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Op-Ed: Nine Questions to Start the Primary Campaign

by RestonNow.com January 29, 2019 at 2:15 pm 32 Comments

This op-ed was submitted by John Farrell, who is a Reston resident. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

With the announcement that Cathy Hudgins will not seek re-election and the entry of at least four (and maybe more) people in the June 11 primary to succeed her, it seems appropriate to propose an agenda for the candidates to address over the coming weeks as they knock on our doors and ask for our support.

The Hunter Mill District hasn’t had a primary for supervisor in many decades. And given Hunter Mill’s voting history, it’s reasonable to expect that whoever wins the June Democratic primary will be the next Hunter Mill Supervisor.

What follows is offered as a start of that conversation. Happy to see others add their questions.

1.  Should the Hunter Mill Supervisor lift the PRC ordinance’s 80,000 person population cap on Reston to 100,000 or higher?

The Planning Commission held a five hour hearing on raising the cap last Wednesday (Jan. 23). Few of the 30 some odd speakers spoke in favor of raising the cap.

2.  Should the Hunter Mill Supervisor use the county’s zoning power to end or reduce paid parking at Reston Town Center?

3.  Should Reston National Golf Course or Hidden Creek Golf Course be redeveloped for housing or preserved as a central part of Reston’s open space plan?

It’s been quiet on the RNGC front lately, but the owners of Hidden Creek have been holding focus groups trying to find any community support for redevelopment of that property and adjacent projects that it has recently acquired.

4. Should high-rise housing be allowed to replace North Point or Hunters Woods shopping centers?

The Reston Master Plan allows 50 units per acre as a redevelopment option for those shopping centers. The pending PRC amendment would raise that number to 70. Should this high-rise option be preserved or eliminated?

5. Which recreational facilities are maintained better: County Park Authority facilities or Reston Association’s facilities?

There are only four Fairfax Park Authority facilities in Reston, but they are badly in need of maintenance or improvement.  Neither South Lakes Drive Park nor North Point Park has water to keep the grass ball fields alive in the summer or provide in-door sanitation facilities.  Yet over the last decade, millions of proffer dollars have been promised to the Park Authority. What should that money be used for in Reston?

6. The Tysons Master Plan calls for office developers to make proffer donations for recreational facilities. Should the same be expected of commercial developers in Reston?

The tenants and guests of the commercial developers will use Reston Association’s trails and other amenities. Should they contribute to their renovation?

7. Should proffer donations by developers for recreation facilities go exclusively to the Park Authority to be used anywhere in the county or go to Reston Association for use in Reston?

Developers’ attorneys report to me that even when they write proffers to give recreational proffer money to RA, the current supervisor’s staff directs them to rewrite the proffer for the money to go to the Park Authority with no strings requiring the money to be used in Reston.

8. Should Reston Association have a prominent voice in land use decisions in Hunter Mill?

The turn-out for RA elections will approach the turn-out in the June Democratic primary in Reston. Isn’t RA as legitimate a voice of our community as the McLean Citizen Association is in McLean? MCA is entirely voluntary and yet has virtual veto power over McLean land use application with the Dranesville Supervisor.

What would RA’s Design Review Board have had to say about the Blue Monster next to Plaza America or the Azkaban Apartments at the corner of New Dominion and Reston Parkways? They were never asked.

9. Should four-lane roads be reduced to two-lane roads, and the closed lane devoted to the exclusive use of bicyclists?

South Lakes Drive is getting horrible reviews from locals and the suicide lanes on Lawyers, Soapstone and Colts Neck are inviting head-on collisions and traffic jams when folks try to make overlapping left turns.

No doubt there are other questions that these candidates should answer. So let’s hear them but keep it to issues they can do something about.

— John Farrell

Photo via Len Spoden Photography

  • Wheels

    “South Lakes Drive is getting horrible reviews from locals and the suicide lanes on Lawyers, Soapstone and Colts Neck are inviting head-on collisions and traffic jams when folks try to make overlapping left turns.”

    Do you have any data to back up your claim of traffic jams and head-on collisions? Any concerns about drivers hitting and killing pedestrians?

    • 30yearsinreston

      There has been at least one fatality on South Lakes drive this year

      • Conservative Senior

        Very dangerous with the bike lanes!

        • LisaR

          It was more dangerous before the bike lanes

          • Conservative Senior

            NOT!

    • Rational Reston

      Mr. Farrell’s point #9 is just silly. In my 20 years in Reston, I find the ‘road diets’ on Soapstone, Lawyers, and Colts Neck to be good moves. South Lakes is too new to judge, but the tragic death of the South Lakes student maybe indicates that they need to do more to slow down traffic and make things safer on South Lakes. The key thing with the suicide lanes is that people need to learn to use them properly, that they can turn left into them and then merge into traffic, or that they should enter them and wait for traffic to clear before continuing the turn (I’ve seen left turns into Hunters Woods Center from the travel lane quite a bit).

      And maybe we should turn Mr. Farrell’s point #8 around, can the Hunter Mill district do something to quell RA and its greedy ways.

      Oh, can we do something about property taxes and county spending?

      • LisaR

        He is a “NIMBY” who will whine about anything bike-related. He presents no data other than “i don’t like the change”

  • 30yearsinreston

    Another damning indictment of Hudgins
    We know what her answers would be if she could be bothered replying to citizens

    • Biker Sherlock

      Just because you juxtapose something in sentence does not mean they are mutually exclusive. “Woonerfs” have been successfully implemented all over the world, not just in Holland. Domestically they been in use for over ten years in Chicago, Seattle and more. Locally, newer projects in DC have successfully used woonerfs – The Wharf for example… Your closed minded opinion that a woonerf is not “sensible traffic control” does not make it a statement of fact. You are, however, symptomatic of the times in your middle school debate tactics…

      • 30yearsinreston

        DC is not Reston . Not even close

        • Biker Sherlock

          “Woonerfs” have proven to be successful in a variety of settings, many with similar densities as Reston now has and soon will have. Reston is not Reston from 30 years ago…. time to accept that.

          • 30yearsinreston

            I will never accept being part of a unproven experiment for a minority who do not contribute to traffic upkeep
            Get back to me whem a bike tax and licences for bikers is enactef

          • Biker Sherlock

            Again, not unproven, but feel free to interpret facts as opinion, it’s all the rage. So do pedestrians also not merit consideration till they are licensed? Perhaps given your reluctance to change and stance towards minorities, it is time to change your handle from 30yearsinreston to NewInAlabama….

          • 30yearsinreston

            Bingo!
            Personal insults confirm the lack of a reasonable logical rebutal
            Too bad

          • Biker Sherlock

            You’ve cleared stated your aversion to change and minorities on multiple occasions. You can’t demand a logical discourse if you choose to take statements of fact and dismiss them time and time again. You’ve already said that cyclists and pedestrians have no rights in your opinion (fact?) so perhaps seek out a community that shares your values. If you took Alabama to be beneath you, then you’re probably the one insulting Alabama.

          • Mike M

            Biker, I’m going to guess you bike a lot so you expect shared infrastructure to be bent to your whimsy. Your bias renders your views as purely self-interested.

          • Wheels

            Mike M, do you expect driving to be the fastest way to get around all of the time? Your bias renders your views as purely self-interested.

          • Mike M

            Yes. I do. Our entire suburban landscape is based upon the automobile. I think pretending otherwise is foolish.

          • Biker Sherlock

            You know what they say about assumptions Mike…. No, my bikes tend to have large engines and therefore I’m limited to the same lanes as you. I do not have a problem giving cyclists wide birth (3ft as per VA law) or (even better) letting them have their own lane. Not self interested views, but statements of fact. Facts are so trivialized nowadays….wonder why

          • Mike M

            Because people lie and their facts are BS. I don’t favor giving I precious road space to a tiny minority.

          • Biker Sherlock

            Just checking here Mike, are you saying I’m lying and the facts I’ve represented are BS? Facts actually tend to stand for themselves quite well, especially when not in quotes. Sometimes it is hard to accept facts when they don’t conform to your own beliefs, but we can always hope some people eventually get it, even if they don’t like it. You do realize that the bike lanes you hate so much are primarily there to slow down the cars much like yourself and reduce vehicular accidents? The fact that the hated minority gets a bike lane out of it is secondary. Maybe if folks hadn’t plowed through South Lakes at excessive speeds on a regular basis, you wouldn’t have your knickers in a knot about peddlers in spandex….but it’s probably all just BS and you can ignore logic, life is easier that way for some.

          • Mike M

            You were stating your opinion. Not fact. How come you don;t know the difference? Washington Post?

          • Biker Sherlock

            Opinion is “I love road diets” Fact is “Numerous studies have show road diets to be an effective mechanism to reduce traffic speeds and accidents”. Fake News?

          • Mike M

            Yes. Fake News. I mean if you take away all roads you will eliminate traffic speeds and accidents. You are impressionable. The question is should we be taking away roads.

          • Biker Sherlock

            Science is real Mike, no matter what your friends keep telling you. If you and your buddies hadn’t been flooring the lead sled all over South Lakes, you’d still have your precious lanes. All those pesky pedestrians in that area, especially those doggone kids. You’d almost think there was a school zone or something going on over there…

          • Mike M

            Science has been altered to change previous “findings.” Science has been politicized. Science is not your opinion. Science has been poorly applied. As for me and my “buddies” I am a super conservative driver. I have had one speeding ticket in more than a few decades of driving. I was going 27 in a 20 MPH zone. No kidding, Mr. Science. Guess what, it might just be a fact that no one got hit by a car on that part of South Lakes since the bikes lanes were implemented. I believe that is the case. Cause and effect? You, science, and I cannot tell. But the question is begged by circumstance. The real question is why aren’t you asking it. I suspect it is because you are so self-righteous, you really don’t care abut facts! Mr. Ocasio?

    • LisaR

      It would be nice if you actually had an original argument. All you do is recycle “I don’t like bikes” but you have nothing new to present. Meanwhile everyday pedestrians and cyclists are put at risk by divers like you who speed and run stop signs. But that’s OK, keep on with your childish whining about cyclists.

  • Tom Mccauley

    #’s 6 and #7, about those proffers good luck with that

    • 30yearsinreston

      Hudgins has already negotiated free houses in lieu of open space and community improvements to quality of living
      No other proffers are requested

  • MakeRestonBetter

    #9 – I live just off Lawyers and I love the visual narrowing and accompanying traffic calming that the road diet has brought. And I love even more that recently police have been ticketing people who use the center turning lane as a passing lane. Road diets are for calming traffic and slowing speeds. In the resulting extra space, bike lanes can be added. But the diets and calming aren’t done exclusively to pursue bike lanes — they are done because people drive too.darn.fast…

  • LisaR

    The author is often the lead “NIMBY” at meetings focused on road safety. The community has learned to ignore him.

  • John Higgins

    It’s interesting, perhaps curious, that so many seem to have missed the point of this op ed. Our district supervisor is at the base level of government where issues often have the most direct impact on our lives. When a candidate asks for our support, it’s an excellent opportunity to discover what they are thinking on micro-issues and how they approach the role of local government in general.
    It doesn’t sound as if Mr. Farrell is simply asking us to take up his causes nor is there an invitation for us to debate his views. If something he has said resonates, keep that in mind when engaging candidates. If not, skip it and have something intelligent of your own at hand. And if there is something important to you, why not share it with the rest of us? That would be helpful. For this purpose, expounding on why his views are “wrong” is not.

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