Fairfax County officials answered residents’ questions Tuesday regarding the first half of the Silver Line and the new Connector bus routes that will launch when the Metro line opens at the end of the year.
Nick Perfili, Dulles Rail Project Planner, and Christy Wegener, Connector’s manager of operations, led the discussion, part of a weeklong effort to gather input on the many changes coming to Connector service in the area.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s (FCDOT) plan includes the addition of 12 new routes and restructuring of 20 existing routes, as well the elimination of six others.
One Fairfax resident expressed concern that those commuting west to areas like Reston and Herndon on the new routes will end up with a longer commute because of backtracking.
Wegener said FCDOT are evaluating the cross-county options between Vienna, Centreville, Reston and Herndon for Silver Line Phase 1 bus changes, but the final plan will depend on the demand for service and available resources.
Reston resident Larry said he fears the Silver Line will make his commute worse. He wanted to know if the parking complex at the Wiehle-Reston East Station would be pay-to-park. He said he's also concerned that getting home will be difficult because of limited service hours.
Wegener said the Wiehle-Reston East Station garage will be pay-to-park, but the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride and the Reston South Park and Ride will continue to be free with feeder bus service to the Silver Line.
Wegener said FCDOT is still working to finalize the levels of service for the bus service changes and have heard multiple comments about extending the hours of service that will be taken into consideration.
Another chat participant said they are concerned that the current route 980, which runs every six minutes during rush hour from the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride will be reduced to every 12 minutes, resulting in long waits and full buses.
Wegener said though 980 will be reduced to every 12 minutes, the proposal calls for extending routes 924, 926, 927 and 929 from the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride to the Wiehle-Reston East Station, providing more route options for commuters to get to the Silver Line.
One chatter in Tuesday's discussion asked about Route 722, which would run down narrow Churchill Road and past Churchill Road Elementary School. The resident feared the route would jeopardize the safety of the school’s students.
During a Monday meeting at Westbriar Elementary School in Vienna, residents also raised similar concerns about Route 432, which would run down Old Courthouse Road in Vienna.
In that meeting and Tuesday's chat, residents raised concerns about route layouts, bus frequency, parking facilities and more.
These issues emerged particularly around the Silver Line Circulator, which will have four routes around various parts of Tysons Corner "to provide that "last mile" connection for people coming from or going to the Tysons Silver Line stations."
In the online chat, one resident suggested "improved resident access to this route as well as eliminate several dangerous road crossings."
You can read more about feedback Monday's meeting in Vienna here.
The last three meetings will take place in Herndon and Reston over the course of the next week. The locations are as follows. All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.:
• Herndon: Wednesday, Herndon Town Council Chambers, 765 Lynn St.
• Reston: Thursday, Reston Community Center - Lake Anne, 1609A Washington Plz.
• Reston: Monday, Lake Anne Elementary School, 11510 North Shore Dr.
Wegener said comments would be accepted on proposals through Feb. 28 at email@example.com.
Staff will consider comments and adjust plans accordingly in March, Wegener said; they will be updated online and available for review ahead of the second round of public meetings in early April.
* Herndon Patch Editor Leslie Perales contributed to this article.