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by Dave Emke June 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm 13 Comments

At its meeting last week, the Reston Association Board of Directors discussed requiring compensation for use of an aerial crane for construction on Colts Neck Road that would extend over RA property.

The request by Atlantic Realty Companies is for an aerial crane that it says is needed for the placement of the garage and building structure elements at the Hunters Woods at Trails Edge construction site (2222 Colts Neck Road). The crane’s arm would extend over a portion of RA common area north of the site, the former home of the United Christian Parish church.

The request to provide the easement in-kind was originally part of the meeting agenda’s consent calendar, but it was removed for further consideration. When the topic came up, Director John Mooney spoke up.

“That we would help something like this out is, I think, totally appropriate,” Mooney said. “But in my experience, local municipalities charge a fee for this species of temporary construction easements. I think that we as Reston Association should be equally diligent to seek that.”

Prior to moving to Reston last year, Mooney was senior assistant county manager in Arlington.

No live loads would be carried over the RA property, just the aerial arm of the crane. The arm would be above the tree canopy and would not impact the ground area or trees, ARC says. RA would also be added as an additional insured property on ARC’s insurance policy.

CEO Cate Fulkerson and Sherri Hebert, board president, asked what the going rate for such an agreement would be. Mooney said the formula to determine the charge would involve the land value of the parcel in question and the length of time for which it would be used. A representative for ARC said the aerial crane would be in use for about nine months.

“We’ve granted numerous easements to the Reston Association for trails, for restoration of the stream, with no compensation,” said the ARC representative at the meeting. “We think we’re trying to be a good friend and neighbor and we really request the same thing in kind.”

When it is complete, the IntegraCare facility will have 210 senior-living units — including 90 independent living units, 81 for assisted living, 24 for memory care and 15 for special needs.

Approval of the easement was tabled and discussion was moved to executive session.

Image via Reston Association

by Dave Emke May 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm 77 Comments

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.

by RestonNow.com April 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm 3 Comments

Work surrounding the construction of the Hunters Woods at Trails Edge Senior Living Community will disrupt walkways in the area, including forcing the closing of the underpass to Hunters Woods Village Center, for up to two years.

According to information provided by Reston Association, temporary pathways will be created in the area of the construction, 2222 Colts Neck Road. This will include the building of a new pedestrian bridge over Snakeden Creek near the property to ensure access to Colts Neck Road from Reston Parkway remains.

Pedestrians who regularly use the Colts Neck Road underpass to access Hunters Woods Village Center from Reston Parkway can walk to the intersections of Glade Drive or South Lakes Drive where there are signaled crosswalks, RA says.

Developer Atlantic Realty Company will pay for pathway alterations in the area of the construction. The temporary trails will be wood-chipped and unlighted. According to RA, they may not be suitable for bicycles or strollers.

The work to re-route the pathways is expected to begin within the next two weeks.

ARC has agreed, as part of its work to construct the senior-living facility to contribute $81,300 to improve pedestrian trails and pathway lighting within a half-mile of the facility. It also will be putting $60,000 into improvement of the facade of the Colts Neck pedestrian underpass, in coordination with Public Art Reston and Reston Association.

Map courtesy Reston Association

by Dave Emke March 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm 11 Comments

Dirt was overturned Thursday morning at 2222 Colts Neck Road, which will soon become the home of the Hunters Woods at Trails Edge Senior Living Community.

The former site of the United Christian Parish church will be transformed between now and January 2019, project leadership says. When complete, the IntegraCare facility will have 210 senior-living units — including 90 independent living units, 81 for assisted living, 24 for memory care and 15 for special needs.

“This facility is going to offer a very broad continuum of services for the seniors in our community,” said David A. Ross, partner and president of developer Atlantic Realty Companies. “We are proud to bring this leading-edge amenity to the community, the first of its kind in Reston.”

The property is located roughly across Colts Neck Road from the entrance to Hunters Woods Village Center. As part of its partnership with the community, the developer has agreed to contribute $81,300 to improve pedestrian trails and pathway lighting within a half-mile of the facility; as well as $60,000 to target improvement of the facade of the Colts Neck pedestrian underpass, in coordination with Public Art Reston and Reston Association.

In addition, $20,000 is being provided for capital improvements to the Nature House.

Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said these contributions show an understanding of community needs.

“We, 50-plus years old here in Reston, know that for those of us who want to stay here, you have to provide a place for us,” she said. “This is a really great facility in that it meets those needs and it really serves the community.”

Ellen Graves, president of the Reston Association Board of Directors, said the addition of the senior-living community to Reston is a promotion of founder Bob Simon’s vision of providing for people throughout their entire lives.

“[The project supports this] by providing the fullest range of housing, styles and prices,” she said. “Hunters Woods at Trails Edge will provide a choice for those growing older in our community and who want to remain here.”

Among the independent-living units, 20 percent will be designated as affordable housing units, while 4 percent of the assisted-living beds will be for those eligible for the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Auxiliary Grant Program. There is planned to be 48 full-time staff positions on site, with other medical service professionals providing on-site services as well.

Thursday’s ceremony represented the latest milestone in a 10-year journey to make the facility a reality. The 4.3-acre site was first approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for 210 independent-living units in 2007, but the plan was later amended to the current design. The new plan was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in May 2016.

Pennsylvania-based IntegraCare has several other communities in the Mid-Atlantic region, but this will be its first in Virginia.

“This is really a once-in-a-career opportunity, to be involved in a project that has the nature of this project,” said Rick Irwin, the company’s CEO. “[We are grateful to have] the opportunity to be right near the Reston Community Center and the Southgate Community Center, where our residents can get our support and care but [also] maximize their independence… and have such great access to stay within the fabric of this Reston community.”

by Dave Emke March 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 110 Comments

Several dozen community members filled the cafeteria at Dogwood Elementary School on Thursday to learn more — and express their opinions — about proposed changes to street designs in Reston.

The proposal from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to alter lanes on Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road drew a large amount of reaction, positive and negative, from community members who would be affected. FCDOT officials say the changes would increase safety for all users of the roads — drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians — by allowing for the addition of crosswalks, creating bike lanes and limiting speeding.

“All of this is happening because [the Virginia Department of Transportation] is repaving the roadways, so we have a chance to re-stripe,” said project manager Adam Lind, Fairfax County’s Bicycle Program manager. “The county has a Bike Master Plan that they adopted in October 2014, so we are here simply trying to implement those recommendations.”

The meeting was a followup from a November meeting at which community feedback on priorities for the three roads was gathered.

FCDOT street design community meetingResidents raised concerns at Thursday’s meeting about the potential loss of parking in certain areas, including near Hunters Woods and Lake Anne elementary schools and the Lake Audubon Pool. In addition, worries were brought up by residents including increased congestion on Colts Neck Road and the potential danger of having one center turn lane in areas with left-hand turns on both sides.

“We’re definitely getting feedback from both sides,” Lind said. “A lot of it is people who have their concerns about their specific neighborhoods, and we think we’ve done a decent job trying to address a lot of those concerns, but the point of these meetings is to get this local feedback so we can continue to make upgrades and updates to the design.”

Bruce Wright, of Reston, is a Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling board member. He said making Reston a more bike-friendly community is important. In addition, he said, pedestrian safety on Colts Neck Road is a particular concern.

“There have been two pedestrians killed crossing Colts Neck, and I think by going from four lanes to two lanes, it’s going to be safer for everybody,” he said. “I think it’s going to be great if the county goes through with that plan.”

(more…)

by Dave Emke March 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

1900 Reston Metro Plaza/James Schaeffer Jr.

Reminder: Community Meeting on Street Designs Tonight — Bike lanes, crosswalks and center turning lanes will be among the topics of conversation at a Fairfax County Department of Transportation community meeting tonight at Dogwood Elementary School. Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road are being considered for the changes. [Reston Now]

Local Students Named to Honors Choir — A total of 77 Fairfax County middle-school students have been named to the 2017 All-Virginia Middle School Honors Choir, which will perform April 27-29 in Blacksburg. Among the honorees are Chelsea Camacho, Hannah Carter, Violet Sather and Thalia Tran from Langston Hughes Middle School; and Johnny Park, Hannah Townsend and Mackenzie Trimble from Herndon Middle School. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Christy Zeitz/Fellowship Square FoundationFellowship Square Foundation Names New Director — Christy Zeitz (pictured), formerly the executive director of HomeAid Northern Virginia, is the new executive director of the Fellowship Square Foundation. Zeitz was also the former director of development for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance of Reston. The Reston-based Fellowship Square Foundation provides affordable housing and supportive services to low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. It operates four properties, including Lake Anne Fellowship House and Hunters Woods Fellowship House in Reston. [Fellowship Square Foundation]

Home Listings Down in County, Sales Up — The number of active home listings in Fairfax County in January was 1,977. That number is down 17.4 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, 794 homes were sold in the month, up 6.9 percent from January 2016. The average sale price was $545,772, up 8.1 percent. [Fairfax County]

Photo of 1900 Reston Metro Plaza courtesy James Schaeffer Jr. on Facebook; photo of Christy Zeitz courtesy Fellowship Square Foundation

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