Monday Morning Notes

Second Round of Meetings on Fairfax Connector Service Changes — “Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will hold a second round of community input meetings and engagement opportunities to encourage public input on alternatives developed to provide enhanced Fairfax Connector bus service in the Reston and Herndon areas, including connections to the future Metrorail Silver Line Phase 2 stations in Herndon and Reston.” [Fairfax County Government]

Why Rush Hour Promise Was Cancelled After Crash — “The refunds were offered to registered SmarTrip cardholders who were caught up in major Blue, Orange and Silver Line delays on the morning of Monday, Oct. 7. But they were not provided to those riders in the afternoon even as the crumpled cars continued to block one of the tracks near Farragut West.” [WTOP]

Community Action Spurs. Changers to Campus Commons Plan — “Consistent with the Reston Master Plan principle of public participation in planning and zoning, Reston citizens banded together to improve a flawed redevelopment plan by TF Cornerstone, for Campus Commons, located in the Reston Transit Station Area (TSA) at Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive. Among several reasons, the plan failed to gain community support because it does not adequately provide safe pedestrian crossings and will add at least 6,100 daily car trips.” [Reston 2020]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Fairfax County Seeking Input on Fairfax Connector Changes

Fairfax County is seeking more feedback from commuters who use the Fairfax Connector.

A new round of meetings will give community members another chance to provide critiques for plans for the future of the Fairfax Connector and the Silver Line Metrorail expansion around Reston and Herndon, according to a press release.

People who want to give feedback can attend any of the three upcoming meetings, which are all accessible from the Fairfax Connector.

  • Herndon Middle School Cafeteria (901 Locust Street) on Thursday (Oct. 28) from 7-9 p.m.
  • Ox Hill Baptist Church (4101 Elmwood Street) on Friday (Oct. 29) from 7-9 p.m.
  • Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza) on Saturday (Nov. 2) from 10 a.m.-noon

Anyone unable to attend the meetings in person may give feedback online. The form will be open from Oct. 23 until Nov. 30.

Comments can also be mailed to Fairfax County Department of Transportation, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033.

Feedback from the meetings will be synthesized and converted into another design to “provide better access to destinations, improved travel times, increased schedule reliability and more dependable service,” the press release said.

This final plan will be available in early 2020 for a final round of critiques.

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Monday Morning Notes

Vehicle Tax Payments Due Today — The deadline to pay annual bills for vehicles in Fairfax County is today (Monday). Residents can pay their bill online, by phone, by mail and with your smartphone. [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax Connector Sees Uptick in Ridership — ‘Fairfax Connector bus ridership was up during the second quarter of 2019 compared to a year before, according to new data, spurring hope it has turned a corner from declining ridership totals. The bus system, operated by a private firm under contract to the Fairfax County government, recorded a ridership of about 2.2 million in the three-month period ending June 30, according to figures reported to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.”  [Inside NOVA]

Unveiling of Colts Neck Underpass Project Set for Next Week — Philadelphia-based artist Ben Volta will unveil the Colts Neck Road underpass art project on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The artwork features drawings from hundreds of local residents. [Hunters Woods at Trails Edge]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Monday Morning Notes

Changes at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride — “Beginning September 23 through November 2019, Fairfax Connector bus service at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride will be relocated to a temporary stop on Sunrise Valley Drive. The relocation of service is due to necessary construction on the bus loop.” [Fairfax County Government]

Refunds for Metro Riders — “Late in the morning rush hour, thousands of Metro commuters experienced delays Friday Metro says it had to begin single-tracking after one of its train operators reported a metal object on the track just west of the Foggy Bottom station… Metro said under its “Rush Hour Promise” program riders with a registered SmarTrip card will automatically receive a refund if they were delayed ten minutes or more. Metro said if your card is not registered, as long as you register it before midnight tonight you will receive the refund.” [WJLA]

UMAI Ramen Reopens Today  The new ramen and rice restaurant opened at 482 Elden Street on Saturday. After all items on the menu were sold out that day, the restaurant plans to reopen today. [UMAI Ramen and Rice Bowl]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Proposed Fairfax Connector Changes to Impact Reston, Herndon Riders

A community meeting next week will tackle proposed Fairfax Connector changes that would impact riders in Reston and Herndon.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is seeking the public’s input on proposed service changes to six routes:

  • Route 396: a new route servicing Backlick North Park-and-Ride to the Pentagon
  • Route 306: GMU- Pentagon
  • Route 395: Gambrill-Pentagon Express
  • Route 640: Stone Road-Westfields Boulevard
  • Route 650: Chantilly
  • Route 950: Herndon-Reston

The proposed changes to the Herndon-Reston adjust the running time on Elden Street on Saturdays heading eastbound and westbound between 3-7 p.m.

FCDOT says that the proposed changes for all of the routes “will improve on-time performance.”

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the cafeteria at Eagle View Elementary School at 4500 Dixie Hill Road in Fairfax on Thursday, Sept. 19.

“In addition to the community meeting, Fairfax Connector staff will connect with customers, in-person throughout September, on routes that are affected by the proposed service changes,” according to FCDOT.

People can submit comments until Oct. 1. After reviewing the feedback, FCDOT plans to bring the proposed changes to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this fall.

If approved, riders can expect the changes to go into effect in January.

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What’s Open, What’s Closed on Labor Day

As we head into Labor Day weekend, here’s a look at some area closings and schedule adjustments for the holiday.

Public schools, library, county offices, the county’s animal shelter, General District Court, and Reston Community Center Hunters Woods and Lake Anne will be closed.

The Fairfax Connector will be operating on a Sunday schedule. Metrorail and Metrobus will also operate on a Sunday schedule, with off-peak fares in effect all day. Parking will be free at all Metrorail facilities.

Frying Pan Farm Park’s farm and indoor arena will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but its visitors center will remain closed. More information about county closures is available online.

Reston Association offices, the Central Services Facility and the nature house will close at noon today (Friday) and remain closed on Monday.

The pool schedule for the holiday weekend is below:

Glade, Lake Audubon, Lake Newport: Noon to 7 p.m.

North Shore, Ridge Heights: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In the town of Herndon, government offices will be closed. Recycling collection will be postponed from Monday to Tuesday. The town’s Labor Day festival is set from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the town green.

Photo via Ben White/Unsplash

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Fairfax Connector’s Driver Shortage Complicates Riders’ Commute

For at least two weeks, the Fairfax Connector has been struggling with a shortage of bus drivers.

Although county officials say the number of missed and delayed trips has dropped over the last week, the shortage continues to impact riders’ commutes across the county. Some riders say buses have missed multiple trips for the last three weeks. Other buses have been delayed.

A service operation alert on the Fairfax Connector’s BusTracker website that previously alerted riders about the shortage was taken down. County officials are unsure why the alert is no longer on the website.

Tom Biesiadny, the director of Fairfax County’s transportation department, told Reston Now that MV Transportation, the current operator for the system, is “working through staffing issues.”

The county plans to switch operators to Transdev North America on July 1. The operator, which was awarded a five-year contract by the county, has started training bus drivers as part of its hiring process. Under the $443 million contract, Transdev will have 730 employees and operate 308 vehicles.

Although the cause and extent of the bus driver shortage is unclear, Biesiadny said the limited bus drivers is a regional issue.

“With the economy doing pretty well and unemployment being very low particularly in Northern Virginia, there’s a shortage of workers in general,” he said.

County officials urged riders to plan their trips ahead of time and check Twitter, Facebook and the Fairfax Connector’s BusTracker for the latest updates.

Riders can also text bus stop IDs to 414-11 to obtain information on trips and the latest bus schedules.

“What we’re trying to make sure that passengers know is that they should sign up for Bus Tracker emails or text alerts to make sure they see any important alerts,” Anna Nissinen, chief of communications for FCDOT, said. “That’s the best way to stay on top of travel.”

Photo via Facebook

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Sewer Line Installation Prompts Bus Stop, Lane Closure in Reston

A construction company is installing sanitary sewers lines for the temporary station off of Cameron Glen Drive.

As a result, one lane of Town Center Parkway will be closed periodically starting on Thursday (May 16) for roughly two weeks.

Bus stop #3597 for the Fairfax Connector will be temporarily closed as well.

Riders should use bus stop #3596, which is south of Cameron Glen Drive behind the Reston District Police Station.

Plans for the new Reston Fire and Station 25 are in motion.

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Slick Roads, Ice Possible Thursday Morning Around Reston

Locals can expect warmer temperatures later today, yet they should still be careful about ice and slick roads around Reston and Herndon today.

The D.C.-area could feel a high up to 52 degrees today, according to the National Weather Service. Yesterday’s rain and sleet after the snowstorm hit might create hazardous road conditions this morning.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is warning locals about icy spots and to be careful of any debris in the roadways. If you plan on walking outside, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue suggests a side-to-side “penguin” walk on any potentially icy ground.

Speaking of getting around, the Fairfax Connector is back to its regular service schedule today.

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1098543811851153409

Photo via @greatfallsva/Instagram

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Snowstorm Sparks Closures, Altered Schedules Around County

Winter weather today means not just kids are enjoying a snow day. Several offices and services are closed or have altered schedules today as a mix of snow, rain and sleet hits Fairfax County.

Transportation 

The Fairfax Connector is running on a Saturday schedule today.

Metro trains will run every 12 minutes, while buses are on a “severe snow service plan” with only limited service on major roadways.

Fairfax County

Fairfax County government offices are closed, along with golf courses and county parks.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed as well.

The county’s Planning Commission won’t meet tonight.

Reston

The Reston Animal HospitalReston Community Center and Reston Association offices including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility are closed.

The open house for Lake House for today has been canceled.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce canceled its events for today.

Herndon

HealthWorks in Herndon will be closed.

If you live in Herndon, don’t expect your recycling to get picked up today. Mayor Lisa Markel posted on Facebook that recycling will be collected on Thursday instead.

Items from the Town of Herndon’s previously planned meetings for the Architectural and Heritage Preservation review boards are now moved to the March 20 public hearing.

The Town of Herndon’s offices and the Herndon Community Center are closed.

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fatal Herndon car crash on Saturday — “Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying two victims from this morning’s [Feb. 16] fatal single vehicle crash.  Officers responded to the crash around 4:26 a.m. on southbound Route 28 near the McLearen Road exit.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

Winter storm on its way — Heads up for tomorrow: expect sleet, ice and several inches of snow. The National Weather Service’s Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Feb. 20). [National Weather Service]

Bus meeting tonight — The rescheduled meeting for public input on local bus service provided by Fairfax Connector in the Herndon-Reston area will take place from 6-8 p.m. tonight at the Herndon Senior Center (873 Grace Street). [DC Commute Times]

Election for 86th District seat — Voting today will decide the replacement for now-State Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s former seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. The county has information about where, when and how to vote in the special election. [Fairfax County]

Interactive show at Great Falls Senior Center — The Great Falls Senior Center welcomes back Mary Ann Jung’s interactive show today. Jung, who has been recreating historical women for more than 30 years, will portray Margaret Brent, a colonial woman who was America’s first female landowner, lawyer and first to demand the vote in the 1640s. Lunch will be provided. [Great Falls Senior Center]

Rolling in the money — “[Reston-based] Sequoia Holdings Inc., a leading provider of software and cloud engineering services for the U.S. intelligence community, has received an equity investment from Chart National, L.P., a New York-based private equity fund with deep relationships within the intelligence community and the U.S. Department of Defense.” [Business Wire]

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County Presidents’ Day Closures

Presidents’ Day is coming up on Monday (Feb. 18). Whether or not you plan to spend the day remembering past U.S. presidents, check this list if you’re planning to visit government facilities around Fairfax County.

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s libraries and courts will be closed.

The county’s public schools will be closed.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a holiday weekday schedule and some routes won’t operate.

Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed, while Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to the collection schedule next week.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and Nature House, will be closed.

Reston Community Center will be open.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed.

Refuse will not be collected and will resume service on Tuesday (Feb. 19).

The Herndon Community Center will be open from 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Classes will be held as scheduled.

The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open from 8 a.m. to until dark.

DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will be closed.

Metrorail will be running on a weekend schedule, while Metrobus service will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule, with some late-night trips canceled on select routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break as well on Monday.

File photo

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Reston Association to Discuss Zoning Proposal

Tonight is the Planning Commission’s meeting on contentious proposed zoning changes that would increase the population density in Reston. Tomorrow night, the Reston Association is set to discuss that proposal.

The proposal would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons up to 15.

Back in December, RA’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to continue its opposition to the proposed zoning amendment.

The RA also will receive a briefing from Tom Biesiadny, the director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. FCDOT is currently seeking input on changes to Fairfax Connector service.

The public meeting tomorrow (Jan. 24) is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at RA’s headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The draft agenda for the meeting is available online.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County MLK Holiday Closures

Several government facilities around Fairfax County are closed today (Jan. 18) for Lee-Jackson Day and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this coming Monday (Jan. 21).

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s courts are closed today and Monday.

Fairfax County’s government offices and libraries will be closed on MLK Day.

The county’s public schools will get off three hours early today and be closed on MLK Day.

The Fairfax Connector will run on a holiday weekday schedule MLK Day. A full list of routes running in the Reston area is available online.

Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open on MLK Day, while Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to its schedule on MLK Day.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including Central Facilities and the Nature House, will be closed on MLK Day.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed on MLK Day.

The Community Center will have altered hours from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on MLK Day.

Metro, DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will are closed today and Monday.

Metro will operate on a Saturday schedule, opening at 5 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m. on MLK Day. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at all Metro-operated facilities. Meanwhile, Metrobus will run on a Saturday supplemental schedule with some late-night trips canceled on selected routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break on MLK Day.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

SAIC acquires Engility Holdings, Inc. — The merger completed on Jan. 14. The combined company will keep the SAIC name and the headquarters in Reston. [Business Wire]

Free bus rides for furloughed workers — Starting today, the Fairfax Connector will let furloughed workers ride for free with their federal photo ID. [Fairfax County]

How-to for buying a new TV — Head to the Reston Regional Library today for help figuring out which TV is best for you. The presentation by the Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services will run from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. [Fairfax County]

Flu season is upon us — If you end up getting sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a handy guide for comparing your symptoms to the flu and what to do if the illness worsens. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Photo via Ray Copson

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