Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Central Park Reston? Reston Patch, November 29, 2010

One planner envisions a grand park, civic center near Reston Town Center.
By Karen Goff

The Reston Town Center area of the near future should have a park that rivals New York's Central Park or San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

That's the vision of one Reston community activist, urban designer and landscape architect. Guy Rando, one of Reston's original planners,  earlier this month revised his outline and design and submitted it to the Master Plan Special Study Task Force for its review. . . .

For the rest of this article about Reston 2020 member Guy Rando's vision, please read the rest of this article here.   Rando's full plan and analysis are here in this blog

Agenda: RTF Vision Sub-committee, Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reston Master Plan Special Study

Date:              Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Time:                         7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Place:                        Lake Anne Community Center


7:30 p.m.       Introduction
§     Purpose
§     Participants

7:40 p.m.       Administration                                                                               
§     Table of Street Classifications
§     Public Open Space

8:00 p.m.       Public Facilities
§     Schools
§     Colleges and universities
§     Art centers
§     Other

8:30 p.m.       Urban Design of the Public realm
Begin the discussion of the importance of design and place making including the design of the following;
§     Streets
§     Open space
§     Place making and public art
§     Buildings

8:50 p.m.       Next Steps
§     Public Facilities
§     Potential Land Use Scenarios
9:00 p.m.       Adjourn

Letter to the Editor: Reston's Future is on the Line, Reston Patch, November 28, 2010, Terry Maynard

Master Plan Special Study Task Force almost ready with recommendations. Has your voice been heard?

It is time for all Restonians to pay attention to the work of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force—even if the name itself puts you to sleep.

After a year of semi-weekly meetings hearing presentations from Fairfax County, planning and other experts, and creating four subcommittees to look at each of Reston's three prospective Metrorail station areas and one to provide a vision for the overall effort, the task-force-with-a-long-name is about to actually begin to propose recommendations for the county comprehensive plan.

Its recommendations and the language that is ultimately included in the comprehensive plan for the area will affect how you live, work, and play in Reston, for better or worse, for decades to come.   Whatever you think is important, good (or bad), valuable, or any other criterion you can think of about Reston's direction for the next two decades is on the table—right now.

Here's a very brief summary of where we are:

The Vision Subcommittee, comprised pre-dominantly of Reston's citizens, has nearly completed drafting a vision for Reston's future that hits on key areas that are important to most Restonians—like open space (parks, plazas, etc.), protecting key environmental areas, infrastructure (especially transportation), excellence in future design, and so on.  Will the whole Task Force adopt what the Vision Subcommittee recommends—and will it make any difference in legally-binding Plan language?  Both are vital for a vibrant Reston.

The Herndon-Monroe Subcommittee has prepared a skeletal report for the Task Force that seemingly follows the physicians' creed:  "First, do no harm"—at least to existing developer interests there.  It also serves citizens by preserving the wetlands, suggests meekly adding roads that would ease the burden of traffic from Herndon (which so far has ignored the idea of transit-oriented development on the north side of the station), but generally offers no vision of future robust transit-oriented development for the area.  You can see RCA's Reston 2020 comment on the report at its blog.

The Wiehle Subcommittee - the most open, diverse, and systematic of the sub-committees -  has prepared a preliminary report that provides a solid vision for the area.  It now is dealing with the really thorny issues of just how dense development in the area should be, and how to deal with the already traffic gridlock there.  More to come there.

Ah, and then there is the Town Center Subcommittee so heavily influenced by developer presence, which is offering up a tenfold increase in density in the immediate station area.   While strong on advocating density, it is weak on infrastructure (schools, roads) and amenities (open space, cultural needs) that are vital to preserving Reston's quality of life.  RCA's Reston 2020 Committee has responded by preparing an alternative vision for the Task Force's consideration.

All these diverse threads will begin to come together in Task Force meetings at the Reston Community Center - Lake Anne on Nov. 30, Dec. 7, and Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.  I encourage you to come and observe -  even comment in the opening period for those comments - about your interests, ideas, concerns, and opportunities.  If you can't make it, please keep up to date on the Reston 2020 blog and here at Reston Patch.

And if your time permits, please participate in Reston 2020.  Our next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9,  at RCC Lake Anne.  We'll be looking at what happened in the last two Task Force meetings, and what we need to do to respond.   If you come, you have a say and a vote in Reston 2020's activities.  We welcome and strongly encourage your participation.

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020 Committee
Reston Citizens Association

Friday, November 26, 2010

GMU Seeks Funding For Route 123 Overpass, Burke Connection, November 23, 2010

University's proposal could shift local traffic patterns in city, county.
By Julia O'Donoghue
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
George Mason University is pursuing funding for major transportation upgrades at its Fairfax campus that could have a profound effect on local traffic congestion in both central Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.

University officials have proposed building two roads through a large portion of the school grounds on the western side of Route 123. The school's plans also call for a flyover to be built above Route 123 near Mason's new convention center, bridging the divide between the school's eastern and western properties.

THESE TRANSPORTATION LINKS would allow commuters from many directions to avoid the heavily congested Route 123/Braddock Road intersection near the southeast corner of Mason's main campus. . . .
. . . THE FAIRFAX City Council's reaction to the Mason proposal was not as positive as (Braddock District County Supervisor John) Cook's.  "This came up so quick. It totally caught us by surprise," said Fairfax City Mayor Robert Lederer.

Two new roads and a flyover for GMU because of congestion on suburban Fairfax streets, yet a profound unwillingness for the County or the State to consider bridges or tunnels to cross the 8-lane Dulles Corridor in Reston.  And why isn't Cathy Hudgins, our County Supervisor, pushing for these Corridor crossings at least as hard as her Braddock counterpart is for GMU?

Read the rest of this meaty article here

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Analysis & Plan for Reston Town Center (Plan B) and WIehle Station Areas, November 4, 2010,Guy Rando

In the enclosed paper, Guy Rando, one of Reston's original planners, updates his vision of Reston Town Center and provides important ideas on the Wiehle Station area.  

Analysis of Reston TC (Plan B) & Wiehle--Guy Rando                                                            

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Local Leaders Get An Update on Metrorail Construction, Reston Patch, November 24, 2010

The Wiehle Avenue Metro Station will start to look like an actual transportation venue soon.
Pat Nowakowski, executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, said   he expects construction crews to begin laying canopy steel in December.

Nowakowski's comments came Monday at a Herndon seminar on "Preparing for Rail in the Dulles Corridor."

Attendees got an update on Phase I construction in general. Construction is 22 percent complete, Nowakowski said. . . .

Pat Nowakowski, executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, updates seminar attendees on the progress of Phase I of the project.  Credit Leslie Perales
For the rest of the article, click here.  

Planning World-Class Transit-Oriented Development in Reston Town Center: The Community's Alternative Vision, RCA's Reston 2020 Committee, November 24, 2010

Reston Town Center Alternative Vision Report--Final                                                            

Alternative Names for Reston's Metro Stations

Below in a viewgraph are alternative names that the Reston Task Force will consider for Reston's three Metro stations at its meeting on November 30.  What do you think???

Proposed Reston Metro Station Names                                                            

Draft Agenda: Reston Task Force Meeting, November 30, 2010


November 30, 2010

Task Force Meeting
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne


7:00 p.m.      Public Comment Period 

7:15 p.m.      Administrative Items – Patty Nicoson, Task Force Chair
·        Approval of meeting summaries

            7:30 p.m.      Implementation Mechanisms
Barbara Byron, Office of Commercial Revitalization and Reinvestment

            8:30 p.m.      Recap of 11/22 seminar on Preparing for Rail in the Dulles Corridor

            8:45 p.m.      Further discussion of draft staff scenario
Heidi Merkel, Dept. of Planning & Zoning  

9:25 p.m.      Adjourn – Patty Nicoson

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reston Excelsior Project Approved By County Supervisors, Restonian, November 19, 2010

With his usual tongue in cheek, Restonian provides details on the Board of Supervisors' approval of the the Excelsior residential project on the Oracle campus.  Click here to read the full post.

During a public hearing earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors formally approved the awesome Excelsior project, which would add 457 residential units and 820 parking spaces in two new residential buildings to be built on the Oracle campus along Sunset Hills Road.

County staff had originally recommended that the project be denied, but the developer worked with the county to address concerns about the lack of detail in the original architectural designs, which as you can see above are far more clear than the original fancy renderings.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Notes on RTF Wiehle Committee Meeting, November 17, 2010, Dick Rogers

          Wiehle Sub-Committee Meeting, 17 Nov 2010

 All present except Paul Thomas.

Retail: Co-chair Bill Penniman handed out a map of proposed grid streets with retail emphasis centering on the new Reston Station Blvd.(map on county website). A minor revision proposed to extend the retail street area into Isaac Newton (G-1). In addition, the report is to more strongly say that Plaza America should be re-developed to face/access the blvd.

Soapstone: Technical difficulties due to different grades on each side of the DTR were noted. The committee decided to flag this as a major design issue that needs to be looked at urgently to get the crossing done.

Density and Balance
     Bill Penniman and Van Foster tabled their charts of proposed sub-unit densities and FARs (not yet on website). Not all committee members had yet focused on this.
     The discussion focused on generalities.
     Mark Looney said he was concerned that the time focus was getting too short range; that it should be on a longer period—30 to even 50 years.  The GMU figures should be used for only near term guidance, not for what the area should look like over time. If TF is incremental in planning, it will get an incomplete product.(Comment: These and other sub com comments seem to have be triggered by Heidi Merkel’s 9 Nov overview, particularly areas that might be re-developed earlier-–her “blue map”—see county website.)
     Mark then went on to argue that the plan should call for substantially more capacity than what the committee thinks will actually be developed.  This is because developers will pick and choose what they can best do with financial success. (Comment: The need for a long term focus strikes me as appropriate but the idea of more capacity than needed seems to just grandfather in development rights that will come back to haunt us)
     Mike Corrigan aided by Judy Pew raised the issue of the absence of a focus on infrastructure development. Mike argued that this should be the first issue resolved before looking at specific development. Dave Edwards called the sub-coms attention to the issue of Hunter Mill road. The chair did not want to take this one on. (Comment: The projections handed out by Penniman and Foster on traffic were striking.  Under the “DPZ staff option” a doubling of traffic was projected.  Under a GMU 2040 option a tripling of traffic was projected.  This is an area with already failing intersections.  Overall, this discussion went over ground that might have been covered in May/June.)
     Although little was said about specific sub-units, the chair summarized what he thought was a broad consensus:
·         a wedding cake approach with density tapering off
·         a “Northside heavy” emphasis on developments and density
·         retail along  Reston Station Blvd
·         a heavy residential component
·         maybe more residential away from the station.
Heidi Merkel, FC DPZ, who was at most of the meeting, said she thought it may be easier at this point for the staff to come back with staff proposals to help fill in some of the density/balance gaps.  She said the staff would want to build in “flexibility.”   Chair was uncertain this would when this would occur and if it would help the sub-com complete its work soon. 

Next steps
The next sub-com meeting will be 1 December in the hope of finalizing a report for presentation to the TF on 7 or 14 December.  Bill P. urged members to go back to review the 27 Sept preliminary to see what needs to be added. He also noted that the sub-com also needed to review issues relating to Plaza America and Fannie Mae for inclusion.