The unasked questions about Tysons redevelopment

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recent articles about Fairfax County supervisors' decision to approve the redevelopment plan for Tysons Corner were very informative, as usual, but I for one am frustrated at the continuing lack of questioning of the rationale for the plan.

The June 22 Metro story "Tysons attracts -- and repels" stated, "It also means living in one of the nation's most successful -- and congested -- job centers." I have worked in Tysons for the past 10 years, and I do not consider it to be any more congested than any other place that has mixed office and retail space. Traffic flows reasonably freely during the workday, despite the fact that two popular malls are there and three major highways cross the area. Of course, traffic is heavy during rush hours, but that's normal for any place with a rush hour. How will the redevelopment plan change any of that? Adding more office towers, even adjacent to Metro stations, certainly won't be a solution.

Others have complained that Tysons is not walkable. That isn't really true, either. One can walk just about anyplace in Tysons, and many people do walk to the restaurants in the Galleria for lunch. But most of the large office complexes have their own cafeterias, so the majority of office workers have no need to walk anywhere during the day, and back-and-forth movement between the office buildings is nonexistent. Much of the traffic on the streets at lunchtime is attributable to shoppers visiting stores, not to office workers driving around Tysons.

While I'm not opposed to the redevelopment plan, I do think it would be useful if The Post published some critical analysis of the professed reasons for moving in this direction. If this redevelopment dramatically increases traffic -- a real possibility -- that would be a disaster.

Clive Carpi, Kingstowne

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