Where should Metrorail stop?
In my Dr. Gridlock column Sunday, Joan Pifer of Great Falls and I discussed where we'd like to see the Dulles Metro line stop -- not that we really have any choice about it. She'd like it to serve Wolf Trap and the Reston Town Center after the line gets west of Tysons Corner.
I said I liked her thoughts about the functionality of the line, having it serve entertainment and activity centers. After the line leaves Tysons and heads west, it follows the Dulles Toll Road/Access Road until dipping south to an airport station, then it swings north again to pick up the Dulles Greenway.
I wouldn't stop it at Wolf Trap. You probably could build a Wolf Trap station in the middle of the highway and create a pedestrian way north to the Filene Center, but I think that wouldn't be worth the expense of constructing a limited-use stop. I do like the idea of having a rail stop right in the middle of downtown Reston rather than in a highway median, but the expense and disruption would be greater than people would accept.
All the decisions the planners made involved trade-offs and compromises. To this day, people are unclear about how the plan finally came out.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
What are the new stops? If Wiehle Avenue is a stop out here, I am surprised, because I thought it would run along Route 7, and it could then accommodate Wolf Trap. The Wiehle stop will be where, exactly?
-- Vicki Contavespi, Sterling
DG: The Wiehle Avenue stop is at the end of the first phase of construction, scheduled to be done in 2013. After the four stops in Tysons, including two along Route 7, the line swings onto the Dulles Toll Road/Access Road until it reaches the stop planned for just west of Wiehle Avenue. You can see the construction now along most of that route.
There will be a parking area for 2,300 cars on the north side of the highway. There are plenty of commuters who live in the farther out suburbs who are looking forward to those new parking spaces. But the plan does have a downside. It could create a string of Vienna stations leading out into Loudoun County.
The Vienna style in Metrorail is a concrete fortress that attracts only traffic. That doesn't create communities where people can live and work. Traffic along the Toll Road already is bad during the rush periods. We talk about the extension of Metro as a way of easing traffic. Building big garages also is a way of generating traffic. The four stations in Tysons Corner won't have much parking. The plan there is to create a place where people can take transit and walk. There already are too many drivers in Tysons.
How would you decide where to place the stations on the new line and how would you want them to function? (Bonus points if you suggest a way to pay for them.)
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