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RA May Take Over Plowing Reston County-Owned Trails

by Karen Goff — October 20, 2015 at 11:00 am 8 Comments

Reston Association snow patrol/Credit: RAReston Association is considering entering into a multi-year agreement with Fairfax County that will authorize RA to remove snow from county-owned trails in Reston.

Snow removal on the 1.5 miles of county trails will cost Reston Association $15,000 a year, RA CEO Cate Fulkerson says in a Board of Directors item that will be discussed at Thursday’s board meeting. RA would receive no money from the county for plowing the county’s trails.

RA is already responsible for plowing its own 55 miles of paths. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is responsible for snowplowing major roads, but does not shovel sidewalks on those roads.

RA’s 2015 budget allows for spending more than $800,000 on pathway maintenance and anticipates a 3 percent increase for 2016 and ’17.

RA and the county have been talking about teaming up on snow removal since early 2014. In February of 2014, the RA board authorized staff and legal counsel to move forward in their discussions with Fairfax County to develop and enter into an agreement for RA to plow certain portions of trails.

Without such an agreement, RA could not plow or shovel those trails without significant legal liability, RA’s legal counsel has previously said.

RA officials said at that time that plowing county-owned trails would help pedestrian connectivity in Reston, particularly near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The proposal does not cover sidewalks.

Under the proposed agreement, RA would be responsible for routine maintenance will include general debris removal, minor asphalt patching, pruning/edge mowing, leaf removal as necessary, and snow plowing. The county will be responsible for major repairs and capital replacement.

The county-owned trails would include:

  • The entire frontage of the real property located at Tax Map No. 11-2((8))(1B) (Reston Parkway at Route 7)
  • The western side of Wiehle Avenue from Center Harbor Road to the southern intersection with Longwood Grove Drive
  • The western side of Wiehle Avenue from Baron Cameron Avenue to North Shore Drive
  • The western side of Wiehle Avenue from North Shore Drive to Inlet Court
  • The western side of Wiehle Avenue from the Lake Anne dam embankment to Isaac Newton Square South
  • The western side of Reston Parkway from Dulles Access Toll Road to Sunrise Valley Drive
  • The northern side of Sunrise Valley Drive from Wiehle Avenue to Soapstone Drive
  •  The entire frontage of the real property located at Tax Map No. 27-1((16))(3) parcel 1 along Sunrise Valley Drive immediately adjacent to Campus Commons Drive
  • The northern side of Sunrise Valley Drive from Alexander Bell Drive to the western intersection with Preston White Drive
  • The northern side of Sunrise Valley Drive from approximately 80 feet west of the northern side of Sunrise Valley Drive from approximately 80 feet west of Hunter Mill Road to Alexander Bell Drive.

The agreement says Reston will only care for the county trails if there are available funds within its current maintenance budget and the availability of adequate funds to apply to such routine maintenance shall be determined at Reston’s sole discretion. In the event such funds are not currently available, Reston must tell the county.

The agreement says the the trails will be plowed upon the accumulation of two inches of snow and plowed clear after the snow storm has ended; trail shoulders should be mowed monthly in growing season; and potholes should be reported to the county. RA will not be responsible for making major repairs to county trails.

Photo: RA trail plows/file photo

  • Chuck Morningwood

    And we’re supposed to foot the bills for this? Seems to me that the County would want to reimburse us for doing their work.

  • Greg

    Hmmm—how many people live here?
    The entire frontage of the real property located at Tax Map No. 11-2((8))(1B) (Reston Parkway at Route 7)

  • Greg

    Yet another example of how the RA exceeds its remit and authority. Take care of RA property ONLY, and let the county and VDOT take care of theirs. RA must and should NOT fund Metro burdens and costs and disastrously and poorly implemented (despite being duly warned by many) access thereto.

    • Walk-Bus-Person

      Greg- I don’t think this is RA trying to exceed its limits or authority. If the County isn’t required to clear the paths and we need them clear in order to get around then I personally want RA to do this. I agree that it SUCKS that the County evidently only cares about “multi-model” as a concept and not in a way that causes them to align their operations so that we can BE “multi-model” but I’m glad that RA is at least trying to make it a reality.

      • Greg

        I don’t disagree that walking is beneficial, in all seasons, and that the paths and sidewalks should be cleared of ice and snow by the respective property owners at their cost; however, if the county is going to install sidewalks, (or paths as they apparently prefer to call them) then the county must maintain them. The RA is a homeowners’ association only and it has no authority to do the work of the county, especially at a cost to RA assessment payers. If it wants to do so, it should turn Reston into a town, take title to the sidewalks, and only then maintain them. As it is, the RA does a mediocre job in enforcing covenants and maintaining and updating its own facilities and does a very poor job in assisting assessment payers in maintaining their property by, for example, arranging for bulk / discounted purchases of utilities, maintenance supplies, renovation agents, landscapers and the like.

        After all, there are very few people living at Reston Parkway and Leesburg Pike (Rt. 7). I can assure you that of those few, none of them will be walking, in the winter, to the Metro. Surely you see the nonsense and “scope creep” evident in this faulty idea.

        You should be faulting Ken Plum, Kathy Hudgins, and all of the Metro brainiacs who were warned, many times and by many different entities, about the they way they rammed and jammed Metro, with what is now an effective silver line terminus, into an already congested area without accounting for these sorts of things — not to mention the decay, crowding and incompetent management of the legacy Metro lines. It’s not now the RA’s burden to fund and fix — including what surely is a huge legal expense to concoct some sort of rationalization as to why RA can get involved and spend assessment payers’ money in so doing.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    How is all that just 1.5 miles of trails?

  • Mike M

    Scope creep. Budget creep.

  • John Higgins

    In principle, this is a distasteful use of members’ money to pay what should be a public expense. But the reality is that the county is not about to plow all it’s walkways, and doing so for select ares in Reston is a precedent I doubt they could live with.

    Following the last major snow storm, there was considerable outrage that school children and users of public transportation had to walk on heavily traveled roads. As far as I can see, nothing has come of all that deep concern …. Until now. For 75 cents per year, per household, we will have a better community. I’m in.

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