Reston Town Center Metro Station Approved Without Requested Artistic Flair

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

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