News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, December 3, 2007

A quasi-urban hellhole divided against itself cannot stand

All that clapping seems to be making a difference. Just days after Tysons Corner grassroot groupsdevelopers announced they would sue the federal government to keep their Paris-like urban streetscapes, complete with strolling troubadors and mimes, free from unsightly Silver Line elevated tracks, other Tysons developers are jumping ship:

The consortium, called Tysons Tomorrow, will include as many as 20 landowners poised to develop a new city of high-rises around the four Metro stops planned for Tysons. The emergence of the group, which held its first meeting last week, is also intended to weaken the coalition that has staged a heavily financed, year-long effort to build a tunnel under Tysons that would bury the rail tracks. Plans now call for an aerial track, and the effort to alter that plan has been blamed for jeopardizing approval of the 23-mile line.

"I think all of us would say, 'Of course we like the tunnel,' " said Jonathan Cherner, who, with his father and brother, owns Cherner Automotive Group on Route 7 in the heart of Tysons. "But the Federal Transit Administration came back and said, 'If you want to do a major engineering change to the project, you got to go to the back of the line and start over.' That process is almost a 10-year process. We don't need mass transit in 20 years. We needed mass transit 20 years ago."
When a car salesman starts making the most sense, something's rotten in the state of Tysons. Also, that awesome lawsuit? Apparently, not so awesome:
On Wednesday, the day after the suit was filed, the sole business serving as plaintiff, Ratner Cos., withdrew. And WestGroup, a developer that has contributed more than $3 million to, issued a statement disavowing any role in the lawsuit.

WestGroup's plans to redevelop property in Tysons depend heavily on a tunnel, and the company continues to display large banners with pro-tunnel messages on its commercial properties. But it is not interested in abandoning the entire rail line in pursuit of that goal, spokesman Mark Lowham said.
Oh, snap!

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