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by Dave Emke — January 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Washington & Old Dominion Trail

Metro Station Saw Long Lines for Women’s March — Many attendees of the Women’s March on Washington this past weekend took the Silver Line to get to D.C., and that resulted in some massive crowds at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Photos shared on social media showed the huge turnout Saturday morning. [Patch]

Volunteer Group Prepping for Future Disasters — Every part of Fairfax County will soon have its own Community Resiliency Group, which would be activated to help recover from disasters such as floods, earthquakes or chemical spills. Nearly 200 people have registered to be part of the volunteer group in the Hunter Mill District, and many participated in a Volunteer Fairfax/Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management seminar earlier this month to learn more. [Reston Connection]

Motorcycle Crash in Sterling Leads to Reston Man’s Arrest — James E. Basham, 30, of Reston, was charged with driving under the influence and carrying a firearm while intoxicated. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Reston-Based Startup Gets National Recognition — ScienceLogic, headquartered on Parkridge Boulevard, has been named one of Business Insider’s “18 hottest under-the-radar startups to watch in 2017.” The business helps companies locate and monitor IT assets in their own data center or in the cloud. [Business Insider]

Reminder: Submitting Events — As a reminder to those who are planning events in Reston, the best way to submit events to us is via our event calendar. Sending a press release is usually not necessary. [Reston Now]

by Dave Emke — January 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm 4 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East station/Credit: Elvert Barnes vis Flickr

You may have heard the nation’s 45th President, Donald Trump, will be inaugurated Friday on the National Mall.

In celebration of the historic event, Reston Station Plaza is hosting a series of festivities including entertainment and games.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the plaza (1904 Reston Metro Plaza, at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station), patriotic displays will include live music and presidential trivia. The fun is scheduled to wrap up at 7:30 p.m.

On Friday, events are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. and Inauguration Day coverage will be displayed on a big-screen television throughout the morning. A Donald Trump impersonator is also expected to be part of the show.

For updates, watch the event’s Facebook page.

Those who are planning to use the Metro to travel to D.C. for the inaugural events are being encouraged to plan ahead and use caution on what is expected to be an extremely crowded day. Metro is once again selling commemorative SmarTrip cards for the event, and Wiehle-Reston is one of a number of stations at which special card sleeves will be distributed.

by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm 11 Comments

Aerial view of Lincoln apartment complex location/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week approved plans for a new 260-unit apartment complex near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The seven-story apartment complex, dubbed “the Lincoln,” will be located next to the site of the future Metro Commerce Center, a multi-acre development by Vornado Realty planned to consist of four towers featuring offices, residences, retail and a hotel.

The Lincoln is slated to be built on three acres near the corner of Sunrise Valley Drive and Commerce Park Drive, where a surface-level parking garage for the Executive II office building is located now.

The firm developing the Lincoln, Wiehle Station Ventures LLC, told the board that the apartment complex will feature an interior Rendering of Lincoln Property Co. Project off Sunrise Valley Drive/Credit: Fairfax Countycourtyard and underground parking.

“The developer will also help to build the planned shared-use path along Sunrise Valley,” the board said in its announcement Thursday.

The site for the Lincoln complex is close to Reston National Golf Course and Soapstone Drive, where a future toll road crossing is planned.

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — November 28, 2016 at 10:00 am 4 Comments

Some of the Silver Line's first passengers on July 26, 2014Fewer trains, longer wait times and crowding are what’s in store for Silver and Orange Line Metro riders through next month.

Metro’s latest SafeTrack “surge” began today and is expected to last through at least Dec. 21. Reston residents who depend on Metro for their daily commute are likely to feel the pain.

Technical problems — like the decaying rail ties that led to the Silver Line derailment over the summer — have caused a number of issues along the Metrorail system in the past year.

Metro officials are advising commuters to find other ways to get to around the D.C. Metro area as the system’s huge push to boost the system’s safety continues.

“Due to a severe reduction in service, Metro riders who have the ability to do so should consider alternate travel options and avoid traveling during rush hour if possible,” Metro’s latest announcement stated.

Here are other important facts Metro officials want riders to know during this time period:

  • Silver Line Trains will be traveling approximately every 20 minutes between Reston’s Wiehle-Reston East and Maryland’s Largo Town Center East.
  • Orange Line trains will run every 20 minutes between Vienna and New Carrollton in Maryland.
  • Crowding is expected on all Orange and Silver Line trains.
  • Crowding is also expected on Blue Line trains between the Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory stations due to reduced capacity on the Orange and Silver Lines.
  • Weekend service may also be impacted due to track work on various lines. Weekend service announcements are posted online.

See Metro’s full announcement online, with more details and a list of alternative travel options for commuters.

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — November 15, 2016 at 11:05 am 7 Comments

lofts-reston-station-aerial-site-location-courtesy-fairfax county

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors earlier this month endorsed a developer’s application for 44 new residential homes known as the Lofts At Reston Station, near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

Supervisors are touting the Lofts as “a new urban neighborhood,” and the first development of its kind in the area northeast of the Metro stop, according to an announcement from the county.

Pulte Homes will bring the Lofts to 1.58 acres at 1825 Michael Faraday Dr., south of Sunset Hill Drive, which is just a third of a mile from the Metro station’s north entrance. The space is currently occupied by a one-story office building and a parking lot.

Lofts at Reston Station/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe 44 new homes will consist of 12 townhomes and 32 apartment units.

The development, according to the county, will “begin to establish the local street grid for this area of Reston,” which is a highly-sought-after area for developers as construction continues on the Silver Line.

Pulte will extend Michael Faraday Drive and Reston Station Boulevard along their property.

“Reston Station Boulevard is planned as the new ‘main street’ for the area surrounding Wiehle,” according to the county. “This road is intended to connect properties on the east to the station, and the plan envisions this road stretching west of the station to Plaza America.”

Supervisors also said Pulte will contribute $44,000 toward construction of a future traffic light at Reston Station Boulevard and Michael Faraday Drive.

by Tim Regan — November 10, 2016 at 11:50 am 0

Fire on St. Trinians CourtFirefighters have shut down part of Sunset Hills Road near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station due to a reported gas leak.

Sunset Hills Road between Metro Center Drive and Wiehle Avenue is currently closed to traffic, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue officials.

Though nobody has been injured or sickened by the leak, authorities are advising people nearby to stay indoors as a precaution.

“They are checking some buildings,” said Fairfax Fire and Rescue spokesman Bill Delaney. “But nobody complaining of any illnesses.”

Workers struck and ruptured a gas line about two miles away from that area yesterday.

We’ll update this story as we know more.

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — October 31, 2016 at 11:30 am 1 Comment

Lincoln at Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyTwo major projects near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station are up for discussion at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow.

The proposed Lincoln apartment complex at Commerce Park Drive and the Lofts townhomes at Reston Station are on the agenda for about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Wiehle Station Ventures LLC is seeking to redevelop a surface level parking lot across the street from the Sunrise Valley convenience center and, beyond that, Reston National Golf Course, into a 260-unit Lincoln apartment building at Commerce Park, Association and Sunrise Valley drives. The property is also close to Soapstone Drive, where a future toll road crossing is planned.

Lofts at Reston Station/Credit: Fairfax County

The Board of Supervisors also is set to consider the design concept for the Lofts, in which Pulte Homes would redevelop a one-story industrial building at 1825 Michael Faraday Court into 44 residences.

The parcel is about one-third of a mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The development and the Metro stop eventually will connect through interior streets, including an extension of Reston Station Boulevard, plans show.

Though the Planning Commission has recommended approval to the Board of Supervisors, the concept has not been without issues.

Hunter Mill planning commissioner Frank de le Fe said he feels the project attempts to jam too many residences into too little land, as the plan calls for fitting 12, two-by-two townhouses into less than two acres.

Other issues brought up had to do with the configuration of open space, the amount of surface parking, the design of a pocket park and the lack of landscaping connecting to public space.

Images via Lincoln At Commerce Park, Lofts at Reston Station, Fairfax County.

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by Karen Goff — October 18, 2016 at 10:00 am 40 Comments

Four developers are teaming up to turn a 17.5-acre tangle of office buildings and parking lots at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road into more than 1 million square feet of multifamily residential, as well as significant office and retail space.

Representatives from JBG/1831 Wiehle LLC, Bethesda’s EYA Development and The Chevy Chase Land Company gave a first look at the development application to the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee on Monday night.

The plan involves taking a half dozen parcels of land from 1831 Wiehle Avenue — the office building across Wiehle from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station — several blocks east to Michael Faraday Drive. In addition to 1831 Wiehle, the plan will include redevelopment of 1861 Wiehle, 1860 Michael Faraday and 1840 Michael Faraday.

“We can see a large piece of property and a big opportunity at the Wiehle Metro,” said land use lawyer Brian Winterhalter, who is working with the applicants. “It is smack dab in between the W&OD Trail and the Silver Line. We see it as “the gateway to Reston.”

Bailey Edelson, JBG Vice President of Development, said the principals of the plan include high quality design; pedestrian and bike connectivity; urban parks and recreation; strategic office and mix of uses; and public art.

The development will be about 78 percent residential, with the remaining retail and commercial. (more…)

by Karen Goff — October 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm 11 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East parking garageMetro has put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) to have a private company take over operations and maintenance of all of its parking facilities, including garages and parking meters on its property.

In exchange for a giant upfront payment equal to 50 years of parking fees, the concessionaire would have to operate and maintain almost 60,000 parking spaces. It’d also get to collect all the parking fees.

Metro has lots or garages at 48 stations in DC, Maryland and Virginia. That’s more than 59,000 parking spaces and 3,445 meters, Metro says.

Despite Wiehle-Reston East being listed on the original RFP, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has since amended that entry.

The Wiehle-Reston East garage, which has about 3,000 spaces and is the only station on the Silver Line with a parking garage, is owned by Fairfax County, so it is unclear what will happen at that garage.

“Metro wants to get back to its core base, which is operating running a safe rail system,” said Maggie Parker, spokesman for Comstock, which built the Wiehle-Reston East garage in a public-private partnership with Fairfax County. “But Wiehle-Reston East is not theirs to include [in the RFP].”

The RFP was put out in August and the deadline for submissions is Oct. 28. Metro says it will pick a contractor by the end of the year.

By giving over the parking garages to a private company, WMATA could get as much as $1 billion upfront, according to analysis by Greater Greater Washington. It also gets Metro out of the business of running parking lots so it can concentrate on running a transit system.

Under the RFP guidelines, WMATA would allow operators to change the parking garage hours and rates (subject to WMATA Board approval).

Says GGW:

WMATA and the funding jurisdictions would lose almost $50 million in current parking revenues per year, which is approximately half of the annual estimated budget shortfall WMATA has had at the beginning of the typical budget season for the past 12 years.

So in addition to the usual $100 million in budget savings, fare increases, and juridictional subsidy increases to close the typical budget gap, WMATA would have to find an additional $50 million a year to make up for the loss in parking revenue.

GGW also points out the deal could limit Metro’s freedom to boost ridership or redevelop stations. It also says bids could include proposals to charge for parking during nights and weekends.

Other caveats:

Paid weekend parking could affect overall ridership, which would affect Metro’s bottom line.

Metro could lose the ability to control prices or usage of the parking lots without financial penalties.

by Karen Goff — October 7, 2016 at 4:15 pm 14 Comments

Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe first phase of an eventual 1.5-million square-foot mixed-use development on the south side of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro was recommended for approval by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday.

The first phase of Vornado’s plan for Commerce Executive Park at Wiehle Avenue, Sunrise Vally Drive and Commerce Park Drive, calls for a 200-unit residential building, as well as interior roads, pedestrian paths and a cycle track.

The planning commission held a public hearing last week but deferred decision until Oct. 6 to iron out some development conditions. While those issues — when a bike lane on Wiehle will be built, as well as expected contributions to the Reston Road Fund, among others — are not completely settled, Hunter Mill Commissioner Frank de le Fe says he is confident the parties will work together as the development plan comes together. (more…)

by Karen Goff — October 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm 26 Comments

Lofts at Reston Station/Credit: Fairfax County

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has recommended for approval Pulte Homes’ plan to rezone a one-story industrial building into 44 residences at 1825 Michael Faraday Court near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

After a planning staff report recommended denying the application and the commission held a public hearing last week, the panel delayed making a decision until Wednesday.

Hunter Mill planning commissioner Frank de le Fe said he still had some issues with the plan for the Lofts at Reston Station — which jams 12 2-over-2 townhouses and 32 multifamily units into fewer than two acres of land.

The staff report asked the developer that a few units be removed to allow greater ease of movement and parking for emergency vehicles and trash trucks.

Pulte said that removing units would affect the number of homes set aside for workforce housing, de le Fe said.

“I really don’t like to go against staff on this,” de le Fe said Wednesday. “While not perfect, [the application] represents compromise. In this case, the compromise centers around design for two units at the end. If we did not keep them, the applicant has made it clear it would be difficult if not impossible to meet WDUs [Workforce Dwelling Units set aside for a lower price] with three bedrooms. WDUs are very necessary.”

The plan will next go to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval.

The parcel is about one-third of a mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, and will eventually be connected by interior streets, including an extension of Reston Station Blvd, plans show.

The staff report also takes issue with the configuration of open space; the amount of surface parking (27 spaces, which they say should be in structured parking); a poorly designed pocket park; and lack of landscaping in connecting to public space.

Rendering of multifamily building along future Reston Station Blvd at Michael Faraday Drive/Credit: Fairfax County

by Karen Goff — September 30, 2016 at 9:50 am 2 Comments

Rendering of Lincoln Property Co. Project off Sunrise Valley Drive/Credit: Fairfax CountyAnother multifamily project is closer to approval for the area south of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended for approval Thursday Lincoln Property Company’s plans to build 260 multifamily residences on what is now a parking lot at Sunrise Valley, Commerce Park and Association drives.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission held a public hearing Sept. 23, but delayed decision until a few proffer conditions could be worked out.

The developer has now committed to a contribution at the highest level  of the scale ($2200) per unit to go to the Reston Road Fund — which will be used to help make more than $2.6 billion in transportation improvements here over several decades. The developer also agreed to work out issues with building a sidewalk on Association Drive and a possible additional contribution to the Fairfax County Park Authority.

The park authority issue came about because the proposed plan is very urban in nature, with limited open space (about one-third of an acre) that will be used as small pocket parks. The lack of room for active play should be offset with $50,000 more towards county athletic fields. The developer has offered $25,000, in addition to $462,852 it has already committed for fields.

Lincoln Property’s project is a seven-story building with trails connecting bikers and walkers to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The plans call for a pool and a natural play area, among other amenities.

Read more details in the county planning staff report.

The project is adjacent to Vornado’s large plan to transform more office buildings nearby. Phase I of that plan, to build a 200-unit multifamily building, was reviewed by the planning commission Wednesday, but the PC deferred decision on the project until Oct. 6.

The Vornado development will eventually be 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use development featuring the existing office buildings, two residential buildings (one of them 24 stories); a 22-story office tower; a retail promenade; a hotel; and five parks.

The Lincoln plan now moves on to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval. A date for that hearing has not been set.

Rendering of Lincoln Property Company’s multifamily building at Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax County.

by Karen Goff — September 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm 12 Comments

Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe Fairfax County Planning Commission deferred a decision until next week on the first phase of redevelopment of Commerce Executive Park on the south side of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

The first phase of Vornado’s plan calls for a 200-unit residential building, as well as interior roads, pedestrian paths and a cycle track. Eventually, the plan is to redevelop the existing office buildings into 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use development at Wiehle Avnue Sunrise Valley Drive and the Dulles Toll Road.

The planning commission held a public hearing last night, but deferred decision until Oct. 6.

Only one person, John Hawthorne, an attorney representing IGS LLC, the owner of a nearby office building, testified at the public hearing. He said this development would cause undue hardship and injury to IGS because of the office park’s private roads and infringement on that owner’s private property. He also spoke out with the same issues last week at the public hearing on Lincoln Property’s residential project on the other side of his building.

(more…)

by Karen Goff — August 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm 3 Comments

Reston North Lot/Courtesy VDOTOver the next two weekends crews will complete maintenance and improvements to the Reston North/Wiehle Avenue park-and-ride lot.

That’s the long,skinny lot near the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Isaac Newton Square.

Here is the schedule, weather permitting:

  • This weekend (Aug. 27 and 28), crews will rope off sections of the lot to cut vegetation for better parking and aisle access.
  • The lot will be closed entirely from 5 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 through 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5 in order to refresh pavement markings and make signage improvements.

About 35 new signs will be installed, with existing signs replaced, removed or relocated to designate legal and illegal parking, the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a release.

The lot will also be increasing its capacity. Pavement markings throughout the lot will be refreshed, with some reconfigured to add six additional spaces. The new lot capacity will be 340.

The lot formerly served as parking for buses that would take commuters to Metro Stations at Vienna and West Falls Church. It now serves as free parking for the 300+ commuters who arrive early enough to find a space there instead of in the pay ($4.85 daily) garage adjacent to the 3,000-space Wiehle-Reston East station. It sees few cars on weekends as parking in the garages is free on those days.

Photo courtesy VDOT

by Karen Goff — June 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments

Waiting for a train at Wiehle-Reston East June 6/Credit: Chris Pyburn ‏via Twitter

Crowded cars. Waits of up to a half hour at the Wiehle-Reston East station. Clogged roads.

Welcome to the first workday of the first Metro Safety Surge, where Metro shuts or significantly alters service on a section of the system in order to make repairs.

Riders on Silver and Orange Line trains will be affected by track and other safety work through June 16.

While Metro warned in advance that trains would run every 18 minutes, social media statuses showed that waits were much longer for some riders.

Others who opted to drive to work reported clogged major roads.

Metro officials will brief the media this afternoon about how things went on Day 1. Metro says entries west of Ballston were down 26 percent as riders sought other ways to get to work (or telecommute). About 1,000 fewer riders (3,924 compared to 5,002) than on a typical Monday boarded at Wiehle-Reston East, Metro said.

Metro will hold 15 of these Safety Surges over the next 10 months as it undertakes much-needed repairs on an accelerated schedule

Photo: Waiting for a train at Wiehle-Reston East June 6/Credit: Chris Pyburn ‏via Twitter

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