Woman with Reston Ties Recounts Las Vegas Shooting — Courtney Robey was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last weekend through her work with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, based in Reston. She told her hometown news station about what she experienced the night of the tragic mass shooting there. [WAJR]
Early-Bird Tickets on Sale for Reston Home Tour — Discount-priced tickets for the 16th annual tour on Oct. 14 are on sale through Saturday for $25. The tour focuses on six homes where owners have moved within the last few years and gain and gained a new perspective. Full-price tickets are $30. [Reston Historic Trust and Museum]
Local Ghost Stories — The Herndon Historical Society shares a trio of tales about the town’s visitors from beyond. [Herndon Patch]
County Fire and Rescue Promotes Escape Plans — As part of National Fire Prevention Week, which begins Sunday, the department encourages residents to develop a home escape plan in the event of a fire. Department representatives will be available on Saturday, Oct. 14 at area fire stations, including Reston Station 25 (1820 Wiehle Ave.), to review plans and ask questions. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
‘Cupcake Ride’ Rolls Through Herndon — Herndon Parks & Recreation put on its first “Cupcake Bike Ride” recently. About 20 riders took part in the four-mile ride, which featured stops at bakeries and businesses. [Connection Newspapers]
A handful of local residents joined Fairfax County Department of Transportation representatives Thursday at Dogwood Elementary School to discuss how best to increase pedestrian safety in the area of the Dulles Toll Road.
FCDOT hosted the community meeting to discuss options for proposed changes to the crossing of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail over the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramp. In that area, the crossing is around a curve as cars northbound on the parkway turn onto the ramp.
“There’s no visibility, and they have to do something about visibility if they can’t do anything about the grade,” said Steve Steiner, who said he has particular interest in safety on the trail after being struck by a car two years ago at a nearby crossing and spending four days at Inova Trauma Center. “We’re putting a really expensive and massive transportation system and we’re trying to promote the use of the trail for commuting … and you want to try to make it safe and accessible.”
FCDOT has given two options for safety improvements at the intersection in question, which was flagged as part of the Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) II improvements study. It is proposing either at-grade improvements including a signalized crosswalk, or the construction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the ramp.
Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bike Program manager, said neither choice was the department’s first option.
“Our original plan, actually, was a tunnel option [under the Toll Road ramp],” Lind said. “However, once we did a survey we found out there are four major utility lines and an underground stormwater tank — that pretty much nixed that option.”
The two options that remain have a vast difference in cost. The at-grade improvements would cost about $633,000 to implement, according to FCDOT, while the cost of the bridge would near $7 million.
Lind said the at-grade option focuses on improving sight distance by bringing the trail up to the shoulder of Fairfax County Parkway and creating two one-lane crossings instead of the current two-lane crossing over the ramp. He said options of stop signals for cars or the installation of a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon to alert drivers are also being considered.
The bridge option, Lind said, would require about 700 feet of structure. It needs to be so long and high, Lind said, to allow 18 feet of clearance on the ramp below it. The result would be a bridge that travels parallel to the ramp as its elevation increases, then crosses, then decreases in height back down to the parkway.
Lind said there will be a lot of other projects similar to this one in the area as connectivity to Silver Line Phase II Metro stations is addressed; however, he said, this particular intersection doesn’t directly affect Metro access.
“While this is a big and important connection for the county and the region, it doesn’t directly serve the Metro station,” Lind said. “If you’re coming from the north, you can get off at Sunset Hills … and if you’re coming from the south, you can access via Sunrise Valley Drive.”
While it may not directly connect with the Metro, local residents Norman and Barbara Happ said the crossing is very dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists and they are happy to see it being addressed.
“I can’t imagine anything being safer than the bridge, but at least with the [at-grade crossing] you could be seen,” Norman said. “With the Bikeshare coming in on the south side, there are going to be a lot more people using this.”
FCDOT will continue to collect comments on the project through Friday, Sept. 29. Those comments can be made online; by writing the FCDOT Bicycle Program at 4050 Legato Road, Suite 4050, Fairfax, VA 22033; or by calling 703-877-5600.
Rides on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in recent days have been damaging for some bicyclists, as tacks spread on the path in the Herndon area have disabled bikes.
Bernard Kocis, service manager at Green Lizard Cycling in downtown Herndon, said he’s had to fix about 10 flat tires in the past two days because of the issue.
“That’s just people who have come in,” Kocis said. “How many people have fixed their own or called for a ride or whatever, I don’t know.”
The Reston Bike Club is warning its social media followers of the concern.
There has been a rash of tacks on the W&OD west of Herndon, causing many flats. W&OD Maintenance has gone out…
In a comment on Reston Bike Club’s Facebook page, Green Lizard owner Beth Meyer said a majority of the tacks were reported to be in the area of the trail between Ferndale Avenue and Crestview Drive in Herndon. A moderator for the Bike Club’s page said they have been noted as far out as the Pacific Avenue crossing in Sterling, which is just west of Route 28.
“All the tacks look the same,” Kocis said, adding that while he rode into work on that area of the path Monday, he didn’t suffer damage.
Karl Mohle, park manager for the W&OD Trail, said a crew was sent out Monday afternoon with a magnetic sweeper in the effort to capture as many of the tacks as possible.
“They went down the trail and swept it clear, [and] we’re going to check it out almost daily,” Mohle said. “I don’t know if this is just a one-time, kind of high-school thing, or what.”
Mohle said that in his 10 years on the job, this is the first time he has heard of such an incident on the trail, which runs 45 miles from Purcellville in Loudoun County to Shirlington in Arlington County. Kocis also said this is an abnormal occurrence that is causing undue heartache to riders.
“[The bikers] are not happy when they have to have a tack pulled out of their tire and have to pay for service to have it repaired,” he said. “It’s an irritant, and people are riding bikes to have fun.”
Looking to improve conditions it sees as hazardous for pedestrians and bicyclists, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation is considering options for altering a crossing of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail in the area of the Dulles Toll Road.
At the location in question, the trail crosses the eastbound on-ramp for the Dulles Toll Road. FCDOT, as part of its Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) II improvements project, says that is a problem spot. In its analysis, FCDOT has presented two options for making the crossing safer: making at-grade improvements including a signalized crosswalk, or constructing a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the ramp.
The options have a huge difference in cost. The at-grade improvements would cost about $633,000 to implement, according to FCDOT, while the cost of the bridge would near $7 million.
“Cost estimates consider construction mobilization, clearing and grubbing, earthwork, pavement, incidentals, drainage, erosion [and] sediment control, maintenance of traffic, and bridge construction,” the FCDOT report reads. “Engineering design cost and construction engineering inspection cost are also included in each cost estimate.”
A community meeting to discuss the options has been slated for Thursday, Sept. 14, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive).
Comments on the project can also be made online, by writing the FCDOT Bicycle Program at 4050 Legato Road, Suite 4050, Fairfax, VA 22033; or by calling 703-877-5600. Comments will be collected through Friday, Sept. 29.
Outreach Session on Bikeshare Today — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to bring 10 new locations of Capital Bikeshare to Reston, including nine south of the Dulles Toll Road. A public outreach session on the proposed locations is scheduled for today from 1-5 p.m. at Glade Pool (11550 Glade Drive). [FCDOT]
SAIC Gets $39M Task Order to Support Marines — The Reston-based technology integrator has received the order, from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic, to provide engineering services in support of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Operations Center. [SAIC]
Verity Commercial Again Named to Inc. 5000 — For the second consecutive year, the Reston-based commercial real estate company has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. [Verity Commercial]
As Capital Bikeshare looks toward increasing its presence in Reston, a new app for iPhone and Android is allowing its users to better manage their rides.
The free app, which launched last week, allows users to find a bike, purchase a pass, time their rides to avoid late charges and much more. In a press release, Capital Bikeshare General Manager Eric Gilliland extolled the virtues of the app.
“The new Capital Bikeshare mobile app will open up new possibilities for CaBi riders — providing a convenient and quick way to find a bike or a dock, keep track of exercise, and make it easier to know that you’ve properly docked your bike,” he said. “It’s never been easier to give Capital Bikeshare a try, and we look forward to providing our riders a more seamless experience than ever before.”
Capital Bikeshare launched in Reston last fall, and there are currently 15 stations here. Public outreach sessions are being held throughout August to discuss the addition of 10 new stations south of the Dulles Toll Road. The next is Thursday from 1-5 p.m. at Glade Pool (11550 Glade Drive); another is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market in Lake Anne Plaza.
With a little over two weeks left before the Reston Bicycle Club Century ride, the number of registrants is nearing 1,000.
A total of 1,500 spaces are available for the event, which is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 27. Early registration has ended, but pre-ride discounted registration of $60 is still available through Aug. 18. Registration the day of the ride will be $75.
The 35th annual event will take riders through portions of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, start and finishing at Reston Town Center. Start times will be from 6:30-10 a.m., with all riders who plan to complete the full Century needing to be off by 9.
In addition to the 100-mile “Century” ride, participants can also choose the “Metric” (100 kilometers — about 62 miles) or “Half-Metric” (50 kilometers — about 31 miles) routes. The rides will be held rain or shine.
Volunteers are also being sought to help with rest stops, T-shirts, route marking and more.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to bring 10 new locations of Capital Bikeshare to Reston, including nine south of the Dulles Toll Road.
Phase II of the expansion of Capital Bikeshare to the area is intended to “increase the number of destinations within the system, while also taking advantage of new bike infrastructure in 2017 to make riding safer and more enjoyable for all,” according to FCDOT. Fifteen Capital Bikeshare locations have already been installed in Reston, all in the northern part of the community.
The proposed new locations for Capital Bikeshare stations include Baron Cameron Avenue/Hampton Avenue North, as well as nine in South Reston:
- Soapstone Drive/Sunrise Valley Drive
- Soapstone Drive/South Lakes Drive
- Campus Commons Drive
- South Lakes Village Center
- Hunters Woods Village Center
- Barton Hill Park
- Lake Audubon Pool
- Glade Pool
- Hunters Woods Park
Public outreach events to gather community input on the proposed sites are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 10 at Lake Audubon Pool (2070 Twin Branches Road) and Thursday, Aug 17 at Glade Pool (11550 Glade Drive). Both are slated for 1-5 p.m.
A third outreach session will be held Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market in Lake Anne Plaza.
Phase II of the Bikeshare project is federally funded, with 10 new stations being paid for by a TAP grant. Because of this, they all must be located in the public right of way. Therefore, FCDOT plans to replace some of the locally funded Phase I stations that are on public rights of way with federally funded stations, and then relocate the Phase I stations to South Reston sites (Campus Commons Drive, South Lakes Village Center and Hunters Woods Village Center) where public right of way is not available.
Reston Rider Tackling Country by Bike — Len Forkas talks about the perils of riding cross-country on a bicycle in 11 days, and about why he’s doing it again: to help raise $1 million for a children’s charity during the annual Race Across America event. [Bicycling]
Reminder: Community Center Pool Closed — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center is closed through Friday as soil testing is conducted around the pool. [Reston Community Center]
SLHS Team Finishes Fifth in State — Freshman Hannah Waller finished third in the 100 meters and fourth in both the 200 meters and 4×400 meter relay in leading the South Lakes High School girls team to a fifth place finish at the state track and field championship June 2-3. [Press Release]
Virginia Leaders Continue Climate-Change Fight — In reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, both Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday said Virginia is joining coalitions that remain committed to the agreement. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Following a community meeting last month regarding the potential addition of bike lanes to Glade Drive, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation has decided not to go forward with that possibility.
“We obviously heard from the community along Glade about their preference for parking, and that helped to drive our decision,” said Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bike Program manager, Friday morning. “We’re not going to take any parking; we’re sticking with just sharrows.”
A shared-lane marking, or sharrow, is painted in a travel lane to show where bicycles may be on the road and what direction they should be traveling. Lanes remain the same width, as does space for cars to park.
Some residents had expressed concern that if bike lanes were added to Glade Drive, the subsequent removal of street parking would cause problems with overflow parking at Glade Pool, Walker Nature Center, the Quartermaster Soccer Field and other locations along the road.
In another community meeting in March, Lind presented possibilities for bike lanes on Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road. In regard to those plans, Lind said:
- bike lanes will be added in both directions on Colts Neck Road, along with a road diet
- there will be a bike lane in one direction and sharrows in the other along North Shore Drive, with the location of each alternating “depending on the section of the street”
- bike lanes will be added in both directions on Twin Branches Road
“No major alterations [from what was presented],” Lind said. “Most of the tweaks have been local comments about specific items — [such as] where we’re looking to shift the double yellow to give more room for people to pass when there’s parking along a road.”
At March’s meeting, a number of residents were particularly concerned about the proposal for the road diet on Colts Neck Road, which will take the road from four lanes of vehicle traffic to two between Glade Drive and South Lakes Drive.
Bicycle riders responded by saying Colts Neck Road is particularly dangerous for them and for pedestrians as well. The road diet could also allow for the addition of a crosswalk. Lind also said it is not believed the diet will have a major adverse effect on vehicle traffic. In a presentation during the March meeting, Lind said roads with traffic less than 20,000 cars per day don’t require four travel lanes, and a traffic count showed less than half that on Colts Neck Road. Those cars will be slowed by the diet and safety will be increased, Lind said.
Residents argued, however, that the road is a major “cut-through” during rush-hour times when traffic is backed up on Fairfax County Parkway, and that the road diet would cause additional traffic delays specifically during those times. According to a recent study, less than 1/2 of 1 percent of Fairfax County commuters bike to work — an amount some residents said is not worth potentially causing daily bottlenecking of cars. Possible safety hazards that could be presented by a center left-turn lane were also raised by citizens.
Repaving and re-striping will be conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation after school lets out for the summer, Lind said. Further details will be provided on VDOT’s paving program website.
Anyone seeking additional information can request it by emailing [email protected].
Let us know what you think below:
File photo at top from Glade Drive community meeting April 27. Map of Colts Neck Road redesign via Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
Today is Bike to Work Day in the Capital Region. Cyclists will be all over the trails and roads like cicadas emerging from their hibernation.
And as the weather turns warmer and summer approaches, it seems true that many of us and our neighbors begin to head outdoors to exercise, emerging from gyms into the spring sunshine. Roads and trails begin to fill up with walkers, runners and cyclists who are enjoying the benefits of warmth and longer days.
Our region has made incredible strides in providing infrastructure to support these activities. From the Washington and Old Dominion Trail to the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) that was recently passed, we are all fortunate citizens to have a government with the foresight to build and plan infrastructure for the future.
While riding a bike is legally allowed on all non-limited-access roads in the Commonwealth, the increase in traffic of all kinds, motor and bicycle, has led the county to seek ways to increase safety for all road users. One way in which the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) upholds the BMP is through a partnership with VDOT.
When VDOT repaves a road, in many cases the road is studied for installation of a “road diet.” A road diet is a change in the allocation of space on an existing road to increase road safety for all users. A road diet can include a center turn lane for left-turning traffic as well as bike lanes. Since the passage of the Bicycle Master Plan, over 100 miles of bike lanes and road diets have been implemented.
Road diets and the addition of bike lanes and center turn lanes serve to slow traffic through many of our streets, some of which used to be quiet neighborhood roads, but which have now become fast cut-throughs for commuters. The benefit of slowing traffic on those roads, through the re-striping during repaving, accrues to the people who live on those roads as well. People who want to walk their dogs, chat with neighbors, cross the street to pick up their mail — all of them benefit from road design that slows the traffic passing through.
Fairfax County is home to an incredibly diverse population. However, one thing that is universal is we all want our loved ones to come home safely. No one wants to get a call that their mother, husband, daughter, brother, wife, father, sister or son was killed for any reason. This universal human desire is sometimes forgotten when people take to the wheel of a multi-ton vehicle, ignoring the indisputable facts of physics. The human under the bike helmet in front of you us is 150 percent more likely to die when hit by a car at 40 mph than at 25 mph (Source: NHTSA). It’s in all of our interest to address this.
Cyclists are members of the community — we are your neighbors, your doctors, your waiters and your pharmacists. We ride bikes for transportation, exercise and recreation. Some of us do not have cars and commute solely by bike. But we are no different from you and your neighbors in our desire to get home safely. That’s all we ask.
Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling
Reston Bicycle Club
The Bike Lane
Green Lizard Cycling
Evolution Cycling Team
About 525 bicyclists had passed through the stop at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station plaza as of about 9 a.m., said Ashleigh Soloff, Reston Association’s special events coordinator. She said this is the third year the event has been held at the Metro plaza in coordination with Comstock Partners.
“[Riders] have been telling me that this is the best pit stop that they’ve come through today so far,” Soloff said of participants’ feedback on the event. “It’s very active and lively.”
Nineteen organizations participated in the event to share information and goodies with riders. Food was provided by Whole Foods and Einstein Bagels. A DJ was playing music and giveaway drawings were being held every half-hour.
Soloff said the concept of biking to work is important to Reston Association.
“We’re trying to get everybody out of their cars just for one day, but then they learn that ‘Hey, I can actually do this every day,'” she said.
Rod Colen, of Reston, was riding along with his daughter, Steph. He said increasing participation in bicycling to work is important for multiple reasons, including public health and improving commute times.
“There’s just so much pressure on everybody for productivity and hours and commute time,” he said. “As traffic gets worse, biking to work will actually be competitive.”
Colen said improved infrastructure and planning is needed to increase the number of bike commuters in Fairfax County. His daughter, who now lives in Arlington but works in Reston Town Center, said she doesn’t regularly ride to commute but she chose to today.
“I also have friends who live in Arlington and work in the Town Center who decided yesterday when they found out about [Bike to Work Day], they’re not big bikers, but they were just going to do it casually,” Steph said.
Adam Lind, Bike Program manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said the county seeks to expand participation in Bike to Work Day each year. He was providing visitors with information including copies of the county’s new bike map. In addition, he said, the county is running a 50 percent discount through the end of May on yearly memberships to Capital Bikeshare, which is expanding in Reston.
The regional Bike to Work Day event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving.
Hot Weather Continues Today — The DC area had weather hotter than nearly anywhere else in the country Wednesday, including a record high of 91 at Dulles International Airport. Temperatures are expected to be similar today and Friday. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has issued information to help people avoid heat-related illness. [Washington Post]
Bicycle Commuting Up in DC, But Not Here — A report shows that the nation’s capital now has the third-highest percentage of bicycle commuters among major cities in the nation, 4 percent. The number has nearly doubled from 2010. However, in Fairfax County, only about 0.3 percent of commuters ride to work. The difference is in part due to lacking infrastructure, says the Fairfax Alliance for Better Biking. [WTOP]
Cicadas Making Early Entrance — Thousands of the bugs have already turned up in the region, four years ahead of their regular schedule. The 17-year cycle on Brood X means this is just a precursor of a major emergence in 2021. [WAMU]
SLHS Track Teams Tops Again — The boys and girls track teams at South Lakes High School have won their conference championships. It’s the seventh title in a row for the girls and the fourth for the boys. [Press Release]
Commentary: Increased Class Sizes Will Hurt — An advocate for Class Size Matters says Fairfax County Public Schools’ plan to increase average class size by half a student per room will have “a negative impact on students’ ability to learn and succeed, and on teachers’ ability to teach.” An online petition is opposing the increase. [Reston Connection]
Thousands of area commuters will ride to work Friday during Bike to Work Day, and those in Reston are invited to a “pit stop” to get refreshments, gear and more.
The event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region, including 13 in Fairfax County. Free registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a Bike to Work Day T-shirt.
Reston’s pit stop will be located on the plaza level at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. More than 500 local bike commuters are expected to participate at the local stop, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.
“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”
File photo courtesy Fairfax County
(Updated at 12:10 p.m. after Reston Association’s annual Community Yard Sale was postponed.)
Another SafeTrack Surge Starts Next Week — Metro’s latest round of work will have five stations on the east end of the Orange Line closed, which will also affect Silver Line traffic. Tuesday through June 15, trains will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Stadium-Armory only every 12 minutes. This means more than 50 percent fewer trains during morning peak hours. Fairfax County is suggesting alternatives for commuters, including car pooling and buses. [WMATA]
League of American Cyclists Honors County — Fairfax County has been recognized with Bronze-level status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. It is one of 416 communities nationwide that have been honored. [Fairfax County]
Community Yard Sale Postponed to Sunday — With rain in the forecast, Reston Association’s annual Community Yard Sale has been postponed from Saturday. It will now be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at 1900 Campus Commons Drive, at the corner of Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue. Those planning to attend are still encouraged to call 703-435-6577 after 4:30 a.m. Sunday to check the event’s status. [Reston Association]
County Embracing Driverless Future — Fairfax County is the testing ground for self-driving cars and connected infrastructure in Virginia. Officials recently brought in autonomous-vehicle experts, policymakers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs to share their research. [Fairfax County]
Reston Couple Share Love Story — Roger and Anita Lowen are approaching 50 years of marriage. It all started, they remember, with a prank call. [Washington Post]