Fairfax Closures for Memorial Day Weekend — Fairfax County government offices will be closed this weekend through Monday, as will libraries, schools and animal shelters. Public transit, trash pickup, recycling centers and recreation centers will all operate on a normal schedule. [Fairfax County]
Free RECenter Admission for Veterans on Memorial Day — Fairfax County Park Authority will honor former veterans and those in active duty Monday with free access to RECenters and lakefront parks. [Fairfax County]
Appian Now Open for Stock Trade — Trading on NASDAQ has begun for Appian, a Reston-based group that provides cloud-based business process management software solutions. Managed by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs & Co., stock is available for $12 a share and the trade will be open until May 31. Appain has approximately 280 customers and will use the money raised to pay off loans and expansion expenses. [Washington Business Journal]
Scrawl Books Morning Story Time — Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center will have its weekly story time at 10:30 a.m. today. [Reston Town Center]
Metro’s Silver Line Will Get 7000 Series Railcars — Starting around June 25, the Silver Line will have two new 7000 Series trains added on weekdays to provide additional capacity. All previous trains have been the older versions that only feature six railcars, while the 7000 Series has eight. The cars are funded by the Metro Washington Airports Authority. [NBC Washington]
Metro’s Art in Transit Program is recommending the vision of a Colorado-based artist to become the motif of the future Reston Town Center Metro station.
Last week, the program unveiled the proposal of Joshua Wiener as its pick for the public art installation at the station’s walkways over the Dulles Toll Road. Wiener’s designs, which are shown on his personal website, consist of powder-coated aluminum sculptures of a bassist, a horn player and a drummer, as well as flowing red and teal ribbon designs down the corridors.
Wiener’s proposal was chosen over two other finalists. The program received 45 total submissions for the project. The Art Review Panel included the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Public Art Reston and other Virginia-based visual art professionals.
According to the Art in Transit Program, the public art initiative benefits Metro as a whole by:
- Creating attractive transit facilities
- Building livable communities by creating public spaces that reflect the artistic, cultural and historic environment
- Creating economic opportunities for artists, engineers, fabricators and other professionals
WMATA’s Customer Service Operations and Security Committee approved the proposal at its Thursday meeting. The full WMATA board will vote on it this summer. Upon board approval, WMATA will enter into contract with Wiener to develop, fabricate and install the artwork.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing construction of Phase II of the Silver Line, is funding the public art effort. The project’s funding is capped at $250,000.
(Updated at 12:10 p.m. after Reston Association’s annual Community Yard Sale was postponed.)
Another SafeTrack Surge Starts Next Week — Metro’s latest round of work will have five stations on the east end of the Orange Line closed, which will also affect Silver Line traffic. Tuesday through June 15, trains will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Stadium-Armory only every 12 minutes. This means more than 50 percent fewer trains during morning peak hours. Fairfax County is suggesting alternatives for commuters, including car pooling and buses. [WMATA]
League of American Cyclists Honors County — Fairfax County has been recognized with Bronze-level status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. It is one of 416 communities nationwide that have been honored. [Fairfax County]
Community Yard Sale Postponed to Sunday — With rain in the forecast, Reston Association’s annual Community Yard Sale has been postponed from Saturday. It will now be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at 1900 Campus Commons Drive, at the corner of Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue. Those planning to attend are still encouraged to call 703-435-6577 after 4:30 a.m. Sunday to check the event’s status. [Reston Association]
County Embracing Driverless Future — Fairfax County is the testing ground for self-driving cars and connected infrastructure in Virginia. Officials recently brought in autonomous-vehicle experts, policymakers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs to share their research. [Fairfax County]
Reston Couple Share Love Story — Roger and Anita Lowen are approaching 50 years of marriage. It all started, they remember, with a prank call. [Washington Post]
Reston Family Yard Sale Taking Place Saturday — At least 90 families are signed up to sell their use treasures this Saturday, May 13 for the massive Reston Family Yard Sale at 1900 Campus Commons Dr., at the corner of Sunrise Valley and Wiehle Avenue. The shopping frenzy is slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. when the gates open. If the weather looks questionable Saturday morning, call 703-435-6577 for a recorded message. Rain date is May 14. All vendor spaces are sold out. [Reston Now Events]
Congress Ponies Up $150 Million Again For Metro — According to a statement from Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-10th), Congress late last week reaffirmed its yearly promise for 2017 to give the D.C. Metro system $150 million, matching the sum of the $50-million contributions each made by Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The matching grant agreement dates back to 2008, when Congress voted to create the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) by which Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia each contribute $50 million annually for Metro’s capital needs, which is then matched by $150 million in federal funds. Each year since, Congress has followed through and presented its share of the funds. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]
Reston’s Production of ‘Private Lives’ Gets Positive Review — Reston Community Players’ CenterStage production of Noel Coward’s iconic “Private Lives” opened this past weekend and is already racking up positive reviews. The D.C. Metro Theater Arts blog gave it a lengthy and complimentary review, calling it one of the group’s “classiest acts,” and praising both set designer Maggie Modig’s creations as well as William Chrapcynski’s sound design, proclaiming them “flawless.” “Private Lives” has several more show dates through May 20, including a Mother’s Day matinee. [D.C. Metro Theatre Arts]
Alexandria Schools Delayed, Locked Down Due to Armed Robbery — Fairfax County police reported Tuesday morning that several schools in the Alexandria area were on delayed start and/or were locked down after an armed robbery took place nearby in the 5900 block of Edgehill Drive, including Mt. Eagle and Cameron Run elementary schools. Air support and K9 dog units were assisting police in searching for a suspect, described as a white male in his 20s to 30s, about 6’1″ tall, wearing white shoes, dark shorts and a blue-gray jacket. [Fairfax County Police/Twitter]
Many were shocked when WMATA announced late Friday that the next phase of SafeTrack work will mean the closing of several stations and shutdown of line segments, rather than the original plan of continuous single-tracking on certain Metro lines.
As WMATA announced on Friday, the final two SafeTrack surges set to begin this month will mostly affect the Orange and Red Lines, but as usual, the work on those lines will cause a ripple affect on other lines as well, including Reston’s Silver Line trains.
Commuters who regularly take the Orange and Red Lines may want to look into alternate modes of transportation, particularly since what was originally planned to be single-tracking of some segments will now be “line-segment shutdowns,” officials said Friday. In addition, several stations will be closed.
“In order to minimize the customer impact elsewhere on the system and to maximize productivity, the surges, which were originally planned as continuous single tracking, will instead be ‘line segment shutdowns,’ where buses will replace trains at selected stations,” officials said on WMATA’s website.
Restonians should be aware that all of this means there will be roughly half as many Silver Line trains operating during peak rush-hour than usual during this next SafeTrack surge, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16 to Thursday, June 15.
If you are planning to attend the People’s Climate Movement on Saturday in DC, traveling there by Metro may prove more difficult than expected.
Planned track work on the transit system this weekend will have the line between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle closed down, with work being done to replace ceiling tiles at Farragut West, McPherson Square and the lower level of Metro Center. Silver Line trains from Wiehle-Reston East will only be traveling as far as Ballston, leaving every 20 minutes.
Anyone traveling to downtown DC from Reston will need to transfer to an Orange Line train at Ballston, a Blue Line train at Rosslyn and then a Yellow Line train at the Pentagon. Stephen Cerny of Reston, a former member of Metro’s Riders’ Advisory Council who plans to attend the Climate Movement, is concerned that will cause major issues for those traveling in for the event from the area.
“Given that the march will draw hundreds of thousands, Metro is facing a public relations disaster given the disruptions it will cause and a loss of all the goodwill it earned for its excellent service during the Jan. 21 Women’s March,” Cerny said. “It’s very likely that the platforms will be severely overcrowded and will likely lead to service disruptions.”
Richard Jordan, a spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said it is not anticipated that there will be any problems Saturday associated with the Climate Movement.
“Yes, just as there was track work during the Science March last weekend,” Jordan said when asked if Metro was aware of the maintenance work’s timing in relation to Saturday’s event. “We believe that planned service will be more than adequate to accommodate ridership demand.”
About 15,000 people attended the March for Science on April 22 at the National Mall. Cerny and other activists are hoping for a much larger turnout for the Climate Movement protest Saturday. Attendance for the Women’s March on Washington in January was estimated at over 400,000.
Helene Shore, co-founder of locally based environmental group 350 Fairfax, will be traveling to Saturday’s event on a bus along with other Reston-area activists. She said there has been “some talk” about concerns related to Metro service, but she remains confident there will be a large turnout from Fairfax County and beyond.
“They are expecting lots of people coming,” Shore said. “Buses are coming from all over the country.”
Silver Line trains from Reston will only travel as far as Ballston beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, through the close of service Sunday.
Speaking to community business leaders Thursday in Herndon, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the amount of development taking place within Reston’s Transit Station Areas has surpassed expectations and has positioned Reston as an economic driver for the county, region and state.
At the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s legislative panel event, Hudgins said she and others believed Tysons Corner would grow faster than Reston when their respective plans were first laid out.
“I think it’s the reverse of that now, and I think it’s the reverse of it because Reston is a very stable community,” Hudgins said. “[It is] a community well-established, different from this [transit-oriented] development but very much in concert with it.”
Hudgins showed her audience a map featuring the three Reston TSAs — encompassing the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations — and pointed out more than 40 development projects that are in the works within those boundaries.
“This would not be happening if we had not approved the transit that is coming to the area,” she said. “It’s working.”
Hudgins said the Tax Service Districts that have been established in Reston and Tysons in order to help fund transportation improvements in the community were “a lot of work” to develop, but they represent a “success model” for the county. She said increasing public transit and making more walkable communities around the stations is “a creative, very smart way to approach how we develop and keep economic development going.”
“Many folks — not just millenials, but seniors — find it important to be able to live in a community where everything is at their fingertips,” Hudgins said. “[With transit-oriented development], they feel that there is housing that fits for them, there’s recreation that fits for them, and there are restaurants and the thriving other services that they need. They aren’t getting in their car. They want to be able to walk or take transit, and that’s what’s happening here.”
Hudgins said that when the Reston Plan was approved over 50 years ago, it said “Fairfax County would be wise if they would establish these areas, preserving more open space for single-family homes and others, but bringing these more dense areas to concentrate things.”
“Fifty years later, we’re getting there,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the story about how Fairfax County continues to thrive.”
There may be a sense of frustration and concern regarding ongoing construction of Metro’s Silver Line, area elected officials said Thursday, but its great potential must be remembered.
Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and state delegates Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) and Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax/Loudoun) talked about Metro and the surrounding future development during a legislative panel discussion sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Dominion Virginia Power in Herndon. Plum, the former state chair of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association, said it is important to put the status of Metro’s Silver Line in perspective.
“We really ought to stop for a moment and celebrate where we are,” Plum said. “For 25 years of my life I worked on that project, and it was announced to be dead half a dozen times, at least. … Now, by 2020, we’re going to have it all the way out into Loudoun County. And we have an incredible opportunity with that.”
A large amount of development has happened or is in the works in the area of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, the current western terminus of the Silver Line. Other projects are also springing up near the line’s future stations in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
The Metro Washington Airport Authority’s Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, which is overseeing construction, announced recently that Phase 2 work to extend Metro through Reston into Dulles Airport and onward to Ashburn is more than 56 percent complete. However, deficiencies in Metro’s budget and decreasing ridership have raised a number of questions in recent months about the future viability of the transit system.
Boysko, whose district includes Herndon, praised the state’s creation of the Metrorail Safety Commission to examine how Metro is being organized and managed. She said as Phase 2 of the project continues, it is imperative that safety issues as well as financial and operational performance are properly monitored and addressed.
“People say this is the least functional transit system in the country,” she said. “We have such a great opportunity as we are expanding into Phase 2, [but] it has to be a success. We have really focused our economic development around Phase 2 being successful.”
Hudgins, who is also a member of Metro’s Board of Directors, said this is a conversation she “live[s] every day.” She said Metro is unique in many ways, most notably in its partnership between multiple jurisdictions as well as in its infrastructure itself.
“I think people need to understand, it is a different kind of railroad,” she said. “That system is one of the most difficult systems [to maintain] of all those in the country.”
Plum said Metro needs to be revitalized, and in order for that to happen, it needs to continue to receive the support of the surrounding community.
“Please, don’t wash your hands of Metro,” Plum said. “It’s vital to the economic development of our region and I think we all recognize [that].”
The legislative recap event sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is a chance for local businesspeople to keep abreast of important issues in the community, said Mark Ingrao, GRCC president and CEO.
“We’re a catalyst for business growth and entrepreneurship in this area of Fairfax County,” he said. “We think that we have the type of programming our members are looking for to connect them with other businesses [and] to educate them on legislative things like this.”
Report: Golf Course Could Sell for $25-$35M — Real-estate news website GlobeSt.com reported earlier this week that it hears anyone who buys Reston National Golf Course for that price and gets approval for development might be looking at a $200 million windfall. [GlobeSt.com]
Mobile DMV Service Coming to Reston — DMV 2 Go, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ mobile service, will soon visit Reston. DMV 2 Go is a handicapped-accessible full-service office that provides all DMV transactions. The mobile DMV will be at the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 3-6. [Virginia DMV]
Independent Panel to Study Metro’s Woes — Former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood will take charge of a panel to examine Metro’s governance and long-term financial needs. Meanwhile, Metro’s general manager says the system needs major work to fix its “unsustainable cost model.” [Washington Post]
South Lakes Lacrosse Team Kicks Off 2017 — The Seahawks’ boys lacrosse team won its conference and advanced to the state tournament last year. They started the 2017 season with a 16-3 win over Fairfax last week, and though they dropped their second contest to Stone Ridge, they still have big dreams. [South Lakes Athletics]
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.
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
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 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’ 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]
Have Coffee with a Cop — The Herndon Police Department is inviting community members out to Virginia Kitchen (450 Elden St.) on Monday morning for coffee and conversation. [Herndon Police Department/Facebook]
Metro Rate Hikes Get Approval — As expected, the Metro Finance Committee voted Thursday to increase rates and reduce rush-hour service. The Board will make the final vote March 23 on what would be Metro’s first rate hike in three years. [WTOP]
County Seeking Input on New Website — As Fairfax County has plans to update its website, it is inviting feedback from the community in the process. The county has devised four example pages of possible new designs, as well as surveys to find out what is most important to users. [Fairfax County]
Local Artist’s Work Displayed at NYC Gallery — The art of Herndon-based Lisa Tureson is being exhibited at New York’s Touchstone Gallery through April 2. “Scribbles” was inspired by street art in Denmark. [Reston Connection]
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]
The Metro board is set to vote Thursday to approve an FY2018 budget that includes 10-cent fare increases on rush-hour rides and 25-cent hikes at other times. Regular and express bus fares will also go up by 25 cents, while the rate for the bus to Dulles Airport will jump from $7 to $9.75.
Ridership on Metro plummeted from 2015 to 2016, with stations in Virginia seeing a decrease in users of more than 12 percent when comparing the fourth quarters of each year. Wiehle-Reston East’s decrease was 13.4 percent, the greatest drop among Virginia stations on the Silver Line, which had a 9 percent decrease overall.
Service frequency during rush hour outside of DC will also be decreased as part of the plan. For the Silver Line, trains will run every eight minutes instead of the current six-minute interval. The original proposal had called for off-peak frequency to be decreased as well, from 12 minutes to 15; however, that has been dropped from the final plan.
Virginia representatives on the Metro board discussed the proposed changes, as well as increased local contributions to the budget, during a January public forum in Reston.
The new rates are expected to go into effect around July 1.
Police: Bodies Found in County Park Linked to Gang Activity — Two sets of human remains were located Friday in a park near Falls Church. These are just the latest apparent victims of gang activity in Fairfax County, Police Chief Edwin Roessler said. [WTOP]
Registration for SLHS Summer Sports Camps Underway — Signups are now available for youths looking to participate in summer camps for basketball, field hockey, football, lacrosse and volleyball. [South Lakes High School]
Another Round of Metro SafeTrack Work in State — Work on the Blue and Yellow lines in Northern Virginia began over the weekend and will last into April. This is expected to be the final round of the work. County supervisors Sharon Bulova and Cathy Hudgins are urging patience from commuters. [Washington Post]
Feds: Herndon Man Previously Jailed for Bank Robberies Strikes Again — Bruce Wayne Higgins Jr. served four years in prison after robbing banks in D.C. and Arlington in 2009. Now law enforcement says he committed heists at five more banks in December in Baltimore, Ocean City and Atlantic City. [NJ.com]