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by Dave Emke — September 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 15 Comments

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.

by Dave Emke — September 15, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Toll Road Traffic To Be Affected by Weekend Work — Westbound traffic will be rerouted this weekend as to allow crews to set pedestrian bridges that will provide access over the westbound highways to the Silver Line’s future Herndon station. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Volunteers Needed for Watershed Cleanup — Help is needed Saturday at parks around Fairfax County, including locally at Lake Fairfax Park and Frying Pan Farm Park. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

FCPD Officer Pleads No Contest — Officer Pshko Siteki was heading to a call for a disorderly conduct incident in February when his speeding cruiser struck a minivan in the Seven Corners area. [Washington Post]

An Unexpected Stint in the NFL — Thirty years ago this month, South Lakes High School’s wrestling coach became a temporary member of the Washington Redskins during the National Football League players’ strike. John Cowne, who later would become an assistant coach for the SLHS Seahawks football team, remembered that once-in-a-lifetime experience in a recent interview. [Inside NoVa]

by Dave Emke — September 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Lake Anne Concert Series Ends Tonight — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will wrap up tonight with a show from Texas Chainsaw Horns, an R&B group, from 7-9 p.m. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Reston Association Budget Meeting Tonight — Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate a budget-development community meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.” [Reston Now]

Meeting on Fairfax County Parkway Trail Crossing Tonight — The County Department of Transportation has slated a community meeting to discuss options for improving safety at a trail crossing of a Dulles Toll Road ramp. The meeting is tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Reston Now]

Changes Coming to South Lakes Bus Route — To address crowding associated with South Lakes High School ridership, Fairfax Connector will shorten headways on some afternoon trips on Route 551 beginning Sept. 30. [Fairfax Connector]

2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Begins — Until Nov. 14, delinquent individual and business taxpayers can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

No More ‘Wiley’-Reston East? — In a tweet responding to a rider’s question, Metrorail says it is “exploring ways” to fix automated voice announcements that mispronounce the name of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Metrorail Info/Twitter]

File photo courtesy Karen Raffel

by Dave Emke — September 5, 2017 at 10:15 am 25 Comments

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.

by Dave Emke — August 11, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

Key Information for SLHS Students — Over 2,470 students will be attending South Lakes High School this fall. The school recently provided information about class schedules, counselor assignments and much more in preparation for the new year. [South Lakes High School]

Report: Metro Safety Documents Falsified — Track reports were copied and pasted month after month, raising questions about the competency of inspectors and a lack of supervision. [WAMU]

Deon King Standing Out for Browns — In an interview with Fox Sports Ohio, SLHS alum Deon King talks about the experience he has had thus far in training camp with the Cleveland Browns. King had three tackles and a fumble recovery in the Browns’ first preseason game Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. [Fox Sports Ohio/YouTube]

Work This Weekend to Install Pedestrian Bridge — Starting at about 10 p.m. tonight, there will be detours on Sunrise Valley Drive in Herndon as the bridge for the Innovation Center Metro station is set over the road. In addition, there will be lane modifications on the eastbound Dulles Toll Road all day Saturday for striping. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

by Dave Emke — July 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Office of Government Ethics Director Has Reston Roots — In a letter to the editor, John Lovaas salutes Walter Shaub, an SLHS grad. He also commends the Reston Association Board of Directors for its recent work to attend to matters of ethics. [Fairfax Times]

Parking Lot Resurfacing — Resurfacing of the Lake Newport soccer fields parking lot is scheduled to begin today, and the project is anticipated to take three days to complete. The lot will be closed during that time. For further information, email [email protected]. [Reston Association]

Reston-Based Swim Team Sets Records — Members of the Fox Mill Woods Swim Club broke two marks at the Northern Virginia Swim League’s recent All-Star Relay Meet. [Reston Patch]

Toll Road Lane, Ramp Closures — Once again this week, there will be plenty of activity on the Dulles Toll Road, Airport Access Highway and Dulles Greenway as work continues on the Silver Line. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

by Dave Emke — July 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Toll Road Ramp Detour Starts This Weekend — The ramp from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road to the Fairfax County Parkway will be diverted through the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride parking lot. The detour is expected to remain in place through 2017 to allow Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews to perform utility and road work on the ramp. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Wombat Hoax Spreads on Twitter — A Twitter account posing as Roer’s Zoofari has been claiming this week that a wombat escaped from the zoo. A lot of people fell for the gag. [Reston Patch]

Trip to Pro Tennis Match Slated — Reston Association will have a group outing Tuesday night to see Martina Hingis and the Washington Kastles face the New York Empire. [Reston Association]

Sobriety Checkpoint Saturday Night — Police departments from Fairfax and Loudoun counties will be working together at a sobriety checkpoint Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Centreville/Chantilly area. [Fairfax County Police Department]

by Dave Emke — July 7, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Vendors Sought for Multicultural Festival — Reston Community Center is seeking arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and civic organizations of all cultures for the 17th annual Reston Multicultural Festival. The festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 23 at Lake Anne Plaza. Applications are being accepted through July 28. [Reston Community Center]

Covered Bridge Renovated — In its latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association shows off the work that has been done on the covered bridge on the RA trail system near Lake Anne. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Metro Work This Weekend — The Silver Line will only run to Ballston this weekend. In addition, new Metro hours go into effect tonight. The system will close at 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, but is only open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays. [WTOP]

Toll Road Work Rescheduled — Due to poor weather, the detour diverting traffic heading to the Fairfax County Parkway from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road exit ramp through the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride north parking lot was canceled last night. It has been rescheduled for Sunday night, July 16. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

by Kalina Newman — June 30, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Weather Report for Holiday Weekend  This Saturday, expect a high near 90 degrees, but a chance of afternoon thunderstorms might impact projected fireworks shows in the area. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will also have highs in the low 90s, but there’s a chance of rain on the Fourth. [The Weather Channel]

Heavy Congestion Projected on Holiday Weekend  According to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s interactive traffic trends map, expect major traffic jams along Interstate 95 on Sunday as people travel for the holiday. [VDOT]

Residents Reminded to Be Safe With Fireworks  Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them, never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse, never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned, and never point or throw fireworks at another person. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

New Laws Take Effect Tomorrow — Take a look at some of the new legislation that will go into effect July 1, including changes to rules about absentee voting, concealed carry permits and more. [Fairfax County]

Toll Road Ramp Work Starts After Holiday  Make sure to reevaluate the morning commute starting next next Friday. The ramp from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road to the Fairfax County Parkway will be diverted through the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride parking lot, starting next Thursday night and lasting “through 2017.” [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Local Artist Wins Tröegs Contest — Marni Manning’s “Renaissance of Beer” painting was the big winner in the Pennsylvania craft beer company’s recent art contest. [Tröegs]

Herndon Man Admits to Bank Robberies — Bruce Wayne Higgins robbed four banks in Maryland and New Jersey last December. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke — June 21, 2017 at 9:15 am 1 Comment

Volunteers Needed for Kids’ Triathlon — Help is needed for many different aspects of the annual Reston Kids’ Triathlon, scheduled for the morning of Sunday, Aug. 6. [Sign Up Genius]

Great Falls Woman Dies in Crash — Mai-Huong Nguyen, a 73-year-old woman from Great Falls, died Tuesday after her car ran off the road and struck a utility pole on Riverbend Road. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston Businesses Named to ‘Top Workplace’ Lists — The Washington Post has released its annual “Top Workplace” lists, and numerous businesses with ties to Reston are on them. [Washington Post]

Dulles Corridor Committee Meets Soon — The Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee will meet Friday, June 30 at 9:30 a.m. at the Center for Innovative Technology (2214 Rock Hill Road, Herndon). The public is invited. [Dulles Toll Road]

Local Man Wins Bay Swim — Andrew Gyenis, a 22-year-old from Herndon, scored the best time in the recent 26th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. He crossed the bay in 1 hour, 29 minutes. [Bay Weekly]

Photo via @maddy_davison on Twitter

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

Colts Neck Tennis Courts Closed — Drainage work and resurfacing at the courts will have them closed for about a month. [Reston Association/Twitter]

More Work on Toll Road This Weekend — Overnight work is planned tonight through Monday between Fairfax County Parkway and Reston Parkway, as crews continue construction of the Reston Town Center Metrorail station in the median of the Dulles Access Highway. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Free Smoothie for National Flip Flop Day — Tropical Smoothie Café (11684 Plaza America Drive) is giving a free Sunshine Smoothie to anyone who comes in wearing flip flops between 2 and 7 p.m. today. Blaire from “The Jack Diamond Morning Show” will be there as well. [Mix 107.3/Twitter]

Teen Star Talks About Growing Up in RestonJacob Sartorius says he faced a lot of bullying in school. The 14-year-old is becoming a sensation, though, with 14 million followers on the app Musical.ly, 7 million followers on Instagram and more than 2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. [Asbury Park Press]

by Dave Emke — April 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Reston-Based Software Company Looking to Grow — Oracle is seeking new talent in the effort to outpace the competition in fields such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. [Fairfax County EDA]

Crane Removal to Affect Toll Road Traffic — Eastbound traffic on the Dulles International Airport Access Highway will be detoured onto the Toll Road tonight through Monday morning as the tower crane at the future Herndon Metro station is disassembled and removed. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Town of Herndon Adopts $51M Budget — The budget, approved this week by the Herndon Town Council, features no tax rate increases. It also includes resources to support development of a first-class arts facility to act as an economic driver for the downtown. [Town of Herndon]

Civil War Stories at Frying Pan Park — The Meeting House at Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) served as a field hospital, encampment and picket post during the Civil War. From 1-3 p.m. Sunday, re-enactors, exhibits and a special guest speaker will share information about the lives of those soldiers. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

by RestonNow.com — April 21, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Work to rehabilitate bridges and close joints on Reston Parkway will affect drivers this weekend and next.

The bridges over the Dulles Toll Road will have the work done Friday night through Monday morning each weekend, causing delays and detours in the area. In total, the closure schedule is:

  • 10 p.m. tonight through 9 a.m. Sunday: Southbound two right lanes closed
  • 8 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Monday: Northbound two right lanes closed
  • 10 p.m. Friday, April 28 through 9 a.m. Sunday, April 30: Southbound two left lanes closed
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 29 through 3 a.m. Monday, May 1: Northbound two left lanes closed

While the northbound work is being done this weekend (8 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Monday), traffic traveling in that direction will not be able to make the left turn onto the westbound Dulles Toll Road. Those cars will be detoured via Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue.

The work will include bridge deck resurfacing, repair of deteriorated concrete on abutments and piers, repaving of the roadway leading up to the bridges, and joint closures. In addition, the southbound bridge will receive repairs to the concrete barrier that separates the road from a shared-use path.

All work is weather-permitting, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

According to VDOT, the northbound bridge was built in 1959, and the southbound bridge was constructed in 1976. Both were widened in 1989, with the northbound bridge’s deck also replaced at that time.

As part of the overall project, the Monroe Street/Van Buren Street bridges and the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride ramp bridge are also scheduled to have work done at a later date. All work is expected to be completed by summer, VDOT says.

by Dave Emke — March 27, 2017 at 9:00 am 9 Comments

Fog Advisory in Effect Through Morning — A dense fog advisory that has been in effect for the area since early this morning has been extended until noon. Visibility of a quarter-mile or less remains possible in spots. [National Weather Service]

County Conducting Homelessness Survey — Fairfax County’s Office of Public Affairs and Office to Prevent and End Homelessness are collaborating with George Mason University communications students to collect data about the perception of homelessness in the county. Citizen feedback is requested by April 8. [Fairfax County/Survey Monkey]

Local Artist Featured in DC ShowJ’han, an artist from Herndon, will be featured in the “Pancakes and Booze” art show at Penn Station (801 E St. NW) on April 6. J’han is an expressionist, surrealist and abstract artist. [Facebook]

More Taking the Toll Road So Far in 2017 — The Dulles Toll Road collected $23 million in tolls in January and February. That number is up from the collected totals in 2015 and 2016. The number of trips on the road in January and February was about 3.6 percent more than predicted. [WTOP]

Coffee Shop Hopes to Be Up and Running Soon — Roasting operations at Weird Brothers Coffee (321 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) are underway, and they hope to be serving espresso, nitro cold brew, blended chillers, fruit smoothies and more soon. [Weird Brothers Coffee]

HHS Grad Has Sights Set on World Championships Run — Hiruni Wijayaratne, a 2009 Herndon High School graduate, is training hard in the attempt to qualify to represent her native Sri Lanka as a marathon runner in the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships. [Sunday Times in Sri Lanka]

by Dave Emke — March 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes - Winter

Early Education Teachers Sought — Bright Horizons will host an on-site interviewing session Tuesday at its Vienna location as it looks for early childhood teachers and associate teachers for its centers throughout Fairfax County. Dinner will be provided for event attendees. [Bright Horizons/Eventbrite]

Public Art Reston logoPublic Art Organization Has New Image — As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, The Initiative for Public Art Reston has been re-branded. Now known simply as Public Art Reston, the nonprofit has unveiled its new website and logo. The organization seeks to inspire an ongoing commitment to public art and create a new generation of artworks in Reston. [Public Art Reston]

Construction on Metro to Detour Some Traffic — Again this weekend, work in the median of the Dulles Airport Access Road will result in eastbound traffic being detoured onto the Dulles Toll Road. The work will be done from about 9 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday, as crews set several large precast concrete elements at the Silver Line’s future Herndon and Reston Town Center stations. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Community Matters Reston logo‘Community Matters Reston’ Plans First Meeting — A new volunteer organization promoting community-building initiatives and outreach has scheduled its first public meeting. Community Matters Reston will meet Monday from 6:30-8 p.m. at Sunset Hills Montessori School (11180 Ridge Heights Road). The organization is also selling decals featuring its logo, designed by Dana Scheurer, with all proceeds going to Cornerstones. The group’s goal is to “promote two of the founding principles of Bob Simon’s neighborhood: fostering and celebrating diversity, and offering a helping hand to those who need it.” [Community Matters Reston/Facebook]

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