Big Johnson Still Open!

We have 74 entries so far. I’m sure some of you forgot to do your entry, or created one but forgot to enter it into the Big Johnson group.


If you already have an ESPN entry, put it in the Big Johnson group.

There have only been 2 bowl games played, so even if you haven’t created your entry on ESPN yet, you can still have a good chance of winning the Big Johnson! Shoot, I already lost one of mine.

Full instructions here:

New Saratoga Park & Ride

From WTOP:

A new park and ride lot is set to open soon in Fairfax County, with bus service to Franconia-Springfield Metro station and the Pentagon.

The Saratoga Park and Ride is in Springfield, by the Fairfax County Parkway – Barta Road/Rolling Road interchange, just west of Interstate 95.

“It’s beautiful, it’s nicely landscaped, conveniently located, and it’s going to have great bus service, locally to the Franconia-Springfield Metro, and an express route to the Pentagon to start,” says Fairfax County BRAC Coordinator Laura Miller.

The Fairfax Connector plans to add an express route to Tysons Corner, via the Beltway Express Lanes,starting in March.

Miller says construction on the lot should wrap up in December.

“Then there will be a period of driver training and some other things that need to happen, but folks in the neighborhood should start seeing a sign going up that is explaining to them what routes will be there,” she says.

The lot will have 515 parking spaces, along with bike racks and bus shelters.

There also are walkways allowing commuters who live nearby to take advantage of the bus service, without having to drive to the lot.

“There’s no restriction on who gets to come in, but, typically, these park and ride lots serve the communities within generally one to three miles of the lot itself,” Miller says.

FBI Building In Springfield?

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay’s response to Robert McCartney’s Washington Post article on where the FBI should and shouldn’t move is pretty compelling:

I was drinking my first cup of coffee when Robert McCartney’s December 6 column jolted me awake. The column left out a lot of critical facts about the proposed FBI relocation.

Here are some facts about why Fairfax County—not Prince Georges County—makes the most sense as the new home of the FBI.

Let’s start with the fact that the Feds already own a seventy-acre site adjacent to not only the Springfield-Franconia Metro but also to a wide range of transit. In addition to the VRE, transit riders can connect to Metro bus, the Fairfax Connector, DASH (Alexandria transit), the DC Circulator, MARC, OmniLink, and the Quantico Base VRE shuttle. Not only that, but the FBI training academy in Quantico, just south of Springfield on I-95 is easily accessible from the GSA site .

At a time when the Federal government is mandated to reduce spending, the GSA site would be just about free—the government already owns it. Not only that, but we know that security would not be an issue. There’s already an entity on that site that employs mega security. And a major Metro police station is being built on the adjacent Metro property.

We should be leveraging the major infrastructure improvements around the Franconia-Springfield site. The Mixing Bowl reconstruction between 1999 and 2007 was largely federally financed. The Beltway Express Lanes that opened last month were funded through a public/private partnership. The first phase of the Silver Line (Rail to Dulles) will open in 2013 and the biggest private revitalization project in the area—Springfield Mall—is just steps away from the Metro and GSA site.

Back to that spending reduction mandate—at a time when the Feds and the state are cutting costs while pushing them down to the localities, why would we think it’s a good idea to take commercial properties off the tax rolls? The GSA site is already off those rolls. Before the GSA looks at redeveloping private sites, it ought to heed its own mandate to maximize its existing assets and create transit-oriented workplaces. Its current warehouse in Springfield runs counter to both these goals.

So to recap the strengths of the Springfield GSA site:

• It’s steps away from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and every major road but Route 66.

 • It takes advantage of the public and private sector investments already made in the area

• It lends itself to the necessary security configuration

• It’s cost effective—the Feds already own the site

• And lastly—this can be fast tracked on the County side. Our Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is already on record with a unanimous endorsement of this site for the FBI.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure a fair process moving forward. When fairly weighed against other sites in the region the Springfield, the Virginia site wins hands down.

Enter The Big Johnson College Bowl Mania – Win A Kindle Fire!

Sure, maybe your favorite college team won’t quite make it to a bowl game this year. But you still can enter (and WIN) Kim’s


Big Johnson College Bowl Mania

This free contest involves choosing the winning team for each of the 35 upcoming college football bowl games, to be played between Saturday, December 15 and Monday, January 7. All you have to do to win some crappy little prize is pick more winners than Kim, and judging from recent results that shouldn’t be very tough! For the tiebreaker, you have to guess the score of the BCS Championship game.

To win First Prize – a Kindle Fire – you have to pick more winners than anyone in the Big Johnson group. Second Prize is a 1 pound tin of Mrs. Hanes Moravian Sugar Crisp Cookies. Mmmmmmm . . . 

Did I mention that it’s FREE ?!

You enter the contest by going to the ESPN website

and following the instructions. Choose the “straight” mode, not the “confidence” mode. There is no cost – it’s free. You are welcome to invite your friends – any friend of yours is a friend of mine. If you don’t make your picks when you sign up, I suggest you also allow ESPN to send you a reminder about your picks.

To join the Big Johnson group after you submit your entry settings, click on the link Create Or Join A Group. (It might be under the rightmost tab next to the Facebook friends tab.) Search for the group named Big Johnson, and join the group using the password, “kimsentme“. You can join the group as soon as you create your entry – you don’t have to make any picks first. Let me know if you have any problems getting into the group. Only one entry allowed per person in the Big Johnson! 

Again, it’s all FREE!

Register and submit your entry no later than the first kickoff of the first games of the college football bowl season (Saturday, December 15) at which point the game will lock and no additional picks can be made. If you change your mind about a game, you can go back and change your picks until the first game starts.

Bowl Selection Sunday is December 2. Here’s a link to the bowl schedule –

Good Luck, everyone, and Happy Holidays!

Springfield Town Center – Coming Late 2014

Now that demolition is finally under way, here are photos of the Town Center (former Springfield Mall) as it’s expected to look when it reopens in 2014.

The new mall will include an addition of roughly 700,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, a food court and a state-of-the-art movie theater. The 20-foot-tall brown numbers that indicated the mall’s six main entrances—a hallmark of the 1970s-era mall—will be replaced with one central grand entranceway.

The new center will have a more  upscale  tenant mix and the three anchor stores—Macy’s, Target and JCP—will remain open during construction.

“There will be much more in terms of variety of shops,” said Vornado’s project manager, Bob Byrne, adding that the mall will be turned “inside-out,” with outward facing storefronts in keeping with the town center look.

Later phases of the renovation—expected to take about 10 to 15 years—will complete the town center look, with a mix of upscale retail and commercial development, a 225-room hotel, pedestrian plazas, recreational facilities, 2,000 residential units and transportation improvements.



Taking It Down – Springfield Mall Bites The Dust

Here’s a couple of You Tube vids of the demo getting underway:

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Springfield Mall/Town Center Finally Coming Down

Finally there is some visible progress on the revitalization of Springfield Mall and its transformation into Springfield Town Center. Demolition is actually happening as evidenced from the photos published in the Washington Business Journal today:


The word is mid-2014 for reopening. I hope to bring you more news as it proceeds.