Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Friday, March 30, 2012

Play space an issue in Tysons transformation, Washington Post, March 29, 2012

This article in yesterday's Washington Post couldn't be more apropos to the discussion going on now in the Reston Task Force.  Last Tuesday, a panel of county and RA officials laid out the parks, recreations, and public facilities driven by the planned development in the Phase I planning of development in around the Metrorail stations.  In all, these needs would require about 100 acres of land surface area in the three TOD areas combined.  While some of the smaller facilities can be placed on, in, or around high-rise buildings, the 52 acres of required parkland and two dozen playing fields can not.  (Note:  In general, the recommended space is inadequate as recommended by RCA, but at least we have a staff value on the open space required.)

At the same time, the Reston Task Force continues to refuse to consider these implementation implications of its proposed massive office and even residential development recommendations ("Scenario E" as its now called).  RCA has pointed out repeatedly--including at the last two meetings--that "Planning Without Implementation Is Empty."  With the exception of a couple of other residential representatives, the Task Force continues to ignore the matter. 

It would appear that we are headed for the same major mistake that was made during the Tysons planning effort.  This can largely be described as creating a fantasy development vision that later an implementation group must try to retrofit to reality.  The implementation-focused Planning Committee for Tysons Center, headed by Reston's Walter Alcorn, is having huge difficulties resolving space allocation and transportation financing issues related to the revised Comprehensive Plan approved by the County Board in 2010.   In recent weeks, it has canceled several scheduled meetings in which these thorny issues were to have been discussed.  In general, the developers there want all the space for their intense development schemes and not to pay for any of the required infrastructure, shoving that off on the taxpayer.  It is hard for me to imagine--much less explain--why the Reston Task Force insists on repeating this massive error, but neither the County staff nor the Task Force Chairman appear to wish to do otherwise.

And here is how the WaPo article begins:

As Fairfax County embarks on transforming Tysons Corner into a walkable community where people work, live and play, it’s the “play” that is causing some of the biggest concerns.

Developers are finding it hard to give up land for athletic fields, and area residents say they are concerned that the county is building a community whose residents will have to drive elsewhere for sports.

“Along with transportation, athletic fields have somehow risen up to be one of the most important issues. [It’s] not really what I had expected, but I think it is because they are so land intensive,” Andrea L. Dorlester, county senior park planner, said in an interview Thursday after a meeting of county officials, developers and community representatives. . . .
Click here for the rest of this article.

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