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Letter: Fearful and Alarmed Over Tysons

To the Editor:

Residents of Northern Virginia need to pay attention to what is happening at Tysons Corner. Board of Supervisors Chairperson Bulova and others recently detailed the near-term future of Tysons Corner. The Comprehensive Plan for Tysons redevelopment calls for its current 47 million square feet of development, with 17,000 residents and 150,000 jobs, to increase to 91 million square feet, 100,000 residents, and 200,000 jobs over the next 10-30 years. The plan transforms Tysons from an "edge" city--one to which people commute to work but do not live in--into a true urban city.

Two issues were singled out as most critical: a) synchronizing new development with building requisite infrastructure, and b) financing, that is, allocating costs between private developers and public taxpayers. Having expected only 5-6 redevelopment proposals, the Planning Commission received 16-17, six of which will come before the Board for approval this year, including a 26 story building on the corner of Route 7 and Spring Hill Road, a project that is to become a community of high rises. A Walmart already is under construction on Route 7 with more to come.

Infrastructure improvements to support the massive development projects include internal ones such as a grid of small streets to connect Tysons, bike and pedestrian paths, and external ones such as widening Route 7 and connections to the Toll Road. New schools, libraries, post offices, police stations, also will be needed.

Earlier plans gave us the Tysons traffic nightmare we have today. While the current plan aims to mitigate this problem, even with new high density residential units, it is estimated that 70 percent of the Tysons workforce still will commute there from outside. There is debate as to how much the Silver Line Metro will ease traffic congestion.

Tysons Corner has been studied for decades and the current Comprehensive Plan sounds lovely. But do we really want a city of 100,000 at Tysons Corner? Are we sure we are not turning a "traffic Three Mile Island" into a "traffic Chernobyl?"

As a McLean resident and property owner, I am fearful. As a taxpayer, I am alarmed.

Anne Gruner

McLean