Land acquisition is underway to make way for major improvements to Van Buren Street from Spring Street to Herndon Parkway. But permission from five property owners for necessary easements and land acquisition is pending to allow the $4.6 million project to proceed.
Planned improvements are envisioned as a critical link between downtown Herndon and the Herndon Metro Station ahead of its expected opening in July next year.
The Herndon Town Council plans to vote on plans to seize the properties through eminent domain. So far, property owners have rejected the town’s proposals to buy easements based on the unit price of the real estate:
- 359 Hillwood Court: $2,830
- 401 Hillwood Court: $2,420
- The Montessori School: $1,680
- Presidents Court Homeowners Association: $22,790
- 401 Van Buren Street: $17,990
Town planners attempted to use existing right-of-way as much as possible in order to minimize land acquisition needs.
Planning for the project began in December 2011. If land acquisition and utility relocation is completed by the end of this year, construction is expected to begin in spring 2020.
Construction, which is expected to cost $3.7 million of the overall $4.6 million price tag — would be complete by fall next year.
The project includes 11-foot wide travel lanes, on-road bike lanes in each direction from Spring Street to Senate Court, an off-road cycle track in both directions from Senate Court to Herndon Parkway, five-foot-wide sidewalks, and a new traffic signal at the Alabama Drive intersection.
With little fanfare and a nod to staff, the Herndon Town Council unanimously approved the town’s first bicycle master plan on Tuesday (August 13).
The plan, which was created by staff and the town’s Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee, offers policy guidance for the town’s bicycle network planning and design, as well as a longterm plan for connectivity and network improvements.
The plan highlights the locations of mixed-use trails, cycle tracks, bicycle lanes, and sharrows — including future connections. Areas in the center of the town are largely designated for further study.
Council members lauded staff for their work on the plan and the town’s efforts to promote cycling as a viable alternative mode of travel.
Councilmember Pradip Dhakal said the document — which is part of the town’s efforts to seek a national award for being a bicycle-friendly community — was a “step in the right direction.”
“This is a product that I think the town can be proud of,” council member Cesar del Aguila added.
The plan also ensures that connectivity is a priority, especially between new developments, said council member Signe Friedrichs.
Photo via Town of Herndon
Bryce Perry, the town’s Deputy Director of Community Development, discussed the plan at the council’s meeting in August.
Perry said the town’s plan is modeled after the county’s initiative and is intended to offer policy guidance on bicycle network planning and design. It was drafted in coordination with the town’s pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee and the town’s planning commission.
Staff indicated the plan would “serve as an important guiding document for the town,” giving that the town is one of the few jurisdictions in the area that does not have an adopted plan for its bicycle network and facilities.
The plan is also part of the town’s efforts to seek a Bicycle Friendly Community Award, which is a nationally-recognized program that awards localities to localities that excel at providing bicycle programs, services and infrastructure to their communities. The award is administered by the League of American Bicyclists.
The town plans to incorporate the plan — which will also remain as a standalone document — into the town’s 2039 comprehensive plan.
Discussions on the plan are expected to continue this month.
Photo via Town of Herndon
The Town of Herndon is in the process of drafting its first bicycle master plan, which lays out a longterm plan for bicycle route locations and a vision for the town’s bicycle network.
The plan, which was discussed by the town’s Planning Commission at a meeting earlier this week, intends to promote cycling as an alternative mode of travel and improve connectivity for cyclists.
The plan notes that Herndon’s population density is high in comparison to other suburban communities. As expected redevelopment around Metrorail stations and downtown Herndon continues, town officials say they will need to better incorporate bicycle facilities in the town.
The current plan builds on the 2012 Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan, which was endorsed by the Town Council and the town’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC).
Once approved by the Town Council, PBAC will evaluate the implemented of the plan on a yearly basis.
Currently, the town has nine active bicycling-related projects, including:
- Bicycle lanes and a cycle track between Fairfax County Parkway: The project is nearing design completion. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
- A mixed-use trail on Chandon Park to connect Worldgate Trail to Van Buren Street: Construction is expected to begin this year as the project goes to construction biding.
- A cycle track from Spring Street to Van Buren Street: The project is partially under construction and will be built in phases depending on the pace of private development.
- Bicycle lanes on Van Buren Street from Spring Street to Herndon Parkway: Construction is expected to begin in late 2019.
- Bicycle lanes on Sterling Road from Elden Street to Herndon Parkway: Funds were allocated in the town’s capital improvement plan and the project is in the early planning phase.
- A mixed-use trail from Worldgate Drive to Herndon Metrorail Station: The project is fully planned and designed. Construction will likely begin in late 2019.
- Folly Lick Regional Trail from Herndon Parkway to Center Street: Construction is expected to begin in late 2019 since the project is fully designed and planned.
- Sharrows from Park Avenue to Van Buren Street — Construction is expected to begin this year.
The plan also suggests exploring guidelines and policies to ensure residents safely use personal transporters like electric scooters, Segways and pedal-assisted bikes.
Much of the plan’s success will depend on whether or not bicycling is seamlessly incorporated into the county’s existing and future infrastructure, as well as a balanced approach to transportation infrastructure improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. The plan suggests adopting a “complete streets” policy in order to guide decisions on the planning and design of infrastructure projects in the town.
Image via Town of Herndon
Pride of Herndon Band Leaves for D-Day Celebrations Tomorrow — “The Herndon High School band of Herndon leaves Tuesday to participate in 75th D-Day celebrations in Normandy. Band members will carry pictures and stories of crew members who served on the USS Herndon during the invasion.” [WTOP]
Candidates for Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Discuss Stances on Cycling Issues — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling caught up with two candidates running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor. Candidate Walter Alcorn says he hopes to “accelerate existing plans to enable non-motorized access to transit stations and work centers” while candidate Maggie Parker discusses how biking is “a great equalizer.” Other candidates did not respond immediately to requests for comment. [Fairfax County Alliance for Better Bicycling]
Last Day for “LOVE” Letters in Reston Town Center Tomorrow — The iconic letters sign will leave RTC tomorrow as they tour 11 different sites in Fairfax County to celebrate the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 50th anniversary of “Virginia is for Lovers!” [Reston Town Center]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Performance Bicycle Shop is closing at 11634 Plaza America Drive in the Plaza America Shopping Center.
An employee at the store was not able to share any information about the closing date. The store currently has sales with 30 to 50 percent off items.
Image via Google Maps
Tinsel ‘n Tinis — Don your cocktail or business attire and head to the Signature at Reston Town Center tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the annual holiday celebration, which will include food, martinis, casino entertainment and a raffle. A portion of the casino proceeds will benefit an educational foundation. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]
FABB holiday party — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) is hosting a party at 7 p.m. at The Bike Lane (11150 Sunset Hills Road). Expect finger food and a cash bar. Bike Lane Brewing will donate $1 from every beer sold during the event. [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling Facebook]
More problems for the Silver Line’s second phase — Hundreds of concrete rail ties installed at track crossovers along the second phase of the Silver Line are flawed, according to officials. The problem could further delay the project, which is already 13 months behind schedule. [The Washington Post]
Reston company didn’t land Marine Corps contract — The Marine Corps chose BAE Systems as the amphibious combat vehicles (ACV) prime contractor over competitor Science Applications International Corporation. Both companies had received separate contracts worth a combined $225 million in late 2015 to develop prototypes. [GovCon Wire]
Updated 2:30 p.m. — Elizabeth Kamp, owner of New Trail Cycling Studio, has specified that the opening is a private event
New Trail Cycling Studio, a new indoor cycling studio at Lake Anne Plaza (1641B Washington Plaza), is celebrating its grand opening this afternoon (Tuesday) in a private event from 4:30-6 p.m.
The grand opening will include finger food from Kalypso’s and a chance to win a five-pack of rides.
The indoor bicycling studio first opened its doors in early November with a series of preview classes. Participants can buy a pack of classes, from $22 for two classes for new riders to more expensive unlimited memberships. Riders receive free shoe rentals, towels and herbal washcloths.
The studio also offers specials — $65 for four rides for college students — and “Free New Trail 101” classes to teach proper form and explain cycling settings.
Photo via Facebook
As the year comes to a close, the Reston Bicycle Club topped $5,100 in donations to community projects that support bicycling.
“The Reston Bike club is proud to provide financial and member volunteer support to community initiatives that promote cycling for fun, exercise, and as a commuting alternative,” Club President Chip Magrogan said in a press release.
The club’s executive committee voted last week to donate to local bicycling organizations. Kelley Westenhoff, the vice-chairman of the Reston Bicycle Club, said the checks are in the mail.
TrailsforYouth.org, the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts and the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling will receive $1000 each, while $500 was donated to NOVA Cycling. Earlier this year, the club donated to the Be AMYazing Reston Youth Triathlon as well as the Reston Sprint Triathlon.
“2018 was our first year of formalizing donations with a grant application, etc. thus donations for past years are hard to track as they were on a more ‘as needed’ basis,” Westenhoff told Reston Now via email.
“That said, I’ve been on the board for two years, and was involved with some of the past donations, so I can say that this year’s total so far is the highest we’ve gone in a year — with the exception of some big projects we funded such as bike racks in Reston and the bike counter for [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling],” Westenhoff added.
The club, founded in 1982, aims to promote bicycling around Reston and other nearby communities. Funding for philanthropy comes from club member dues and the club’s annual Century Ride, held in August.
Club membership includes social rides and training rides every day of the week from April through September and on weekends year-round. Membership costs $25 annually.
Photo via Facebook
As winter sets in and the temperatures start to drop, if you’re looking for a place to keep up your cycling, New Trail Cycling Studio is opening next Monday (Nov. 26).
The indoor bicycling studio will be opening at 1641b Washington Plaza in Lake Anne Plaza. An official grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration is planned for Dec. 11.
In the meantime, owner Liz Camp said New Trail Cycling Studio will be running a week of free “preview” classes.
There’s two classes tonight (Monday) at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. More classes are planned on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. A full schedule is available online.
Prices vary by the number of classes, the cheapest being $22 for two classes for new riders. Unlimited monthly memberships are $165 per month for three months or $150 per month for six months.
All riders receive free shoe rental, towel and herbal washcloth post-workout.
Photo via Facebook
A little over two years after Capital Bikeshare launched in Fairfax County, the program is planning to expand across Reston. But details on where the new stations, which were proposed last year, are pending.
According to Nicole Wynands, Bicycle Program Manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the bike-share expansion is planned for late 2019 or early 2020.
“We are still working on the exact locations,” said Wynands, “but additional stations are planned to be added in both North and South Reston.”
A list of sites in Reston had been proposed last year, but Wynands said further study found some of the sites did not meet federal criteria for grant funding.
“The previously proposed stations [were] a concept proposal which [is] always subject to final engineering,” said Wynands. “We have since conducted surveys and developed preliminary design concepts. As the expansion is funded through a federal grant, each location has to meet a long list of criteria stipulated by federal requirements, state requirements and operator requirements. The surveys revealed that some of the originally proposed stations did not meet all siting criteria, so alternative sites are being considered.”
Additionally, Wynands said sites are being reconsidered based on proximity to new bike trails built through Reston over the last year.
“We will be able to announce the new station locations after we have received all needed permits,” said Wynands. “We are still planning on adding up to 11 new stations in Reston”
At its busiest, typically during June, Wynands said there were 1,861 trips starting or ending in Reston. Capital Bikeshare also recently implemented a pilot project to add new battery-operated bikes to Reston. The program will continue through the end of the month.
Wynands said the most popular stations in Reston are the ones at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, followed by the Reston Town Center Transit Station and the Sunset Hill Road/Isaac Newton Square Station.
“The system is designed primarily to cover the first and last mile between the origin/destination and transit,” said Wynands. “This is evident in the popularity of the bike share station at Wiehle Metro, which serves both as an origin and a destination for commuters in the morning and afternoon, as people working near Reston Town Center are arriving by Metro and continuing their trip to Reston Town Center via the W&OD, while at the same time Reston Town Center residents commute via the W&OD to the Metro station to continue their trip to Tysons, Arlington or DC.”
The station with the lowest use is at North Shore and Cameron Crescent, a station which primarily serves as an overflow to the busy Lake Anne station down the hill at North Shore and Village Road.
According to Wynands, the system is continuing to grow in ridership, with a seven percent year-over-over growth recorded thus far.
“It takes a few years for a new system to establish itself, and we expect additional growth through the expansions as we will serve additional riders and destinations.”
Reston Association is officially the first business to join the Washington & Old Dominion Trail Ambassador Program, an initiative that encourages local businesses near the trail to support bicyclists during business hours.
The program is operated by the Friends of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, a citizen-led organization that aims to protect and improve the trail. The organization was created as an advisory body to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority in 1997. It aims to maintain the trail’s position as a recreational, environmental and historic resource through volunteer efforts like fundraising, promotional, educational programming and maintenance, according to the organization’s website.
According to an RA release, the program encourages local businesses near the trail to support to bicyclists during business hours, including bicycle tools, restroom facilities, drinking fountains, and telephone access. The program is part of a supportive community that is expanding surrounding the trail.
Ambassador businesses within four miles of each side of the 45-mile trail are envisioned to join the ambassador community, extending from Arlington to Purcellville.
Photo via RA
Pedestrian and bicyclist safety is on the radar of local police at the Reston District Station, particularly as the area becomes more urbanized.
In response to an increase in accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians during the summer, local police officers launched a public safety campaign. Although the campaign was focused on educating the public instead of enforcing violations, local police offered tips about safety, including obeying traffic signals and using traffic laws, to more than 1,000 residents.
The public safety campaign ran from June 4 through the end of the summer following the death of a 71-year-old pedestrian who was hit by a car in May. Police officers met with hundreds of residents to promote pedestrian safety and distribute literature in order to reduce accidents.
Accidents between pedestrians and cars have become more frequent, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
FCPD’s first priority was areas where pedestrian and car accidents have happened in the past. Other areas that were targeted have heavy traffic and pedestrian crosswalks, Sgt. Aaron Pfeiff told Reston Now.
“The public was very appreciative of the officer’s efforts and it was noticed that more pedestrians and bicyclist were obeying traffic signals and using crosswalks,” Pfeiff said.
Pfeiff identified the following intersections where officers focused their efforts:
- Georgetown Pike/Walker Rd
- Bluemont Way/Library St
- Reston Pkwy/New Dominion Dr
- Sunset Hills Rd/Michael Faraday Dr
- Sunset Hills Rd/Isaac Newton Dr
- Sunset Hills Rd/Whiele Ave
- Parcher Ave/Centreville Rd
- Coppermine Rd/Thomas Jefferson Dr
- Hunter Mill Rd/Hunter Station
- Sunrise Valley Dr/Cross School Rd
Photo via FCPD
A man fired a gunshot at a bicyclist in Herndon on Wednesday (September 5) at around 10:40 p.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
Local police are investigating the incident, which occurred on the 2400 block of Centreville Road in Herndon.
Police said the victim, who was not hit, knew the man who fired the gun. The victim left the area on his bicycle after a “physical altercation” with the man, according to police.
The suspect then drove a car next to him on Centreville road and fired at the bicyclist from inside the car. The suspect then drove away. No arrests have been made.
Liz Kamp — a Reston resident of nearly 10 years, an avid indoor cyclist and a mother of three — is behind the venture, which will offer indoor cycling classes for all levels.
Kamp hopes to use the studio to create a welcoming, tight-knit community.
“I’ve always wanted to create a fitness business where community is important. Cycling offers that,” she said.
The studio takes up half of the former location of Lakeside Pharmacy, which closed in 2014 after 44 years of business. Another tenant is expected to take up the other half of the site.
Classes, which blend authentic cycling drills paired to the beat of music, will be offered for adults, teens and individuals age 55 and and up. Riders of all levels are welcome to take classes.
Kamp, who has 15 years of experience in the fitness industry, said the idea for her business has been “a long time coming.”
“I’ve been planning on launching a brick and mortar store for the last six years. There’s a real need for building and capitalizing on this great community,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Liz Kamp