It’s not quite Hurricane Katrina on the way, but I can’t wrap my mind around how Tysons Corner will keep going. The plan is to take one of America’s most successful "edge cities" and centrally plan it into a walkable neighborhood, yet that is to happen while five major roads — three of them multi-lane highways — will continue to carve up the whole area.
Have I mentioned they will build elevated rail service to Dulles Airport? This sounds quaint and European but there is already a dedicated, virtually traffic-free road to that airport, in addition to three or four totally usable back routes. The new rail line will sit atop Route 7 (the major artery), necessitating its widening and the destruction of the side and access roads which make transversing the area a workable proposition.
Quotations like this scare me:
VDOT has agreed to narrow the eight future lanes of Route 7 to 11
feet from the standard 12, to allow for two additional pedestrian
crossings beneath the aerial line and to build eight-foot sidewalks.
always emphasized that we need wider sidewalks, we need more pedestrian
crosswalks, we need to slow traffic down," Stevens said [emphasis added].
I have heard construction will take six to eight years, which I assume means eight to twelve years.
Aesthetically you may or may not like what Tysons Corner has become, but at this point there is no turning back. I simply do not see how an already traffic-heavy Tysons Corner will survive this onslaught. The theory is that enough people will live in nearby condos (didn’t the real estate bubble just burst?) that in the proverbial long run traffic will fall. Betting markets, anyone? When people rely on an area as one part of their programme for auto-based, carry-around-big-packages, lug the kids, multiple stops, mass transit doesn’t have much of a chance.
I’ve already made my plans ("Find new Persian restaurant with Zereskh Polo") for avoiding the area altogether, quite possibly for the rest of my adult life. Does that mean I have to buy my iPhone soon?
This issue has received plenty of local publicity, but I wonder how many people know that the planners soon will be destroying an American triumph? Even around here I think most people do not yet believe this is actually going to happen.