Re-Developing Overdevelopment

Is it possible to re-develop a Virginia monument to suburban sprawl? Fairfax County appears to be serious about changing the character of Tysons Corner, using a planned Metro stop as the impetus. Stay tuned for “raucous” debates on competing plans.

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  1. Tyson’s Corner? Move all of the people out of it and then nuke it.

    Tyson’s Corner is a god-awful hell hole. I pray to God that I’ll never again be forced to get off of I66 and navigate those 20 minute stop lights or ugly upscale malls.

  2. It’s been some time since I shopped at Tyson’s Corner in the metro area. But during the Christmas season of 1990, I witnessed two people fist fighting over a parking spot and the police arresting several shoplifters in the parking lot. That’s the last time I shopped there.

    Shopping Online makes more sense than fighting the traffic as well.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    “Tyson’s Corner, VA is considered the ‘downtown of Fairfax County’, being second only to Manhattan in the amount of retail stores. Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Saks 5th Avenue are just a few of the top-of-the-line shops to grace the town. Shopping is excellent throughout the county, with Reston’s Town Center and Virginia’s premier Mall, Springfield Mall lying within its borders. Tyson’s Corner, a large corporate base, is home to AT&T, Boeing and IBM, to name just a few.”

    – Law Offices of Paul A Samokow

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    I just got back from a half-week vacation in NYC. Manhattan may be crowded, but it’s a joy to walk around. Tyson’s Corner is a nightmare to walk around. I’ll never forget an image from the late 1980s: a small cluster of bewildered Japanese tourists were caught in a pedestrian no-man’s land, trying to cross from one building to another. Tysons has the business dynamism and, yes, the retail establishments, it takes to become a great city on its own. But until it utterly transforms its physical fabric, many people will shy away in horror.

  5. Ray Hyde Avatar


    Isn’t that what the proposal to redevelop Tyson’s is proposing to do? I question whether building a Metro station so that you can then justify transit friendly development makes economic sense, but you can spin the numbers any way you want to support your particular view.

    Metro related development pays more than (half?) the real estate tax in Arlington, but individual taxes still went up this year, and Metro is still seeking “a dedicated source of funding” to fund it’s operating defecit.

    The Orange line is jammed to the hilt now: I don’t see how the addition of this project and the Fairlee project can result in anything other than a less desirable experience on Metro. In fact, the current plan to relieve Metro congestion includes removing seats because you can get more people on if they stand. It also includes operating trains that stop at alternate stations, which is guaranteed to increase waiting time, confusion, and accidents.

    Significant local opposition is growing against both of these Metro development projects. projects. Yet, if the developers succeed they will benefit from an enormous infrastructure provided 50% at federal expense and 25% at State expense. Where all all the people screaming for more proffers when we need them?

    My experience walking Manhattan is different from yours. I recall stinking busses, cabdrivers ignorant of pedestrian rights, and bitter winds whistling down the city canyons. Manhattan is too big to be walkable, but that condition is eased by the many subway stops, if you can stomach that.

    Tyson’s won’t have such benefits. In spite of watching perfectly rational people spend billions to develop a Mistake like Tyson’s we now assume that we know everthing about planning…. Even if we move everyone out and level it, and convert all shopping to the internet, then what?

    We could turn it back into pastures, I suppose. Then we would definitely have to find a dedicated funding source to cover the operating deficit.

  6. The idea of adding thousands more passengers to the Orange line every morning really scares me. It’s already jam packed.

  7. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Right. Metro and VRE have the same problems the highways have: everybody converging on the same space. On Metro I find that more and more frequently the escalators are jammed as frequently as the cars.

    Because of all the stuff they have to carry more people seem to be using briefcases on wheels, or even larger bags, with the result that many people take a space and a half or more. Then of course people seem to be getting larger as well.

    Remember, Metro and VRE cause induced travel, same as VRE. Is it “induced travel” or “latent demand”?

    I think Metro is like Democracy: it’s the worst system there is, except for all the other ones.

    Back to the topic, assume we don’t redevelop Tysons. How much state economic development money would we have to spend to capture an equivalent project elsewhere, say Front Royal?

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