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Metro is Here, Now Reston Needs Connectivity to Get to It

by Karen Goff — October 22, 2015 at 9:30 am 5 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East Metro StationNow that Metro has come to Reston, the biggest challenge is getting pedestrians, cyclists and drivers easily connected with public transportation.

That was the theme of a legislative forum sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce at Reston Station on Wednesday.

Officials at the state, county and Reston level gave their thoughts on moving Reston forward as it becomes a transit-oriented community.

However, issues, even temporary ones such as a crash, affect the region overall, said Marty Nohe, chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

“There is no such thing as a Reston or Fairfax transportation problem,” he said. “At 5:15 p.m., a small fender bender in Prince William County can cause delays in Arlington. … Congestion relief is a top priority.”

Nohe said the NVTA has gotten nearly a half-billion dollars in new projects approved for Northern Virginia in the last three years.

At the county level, some of the most critical future projects include new crossings for the Dulles Toll Road; widening the Fairfax County Parkway; and implementing bus service to link this part of the county with the Springfield area, said Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Biesiadny also said the following are of high importance: bicycle and pedestrian improvements, walkways and sidewalks on such roads as Fox Mill, Glade, North Shore, Soapstone, Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills; and a bike/pedestrian overpass at the W&OD Trail at Wiehle and Sunset Hills.

He said the latter is currently moving forward with a design plan. Meanwhile, there will be an update on the Soapstone crossing of the Dulles Toll Road at a community meeting Monday evening at South Lakes High School.

“The Reston Comprehensive Plan, approved in 2014, includes significant enhancements in transportation,” he said. “That includes four toll road crossing areas and mixed-use development [around the Metro stations] and a grid of streets around the stations.”

Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson says RA is placing a high priority on “what we need to do to address connectivity” for pedestrians and cyclists using RA paths and roads.

Comstock Partners spokeswoman Maggie Parker said developers need to work together with government and RA to reach those goals.

“We need to pay attention to development, enhance the urban grid and not put impediments into that process,” she said.

Fulkerson agrees teamwork is necessary as transportation develops.

“An impediment would be not having all the people at the table when talking elements that need to go in.”

  • Reston Station Frequenter

    “urban grid” is not a phrase many Restonians want to hear. Also whoever designed Metro Center Drive should not be allowed near any future projects… Those W&OD overpasses though are solid.

  • Terry Maynard

    The irony here is that the County has had an approved plan for development of access to the Wiehle Metro station since 2009–six years ago. And it’s actually a pretty good one. It was put together by a group appointed by Supervisor Hudgins called the Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG).

    Some of its recommendations in that 2009 report were completed by Comstock as proffered conditions (mostly turn lane additions around Wiehle/Sunset Hills) before Metro opened, but none of the County’s physical improvements were completed before the Silver Line opened in mid-2014. Of course, some major changes and upgrades in bus transit service were added as the station opened. By the end of that year, the County had added about 500′ of sidewalk along Sunrise Valley Drive and this year they have improved the pedestrian crossing at Wiehle and SRV Dr.

    Plans are also advancing for a related key north-south link over the DTR–“the Soapstone Connector.” In fact, the County will update its progress on the design next Monday, 10/26, 6-8PM at South Lakes HS. (See RestonNow’s coverage on that here: https://www.restonnow.com/2015/10/08/whatever-happened-to-plans-for-the-soapstone-connector/) RMAG proposed that the connector go right passed the west side of the Metro parking garage, but elevation changes and the fact MWAA put a power station on DTR property right there made that infeasible. NTL, the vital connector will ease traffic pressure on Wiehle near the DTR.

    There are still a plethora of access improvements to complete in the plan–road, bike, ped–and sort of a schedule laid out on the County’s website (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/silverline/restonimp.htm)

    While the RMAG plan also included some improvements for the Reston Town Center station area, they were not nearly as complete as those for Wiehle station. A group similar to RMAG completed a report for the Herndon-Monroe station in 2011 (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/pdf/tmams/tmsams_final_report.pdf), but I am unaware of any County plans to schedule, budget, or complete those recommendations.

    • Will Lipford

      Good information, I just wish they would have implemented before congesting the whole damn area.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    The 267 crossings will help a huge amount. Need the one at Soapstone ASAP (hopefully with a pedestrian/bike bridge over Sunset Hills) and the one at South Lakes soon after. They’ll help bikers/walkers get around easily as well as help alleviate vehicular traffic. Fix Wiehle visibility and crossings at Fairway and Inlet ASAP. Those and the Wiehle bridge at Sunset Hills would be my top priorities in the high-volume driving areas.

    On the edge of Reston: when are we going to get a path, any path, on Fox Mill Road between Fox Mill Shopping Center and the BB&T? There’s no path, no sidewalk, no shoulder, nothing. Just gravel/dirt (in some places) and a lot of plants. Nowhere safe to walk without going about half a mile or more out of the way.

  • Will Lipford

    It took them how many years to build the metro stop? All that time you didn’t know this would cause traffic on said “high priority” projects in Reston? This is the problem with the DOT, too little too late. Did they not have to follow the same rules builders have before construction began? Congratulations Fairfax! You have succeeded in turning Reston into Arlington jr.

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