Today, the Silver Line rolled into action, sending the first trains from stops in McLean, Tysons Corner and extending out to Wiehle Avenue (Reston).
I wasn’t able to make the first ride. According to radio reports, about 10,000 passengers did ride the Silver Line today. We’ll see how many return on Monday. Regardless, it’s a big day for METRO.
It’s also a big day for Fairfax County. For the first time, the County’s downtown (Tysons Corner) is connected with downtown Arlington and downtown D.C. From Tysons’ epicenter at Greensboro Drive, it’s now a 30 minute train ride to Metro Center in the District. Congestion be damned.
Of course, there are a lot of wrinkles with this new service. First of all, the Silver Line still does not connect Dulles Airport. That will take several more years. Secondly, it’s overhead design is not really conducive to pedestrians Third, it will put a tremendous stress on the Potomac River tunnel which already accommodates the Orange Line trains. Those trains — which serve my constituents — will now be pinched by the limited capacity.
(note: Prior to 2011, I represented a half-dozen precincts along the Dulles Corridor. No longer. Now the 34th Senate district goes straight west along I-66, which is a whole separate transportation dilemma. And more on that later …)
Regardless, the opening of the Silver Line is a triumph. A lot of politicians particularly deserve kudos for leadership in having the vision and obtaining the funds, particularly Gerry Connolly who was promoting this rail over fifteen years ago as Providence District Supervisor. And, of course, the local property owners, taxpayers (and Toll Road drivers) actually wrote the check. So they get the most credit