Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

FCFCA resolution notes cuts in books and shelving in renovated public library branches, calls for sustaining book space.

Below is a resolution passed by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations (FCFCA) calling for the sustaining of book shelf space in newly renovated public libraries.  The resolution notes that shelving has been dramatically cut in County-approved plans for the renovation of the Tysons-Pimmit Hills Regional Library and the ongoing renovations of Woodrow Wilson Branch Libary.  With the renovation of Reston Regional Library now in the early planning stages, it is important to ensure that future Reston-area residents have access to at least as many books as they have historically. 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

RPZ and DRB plan to hear key development/redevelopment proposals next week.

The following is an e-mail from RA's Larry Butler to key community groups about the agenda of the RPZ and DRB next week. 

From: Larry Butler <>
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2015
Subject: Upcoming Meetings
To:  (Deleted)

Greetings everyone.  I wanted to let you know about two meetings next week of importance to the community.  On Monday November 16 at 7:30 at Supervisor Hudgins’ office conference room at the North County Government Center the Planning and Zoning Committee will be meeting.  Included on their agenda are the Reston Town Center Rail Station, North Entrance Update, Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment proposal (informational), and the Sekas Homes application for 11690 Sunrise Valley Drive off Roland Clarke Place to rezone from industrial to the PDH-12 District (residential) in order to construct 37 urban-style single family attached dwelling units with associated parking and recreational amenities.

On Tuesday November 17 at 7 pm in the RA conference center the Full Design Review Board meeting will include a Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment informational presentation (likely same as P&Z), 1760 Reston Parkway final development plan (23-story tower), an informational presentation on a parking garage at Reston International Center, and changes to the architectural plans and landscaping for the former United Christian Parish Church at 2222 Colt’s Neck Road that has been approved for redevelopment into 55+ housing, and is now seeking changes to provide some assisted living units as well.

These are important meetings and please let your committee members know.

Larry T. Butler
Senior Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources
Reston Association
12001 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20191
Direct: 703-435-6501
Live, Work, Play and Get Involved

Several dozen neighbors express concern over Saint Johns Woods' redevelopment despite last minute notice of community meeting.

The following is the text of an e-mail Dannielle LaRosa, North Point RA Board member, sent to her constituents concerning the Hunter Mill District-sponsored community meeting held on Tuesday regarding Bozzuto's planned redevelopment of St. Johns Woods (SJW).  Few members of the SJW neighborhood heard about the meeting until mid-afternoon on November 10 when Ms. LaRosa sent a "reminder" e-mail to the community (see next to last paragraph).   We understand only a very few people received the earlier invitation from Supervisor Hudgin's office. 

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you to those of you who attended last night’s St John’s Wood Neighborhood meeting.  The purpose of this email is to provide you with a summary of last night’s meeting, inform you of the next steps in the development process for this property, and let you know how you can stay informed and participate in the review process/let your voice be heard.

Before we proceed, I’d like for you to bookmark the following link to RA’s Development & Future of Reston page which will provide you with information about all current redevelopment projects underway in our community, including St. John’s Wood.
Purpose of the November 10th Meeting
Last night's meeting was sponsored by the Office of Fairfax County Hunter Mill District Supervisor, Catherine M. Hudgins. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the residents in the Clusters and Condominiums surrounding the St. John’s Wood Apartments of Bozzuto’s redevelopment proposal. 

Summary of November 10th Meeting
Bozzuto presented its current plan to redevelop the nine-building, 262-unit garden apartment property into a complex with two five-story buildings containing 512 apartments and 46 town homes.   The slides shown at last night’s meeting have been posted to RA’s website and can be located at

The plan includes an additional traffic entrance/exit from the community: an exit on Center Harbor has been added to the current one at North Village Road. Twelve percent of the units would be set aside for affordable housing.  The town homes are currently planned to be located along Center Harbor Road with the two five-story buildings to be located along the north end of the property (the property abutting other residential properties).   Thanks to earlier input provided by the Association’s Design Review Board in 2014 during informational meetings, the number of buildings has been reduced to from three to two and the number of apartments has been reduced from 625 to 512.   Further, the current plan includes an additional acre of wooded area.  Bozzuto also provided results of a traffic study it recently conducted showing that Buzzuto believes the increased traffic from the property would be minimal.

These plans have been submitted to the Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning and comments from the county are expected to be received from the developer within the month.  The next steps include additional reviews by both the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee (which advises the Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner and Supervisor) and the Reston Association Design Review Board.  All of these meetings are open to the public and comments are welcome.  The developer and Supervisor Hudgins’ office will coordinate additional community meetings.  Reston Association’s Advisory Committees will also review these plans to provide comment to the P&Z Committee and the DRB, as well as County review staff.  The developers expect that the planning phase will take approximately two years and construction another two years.
Concerns voiced by the approximately forty residents in attendance:

  • New Entrance/Exit Located On Center Harbor.  Residents stated that there will be an increase in accidents and traffic congestion since this new exit lies opposite the entrance/exit of the Hampton Pointe Condominiums and a few hundred feet from the intersection of Reston Parkway/Center Harbor.  It was suggested that a better entry point into the property would be on Reston Parkway, across from Great Owl Circle. 
  • Aldrin Elementary School, Traffic and Impact to the School Population - Shane Wolfe, the principal of Aldrin Elementary School, voiced concerns that the traffic is already a concern with keeping our kids safe as they walk to and from school.  The increase in traffic from this property will make a hard situation even worse.  Several residents concurred.  Separately, it was noted that the proposed redevelopment will have an impact school staffing. 
  • Flip the Property Layout - It was suggested that the developer flip the property layout so that the town homes are located near existing homes and the apartment buildings are located along Center Harbor.    Currently, the current homeowners will be impacted by a view of a five story apartment building and the sounds/lights at night coming from the traffic exiting and entering the apartment garage. 
  • Mature Trees - there will be a loss of large, mature trees that are in the middle of the property.  There was much discussion as to the long term impact this would have to the property and to Reston. 
  • Proffers - End of the day, there will be more residents but few funds available from the county to support the infrastructure (roads, schools).  The developers are required to pay Fairfax County a certain dollar amount per residential unit for schools, parks and other infrastructure.  Additional “proffers” include items such as tree preservation, bike parking, public art and Green Building standards. The proffers are to be used for public infrastructure: roads, schools, etc.  Problem is, these funds may not stay in Reston and could be used in another part of the county.

What can I do/where do I direct comments?
As soon as I hear of information regarding community or Planning & Zoning or Design Review Board meetings, I will forward it to you.  It is always helpful to attend these meetings.  You can check the agendas and attend the Planning and Zoning Committee meetings_( and the Full Design Review Board meetings (  which are typical the third Monday and Tuesday of each month, respectively.  The Full DRB does not meet in December.
How were residents invited to last night’s meeting?
The county scheduled the meeting in late October and was responsible for inviting residents.  The county sent a letter to Cluster and Condominium Presidents and some of their management companies in the neighboring area through a direct mail letter.  This letter asked the cluster and condominium presidents’ to notify their residents.    The current residents of St. John’s Wood were not invited to this meeting.  The property manager is hosting a separate meeting for its residents.

Let me know of any questions or concerns you may have.  Again, as soon as I hear of information, I will make sure that it is sent to you.

Dannielle LaRosa
Treasurer & North Point District Representative
Reston Association Board of Directors

Sunday, November 8, 2015

More reasons why Fairfax County shouldn't be using a public-private partnership for TCN

Reston 20/20 has long opposed the use of public-private partnerships (PPP) for development of public infrastructure.  We publicly opposed the PPP between Fairfax County and Comstock that gave Comstock substantial financial benefits and extra density at Wiehle station all for the rat maize-like, traffic-clogged, dangerous parking garage Metro riders must use.  We now worry that the PPP between the County and some as yet unpicked developer for Town Center North will have nothing to do with Reston's planning principles or the specific needs of the community there for, among other things, a sizable regional library, a significantly larger homeless shelter, a regional recreation center, and any public park space beyond the "town green" (more like a dog park) in its midst.  

Our opposition is based on the well-established curtain of secrecy that hangs over these deals.  Indeed, that secrecy is written into Virginia law to protect the guilty in both government and the private sector.  Right now, we view as dim the Reston community's chances of seeing either the draft concept plan or the final plan for community comment and amendment as needed to meet community needs before the County moves forward issuing the RFP and selecting a developer.  The three public meetings held so far on TCN's future have seen little added specification on the County's development intent and virtually no change in any specifics despite significant community input that has been met by the usual soothing words from County staff and Supervisor Hudgins.  Despite the appearance of responsiveness to community needs, the County appears determined to proceed on its own way.

And, of course, the County and RA are working their own side deal that is unlikely to have anything to do with Restonians.  And this deal is being worked in secret--the only way the RA Board seems to know how to act.  In fact, so far as we could observe, no RA Board members even bothered to attend the last community meeting on TCN, probably because none of them  care about either County plans or Reston community concerns.  

So what's a possible RA side deal all about?  It seems that RA and, more specifically, its Design Review Board (DRB) have a covenant going back to the 1960s on some of the land in TCN that would preclude or at least delay any re-development of some of the County's portion of TCN.  So the County needs RA to vacate that covenant before it can proceed, an action the RA Board can take on its own (no referendum required).  We know that there have been secret meetings between RA leaders and Supervisor Hudgins as well as attorneys for both sides, and we can think of no other reason for those meetings to occur.  

Based on recent experience, we suspect that RA is seeking to include all new residential properties built in TCN in Reston Association, generating an ever larger stream of revenues to spend.  Given the absence of Board members from the latest community meeting on TCN, we very seriously doubt they are pursuing the goals of the community which have to do with the quality of the public facilities--the new Reston Regional Library, a new Embry Rucker Homeless Shelter, a promised FCPA Regional Recreation Center, and a real, maybe even "signature," community park worth talking about--that are planned for the area, including the Reston Master Plan.  As usual, we expect RA to look out for itself, not for our community in these negotiations. 

More broadly, PPPs have demonstrably created huge holes in public budgets despite their supposed intent to eliminate additional public costs.  The latest example of this comes from Tidewater Virginia and is reported by the Washington Post.  Here is the lede:
 NORFOLK — The private proposal to build a new underwater tunnel in this congested port city was originally billed as a way for Virginia to get a crucial piece of infrastructure without having to put in a single dollar of state money.
Instead, Virginia officials have agreed to spend slightly more than $580 million on the project, more than twice the investment from the companies behind the deal. With no competition, the companies won the right to collect billions of dollars in tolls over 58 years.
The state also agreed that the companies — Swedish construction giant Skanska and Sydney-based finance group Macquarie — are entitled to large government payouts if Virginia builds or expands other bridges or tunnels nearby, making fixing other traffic woes more costly for generations to come.
Click here for the rest of this story of a massive public giveaway with a huge public expense--all in the name of a public-private partnership.  

While larger than what is planned for TCN, we expect that the results here will be similar in impact, if different in scale.  We could easily see less than satisfactory public facilities as well as higher County taxes and RA dues in our future from this PPP.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fairfax County Public Library fails in hiring new Director, plans no immediate action

In an action worthy of the WMATA Board's horrendously inept year-long search for a new General Manager, the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees failed to find and hire a new Library Director to replace the outgoing Sam Clay as the message from the LBOT Chairman below indicates.  

Worse is the fact that the Board does not intend to find one promptly.  That could well leave Clay in charge of the library.  Over the last decade, he has led the destruction and demoralization of the county's library system.  Some low lights over the last decade:
  • The library's budget has been cut by more than 22% over the decade.
  • Library spending as a share of the County budget has been cut by 30% and now is less than three-quarters of one percent of County spending.   
  • Library staffing per capita has decreased by more than 23%--and open positions are not being filled.
  • The county's book collection has been cut by more than a half-million, that's more than 20%, despite continuing growth in the County's population.
  • As a result, use of the FCPL system has shrunk over decade as measured by virtually every indicator tracked by the library.
  • The county's library system ranks 15th of 19 public library systems in the metropolitan DC area according to the Library Journal. 
So much for attracting families and employers to Fairfax County and its "knowledge corridor."  Sam Clay has been a disaster for the County's libraries and their future.  His continued "leadership" of FCPL will only assure the continuing strangulation of our public libraries.  

Clay, the LBOT,  and the Board of Supervisors have driven our public libraries into such a budget and management hole that no qualified candidate apparently wants to take on the job of leading it.

To prevent further destruction of a vital county asset, Clay must go.

From: Charles Fegan []
Sent: Friday, November 06, 2015 3:32 PM
To:;; Miriam Smolen; 'Michael Donovan'; 'Donald Heinrichs'; Suzanne Levy; Willard Jasper; D Ewing; 'Priscille Dando';
Cc: Molchany, Dave; Clay III, Edwin S.; White, Nhu-An; Rowe, Sherry R.
Subject: Library Director
Dear Members,

I would like to take a moment to thank you for your time in participating in the recruitment preparation and interview process in search for our Library Director. As you are aware we had a thorough process in place to identify the right candidate not only for our library system, but also for our staff, customers and community. While we identified and interviewed several viable candidates during the process, some elected to withdraw. An offer was made to the selected candidate, but unfortunately, the offer was declined.

Today, Karrie and I met with Deputy County Executive Dave Molchany, and the HR staff and it was determined not to immediately proceed with launching a new recruitment search for the Library Director; however, we would like to reassess the current situation and work on the next step after the New Year.

Again, thank you for your continued support. I look forward to our further collaboration.    


RNGC: Court Grants Summary Judgment Motion; Win for Preservation of Open Space

November 6, 2015--Reston, VA--The Fairfax County Circuit Court today granted the motion for summary judgment filed by Fairfax County. As a result of this decision, RN Golf, the owner of the golf course, would have to file a formal plan with the county in order to pursue any proposed redevelopment of the golf course. RN Golf had based its case on a letter from the county zoning administrator which the court in effect found was merely an advisory opinion and was not appealable. In light of its ruling, the court vacated the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals from earlier this year and dismissed other motions of the various parties as moot.

Connie Hartke, President of Rescue Reston, a group comprised of citizen volunteers who oppose any re-development of the golf course said “We are pleased with the court’s ruling which requires that RN Golf must go through a formal plan process before it can re-develop the golf course. However, while we have won this round, the fight is not over and RN Golf still has other options available to it including appealing today’s ruling or attempting to amend the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. We must remain prepared to continue the fight so long as RN Golf remains committed to its attempts to destroy our community’s valuable open space.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Use of Metrorail declines despite addition of Silver Line due to reliability, safety.

From Washington CityPaper's CitizenDesk:

Metro: On-Time Rail Performance, Customer Satisfaction Continue to Drop

Screen shot 2015-11-02 at 3.01.01 PM
Metrorail on-time performance, quarter three
People who ride Metro are increasingly dissatisfied as on-time rail performance dropped on all six lines between July and September, according to the agency's latest Vital Signs report.
The drops coincide "with railcar shortages, speed restrictions, and service reductions following a fire to prevent bunching," the report [PDF] states. Rail customer satisfaction fell from 73 percent in quarter two to 67 percent in quarter three, "attributable almost entirely to the reliability of the service."
The bad news continues:
  • "The minimum car requirement was only met 10 out of 64 weekdays this quarter. Average weekday service was run with a shortage of about 50 cars."
  • "Reliability was below target each month in Q3/2015, and 25 percent worse than the same quarter last year due to an increase in propulsion problems on railcars."
  • "By the end of September over 50 cars were indefinitely 'parked' due to a lack of parts, an issue that continued into Q4/2015."
 Clear here to read the rest.

Monday, November 2, 2015

WMATA GM selectee steps back from the job--another WMATA Board fiasco!

Press reports just coming in say that WMATA GM selectee, Neal Cohen, has decided not to accept the General Manager position.  Here is the latest report from the Washington Post's Paul Duggan, Michael Laris, and Lori Aratani:

Metro’s protracted search for a new general manager hit another major snag Monday as the transit agency and its top choice for the job, corporate financial expert Neal Cohen, ended their contract discussions.
Cohen, a highly compensated chief financial officer in the private sector who has no experience in public transportation, emerged as the board’s top pick for Metro chief executive last week. Officials familiar with the search said the executive committee of Metro’s board of directors were in contract discussions with Cohen.
But the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration announced late Monday afternoon that board members and Cohen had called off their talks.
It is unclear what role the leaking of Cohen’s name mid-process had on the breakdown in talks, though a source said he was taken aback by the public scrutiny, which will be a constant for whoever ends up taking the job.
Reaction was swift and the disappointment in some quarters was deep. . . .
0WTOP reports Governor McAuliffe's reaction to the latest fiasco:
 “I am outraged by the latest setback in a process that would be comical if the need for new leadership at Metro were not so great,” McAuliffe said in a statement Monday.
“Identifying and hiring a qualified General Manager is the WMATA Board’s chief responsibility and the first step that must be taken in order to oversee the safety and operational changes that are essential to Metro’s long-term sustainability. The leaks and petty political sniping that have come to define the work of this board are harming the Metro system and the economy of the region it serves.”
We agree that hiring a qualified General Manager for WMATA is the Board's chief responsibility and the WMATA Board of Directors has failed miserably in carrying out this responsibility in a timely manner, identifying a highly qualified candidate suited to the severe challenges facing one of the largest public transit agencies in the country, negotiating a responsible contract, and keeping the fact and identity of a possible selection confidential.

We believe that it may be worthwhile for the leaders of all the WMATA jurisdictions to seriously consider replacing their representatives on the Board because the current Board membership is clearly unable to carry out its most important responsibility in a professionally responsible manner serving the interests of a better WMATA and regional transportation.

Tolling I-66 Inside the Beltway: Adding Tolls AND Traffic to Pay for “Multi-Modal” Transportation.

While a bit outside of our Reston bailiwick, the extended dialogue on tolling I-66 inside the Beltway—mostly out of Richmond and NoVa discussions—and how that might be done appears to be running off the rails—if an interstate highway can be on rails.  Nonetheless, the latest proposal for I-66 inside the Beltway may set an ugly precedent for other highways closer to Reston, particularly the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) that would be inequitable, inappropriate, and ineffective in relieving congestion.    

As a starting point, let us say that we have no objection to the reasonable tolling of highways or other roads.  The key goal of a toll road should be to generate toll revenues that maintain and improve the tolled road in a way that is equitable while striving to reduce congestion.  That leads us to two key tolling principles:

  •  The tolls:  Everyone pays tolls and they pay the same toll per mile at the same time except discounts for congestion-alleviating HOV car and van pools and public transit. 
    • No separate HOT lanes for the one percent, which does virtually nothing to alleviate the congestion for the other 99%, while “free loaders” remain stuck in traffic.  HOT lanes merely give drivers a way around traffic by accepting a self-imposed tax that has virtually nothing to do with improving traffic flow or generating needed revenue--unless the tolls are prohibitive for most.
    • To reduce congestion most effectively, we prefer an HOV-3 requirement over the longer term (vice HOV-2) with steep toll reductions, maybe a third of the SOV toll, maybe none at all.    
    • Moreover, tolls should be distanced-based as well as time-of-day/ “peak period”/dynamic tolling, reflecting users actual use—unlike either the Dulles Greenway or the DTR.   (In particular, by being roughly at the mid-point of the DTR, Reston DTR users pay about twice the price per mile that others pay for using the full length of the toll road.
  •  The revenues:  All the revenue from the tolls goes to maintaining and improving the tolled road, not other transportation programs or projects, much less non-transportation uses.  We have stated this frequently in the past regarding the ill-conceived $6 billion funding of Silver Line construction through DTR tolls. 

Now on the table for I-66, according the Washington Post, is a proposal that violates several of these principles:  If you drive alone east to work inside the Beltway during the “peak period,” you will pay a toll; if you drive west even alone, you won’t pay a toll.   HOVs (2-person now, 3-person ca. 2020) and transit would not be tolled.  The tolls would reverse direction during the peak period when you’re driving west to home at the end of the day.   As a result, people who live in DC who drive by themselves to work in Tysons would pay nothing to use I-66 while SOVs reversing that commute could be paying $17 per day.   

Officials, including the Governor, offer a little bit of sugar (for a short-term high) to help the toll medicine go down: 
  • HOVs will continue to use I-66 with no toll for now; that’s a sucker’s play.
  • SOVs  will be able to use I-66 inside the Beltway during rush period, not just HOV vehicles as is now the case, if you’re willing to pay the toll.  Years--maybe decades--from now, they will be cut out again when traffic growth demands it. 
  • The toll only applies to “rush hour,” but that can be changed later to full-day tolling and almost certainly will.  The tolling camel’s nose—and the needed tolling equipment--would be under the tent. 

All this points to the prospect of ever expanding and increasing tolls:  all day vs. rush periods, all vehicles vs SOVs, both directions vs. one, and, of course, increasing toll rates.  Just ask DTR users.  Once the principle of tolling is accepted and the equipment is installed, the rest is as certain to follow as night follows day.  

The key problem is, as the article notes, “The toll revenue left over after the expenses of operating the HOT lanes system inside the Beltway will go to supporting alternative transportation — carpooling and commuter buses, for example.”   Why not lower the toll to meet just the cost of maintaining and improving I-66, at least inside the Beltway, if there is a surplus?  

I-66 tolling should not become a “cash cow” for agenda-driven bureaucrats, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission in this case, to spend on even less cost-effective transportation modes, nominally to ease I-66 congestion.  While it’s true that drivers don’t pay the full cost of the roads they use (without tolls), we’ve never seen public transit of any type, much less bike riding or walking, cover its cost, much less help pay for roadway improvements.  Why should this be true? And the extent these “multi-modal” alternatives reduce commuting traffic is both minimal and transient, especially for the long-distance commuting that characterizes the I-66 corridor.  

A quick look at the Supplemental Report (2013), Figure 2.7, prepared by VDOT's consultant on the I-66 inititiave shows how cost-ineffective using tolls or taxpayer dollars for "multi-modal" transportation is.  In its "Refined Package (Peak-Only Tolls" option, throughput on I-66 inside the Beltway increases by about 40,000 people per day or a 9% increase in throughput from MWCOG's CLRP+.  Only 4,000 of those additional people will be moved public transit, about 10%, yet both the total cost and the cost per passenger to add those 4,000 people is 74% higher than the cost of adding POVs  as the table below shows.  Moreover, spending an extra $33 million per year on transit results in only a 0.9% shift in transportation mode productions from private vehicles to transit over 25 years.  In an era when our governments are badgered by their inefficient use of taxpayer (or, in this case, toll payer) monies, this is a perfect example of why that criticism continues.  If the intention of the I-66 plan is to increase I-66's throughput, the most cost-effective way to do so is to improve (widen) the highway; subsidizing added transit routes is a relative waste of money.  


The basic 2012 consultant’s report for VDOT guiding the I-66 initiative (during the McDonnell administration with amendments under the McAulliffe administration as recently as two weeks ago) also identifies some 60 bicycle and pedestrian improvements that the “surplus” I-66 tolls could fund.  Here is what GreaterGreaterWashington says enthusiastically about the improvements:

The report includes 60 bike/ped projects which include trail improvements to the Mt.Vernon, Custis, Four Mile Run, W&OD, Route 110, Washington Blvd and Arlington Blvd Trails; connector trails; bike facilities added to the Route 27 bridge over Route 110 and the Meade Bridge; bikeshare expansion and parking additions along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor and in Falls Church; Rosslyn Circle improvements, including a tunnel; bike lanes; and bike parking at Metro Stations. The list is too long to go into, so if curious, you should check it out starting on page 3-76 of the report.

The only roadway improvements explicitly identified in the proposal are to widen the western end of I-66 to three lanes, including extending the eastbound I-66/DTR merge to three lanes for a mile rather than the current quick transition from four to two lanes of eastbound traffic at the East Falls Church Metrorail station.  The east end I-66 chokepoints remain unchanged.


The program’s only strategic goal appears to be to generate revenue for development of alternative transportation modes after covering I-66 maintenance expenses.  As explained above, the proposal does not intend to relieve congestion on I-66.  In fact, it adds single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs) that are now banned from I-66 inside the Beltway during rush periods.  HOVs will not be discouraged from using the corridor because they will not be tolled.   

Longer term, the 2012 consultant’s report forecasts ”the increase in (transit) mode share is less than one percent for work trips.  That’s less than one percent shift to transit for some $23 million in annual toll revenues totaling more some one-half billion dollars in tolls by 2040 at the initial suggested toll rates.  I-66 is to become a “cash cow” for the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission which will decide how those dollars are spent.  There are vague suggestions of future expansion of this portion of I-66, but they are always caveated by the huge restrictions on space to expand the highway by adding additional lanes.  More likely over time is the tolling of all vehicles in both directions all day will add to the revenues and keep congestion at a sufferable level, nothing more.

And tolling I-66 inside the Beltway will likely beget tolling and/or driving restrictions elsewhere.  Already Arlington County is examining how to prevent traffic diversion to its streets from I-66 because of the tolls.  Because the proposed tolls only apply to SOVs, not HOVs, in the near term, there actually shouldn’t be much of an impact because SOVs are already banned from I-66 during rush period.  That said, Arlington officials and residents see the long-term writing on the wall:  Tolls for everyone on I-66 that will divert traffic to Arlington’s already congested east-west rush hour streets.  And VDOT has not yet provided a traffic-impact analysis of its proposed tolling of I-66 even for the short-term.

Put simply, this I-66 inside the Beltway initiative is a new tax on highway transportation to pay for public transit, biking, and pedestrian transportation.   It is not intended to relieve or even stabilize congestion on I-66 despite public officials’ claims, which will grow as more people live outside and work inside the Beltway.  And it will almost certainly lead to higher tolls on the full range of vehicles using it over the full day every day over time.   

Buyer beware!

FCFCA Resolution on Preservation of Shelving Space post Renovation, October 29, 2015

The following resolution was approved by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations (FCFCA) at its October 29, 2015, membership meeting. 

Preservation of Shelving Space post Renovation
Approved by Federation Board, October 22, 2015
and Federation Membership, October 29, 2015
During the past decade the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has been unwilling to provide an adequate materials budget to replace lost, worn out and inaccurate books for the Fairfax County Public Library.

In 2004 Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library had 175,000 books in its collection (from FCPL Materials Inventory).  The Tysons-Pimmit collection has been reduced since that year by harsh discard guidelines including the following:
  • So-called "low demand" books are being purged with only 24 months of non-circulation (industry standard is 60 months).  This particularly affects books on art, music, history, religion, philosophy and biography;
  • The collection was further reduced in preparation for "floating" the collection through the entire system;
  • Next, the collection was reduced during the attempt to transition from print to digital following the 2012 Library Strategic Plan, including the massive dumping of books during the disastrous Beta Plan;
  • Further loss has occurred due to the current mechanism of redistributing books that enables Technical Operations to discard books in good condition that are transferred away from branches with too many copies or low demand copies; 
  • Finally, on orders from Collection Services all books that are not in pristine condition must be discarded, even when wear is extremely minimal.  The common and highly cost-effective procedure of mending slightly worn books is not encouraged.
As a result of all of this, Tysons-Pimmit has suffered a net loss of over 70,000 books.   That's 70,000 from one Branch alone. 

In 2004 Woodrow Wilson Library had a collection size of 87,000 holdings and after renovation currently holds only 46,851 books (July 2015 Collection Analysis).  Another 40,000 books lost.

Under the current renovation plans for Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, the FCPL Collection Manager has reduced the amount of shelving in floor plans so only enough linear feet of shelving for a maximum of 110,000 books will be accommodated after the renovation.  The amount of linear feet for shelving space for books currently in the Tysons-Pimmit library will be halved.  
Losses on this scale are occurring throughout the County.  Most at risk at the moment are those Branches undergoing or soon to undergo renovation, including Tysons-Pimmit, Reston, Pohick, John Marshall and Kingstowne. 

WHEREAS Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations wishes to see branch collections restored and enhanced after a decade of loss,

WHEREAS the resulting crowding of books from reduced shelving would necessitate further weeding and more discards,

WHEREAS the current collection levels throughout the county locks branch collections into the smallest collection in their history,

WHEREAS reduction in linear feet of shelf space will not allow a collection room to grow,

WHEREAS a new library director may want to eliminate the floating collection that causes books to be irregularly distributed throughout the branches,

WHEREAS Fairfax County intends for the population of Fairfax County to grow substantially by 2030,

WHEREAS the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations desires a collection size beyond the bare minimum required by Virginia statute to provide for the growing Fairfax County population,


BE IT RESOLVED:  The Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations hereby requests that all future renovations and rebuild of county libraries have adequate linear feet of usable shelving space to house at least their historic highest collection levels