Much of our discussion about the Silver Line focuses on the transit authority, which will operate the line, or on the airports authority, which is responsible for the construction. But Fairfax County has a major stake in the new line’s success. The county government, its residents and businesses have invested a lot, hoping to see the results in better travel conditions and an improved local economy.
I just got a letter about the Silver Line from the chairman of the county board of supervisors, touting opportunities to use the new line, starting with an open house Saturday at the current end-of-the-line garage.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
The opening of the Silver Line represents a milestone in transportation options for residents, workers and visitors in Fairfax County. This expansion of Metro is exciting because it is much more than a new extension of tracks. The new Silver Line stations enhance our freedom of movement by providing an extensive network of transportation options where you can bike, walk, bus, drive and ride to wherever you need to go.
Currently, the Tysons area is bursting at the seams with commuters behind the wheel. With new Metro stations, circulator bus routes, bike facilities and pedestrian walkways, Tysons is poised to become a state-of-the-art multimodal center where there is little need to hop in a car to get to your destination.
Discover options for how to bike, walk, bus and park at various Silver Line Metro stations at the Wiehle-Reston East Open House on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come tour the facility and talk with representatives from Fairfax Connector, Metro, Dulles Rail Project and Loudoun County Transit and get your questions answered!
The WMATA Web site, www.wmata.com, offers a really great tool for planning your next trip. Simply plug in where you are coming from and where you want to go, and the Web site will generate a customized trip planner just for you, including bus and rail options.
If you are interested in parking at the Silver Line, Wiehle-Reston East and McLean are your stations. The parking garage at Wiehle-Reston East offers:
- 2,300 parking spaces with 253 reserved parking spaces
- 1,000 additional parking spaces operated by a private contractor, Comstock
- 45 kiss-and-ride spaces
- 10 covered bus bays on the north side and 5 bus bays on the south side
- One bus stop on Wiehle Avenue
- Reserved locker room for 200 bicycles
- Pedestrian bridge over the toll road linking to both north and south entrances
The McLean station offers a nearby interim parking lot with about 700 spaces. This station also includes a kiss-and-ride drop off area, 9 motorcycle spaces, 26 bike racks, 20 rental bike lockers, 5 bus bays, a bus stop on Route 123, and a pedestrian bridge over Route 123.
The Board of Supervisors and I have worked hard to ensure easy access to Silver Line stations for commuters, shoppers and nearby residents. All Silver Line stations will have bus service, provided by four different carriers:
- Fairfax Connector — all five Silver Line stations
- Metrobus — McLean and Tysons Corner stations
- PRTC (Prince William) — Tysons Corner station
- Loudoun County Transit — Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East stations
Three new circulating bus routes in Tysons will take riders to the Greensboro, Tysons Corner and Spring Hill Metro Stations starting on July 26 [opening day for the Silver Line]. These new Fairfax Connector bus lines — Route 422, 423, and 424 — will pick up riders at stops around Tysons, returning to the stations every 10 minutes during rush hours.
Fairfax Connector also offers bus routes that connect Lorton, Springfield, Burke, Falls Church, McLean, Vienna, Reston, Herndon and the Pentagon to the Silver Line. Metrobus connects Shirlington, Crystal City and Old Town Alexandria to Tysons as well. Need a ride to the airport? The Washington Flyer Silver Line Express will take you from Wiehle-Reston East straight to Dulles International Airport. Phase II of the Silver Line, set to open in 2018, will provide Metro stops at Reston Town Center, Dulles Airport and even further west.
- Silver Line Bus Routes and Schedules
- Silver Line Metro Station Profiles
- Fairfax County Full Bus System Map (pdf)
— Sharon Bulova, chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
DG: I think that’s as strong a sales pitch as you’re going to see for using the five new stations, and there’s plenty of useful information.
The Saturday open house will be the public’s first chance to check out the new garage on Wiehle Avenue. Some travelers have asked me if it’s done: I think they’ve been looking at the construction around the garage. The garage for Metro riders is definitely done. The wow factor to me was the bike parking area, pictured above.
One note for those hoping to snag a reserved parking space at the Wiehle Avenue garage: They proved to be very popular. There’s now a waiting list of 40 people.
Some travelers, anticipating that the garage will be very popular, fear there’s going to be extra traffic congestion along Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road during rush hours. We’ll be watching for that, but the long-term pattern may not be obvious immediately. During the early days of operation, for example, drivers will be learning how to come off the eastbound toll road and get in the correct lane for the left turn into the garage. (That’s something they might practice during Saturday’s open house.)
On the other hand, the Silver Line will open as we enter the height of the summer vacation season. So the extent of any traffic problems might not be obvious till September.
Riders planning to use any of the new stations in Fairfax County can now find the Silver Line train schedules posted on Metro’s Trip Planner. Just be sure to enter a travel date of at least July 26. (The first weekday of service is July 28.)