Shepherd’s Center Expands Services to Herndon, Reston

Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna, a nonprofit that supports aging in place, recently expanded its programs to help seniors in Herndon and Reston.

The group assists the seniors by providing free rides, social outreach and other resources. The group decided to expand around October, a spokesperson told Reston Now.

Susan Garvey, the executive director of the center, lives in the area and noticed a lack of free resources for the elderly community, the spokesperson said.

“The uptick in ride requests have been promising,” the spokesperson said, adding that people who answer the phones are kept busy. “It was a wise step to take.”

The group announced its expansion to Reston and Herndon in its quarterly newsletter, which was published this fall.

Shepherd’s Center receives its funding from donations, fundraisers and corporate sponsors. Anyone who wishes to donate to the center can do so online.

Seniors or others interested in free rides, programs for veterans and various resources can call the center at 703-281-0538.

Photo via Sheperd’s Center/Facebook

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Town of Herndon Moves to Regulate E-Scooters

The Herndon Town Council is considering plans to regulate electric scooters.

The proposal, which would require companies to seek licenses and permits to operate scooters in the town, is part of a statewide push to enact licensing requirements throughout the state.

This year, state lawmakers passed legislation requiring jurisdictions to set licensing requirements or ensure the devices were permitted according to state law.

If the town’s legislation is approved, all companies would be required to reach an agreement with the town to operate electric scooters in the town’s rights-of-way before a permit for operation is considered.

The council is expected to discuss the proposal at a meeting today (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).

Photo via Unsplash

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Town of Herndon Appoints Former GEICO Employee as First-ever Risk Manager

The Town of Herndon has appointed its first-ever risk manager.

Fox Simkins, who previously worked with GEICO’s claims liability management team, was appointed to the newly created position this week.

As risk manager, Simkins is responsible for planning and managing the town’s insurance and risk programs, including risk management programs like workers’ compensation, injury management, and liability management. She will also analyze the town’s risk management processes, including reviewing risk elimination measures and determining controls.

“The establishment of this position fulfills a primary objective of the Town Council, to ensure that the town operates in a manner that optimizes productivity on behalf of citizens while mitigating unnecessary  risk,” said Town Attorney Lesa Yeatts

Here’s more about Simkins from a media release:

Fox Simkins held positions of increasing responsibility at GEICO, culminating in a seat on the insurance company’s Claims Liability School management development team. In that role, she was responsible for developing curricula for supervisory programs and instruction, as well as  managing their execution; working with multiple departments on regional and national compliance in risk management procedures; serving as a lead negotiation instructor; and working with company leadership on risk management issues. She was also a founding member of GEICO’s national training center. 

Simkins has a B.A. in political science from Hofstra University. She begins her position on Dec. 2.

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New Hotel Planned for Sunset Park Drive

A new five-story hotel, which will house two separate hotel business, has been proposed on vacant property on Sunset Park Drive.

Shamin Hotels is proposing to build the hotel on 232 Sunset Park Drive. The 151,00-square-foot building would be home to a Hilton Garden Inn and Home 2.

“The building is a delicate merge between the two hotels, providing an individual identity for each hotel, while creating a cohesive building design,” according to the proposal.

The 250-room hotel complex will include an indoor pool, health fitness room, and meeting spaces, among other features. The concept was first discussed at a Town of Herndon meeting in 2014.

The Town of Herndon’s Architectural Review Board will consider the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday (Nov. 6) at 7:30 p.m. in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).

Photos via handout/Town of Herndon

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Following County Changes, Town of Herndon Shifts to Purple Dumpsters

The Town of Herndon will no longer collect glass during curbside pickup, joining the county in an effort to shift glass recycling to purple dumpsters throughout the county.

While Restonians can drop off glass recyclables at the Reston South Park and Ride lot, Town of Herndon residents can head over to a purple dumpster at town’s public works complex (1479 Sterling Road).

Fairfax County officials shifted to the purple bins as part of a regional glass recycling program called the “Purple Can Club.”

Officials note that recycled glass often ends up in landfills because it breaks doing the transportation process and mixes with other recyclable materials.

Residents can drop off all types of emptied glass containers — including bottles and jars. Residue should be removed from the materials before recycling.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Town of Herndon Seeks Applicants for Local Committees, Boards

The Town of Herndon has a number of openings for local advisory committees, boards, and commissions.

Town residents are encouraged to apply to open positions in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) — which aims to promote safe walking and bicycling in the town — and the Fairfax County Athletic Council. One resident will represent the town on the athletic council, which is an advisory body that sets policies and priorities to improve sports programs in the county.

Middle and high school students can also serve on the Herndon Youth Advisory Council, which advises the council on issues and decisions relevant to youth. Students who either live in the Town of Herndon or attend Herndon Middle and Herndon High schools are encouraged to apply.

Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said the youth council is a critical way to engage Herndon’s youth, especially as the town’s population increases in number and diversity.

“This is a great way for middle and high school students to develop lifelong habits of community activism,” Merkel said. “The voices of our young people are important and need to be heard.”

Applications are available online and at the clerk’s office in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).

Image via Town of Herndon

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Town of Herndon Charts Path for Improved Pedestrian Safety and Mobility

Town of Herndon officials are looking for ways to improve pedestrian safety and mobility.

At a Tuesday meeting, Herndon Town Council members reviewed the Herndon Pedestrian Plan, a strategic document that identifies deficiencies in the town’s pedestrian infrastructure and creates a framework to improve pedestrian safety.

The plan highlights the following challenges to create a walkable community:

  • Poor connectivity between neighborhoods
  • Vehicle-oriented site design and separated land uses
  • Existing streetscape with low attention to pedestrian comfort
  • A lack of crosswalks across blocks
  • Existing pedestrian paths with accessibility issues

Roughly 12 percent of right-of-way areas in Herndon do not have sidewalks, largely due to the result of piecemeal development and physical obstructions, according to the plan.

Herndon has largely been fully developed so the best opportunity for any significant changes to its street pattern can only occur through coordinated redevelopment,” the plan states.

Like in other jurisdictions, almost all pedestrian injuries happen at crosswalks. In the Town of Herndon, nine in every ten accidents involved a pedestrian within vehicle travel ways.

The plan hones in on several areas in the town that need improvements, including installing missing sidewalks and ensuring existing sidewalks are ADA-compliant on both sides of Locust Street.

Bryce Perry, the town’s Deputy Director of Community Development, said the plan is intended to serve as a guiding document for developers, staff and other interested stakeholders as they contemplate pedestrian improvements.

Some council members expressed the need for town staff to incorporate additional projects. For example, while the plan includes suggested improvements to Nash Street’s sidewalks, it does not directly address the intersection of Nash and Spring streets.

Perry noted that specific requests for improvements can also be discussed as part of the capital improvements budget.

A draft of the plan is available online.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Brookfield Breaks Ground on $1.4 Billion Development — “Brookfield Properties celebrated the groundbreaking Monday for Halley Rise, a $1.4B project on the site of a 36-acre Reston office park.  The development’s first phase, scheduled to deliver in 2022, will feature 640 residential units, 450K SF of office and 200K SF of retail. The retail will be anchored by Wegmans, which is bringing its smaller urban grocery store concept to the project, and Pinstripes, a restaurant with a bowling alley and bocce court.” [Bisnow]

Metro Investigates Monday Train Collision — “The investigation into the cause of a low-speed train collision outside Farragut West is ongoing, including analysis of railcar data recorders, control center event logs, and signal system playback.  While Metro has not yet identified the root cause of the incident, investigators have found no evidence of a signal system failure and have ruled out “loss of shunt” as a cause.”  [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Annual Fiscal Year 2019 Report for Town of Herndon — Herndon Town Manager Bill Ashton presented findings and progress on different measures at a meeting in late September. The report highlights progress on major initiatives undertaken by the town in the last fiscal year. [Town of Herndon]

Early Bird Ticket Rates for Reston Home Tour Ending Soon — The $25 rate for the Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s annual Reston Home Tour is in effect until Friday (Oct. 11). The tour takes place on Saturday, Oct. 9. Regular price tickets are $30.  [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Photo by Dario Pipair/Flickr

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Town of Herndon, Cornerstones Partner to Offer Homeowners Workshop

The Town of Herndon is working with Cornerstones to provide a free workshop for owners.

The workshop, which is set for Sunday, Oct. 6, will guide attendees through the many issues of owning and maintaining a home.

The event is set to take place at Herndon Community Center from 1-3 p.m. Contractors, housing specialists, real estate brokerage and attorneys will present information about preventive maintenance, home repairs, foreclosure prevention, and legal documents.

Attendees can RSVP by emailing [email protected]. Space is limited.

Cornerstones is a local nonprofit organization that helps resident overcome economic challenges.

Image via Google Maps

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Herndon Farmers’ Market and Arborist Program Celebrates 30 Years of ‘Keeping Green’

The Town of Herndon is celebrating 30 years of keeping green with its Herndon Farmers’ Market and the town’s arborist program.

Although the local farmers market has gotten slightly smaller over the years, the weekday market has seen an increase in the variety of products sold, including empanadas, fresh pasta and pickles. Other vendors are not offering different types of fruits, vegetables, meats and breads. Nearby competition from other markets has strained the reach of the local market.

John Dudzinsky, the town’s community forester, says the town is looking to find “value added” vendors as well as more organic options.

Last week, the town distributed reusable totes and coasters to celebrate the milestone.

The town is also celebrating Dudzinsky’s position, which aims to maintain the health of the town’s trees and urban forest. Although this duty has remained the forester’s central task for the last three decades, the forester now manages the market, offers horticulture services to town residents and helps with environmental tasks like stream monitoring.

The Town has also maintained its Tree City status, which is given to comunities that meet standards of sound urban forestry management.

“The Town’s leadership has always been supportive of the Community Forestry program.  Along with the support of our town citizens.  With everyone’s’ support and assistance the Town has been able to maintain our Tree City USA status,” Dudzinsky said.

The designation is given by the Arbor Day Foundation, which is a nonprofit conservation and education organization founded in 1972.

The market is held on Thursdays from April to November from 8 a.m. to 12:30 on Lynn Street. Information about this year’s vendors is available online.

Photo via Town of Herndon/Facebook

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Town of Herndon Launches Comprehensive Plan Review Process

Town of Herndon officials have launched a process to review the town’s comprehensive plan, a planning document that guides current and future development.

The comprehensive plan, which state law states must be reviewed by the local planning commission at least once every five years, will head to the town’s planning commission for review.

Although dates have not been announced, the commission plans to review public input and make suggestions on changes to the plan. The commission will then draft a resolution for the town council that states the plan’s priorities and direction. By law, the Herndon Town Council is not required to take action on the resolution.

In previous years, the town has incorporated major changes to the plan, including planning for downtown Herndon and areas near the Herndon Metro Station.

The following amendments have been approved in recent years since the original plan was adopted in 2008:

  • Downtown Master Plan
  • Downtown Streetscape Map
  • Metrorail Station Area Plan
  • Cycle Track on Herndon Parkway
  • South Elden Area Plan

Changes to the future plan could include updating the parks and recreation chapter, sustainability policy, multigenerational planning, and economic development.

Residents interested in submitting their comments and suggestions on the plan can email [email protected].

Image via Herndon Planning Commission

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State Funds Sought for Elden Street Sidewalk Improvements

Town of Herndon officials are seeking state funds to complete sidewalk improvements between Center Street and School Street.

The $1.8 million Elden Street project would improve a critical pedestrian area to improve accessibility and walkability, especially as Comstock kicks off the redevelopment of downtown Herndon later this year.

Planned improvements include wider sidewalks, landscaping, new curb ramps, new crosswalks and new accessible pedestrian signals at the intersection with Grace Street.

The town is seeking federal funds administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Projects are approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The town’s Planning Commission is set to consider a resolution for the project today (Monday). A public hearing will begin at 7 p.m.

Currently, this particular area along Elden Street has limited pedestrian connections. Pedestrians must walk along a narrow sidewalk. here are little to no crosswalks.

“It is an uncomfortable and unsafe environment for any pedestrian, and is unusable for someone with a stroller or someone in a wheelchair,” according to a staff report.

Here’s more from the report:

The improvements will include reconstruction of the existing sidewalk to a continuous 5′ wide sidewalk with brick pavers, construction of a grass strip between the sidewalk and curb, and the addition of ADA-compliant curb ramps., High visibility crosswalks and accessible pedestrian signalization will be provided at all intersection approaches at Grace Street . The grass strip is expected to add a minimum 3′ wide separation between the sidewalk and the curb and travel lane. This buffer may be increased to 4′ or 5′ and include trees, dependent on final engineering and design.

The end result is expected to offer a safer, more comfortable facility for pedestrians that is separated from vehicle traffic and accessible for all users. This project is not expected to require right-of-way acquisition since the curb will be moved north into the existing eastbound travel lane. To accommodate this, the existing roadway, which consists of a travel lane in each direction, separated by a stamped concrete median and dedicated turn lane, would be reduced in overall width. The travel lanes would be 11.5′ wide and the median/turn lane would be 12′ wide. With those lane widths, there is no expectation of impacts to vehicle mobility.

The segment of Elden street is within walking distance of shops, restaurants and civic facilities. It also connects directly to downtown Herndon and is a short block from Herndon Middle School and St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

In order to receive funding from VDOT’s set-aside program, the town must request funding by passing a resolution.

Photos via Town of Herndon/handout

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With First Bicycle Plan, Town of Herndon Seeks Award for ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’

The Herndon Town Council is looking to move forward on its first bicycle master plan this month.

Bryce Perry, the town’s Deputy Director of Community Development, discussed the plan at the council’s meeting in August.

Perry said the town’s plan is modeled after the county’s initiative and is intended to offer policy guidance on bicycle network planning and design.  It was drafted in coordination with the town’s pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee and the town’s planning commission.

Staff indicated the plan would “serve as an important guiding document for the town,” giving that the town is one of the few jurisdictions in the area that does not have an adopted plan for its bicycle network and facilities.

The plan is also part of the town’s efforts to seek a Bicycle Friendly Community Award, which is a nationally-recognized program that awards localities to localities that excel at providing bicycle programs, services and infrastructure to their communities. The award is administered by the League of American Bicyclists.

The town plans to incorporate the plan — which will also remain as a standalone document — into the town’s 2039 comprehensive plan.

Discussions on the plan are expected to continue this month.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Ahead of 2020 Opening, Herndon Metro Station Sign Installed

It’s official: the Herndon Metro Station is nearly complete.

This week, a sign marking the station was installed by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials.

Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel met with WMATA officials on Monday, August 5 as part of a Silver Line bus tour.

The station is expected to open in July next year.

The town is working with the county to determine new bus routes with the Fairfax Connector once Metro trains are up and running.

Photo via Town of Herndon/Facebook

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After Major Water Main Break, Crews Work to Repair Pipe in the Town of Herndon

Local crews are working to replace a 25-foot section of corroded pipe after a water main break left more than 230 homes without water over the weekend.

On Saturday, August 3, a one-foot waterline that runs under Crestview Drive ruptured. Water was restored that night.

The town’s Department of Public Works said the waterline ruptured as a result of corrosion.

This week, local crews are working to replace a 25-foot section of corroded pipe and repair the section of the road that was damaged by the burst.

A smaller water main break also left 15 homes on Lisa Court without water on Tuesday.

Crews will replace a water valve on tomorrow (Thursday). Crestview Drive will be limited to one lane near Mistyvale Street, according to the Town of Herndon.

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