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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Thursday Morning Notes

County Seeks Help Reporting Streetlight Outages — Residents can report streetlight outages through the county’s interactive map online. [Fairfax County Government]

Meeting on Silver Line Phase Two Set for Today — The Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee meets today. The committee will receive an update on phase two of the project, as well as funding needs. [Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee]

Reminder about Reston Association Board Elections — Members interested in running for a seat in 2020should submit applications by Jan. 24. [Reston Association]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station To Close on Weekends through December

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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Monday Morning Notes

Silver Line Extension May Open in September — “The opening of the Silver Line extension could come as soon as September if all things go according to plan, Metro officials said. But with a sprawling $6 billion project, that’s not always guaranteed. The extension is being completed in two phases. The first was opened in 2014 and added five new stations to the Silver Line: McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East.” [WAMU]

Metro Board Delays Naming Rights Bid — The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has withdrawn an item from its board meeting involving potential naming rights for the Innovation Center Metro Station. [Washington Business Journal]

Self-Driving Trucks are in Town — “The vehicle manufacturer Daimler Trucks and the technology firm Torc Robotics are now testing self-driving trucks on U.S. public roads for the first time with Interstate 81 in southwest Virginia as the initial target, CNBC reported in September.” [Fairfax County Times]

Last Day for Thanksgiving Food Drive Locations — Today (Monday) is the last day to drop off donations for the drive, which is organized by the Reston Community Center, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones. [Reston Community Center]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Commuter Alert: Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station Closed This Weekend

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 Seeking Input on Fairfax Connector Changes

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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Monday Morning Notes

New School Board Policy on Cannabis-Derived Oil in Schools — “The Fairfax County School Board has approved a policy on the storage, dispensing, and administration of cannabidiol oil and THC-A that aligns with Virginia law that became effective on July 1. The policy states that no school nurse or employee of a local health department who is assigned to a public school can be prosecuted for possessing, storing, or distributing cannabidiol (CBD) oil or tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THC-A) oil that has been prescribed via a valid, written certification by a medical professional.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Self-driving Shuttles in Suburbs Like Reston — “A Boston-based startup called Optimus Ride has launched a new self-driving vehicle service in the Washington, DC suburb of Reston, Virginia. On Monday, I traveled to the site, a 45-minute drive from my home in the nation’s capital, to see it first-hand. Since August, the company has been ferrying passengers between a Fannie Mae office building at the site and an overflow parking lot a few minutes’ walk away. But Optimus Ride has much larger ambitions for the site.” [Ars Technica]

Development Surges Along the Silver Line — “While acknowledging the need for housing and concerns about the area’s already high cost of living, Northern Virginia business leaders see the impending arrival of the Silver Line and its surrounding development as critical for the economic future of not just Fairfax and Loudoun, but the region as a whole.” [Fairfax County Times]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Overnight Collision Prompts Single Tracking on Silver Line

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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Metro Board Flags Problems with Silver Line Extension Project

Metro board members flagged several concerns with the Silver Line extension that could delay its expected opening date in July 2020.

At a Thursday board meeting, the board heard a comprehensive report about critical issues on the stations including cracked concrete an unleveled track.

In some areas, track plates are curved, creating a gap between the plate and tie of track plates. The report also found irregular track cross-levels. The contractor attempted to install pads, create custom guard rail plates and install hardware for all turnouts — a fix that Metro rejected because it is “not a safe and effective longterm solution.”

The report also indicated that the ballast — the gravel around the tracks — was contaminated with materials that could cause drainage issues and pose a potential safety risk.

Metro also rejected the contractor’s application of a sealer to remedy cracked concrete at five at-grade stations. The fix was implemented after a federal investigation confirmed the contractor falsified test results at the concrete plant.

The body is seeking a safe and effective long term solution after tests showed that the sealer did not effectively penetrate cracked concrete in 20 percent of the 25 areas Metro’s Office of Inspector General tested.

According to WAMU, Maryland board representative Michael Goldman said the findings cast a “dark and foreboding cloud” over the expected opening date provided by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority must address concerns highlighted by the report in order for Metro to take over the project.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Friday Morning Notes

Excessive Heat Warning in Effect Today — The heat warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. this evening. Heat index values will climb near 110 degrees today. An excessive heat watch is in effect tomorrow and Sunday as well. [Fairfax Alerts]

Review Changes to Fairfax County’s Zoning Laws — On Monday, June 22, residents can drop in on an open house in Fairfax to learn about recently proposed changes, including new uses for agritourism and limiting temperatures for LED lights. Attendees can also learn about recently adopted changes to community gardens, short-term rentals, and signs. [Fairfax County Government]

Despite Issues, Silver Line Extension On Track — “Switches in the new Silver Line rail yard do not line up with the tracks they are supposed to connect to, systems to detect train locations in the yard have failed, and there are still problems with the rocks that support the tracks, a new report to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board said.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Long-Term Study to Identify Metro’s Future Regional Needs

Metro is launching is a two-year study of the Blue, Orange and Silver Line in order to find long-term options to meet future regional needs.

The study is intended to improve reliability, meet future ridership demands, and improve service for customers, according to a statement released yesterday (June 17).

Because all three Metro lines share a single set of tracks between the Rosslyn tunnel and the Anacostia River, Metro says that bottlenecks are inevitable and disruptions on one line have a “ripple effect” on all three lines.

The study will explore infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to address the above issues.

Here’s more from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:

The first phase of the study will assess key issues and trends and document why improvements to the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines are necessary. Subsequent phases will include the development and evaluation of alternatives, as well as a thorough analysis of costs and benefits, with recommendation of a preferred alternative expected to occur by the fall of 2020.

Ultimately, the study will identify and analyze a range of potential alternatives before recommending a “locally preferred alternative” to move forward with federal environmental review, full design, and competition for federal funding. Over the next two years, Metro plans extensive outreach to engage the community, stakeholders, and transit experts to gather feedback and make recommendations.

More information about the study is available online.

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Friday Morning Notes

Silver Line Construction Snag Could Delay Opening — The contractor responding for building the new rail yard near Dulles Airport revealed their latest schedule slipped 67 days in just one month. The estimated completion date is now set for late July 2020. [WTOP]

Project to Widen Route 7 from Tysons to Reston Breaks Ground — The project held its groundbreaking ceremony yesterday (Thursday). It would add a third lane from Leesburg Pike in each direction from Reston to Tysons. [Tysons Reporter]

Triple Left Lane Closure Overnight on the Dulles Toll Road Next Week — Drivers should expect 20-minute stoppages nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19 through the morning of Monday, June 24. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Monday Morning Notes

Contractor Identifies New Problems with Silver Line Phase Two — “The contractor building Phase 2 of the Silver Line has identified another problem with the beleaguered project. This time it’s at the Dulles Airport station, where concrete pedestals designed to support the two-story structure’s glass walls and windscreens are cracking because they were built without proper internal reinforcement.” [The Washington Post]

Famous Toastery Now Open— The breakfast-focused North Carolina-based chain opened on Saturday (April 13) at RTC West (12100 Sunset Hills Road). Diane and Gary Reedy, both Reston natives, are the owners of the new Reston location.[Reston Patch]

Indian Restaurant Opens Today — Bombay Velvet will join other restaurants at RTC West. The chef and entrepreneur behind the venture, Rajiv Chopra, describes the new business as an “upscale” business that brings new tastes to the area. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner today. [DC Eater]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Thursday Morning Notes

Tai chi — The Reston Regional Library will a tai chi fitness class led by local instructor Susan Shen from 6:30-7:30 p.m. tonight. [Fairfax County]

Sinking solution — “Officials have finally repaired a $52 million parking garage along Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line expansion that was sinking, but the garage is greatly behind schedule, according to a report. NBC Washington transportation reporter Adam Tuss reported that the parking garage slated for the Innovation Center Station has been repaired and work on it has resumed, but it is now 8-10 months behind schedule.” [Patch]

Reston activist dies — Barbara Freeman, a civic and community activist, died Jan. 26 at her home in Reston at the age of 91. Her daughter told the Washington Post the cause was pneumonia. Freeman volunteered with the Reston Community Association, Reston Interfaith, the League of Women Voters of Fairfax County and youth soccer. [The Washington Post]

Scavenger hunt in Herndon — “During February, teachers at Herndon Community Center Preschool taught their young students about community helpers, the given individuals traditionally seen working in public service roles of safety, health and education.” [Connection Newspapers]

Herndon company acquired — A Texas-based software provider acquired Herndon-based MicroPact, which currently serves NASA, the Social Security Administration and the Justice and Treasury departments, in a $185 million deal. [Washington Technology]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Silver Line snags — “Though there are three outstanding concrete issues for the line from Wiehle-Reston East to Ashburn, only one of them has had a plan approved to address it: The more than 1,000 faulty framing panels at stations.” [WTOP]

Mardi Gras party — Head to the Tall Oaks Assisted Living from 3-4:30 p.m. for a Mardi Gras celebration. Partygoers can enjoy a live performance by the Louis Pettinelli Jazz Duo. The event is free. [Facebook]

School lottery — Eyeing the magnet school program at Hunters Woods? Registration for FCPS elementary magnet lottery programs opened today at 8:30 a.m. [FCPS]

Photo via Marjorie Copson

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