Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why hasn't Fairfax County provided the access infrastructure needed to take advantage of the Silver Line?

Last week, we documented in a post that Fairfax County has completed few of the the projects on its own checklist for creating the transportation infrastructure needed to make access to Reston's Wiehle Silver Line station reasonable.  This week, Tysons' leading commentator, Navid Roshan-Afshar, AKA "The Tysons Corner," makes the same point about Tysons.

Here is some of what he has to say:
For several years transportation officials, planners, and Fairfax County leaders have known that the Silver Line would be a reality, and that pedestrian improvements would be necessary to make sure people could safely use the transit line. After a nearly 9 month delay, County officials are now telling us there wasn’t enough time?
Residents and commuters aren’t asking for Tysons to magically be transformed into a walkable paradise, but to receive responses like this, when we get any at all, is a slap in our faces. Providing a crosswalk should not be a year long chore when people’s lives are risk. How many must run across 9 lanes of traffic without any signage, striping, or protection before Fairfax County will stop the status quo kowtowing to VDOT? Must someone die at the intersections in question, opening the county to millions in liability, before they will admit that what the state has been feeding them is worthless in terms of urban design?
. . . and so his post goes here. 

Everything he says about Tysons is also true in Reston--and there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this pathetic County performance.  In Reston, the RMAG gave a large number of sound recommendations for improving access infrastructure in Spring 2008--six years ago.  The Silver Line has been under construction since Spring 2009--and its design absolutely locked down so the County knew what specifically to expect. 

Yet, here we are, with the Silver Line launched 9 months late and work on improving access to the station not even half done--certainly not the more challenging half, including the Soapstone extension.  This is a pathetic and unconscionable performance by our Board of Supervisors in transportation planning and implementation, especially by Supervisor Hudgins--a self-proclaimed public transit advocate--who represents residents and businesses of both Reston and parts of Tysons.  And it is forcing the County Transportation staff to make up stupid--and untrue--excuses for the delays to cover the gross incompetence of the Board of Supervisors.

In all likelihood, the urban development the County so desperately needs to salvage its financial situation will not occur unless the County makes the Silver Line easily and safely accessible to station area residents and businesses.  In the meantime, it is slowly, painfully shooting itself in the fiscal foot.  It is well past time for the Board to put our tax money where its mouth is on the wonders of rail in both Reston and Tysons.

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