Fairfax Connector to add routes from Reston to Silver Line

Under the proposal, 15 new Fairfax Connector bus routes would open in 2013 to coincide with the Silver Line opening. Commuters attending a public hearing in Reston voiced pros and cons to the plans. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)

Ari Ashe, wtop.com

RESTON, Va. – The Fairfax Connector plans open to 15 new bus routes in 2013 to coincide with the opening of the Metro’s Silver Line into Reston.

The new bus routes would replace the existing ones to the West Falls Church station, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. That station is a popular starting point for commuters on the Orange Line.

The transportation department held a public meeting on the Dulles Rail bus plans Thursday night at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne. A similar meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 at Lake Anne Elementary School.

After hearing from commuters, the department will refine its proposal and present a revised plan to the public in late March or early April before it is officially approved.

The plans call for the Fairfax Connector to reduce service from Reston to West Falls Church after the Silver Line opens.

“Obviously, people are going to be thrilled to have trains coming here,” says Hollen Kimmel, Reston Town Center Association’s transportation coordinator.

“We need to figure out how people are getting to the Silver Line. Will they be driving, carpooling or using the buses?”

Kimmel was pleased to hear that the Fairfax Connector would maintain the same level of service to the Reston Town Center once the Silver Line opens.

“If it can lessen my commute time to work into D.C., that would be great,” says Jagan Selvarajah, who lives in the Lake Fairfax section of Reston.

Selvarajah’s only concern is finding a Fairfax Connector bus route that runs near his home.

“It’s going to allow us to just hop on Metro and go. It’ll just be more convenient. I’m going to use the Connector more on nights and weekends,” says Bruce Wright, who lives a short distance away from the Wiehle Metro station.

However, there are concerns about the potential traffic the Silver Line will bring to Wiehle Avenue.

“It’s already a focal point for congestion in Reston because of the Dulles Toll Road and people getting on and off during rush hour,” says Terry Maynard with the Reston Citizens Association.

Several residents wondered what the point of the Fairfax Connector service was if those buses just get stuck in traffic.

A parking garage that holds 2,300 cars will be constructed at the Wiehle Metro Station, located at the end of the line until Phase 2 is completed.

“With more cars coming there to park, it’ll just make a bad traffic situation worse,” says Maynard.

Another concern is about the higher cost some face commuting to work using the Fairfax Connector and Silver Line.

“For me, it’ll probably be $4 more a day, $20 a week, $1000 a year. It adds up.” says Susan Aylward, who commutes from Reston in D.C. daily.

When asked how she would deal with the added costs, Aylward said, “I’ll just bring my lunch to work every day.”

The story is similar for Michael Grant, who also commutes to D.C. from Reston everyday.

“I pay almost $10 a day to commute into work each day. With the Metro, if I parked at the Wiehle station, it would be almost $17 a day. I am looking for some options now.”

Grant says he’s considering teleworking more to save money.

Follow @AriAsheWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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