Shuttles, increased capacity, and an extension of the Blue Line are among the changes Metro will make to help riders when the Yellow Line shuts down this weekend, a closure that will last eight months.
Starting this Saturday (Sept. 10), the Yellow Line bridge and tunnels will close until May 2023 for long-overdue repair work. Construction will also be done to connect the new Potomac Yard station to the main rail system so that station can open this fall.
Both projects will result in a months-long shutdown of the Yellow Line, which runs through Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County. Parts of the Blue Line will also be closed through Oct. 22.
While this will undoubtedly inconvenience many local riders, Metro hopes to mitigate the impact of the construction and shutdown, which will happen in two phases.
During the first phase, which begins Saturday (Sept. 10) and lasts through Oct. 22, all six Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National Airport will be closed, as the Potomac Yard construction is completed. Those stations include Braddock Road, King Street, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Eisenhower Avenue, and Huntington.
Metro will offer seven free shuttles will be offered during this time. Options include local, express, and limited-stop shuttles that cross the Potomac River.
The local shuttles will stop at all Metro stations and be available during all Metrorail operating hours.
- Blue Line Local: Between Franconia, Van Dorn Street, King Street, Braddock Road, and National Airport stations every 10-20 minutes
- Yellow Line Local: Between Huntington, Eisenhower Avenue, King Street, Braddock Road, and Crystal City stations every 10-15 minutes.
Express shuttles, which will stop at the Pentagon and at the end of each line, will be available from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
- Blue Line Express: Franconia-Pentagon Express service between Franconia and Pentagon stations every six minutes.
- Yellow Line Express: Huntington-Pentagon Express service between Huntington and Pentagon stations every six minutes.
Limited shuttles, which will take riders into D.C., will be available during weekday rush hours only.
- VA-DC Shuttle 1: Between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes
- VA-DC Shuttle 2: Between Pentagon, Smithsonian, and Archives stations every 12 minutes.
- VA-DC Shuttle 3 (former 11Y route): Between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria, and Potomac Park stations every 20 minutes. Peak direction service only.
Metro will increase capacity on the other lines by shortening wait times and increasing the length of railcars. Read More
Updated at 3:15 p.m. on 8/18/2022 — Paul Malone, 52, of Alexandria was arrested and charged with yesterday’s shooting in Huntington. Police currently don’t believe he knew the victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified yet. A handgun was found near the scene, police say.
Earlier: A 33-year-old man was shot just before 2 p.m. today (Wednesday) near Richmond Highway in Huntington, Fairfax County police say.
Officers were called to the 2000 block of Huntington Avenue and found a man with gunshot wounds to the upper body, Fairfax County Police Department Second Lt. James Curry said at a media briefing. The victim remains hospitalized with injuries considered life-threatening.
According to Curry, officers were told that a potential suspect described as a Black man wearing a yellow hat, black shirt and gray pants was seen walking away from the scene. Told that the man was possibly headed to a nearby motel, police began a search of the area that included K9 units and helicopters.
Police said at 2:43 p.m. that they had a suspect in custody. Curry confirmed that the suspect is the man who was described, and he was taken into custody without incident.
“We do not believe that there is any apparent further danger to the community, and we are continuing our investigation,” Curry said. “We hope in the coming hours we’ll have a better idea of what exactly occurred.”
Witnesses at the Huntington Gateway development told FFXnow that they saw a man and woman with a baby fighting. When they became aggressive towards each other, multiple people attempted to intervene, including employees from the shopping center’s Planet Fitness and nearby office buildings.
The man repeatedly told people to back off until the couple was approached by a person at a bus stop on Huntington Avenue, who shot the man, according to witnesses.
Curry said police have preliminarily determined that the two men “got into some sort of dispute” in the roadway, but it’s not clear yet if they knew each other and, if so, what their relationship was.
The FCPD is still advising the public to avoid the area. Huntington Avenue is closed between Richmond Highway and Blaine Drive. The closure is expected to last for “several hours,” according to a public information officer.
Noting that there were “a lot of witnesses” in the populated area, some of whom may have left before police arrived, Curry said anyone with information about the incident can contact FCPD detectives at 703-691-2131.
The suspect is in custody. Huntington Ave is closed between Richmond Hwy & Blaine Dr while officers and detectives continue to investigate. Please avoid the area.
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 17, 2022
Matt Blitz contributed to this report.
(Updated at 10:45 a.m. on 11/3/2022) Metro is waiving fares on a local bus line and parking fees at several stations starting next month because of upcoming construction.
On Sept. 10, all Blue and Yellow stations south of the DCA Metro station will close for two major projects to complete the new Potomac Yard Station and repair the Yellow Line bridge and tunnel. The closure is expected to last six weeks, until Oct. 22.
The Metro Board of Directors voted late last week to waive all fees for those six weeks at the three stations with parking lots — Van Dorn Street, Huntington, and Franconia-Springfield. This is to allow riders to use the free shuttle service that’s being offered.
At the Franconia station, parking fees for non-riders will be waived until early summer 2023, when the Yellow Line bridge rehabilitation is expected to finish. This is to “encourage use of the Metrobus or Virginia Railway Express, transit alternatives available at Franconia-Springfield.”
(Correction: This article previously said parking fees would be waived at all three stations for the duration of construction.)
The board also did away with fares on the bus rapid transit Metroway-Potomac Yard Line through Oct. 22.
All of this came at the urging of Fairfax County staff, notes the Metro report.
While the waiving of the $4.95 parking fee and bus fare will save riders money, it will cost Metro nearly $611,000 in lost revenue, per the report.
Expected to open to riders in late fall, the Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria will serve both the Blue and Yellow lines. In September, new tracks will be constructed to connect the station to the main tracks along with performance and safety testing.
The Yellow Line Tunnel and Bridge rehab project will shut down the line for longer. That work is expected to take eight months, so the Yellow Line won’t operate again in Virginia until at least May 2023.
In June, Metro announced several alternative methods to get commuters where they need to go. That includes free shuttle service and increased Blue Line service for the first six weeks.
Then, on Oct. 22, all the Blue Line stations will reopen, and service will extend to Huntington until May 2023.
Fairfax County’s first medical cannabis dispensary is opening today (Wednesday) in Huntington.
Beyond/Hello will begin serving patients at 10 a.m. at 5902 Richmond Highway. The company obtained needed approvals from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy and is opening within its expected time frame.
There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by local lawmakers on Aug. 4, a company spokesperson told FFXnow.
It will be the first medical cannabis dispensary in the county, though Beyond/Hello already has two Northern Virginia locations in Manassas and Sterling.
The company will also open a store in Fairfax City at 10521 Fairfax Blvd, likely in September. Another one in Arlington is due later this year, and there are plans for a Woodbridge dispensary in 2023.
Beyond/Hello is owned by Flordia-based Jushi and is one of four companies currently permitted to sell cannabis in Virginia. The company is legally allowed to operate six dispensaries in Northern Virginia.
The Huntington dispensary moved into the former home of Great American Steak & Buffet Company, which appears to have closed in 2020. The store is 9,600 square feet and has more than 50 parking spots.
It’s also just south of Alexandria, as Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo highlighted in a press release:
We’re thrilled to open up our new dispensary in Alexandria — a town famous for its nationally recognized landmarks, rich history, vibrant arts, pristine waterfront and charming restaurants and boutiques. Beyond Hello Alexandria captures the best of our thinking and combines our digital and physical retail experiences with the flexibility and convenience of our express checkout services. In addition, Beyond Hello Alexandria is strategically positioned near the ‘Beltway’ with easy highway access, and is conveniently located within a 15-minute drive to approximately 400,000 people.
While retail sales of cannabis remain illegal in Virginia, the medical cannabis industry is expected to explode in the coming months after a new state law went into effect July 1, removing the need for patients to register with the Commonwealth. Now, patients just need a certification from a licensed medical practitioner to make a purchase.
Already, Beyond/Hello officials say they are seeing a significant increase in patient sign-ups in July compared to last month.
“Since the patient registration process requirement has been removed, the Company has seen a 2.3x increase in patient sign-ups in the first three weeks of July as compared to the entire month of June,” the press release said.
The developer of a mixed-use project near the Huntington Metro Station wants more of the same on land previously approved for office and hotel space: more residential.
CIA-2550 Huntington LLC is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to build an up to 200-unit, 7-story apartment building on the north side of Huntington Avenue. The roughly 6-acre area is already built out with The Parker, a 390-unit apartment building that was part of an application initially approved in 2012.
Now, the developer says the remaining 370,000 gross square feet of hotel or office space with retail does not meet market demand.
“Given the length of time that the subject property has remained vacant, it is clear that the approved uses are not economically viable,” says a June 15 application submitted to the county.
The proposal is in the initial planning stages and has not been formally accepted for review by the county.
Nearly a year ago, the county changed the area’s underlying zoning to allow residential with retail. Other conditions include the addition of an urban plaza at the corner of Huntington Avenue and Metroview Parkway.
Positioned on top of a garage, the building will also include retail on its first floor. But the developer determined that extending retail or office space to the second floor was not feasible “after retaining a consultant to prepare a study of market demand in the area.”
“The applicant believes that it will be highly unlikely, if not impossible, to find tenants for non-residential uses on the second floor of a building which does not have direct street access,” the application says.
The building will include a fitness center, lounge and courtyard.
“Individuals who patronize the businesses will be able to step out onto the plaza and enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal in a pleasant urban environment,” the application states.
Photo via Brookfield Properties
WNB Factory, a restaurant that specializes in wings and burgers, is expected to open two Fairfax County locations next month.
The business plans to open at Hunter Mill Plaza (2952 Chain Bridge Road) between Aug. 15 and 30, depending on final permit approvals, according to a company representative.
Joon Kim, a franchisee with the company, says the new location in Oakton fills what he says is a lack of good wing and burger spots in the area.
Our burgers are all never frozen Certified Angus Beef. Our chickens, chicken tenders, and chicken wings (23 flavors) are all natural, hormone free, cage free,” Kim told FFXnow.
The business also plans to open a location in Huntington sometime in the middle of next month. That spot will be located at 5952 Richmond Highway.
WNB has locations across the country.
The Fairfax County area’s first medical cannabis dispensaries are almost ready to make their debuts.
Beyond/Hello, one of four companies allowed to sell cannabis in Virginia and owned by Flordia-based Jushi, is opening a location in Huntington along Richmond Highway, as FFXnow reported in April.
That store is set to start serving patients “within two to four weeks,” pending approval from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, Chief Commercial Director Trent Wolveck told FFXnow.
The new dispensary will be located next to a car dealership at 5902 Richmond Highway. Set back a bit from the road, the building previously housed the Great American Steak & Buffet Company, which appears to have closed in 2020.
“This location was selected due to the proximity to the Old Town Alexandria and the 495 Beltway,” Wolveck said by email. “Also, our preference in Virginia is for stand alone single tenant properties. We get that here, along with over 90 parking spaces for patients.”
Construction on the business appears to be mostly completed, with a glossy black, stylized sign in front.
Beyond/Hello’s Fairfax City dispensary is also on track to open within the next six to 10 weeks, barring state approval, Wolveck says. It will be at 10521 Fairfax Blvd. in a former Rite Aid building.
Wolveck says the location held a similar appeal as the Richmond Highway one, since it’s a standalone building with a large number of parking spots. The proximity to major roads and highways also was attractive.
“The property sits on highly trafficked Leesburg Pike and provides the best signage and branding opportunity of all of our Virginia locations given its position at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Chain Bridge [Road],” Wolveck noted. “The Fairfax location is also just two minutes from I-66.”
Earlier this month, it became easier for Virginia residents to obtain medical cannabis. A new state law went into effect July 1, removing the need for patients to register with the Commonwealth to make a purchase. Now, patients simply need written certification from a licensed practitioner.
This loosening of regulations is expected to supercharge Virginia’s medical cannabis industry. As of April, only about 0.5% of the Commonwealth’s nearly 9 million residents were registered as medical cannabis patients. That’s far below the national average of 2% and Maryland’s rate of 2.5%.
Medical cannabis sales may catch fire in the coming months, but recreational sales remain banned in Virginia. While it is legal to possess and grow marijuana in the Commonwealth, an effort to create infrastructure for retail sales failed in the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year.
For the moment, cannabis retail sales won’t be allowed in Virginia until Jan. 1, 2024.
Beyond/Hello is continuing its expansion across Northern Virginia. The company is legally allowed to operate six dispensaries in Virginia, with its first two already open in Manassas and Sterling.
An Arlington dispensary is set to open in Clarendon along Wilson Blvd by the end of the year, while a Woodbridge location is aiming for an early 2023 start date.
The Arden in Huntington, set to be one of the county’s largest affordable housing complexes, is expected to be ready for residents this fall.
Construction work on the seven-story, 126-unit apartment building is expected to finish in late September with a move-in date shortly thereafter, perhaps as soon as October, Wesley Housing President and CEO Shelley Murphy tells FFXnow.
That’s only slightly behind the developer’s initial goal of completing the project by the summer. Murphy attributes the delay to “normal construction stuff,” like supply chain issues, material acquisitions, and permitting.
Wesley Housing is a nonprofit that constructs and manages affordable housing across the D.C. region, including a number in Fairfax County.
The nearly $60 million Arden is Wesley Housing’s largest housing complex and will be one of the most significant in the county when completed, though Dominion Square West in Tysons will top it for the number of units when finished in several years.
Back in March, Fairfax County revised its goal to have 10,000 affordable housing units by 2034.
Of the 126 apartments in The Arden, more than half will be two bedrooms, and the rest will be a mix of studio, single, and triple bedroom units. Housing will be available for those earning between 40% and 80% of the area median income.
There will only be one market-rate apartment available in the entire building.
The Arden will also house a new headquarters for Wesley Housing, with staff expected to move in by the end of the year, Murphy says.
Located at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive, the building is just a block from the Huntington Metro station.
“This is truly a transit-oriented development,” Murphy said. “We are less than 200 yards from the Huntington Metro station. Those are the highest priced [sites] and it’s often hard to do significant affordable housing that close to transit.”
The site previously hosted a 12-unit brick apartment from the 1950s that got demolished after redevelopment was approved in 2014. Initially, the site was zoned as a combination of market-rate apartments and commercial space.
However, when Wesley Housing acquired the property and began its project, the nonprofit committed it to affordable housing and got the site rezoned from commercial to office. It broke ground on The Arden in July 2020.
The eastern end of the county, including Huntington and the Richmond Highway corridor, continues to be targeted for redevelopment. Murphy says The Arden will provide convenient and accessible housing for those most in need in Fairfax County.
“There’s a lot of redevelopment in that area of Huntington. There’s a lot of market-rate apartments going up and it will continue to increase in density going forward,” Murphy said. “This is the one committed, affordable that’s in that part of the Huntington area.”
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) A pedestrian was killed in a crash on Route 1 in Lorton early this morning (Friday), just hours after Fairfax County police announced that a woman had died following a hit-and-run in the corridor.
With those two deaths, Fairfax County has now reported 12 pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes this year — nearly doubling the seven deaths recorded at this point in 2021.
The 2022 death toll doesn’t include a man killed on the Dulles Airport Access Highway in the Reston area on Tuesday (July 5), since that incident was handled by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police.
The Lorton crash occurred on Richmond Highway, also known as Route 1, over the northbound I-95 ramp at 1:28 a.m., the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release this afternoon.
The pedestrian — now identified as 24-year-old Keith Thomas — was walking in the highway’s southbound lanes when he was struck by a 2005 GMC Sierra headed in the same direction.
“While the driver of the GMC called for help, Thomas was subsequently struck by other vehicles,” the FCPD said.
Thomas died at the scene. Police say alcohol and speed don’t appear to have been factors in the crash.
Officers are on scene of a crash involving a pedestrian on Rt. 1 near I-95 in Lorton. The pedestrian was pronounced deceased at the scene. Striking vehicle remained on scene. SB Rt. 1 at Hassett St is closed. Please avoid the area #FCPD pic.twitter.com/L12GjcKpnI
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) July 8, 2022
Charges possible in Huntington hit-and-run
Yesterday afternoon (Thursday), the FCPD announced that Doris Anita McPhail, 56, of Alexandria had succumbed to her injuries at a hospital that morning after being hit by a car while crossing Route 1 on Wednesday (July 6).
According to police, McPhail was near the Huntington Avenue intersection when a car traveling south on the highway hit her in the left lane.
Officers responded to the 5600 block of Richmond Highway around 10:20 p.m. The vehicle was originally described as a dark-colored, older SUV, but Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives later identified it as a 2007 dark-green Toyota Camry. Read More
Huntington House Fire Displaces Six — Fairfax County and Alexandria City firefighters responded to a house fire in the 2500 block of Massey Court at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday (July 6). Started accidentally in “an electrical event involving the attic fan,” the blaze displaced six residents and caused approximately $134,500 in damages, though no injuries were reported. [FCFRD]
Body, Possibly of Missing Man, Found in Newington — “Fairfax County Police say they found a body inside a car thought to belong to a man missing since May. According to officials, 53-year-old Juan Ward from Woodbridge, Virginia, was last seen on May 24…Police said Ward disappeared under unusual circumstances.” [WUSA9]
Dulles Airport Lands Funding for New Concourse — “Dulles International Airport will receive $49.6 million to help fund a new regional airline concourse, among 85 airports receiving part of a nearly $1 billion grant stemming from last year’s infrastructure bill approved by Congress…The funding puts Dulles one step closer to construction of a new Concourse A, which serves United Airlines’ regional flights.” [WTOP]
Supervisors Approve Extra Taxi Surcharge — “As fuel prices remain high, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors in late June approved a temporary uncodified ordinance that provides an emergency $2-per-trip taxicab fuel surcharge through Dec. 29.” [Inside NoVA]
Fairfax County to Overhaul Development Process — The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on July 19 to consider changes to its site-specific plan amendment (SSPA) process, which is used for development proposals that require altering the county’s Comprehensive Plan. Proposed revisions focus on shortening the timeline and taking a more targeted approach to public engagement. [Annandale Today]
Superintendent Michelle Reid Makes Introduction — “After several months of preparation and a six-day, cross-country drive, I wanted to reach out and share again how excited I am to be here in Fairfax County and to be part of the Fairfax County Public Schools family!” [FCPS]
What to Do in the Town of Vienna — “Vienna sits in the shadow of its bigger neighbor Tysons Corner. But don’t let the town’s low profile fool you: Its cornucopia of shops, events, and restaurants make Vienna a worthwhile day-trip destination.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Frying Pan Fair Returns — Fairfax County’s 4-H Fair and Carnival will be back at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon on Aug. 7. The event will feature carnival rides, games, food trucks, a Big Truck Night and farm demonstrations. A list of food vendors and other details will be released in the coming weeks. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
It’s Friday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 85 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:52 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]