521 Jaguar Trail, Falls Church
    • Tuesday, Nov. 12 - Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax
    • Wednesday, Nov. 13 - Forest Edge Elementary School, 1501 Becontree Lane, Reston

    The meetings will have a similar format to those held earlier this year when Fairfax County unveiled changes to its Fairfax Connector routes. Each meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and include a presentation and a question and answer session with residents.

    "We'll have an open house where there will be time to walk around and look at the projects, look at the detail on the maps and we'll do a presentation with question and answer and comments," says Biesiadny. "What we're trying to do is try and figure out where there is some consensus, where is there community support. We'll allow them a chance to give us their vote, so to speak, although we will not do a straight tally."

    Biesiadny presented a list of about 200 unfunded roadway and transit projects during his speech before the Fairfax Committee of 100, each vying for a spot on the six-year transportation plan for the county. Most of the projects have a benefit-cost analysis ratio to help determine the best investment for the money.

    "There is three factors that we've included in the benefit-cost analysis. We've included congestion reduction, travel time savings and air quality benefits. We could include 20 or 30 different measures, but that doesn't mean you'd get better results, you just spent more time. We wanted to keep it simple and we think these factors are a good barometer," he says.

    Biesiadny says an average score for a project would be 1.0, which means the benefits from the three factors will pay for the project over 20 years. For projects with a score higher than 1.0, benefits from congestion reduction, travel time savings and air quality will pay off in less than 20 years. Lower than 1.0 means the benefits would take longer than 20 years to pay off the costs of the project.

    "Our comprehensive plan, we have a number of interchanges and road widening projects that we've been unable to fund, particularly along the Fairfax County Parkway," he says.

    A number of Fairfax County Parkway projects score very high on the benefit-cost ratio and could be ripe for funding, including intersection improvements at Popes Head Road and Braddock Road. Projects to widen the Fairfax County Parkway from Route 29 to Route 123 and from West Ox Road to the Dulles Toll Road from four to six lanes also scored highly on the benefit-cost analysis. In total, both projects would cost about $145 million to complete.

    On transit, three projects received high marks for their benefit to congestion relief.

    One would be $54 million to construct a 2,037-space garage at the Innovation Center Metrorail Station, due to open in phase two of the Silver Line project.

    A second would be $47 million to purchase buses and improve bus service between the Herndon-Monroe Park-and-Ride and Fort Belvoir along the Fairfax County Parkway. With more than 30,000 employees commuting each day, Fort Belvoir is a major job center in Fairfax County that contributes a lot of traffic to roads like the Fairfax County Parkway and Route 1 (Richmond Highway).

    Finally, a $116.5 million project to purchase buses and implement new cross-county express bus service between Vienna and Centreville also is being considered.

    "In Fairfax County, most of our growth in the future is not going to occur in Great Falls or Clifton. It's mostly going to happen in our activity centers. So that is where we are going to looking to make transportation improvements," says Biesiadny.

    After the public meetings wrap up, the Fairfax County Transportation Department will brief the Board of Supervisors in December. The Board of Supervisors will likely approve a six-year priority project list in January.


    Source: http://www.wtop.com/?nid=41&sid=3484989&pid=0

  • Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:44 PM | Anonymous member
    Please help provide food to local families in need over the winter holiday season by participating in "Food for Trees".
     
    HOW:
     
    Pre-order your Christmas Tree or Holiday Wreaths at 50% off through Sunday, November 10 by visiting www.foodfortrees.org
     
    WHEN:
     
    On Saturday, December 7 from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Bring $35 worth of non-perishable food items to be donated to Share when you pick up your freshly-cut tree or wreaths.  Alternative pick-up date: Sunday, December 8 from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
     
    WHERE:
     
    Old Firehouse Teen Center
    1440 Chain Bridge Road
    McLean
     
    Please park on the Giant side of the Teen Center when arriving.
     
    WHAT:
     
    Bring the whole family! The Teen Center will be open on Saturday for everyone to enjoy hot apple cider, hot chocolate and holiday treats.  Kids can decorate sugar cookies, play games and stay warm while the trees are loaded-up to go home for the holidays!
     
    Special appearances by the McLean Youth Orchestra & Santa atop the McLean Volunteer Fire Department's 1970 Pirsch Antique Fire Engine!
     
    GOAL:
     
    To sell 400 trees in order to provide $12,000 worth of food to our community!
    Please help spread the word.
     
    For more information or to order, visit www.foodfortrees.org

 

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