Fairfax fine-tuning bus plan for Silver Line service
The region’s most populous jurisdiction is planning for a shock to its transportation system. When Metro’s Silver Line opens, Fairfax County will double its total number of Metrorail stations and rearrange a big part of its bus fleet.
The changes anticipated for late this year could affect the travel patterns of nearly half the 38,000 weekday riders on Fairfax
Connector buses. So a large part of the remaining task for the county’s transportation department involves listening to the riders’ concerns, then getting the word around once a final plan for new bus routes is adopted.
Some transit riders will be asked to change their habits, perhaps taking a bus to the Silver Line’s new Wiehle Avenue Metro station in the Reston area rather than to the Orange Line’s West Falls Church station, or using trains instead of riding express buses.
But Tom Biesiadny, the director of the county’s transportation department, said the agency also hopes to greatly increase the number of people taking buses and trains instead of driving cars. Planners said the time saved on long bus trips to reach Orange Line stations can be reinvested in more frequent trips to Silver Line stations, something they hope will increase the popularity of the bus service.
Transportation administrators have been taking their plans on a countywide tour to explain them to the public and get reactions. That review will continue till the end of February. In April, they will go back to the public with a revised plan before asking the approval of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in May or June.
Later, the transportation department will use various forms of advertising, social media and face-to-face outreach to inform riders and the general public about the service changes. Metrobus has been going through a similar process for some of its routes in Fairfax County.
Here’s a guide to the Fairfax Connector plan, which will start the day the Silver Line opens, though that date has not been set. Comments on the proposed changes can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or submitted by calling 703-8775600, TTY 711. Write to Fairfax County Department of Transportation, Attn: Fairfax Connector Dulles Rail Bus Service Plan, 4050 Legato Rd., Suite 400, Fairfax, Va. 22033.
The plan adds or modifies 32 Fairfax Connector routes, while eliminating six others.
In Herndon and Reston, routes that serve the West Falls Church Metro station will be diverted to the new Wiehle-Reston East station, at the west end of the Silver Line’s first phase. In McLean and Vienna, new routes will be created and existing routes modified to serve the new Metro stations. In
Tysons, four Silver Line Circulator bus routes will be created to serve its four new Metro stations.
Some commuters and neighborhood residents have questions about the safety of routes and access to bus stops. Other bus riders say routing changes could make their commutes longer and more complicated. Retirees want to make sure there’s enough off-
Silver Line Circulator
Fairfax Connector plans to create four Circulator routes to link the four Metrorail stations in Tysons with major employers and services.
As other bus routes bring riders into the Tysons area, the four Circulator routes will provide what Christin Wegener, the Fairfax Connector chief in the transportation department, described as the “last mile” connection for people coming from or going to the Silver Line stations.