Another capital improvement project is moving closer to completion in the Town of Herndon.
The Herndon Town Council unanimously voted in favor of awarding a contract to Fort Myer Construction Corporation for improvements at the Elden and Center streets intersection during its public session on May 11.
Fort Myer submitted a bid of $863,000, the lowest of five bids that the town received for the project.
The project will reconstruct and realign the existing intersection “to incorporate additional turn lanes as well as a new fully operational traffic signal,” Herndon Deputy Director of Public Works John Irish says.
According to the project description, the lane and signal changes will be installed in conjunction with improvements to the existing storm drain system and enhancements to pedestrian facilities located at the intersection, including the addition of brick sidewalks.
The project description states that these enhancements “will assist with the existing and future mixed-use residential development on Center Street which places greater traffic volumes in this project area.”
The project is expected to be completed by 2023.
Up to 50% of the construction contract will be covered by reimbursement funds through a revenue-sharing agreement between Herndon and the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Irish told the council during a work session on May 4 that the cost fell below the $930,000 that had been budgeted for the project.
He added that the plan to make up the half of the costs not supported by revenue-sharing funds is to use local funds collected from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The NVTA funds come from the 30% local distribution revenue given to localities for transportation projects through House Bill 2313, which was passed in 2013.
The Elden-Center Street project is one of 48 capital projects included in Herndon’s FY 2021 – FY 2026 Capital Improvement Program that was adopted June 9, 2020. Irish says this is the first of several capital improvement projects that will be brought before the town council in the next few months.
Image via Town of Herndon
Northern Virginia’s Growth and Its Impact on Leasing — “From Arlington to Herndon, the economic upswing following 2008 continues to spur growth throughout many parts of Northern Virginia. According to JLL Research, the region reported its highest positive net absorption in nearly a decade by the end of 2019. Spearheaded by the “War on Terror,” the last comparable development and expansion period came from government and defense contractors vying for space in the early 2000s.” [Washington Business Journal]
Stateside: Ban on Assault Weapons Fails — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates.” [WTOP]
Fairfax County Reconsiders Mother-in-Law Suites — “Fairfax County could soon substantially loosen its regulations governing accessory dwelling units, perhaps following the lead of D.C. and other local jurisdictions looking to expand available housing options for renters.” [Washington Business Journal]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
More than 200 fine artists from across the country will come for Greater Reston Arts Center’s 28th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.
The outdoor festival will take place at Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street) on May 17 through May 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
On Friday (May 17), town center merchants will offer “Festival Friday” deals. A “Festival Party” on Saturday (May 18) from 7-10 p.m. will feature this year’s awards of excellence. Food is catered in-kind by Not Your Average Joe’s and the event is sponsored by M Group Architects. The party is free for GRACE’s sponsors, supporters, and all festival artists, according to event organizers.
A movement installation by Heidi Latsky will celebrate the beauty of differences. The performance is sponsored by Reston Community Center and will take place on Saturday (May 18) at 7 p.m. during the party and at Reston Town Square Park on Sunday (May 19) at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Artists featured in the festival were selected by an independent panel of professional jurors, with some help from GRACE’s curatorial staff. Sofia Blom, GRACE’s gallery and communications manager, said the following about the selection process:
The three highly qualified jurors for the 2019 Festival are Nehemiah Dixon III, a widely exhibited native Washingtonian artist; Lauren Hilyard, a Washington-based art advisor with 20 years of experience working for the Guggenheim Museum and Christie’s Auction House among others; and Laura Roulet, an independent curator and writer and frequent contributor to Sculpture Magazine. These three jurors will also judge each artist booth on Friday and Saturday to select the ten Awards of Excellence. Each winner will receive a $500 cash prize, a blue ribbon for booth display, and automatic acceptance into the 2020 Northern Virginia FineArts Festival.
Over 500 volunteers are needed for the event. Signup is available online.
Photo by Charlotte Geary
Metro from the future — Future SmarTrip options may include key fobs and stickers. For now, hang on to those cards. [WTOP]
Cycling on down memory lane — Green Lizard Cycling in downtown Herndon celebrated its fifth anniversary this month. Congrats from your neighbors! [The Connection]
Only going up from here — The population is booming in Northern Virginia but shrinking in many rural localities. You’ll never guess where Reston falls in the mix. [Capital News Service]
Young at art — High school artists explore the theme of “becoming” at the Greater Reston Arts Center’s new exhibition. [Fairfax County Times]
The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is holding its annual seedling sale for Northern Virginia residents starting this month.
Two seedling packages are being offered for sale. The shrub and small tree package is on sale for $16.95 with 10 seeds, and the tree package features six seedlings for $11.95.
The native seedling sale helps to clean up the water and air. It also helps to prevent soil erosion by keeping the soil in place, said Lily Whitesell, a watershed specialist.
This year’s seedling packages are deer tolerant. Some of the species featured in the seedling packages are less palatable to deer and are fast growing so they can handle some deer as well.
“Across Fairfax County, we’ve really seen a lot of the understory of wooded areas be decimated by deer. We hope this will also help regenerate that growth,” Whitesell said.
Some of the featured plants include Eastern redbud, pawpaw, shortleaf pine, silky dogwood and witchhazel.
“The redbud is of interest to a lot of people because it has a really beautiful spring blossom. A lot of people this time of year are really thinking about the witchhazel because it has a very cool flower in the winter,” Whitesell said.
To keep the seedlings cheap, they are bought in bulk. If someone were to buy the same seedlings sold by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at the store, it would cost somewhere between $20 and several hundred dollars, she added.
Customers have until April 11 to order seedlings and can pick them up at the Packard Center in Annandale on April 20 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. or on April 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Giving Circle of HOPE, a philanthropic club founded by Reston women in 2004, will celebrate another year of giving and grant distribution at its second annual Big Give on Nov. 9.
Representatives from area nonprofit organizations will pitch their projects at the event, which will take place at Refraction Reston (11911 Freedom Drive) from 6:30 – 9 p.m. Attendees will vote on which program to support.
The organization selected three nonprofits to present their ideas: Fairfax CASA, an organization that works with abused and neglected children referred by the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court; BRAWS, which provides women in shelters with undergarments and feminine hygiene products; and NAMI Northern Virginia, a local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
GCH says the event marks the culmination of this year’s grant-making season. In a press release, organizers said they hope the event will empower the community to embrace the power of collective giving.
“Understanding the needs of the underserved in Northern Virginia and making a difference with a small philanthropic investment collectively creates positive change. This event gives a voice to the issues, while also providing a transformative impact through the community we create among ourselves and those we serve,” said Cyndi Shanahan, GCH’s governance chair.
The keynote speaker is Catherine Read, a strategist and advocate for DC-area nonprofits, according to the release. In 2007, Read launched Creative Read Inc., a consultancy that helps professionals use online marketing and social media to grow their businesses.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on the organization’s website. Voting members do not have to buy tickets to attend.
The Virginia Department of Transportation says it has filled more than 10,000 potholes in Fairfax and surrounding counties as of late last week. Crews are using a “cold” and “hot” mix asphalt, with both mechanized and hand work to fill the holes.
Crews also have the mechanized “pothole killers” that shoot a temporary asphalt patch. VDOT owns two “Python 5000s,” which make a permanent patch with a scraper and roller in about two minutes. There are only a handful of Pythons in use in the United States, with about 30 total in operation, says VDOT.
Crews are also using Aquaphalt, a fast-drying material that creates a durable, permanent patch.
VDOT also says it will start a $168 million paving project in April that will further improve roads and rides for drivers across the region.
“This is the largest paving season we’ve seen in Northern Virginia,” said Branco Vlacich, VDOT’s district maintenance engineer, said in a statement. “We estimate crews will place about one million tons of asphalt and four million linear feet of pavement markings this spring.”
Vlacich says the $168 million in paving includes “31 lane miles of interstates, almost 50 lane miles of primary routes as well as extensive paving on secondary roads and neighborhood streets of almost 1,000 lane miles. Crews are also extending the life of more than 110 lane miles with preventative maintenance such as latex and sealing.”
See roads scheduled for paving in Northern Virginia, see this interactive map on VDOT’s website.
Regarding potholes, VDOT asks drivers to continue to be alert to lane closures for patching. Crews in northern Virginia are on the road from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, and may work other times outside of rush hours.
Drivers can report potholes to VDOT online or to operators 24/7 at VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).
VDOT is responsible for the vast majority of roads in Fairfax County. Some roads are maintained by the county, however. If you see damage on a county road, call 703-877-2800. In Reston, many residential streets are maintained privately. If there is damage on your street, contact your homeowners association.
For more information on how potholes form and what to do if your car sustains damage, visit this VDOT page.
Have you seen any potholes that still need attention in Reston? Tell us in the comments.
Photo: Pothole/Credit: State Farm Insurance
Update, Tuesday 5:20 p.m. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency for Virginia. This an authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the major snow storm that is forecast to hit the Commonwealth Wednesday.
Update, Tuesday 9:30 a.m. — Current forecasting models say as little as three inches or as many as 20 may fall in the Metro D.C. area. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang breaks it down.
The biggest snowstorm of the season may be on the way for Northern Virginia.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the area from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening.
The event could bring as much as five or more inches of snow. The NWS expects to update the forecast Tuesday, and Reston Now will report any changes.
Here is the full forecast from the NWS:
… WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW AND SLEET
* ACCUMULATIONS… THE POTENTIAL FOR 5 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET.
* TIMING… SNOW IS EXPECTED TO MOVE IN FROM THE SOUTH WEDNESDAY EVENING. SNOW MAY MIX WITH SLEET AND RAIN LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY. THE SNOW COULD BE HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE MID TO UPPER 20S 20S WEDNESDAY NIGHT… SLOWLY RISING INTO THE LOWER AND MIDDLE 30S THURSDAY AFTERNOON.
* WINDS… NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* IMPACTS… ROADS MAY BECOME SNOW AND SLEET COVERED AND SLIPPERY. TRAVEL MAY BE DANGEROUS WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY. HEAVY WET SNOW COULD LEAD TO SOME POWER OUTAGES.
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.