Walkable Tyson's Corner? Over VDOT's dead streetscape
The forces favoring walkable urbanism — including, transit, planners, and the real estate market — appear to be in a battle with Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for supremacy in Tyson's Corner. Four Metro stations on DC's Silver Line will open in 2013 in the 12th largest employment center in the US, with 46 million square feet of office and retail space. The plan is to create walkable urbanism in this "edge city," the model for Joel Garreau's book. The photo above shows just how far Tyson's is from that goal. The Metro is sandwiched between three wide lanes of traffic, no on-street parking to protect pedestrians, no shade trees, sidewalks interrupted by big access roads with curb radii that allow fast turning traffic, large surface parking lots, and building frontages that are hostile to pedestrians. In time, some of this will change, but urbanist Laurence J. Aurbach notes that VDOT is in charge of the roadway design. "Based on the currently posted plans and renderings, Tyson's 'boulevards' will remain dominated by autos. The setbacks along the primary arterials may decrease with redevelopment, but the focus on high-volume, fast (40 mph design speed) traffic will continue." This article indicates that VDOT is even considering widening the roadway.
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