Does potentially less traffic and potentially more business opportunities sound like a great idea for Tyson’s Corner? Then everyone get ready for the silver line metro to Tyson’s Corner. At a recent a seminar event hosted by Bisnow on July 29, 2010, a panel of nine business and community professionals who have been intimately involved in the long range planning and vision of the two phases. There were several topics discussed at this event, including the expansion of Metro and the related transformation of Tysons Corner and the Dulles Greenway.
The new Silver Line, unlike all previous extensions of Metro, will be constructed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). The Silver Line will however still be operated by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The cost of the rail expansion is expected to reach approximately $2.1 billion for Phase 1 of the project, and will run from the East Falls Church Metro Station westward towards Reston, with several stops slated for Tysons Corner. MWAA and WMATA expect Phase 1 to be completed by late 2013. Phase 2, with an expected completion of 2016, will have approximately six stations, extending Metro from Reston to Dulles Airport.
Tysons Corner Transformation:
The vision is that of transforming Tysons Corner into a walkable and livable community rather than a corporate business and shopping district accessible only by car. Community planners and developers hope to make it feel more like an urban setting with a “city grid” layout that will limit the need to use a vehicle. According to the Fairfax County website, “Many offices and homes will be a three to six minute walk from the stations, allowing people to get around on foot, bicycle, bus or Metro.” Included in the panel was Aaron Georgelas, Managing Partner of The Georgelas Group. The Georgelas Group is developing a demonstration project, a 28-acre residential, office and retail complex around the future Tysons West Metrorail station. Mr. Georgelas, when trying to describe the desired feel and look of the development said, “the development is connected directly to the metro platform and will look and feel as if you walked off the train right into Reston Town Center”.
Another aspect of the discussion was the need to allocate greater square footage of future developments to residential components. According to the panel Tysons Corner currently has a square footage breakdown 11 commercial square feet to every 1 square foot of residential. When the current long range plan is completed, 20 to 30 years from now, members of the community hope to decrease this ration to something closer to 4 commercial square feet to every square foot of residential. The Comprehensive plan also calls for 20% of new residences to be set aside as work force or affordable housing, which will add an extra bit of complexity for developers on how to work these units into their projects.
Dulles Greenway Vision:
The vision of the Dulles Greenway is dramatically different. As the Silver Line leaves the Tysons West station, the next six stations are much farther apart, as would be expected. The Dulles Greenway master plan is still being developed but seems to focus on city centers around each station (e.g. Reston Town Center) where commuters can live, work and play and still have the option to commute into the District without having to use a car. In addition, these developments will require the need to include parking for those living farther from the town center area to drive, park, and then commute the remainder of the way into Tysons or the District.
For more information about the recently adopted Tysons Corner Comprehensive plan, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/tysonscorner/ .