D.C. Metro celebrated the first year of Silver Line service from Largo Town Center to Wiehle-Reston East on Monday, July 27, showcasing Metro as an economic engine and serving as a convenient transportation alternative linking downtown D.C. and Tysons.
Marking the occasion, Metro Interim GM/CEO Jack Requa joined elected officials and business leaders in Tysons Corner at a Transportation Summit to discuss how the Silver Line is helping realize the economic promise of the Tysons community and changing the way people commute by reducing traffic congestion.
“Phase 1 of the Silver Line has exceeded expectations not only in terms of ridership, but also in terms of the economic opportunities it is creating in the Dulles Corridor and across the region. Completion of Phase 2 will accelerate the transformation taking place along the corridor and provide a vital rail link to Dulles International Airport for the entire region,” Congressman Gerry Connolly said.
According to Wells + Associates, since the Silver Line opened last year, traffic in Tysons along Route 123 has decreased and multiple intersections have experienced up to 15% fewer cars during peak hours.
More than 35,000 weekday trips were taken to or from the five new Silver Line stations last month, an average of 17,088 riders per day. Wiehle-Reston East continues to be Silver Line’s commuting powerhouse, continuing to surpass first-year ridership projections. With convenient bus transfers, a secure bike room and a large parking garage, Wiehle-Reston East’s commuters make up around half the line’s ridership.
The Silver Line also continues to support economic development throughout the region. In total, more than 105 million square feet of new development is in the construction pipeline within a half-mile of a Silver Line Metrorail station, including 20 development projects that are already underway.
As a link to some of the area’s largest employment centers, the Silver Line is connecting businesses to workers throughout the region. A number of companies have signed on to the SmartBenefits program, helping to attract and retain workers by offering a better way to get to work using public transit and saving money doing it.
During the event, Metro recognized three businesses along the Silver Line – Kimley-Horn, Northrop Grumman, and Arlington Avalon North – for promoting the use of the SmartBenefits program.
From creating jobs, to relieving traffic congestion and providing a vital new link in the region, the Silver Line is improving people’s quality of life. The impact can be seen in a new series of ads based on actual customer testimonials about how Silver Line is making a difference.
In the first of four TV spots, “Alan,” played by an actual Metro rider and local actor named Chris Kauffman is shown reading a newspaper as he awaits a Silver Line train after having the recent epiphany to, “Avoid traffic by taking Silver Line.” The 30-second TV spots will begin airing later this summer to inspire the region to “See where Silver can take you.”
While the economic development that is underway along the Silver Line is expected to rapidly deliver additional riders, Metro hopes the ads will prompt others to try the line to commute to work, school, shopping and recreation, and other destinations throughout the region.
Work has already begun on phase two of the Silver Line, which will extend another 11.4 miles to six new stations including Reston Town Center, Herndon, Washington Dulles International Airport and Ashburn.