With the Silver Line opening date confirmed for Saturday, July 26, in addition to the overall expansion of the Metro and Tysons area, some long-time Vienna residents have expressed their concerns of preserving Vienna’s small-town feel. Many small business owners along Maple Avenue worry about the impact the Metro will have on Vienna’s already heavy traffic. Others in the area do not expect to see much of a difference to business and traffic. Some residents have lived in Vienna for over 30 years and have already witnessed many gradual changes with expansion to the area.
Vienna Mayor, Laurie DiRocco, resident for 19 years said, “This town does have a special feel.” In a town very focused on its community, the metro’s opening increases Vienna residents’ options of travel. Mayor DiRocco said, “We have options to not always have need for a car, and options such as the metro take cars off the roads.” Peggy James, Executive Director of the Vienna Business Association and owner of The Artful Gift Shop, commented on the association’s support of the environment. “We do really support environmental issues,” she said. “It will be a great environmental impact” and with the ease of travel and mobility factor, “people can get to shopping” and “it will be easier for people to access all businesses in the area.”
Vienna resident Andre Letendre, general manager at Plaka Grill said, “it will just bring more people into Vienna.” When commenting on existing Vienna traffic, Letendre said he has “noticed the traffic increase what seems like tenfold, since 123 is a thoroughfare to the Tyson’s area.” Michael Amouri, Caffe Amouri owner, has lived in Vienna since 1985. With the opening of the Silver Line, he said he “think[s] it’s actually going to help us… there’s going to be a lot of people wanting to seek out something nice and quaint.” Considering the small town feel and the plans to expand, Amouri said he does “hope the town is very careful with its redevelop plans so that we remain a town and there won’t be high rise buildings.”
The Vienna Town Green, Public Library and popular spots like the Vienna Inn are all part of Vienna’s community-oriented environment. Abby of Vienna, who works at the Vienna Inn said, “There’s definitely going to be a lot more traffic,” and because the metro is open late, she thinks there will be “an increase in crime rate, kind of like Springfield Mall.”
Another long-time resident, Peggy Everett, has lived in Vienna for about 30 years. Retired, she expressed concerns for the typical commuter saying anyone “getting to and from work will have some real headaches with it.” Although she hasn’t thought much about the Silver Line’s effect on the area, she is, “all for public transportation.” Everett added, “I think public transportation is great, and if we are expanding this area that really has to be the way to do it.”