Fairfax County transportation officials planning the new city of Tysons Corner stopped by McLean last week to begin to explain the impact of a growing Tysons Corner on streets and roads in McLean.
Fairfax County planned the new city of Tysons Corner around the four new station of Metro's new Silver Line.
"Tysons will be transformed into a walkable, sustainable, urban center that will be home to up to 100,000 residents and 200,000 jobs, " according to Fairfax County's website on Tysons Corner.
While the county's two-year-old plan for transforming Tysons calls for minimal use of cars inside Tysons, it also foresees an increase in traffic coming and going to and from Tysons — that traffic largely affects existing streets in McLean and Vienna.
"It's clear, based on all the hard work done, that while the increased density will dramatically transform Tysons, it could also have a substantial impact on traffic flow in and through McLean and could even affect McLean's future redevelopment options," said Sally Horn, president of the McLean Citizens Association who attended the meeting.
Dan Rathbone, chief of the transportation planning division in Fairfax, led the discussion at the meeting with two committees of the McLean Citizens Association.
Things to know about the county's initial plans for moderating the traffic impact of the new Tysons Corner:
1. Transportation planners have looked at "problem" intersections. Worst one:Intersection of McLean Great Falls/Lewinsville Road and Dolley Madison Boulevard. During morning and evening rush hour it can take up to 10 minutes to get through the intersection.
Rathbone said his staff was beginning to talk about the feasibility of building an underpass at this intersection. An underpass would separate the two roads and speed traffic in all directions.
2. Dolley Madison Boulevard between Great Falls Road and the Beltway, where a station is located, could become a "super boulevard" to help pedestrians safely cross this six-lane street.
This portion of Dolley Madison may become a canyon of high-rise apartments and office buildings. The Tysons plan calls for the tallest buildings and highest densities at the Metro stations, Rathbone said.
3. The county has received 15 rezoning applications so far for projects in Tysons Corner. Those applications came in with 30 percent more density than the county anticipated, Rathbone said.
Studies had projected that 700,000 square feet of space would be added yearly in Tysons Corner. Instead, the rezoning applications anticipate 2 million square feet a year, he said. For comparison, the Empire State Building contains 2.1 million square feet.
4. There are 19 intersections that will be affected by Tysons, the city, from Magarity Road and Great Falls/Lewinsville Road on the east to Route 7 on the west. Sixteen should be operating at acceptable levels of congestion by 2030 by restripping lanes, adding left turn lanes and taking other standard traffic measures, Rathbone explained.
"We were promised as a community that Tysons redevelopment would not degrade our quality of life or increase congestion in and through our community," Horn said. "Hopefully, this second study will identify what the County and development community really need to do to fulfill those promises — and then both will step up to the plate to follow through."
Other stories about the remaking of Tysons Corner: