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On the Docket: Reston Town Center Metro Station

by Karen Goff — February 1, 2016 at 1:30 pm 11 Comments

RTC Metro location/Fairfax County

The plans for the future Reston Town Center Metro station will have a public hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

The plans for the station, expected open as part of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 in early 2020, were recommended for approval by the county planning commission earlier this month.

The Reston Town Center stop will be more similar to the urban-style stations at Tysons than it will be to Wiehle-Reston East, the existing stop that is adjacent to a 3,000-space underground parking garage. The Reston Town Center stop, like the stations at Tysons, will have virtually no parking.

And it will still be about a half-mile walk to the Reston Town Center as it stands today. However, development is expected that will bring mixed-use amenities closer to where the station will be built in the middle of the Dulles Toll Road near Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) said in the county staff report for the project that there are a number of challenges with the plans — and that some might change moving forward.

Wrote Michael A. Davis of FCDOT:

“Generally speaking, there are a number of design elements that are considered less than ideal on the proposed site. However, we understand that this is a severely constrained site and that it needs to serve a required number of functions conditioned with project approval. FCDOT considers the proposed layout to be interim. Site modifications to address safety, facility redesign, or modifications to operations within or proximate to the site may occur after the Silver Line Phase II project is open.”

Davis also said some of the proposed facilities and operations at the site may be able to be shifted to future streets and properties with future land redevelopment proposals.

The County Comprehensive Plan and the Bicycle Master Plan recommend that Sunset Hills Road become a six-lane divided roadway with bicycle lanes in order to accommodate traffic to the station.

Other plans for the station, according to the county staff report:

20 short-term parking spaces

Six bike lockers

Plantings including shrubs, perennials and more than 20 trees.

A stormwater facility will be relocated to an adjacent parcel to the east.

Buses will enter the site through a buses-only entrance in the northeastern portion of the site, off Sunset Hills Road, and exit through a shared bus and vehicular exit in the western area of the site, which consists of dual left lanes and a right turn lane.

Three bus bays will be located between the south side of the entrance pavilion and the pick-up/drop-off area and short-term parking area. An off-site bus layover area is located along the site’s Sunset Hills Road frontage. A pick-up/drop-off area, short-term parking, motorcycle parking, and taxi spaces are provided in the southeast area of the site.

Bicycle lockers are located adjacent to the bus entrance and bicycle racks will be provided under the elevated pedestrian bridge, adjacent to the entrance pavilion.

The Reston Comprehensive Plan envisions a mix of uses within a one-quarter mile walk of the transit station with less intense development planned between one-quarter mile and one-half mile from the transit station.

Such development is envisioned to “consist of a balanced mix of uses that includes new office uses, destination retail uses and restaurants, a hotel with convention facilities, a significant residential component, civic uses, and ground floor uses to foster a varied and interesting pedestrian experience,” says the Comprehensive Plan.

Many Reston residents commented on Reston Now’s previous story about the station that its location was going to be quite inconvenient.

“Seriously?? What is the point of having a subway stop you have to walk half a mile?,” wrote on reader. “Good way to be late for work unless you are a jogger or fast worker. As things are planned right now, I don’t see how this stop is going to benefit Reston businesses. And having no parking is just plain foolish.”

“I would still drive into that part of Reston instead of vying for the piddly 20 parking spaces they are planning on. Talk about a commuter-unfriendly plan. Thumbs down!”

Wrote another: “A 1/2 mile is a bit excessive. It’s obvious developers and planners have given no thought to the minority of people who cannot spare the 10 minutes to walk this distance. Personally, I don’t want big brother giving me no option about how, when and where I get my exercise.”

“Let’s just take the ‘public’ out of public transportation and really focus on the real reason this metro stop is being developed — to exclusively serve the shops and restaurants, and the handful of homes, at the RTC’s core.”

Graphic: Courtesy Fairfax County

  • Well the Town Center as it stands today has some 3,000
    residences within five or six blocks of the new RTC metro stop and that will grow to
    more than 6.000 in the next decade.

    Not one other stop on the Metro to Dulles (and on) will have that concentration
    of residences. And 6.000+ residences will be more than all of Herndon or all of
    Tysons or ….you name it.

    Then there will sooner or later another boom/expansion of the Nation’s Capital
    region and RTC will boom to more than 20,000 residences and quite a city.
    After all why would Mort Zuckerman/Boston Properties invest several billion dollars
    in TC developments if there were not a prospect of significant expansion?
    If I were to bet on the best forecasts of the future of the RTC I would go with
    Zuckerman or JBG or Small Reston LLC etc. than a cul-de-sac owner who likes Reston
    like it was in 1970.

    • Arielle in NoVA

      What are you, a paid rep for the developers? The density increase you’re talking about is being forced on the area. It’s not a natural expansion. Stop pushing this as an agenda.

      • There are currently some 3,000 residences in the greater TC area. And the others I mentioned include what the county has already approved. The Metro to Dulles needs high densities to be financially sound and the county is on track to provide the zoning.

      • Evey Hammond

        I’m a Reston old timer, and have spoken to Bob Simon. The original intent for Reston was that it would be a small city. The current suburban style development is actually a derailment of the original vision. Because of that derailment, not a whole lot of proper urban planning has been done, and with the return to the original vision, we are left playing catch up on getting the right urban infrastructure.

        • Arielle in NoVA

          Most actual cities develop themselves over time from one or more natural cores of activity, residence, employment, etc. They evolve from smaller to larger societies based on local needs and interests. Or something fortuitous happens to put them on the map. Reston is not a neglected, abandoned town that desperately needs an infusion of money and new, younger people in order to survive for another generation. Its forced development is the making of foie gras. Some people think think foie gras is fabulous and amazing and maybe even traditional or expected. They feel they deserve to get to make and/or eat it, no matter what it does to the animal, because it’s so special and expensive and it tastes so good. Others feel it should not be allowed, specifically because the process of making it is unethical.

          Examples of forced development changing an area in ways the developers want but area residents might not appreciate: Wal-Mart opening a giant superstore in or right near a small town. The Inn changing Washington, VA (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2014/06/06/he-remade-h-street-and-logan-circle-now-d-c-developer-takes-on-a-country-town/).

          If the original planning wasn’t updated properly along the way for Reston, then the planning needs to be reevaluated at this point based on what *is*. I grew up in Reston and don’t remember anyone calling it urban or trying to make it urban until recently.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Stupid idea, to put a Metro station near that many things without including a bunch of parking.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Considering the American penchant for laziness, especially where walking is involved, I’ll bet that this would be a great place to open a Rickshaw service.

  • Guest

    What a colossal waste of money. Since I must use a cane when I walk, I will not be using this train station when it is built. Too much walking to TC, especially in inclement weather. The complete lack of parking is also a major detriment. So this appears to serve only future tenants of future buildings that will be clustered around the station,

  • GB

    What are the plans for the station south of the toll road?

  • TBird73

    Just like the rest of the Silver Line, yet another “decision” that benefits developers while completely ignoring the needs of existing residents. And anybody who thinks that is not obvious is either a fool or a paid shill.

  • Modest Metro

    The museum & performing arts complex that will replace the giant parking lot (roof of clandestine communications bunker) and adjacent CIA + oDNI brown buildings will have a ‘T’ intersection of the ramp across Sunset Hills where the bus station splits off westward. The complex provides parking and corrects street and pathway alignment across WOD trail into Reston Town center and completes access to metro, a people mover and tramway are considered in the design.

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