|Heading east on Route 7, approaching the Columbia Pike intersection.|
The consultant working on a transit study for Route 7 has narrowed down the options, eliminating the most expensive modes like street cars and less feasible routes.
Street cars don’t make sense for Route 7 because they are geared to denser, urban areas, are shorter (generally five to seven miles), and make frequent stops, said Michael Flood, a planner with Parsons Brinckerhoff, at a public meeting on phase 1 of the transit study Sept. 18 at the Skyline Center. The study overseen by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.
At the meeting, Falls Church Vice Mayor David Snyder made the case for having the system traverse Route 7 through the center of Falls Church and not take a detour around it.
The alternative options still in play include the following:
- Light rail between Tysons and the Van Dorn Metro station via Mark Center with a connection to the East Falls Church Metro station.
- Bus rapid transit (BRT) between Tysons and the King Street Metro station with a connection to East Falls Church.
- BRT between Tysons and the Van Dorn Metro station via Mark Center.
- BRT between Tysons and Van Dorn via Mark Center and East Falls Church.
- A transportation management system aimed at improving traffic flow between Tysons and King Street /Van Dorn.
According to Flood, the key features of a BRT system are easy, low-floor boarding; comfortable interiors; a modern, sleek design; attractive and welcoming stations; multiple wide doors; off-board fare collection; and real-time information on the next vehicle.
BRT systems could run either in a dedicated traffic lane, mixed in with automobile traffic, or with a combination of both. BRTs could make use of “intelligent transportation systems” with transit signals timed to give them priority in getting through intersections faster.
The next step calls for refining the plan and submitting an application for federal funding. There’s an online form for submitting comments.