After scaling back plans to transform bucolic Tysons Corner from its current configuration of jumbled office parks, endless seas of parking lots and sprawling car dealerships into a walkable city center, much like Paris with fewer French people, Fairfax County planners have come up with the price tag for this vision of urban bliss: a mere $15 billion. Krystal Koons will not be pleased!
Remaking Tysons Corner into the second city of Washington will take a lot more than a new Metro line and a downtown of tightly clustered buildings designed for walking. It will take almost $15 billion in new roads and public transportation.In the coming months, planners expect to outline which roads would be built first -- and whether developers can start reworking Tysons before that happens.
That jaw-dropping sum, a preliminary estimate released by Fairfax County planners this week, will be crucial to a redevelopment that envisions more than twice the 44 million square feet of offices, malls and housing now in Tysons -- a commercial and residential hub intended to draw thousands of new workers who will leave their cars at home. But planners fear thousands more will drive and overwhelm the area's already clogged road network.
The costs include $2.6 billion allocated for the first leg of the Silver Line, now under construction to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. Seven billion dollars for roads, bus service and two additional rail lines would not be spent until after 2030. And it's assumed that landowners who stand to profit from dense development near the four Tysons train stations will donate property for much of a planned grid of narrow, city-like streets.
But that still leaves billions of dollars for roads, sidewalks, interchanges and new bus routes over the next 20 years that have no source of funding and are crucial to the success of what Tysons is planned to become.
The sheer cost of reworking the transportation network, combined with earlier talk of scaling back the ambitious plans for Tysons, make us wonder, once again, what to expect for redevelopment efforts in Reston. If the county winds up spending $15 billion there, by our count that would leave approximately $2.94 and whatever change they can find in the couches in the RA headquarters to address infrastructure improvements here. That may not sound like a lot, but at least it'll pay for an air freshener for the car you'll be endlessly sitting in!