Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Connection Reports on "Danger Signals" in New Tysons Redevelopment

In a November 8 article in the Great Falls Connection, Nicholas Horrock reports on the confusion and delays surrounding the costs associated with Phase 1 of the Silver Line, the out-of-date estimates of transportation improvement costs within Tysons, and ultimately who will pay how much for what. 

The article hints at the rough road ahead for planning in Reston's transit-oriented development (TOD) areas around the Metrorail stations.  As recently as the last Reston Task Force meeting, task force members, including RCA's representative, urged the County staff to begin addressing implementation issues now and not to make any final recommendations for Phase 1 (TOD) of the task force effort until a firm grasp of implementation was agreed to.  This includes both governance (how are decisions made and by whom) and financing (how are needed improvements paid for and by whom). 

Here is how the article begins:

As the Fairfax Planning Commission works furiously to establish a Tysons Corner Transportation cost payment plan before more development projects are approved, the commission hearings are sending out danger signals to taxpayers and the citizens of McLean and Vienna, the nearby communities.

At issue is the road and interchange construction to support the so-called "vision" of a new city of 100,000 people rising in Tysons Corner, where now only some 18,000 people reside and where thousands arrive and leave every day by car creating one of major auto tie ups in the United States.

The complicated financing from Dulles Toll Road revenues to special business tax districts to county bond sales, public tax proceeds and contributions from federal and state governments has created a picture so confusing almost nobody can follow it.
For the rest of this article, click here

What is happening in Tysons is quite likely to happen in Reston unless the task force moves to prevent it.  The worst case is that, in fact, no needed transportation infrastructure is developed--better intersections, more bike & pedestrian access, much improved bus transit, etc.--and appropriate development slows or stops. 

RCA's Reston 2020 Committee has written a substantial paper on implementation entitled "Planning without Implementation is Empty" available from the list of Reston 2020 papers on the right.  Also, its proposed planning principles and its paper on more balanced development of Reston Town Center provide further information on the implementation issue. 

Failure to address the implementation issue effectively will delay and possibly disrupt development in Reston's TOD areas as it has in Tysons.  The time to plan for implementation is now. 

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