During the week of January 20-26, 2010, FABB reported on an upcoming meeting on the Tysons Comprehensive Plan. We reported then that, after nearly 5 years of work, Fairfax County staff had completed the final draft of proposed Comprehensive Plan language for redevelopment of Tysons into a compact, walkable, bikeable, and liveable place. As always, we encouraged bicyclists to attend the meeting to offer their ideas on the proposed changes and speak up for the new bike parking requirements and on-road bike routes.
The Plan was designed to take advantage of the four new Metro stations in Tysons, which opened in mid-2014. Then as now, Tysons was envisioned as becoming Fairfax County’s “downtown,” or a 24-hour urban center where people live, work and play. The plan has been amended several times since it was first approved by the Board of Supervisors in June 2010. In the years since that public meeting on the Comprehensive Plan, FABB has continued to work with Fairfax County, the Tysons Partnership, and organizations like AccessTysons to promote safe and reliable bicycling options.
Admittedly, progress has been fitful for bicyclists and pedestrians in Tysons. Capital BikeShare arrived but ongoing construction in and around an ever-expanding Tysons makes even the available streets and sidewalks difficult to use. Grade-separated parallel trails along Route 7 across the Dulles Toll Road were built and a bike/ped bridge across I-495 from the Pimmit Hills area to the mall is planned. Bike lanes have been added in a number of locations, but connections are still lacking in many places. In one case, bike lanes briefly appeared on parts of Jones Branch Drive but then disappeared during subsequent construction and repaving. The recently opened but still unfinished Jones Branch Connector has become something of a rush hour choke point. When completed in fall 2019, however, the connector will have on-street bike lanes in each direction and 8- to 12-foot-wide lighted sidewalks, landscaping and other streetscape amenities.
2019 also should see the opening of the first phase of The Boro, one of the first multiphase mixed-use projects to be developed in Tysons near the Greensboro Metro station. This new development will have apartments, condos, office, and retail space, including a 15-screen movie theater and the largest Whole Foods Market in the United States. The Boro is intended to be bicycle and pedestrian friendly within its boundaries, but the challenge will be to create the pedestrian and bicycling connections to other nearby parts of Tysons.
Over the past 9 years, FABB has been an active voice speaking up for more bicycle infrastructure in the Tysons area and we’re not going to stop now. Join us as FABB continues to monitor developments and continues advocating for better bicycling infrastructure in Fairfax’s new “downtown.”