Morning Notes

Bench flowers at Vantage Hill (via vantagehill/Flickr)

CDC Updates Mask Guidance — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends masks indoors in places with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission and in schools nationwide, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. The Virginia Department of Health told Reston Now that it is analyzing the new guidance. “We continue to emphasize that the only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination,” VDH said in a statement. [Associated Press]

Plastic Bag Tax Public Hearing Scheduled — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized a public hearing for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 to gather community input on a proposed five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags. If the ordinance is approved, Fairfax County would be the second locality in Virginia to adopt a bag tax. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Woman Freed After Being Trapped Under Car — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel extricated a woman who was found trapped under her car in a parking lot in the 1700 block of Reston Parkway around 11:58 p.m. on Monday (July 26). Police believe she had failed to fully shift into park, leading the car to roll backward into her after she exited the vehicle. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital to get treatment for injuries that were not life-threatening. [Patch]

Metro to Tweak Railcar Announcements — “Metro is changing the announcements on its railcars at the request of its Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC). The new message moves the most important information, what train line and destination it is, to the front…Phil Posner, chair of the AAC, says the change is beneficial for those with low vision, hearing, or low mobility and people new to the system.” [DCist]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Recent thefts at Reston community gardens are leading to increased security and involvement of the police, Reston Association announced in a statement yesterday (May 10).

Just last week, thieves stole hundreds of dollars of plants from a community garden plot in Hunter Woods Park, Patch reported.

This isn’t the first time this has happened at the garden, which is located at 2501 Reston Parkway. Incidents of this nature date back at least two years, with thieves stealing materials, supplies, tools, and even a little girl’s garden gnome.

Reston Association previously installed a 10-foot chain link fence and motion detector lights, but that didn’t prevent this past month’s robberies.

“Before this season, there was no real fencing or locked gate,” Reston Association spokesperson Mike Leone told Reston Now in an email. “So, this is the first break-in.”

The Fairfax County Police Department has received 23 theft reports from this particular community garden since last year, a police spokesperson tells Reston Now.

However, that number reflects the number of victims, rather than separate incidents, with many of the thefts occurring on the same day.

There have been six reported thefts in this past year alone, with three of them occurring on the same day. Many are happening between the months of May and July, according to the police spokesperson.

As a result, RA says it will ramp up security efforts at the community garden.

The organization is looking into upgrading the lighting and installing a trail camera that would help identify anyone coming or going from the garden. Its Central Services Facility team is also asking all gardeners to constantly check if the gates are locked and not to share the combinations with anyone.

Additionally, FCPD is increasing its presence in the area overnight to deter further thefts and break-ins.

Beyond safety concerns, gardeners spend a lot of time, money, and energy working their plots.

“We know how much the Reston’s garden plots mean to our community members,” Reston Association CEO Hank Lynch wrote in a statement. “Gardeners give their time and energy to help us manage these facilities and they get immense personal satisfaction out of growing their own plants and vegetables. We want residents of all ages to feel they can pursue this wonderful hobby in a safe and secure manner.”

The motives behind the thefts remains unclear, though one person told Patch that the nature of the stolen items and the methods used to obtain them, such as the unscrewing of wooden frames around the garden, suggest the culprits could be landscapers.

FCPD is continuing to investigate and follow-up on the reported thefts and encourages community members to report any suspicious activity they see in the garden’s vicinity.

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Multiple lanes are closed on the Dulles Toll Road just after Reston Parkway after a 40-gallon fuel tank leaked earlier this morning.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department expects three or four lanes to remain shut down for roughly an hour, according to a statement released earlier today.

No injuries have been reported and the leak is under control.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Great Falls Woman Dies in Two-car Crash — Holly Kuga, 72, died as a result of injuries from a car crash that happened on Sunday around 11 a.m. at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Towlston Road. [Fairfax  County Police Department]

Two People Injured in Crash — Two people were taken to the hospital with injuries after a crash happened in the area of Reston Parkway. North of Sunset Hills Road yesterday evening. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston Cybersecurity Firm Hit by ‘State-sponsored’ Attack — “US cybersecurity firm FireEye says it has recently been attacked by a “highly sophisticated threat actor”, believing the hacking was state-sponsored. In a blog, FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia said company tools used for testing customers’ security had been stolen.[BBC]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Planning to repair the bridge on Reston Parkway over the Dulles Toll Road is underway after a tractor-trailer crashed into the bridge earlier this month.

According to a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation, the tractor-trailer struck the bridge and damaged its girder and the connection to its superstructure.

Since the bridge is joined owned by VDOT and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, both entities are devising a plan for repairs.

So far, structural engineers have assessed the damage and are in the “final stages” of creating a repair plan, Ellen Kamilakis told Reston Now.

“Likely, VDOT bridge crews and their contractor will perform at least some of the repair,” she said.

The bridge strike happened on Nov. 20. Since then, the right northbound lane on the bridge has been closed to traffic indefinitely.

Photo via VDOT

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A morning car crash in Reston involving three vehicles has left two people injured, including one with serious injuries.

Both people were taken to the hospital, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The crash happened on the intersection of Pinecrest Road and Fox Mill Road in Reston.

Fox Mill Road between Pinecrest Road and Reston Parkway is closed. Officers are on the scene and detectives from FCPD’s crash reconstruction unit are investigating the incident

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State crews are on the scene of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, traffic lights at the intersect are “on flash.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation is on the scene to investigate the issue. It is unclear when normal operations will resume.

No other road closures or traffic impacts have been reported due to rain expected today and through tomorrow.

FCPD encourages residents to periodically check its roundup of weather-related road closures online.

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Hundreds of protestors lined Reston Parkway on Sunday evening to take a stand for George Floyd and racial justice.

Cars honked as protestors of all ages stood with signs in the peaceful demonstration, which was organized by a local community group, Reston Strong. Some chanted while others stood with masks. Groups gathered in Reston’s heart — Reston Town Center — in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Organizer Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza, who started Reston Strong, said the number of Reston neighbors who joined the effort gives her hope in the “transformative” nature of the movement. She estimates more than 5,000 people took part.

We must continue the drumbeat for justice and loudly demand meaningful change. Tonight we came together to say our community believes Black Lives Matter. We have put out specific demands tonight and we will not stop till these are achieved,” she said.

Participants signed a #signthesign petition, which will be delivered to the Fairfax County Police Department and Commonwealth’s Attorney  Steve Descano.

The petition calls on FCPD to create a public, official database on use of force incidents among police officers. They are also demanding justice for Bijan Ghaisar, a 25-year-old resident of Fairfax, who was killed by U.S. Park Police after a stop-and-go chase in 2017.

The Dulles Toll Road was closed between Wiehle Avenue and the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride to accommodate the protest.

https://twitter.com/KingBo_22/status/1269808346036568065

Photos by Nick Papetti

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is seeking $8.6 million for several transportation improvements in south Reston.

At a board meeting today (Tuesday), county officials voted in favor of seeking funds from the National Virginia Transportation Commission three projects in Reston.

The county is seeking to offer a new Fairfax Connector transit service from the Reston South Park-and-Ride Lot to Crystal City, Pentagon City and the Pentagon in Arlington.

If approved by the commission, residents could also see bicycle and pedestrian improvements at the park-and-ride and surrounding neighborhoods. ADA-friendly infrastructure is also planned.

A fenced-off recycling drop-off area at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Lawyers Road would be transformed into a pedestrian entrance with a Capital Bikeshare station. The existing walkway between the back of the lot and Lawyers Road would also be realignment to meet ADA standards.

Additionally, new intersection improvements — including a traffic signal and pedestrian crossings — are planned for at the intersection of Fox Mill Road and Pinecrest Road.

The county is also seeking a second entrance to the McLean Metro Station — a project that county officials ranked as a higher priority funding request than the projects in Reston.

File photo

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan — which is estimated to cost roughly $3 billion dollars.

The plan approved last Tuesday (Dec. 3) by the board will guide decisions for transit improvements for fiscal years 2020 to 2025, according to a county press release.

In the Hunter Mill District specifically, there are more than 50 projects recommended by the county documents — many of which include improvements in safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as various infrastructure and intersection changes. Some of the projects suggested in the plan will be fully funded by the estimated cost, while other projects will need to find additional funding.

Here is a list of a few major improvements in the plan:

  • Widen Route 7 from four to six lanes from Jarrett Valley Drive (Dulles Toll Road) to Reston Avenue. This would include intersection, bicycle and pedestrian and bus stop changes
  • Addition of a walkway on the north side of Fox Mill Road from Fairfax County Parkway to Reston Parkway
  • Expansion of Reston bike-share
  • Expansion of Town Center Parkway to include a divided roadway under the Dulles Toll Road from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will also continue projects that are already underway, according to Fairfax County’s website.

County documents also included a list of projects that were not recommended for the 2020-25 Priorities List, including the underpass for Town Center Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road.

In 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved $1.4 billion for six years of transportation projects from FY 2015-2020.

The county said in the press release that the funding estimate for the FY 2020- 2025 plan was impacted by the Virginia General Assembly passing legislation that diverted funds to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, along with rising project costs.

More from the press release:

The anticipated funding for a draft FY 2018-2023 TPP was $600 million in new revenues to fully fund existing projects and $170 million in new projects. These funding estimates were not realized, because in 2018, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that designated $154 million per year for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) to address system improvement needs largely did so by diverting funding from existing local and regional sources.

Of the $102 million annual diversion, the financial impact on Fairfax County was estimated to be $45-50 million per year, or approximately $300 million over six years. As a result, there is no available revenue for new transportation projects. In addition, the County was required to adjust schedules for some previously approved projects, many beyond FY 2025…

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), project costs have been rising for various reasons, including the number of large-scale projects underway across the National Capital Region causing shortages of labor and materials; economic factors such as tariffs and rising right-of-way costs; and across the board increases on project contingencies required by VDOT.

Image via Google Maps

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A felony hit and run incident closed Reston Parkway at Stevenage round today (Wednesday) shortly after midnight.

Police believe a man driving a black 2016 Honda Fit was traveling northbound on Reston Parkway when he crossed over into opposing traffic on the other side of the road and hit a black 2003 Toyota Corolla.

The man attempted to flee the scene by foot, but was caught after a helicopter-assisted pursuit. The suspect, whose name has not been publicly released, was taken to a local hospital after he was bitten by a police K9.

Police said the man was “combative” when officers attempted to arrest him. Charges are pending.

No other information about the incident was released publicly.

This story has been updated.

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A small fire broke out on the roof of a business in North Point Village Center (1452 Reston Parkway) yesterday (Wednesday).

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department contained the fire, which broke out around 5:30 p.m. that day.

Two medic units were dispatched to the scene, but no injuries were reported.

The fire happened on the roof line of the former Boston Market, which closed last month.

No other information about the incident was immediately available.  The cause of the incident has not yet been determined.

Photo by Alex Schneider

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The intersection of Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue may soon get a makeover.

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors approved today (June 4) $500,000 for preliminary engineering and feasibility studies on improving the intersection in Reston.

The county staff report said:

This improvement is designed to relieve traffic congestion on westbound Baron Cameron Avenue. The project will include a second left turn lane on westbound Baron Cameron Avenue to southbound Reston Parkway. The current total project estimate is $2,500,000.

Back in March, the Reston Transportation Service District Advisory Board OK’d using $500,000 in service district funds for the preliminary engineering and conceptual design.

The funding the Board of Supervisors approved will come from the Reston service district funds. It was part of $55 million approved today for 10 transportation projects in Tysons, Reston and Alexandria, with a bulk of the funding — $51 million — going toward Tysons-area roads.

The funding adjustments from the Tysons and Reston Transportation Service Districts and the Tysons Grid of Streets Road Fund will be made as part of the carryover review for fiscal year 2019, according to the staff report.

Image via Google Maps

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Snow plows are working to clear roadways this morning after a snowstorm began earlier this morning.

A traffic camera facing westbound at the snow-covered intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road shows more trucks with snow plows than cars this morning.

Still, drivers can expect some slow-moving traffic on the Dulles Toll Road and major roads in Reston and Herndon with spots of congestion near intersections.

Fairfax County wants locals to stay off the roads, especially with low visibility near the Reston Parkway.

https://twitter.com/fairfaxcounty/status/1098213296472240130

The National Weather Service’s Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 7 p.m.

The warning says that “travel will be very difficult, especially during the morning commute. The hazardous conditions could also impact the evening commute.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation wants locals to stay off of the roads. “Pockets of heavier snow may limit visibility and stick to the pavement, and a mix of freezing rain may quickly make roads slick,” VDOT said in an update at 6 a.m.

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1098210597328556032

Images via Virginia 511, Google Maps

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Updated at 4:55 p.m. — NWS canceled the Wind Advisory that was set to last until 6 p.m.

Earlier: After last night’s heavy congestion during rush hour, commuters are finding little to no traffic on major Reston roads this morning (Jan. 30).

Traffic on the Dulles Toll Road is flowing freely, according to Google Maps. However, drivers should still give themselves extra travel time for possibly icy local roads.

“Your commute will take longer today,” Fairfax County tweeted this morning, adding that crews worked overnight to treat roads and will continue treatment today if needed. Drivers are encouraged to reduce their speeds, use headlights and not brake quickly.

Anybody stepping outside today should also bundle up. The National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory until 6 p.m. tonight and a Wind Chill Advisory between 9 p.m. tonight and 10 a.m. tomorrow (Jan. 31).

More from the National Weather Service:

WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Very cold wind chills of 5 to 10 degrees below zero.

* WHERE…Portions of central Maryland and northern Virginia including Washington DC and Baltimore MD.

* WHEN…From 9 PM this evening to 10 AM EST Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…The cold wind chills could result in hypothermia if precautions are not taken.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Dress in layers, and wear a hat and gloves.

Fairfax County Government offices are open today, however, employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Fairfax County public schools are closed today. Reston Association offices will open three hours late.

A meeting seeking public input on the Fairfax Connector has been canceled for tonight and will be rescheduled.

Locals have been busy snapping photos of the snow around Reston, including the following.

Images via Google Maps, Marjorie Copson and  Virginia Department of Transportation

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