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by Dave Emke — March 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

Silver Line construction/Photo by Jennifer Thomas Alcott, Capital Rail Constructors

Phase 2 of construction on Metro’s Silver Line is more than 56 percent complete, according to information released today by the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is overseeing construction of the 11.4-mile Phase 2 extension of the Silver Line from Reston through Dulles Airport to Ashburn. Engineering and design work on the phase began in July 2013, and the project is expected to be complete by 2020. All told, the stretch will include six rail stations; nine entrance pavilions and pedestrian bridges; aerial guideways through Dulles Airport; and 89,000 feet of track.

Silver Line construction/Capital Rail Constructors“Bad weather never really stopped us,” project vice president Charles Stark is quoted as saying regarding construction efforts in recent months.

Station wall work is currently underway at the future Reston Town Center station, while structural steel installation for the vault roof has begun at the future Herndon station, also located in Reston. In addition, piers for pedestrian bridges are being put up. All needed pier caps have been poured, along with 76 percent of deck spans. Construction on the rail yard at Dulles Airport is 46 percent complete, according to project officials.

Work also began in December on a new Herndon Metro parking garage, a county project.

Phase 2 of the Silver Line was originally projected to be completed by late 2018; however, design modifications later pushed that date back.

Photos courtesy Capital Rail Constructors/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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]

by Dave Emke — March 8, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes

Possibly Rabid Fox Bites Woman, Cat — Animal Protection Police officers responded Tuesday to two different scenes in Great Falls where a fox had gone on the attack. A 71-year-old woman suffered serious injuries after being bitten “multiple times” around 3 p.m. in the 600 block of Ad Hoc Road; about an hour later and about three miles away, a 54-year-old woman fought off a fox that had bitten her cat. The fox believed to have been involved in both incidents was euthanized and is being tested for rabies. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Metro Station Work to Affect Toll Road Traffic — Eastbound traffic on the Dulles Airport Access Highway will be diverted onto the Toll Road on Saturday night into Sunday morning. The detours will be to allow workers to set large precast concrete elements for the future Herndon and Reston Town Center Metro stations. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Reston-Based Soccer Academy Gets Leader — Tom Torres has been named the head of the Washington Spirit’s U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy, which is scheduled to start play in Reston this fall. Torres has been a coach with the D.C. United’s academy for the past 10 years. [Black and Red United]

With Spring Showers Comes Flooding — With the start of spring less than two weeks away, county officials are reminding residents of tips to keep themselves and their homes safe from potential flooding. [Fairfax County]

by Dave Emke — March 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

Woodland Park Development/Fairfax County

A development project just west of the future Herndon Metro station has been given the go-ahead by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who approved it at their meeting Tuesday.

Woodland Park Development/Fairfax CountyThe mixed-use Woodland Park East development will include 678 residential units: 74 single-family attached homes, 90 two-over-two stacked townhomes and 515 multifamily dwelling units within two buildings. Two office buildings — 16 stories and 14 stories — that will include 20,000 square feet of optional ground-floor retail are also part of the plan. The property will also include 6.1 acres of public parks and 2.8 acres of private open space.

The county Planning Commission recommended the project for approval in January.

The development is planned to provide affordable housing, with 12 percent of the total units (approximately 81) set aside as affordable or workforce housing.

“It really does reflect the opportunity of need, if you think about the development that has come forward with the workforce there and all of the housing,” said Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District). “How do we meet the needs of work and living throughout the tiers of incomes? I really do appreciate working on that. I think this is a very good project.”

The property, which borders the Dulles Toll Road to the north and Monroe Street to the east, is owned by Tishman Speyer. Development will be done by NVR Inc.

Illustration and map via Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — January 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

DTR Work - Jan. 23, 2017

Concrete is expected to be poured overnight for the foundation of the Herndon Metro Station pedestrian bridge.

The work is planned to be done between 10 p.m. Monday and 4 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. The two right lanes of the westbound Dulles Toll Road will be closed between the Fairfax County Parkway overpass and the Monroe/Van Buren Street overpass for the duration of the work.

The pedestrian bridge, when complete, will provide access to the Silver Line’s Herndon Station, near the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride. Ground was broken in late November for a new, second parking garage at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride.

A large amount of other work along the Dulles Toll Road related to the Metro’s expansion continues as well.

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project recently reported that work on the Silver Line expansion is progressing steadily.

by Dave Emke — January 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm 53 Comments

Woodland Park Project

Concerns over the ties between real estate company Tishman Speyer and an anti-Muslim hate group dominated discussion during a recent public hearing about property development near the Herndon Metro.

Those concerns now appear to be a thing of the past, however, as the company has ended its business with The Clarion Project. The decision came last week following pressure from the interfaith community, some of which was seen during the Woodland Park hearing.

Tishman Speyer owns the property, located to the west of Monroe Street and south of the Dulles Toll Road, that is up for discussion. It also leased D.C. office space to The Clarion Project, a group that has created and distributed a number of anti-Muslim films and other materials, until it severed the contract last week.

The Clarion Project is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Speakers at the Jan. 11 public hearing included Colin Christopher, the deputy director of government affairs for Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church. Christopher said his mosque wanted the planning commission to delay the vote and take a stand against Tishman Speyer, who he said had to that point refused to address its relationship with The Clarion Project.

“If you don’t think this is a big deal, I’d like you to imagine hundreds of people and faith leaders — maybe from your church or synagogue or mosque — at the next meeting, standing in front of the bulldozers with the local news documenting what’s going on,” Christopher said. “We have that power and we will use it if we have to.”

Christopher said Islamophobia is gaining momentum in the United States and it is the responsibility of citizens and government officials to fight it. His words were echoed by Jeanne Trabulsi, a teacher from Arlington who followed him to the podium.

“Tishman Speyer has chosen to ignore clergy and other citizens who have reached out and who are concerned that allowing a hate group to exist and function in our midst is corrosive to our sense of well-being and to the well-being of others,” she said. “I ask that the board postpone approval of this project until Tishman Speyer becomes a good global citizen.”

Alison Glick, of the DC-Metro chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, also addressed the commission in support of the Muslim community. She said her group had protested at the Pennsylvania Avenue office building in December and 30 interfaith clergy had sent a letter to Tishman Speyer asking them to evict The Clarion Project.

“We want you to know that we understand how important this development project is,” Glick told the planning commission about the Woodland Park Parcel. “But the relationship that we have with the Muslim community… is also important.”

On Jan. 17, the Jewish Voice for Peace said the testimony at the Woodland Park Parcel public hearing was what forced Tishman Speyer’s hand to make its decision regarding The Clarion Group.

“The turning point in the campaign came when JVP DC-Metro partnered with leaders from the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia. The Islamic and Jewish organizations collaborated to challenge a major Tishman Speyer development project that was before the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Last week, the Commission was set to unanimously approve the project, until representatives from Dar Al-Hijrah and JVP testified about Tishman Speyer’s ties to the Clarion Project.”

All commissioners who voted on the project did recommend it for approval, but two commissioners — Karen Keys-Gamarra (Sully) and Janyce Hedetniemi (At-Large) — decided to abstain because of the testimony. Commissioner Frank de la Fe, of the Hunter Mill District, explained that what the speakers was asking was outside the purview of the commission.

“I sympathize and empathize with what I heard. Our nation is going through what I would call some difficult times,” de la Fe said. “But we are here to make land use decisions based on what is good for the county as far as the land use process. I think this application meets those requirements.”

The 31.69-acre property, proposed for residential/mixed-use development, is being planned to house 74 single-family attached homes, 90 two-over-two stacked townhomes, 515 multifamily dwelling units within two buildings, and two office buildings, including 580,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to hold a hearing on the project Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m.

by Dave Emke — January 9, 2017 at 11:30 am 5 Comments

Sunset Valley Drive project, via Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

Work will soon begin on Sunrise Valley Drive to widen westbound lanes, as part of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

The construction effort was scheduled to begin Monday. But Marcia McAllister, spokesperson for the project, said Mother Nature had other plans.

“It’s just too cold” for work to start as planned, McAllister said. She said they envision getting workers on the ground later this week.

Roadway improvements near the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride will require the closing of Sunrise Valley Drive westbound lanes between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day; as well as the closure of the sidewalk on the north side of the street, between the Arboretum and Thunder Chase Drive.

We don’t yet have specific dates for all the lane closures and sidewalk closures, because it’s an unfolding process,” McAllister said. “We’ll be sending out frequent alerts to tell people in the neighborhood and the general public.”

Once it gets underway, the work will include the clearing of trees along the street, the installation of erosion and sediment controls, utility relocations, and the construction of a new entrance road to the existing parking garage. Work on this project is expected to continue through the end of 2018.

There will be times when the work is more intense and other times when it’s not,” McAllister said. “We wanted to give the public a general idea of how much work is going to be done there.”

Ground was broken in November on a new parking garage for the Herndon Metro Station. That project is under the guidance of Fairfax County.

With what we’re going to be adding in that area… it’s necessary that we do some improvements to Sunrise Valley, to improve the access to the station,” McAllister said.

The future Herndon Metro Silver Line Station will serve riders at ground level in the median on the Dulles Toll Road and will serve the existing Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, with access from both sides of the road. Phase 1 of construction on the Metro station is already underway, and Phase 2 is expected to wind up at some point in the next five years, according to Metro officials.

Image courtesy Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm 2 Comments

Herndon Metro station garage groundbreaking (Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Department of Transportation)

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday to kick off construction of a new parking garage at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, which will service the forthcoming Herndon Metro Station as part of the Silver Line extension.

Several local elected officials were on hand with shovels to make the first ceremonial dig, including Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.

“As we celebrate the ground-breaking of this new multi-modal parking facility, we reaffirm our efforts to provide alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, to improve mobility, and to provide greater opportunities for people to connect with the entire metro region and the rest of the world,” Bulova said in a statement.

The new garage will have spaces for 2,007 cars, as well as feature a pedestrian bridge leading from the new garage to the future Metro station, and connections for both cars and pedestrians to the existing Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride lot, which contains 1,745 parking spaces.

The new garage also will have secure bicycle storage facilities, a spot for bus pick-offs and drop-offs and a “kiss-and-ride” area.

Construction of the garage, done by Manhattan Construction Co., will cost $44.5 million, and is expected to wrap up in the spring 2019, Fairfax County officials said.

Though officially named the Herndon Metro station, the stop is technically located at 12530 Sunrise Valley Dr. in Reston, just across the street from the border with Herndon.

Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Department of Transportation

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