Reston, VA

Monday Morning Notes

Sergeant Involved in Reston Shooting — “A Reston resident, who D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham identified as a veteran sergeant in his department, shot and killed an armed man standing in the doorway of his apartment late Friday night, according to Fairfax County police.” [The Washington Post]

Fairfax Connector Resumes Service to Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride Today– “Fairfax Connector will resume service to the bus loop at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride as construction has been completed… Other construction activity continues at the Park and Ride to prepare for Silver Line Phase 2 Metrorail service, including the Kiss and Ride lot, which will be closed until Silver Line Phase 2 Metrorail service begins next year.” [Fairfax County Government]

Golf Course Island Pool Closed — Reston Association closed the pool due to a plumbing issue over the weekend.  All pass holders with reservations have been contacted via email about the change. [Reston Association]

Prosecutors to Drop Stun Gun Charges — “Prosecutors in Fairfax County, Virginia, will seek to drop misdemeanor charges and instead secure an indictment against a police officer who used a stun gun on a man he mistakenly thought he recognized.” [WTOP]

Photo by Ray Copson

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Reston Association to Host Listening Session — On Thursday, RA CEO Hank Lynch and Board President Julie Bitzer will host a virtual listening session via Zoom. Members can ask questions or give comment at 7 p.m. [Reston Association]

Free Legal Help for Small Businesses in Northern Virginia — “The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) is partnering with the Northern Virginia Pro Bono Law Center and Start Small Think Big on the COVID-19 Pro Bono Collaborative, an initiative to provide free legal assistance to small businesses in Northern Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic, including help with federal assistance, grant and loan programs, leases and employment issues.” [FCEDA]

Virtual Meeting on Herndon-Reston Bus Changes Tomorrow — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on its proposal for bus service in the Herndon-Reston area to improve one-time performance and streamline service. A virtual meeting is set for tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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(Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has selected its preferred bus service plan for the Fairfax Connector in Reston and Herndon.

County planners say the plan “aims to improve on-time performance and streamline service to meet the needs of the community and commuters.”

Here’s more from FCDOT on what’s being considered:

Some of the key improvements to the bus service in the area include new and more direct connections and routes; new connections to Chantilly, Centreville and the Dulles Corridor; service to Northern Virginia Community College (Loudoun Campus); and routes travelling from Sterling to Herndon. The plan, which also uses elements from all three of the proposed alternatives, shortens travel time, increases access for transit dependent populations, and maintains bus stop coverage at most locations.

The implementation of the proposed service changes will coincide with the start of the new Metrorail Silver Line service and will provide connections to the Reston Town Center StationHerndon StationInnovation Center StationDulles Airport StationLoudoun Gateway Station and Ashburn Station.

The plan will include three new routes: Chantilly to the Dulles Corridor, Northern Virginia Community College’s Loudoun campus, and Sterling too Herndon. Planners say the proposal shortens travel time and creates more direct connections.

The average travel time could be reduced from 57.3 minutes to 49.4 minutes. The updated plan would also improve service to more households, especially those that are low-income.

More information about the proposal is available online.

The county is seeking feedback via an online survey and via email at [email protected]. Residents can also call the county at 703-877-5600, extension 711, or mail comments to 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400.

The county is also hosting a virtual public meeting on the plan with Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust on Wednesday, July 8 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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(Updated 5/20/2020) Before Orange and Silver line stations temporarily close this Saturday (May 23), Fairfax County officials for the Tysons and Vienna areas want to know more about the closures’ impact.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn plan to hold a virtual town hall on Thursday (May 21), according to staff from Palchik’s office.

The discussion will include representatives from WMATA and the county’s transportation department.

All Orange and Silver line stations west of the Ballston station will be closed through the fall for platform reconstruction at the four Orange Line stations and work to connect the Silver Line with the upcoming stations running from Reston to Ashburn.

The town hall is set to start at 6:30 p.m. People can register online.

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Friday Morning Notes

Local Police Investigate Attempting Robbery — A man attempted to take cash from a truck driver while he was sitting in his vehicle on  May 13 at around 3:50 p.m. The incident happened on the 1500 block of Cameron Crescent Drive. The suspect ran away and no injuries were reported. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston Woman Creates “Dating While Gray” Podcast — “On Thursday, Laura Stassi of Reston posted the latest episode of “Dating While Gray,” a biweekly podcast focusing on love and relationships in the 50-and-over crowd. The new episode marks the end of the podcast’s first 10-episode season. The 59-year-old writer and editor, who has authored several nonfiction children’s books, never imagined she would get the chance to host her own podcast. It’s not what she had planned.” [Reston Patch]

Reston Association Board Elects Officers — At a meeting earlier this week, the Board of Directors elected four of its officers for the coming year. Julie Bitzer is president, Caren Anton is vice president, John Mooney is secretary and Robert Petrine is treasurer. [Reston Association]

Face Coverings Required on Fairfax Connector — Passengers on Fairfax Connector buses must wear face coverings starting on Monday, May 18. But passengers have a weeklong grace period through Monday, May 24. The county’s transportation department previously only encouraged wearing face coverings. [Fairfax County Government]

Cause of Great Falls House Fire Under Investigation — Authorities are investigating why a house on the 800 block of Walker Road caught fire on Tuesday, May 12. One resident was displaced as a result of the incident. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association Hosts Virtual Pet Fashion Show — Dress up your pets for the virtual fashion show. Voting is open online tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. A winner will be selected each day with the highest number of likes on posts. The show is only open to RA members. [Reston Association]

Fairfax Connector Passengers Urged to Wear Face Masks — The county’s transportation department is now asking all. Passengers to use non-medical f ace coverings or cloth masks in order to slow the spread o f COVID-19. Although masks are strongly encouraging, no one without a covering will be denied entry to Fairfax Connector buses.  [Fairfax County Government]

Maintain Clear Access to Exits — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department urges businesses to maintain clear access to all exits. The department has received several messages voicing concerns about blocked, locked or otherwise restricted exits. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Alcorn to Host Virtual Budget Town Hall Today — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is hosting a town hall today form 7-9 p.m. on the updated budget. Christina Jackson, the county’s budget director, will join Alcorn during the meeting via Crowdcast. [Crowdcast]

Fairfax Connector Scales Back Service — The county’s transportation department is reducing service on several routes due to reduced ridership. Changes will go into effect on Saturday, April 11. [Fairfax County Government]

Hold on to Your Yard Waste — The county is strongly discouraging from taking their yard waste to the I-66 Transfer Station or I-95 Landfill in order to allow employees to focus on collecting trash and encouraging social distancing. [Fairfax County Government]

New Grocery Store Changes — Harris Teeter and Giant will limit the number of shoppers in their stores. Giant is also implementing one-way aisles. [Washington Business JournalWTOP]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Revenues from decreased ridership are taking a hit on the Fairfax Connector as the fallout of COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold.

The bus service is set to receive $1.85 million in funds from the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which oversees statewide transportation and transit projects, to help address the impact of the novel coronavirus, including a dip in revenue from fares. Last week, the board approved supplemental funding to help stave off the impact of service reduction, ridership losses, and decreases in revenue.

But the funding, which was OK’d by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), would only keep the buses rolling for about two months.

Fares on buses were temporarily suspended last week because fare boxes are located at the front of buses. Customers are required to enter and exit buses using the rear doors.

Here’s more from the board matter approved by the Board of Supervisors:

County staff have been responding to the onset of COVID-19, ensuring that Fairfax Connector employees are prepared, and the County’s capital assets are cleaned frequently to help reduce the potential spread of the disease. At the same time, County staff have been ensuring Fairfax Connector service continues to be available to serve Fairfax County residents who have no alternate way to travel during this emergency. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is continuing to implement changes necessary to protect the health and safety of Fairfax Connector employees, customers and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as requiring passengers to enter and exit the bus using the rear doors, with the exception of customers who need to use a wheelchair ramp. Fare collection on buses has been temporarily suspended due to the location of fareboxes at the front entrance of buses. The County will continue make adjustments to Fairfax Connector service to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and will ensure information on such adjustments is provided to the public.

An FCDOT spokesperson told Reston Now that although ridership had dipped, statistics on the extent of the increases are not yet available.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fairfax Connector Suspends Fares, Begins Rear Door Boarding — The bus service has temporarily suspended fare collection and all customers must enter and exit the bus using the rear doors. Fares will be suspended because fareboxes and SmarTrip equipment is at the front entrance of buses. Service continues in order to “serve Fairfax County residents who. Have no alternate way to travel during this emergency.” [Fairfax County Government]

Stonebridge Companies Acquires Residence Inn — The Denver-based company will manage the 168-room Residence Inn by Marriott in Herndon.  The hotel is located at 315 Elden Street. [Hotel Executive] 

Playgrounds, Parks, and Park Authority Restrooms Now Closed — “Effectively immediately, all Fairfax County Park Authority playgrounds, skate parks and restrooms will be closed until further notice. Portable restrooms will be placed near all bathrooms. Signs will be posted at all affected locations. Park visitors are asked to adhere to all closure notices and current social distancing recommendations.” [Fairfax County Government]

Herndon-Fish Offers Emergency Financial Help — “At least for the time being, we are making no changes in our criteria for providing assistance, and our operations remain in place to make this possible. Because our efforts related to providing emergency financial assistance are done by phone and online, we can carry out these activities without endangering the health of those involved. Changes in our revenue receipts or alterations in government policy could mandate that we alter these policies in the future, but they remain in place for now.” [Herndon-Reston Fish]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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County officials are evaluating if the Fairfax Connector bus service should continue normal operations. For now, Fairfax Connector is operating on a normal schedule.

A spokesperson for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation told Reston Now that changes in service levels are possible in the future, but no plans have been finalized yet.

Overall, ridership has taken a hit, but it’s too soon to tell by how much, according to Robin Geiger, an FCDOT spokeswoman.

The Fairfax Connector’s operations contractor has implemented a more rigorous vehicle cleaning cycle with “a special focus on bus interiors and critical touchpoints such as door handles, handrails, and other surfaces,” according to FCDOT. The contractor is also working with its workforce to ensure employees are informed about coronavirus and measures to slow its spread.

Passengers should continue to practice ways to prevent spreading COVID-19 by washing hands often with soap and water, avoiding touching your eyes nose or mouth, and avoiding contact with people who are sick.

The Fairfax Health District has 14 presumptive cases of COVID-19.

How do you think the bus service should respond to COVID-19? Let us know in the poll below.

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The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is seeking input on future bus service to and from phase two of the Silver Line.

Residents can provide feedback at two meetings: Hutchinson Elementary School on Sat., March 21 from 10 a.m. to noon and South Lakes High School on Wed., March 25 from 7-9 p.m. Feedback will also be accepted online from March 16 through April 16.

Service will begin once the Metro stations are Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn are open.

In December, FCDOT officials backed the most transformative of three options to change service levels. This approach would impact a greater coverage area and was endorsed by the county’s Multimodal Advisory Committee. Other options include incremental changes to service plans or streamlining of existing routes.

More information about the proposals is available online.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Fairfax Connector shared the steps being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as more cases are reported in the D.C. area.

Fairfax County’s Department of Transportation announced on Friday (March 6) that contractors are following these steps:

  • reviewed and updated cleaning protocols based on guidance from public health officials
  • increased vehicle cleaning cycles with a special focus on bus interiors and critical touchpoints such as door handles, handrails and other surfaces.
  • initiated regular communication with Fairfax Connector workforce

The county’s Board of Supervisors is expected to receive an update about the county’s preparations against the virus tomorrow (Tuesday).

Fairfax County also has suggestions for passengers to curtail the rapidly-spreading illness:

  • wash hands often with soap and water and use hand sanitizer
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • avoid contact with people who are sick
  • stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others

“FCDOT highly values the health and safety of Fairfax Connector customers and personnel,” the county said.

Virginia has three “presumptive” cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Cases involving a Marine Base Corps Quantico resident at Fort Belvoir and a City of Fairfax resident — were announced yesterday (Sunday). Today (Monday) a presumptive case of coronavirus was announced in Arlington.

As local schools in the D.C. area prepare for possible closures due to local coronavirus cases, Fairfax County Public Schools are currently open today.

In a letter to families on Saturday (March 7), Superintendent Scott Brabrand said that FCPS is working with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) to monitor the disease.

FCPS-sponsored international field trips and short-term international visitations have been suspended through June 30, the letter notes.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time,” according to FCPS. “The FCHD has provided an updated handout about COVID-19 for the community.”

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Fatimah Waseem contributed reporting.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

New Express Route to Pentagon, Changes Come to Fairfax Connector — A new express route to the Pentagon will be available later this month after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s approved changes to the bus system. Minor time adjustments will also go into effect on Route 950 –from Herndon-Reston. [Fairfax County Government]

Former comScore CEO and Board Member Steps Down — “ComScore has had a number of CEOs and board members come and go. Its latest executive to depart points to “clear skies and smooth waters” ahead for the embattled Reston company.”  [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Woman Dropped off by Redskins’ Player Died of Accidental Overdose — “A woman who was dropped off “unconscious and unresponsive” at a Loudoun County medical center by Washington Redskins safety Montae Nicholson and a friend in November died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, authorities said a Virginia medical examiner has ruled. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that the investigation into the death of Julia Crabbe, 21, of Reston, remains ongoing and that detectives are still trying to determine the source of the drug that killed her. No charges have been filed.” [The Washington Post]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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With bus loop construction nearly complete, Fairfax Connector service to and from the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride will return to normal today (Monday).

The bus loop is expected to close in the spring again to complete concrete work. Details about the upcoming closure have not been publicly released yet.

Here’s more from Fairfax County government:

Fairfax Connector and Metrobus passengers who make travel connections at Herndon-Monroe will board buses at the bus loop once again starting Jan. 6, instead of the temporary stops along Sunrise Valley Drive used during construction. Fairfax Connector Routes operating to and from the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride are: 551924926, 927929937950951952980981983.

Routes were changed in late September.

File photo

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Local Fairfax County transportations officials are considering changes to Fairfax Connector routes in the Reston and Herndon area to meet demands created by the expansion of the Silver Line next year.

Of three options presented for changes, the county is recommending the “transformation” option — Other options included increment changes to the development plan or streamlining existing routes.

The recommended model would offer new service options, all day local service, and more frequent service to Metrorail Station through feeder routes at peak times. New planned connections include Sterling Plaza, Centreville and George Mason University in Fairfax.

County officials say the transformation model covers a greater area and includes the future Innovation Station. The model was also endorsed by the Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee for recommendation to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT).

A recent marketing survey found the following areas had the lowest rankings:

  • Available when you need it
  • Fast way to travel
  • Goes places you need to go
  • Offers real-time information
  • Fits into your lifestyle

Users sought more frequent service, operation earlier or later in the day, and express bus service. Others said they were concerned about connections to Wiehle-Reston Metro East Station and Reston Town Center.

Reston Association’s Board of Directors will vote on a preferred service alternative on Thursday (Dec. 19).

Photo via FCDOT

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