By ABIGAIL ZENNER
This summer six Metro stations along the Blue and Yellow Lines are closed. Here are some of the ways the region is coming together to help riders, compile important data, and support Metro during the summer shutdown.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has been fixing its outdoor Metrorail platforms to bring them to a state of good repair. Ten platforms have already been rebuilt and WMATA has identified 20 more in need of repairs. To complete this work as quickly as possible, WMATA planned to close the stations and suspend service within the area where the work is being performed. As part of this on-going Platform Improvement Project, six stations and service along the Blue and Yellow Lines south of National Airport were closed on May 25 and are scheduled to be reopened on September 8, 2019.
The TPB and the Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) have supported the shutdown through coordinating activities, compiling data, and supporting commuters through Commuter Connections. WMATA itself has taken the lead in getting the word out and working with partners. Plus, the City of Alexandria and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission have provided extensive support through communications, coordination, and transit alternatives throughout the summer shutdown. Here is a short round-up of these activities.
TPB and COG activities
COG/TPB’s Commuter Connections has formed a WMATA Platform Shutdown Transportation Demand Management Work Group which meets on a regular basis to exchange information on commuting solutions during this year’s and future year Metrorail station shutdowns related to the platform work.
Specifically related to the summer station shutdown, Commuter Connections’ outreach program included two pop-up events that occurred in May. The first event occurred on Wednesday, May 8 at the Huntington Metro station during the evening rush. The City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, Commuter Connections, and 94.7 FM radio station participated in the event to help Metrorail riders identify solutions for their summer commute. Commuter Connections hosted a similar event on Tuesday, May 14 at the Van Dorn Metro station also during the evening rush. The City of Alexandria, DASH, Fairfax County, Commuter Connections, and WTOP staffed the event. Approximately 1,000 commuters were reached between both events. Commuters were given information as they were exiting the station and both events were promoted through Facebook boosted posts.
Commuter Connections has been promoting the CarpoolNow dynamic ridesharing mobile app, along with the entire suite of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program services, at the pop-up events and through other means. The Commuter Connections spring employer newsletter featured a frontpage story on the shutdown. Targeted digital ads are being used around the affected Metrorail stations. COG/TPB staff also sent targeted email announcements regarding the shutdown and suggested commuting solutions to approximately 5,800 commuters and to 1,000 employers around the affected stations.
Commuter Connections created a standalone website for commuting options during the shutdown at commuterconnections.org/metro-station-shutdown.
What impact does the shutdown have on the region’s traffic congestion, and what impact does the region’s traffic congestion have on the shuttle and supplementary bus services being run in the area? COG/TPB staff are compiling congestion data along major commuter routes. Vehicle probe data shows speeds along these routes which can flag any anomalies along shuttle bus routes or major commuting areas. Data collected can show if speeds are slower or faster than normal, potentially helping advise adjustments to supplementary bus services.
The data collection will also be useful after the shutdown period is complete to analyze how the system responded. This type of analysis can be useful for operations planning for future transit disruptions. Over the coming months, staff will also look at other data sources (as data become available) to analyze shutdown impacts such as transit ridership, shifting travel patterns, and traffic volume changes.
Aside from the Department of Transportation Planning, COG staff has also assisted in coordination calls with Public Information Officers (PIO) and COG public safety committees. These coordination calls helped the region’s local jurisdictions, transit agencies, public safety, and other agencies prepare, share information, and monitor and respond to concerns. COG’s Office of Communications issued a press release that reminded Metrorail riders about the shutdown and provided information about resources available from Commuter Connections.
COG/TPB continues to support and provide information to numerous partner agencies during the shutdown, including on public outreach, operations planning, and public safety planning.
WMATA has been coordinating with regional jurisdictions and partners since May 2018. The transit agency held regular conference calls and partnered with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC). This coordination included state and local representatives including COG, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), the Pentagon, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), OmniRide, the District Department of Transportation, Virginia State Police, congressional offices, and many more.
WMATA also organized its own PIO group to share information and coordinate on outreach, press releases, press conferences, communications materials, and other messaging. WMATA representatives participated in COG’s PIO communications call to share its outreach efforts. The agency has a dedicated team focusing on communications on the platform improvement project. This communications team created signage, website updates, information at events, and more. The team has also provided presentations at community groups, business groups, for elected officials, and government agencies including the TPB Technical Committee. WMATA also used social media and paid advertising to get the word out. Two weeks before the shutdown, outreach teams handed out brochures at each of the affected stations.
WMATA is providing shuttle buses throughout the affected areas for those who need to travel through the Blue and Yellow Lines. Free parking is available at Franconia-Springfield, Huntington, and Van Dorn Street. Temporary bicycle parking is also available at all six closed stations.
WMATA has a dedicated website with information about the project at
NVTC, City of Alexandria, VRE, and other activities
NVTC worked with WMATA to organize a Northern Virginia stakeholder group, bringing together transit operators, communications specialists, and other government agencies to plan, conduct meetings, and coordinate in advance of the station and service shutdown. Over the course of the shutdown, NVTC and WMATA will continue to coordinate check-ins with local jurisdictions to analyze and adjust for shifting travel patterns, communications, and operational changes.
Once the shutdown work is complete, NVTC is planning a marketing effort to bring back riders when the affected Blue and Yellow Line stations and service reopen. Under this project, NVTC will implement a multi-pronged marketing effort to persuade former and potential riders to return to Metrorail and other local public
The City of Alexandria has provided a website with an extensive list of options for commuters during the shutdown. The page includes information about WMATA shuttle buses, DASH buses, links to Commuter Connections to find a carpool or vanpool, information on biking, and how to receive a subsidy for the water taxi. People interested in using the water taxi may fill out a form for the subsidized rate. The water taxi runs between Old Town Alexandria and the Southwest Waterfront in the District of Columbia.
A commuter tools website also explains that there is free commuter parking available at Franconia-Springfield, Huntington, and Van Dorn Street and that temporary bike parking will also be available at all the closed Metrorail stations. For transit riders using the DASH bus mobile app, introductory fares are available for $1. The City of Alexandria also leased 200 parking spaces at Landmark Mall to facilitate carpooling and ridesharing during the shutdown. Permits for these spaces were handed out on May 28 but there is an option for people who are interested to be placed on a waitlist as spaces become available. The City of Alexandria is also offering discounted rates in city garages.
On its site, the City of Alexandria offers numerous alternative options including those mentioned above and provides more detailed maps from WMATA showing each of the shuttle bus routes. The website can be found at: alexandriava.gov/goalex/info/default.aspx?id=109697
VRE has also reached out to Virginia Metro riders in advance of the shutdown. VRE provided a dedicated website specifically to Metro riders to explain the VRE option. VRE representatives were also available in Alexandria to answer any questions Metro riders may have about using VRE. In an agreement with Amtrak, VRE riders can also use select Amtrak trains with a VRE ticket and there are discounted rates available during the shutdown. These options may alleviate crowding on VRE trains.
More information for Metro riders interested in using VRE as an option can be found at: vre.org/service/vre-isnt-just-for-long-distance-commutes.
Other jurisdictions including Fairfax and Arlington have also provided information on dedicated websites providing links to help their residents find alternate commuting options. Many jurisdictions have shared information across social media platforms, using the coordinated messages. Some bus routes in the counties are also adding some additional service.
While this year’s station shutdown is focused on the Blue and Yellow Lines, future stations will be shutdown as part of this on-going project. Next year, stations and service along the Orange Line will be shutdown to repair platforms there. The region will need to prepare for those shutdowns and may learn lessons from this summer’s work.
Public Pools and Waterparks at Your Doorstep
The Fairfax County Park Authority, NOVA Parks, our regional park authority, and Prince William Parks operate a wide variety of indoor and outdoor swimming venues. Almost all of them are accessible by either walking or riding a bike to visit. Both season and day passes are available.
Some of these local venues, such as the Splashdown, Water Mine and Wave pool, offer very unique experiences for the whole family to enjoy. Waterslides, tube rides and body surfing are virtually at your doorstep! Check out the list of locations below and stroll or pedal on over to cool off this summer. And remember to swim more and commute less! It’s good for the body and the mind!
Fairfax County Park Authority Swimming Venues
Outdoor Swimming Facilities
The Water Mine
1400 Lake Fairfax Drive
Reston, VA 20190
This family water park captures the excitement of the Old West’s Gold Rush with attractions tailored for all ages. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole offers more than an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, floatables, and an interactive water playground. Careen off covered wagons, float on wild animals and dash through showers tipped from water-filled ore carts. The activity pool is encircled by Rattlesnake River, a 725-foot lazy river; you can enjoy a relaxing float as the current gently nudges you along.
The centerpiece is Pete’s Peak, a craggy mountain dotted with boarded-up mine shafts and tunnels. Several slides of various size and intensity jut from the mountain, giving a variety of thrills you’ll return to again and again. Enjoy a slide down Big Pete and Little Pete, or experience the thrills of Prospectors’ Plummet, with one of three 3-story waterslides!
The mountain and slides are named for Pete the Prospector. According to Lake Fairfax legend, he staked his claim there in 1849, searching for gold. Sadly for Pete, his years of digging found only water. But now, with The Water Mine, the Park Authority is turning Pete’s worthless old strike into the golden fun of summer.
There’s something here for everyone. Tenderfoot Pond, with its pint-sized slide and gentle bubblers, gives toddlers a perfect place for water play. Children will delight at the never-ending bubblers and spray fountains in Boomtown, a multi-level water playground, along with the interactive slides and additional interactive features in the tot spray pad area! The more adventurous can test their skills on Box Canyon Crossing, the log walk obstacle course. Teenagers can join a game of water volleyball or enjoy the thrill of Prospectors” Plummet, and everyone will enjoy going with the flow in a tube on Rattlesnake River.
Our Special Harbor Spray Park at Lee District RECenter
Lee District Park
6601 Telegraph Road
Alexandria, VA 22310
If you like running through the sprinkler, you’ll love Our Special Harbor “spray ground” at Lee District Park in Franconia. The fully accessible complex features Chesapeake Bay-themed attractions including a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers and a lighthouse. The beach area is quieter with softer bubblers and interactive water tables. The computerized water maze and dumping crab basket provide more lively activity.
Children will also enjoy the fully accessible tree house and the Tiki Village playground in the nearby Family Recreation Area.
Children (15 years and younger) on the spray pad must wear aquatic shoes or sandals at all times with an enclosed heel or strap on back to keep secured to the feet. Non-standing/non-mobile babies are exempt. Adults/parents/guardians, including employees, may wear flip-flops in lieu of the above. Street shoes are not permitted on the spray pad. For more information call 703-922-9841.
General Admission is free; however there is a daily fee for each participant and chaperone for commercial or nonprofit groups (including day care centers, martial arts camps, YMCA, church groups, etc.). $5 for Fairfax County residents, $10 for Non-County residents. This fee does not apply to families. Space is limited for commercial/nonprofit groups. Reservations can be faxed to 703-719-0987 or in-person through the Manager on Duty at Lee District RECenter prior to the visit.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Pool
Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
8115 Fordson Road
Near Richmond Highway (Route 1)
The MLK pool features two slides and a children’s wading pool – and admission is free for individuals! The pool will open on Memorial Day weekend and be open each Saturday and Sunday until Fairfax County Public Schools dismiss for the summer. The pool will be closed Tuesdays. Check the website for a complete schedule.
There is a daily fee of $3 for each participant and chaperone for commercial or nonprofit groups, including day care centers, martial arts camps, church groups and others. Space is limited for groups and must be coordinated in advance with the aquatic supervisor or assistant at Mt. Vernon RECenter at 703-768-3224. The fee does not apply to families picnicking in the park. The park features a playground, an open field and a picnic area, which can be reserved for a fee online. The facility has a maximum capacity of 140 patrons so be advised that on busy days when capacity is reached, there will be a wait.
Indoor Pool Facilities
Cub Run Recreation Center
4630 Stonecroft Blvd.
Chantilly, VA 20151
Cub Run RECenter is a 65,000 square foot facility that includes a 4,860 square foot leisure entertainment pool featuring two water slides and a water playground, a 25-yard by 25-meter swimming pool, a 9,600 square foot fitness center and two multipurpose rooms – one a 3,000 square foot room that can be divided in half, the other a 1,700 square foot room, and a 270 square foot party room.
The natatorium leisure pool includes a 30-foot-high slide that exits the building in an enclosed tube, a 20-foot-high slide with an open tube, a spa, a vortex, a current channel, an open shallow water area and a water playground with interactive play features, a tiny-tot slide and a zero depth entry. The 25-yard by 25-meter competition pool includes two 1-meter diving boards and a seating capacity of 175.
And These Nine Additional Fairfax County Recreation Centers:
Audrey Moore RECenter
8100 Braddock Road
Audrey Moore RECenter at Wakefield Park is approximately 76,000 square feet in size and houses a 50-meter pool with one 3-meter and two 1-meter diving boards. The natatorium also contains spectator seating, doors that lead to a spacious outdoor sundeck, and locker rooms containing saunas and showers. In addition to the various racquetball/wallyball and squash courts, the center has a large gymnasium with six basketball hoops, and volleyball nets. The center also contains a cycle studio, a dance room, a pottery lab and kiln, an arts and crafts room, three multi-purpose activity rooms, and a senior center.
George Washington RECenter
8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road
Alexandria, VA 22309
George Washington RECenter has a heated indoor 25-meter pool with a poolside spa, beach and wading area, saunas, showers and fully equipped locker rooms.
The fitness area includes two treadmills, and recumbent and stationary bicycles. This completely accessible facility (curb cuts, dressing stalls, pool ramp) also features newly resurfaced lighted tennis courts and a picnic area.
Lee District RECenter
6601 Telegraph Road
Lee District RECenter, approximately 83,600 square feet, is comprised of three major areas; Natatorium, Gymnasium and
In addition to these main features, the RECenter also contains racquetball/wallyball courts, two mirrored dance/fitness rooms, three multi-purpose rooms, a mezzanine, and preschool.
The surrounding 193-acre park has one soccer field with two overlay T-Ball fields, two football fields with two overlay softball fields, four basketball courts, an amphitheater, a playground and tot lot, four lighted tennis courts, a tennis practice wall, and walking trails.
The Natatorium includes a heated, indoor 50-meter by 25-yard pool, two 1-meter and two 3-meter diving boards, spa, spectator seating, locker rooms, family changing room, saunas, and showers and an outdoor sun deck and grassed sunbathing area.
Mt. Vernon RECenter
2017 Belle View Blvd.
Mount Vernon RECenter has a 25-meter x 25-yard pool with a one-meter Duraflex springboard, a beach area with aquatic toys, an outdoor sundeck, poolside spa, and locker rooms with saunas and showers. Comprehensive programs promote safety, skill development, fitness, social interaction and fun.
Various user groups share pool space. Swim teams and Aquatic Adventures Scuba Diving rent space for practice and meets. FCPA and Fairfax County Public Schools share the commitment for hosting the high school swim and dive teams for practice and meets November through February
Oak Marr RECenter
3200 Jermantown Road
Oak Marr RECenter has an Olympic-size heated indoor pool with 1-meter and 3-meter springboards, 3- meter and 5-meter platforms, a 2,300 sq. ft. beach and wading area, a 3,300 sq. ft. outdoor sundeck, saunas, locker rooms with private showers, and a family changing room.
Fairfax County Park Authority RECenter pools have something for everybody! Their comprehensive programs promote safety, skill development, fitness, social interaction and fun.
7525 Marc Drive
Falls Church, Virginia
Providence RECenter has a 25-yard x 25-meter heated indoor pool with wading area, springboard, outdoor sundeck, 2 spas, saunas, locker rooms, family changing room, and bleacher seating. There is a wheelchair ramp built in to the main pool.
Various user groups share pool space. Nationally ranked swimming teams rent space for practice and meets. FCPA and Fairfax County Public Schools share the commitment for hosting the high school swim and dive teams for practice and meets November through February
South Run RECenter
7550 Reservation Drive
The South Run RECenter has a 25 x 25-yard pool with two one-meter Duraflex springboards, an outdoor sundeck, poolside spa, and locker rooms with saunas and showers. Their comprehensive programs promote safety, skill development, fitness, social interaction and fun.
Spring Hill RECenter
1239 Spring Hill Road
The Spring Hill RECenter has a 25-yard x 25-meter heated indoor pool with two one-meter Duraflex springboards, outdoor sundeck, saunas, locker rooms with showers, and poolside spa. Their comprehensive programs promote safety, skill development, fitness, social interaction and fun.
Three or more lap swimming lanes are always open for customers during operating hours. Shallow (3 1/2 ft.) play space is available after 12 Noon on most days.
NOVA Parks ñ Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
Atlantis Waterpark at Bull Run Regional Park
Bull Run Regional Park
7700 Bull Run Drive
Centreville, VA 20121
Get ready for a full day of sliding, splashing and playing at Atlantis Waterpark, located just outside Centreville, at Bull Run Regional Park. From two huge, adrenaline-inducing waterslides and a 500-gallon dumping bucket, to relaxing open pools and dedicated play areas for the little ones, Atlantis offers a thousand ways to stay cool between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Rely on shade areas, sundeck and snack bar to relax and stay cool between slides. Atlantis’ daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA Parks waterparks all summer long. Entrance fee required.
Great Waves Waterpark at Cameron Run Regional Park
4001 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22304
Bring the family for a full day of summer adventures at Great Waves Waterpark, located at Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria, Virginia. Thrill seekers love the speed slides and waterslides, while little ones play in the interactive splash pad and wading pool. Take the adventure further and body surf in the 17,500 square foot wave pool, or watch the kids climb, slide and bounce in the Paradise Play area. Naturally, there are also comfy shaded areas where visitors can order food and take a well-deserved rest. Daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA Parks waterparks all summer long. Entrance fee required.
Ocean Dunes Waterpark at Upton Hill Regional Park
6060 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22205
Make it a beach day — with waterslides — at the beach-themed Ocean Dunes Waterpark in Arlington’s Upton Hill Regional Park. Find excitement on the 230-foot open slide, or 170-foot covered waterslide, or set the kids free in the play area to splash, slide and play in the water jets. The 500-gallon dumping bucket is a favorite hangout during the hottest days of the year. Sliding is hard work! Take a break under the shade umbrellas and order a meal at the snack shack. Daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA waterparks all summer long. Entrance
Pirate’s Cove Waterpark at Pohick Bay Regional Park
6501 Pohick Bay Drive
Lorton, VA 22079
Arrgh matey! Bring the family for a swashbuckling ride at Pirate’s Cove Waterpark, located at Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton, Virginia. Set the kids free on Buccaneer Beach or let them frolic in the water jets and on the pirate-themed play area. Adrenaline fiends will find their way to two thrilling waterslides or cool down beneath the 500-gallon dumping bucket. Make a day of it and stop for a snack or meal at the Captain’s Galley Café. Pirate’s Cove daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA waterparks all summer long. Entrance fee required.
Volcano Island Waterpark at Algonkian
20015 Volcano Island Drive
Sterling, VA 20165
It may be the most fun anyone can have while staying cool. Bring the kids to the island-themed Volcano Island Waterpark at Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, Virginia. Get an adrenaline rush on two waterslides, feel the cool rush of a 500-gallon dumping bucket, and set the kids loose in the giant wading pool and water play structure. Relax underneath palm trees and tiki canopies, then enjoy a meal from the Paradise Café. Daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA waterparks all summer long. Entrance fee required.
Reston Association Aquatic Facilities
Below are brief descriptions of each of the Reston Association’s 15 aquatic facilities. They may include1-meter spring boards, 50- and 25-meter lap lanes, a 2-story winding slide, interactive fountain play area, full sun decks, extra shaded decks, and even outdoor hot tubs. All pools are situated close to other great Reston Association amenities and many are accessible by walking or riding a bike on Reston Association’s pathways. More information on hours and fees can be found at: https://www.reston.org/Parks,RecreationEvents/Aquatics/AquaticsOverview.
11950 Walnut Branch Road
Wading pool with fountain, covered picnic area, grass area, tennis courts and playground. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 5.5 feet deep).
2460 Green Range Road
Diving well, diving board, wading pool, picnic tables, large grass beach area. (Lap lanes: 20 meters, 3.5 to 5.5 feet deep).
11550 Glade Drive
20-foot slide with slide well, 1-meter diving board, spa, wading pool, tennis courts and playground. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 12.5
Golf Course Island:
11301 Links Drive
Diving board, two grass beach areas, wading pool, playground and pavilion. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 12 feet deep).
2501 Reston Parkway
Separate water basketball and volleyball areas, diving board, children’s splash area, large spa, ADA ramp into main pool, playground and pavilion. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 8.5 feet deep).
2070 Twin Branches Road
Diving well, diving board, grass beach area, wading pool, boat ramp to Lake Audubon nearby. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
11601 Lake Newport Road
Diving well, two 1-meter diving boards, wading pool, covered picnic area with grills, sand volleyball area, large grass area, playground, softball field and basketball court. (Lap lanes: 50 meters, 3.5 to 5.5 feet deep).
2040 Upper Lake Drive
Diving well, diving board, spa, wading pool, grass beach area, picnic tables. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
11768 Golf Course Square
Diving well, diving board, wading pool, picnic tables, tennis courts and playground. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 12 feet deep).
North Hills: 703-435-6769
1325 North Village Road
Two shallow play areas (one with fountain), spa, picnic tables, grass beach area, picnic pavilion with grills, tennis courts in walking distance. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
North Shore: 703-689-4091
11515 North Shore Drive
Parking available only on North Shore Drive. Spa, wading pool, ADA ramp to pool deck, ADA hydrolift chair into main pool, shaded upper deck with picnic tables, Lake Anne Plaza and tennis courts. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 11 feet deep).
Ridge Heights: 703-476-7084
11400 Ridge Heights Road
Diving well, diving board, wading pool, two large grass beach areas. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
2201 Springwood Drive
Small slide, wading pool, small grass beach area with picnic tables. (20-meter length, 3 to 5 feet deep, no lap lanes).
Tall Oaks: 703-435-1072
12025 North Shore Drive
1-meter diving board, wading pool, picnic tables, Tall Oaks Shopping Center nearby. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 12 feet deep).
11032 Ring Road
Upper lap pool with in-water benches, lower splash pool with zero-depth entry and in-water benches, large interactive fountain features and fenced splash pad play area on deck. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 8.5 feet deep).
Prince William Parks Waterparks
7500 Ben Lomond Drive
Manassas, VA 20109
Come barrel down the four-story slides of Pipeline Tower, launch yourself like a Cannonball, swirl through a Tropical Twister or test your skills on the log walk. Fast & furious not for you? Grab a tube and ease on down our lazy river.
Have the young ones in tow? Great! Visit our zero-depth children’s area where bubblers bubble up some fun and gentle fountains give way to giggles. You and your little one can glide down any of our four pint-sized water slides made just for them.
Whatever you choose, Splashdown Waterpark is NoVa’s #1 destination for summer fun. Entrance fee required.
5301 Dale Boulevard
Dale City, VA 22192
Swim, slide and splash! Waterworks Waterpark is one of the most popular and fun family aquatic playgrounds in Northern Virginia.
Waterworks is located in Andrew Leitch Park in Dale City, VA and boasts several slides, water obstacles, wading pools, shaded shore lounge cabana areas and a full-service snack bar.
Passengers on all OmniRide Express buses serving routes in Manassas, Gainesville and Haymarket are taking advantage of big discounts on fares while construction is under way to add Express Lanes on I-66.
Riders pay half-fares on OmniRide Express buses that travel along the I-66 corridor for the duration of the Express Lanes construction, which is expected to last until 2021. The half-fares are funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation to mitigate congestion along I-66 during construction. The goal is to encourage commuters to use transit rather than driving alone.
One-way SmarTrip fares on OmniRide Express buses to the Pentagon, Rosslyn-Ballston, and points in Washington, D.C. are $3.45 instead of the regular $6.90 fare, and on buses serving the Metro station are $1.75 instead of the regular $3.45 fare.
“Not only do OmniRide passengers ride for half-price during construction of the Express Lanes, but they also get the added benefit of relaxing during their commute so they won’t be too exhausted to engage with family and friends or enjoy the long summer days,” said OmniRide Executive Director Bob Schneider.
The discount applies to:
- Manassas OmniRide Express buses serving the Pentagon and Washington, D.C.;
- Gainesville OmniRide Express buses serving the Pentagon and Washington, D.C.;
- Haymarket OmniRide Express buses serving Rosslyn-Ballston;
- Manassas Metro Express buses serving the Tysons Corner Metro Station; and
- Linton Hall Metro Express buses serving the Tysons Corner Metro Station.
There are currently four primary commuter lots where passengers can board I-66 OmniRide buses, but riders traveling to the Pentagon or Washington, D.C. are strongly encouraged to use the Portsmouth Road Commuter Lot, off Sudley Road in Manassas, because it has ample parking and adequate bus seating availability.
Those whose destination or work schedule makes it difficult to use transit can take advantage of the OmniRide Ridesharing service, which helps people find carpools and vanpools. By simply filling out an online form with basic facts about their commute, commuters can be matched via a regional database with others interested in sharing their daily commute.
To learn more about OmniRide Ridesharing and OmniRide bus services – including route maps and timetables – visit OmniRide.com or speak with a Customer Service Agent at (703) 730-6664.
By Miriam Foster, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
For employees who have a fairly short commute and a bike, the question is why aren’t you biking to work?
Many commuters believe there are insurmountable logistical issues that might prevent them from getting started. Fortunately, many of these concerns are common misconceptions about commuting by bike. Over the past decade, there have been vast improvements to the cycling infrastructure across Virginia to make bicycling easier and safer.
Most people think that biking to work is only for those that have very short commutes. However, even those with longer commutes can bike in conjunction with taking a bus or Metro. Moreover, biking to work may make you happier. According to a study conducted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, people that bike or walk to work are much more satisfied with their commute than those that use any other transportation mode.
You don’t have to bike every day. It may be too hot, raining, or snowing or maybe you just don’t feel like it. But even biking a few times a month can improve your mood and your physical health.
If you haven’t tried biking to work, Bike to Work Week (May 13-17) is a great time to give it a try. Biketoworkva.org has lots of resources, tips, and information on bike events. Here are a few tips for biking to work.
Bike to Work 101: Tips for Two-Wheel Commuting:
- Yes, you can ride on the sidewalk – but be aware that you must yield the right of way to pedestrians and use an audible signal, like a bell, when you’re ready to pass. When you’re biking on the roads, either use the dedicated bike paths or take the lane, which means riding in the middle of the road with traffic. You can also use bike trails. Visit the State Bicycle Map to learn more about trails located near you.
- Wear a helmet. While there is no statewide law mandating helmet use when biking, wearing one reduces the risk of severe brain injury in half. Worried about helmet hair? Try using dry shampoo to get a just-washed look when arriving to work.
- Learn hand signaling before biking on the road. It’s important to let drivers know when you’re stopping or turning. Go to Sharing the Road in Virginia for a cyclist hand signals guide.
- Bike to a bus stop. If your commute is too far or too complicated, try biking to a bus stop, and taking the bus. Many buses have bike racks so you can secure you bike and ride the bus. Check with the transit provider near you to find out if they have bike racks available and to learn their specific bike rules.
- Keep cool by riding an electric bicycle or ebike. These bikes have an electric motor that provides a rider assist when pedaling. Most ebikes can go up to 15 mph and require far less effort to use.
- Find a bike buddy. Riding with a friend or coworker can make the trip more enjoyable. Ask people in your office or use one of the resources on biketoworkva.org to find a bike buddy.
- Don’t have a bike. Try a bike share service like Capital Bikeshare.
- Get equipped to enjoy yourself during your commute. Choose a bike you’ll enjoy riding. Make sure it’s the right size and style, and that the seat is comfortable for you. You might want to install a bike basket to hold your bag, lunch, and other belongings, too. The staff at your local bike shop can help.
- During Virginia’s Bike to Work Week, May 13-17, try biking to work and change your normal commuting routine. It’s healthy, economical and it’s more fun than sitting in traffic. Learn more about biking to work at biketoworkva.org. Your commute might start just becoming your favorite part of the day.
By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor
Reprinted with permission from The Zebra Press, Alexandria, VA
Come for Stephen Sondheim’s sublime lyrics and tunes, but stay for James Lapine’s thought-provoking set of fairy tales, hilariously sung and often wackily acted by an uber-talented and diverse cast! In addition, though, there are also moments of heart-achingly beautiful singing.
Sondheim and Lapine discovered that if those beloved characters and tales were presented in a new way, and if dark components were added to the mix, the new “old” fairy tales would appeal to both adults and children
Stirringly directed by Peter Flynn and brilliantly choreographed by Michael Bobbitt, the actors/singers must have been asked to explore their own strengths and feelings in order to give us their best work! Rachael Zampelli as the Witch simply blew me away! Erin Driscoll as Cinderella plays her with just enough cheekiness to give Cinderella some pizazz, but her beautiful soprano on “No One is Alone” in the second act will melt your heart.
Surprises include the adorable Tiziano D’Affuso as a lively, spunky Milky White (the cow) and Christopher Mueller, who plays Cinderella’s Prince as if he were in a melodrama, with a hilarious little hop and turn before each exit. And Little Red Riding Hood (Jade Jones) is simply wonderful. Soprano Quynh-My Luu as Rapunzel does a magnificent job of wailing. The Baker and his Wife, played by Evan Casey and Awa Sal Secka, bring a reality to these roles.
David Budries, the Sound Designer makes sure every single word of Sondheim’s difficult lyrics are heard, understood and appreciated! The projections are tastefully done, but graphic enough to thrill. And William Yanesh’s strong, rich-sounding eight-piece pit orchestra never overpowers the singers.
All in all, this “Into the Woods” is a must see! And you’ll really thank me when you hear Cinderella’s Prince, when called out on his need to stray from the marital bed, proclaim what I think is the best Sondheim line of all time, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere!” Boom! I rest my case.
Performance and Ticket Information: “Into the Woods” runs now through May 22, 2019 and is recommended for ages 12 and older. Running time is 2 hours 40 minutes including one intermission. Tickets may be purchased at www.fords.org or by calling 202-347-4833.
Sara Dudley Brown is the Theatre Editor for The Zebra Newspaper in Alexandria, Va. She graduated from Rollins College with a degree in vocal music, but her most enduring love always has been and still is professional musical theatre.