In the past several years, Tysons has made considerable progress in pedestrian improvements as it continues to evolve into a more walkable and bikeable community. These pedestrian improvements are important for Tysons’ residents, since walking and biking are a crucial part of both wellness and personal health. These improvements are also an amenity sought by employers eager to attract talented workforce with wellness and sustainability options in the workplace. Walking and biking will certainly be a part of the post pandemic lifestyle, for many. In fact, The Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s new data shows that 53% of DMV residents expect to travel more by foot post pandemic, and 26% expect to travel more by bike.
A recent Tysons success story is the Scotts Run Trail. A ribbon cutting ceremony held on February 4, 2021 marked the grand opening of this new trail, which links the Pimmit Hills neighborhood to the McLean Metro station on the eastern edge of Tysons. This accomplishment helped further realize the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, which calls for a network of walkable routes. In recognition of this achievement, The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Public Works Association selected Scotts Run Trail as its Project of the Year in the category of transportation projects costing less than $5 million. “This project is a great project, not only for Tysons, but for the people who live in the communities around the trail. It connects them with transit through beautiful park property, connects them with nature, and gives people an opportunity to get around in ways other than their cars – an important part of our long-term sustainability in Fairfax County and important for our personal health as well,” said Fairfax County Board Chairman Jeff McKay.
Another milestone was the Vesper Trail, also located in Tysons, which opened in March 2019 and, like Scotts Run Trail offers multimodal access to a Metro station. The Vesper Trail is a .4-mile trail which offers pedestrian and bicycle riders a path from neighborhoods in north Vienna to the Spring Hill Metro Station.
The Tysons Partnership is looking forward to a time when the public health situation permits placemaking and community events in and around these new trails and the Metro stations they connect to.
Last year’s Fairfax County Department of Transportation Open Street pilot on Tysons Boulevard was an innovative way to meet mobility challenges and model different ways of using Virginia Department of Transportation’s streets during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s exciting to see how Fairfax County used public streets in unique ways to meet economic and health challenges stemming from the pandemic. This program was especially relevant and timely per The Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s new data which states that 75% of DMV residents want to expand street space for restaurants and pedestrian space. This trend could be seen in Tysons, where Tysons stakeholders opened private streets to dining last summer.
Fairfax County is also committed to creating a vision and roadmap that will make sustainable transportation easy, safe and convenient throughout the county. Correspondingly, the county has launched the Transportation Program, ActiveFairfax. ActiveFairfax seeks feedback from its community and will further support with Tysons’ urbanist vision for walking, biking, and rolling (traveling by scooter, wheelchair or stroller).
Looking forward, construction of a new pedestrian bridge is scheduled to start this summer connecting Tysons Corner Center to the McLean Metro. Once complete, the bridge will both benefit and inspire walking and biking, and will hopefully increase sustainable transportation.