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Silver Line, Phase I Update Archived Discussion Room

Fairfax County, Virginia

Silver Line, Phase I Update

Join Nick Perfili, Dulles Rail Project Planner, and Christy Wegener, Fairfax Connector’s Manager of Operations, Planning and Customer Service with the county’s Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. for a discussion on Silver Line, Phase 1. It’s an opportunity to ask questions about the Silver Line as well as Fairfax Connector’s proposed bus service plan for when the rail line starts operations.

Nicholas Perfili :

Good morning and thank you for joining us to discuss Fairfax Connector’s Silver Line, Phase 1 bus service plan and the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.  Christy Wegener, manager of Fairfax Connector Planning and Operations, is joining me to take your questions related to the start of Silver Line service.

With that, Christy and I will get started.

C. Hartley : Hello. There has been a lot of back and forth lately about the Silver line buses. I live in McLean and want to voice support for the planned #722 bus. There will not be any parking at the McLean station in Tysons. There is no place to park unless people drive to Falls Church to get a train. How else are people in McLean supposed to access the new Metro Rail?

Christin Wegener : Thank you for the support of proposed Route 722. In the Silver Line Bus Service proposal, a major goal is to provide feeder bus service from the communities within 1-3 miles of a new Metro Station to the Silver Line. Proposed Route 722 has generated several comments and we are evaluating new options to identify the best opportunities to provide feeder bus service.

Tysons Engineer : Will there be an entrance to the Tysons Metro station from the north side of 123 as well (currently the pit on the Lerner Tysons II property). It doesn't seem like there is an escalator associated to the north side, which makes access difficult for the many residents on Westpark Drive.

Nicholas Perfili : Access to the future Tysons Corner Station willbe available from both sides of Route 123.  From the north side of Route 123, access will be available in to the station adjacent to the bus bay/bus lane area along Tysons Blvd.

Fairfax, VA : Hi Nick and Christy, for many of us living points miles west or southwest of West Falls Church Metro and transit commuting to jobs in Reston (outside Wiehle Avenue) and Herndon, it will be Rush Minus upon opening of the Silver Line. Instead of an express bus trip up the Dulles Toll Road from West Falls Church Metro, it will be a slower trip backtracking four miles round trip to and from East Falls Church Metro adding wasted time (8-15+ minutes) and expense to the commute. The existing and proposed Fairfax Connector bus alternatives 401, 402, 434, 462, and 463 between the Orange and Silver Line stations are all local stop service I foresee to be even slower than the long rail backtracking. What can you offer to improve this commute?

Christin Wegener : FCDOT staff are still evaluating all cross-county options between Vienna, Centreville, Reston and Herndon for Silver Line Phase 1 bus service changes; however, the final service plan will depend on the demand for service and the availability of resources. The current plan calls for Orange-Silver Line connectivity via Connector routes 462, 463, 401, 402, 434 and Metrobus 15M.

western Fairfax : I see one less noted problem with the Silver Line. Traveling the Dulles Toll Road each day, I bus transit between the Routes 7 and 123 points, where the rail line detours to and from Tysons Corner, in three minutes. I do not see any way the Silver Line detour into Tysons with four stops is going to compete with this short of time. With the Silver Line, now I am looking at an increased transit fare (rail vs. bus) for a slightly longer commute, which is not an improvement. What about a bus going doing the Dulles Toll Road bypassing Tysons, perhaps every 20 minutes during rush hour?

Christin Wegener : Thank you for your comment. As we finalize our service plan, we will take this comment into account.

Fairfax, VA : To transfer, say going from Vienna Metro to one of the Tysons Metro stations, will require a transfer at East Falls Church. At current fares to do the transfer, traveling both ways along I66 (the scenic tour) most of the way between West and East Falls Church Metros will add about $4 in peak fare, for which this duplicative travel will add no value. Anything can be done about this wasted fare, which is not found elsewhere in the Metro system with transfers?

Nicholas Perfili :

Metrorail fares are calculated based on a composite miles calculation that takes the average of the as-the-crow-flies distance and the track distance traveled between two stations.  This provides some benefit to customers who have to travel out of their way on the rail system in order to go only a short distance.  This is the case now, for example, for a patron riding between Deanwood and Benning Road stations via Stadium-Armory.

In the case of West Falls Church to McLean, the total trip is 6.67 miles. The “as-the-crow” distance is 1.99 miles.  These distances result in 4.33 composite miles between the station pair.  The current estimate of the fare for this station pair is $2.50 peak/$2.00 off peak (with SmarTrip).  Additional Metrorail fare information is available online at .  Keep in mind fares for the Silver Line are estimated at this point.

Kendall Jamison : So grateful for the buses that take me to West Falls Church. I do not understand why the big Reston parking lot for the 555 (and 505) has a dark path to the RIBS station. Safer, but colder and longer, to wait for the 505 to connect with the RIBS. As you plan for the Silver Line, please think about how to really CONNECT with other transportation units. For instance, how easy is it to get from West Falls Church Metro Station to Kaiser's new urgent care center or any other hospital for that matter? PROMOTE the use of public transportation by advertising HOW TO CONNECT.

Christin Wegener : One of the proposed Silver Line Circulator routes (SLC 4) in Tysons will connect the Spring Hill Metro Station and Westpark Drive, where Kaiser is located. As a part of this service change, the County will be implementing a comprehensive marketing campaign to educate residents on all their mobility options.

John : There is a small section of raised walkway missing between the Wiehle station and the new development where the old park and ride lot was located. Will there be a direct connection to the station at this location or will there be another way to connect?

Nicholas Perfili : Placement of the pedestrian bridges has been one of the more visible reminders of how close we are to the start of Silver Line service.  The missing link you are asking about is planned to be in place by the middle of this month. 

Reston commuter dreaming of the Silver Line : 1. I am counting on you to help commuters connect with the Silver Line while keeping traffic at the stations from gumming up sweet, but already congested, Reston. How? 2. Please remember when we leave the the Metro we need public transportation connections, not just parking lot connections!!! 3. Will RIBS be able to take passengers to & from the Reston Silver Line Metro Station?

Christin Wegener : We are adjusting approximately 50% of existing Fairfax Connector bus service as a part of the Silver Line Phase 1 bus service changes. A major goal of our service plan is to provide frequent, local service to the new rail stations. We hope that with enhanced feeder bus service to the Wiehle-Reston East Station, residents will look at the bus as a viable transportation option to reach the Silver Line. To answer your second question, as a part of our plan, we will be implementing a circulator bus service in Tysons (SLC 1, 2, 3 and 4) to provide that "last mile" connection for people coming from or going to the Tysons Silver Line stations. Yes, RIBS 1, 2 and 3 are proposed to provide service to the new Wiehle-Reston East Station.

Anonymous User : Proposed Bus Route 722 would travel narrow residential streets and complicate the safety picture for the children of Churchill Road Elementary School. Will you be addressing these concerns by developing an alternative route that does not include Churchill Road?

Christin Wegener : Thank you for your comment. Proposed Route 722 has generated several comments both against and in favor of using Churchill Road. Staff are currently looking at options to provide feeder bus service that the community will support.

Reston : Are the RIBS 1 and RIBS 3 buses going to serve the Weihle Ave station during non-rush hour periods?

Christin Wegener : Yes - the current proposal calls for RIBS 1, 2 and 3 to provide service to the Wiehle-Reston East Station at all times during the day.

North Tysons Resident : As a resident of North Tysons in the Avalon Crescent community, I am generally happy with what I see for service with the SLC2 line with one suggestion for improvement for residents in the Park Crest, Avalon Crescent, and Avalon Park Crest communities. It would be more desirable for the line to run from International Drive to West Park to Park Run to Tysons Boulevard. The benefits would be improved resident access to this route as well as eliminate several dangerous road crossings (and in the case of Tysons Blvd and Park Run - a dangerous and unsignalized crossing). Potential stops could be located at the corner of West Park just beyond International Drive, Park Run/West Park where the current Metro 23A stops and on Tysons Blvd just beyond the intersection of Park Run for alternate access to Tysons Galleria. While I'd prefer this to be the overall route for both weekdays and weekends, this would be a superior Weekend service pattern as the route will likely service mostly residents at that time. I am delighted to see this route is designated for 7 day service but would hope for maybe 15-25 minute headways in non-rush hour periods, with times synchronized for reasonable connections to the Silver Line trains at the Tysons Metro. Overall as proposed the SLC2 is an overall improvement to the current 425 weekday only service. The SLC4 route makes for a nice alternate route with North Tysons service to these neighborhoods particularly for destinations towards Reston, Herndon, and Dulles Airport, but suffers from weekday non-late night service. I forsee much utilization for myself for the SLC2 route and limited occasional usage of the SLC4 route.

Christin Wegener : Thank you for your comments on the proposed SLC 2 and 4 routes. We are still looking at all routing options and will take your comments into consideration. The final plan, which will specify service days, hours and frequencies, will depend on available resources.

Beth : I live about 2 miles from the Tysons Corner area in one of the many suburban neighborhoods that does not have any bus access. If I want to take Metro into DC, what options do I and my children have for accessing Metro at Tysons Corner?

Nicholas Perfili : Good morning, Beth.  Thank you for your question.  Depending on your location you may be able to use a bus, walk, or ride a bike.  Kiss and ride lots will be available at the McLean and Spring Hill stations.  If you have not already done so, please review the Fairfax Connector and Metrobus service plans related to the start of Silver Line service.  Both plans are available at; see the "Transit Planning" section.

The first round of public outreach for Fairfax Connector service concludes Monday, February 11 in Reston.  The Metrobus Silver Line service plan was adopted by the WMATA Board of Directors in December 2012.

Reston Resident : I looked at the bus plan for Reston. The connection between Wiehle and Reston Town Center is weak. Why is there no frequent connection between Wiehle and the Town Center? Tysons is getting frequent circulator service, why no frequent service between the end of the Silver Line and Reston Town Center? At least bring the 505 back to the old schedule of every 15 minutes from a few years ago.

Christin Wegener : Thank you for your comments. Our Silver Line Bus Service proposal calls for 15-minute service between Reston Town Center and the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, via proposed Route 959.

Maria Mercer : Will there be a bus from The Great Falls (VA) Center to one of the metro stops?

Christin Wegener : Good morning, Maria. We are in the process of evaluating options for providing service to the Great Falls community. The roads and densities in and around the Great Falls area are generally not conducive to transit; however, we will continue to explore options.

Larry : I live in Reston and fear the arrival of the Silver line will make my commute WORSE, not better: (1) Will free parking disappear as expensive, limited parking is provided in the new complex on Wiehle Road that's designed to make the lucky developer lots of money? (2) I can get a bus to the Metro from my neighborhood now in the morning -- the 554 -- but I can't get home if I work at all late because it stops running now at 7 pm. Will that still be the case? (Ribs 4 is supposedly an alternative but it takes forever and runs from the Reston Town Center -- so I'd have to get there from the Metro even to catch it).

Christin Wegener : Hi Larry. Yes, the future parking garage at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station will be pay to park, as are all other Metrorail Station parking garages. The Herndon-Monroe Park-and-Ride, as well as the Reston South Park-and-Ride, will remain free with feeder bus service provided to the Silver Line. To answer your second question, we are still in the process of finalizing service levels for the proposed bus service changes and have already heard multiple comments regarding extending the hours of service. I will take your comments back to the lead service planner for inclusion in the final service plan.

A. Bransfield : Will there be parking? And more to the point, will there be enough parking near the station? If not, will there be shuttle buses to the station from parking garages, lots etc. I'm retired, but would like to use the Silver Line to go into D.C. without having to drive to West Fall Church with the hopes of finding a spot in the middle of the morning. "Dream the impossible dream" comes to mind. Glad it's coming and the sooner, the better!

Nicholas Perfili : Approximately 2,300 parking spaces will be available at Wiehle-Reston East Station, built as part of a mixed-use development being constructed on the site of the former Reston East Park and Ride.  In addition, sidewalk and path improvements are being constructed, bike lockers and rack will be availale, and a full complement of bus service is proposed to provide access to all five Phase 1 stations.

One neat feature at Wiehle will be the addition of a secure bike room, similar to a secure bike facility recently opened by Metro at College Park-U of Md. Station on the Green Line.  View the Fairfax Connector and Metrobus service plans online at, under "Transit Planning," to see proposed bus service. 

TY : Hi, It would be great to somehow connect the Silver Line to the new Merrifield Mosaic District. Thanks for you consideration.

Christin Wegener : Good morning. Yes, our proposal calls for routes 401 and 402 to provide service between the Tysons Corner Station and Merrifield at 15-minute headways in the peak period and 20-25 minute headways at all other times. These routes operate seven days a week, providing an excellent connection between Merrifield and the Silver Line.

Reston commuter : Will there be a place to turn the silver trains around at Wiehle without blocking the tracks if other trains are entering the station?

Nicholas Perfili : Silver Line trains will operate between the Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center stations when Phase 1 service begins.  For additional information on Metrorail Silver Line planning efforts, please see the Silver Line operating plan on Metro's website at Service and Operations Committee.

Laura W : Will there be bus service from the Sunset Hills Park and Ride (12050 Sunset Hills Road) to the Reston East Metro Station when the Silver Line opens?

Christin Wegener : Good morning, Laura. The Sunset Hills Park-and-Ride will close when the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station garage opens. The Sunset Hills Park-and-Ride lot was opened as an interim, temporary parking lot to accommodate passengers who were affected by the closure of the (former) Reston East Park-and-Ride lot.

Dave Webster : What is the present estimate for how much Fairfax County will be required to pay annually to WMATA for Fairfax's portion of capital funding/maintenance needs for Metro?

Nicholas Perfili : Mr. Webster-
Cost estimates related to Fairfax County's portion of the capital funding and maintenance needs are availble at, see slides 13-19.

Laura W : Will the 2300 Commuter Parking Spaces at Reston East Metro Station be available the day the Silver Line opens?

Christin Wegener : Yes. The garage is projected to be substantially complete by August 2013.

htmella : With the HOT lanes now open and the Rosslyn tunnel about to get even more crowded due to the silver line, has there been any discussion to making the Pentagon Express bus travel both ways to help those on the Blue Line get to Reston?

Christin Wegener : Our current proposal calls for the elimination of routes 595 and 597; however, we have heard from the riders that they want to maintain this service and we are in the process of evaluating all options. I will take your comment back to our lead service planner regarding reverse-commute service on these routes.

Corey Scott : Has there been any thought to the county suggesting to MWAA that some of the costs for the Silver Line be recouped though surcharges at the airport? This may be a way to help offset increases to toll rates on the toll road. We just got hit with a toll rate increase in January and there are many more to come!

Nicholas Perfili : Thanks for asking, Corey.  The county made an official request to the MWAA Board of Directors regarding this very issue,  During the March 2012 public outreach on Phase 2 cost, financing, and layout, a number of participants expressed concern about toll rates on the Dulles Toll Road. 

JR : Will there be any effort to increase north/south bus routes (specifically along Fairfax County Parkway), to bring riders from south of the Silver Line up to the new stations both in phase I and phase II?

Christin Wegener : We are in the process of evaluating all options to provide cross-county service between Vienna, Centreville, Reston and Herndon. The final service plan will depend on demand and available resources.

J Zoller : Dear Fairfax Connector, The current 980 bus runs every 6 minutes. The plan according to the website is to run the 980 bus to Reston East every 12 minutes when the silver line opens. I expect most/all of the current Herndon/Monroe Park and Ride passengers to continue, which means we'll end up waiting twice as long for buses with insufficient capacity. During rush hours, buses need to move more often. We already have standing passengers on the buses during rush. Looking forward to your response. Best regards, J Zoller

Christin Wegener : Thank you for your comments. Our proposal does call for a reduction in Route 980 service to every 12 minutes; however, our proposal also calls for an extension of routes 924, 926, 927 and 929 from the Herndon-Monroe Park-and-Ride to the Wiehle-Reston East Station. Commuters parking at Herndon-Monroe will have multiple route options, besides routes 980, to get to the Silver Line.

Jackie : What are your plans to extend services for Blue Line riders who will be facing further cut backs once Silver Line is running through the Rosslyn Tunnel?

Nicholas Perfili : Hi Jackie.  Metro's recent "Momentum" effort begins the discussion on addressing rail capacity in the region's core area, including the introduction of ideas to mitigate rail congestion in the core.  View Metro's Momentum website at for more information.

Depending on where you travel, Fairfax Connector routes 394 and 395 may provide an alternate travel option between Saratoga, Springfield, Gambrill Road and the Pentagon.  Information on these routes is available at

McLean : This is more a suggestion than question. I think there may be a way to come up with an option to satisfy both the groups for and agains the 722 line. I at first was completely opposed to this bus but then realized there will be no way to drive to the Silver Line and park. What if there were only five or six cycles of the bus? This way we won't have a bus creating more traffic but for those who need to get to the metro they can align their schedules to the few times the bus runs. Just an idea.

Christin Wegener : Thank you for your comments. The current proposal calls for 30-minute headways on Route 722 in the AM and PM peak periods, which means approximately 6-7 trips in the AM and 6-7 trips in the PM.

Tex : How much parking will be available at Wiehle when it opens? Will there be enough parking to accommodate the demand?

Nicholas Perfili : Tex- the park and ride at Wiehle will have approximately 2,300 parking spaces.  In addition, park and ride lots are available at Reston South (Reston Pkwy and Fox Mill Rd) and Herndon-Monroe.  Fairfax Connector buses will provide connections to Wiehle from these locations.

Jane Baniewicz : What will be the parking options in Reston near Wiehle Ave? Will there be any free parking options as there are now for the Fairfax Connector? What will the parking structure fees be? What will happen to the existing commuter lots in Reston off Sunset Hills along the trail and near the a town Center?

Christin Wegener : Good morning, Jane. The Herndon-Monroe Park-and-Ride lot, in addition to the Reston South Park-and-Ride, will remain free with feeder bus service to the Silver Line. The Sunset Hills Park-and-Ride Lot will close when the Silver Line opens.

Larry B : If Reston garage is a pay lot how much will it cost? Why would someone pay for parking at that lot and not use the free lot along Sunset Hills or other free lots in the areas? Will the Connector provide the same level of service to the free lots as it does for the pay parking at Wiehle?

Nicholas Perfili : Hi Larry.  The parking rate at the Wiehle-Reston East Park and Ride will be comparable to rates charged at existing Metrorail stations in Fairfax County.  At present, parking at Huntington, Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street, Vienna, and West Falls Church is $4.75 per day.  Parking at Herndon-Monroe will continue to be free.  Visit to view the proposed bus service to and from each Silver Line, Phase 1 station.

PGR : How might the 927, 980 and 427 buses be affected by the new silver line? I saw a map concerning the 927 (Herndon), but can't determine which stops may be "deleted."

Christin Wegener : Our detailed service proposal is available online at The plans for Route 927 are to extend the route to the Wiehle Reston-East Metro Station, and for Route 980 to be cut back to the Wiehle Reston-East Metro Station. Route 427 is proposed for elimination, with service provided by the Silver Line and the proposed Silver Line Circulator (SLC) routes.

Steve : Is there a better date for the opening of the Silver Line metro service other than "late 2013"?

Nicholas Perfili : Steve, at present passenger service is planned to begin in late December 2013.  At this time an exact date is not yet available.  The Metropolitan Washington Aiports Authority (MWAA), constructing the Silver Line, will turn the project over to Metro.  Metro will then complete a period of testing before commencing Silver Line service.  For more information on Metro's plans, please see links included in my posts above or contact Metro at, "Contact Us."

Tysons Engineer : I live in Tysons and want to voice my opinion that the SLC2 and SLC3 should be looked at to be more accessible to portions of Westpark and Park Run. And at a minimum there should be atleast one bus in Tysons that runs the same duration as the rail itself to provide the last mile service to us 17,000 residents who live here and now pay higher taxes. Thank you,

Christin Wegener : Thank you for your comments. We have already heard some suggestions for route and span of service options for the SLC routes. After the first round of public outreach concludes (February 28, 2013), staff will look at all comments and suggestions as we develop the final service plan. We will present the final plan in early April during our second public outreach period.

Dulles traveler : Right now when I get stuck in the WMATA system they run buses between stations. Does the Connector plan on doing that once the rail line is open or will you just depend on the existing service? Will WMATA be the ones providing this bus service during disruptions?

Nicholas Perfili : WMATA and Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff are working on mutual aid agreement to address disruptions to Metrorail service should a bus bridge or shuttle operation be necessary in the Dulles Corridor. 

Bus Rider : I have looked at your proposed plans and notice a number of your responses are evaluate look into etc...when will we know for sure what the new routes will look like not only for the connector but all the bus providers in the region?

Christin Wegener : We are collecting comments on our proposal until February 28, 2013. During the month of March, staff will consider all comments received and make adjustments to the plan. In late March, the service plan will be updated online and available for review. We will begin our second round of public meetings in early April. The plan will go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in May or early June for approval.

Bob Bruhns : Why is our Rt 28 station, with its 8-car train capacity and half-length canopy over its platform, estimated to cost 2.4 times as much as the Fairfield, Connecicut Metrorail station (completed in December 2011), with its 12-car train capacity and full length canopies over both of its platforms?

Nicholas Perfili : Mr. Bruhns,
Phase 2 cost estimates remian the same from when we did our public outreach back in March 2012.  Mark Canale's presentation on this matter, among other Phase 2 issues, is available online at

Metro Man : Are you coordinating the bus schedules with the train arrival and depature times?

Christin Wegener : The trains are planned to run every 6-minutes in the peak, which is frequent enough to not have to time transfers. However, when train headways decrease during the off-peak period, we will do our best to coordinate train departures and arrivals with our buses. This is especially important for the early morning and late evening bus trips.

HM : Comment: I have read the comments and would also like to see the 554 extended beyond the current times, at least for another hour. I would also like to see weekend service. Question: Does the silver line continue towards DC after it reaches the East Falls Church station, or will commuters have to switch to another line? I've never seemed to find any information on that. If it's the latter, will that station accomodate the resulting foot traffic on the platform?

Nicholas Perfili : Thanks for asking, HM.  This is a common question lately.  Silver Line, Phase 1 service will operate between Wiehle-Reston East Station and Largo Town Center Station.  If you are traveling between Wiehle and Metro Center, for example, you will have a one seat ride on the Silver Line.

Reston Anne : Hello. I currently park at Sunset Hills Park and Ride and take the 555 bus to West Falls Church Metro. What will be my alternative when the 555 is discontinued? Will there be bus service from the Sunset Hills Park and Ride to the Reston East Metro? Thank you.

Christin Wegener : Hello. When the Silver Line opens, Route 555 will be discontinued and the Sunset Hills Park-and-Ride Lot will close. The plan calls for frequent bus service between Reston Town Center and the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station via proposed Route 959. In addition, staff is proposing 15-minute feeder bus service from the neighborhoods to the Silver Line. For details on the plan, please visit:

Anonymous User : Just letting you know that I will start driving to DC if the 5A metrobus is eliminated and bus service from Herndon-Monroe is re-routed to Reston from its current location of West Falls Church. My commute would go from two stops (5a) or about 12 (980 to Orange Line) to over 20!

Nicholas Perfili : Metrobus Route 5A will continue to operate betweeen L'Enfant Plaza and Dulles Airport via Rosslyn and Herndon-Monroe when Phase 1 opens.  Visit Metro's website,, for more information on the 5A.  In addition, I posted a link in a prior response which will lead you to the approved Metrobus Silver Line service plan. 

Christin Wegener : Thank you for taking the time to submit your comments and questions regarding Silver Line, Phase 1 and the associated bus service changes. We encourage you to visit our web pages ( and for further information.

We received a tremendous amount of questions during this chat and were not able to answer all - we encourage everyone to submit their questions regarding the Silver Line Bus Service plan to In addition, we have four public meetings remaining in our first round of public outreach. Tonight's meeting is at Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church, beginning at 6:30 P.M. Hope to see you there!