Reston, VA

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan — which is estimated to cost roughly $3 billion dollars.

The plan approved last Tuesday (Dec. 3) by the board will guide decisions for transit improvements for fiscal years 2020 to 2025, according to a county press release.

In the Hunter Mill District specifically, there are more than 50 projects recommended by the county documents — many of which include improvements in safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as various infrastructure and intersection changes. Some of the projects suggested in the plan will be fully funded by the estimated cost, while other projects will need to find additional funding.

Here is a list of a few major improvements in the plan:

  • Widen Route 7 from four to six lanes from Jarrett Valley Drive (Dulles Toll Road) to Reston Avenue. This would include intersection, bicycle and pedestrian and bus stop changes
  • Addition of a walkway on the north side of Fox Mill Road from Fairfax County Parkway to Reston Parkway
  • Expansion of Reston bike-share
  • Expansion of Town Center Parkway to include a divided roadway under the Dulles Toll Road from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will also continue projects that are already underway, according to Fairfax County’s website.

County documents also included a list of projects that were not recommended for the 2020-25 Priorities List, including the underpass for Town Center Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road.

In 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved $1.4 billion for six years of transportation projects from FY 2015-2020.

The county said in the press release that the funding estimate for the FY 2020- 2025 plan was impacted by the Virginia General Assembly passing legislation that diverted funds to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, along with rising project costs.

More from the press release:

The anticipated funding for a draft FY 2018-2023 TPP was $600 million in new revenues to fully fund existing projects and $170 million in new projects. These funding estimates were not realized, because in 2018, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that designated $154 million per year for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) to address system improvement needs largely did so by diverting funding from existing local and regional sources.

Of the $102 million annual diversion, the financial impact on Fairfax County was estimated to be $45-50 million per year, or approximately $300 million over six years. As a result, there is no available revenue for new transportation projects. In addition, the County was required to adjust schedules for some previously approved projects, many beyond FY 2025…

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), project costs have been rising for various reasons, including the number of large-scale projects underway across the National Capital Region causing shortages of labor and materials; economic factors such as tariffs and rising right-of-way costs; and across the board increases on project contingencies required by VDOT.

Image via Google Maps

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fairfax County Poaches Another Arlington Development OfficialThe Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) announced that it has poached another one of Arlington’s economic development officials: Alex Iams, the former interim director of the Arlington Economic Development. [Tysons Reporter]

Common Recycling Mistakes — Nearly 30 percent of material received by a third-party recycling processor used by the county is trash. The county offers tips on how to stop this practice of “wishful recycling.” [Fairfax County Government]

Feedback Sought on Fairfax County Parkway Improvements — The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing on Thursday (Dec. 12) on plans to improve five miles of Fairfax County Parkway. Comments can also be submitted online. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

More Authority Proposed for Local Jurisdictions — “Democrats say they are likely to let counties and cities choose, for example, whether to remove or relocate Confederate memorials, and are looking for ways to allow them to impose taxes on hotel stays and cigarettes. They say they are unlikely to push for a full adoption of home rule, however, citing a century’s worth of judicial decisions that adhere to the philosophy of state control.” [The Washington Post]

Photo via Flickr/vantagehill

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Get ready for more snow.

The National Weather Service recently posted a winter weather advisory for the D.C.-area, including Fairfax County, from 6 p.m. tonight (Jan. 17) to 4 a.m. on Friday.

NWS expects around 1 inch of snow accumulation.

The advisory says the following:

Plan on slippery road conditions and
sidewalks. The hazardous conditions could impact the evening
commute after sunset as temperatures fall below freezing.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will
cause primarily travel difficulties. Expect snow covered roads
and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can
be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is asking drivers to closely monitor forecasts for potential snow and ice impacting rush hours tonight and tomorrow, according to a “snow update” email this morning.

VDOT wrote that crews are staging along roads throughout the day to be ready for rush hour and have touched up pretreatment on areas prone to freezing, such as bridges, ramps and overpasses. They will also continue to work overnight to treat for icy conditions.

Photo via Robbie Nolan/Twitter

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County remains among the richest — the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Fairfax County ranks second as the richest county from 2013 to 2017, following Loudoun County. [U.S. Census Bureau]

It’s snow joke — With snow predictions looming, the Virginia Department of Transportation wants residents to stay safe by looking over its 2018-2019 “snow facts.” [VDOT]

Fine arts photography collection — The “La Lumiere DuBois VII” exhibit by Michael DuBois, who highlights his love of nature, opens today at the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The exhibit is open until  Jan. 6. [Reston Community Center]

“She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition” — Watch students from the Herndon High School perform a contemporary dramatic comedy tonight at 7 p.m. Parental guidance is recommended. [Herndon High School Theatre]

Photo by Susan Berger

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A plan is underway to replace an aging bridge on Hunter Mill Road over Colvin Run.

The $3 million project would expand the bridge from one to two lanes and include four-feet-wide shoulders. The number of vehicles that pass over the bridge is expected to increase from 7,200 to 11,000 vehicles per day by 2043, according to state estimates.

The replacement project has been contemplated by state and local officials for nearly 20 years.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking public input on the project on April 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Forest Ridge Elementary School (1501 Becontree Lane). A presentation on the project will begin at 7 p.m.

Construction will likely begin in the spring of 2021. The bridge is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022. It has a sufficiency rating of 23.5 out of 100, a measure that determines the likelihood of a bridge to remain in service.

Photos courtesy of VDOT

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Fairfax County School Board to Discuss  School Calendar — The board will review three options to change the school calendar for next year on Monday, Nov. 13. Changes include several options for the first day of school and the selection of the length of winter break and early release days. Proposed changes can be found on the school system’s website. For more information, contact the school system’s community relations and communication office at 571-423-1200. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Federal Capital Partners To Sell Amazon Web Services Building in Herndon — The landlord has hired a firm to market the One Dulles Tower, a 400,000 square foot building for sale. The company purchased the building for $80 million in 2015. [Washington Business Journal]

Event to Highlight Crash Management Efforts in Northern Virginia — Virginia’s transportation department will show how multiple agencies and jurisdictions work together to clear incidents on the state’s roads on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. The event, which will be held at the department’s Northern Virginia District Office (4975 Alliance Drive), is the first open house in Northern Virginia that will feature a simulated crash scene and indoor technology exposition. For more information, visit the department’s webpage. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Herndon High School Theatre Presents ‘Twelfth Night’ —  William Shakespeare’s holiday comedy will be performed on Nov. 10, 11, 16 and 17  from 7:30 – 10 p.m. Timings for Nov. 12 and Nov. 18 are between 2 and 4:30 p.m. Parental guidance is recommended, as the performance is not suitable for audience members under the age of thirteen. Tickets, which are $12 for adults and $6 for students, can be purchased on the theatre’s website. Performances will take place in Herndon High School’s auditorium (700 Bennett St.). [Herndon High School Theatre]

Sobriety Check Set for Friday — Officers from the Reston District Station will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint in the area this Friday. A first-time DUI offense can result in fines ranging from $250 to $2,500 and a one-year license suspension. Individuals arrested with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or higher must spend at least five days in jail. [Fairfax County Police]

File photo.

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Friday Morning Notes

Hook Road Project Info Session  Anyone interested in learning about the Hook Road Recreation Area project and the forming of a working group may attend an information session on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). Email [email protected] for more about serving on the working group. [Reston Association]

Third Outreach Session on Bikeshare Announced — The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced a third public outreach event to gather community input on the proposed sites for Capital Bikeshare expansion in Reston. It will be Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market. [VDOT]

Aquatics Center To Close for Annual Maintenance — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) will be closed from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. It is scheduled to reopen at noon Sept. 16. [Reston Community Center]

County Short-Term Rental Survey Ongoing — Fairfax County is developing regulations to govern the use of short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb). It is gathering community input through Aug. 31. [Fairfax County/Survey Monkey]

Column: Virginia Should Not Pay for ‘Skins Stadium — Regular ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot wrote this week about how the costs of bringing a new Washington Redskins home field to Virginia would far outweigh the benefits for taxpayers. [ARLnow]

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Beginning Monday, traffic and parking on North Shore Drive will be limited as re-paving work is done.

According to signs posted on the road, the work is scheduled for July 10 through Aug. 10. Parking limitations will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day while the work is being conducted.

The work will be done on the entire 3.53-mile length of the road. As part of the re-paving project, lines will be painted on the road to create bike lanes and add sharrows.

Paving projects have already been completed this season on North Village Road and a small portion of Wiehle Avenue. More paving will take place this summer on roads including Colts Neck Road, Glade Drive and Twin Branches Road.

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At its meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave its seal of approval to plans to widen Leesburg Pike (Route 7) from Reston to Tysons.

The 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. Supervisors approved the plan, with two minor amendments, as it was presented at a public hearing in November. (View information shared and discussed at that meeting here.)

“[This has been] a long-awaited case,” Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said at the meeting prior to the vote.

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, will include constructing a partial interchange at Baron Cameron Avenue to reduce congestion.

A rendering provided by VDOT shows the Baron Cameron interchange will have the eastbound lanes of Route 7 traveling under the road, connected via ramps. Westbound lanes will continue to face a stoplight at the intersection.

According to 2011 traffic counts provided by VDOT, the stretch of Route 7 carries between 46,000 and 54,000 vehicles per day. That number is expected to increase to 73,000 to 86,000 by 2040, VDOT says.

Anticipated cost of the project is $234 million. 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.

Rendering and map courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation

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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.

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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.

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Thursday Morning Notes

Magazine Article Makes Case for Paid Parking at RTC — A breakdown of the paid-parking controversy at Reston Town Center that appears in the April issue of Washingtonian argues that “parking is never actually free” and that RTC “was designed so people could get there without a car.” [Washingtonian]

Fifth-Graders Debate School Issues — Students from Terraset and Forest Edge elementary schools recently worked on their speech-writing and public-speaking skills as they squared off in a debate. Topics argued during the event included school uniforms, homework and recycling. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

County Asks Residents to Report Potholes Properly — Sharing a news blast originally written last February, Fairfax County is reminding residents that they can call or use an online reporting tool to let VDOT know where potholes are in the county. [Fairfax County/Twitter]

Technology Services Company Moves to Reston — CDW has moved its D.C.-area headquarters, one of 24 offices nationwide, to Edmund Halley Drive. Among the features of the new space is a technology demonstration lab featuring the latest technologies from the company’s top partners. [CDW]

Fairfax County Republican Delegate Stepping Down — Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax), who has served the area in the Virginia House of Delegates since 1994, announced his retirement Wednesday on the House floor. Among his legislative contributions, Albo listed securing transportation funding for Northern Virginia, closing DUI loopholes, allowing marijuana-derived oils to be used to treat epilepsy, boosting punishments for child molesters and writing the language that banned smoking in restaurants. [Richmond.com]

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Snow plows/VDOT

After a snowless winter, it looks like Reston will finally be hit.

Forecasters are predicting several inches of snow for the area, with an outside chance of a foot or more, beginning tonight and continuing into Tuesday.

The National Weather Service has placed an area including Reston under a winter storm warning that is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Monday and last through 2 p.m. Tuesday. According to the alert, their official predictions include the following:

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…Snow…possibly mixed with sleet at times
Monday night.

* ACCUMULATIONS…Snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches.

* TIMING…Snow will overspread the area Monday evening and
persist through Tuesday morning.

* IMPACTS…The heavy snow will create difficult travel
conditions and may produce scattered power outages.

* WINDS…Northeast 5 to 15 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.

* TEMPERATURES…In the lower 30s.

In preparation for the storm, the Virginia Department of Transportation began pre-treating roads Sunday. The department is encouraging drivers to adjust their schedules to be off roads before the evening rush hour Monday and overnight.

“This will help avoid being stuck on the roads when the storm begins, and to allow crews room to work more safely and efficiently,” VDOT said in a release.

In addition, VDOT asks that vehicles be parked in driveways, or that communities coordinate to all park on the same side of the road, to allow a larger path when plows begin to focus on neighborhood streets.

Such a significant snowfall would also have an impact on public transportation.

Metro will suspend its MetroAccess paratransit services at 4 p.m. today, and they will remain out of service through Tuesday. In addition, Metrobus service changes are possible and will be announced based on weather conditions and forecast.

Fairfax Connector is reminding users that service may be reduced, modified or suspended, on a route-by-route basis or systemwide. Riders are encouraged to monitor schedules online or call customer service (703-339-7200) for updates.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation on Twitter (@VaDOTNOVA)

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Roads scheduled for 2017 paving/VDOTA number of Reston paving projects have been scheduled by the Virginia Department of Transportation for this year.

According to VDOT’s website, more than 1,300 miles of roads will be repaved in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Arlington counties during the 2017 paving season. Among the scheduled projects are the following locations in Reston:

  • the entire length of North Shore Drive (3.53 miles)
  • the entire length of Colts Neck Road (1.82 miles), excluding the intersection with Glade Drive
  • 1.93 miles of Glade Drive, from Glade Bank Way to Twin Branches Road
  • 2.21 miles of Stuart Mill Road, from Fox Mill Road to Birdfoot Lane
  • 1.07 miles of North Village Road, from Baron Cameron Avenue to Hollow Timber Way
  • the entire length of Twin Branches Road (.85 miles)
  • the entire length of Triple Crown Road (.43 miles)
  • .13 miles of Wiehle Avenue, from Reston Parkway to Reston Avenue

In addition, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation has plans to make alterations to lane patterns and bike lanes on North Shore Drive, Colts Neck Road and Twin Branches Road as part of the repaving process. A community meeting on this issue is scheduled for March 16.

VDOT’s website shows the only repaving work completed in Reston in 2016 was along a stretch of Baron Cameron Avenue, from Leesburg Pike (Route 7) to near Browns Chapel Road.

Other roads in the area on the 2017 schedule include portions of Centreville Road, Frying Pan Road and McLearen Road in Herndon; and Lee Jackson Memorial Highway (U.S. Route 50) at the Fairfax County Parkway interchange.

VDOT says repaving work is “usually limited to outside of rush hours,” with work in residential areas typically scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

Check VDOT’s interactive map for more.

Map via VDOT

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New stretch of Soapstone

Virginia Department of Transportation crews are nearly done with a $1.5 million project to add sidewalks to the east side of Soapstone Drive from Glade to South Lakes Drive.

The work caps several improvements over the last few years to the increasingly traveled road. Among the additions: Going from two lanes in each direction to a wider road with one lane each way with bike lanes and turning lanes.

Another recent addition: “No parking” signs, which were installed along the new sidewalk stretch in the last few weeks. Several residents have reported getting ticketed when they left their cars on the east side of the road.

There has traditionally been parking on both sides of Soapstone, including on the gravel shoulder of the west side. The new east side was configured with a parking lane, and then a grass strip to provide a buffer so pedestrians aren’t hit with car doors while walking on the sidewalk.

John Farrell, president of Colonial Oaks Cluster, which is located off the stretch of Soapstone in question, said the signs were installed wrong and he is working with county transportation officials to correct the issue.

He said there is supposed to be some no parking areas, particularly to provide access to the Soapstone convenience center and into clusters on that stretch.

“We are determined that parking be restored on the east side,” he said. “They are not supposed to be parking within the sight lines of the shopping center and clusters, but otherwise it should be allowed on Soapstone. We don’t want people parking in our cluster [instead].”

Meanwhile, beware of the no-parking zones.

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