Future Watch: More Fields Per Person in Manhattan Than In Reston?

Pick up soccer in the park

One of the major criticisms from Reston development-watchers about the changes to the Reston Master Plan is the lack of planning for recreational and athletic space if Reston experiences a projected population boom of 30,000-40,000 in coming years.

As the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gets ready for its Tuesday meeting, where it is expected to vote on changes to the comprehensive plan, advocacy group Reston 2020 took a look at how Reston of the future stacks up with the most urban of all transit-oriented developments: Manhattan.

“The draft Reston transit station area master plan promises less than two-thirds the playing fields per capita for the totality of the station areas and less than half for the “crown jewel” of Reston—Reston Town Center,” writes co-chair Terry Maynard. “This focused picture is just part of the rather pathetic comparison of Reston’s proposed park space compared with what already exists in Manhattan.”

A little background:

The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force spent four years trying to find the right formula for future development. The group’s final draft originally called for 12 additional athletic field to be added in Reston based on projected population growth of about 44,000.

But the final version that passed the county planning commission last month asks for at a minimum, three fields to be built — one near each of the transit stations at Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Parkway and Herndon-Monroe.

“The draft Reston plan calls for a minimum of three athletic fields in each of the three station areas and, in fact, goes further by saying at least one in each station area,” says Maynard. “This despite the fact that the County’s “urban parks framework” calls for a dozen athletic fields given the planned for population of 49,118 two or three decades hence, which is about one-third the athletic field standard for the County’s suburban areas.

“The reality of this “minimum” requirement is that it is highly unlikely that developers will give up any additional acreage (up to 3 acres per field, which could generate some $12 million per year total added developer revenues in today’s market as Class “A” office space) to accommodate the County urban standard of 12 ballfields.”

Maynard found that Reston’s formula means that Reston will have a park accessibility score that is 1/30th that of Manhattan.

Read the full report on Reston 2020’s website.


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