As Silver Line moves toward Dulles, questions about parking at Tysons

FAIRFAX, Va. — Construction on the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line is set to pick up, even as Fairfax County supervisors ask questions about rider access to Tysons-area stations that were part of the first phase.

On Tuesday, Mark Canale, project manager of the Fairfax County Dulles Rail Project, told the county board of supervisors’ Transportation Committee that the Silver Line could be completed in mid- to late-2019.

By 2020, trains could start running between Loudoun County, Dulles International Airport, Arlington and D.C. The second phase of construction is projected to cost $2.77 billion.

Cranes are slated to go up at the Herndon and Dulles International Airport station sites in the next few weeks.

Though the first phase opened in July 2014, the contract is expected to be closed out this month at a final cost of $2.98 billion. Some pieces of station art and other finishing touches are slated to be finished next year.

For the second phase of construction, Fairfax County is building parking garages for the Herndon Station — at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, and the new Innovation Center Station.

Each garage is expected to have about 2,000 spaces and bike parking.

Parking was left out of the plans for the Tysons stations that opened last year, yet a number of supervisors want new parking options offered.

Fairfax County Transportation Director Tom Besiadny has reached out to landowners around the other Tysons stations about providing commuter parking.

“In the long term, development will occur and people will access the Silver Line stations in ways other than parking,” he said. “Before all the new development occurs, there is a need to be able to access those Silver Line stations in Tysons through automobile access.”

Supervisor Linda Smyth said she heard from a woman who lives near McLean, but is still driving to park at West Falls Church each morning. Her parking benefits are on her SmarTrip card, so she can’t use them at the private lot now opened at the McLean Station.

Besiadny said the lot is about half-full every day. There’s interest in one lot at Greensboro and another at Spring Hill, and more could pop up if those are filled.

At the current end of the Silver Line, the parking lot at the Wiehle-Reston East Station is filling up. Other Metro lots haven’t been used as much since parking rates increased two budget cycles ago.

“There definitely has been a correlation between the rate going up and the usage in the parking lot going down,” Supervisor Jeff McKay said.

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins wants to make sure any added parking in Tysons is temporary: “Parking can’t be a solution every time somebody doesn’t get a place to put their car.”

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