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Friday, December 9, 2022
FairfaxBusinessFairfax officials going high-tech in tracking Tysons growth

Fairfax officials going high-tech in tracking Tysons growth

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Development continues apace in Tysons and Fairfax County officials have supplanted their previous 200-page printed annual report with an interactive, electronic version to keep the public informed of the latest happenings.

The new Web-based “Tysons Tracker” provides information on land-use planning, development and the implementation of the Tysons comprehensive plan, which the Board of Supervisors adopted in 2010.

Tysons Tracker will make it easier for the public to access, evaluate and use Tysons land-use data, said Suzie Battista, chief of the Department of Planning and Development’s Urban Centers Section, during an Oct. 26 briefing to the Board of Supervisors’ Land-Use Policy Committee.

Many of the report’s maps and other graphics have embedded links offering even more details. Phase 1 of the new report’s rollout still includes some static graphics, but “we will continue to increase the functionality and integrate additional data into the Tysons Tracker over the next year,” Battista said.

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Several county agencies contribute information for the report, which will be updated annually, Battista said.

“It’s kind of a living, growing document,” said Daniel White of the Department of Planning and Development. “It’s not just that one snapshot.”

The electronic version of the report, which features pages that easily may be printed by viewers, saves about $1,800 in printing costs – a drop in the bucket for the county’s multi-billion-dollar annual budget, but every little cost reduction counts.

Tysons Tracker offers translations in more than 100 languages and the site may be shared on various social-media platforms, Battista said.

The report uses interactive development maps with multiple layers of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data. Users could, for example, click on one map layer to show present-day development in Tysons and then view another layer that shows expected development, officials said.

“This is a wonderful program,” said Supervisor Kathy Smith (D-Sully), chair of the board’s Land-Use Policy Committee. “I just think it makes all of our information more accessible to the community [and] to staff members.”

Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D-Hunter Mill) agreed, calling the report an “excellent job.”

“This is very impressive,” he said.

County officials also updated supervisors on these recent developments in Tysons:

• Less floor area has been developed in Tysons this year than in 2020, but construction activity has increased in 2021. Last year saw 3.3 million square feet of space under construction in Tysons, but 3.9 million square feet was being built as of August this year, officials said.

• Construction on a new pedestrian bridge over Interstate 495 to Tysons Corner Center began this spring and should be finished by spring 2022.

• The new Scotts Run Trail and Scotts Run Fire Station 44, both on the east side of Tysons, were completed earlier this year.

• County officials in late 2022 hope to add two more Capital Bikeshare stations to the 14 existing ones in Tysons. Usage rates at some Bikeshare stations in Tysons is up this year compared with 2020, officials said.

• Metrorail ridership is on the upswing, but remains well below pre-pandemic levels. All four stations in the urban center have seen ridership increases, with the Tysons Corner station leading the pack.

• Two new permanent urban parks – The Perch at Capital One and a park at the Bexley Condominiums building – were delivered this year. Park acreage in Tysons has increased 25.75 acres since 2010, officials said.

• County officials this year adopted new workforce-dwelling-unit policy guidance for Tysons.

• The Board of Supervisors and Dominion Energy, with support from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), signed a new memorandum of understanding that alleviates developers from having to obtain infrastructure easements for utilities installed under parking lanes.

• County and VDOT officials this spring again implemented an “open street” on Tysons Boulevard, which will remain vehicle-free through this fall.
• County staff and the Tysons Partnership have formed a working group to develop design guidance for implementation of the Tysons Community Circuit, a 4.75-mile-long recreational trail loop envisioned in the Tysons comprehensive plan.

• The Tysons Partnership this summer launched a new “Tysons City” brand initiative to guide “place-based activations,” marketing, programs, events and multi-media communications.

• Celebrate Fairfax recently has begun hosting pop-up events at The PARC (People, Art, Recreation and Community) at the former Route 7 site of The Container Store.

To access Tysons Tracker and review previous years’ reports for the urban center, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/annual-report.

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