This story was corrected at 3 p.m. Jan. 9. An explanation follows the story.
Residents of several Vienna neighborhoods along a planned new bus route are continuing their efforts to get Fairfax County officials to eliminate or alter the planned service.
The planned Fairfax Connector Route 432, which the Board of Supervisors approved in July despite the community opposition, would offer bus service to the Spring Hill Metro Station and adjacent Tysons businesses from Old Courthouse, Creek Crossing and Beulah roads. It would make 10 trips per day, with service only during the morning and evening rush hours.
“Tysons is transforming and, as it transforms, it is becoming more urban,” said Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. “We want to provide alternatives so, as Tysons develops, people can get to Tysons without having to drive your car.”
Residents who live in communities off Creek Crossing Road and East Street say that virtually no one in their neighborhoods would use the bus and that they have safety concerns about buses running on the narrow residential streets.
“Creek Crossing Road is a cut-through street,” said resident Sidney Skjei. “They drive fast and they don’t drive well. … Throwing a bus onto that street is like throwing gasoline on a fire.”
In a public meeting Wednesday that became quite heated at times, residents excoriated Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) for not respecting their desire to not have the bus.
“No one has ever explained to us why this route is the best,” said Creek Crossing Civic Association President Beverly Jurenko. “You need to prove to us that this is the only viable route.”
Some suggested that there must be some larger motivation for the proposal, such as a plan to use their community for de facto parking for the Tysons Metro stations, which will not have public parking lots.
“Who is this bus really for?” asked resident Pam Styles. “It is not for us. We don’t want it.”
Biesiadny and Hudgins said that they do not expect people to park in the neighborhoods to take a bus to Metro, but noted that the county has a number of options including permit parking, should parking become a problem.
They also noted that there are communities along other portions of the route that are very supportive of the new bus route.
Hudgins said she has tried to address the community’s concerns about safety. The Board of Supervisors asked county transportation staff to review pedestrian safety concerns in the community.
Transportation planners also evaluated eight different possible routes for the 432, Biesiadny said, and came to the conclusion that the proposed route was the most feasible in terms of cost, safety and other factors.
“This is the route that we feel has the best chance of success,” Biesiadny said.
Wednesday’s meeting originally was designed to solicit community input on proposed sidewalk and trail repair and installation along Creek Crossing and Old Courthouse, as well as possible traffic calming measures. The community already suffers from regular cut-through traffic from commuters, according to residents.
However, while some said the infrastructure upgrades are sorely needed whether the bus moves ahead or not, most residents attending the meeting were not interested in discussing infrastructure improvements.
Hudgins pledged to meet with residents again to discuss in detail the criteria for selecting the proposed route and to talk through possible alternatives.
Without additional action by the Board of Supervisors, service on Route 432 and other new routes serving the Silver Line stations is slated to begin when the new rail line opens, expected to be this spring.
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly spelled Tom Biesiadny’s name.