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To Close Funding Gap, County Board Approves $40 Million for Route 7 Widening

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will contribute up to $40 million to help close a funding a gap in the widening of Route 7.

The $278 million project, which will widen Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive from four to six lanes, will cost roughly 95 million more than what engineers’ originally estimated.

The board unanimously voted to approve additional funds on Tuesday (June 19). The Virginia Department of Transportation is expected to also contribute up to $40 million.

Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said cost overruns were linked primarily to how the contract was bid. The state is currently negotiating between two offerors who offered bids above the estimated price. The contract is a design-to-build, which is costlier than design-to-bid projects and would allow the project to begin two years earlier than originally anticipated,  Biesiadny said.

Officials hope to reduce the expected costs of the project by negotiating with the two offerors. Final bid offers must be in by early July.

Most funding to meet the gap will be taken from dollars allocated for Tysons projects. A plan to widen Frying Pan Road will also be deferred, Biesiadny said.

Biesiadny said bicycle and pedestrian improvements are also planned along the seven-mile stretch, which he said connects Reston and Tysons.

It provides benefits to both of those areas by allowing traffic to move more quickly through those areas, reduc[ing] congestion, but also provid[ing[ bicycle and pedestrian improvements and bus stop improvements,” he said.

File photo via FCDOT

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Wednesday Morning Notes

The last call — Today is the last day to apply to run for a seat on Reston Citizens Association’s board of directors. Applications should be submitted online by midnight[Reston Citizens Association]

Run for it — The Reston Sprint Triathlon is set for June 3. Here’s everything you need to know about this annual event. [Reston Sprint Triathlon]

Happening nearby: Goodbye, orange cones  Route 7 improvements in Tysons are complete. Changes include wider bridges over the Dulles Toll Road and a new shared-use link. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Photo by John Lovaas

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Thursday Morning Notes

It’s not just Amazon — Apple is considering Northern Virginia for 20,000 jobs, in what could be the company third major U.S. hub. The governor pitched three sites: Tysons Corner, Loudoun and Crystal City. [The Washington Post]

What’s coming to your neighborhood — Zoning changes are afoot, including plans to expand areas where community gardens are allowed and how Airbnb and other short-term lodging options are regulated. Informational sessions are planned in the coming weeks. [Fairfax County Government]

Member Services closed for part of the day — Reston Association’s member services department will be closed today from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to allow staff to attend a session by local police about workplace violence. [Reston Association]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Tuesday Morning Notes

LeAnn Rimes Headlining Tysons Concert Series — Nine concerts are planned in June and July at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center. Highlights include LeAnn Rimes (July 28) and James Arthur (June 22). [Tysons Corner Center]

SLHS Sports Teams Have Big Week — Boys tennis and boys soccer both have playoff matchups tonight, while varsity baseball and outdoor track and field have their regional events later this week. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

New Herndon Official to Start June 1 — Tammy L. Chastain has been hired as the town’s new deputy director of Public Works. [Town of Herndon]

Real Estate Professional Marks 40 YearsCarol Welsh marked the anniversary with Long & Foster’s Reston office last week. She is an active member of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. She is a lifetime member of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors’ Million Dollar Sales Club and Top Producers Club. She is also a member of the Founder’s Club of the Long & Foster Gold Team, and she is an accredited staging professional. [Long & Foster]

County Libraries Sharing Backpacks — The packs include a parking pass for Virginia State Parks, items to help kids explore the outdoors and much more. There are 32 available for loan from the county’s library branches. [Fairfax County]

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Nearby: Florida Trio Busted For $76K in Tysons Corner Thefts

Stolen goods from FCPD/Credit: FCPD Stolen goods from Lord & Taylor/FCPDFairfax County Police arrested a man and two women whom they say stole thousands of dollars worth of clothing from the Lord & Taylor store at Tysons Corner on Friday.

FCPD’s Tysons Urban Team (TUT) was called to the store about 8:30 p.m. after a store security official notified them of of suspicious activity.

Store security informed TUT that a male and two female suspects involved in a retail theft ring were currently in their store. The suspects exited the store and attempted to flee in a vehicle, but were detained in the parking lot, police said. In the car, officers found stolen merchandise along with tools geared to defeat the store security systems.

Police said more than $76,000 worth of property was seized from the retail theft ring. Arrested were:

Oleg Lazanovitch, 39, of Florida. Charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property with intent to sell, and possession of a burglarious tool.

Iryna Karp, 28, of Florida. Charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property with intent to sell, and possession of a burglarious tool.

Kateryna Nosul, 20, of Florida. Charged with providing false identify to law enforcement.

Photos: Some of the items stolen from Lord & Taylor/Credit: FCPD

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How Do Reston’s Future Park Plans Measure Up To Tysons?

Pick up soccer in the parkPlanners of Tysons Corner’s transformation from car-clogged roads to a walkable edge city also want to see 154 acres of additional parkland so the expected nearly 100,000 future residents will have places to play.

With an eye on building Tysons into a city, Fairfax County would like to add one-and-a-half acres of parkland per 1,000 residents and one acre for every 10,000 employees (of which there are expected to be more than 200,000 by 2050). Tysons currently has 89 acres of parkland.

In a recently released report on the Tysons Park System Concept Plan, the county said it would need 29 playgrounds, 22 sports courts, 2 dog parks and 1 skate park to meet the needs of the expected population over the next 40 years.

What does this have to do with Reston? Reston, like Tysons, is predicted to experience a boom in growth due to the opening of Metro’s Silver Line, which may go into service in the next few months. It remains to be seen if the large list of recreation recommendations ever come to be in Tysons.

The Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment that was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors earlier this year called for the construction of only three playing fields near Reston’s Metro stations, where most of the development will occur and new residents will move.

Those areas have almost no existing park space. The Wiehle-Reston East Station is located in what used to be zoned a strictly industrial/commercial area. With no previous residents, there are no existing residential amenities such as parks and playing fields in the immediate area.

The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force had recommended that 12 additional playing fields be constructed in Reston to accommodate 40,000 new residents.

Earlier this year, Reston 2020 co-chair Terry Maynard called the plan for recreation in Reston “unacceptable.”

“The suburban standard is five acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents; the urban one is 1.5 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents topped with a one-acre dollop of space for every 10,000 employees,” he wrote in an analysis of the field allotments. “In Reston, the county suburban standard would lead to about 270 acres of parkland in the station areas.The urban standard leads to 95 acres in Reston’s station areas.

“The result is that less than six percent of the total Reston station area space will be devoted to parks. By comparison, New York City’s Manhattan Borough, the most densely populated, most densely employed, and most valuable piece of urban real estate in the United States, has more than 19 percent of its land devoted to parks and recreation.”

In Reston, there are no current plan for additional parks, though Baron Cameron Park is in the midst of a Master Plan revision.

Fairfax County Park Authority Board Chair Bill Bouie, a Reston resident, says Reston already has the recreational structure in place, therefore there is not as great a need for major park and playing field expansion.

Reston was planned with open space as a priority, and significant amenities are already here,says Bouie. That includes 55 miles of trails, 16 Reston Association pools, pocket parks, playing fields and three major parks (Lake Fairfax Park, Baron Cameron Park and Brown’s Chapel Park).

Bouie said that fields at Reston schools, including the new turf fields at South Lakes High School, are also considered amenities already in place.

“There is so much here already,” says Bouie. “We don’t have nearly the assets in Tysons.”

In the future, up for grabs in Reston may be the area called Town Center North, which encompasses the site of the recently-closed Cameron Glen Rehabilitation Center. There has been talk of using the 47-acre site, currently owned by the county and by Inova Health Systems, as mixed-use development, the site of the new Reston Regional Library and open space.

Town Center North has also been mentioned as a possible location for a proposed Reston Community Center facility that would include a 50-meter indoor pool.

That $35 million facility has been studied and discussed for more than a year for Baron Cameron Park, which is Fairfax County Park Authority property.

One Baron Cameron Master Plan proposal calls for revitalizing the 10 playing fields there with artificial turf and lights to get more use. The other involves the indoor recreation center — which would mean the park loses several fields to make room for the indoor facility.

The 30-day public comment period for the Baron Cameron Park Master Plan ended Sunday. Bouie said the board will likely vote on it in June.

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