County Honors Local Companies for Best Green Commuter Programs

Earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recognized more than a dozen employers for excelling in implementing green commuter programs.

The award, which is managed by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Best Workplaces for Commuters, recognizes companies for offering transportation benefits and incentives, including teleworking, ride-matching services, and bike parking.

The board recognized 17 companies for receiving the award, including the following six employers based in Herndon and Reston:

“Employers offering commuting alternatives receive value through enhanced recruitment and retention of staff, decreased parking expenses as well the ability to limit employee absenteeism. It’s a win-win for the employers, the employees and Fairfax County,” said Marcus Moore, lead employer outreach specialist with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

The designation is offering through Best Workplaces for Commuters, a membership program managed by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

0 Comments

Children’s Fitness Gym Aims to Open in Reston Next Year

A new fitness center devoted to children’s health is setting its eyes for a location in Reston.

My Gym, which offers programs that help children six weeks through 10 years of age to develop physically, plans to open in Reston within the next year, according to the owner of the company’s Vienna location.

The business, which has locations in more than 30 countries, celebrated its grand opening this week. It has another location in Tysons and also plans to expand to Ashburn.

Here’s more from the company:

Our programs focus on growth in all three categories because we view each step of development in these areas as an essential “building block” toward becoming a happy, healthy, well-adjusted human being.

My Gym Vienna owner Guillermo Herboza said a location has not been finalized yet in Reston.

Photo via My Gym Vienna/Facebook

0 Comments

Friends of Reston Holiday Book Sale Kicks Off Today

Thousands of books are available for purchase beginning today (Thursday) during an annual sale by Friends of the Reston Regional Library.

According to information provided by the Friends, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $700,000 for the library through its book sales over the past 15 years. In addition, it has been able to donate $200,000 to direct library support programs — including $100,000 in eBooks, $25,000 in children’s series books, a Braille printing station for the Access Services branch, librarian scholarships and more.

Science fiction, religion, romance, cooking, sports, history and many other genres of titles are available. Small paperback books are available for as little as 50 cents, with hardcovers books priced as low as $1.50.

The sale is on through 8 p.m. today, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. tomorrow (Friday), between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Friends’ next sale will be mystery, thriller and adventure sale, which is set for Feb. 6-9. Friends of the Reston Regional Library is made up of nearly 100 active volunteers who donate over 10,000 hours a year to process donations, run sales and reach out to the community.

For more information about Friends of the Reston Regional Library and its book sales, visit its website or its Facebook page, find it on Twitter, call 703-829-5467, or email [email protected].

File photo

0 Comments

Alternative Gift Market & Craft Fair

Experience the joy of socially conscious gift-giving at the 2019 Alternative Gift Market (AGM) and Craft Fair. The AGM is a convenient, one stop experience to make your own charitable contributions or donations in lieu of traditional holiday gifts. Speak…

Del. Ken Plum: Skepticism on Casino Gaming in Virginia

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

After intensive lobbying by some local governments and private investors during the 2019 session, the General Assembly passed a bill requesting the Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission (JLARC) on which I serve to conduct a review of the impact if resort-style casinos were to be built in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. These locations represent a pattern only of local governments that are interested and /or private investors who want to invest there. The JLARC staff along with assistance of private consultants who specialize in gambling operations reported to the Commission last week. A copy of the report is available at jlarc.virginia.gov/landing- 2019-gaming.

Gambling has long been prohibited in Virginia, with the exception of the lottery, charitable gaming such as bingo, and wagering on horse races. Virginians currently wager over $1 billion annually on these forms of gaming, generating about $600 million in revenue for various purposes, primarily K-12 education. Nearby states permit more forms of gambling than Virginia does, including casino gaming, sports wagering, and online casino gaming.

According to estimates from The Innovation Group, a national gaming consultant who assisted JLARC staff with the study, resort-style casinos could be built and sustained in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. These estimates assume an initial $200 million to $300 million capital investment and an annual gaming revenue state tax rate of 27 percent (the national median). Casinos in these five locations are projected to generate about $970 million annually in net gaming revenue and approximately $260 million in gaming tax revenue for the state. For comparison, the Virginia Lottery generates over $600 million annually after prizes are paid out. About one-third of total casino revenue is projected to be generated by out-of-state visitors.

The projected median wage of $33,000 for casino employees would be below the median wage in the five localities. Not all casino jobs would represent a net gain of employment for the localities, and nearly half of the jobs would be low-skill and low-wage. Casino gambling would reduce the revenues in existing forms of gambling such as the Lottery that generates money for the schools.

According to the study, the prevalence of problem gambling in Virginia has not been measured, but evidence from national studies and states with a broad array of gaming options suggests that an estimated 5 to 10 percent of adults may experience gambling problems. The introduction of casinos would make more people at risk of experiencing problems as gambling opportunities increase.

The negative impacts of gambling are not limited to problem gamblers. The report indicates that research consistently shows adverse effects on others, most often a spouse or partner, but also the parents and children of problem gamblers, as well as other family members and close friends. The negative effects of problem gambling can be severe in a small portion of cases and include financial instability and mental health and relationship problems.

I am skeptical of introducing additional gambling opportunities in the Commonwealth. From what I have been able to learn, the modest revenues are not worth the risks involved. Is there something I am missing?

File photo

0 Comments

Thursday Morning Notes

County Seeks Help Reporting Streetlight Outages — Residents can report streetlight outages through the county’s interactive map online. [Fairfax County Government]

Meeting on Silver Line Phase Two Set for Today — The Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee meets today. The committee will receive an update on phase two of the project, as well as funding needs. [Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee]

Reminder about Reston Association Board Elections — Members interested in running for a seat in 2020should submit applications by Jan. 24. [Reston Association]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

0 Comments

UPDATED: Fairfax Connector to Offer Limited Service Amid Worker Strike

Commuters who rely on Fairfax Connector service should plan to make alternate plans tomorrow (Thursday).

Fairfax Connector workers plan to begin a strike at 3 a.m. tomorrow, according to the Amalgamated Transit Union.

The service, which is used by 30,000 individuals on a daily basis, will operate on a Sunday schedule tomorrow.

The strike comes after failed negotiations over a contract extension and an ongoing six-week-long strike at a Metro garage in Lorton. Transdev, a private company recently hired by the county, operates both services.

Here’s more from the county’s transportation department:

As a result of the job action, Transdev does not expect all drivers represented by ATU Local 1764 to report for work on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, and bus service will be operated by a limited number of available personnel. The decision was made to operate a Sunday schedule instead of a weekday schedule because that is believed to be the maximum level of reliable bus service that can be provided under the current circumstances.

Workers plan to stand at picket lines at three locations in the county, including the stop at 268 Spring Street in Herndon.

Here’s more from the union on the strike:

Five weeks after its union-busting tactics unleashed an unprecedented Metrobus strike that continues to this day, private transit contractor Transdev is at it again.

With more than 36 allegations of labor law violations alleged against the company, six hundred Transdev workers who operate and maintain the Fairfax Connector are striking beginning December 5.

Commuters should sign up for text or email alerts, follow Fairfax Connector on Twitter and Facebook, or call the service’s customer service line at 703-339-7200 for updates on service impacts.

County officials are encouraging residents to carpool, bike, walk or telework tomorrow.

We appreciate our passengers’ patience as Transdev and ATU are continuing to negotiate a new contract.  Until an agreement is reached, Fairfax County will continue to update Fairfax Connector customers with operating status on a regular basis,” according to a statement by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

0 Comments

As Hudgins Ends 20 Years of Service, Reston’s ‘Growing Pains’ Come to the Forefront

As Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins concludes her two-decade-long career this month, she acknowledges that Reston is experiencing what some might call “the painful side” of growth.

Nonetheless, Hudgins, who helped expand the Silver Line into and beyond Reston and presided over major changes in the community, says that she is confident that the pipeline of projects in development will slowly transform the community into a more inclusive suburb with a thriving transit-oriented core.

As community consternation about the pace of development and supporting public infrastructure mounts, Hudgins says she is hopeful that the community’s growing pains — including increased traffic and the uncertainty of future transportation funding for projects — will slowly give way to a more welcoming community.

The arrival of the regional transit system prompted a flurry of redevelopment and development along the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station and the Reston Town Center Metro Station. Hudgins, a big believer in the promise of commuter rail, hopes residents who are alarmed by the residential towers and mixed-use projects scraping the area’s skies can learn to embrace change that is inevitable due to the Silver Line’s expansion.

“When we announced that Wegmans was coming, everyone was happy. We have to remember that you can’t build a Wegmans and not have people going back and forth,” Hudgins said. “What Reston is seeing is the benefit of financial investment. The question is, how long does the vision take to shape out?”

As she prepares to hand off her position to former Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn, she worries that some issues are still lingering, including housing affordability.

“When we came to Reston, there was a price point that we could all live on, but that has changed,” Hudgins said. “The question is, how do you implement affordable housing? How do you fund it? And what do you build?”

As the community grows, Hudgins also hopes that the welcoming spirit that prompted her to settle into the area nearly 50 years ago, also grows.

“The challenge will be how to keep that sense of community that I bought into and that we bought into,” Hudgins says.

In addition to helping bringing rail to the area, Hudgins says she is also proud of the “little legacies” like creating a high school bus pass system for buses and Metro, as well as expanding Kindergarten from a half-day to a full-day program in 2011.

She hopes Alcorn will offer community engagement opportunities to keep Restonians updated on the holistic picture of planned development, infrastructure, and housing affordability projects.

Hudgins plans to “sit back and watch” and become a part of the community again.

“If we can get to a point where we have the diversity of transportation uses and the people who work here can live here, we will learn that we can have a really great community, even as it changes.”

She compares Reston’s pace of development to living in your home as it is being remodeled — which she weathered through even when the roof was damaged by a storm.

“In the end, the actual plan does work.”

0 Comments

Fairfax County to Evaluate Need for Dog Parks

The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched an in-depth study of dog parks in the county.

The study will examine current and future needs for dog parks throughout the county and include strategies for long-term planning, development, and management.

Currently, FCPA is seeking feedback through an online survey, which is available through Dec. 15.

Residents can also submit comments via email at [email protected]

More information about the study is available online.

Photo by Jay Westcott

0 Comments

UPDATED: After Police Pursuit, Man Arrested in Felony Hit and Run Incident

A felony hit and run incident closed Reston Parkway at Stevenage round today (Wednesday) shortly after midnight.

Police believe a man driving a black 2016 Honda Fit was traveling northbound on Reston Parkway when he crossed over into opposing traffic on the other side of the road and hit a black 2003 Toyota Corolla.

The man attempted to flee the scene by foot, but was caught after a helicopter-assisted pursuit. The suspect, whose name has not been publicly released, was taken to a local hospital after he was bitten by a police K9.

Police said the man was “combative” when officers attempted to arrest him. Charges are pending.

No other information about the incident was released publicly.

This story has been updated.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list