News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On the YouTubes: You Could Worry About Metro's Impact on Traffic, Or You Could Check Out the Silver Line's SHINY NEW SILVER CARS

If you have young children in the house, drag them away from the teevee and sit them in front of this fancy YouTubes video of the new rail cars to be used on the Silver Line. It's kind of like Thomas the Tank Engine, only with incomprehensible static and smoke instead of cute faces and British accents!

We get to walk through a model of the Metro Car of the Future, complete with good "back support" on the seats, assuming you'll get one. Lookit! Computerized signs that show "what restaurants are in the area" as you pull into a station. Cheesecake Factory Macaroni Grill, here we come! Gawk in awe at the operator console -- maybe we're old, but the controls look uncannily like the old Defender game. And speaking of the 80s, Metro's penchant for rad 80s art is here, too, albeit in muted colors our fellow Restonians will approve of:

80s hawtness.jpg


Meanwhile, the folks at the Washington Post have figured out that not everyone's thrilled about the imminent arrival of the Silver Line, in part because toll hikes might will push drivers onto local roads.
Dulles Toll Road rates are expected to rise sharply over the next few years. Tolls for a one-way trip that now costs $2.25 could increase to $4.50 as early as next year, according to a consultant’s report for the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, which operates the toll road and is supervising construction of the Silver Line. By 2018, tolls for that one-way trip could rise to $6.75.

The increased rates could drive down the number of trips from roughly 100 million a year to 75 million during that period, according to the report. Some residents say those drivers could end up on Route 7, Route 66, Route 50 and other secondary roads, such as Beulah Road and Georgetown Pike.

Terry Maynard, a Reston Citizens Association board member, said, “The big arterial roads are jammed at rush hour right now, and things are only likely to get worse.”
Our BFFs at Reston 2020, in fact, just released a fancy "fact sheet" detailing the fact that as many as 9,800 more cheapskates vehicles will ply Reston's streets as soon as next year. Officials at VDOT, however, aren't as worried:
Officials at the Virginia Department of Transportation, however, aren’t as worried.
See? Told you!
Hari Sripathi, the agency’s regional operations director, said drivers won’t abandon the toll road — even with higher rates — immediately.

“People are not going to flood the secondary roads overnight,” he said.

Transportation planners said they will make changes to signals or turn lanes if secondary roads are becoming clogged. There are plans to enlarge part of Route 7 from Reston Parkway to Tysons Corner from four lanes to six, he said, which could help handle some additional traffic.

“Not everybody is going to use the arterial streets,” he said. “Some are going to leave their cars and use rail. Some are going to change their travel time or use carpools so that will spread the traffic.”
Or, as the Post helpfully points out, Fairfax and Loudoun could still back out of plans to fund Phase 2 of the Silver Line expansion, in which case the number of additional cars will be irrelevant because traffic in Reston will be utterly gridlocked by all the Loudoun cut-through commuters circling the parking garage in perpetuity in hopes of snagging an available space. We may have to reinstate our long-retired "Keep Clapping" mantra.

So there's that. Hey, did we mention the new Silver Line seats will have better back support?


  1. Back support for back pain, what about head support for the migraines?

  2. Turtle Pond Cinema uses the country roads of Hunter Mill to Beulah to Leesburg Pike to get to the Tyson's promised land.

  3. Last Mogul,

    Shhh! Don't let out the secret of the Northwest Passage!

    1. Not to worry. Mr. Sripathi will "make changes to signals or turn lanes if secondary roads are becoming clogged".

      In other words, they will make your alternate route so difficult to use, that no one will want to use it.

      In another stroke of genius, he will turn the Rt.7 4-lane parking lot at Tysons into a 6-lane parking lot.


  4. Those new Metro cars do look pretty awesome.


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