More Capital Bikeshare Stations are Coming to Reston

Since the Capital Bikeshare program began in late 2016, Reston’s stations have outperformed all others in Fairfax County. Given this success, the county plans to add 11 more stations by early 2020.

The county has logged roughly 16,000 trips every year since the program began in Reston and as more stations are added to the network, that number is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years. Stations in Tysons Corner are also seeing dramatic increases in utilization, especially as more corporate sponsors come on board to back new stations.

Most of Reston’s new stations are planned in south Reston. Exact locations will not be disclosed until the county finalizes places with state transportation officials, according to the county. The corridors at North Shore Drive, Baron Cameron Avenue, South Lakes drive and Glade Drive are likely candidates.

Chris Wells, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said that the new stations will help transform the program by expanding their use beyond a quick ride to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station or Reston Town Center.

When a new station was added near Lake Anne, trips indicate that people used the bikes to run errands and pick up groceries at Harris Teeter in Spectrum Center. Wells says this suggest the functionality of the bikes is changing in the suburban community.

So far, the station at Wiehle-Reston East Metro tops all others with 4,743 annual trips last year. The RTC station came in second with 2,650 annual trips. The station at Sunset Hills Road and Isaac Newton Square brings in 1,782 annual trips, according to county data.

The county is considering moving the station at Reston Regional Library — the least popular station with just 16 trips last year — to another site until construction of Reston Town Center North is completed.  The newest station and the only one south of the toll road is at Campus Commons.

A pilot program launched last year to bring  battery-operated bikes to Reston was also successful, Wells said. Nearly 500 new electric bikes will be added to the Maryland, Virginia and DC network over the next few months.

Overall, utilization dipped slightly last year due to construction at Wiehle-Reston East, Wells said. He hopes to more people using bikeshare in Reston as the network becomes more connected.

“As there are places to go, we expect utilization to get even better organically.”

File photo

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Forum on Environment Set for Thursday

Candidates vying for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will participate in a candidate forum on the environment on Thursday (May 2).

The forum, which includes candidates for supervisor in the Dranesville, Providence and Sully Districts, takes place at the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation (1441 Wiehle Avenue ) from 7-9 p.m.

Candidates will share their environmental and energy platform with Fairfax County constituents. Star Muir, an associate professor of communication at George Mason University, will moderate the event.

So far, Hunter Mill District Supervisor candidates Walter Alcorn, Laurie Dodd, and Shyamali Hauth have confirmed their attendance, according to event organizers. The election is set for June 11.

The event is hosted by 350 Fairfax, faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, Food & Water Action, Friends of Accotink Creek, Our Revolution Northern Virginia and other community partners.

File photo

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Save the Date: Taste of Reston Returns to RTC Next Month

Attention, foodies: Taste of Reston, the largest outdoor food festival in the area, returns to Reston Town Center on June 14 and 15.

Restaurants and community vendors will offer up food samples for the festival, which is produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and has been voted “Northern Virginia’s Best Food Festival” by Virginia Living magazine for the last six years. The event also includes live entertainment on three stage, a family fun zone, and a Wine ‘n Dine area. Food vendors will compete for a “Best of Taste” competition as well.

On Friday, June 14, the event takes place from 4-11 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

The event is free, but tickets are needed to buy food, beer and wine. The Wine ‘n Dine area allows attendees to shop with cash and purchase food items designed to eat at home.

A sheet of two dozen $1 tickets is for $20. Tickets can be purchased online. Garage parking is free for the duration of the event.

More information about the event is available on the Taste of Reston website.

Photo by Don Renner

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Pet of the Week: Elliot

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Elliot, a Maine Coon & Domestic Long Hair male available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team have to say about him:

Elliot is a vocal cat who is constantly asking you for attention. He loves being close to you and getting petted.

You need to make sure you watch where you step and he will sit on your feet if you are standing and doing something because he wants to make sure you know that he is there

Are you and Elliot a match?

If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Setting the Record Straight on the RTC Falcon Naming

The following is a statement from Scott Brodbeck, founder and CEO of Local News Now, the Northern Virginia-based online publishing company behind Reston Now.

Yesterday, Reston Now announced the results of its poll to help name the two peregrine falcons that were found nesting at Reston Town Center.

Most of the announcement was devoted to rehashing the paid parking fiasco at the Town Center, because the top vote-getter in the poll, by far, was the names “Free” and “Parking.”

In the end, however, I made the call to select the runners up — Robert and Anne (as in Robert E. Simon and Lake Anne) — as the “official” names of the falcons. I felt the falcons deserved better than to be named after an acrimonious local parking dispute, and as a relatively new parent I did not think it fair for adults to ruin what could have been something fun for kids to participate in and learn from.

As we said, to the extent we have the power to decide such things, “Free” and “Parking” can be the birds’ unofficial nickname and considered the “People’s Choice” option.

The reaction to the announcement was disappointing. While we expected some push-back, and would understand some mild frustration, the cursing and threats of boycotts posted by some on Facebook were uncalled for. This was intended to be a light-hearted contest to name a couple of falcons, and instead the result has grown adults cursing and becoming angry.

It was reminiscent of the UK’s “Boaty McBoatface” kerfuffle, with more unironic invective.

Let’s set a few things straight about how this all came about. Boston Properties and its PR reps approached Reston Now with the idea of running a naming contest for the falcons that had been nesting at RTC. We agreed — I made the decision to move forward — because it sounded fun for readers.

Despite some wording about working with Boston Properties on it, we ran the contest on our own and made our own decisions, like including “Free” and “Parking” in the final poll. RTC’s owner let us know that they did not like “Free” and “Parking” as names, but we moved forward anyhow. Finally, when push came to shove, I made the decision to pick the second-place names — which were, let’s be honest about it, better names — over the first-place novelty names.

To be clear, there was no money or favors that changed hands as a result of this contest, it was done informally and for fun. Boston Properties is not a current Reston Now advertiser and its only recent ad purchase from us was a sponsored post that was published in March 2017. We have also not recently solicited advertising from Boston Properties or Reston Town Center.

The fact that we now have Boston Properties upset at us, for including “Free” and “Parking” in the poll to begin with, and readers angry at us for not selecting those names as the official winner, is frustrating to say the least. But life — and the news — goes on. Hopefully this statement clears some things up.

Scott

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‘McTacoHut’ Marks the End of An Era in Reston

For Little Leaguers, kids skipping school, and fast food lovers, McTacoHut — a fast food block that takes its name from food spots on Wiehle Avenue — has a storied past in Reston. For decades, the McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut cornered on that block have served up the finest in fast food and fast casual grub, becoming what former Reston resident Michael Berger calls a “monument” in the community.

In early 2020, Berger plans to bring some big changes: The Pizza Hut, which first opened in 1977 at 1821 Wiehle Avenue, will flip to a Neopolitan pizza restaurant, Pupatella. Berger is a founding partner and head of the company’s real estate and supply chain.

As a former Restonian who played table-top Pac-Man at the Pizza Hut and attended more birthdays than he would’ve liked at the McDonald’s former PlayPlace, Berger says he is excited to “bring back the neighborhood pizzeria” to a place he still calls home.

“The Pizza Hut is a different type of restaurant now than it was 25 years ago,” Berger said. “We’re trying to bring the ‘hut’ aspect of McTacoHut back.”

For the Washington, DC resident, the opening of Pupattella comes full circle. Berger graduated from South Lakes High School in 1998 after attending Sunrise Valley Elementary School and Langston Hughes Middle School. He hopes to preserve most of Pizza Hut’s roof to pay homage to its pizza past while renovating the interior.

“We’re entering something that is a monument,” Berger said. “We don’t take that lightly. It honestly sounds kind of cheesy but it is a great honor to come back to the area and bring our pizzeria to the community.”

The Pizza Hut will operate until its lease ends in early 2020.

Until then, Berger says the community has plenty of time to rename ‘McTacoHut.’ That stretch of Wiehle Avenue has already transformed in recent years due to Metro and transit-oriented development. More change is on the way, as the fire department opposite McTacoHut is rebuilt and the coming.

For the coming era, Berger suggests ‘McTacoTella.’

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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Wednesday Morning Notes

South Lakes High School Among Best Schools in the State — SLHS was ranked the 39th best high school in Virginia, according to rankings by the U.S. News & World Report. The rankings were released Tuesday and evaluate more than 17,000 schools across the country. [Reston Patch]

Police Investigate Shots Fired in Parking Lot — Last night, officers were on the 1500 block of Cameron Crescent Drive after receiving a report that a man fired shots in a parking lot. No one was hurt and the police department is investigating the incident. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Semi-Annual Book Sale at Reston Regional Library — Reston Friends get first dibs on the book sale today from 5 to 8 p.m. Thousands of books will be available for purchase. [Fairfax County Public Library]

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Approves Budget — The board “gave preliminary approval to the $4.4 billion 2020 fiscal year budget. The proposed budget fully funds the operating budget request from Fairfax County Public Schools and holds the real estate tax rate at its present level.” [Fairfax News]

“Black America Again” and “Letter to the Free” Tonight— Enjoy a free screening at CenterStage at 7:30 p.m. “Black America Again” explores the perseverance of the black community and “Letter to the Free” documents the stories of talented jazz musicians at the Queens Detention Complex. The film is presented with promotional support from the Washington West Film Festival. [Reston Community Center]

Photo by Wade Gilley Sr

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