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Hudgins Calls for More Streetlights in Rapidly Urbanizing Reston

by Vernon Miles February 12, 2019 at 3:30 pm 64 Comments

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says there’s a clear need around Reston for new streetlights.

Hudgins believes residents are currently dissuaded from taking pedestrian paths through Reston because the sidewalks are poorly lit, she said during a discussion about new lighting across Fairfax County in an Environmental Committee Meeting today (Tuesday).

“There are dark skies in parts of Reston, but now there is a greater demand for light,” said Hudgins. “Now, people are walking [around Reston] and there are no lights.”

The topic of streetlights in Reston emerged from a discussion of Fairfax County’s arrangement with Dominion Energy to begin replacing existing lights with LEDs. Fairfax County will be responsible for the costs to convert functioning streetlights, though any that are damaged or fail prematurely will be converted to LED at no cost to the county.

“If the poles get hit by trucks, that’s on Dominion,” said Kambiz Agazi, environmental and energy coordinator for Fairfax County. “I’m not suggesting we go out and hit these poles, but if a snow plow hits the poles, Dominion will cover the cost of replacing them.”

While Agazi said the county would reduce $1.4 million in annual costs if all of Fairfax’s 58,000 streetlights were replaced with LEDs, some of that savings would be offset by the cost of adding new streetlights throughout Reston. Hudgins said more research needs to be done on how many lights would be needed and what advantages it would bring to the community.

Streetlights are not a new topic of discussion in Reston. In 2017, the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee expressed concerns that increased lighting could have an adverse effect on wildlife.

Agazi said staff will begin working on a report on the possibility of adding streetlights to Reston.

Photo via Fairfax County

  • JoeInReston

    “If the poles get hit by trucks, that’s on Dominion,” said Kambiz Agazi,
    environmental and energy coordinator for Fairfax County. “I’m not
    suggesting we go out and hit these poles, but if a snow plough hit the
    poles, Dominion will cover the cost of replacing them.”

    What an odd digression. Did Kambiz wink at the snow plough crew and whisper “please do it”

    • 30yearsinreston

      Trying to save a few sheckels

    • Greg

      Then why has the one at Reston Parkway and the toll road been missing for 5 years?

  • Conservative Senior

    She said what? Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says there’s a clear need around Reston for new streetlights. NEW????????? We don’t have any!!!!!!!

  • MackTheKnife

    Please don’t allow more light pollution in Reston. “Less than 100 years ago, everyone could look up and see a spectacular starry night sky. Now, millions of children across the globe will never experience the Milky Way where they live. The increased and widespread use of artificial light at night is not only impairing our view of the universe, it is adversely affecting our environment, our safety, our energy consumption and our health.” https://www.darksky.org/light-pollution/

    • 30yearsinreston

      Hello !
      Its 2019 and you live in an conurbation of over 75 million

      Take a red-eye flight from the West Coast it will be obvious how urbanised the US is now
      Want to see the Milky Way ?
      Take a trip to Alaska where Chinese air pollution hasnt reached yet

    • Hongbits

      Mack, I couldn’t agree more. Such a waste.

      • 30yearsinreston

        You could not be accused of wasting your brain

        • Hongbits

          The level of intellect in that comment speaks volumes. It speaks for itself. As such, I’ll let it.

          • Hongbits

            And 30yearsinreston deleted the comment to which I was referring above. How surprising.

    • Biker Sherlock

      Mack is on point here. When it warms up, go to Tyson’s Corner and look up a the stars. Compare that to what you see back home in Reston.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Want to see stars?

        Get hit by a vehicle if you survive

        • Biker Sherlock

          Probably best done when not standing in the middle of a road.

          But you know this, you like using the Bill O’Reilly school of trolling by associating disjunctive absurdities as fact. I’d say grow up but it seems senility has already set in. Good luck and thank you for your service.

          • 30yearsinreston

            on your bike !

  • Hongbits

    One of the things that makes Reston unique in an area of over development is its ability to maintain a modicum of rural flavor. Let dark happen. Please. Don’t destroy what little nature we have left. No one can not afford a flashlight.

    • 30yearsinreston

      So what about car drivers
      Are they supposed to use flashlights as well

      • Hongbits

        No. “Car drivers” are supposed to use candles.

        • 30yearsinreston

          free flashlights

          That will sove the problem

          • Hongbits

            If you can’t afford a flashlight you can’t afford Reston

      • Biker Sherlock

        Even 30 years ago cars had headlights, they still do. Turn them on

        • 30yearsinreston

          Great, only a few bikers would be out of the light beam

          • Biker Sherlock

            If you are running into things outside of your light beam (kerbs as you admitted to), you should probably consider turning in your driving licence. That would probably do more for public safety than anything else mentioned in this thread.

  • TRS

    I’m delighted to see outgoing Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins call for more street lighting in Reston.

    I’ve recently adopted poor lighting in Reston as “my” issue to pursue with Reston Association and Fairfax County due to:

    — My five year-old was almost hit as we were entering his Bright Horizons preschool adjacent to the Wiehle Metro west entrance — I’ve witnessed so many near misses due to poorly designed pedestrian walkways

    — Our children’s Godmother was visiting from San Francisco for Halloween a few years ago, and broke her ankle in three places in our dark neighborhood

    — The December 29 hit and run tragic death of a 16 year-old working to provide for himself and his family, per this video I took to show how dark the streets are in Reston — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_74uuvoGBY

    It is clear the community is largely immersed in total darkness.

    I met in early January with the outgoing and incoming CEOs of Reston Association and an RA board member, as well as recently with Cathy Hudgins who all gave insight into the “dark sky” culture and overall recommendations on how to become involved.

    I have volunteered to serve on a Fairfax County transportation- or lighting-related committee to discuss the significant issue of poor lighting in the area to understand why we don’t have street lights to protect and guide our children and ourselves, to help develop clear resolutions, policy, directives, etc. on the issue of lighting in Reston and the surrounding area.

    Pedestrian and driver safety is an increasingly urgent concern in our community.

    Grateful for your experience, opinions, ideas …

  • TRS

    I’m delighted to see outgoing Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins call for more street lighting in Reston.

    I’ve recently adopted poor lighting in Reston as “my” issue to pursue with Reston Association and Fairfax County due to:

    — My five year-old was almost hit as we were entering his Bright Horizons preschool adjacent to the Wiehle Metro west entrance — I’ve witnessed so many near misses due to poorly designed and completely dark pedestrian walkways

    — Our children’s Godmother was visiting from San Francisco for Halloween a few years ago, and broke her ankle in three places in our dark neighborhood along Upper Lake Drive

    — The December 29 hit and run tragic death of Daniel Serrano, a 16 year-old working to provide for himself and his family — see video I took to show how dark the streets are in Reston

    It is clear the community is largely immersed in total darkness.

    I met in early January with the outgoing and incoming CEOs of Reston Association and an RA board member, as well as recently with Cathy Hudgins who all gave insight into the “dark sky” culture and overall recommendations on how to become involved.

    I have volunteered to serve on a Fairfax County transportation- or lighting-related committee to discuss the significant issue of poor lighting in the area to understand why we don’t have street lights to protect and guide our children and ourselves, to help develop clear resolutions, policy, directives, etc. on the issue of lighting in Reston and the surrounding area.

    Pedestrian and driver safety is an increasingly urgent concern in our community.

    Grateful for your experience, opinions, ideas …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_74uuvoGBY

    • 30yearsinreston

      If you want dark sky move to the mountains in Montana

      • TheKingJAK

        It’s possible to simply make the lighting as focused as necessary for its intended purpose, which in numerous cases could satisfy safety needs without causing excess light pollution. One example: A neighborhood near me recently placed some new lights aimed at their entrance sign, but they were brightly shining into homes, as well as glaring down a pathway in a manner which blinded anyone attempting to walk up it. Thankfully, they landscaped it in a manner which now provides enough shrubbery to prevent such unnecessary spillage of excess light.

        I’m all for more lighting in certain areas, and it’s ridiculous that a number of intersections have done away with corner lighting lately. I simply believe that we can satisfy both sides with a bit of planning.

        • 30yearsinreston

          The topic is street lighting for which FC is responsible
          FC is not responsible for lighting cluster paths

    • Mike M

      Add rain and incredibly irresponsible pedestrians and bikers and it’s clear we are in for more fatalities.

  • EliteinReston

    Street lighting is an excellent policy decision that deserves a community debate. I hope the candidates seeking to succeed Supervisor Hudgins take a stand on it.

    • 30yearsinreston

      What debate is needed ?
      Street lights are essential

  • JMH

    I agree, it’s too dark. I’d love to be able to run or walk in the evenings and discern the lines on the roads when it rains. It won’t stop me from viewing the stars when I want.

    I hate Hudgins but she’s right on this.

    • jak12354

      I had the same issue you did. I recently decided to invest in a headlamp and a flashing red light/reflector to increase visibility to cars (not too expensive, about $10 each). I still don’t love running around on Reston paths due to their sometimes uneven pavement but on sidewalks and the W&OD trail, it’s fine.

      • 30yearsinreston

        What about the streets ?

      • Mike M

        Sidewalks? LOL! More infrastructure requirements not keeping up with the development.

        • jak12354

          I agree, but I think it is also a philosophy on Fairfax County’s part. I know they are just finally getting around to making a sidewalk for the southern part of North Shore from Temporary Rd to Wiehle Ave, but it is still going to take them another 2-3 years to get that installed and it’s just one small section.

          Their approach for crosswalks, putting lines and signals on only 3 of the 4 sides on busier roads and then requiring pedestrians to perform 3 separate crossings instead of a single one across the street (see Temporary Road at Reston Parkway, Sunrise Valley at Reston Parkway,etc.)

      • Biker Sherlock

        and this is the key right here. A vast minority of folk are out at night on the sidewalks. Those that are, know to get headlamps or flashlights. If injuries occur due to uneven sidewalks, use the money for much needed maintenance, not to shine a bright light on the cracks , bumps ad hobbles. I also don’t buy that all these light lovers will suddenly become active night joggers when 100’s of light posts are installed…seriously…

        • JMH

          Well I don’t buy that 100’s of dark loving Restonians are staring at the stars each night.

          • 30yearsinreston

            sherlock’s lyrca shorts are restricting blood flow to his brain

          • jak12354

            It doesn’t matter if you ‘buy’ it really. There are a lot of people out at night with headlights and flashlights. I see them pretty regularly.

            And even if they are not going to look at the stars, light pollution is harmful for more reasons than that. And there are a number of studies that indicate the higher lighting doesn’t lead to lower crime rates like people often assume.

            Ultimately, we want to reduce pedestrian deaths/injuries, improve safety for those traveling at night, and encourage more people to travel without using cars.

            I understand appreciate that having to walk with a headlamp is not everyone’s favorite thing and it’s an inconvenience, so I think it probably is worth identifying any other potential approaches that increase pedestrian use without the negative of always-on streetlights (cost/light pollution)

          • 30yearsinreston

            I dont know of any scientific way of increasing visibility without lights
            The facts are that improved lughting reduces traffic accidents and fatalities

    • Hongbits

      https://www.fenixlighting.com/product/fenix-hp30r-rechargeable-headlamp/

      This will solve every low light problem you have.

  • restoner

    We are not in some rural oasis.
    Just put up some lights jeez

    • Hongbits

      Maybe you’re not. I am.

    • Bye Hutch

      it doesn’t matter what Hutch said. She is to blame for Reston doubling in size from 18000 households to an additional “19000 units”. That is a huge fail and she betrayed the community.

      besides. she is retiring. I cannot wait for her to wrap up. she only cares about lights because she wants to polish her record.

      how about a statue over the fountain at RTC?

      • 30yearsinreston

        A statue would give the pigeons a place to roost

  • 30yearsinreston

    Hudgins finally wakes up and notices that increased traffic and lack of lighting is an issue
    In her usual style, she suggests another study
    Heres an another advantage of more lights:
    Public safety: something that seems to have eluded her throughout her tenure
    LOL for RA’s ‘concern’ with the impact on wildlife
    Foxes and coyotes have adapted

    • Reston

      30yearsthewhiner finally wakes up and does its daily trolling of a local website. In its usual style, it whines and complains about Cathy Hudgins. 30yearsthelegend in its own mind.

      • 30yearsinreston

        keep drinking the kool-aid and be happy in your stupefaction
        Stay in the dark. Its your choice

  • Tom Mccauley

    Hudgins experienced a change of heart, a sly one however.
    Lighting is a hot button issue, and judging by the number of comments her she attained her objective.

    And said objective is to have the barnyard animals squack, groan, and bellow, thus diverting the farm denizens from the density/development issue. Why???? The City at Night always glows.

  • freestylergbb

    I love the peaceful darkness on Reston’s winding roads and BUT it’s DANGEROUS on wet, dark nights. There are very few bike lanes and even motor bikes with small tail lights can be hard to see. I advocate for safety over beauty in this case. Maybe not on every road. One example is Sunrise valley coming off of Reston Pkwy, which is pitch black and could use some light before and after the Exxon station, which is a beacon of gaudy light that also lights up the road immediately near it.

    • 30yearsinreston

      take a trip down North Shore

  • Why do you bother?

    Now people have been complaining about walking [around Reston] and there are no lights for years.”

    FTFY

    What an opportunist! NOW the $$ won’t come out of her budget, so NOW she’s suddenly noticed oooooooooo, it’s dark out here. SMH

  • Greg

    LMAO! How about starting with the ones you approved for Shadowood in 2004, Cathy Hudgins?

  • Greg

    “…a snow plough…”

    American English, please.

  • vdiv

    London was probably better lit in Victorian times. In more ways than one 😉

  • Mike M

    Too late Cathy. You knew this was a problem getting worse with every new development you approved. Now you are paying lip service, not solving the mess you created.

    • Umust B Kidding

      This is just Hudgins’ effort to divert attention from her PRC density increase proposal, which could triple Reston’s population. “Don’t look over there, look at this shiny object,” she says.

      • Mike M

        Agreed. Sad thing is, . . . it works! Look at her latest communique! She talks about energy conservation and other issues that L-words LOVE. But they are irrelevant at her level of control and she is ignoring important issues entirely. But is has worked for years!

  • Anonymouse

    “Agazi said staff will begin working on a report on the possibility of adding streetlights to Reston.”

    People are scared to walk around in their neighborhood, a couple people have actually been killed trying to cross the street at night, and people have been mugged… but yes, please, work on a report on the POSSIBILITY of adding streetlights. Morons. This is why we purchased a home outside of Reston instead of staying. The people who run it are so incompetent.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Hudgins doent care as long as free houses for her cronies keep coming

  • Denise

    I grew up in a VERY rural town not in VA and even THEY do a better job at making sure the roads and sidewalks (where there are ones) are properly lit. My biggest issue besides not being able to see anything on a dark rainy night is the fact that there are no reflective anything on the roads. I can’t see where one lane begins and where one ends and where the curbs are. While they’re upgrading the current lamp posts and plowing over whatevers, break out a can of paint and stick down some stickers. I absolutely hate having to navigate the back roads for fear that’s when I will hit a pedestrian because I’m too focused on trying to figure out where the durn lane is. Just sayin..

    • 30yearsinreston

      Ive been dissed as an old codger for saying the same thing
      Some lyrcra clad bikejockeys are getting upset

  • cRAzy

    If the suburban areas of Reston are stable and RA remains committed to avoiding light pollution, I see no cause for increased street lighting. It is more appropriate in the higher-density TSAs.

    • Greg

      The metal-halide found-only-in-Reston “demonstration” street lights from the Martha Pennino era need to be replaced. They’ve demonstrated little more than how fast they dim, burn out and stay unrepaired for years.

      And, no, Kambiz Agazi, lights that are hit by snow plows are not timely, if ever, repaired. We’ve been waiting for years for the one knocked down at the toll road and Reston Parkway to be replaced. It’s still missing. Please get the thing replaced — and get a credit from Dominion for the years of payments the county has made for a busted / missing light.

      Contemporaneous LED lighting can be entirely downward focused and installed with motion sensing apparatus that dims the lights to a very low level when no one or no vehicles are present.

      For an example of what’s available, see the recently installed LED lighting along the shared-use pathways at the Leesburg Pike bridge over the toll road just west of Tysons.

      Some are visible here, and they are a warm white 2800 or so Kelvins.

      https://www.google.com/maps/@38.9367786,-77.2490963,3a,75y,25.91h,89.8t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1svzSsTRMUQEEFu08bE5cUaA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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