Reston, VA

Written by Guy Rando. Submit your letters to the editor to [email protected].

As someone who was involved in the design of Lake Anne, especially the open space plan, I strongly support the plan for the revitalization of Lake Anne. However, I do not support Reston Association trading away a parcel of mature upland forest for the purposes of building a parking lot.

As you will see from the attached drawings, there are other options for needed parking at Lake Anne.  I believe RA should insist the developer use these options in order to preserve a valuable RA natural area. Do not be the RA Board that “paved paradise and put in a parking lot” because, truly, “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.”

Alternative Lake Anne Plan by Guy RandoThere are only two world class elements in Reston:  Washington Plaza and RA open space and natural areas. It would be possible for Lake Anne Development partners to place approximately 200 parking spaces on the Crescent property along North Shore Drive with pedestrian access to the Plaza via Chimney House which would provide direct pedestrian access to the historic Plaza and to our current Lake Anne merchants.

Also the other and best alternative is to eliminate the proposed circular Village Plaza and repeat the mixed use that has been proposed on the east side also to the west side.  Consequently, all the parking will be where it is now above and below ground, closer to the world class historic Washington Plaza.  The developer also has the opportunity for greater densities and higher profits. There is no need to build another plaza to compete with the beautiful historic plaza we’ve got, which is also preserved for future generations to come.

The current merchants must have parking before, during and after the revitalization. Either of the above alternatives would fulfill this requirement.

Our open space is the birthright of our children and future generations.

“We do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them from us?  Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.  Every shining needle, every sandy shore, every humming insect is holy in the memory of and experience of my people.  We know that the white man does not understand our ways.   One portion of the land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes what he need.  The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it he moves on.  He leaves his fathers’ graves and his children’s birthright is forgotten.”  — Chief Seattle in a letter to President Franklin Pierce

Please, let’s leave open space and trees to our children, not a parking garage.

Guy Rando is a longtime Reston landscape architect and urban planner. He will present his alternative plan to the RA Board of Directors at Thursday’s meeting, where they are set to vote on the proposed land swap.

(Sketch of alternative plan courtesy of Guy Rando)

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