East Elden Street (Image via handout/VDOT)

The widening of Elden Street from four to six lanes  — a roughly $40.6 million project — is expected to begin in late 2022.

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to widen the street between Herndon and Fairfax County parkways. Along the street, bike lanes are planned from Monroe Street to Herndon Parkway, in addition to cycle tracks from Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway.

VDOT will also replace culverts over Sugarland Run with a new bridge to improve stream flow and reduce flooding. Overhead utilities along Elden Street will be buried between Monroe Street and Fairfax County Parkway.

Right-of-way acquisition kicked off in 2019 and is expected to wrap up by the end of the fall, according to Murphy.

Construction for the underground utility duct bank will begin in late 2022. But the actual widening, bicycle improvements, and construction of the bridge won’t kick off until early 2025, according to Mike Murphy, a spokesman for VDOT.

“The costs and schedules are estimates and subject to change as the design progresses and schedules are refined,” Murphy wrote in a statement to Reston Now.

Most of East Elden Street is a fore-lane undivided road. Few dedicated left-turn lanes result in major backups and traffic congestion. Changes are expected to improve access to businesses and the future Herndon Metrorail Station.

A host of other pedestrian and road improvements are planned in the Town of Herndon. In May, the town council awarded a contract to the Ashburn Construction Corp. for a new signal and sidewalks at the Elden -Monroe Street intersection.

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Reston Century 2019 (photo by Edward Shanahan)

The Reston Bike Club is bringing back its Century Ride this Sunday (Aug. 22) after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now in its 38th iteration, this year’s Century Ride offers 33, 60, 80, and 100-mile routes. There are over 800 participants registered, and the organization is expecting 200 more.

With attendance capped at 1,200 riders this year, spots are limited, but the last-minute registration period will remain open until the morning of the event. The cost is now $85, which includes a t-shirt, a post-ride lunch and after-party as well as route support and photography.

Proceeds will “fund local and regional cycling-related projects such as trail building, bike racks, an after-school bike shop, and helmets for kids,” according to Reston Bike Club, a volunteer nonprofit that formed in 1982 to promote cycling in the area.

“We provide donations to our partners including the towns of Purcellville, Lovettsville, the W&OD trail, Ashburn & Hamilton Volunteer rescue squads,” said Laura Robinson, a member of the Century Ride organization team. “Last year, while not directly bike-related, we donated $1,000 to Cornerstones to support feeding our community.”

Reston Bike Club accepts donations on its ongoing basis through its website.

It also has a grant application that bicycle-related organizations and nonprofits can fill out to apply for funding. The club provides up to $1,000 for each approved grant request.

The promotional materials and t-shirt for this year’s Century Ride were designed by local artist Tracie Griffith Tso. She aimed to capture Reston in 2021, incorporating Brood-X cicadas and lotus flowers from the pond by Fannie Mae’s Reston Technology Center offices into the design.

“By engaging local artists, we believe we can celebrate where we live and ride,” Robinson said.

The official T-shirt for Reston Bike Club’s 2021 Century Ride (courtesy Tracie Griffith Tso)

Reston Bike Club is still seeking a few volunteers for those who want to help but not ride. Volunteers do not get free entry into the ride. They will receive a T-shirt to be worn at the event during their volunteer time slot.

COVID-19 protocols will be followed in accordance with Virginia and Fairfax County guidelines due to the recent uptick in coronavirus cases. Volunteers will be required to wear masks and gloves, and social distancing will be required for both riders and volunteers. Hand sanitizer will be available for all.

The first bicyclists will start at 6:30 a.m., but the ride is a “show and go” event, meaning riders can begin whenever they arrive and show their wristband.

T-shirts and wristbands can be picked up ahead of time at The Bike Lane from 6-9 p.m. tonight (Thursday) or at House 6 Brewing from 6-9 p.m. tomorrow. Wristbands can also be picked up the day of the ride from 6:30-10 a.m. T-shirts are not guaranteed for last-minute registrations.

The ride will start and end at the Reston Town Center pavilion (1818 Discovery Street). After the riders have finished, there will be an after-party with boxed lunches from noon to 4:30 p.m.

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It took longer than anticipated, but Capital Bikeshare is finally expanding in Reston, a move that has been in the works since August 2017.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will start installing 19 new stations throughout Reston in early July, FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger told Reston Now.

Previously expected to take place in early 2020, the expansion was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will more than double the size of the bicycle-sharing service in the area, which currently has 16 operating stations.

“We did have significant production delays as a result of the pandemic, affecting both bicycles and stations,” Geiger said. “…More information about the installation will be coming this summer.”

Funded by a $1 million federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant, the new stations will be located at:

  • Baron Cameron Avenue and North Hampton Avenue
  • Becontree Lane and Goldenrain Court
  • Fairway Drive and Hook Road
  • Golf Course Square and Golf Course Drive
  • Green Range Drive and Glade Drive
  • Inlet Court and Wiehle Drive
  • Lake Newport Road and Autumn Ridge Circle
  • Links Drive and Wedge Drive
  • North Village Road and Park Garden Lane
  • Olde Crafts Drive and Cartwright Place
  • Reston Parkway and Bennington Woods Road
  • Ridge Heights Road and Owl Cove Lane
  • Ridge Heights Road and Seahawks Drive
  • Ring Road and North Shore Drive
  • Soapstone Drive Convenience Center
  • South Gate Community Center
  • South Lakes Drive and Reston Parkway
  • Vantage Hill Road & Wainwright Drive
  • Wainwright Drive and North Shore Drive

Geiger says Fairfax County is still considering adding a station at Reston Community Center’s Hunter Woods facility, but that location could not be included in this phase because federal funding can’t support projects on private property.

The county joined Bikeshare in 2016, concentrating the 17 initial stations in Reston and Tysons to support Metro’s newly opened Silver Line Phase 1.

According to Geiger, the service was doing well prior to the pandemic, particularly in Merrifield, which was the site of its most recent expansion. Merrifield and Vienna are now slated to get 10 more stations.

Like other transportation services, though, Bikeshare saw a significant drop in usage due to COVID-19, with both ridership and membership taking hits as people limited travel and many started working from home.

“At its worst, early in the pandemic membership was around 20% of ridership when compared to past years,” Geiger said by email. “Most of the lost trips were by annual members who were commuting by bicycle.”

Fairfax County saw a 50% decrease in Bikeshare riders in 2020 overall compared to 2019.

Geiger says ridership levels did start to pick back up last summer, primarily from non-members, meaning people who were utilizing the service for a single trip or day instead of getting an ongoing subscription.

“Usage patterns systemwide changed as well, with fewer trips to Metro stations, but more to recreational locations, and grocery stores,” she said.

With the upcoming Bikeshare expansion, county officials hope to see a resurgence in usage as people return to public spaces and communal activities. One such activity could be coming to Reston, thanks to the impending bicycle stations.

“We plan to have an event celebrating the installation sometime this summer, probably in August,” Geiger said.

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Morning Notes

Hot Water Issues Return to Lake Anne Condos — “Ongoing lack of hot water is an issue again for nearly all condominium owners at the 27-unit, mixed-use Quayside building located at Lake Anne Village Center in Reston. Frustrated condo owners fear another four-month struggle, similar to Quayside’s first no-hot-water experience.” [Connection Newspapers]

Application for Development Near Herndon Border Rejected — The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted on June 15 to deny a rezoning application for a proposed housing development on a parcel along the W&OD Trail near the Fairfax County border and the historic Oak Grove Baptist Church. The rejection came after the applicant cut back on its proffers, including plans for an archaelogical survey and a commemorative sign. [Loudoun Now]

New Bicycle Racks Installed at Reston Town Center — The company Bikeep has installed new bicycle racks around Reston Town Center. With space available for five to nine bicycles at each station, the racks have no time limit or cost and are intended for short-term visitor parking, though the company plans to install lockers this summer “to provide long term parking for employees or more secure parking for visitors.” [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling]

Longtime Herndon Teacher Retires — “Ann Godden moved to Herndon from Arlington more than 33 years ago and has been a staple part of the Herndon Elementary School community ever since…Godden is thankful for the school where she taught, and all four of her children ended up going to that school as well.” [Fairfax County Times]

Multicultural Festival Deadline Extended — “Calling all Vendors and Entertainers! Celebrate your roots with us at the 2021 Reston Multicultural Festival at Lake Anne Plaza on Sept. 25. The application deadline has been extended to June 25.” [Reston Community Center/Twitter]

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The intersection of New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive in Reston (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County police and a local supervisor are asking residents to slow down and be more careful, especially at two Reston crosswalks often used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

In a new traffic safety campaign, the Fairfax County Police Department and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn are bringing attention to the crosswalk at Glade Drive and Charthouse Circle in South Reston as well as the crosswalk at New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive near Reston Town Center.

Alcorn noted in videos shot for the campaign that his office have received “many complaints” about speeding on these particular roads.

Pfc. Katy Defoe, a crime prevention officer at the Reston District Station, confirms to Reston Now that they have also received a number of complaints from neighbors about not only speed, but also several other safety issues.

At the Glade Drive and Charthouse Circle intersection, Defoe says complaints are often related to people driving their cars too fast while also not stopping at the crosswalk. A new law that went into effect about a year ago now requires drivers to fully stop their vehicles, as opposed to yielding, at all crosswalks.

The crosswalk at New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive is often busy with pedestrians making their way to Reston Town Center. However, that hasn’t stopped drivers from speeding along those roads which can make it harder to stop. Additionally, pedestrians and bicyclists often note that the crosswalk light is too short, Defoe says.

Pedestrian and bicyclist safety has continued to be a major issue in Reston and Fairfax County. Last month, the county’s planning commission called on the county, state, and Metro to improve pedestrian and bicycle access at transit stations.

In recent years, there have also been repeated incidents of pedestrians being struck by fast-moving vehicles — sometimes fatally.

There have already been seven pedestrian and two bicyclist fatalities in the county this year, according to statistics provided by the FCPD.

Officials fear that these incidents could become more frequent as the warm weather and eased public health restrictions bring more people will be outside.

“During the summer months, you can expect to see an increase in pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles sharing the road to enjoy our community’s amenities,” Captain Thea Pirnat, commander of the Reston District Police Station, wrote in Alcorn’s latest newsletter promoting the safety campaign. “Please pay attention to your surroundings, follow all the rules of the road, and arrive at your destination happy and safe.”

Alcorn, in the videos, asks drivers to pay attention to speed limits and to give themselves enough to get to the destination.

“I struggle with this myself, but it is important,” Alcorn added.

Distracted driving is also an issue that Alcorn addresses in the videos. A state law barring drivers from holding mobile devices while on the road went into effect at the beginning of this year. As of early April, FCPD had given out more than 415 tickets in violation of this new law.

He also asks pedestrians and bicyclists to remove earbuds or headphones in order to remain alert and to cross at crosswalks whenever possible.

Alcorn notes in the newsletter that he’s working with the state and county transportation departments to improve infrastructure. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors is developing a countywide Active Fairfax transportation plan that combines the county’s existing bicycle master plan and trails plan.

via Google Maps

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If you’re passing a cyclist or group of riders in a vehicle, you’ll soon have to change lanes a lot more.

A new law going into effect July 1 will require drivers to switch lanes if they can’t maintain three feet of distance when passing cyclists.

The Fairfax County Police Department says this means motorists may have to cross double yellow lines, imploring people to “share the road.” Police told Reston Now that they hope people will abide by the new legislation and help keep everyone safe on roadways.

“I think it’s going to be huge in the long run,” Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling President Bruce Wright said Monday while stopping during a bicycle ride on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. He acknowledged that the change may require some education.

Wright says the new law means that vehicles will generally need to shift lanes, because lanes in the state are typically 11 or 12 feet wide.

“In effect, almost every lane in Virginia will require a motorist to safely pass,” he said.

The state law was adopted in February after General Assembly legislators removed a provision that would have allowed cyclists to treat stop signs like a yield sign.

Some states, including Delaware, allow the so-called “Idaho stop” for bicycle riders. Like Virginia, Washington, D.C., considered the stop-as-yield measure but also declined to adopt it.

The new law also ends a requirement for cyclists to file into a single lane when being passed.

Tensions between cyclists and drivers played out on the county police department’s Facebook post about the issue. Several people noted cyclists should obey traffic laws, too.

Wright says those online arguments between cyclists and drivers are similar to honking as well as dangerous behaviors on the road.

“There’s so much animosity, and it’s aggressive,” Wright said.

Some people on social media questioned whether double yellow lines should ever be crossed.

Current law already allows drivers to cross double yellow lines when passing others, including cyclists, skateboarders, and scooters. Another provision involves giving enough distance to mopeds, animal-drawn vehicles, and more when drivers pass them.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety is a persistent concern in Fairfax County, where seven pedestrians and two cyclists have died in car crashes so far this year. Whether these new laws help alleviate those issues remains to be seen.

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County School Board Adopts Budget — The Fairfax County Public Schools fiscal year 2022 budget includes funding for 50 new positions for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, school-based technology specialists, and 18 new social worker and psychologist positions to meet state requirements. It also covers technology support fees previously charged to families and a 2% market rate adjustment for all employees. [FCPS]

Bike To Work Day Is Here — The D.C. area’s annual initiative to encourage people to ride a bicycle to work marks its 20th anniversary today. There will be a pit stop at Reston Station Plaza from 6:30-9:30 a.m. and one at the Herndon Town Hall Green that will be open in the morning (5:30-10 a.m.) and the afternoon (4:30-6 p.m.). [Bike to Work Day]

Northern Virginia Vets Will Get Free Rides to Vaccine Appointments — Starting in mid-June, veterans in Northern Virginia can get free transportation to and from COVID-19 vaccine appointments, thanks to a partnership between the Dulles Area Transportation Association and Northern Virginia Veterans Association. The effort to organize rides through a taxi service was made possible by $80,000 in funding from the Federal Transit Administration. [WDVM]

Reston Association to Hold Big Yard Sale on June 19 — “Join Reston Association at the Reston Community Yard Sale. Eighty families will be selling a variety of items, so this event is a great opportunity to find things for a new home or a college dorm. Sign up to have a booth or stop by to browse for great bargains.” [RA/Twitter]

Baby Panda to Make Public Debut Today — The Smithsonian will reopen the National Zoo to the public today after a six-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and visitors will get their first chance to see giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji in person. The cub, whose name translates to “little miracle,” was born on Aug. 21, 2020 and now weighs 45 pounds. [The Washington Post]

Park Authority Hiring for Summer Camp — “Rec-PAC, affiliated with the Fairfax County Park Authority, is hiring to fill over 200 positions for its six-week summer camp. Rec-PAC is hosting two open hires for job seekers interested in working as a camp counselor or camp director…Join us for the virtual open hire on Monday, June 7, 2021 anytime between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.” [FCPA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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(Updated at 12:55 p.m.)

Monday, May 10

  • Learn Sumi-e (6-7 p.m.) — Sumi-e is a Japanese art form that uses ink and water to create a calligraphy type of painting. Take a virtual class on this art through the Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church. All materials are picked up and returned to the library.

Tuesday, May 11

  • Super Snakes (10 a.m.) — Don’t worry, there’s no Marvel movie about super snakes (yet). Join a naturalist from the Fairfax County Park Authority to learn about the snakes that slither through our region. Then, head out to Burke Lake Park to go find some.

Wednesday, May 12

  • Village Centers of Reston (7-8:30 p.m.) — Join the Reston Historic Trust and Museum for a virtual presentation on the history of village centers. It will feature archival materials from the museum’s collections, as they continue to embrace the future to explain the past.

Thursday, May 13

  • X-Wing Lands At Smithsonian (10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) — The X-Wing flown by Poe Dameron in 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has landed at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. It’s in the restoration hanger and can be seen by the public while it undergoes inspection, conservation, and cleaning before heading off to a galaxy far, far, away — that is, D.C. where it will hang in the museum downtown starting late next year.

Friday, May 14

  • First Date (8 p.m.) — In NextStop Theatre’s first return to the stage since the pandemic, follow Casey and Aaron on their first date through the Town of Herndon.
  • Drive-In Movie Night (7:15 p.m.) — Catch a free drive-in movie at Reston Hospital to honor Nurses and Hospital week. The movie will be “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” and there’s space for 150 cars.

Saturday, May 15

  • RA Pools Opening (1 p.m) — It’s finally pool season, even if the weather remains a bit cool. The first two of Reston Association’s 12 pools opens this weekend for the season. And, don’t worry, the pools are heated.
  • Tour de Hunter Mill (8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) — Join this community bike ride around the district to reacquaint oneself with the hidden treasures, cultural, and environmental resources in the area. It’s the inaugural ride and also a chance to peddle around with Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

Sunday, May 16

  • Virginia Psychic Fair (9 a.m.) — Some of the area’s most well-known psychics, mediums, healers, and readers of all types will be on hand at the Virginia Psychic Fair held at the Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge in Fairfax. The fair is for the serious-minded and those just curious alike. Masks are required.
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Morning Notes

New Police Chief to Speak at Public Input Session — Community members will get their first chance to talk to new Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis at 7 p.m. on Thursday (May 6). Local civil rights groups have criticized Davis’s past record and a hiring process they say lacked transparency and public involvement, prompting the county board to issue a statement last night reaffirming its support for Davis. [Supervisor Rodney Lusk/Twitter]

Fairway Apartments Sold to Swedish Investor — Swedish investment firm Akelius has acquired Fairway Apartments, a 346-unit apartment community near Reston Town Center, from JBG for $93 million. Akelius says it plans to add new washers and dryers, renovate some kitchens and bathrooms, and make other minor upgrades to the property, which is 97% occupied. [Bisnow]

More Spots Open for Tour de Hunter Mill — More registrations are now available for the Tour de Hunter Mill bicycle ride that will take cyclists through Reston, Vienna, and Tysons on May 15. The event has expanded in response to Virginia easing restrictions on public gatherings that day, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s office. [Walter Alcorn/Twitter]

Herndon IT Firm Acquired by McLean Contractor — “McLean, Virginia-based government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton will acquire Herndon, Virginia-based Liberty IT Solutions LLC for $725 million. Liberty IT Solutions has about 600 employees…Its work includes IT modernization projects for government agencies and in the health care industry.” [WTOP]

Nonprofit Food Pantry Distribution Helps 260 Local Families — “We’re happy to have assisted 260 families from the Herndon, Springfield, Chantilly, Alexandria, and Centreville area with groceries, toiletries, fresh produce and store gift cards to help with pantry staple purchases.” [Cornerstones/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Virginia to Change Vaccine Scheduling Systems — Fairfax County residents will finally follow the same approach to obtaining COVID-19 vaccine appointments as the rest of the state, as the Virginia Department of Health says its statewide system will also be retired on Sunday (April 18) in favor of self-scheduling through Vaccine Finder. [Patch]

Lawsuit Filed over Virginia’s Unemployment Benefits — “Several legal groups filed a federal class-action suit on Thursday against the Virginia Employment Commission for its failure to reach residents with unemployment benefits, and abruptly cutting off payments to others without explanation.” [DCist]

Fish Released into Lake Thoreau — Reston Association stocked Lake Thoreau with 80 triploid grass carp this past Sunday (April 18). RA says that the fish are part of its plan to “help manage aquatic plants such as hydrilla” in the lake and must be released if caught while fishing. [RA/Twitter]

Reston Nonprofit to Give Free Food to Those in NeedCornerstones will hold a free food distribution event tomorrow (Saturday) in the parking lot of the Fairfax County Department of Family Services building at Lake Anne (11484 Washington Plaza West). The grocery bags will contain toiletries as well as fresh produce, and they will be distributed from 10 a.m. to noon, though spaces are limited. [Lake Anne Elementary School]

Hunter Mill District Bike Tour Sold Out — Tickets for the inaugural Tour de Hunter Mill sold out yesterday. Scheduled for May 15, the event will take cyclists on a scenic tour from Reston to Vienna and back, but attendance was capped at 150 riders to ensure social distancing. [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling/Twitter]

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The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a series of virtual discussions next month for community members to share their thoughts on walking, bicycling, and other modes of travel that don’t involve getting inside a car.

The community conversations are intended to give county staff insight into people’s travel habits and areas where the county could improve bicycle and pedestrian access or facilities as part of FCDOT’s efforts to develop a new ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan.

“Community input is critical to the success of this planning effort,” FCDOT spokesperson Anna Nissinen said in a statement. “We want to hear all perspectives, from families biking and walking within the community to individuals who use scooters and bike share as part of their commute. This is the only way to create a comprehensive and functional plan that truly supports the needs of the community.”

12 online meetings have been scheduled, starting with an evening conversation for Mason District residents on April 8. The Hunter Mill District meeting will take place on Monday, April 19 at 7 p.m.

There will also be a meeting in Spanish on April 15 at 7 p.m. and two “Lunch and Learn” sessions at noon on April 13 and 23.

A recording of the event and the presentation will be available on the ActiveFairfax webpage for anyone unable to attend a meeting. There is also an online survey for community members to share their perspective on barriers to non-motorized travel, potential trail and bicycle network improvements, and other topics.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed FCDOT to review its plan for active transportation — defined by the county as “self-propelled, human-powered travel” such as walking, cycling, or using a scooter or wheelchair — in January 2020.

Launched last summer, the project is divided into two phases. First, FCDOT is developing a vision statement laying out the county’s goals, evaluating existing conditions, and creating a plan for a systematic safety program. Then, the department will come up with recommendations, including potential comprehensive plan updates and project and policy prioritization.

Local officials have been looking at ways to enhance Fairfax County’s bikeability and walkability, particularly in urbanizing areas like Tysons and Reston, to improve safety and reflect people’s evolving travel habits.

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board’s most recent Regional Travel Survey found that the number of bicycle trips in the D.C. area has doubled over the past decade, though the amount of daily walking trips has remained steady.

“The plan will establish a vision and a roadmap for implementation of safe, convenient, and enjoyable streets, sidewalks, bike facilities, and trails in Fairfax County for people of all ages and abilities,” Nissinen said. “The plan will support livable street design through the development of a transportation network that connects people to where they live, work, play, learn and take transit.”

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(Updated 3/29) This May, bicyclists will get a chance to pedal around Hunter Mill District with Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

Fairfax County is planning its inaugural “Tour de Hunter Mill” for May 15 starting at 8:30 a.m. Alcorn will host the scenic bicycle tour of the district that he represents.

“This will allow people to explore parts of Hunter Mill District that they haven’t before,” Alcorn said on a call with reporters talking about the event.

After starting at Reston Community Center, the ridealong will take bikers along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail to the Vienna Metro station before following quiet trails to the Spring Hill Metro station. Then, the route will circle back to Reston Community Center.

All in all, this “long” route encompasses about 20 miles. There’s also an option to board the Metro at Spring Hill to come back to Reston, which shaves about six miles and 475 feet of climbing from the trip.

Families or more inexperienced riders can also take a route that’s less than five miles through the Reston Association’s pathway system.

The tour costs $25 per adult, but the price includes a pair of “Tour de Hunter Mill” socks and a $5 donation to Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling.

Safety and health protocols will be followed, adhering to Virginia Department of Health’s current guidelines. Riders will be capped at 150 people and must stay at least six feet apart. Ride marshals and Fairfax County police will follow along as well.

The event will take place rain or shine.

Photo Courtesy of Fairfax County

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The Reston Association Board of Directors approved a committee’s updated report on the status of pedestrian and bicyclist facilities in the Reston.

The report, titled “Reston On Foot and Bicycle,” was formulated by the Multimodal Transportation Committee and is intended to serve as a resource for residents, developers, the county and state officials.

This is the fifth update of the report since it was first published in the early 1990s, according to Reston Association.

Most of the report’s recommendations continue to stress the need for an integrated network of bicycle facilities using existing streets.

“Reston has been supported by VDOT and FCDOT in making this a reality, yet many gaps remain,” according to the 33-page report.

MTC is also encouraging a number of curb cut improvements in Reston. The overall effort requires more cooperation between the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, VDOT, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, the report states.

File photo

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When Metro stations started shutting down and people grew uncertain about other modes of public transit after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Green Lizard Cycling co-owner Beth Meyer said that people turned to cycling for their transportation needs.

Green Lizard Cycling, a locally owned Herndon-based business that is known for customizable bicycles and an on-site cafe, has been out of family-style and entry-level road bikes for over a month, according to Meyer.

“Instantly out commuter base tripled at least,” she said, adding that this has been the case for almost all locally owned bike stores.

“Everyone all over the country has sold out their bicycles basically,” according to Meyer. “You can still get high-end road bikes and mountain bikes but I don’t think we have a bike under $1,400 right now.”

To make up for the shortage, people have been bringing older, antiquated bikes in for repair, Meyer said, adding the shop also asked suppliers if they’d consider releasing their 2021 models earlier.

She said that the vendors agreed to move up their release dates and people can expect new lines to appear in the store by mid-July.

Because of high demand for service, anyone who brings in a bicycle for repair should expect longer wait times, she said.

As of Sunday (June 14) the average wait time for a typical repair at Green Lizard is about 10 days but Meyer said that she’s heard that some weeks backlogged by seven weeks.

Since many shops around the area are experiencing similar trends, the bicycle shop supports each other whenever possible by trading parts.

Despite the wait, Meyer asked that customers be patient with the shop and mechanics — since they’ve never seen demand like this and are working diligently to fill requests.

People are nervous about the pandemic and uncertain about the future, she said, adding that everyone processes these emotions differently and it can lead to inpatient and agitated customers.

Online reviews have dipped because new customers are frustrated that sometimes the shop has to source parts from across the country to fit niche needs — which takes time, according to Meyer.

“We want to do the work and we want to do it correctly,” she said. “If you’re going down a hill at a high speed, that’s your life in our mechanic’s hands. Our guys take that very seriously.”

Since the shop’s founding seven years ago, Meyer said that most of the shop’s mechanics have worked there since the beginning and are extremely knowledgeable.

One of the techs was once on the Brazilian Olympic Cycling Team and another mechanic worked for the US Paralympics, US Olympic Team and UnitedHealthcare Professional Women’s Cycling Team.

“It’s been such a crazy time for us,” Meyer said. “Don’t get frustrated with your local bike shop. We are trying our best.”

For those hoping to get outdoors and beat the “depression doldrums that 2020 is causing,” cycling is a great option, according to Meyer, who added that there is a great regional community for cyclists in the area.

Photo via Green Lizard Cycling/Facebook

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A local advocacy group is encouraging residents to give bicycling a try during the shutdown of Silver Line and Orange line Metro Stations this summer.

The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling will offer the help of advisers who will guide people on picking routes.

“It’s great to see so many more people out biking lately,” FABB President Sonya Breehey said. “With the closure of the Silver and Orange line stations, bike commuting can be a great option. FABB’s Bike Advisors are here to help new riders get started.”

The summer shutdown started on May 23 and affects nine stations, including Vienna, Wiehle-Reston, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and McLean.

The organization says that special clothes or a specific kind of bike is not necessary for bike commuting.

“A well-chosen bike route that avoids high-volume, high-speed roads will help to avoid conflicts with drivers and make the commute safer and more pleasant. Visibility is important, so riders should have front and rear lights for bicycling after dark,” FABB said in a press release. 

Residents can enlist the help of a bike advisor online.

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