Monday Morning Notes

Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors to Hold Annual Public Hearing Tonight — Attendees will learn more about RCC’s plans for the future, including a status report on the renovation of the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center and the center’s annual report and strategic plan. The hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods. [Reston Community Center]

Flash Flood Watch In Effect Today — A flash flood watch is in effect from 2 p.m. through this evening. Widespread thunderstorms and showers are expected. [National Weather Service]

Route 7 Widening Project to Provide Traffic Relief Soon — “The $313.9 million project is designed to ease congestion on a section of Route 7 that links northern and western Fairfax County and includes the busy Tysons area, which is undergoing a massive transformation of its own. The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority provided $10 million in funding. Other money for the project comes from Fairfax County and the state.” [The Washington Post]

Overnight Closures of Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Airport Access Road Ramps Planned This Week — “The ramps from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road and the eastbound Dulles Airport Access Road to the southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway) general purpose lanes will be closed nightly Monday night, June 17 through Friday night, June 21 for bridge work as part of the Jones Branch Connector project, ” [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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County Board OKs Thomas Avenue Cut-Through Traffic Restrictions

The Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors greenlighted cut-through restrictions on Thomas Avenue today (June 4).

The restrictions would end Thomas Avenue serving as a conduit to get to Route 7 and the resulting traffic jams during rush hour along the narrow residential road.

Back in January, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) presented potential solutions and gathered feedback from locals concerning ways to limit cut-through traffic at the congested street that lies north of Herndon.

Now, VDOT can install a “No Right Turn” sign from southbound Algonkian Parkway onto westbound Thomas Avenue between 7-10 a.m.

This change has been in the works for almost three years, starting in 2016 with the county board endorsing a resolution to VDOT requesting that the avenue get considered for measures that reduce its volume of cut-through traffic.

Photo via Google Maps

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VDOT is Behind on Grass Cutting in Reston

Unwieldy grass along medians and roads maintained by VDOT could become more of an eyesore until mid-June.

A spokeswoman for VDOT told Reston Now that the department delayed awarding a mowing contract after a potential bidder asked for clarification on a section of the call for bids.

“When this happens, state regulations require at least 10 days before closing so the bid was extended,” said VDOT spokeswoman Jenni McCord.

Bids are expected to close on June 11, after which VDOT will make a decision on the contract.

In the meantime, McCord said VDOT is working to schedule crews to mow areas in Reston.

Historically, VDOT has contracted with RA to mow medians. Without a contract with VDOT, RA cannot mow areas maintained by VDOT.

It’s unclear if the association will get the contract this year.

Hank Lynch, RA’s CEO, said he shares members’ concerns about the lack of maintenance on the roadways.

Routine mowing of the medians not only provides better aesthetics, but it also makes traveling along roadways safer. We will continue to work with VDOT and are poised to perform the mowing quickly and to RA standards if and when the state legally permits us to do so,” Lynch wrote in a statement.

Others pointed to longterm maintenance issues with VDOT’s repaving of roads in Reston.

A resident of the Polo Fields neighborhood near the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride said roads have not been paved and potholes have not been filled for years.

A community representative has been in touch with VDOT about the issue for at least two years.

The neighborhood hasn’t heard back about maintenance concerns.

Photos via K. Malaika Walton

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Town Center Parkway Underpass Targets Completion in 2032

State transportation officials are negotiating with a consultant to complete a feasibility study about the future Town Center Parkway underpass.

The underpass, which is listed as a top priority in Reston’s transportation funding plan, would extend Town Center Parkway from Sunrise Valley Drive west of Edmund Haley Drive under the Dulles Toll Road to Sunset Hill Road.

The structure would also include bike and pedestrian facilities that link mixed-use areas north and south of the toll road.

So far, the project is expected to cost roughly $170 million.

Currently, the Virginia Department of Transportation is negotiating with a consultant to conduct a feasibility study.

Once completed, the underpass is expected to relieve congestion and give commuters a different option for heading north and south in the area beyond Fairfax County Parkway and Reston Parkway.

The project isn’t expected to be completed until 2032. Before then, county officials estimate environmental assessment, engineering and design will take four years, while construction, right-of-way, and land acquisition could take around five years.

Map via Google Maps

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Monday Morning Notes

Fox Mill Road Closed This Week — The road will be closed between Loveless Lane and Throughbred from today at 8 a.m. until Thursday (May 23) at 4 p.m. The closure was rescheduled from last week. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

What Lurks in Reston’s Lakes — Check out what experts found out about the creatures that live in each of Reston’s lakes. A recent survey revealed information about the different types of fish in the area and their general health. [Reston Today]

Conquering Home Improvement Season — In honor of Building Safety Month, county officials offer some tips on how to tackle home improvement projects, including swimming pools, new decks, gas appliances, play houses, and hiring a contractor. [Fairfax County Government]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fox Mill Road Closure Rescheduled – The closure, which was originally planned for this week, has been pushed to next week from Monday, May 20 to Thursday, May 23. After that weekend, the road will close against from Tuesday, May 28 to Thursday, May 30. Closures are in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Walking through Selling Your Home in Reston — Shellie Calloway, a Reston Association staff member who works on covenants, walks members through the process dictated by the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act. Requirements include RA’s disclosure packet. [Reston Today]

Big Capital Bikeshare Growth Planned — “A recently completed study of the potential for bikeshare in an area largely along Virginia Route 123 from Tysons through Vienna, the City of Fairfax and the George Mason University area recommends expanding Capital Bikeshare into most of that corridor, with future consideration of dockless options particularly in lower density areas.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Fox Mill Road in Herndon Closed Next Week

Commuters traveling on Fox Mill Road between Loveless Lane and Thoroughbred Road should plan detours next week.

The road will be closed Monday, May 13 through Tuesday, May 21 as crews replace a pipe in the culvert that carries Little Difficult Run under Fox Mill Road.

The complete closure begins on Monday, May 13 at 8 a.m. and ends on Thursday, May 16 at 5 p.m. After that period, the road will be closed during the daytime from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day on Friday, May 17, Monday, May 20 and Tuesday, May 21. The road will remain open on the weekend.

Residents in the closure area and emergency vehicles will have access to the closed portion of Fox Mill Road, but the area where the pipe is being replaced will be completely closed off.

The Virginia Department of Transportation directed through traffic via the following routes:

  • Northbound Fox Mill Road: Folkstone Drive and Lawyers Road (Routes 602 and 665) back to Fox Mill Road.
  •  Southbound Fox Mill Road: Steeplechase Dr (Route 4703), Lawyers Road (Routes 673, 665 and 602) and Folkstone Drive back to Fox Mill Road.

Photo via VDOT                                   

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Connect Route 7 Public Meeting Tonight — State transportation officials are looking for feedback on their plans to widen seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive from four to six lanes. A meeting is set for tonight at 7 p.m. at Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls. [Connect Route 7]

Local Investor’s Ties to Beyond Meat — “Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat Inc. had one of the most impressive initial public offerings in nearly two decades — but it was the company’s dedication to the science behind making a non-meat burger or sausage taste good that first drew in John Backus, co-founder and managing partner of Reston-based Proof.VC. [Washington Business Journal]

Deadline Extended for Fairfax County Parkway Survey — If you haven’t yet given feedback on planned improvements on the parkway, you still have a chance to do so online. State and county transportation officials have extended the deadline of an online survey to May 20. [Fairfax County Government]

Create Giant Paper Flowers Today — Scrawl Books is hosting a Reston Community Workshop on making giant paper flowers with cardstock tonight at 6 p.m. Registration is $40 for residents and $60 for all others. [Scrawl Books]

Photo by Tom J.

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Public Comment Sought on ‘Connect Route 7’ Project

A $313.9 million project is underway to improve almost seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive. But before construction begins later this year, state transportation officials are courting public comment on the “Connect Route 7” project, which has been contemplated since 1975.

The project, which should be complete by July 2024, widens the road from four to six lanes, adds a 10-foot wide shared-use path on both sides, and improves several intersections along the corridor.

A public meeting on the project is set for May 7 from 7-9 p.m. at Forestville Elementary School (1085 Utterback Store Road) and on May 14 during the same time at Colvin Run Elementary School (1400 Trap Road). Experts will be on hand to answer questions about the project.

It’s possible that more than 500,000 square feet of noise barriers could be installed along the corridor, according to VDOT. Property owners will be surveyed to determine if noise barriers will be constructed.

The project will not be completed until July 2024. Utility relocation could take until the summer of 2023 and right of way acquisition will likely be complete by early 2021, VDOT says.

These improvements will increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow, and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians, all in conformity with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan.”

Map via VDOT

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‘Pardon Our Dust’ Meetings Starting Soon for Route 7 Widening

As construction gears up for widening Route 7 from Reston to Tysons, “Pardon Our Dust” meetings starting later this spring with information on the upcoming work phases and schedules.

The proposed Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project will transform nearly seven miles of Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, which is just before the Dulles Toll Road interchange.

The project will widen Route 7 from four to six lanes, add shared-use paths and revamp intersections along the corridor.

The project aims to “increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians, all in conformity with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan,” according to VDOT.

Washington Gas has been busy with work along the corridor to replace a little under 7 miles of pipeline along Route 7 from Bishop Gates Way in Herndon to the intersection of Baron Cameron Avenue and Springvale Road.

The schedule for the project on VDOT’s website says:

  • late summer 2018-summer 2020: final design
  • early 2019-early 2021: right of way
  • spring 2019-summer 2023: utility relocation
  • spring 2019-summer 2024: construction

The project is slated to finish in July of 2024, VDOT says.

Specific dates and locations for the “Pardon Our Dust” meetings, which will periodically occur from this spring through summer 2023, have not been announced yet.

Map via Virginia Department of Transportation

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FCDOT Seeking Locals’ Input for Fairfax County Parkway Changes

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Locals in Reston will have a chance to provide feedback this week to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) on a study looking at the Fairfax County Parkway from Route 7 to Route 1.

FCDOT is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) on the “Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways Alternatives Analysis and Long Term Planning Study,” which stretches 31 miles and consists of 83 intersections and 17 interchanges.

Some questions that the study wants to address include:

  • the degree to which existing intersections should be considered for conversion to interchanges or under/overpasses
  • how transit should be integrated into the corridor
  • bicycle/pedestrian mobility

Tolling is off the agenda after FCDOT sought feedback from the community last fall. “Strong public participation, with more than 200 people attending meetings and 15,150 responses to the online survey, informed the formulation of strategies that will be discussed at the upcoming round of public meetings and led to the removal of tolling along the parkway as one of the approved strategies for improvement,” according to a FCDOT press release.

Ultimately, the study will provide recommendations for 2040 and beyond and will consider whether or not changes should be made to the county’s current transportation plan.

The meeting is set to take place on Thursday (March 28) at the Armstrong Elementary School (11900 Lake Newport Road).

The meeting will start with a presentation at 7 p.m. followed by a question and answer period at 7:30 p.m. and time for public input activities at 8 p.m. The Reston event is one of three public information sessions — the other two are at Fairfax and Springfield.

Locals will be able to give their feedback to the FCDOT study team in person. For people unable to attend the meeting, FCDOT will upload the meeting presentation to the study webpage by Thursday, April 4, and accept feedback through an online survey until midnight on Monday, May 6.

The input is meant to guide the study team to determine which improvements will be developed for screening and testing.

Courtesy via VDOT

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Locals May See Return of Snow, Wintry Mix Friday

Just like last week, locals can expect snow and wintry weather as the weekend arrives.

The Virginia Department of Transportation wants locals to stay alert to possible snow and a wintry mix starting Friday (March 8) and continuing through Sunday (March 10).

Crews have already done spot pre-treatments of areas prone to freezing today (March 7), according to VDOT. Crews will begin staging along roads early Friday morning.

For Reston, the National Weather Service expects a slight chance of snow before 10 a.m., followed by rain and more snow totaling about less than half of an inch for tomorrow. Rain is likely for Saturday and Sunday, NWS says.

Photo by @MrErrett/Twitter

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UPDATED: Fairfax County Public Schools Closed Friday

Updated at 6:55 a.m. — FCPS will be closed Friday.

Fairfax County Public Schools announced the closures this morning. School offices and central offices will open two hours late.

Earlier: Fairfax County Public Schools are taking no chances amid forecasts calling for a burst of snow during the Friday morning commute.

FCPS will open two hours late tomorrow, the school system announced Thursday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the area.

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 3 PM EST FRIDAY… * WHAT…SNOW IS LIKELY. SNOW ACCUMULATION LESS THAN ONE INCH. THE BEST CHANCE FOR SNOW WILL BE BETWEEN 7 AM AND NOON FRIDAY. * WHERE…THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA. * WHEN…FROM 6 AM TO 3 PM EST FRIDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…WITH SURFACE TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW FREEZING FRIDAY MORNING, EVEN MINOR ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW COULD CAUSE UNTREATED ROADS TO BECOME ICY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… DRIVERS SHOULD PREPARE FOR ICY TRAVEL FRIDAY MORNING, AND PLAN FOR EXTRA TIME TO TRAVEL. WHILE IT IS NOT CERTAIN THAT SNOW ACCUMULATION AND ICY TRAVEL WILL DEVELOP AT THIS TIME, THE POTENTIAL THREAT IS THERE. PLAN AHEAD. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

VDOT is asking drivers to proceed with caution Friday morning.

VDOT asks that drivers be alert to potential wintry weather that may impact commutes Friday morning. Light snow and extremely low temperatures may cause icy conditions.

Crews continue working overnight to treat roads for refreeze from earlier this week, and will also be staged tomorrow morning to treat roads for more light snow.

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Potential Snow Threatens to Make Roads Icy on Friday Morning

Updated at 3:55 p.m. — NWS issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Fairfax, saying snow accumulation less than 1 inch is likely between 7 a.m. and noon on Friday. From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, locals can expect surface temperatures “well below freezing.”

Earlier: The National Weather Service is warning drivers about possible icy roads Friday morning if snow hits Reston and surrounding areas.

NWS issued a Special Weather Statement Thursday afternoon to alert locals of possible snow tomorrow (Feb. 1).

More from the National Weather Service:

POTENTIAL WINTER COMMUTING HAZARD FOR THE BALTIMORE / WASHINGTON METRO AREAS FRIDAY MORNING…

There is a potential for hazardous commuting conditions for the Friday morning commute. A period of snow is POSSIBLE (a 30 percent chance south of Washington D.C. up to a 70 percent chance
in and north of Baltimore) Friday morning across the Baltimore / Washington metro areas. Snow may accumulate up to an inch for metro Washington D.C.. Snow may accumulate around an inch for
Baltimore with 1 to 2 inches possible north of Baltimore.

If this threat does materialize during the Friday morning rush-hour, many untreated roads could quickly turn icy. This could lead to dangerous traveling conditions, multiple accidents, and extensive delays.

If commuting Friday morning, be aware of the POSSIBILITY of significant travel disruptions. Plan ahead by allowing for extra travel time, and consider using public transportation and telework options.

Snow tomorrow would be an early kick-off to the Capital Weather Gang’s predictions that February will have above average snowfall.

Drivers are encouraged to monitor forecasts and plan extra travel time during the morning rush hour.

The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted that it is watching the weather as well.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Commuters Face Icy Roads, Wind Chill Today

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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