Preliminary work necessary for the eventual construction of a new pedestrian bridge on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail over Wiehle Avenue has begun.
Dominion Energy began work on an electric transmission line located at the W&OD Trail at the site on June 1 as part of the initial steps required to accommodate the eventual bridge, according to the company.
Additional elements of this work will require Dominion to remove existing structures, install new structures, and relocate transmission facilities.
Also, as part of this project, detours have been established between Isaac Newton Square and Michael Faraday Court from June to September for safety precautions.
The detours will remain in place when crews are not working. While some weekend work may be necessary during the course of the project, the current working hours for it are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to Dominion.
Detours will direct trail users to either paved or gravel sections of the trail, which will be contingent on the work being performed at the time.
The gravel trail will be temporarily closed for a couple of weeks in June as improvements are made to it for trail users during the company’s construction efforts. Work will begin on the paved portion following the improvements on the gravel trail.
Construction on Dominion’s project is expected to last through August, with restoration of the work areas concluding by late August. This project is anticipated to be complete by September, at which point the detours will be removed.
Construction of bridge project itself is tentatively scheduled to begin in Summer 2022 and be complete in summer 2023, according to Fairfax County’s project site.
The bridge will replace the existing at-grade crossing at the site. The project is planned as a measure to improve vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, which was noted by Reston Metrorail Access Group’s plan.
Second COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Approved for Teens — “Biotechnology company Moderna announced Tuesday that its two-shot coronavirus vaccine produced the same protective immune response in teens as it does in adults, and the firm said it plans to submit the data to U.S. regulators for review in early June. If authorized, the vaccine would become the second available for adolescents as young as 12.” [The Washington Post]
Fairfax County Updates COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard — The Fairfax County Health Department launched an updated version of its vaccine dashboard yesterday (Tuesday) with data on administered doses, how many people have gotten vaccinated, demographic breakdowns, and other information. [FCHD]
Preliminary Work Begins on W&OD Wiehle Bridge — “Preliminary work is being performed @ the Wiehle Ave intersection in Reston in preparation for the eventual bridge there. Over the next couple of weeks, Dominion Energy will be making improvements to the gravel trail so that it may be used as a detour as they relocate facilities.” [The W&OD Trail/Twitter]
Man Hit with Bottle in Castle Rock Square — Police responded to the 2200 block of Castle Rock Square in Reston around 11:49 p.m. on Monday (May 24), when a man was hit “in the upper body with a bottle by someone known to him,” the department says. The victim in the incident, which was not a stabbing as initially reported by a scanner, said that he didn’t want the case to be investigated by officers. [FCPD]
County to Hold Meeting on Proposed Bicycle Lanes — Fairfax County will hold a virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. on June 8 to discuss striping changes that would create bicycle lanes on several roads. The Hunter Mill District proposals focus on Herndon, adding lanes on segments of McNair Farms Drive and Thomas Jefferson Drive and converting the “underutilized” outside travel lanes on Coppermine Road to buffered bike lanes. [FCDOT]
Herndon Company Recognized for Veteran Hiring — “Herndon-headquartered Serco North America earned the designation VETS Indexes 5 Star Employer as part of the 2021 VETS Indexes Employer Awards. The designation recognizes Serco’s commitment to recruiting, hiring, retaining, developing and supporting veteran employees, military spouses and others in the military community.” [Fairfax County EDA]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Exxon Mobil is seeking more time to expand its location on 1818 Wiehle Avenue.
In a letter to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, a company representative said that construction has been delayed due to “many items,” including “pandemic-related issues.”
The company is requesting an additional one year to complete the project, which was approved in 2017.
Once construction is completed, the gas station would include an expanded quick-service food store and the replacement of an existing car wash.
The extension request heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tomorrow (Tuesday) for a vote.
Image via Google Maps
A Wiehle Ave. Pedestrian Crossing study group has identified three possible options to install safer pedestrian crossing spaces across Wiehle Ave.
For months, a study group has been assessing Wiehle Ave. for future pedestrian crossing installments. Recently, the group discussed three different bridge options to go across the road. They discussed two bridge options at the intersection at Dulles Toll Road, and one bridge option further midblock at Dulles Toll Road.
The urgency around creating a safe crossing zone comes after the recent rezoning at the Campus Commons development that could bring another 2,000 people to Reston, according to Larry Butler, the Chief Operating Officer at the Reston Association.
Butler discussed the project in a recent Reston Today video.
Additionally, the Wiehle-Reston Metrorail Station is on the other side of the road, and a lack of a safe crossing zone could create hazards for new Reston residents.
“They need a way to get over to the Metro Station safely,” said Butler.
The study group has hired a consultant to help assist the group in assessing the various options.
The next public group meeting is Sept. 17 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., and Butler encouraged community members to join. Butler also predicted that the Board of Supervisors would make a decision regarding the pedestrian crossing sometime in 2020.
Photo via the Reston Association/Youtube
Hunter Mill Road Reopens After Flooding — Hunter Mill Road, which was closed in both directions at Hunter Station Road, is now open. The road closed due to high water late last night. [Fairfax County Police Department]
County Schools Looking for Teachers — Fairfax County Public Schools has begun hiring teachers and other staff for a number of positions. Two job fairs will be held on August 19. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Wiehle Pedestrian Crossing Study Group to Meet Today — The Wiehle Pedestrian Crossing Study Group will meet virtually today via Zoom at 9 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A pedestrian was struck by a car at the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road yesterday (Wednesday).
The individual walked away with minor injuries, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
The pedestrian had the right of way, FCPD Sergeant Tara Gerhard told Reston Now.
But the incident prompted FCPD to encourage motorists and pedestrians to use roadways safely. The busy intersection where the incident occurred is known for pedestrian-related accidents.
FCPD urged pedestrians to maintain eye contact while crossing the road, use the crosswalk, and follow all signs associated with the crosswalk. Motorists should also ensure they are avoiding distractions while on the road.
“Responsibility has to be shared with motorists,” said Lieutenant John Lieb.
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) July 8, 2020
Demolition has begun on the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Station 25 in Reston.
After some delays, crews began the effort on Friday (March 20) to make way for a new fire station on 1820 Wiehle Avenue.
The project is expected to wrap up in the summer of 2021. Fire and rescue personnel are currently working from a temporary station at 1800 Cameron Glen Drive near the North County Government Center.
With a price tag of $14.8 million, the new fire station will have double the capacity, two levels, and space for administrative offices, a kitchen, storage, and bunk rooms.
The area around the fire station is slated for major redevelopment, some of which is already underway.
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) March 21, 2020
As work gears up on the new fire station in Reston, construction crews will soon tear down the current one.
The demolition on the old facility (1820 Wiehle Avenue) is expected to begin early this December, William Delaney, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said.
Construction is underway for a temporary station at 1800 Cameron Glen Drive to serve the community until the new facility is completed in 2021.
The existing location is too small and does not suit the needs of the community anymore, another spokesperson previously told Reston Now.
The new station will cost $14.8 million, double the size of the station and feature two stories with room for administrative offices, a dayroom, kitchen, storage and bunk rooms.
“I am sure there will be a grand re-opening ceremony when new station up and running,” Delaney said.
Image via Google Maps
After recent community criticism and pushback from some residents, the developer of a proposed mixed-use development near the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station is going back to the drawing board to revisit some aspects of the plan.
TFC Cornerstone, which is seeking to redevelop 12 acres of land into two residential towers and a new office building (1900-1902 Campus Commons), submitted amendments to its plans to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday (Oct. 3). The plan preserves two office buildings currently on the site.
The updated plans — which follow revisions made in late September — reduce the square footage of an office building by 86,550 square feet. The building, which is located at the edge of the property and near a neighborhood with single-family homes, drew criticism from neighboring residents for its scale, especially in contrast with the adjacent neighborhood.
Scaling back the building would result in a net reduction of 487 weekday vehicle trips, according to the developer.
TFC Cornerstones will shift most of the removed density to the residential building, increasing the total number of units from 630 to 656 units. The developer also reduced the design of the office building along Sunrise Valley drive to seven stories, two fewer stories compared to the previously amended plan. The portion of the building furthest away from the road will have 10 stories.
The developer also committed to creating a minimum 50-foot setback between the buildings along Sunrise Valley Drive, making space for a new 14,410 square foot linear park.
If approved, the amended plan would also extend the time period for a study group to examine the best way to get pedestrians across Wiehle Avenue and its intersection with the Dulles Toll Road.
The developer’s proposal — an on-grade crosswalk — has raised concerns for its lack of safety in an already busy intersection, according to residents who testified at a late September meeting.
TFC Cornerstone will work with a study group for up to two years to consider the best way to approach the pedestrian crossing.
Other amendments included:
- Addition of bicycle striping across Wiehle Avenue at the intersection wit Sunrise Valley Drive and across Campus Commons Drive
- A new proffer to provide bicycle. Stairway ramps on straits through the Sunrise Valley Drive pocket park and the corner park
- Limited hours for activities in the amphitheater
- A commitment to include 15 percent tree canopy, despite utility conflicts or other engineering considerations
The project heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a vote on Oct. 10 and is docketed for Fairfax County Board of Supervisor later this month.
Photos via TFC Cornerstone
The Fairfax County Planning Commission will take on Campus Commons, a proposal to redevelop property near the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station, later this month after nearly 50 residents voiced concerns about the controversial project at a meeting last month.
TF Cornerstone plans to bring 630 residential units spread across a mid-rise and high-rise building, an office building, and urban parks to the southeastern corner of Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road.
The project is the last major mixed-use development in the pipeline immediately around he Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station.
In a Sept. 25 proposal for amendments, TFC Cornerstones reduced the height of a 14-story office building to 12 stories and the height of a 29-story residential tower to 25 stories. The developer also added an amphitheater to the development and added language to explore the possibility of a grade-separated pedestrian bridge.
But concerns about the project remain. The project heads to the commission for a vote on Oct. 10.
At a commission meeting in late September, planning commissioners stressed the need for the developer to ensure the project provided strong pedestrian and bicyclist connections to allow people to get to the Metro Station.
Others were unconvinced the project — and prior approvals — have done a good job maintaining synergy with other adjacent projects.
Planning Commissioner Mary Cortina said she was surprised the county’s overall process did not have a strong vision to get people to the station.
An on-grade crosswalk proposed at the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road has piqued major concerns in the community.
Cortina said she was unconvinced the proposed sidewalk was designed in a safe manner.
“This transition is not at a point where anyone will feel safe going across that many lanes of traffic with all the moving cars coming off [the] ramp,” Cortina said. “They’re going to take the shortest route.”
Residents say the proposed crosswalk, which takes pedestrians to a concrete island in the middle of the toll road’s western exit ramp, poses a major safety risk in an already busy intersection with frequent back-ups.
The project has prompted residents to launch a community grassroots campaign called “Rescue Sunrise Valley.”
Residents also raised concerns about a 25-story office tower on the corner of the site, among other issues. The building would be located immediately next to residential neighborhoods with single-family homes and low-rise townhouses — a mix of uses that residents say is incompatible with the area.
Planning commissioners also urged TF Cornerstones to preserve trees and ensure its renderings — which include significant tree canopy and greenery — will reflect reality. Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter noted that greenery and trees depicted in renderings of recently approved projects disappeared when the projects were built. Instead of trees, developers left utility polls and a row of mud.
A temporary fire station in Reston is almost ready for fire and rescue personnel to use while they await their new, permanent station.
Built in the early 1970s, Reston Fire and Rescue Station 25 is set to get demolished this fall and replaced with a new fire station at 1820 Wiehle Avenue.
Construction is set to begin later this year on the new fire station, which will more than double the size of the current department. The project is expected to cost $14.8 million.
“We are not planning a groundbreaking as this new permanent station is a replacement station not a new one to Fairfax County,” Ashley Hildebrandt, a fire department spokesperson, told Reston Now. “We will have a grand opening once the station is built.”
Until the new fire station is finished, fire and rescue personnel will use a temporary fire station at 1800 Cameron Glen Drive near the North County Government Center.
The temporary station consists of trailers and a large tent.
“The temporary fire station is in the final stages of construction,” Hildebrandt said. “Personnel are preparing to move into the temporary station in October.”
More than 100 families neighboring Campus Commons, a mixed-use project on the southeastern corner of Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road, are voicing their concerns about the proposed development.
Rescue Sunrise Valley, a group that includes representation from residents who live on Sunrise Valley Drive, as well as the clusters of Great Meadow, Winterport, Harbor Court, Whetherfield, Lakeport, and Boston Ridge, say that they are not opposed to development and instead are concerned about safety and the project’s impact on neighborhoods.
TF Cornerstones’ plan includes two residential buildings with a total of 630 units, an office building, and 26,000 square feet of new retail. Two mid-1980s office buildings will remain on the proprty.
Residents say that the proposal misses the mark on pedestrian safety, especially a proposed sidewalk that connects to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station that they say will “logjam traffic and up and down Sunrise Valley and put pedestrians at risk by sending them across nine lanes of traffic and dumping them on a concrete island in the middle of the off-ramp.”
“Anyone who drives, walks, or rides their bikes on Sunrise Valley near the Wiehle intersection knows this is a recipe for disaster,” the group wrote in a statement to Reston Now.
Residents want the developer to delay the proposal under neighborhood concerns are addressed. They created the group in response to the proposal and to inform unaware residents about the plan. Residents say accurate information about the proposal has been hard to come by. Others said the developer has not engaged with all neighboring residents to hear their feedback on the plan.
“We recognize that the developer wants to fast-track their plans because in their industry time is money, but for us, much more is at stake: our families and our neighborhood,” the group stated.
A TF Cornerstones’ representative told Reston Now the company has launched an extensive community engagement process over the last two years, including two meetings with Hampton Meadow residents, one meeting with Boston Ridge residents, and Reston Association. The development team has been before the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee four times since 2017.
“We have also broadened our outreach to include additional homes along Upper Lake Drive. We are hosting a community meeting and have sent notification to the Harborside association, the Winterport association, and residents along Upper Lake Drive without an association,” said Ebony Young, vice president of corporate social responsibility. “We have made significant commitments for the project based on community input, and we look forward to the upcoming community meeting.”
The proposal heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on September 25. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to take up on the plan on October 15.
Photos via handout/Fairfax Count Government
The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the redevelopment plan on Thursday night. Members praised the developer, AP Reston Campus LLC maintaining manor house — which is currently on the county’s inventory of historic places — while incorporating new architectural and forward-looking elements.
AAFMA is looking to replace two existing buildings on the site with two Class A office buildings and continue to reuse the manor house as office space, primarily to receive visitors. The plan will preserve the existing gazebo and stormwater management pond.
The manor house, which was built in 1899, was the home of A. Smith Bowman, who owned more than 7,200 acres of land in what now includes Reston.
Bowman also owned the adjacent distillery, which originally served as the Wiehle Town Hall and was used as a church, general store and distillery.
Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said the redevelopment plan was “an adaptive reuse of the 19th century house.”
“It will allow a valued existing employer to expand in Reston,” Carter said.
The plan includes an underground garage, a 6,2000-square-foot terrace that connects the two office building.
Andrew Painter, the attorney representing AAFMA, said the development designed the project so that the manor house — which is located in front of the two office buildings — would “pop” in front of the new office buildings.
The developer plans to construct a sidewalk along Old Reston Avenue and provide a connection to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Mary Ann Tsai from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning , said the developer also agreed to connect the two planned sidewalks at the request of the county.
Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder encouraged the applicant to consider adding the manor house to the state and national registry of historic places.
AAFMA plans to preserve four parking spaces on the northern property line of the development plan. The county asked the developer to remove the buildings in order to reduce the amount of impervious service.
Painter said the developer plans to use the redeveloped site as their future home “for the next half century of longer.”
The project heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for approval on September 24.
AAFMA is a financial solutions provider that offers military life insurance, wealth management and survivor assistance and mortgage services.
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
State and local transportation officials have been working for more than a year on clearing the Soapstone Connector through the environmental approval phase — one of the latest hurdles for the roughly $170 million project.
The connector — which extends Soapstone Drive from Sunrise Valley Drive over the Dulles Toll Road to Sunset Hills Road — provides a new north-south alternative to tackle increasing traffic congestion on Wiehle Avenue. By the time the project breaks ground, hundreds of additional residential units are expected to come on the market in Reston.
County transportation officials are working with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to determine the next steps for the project after the state determined a group of buildings on Association Drive the project could cut through are considered historic. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation must conduct an alternatives analysis to find possible ways to reduce the impact on the buildings.
Discussions have been ongoing for more than year. The county’s Architectural Review Board first determined the collection of buildings could be historically significant in early 2018. Since then, county staff have been trying to chart the best path forward to minimize the impact on the buildings — which are considered historic as a collection, but not on an individual basis.
More hurdles are expected as the project goes through design and planning. Construction isn’t expected to begin until the mid to late 2020s.
“Anytime you’re building a new major project in a built environment, it’s more challenging than if we’re working out in a cornfield,” Tom Biesiadny, FCDOT’s director, told Reston Now. “None of them are insurmountable.”
Although funding for the project has not been secured yet, Biesiadny says the county has enough dollars to finish project design, which will move forward once the county receives necessary environmental approvals. The county plans to then tackle right-of-way and land acquisition between 2022 and 2024. Utility relocation is also complicated by the fact that area businesses rely on fiber optic cables along Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road.
“At the moment, money is not holding anything up,” Biesiadny said. “It’s several years out before we need the construction dollars.”
So far, the project has $24 million secured from federal, regional and local funds. A $45.4 million grand application for Smart Scale funding has been submitted. The county plans to continue to aggressively apply for grant funding.
The connector has been on the county’s planning books for years. A hybrid design for the project received county approval in 2014.
Map via Fairfax County Government