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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 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm 7 Comments

Reston Transit Area/Fairfax County

After the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passed the Reston Transportation Funding Plan last month, the next step will be the official creation of the Reston Transportation Service District.

Community meetings on the subject are slated for Tuesday, March 21 from 7-9 p.m. at Coates Elementary School (2480 River Birch Road, Herndon) and Wednesday, March 29 from 7-9 p.m. at Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road, Reston).

The $2.27 billion, 40-year funding plan, which includes a 2.1-cent/$100 of assessed value tax assessed to properties in the Reston Transit Station Area, was approved Feb. 28 by the Board. Under the agreed-upon plan, current homeowners in the TSA will be responsible for up to $44.6 million of the estimated cost. The remainder of the tax funds (totaling $350 million) will be collected from commercial/industrial properties and from residential properties built in the future, according to information provided at the Feb. 28 meeting. The list of parcels included in the TSA is available on the Fairfax County website.

A public hearing on the creation of the Reston Transportation Service District is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the Fairfax County Government Center. (12000 Government Circle Parkway, Fairfax). Individuals interested in speaking at the public hearing before the Board of Supervisors are asked to register in advance with the Office of the Clerk to the Board.

More information on the Reston Network Analysis is available on the Fairfax County Department of Transportation website.

by RestonNow.com — March 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm 11 Comments

FCDOT Safety Improvements Public Meeting

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has scheduled a community meeting later this month to discuss proposed safety improvements.

According to FCDOT, “road diets” — converting an existing four-lane undivided roadway segment to a three-lane segment consisting of two through-lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane — are being proposed near Tall Oaks Village Center and on Colts Neck Road between Glade Drive and Sunrise Valley Drive.

In addition, bicycle infrastructure improvements are proposed for North Shore Drive, from Ring Road to Wiehle Avenue. Two options are under review:

  • Keep existing parking but narrow travel lanes to add bike lanes or shared-lane markings
  • Restrict on-street parking to one-side of the street from Ivy Oak Square to Wiehle Avenue, add bike lanes in both directions for this segment; keep existing parking from Ivy Oak Square to Ring Road, and narrow travel lanes to add bike lanes and shared-lane markings.

The narrowing of travel lanes, in the effort to reduce speeding and add bike lanes, is also being proposed on Twin Branches Road between Lawyers Road and South Lakes Drive, as well as on Colts Neck Road between Reston Parkway and Glade Drive. The addition of crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety on Colts Neck Road is also in the proposal.

According to FCDOT, the proposed improvements are limited to changes that can be made with roadway striping as part of the repaving process.

The meeting will be held Thursday, March 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive).

by RestonNow.com — February 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm 7 Comments

StoneTurn Community Forum - Terry MaynardThis is an op/ed submitted by Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins led off her newsletter this month with a two-page article on “misinformation” concerning the proposed Reston Tax Service District (TSD) for homeowners and businesses along the Dulles Corridor, the so-called Reston transit station areas. So far as we know, no one has provided misinformation on the road tax, including Reston 20/20.

What Reston 20/20 has done — and will continue to do — is highlight the vast quantity of vital information about the proposed Reston road tax that neither Supervisor Hudgins nor FCDOT have been willing to acknowledge because, of course, it undermines the validity of having such a tax. Let’s take a quick look.

First, the foundation argument for a Reston road tax is that there is a $350 million gap over the 40-year period of planned station area expansion — less than $9 million per year — in road funding that can absolutely only be filled by another singular tax on Restonians. Supervisor Hudgins doesn’t even mention the “funding gap” in her missive, almost certainly because she knows there isn’t one. The “funding gap” was created by FCDOT to justify creating an added County tax revenue stream (at the Board of Supervisors’ direction) solely on Restonians.

The so-called “funding gap” is the result of a series of FCDOT assumptions about transportation funding that are a fantasy, plain and simple. [This was addressed in an earlier op/ed.]

That’s all not mentioned, much less explained, in Supervisor Hudgins’ letter. And some things mentioned there are less than “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Some example, her letter states, “To accommodate traffic pattern changes, reduce congestion, move traffic efficiently, and provide convenient connections to transit stations, multi-modal transportation improvements were proposed.” That statement alone is loaded with fallacies.

  • Well, yes, multi-modal improvements were proposed in the revised Reston master plan, but the ongoing County transportation proposal addresses only street improvements. Nary a word about more buses, better bike access, improved pedestrian movements, etc. In fact, to the contrary, FCDOT Chief Biesiadny has stated on multiple occasions that no added bus service is required, just a re-jiggering of current routes. Yet, the plan calls for 76,000 new residents and 41,000 new jobs; a total potential of 211,000 people living and working in Reston’s station areas. But no new bus service is needed? Preposterous! And you know that the proposed Reston station area tax will be increased to finance that obviously needed new bus service.
  • And, no, the planned street improvements will neither “reduce congestion” nor “move traffic efficiently.” To the contrary, by County policy intent, the goal is to increase congestion by lowering the acceptable level of service for traffic under the County’s new “urban standard.” Yes, you can expect to wait at least an extra half-minute or more at every already gridlocked intersection in Reston’s station areas as this “urban standard” is implemented.

In fact, proceeds from the County’s Reston road tax proposal will be primarily used (87 percent) to finance the construction of the so-called “grid of streets.” This grid is not being built to “reduce congestion” or “move traffic efficiently”; it being built to improve the profitability of the development of the adjoining properties. In fact, the specific grid streets to be financed by Restonians road tax are primarily those streets at the east and west periphery of the station areas, areas that could not be profitably developed without a public tax subsidy. From your pocket to developer profits.

Moreover, the fact that these streets will be built and the areas developed will mean more, not less congestion, in the station areas. For what it’s worth, not even the developers in Tysons are having the “grid of streets” subsidized by taxes on residents; they will be building all of them there out of their own pockets. Yet somehow Supervisor Hudgins and FCDOT don’t mention any of this. No need to fully inform Restonians, they must think.

And two bits of seeming relative good news in Supervisor Hudgins’ commentary are less than they appear.

  • First, there is the seemingly low impact of the $.021/$100 valuation impact of the proposed TSD tax on station area homeowners’ tax bill, for example, $105 per year on a half-million dollar property. Sounds OK, but it fails to acknowledge: The tax is based on 2016 dollars and will triple over 40 years at three percent inflation, totally ignores any property appreciation above inflation, fails to mention that the Board can raise the tax rate at any time — as it has already done on a similar tax in Tysons, and assumes construction costs will not exceed inflation. So, no, it will cost much more than Supervisor Hudgins’ letter says.
  • Second, Supervisor Hudgins states that there is a new “sunset” provision in the proposed tax without specifying the details. The implication is that the road tax would be used only for construction, not the indefinite maintenance of the streets and intersections. That’s a positive change, but — like the tax rate and adding needed bus service — can be undone by the Board with a simple vote anytime in the future.

So “cui bono?” Who benefits?  By our estimate based on an analysis of Boston Properties’ annual report, developers in Reston’s station areas stand to earn $45 billion over the next four decades in 2016 dollars, roughly double that in future dollars, from fulfilling the Reston master plan. And, as stated above, the County stands to receive $11 billion in property tax revenues at current tax rates in 2016 dollars over the same period.

And station area residents? They get a larger property tax bill every year and increased congestion.

What could be wrong with that?

As the late radio commentator Paul Harvey (for those of you old enough to recall) would say, “And now you know the rest of the story.” So you can accept Supervisor Hudgins’ Tetra-esque one-sided sales promotion or you can consider the proposed Reston road tax in the context of this more complete picture. If you believe, as we do, that the TSD road tax is little more than a fraud, please do any or all of the following:

  • Join the more than 200 others who have signed Reston 20/20’s petition to stop the Reston TSD tax which we will submit to Chairman Bulova and the Board of Supervisors before the upcoming public hearing on the Reston road tax proposal.
  • Share with Supervisor Hudgins your concerns about the proposed Reston road tax by any means you choose — email, telephone, letter, social media, whatever.
  • Take the time to attend and even testify at the public hearing at the Government Center on Feb. 28.

There is no good reason that Reston station area homeowners, current or future, should subsidize developer profits or bolster County coffers for basic public infrastructure requirements. Next they will be taxed for schools, parks and more. Tell Supervisor Hudgins and the Board of Supervisors you oppose this misguided and ill-conceived Reston TSD road tax proposal.

Terry Maynard, Co-Chair

Reston 20/20 Committee

by Dave Emke — January 26, 2017 at 11:30 am 9 Comments

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins/Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

A Fairfax County Board of Supervisors public hearing on Reston transportation projects set for Feb. 28 will address the projects’ funding plan. Questions asked about the project Tuesday prior to the board’s vote to approve the hearing, however, concerned design issues.

Supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield District) raised a number of questions for Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, regarding concerns he has with the plan itself.

“If you take some of the costs out of the project, the impact on both the citizens and the new businesses would be less,” Herrity said.

The overall project — which includes road widening and upgrades to intersections and interchanges, in addition to construction of new Dulles Toll Road crossings — is estimated to cost in excess of $2.2 billion.

Reston Transportation Funding Plan

Herrity asked Biesiadny about a proposed Town Center Parkway underpass of the Toll Road, projected to cost $170 million. Herrity inquired why an underpass was determined to be more cost-effective than an overpass.

“Because of the topography, the Toll Road actually sits above the intersection of Town Center Parkway and Sunset Hills,” Biesiadny explained. “You would be starting below the Toll Road and having to go up and over it, as opposed to tunneling under it.”

Herrity also had a number of concerns about the proposed Soapstone Drive overpass of the Toll Road, among them the structure of the lanes in the proposal. The plan calls for two driving lanes on each side of the bridge with a two-lane left-turn area, becoming four lanes of traffic across the overpass.

The idea is that we would only want to go over the Toll Road once, so you would provide some additional capacity should you ever need it in the future,” Biesiadny said.

The four lanes over the Toll Road would be a total of 36 feet wide. The plan calls for 33 1/2 feet of space for pedestrians and bicyclists, another figure that Herrity questioned.

“So we’re going to have as much room on that bridge for bikes and pedestrians as we are for car traffic,” he said, asking for data to back up the need.

Biesiadny said projections have shown there will be a large amount of foot and pedal traffic across the connector.

Given its location adjacent to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station, we do think there is going to be a significant number of people using bikes and pedestrians to access the station, as well as the development that will be occurring around there,” he said.

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) said the community has decided that increased walkability and access for bicyclists is important to the future of transportation.

“What you will see in this project, and I think what the community has been stressing, is the compactness of the transportation infrastructure. That is, you see fewer turn lanes because, guess what, pedestrians require attention from those on the road in order to safely traverse those areas and make the connectivity. I think the most important part about it is… the value that this returns to the overall community in the way that we build the transportation infrastructure and land owners can actually construct the development. If we make a mistake there, it becomes not well used and thus not a return in value to the community and those who own the land.”

The public hearing on project funding was approved by the board and scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Screen capture of Supervisor Cathy Hudgins speaking at Jan. 24 meeting, via Fairfax County website

by Jennifer van der Kleut — November 14, 2016 at 11:00 am 45 Comments

2017 VDOT repaving proposed street design improvements (Image via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is looking for locals to share their thoughts about proposed Reston bicycle lanes tonight.

County officials are scheduled to hold a community meeting to gauge the public’s thoughts about bike lanes in four locations around the community before several local roadways are repaved. Locals can share other ideas about ways to improve safety for traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians, too, according to the county.

The streets that are under review for potential new bike lanes are:

  • Glade Drive, from Glade Bank Way to Twin Branches Road.
  • Twin Branches Road, from Lawyers Road to South Lakes Drive.
  • Colts Neck Road, from Reston Parkway to Sunrise Valley Drive.
  • North Shore Drive, from Ring Road to Oak Spring Way.

Many Reston residents already have spoken out with their thoughts on the proposal, on Reston Now.

Several said adding bike lanes to Glade Drive would be a bad idea, as the road is already too narrow with on-street parking on both sides of the road.

Similar feelings were expressed about North Shore Drive, where many residents said plentiful parking was more crucial than bike lanes. The commenters said they feel the street is too narrow to accommodate both.

The meeting is set to take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m in the cafeteria at Terreset Elementary (11411 Ridge Heights Road).

Read more about the proposed paving and bike lanes on the Fairfax County website.

Image via Fairfax County

by Jennifer van der Kleut — November 2, 2016 at 11:00 am 58 Comments

2017 VDOT repaving proposed street design improvements (Image via Fairfax County)

Local officials are looking to hear from the public about proposed bicycle lanes for Reston’s Hunter Mill District as the Fairfax County Department of Transportation gets ready repave streets in the area.

Members of the public are invited to a community meeting in the Terraset Elementary (11411 Ridge Heights Road) cafeteria on Monday, Nov. 14, to discuss the possible bike lanes, as well as other ideas to enhance safety for traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians in Reston.

The streets that are under review for potential new bike lanes are:

  • Glade Drive, from Glade Bank Way to Twin Branches Road.
  • Twin Branches Road, from Lawyers Road to South Lakes Drive.
  • Colts Neck Road, from Reston Parkway to Sunrise Valley Drive.
  • North Shore Drive, from Ring Road to Oak Spring Way.

County officials note that any alterations to the streets are limited to striping changes made during repaving.

The community meeting will last from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

For more information, including a feedback form, visit the Hunter Mill Bike Lanes project page on the county’s website.

Image via Fairfax County

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by Karen Goff — October 4, 2016 at 11:30 am 20 Comments

Traffic LightThe Reston advisory group looking at ways to raise $2.6 billion to fund Reston road improvements over the next 40 years says it is strongly opposed to a special tax district for new development in Reston’s transit station areas.

The Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group (RNAG) last month approved a document containing high level feedback on the funding plan. It will provide an update to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

RNAG says:

Public revenues should be responsible for the roadway improvements and private revenues would be responsible for intersection and grid improvements.

Tax Districts should be removed from further discussion — there is unanimity from the group that a tax district is unrealistic and should be taken off the table.

The transit areas are expected to see the greatest level of development — and will need the most street grid, lane additions and traffic signals, among other improvements — as Reston grows over the next three decades.

FCDOT’s Janet Nguyen has said $1.34 billion in transportation projects will likely come from shared public and private contributions. That money would go for road widening, intersection improvements, the Soapstone overpass, and an Dulles Toll Road underpass near Reston Town Center, among other projects.

The $1.28 billion grid network in the transit station areas — which the RNAG is currently studying — would mostly be funded by developers (and a possible service district, not a special tax district. A service district is imposed by the Board of Supervisors on a geographic area.). An urban grid is important to improve walkability and slow traffic, transportation officials say.

The county and RNAG have been looking at a variety of scenarios to fund the projects. Among the suggestions has been creating a tax district similar to the Metro special tax district or a service district, similar to Tysons (rate is .05 cents per $100 of tax assessment).

A service district is established by the Board of Supervisors and does not need to be approved by residents.

The Board of Supervisors hopes to approve a funding plan by late 2016 or early 2017.

See the Tuesday presentation prepared by FCDOT on the Fairfax County website.

See a list of expected big-ticket Reston road projects below.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-10-26-32-pm

by Karen Goff — September 13, 2016 at 10:00 am 2 Comments

Proposed Hunter Mill Roundabouts/Credit: Fairfax County

How to ease traffic on Hunter Mill Road, a two-lane country road in the increasingly urban Reston-Vienna area, will be the subject of a community meeting this week.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) meeting (Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m., at Aldrin Elementary School, 11375 Center Harbor Rd. in Reston), is actually the fifth on this topic since 2014.

FCDOT officials will talk about the project status and next steps.

At the most recent meeting in late June, transportation officials showed results of a new traffic impact study that showed installing roundabouts could result in fewer traffic backups.

Project manager Kristin Calkins said then that the project is still years away as the county continues to look at models and obtain citizen feedback. There also is no money set aside for the roundabouts as county transportation projects are planned and funded through 2020.

In any case, FCDOT is looking at what roundabouts would do at Sunrise Valley Drive and Hunter Mill Road, on Dulles Toll Road eastbound and westbound exit ramps at Hunter Mill, and at Sunset Hills Road and Crowell Drive, which would also be realigned to connect and further smooth traffic on Hunter Mill.

Some of those intersections/road areas are currently at an unacceptable level of service, said Calkins. Roundabouts would bring them up to an acceptable level when the county looks at the increased volume expected to be on the roads in 2030.

To see the several options FCDOT is studying, visit the Hunter Mill Road Study page. Here is FCDOT’s presentation from the June meeting.

In addition to the roundabouts, the county would like to upgrade the area on Hunter Mill from Sunrise Valley Drive to Route 7 that is served by a one-lane bridge.

 “It’s been found to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete,” said Calkins. “Hunter Mill Road carries 7,900 vehicles a day. That warrants a two-lane bridge.”

Calkins said an acceptable amount of traffic for a road with a one-lane bridge is 400 cars per day.

 Graphic: Proposed roundabouts on Hunter Mill Road/Credit: FCDOT

by Karen Goff — June 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm 6 Comments

 Will Hunter Mill Road change from a country road into a more significant — and efficient — traffic artery?

Find out the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s (FCDOT) progress on that at a community meeting on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 7 p.m., at the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston).

Fairfax County has been studying traffic mitigation options on Hunter Mill from Sunrise Valley Drive to the Colvin Run Bridge for several years.

There is heavy congestion during morning and evening peak hours. The congestion is heavily concentrated at the intersections of Sunset Hills Road and the westbound Dulles Toll Road ramps at Hunter Mill Road.

Says Fairfax County:

These two intersections are closely spaced and constrained by the existing bridge. The number of vehicles using Hunter Mill Road is forecasted to increase in the future.

With the opening of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, new development anticipated in Reston, and an increase in background traffic associated with development elsewhere in the region, vehicular traffic is expected to increase in this area. This study will look at alternatives to mitigate the existing and future conditions to ensure traffic can move efficiently through the intersections.

Meanwhile, the county suggested last winter that the best place to build a septic dumping station was on Fairfax County Park Authority land that is on the much-congested route. It is estimated sewage haulers would make 22 trips a day on the two-lane road, which features a 25-mph speed limit and a one-lane bridge.

After a community outcry, the county is looking at other alternatives before moving forward in that spot.

Here’s what’s happened in the process so far:

During the first half of 2015, FCDOT conducted the Hunter Mill Road and Sunset Hills Road Study to evaluate operational issues on Hunter Mill Road between Sunrise Valley Drive and Colvin Run.

In July of 2015, FCDOT deferred the Hunter Mill Road Study at the request of the community in order to allow for new capacity analysis methodologies for roundabouts to be adopted by the Transportation Research Board in January 2016 at their annual meeting.

FCDOT is now ready to restart the Hunter Mill Road Study and apply these new methodologies to the developed alternatives, and any newly developed alternatives. The project reboot will also provide an opportunity to integrate comments heard at the last public meeting into an expanded scope of work.

At community meetings last year, residents said they did not want Wiehle Avenue traffic diverted onto Hunter Mill. They also said Hunter Mill should keep the same character, but the county should look at roundabouts as a traffic mitigation option.

See the presentation below to look at community feedback, road-widening options and other considerations.

by Karen Goff — June 23, 2016 at 10:30 am 12 Comments

Traffic on Reston Parkway/Credit: Reston 2020The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is still considering a special tax or special service district to fund $2.6 billion in transportation improvements in the Reston area in coming years.

Two ideas mentioned in a briefing to the Reston Network Analysis & Funding Plan (RNAG) Advisory Group this week include a tax district: $0.03/$100 of assessed values for commercial and industrial properties in Reston transit station areas or a service district of $0.015/$100 of assessed values for all properties in Reston transit station areas.

The suggestions will be further discussed at a community meeting Monday, 7-9 p.m., at the North County Government Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston.

The presentation uses the example of a .015 cent tax to show how it would affect homeowners. A service district homeowner with a $400,000 home would see a rise of about $60 in annual taxes. An owner with a $900,000 home would be taxed about $135 more. (more…)

by Karen Goff — June 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm 2 Comments

Map of suggested Soapstone extension/Credit: Fairfax County

Coming eventually to south Reston: an extension of Soapstone Drive that will provide an additional crossing of the Dulles Toll Road for cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation project was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2014. Officials held a briefing last October, where they said major funding has not been identified and an environmental review will not be completed until fall of 2016.

Officials will give a progress report on the environmental analysis Wednesday, June 15 at South Lakes High School. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation at 7:30 p.m.

The environmental review will look at land use, community impact, traffic, safety, noise, water quality and other environmental factors, FCDOT officials said last fall.

Having an additional crossing of the toll road will help alleviate traffic, particularly along Wiehle Avenue at Sunset Hills Road and Sunrise Valley Drive. It will also provide direct access for buses across the Dulles Corridor and to Wiehle-Reston East without requiring travel on Wiehle Avenue and offer improved connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists to the Metro station from points north and south of the Toll Road.

In 2014, the supervisors included $2.5 million for the preliminary design of this project as part of its Six Year Transportation Project Priorities. At that time, they also put the project — estimated to cost $91.75 million — on the county’s list of high-priority projects for 2015-20.

An exact price tag won’t be known until the connector is farther along, officials have said.

According to the preliminary plans, the road, which will have three lanes approaching the bridge and four lanes on the bridge, will require demolition of several office buildings on Association Drive.

Check out this Soapstone Connector Feasibility Study (2013) for more information, as well as a county information page with the most recent presentations.

Graphic: Fairfax County

by Karen Goff — March 18, 2016 at 10:30 am 11 Comments

Wiehle Avenue at W & OD TrailA planned pedestrian bridge that will move the W&OD Trail over — rather than across — Wiehle Avenue at Sunset Hills Road will take extra time to build because a half dozen electrical poles must be relocated, Fairfax County transportation officials said.

The overpass will cost $10 million (money for it was allocated by the county several years ago) and will be completed by 2021, says Scott Ruffner, Fairfax County Department of Transportation Project Manager.

Moving the utility poles will be an 18-month process, he said.

(more…)

by Karen Goff — March 17, 2016 at 10:00 am 16 Comments

Renderings of foot bridge/Courtesy FCDOT

The Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road intersection is being targeted for pedestrian improvements by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. The public is invited to hear more at a public hearing Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.

That location, never a smooth one for motorists and pedestrians, has become more crowded — and sometimes dangerous — since the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station opened just south of it in 2014.

It’s the confluence of two major roads, increasing development, a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station, a popular fast food area, and the W&OD pedestrian and bike trail.

The county is planning a new pedestrian bridge to improve vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station as noted in Reston Metrorail Access Group’s (RMAG) plan.

Says the county:

The bridge will be located on the W&OD Trail and extend over Wiehle Avenue replacing the existing at-grade crossing. The new bridge will accommodate both the gravel path and asphalt W&OD Trail at this location.

Minor roadway, sidewalk and median modifications will be made to Wiehle Avenue at this location to accommodate the bridge.

Several utility relocations will be required for the project site along with the installation of drainage and stormwater management features.

The bridge is expected to cost $10 million, said project manager Scott Riffner.

The project is part of the Third Four-Year Transportation Program that was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2012.

FCDOT is seeking public feedback about the bridge’s potential design elements. Find out how to give your feedback.

Here is a tentative project schedule:

  • Public Hearing, Winter 2016
  • Document Completion, Winter 2016
  • Public Hearing Design Approval, Spring 2016
  • Land Acquisition Completion, Spring 2018
  • Final Design Approval, Winter 2018
  • Utility Relocation Completion, Summer 2019
  • Construction Completion, Winter 2021

See graphics below to get an idea of what the footbridge may look like.

Bridge Renderings by Karen Goldberg Goff

Renderings of foot bridge/Courtesy FCDOT

by Karen Goff — February 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm 14 Comments

Rendering of W&OD Bridge/Credit: FCDOT

Plans for a pedestrian bridge that takes the W&OD Trail over Wiehle Avenue are taking shape.

The bridge will help ease chaos at that intersection, which is where Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue meet and where emergency vehicles continually enter and exit a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station.

It is also just North of the Wiehle-Reston Metro and its accompanying foot and car traffic. The trail itself is a popular walking, running and biking path.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation now has a timeline. The agency is holding a public meeting March 17, 6:30 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.

The bridge is expected to cost $10 million, said project manager Scott Riffner. The bridge will replace the street crossing and will accommodate both the gravel path and asphalt W&OD Trail. The FCDOT also plans minor roadway, sidewalk and median modifications will be made to Wiehle Avenue to accommodate the bridge and the necessary drainage and stormwater management features.

The project is part of the Third Four-Year Transportation Program that was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2012.

Here is a tentative project schedule:

  • Public Hearing, Winter 2016
  • Document Completion, Winter 2016
  • Public Hearing Design Approval, Spring 2016
  • Land Acquisition Completion, Spring 2018
  • Final Design Approval, Winter 2018
  • Utility Relocation Completion, Summer 2019
  • Construction Completion, Winter 2021

Rendering of W&OD Bridge over Wiehle Avenue/Credit: FCDOT

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