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Planners Want to Know Citizens’ Best, Worst in Reston

by Karen Goff — July 10, 2014 at 11:00 am 15 Comments

Fairfax County planners want to know what you know — or at least think — about Reston.

As the process for Phase 2 of the changes to the Reston Master Plan gets underway, think about these things: Where is the most beautiful building here? The place you take out-of-towners? The place where you are most likely to hit a pedestrian? The place most deserving of a bulldozer?

Those questions were posed as part of a community open house at United Christian Parish last month. All of the display boards, including neighborhood and village center profiles, design principles and Phase 2 goals, are now available online.

After more than four years of work, the Reston Master Plan Special Study earlier this year finished Phase 1, in which it formulated a vision for future development around Reston’s three future transit stations.

Phase 2 will look at the areas around Reston’s Village CentersAs Reston embarks on its second 50 years, there needs to be a plan in place for redevelopment, whether that happens next year or in 30 years, says Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. 

Phase 2 will also be done under Fairfax County’s new “Fairfax Forward” method of comprehensive plan review, which will rely on greater community engagement.

“Whether we develop today or in the future, we need to determine what the county’s role will be in that plan and what the plan should be,” Hudgins says. “Phase 1 changed the rules. Here, we are not changing the rules.”

Fairfax County officials say the the current comprehensive plan, last updated in 1989, requires revision because Reston no longer has a master developer to update the plan for Reston; the plan for Reston has outdated elements; and with population expected to grow with the arrival of Metro this summer, Reston is evolving as a community.

Hudgins said neighborhoods will largely remain untouched. The general plan is to preserve existing development but institute some guidelines in case of future development opportunities.

Lake Anne Plaza previously underwent comprehensive plan changes and is undergoing a separate revitalization process.

The online submission period for land use proposals is open through Friday, July 11. Online submission for community comments is also now open and will remain open until the Board of Supervisors hearing expected next spring.

Tentative Phase 2 Timeline:

September 2014 — County will formulate “strawman” proposals on neighborhoods and village centers and present to residents in community meetings

October 2014 — January 2015 — Community review and comment; possible additional community meetings

February 2015 — Publish comprehensive text and staff report

April 2015 — Fairfax County Planning Commission Public Hearing

June 2015 — Board of Supervisors Public Hearing

  • Rob

    Absolutely, positively have to put in some sort of tunnel or bridge for the W&OD trail across Whiele Avenue so that traffic can flow without interruption. With the Metro opening in a couple weeks, traffic if only going to get worse around there and more dangerous for the path users.

    Bulldoze Tall Oaks. It’s an eye sore, it’s depressing property values and the owners have no intention of doing anything with it in the foreseeable future.

    • yaifuz26

      Fairfax County has fully funded a bridge for the W&OD trail across Whiele the project is current in the Initiation stage.

    • Terry Maynard

      Same goes for W&OD crossing of Sunrise Valley Drive.

      • Amy Headlee

        Please check out Section D above. If there is a posted Stop sign, not only do they have to stop, they can be fined. And they should be.

    • Sorry Charlie

      Let the OWNERS of Tall Oaks decide for themselves what they want to do with it. After all, THEY OWN IT.

    • CR

      Traffic on Wiehle, and at all other W&OD crossings, SHOULD technically flow freely. Those on the trail are required by law (and common sense) to STOP and proceed ONLY when an opening in traffic large enough for them to cross safely occurs. The law requires that traffic yield ONLY to pedestrians and cyclists already IN the crosswalk, not those stopped and waiting at the side of the road. When a driver stops their automobile in the roadway to CREATE a space in which trail users may cross, that driver is the one creating a hazard. Also, pedestrians and cyclists who go straight into the crosswalk WITHOUT stopping or without waiting for a sufficient break in traffic, that pedestrian/cyclist is creating a hazard.

      A bridge would surely eliminate the issue, too. In the meantime, though, both drivers AND trail users need to start using better judgement.

      • JSTHFX

        If the pedestrian has come to a stop at the crosswalk and is there waiting then approaching drivers are required to yield to said pedestrian attempting to cross… they’re not required to already be in the intersection. They cannot disregard traffic or be careless or malicious, but they don’t have to wait forever either. I believe the crossing we are talking about is not at an intersection and the speed zone is 35MPH. Here are the codes:

        § 46.2-924. Drivers to stop for pedestrians; installation of certain signs;
        penalty.

        A. The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any
        pedestrian crossing such highway:

        1. At any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any
        block;

        2. At any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the
        lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block;

        3. At any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway or street
        where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 miles per hour.

        B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, at intersections or
        crosswalks where the movement of traffic is being regulated by law-enforcement
        officers or traffic control devices, the driver shall yield according to the
        direction of the law-enforcement officer or device.

        No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of
        approaching traffic.

        The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall
        change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to
        cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.

        Pedestrians crossing highways at intersections shall at all times have the
        right-of-way over vehicles making turns into the highways being crossed by the
        pedestrians.

        C. The governing body of Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County and
        any town therein, the City of Alexandria, the City of Fairfax, and the City of
        Falls Church may by ordinance provide for the installation and maintenance of
        highway signs at marked crosswalks specifically requiring operators of motor
        vehicles, at the locations where such signs are installed, to yield the
        right-of-way to pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross the highway. Any
        operator of a motor vehicle who fails at such locations to yield the
        right-of-way to pedestrians as required by such signs shall be guilty of a
        traffic infraction punishable by a fine of no less than $100 or more than $500.
        The Department of Transportation shall develop criteria for the design,
        location, and installation of such signs. The provisions of this section shall
        not apply to any limited access highway.

        D. Where a shared-use path crosses a highway at a clearly marked crosswalk
        and there are no traffic control signals at such crossing, the local governing
        body may by ordinance require pedestrians, cyclists, and any other users of such
        shared-used path to come to a complete stop prior to entering such crosswalk.
        Such local ordinance may provide for a fine not to exceed $100 for violations.
        Any locality adopting such an ordinance shall install and maintain stop signs,
        consistent with standards adopted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board and
        to the extent necessary in coordination with the Department of Transportation.
        At such crosswalks, no user of such shared-use path shall enter the crosswalk in
        disregard of approaching traffic.

        E. A locality adopting an ordinance under subsection D shall coordinate the
        enforcement and placement of any stop signs affecting a shared-use path owned
        and operated by a park authority formed under Chapter 57 (§ 15.2-5700 et seq.) of Title
        15.2 with such authority.

        Fairfax County Code

        Section 82-9-1. Pedestrians crossing highways or streets.160 []

        (a)

        When crossing highways or streets, pedestrians shall not carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles. They shall cross whenever possible only at intersections or marked crosswalks. Where any intersection of highways or streets contain no marked crosswalks pedestrians shall not be guilty of negligence as a matter of law for crossing at any such intersection or between intersections when crossing by the most direct route.

        (b)

        Pedestrians may cross at an intersection diagonally when all traffic entering the intersection has been halted by lights, semaphores or signals by a peace or police officer. ((3-13-63; 1961 Code, § 16-221.) Section 82-9-2. Right-of-way of pedestrians.161 []

        (a)

        The driver of any vehicle upon a highway or street shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing such highway or street within any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block, or at any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block, or at any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway or street where the legal maximum speed does not exceed thirty-five miles per hour, except at intersections or crosswalks where the movement of traffic is being regulated by law enforcement officers, uniformed school crossing guards, or traffic direction devices where the driver shall yield according to the direction of the law enforcement officer, uniformed school crossing guard, or device.

        (b)

        No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

        (c)

        The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or come to a complete stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.

        (d)

        Pedestrians crossing highways or streets at intersections shall at all times have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns into the highways or streets being crossed by the pedestrians. (3-13-63; 1961 Code, § 16-222; 37-76-82; 35-02-82.)

  • GB

    Bridge please; tunnels are dark, dirty, and expensive. Another one at the Sunrise Valley crossing would be great as well.

    I think the the village centers should be zoned mixed use at a pretty high density, and well serviced by buses to the metro. That will allow for the density required to sustain the retail, and help maintain Reston’s green space. It would also make Tall Oaks prime real estate.

  • ZZTop

    Remodel the traffic flow on Reston Pkwy between the 267 toll road, Sunset Hills and the Hyatt. I’ve seen so many accidents in that stretch, and it’s not very surprising – you have drivers accelerating into 267, coming out of 267 at speed and heading right into the Pkwy, and at the same time you have people switching lanes on the parkway to go right or left into RTC or Sunset Hills. Then you have everyone who wants to go west on 267. It’s a mess.

  • Dan

    The changes are a boon to developers and a disaster to residents:

    Allows additional “bonus” density for contributions to Corridor crossings above the already generous proposed development standards and “bonus” density.
    Adds monetary contributions in addition to in kind contributions for vitally needed infrastructure improvements.
    Eliminates the approval of Reston Association Design Review Board for new construction.
    Says new institutional and government development uses should not be counted toward the development of workforce housing requirements to contribute $3 per square foot for new non-residential development.
    Deletes plans for a parking study as needed to justify expansion of parking beyond parking space maximums laid out in the draft plan, relying instead on the phrase “suitable justification.” The result will be excessive parking and greater traffic congestion, says Reston 2020.

  • Frogger

    There are no beautiful buildings in Reston, especially in Stalinist concrete historic Lake Anne. Because of congestion and wait times, we usually go to Vienna for dinners out with friends & visitors. Can’t remember the last time I showed visitors around Reston; certainly its urban-ish areas (including Town Center) are not worth the price of gas to show them.

    Best:
    –Reston’s natural areas and trails except those denuded during stream restoration.
    –RA swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreation facilities.
    –RCC community programs and events
    –RA Nature Center and programs
    –Town Center’s Fountain Plaza and its summer programs. (That’s as close to a beautiful “building” as I can think of.)

    Worst:
    –Traffic! Traffic! TRAFFIC! And Metro won’t help–it will just focus TRAFFIC on already jammed north-south connectors. New bridges or tunnels across toll road are needed NOW.
    –New 23-story office building that hasn’t even been built yet replacing old TCOB (amid Spectrum Center) more than 1/2 mi. from a Metro station . WAAAAAY overdone, misplaced, and absolutely unneeded. (Thank you so much, Supervisors!)
    –County parks for Restonians (under-served, over-used, and poorly maintained), including absence of parks commitment in re-planning station areas.
    –Absence of major university to area drive innovation, culture, ideas, etc.
    –Absence of pedestrian crossovers (bridges or tunnels) at key intersections on major roadways (such as Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Dr.).
    –A COUNTY recreation center (with 50 meter indoor pool no less!) paid for by RESTONIANS through RCC.

    • LOL

      No “major university” in Reston? Boo hoo hoo! There are only what, THIRTEEN of them in the greater DC area. Where the heck would you even put that in Reston?

      • Frogger

        Stanford U–>Silicon Valley (& throw in nearby Bezerkely)
        MIT–>Rt 128 Corridor (plus Harvard, BU, BC, etc.)
        NOVA???–>Dulles “Technology” Corridor?????
        Actually, there is a palpable LACK of innovation (start-ups especially) here; just Fed (mostly DOD & IC) beltway bandit contractors who adapt others’ technology and charge an arm & a leg for it.
        Certainly we can do better than that!
        And there is no fine or performing arts center here.
        …much less “big time” college athletics! (OK, we can do without that!)

        • LOL x 2

          Terry, you have a great sense of humor. I know you are just trying to be funny, but LOL might have missed it. Keep up the good work, some of us appreciate it!

  • Melissa Silverman

    My neighborhood better NOT get pushed into “eminent domain”!!! Referring to: Hunters Crossing

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