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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bus rapid transit, light rail under consideration for Route 7

Local residents talk to transit officials Nov. 10 at an Envision Route 7 informational meeting at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church.

What’s your vision for Route 7? Would transit make driving on this congested road less of a nightmare? Would transit help you get to work or to a Metro station? Where should the transit stations be located?

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) is studying transit options for the 14-mile Route 7 corridor – between Tysons and Old Town, Alexandria – and is seeking public input at three informational sessions this month.

The final meeting will be Nov. 18, 7-9 p.m., at Glen Forest Elementary School, 5829 Glen Forest Drive in Bailey’s Crossroads.

Don’t expect a formal presentation. There will be posters showing traffic conditions and transit route options, a short video, and the opportunity to speak one-on-one with officials from the Fairfax County Transportation Department, the NVTC, and representatives from Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering consulting firm carrying out the study. People can also submit comments on an online crowdsource map.

The Envision Route 7 study is looking at two different types of transit systems: bus rapid transit (BRT) and light rail transit (LRT). 

BRT vehicles would be larger than regular buses, would have large windows, doors on both sides, would be all-electric or use hybrid power, and could hold 120 people per vehicle. They could operate in dedicated lanes or, where that’s not possible, in lanes with other traffic. Annual operating costs for BRT on Route 7 is projected at $17 million.

LRT vehicles would operate on steel tracks in dedicated lanes. Vehicles would have a capacity of 200, would have doors on both sides, and would use overhead electric wires for power. The annual operating cost would be about $31 million.

Both BRT and LRT would be expected to cut travel time along Route 7 in half. That’s critical because population growth along the corridor is projected to increase 36 percent and job growth would increase 34 percent by 2040.

At an Envision Route 7 meeting Nov. 10 at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, David Snyder, NVTC chairman and vice mayor of the City of Falls Church, called Route 7 transit “one of the most exciting transportation projects we’ve seen in years.”

One of the route options in the study is a detour along Roosevelt Blvd. to the East Falls Church Metro station and up N. Washington Street back to Route 7. Snyder prefers that option because people who live along Route 7 in Falls Church don’t want transit at their front door – and because it totally makes sense to connect transit to Metro.


  1. After the Columbia Pike fiasco that Fairfax could have done a better job in saving, I no longer have any hope for this County making smart transit decisions. All we do is talk and do studies and never act as other districts boom we continue to sink.

    We need rail not these crappy cattle car busses that are more like a mix master than a vehicle meant for humans. Columbia Pike needs to be dug up and/or a monorail needs to be added above ground. Fairfax grow up and act like your really belong in the nations capital instead of being some step child to the rest of the metro area.

    Rail, Rapid and Reliable - only that will get people out of their cars.

  2. BRT would be far more cost-effective and flexible.

  3. So part of route 7 transit, the Columbia Pike streetcar and the redevelopment of Baileys in general was to include a transit center close to or at the site of olive garden. Currently there is a longhorn steakhouse being built next to olive garden. I guess the property owners don't expect any redevelopment anytime soon.

  4. This locality cannot even stripe for bike lanes and you think your going to get a BRT or a LRT in this backwaters district, I am LMAO?