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Dulles Rail Briefing for RA

Wiehle Station construction to begin in fall of 2008.

The construction of the first of the two Reston stations on the metro extension, west of Wiehle Avenue, is scheduled to begin in fall of 2008. Some preparations for traffic management during the construction have begun.

"We are starting to work with employers in Tysons Corner and Reston to use more employee options," such as telework, said Marcia McAllister, communications manager with Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. "We are going to have to keep people moving in and out of Tysons Corner and eventually in and out of Reston," she said.

McAllister briefed the Reston Association Board of Directors on the details of the metro extension to Dulles at its June meeting. Road improvements on Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road are scheduled for the summer of next year.

McAllister said Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project is working closely with Reston Internal Bus System (RIBS) as part of the traffic management portion of the project. The cooperation is part of an effort to improve routes within Reston to serve the two future metro stations. She said no parking is planned for the Reston Parkway station, but that another garage would be constructed at the Herndon-Monroe station.

AN UNDERGROUND PARKING structure is still anticipated near the Wiehle station, on the site of the current park and ride at the corner of Wiehle Avenue and Dulles Toll Road. Fairfax County broke off negotiations with Comstock Companies about the redevelopment of the 9-acre county-owned lot recently. McAllister said that Rick Stevens, Fairfax County’s rail project manager, told her the county is going to issue a new request for proposal (RFP) for the plot. According to McAllister, Stevens said the RFP would be issued within three weeks, and that there is great interest in redeveloping the lot from several companies. The new RFP would reflect the need for underground parking to serve the metro station.

"No one in Reston wants to drive by and see a garage," said McAllister.

Director Joe Leighton said the lot provides parking for 800 vehicles. He asked whether those 800 parking spots would remain operational during the construction of the underground structure, which will serve 2,300 vehicles. McAllister said the plan is to keep the park and ride lot open while the underground garage is being constructed.

Some RA directors commented on the construction plans for Tysons Corner. Jennifer Blackwell said she hoped some of the work on Route 7 in Tysons Corner would be done at night, much like some of the work done at Springfield’s Mixing Bowl. McAllister explained that crews working on Route 7 would not be allowed to close any lanes during rush hour, but that driving through the area would be difficult as some left-turn lanes will be eliminated. The worst impact for Tysons Corner traffic, said McAllister, would be in the first 18 months of construction, slated to begin in spring of 2008. She said message boards would be placed on Route 7 and Dulles Toll Road well before drivers reach Tysons Corner, updating them on traffic conditions in the area. Also, those updates would be e-mailed to employers and employees.

THE BENEFIT, AFTER all of the construction is completed, is that Reston residents will be able to reach Washington, D.C., on a train once the line from the Wiehle station becomes operational. "It allows us to get on a train at Wiehle Avenue and go all the way to Stadium/Armory without having to transfer," said McAllister. As for Tysons Corner, the benefit is going to be elimination of service roads on Route 7, which McAllister said will lower the number of accidents in the area. Also, the area will gain sidewalks. "I am happy there is some consideration for pedestrians," said RA director Robin Smyers, adding that Tysons Corner is the most unfriendly area of the county for pedestrians.

"Tysons is envious of Reston’s sidewalks," said McAllister.