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by Dave Emke — May 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm 5 Comments

Drivers who use the northern end of Wiehle Avenue will want to set aside another couple of minutes starting the day after Memorial Day.

Virginia Department of Transportation signage on the road indicates scheduled milling and re-paving will begin Tuesday morning. It is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays after that.

The good news for drivers? The work shouldn’t take long. Only a small amount of the road will be re-paved: about 500 feet on the east side of the intersection with Fairfax County Parkway and about 700 feet between Reston Parkway and Reston Avenue.

Bigger re-paving projects are planned for Reston later this season, including on Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive, Twin Branches Road, Glade Drive and North Village Road.

by Dave Emke — May 24, 2017 at 11:30 am 16 Comments

A meeting is slated for June 1 to discuss the effects of widening of Route 7 from Reston to Tysons.

Michael J. Coughlin is the eminent domain, land use and zoning, and real estate lawyer for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley and Walsh PC. He will host the meeting on the project Thursday, June 1 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Sheraton Tysons (8661 Leesburg Pike, Tysons).

The proposed Virginia Department of Transportation project will involve nearly seven miles of Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, which is just before the Dulles Toll Road interchange. Coughlin is inviting residents to the meeting to “learn about the project, potential impacts to properties, what to do to prepare for the project, the eminent domain process in Virginia, and the legal rights of owners and businesses affected by the project.”

This is the latest stage of VDOT’s work to add two lanes to the heavily traveled highway, bringing it to six overall. They also plan to add facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, and make “substantial intersection and other improvements” along the corridor.

Those improvements, according to VDOT, would include:

  • Constructing a partial interchange at Baron Cameron Avenue to reduce congestion
  • Relocating Lewinsville Road and creating a displaced left-turn intersection
  • Replacing and raising the Difficult Run bridge to reduce flooding

The last public hearing on the project was held in November. View information shared and discussed at that meeting here.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is slated to vote on the project design next month. Upon approval, VDOT is expected to put out its request for proposals on the project later this year. Work is planned to start in late 2020 and last until 2025. Anticipated cost of the project is $234 million.

Photo: Intersection of Route 7 and Baron Cameron Avenue. Map via Virginia Department of Transportation.

by Dave Emke — May 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

SLHS Students Help at ‘Senior’ Prom — Members of Interact (pictured) recently volunteered at the Senior Senior prom, an annual dance and lunch for senior citizens, and a favorite club activity. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Water Main Break Still Affecting Herndon Parkway — A water main break Monday afternoon on Herndon Parkway between Spring and Grove streets is still being patched this morning. The inner loop is open to one-way traffic; the outer loop remains closed. Water service restoration is underway and is expected to be completed later this morning. Drivers are advised to use alternate routes. [Town of Herndon/Facebook]

Lake Fairfax Picnic Areas Closed Weekdays — Several picnic areas at Lake Fairfax Park will not be available on weekdays through June 30 because of the ongoing stream restoration project at the park, which has been delayed by weather. Rental areas will remain available on weekends. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools

by Dave Emke — April 28, 2017 at 11:30 am 15 Comments

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has put three possibilities on the table as it looks toward adding bike lanes and sharrows to a 2-mile stretch of Glade Drive during the re-paving process this year.

The options were presented to residents Thursday evening during an open house at Hunters Woods Elementary School. People were able to ask questions of FCDOT staff regarding the plans and were invited to fill out comment forms to rank the options and give additional feedback.

The stretch of Glade Drive in question is a 1.93-mile portion between Glade Bank Way and Twin Branches Road. Alternatives for striping the road, which will take place in conjunction with re-paving efforts by the Virginia Department of Transportation this year, are:

  • Parking and sharrow on north side, bike lane (no parking) on south side
  • Parking and sharrow on north side, bike lane (no parking) on south side except from Old Trail Drive to Quartermaster Lane, in the area of Glade Pool, Walker Nature Center and the Quartermaster Soccer Field (parking remains and sharrows are added on both sides in that section)
  • Parking remains on both sides with sharrows added in each direction — no bike lane is added

Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bicycle Program manager, said the options were the result of information that was gathered from the community during a November meeting.

“We gathered feedback about how many people were interested in bicycling, walking, parking, driving — whatever their priorities were,” he said. “We did get a lot of feedback from people, on all the streets, that bicycling was high up there.”

Based on that feedback, possibilities for other Reston roads — Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road — were presented at a separate community meeting in March. However, Lind said, Glade Drive received a proportionally large amount of feedback and “deserved its own priority” through Thursday’s separate presentation.

Local resident Ernie Day said he is an avid bicyclist. However, he said, he believes giving riders more access to roadways is dangerous to both them and drivers.

“I can understand that people want to ride and be safe, but I would suggest to you if you’ve ever lived on Glade — like I have — it’s not going to be safe,” he said. “For the everyday riders, we don’t need to block off traffic permanently. The streets are not easily enlarged.”

Jeff Anderson, president of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, said he passed five cyclists along the stretch of Glade Drive on his way to Thursday evening’s meeting. He said the option of putting a south-side bike lane on the entirety of the stretch of road would be the best choice for the community.

“Having on-again, off-again bike lanes isn’t always the best thing for cyclists or motorists,” he said. “There’s not a lot of cars parking on the south side on a daily basis. I think it’s a happy medium — you get a bike lane on one side, and you get the sharrows [on the other].”

Lind said all comments received at Thursday’s meeting, as well as during previous meetings, will be analyzed by FCDOT before they decide how to proceed. He said any residents who were unable to attend Thursday’s meeting but who would still like to provide feedback are welcome to email comments to [email protected] through May 11.

by Dave Emke — April 27, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Top Reston Volunteers to Be Honored — An awards ceremony to recognize individuals, families, groups and businesses who make a significant contribution to the Reston community through volunteer service will be held tonight from 6:30-9 p.m. at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). [Reston Association]

Meeting on Glade Drive Bike Lanes Tonight — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a community meeting tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. at Hunters Woods Elementary School (2401 Colts Neck Road) to discuss potential changes to Glade Drive, including the addition of bike lanes and sharrows. [Reston Now]

Fairfax Corner Art Festival (Sponsored) — Fairfax Corner will transform into an outdoor art showcase during the 2nd Annual Fairfax Corner Art Festival this weekend. Monument Corner Drive will feature more than 100 national and international artists, arranged in pop-up gallery style and filled with all mediums of fine art. Admission is free and it’s taking place this Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4100 Monument Corner Drive, Fairfax. [Howard Alan Events]

Reston Couples Find Business Success with Mat — Gerald and Michelle Zingraf, along with Ben and Camille Arneberg, have made about 6,000 sales of their new product, TerraMat, since February. The ergonomic anti-fatigue desk mat is designed to provide exercise, stretching and therapeutic massage for the feet of those who spend hours at a time standing at a desk. [Fairfax County EDA]

Red’s Table Has New Top Chef — Adam Stein has left Red’s Table to open his own D.C. restaurant, The Eleanor. Kevin Ettenson, 28, is the new executive chef at Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive). Among his plans are an emphasis on housemade pastas and an expanded late-night menu. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

by RestonNow.com — April 21, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Work to rehabilitate bridges and close joints on Reston Parkway will affect drivers this weekend and next.

The bridges over the Dulles Toll Road will have the work done Friday night through Monday morning each weekend, causing delays and detours in the area. In total, the closure schedule is:

  • 10 p.m. tonight through 9 a.m. Sunday: Southbound two right lanes closed
  • 8 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Monday: Northbound two right lanes closed
  • 10 p.m. Friday, April 28 through 9 a.m. Sunday, April 30: Southbound two left lanes closed
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 29 through 3 a.m. Monday, May 1: Northbound two left lanes closed

While the northbound work is being done this weekend (8 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Monday), traffic traveling in that direction will not be able to make the left turn onto the westbound Dulles Toll Road. Those cars will be detoured via Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue.

The work will include bridge deck resurfacing, repair of deteriorated concrete on abutments and piers, repaving of the roadway leading up to the bridges, and joint closures. In addition, the southbound bridge will receive repairs to the concrete barrier that separates the road from a shared-use path.

All work is weather-permitting, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

According to VDOT, the northbound bridge was built in 1959, and the southbound bridge was constructed in 1976. Both were widened in 1989, with the northbound bridge’s deck also replaced at that time.

As part of the overall project, the Monroe Street/Van Buren Street bridges and the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride ramp bridge are also scheduled to have work done at a later date. All work is expected to be completed by summer, VDOT says.

by Dave Emke — April 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Giving Back to Emergency Responders — Firefighters from Station 25 presented a certificate to a Reston woman who adopted a fire hydrant in her neighborhood. The woman was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in 1994 and credits emergency crews including fire units with saving her life, and she has loved and supported them ever since. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Guinea Pigs on Twitter Thanks to Local Students — At Ideaventions Academy, a specialized STEM school in Reston, students have built a computer and are using censors to get classroom pets to tweet out randomized messages. You can follow along @PepperNCaramel. [WUSA]

County Map Shows Youth Crash Locations — A map released Thursday by Fairfax County plots the locations of all 1,840 vehicle crashes involving youth drivers (ages 15-20) in 2016. In Reston, locations including Sunrise Valley Drive, the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, and the intersection of Reston Parkway and Route 7 had the most incidents. [Fairfax County]

Another Capital BikeShare Station Opens — An 11-dock Capital BikeShare location has opened on Town Center Parkway near Sunset Hills Road, at the RTC West complex. [Capital BikeShare/Twitter]

Map courtesy Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — April 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm 79 Comments

An April 27 meeting on safety improvements on Glade Drive will regard proposed bike lanes and sharrows along a nearly 2-mile stretch of the road.

Information released Friday morning by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation regarding the meeting says it will be to discuss proposals for Glade Drive between Glade Bank Way and Twin Branches Road. That’s the 1.93-mile portion of the road scheduled for repaving this year by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“The purpose of the meeting will be to gather input on various proposals to improve traffic safety, bicycling and the pedestrian environment. There will be an open house at 6:30 p.m., and then representatives from FCDOT and VDOT will present plans for the project, which includes sharrows/shared lane markings, bike lanes, crosswalks and pedestrian improvements, starting at 7 p.m.”

FCDOT said recently that there are plans for 10 additional Capital Bikeshare stations in Reston, and information provided regarding the Glade Drive meeting shows three in that part of the community:

  • at South Lakes High School
  • near the intersection of South Lakes Drive and Soapstone Drive
  • near the intersection of Soapstone Drive and Glade Drive

Bike lanes already exist along Soapstone Drive.

A meeting last month regarding the potential addition of bike lanes and sharrows on Twin Branches Road, Colts Neck Road and North Shore Drive drew spirited debate among the community. FCDOT and bicyclists say the work would increase safety for all users of the road, while other residents are concerned about potential loss of parking spaces, increased congestion and possible safety hazards for drivers.

The FCDOT presentation from that meeting is available through the county website.

The Glade Drive meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hunters Woods Elementary School (2401 Colts Neck Road).

Project map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Transportation

by Dave Emke — April 13, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Fine Arts Center Coming to Herndon? — A McLean-based investor group is proposing a $40 million afterschool fine arts facility at Centreville and West Ox roads, near Frying Pan Farm Park. The site could have up to 40,000 square feet of by-right commercial development in its future instead, the group’s land-use attorney said, which would not fit the “historic fabric of the property.” [Washington Business Journal]

Easter Event Schedule — Easter is this weekend, and no matter how you mark the holiday there are plenty of opportunities to do so around the area. [Connection Newspapers]

Registration for Reston Kids Triathlon Now Open — Signups for the event, scheduled for Aug. 6, began last night. Cost is $35.  [Reston Kids Triathlon]

County DOT Seeking Data Gatherers — Volunteers are sought to help count non-motorized road and trail users as part of a national data-gathering project, to be conducted in September. Among the locations where counts are to be done are Town Center Parkway, New Dominion Parkway, Fairfax County Parkway and the W&OD Trail in Reston. [Connection Newspapers]

Parkway Advisory Committee Needs Members — The objectives of the Town of Herndon’s committee are to identify current and future transportation impacts in the three jurisdictions; develop a proposed policy for council consideration for the use of the Herndon Parkway; and coordinate a list of concerns and proposed solutions for representatives of each jurisdiction to take to their respective government bodies. [Town of Herndon]

by RestonNow.com — April 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

The Fairfax County Police Department reports that Georgetown Pike (Route 193) is closed just west of Great Falls due to an overturned dump truck.

NBC Washington reports the collision involved the dump truck and a car, but the drivers of each suffered only minor injuries.

The closure is expected to last into the mid-afternoon.

Map via Google

by Dave Emke — April 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm 3 Comments

A number of trees are reported down in Reston after a nasty storm passed through Thursday afternoon.

At the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive, a large tree has fallen and crashed onto the traffic lights on eastbound Sunrise Valley. The intersection is not shut down; however, eastbound traffic on Sunrise Valley Drive is proceeding gingerly as the through-lane is blocked by debris, including a fallen signal.

A Fairfax County police officer on scene said it is one of several reported incidents across Reston. Trees are also reported down on Glade Drive, Hunter Mill Road, North Shore Drive, Baron Cameron Avenue and Leesburg Pike.

The officer said cleanup will be contingent upon when the Virginia Department of Transportation, Dominion Power, and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue will be able to respond. There are many such reported incidents across the county, the officer said.

The storm that came through Thursday afternoon was accompanied by a tornado warning from the National Weather Service.

by Dave Emke — April 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm 18 Comments

At its meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to officially establish the Reston Transportation Service District, part of the 40-year, $2.27 billion plan to upgrade roadways in Reston’s Transit Station Area.

Supervisors in February approved the project’s funding plan, which includes a proposed 2.1 cent/$100 of assessed value tax assessed to properties in the Transit Station Area. That rate will be discussed and finalized when the county budget is approved in May.

The overall project includes road widening and upgrades to intersections and interchanges, in addition to construction of new Dulles Toll Road crossings, including at Town Center Parkway and Soapstone Drive. Roadway projects would be paid for with public revenue, while work on intersections and the street grid would be covered by private funding.

Under the agreed-upon plan, current homeowners in the TSA will be responsible for up to $44.6 million of the estimated cost. The remainder of the tax funds (totaling $350 million) will be collected from commercial/industrial properties and from residential properties built in the future. The rest of private funds, about $716 million, is expected to be collected through in-kind contributions to the grid by developers.

In addition, the board voted Tuesday to create a 13-member advisory group for the service district. The group will consist of the following members:

  • One member from the Dranesville District
  • Two members from the Hunter Mill District
  • Three members to represent residential owners and homeowner/civic associations
  • One member to represent apartment or rental owner associations
  • One member to represent residents of Reston Town Center
  • Three members to represent commercial or retail ownership interests, including the Reston Town Center Association
  • One member from the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce to represent lessees of non-residential space
  • One member from Reston Association

Among the group’s responsibilities, county Department of Transportation Director Tom Biesiadny said, would be to “work with staff to ensure that estimated funding levels are coordinated with construction of transportation projects, that the timing of the construction is coordinated with development, and that the funding is being spent in an appropriate and efficient manner.”

Supervisors Linda Smyth (Providence District) and Pat Herrity (Springfield District) both abstained from the votes, as they have throughout the process. Herrity once again stated that the cost of the project, which he called “gold-plated,” is too high.

We’re taxing our residents out of the county and I think we’re going to see some of them fleeing Reston,” Herrity said.

A pair of TSA residents who spoke during a public hearing Tuesday, Robert Perry and Hank Schonzeit, both expressed feelings that taxing a small group of residents for work that benefits the entire community — as well as developers — is unfair.

If you’re going to have a situation where you’re going to try to flog us the most you can get away with, in the smallest possible area for the fewest taxpayers, I say that’s not fair,” Perry said. “The developers who probably live in a different state who are getting rich from this [are] the ones that should bear the payment, not us.”

Developers will be responsible for 96 percent of the private share of the project, Biesiadny said, and 53 percent (about $1.2 billion) of the project is to be paid out of the county coffers. Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) said that while developers will be benefiting from the major road improvements, she believes residents will see the benefits of the work as well.

“We’re hoping it will not be considered onerous, but I think anytime we ask the citizens to [be taxed], they may assume it’s going to be an onerous assessment,” Hudgins said. “But I think they’ll see the return.”

by Dave Emke — April 5, 2017 at 2:45 pm 168 Comments

Proposed safety improvements for Glade Drive will be the topic of discussion at a Fairfax County Department of Transportation community meeting later this month.

The meeting on bicycle, pedestrian and traffic safety improvements is scheduled for Thursday, April 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hunters Woods Elementary School (2401 Colts Neck Road). The discussion will revolve around “proposed changes and addition of multi-modal features to the street design of Glade Drive,” according to information provided by Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office.

FCDOT held a similar community meeting last month to discuss adding bike lanes, crosswalks and road diets on Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road. That meeting saw a great deal of reaction, positive and negative, from community members. The FCDOT presentation from that meeting is available through the county website.

The work is being proposed on roadways that are scheduled for repaving this year by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Project manager Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bicycle Program manager, said at last month’s meeting that the work would improve safety for all users of the roads not just by adding crosswalks and bike lanes, but by cutting down on speeding. Lind said the work would be done at no additional cost as part of the normal re-striping process.

by Dave Emke — March 31, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

(Updated at 2:30 p.m. after Lawyers Road was reported to be reopened.)

Lawyers Road between Hunter Mill Road and Galloping Way was blocked off for several hours Friday as steady rain pounded the area.

According to an alert from Fairfax County, that area was being monitored by county crews as water levels continued to increase. The road was closed from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At the Hunter Mill Road/Lawyers Road intersection, barriers were placed blocking eastbound turns onto Lawyers Road.

In addition, Fox Mill Road was closed in Herndon at Thoroughbred Road because of high water.

A flood warning is in effect for the central portion of Fairfax County, including the City of Fairfax, until 5:15 p.m. Friday.

by Dave Emke — March 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm 1 Comment

Traffic detour on Fox Mill Road

Traffic on Fox Mill Road was detoured this afternoon after a truck hit a pole, taking down wires in the process.

The incident took place around 5 p.m. near the intersection with Pinecrest Road, between Reston Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway.

Fox Mill Road was closed between John Milton Drive and Fox View Way, and traffic was diverted through the neighborhood.

The road reopened by 7 p.m., according to an alert from Fairfax County.

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