This is Big!

Photo courtesy Bechtel

The opening of the Silver Line this past July was an important step toward a better future for the Washington metropolitan region and the Commonwealth of Virginia. For decades, Tysons has been an example of 20th century development, urban and suburban areas that don’t quite work—too many cars, no sidewalks and not enough green space.

The investment in the Silver Line presents us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve travel and commutes, restore air and water quality, enhance our ability to preserve the rural economy and ultimately, transform the quality of life in communi­ties along the new Metro line and in the region as a whole.

Some of the immediate benefits are an increase in transit commuters, improved access to jobs, a boost to the economy (with increased access to local businesses) and improved air and water quality.

As with any major change of this scale, plenty of opportuni­ties and challenges remain, such as funding the second phase to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County; making sure the promised investments in local roads, local transit, and sidewalks are made in a timely fashion; implementing the commitments on new and improved stormwater systems; and constantly working to improve the mix of uses and amenities in the new and redeveloped communi­ties in Tysons, Reston and Loudoun. As we recommended during the debate about the design of the Silver Line, the Metro system needs an additional crossing from Virginia to the District to ensure that all lines, particularly the Blue Line, can operate at maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

But the fact remains that the region’s future is far better with the opening of the Silver Line than with any other investment in the past 40 years. It will make possible a pattern of future develop­ment that provides transportation options and the opportunity to redevelop and improve the region. Let’s take time to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

This article was featured in our Fall 2014 Member Newsletter, The Piedmont View.