Orange line 20th anniversary

Twenty years ago today, the Orange Line was completed with the opening of the Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, and East Falls Church Metro stations. The line, built in the median of Interstate 66, returned passenger rail service to the Vienna, Dunn Loring, and Falls Church communities 35 years after the W&OD Railroad ended commuter trains. At the Vienna station, WMATA offered free rides to Dunn Loring as part of the celebration. I took my first Metro ride that day.

The stations have large (though seemingly never large enough) parking lots and very little — if any “transit orientated development.” In practice, the Orange Line in Fairfax County has served a “commuter rail” function, unlike the urban subway in the District and near suburbs. It has only been in the last decade that development has started at some stations, like Dunn Loring. The MetroWest development near the Vienna station is expected to begin construction in 2007 after significant debate and revisions.

If you want to learn more, Scott Kozel’s Roads to the Future has an excellent article on building I-66/Orange Line multimodal corridor.

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