Bike parking shortage along Silver Line

MCLEAN, Va. (WUSA9)--There is a parking shortage in one of the most congested areas of Northern Virginia next to the new Silver Line station in McLean, but it is not the shortage that was widely expected before the new Metrorail opened seven weeks ago.

There is plenty of room for cars at the temporary commuter lot built along Rt. 123 near the convergence of I-495 and the Dulles Toll Road. The Metro station could use more bicycle parking.

"The county believed there would be a much larger demand for car parking than there actually was," said Navid Roshan-Afshar, who runs the blog TheTysonsCorner.com. "They didn't really pay as much attention to the bike parking as they actually should have."

Most of the 72 available bike spaces (a combination of bike racks and lockers) are filled by 9 a.m. each weekday. In response, Metro is planning to add 20 more bike racks that can park two bikes each in the next week or two, according to transit authority spokesman Dan Stessel.

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The popularity of bicycling to the Silver Line is not surprising to bike advocates, even though they concede Tysons Corner is not very bike-friendly right now.

"A lot of the anger about the lack of parking was probably coming from people who weren't going to use the Silver Line anyways," Roshan-Afshar said.

"It was difficult to advocate for a lot of bike parking in Tysons. Not many people were biking in Tysons. Now that the station is in, we are seeing a ton of people wanting to bike to the station," said Bruce Wright, the chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling.

Meanwhile, the commuter car lot of the other side of Rt. 123 is mostly empty day in and day out, an amazing development in car-focused McLean. Fewer than 100 of the more than 700 spaces are filled each work day.

The car lot was built by the property's owner and developer Cityline Partners, which plans to redevelop the site into residential and commercial office space in the coming years. Company representatives said the market will dictate the pace of redevelopment around McLean's Silver Line stop.

Cityline Partners hopes more commuters will flock to the plane of asphalt it built amid the concerns of residents and county officials about a potential lack of Silver Line parking.

"We are optimistic about increased usage of the lot as more and more people become aware of its convenience," said Eric Maggio, Cityline's chief financial officer.

It was reasonable to assume higher demand for car parking at McLean, in the view of county transportation officials.

"I would caution that just because the parking lot isn't full now, doesn't mean that it won't eventually fill. Fifteen-hundred new park-and-ride spaces were added in the corridor, not including the Cityline lot, so it will probably take a while for the market to absorb those spaces," said Tom Biesiadny, Fairfax County's Department of Transportation.


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