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Lexus Lanes? More Like Chevy Lanes

A recent survey of usage along the I-95/I-495 Express lanes unveiled some interesting findings – the social status of the people driving in those lanes lean more toward your average Joe than the stereotypical affluent residents, or Lexus owners.  Transurban, the private entity that owns and operates the toll facilities on the high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, recently released the findings of their most recent user survey, which found that the average user makes less than $100,000 annually and is under 45 years of age.  Almost two thirds of users have a Bachelors degree or better.

Most of the frequent users are utilizing the lanes to get to and from work, with about one third of these users stating that their employer picks up the cost of the tolls.  Obviously, the frenetic pace of suburban life combined with highly congested roadways, facilitates usage of the
toll lanes.  

Some other interesting findings also debunk the perception that the tolls on these roadways are always very high, and perhaps cost prohibitive to lower income residents.  The survey found that the average toll along I-495 Express lanes was $5.40 and along I-95, $8.45. The variable rate aspect of the toll lanes, where tolls rise in conjunction with the amount of congestion on the toll roadway, is also a significant factor in whether drivers use the lane or not.  The highest toll charged last year on 495 Express lanes was $32.30, yet only 30 drivers chose to use the lanes during this time.  The highest toll charged last year on 95 Express lanes was $46.25, only 10 drivers chose to use the lanes at that time.

While no one likes to pay tolls, these extra lanes would never have been built without the toll element and they are seeing some significant usage.  The average daily usage of the 495 Express lanes is 45,000 trips, while the 95 Express lanes see about 51,000 daily trips.


Stay Local, Buy Local This Holiday Season

The farm to table movement has gathered serious momentum in the restaurant industry, and it should be doing so at your table too!  There is nothing better the fresh, locally grown products. This holiday season, venture out to some of these local suppliers and order your turkeys, hams, veggies and assorted accoutrements and help support our local growers.  Buy local and Livemore!

East Lynn Farm
19955 Airmont Road
Round Hill, VA
Phone: 571-257-4243

CSA, inn and events on a 143-acre working farm nestled between the beautiful Bull Run and Blue Ridge Mountains. Seasonal produce, eggs, flowers, poultry, duck, heritage breed fowl, pasture raised angus beef and lamb, Thanksgiving turkeys, Easter and Passover lamb, Kosher beef and lamb. 

Fair Oaks Farm
23718 New Mountain Road
Aldie, VA
Phone: 571-257-4243 

On-farm shop and CSA. Free-range turkeys, beef, chicken, lamb and eggs. A large assortment of locally grown and all natural produce is available seasonally. Locally grown sunflowers, corn, beans and squash. CSA shares of fresh, locally grown vegetables, herbs, free-range eggs, flowers, pasture-raised beef, lamb and poultry directly to our members.

Fields of Athenry Farm
38082 Snickersville Turnpike
Purcellville, VA
Phone: 703.300.5765

Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, Thanksgiving turkey

Meadowview Farmstead
Meredith Kope
P.O. Box 2663
Purcellville, VA 20134
Phone: 540-751-8121

A small farm located just outside of Purcellville, Virginia. Cut-flower and herb garden, heritage breed hogs, chickens, and turkeys on pasture.


13th Annual Park(ing) Day!

September 21st marked the 13th annual Park(ing) Day celebration.  According to the organzer’s website PARK(ing) Day” is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!”

Mobility Lab team members Jenna Fortunati and Owain James spent the day documenting some of the innovative approaches to Park(ing) Day in and around Arlington and Washington, D.C.  Perhaps in 2019 we can convince some of our corporate residents in Reston to participate. Then at least for a day, we can Livemore and park less!


Holiday Festivities for the Family


9 Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights

November 9, and continues every night (Thanksgiving, Christmas and News Year’s too!) through Sunday, January 6, 2019. Open nightly at 5:30 p.m. (The last admission is at 9:30 p.m. Winter Walk, concessions and the Snowflake Shoppe close at 10 p.m.).  In order to ensure your Winter Walk of Lights experience please purchase your tickets prior to your visit. Tickets are not available at the door on peak nights and special events. To ensure your admission please purchase your tickets in advance online. *Timed tickets are required*

Bring the family to enjoy the magical Winter Walk of lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Every year from mid-November until just after New Year’s Day, the garden is transformed into a half-mile, animated walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights, and the Holiday Nature Walk – and look for new displays each year. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows, and sipping on hot beverages by the fire.

21 Bull Run Festival of Lights 

November 21–January 6, 2019; Monday – Thursday: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Fridays – Sunday & holidays*:  5:30 to 10 p.m.  *(Holidays include Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years.)  Bull Run Regional Park.

The Bull Run Festival of Lights is a NoVA favorite. Hop in the car and enjoy a very merry light and music show. Be advised: Fridays are one of the festival’s busiest days, so be prepared. Still, it’s one of the best days to go, as the carnival will be open until late! Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville; 703-359-4633.

23 Reston Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting, and Sing Along 

Friday, November 23; 11:00 AM–10:00 PM; Reston Town Center.

Reston Town Center launches the festive season at the 28th annual Reston Holiday Parade at 11:00 a.m. with Macy’s-style balloons, musicians, dancers, antique cars, characters, community groups, dignitaries, special guest emcees, and much more. The one-of-a-kind, one-hour, half-mile parade along Market Street also welcomes the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a horse-drawn carriage. Since 1991, rain or shine, the parade has been an annual tradition on the day after Thanksgiving.  Before the parade begins, thousands of jingle bells will be handed out to spectators lining the route. After the parade, enjoy visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus plus Mini-Train rides until 4:30 pm, and street entertainment. The Clauses will return for the Fountain Square Tree Lighting and Sing Along at 6 pm. Afterwards, there’ll be horse-drawn carriage rides on Market Street from 6:30 until 10 pm. Proceeds for the photos and rides benefit local charities. The acclaimed Ice Skating Pavilion is open all day and every day from November until March.  Phone: 703-579-6720

Christmas at Mount Vernon 

Friday, November 23 – Monday, December 31; 9:00 AM–4:00 PM; George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens.

Mount Vernon has decked the halls for the holiday season and invites you to celebrate this festive time of year with a special daytime program offered through December 31!

Visit George Washington’s estate and see Aladdin the camel on the grounds, in honor of the camel that Washington paid to visit Mount Vernon in 1787. Stroll through the estate during the Christmas season and see sparkling holiday decorations, featuring 12 dazzling Christmas trees, and historical chocolate-making demonstrations.

Experience Christmas how the Washington’s would have celebrated it on a tour of the Mansion. Go behind-the-scenes and tour the rarely-open third floor of the Mansion.  3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mount Vernon, VA 22309. Phone: 703-780-2000; Admission Fee: $18/adults; $11 child.

28 National Christmas Tree and State Trees

Wednesday, November 28,
Ellipse in Washington, D.C.

On November 28, 2018 the National Park Foundation and National Park Service will present the 96th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting. Popular entertainers and a United States military band add to the celebratory evening when the President of the United States lights the National Christmas Tree and brings a message of peace to the nation and world.

To learn more about the National Christmas Tree Lighting and December events at the National Christmas Tree, please

The National Christmas Tree will be lit every night through January 1. The Pathway of Peace around the National Christmas Tree is free and open to visitors 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through January 1. The pathway loops around the National Christmas Tree and features 56 unique Christmas trees and ornament displays representing every U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia.  Located on the Ellipse on Constitution Avenue side of the White House.  Through January 1, 2019.


Christmas in Middleburg 

Saturday, December 1 – Sunday, December 2; 11:00 AM Friday–4:00 PM Sunday; Downtown.

Festivities begin December 1, The Tree Lighting Ceremony and Carols, behind the Pink Box, 12 North Madison St., 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Starting at 11 a.m. the Middleburg Hunt takes to the streets creating a spectacular sight as approximately 100 horses, riders in red coats and dozens of hounds come through the town.

The Middleburg Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. as spectators line the sidewalks along Washington Street (Route 50) to watch as a unique assortment of floats, troops and bands march by in a mile-long parade. In keeping with the animal friendliness of the town, the parade includes over 700 horses, llamas, alpacas and dogs. Not to be missed are the antique fire trucks, children on floats, and of course, Santa brings up the rear riding in a beautiful horse drawn coach. Through the day there are hayrides, choir performances, the Garden Club’s Christmas Flower & Greens Show and the Craft Show as well as shopping and dining in the town’s shops and restaurants, creating a day-long family festival for visitors. A Wine Crawl is the final element, allowing adults to wind down and relax while sampling wines from area vineyards, and foods in local restaurants. Phone: 540-687-8888. 

Merry Old Town: Manassas Christmas Tree Lighting 

Saturday, December 1; 5:30 PM–8:00 PM; Manassas Museum Lawn.

Make time to enjoy old-fashioned family fun at the “Merry Old Town” celebration in Old Town Manassas! The holiday fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with holiday music and at 6:00 p.m. when Santa arrives at the Manassas Depot via VRE train.

The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be at 6:30 at the Manassas Museum. Take a free hayride around Old Town and go for a skate at the Harris Pavilion ice rink. Of course, Santa will hear the Christmas wishes of all the children at the Harris Pavilion gazebo. 9101 Prince William Street.  Free admission.

Merry Old Town: 73rd
Annual Greater
Manassas Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 1; 10:00 AM–12:00 PM, Historic Downtown.

Join us for the 73nd Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade on December 2, 2018. Please visit for
details, including parade route.

Free parking for the parade is available in the parking garage on the corner of Prince William St. and Main St. There is also timed parking available on the street. Handicapped parking is available in the BB&T parking lot located on Center Street and the 7-11 parking lot located at the corner of Grant and Center Street. Free admission.  Rain or shine.

Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Ida Lee Recreation Center

December 1st, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM and December 3rd, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. 

No big-box shopping here! This show features over 90 local and regional artisans selling hand-made items including candles, stained glass, carved wood, jewelry, leather products, table linens, and much more. Find something for everyone on your shopping list and a little something to brighten your home this season. Admission and parking for this show
 are free.

Herndon Annual Tree Lighting and Sing-Along

Saturday, December 1; 5:00 PM–6:00 PM; Town of Herndon Town Square.

Start the holiday season with this annual celebration. Carols, tree lighting, and a visit from Santa. Corner of Lynn and Elden Streets, Herndon. Sponsored by the Dulles Regional Chamber. 730 Elden Street. Phone: 571-323-5301. Free admission.

Herndon Holiday Arts and Crafts Show

Sunday, December 2; 10:00 AM-4:00 PM; Herndon Community Center.

Over 80 artisans and craftspeople will exhibit and sell their work at this annual arts and crafts show sponsored by the Town of Herndon Department of Parks and Recreation. A variety of handcrafted items and fine art will be on sale including wreaths, quilts, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, decorations, original artwork, photography, stained glass, and more. 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon, VA. Free admission and parking. Additional parking at the Herndon Centennial Golf Course.

Town of Leesburg Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting

Friday, December 7th, 6:00PM; Town Green.

Join friends and neighbors and celebrate the start of the holiday season in Leesburg at the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony on the Town Green. The festive ceremony will feature performances from local schools and a holiday message . The crowd will be encouraged to join in on a holiday sing-a-long and view the lighting of the Christmas Tree and Menorah.

Town of Leesburg Rockin’ with Rudolph and Friends!

Friday, December 7th – 6:30PM – 8:00PM.

Children up to the age of 8 years old are invited to this wonderful event at Ida Lee. Bring your camera and dancing shoes! Santa will be on hand for picture opportunities and to hear wish lists. Then join Rudolph and Frosty as they rock out to holiday favorites and other kids’ tunes while dancing the night away! Pre-registration is required for this event. $12 for children 2 years old and over and $8 for under 2. Registration can be complete through WebTrac, in person at Ida Lee or
via phone.

Town of Leesburg Annual Christmas and Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 8th – 6:00 PM.

On the second Saturday of December, the holiday spirit will be in full swing as Leesburg hosts the annual holiday parade starting at 6 p.m. The parade will usher Santa and his friends down King Street, through Historic Leesburg. The parade will begin at Ida Lee Drive and end at Fairfax Street. Parade participation is open to the public, including businesses, civic groups, teams, organizations, and community groups.

Town of Leesburg Jingle Jam Concerts

Saturday, December 8th – 11:30 AM Junior Jam, 2:30 PM, and 8:30 PM.

Leesburg’s holiday rock n’ roll concert features many local and regional artists playing traditional holiday tunes – with a little edge. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Tickets will go on sale on November 13, 2018, at 5:00 a.m. at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, in-person sales only with a 5-ticket limit.   Matinee and evening tickets are $25; Junior Jam tickets are $5.


Area Rates As Some Of The Best Bicycling Cities In The US

A recent Bicycling magazine survey of the 50 most bike friendly cities in the U.S. found both Washington, D.C. and the City of Alexandria ranked within the top 25 best biking cities.  The surveyors spoke to hundreds of bike experts and enthusiasts, and sifted through thousands of data elements to determine the rankings.  The ranking “system is out of 100 points divided into four categories, each weighted based on their importance. Safety tops the list and is ranked out of 40 points. Eight to 80 friendliness (how accessible the city is to riders of all ages) came next out of 30 points. Then energy—a measure of the political climate in regards to bikes—out of 20 points. Finally, culture—the shops, routes, and attributes that make each city a great place to ride—was ranked out of 10 points.”

Bicycling magazine noted the following about D.C. (ranked 11) and Alexandria (ranked 25).

Washington, D.C.

Safety – 32/40 pts. Friendliness – 23/30 Energy – 15/20 Culture – 8/10

2016 Ranking: 9

Our nation’s capital has done an excellent job investing in both trail systems and on-street infrastructure, so cyclists can zip in from the suburbs on pathways, but still feel safe as they connect from pathways to office.

One of the city’s recent big projects is the Anacostia River Trail, a four-mile section of trail that connects to 26 more miles of trail in Maryland. Traditionally, Anacostia has been an underserved community, so the trail was one step towards infrastructure equity, says Jim Sebastian, who works for the District’s Department of Transportation.

D.C. is also prioritizing programs that incentivize cycling in the city. The GoD.C.Go program works with employers to make their offices bike friendly. And the 2014 D.C. Commuter Benefit Ordinance stipulates that all D.C. employers with 20 or more employees must offer transit benefits—like free bus passes or a bikeshare membership.

Finally, D.C. continues to be a leader on the safe routes to school program. Every single second grader in the city learns to ride a bike, and many of the schools have bike to school days where large numbers of students actually make their way to school by bike—something other cities are truly strugglingto achieve.

City of Alexandria

Safety – 30/40 pts. Friendliness – 20/30 Energy – 12/20 Culture – 6/10

2016 Ranking: 34

This D.C. suburb is putting in the work to move up this list and should be even higher by the time the 2020 rankings roll around. In the past two years, Alexandria ratified a new bike and pedestrian plan, and a Vision Zero plan. The city has also added three employees who work extensively on bike and pedestrian projects, says Jim Durham, chair of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory committee.

That’s just the groundwork, though. Now the hard part has to happen. Like Arlington and D.C., Alexandria has a good existing trail network that can move commuters into the city. But first- and last-mile connections leave something to be desired. And getting to and from places that aren’t served by this network means mostly riding in traditional bike lanes—just paint, few buffers and even fewer physical barriers. “Equity is also an issue,” say Durham. Alexandria’s West Side, which has traditionally been lower-income, hasn’t gotten the same amount of bike and pedestrian attention as the rest of the city.

Things are moving the right direction, though. Alexandria is taking safety seriously and has reduced speed limits, narrowed lanes—which slows traffic and forces drivers to be more careful—and built in speed cushions (which are flatter and less harsh than speed bumps) and curb bulb-outs to slow traffic. Moving forward, Durham says the focus will be on creating more neighborhood greenways to close gaps in the bike
infrastructure—though to really bump this city up in this list, they’re going to need to get serious about building protected lanes too.

Congratulations are in order to both localities, as our region turns more bike friendly every day.  Livemore and Bikemore!