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

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