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by Dave Emke — July 31, 2017 at 9:00 am 21 Comments

Silver Line Struggling to Maintain Riders — Phase 1 of Metro’s Silver Line expansion fueled an unprecedented building boom in areas adjacent to its five stations, the Washington Post reports. However, the line has struggled to attract riders in the three years since it opened. Only the Wiehle-Metro East station is even close to projected ridership numbers. [Washington Post]

Remembering Bob Simon — In a piece for an English-language Indian newspaper, Manish Nandy remembers the stories Bob Simon told him during daily walks around Lake Anne. [The Statesman]

‘White Liberals Give Themselves Too Much Credit’ — In an opinion piece for an “intersectional feminist” magazine, a Restonian looks back on the death of Nabra Hassanen, saying that hate lives here and everywhere. [Wear Your Voice]

Work Today at Park & Ride — The access road to the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride will have daytime lane closures for paving from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Drivers should watch for flaggers, who will help direct traffic around the lane closures. [Fairfax County]

Teavana Stores Shutting Down — Starbucks announced last week will close all 379 of its Teavana stores, which it says have been underperforming. This will include the store in Reston Town Center (1826 Library St.). [CNN Money]

Get Ready for Terraset — All rising Terraset kindergarteners are invited to the Terraset playground from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in August to meet classmates and play on the new Terraset playground. The August kindergarten play dates are sponsored by Terraset Elementary School and Terraset Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Representatives from the PTO will be on hand Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 to answer parent questions. No RSVP is required. [Terraset Parent Teacher Organization]

by Kalina Newman — July 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm 28 Comments

According to a quarterly update provided Wednesday to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, construction of the Phase 2 of the Silver Line extension to Loudoun County has passed 60 percent completion.

Capital Rail Constructors reports that after nearly 4.4 million manhours of work, 61.12 percent of construction is done. They say the design process is 99.97 percent done.

The facility construction of the Reston Town Center station has continued with steel erection that started in May and will continue through August. Mechanical work projected to happen until fall 2018.

The Herndon Station will wrap up its metal decking by the end of August and start work on the roofing and skylights. The facility work of the station is estimated to be completed by this fall.

The MWAA is overseeing construction of the 11.4-mile project, which began in July 2013 and consists of six stations from the Reston Town Center station to the Ashburn station.

Despite the station construction steadily moving forward, the Silver Line extension will not be done for another three years. Construction on the cable trough is only 44 percent complete, and there are other track adjustments to make before everything is finalized.

WTOP reported earlier this week that the series of delays that pushed the opening back to 2020 will cost $95 million. The delays are being caused by a series of design changes, including safety-related work.

by Dave Emke — July 12, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

A power problem at the Rosslyn Metro station gummed up morning commuter transit on the Silver Line.

Metro’s official information feed reported the issue on Twitter just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Silver Line trains from Wiehle-Reston East were stopped at Ballston, and riders were asked to transfer to Orange Line trains to continue their commute. The problem was reported fixed within 20 minutes; however, riders continued to report delays and other issues at the Ballston, Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom stations through about 9:30 a.m.

The issue appeared to be cleared up by about 9:45 a.m.

by Dave Emke — July 7, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Vendors Sought for Multicultural Festival — Reston Community Center is seeking arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and civic organizations of all cultures for the 17th annual Reston Multicultural Festival. The festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 23 at Lake Anne Plaza. Applications are being accepted through July 28. [Reston Community Center]

Covered Bridge Renovated — In its latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association shows off the work that has been done on the covered bridge on the RA trail system near Lake Anne. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Metro Work This Weekend — The Silver Line will only run to Ballston this weekend. In addition, new Metro hours go into effect tonight. The system will close at 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, but is only open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays. [WTOP]

Toll Road Work Rescheduled — Due to poor weather, the detour diverting traffic heading to the Fairfax County Parkway from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road exit ramp through the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride north parking lot was canceled last night. It has been rescheduled for Sunday night, July 16. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

by Kalina Newman — June 29, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Jazz Music Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by contemporary Brazilian jazz band Origem. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Metro Employees to Thank Riders Today — Nearly 700 Metro administrative employees will be at Metrorail stations during the afternoon commute today to “personally thank” customers for “their support and continued ridership” during SafeTrack. [WMATA]

Connolly Goes After Nikki Haley — The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations had to defend herself Wednesday when Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) targeted her actions at the U.N. [Washington Free Beacon]

Single Tracking to Cause Long Metro Waits — Starting Saturday until closing time Sunday, Silver Line Metro trains will operate just every 26 minutes. Fare hikes are also in effect, with $2.25 the minimum to ride the Metro. There will be no track work on the Fourth of July. [DCist]

MOM’s Organic Market to Celebrate 30th Anniversary Sunday — All MOM’s Organic Market locations will celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary with tastings and family activities. Locally, there is a store at 424 Elden St., Herndon. [PR Newswire]

Fairfax Police Inform About Snake Safety — With warm weather, snakes become more active around the area, so it’s beneficial to know which snakes are venomous and which are harmless. [Fairfax County Police Department]

File photo courtesy Carole Burnett

by Dave Emke — June 26, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Ribbon Cutting for Clothing Store — Scout & Molly’s (11944 Market St.) hosted its official ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning. Among attendees were Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, representatives of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and more.

Summer Meals Program Starts Today — The Free Summer Meals for Kids Program provides free, healthy meals to children ages 5 to 18 at designated meal sites in Fairfax County. [Fairfax County]

Officials Talk Metro, Fields, More — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and more addressed the Vienna Town Council recently to give updates on the Silver Line, placement of athletic fields and more. [The Connection]

Kids Can Earn Prizes for Reading — Kids who complete the summer reading adventure at any Fairfax County library by Sept. 2 can win a coupon book with dozens of free and discounted fun treats like ice cream and miniature golf. [Fairfax County]

Image courtesy Powers Brand Communications LLC

by Dave Emke — June 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Last Day of School — Today is the final day of the 2016-17 Fairfax County Public Schools year. Congratulations to all the students and enjoy your time off!

Fourth of July Schedule in Herndon — It’s only a couple weeks away. Get ready for the July 4 celebration in Herndon, which will take place at the Herndon Community Center and will culminate with fireworks choreographed to music. [Town of Herndon]

SLHS Students Get Arduino Kits — STEM Engineering students at the school recently received Arduino kits. An Arduino consists of a physical programmable circuit board and a piece of software that is used to write and upload computer code. The kits were funded by a $4,000 grant from AIS Inc. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

‘Field Guide’ to Ticks — Fairfax County has provided a list of need-to-know information about ticks, which have been out with great force this season. [Fairfax County]

Metro Work in Evening Hours — After 10 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Sunday, the Silver Line will only run from Wiehle-Reston East to Ballston. This is due to work on the Orange and Silver lines. [WTOP]

by Kalina Newman — May 26, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

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]

by Dave Emke — May 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 6 Comments

(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]

by RestonNow.com — May 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm 6 Comments

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.

(more…)

by Dave Emke — April 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm 3 Comments

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.

by Dave Emke — March 31, 2017 at 10:15 am 26 Comments

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.”

by Dave Emke — March 30, 2017 at 2:45 pm 17 Comments

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.”

by Dave Emke — March 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Some Work on Phase 1 of Silver Line Project Ongoing — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says some work connected to the first phase of the Silver Line still needs to be completed. All significant work is done, according to MWAA, but continuing projects include realignment of Old Meadow Road in McLean. [WTOP]

SLHS Softballer Heading to Europe — Alyssa Smith, a freshman at South Lakes High School, is raising money to travel to Europe to play softball for the Student-Athlete USA Team. Alyssa is the center fielder for HRYS Glory 16U and has hopes of playing Division I college softball after she graduates. [GoFundMe]

Bluegrass Series Wrapping Up at Frying Pan Park — The Bluegrass Barn series at Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) will come to an end April 9 with a performance by The Boxcars. Tickets are now on sale. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Gillespie Wins County GOP Straw Poll — A Fairfax County Republican Party straw poll over the weekend has Ed Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chairman, firmly in the lead in the GOP race for Governor of Virginia. Gillespie is facing Corey Stewart and Frank Wagner in the primary, which takes place June 13. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke — March 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm 9 Comments

METRO Wiehle-Reston EastThe 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.

The increases in fares are expected to raise $21 million for Metro as the transportation system works to shore up a projected $125 million shortfall in its budget.

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.

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