The planning process for a new Reston has moved slowly over the last four years but now is reaching conclusion. If you think Bob Simon’s initial vision for Reston was worthwhile, you should be paying attention at this point.
There are positive elements in the new plan, particularly its stress
on mixed residential and commercial redevelopment around the Metro
stations. It promises to bring in 40,000 new residents and 60,000 new
office employees to the already congested areas around the new stations.
Reston Association and the Reston Citizens Association have each made
extensive comments on the plan to Fairfax County to support sensible
redevelopment. Unfortunately, some of their points have been dismissed
and most have been ignored by a county apparently bent on getting more
tax money from the property owners.
The plans for parks and recreation are inadequate for the population
proposed. No specific parks areas are laid out and the assumption seems
to be that many of the recreation needs will be met by RA using
facilities its members have already paid for. Although the county
originally called for 25 ball and soccer fields, this has been cut back
to 12. And only three are planned for the station area!
The proposed plan and its flexible and unpredictable density have
given headaches to transportation planners. VDOT has provided a 16-page
critique of the transportation plan and warned it could lead to “failing
levels of (roadway) service many hours of the day.”
The plan calls for a number of road improvements including three new
crossings of the Dulles Toll Road. But the County record on delivering
on such promises is not good. Four years ago a major study was done on
how to improve access to the Wiehle Metro Station. But now we are faced
with no convenient access from South Reston and the Soapstone crossing,
called for in the study, is years away from construction.
To add insult to injury, the plan leaves unclear who is going to pay
for all the promised infrastructure. In the similar case of Tysons
Corner redevelopment, a 4 cent tax per $100 assessed value was levied on
all residents — and this will go to 8 cents in the future. Is that the
future of Reston, when the development community stands to make windfall
Find out for yourself what this means to you. The last planned
meeting of the task force working on the Master Plan is on Oct. 29 at RA
Dick Rogers, RCA Alternate
The writer is part of the Reston Master Planning Task Force.