A couple of weeks ago I dropped off my Prius for service at a dealership near the Spring Hill Station on the Silver Line and caught the Metro for a one-stop trip to the Greensboro Station. At the conference center there I participated in an exciting forum sponsored by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) about transit and its importance to business. Released at the forum were the results of a new study by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University that concluded that “if Northern Virginia is going to be able to effectively compete for non-government related, private sector business development, it must have a state-of-the-art, effective, financially sustainable, and efficient multimodal public transit system.” It was particularly appropriate that the meeting that attracted more than 140 business, community, and political leaders be held at Tysons Corner that is already undergoing a transformation with the Silver Line and other transportation improvements. There is no stronger proof of the impact of what mass transit can do than to get off at the Tysons Station on the Silver Line and walk directly from the station to the new plaza with a new hotel, restaurants, and office buildings. Already a commercial success, the area now has a great sense of place and community.
Former businessman and now Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane spoke at the conference about the linkage of transit and business development. As quoted in the May 2015 issue of NOVA Transit News he said, “Phase One is helping to facilitate the transformation of the Tysons area into an urban, walkable center with 200,000 jobs and 100,000 residents. At the Wiehle-Reston East station alone, close to one billion in private investment has been stimulated by the Silver Line. This project is a huge economic driver for the Commonwealth because it connects people to opportunity, stimulates localized economic growth, and provides businesses with a wider pool of consumers who can access their goods and services.”
While the forum was recognition of the success that has been realized in making the region more pedestrian and bicycle friendly and transit supported, it was also a clear call for help in order for more progress to be realized. Federal and state officials need to come up with the funding necessary—especially for Metro. Local governments need to consider transportation issues in making land use decisions and in planning more connectivity with the Metro system. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission is eagerly seeking suggestions from citizens; go to the website at www.novatransit.org.
The Dulles Corridor Rail Association (DCRA) whose board I chair will give special recognition at its spring event to the transformation that is occurring at Tysons Corner with the work of the Tysons Partnership. In addition, retiring Delegate Tom Rust will be honored for his contributions to transportation in our region. DCRA’s spring meeting and reception will be held on the concourse of Tysons Corner Center on June 2, 6 to 8 p.m. More information is available by contacting email@example.com.