The orange circles mark all the improvements Comstock Partners must complete before the Wiehle Metrorail station is open in accordance with its "Record of Decision" with Virginia DOT to mitigate traffic in the area. The good news is that most of the improvements have been completed and all of them will be completed before the end of year when Metrorail service is scheduled to begin.
The green circles mark the improvements that are planned and implemented by the Virginia and Fairfax County DOTs. They include a mix of improvements largely for better pedestrian and bicyclist access to Wiehle station. Virginia has completed the two projects for which it was responsible--bike lanes on either side of Soapstone Drive. Out of the remaining 19 improvements Fairfax County is planning to improve access to the Wiehle Metrorail station:
- None are complete.
- Only three will be completed before Metrorail opens--two sidewalks (#15 & #16) and a walkway (#30).
- Six have completion dates in July 2017.
- Ten do not yet have an identified completion date. They are "To be determined."
- The Soapstone Connector: Identified in the RMAG report as the improvement with "the greatest effect in the increase of throughput in the AM peak period" near Wiehle station, the feasibility study for this link from Soapstone Drive across the Dulles Corridor to Sunset Hills somewhere near the Wiehle Station began this year. It is unlikely that the bridge will be built before Metrorail is completed to Loudoun County in 2018, meaning area drivers will face huge congestion crossing the corridor on the Wiehle Avenue bridge.
- Other pathway extensions and upgrades: These are the responsibility of the County, VDOT, and Reston Association. As part of its participation in the RMAG effort, RA's Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee (PBAC) generated a thorough report on the improvements that needed to be completed in conjunction with the opening of Wiehle Station. (See "Reston on Foot" on the RA website.) Some of these may be incorporated in the list of projects laid out by the county (including the 3 walkways mentioned above that will be completed by December).
While an argument has been made that some of these improvements may be accomplished through proffers (such as access to the south side of the Metrorail station on Vornado's property), we are aware of only one recent meeting with Vornado that has taken place. RMAG recommended direct access across this property both for a bus stop and a walkway/bikeway. The RMAG proposal for direct bus access to the Metro station across Vornado's property is not even on the list of planned access improvements--along with a number of other RMAG recommendations. Completion of the walkway/bikeway is "to be determined."
Metrorail users will have trouble driving to the WIehle station area, especially during peak periods, and pedestrians and bicyclists will face delays, greater hardships, and greater risk of injury as a result of the delayed action on road, transit, pedestrian, and bicycling improvements in this station area.