Reston, VA

The announcement of more delays for the Silver Line have led to concerns from Supervisors Dalia Palchik and John Foust that Metro isn’t giving the communities around the Tysons area a fair shake.

Metro was one of several topics the supervisors spoke to the McLean Citizens Association about earlier this week.

“They are currently talking about reducing Metrorail service across the system to 80%,” Foust said. “Except that they’re saying they don’t have the funds to commence service on Phase II of the Silver Line.”

While Foust said the second phase of the Silver Line expansion isn’t quite ready for opening, it will be soon, and Foust said it deserved to be treated like any other wing of the Silver Line. Foust was particularly vexed by arguments from WMATA that Metro lines that had been operational before the shutdowns will be prioritized for service.

“If they get 80%, we should get 80%,” Foust said. “We’ve invested $6 billion into the Silver Line… I’m advocating for opening Phase 2 of the Silver Line as soon as possible.”

Palchik said these issues have been exacerbated by lack of communication between WMATA and Fairfax County.

“We found out, maybe hours before the public, that the Orange and Silver lines were being shut down,” Palchik said. “The lack of communication between our boards and the WMATA boards is frustrating beyond compare. [We] need to ensure we’re not seen as the wicked stepchild of the metro system.”

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A Reston man has been arrested in connection with an attempted rape on Tuesday aboard a Silver Line train that left the Wiehle-Reston East Station.

Kendrie Roberts-Monticue, 21, was taken into custody today (Thursday) at the home of a family member in Virginia.

Metro Transit Police believe Roberts-Monticue allegedly attempted to rape an adult woman who was with her child aboard the train between the McLean and East Falls Church locations. The incident happened around 11:30 a.m.

He is expected to face charges of attempted rape by force, threat of intimidation and attempted sodomy by force, threat or intimidation. Both charges are felonies.

Photo via Metro Transit Police

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Police are asking the public’s help in identifying a man they believe attempted to rape a woman on a train at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Metro Transit Police say the incident happened in between the McLean and East Fall Church Metro stations around 11:30 a.m. yesterday (Tuesday).

After boarding at Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, the suspect allegedly assaulted the woman, attempted to remove her clothing and exposed himself.

The victim, who was with her young child, escaped the train at East Falls Church Station where Metro Transit Police responded. The suspect appears to have exited the system at Foggy Bottom Metro Station.

He was last seen wearing a dark shirt with the words “Piranha Joe” on the left sleeve and a logo of a circle and a fish on the back and left breast areas of his shirt.

Anyone with information about this incident or the person of interest shown is urged to contact Metro Transit Police detectives by calling (301) 955-5000. Tips may also be sent via text message to “MyMTPD” (696873).

Photo via Metro Transit Police

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Senior Girl Scout Builds Turtle Platform — Mercer Thomas built a turtle platform on Lake Thoreau as part of her Gold Award to help the turtle population in Reston. Thomas needs the community’s help to track her project. [Reston Association]

Final Construction of STEAM Project Underway — Students from South Lakes High School’s STEAM team is working on the final construction phase of “Part & Parcel,” a temporary sculpture to be installed in the Lake Thoreau spillway in Reston. [Public Art  Reston]

Metro Plans Next Phases of Reconstruction, Capital Projects — “Metro will rebuild deteriorating outdoor platforms at Arlington Cemetery, Addison Road, and four Green Line stations north of Fort Totten next year, continuing its robust capital program to keep the system safe and reliable for the next generation of riders.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Reports of Stolen Campaign Signs Increase — “With less than a month until Nov. 3, and 2020’s contentious political climate, local police and sheriff’s departments are fielding reports of stolen, damaged and vandalized campaign signs.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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More than 11 percent of concrete panels at five of the six new stations on the Silver Line’s extension have cracks that need to b fixed, according to a new report by the Metro Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The report lays out nine conditional steps before the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority can assume ownership of the project and let trains run.

Metro plans to open the extension in July 2021. The OIG audit was initiated at the beginning of the year after a whistleblower complaint in 2016 brought to light Universal Concrete Products’ failure to perform quality control checks. The concrete supplier gave Capital Rail Constructors, the company building the project, deficient concrete panels.

The report found that the Herndon Metro Station has the highest percentage of cracks — 14 percent — while the Reston Town Center Metro Station has a little over 10 percent of cracked concrete panels.

“These panels must be repaired prior to acceptance by WMATA,” states the Metro OIG in its report.

A sealant to repair the concrete panels could be applied every five to seven years in order to proceed with the project.

But the OIG report says that WMATA should not accept this solution “or any other measures short of complete replacement.”

The OIG laid out nine conditions the WMATA board should consider before taking on the project.

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Friday Morning Notes

Big Changes Coming to Metro — “Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Wednesday that without more federal help, big cuts will be needed for a COVID-19 related budget shortfall. As of January, Wiedefeld is proposing closing rail stations at 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, having trains arrive every 12 minutes weekdays, and pushing the Silver Line phase two start to July.” [WJLA]

Reston Contractor Buys Maryland Company — “Reston-based government contractor Acclaim Technical Services Inc. announced Sept. 1 it has acquired Rockville, Maryland-based software and systems engineering company Global Consulting Services Inc.” [Virginia Business Monthly]

Remembering 9/11 Amid Coronavirus in Reston — “Reston is one of many communities not planning ceremonies amid the pandemic. Fairfax County public safety personnel, however, will be marking the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Friday morning. Members of the Fairfax County Police Department and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue will be gathering outside the Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters for a brief ceremony at 10:15 a.m.”  [Reston Patch]

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Given that the expansion of the Silver Line is expected to bring more people to already urbanized areas in Northern Virginia, community leaders are working toward solutions around the lack of affordable housing.

The Dulles Chamber of Commerce brought together representatives from Fairfax and Loudoun counties to talk about what this means for the future of affordable housing at a public meeting yesterday evening. Common themes of conversation included roadblocks to construction, current demand for units, land-use policies and even the type of people around town in need of subsidized housing.

The cost of living is not sustainable for lower-income people working in the area, according to Tom Fleetwood, the Director of Housing and Community Development for Fairfax County. Around Fairfax County, from 2010 to 2015, the average income only increased by 10% while the cost of housing increased by 17%.

Fairfax County will require at least 15,000 new affordable housing units in the next 15 years to support families earning 60% of the median income and below, according to Fleetwood.

Currently, there are 30,000 low-income renters in Fairfax County that are paying more than one-third of their income on housing. “This means that they’re what we call a cost-burden and that they have less money to contribute to our economy,” he said.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, four minimum wage jobs are needed in order to afford the average apartment in the county.

Once the extension project is complete, the housing disparity is only expected to grow.

In Tysons and Reston specifically, Fleetwood said that the biggest challenge is the limited availability of land for affordable housing projects. To combat this, updated inclusionary zoning policies have been a large help in rethinking how space is used, he said.

“Visionary zoning policies have produced a substantial number of below-market units that are serving working families in Tysons and in Reston,” Fleetwood said but didn’t volunteer a specific number.

Stephen Wilson, president of the SCG Development, offered previous examples at the meeting of how his company has worked around small parcels of open land, using creative designs in areas like Shady Grove to make the most of space.

“Land is a precious commodity everywhere, but particularly around high-density areas,” he said.

At Ovation at Arrowbrook in Herndon, SCG Development is branching out and working with community planners to incorporate affordable housing close to stations like Innovation Center.

Image courtesy Fairfax County

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Tuesday Morning Notes

SmarTrip Available on iPhone, Apple Watch — “Riders can now add a SmarTrip card to iPhone and Apple Watch, and simply hold their device near the card reader to pay anywhere SmarTrip is accepted.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Report of Gunshots Investigated — The Fairfax County Police Department investigated a report of possible gunshots on August 24. Two men were not the 12000 block of Laurel Glade Court shortly after 10:30 p.m. when one of the men fired a gun several times. No damage or injuries were reported. [FCPD]

County Seeks Cotton Fabric for Masks The county is seeking 100 percent cotton fabric, which will be used to make masks for children in Fairfax County. Residents can drop off donations at Volunteer Fairfax on 10700 Page Avenue in Fairfax. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Platform Lighting Upgrades Completed — Metro says that platform-lighting upgrades at 48 underground stations have been completed one year ahead of schedule. The new brighter lights will “improve visibility and enhance safety and security while reducing energy costs,” according to the statement. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Nearby: Search Underway for Missing Adult — Local police are looking for Jose Rodriquez, 81, who was last seen on Aug. 24 at Huntington Metro Station. He is endangered due to mental or physical health concerns, police said. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Spots Still Available for Reston Association Dog Paddle — Several spots are available for this weekend’s dog paddle at North Hills Pool and Dogwood Pool. Pre-registration is required. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Work on a new walkway for Innovation Center Metro Station to Dulles Green Boulevard has been completed.

Roughly 270 linear feet of sidewalk were installed at the site, including a handrail and a two-curb ramp.

The project connects with the existing sidewalk from the new Metro station. A community review process was jumpstarted in 2017 by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Work on ensuring other Silver Line Metro Station continues to support pedestrian walkability is also underway.

Recently, Fairfax County completed the construction of a 10-foot wide concrete walkway along Dolley Madison Boulevard in Tysons. The project added 2,400 feet of liner walkway and allows for a safer connection between downtown McLean and area Metro stations.

Photo via FCDOT

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Town Center Updates Information on COVID-19 Safety — The town center now has 15-minute parking spots for curbside pickup. Additional seating is also available in the pavilion and Town Square Park. RTC has also increased the frequency of cleaning in all public spaces. [Reston Town Center]

Metro Ridership Increases as Agency Begins Restoring Service — “Daily ridership during Metro’s first week of nearly normal service in five months was up by several thousand, according to preliminary agency statistics. Ridership remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels, but the consistent daily increases show that more Washington-area residents are venturing out and resuming normal activities.” [The Washington Post]

Resources for Assisted Living Concerns — The Northern Virginia Longterm Care Ombudsman Program helps longterm care residents and their families resolve quality of care and quality of life issues at no charge. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Wednesday Morning Notes

FCPS to Host Town Hall Tonight — Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand will host a town hall at 6:30 p.m. to answer questions about the return to school plan. [FCPS]

Reston Association to Host Meeting on Lake Thoreau Situation — The association will host a virtual meeting on Aug. 31 to discuss issues related to an algae bloom and the treatment of Hydrilla at the lake. The meeting takes place via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. [RA]

Metrobus to Ramp Up Service This Sunday — “Metrobus will ramp up service Sunday, August 23, giving customers more options with more buses, operating on more routes, more frequently and with more hours of service. The changes will restore approximately 75 percent of Metrobus service.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Monday Morning Notes

How Rents Near Reston Metro Compare — “Rent near the East Falls Church and Tysons Corner stations is in the mid-range among DC Metro stops. But while the median price increased near Tysons Corner, it decreased near East Falls Church, according to the analysis.” [Reston Patch]

SAIC CFO Retires — “Reston-based defense contractor Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced Friday that Chief Financial Officer Charles A. Mathis will retire on Jan. 29, 2021.” [Virginia Business Monthly]

Feedback Sought on Grab and Go Meals — Fairfax County Public Schools are seeking feedback via a survey on its grab-and-go meal program for the next academic year. The survey will help the school system determine the best locations and bus routes for meal services. [FCPS]

Man Stabbed on Parcher Avenue — Police believe a man was stabbed by a group of men in a parking lot on the 13200 block of Parcher Avenue on August 13. The victim was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Fall Guide for Reston Community Center is Live — Although the guide will not be mailed this year, the online program includes a detailed breakdown of all offerings. Registration begins September 1 for Restonians and September 8 for all others. [Reston Community Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Metro’s services are gearing up for a return to a new normal.

More buses, trains and expanded hours of service are planned to begin this Sunday (Aug. 16), restoring most service to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Metrorail plans to add 15 hours of more service per week. Opening times will also return to normal, with the system closing two hours later each night in anticipation of ridership increases after Labor Day.

The system is expected to restore roughly 75 percent of its pre-pandemic service beginning August 23. Buses would operate until midnight and weekday service would return with 174 routes.

The opening of six Fairfax County stations on the Silver Line — including Wiehle-Reston East — is also on track to open on Sunday.

Here’s more from Metro on the planned service changes:

Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. on Sundays and close daily at 11 p.m.

Weekdays Red Line trains will operate every 5 minutes during peak periods and 12 minutes off-peak; all others lines every 8 minutes during peak periods and 15 minutes off-peak.

On weekends Red Line trains will operate every 12 minutes; all other lines every 15 minutes.

Six stations west of Ballston re-open – McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, Wiehle-Reston East and West Falls Church.

Arlington Cemetery Station remains closed as Arlington National Cemetery is currently closed to the general public. 

Face masks or covering are required to travel on Metro, including at stations, trains, buses and MetroAccess vehicles.

Metro also warns that social distancing may be impossible due to projected ridership increases. Customers can consider traveling during off-peak hours.

Photo via Fairfax Connector

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Call for Absentee Votes — The county is opening 14 locations for in-person absentee voting starting Oct. 14. Residents can also apply for an absentee ballot via mail. [Fairfax County Government]

Metro to Restore Service in August — “Metro is increasing service for Metrorail starting Aug. 16 and Metrobus starting Aug. 23. It’s part of the transit agency’s plan to ramp up service throughout the coronavirus pandemic and return to full service in spring 2021.” [DCist]

White Fairfax County police officer formally indicted — “Prosecutors have formally indicted a white Fairfax County police officer charged with assault after firing a stun gun at an African American man. The procedural move means Fairfax County prosecutors are dropping three assault charges against officer Tyler Timberlake in General District Court and instead opting for a grand jury indictment that will allow him to be tried by a jury in Circuit Court.” [WJLA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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