Now Open: Turn Lane at Baron Cameron Avenue

The first of several planned improvements to the Route 7 Corridor is officially complete.

A third left-turn lane from westbound Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue opened to traffic on Monday (August 19) — the first of several traffic flow improvements planned between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

The project includes other improvements like a third lane in each direction, shared-use paths on both sides, the replacement of a bridge over Difficult Run and a pedestrian underpass to access Colvin Run Mill Park.

The complete list of planned improvements is below:

Widening the road from four lanes to six lanes

Building continuous shared-use paths along eastbound and westbound Route 7

Raising the Difficult Run bridge above flood elevation

Shared-use trail under the Difficult Run bridge with minimum height clearance of twelve feet

Adding a pedestrian underpass at Colvin Run Mill Park for enhanced park access

Shifting Route 7 lanes away from Colvin Run Mill; enlarging culvert under Carpers Farm Way

Adding noise walls with architectural treatment (where reasonable/feasible per final analysis)

Adding stormwater ponds

Replacing/relocating the existing Lewinsville Road intersection with McLean Bible Church’s eastern entrance with a new displaced-left with two coordinated signals

At Towlston Road, shifting Route 7 away from Andrey Chapel Cemetery; adding right- and left-turn lanes on southbound Towlston Road

Widening Forestville Road to add southbound left- and right-turn lanes

Adding a third left-turn lane from westbound Route 7 to southbound Baron Cameron Avenue, as well as a free-flow ramp from northbound Baron Cameron Avenue to eastbound Route 7

Improving the approach angle from Utterback Store Road to Route 7

Lengthening left- and right-turn lanes from Route 7 to many side streets along the corridor; eliminating some median crossings for safety

Building new ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps 

Officials estimate the project will be complete by 2024.

Until then, the speed limit along Route 7 has been reduced to 45 miles per house in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Delta Glen Court.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

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New Left-Turn Lane to Open at Baron Cameron Avenue

A new third left-turn lane is set to open next week from westbound Route 7 to westbound Baron Cameron Avenue.

The addition of the lane is the first of several major improvements planned for the Route 7 Corridor to improve the flow of traffic.

Construction between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive is ongoing. The project will widen the ride from four to six lanes, add shared-use paths and upgrade several intersections between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

The speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Delta Glen Court.

Eastbound Route 7 traffic turning right onto westbound Baron Cameron Avenue must yield to oncoming traffic before merging into the through lane.

The new lane will be open to traffic on Monday (August 19).

Map via Virginia Department of Transportation

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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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East Elden Street Widening Likely to Begin in 2023

A major project to widen Elden Street from four to six lanes between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway will likely break ground in early 2023.

The project is expected to cost roughly $51 million, including $6 million for preliminary engineering, $20 million for right of way acquisition and utility relocation, and nearly $25 million for construction.

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation said that the state is currently in the process of right of way acquisition. Construction could begin sooner if additional funding becomes available.

The project area — which is around one mile — would bring bike lanes from Monroe Street to Herndon Parkway. It also includes cycle tracks from Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway — which combine the infrastructure of a separated path and on-street infrastructure with a conventional bike lane.

Culverts over Sugarland Run will be replaced, along with a new bridge to improve stream flow and reduce potential flooding. So far, the project is on track.

Map via VDOT/website

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Summer Road Construction Projects on Route 7 Underway

State crews are working on several road construction projects along the Route 7 Corridor this summer.

The speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in the project’s active work zones.

Construction of a third left turn lane from westbound Route 7 to southbound Baron Cameron Avenue is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

Crews are also continuing work to widen the shoulders on westbound Route 7 between the Colvin Run Mill area and Reston Avenue. Once work is completed, the westbound lanes will shift to the right to give crews space to construction temporary eastbound lanes.

The Virginia Department of Transportation cautions drivers to watch out for signs indicating changes to traffic patterns in the area.

Other minor work including pipe installation, median excavation, utility and temporary signal work is ongoing in the median of Route 7 between the Colvin Run Mill area and Reston Avenue.

Photo via VDOT

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No Major Flood Damage Reported at Reston North Park & Ride

Floodwaters at the Reston North Park and Ride have receded, leaving little damage at the site where water pooled up to the windshields’ of cars yesterday (July 8).

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation told Reston Now that there appears to be no damage to the pavement or drains, which were simply overwhelmed with the “massive amount of water.”

“We’re focusing on other areas,” Ellen Kamilakis said. “There are other heavily devastated areas in the county.”

Crews are currently on-site throughout the county to assess damages.

In early September 2011, floodwaters caused major damage at the Reston Park and Ride. Several vehicles were damaged during that storm.

The lot is located at the corner of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue.

Photo via AlphaPupObie/Twitter

 

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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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