Reston, VA

While Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will start the school year virtually, county officials want to make sure students will have continued access to free bus passes.

Fairfax County and FCPS teamed up in 2015 to create a pilot program that gives free Fairfax Connector bus passes to middle and high school students.

“Since its inception, nearly two million trips have been taken through the Free Student Bus Pass Program (FSBPP) and as of February 2020, student ridership accounted for approximately 6.5 percent of the total Fairfax Connector ridership,” according to county documents.

More from the county:

Through this innovative program, students can access extracurricular activities, stay after school for support and tutoring, access after school jobs and internships, and visit libraries, museums, and other recreational activities.

The program familiarizes students with public transportation and supports the development of a more multi-modal generation of young adults in the future. This is critical to increasing transit ridership, reducing traffic congestion, and improving mobility around the National Capital Region.

Fairfax County officials are looking to formalize the collaboration so that the program can continue.

The Board of Supervisors is set to vote on Tuesday (July 28) to approve moving forward with a Memorandum of Agreement between the county and FCPS, according to the meeting’s agenda.

Once the agreement is complete, the county will provide free rides on the Fairfax Connector to students with eligible passes and promote the program, while the school system will register, distribute and manage the passes.

In addition to the pilot program with Fairfax Connector, the county also works with the Washington Area Transit Authority (WMATA). In 2018, the county and WMATA expanded the bus pass program to include Justice High School in Falls Church.

Starting with the 2018-2019 school year, students now receive the bus pass in the form of a “specially designed SmarTrip Card,” according to Fairfax County’s website.

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Eastbound Baron Cameron Avenue and northbound  Wiehle Avenue are closed due to a crash.

The Fairfax County Police Department urges motorists to avoid the area and use an alternate route.

No other information about the incident was immediately available.

 

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When the Silver Line suspends rail service west of Ballston this summer, drivers can use free parking at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

Fairfax County announced yesterday that the station will have free parking while work is underway to connect the Silver Line Phase II stations, which will run from Reston to Ashburn.

Metro wasn’t originally planning to add the upcoming Silver Line stations, but due to lower ridership, Metro decided to add the Silver Line work to its summer closure of the Orange Line in parts of Northern Virginia.

“The closures begin Memorial Day weekend 2020 and are expected to continue through the fall,” according to the county.

Photo by Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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State crews are taking advantage of a major dip in traffic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia Department of Transportation is planning extended closures on several areas of Route 7 in order to fast track major improvements to the roadway.

The extended lane closures were temporarily extended due to “the significant decrease in traffic as a result of school closures, increased telework and limitations on public gatherings,” according to a statement from VDOT.

Here’s more from VDOT on what to expect through Friday, April 17:

ROUTE 7 EASTBOUND

Between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive
Monday, March 30 – Friday, April 3, 8 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Left or right lane closed.

Between Baron Cameron Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive
Sunday, March 29, 10 p.m. to Monday, March 30, 5 a.m.

Friday, April 3, 8 a.m. to Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m.
Saturday, April 4, 10 p.m. to Sunday, April 5, 8 a.m.
Left lane closed. Night work hours may be subject to change based on traffic conditions. 

ROUTE 7 WESTBOUND

Between Jarrett Valley Drive and Reston Avenue
Monday, March 30 – Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Left or right lane closed.

Between Jarrett Valley Drive and Baron Cameron Avenue
Sunday, March 29, 10 p.m. to Monday, March 30, 3 p.m.

Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. to Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m.
Saturday, April 4, 10 p.m. to Sunday, April 5, 8 a.m.
Left lane closed. Night work hours may be subject to change based on traffic conditions.

VDOT is working to improve a seven-mile stretch of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive. The road will be widened from four to six lanes and several intersections will be updated.

Photo via VDOT

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For the next month, drivers can expect changes to their weekday commutes along Route 7 in Reston.

Beginning around Jan. 27 until the end of February, drivers can expect shoulder and single-lane closures from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m Monday-Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.on Fridays, according to a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

During this time, crews will be working between Baron Cameron Avenue and Colvin Forest Drive to clear shrubbery and foliage from the east-bound right of way, the press release said.

The work will prepare for an implementation of a shared-use path, more lanes and intersection improvements along Route 7, according to VDOT.

The speed in the area will be temporarily reduced to 45 miles per hour between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive until the work on the roadway is finished.

Image courtesy VDOT

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan — which is estimated to cost roughly $3 billion dollars.

The plan approved last Tuesday (Dec. 3) by the board will guide decisions for transit improvements for fiscal years 2020 to 2025, according to a county press release.

In the Hunter Mill District specifically, there are more than 50 projects recommended by the county documents — many of which include improvements in safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as various infrastructure and intersection changes. Some of the projects suggested in the plan will be fully funded by the estimated cost, while other projects will need to find additional funding.

Here is a list of a few major improvements in the plan:

  • Widen Route 7 from four to six lanes from Jarrett Valley Drive (Dulles Toll Road) to Reston Avenue. This would include intersection, bicycle and pedestrian and bus stop changes
  • Addition of a walkway on the north side of Fox Mill Road from Fairfax County Parkway to Reston Parkway
  • Expansion of Reston bike-share
  • Expansion of Town Center Parkway to include a divided roadway under the Dulles Toll Road from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will also continue projects that are already underway, according to Fairfax County’s website.

County documents also included a list of projects that were not recommended for the 2020-25 Priorities List, including the underpass for Town Center Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road.

In 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved $1.4 billion for six years of transportation projects from FY 2015-2020.

The county said in the press release that the funding estimate for the FY 2020- 2025 plan was impacted by the Virginia General Assembly passing legislation that diverted funds to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, along with rising project costs.

More from the press release:

The anticipated funding for a draft FY 2018-2023 TPP was $600 million in new revenues to fully fund existing projects and $170 million in new projects. These funding estimates were not realized, because in 2018, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that designated $154 million per year for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) to address system improvement needs largely did so by diverting funding from existing local and regional sources.

Of the $102 million annual diversion, the financial impact on Fairfax County was estimated to be $45-50 million per year, or approximately $300 million over six years. As a result, there is no available revenue for new transportation projects. In addition, the County was required to adjust schedules for some previously approved projects, many beyond FY 2025…

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), project costs have been rising for various reasons, including the number of large-scale projects underway across the National Capital Region causing shortages of labor and materials; economic factors such as tariffs and rising right-of-way costs; and across the board increases on project contingencies required by VDOT.

Image via Google Maps

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Southbound Fox Mill Road near Lawyers Road is closed due to a damaged pole.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, the road is closed as crews work to repair a pole that was damaged when a car crashed into it earlier this morning.

It’s unclear when the road will reopen. Drivers should expect delays.

Photo via Google Maps

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Commuters can expect more changes to service at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station through the end of the year.

The station, which was closed this week, will be closed on the following weekends:

  • Nov. 30 to Dec. 1
  • Dec. 7 to Dec. 8
  • Dec. 14 to Dec. 15
  • Dec. 21 to Dec. 22
  • Dec. 28 to Dec. 29

The closers are required to continue Silver Line tie-in work. More information on closures planned through the end of the year is available online.

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The Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station will be closed this weekend due to ongoing track work.

Buses will be available to replace trains to and from the Spring Hill Metro Station.

On the rest of the Silver Line, trains will operate on regular weekend intervals between Spring Hill. And Largo Town Center.

More service changes are expected as the work is expected to continue for several weekends, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Metro will also continue cable installation work on the Red Line. Single tracking is expected between Friendship Heights and Medical Center stations, with trains running every 16 minutes.

Changes are also expected on the Orange Line. The Blue, Yellow and Green lines will have regular service.

More information on weekend service changes is available online.

Photo by Fairfax Connector

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Fairfax County is seeking more feedback from commuters who use the Fairfax Connector.

A new round of meetings will give community members another chance to provide critiques for plans for the future of the Fairfax Connector and the Silver Line Metrorail expansion around Reston and Herndon, according to a press release.

People who want to give feedback can attend any of the three upcoming meetings, which are all accessible from the Fairfax Connector.

  • Herndon Middle School Cafeteria (901 Locust Street) on Thursday (Oct. 28) from 7-9 p.m.
  • Ox Hill Baptist Church (4101 Elmwood Street) on Friday (Oct. 29) from 7-9 p.m.
  • Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza) on Saturday (Nov. 2) from 10 a.m.-noon

Anyone unable to attend the meetings in person may give feedback online. The form will be open from Oct. 23 until Nov. 30.

Comments can also be mailed to Fairfax County Department of Transportation, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033.

Feedback from the meetings will be synthesized and converted into another design to “provide better access to destinations, improved travel times, increased schedule reliability and more dependable service,” the press release said.

This final plan will be available in early 2020 for a final round of critiques.

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Commuters on the Silver, Orange and Blue Lines should expect significant delays throughout today (Monday) after two trains collided between the Foggy Bottom and Farragut West stations.

Since 5:30 a.m. today, the three lines have been running trains every 15 minutes.  Silver Line trains are only Running between Wiehe-Reston East and Ballston. The Orange and Blue Lines are single-tracking between Farragut West and McPherson Square.

The rear-end collision happened around 1 a.m. today. Two train operators were treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the out-of-service trains collided.

Commuters should consider using alternative routes. Metro’s rush hour promise will be suspended on the three lines this afternoon.

Metro says the trails did not derail and no damage to Metro’s infrastructure was reported.

File photo

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A portion of the Silver Line will be closed between the Wiehle-Reston East and Spring Hill Station this weekend (Oct. 5-6).

The closure is one effect as crews work on connections between phase one and two of the Silver Line project.

Metrobus plans to provide free shuttles during regular Metrorail hours for commuters.

Trains will operate on regular weekend intervals between every 12 and 15 minutes between the Spring Hill and New Carrolton stations.

Customers traveling to and from Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Addison Road, Morgan Boulevard and largo Town Center must use Blue Line trains to commute.

Other service changes throughout the system are listed online.

Photo via Fairfax Connector

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A portion of Sunrise Valley Drive is closed due to emergency road repairs required by a gas leak.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, commuters are encouraged to use an alternate route between Colts Brook Drive and Thunder Chase Drive.

The service road accessing the Herndon Monroe Bus Loop is shut down. Commuters can access the Herndon Monroe Bus Loop via the Dulles Toll Road.

Delays are expected to all Fairfax Connector routes servicing the loop.

It is unclear when the road will reopen.

This story will be updated.

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Fairfax County officials’ concerns about safety dominated the county board’s latest discussions about phase two of the Silver Line project.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority reportedly wants to open the six-station second phase from Wiehle-Reston East to Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn next July. 

Mark Canale from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation provided the Board of Supervisors with an update on the project today (Tuesday) at the Transportation Committee meeting.

Currently, dynamic testing and safe breaking testing are taking place for the project, he said.

Canale said that there are “four issues that are ongoing right now.” The issues include problems with concrete and leveling.

This isn’t the first time the project has run into problems. Earlier this year, defective concrete rail ties put the tracks out of alignment.

“This is a big project and an important project,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “I think it’s absolutely critical that when something is not getting done correctly, that we don’t brush over it and that we hold the contractors’ feet to the fire.”

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said that the safety concerns should be taken seriously. “It will kill us,” he said.

Cook stressed that he wants transparency and honestly around the issues so that they can get fixed.

“It’s pretty bad when your concrete doesn’t work,” Cook said. “That’s a bad thing.”

In addition to the issues facing the project, Canale said that riders can expect several weekend closures at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station in the coming months as work on the Silver Line project continues.

The first closure — which has been approved already — would last from Oct. 5-7. The following month, riders can expect closures from Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

Photos courtesy Dusty Smith/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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A community meeting next week will tackle proposed Fairfax Connector changes that would impact riders in Reston and Herndon.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is seeking the public’s input on proposed service changes to six routes:

  • Route 396: a new route servicing Backlick North Park-and-Ride to the Pentagon
  • Route 306: GMU- Pentagon
  • Route 395: Gambrill-Pentagon Express
  • Route 640: Stone Road-Westfields Boulevard
  • Route 650: Chantilly
  • Route 950: Herndon-Reston

The proposed changes to the Herndon-Reston adjust the running time on Elden Street on Saturdays heading eastbound and westbound between 3-7 p.m.

FCDOT says that the proposed changes for all of the routes “will improve on-time performance.”

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the cafeteria at Eagle View Elementary School at 4500 Dixie Hill Road in Fairfax on Thursday, Sept. 19.

“In addition to the community meeting, Fairfax Connector staff will connect with customers, in-person throughout September, on routes that are affected by the proposed service changes,” according to FCDOT.

People can submit comments until Oct. 1. After reviewing the feedback, FCDOT plans to bring the proposed changes to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this fall.

If approved, riders can expect the changes to go into effect in January.

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