Reston, VA

This holiday season will look different with social-distancing, face coverings and other safety measures and recommendations from the Fairfax County Health Department.

For the first three weeks of this month, Reston Community Center will be hosting virtual events every Tuesday and Thursday that will get you active, creative and in the holiday spirit, according to its press release.

The following events will take place on the Reston Community Center’s Facebook page and registration is not required:

For more information about RCC’s virtual holiday events, visit the center’s website.

Other holiday festivities will take place in Reston this month, including the Christmas Festival in Herndon. This free event will take place at Emily Rose Lewis Ministries (503 Carlisle Drive). Guests will be able to enjoy free food, drinks, festive decorations and a free Christmas photo, according to the website.

This Sunday only, families of five or less can receive a free holiday photo from Worldgate Centre (13007 Worldgate Drive). All guests will have their temperature taken and are required to wear a face covering until their photo is taken, the website said.

For the first three weekends of this month, families can receive another free family photo from Santa’s Workshop at Woodland Park Crossing (12960 Highland Crossing Drive).

Guests are also encouraged to donate new and unwrapped toys during this time as the company raises donations for Toys for Tots. Toys will be accepted at Woodland Park Crossing until Sunday (Dec. 13).

Train rides will be available every Saturday and Sunday of this month in Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.). The cost is $20 and each ride will run for approximately 15 minutes. Guests are also required to wear a face covering throughout the duration of their ride.

Photo via Reston Town Center/Facebook

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in its meeting Tuesday unanimously approved the construction of a new bridge on Hunter Mill Road  over Colvin Run.

Construction of the bridge is planned to begin in spring 2021, with a completion date set for the summer of 2022.

The bridge is projected to cost $5.5 million and will be primarily funded by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) through the State of Good Repair program. The cost was initially estimated by VDOT at $3 million in February 2019, and was anticipated to cost $5.1 million in VDOT’s May 2020 update.

Fairfax County will contribute $408,000 for pedestrian improvements south of the new bridge. The county’s contributions will fund the construction of a splitter island, median refuge, and rectangular rapid flashing beacons.

The new bridge will have two 11-foot lanes and include a three-foot-wide grass median that will match the existing roadway. It is also been designed to allow a future trail crossing over Colvin Run south of the bridge and abutments for a new trail bridge over the creek.

Traffic operations will be maintained while the bridge is built. The current one-lane bridge was built in 1974 and was ruled to be deteriorating rapidly by VDOT after an inspection in February of this year. The bridge averages 8,500 vehicles crossing it daily, according to VDOT.

The bridge was repaired in 2012 and 2016 to maintain the integrity of the structure. Further improvements were made in February to temporarily strengthen it by adding wooden beams between the bridge’s I-beams.

The construction of the bridge falls in line with the Fairfax County Transportation Plan that the Board of Supervisors adopted in 2006.  Adoption of this project came after an initial public information meeting with VDOT in April 2018, virtual public involvement in May and June of this year, and finally a virtual design public hearing in September.

During the public hearing in September, VDOT received 28 combined written and oral comments: 22 in favor of the project as presented and six supporting the project with various modifications. There were no objections to the project during the public hearing.

Photo courtesy VDOT

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Reston Association Courts Close for the Season — The clay tennis courts at Glade have closed for the season and will reopen in early April. The clay courts at North Hills will close next Monday and will also reopen in early April. [RA]

County Now Offers Contact Tracing Data — The county’s COVID-19 dashboard now includes data on contact tracing. Data show that the county has been able to reach roughly 82 percent of confirmed cases. [Fairfax County Government]

The Early Days of Reston — “At one time, Reston was just a short five to six-minute train ride away from Herndon on the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad,” writes Barbara Glakas. [Reston Patch]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Metro is considering plans to eliminate weekend service as the system grapples with how to fill a nearly $500 million deficit.

The proposal, which the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board will hear on Friday, would also call for trains to run every half hour, shutter 19 stations and slash bus service levels.

According to the proposal, Metro would offer an “affordable bare-bones service network to sustain essential travel and support the region’s recovery.” Under the proposal, ridership would be reduced to around 45 percent of pre-pandemic levels. The system would also close at 9 p.m.

“We’re facing. obviously, a historic budget crisis. It started in (fiscal year) 21 and will continue in (fiscal year) 22,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

But a federal coronavirus relief package that could include funding for public transit could change the otherwise grim outlook of the overall system.  According to the American Public Transit Association, public transit needs $32 billion just to survive.

Metro was awarded $800 million from the CARES Act in May — funding that runs out early next year.

Nineteen stations with low ridership would close during the pandemic. Reopening would be determined based on the financial health of Metro. Weekday rail services would end two hours early at 9 p.m.  Weekend service would be eliminated entirely and bus service would be slashed from 60 to 41 routes.

The proposal also calls on cutting 2,400 jobs in addition to workforce cuts already enacted this year.

The opening of additional Silver Line stations into Loudoun County will not be affected by the budget slashes, according to the presentation.

Metro’s fiscal year begins in July. Public hearings and outreach campaigns are planned until March.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting a new international food hall to slowly phase out its offerings over the course of the next few months.

Spice Village, which will be located 2501 Centreville Road in the Village Center at Dulles, will kick off its soft opening on Friday, Dec. 4.

The food hall will kick off with its four-cuisine menu of Peri Peri Original first, followed by Chinese cuisine.

The Khyber Shinwari and Kallisto Steakhouse will be the last to due debut at Spice Village. The owner anticipates the full menu to kick off in six to ten weeks.

“We hope that this approach will help us weather this peak COVID-19 situation and assist us in mitigating all of our health and safety risk[s],” the team wrote in a social media statement.

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Conversations are underway to improve the safety of Lake Anne Dam, which currently does not meet state regulations for handling the largest flood considered when evaluating the dam’s performance.

The state’s Department of Conservations and Floodpain Management has called on Reston. Association, which owns the high-hazard dam, to submit an alteration permit application to increase the spillway capacity so it can manage a high-intensity flood, which is known as the Spillway Design Flood (SDF).

In a letter issued to RA on March 20, Russel Baxter, deputy director of dam safety and floodplain management and water conservation, told RA to submit the alteration permit by Dec. 31. 

Construction work to boost the dam’s spillway capacity should be completed by the end of. 2021, according to the letter.

So far, RA has been issued a Conditional Operation and Maintenance Certificate because the dam currently does not meet state regulations. The certificate expires on March 31, 2022. RA has previously received conditional operation certificates as well. 

But it’s unclear exactly how alterations would be phased out. Talks are underway to update the state’s dam regulations.

This year, RA’s Board of Directors deferred around $750,000 in funding to accommodate other pending projects in the fiscal year 2021 budget.

Larry Butler, RA’s Chief Operating Officer, told Reston Now that the association is waiting on the state to complete to determine what changes are made to state codes and regulations regarding dams and impounding structure.

“We have no alteration plans at present because we do not know how the code will change,” Butler wrote in a statement. 

When the board met last month, RA’s CEO Hank Lynch noted that the state is working on seating a Technical Advisory Committee to review dam safety regulations.  Lynch said that many dam owners have expressed concerns about “recent changes to the regulations and the owners’ inabilities to satisfy the requirements, both technically and financially.”

“This action has been delayed because of the pandemic,”  Lynch noted.

It can take around two years for the committee to complete its work, which prompted staff to delay any capital funding until new guidance is in place.

In 2017, the state agreed to foot half of the $14,590 bill for a hazard analysis of the dam. High-hazard dams pose the greatest risk to life and property if they fail.

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Compost Crew, a local food waste collection company, recently began service for homes in Reston.

The Rockville-based company provides weekly clean and convenient curbside organic waste collection in the area roughly between Herndon and Lake Audubon. Customers separate out their food scraps and leave them out once a week, just like you would with trash or recycling.

Compost Crew serves thousands of homes and businesses in the DMV area, including curbside service for hundreds of Falls Church residents in a program sponsored by the City. Keeping food waste out of the landfill reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates a beneficial soil amendment called compost, which helps gardeners everywhere grow healthy plants.

Many people find that composting their food waste reduces the amount of trash they generate in their home by 25 to 50 percent. For about $1 per day, you can make a real difference.

Receive lower rates through our Community Program by getting neighbors to sign up with you! Have everyone interested fill out this form, and we will reach out with more information. We will help every step of the way.

To learn more about our service and to get started, head to the Compost Crew website.

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Local police are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect in connection with a bank robbery at Wells Fargo (1099 Elden Street) that happened on Nov. 27.

Police believe that the suspect depicted in the above photo passed a note to tellers demanding cash and left with an undisclosed amount of money at around 4:30 p .m. that day.

No weapon was seen or implied. The suspect then left on foot towards Alabama Avenue.

Anyone with information to help identify the subject should call the Herndon Police Department at 703-435-6846.

HPD released the image from security footage today (Tuesday).

Photo via HPD

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Reston’s Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association is officially holding its 8th Annual Lake Thoreau Festival of Winter Lights. 

The festival, a lakeside tradition, will raise money for local causes. Residents must decorate the lake-facing side of their house, condo or boat with lights, and in return, donors will donate money to organizations of their choice.

This year, the initial pledges include:

  • $12 per house contribution (max $2,000) for Lake Thoreau concerts next year (contact [email protected] to join the pledge).
  • $8 per house contribution, cumulative from two donors, towards Cornerstones.
  • $5 per house contribution (max $1,000) to Public Art Reston to sponsor Reston community art projects (donations can be directed to the Lake Thoreau project).
  • $100 fixed contribution to Friends of Reston.

According to the statement, this means a total of $25 per house will go to the causes listed above based on the current commitments. 

Those interested in becoming a donor can reach out to James Pan at [email protected]. Donors can pledge either a fixed amount or on a per house basis. 

The Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association encourages the whole neighborhood to become involved and beat last year’s count of 177 homes and boats with lights. Since residents put up their own lights, the event is COVID-19 friendly — one of the safer seasonal celebrations to partake in. 

The houses will be counted on Monday, Dec. 21, weather permitting. 

Photo by Bob Ricca/Unsplash

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