Reston, VA

The new silver line metro expansion is expected to be completed around September — instead of its July 2020 goal.

Testing is already underway for the new trains, and Fairfax County reported earlier this month that the project is about 97% complete, but several structural issues hinder project completion, according to WTOP.

The concerns revolve around cracks in concrete outside the station, deterioration of panels framing the station and uneven tracks where trains cross one another, WTOP reported in November.

“The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and its contractors who are building the rail line are confident the concrete panel issues have been addressed with protective sealant, which will be reapplied approximately once every 10 years,” according to WTOP.

Now, final construction continues around Reston and Herndon.

The Innovation Center Station garage is 92% complete, $5 million under budget and is expected to be completed in February, according to Fairfax County’s Department of Transportation (FCDOT).

For the Innovation Center Station itself, FCDOT staff told the Board of Supervisors earlier this week that crews were working on fixing communication systems and placing art in the north pavilion.

At the Reston Town Center Station, crews were installing speakers in the ceiling and working on stormwater management.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Friday Morning Notes

Bulova Reflects on 31 Years as County Board Supervisor — Sharon Bulova, chairwoman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, wraps up 31 years of service this month. She discusses her career and the evolution of Fairfax County with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. [Fairfax County EDA]

Three Orange Line Stations to Close Next Summer — “Three Orange Line stations will be closed next summer as part of Metro’s platform repair program, similar to shutdowns last summer that impacted Blue and Yellow line commuters.”[Inside NOVA]

Racial Equity Council Shares Key Insights — The Chairman’s Stakeholders Council on Race – a group appointed in February that is composed of residents, staff and the civic, faith, nonprofit, philanthropic and business communities – has concluded its work and presented its findings to the Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 3 meeting. The goal of the group was to foster open and honest discussions on issues surrounding race.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Thursday Morning Notes

Meeting on Local Department of Historic Resources Survey Set for Next Week — A pubic information session on state preservationists’ efforts to study Reston this fall and wanter is set for Dec.  17 at 7 p.m. The project is being managed by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. [Fairfax County Government]

Metro Cancels Summer 2020 Shutdown — “Metro is canceling a planned Green and Yellow Line shutdown next summer that the agency had announced in 2018, WTOP has learned. Internal Metro documents suggest that when Metro announced the shutdown plans, Metro did not fully understand the scope and cost of additional work at Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations, so any significant repairs to crumbling platforms could be delayed several years.” [WTOP]

Staff photo by Jay Westcot

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Monday Morning Notes

Wireless Service Now Available for Green Line — Metro users can now take advantage of full cell service through four major wireless carriers on the Green Line. [WTOP]

Metro to Build New Lines to Handle CongestionMetro planners have come up with six ideas to address congestion through the Rosslyn Tunnel on the Blue, Orange and Silver Lines. But many fixes, including re-routing or creating new lines, would be multibillion-dollar deals that would take 25 years to execute. [WAMU]

Tom Susco Completes Eight-year Run — “In St. Louis, Missouri, Tom Susco of Arlington finishes his quest to run a marathon or half marathon in every state and D.C. in honor of his brother Tim, raising awareness for brain aneurysms and organ donation. It took eight years to complete.” [The Connection]

Parking Rate Adjusted for Local Shopping Malls — The Board of Supervisors approved a new minimum parking rate for large shopping malls at its Tuesday, Dec. 3, meeting. The changes give Fairfax County’s largest commercial retail centers additional flexibility to adapt to a changing retail marketplace as residents increasingly shop online. The minimum parking requirement for malls of 800,000 net square feet or more is being reduced from four spaces per 1,000 square feet to a rate of 2.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Fairfax Connector Offers Limited Service Today — As day two of a worker strike continues, several routes will only run on Sunday service and some routes will not run at all. [Fairfax County Government]

Metro Releases Concepts to Improve Service — Metro “released several preliminary concepts to improve reliability, meet future ridership demand, and better serve customers on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. The concepts, part of the two-year Blue/Orange/Silver Capacity and Reliability Study (BOS Study), include a range of infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to address both short- and long-term needs.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Wiehle-Reston East Station Closed This Weekend — “Crews are gearing up to try and finish construction of Phase Two of the Silver Line extension in time for a September opening, and it’s going to mean some continuous inconveniences for weekend Metro riders. Just like the past few weekends, the Wiehle-Reston East Station will close again order as crews work on the expansion project. The work (and the closures) will continue most weekends through February 2020, per Metro. Free shuttle buses will be available between the Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East stations.” [DCIST]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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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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Metro plans to sell naming rights for the Innovation Center Metro Station in Herndon, which is part of the extension to the Silver Line into Loudoun County.

The organization’s board will vote on Thursday to allow a Fortune Global 500 Company to sponsor and rename the Innovation Center Metro Station, according to meeting materials.

“A unique and time-sensitive opportunity has arisen where a Fortune Global 500 Company, currently in negotiations to lease headquarters adjacent to the new Innovation Center Metro station has expressed interest in being the corporate sponsor for this new station,” the Metro documents said.

Innovation Center is east of Virginia Route 28 near Sunrise Valley Drive and Innovation Avenue.

The move is part of the organization’s attempt to offset revenue lost from ridership declines.

Selling naming rights would be part of a one-time deal. WTOP’s Max Smith reports that a change to explicitly allow other deals is likely in the next few months.

File photo

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Wednesday Morning Notes

New Library Catalog Goes Live Today — The new library catalog will be available today (Wednesday) and will include major upgrades. Access to digital content from OverDrive and RBdigital will continue to be available during the transition. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Company Among Fastest Growing Company List — Brillient, a Reston-based company, ranked #459 on Deloitte’s 2019 ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in the country. Other Fairfax County companies were also represented on the list. [Deloitte]

Metro Moves to Sell Naming Rights — “Metro could soon sell the naming rights to stations, offices or entire lines as part of an effort to make more money as bus ridership falls and rail ridership only slowly starts to bounce back. General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told reporters last week he supports naming rights deals, as do at least a few members of the Metro Board.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Lawmakers discussed bringing back late-night hours and Metro’s safety record with Metro officials at a congressional oversight hearing on the transit agency on Tuesday.

An ethics investigation into former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board chair Jack Evans was the focus of most of the hearing, which was led by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations.

Connolly and other lawmakers urged Metro’s leadership to continue to combat what Connolly said was a “culture of mediocrity” concerning safety and efficiency in the system.

Additionally,  Metro assumes the authority of phase two of the Silver Line extension project, a number of safety-related issues must be resolved.

“We cannot allow shoddy construction work by cost-cutting contractors to saddle Metro and its ridership with long-term costly maintenance,” Connolly said.

So far, it’s unclear how next year’s opening of phase two of the Silver Line into Loudoun County will impact fares. Currently, Metro’s distance-based fares are capped at $6 at rush hour and at $3.85 at all other times.

Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said WMATA is considering the possibility of fare increases as part of its budget development process. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) said she hopes Metro will maintain affordability for her constituents in Reston, Tysons and surrounding a real.

Metro is focusing on promoting the use of SmarTrip cards — a reloadable card used to pay Metrorail and local bus system fares — in order to boost ridership.

“Our biggest focus is getting people to use the SmarTrip cards and providing discounts for that,” Wiedefeld said. “That’s really the best way to use the system for us operationally and efficiency-wise,” he said.

At the meeting, officials also hinted at the possibility of bringing back late-night hours that Metro cut several years ago.

A recording of the meeting, which also touched on other issues like cybersecurity, Metro’s overall funding goals, is available online.

Photo via YouTube

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Silver Line test trains are now running into Loudoun County.

Trains are making their way into the county from the aerial guideway on the Dulles Airport property through the Loudoun Gateway Station to the Ashburn Station.

Testing is underway using eight rail cars that were supplied by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Metro asked for a pause in testing in mid-September after expressing concerns about the safety of trains when they switch tracks. Recent investigations found that the issue is not linked to possible derailment for test trains.

Although Metro signed off on allowing train testing to continue, a number of concerns with phase two of the project remain, including concrete panel issues.

Photo by Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Brookfield Breaks Ground on $1.4 Billion Development — “Brookfield Properties celebrated the groundbreaking Monday for Halley Rise, a $1.4B project on the site of a 36-acre Reston office park.  The development’s first phase, scheduled to deliver in 2022, will feature 640 residential units, 450K SF of office and 200K SF of retail. The retail will be anchored by Wegmans, which is bringing its smaller urban grocery store concept to the project, and Pinstripes, a restaurant with a bowling alley and bocce court.” [Bisnow]

Metro Investigates Monday Train Collision — “The investigation into the cause of a low-speed train collision outside Farragut West is ongoing, including analysis of railcar data recorders, control center event logs, and signal system playback.  While Metro has not yet identified the root cause of the incident, investigators have found no evidence of a signal system failure and have ruled out “loss of shunt” as a cause.”  [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Annual Fiscal Year 2019 Report for Town of Herndon — Herndon Town Manager Bill Ashton presented findings and progress on different measures at a meeting in late September. The report highlights progress on major initiatives undertaken by the town in the last fiscal year. [Town of Herndon]

Early Bird Ticket Rates for Reston Home Tour Ending Soon — The $25 rate for the Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s annual Reston Home Tour is in effect until Friday (Oct. 11). The tour takes place on Saturday, Oct. 9. Regular price tickets are $30.  [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Photo by Dario Pipair/Flickr

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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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Monday Morning Notes

Sunrise Valley Elementary School Turns 40 — “When Sunrise Valley Elementary School (SVES) was established in September 1978, it was still under construction. Students were initially bused to South Lakes High School to attend classes. The school officially opened its doors on Sept. 4, 1979 with Principal William “Bill” Berkeley Martin welcoming the first 600 students as they walked through the front entrance, according to the SVES website.” [Fairfax County Times]

County Police to Offer Car Seat Safety Checks — The Fairfax County Police Department is hosting several free car seat safety and install events on a monthly basis this year. The Reston District stations will offer reviews by appointment only on Oct. 17, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Metro to Weigh Fare Increase — Metro could raise fares or make other changes next year, a prospect that is drawing pushback from the Metro Board’s Riders’ Advisory Council… The council had a budget briefing and discussion earlier this month, and urged the board to think more creatively about fare changes that could get riders onto the system. [WTOP]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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