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Reston Town Center Metro Station Approved Without Requested Artistic Flair

by Karen Goff February 5, 2016 at 4:15 pm 27 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East Metro stationThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority’s plan for the Reston Town Center Metro station.

What to know now: The station, which will be located in the Dulles Toll Road median just west of Reston Parkway and about a half-mile from the current Reston Town Center, will look exactly like other Silver Line stations.

That is disappointing news to the Reston Town Center Association and its Design Review Board, which requested adding some flair in order to give the station area, particularly on the north side closest to town center, a sense of place.

“The station proposal reflects ‘standard’ station design and does not distinguish this stop as a place of special distinction appropriate to Town Center’s status in, and contributions to, the county and the region,” Robert Goudie, RTC Association Exeuctive Director wrote in a letter to Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova.

“[RTC Association] also has concerns about the experience of those waiting for buses on an essentially concrete island that provides minimal shelter, aesthetic appeal or amenities,” Goudie wrote.

The RTC’s Design Review Board late last year made several design suggestions to the county, the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority (MWAA) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Among them:

  • The pedestrian bridge over the Dulles Toll Road that “should signal arrival at a place of distinction,” possibly with LED lighting that could be programmed to change color periodically.
  • An entrance pavilion with different colored bricks or paint.
  • Bus staging area and larger island with artistic flair — “perhaps a tensile structure that would serve both function and form. A general “softening” of the island scape (essentially a solid concrete platform) would also be desirable.
  • Public art that would add to the sense of distinction.

Representatives from MWAA and Metro responded that Metro facilities must have a uniform appearance.

“The special character and design of the transit area portion of Reston Town Center will be established, not through the design of the 1.69-acre transit facilities themselves, but rather through the 33 acres of development surrounding them,” reps from WMATA and MWAA’s Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Team said in a letter to RTC Association.

They team also said requests for adding art and other distinction should be discussed with Boston Properties, which owns the 33 acres between the station and the Reston Town Center. That area will almost certainly be developed as the station’s 2020 opening gets closer.

It also said there will be opportunities for altering the bus station design and adding public art in the future.

“I suspect applications will come through before the station is built,” land use attorney John McBride, representing Metro, said at the supervisors meeting. “Reston Town Center Association had a lot of good suggestions, as did Reston Planning and Zoning, on ways to make the presence something special.”

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says she is in favor of the proposals for adding a sense of distinction for the town center station and for development proposals that will be coming in the future.

“We should all be excited about this,” she said. “It signals the redevelopment of Reston Town Center and what will be happening beyond there.”

Photo: Standard Silver Line station entrance at Wiehle-Reston East

  • SouthRestonResident

    Doesn’t “flair” just cost extra money? By conforming to a set of uniform standards across METRO, customers will be familiar with the overall experience and costs can be controlled.

    Of course, when it comes out of someone else’s pocket it’s to be expected that some people of a certain political leaning would just want all the money they could take.

    • finehoe

      Presumably you are referring to Wall St. bankers.

  • LakeNewportLady

    “You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?”

    • Nate_VA

      Love that movie!

  • El Southie
  • Rational Reston

    If RTCA wants flair, RTCA should offer to pay for the flair.

  • Mike M

    I know! How about big giant, self-indulgent, twisted lumps of brightly colored plastic or metal. Uneducated, uncultivated commercial real estate developers buy it all the time and they plop it down in central locations. You know, “art!” “Sculpture!” Done!

  • Guest

    The DRB wants Flair? What a bunch of whiners.
    Take your tensile structure and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine! That way you can walk all over to the Town Center demonstrating your own special brand of flair!

    • Love The Whiners

      Don’t like living in a planned community? Don’t appreciate volunteers who put in hundreds or thousands of hours to improve their community instead of whining here? There are many other locations you could live in.

      • Guest

        Take your sanctimony elsewhere. I am one of those volunteers who indeed does care about Reston, but oppose the stupid and deceit filled decisions made by some of those in positions of influence. Sorry that dissent from the dominant paradigm bothers you so much,.

  • letsbcivil2

    Whether or not the expense of artistic flourishes should be included aside, the larger point is that the community has been dictated to since the beginning of the metro expansion. We have no representation on any of our governing boards as all that ever seems to matter are the wishes of the greedy developers. There’s never been a concern for what the communities want or indeed the need to preserve community. We are now living in an atomized Reston without a care to what we’ve lost, much less concern for more prosaic matters like traffic.

    • cRAzy

      And yet we keep re-electing the same gawddawful supervisors, including Hudgins, to be our “leaders.”

      As Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

      Yet here we are.

  • Drab Residential Boondoggle

    Artistic flair for the commuters and camp colors for the fee paying RA membership.

    Again, I am calling for the dissolution of the DRB and the creation of a new department with new faces. The only solution…

    • Karen Goff

      FYI – It is not the RA or its DRB in this story. It is the Reston Town Center Association DRB.

  • MaggieSays

    I wouldn’t be comfortable with too much color. Those sculptures in RTC make me very uncomfortable. Reston is about conformity and lack of color. We have a colorway and these bright primary colors are quite jarring to the eye.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    I have an old crapper setting under my deck, left over from a bathroom remodel. We could put that my the entrance, possibly paint it some earth tone colors and maybe plant some Impatiens in it. I think that would make a pretty strong artistic statement about my feelings towards RTC.

  • ceefer

    May I suggest decorating the station with two murals – the first depicting drivers backed up at a Dulles Toll Road toll booth and the one second showing several lanes of stalled traffic on the DTR.
    It would be a fitting and appropriate way to honor the long-suffering drivers who are financing the rail boondoggle with their tolls – all while they’re stuck in the congested traffic that the Silver Line will never alleviate.

    • Rail Commuter

      Paying the toil is mandatory. Suffering in traffic is optional.

      • Sally Forth

        WHY should paying DTR tolls be mandatory??? We’ve been lied to (tolls were supposed to END when DTR construction was paid off and it has been for years!) and shafted by Hudgins/Bulova/BOS/Plum who singled out Reston/Herndon residents to pay tolls (extra taxes) for the huge cost of the Silver Line while the rest of the county gets off scott free. To add insult to injury, Metro is a disaster. Billions for a system that doesn’t work with no toll end date in sight now that MWAA controls and steals tolls revenues with NO oversight in perpetuity. Nah, you really can’t make this kind of nightmare up!!! Does anyone care out there??? Time for a revolution in Fairfax County?

        • Mike M

          Well, alright!

        • RJ

          Question: If all tolls end…who pays for the maintenance and eventual replacement?

          • Sally Forth

            The same way every other highway gets refurbished: Gas taxes which affect everyone and haven’t been raised in years! Why should some unlucky roads be tolled and others not? By virtue of home location, some people pay $thousands more per year to commute/live while others pay nothing. Do you not realize how disadvantaging this is for the economies of Reston and Herndon??? Why should the McLean/Oakton/Clifton portions of the county pay zip and we get slammed??? Wrong on so many levels. How long before businesses pick up on this huge disadvantage?

        • Observer

          Metro isn’t a disaster, just because you are personally opposed to transit. Enough with the hot-headed histrionics and hyperbole. Yes, Metro has its issues, but it remains far more efficient at moving large numbers of people than solo car driving ever will. The fatal incident last year was terrible. But then why isn’t it terrible that someone gets killed on the roads in the greater DC region every other day or so? One fatal incident on Metro and people say it’s an unsafe disaster, but one death every other day, throughout the years, on the roads is what? OK? Acceptable losses? Collateral damage? (Since when are we fighting a war on Americans?)

          You do realize that car drivers do not pay for the total cost of driving anyway. Perhaps you are paying more now with the dedicated tolls, but there are still massive costs associated with car driving that are not paid for directly by drivers. Gas taxes and tolls only pay part of the total cost. Then there are the other expenses, such as massive subsidies to oil and gas companies (whose products are a huge part of automobile driving), the $131 billion in annual health costs due to air pollution (a major part of which is the result of car driving), the massive military expenditures overseas largely to protect oil supplies. (As much as a few trillion dollars spent on the most recent large-scale war, which had a lot to do with protecting oil, but only ended up weakening U.S. national security while costing the lives of thousands of U.S. service personnel and the lives of hundreds of thousands of non-combatant civilians abroad.)

          But none of that matters to you because you are willfully ignorant, or you flat out don’t care. That’s your right, but it doesn’t mean you are correct.

          • Sally Forth

            You couldn’t be further mistaken. I am a huge mass transit supporter. YOU just don’t know the details of the financing of the Silver Line and how it will handicap our community when the tolls explode to pay for it!!! Why is the Silver Line the ONLY spur to be paid for by a very very small demographic group who do NOT use it??? Nor do you know the needless waste and flawed designs of Metro, the organization that has never, and can not now, get its act together. Name another metropolitan system without a 3rd or 4th track??? Just a few ‘small’ starting points… Pathetic lack of responsible planning everywhere. How long do we agree to pay for the continuing debacle at the expense of our beloved community?

      • ceefer

        “Suffering in traffic is optional”?

        Really. As if no one ever goes to the majority of the area not served by Metro.

        Come back when you’re paying out of the farebox to build your trains.

        Until then, look up and learn to understand the word “empathy”. Like many smug transit-users, you apparently don’t.

  • vdiv

    I’m sure a few entrepreneurial graffiti artists will be more than happy to oblige. Maybe we should commission Banksy to show the way. 🙂

  • CardBoard BoxTower

    research boston properties actual involvement and the underlying parties making a mess there, those useless gaudy cubist boxes with federal contractor sales offices out on sunset hills are a mess of a problem and never were consistent with appropriate design in the first place. BP has been nothing but a cardboard boxtower manufacturer throughout the region!

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