Metro Pushes Silver Line Expansion Deadline to September

The new silver line metro expansion is expected to be completed around September — instead of its July 2020 goal.

Testing is already underway for the new trains, and Fairfax County reported earlier this month that the project is about 97% complete, but several structural issues hinder project completion, according to WTOP.

The concerns revolve around cracks in concrete outside the station, deterioration of panels framing the station and uneven tracks where trains cross one another, WTOP reported in November.

“The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and its contractors who are building the rail line are confident the concrete panel issues have been addressed with protective sealant, which will be reapplied approximately once every 10 years,” according to WTOP.

Now, final construction continues around Reston and Herndon.

The Innovation Center Station garage is 92% complete, $5 million under budget and is expected to be completed in February, according to Fairfax County’s Department of Transportation (FCDOT).

For the Innovation Center Station itself, FCDOT staff told the Board of Supervisors earlier this week that crews were working on fixing communication systems and placing art in the north pavilion.

At the Reston Town Center Station, crews were installing speakers in the ceiling and working on stormwater management.

Photo via Fairfax County

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New Flashing Crosswalk Signs Coming to Reston and Herndon

In an attempt to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation plan to install new flashing crosswalk signs in Herndon and Reston.

Five new Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons will be installed at various crosswalks throughout Hunter Mill District, according to a press release.

“When applied in the right context, rectangular rapid flashing beacons are an excellent tool to draw attention to people crossing the street and encourage drivers to yield,” Chris Wells, a Fairfax County spokesperson, said.

The beacons will be funded by VDOT and the Federal Highway Authority’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, through a roughly $1,263,000 grant to improve safety, the press release added.

Though the project focuses on the Hunter Mill District, is also encompasses the Mount Vernon, Sully and Providence districts within Fairfax County.

Photo courtesy Fairfax County/VDOT

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Market Celebrating German, Austrian Culture to Debut in Herndon

For the first time ever in Herndon, the Herndon WinterMarkt will let community members gather and take part in European holiday festivities.

The event offers food, crafts, drinks, shopping opportunities and entertainment from noon to 8 p.m. at the Herndon Depot Museum (717 Lynn Street) this Saturday (Dec. 14).

This is the first time the event has been held in Herndon, and Mayor Lisa Merkel said it will become an annual tradition to celebrate German and Austrian culture, which is prevalent in the Herndon area.

German Ambassador Niels von Redecker will be in attendance, according to Merkel’s Facebook page.

All ages are welcome to attend this free event. Though many vendors take Venmo and credit cards, the event page suggested that people also bring cash.

“I’m kicking it off at 12:30 [p.m.] with a big toast and German band, so see ya there,” Merkel said in a Facebook video.

Photo via Herndon WinterMarkt/Facebook

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Reston Community Orchestra to Host Holiday Sing-Along

The Reston Community Orchestra is putting on a family-friendly holiday sing-along this Saturday (Dec. 14).

Nuttin’ Like A Nutcracker” will take place at 4 p.m. in Aldrin Elementary School (11375 Center Harbor Road) and feature the elementary school’s ukelele ensemble. Everyone is welcome, regardless of vocal ability.

Attendees are invited to bring kazoos and other musical instruments. While the event is free, people are asked to donate $20 for adults or $10 per child or senior citizen.

This event is part of the orchestra’s 2019 Holiday Concert series.

Photo via Reston Community Orchestra/Facebook

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Board of Supervisors Approves New Transportation Priorities Plan

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan — which is estimated to cost roughly $3 billion dollars.

The plan approved last Tuesday (Dec. 3) by the board will guide decisions for transit improvements for fiscal years 2020 to 2025, according to a county press release.

In the Hunter Mill District specifically, there are more than 50 projects recommended by the county documents — many of which include improvements in safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as various infrastructure and intersection changes. Some of the projects suggested in the plan will be fully funded by the estimated cost, while other projects will need to find additional funding.

Here is a list of a few major improvements in the plan:

  • Widen Route 7 from four to six lanes from Jarrett Valley Drive (Dulles Toll Road) to Reston Avenue. This would include intersection, bicycle and pedestrian and bus stop changes
  • Addition of a walkway on the north side of Fox Mill Road from Fairfax County Parkway to Reston Parkway
  • Expansion of Reston bike-share
  • Expansion of Town Center Parkway to include a divided roadway under the Dulles Toll Road from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will also continue projects that are already underway, according to Fairfax County’s website.

County documents also included a list of projects that were not recommended for the 2020-25 Priorities List, including the underpass for Town Center Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road.

In 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved $1.4 billion for six years of transportation projects from FY 2015-2020.

The county said in the press release that the funding estimate for the FY 2020- 2025 plan was impacted by the Virginia General Assembly passing legislation that diverted funds to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, along with rising project costs.

More from the press release:

The anticipated funding for a draft FY 2018-2023 TPP was $600 million in new revenues to fully fund existing projects and $170 million in new projects. These funding estimates were not realized, because in 2018, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that designated $154 million per year for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) to address system improvement needs largely did so by diverting funding from existing local and regional sources.

Of the $102 million annual diversion, the financial impact on Fairfax County was estimated to be $45-50 million per year, or approximately $300 million over six years. As a result, there is no available revenue for new transportation projects. In addition, the County was required to adjust schedules for some previously approved projects, many beyond FY 2025…

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), project costs have been rising for various reasons, including the number of large-scale projects underway across the National Capital Region causing shortages of labor and materials; economic factors such as tariffs and rising right-of-way costs; and across the board increases on project contingencies required by VDOT.

Image via Google Maps

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Where to Take Pictures With Santa Around Reston

Seeing Santa is a Christmas tradition, and there are lots of places in the Reston area where people can meet him and possibly snap a few photos.

Roe & Co. Portrait Studio is hosting a session with Santa from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 14) at their Reston studio (11985 Market Street). People are invited to come and take photos of their families with Santa. Picture packages start at $25.

For people over the age of 21, there will be a Santa-themed bar crawl on Saturday (Dec. 14) from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. beginning at the Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street). Coordinators ask that people bring gifts for Toys for Tots.

The Winter Wonderland at Worldgate Herndon (13037 Worldgate Drive) features a free meet and greet party with Santa on Saturday (Dec. 14). There will be hot cocoa, snacks, an igloo and games on-site. The event will run from 1 until 4 p.m. but attendees must arrive by 3 p.m. if they would like a photo with Santa.

People in Herndon have the chance to take a wagon ride with Santa at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road) on Sunday (Dec. 15) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and people can help themselves to hot cocoa and roast marshmallows after the half-hour ride.

The following Sunday (Dec. 22), Santa will make an appearance on Sunday at the Reston Farmers Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue) from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to take photos.

If anyone doesn’t get the chance to see Santa in person, people are always welcome to track his whereabouts on Christmas Eve thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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LA Fitness Studio in Herndon Opening Earlier Than Expected

The LA Fitness coming to Herndon is going to open earlier than previously expected.

The center at 494 Elden Street is now expected to open on Jan. 16 at the recently remodeled Herndon shopping center, according to a company representative.

Kristhian Reyes, the general manager of the location, originally thought the fitness studio was going to open around early February.

“Our Herndon location will be the biggest location in the state of VA,” Reyes said on Facebook.

Those interested in membership can preregister online. Memberships cost roughly $45 per month and personal training will be available on-site for an extra charge.

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Walker Nature Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Nature House

This Sunday (Dec. 8), the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive) will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its indoor facilities.

The center invites the community to come by its Nature House for an afternoon of nostalgia and celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. The event features live music, guest appearances from Santa and the center’s mascots, ornament crafting, sing-alongs and a cake-cutting ceremony.

The event organizers also ask that attendees bring along photos that they’ve previously taken and hang them to a wall along with written notes about memories surrounding the center, which will be on display through January.

A cake-cutting ceremony will take place at 1:15 p.m. and Santa is expected to arrive around 3 p.m.

Before the Nature House opened in 2009, the center was forced to turn people away due to a variety of reasons, Katie Shaw, the center’s manager said. Inclusion of the nature house was a gamechanger, she said.

The implementation of the facility allowed the center to host guests and student groups regardless of inclement weather, which Shaw said often left dozens of kids disappointed when their field trip was canceled.

“The fun goes on, the learning goes on. It has been wonderful,” she said.   

Though the Walker Nature Center is nearly as old as Reston, Robert Simon included a suggestion for an indoor nature facility in his original plans, which was finally built thanks to financial assistance from the Friends of Reston.

Now, the center includes on-site naturalists to answer community questions, running water and plumbing, seasonal programs for all ages, event space and even an environmental film series for adults.

“Our environment, especially here in Reston, is under a lot of pressure now,” Shaw said. “Having this center here in the middle of this community engages people in something bigger than themselves.”

Photo via Friends of Reston

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Shepherd’s Center Expands Services to Herndon, Reston

Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna, a nonprofit that supports aging in place, recently expanded its programs to help seniors in Herndon and Reston.

The group assists the seniors by providing free rides, social outreach and other resources. The group decided to expand around October, a spokesperson told Reston Now.

Susan Garvey, the executive director of the center, lives in the area and noticed a lack of free resources for the elderly community, the spokesperson said.

“The uptick in ride requests have been promising,” the spokesperson said, adding that people who answer the phones are kept busy. “It was a wise step to take.”

The group announced its expansion to Reston and Herndon in its quarterly newsletter, which was published this fall.

Shepherd’s Center receives its funding from donations, fundraisers and corporate sponsors. Anyone who wishes to donate to the center can do so online.

Seniors or others interested in free rides, programs for veterans and various resources can call the center at 703-281-0538.

Photo via Sheperd’s Center/Facebook

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Reston Town Center to Host Annual Tree Lighting This Week

The holiday tree in Reston Town Center is set to light up this Friday (Nov. 29).

This year’s celebration is set to begin at 5 p.m. with a performance from “The Nutcracker” by the Conservatory Ballet before the official tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m.

A half-hour-long holiday sing-along, in conjunction with the Reston Chorale and a brass quartet, will wrap up the evening after the tree is lit.

Attendees are encouraged to show up early and gather around Market Street near Fountain Square (11921 Freedom Drive).

Songbooks will be provided, and there will be a guest appearance from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Photo via Facebook

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Annual Turkey Trail Tour in Reston to Teach Turkey Facts

The annual “Turkey Trail” event in Reston invites community members to take a nature hike and learn about wild turkeys.

People can take a guided tour from a naturalist on Saturday (Nov. 30) from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Walker Nature Center (1140 Glade Drive). Participants will learn about turkey facts and the climate, according to the Facebook page

All ages are welcome and programming is designed to interest a variety of participants, the event page said.

Tickets are $5 for Reston Association members and $7 for non-RA members. Anyone wishing to participate needs to register by Wednesday (Nov. 27).

Photo via Walker Nature Center/Facebook

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Reston Selected to Participate in Survey of Historic Buildings

Reston will participate in an upcoming statewide survey to identify the community’s cultural and historic resources.

The program — which is called the Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ Survey —  is intended to identify the cultural and historical traits of local buildings built from 1961 to 1978 in order to add them to the National Register of Historic Places and Inventory of Historic Sites, according to Fairfax County.

The process will begin with a meeting on Dec. 17 at the Reston Community Center Lake Anne (1609-N Washington Plaza) around 7 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend this public meeting.

The survey will exclude the Lake Anne Village Center since it was already listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register in 2017.

When the project is completed, findings are expected to include a map and photos of all the buildings surveyed.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Restonian Heading to World Aquabike Championship Next Year

A Reston resident is headed to the Netherlands next fall to represent Team USA at the World Aquabike Championship.

By coming in sixth place at the Triathlon Multisport National Championships earlier this month, Paul Hartke earned his spot in two upcoming competitions. He will participate in the National Olympic Triathlon Championship in Cleveland next August before he heads to Almere, Netherlands in September to represent the U.S. at the World Aquabike Championship.

The championships in the Netherlands will consist of a 2.5-mile-long swim and 112-mile-long bike race against competitors from across the globe, according to a press release.

“The opening ceremonies and athlete parade will precede the week of world endurance events sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union,” the press release said.

Hartke is a long-time member of the Reston community, the press release added. He and his brother run the National Realty group in Reston. When not working, he and his wife spend time with the Reston Runners community.

Photos courtesy Paul Hartke

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Sunrise Square Townhomes Finally Ready For Residency

The Sunrise Square townhome development in Reston is complete after two years of construction.

The development consists of 34 townhouses and 10 condos, many of which have already been sold.

Only eight townhomes remain on the market and are going for $800,000 and above, Jack Appleman, a spokesperson for the real estate group Sekas Homes, said.

During development, five of the homes were made in a way that would let buyers customize them and choose their own interior designs, Appleman said.

The remaining listings on the website include three bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, featuring 9-foot ceilings and access to nearby trails, Reston Association pools, tennis courts and other community facilities.

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Community Craft Sale Returning to Lake Anne Plaza Next Month

The upcoming “Gifts from the HeART” fair in Reston will let community members shop for handmade crafts and unique items during the holiday season.

The 21st annual fair will take place at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609 N. Washington Plaza) from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 7). It is free for all to attend.

Items vary in price, according to the event.

“Beautiful original artwork, remarkable ceramics, stunning jewelry and many other one-of-a-kind items will be sold by the artists themselves,” according to the event website.

People may email Gloria Morrow with any questions.

Photo via RCC/Facebook

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