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You Have Silver Line Questions, Reston Now Has Answers

by Karen Goff | July 24, 2014 at 11:00 am | No Comments

Wiehle-Reston East Station/Credit: JDAntos via Twitter

Reston Now put out the call for your Silver Line questions on Monday. We have some answers for you. We regret we could not answer every question, but here are some basics to get you ready for Saturday’s Wiehle-Reston East Station opening.

How long until the first escalator is out of service?

Haha. Don’t know.

Will RIBS4 run directly to the Metro?

Yes, RIBS 4 will go to the station Mondays through Fridays. See additional Silver Line bus info on the Fairfax Connector website.

How will parking be on weekends?

Parking will be free on weekends and lots of spaces will likely be available.

How much is a round trip to the Smithsonian and Wheaton stops?

From Wiehle-Reston East to Smithsonian, it would be $11.80 peak/$7.20 non peak. To Wheaton, it will be the same fare. Calculate all fares on Silver Line Metro’s fare calculator.

Why the Sunday evening cutbacks on the 505? Currently you can catch a 505 to RTC as late as 11 pm. In the new schedule, your last bus will be at 9ish. Am I missing another option to get from Wiehle to RTC on a Sunday late night. 

That’s a good question for Fairfax Connector, which will be holding an online chat Friday from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Will both pedestrian overpasses be open Saturday?

Yes, you will be able to access the station from the South and North sides of the Dulles Toll Road.

Where is the entrance to the parking structure?

There are two entrances, both off of Reston Station Boulevard. The first left (if coming from Wiehle Avenue) into the structure is the premium parking, which will eventually become parking just for Reston Station tenants. Go a few feet farther on Reston Station Boulevard and turn into the main garage entrance.

Will there be Zipcars?

At this time, no. Though at some point in the future there may be.

Is parking at the Wiehle Avenue station free on weekends just like other Metro stations?

Yes.

What will be the cheapest (non-work commuter) return fare to central Washington, and from what time would that be available?

It would cost $3.60 one-way to get to or from most D.C. stations during non-peak hours, which are weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and after 7 p.m.; weekends until midnight.

Photo of Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station by JDAntos via Twitter

Reston Woman Charged With Funding Terrorist Group

by Karen Goff | July 24, 2014 at 8:10 am | 1,926 views | 8 Comments

DOJA Reston woman was among several arrested Thursday on charges of providing material support to al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization that is conducting an insurgency campaign in Somalia, U.S. Department of Justice officials said.

Muna Osman Jama, 34, was arrested at her home in Reston, officials said.

Others arrested were Hinda Osman Dhirane, 44, of Kent, Wash.; and Farhia Hassan of the Netherlands. Warrants are also out for Fardowsa Jama Mohamed, a fugitive in Kenya, and Barira Hassan Abdullahi, a fugitive in Somalia.

From the Justice Department:

According to court records, defendants Muna Osman Jama and Hinda Osman Dhirane were the leaders of an al-Shabaab fundraising conspiracy operating in the United States, Kenya, the Netherlands, Somalia and elsewhere.

Jama and Dhirane allegedly directed a network composed primarily of women who provided monthly payments that were coordinated, facilitated and tracked by the defendants to their conduits in Kenya and Somalia. According to court records, Jama was principally responsible for sending money to Kenya through her conduit, defendant Fardowsa Jama Mohamed, while Dhirane was primarily responsible for sending money to Somalia through her conduit, defendant Barira Hassan Abdullahi.

According to court records, the defendants would refer to the money they sent overseas as “living expenses,” and they repeatedly used code words such as “orphans” and “brothers in the mountains” to refer to al-Shabaab fighters, and “camels” to refer to trucks needed by al-Shabaab.  The money transfers often were broken down into small amounts as low as $50 or $100, and the funds were intended for use by al-Shabaab insurgents operating in Somalia.

A superseding indictment was issued on June 26, 2014, by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, charging the defendants with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and 20 counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.  The indictment was unsealed after the following arrest warrants were executed today:

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on each count in the indictment.

The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin, commonly known as al-Shabaab, is a terrorist group conducting a violent insurgency campaign in Somalia.  In 2008, the U.S. government designated al-Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization, and in February 2012, the leaders of al-Shabaab and the terrorist group al-Qa’ida publicly announced the merger of the two groups.

Thursday Morning Rundown

by Karen Goff | July 24, 2014 at 8:00 am | 239 views | No Comments

Lake Newport's Bridget Brennan/Credit: RSTA

Truland Was Seeking Restructure — Truland, the Reston-based electrical contractor that abruptly shut its doors Monday, had been trying to restructure itself the last three months in the hopes of selling to investors. [Washington Business Journal]

Crunching Commuter Fares — A Silver Line rider from Wiehle-Reston East will pay more to commute. A rush hour commute featuring a Fairfax Connector bus ride from Reston to West Falls Church and a Metro from there to D.C. currently costs $10.70 today but a similar route will cost $14.30 when commuters begin taking the  Silver Line on Monday. [WAMU]

Silver Line Access Lagging – The Silver Line is set to open Saturday, but a large number of infrastructure and access projects around the Wiehle-Reston East Metro are not done. [Reston 2020]

Cookies For Commuters – On Monday, July 28, from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m., DoubleTree hotels will give away free chocolate chip cookies outside of Silver Line stations. DoubleTree will also conduct a special cookie delivery to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).

Shop For A Cause — Reston Town Center’s Brighton Collectibles will be donating 20 percent of the proceeds of their private sale on Sunday, July 27 to the Greater Reston Arts Center’s art education programs for children. RSVP to sofiablom@restonarts.org if you would like to take part.

Photo: Lake Newport’s Bridget Brennan competes in the final meet of the 2014 season/Credit: RSTA 

Progress Report: Red’s Table at South Lakes Village Center

by Karen Goff | July 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm | 978 views | 8 Comments

Red's TableThe owners of Red’s Table, the restaurant that will go into the South Lakes Village Center space formerly occupied by the Lakeside Inn, hope to begin construction on the new place in August.

The waterfront space at South Lakes Village Center has been vacant since the Lakeside Inn closed last October after 22 years. Construction crews gutted the space about two months ago.

Ryan Tracy — a Red’s Table owner, along with his brothers Matt and Pat — said the Fairfax County permitting process is taking longer than anticipated.

“We hope to start construction in the month of August,” he said. “If that happens, we hope to be open by November/December.”

The Tracy brothers are planning “American cuisine with fresh, local products, oysters, good sandwiches, as well as local craft beer and local wines,” Ryan Tracy said earlier this year. There will be an open kitchen and additional outdoor seating, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Thoreau.

Bus Rides of the 1970s Put the ‘Play’ In Reston’s Motto

by Karen Goff | July 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm | 253 views | No Comments

Classic Reston banner

Classic Reston is a biweekly feature sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce that highlights businesses, places and people with deep roots in Reston.

It’s a big week for Reston with Saturday’s opening of its first Silver Line Metro stop.

Metrorail will connect Reston in a straight shot with Washington, D.C., making the community an attractive option for both residents who work in Arlington or D.C. and workers in Reston who live to the East.

This week’s Classic Reston takes a look at he community’s quirky public transportation link of the 1970s.

When Reston was founded, the “Live, Work and Play,” motto was in place, but in reality, the “work” part was a work in progress. Most Restonians worked in D.C., and it was a long commute with no Dulles Toll Road or Orange Line Metro to Vienna.

But Restonians saw the need for a commuter transit, so — in the true pioneer spirit of the place — they founded a service themselves.  In the early 1970s, the Reston Community Association (RCA) and Reston developers Gulf Reston, created the Reston Community Bus Service (RCBS).

Riding the Reston Commuter bus in the 1970s/Credit: GMU Some in Reston nicknamed the bus “the booze bus,” since there were free-flowing drinks onboard. Well, it was a long commute.

The drinks dried up in 1972 after a commuter threatened to complain to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

“We will inform our riders they are confined to Coke and potato chips unless we hear otherwise,” Reston Commuter Bus officer Howard Pearlstein told an Associated Press reporter in February of 1972.

The shuttle to D.C. lasted a few years, dying out by the late 1970s. Eventually, Reston minister Embry Rucker helped start the Reston Internal Bus System (RIBS), which took people to various parts of the growing community.

After that, if you wanted to get into D.C., you were on your own — until now.

Reston’s new era begins at noon on Saturday, when the first train pulls out of Wiehle-Reston East heading toward Tysons Corner, Arlington and Washington. Find schedules and fare information on Silverlinemetro.com.

And remember, no eating or drinking on Metro — and certainly no cocktails.

Photo: Riding Reston’s Commuter Bus in the 1970s/Credit: GMU Archives

Del. Ken Plum: Billion-Dollar Giveaway

by Del. Ken Plum | July 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm | 173 views | 5 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoBy the time you are reading this column, Virginia will have reached the milestone by having refused to accept a billion dollars of monies paid by Virginia taxpayers to close the coverage gap for 400,000 working poor Virginians who cannot afford health insurance. A $1,000,000,000 is a lot of money!

We got to this point by the Republican majority in the General Assembly refusing to pass a plan for Medicaid expansion that would bring more than $5 million dollars a day to the state, produce as many as 30,000 new jobs in the health care industry, insure as many as 400,000 of the working poor, and enhance the quality of life for Virginia’s workforce and their families.

What is the alternative proposed by the Republicans? Speaker of the House Howell was quoted last month as saying that House Republicans propose to help the uninsured through “free clinics and community health centers and through expanded hospital services.” Hospital representatives are saying that they need the Medicaid money in order to expand services. One hospital in the state has closed, and others report financial stress. The free clinic serving this region is reported to be in economic difficulties.

Last week, Stan Brock’s Remote Area Medical (RAM) set up its mobile clinic in Wise County, VA, as it has been doing one weekend a year for more than a decade. More than 1,000 people who do not have medical insurance or access to regular medical services show up and stand in line for hours to be seen by one or several of the more than a hundred medical care professionals who volunteer each year to run this free clinic. Brock, who achieved fame for his television series Wild Kingdom, has described health care needs and services in the Appalachian region that includes Southwest Virginia as being like that of a third-world country.

The General Assembly majority has been able to stymie efforts by the Governor to get a plan for Medicaid expansion approved. While the legislature is still in special session, it is not expected to meet again until Sept. 22. There is little optimism that there will be a change of heart on the part of Republicans as the national organization Americans for Prosperity threaten a primary challenge to anyone who breaks rank. Two senior Republican committee chairs were defeated in primaries in the last election cycle by Tea Party Republicans as was House Majority Leader Congressman Eric Cantor defeated this year. Unfortunately, the desire to keep one’s legislative seat seems stronger than the moral call to do the right thing and provide health care to people who need it.

The billion-dollar give-away is money paid by Virginians under the Affordable Care Act that goes to Washington and is not returned because of the legislature’s refusal to act. Write to your friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to contact their legislators to support legislation that will keep $5 million a day that will add up to another billion dollars by early next year in the state for the benefit of Virginians.

Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates 

In Their Own Words: Silver Line’s Place in Reston History

by Karen Goff | July 23, 2014 at 9:30 am | 453 views | 7 Comments

Reston Station

Reston’s future begins Saturday at noon.

That’s when the first Metro Silver Line car leaves Wiehle-Reston East heading toward Tysons Corner, Arlington, Washington, D.C., and really, anywhere in the region that Metro goes.

It’s been a 50-year journey from Virginia cow pasture to major regional business center and a place nearly 60,000 people call home. While the opening of rail in Reston is a momentous day, it also will spark an era of development and growth here.

We asked some high profile Restonians what the Silver Line means to Reston. Here is what they had to say.

Del. Ken Plum/File photoDel. Ken Plum, Reston’s representative in Richmond for more than 30 years and a founder of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association:

When the milestones of Reston are  announced in the future, this will be a major milestone. The Silver Line connects us with the metropolitan region. It helps our workforce. It helps our community.

Now the key is how do you effectively use the stations? You need a feeder bus system. Fairfax County has been very good at putting that in place. You will also need rapid transit feeding the stations. Running the line is the first big step. Then you have got to move towards transit-oriented development. We’re doing that. Then we have to have alternative ways of moving people to the station. That’s when you really become a transit-oriented community.

My concern was would [rail] happen in my lifetime? I always thought when you look at where we are in the region, you would never build a road wide enough and have cars be the only source.

Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Ingrao Mark Ingrao, President and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce:

I think it means a tremendous amount to have the ability to bring people from East to West. A  lot of people talk about West going East, but this is going to bring an opportunity to bring employees and employers from East to West. I think it is a game changer for Reston.

We are actually getting a lot of calls [from businesses looking to relocate to Reston]. We [the chamber] are actually looking for space closer to the Metro station. I get calls regularly from folks in Arlington, Maryland, DC. They want to come here. Rental rates here are much cheaper than inside the Beltway. You can come here, be located on the rail line, be able to get into the District if you need to, and still have a much cheaper rental rate for your property.

Bob Simon at Founder's DayReston founder Robert E. Simon. The 100-year-old plans to be one of the first Silver Line riders:

Am I excited? You betcha! Back in 1966, I was negotiating for light rail. That’s almost 50 years.

As you know, we still have to get out to airport. And for Reston itself: the [Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force]  spent four or five years planning and did not get very far. I think that so long as we get the Town Center North developed the way I hope, with a theater and a library, and get the so-called village centers made into village centers. I would like to see the village centers look like Lake Anne, with plazas surrounded by density. Density IS coming to Lake Anne now. It was planned that way. The NIMBYs prevented it from happening. (more…)

Wednesday Morning Rundown

by Karen Goff | July 23, 2014 at 8:00 am | 884 views | 1 Comment

Lake Thoreau path

Reston Man Wanted in D.C. Arrested At Dulles — A Reston man wanted for assault by D.C’s Metropolitan Police Department was arrested at Dulles International Airport last week after he disembarked from a flight from Spain. [US Customs and Border Patrol]

Pay County Taxes Online — Fairfax County Real Estate taxes are due July 28 (for those who do not pay them monthly as part of a mortgage payment).  Fairfax County has instructions for paying online. [Fairfax County]

Longtime Reston-Based Firm Abruptly Closes – Truland Systems, a large Reston-based electrical contractor, has abruptly closed down, leaving hundreds of employees without jobs. Truland’s headquarters is located on Oracle Way. [WJLA]

FCPS May Expand Elementary Foreign Language Program — A proposal before FCPS officials could expand foreign language programs in elementary schools by increasing immersion programs and adding Language Through Content programs. [Fairfax Times]

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