Reston, VA

When the Silver Line suspends rail service west of Ballston this summer, drivers can use free parking at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

Fairfax County announced yesterday that the station will have free parking while work is underway to connect the Silver Line Phase II stations, which will run from Reston to Ashburn.

Metro wasn’t originally planning to add the upcoming Silver Line stations, but due to lower ridership, Metro decided to add the Silver Line work to its summer closure of the Orange Line in parts of Northern Virginia.

“The closures begin Memorial Day weekend 2020 and are expected to continue through the fall,” according to the county.

Photo by Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of deferring a decision on a request to reduce parking at a major mixed-use project near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D) motioned that the board postpone a decision on the proposal by Boston Properties to a later date.

“Considering the history of Boston Properties and parking in Reston, I deferred the decision on Reston Gateway in order to get more information on Boston Properties’ assumptions on parking needs at Reston Gateway,” Alcorn wrote in statement to Reston Now.

The developer is seeking to provide 1,663 fewer parking spaces than what was already approved for Reston Gateway, a mixed-use development currently under construction between Reston Town Center Metro Station and RTC.

Alcorn said that he wants to take a closer look at the assumptions Boston Properties used to guide its decision. For example, the company assumes that “residents and visitors to the development will require parking at rates no higher than similarly-located transit-oriented development in Arlington,” he said.

Overall, the proposal aims to reduce parking by 20 percent. Residential parking for the 2,010 units planned on the site would take the biggest hit, with an average reduction of 38 percent.

So far, county staff backed Boston Properties’ proposal, which it says is acceptable because of the site’s proximity to the Metro station and the need to reduce parking demand by encouraging other modes of transportation.

Reston Gateway includes nine buildings spread over 33 acres. The first phase of the project — which includes office space anchored by Fannie Mae — is currently under construction.

Handout via Fairfax County Government

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Boston Properties is looking to reduce the amount of parking at Reston Gateway, a mixed-use project currently under construction between the Reston Town Center Metro Station and RTC.

The company wants to provide 1,663 fewer parking spaces than previously approved plans outlined. The move — which would parking by 20 percent — is being considered because of the project’s proximity to the future RTC Metro Station. Parking for residential units would drop by an average of 38 percent. The company also wants to drop any requirement for parking in the lodging component of the hotel on the site.

The county’s planning staff approved the request, noting that the mixed-use center is near a Metro Station where mass transit should be encouraged via parking reductions:

The character of high-density, mixed-use development, both at the subject site and surrounding neighborhoods, and the proximity to rail and other forms of transit, provides opportunities to reduce parking demand. Analysis of multi-family development adjacent to Metro stations has shown that residents of this type of housing are less likely to own one or more personal vehicles. The availability of Metrorail and other transportation options at the site will encourage people from other neighborhoods and communities to travel to the redevelopment area for work and leisure activities using alternative modes other than their personal vehicle. Collectively, these support the applicant’s proposal for this parking reduction based on the proximity of mass transit.

The proposal heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote on March 10.

The project includes nine blocks with nine buildings spread over 33 acres. It’s located on the north side of Sunset Hills Road between Town Center Parkway and Reston Parkway. Four office buildings, three residential buildings with 2,010 units, two hotels and more than 162,000-square-foot in retail and restaurants, are planned on the site.

Crews are working on the first phase of construction, which includes four new buildings at the intersection fo Sunset Hills and Town Center Parkway. Fannie Mae plans to lease about 850,000 square feet of office space at the site.

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After brief changes to parking over Thanksgiving break, free holiday garage parking will return to Reston Town Center this month.

Although garage parking is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends, changes are planned for the holiday season. Typically, the first hour of parking is free on weekdays.

From Dec. 21 through New Year’s Day, garage parking will be free.

Parking was also free from Nov. 23 through Sunday (Dec. 1), in addition to the following holidays:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veteran’s Day

File photo

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Floodwaters at the Reston North Park and Ride have receded, leaving little damage at the site where water pooled up to the windshields’ of cars yesterday (July 8).

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation told Reston Now that there appears to be no damage to the pavement or drains, which were simply overwhelmed with the “massive amount of water.”

“We’re focusing on other areas,” Ellen Kamilakis said. “There are other heavily devastated areas in the county.”

Crews are currently on-site throughout the county to assess damages.

In early September 2011, floodwaters caused major damage at the Reston Park and Ride. Several vehicles were damaged during that storm.

The lot is located at the corner of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue.

Photo via AlphaPupObie/Twitter

 

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Verizon Wireless hopes to continue using a portion of Fox Mill Fire Station’s parking lot for a telecommunications facility.

The five-year lease, which could be extended for up to 25 years, would bring $30,000 to the county’s coffers in the lease’s first year. Annual payments would increase by 2.5 percent each year.

County officials do not expect that the company’s use of the parking lot will impact the station’s operations. The parking lot already has a monopole that was built by Cox Cable in the early 1980s.

The company built a fenced compound to store equipment needed to serve cable television subscribers and facilitate a relay station in the first responders’ emergency network.

In 1998, Verizon expanded Cox Cable’s compound by adding an additional 264 square feet. That lease ended last September.

Revenues collected from the lease would go to the county’s general fund.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the matter on Tuesday, May 21.

Map via handout/Fairfax County Government

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A parking dispute turned violent in Reston last week, police said.

Two people got into an argument in the parking lot of McDonalds at 11265 Roger Bacon Drive on April 11 at around 9:37 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

“The victim got out of their car and tried to block the other car from leaving by standing in front of it.  The driver allegedly struck the victim in the leg with his car and left the scene,” FCPD said.

No injuries were reported and the police are treating the incident as an assault. It’s unclear if the driver was charged.

In other news, the Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

2200 block of Centreville Road, purse from location

2200 block of Centreville Road, purse from location

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, property from vehicle

9800 block of Faust Drive, license plate from vehicle

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, merchandise from business

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

File photo

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A new rowing-focused studio in D.C. is eyeing Reston Town Center for its next location.

DC Row’s General Manager Brittany Brunch told Reston Now that the low-impact, full-body workout DC Row offers will be an appealing option for people working high-stress jobs, in addition to people already focused on exercise. “Northern Virginia generally has a pretty high fitness index,” Brunch said.

Like Reston residents, Reston Town Center has been established for a while, Jordan Newsome, one of the studio’s executives, told Reston Now. “We want to bring something new to them so that they come back out a little bit more [to Reston Town  Center].”

While Newsome and Brunch wouldn’t reveal the Reston location, they did say that locals can expect a pop-up near Reston Town Center before the grand opening.

The Reston location will offer similar classes to the ones currently at the D.C. location (790 Maine Avenue SW). Reston’s DC Row will cater to specialized groups, such as opportunities for corporate businesses to enjoy happy hours and gift bags after the classes and more time slots during the day for moms and pregnant women.

Like the D.C. spot, Brunch and Newsome said they want to get local kids involved. “Rowing is a collegiate sport,” Newsome said. “There are a lot of scholarships that go untouched every year.”

The controversial paid parking at Reston Town Center doesn’t have Newsome too worried.

“We are no stranger to paid parking,” Newsome said as he looked out of the window toward Main Avenue SW “The experience that we offer makes people want to come back, and they kind of seek out a way to get back. For as far as parking in Reston goes, I think it shouldn’t have too much of an effect on our business.”

Brunch added that DC Row is looking into subsidizing parking for customers at the Reston Town Center location.

No matter where DC Row goes, one principle stands out: “We really want to be apart of the community,” Newsome said.

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Another Reston Town Center restaurant is joining the fight against paid parking just months after the settlement of the first lawsuit challenging Boston Properties’ controversial parking system.

Uncle Julio’s filed a suit against Boston Properties and several affiliated limited liability companies for at least $5 million over the paid parking, the Washington Business Journal reported today (Jan. 11).

The Tex-Mex restaurant at 1827 Library Street claims in the suit that it has lost approximately $1 million in sales annually since paid parking was implemented in January 2017, according to the article.

Uncle Julio’s is suing RTC’s owners on several counts, including breach of contract and conspiracy, according to the story. Boston Properties has not yet responded to the lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 21 in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

Nearly two months ago, Boston Properties and Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge settled a dispute over the developer’s paid parking system. Jackson’s filed its suit, which also alleged breach of contract, in March 2017, Reston Now previously reported

Boston Properties continues to face an uproar from many local businesses and residents. In 2018, nine businesses closed at RTC, with several owners and employees telling Reston Now that the paid parking drove customers away.

In December alone, two restaurants — Hen Penny and Obi Sushi — left.

This year doesn’t look any better. Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, which are both operated by Williams-Sonoma Inc, are set to close at RTC later this month.

Image via Google Maps

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The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is gearing up to study parking management options, which could add paid parking in Reston and Tysons.

FCDOT hopes to hire a professional parking consultant to explore parking management, which FCDOT says would fulfill the vision of the Comprehensive Plan for each area.

It would also reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions from drivers circling blocks to find free street parking and create a new revenue stream, FCDOT argues.

Henri Stein McCartney, a transportation planner for FCDOT, updated the county’s Transportation Committee yesterday (Dec. 11) on the proposal and gave examples of managed parking: pay for parking and time restricted parking.

The paid parking model can support different technologies — space occupancy sensors, space finding systems, smartphone apps, kiosks, etc. — that can help people find a spot, while also assisting enforcement, she said.

The other option is time restricted parking, which can limit parking during certain times of the days or set a certain allotted time for each car. While FCDOT expects the second option would pose more enforcement challenges, license plate readers, street cameras and space occupancy sensors can assist with policing the parking.

The consultant could measure existing on-street and off-street parking supply and demand in Reston and Tysons and then model future parking supply and demand. The consultant could also recommend appropriate strategies to the board and also put forward implementation and outreach plans.

McCartney highlighted one potential challenge: designing a parking plan that does not push cars into nearby neighborhoods with free parking. “That’s a scenario we want to avoid,” she said.

With the project in its “preliminary stages,” McCartney said the study — which FCDOT estimates will cost $100,000 — will help figure out what the projected revenue could be from paid parking and citations from parking tickets.

“I’m sure there will be interest in what kind of money it makes,” Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth said at the meeting. “We need to keep that in mind.”

Some of the supervisors raised concerns about the proposal.

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook cautioned against spending the money on the study without a “functional purpose we are clearly stating.”

“We need to be clear about why we want to do this,” he said, noting that urban areas may need parking management. “I don’t think you get the consultant to come up with the reason.”

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity stressed that parking availability and fees drive behavior, mentioning the “angst,” loss in revenue for businesses and the complexity surrounding Reston Town Center’s paid parking system.

“It does have an impact on businesses,” Herrity said, adding that he supports hiring a consultant to conduct the study. “You have some good ideas in here.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins responded by saying that the “problem in Reston” stemmed from unclear goals. “I think the mistakes that were made in the past can be a helpful learning process,” she said.

She stressed that the purpose of the “needed proposal” should not focus on collecting money, but instead on helping transportation in an urban setting, especially Tysons.

FCDOT plans to update and consult with the board as the process continues.

While the plan does not have a timeline yet, McCartney said FCDOT “would move fairly quickly” to hire a consultant for the study acquires funding.

After board approval, FCDOT would work with stakeholders — the Office of County Attorney, Fairfax County Police Department, the Office of Community Revitalization, the Department of Planning and Zoning, Land Development Services and others. Together, they would update ordinances, set meter rates, select vendors and begin outreach efforts to businesses and the community.

“The last thing you want is employees and Metro riders parking on the street during the day, but short term-term customers don’t have a place to park,” the board’s Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “I think we’re doing the right thing starting out with a study.”

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Birthday bash for Mark Twain — Reston Regional Library will celebrate from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. the famous American humorist, who died in 1910 and would have been 183 years old on Nov. 30. [Fairfax County]

Senior movie day — The Reston Association’s “Meet Me at the Movies” will screen “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” — the 2018 documentary about Fred Rogers — at 10 a.m. with free refreshments. Tickets are free for people age 55 and older. The monthly movie event is done in cooperation with the Bow-Tie Cinemas at Reston Town Center and is sponsored by Tall Oaks Assisted Living. [Reston Association]

Paid parking lawsuit ends in a settlement — Boston Properties agreed to a settlement with Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge, bringing a close to the restaurant’s lawsuit over the mixed-use development’s paid parking system. [Faifax County Times]

Reston Rotary Club networking — The club will host a networking event tonight from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Reston Hyatt’s bar in the lobby. [Reston Rotary Club]

Flickr pool photo via Chris Gordon 

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A lawsuit by a Reston Town Center retailer against Boston Properties in response to the developer’s paid parking system has been settled.

Under the agreement, customers of Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge will be offered a special parking arrangement. Guests will be able to enter their license plate number into one of the pay stations in the Orange Garage or on a tablet inside Jackson’s to validate parking.

“Both parties look forward to continuing their 10-year relationship at Reston Town Center,” according to a statement published by the company.

The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. A representative for Boston Properties declined to comment further on the deal or release any details.

Jackson’s sued Boston Properties in Fairfax County Circuit Court alleging breach of contract in March 2017. The suit sought the immediate termination of paid parking, $500,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. Company officials stated that the restaurant suffered major disruptions since paid parking went into effect.

A number of other restaurants have cited the paid parking system as cause for leaving Reston Town Center in recent months.

This story has been updated.

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Under SEC investigation — ComScore, a Reston-based audience company, issued new financial statements showing it overstated revenue by $127 million. [Washington Business Journal]

29 acres are up for grabs — Fannie Mae is expected to vacate three major buildings in the area as it moves to Reston Gateway in 2022. Who will fill the void? [Washington Business Journal]

If you’re heading out to Wiehle-Reston East parking garage — Parking may be limited at times as construction continues in the area. Commuters can park at Reston South Park & Ride for free. [Fairfax Connector]

Flickr pool photo via vantagehill

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Final tweaks to a shared parking agreement are underway as Boston Properties prepares to construct the last office property available in Reston Town Center’s urban core.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal Tuesday to remove roughly 78,823 square feet of future office space covered under RTC’s shared parking agreement.

Some office tenants in a future office building on Block 5, home to 17Fifty (1750 Presidents Drive), which is set to open in 2020, will park in reserved spots in a below-grade garage.

The shared parking agreement serves Phase I of RTC, a 44-acre swath of land in the center’s 84-acre urban core. If the proposal is approved, 226 parking spaces will be reserved for corresponding future office space equal to 86,923 square feet and 3,000 spaces will remain for shared uses.

The request is in response to a change in the mix of uses in the area, particularly in 17Fifty, the future of home of Leidos, Instead of a mix of office and retail, the 17-story tower will be solely composed of office space.

The overall impact of the change is minimal, said Rich Ellis, vice president of Boston Properties.

“All we’re doing is a re-tabulation of what’s required as several uses have changed,” he said.

Shared parking for the theater, eating establishments, hotels and hotel function space will remain unchanged.

Ellie Codding, the county’s director of the code development and the compliance division of land development services, said the change covers proposed buildings in response to a tenant-specific request.

Previously under this agreement, parking spaces were being shared by all office, retail, restaurant, hotel, and theatre uses. The modified agreement, if approved, would decrease the square footage of office space that shares parking under the agreement,” she said.

A parking analysis indicates 3,000 parking spaces are “sufficient to serve the mix of remaining non-residential uses” and will not reduce parking beyond 29.3 percent, a reduction approved by the county in 2014, according to county documents.

Photo via handout

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A new waiting area is available at the Wiehle-Reston East station.

Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as shuttle buses and vans, can use the lot, which was opened today, to drop off and pick up passengers, according to a release from Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

Vehicles can enter the waiting area from Reston Station Boulevard off of Wiehle Avenue. Parking is allowed for 15 minutes only. Pedestrians can use the crosswalk at Reston Station Boulevard and Wiehle Avenue to access the waiting area.

Any unattended vehicles will be towed. Vehicles stopping and standing along Reston Station Boulevard will be ticketed.

For more information, contact Connect and Ride at 703-502-9797.

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