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View Full Version : Feds approve funding grant for Tysons/Dulles Metro



Cirrus
Mar 10, 2009, 4:11 PM
Officials Formalize Funding for Dulles Metro Extension (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/10/AR2009031000705_pf.html)
Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 10, 2009; 11:47 AM

U.S. transportation officials sealed their commitment to a long-planned extension of Metro to Dulles International Airport at a ceremony today in which Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signed a formal agreement to provide $900 million in funding considered crucial to the project's success.

But the real action will start in a matter of days about 15 miles to the west, where demolition of roads and bridges and heavy construction of overhead piers will become an unwelcome fact of life during the next six years for commuters and residents of McLean, Tysons Corner, Vienna and beyond. The result, boosters say, will be worth it: a public transit system serving the region's primary international airport and Virginia's most prosperous jobs corridor.

Today's ceremony at the Transportation Department's headquarters near the Washington Navy Yard featured a roster of local, state and federal luminaries seeking to revel in -- and take credit for -- the project's success. Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and former senator John Warner (R-Va.) were among those attending.

These and other project boosters fought skeptical federal transit regulators for much of the past year after it became clear that the Federal Transit Administration, citing cost and schedule overruns and poor management, was inclined to reject Virginia's application for federal assistance. The $5.2 billion Silver Line, which will extend from northwest Arlington County to the airport and into Loudoun County, has doubled in cost in recent years.

But supporters pressed for the project to move forward. They cited the overwhelming need for congestion relief along Northern Virginia's Dulles corridor and the imperative to provide an alternative to highway travel to help reduce regional carbon emissions. A bonus, leaders have said, is the hope that the 23-mile rail line will trigger an urban-style development renaissance, particularly around four planned stations in Tysons Corner.

The Bush administration's transportation team agreed to approve Dulles rail in January, two weeks before leaving office, and President Obama's administration has embraced the project. Today's signing ceremony marks the end of a mandatory 60-day congressional comment period following approval of the project.

The project's first phase, estimated to cost about $2.6 billion and to be finished by 2013, will extend from just past the East Falls Church Metro station on the Orange Line, through Tysons and along the median of the Dulles Access Road to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. The second phase, expected to cost about the same and to be completed by 2015, will extend to the airport and beyond into Loudoun County.

The Silver Line will run along the median of the Dulles Access Road for most of its journey, with an aerial track carrying it through Tysons Corner despite a strong grass-roots push to build underground. Regulators and politicians alike said a tunnel would have been prohibitively expensive and would have set the regulatory process back at least a year, imperiling the entire project. The extension will run underground for a short distance in Tysons, at the intersection of Routes 7 and 123.

Cirrus
Mar 10, 2009, 4:15 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b3/WMATA_Thin_Silver_Line_Map.jpg
wiki image

llamaorama
Mar 10, 2009, 5:45 PM
For a second looking at the map it looked like they were adding new stations but then I realized no, but did they change the map slightly?

Anyways, this is such a cool project and I love DC's transit system. Something I look foward too about this line is that it will serve as many suburbanites from Northern VA as it will reverse commuters who live in the city and work in Tyson's Corner.

Cirrus
Mar 10, 2009, 6:33 PM
The line weights are thinner on the new map.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/11/15793988_78cae72b7b.jpg

Cirrus
Mar 10, 2009, 9:11 PM
More info.

The new line:
The station names are supposed to be placeholders. Better ones should be proposed soon. Hopefully.
http://www.dullesmetro.com/images/RouteMap_w_buildings6-06.gif

The route through Tysons Corner:
http://www.dullesmetro.com/Dec8/tysons_east/images/TysonsStations.gif

Some of the station renderings:
http://www.dullesmetro.com/images/newstationpics/central7_exterior.jpg

http://www.dullesmetro.com/images/newstationpics/west_interior.jpg

http://www.dullesmetro.com/images/newstationpics/west_exterior.jpg

http://www.dullesmetro.com/images/newstationpics/wiehle_interior.jpg

http://www.dullesmetro.com/images/newstationpics/wiehle_exterior.jpg

OhioGuy
Mar 10, 2009, 9:21 PM
Yay! :banana: I've been following this for a couple years, so it's nice that everything is finally in place and the project has received the final go-ahead. In four years Tysons Corner will at long last be connected to the District and in 6 years Dulles will be linked. :awesome:

the urban politician
Mar 11, 2009, 2:50 AM
BRAVO!!!

That was the biggest pain in the ass when I lived in DC, and now it will finally be rectified :notacrook: :cheers: :banana: :yes:

plinko
Mar 11, 2009, 3:38 AM
Good to hear.

Will this actually stop in/at the main terminal at Dulles or will you have to transfer to a people mover of some kind? I don't think one way is better or worse than the either, I'm just curious.

the pope
Mar 11, 2009, 4:02 AM
I still don't believe you.

Cirrus
Mar 11, 2009, 4:21 AM
It will stop at the terminal. But from there you'll have to go through security and use the Dulles subway to get to the concourse with your gate.

OhioGuy
Mar 11, 2009, 4:23 AM
Will this actually stop in/at the main terminal at Dulles or will you have to transfer to a people mover of some kind? I don't think one way is better or worse than the either, I'm just curious.

According to the DullesMetro.com (http://www.dullesmetro.com/stations/dulles.cfm) website:

Dulles International Airport

Location: Below ground in front of the passenger terminal

Type of Station: Underground

Station Facilities:

* 1 station entrance in tunnel in front of main terminal connecting to baggage claim level

Scheduled to open: TBD

ardecila
Mar 11, 2009, 5:14 AM
Good to hear.

Will this actually stop in/at the main terminal at Dulles or will you have to transfer to a people mover of some kind? I don't think one way is better or worse than the either, I'm just curious.

Dulles doesn't have a people mover (yet). It was designed to use mobile air lounges - essentially oddly-shaped shuttle buses that carry people from the terminal to various concourses. This adds to congestion, since these lounges must be coordinated with the airplanes taxiing. Right now, they're building an underground people mover.

Gordo
Mar 11, 2009, 5:24 AM
Dulles doesn't have a people mover (yet). It was designed to use mobile air lounges - essentially oddly-shaped shuttle buses that carry people from the terminal to various concourses.

Ah yes. Quite likely the worst idea that anyone ever had for an airport :rolleyes:

Congrats to DC on the new line - it's absolutely embarrassing to me how much better Metro is than BART (not just the system itself, but the placement of the stations as well as planning around the stations), even though both systems are of almost identical age and track length.

202_Cyclist
Mar 11, 2009, 1:31 PM
Will WMATA still keep the 5A bus? The extension of rail to Dulles is a great project but some of the most significant benefits are to provide transit to Tysons and the jobs centers in Reston/Dulles corridor. For passengers in DC or Arlington, going to Dulles, the 5A would still probably be quicker, since it doesn't have as many stops as the proposed Silver Line and it has its own dedicated lane on the Dulles Toll Road.

Cirrus
Mar 11, 2009, 2:50 PM
> Dulles doesn't have a people mover (yet). It was designed to use mobile air lounges... Right now, they're building an underground people mover.

The people mover subway will open later this year, long before the Metro line opens. By the time anybody arrives at Dulles via Metro, the mobile lounges will be history.

> Will WMATA still keep the 5A bus?

::shrug::
Dunno.
Bus service in the corridor will no doubt be totally reorganized. We'll need feeders for every station, for example. My hope would be for Metro to run the 5A as an express to downtown, but I don't know. I doubt the decision has been made yet, since that's still 6 years away.

novawolverine
Mar 11, 2009, 5:24 PM
They'll have the same trains that Dallas and Atlanta have I believe.

Cirrus
Mar 11, 2009, 6:44 PM
Here's a photo of one of the Dulles Airport concourse trains under construction. Just to be clear, the concourse train is DIFFERENT than the Silver line.

http://www.metwashairports.com/_/Gallery%20Image/300x210/at_36_all_cars_inside.jpg

Frisco_Zig
Mar 12, 2009, 1:05 AM
Ah yes. Quite likely the worst idea that anyone ever had for an airport :rolleyes:

Congrats to DC on the new line - it's absolutely embarrassing to me how much better Metro is than BART (not just the system itself, but the placement of the stations as well as planning around the stations), even though both systems are of almost identical age and track length.

As you well know BART isn't doing anything to remedy this. They complain about peaking out of one side of their mouth while pushing for extensions to more distant suburds making it worse

Curious have you seen the BART metro plan?

DBR96A
Mar 12, 2009, 6:02 AM
Glad to see Tyson's Corner is getting a Metro connection. When I was in D.C. a month and a half ago, I stopped by Tyson's Corner on the way out of town, and the traffic was horrendous, even on a Saturday. From what I've heard, that area is the premier shopping destination in the D.C. area, so now with a Metro connection, people don't have to clog the Capital Beltway or VA 7 to go shopping.

OhioGuy
Mar 12, 2009, 6:21 PM
Once the District is directly connected to Tysons via the silver line, does anyone anticipate any ill effects for the high end retailers in Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights?

Mr Roboto
Mar 12, 2009, 7:08 PM
Congrats to the DC metro, man this is awesome. Im so glad to see at least some cities can make transit a priority and actually follow through.

novawolverine
Mar 12, 2009, 9:18 PM
Once the District is directly connected to Tysons via the silver line, does anyone anticipate any ill effects for the high end retailers in Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights?

No, I doubt it, minimal effect. This market can sustain a number of high end retail destinations. Tysons already gets tons of shoppers and both places do fine. I doubt that the number of shoppers is going to increase so dramatically that it would have an effect on Chevy Chase. We could develop better shopping in DC proper and I doubt it would have too big an impact on either places in the long run. Besides, I think a lot of people on the Red line will just continue to drive to Tysons or go to Chevy Chase if they want to shop rather than switch trains a couple times.

Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights has more of a boutique feel and a different atmosphere and that's something that Tysons will not likely have anytime soon whereas Tysons offers more of the conventional mega-mall amenities that Chevy Chase isn't catering towards.

I think this helps people commuting to Tysons for work and will help attract people to live in Tysons Corner and spur development and alleviate congestion along the corridor. So this is more to boost economic development, concentrate growth and alleviate congestion. Tysons has transformed into more than a place with malls and this is just another step in advancing that transition. So the mall is the anchor but they're thinking bigger long term.

Notice the heavy emphasis on Tysons. While this is the Dulles Metro project, the importance of Tysons is a reason why this thing is so important. I've said all along that I wouldn't have minded Metro to Tysons and BRT to the airport if it came down to it. So this project is about shuttling people to the airport but just as much about developing "Downtown Fairfax County/Northern Virginia".

Cirrus
Mar 12, 2009, 9:19 PM
Once the District is directly connected to Tysons via the silver line, does anyone anticipate any ill effects for the high end retailers in Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights?No. They don't really serve the same geographic markets.

Georgetown should also be fine.

Pentagon City might have to worry, though. When people from the city want to go to a mall, that's generally the one to which they go. Tysons might challenge that once it's connected to the Metro.

novawolverine
Mar 12, 2009, 9:23 PM
No. They don't really serve the same geographic markets.

Georgetown should also be fine.

Pentagon City might have to worry, though. When people from the city want to go to a mall, that's generally the one to which they go. Tysons sill be farther, but better.

I was editing my post to add this when you responded. But I agree with you. I was going to say that people from the east side of the N-S axis from DC and MD already travel a ways to got to PC, they may not mind the good amount of extra time for a better shopping experience. I know a lot of teenagers in the summertime really couldn't care less about the extra time.

novawolverine
Mar 12, 2009, 9:25 PM
OT, but I don't care. I was bummed to see that this project wouldn't get stimulus money but at least it's moving forward.


Thursday, March 12, 2009, 4:17pm EDT
Arlington County expected to OK $3M for Columbia Pike Streetcar
Washington Business Journal - by Mara Lee Staff Reporter

The Arlington County Board is expected to approve a $3 million appropriation to do environmental planning and preliminary design for the Columbia Pike Streetcar.

The line, which would run from Pentagon City Metro station to the Skyline development in Bailey’s Crossroads, is expected to cost approximately $120 million, with the costs shared on an 80-20 split between Arlington and Fairfax counties.

Arlington County transportation staffers said about $1 million of the planning money should be reimbursed by state transportation funding, but all $3 million would come initially from the transportation-dedicated commercial real estate tax of 12.5 cents per $100 in valuation.

The electric streetcar could carry twice as many passengers as a bus, and would travel in the same lane as cars.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority would also share the cost of the study, with a $148,000 contribution. Fairfax’s share for this initial phase is expected to be $912,000.

The study will refine the stop locations -- currently planned every third of a mile -- and will more accurately estimate construction costs. It is also expected to identify funding sources.

County planners hope that a light rail line will be a catalyst for redevelopment of Columbia Pike. New mixed-use buildings, with luxury apartments over restaurants and retail, are already going up along the south Arlington road.

Cirrus
Mar 12, 2009, 9:42 PM
What the Columbia Pike streetcar really needs is for NVTA to get its funding back. It *can* be built without that funding, but it will be really hard to do so, and it will definitely take longer.