MWAA: Rate Hikes Do Not Take a Toll on Dulles Toll Road Use

Despite a toll increase that went into effect in January, more drivers are using the Dulles Toll Road than the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority anticipated.

Between January and March, tolls brought in $46.4 million — 31 percent more compared to the same period last year. That gives the MWAA $11.2 million to work with in order to fund phase two of the Silver Line.

Even though the number of toll transactions dipped by 4.8 percent compared to the previous year, transactions were 1.3 percent higher than MWAA expected. So far this year, there have been 21.7 million transactions.

The cost of operations also increased this year. Year-to-date expenses were $1.3 million or 17 percent higher than the same period last year. MWAA attributed this increase to $1 million in operating expenses for expanded service and $300,000 in transaction fees.

Toll prices increased for the first time in four years from $2.50 to $3.25 and from $1 to $1.50 at ramps in order to cover phase two of the Silver Line past Reston Town Center to Dulles International Airport and Ashburn. Another increase is expected in 2023.

Photo via MWAA

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Pop-up Picnic in RTC Today for National Picnic Day

Reston Town Center is celebrating National Picnic Day with a pop-up picnic today (Tuesday).

Several town center businesses will offer deals for the picnic, which will be located at 11900 Market Street. All are encouraged to bring lunch to the pavilion to “celebrate great weather” and a “fun picnic atmosphere,” according to event organizers.

Restaurants will offer the following specials:

  • Balducci’s (1871 Fountain Drive) — 10% off entire purchase all day
  • Le Pain Quotidien (11909 Democracy Drive) — Receive a free drink with purchase of the Tartine of the Day (Salmon & Ricotta)
  • Peet’s Coffee (11830 Freedom Drive) — Purchase one pound of coffee and receive $2 off and a free drip coffee
  • Ted’s Bulletin (11948 Market Street) — Receive a free Ted’s Tart with purchase of any take out meal

Photo via TAA PR

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Hunter Mill Supervisor Candidates’ Forum To Take Place Today — Reston Citizens Association is hosting a forum after Reston Community Center at Lake Anne today from 7-9 p.m. Moderators will lead the discussion, but questions will be accepted from the audience. [Reston Citizens Association]

Brookfield Platform Gives Access Across 13 Buildings — Brookfield Properties is rolling out a new platform that gives office tenants across a 13-building portfolio, including several buildings in Reston like Halley Rise and Summit II. [Bisnow]

Silver Line Phase Two Construction Prompts Lane and Ramp Closures –– Several lanes will be closed through Saturday this week, including parts of Herndon Parkway, Sunrise Valley Drive, Sunset Hills Road and Dulles Toll Road. A complete list of closures is available online. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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County Takes ‘Short Breather’ After PRC Proposal Deferral

It’s been a quiet two months since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to indefinitely defer the consideration of the hotly debated Planned Residential Community district proposal in early March.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the county’s planning staff plan to discuss future steps in an internal meeting by early May, according to a legislative assistant for the Hunter Mill District. The office deferred questions on the proposal and next steps until discussions have taken place and new leadership for the Planning and Zoning Department are updated about the process thus far.

The proposal, which would have increased the maximum allowed population acre in PRC  from 13 to up to 15 people, was put on hold on March 5 at the request of Hudgins. She said she wanted to work with the community to address concerns about the redevelopment of village centers, managing growth with infrastructure improvements, and misinformation in the community.

County officials will likely examine the future of Reston’s village centers before reconsidering the PRC proposal — a plan suggested by the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Hudgins also concurred with the suggestion.

No other information about the future of the proposal was released as the county takes “a short breather,” the legislative assistant told Reston Now.

File photo

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Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout Set for Sunday

In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative, the Reston District Station is encouraging residents to safely dispose of unused or old medicines.

“Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout” is set for Sunday (April 28) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents can drop off medications at any of Fairfax County’s eight district police stations. Only pills and liquids will be accepted, not pressurized canisters or needles.

The event is made possible by partnering with local businesses and Fairfax County government departments, including the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and Neighborhood and Community Services.

Organizers say the disposal is free, confidential and safe. Promotional materials say that safe handling of unused or expired medications can prevent accidental poisoning, protects the environment and prevents drug abuse.

The Reston District Station is located at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive.

 

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Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival Returns to RTC for 28th Year

More than 200 fine artists from across the country will come for Greater Reston Arts Center’s 28th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

The outdoor festival will take place at Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street) on May 17 through May 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

On Friday (May 17), town center merchants will offer “Festival Friday” deals. A “Festival Party” on Saturday (May 18)  from 7-10 p.m. will feature this year’s awards of excellence. Food is catered in-kind by Not Your Average Joe’s and the event is sponsored by M Group Architects. The party is free for GRACE’s sponsors, supporters, and all festival artists, according to event organizers.

A movement installation by Heidi Latsky will celebrate the beauty of differences. The performance is sponsored by Reston Community Center and will take place on Saturday (May 18) at 7 p.m. during the party and at Reston Town Square Park on Sunday (May 19) at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Artists featured in the festival were selected by an independent panel of professional jurors, with some help from GRACE’s curatorial staff. Sofia Blom, GRACE’s gallery and communications manager, said the following about the selection process:

The three highly qualified jurors for the 2019 Festival are Nehemiah Dixon III, a widely exhibited native Washingtonian artist; Lauren Hilyard, a Washington-based art advisor with 20 years of experience working for the Guggenheim Museum and Christie’s Auction House among others; and Laura Roulet, an independent curator and writer and frequent contributor to Sculpture Magazine. These three jurors will also judge each artist booth on Friday and Saturday to select the ten Awards of Excellence. Each winner will receive a $500 cash prize, a blue ribbon for booth display, and automatic acceptance into the 2020 Northern Virginia FineArts Festival.

Over 500 volunteers are needed for the event. Signup is available online.

Photo by Charlotte Geary

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Señor Ramon Taqueria to Open New Location in Reston

A new Mexican restaurant is coming to the former location of Hibiscus Thai Cuisine, which closed late last week after six years of business at 11790-A Baron Cameron Avenue.

Señor Ramon Taqueria, a street-style Mexican restaurant, will open in the first or second week of May, the business’s general manager told Reston Now. Items on the menu include tacos, empanadas, Mexican street corn, and sliders.

The Reston location is similar to other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, and Chantilly, a company representative said. Señor Ramon Taqueria first opened in Leesburg in 2016 to bring “authentic, street-style Mexican food to Northern Virginia,” according to its website.

The restaurant has three other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, and Chantilly. The company’s general manager told Reston Now the Reston location will be similar to other locations.

Photos via Señor Ramon Taqueria; hat tip to Joann Miller

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Monday Morning Notes

Herndon Planning Commission Meets Tonight — The commission takes another dive into establishing regulations for Airbnb-style rentals and creating new architectural guidelines for the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core. [Town of Herndon]

Tips on How to Sell Your Home — Mark Sierakowski, a realtor with Long and Foster, offers tips on how to sell your home in this free workshop at Reston Regional Library today from 7-8 p.m. [Reston Regional Library]

Kiddar Investors Gain Control of Herndon Office Building The investor group that backed Kiddar Capital’s acquisition of a Herndon office building entangled in a larger securities fraud case has been granted control over the 4.8-acre site.” [Washington Business Journal]

Earth Day with the Walker Nature Center — Celebrate Earth Day by sprucing up the nature center with new plants and fresh woodchopper tails. The event is organized by the Walker Nature Center and Reston Association. [Walker Nature Center]

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National Weather Service: Five-Minute Tornado Classified As ‘Weak’

The tornado that touched down Friday night in Reston was classified by the National Weather Service as weak.

The tornado was rated “EF0,” which is the weakest classification for a tornado. Peak winds reached 70 miles per hour and the tornado’s path was up to 100 yards wide, according to NWS.

Cleanup was underway on Saturday and no injuries were reported.

According to a damage assessment and report released Saturday afternoon, NWS stated that the tornado, which touched down at 9 p.m., lasted five minutes and left a four-mile path of uprooted trees.

It began near Fox Mill Road and Pinecrest Road and made its way down to Center Harbor Road and Wiehle Avenue.

NWS charted the complete path in its assessment:

FIRST EVIDENCE OF DAMAGE WAS NEAR FOX MILL ROAD AND PINECREST ROAD WHERE SEVERAL TREES WERE DOWNED AT APPROXIMATELY 855 PM EDT. ISOLATED TREE DAMAGE FROM THIS POINT TO NEAR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY COMPLEX ON SUNRISE VALLEY DRIVE WAS NOTED, WITH SEVERAL TREES TOPPED ALONG GLADE DRIVE NEAR ROSEDOWN DRIVE.

AFTER PASSING ACROSS THE DULLES TOLL ROAD (ROUTE 267), MINOR TREE DAMAGE WAS NOTED BETWEEN SUNSET HILLS ROAD AND BARON CAMERON AVENUE. THE TORNADO TRACKED ACROSS RESTON HOSPITAL CENTER, WITH NO VISIBLE SIGNS OF DAMAGE, BUT DAMAGE WAS NOTED JUST NORTH OF THE HOSPITAL ON TOWN CENTER DRIVE NEAR TOWN CENTER PARKWAY, WHERE A TREE WAS TOPPED, FENCING BLOWN DOWN, AND SHINGLES BLOWN OFF SEVERAL TOWNHOUSES.

AFTER CROSSING BARON CAMERON AVENUE, THE TORNADO PASSED JUST EAST OF TRADER JOE’S GROCERY STORE DESTROYING AN OUTDOOR SHED THERE. NEARBY, A TALL, TWO-FOOT DIAMETER TREE CRASHED THROUGH THE UPPER FLOOR OF A TOWNHOUSE ON QUIETREE DRIVE IN RESTON, THAT LED LOCAL OFFICIALS TO CONDEMN THE PROPERTY. SEVERAL LARGE TREES WERE EITHER UPROOTED OR TOPPED ALONG BENNINGTON WOODS ROAD BETWEEN CROSSWIND DRIVE AND RESTON PARKWAY.

A LARGE, 100-FOOT TALL TREE FELL AND SMASHED THE FRONT END OF AN UNOCCUPIED VEHICLE PARKED ALONG CENTER HARBOR ROAD, MIDWAY BETWEEN RESTON PARKWAY AND NORTH VILLAGE ROAD. MINOR TREE DAMAGE ALONG A NARROW PATH WAS NOTED IN NEIGHBORHOODS LOCATED BETWEEN NORTH VILLAGE ROAD AND RESTON PARKWAY BETWEEN CENTER HARBOR ROAD AND WIEHLE AVENUE. NO SUBSTANTIAL STORM DAMAGE WAS NOTED NORTH OF WIEHLE AVENUE, WHERE IT APPEARS THE TORNADO WEAKENED AT 900 PM EDT.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Cleanup Underway After Tornado Touches Down in Reston

 

The calm after the storm has descended after a tornado touched down briefly Friday night.

Local fire and rescue personnel spent much of the night clearing a tree that had fallen on a parked pickup truck on Center Harbor Road in Reston. Crews used chainsaws to cut up the tree to open the road. The truck’s owner was not inside the truck at the time.

Scattered downed trees still rested on roads and sidewalks early Saturday morning, including several near Lake Anne Village Center. A house near Quietree and Crosswind Drives was condemned after a tree fell through the roof.

Although the National Weather Service confirmed the tornado touched down, the service has not yet determined the severity of the storm. It will make an announcement after a storm survey during daylight hours today (Saturday).

Restonians reported whistling winds and punctuated bangs that suggest the tornado moved from Bennett Road to the Wiehle Avenue and Lakeport Recreation Area.

Send photos of the damage to [email protected] and tell us how the storm impacted you.

Here’s more from social media a day after the storm:

Photos by Fatimah Waseem. This story will be updated.

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into Easter weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now this week.

  1. BREAKING: Police Find Weapons, Drug Stash in Reston Brothers’ Home
  2. Office Redevelopment Proposed on Old Reston Avenue Properties
  3. Pupatella Pizzeria is Coming to Reston Next Year
  4. Help Name Reston Town Center’s Peregrine Falcons
  5. Town of Herndon ‘Crescent’ Eyes Remaking by 2035

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. Don’t forget to pitch name suggestions for Reston Town Center’s family of falcons.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo via Fairfax County Government/handout

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Easter Egg Hunt in Herndon and More This Weekend

With Easter Sunday on the horizon, there are plenty of local options for egg hunts and celebrations. The Town of Herndon is hosting its annual egg hunt on Saturday at 777 Lynn Street.

Preregistration is $9 until 5 p.m. today (Friday) and $10 the day of the event. Three egg hunts are planned, with the first beginning at 9:45 a.m. Other activities include quilt crafts, decorating a mural, a petting zoo, photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny, and more.

Parking is free and the event will be held rain or shine. More information is available online.

Tomorrow (April 20)

  • Reston Farmers Market (8 a.m.) — The market, which is located at Lake Anne Plaza (1609 Washington Plaza), kicks off with an offering of fruit, veggies, breads and snacks to satisfy your taste buds.
  • Growing Healthy plants with Smart Pots (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) — In this free educational workshop, attendees will learn about to grow healthy plants with smart pots. It’ll be held at Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue).
  • Bookworms Club (11 a.m.) — Young readers are invited to take part in this free book club where a new theme will be explored each week at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive). Readers can join at any time
  • Fix-it Clinic (2-4 p.m.) — Bring bikes, small appliances jewelry, and fabric items for minor repairs at the library’s first fix-it clinic. The event is taking place as several libraries, including Herndon Regional Library and Reston Regional Library.

Sunday (April 21)

  • One-on-one Computer Help (all day) — Need some help with your device? You can make a one-hour appointment with a tech volunteer. Just make sure the device is fully charged (and don’t forget your password).
  • Restoration Church Egg Hunt  (10:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) — The church (1501 Becontree Lane) will offer an egg hunt, face painting, food, games and more.  Two services will take place in the morning before the big event.

Photo by Annie Spratt 

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Herndon HS Students Showcase ‘Mind, Heart and Vision’ in Upcoming Exhibit

Art students at Herndon High School have been busy preparing their senior theses. Some of their work will be on display in an upcoming ArtSpace Herndon exhibit next week.

The 9th annual exhibit, “Mind, Heart, Vision,” will include media like fine art photography, graphics and studio art. The school and ArtSpace Herndon partnered to make the exhibit, which displays juried artwork in a professional gallery, possible.

A reception is set for April 24 (Wednesday) from 6-8 p.m. Art will remain on display from April 23 (Tuesday) through May 11 (Saturday). The exhibit is located at 750 Center Street.

Artwork will be available for purchase.

Image via ArtSpace Herndon

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Weather Alert: Tornado Watch In Effect Until Midnight

Adding to expected rain and a flood watch, a tornado watch has been issued from now until midnight.

The National Weather Service issued the alert at 12:49 p.m. today. The watch covers Maryland, the District, ad 34 counties in Virginia, including Fairfax County and Arlington.

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Flash Flood Watch In Effect Through Saturday Morning

After pleasant weather earlier this week, expect conditions to get wet and windy today.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch starting from noon today (Friday) until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) for Fairfax County.

Isolated thunderstorms are expected to begin in the late morning today, with rain accumulations of up to a half-inch. The main storm front is expected after 4 p.m., with as much as two inches of rain possible across the county.

High winds of 11 to 15 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 30 miles per hour are also expected. Keep an eye out for hail too.

Here’s from Fairfax County Government:

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

If you encounter water on roadways, please remember — Turn Around, Don’t Drown! It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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