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by Dave Emke — May 19, 2017 at 10:30 am 18 Comments

Organizers of the Reston pit stop for Bike to Work Day 2017, one of 85 such stops across the region, say their efforts this morning were a big success.

About 525 bicyclists had passed through the stop at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station plaza as of about 9 a.m., said Ashleigh Soloff, Reston Association’s special events coordinator. She said this is the third year the event has been held at the Metro plaza in coordination with Comstock Partners.

“[Riders] have been telling me that this is the best pit stop that they’ve come through today so far,” Soloff said of participants’ feedback on the event. “It’s very active and lively.”

Nineteen organizations participated in the event to share information and goodies with riders. Food was provided by Whole Foods and Einstein Bagels. A DJ was playing music and giveaway drawings were being held every half-hour.

Soloff said the concept of biking to work is important to Reston Association.

“We’re trying to get everybody out of their cars just for one day, but then they learn that ‘Hey, I can actually do this every day,'” she said.

Rod Colen, of Reston, was riding along with his daughter, Steph. He said increasing participation in bicycling to work is important for multiple reasons, including public health and improving commute times.

“There’s just so much pressure on everybody for productivity and hours and commute time,” he said. “As traffic gets worse, biking to work will actually be competitive.”

Colen said improved infrastructure and planning is needed to increase the number of bike commuters in Fairfax County. His daughter, who now lives in Arlington but works in Reston Town Center, said she doesn’t regularly ride to commute but she chose to today.

“I also have friends who live in Arlington and work in the Town Center who decided yesterday when they found out about [Bike to Work Day], they’re not big bikers, but they were just going to do it casually,” Steph said.

Adam Lind, Bike Program manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said the county seeks to expand participation in Bike to Work Day each year. He was providing visitors with information including copies of the county’s new bike map. In addition, he said, the county is running a 50 percent discount through the end of May on yearly memberships to Capital Bikeshare, which is expanding in Reston.

The regional Bike to Work Day event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving.

by RestonNow.com — May 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm 13 Comments

Another developer has plans for residential units near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

The Washington Business Journal reports that a subsidiary of TF Cornerstone is looking to build several residential buildings on 11.6 acres at 1900 and 1902 Campus Commons Drive. That’s just east of the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive, south of the Dulles Toll Road and about a quarter-mile from the station.

According to the WBJ report, the developer looks to add:

  • two high-rise residential buildings between 20 and 28 stories
  • a seven-story multifamily building
  • either 26 townhouses or a six-story residential building with 8,000 square feet of retail

In total, this could add nearly 1,100 residential units to the property.

The property is already the home of two six-story office buildings, which would remain. A rezoning application to convert the property to mixed use has been submitted to Fairfax County.

This is just another in an ever-growing list of residential projects proposed in the portion of the Transit Station Area east of Wiehle Avenue. Others include:

Numerous additional projects are also in the works on the west side of Wiehle Avenue and down the Sunrise Valley Drive corridor. In 2014, Fairfax County reworked Reston’s land-use plan to encourage such development in the area of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations.

“In the future, the three station areas could become home to a total of 30 million square feet in offices and 28,000 housing units,” the county said in its announcement of the plan’s revision.

by RestonNow.com — May 15, 2017 at 11:30 am 4 Comments

Thousands of area commuters will ride to work Friday during Bike to Work Day, and those in Reston are invited to a “pit stop” to get refreshments, gear and more.

The event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region, including 13 in Fairfax CountyFree registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a Bike to Work Day T-shirt.

Reston’s pit stop will be located on the plaza level at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. More than 500 local bike commuters are expected to participate at the local stop, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.

“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”

File photo courtesy Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — May 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

A high-end beauty salon that closed its Reston Town Center location last year plans to open near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

Salon Nordine & Day Spa will move into a new location at 11389 Reston Station Blvd., according to a permit processed by Fairfax County this week. The RTC location of the salon, which had been in business for about 13 years, was shuttered in September.

Maggie Parker, vice president of communications for Reston Station developer Comstock Partners, said the business will be the first street-front tenant on Reston Station Boulevard. The business owned by Fairfax County stylist Nordine Elabassi has two other current locations, in Merrifield’s Mosaic District and in Gainesville.

“It’s a lovely hair salon with full-service treatments and spa,” Parker said. “We’re delighted to have him.”

Café chain Sweet Leaf also plans to open soon in the development.

by Dave Emke — April 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

Locally owned café chain Sweet Leaf is looking to open its seventh Northern Virginia location later this year at Reston Station.

According to a permit filed with Fairfax County, the restaurant will open at 1908 Reston Metro Plaza as part of Comstock’s BLVD development. Maggie Parker, Comstock’s vice president of communications, says the restaurant should be open in the fall.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “It’s a great restaurant — small, family-owned.”

Sweet Leaf was founded in McLean in 1991. It currently has locations in McLean, Tysons and Vienna, as well as three in Arlington.

The menu features healthful sandwiches, salads and grain bowls, and it also has breakfast options. The restaurant offers a “wide variety” of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, according to its website.

Parker also said Salon Nordine, which closed its Reston Town Center location in September, will open at Reston Station later this year. She said the full-service salon and spa will be the first street-front tenant on Reston Station Boulevard.

Salon Nordine currently has two locations, in Merrifield’s Mosaic District and in Gainesville.

by Dave Emke — April 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm 3 Comments

If you are planning to attend the People’s Climate Movement on Saturday in DC, traveling there by Metro may prove more difficult than expected.

Planned track work on the transit system this weekend will have the line between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle closed down, with work being done to replace ceiling tiles at Farragut West, McPherson Square and the lower level of Metro Center. Silver Line trains from Wiehle-Reston East will only be traveling as far as Ballston, leaving every 20 minutes.

Anyone traveling to downtown DC from Reston will need to transfer to an Orange Line train at Ballston, a Blue Line train at Rosslyn and then a Yellow Line train at the Pentagon. Stephen Cerny of Reston, a former member of Metro’s Riders’ Advisory Council who plans to attend the Climate Movement, is concerned that will cause major issues for those traveling in for the event from the area.

“Given that the march will draw hundreds of thousands, Metro is facing a public relations disaster given the disruptions it will cause and a loss of all the goodwill it earned for its excellent service during the Jan. 21 Women’s March,” Cerny said. “It’s very likely that the platforms will be severely overcrowded and will likely lead to service disruptions.”

Richard Jordan, a spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said it is not anticipated that there will be any problems Saturday associated with the Climate Movement.

“Yes, just as there was track work during the Science March last weekend,” Jordan said when asked if Metro was aware of the maintenance work’s timing in relation to Saturday’s event. “We believe that planned service will be more than adequate to accommodate ridership demand.”

About 15,000 people attended the March for Science on April 22 at the National Mall. Cerny and other activists are hoping for a much larger turnout for the Climate Movement protest Saturday. Attendance for the Women’s March on Washington in January was estimated at over 400,000.

Helene Shore, co-founder of locally based environmental group 350 Fairfax, will be traveling to Saturday’s event on a bus along with other Reston-area activists. She said there has been “some talk” about concerns related to Metro service, but she remains confident there will be a large turnout from Fairfax County and beyond.

“They are expecting lots of people coming,” Shore said. “Buses are coming from all over the country.”

Silver Line trains from Reston will only travel as far as Ballston beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, through the close of service Sunday.

by RestonNow.com — March 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm 3 Comments

Major League Baseball arrives for 2017 on Monday, with the hometown Washington Nationals hosting the Miami Marlins for a season-opening matinee.

Those who take the Metro down to Nationals Park for the game will be in for an added treat, as Reston Station at Wiehle-Reston East will be hosting a baseball celebration from 10 a.m. to noon. The fun will include live music, a cornhole competition, hot dogs and more. In addition, the first 50 riders who show their ticket stubs will get free parking passes for the station’s ParkX.

The Nationals will continue the series against the Marlins with a game Wednesday night. The festivities at Reston Station that evening will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

For more information about upcoming events at Reston Station, visit its website.

by RestonNow.com — March 31, 2017 at 11:30 am 30 Comments

Defense contractor Leidos is considering leaving its current headquarters in Reston Town Center (11951 Freedom Drive) for a new home, the Washington Business Journal reports.

Citing sources close to the company, the WBJ says the expansion in workforce brought about by the company’s merger with Lockheed Martin last year has it reevaluating its space needs. Leidos employees about 33,000 people worldwide, according to information it provides to investors.

According to the WBJ report, Comstock Properties’ 1900 Reston Metro Plaza is among the properties being considered as a potential new headquarters for Leidos. Still seeking an anchor tenant, the site was considered by Nestlé before that company chose Arlington for its U.S. headquarters. The Helmut Jahn-designed building, adjacent to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, is currently in its final stages of construction.

WBJ says Boston Properties, owner of Leidos’ current home, has proposed new headquarters space for the firm as well.

by Dave Emke — March 31, 2017 at 10:15 am 26 Comments

Speaking to community business leaders Thursday in Herndon, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the amount of development taking place within Reston’s Transit Station Areas has surpassed expectations and has positioned Reston as an economic driver for the county, region and state.

At the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s legislative panel event, Hudgins said she and others believed Tysons Corner would grow faster than Reston when their respective plans were first laid out.

“I think it’s the reverse of that now, and I think it’s the reverse of it because Reston is a very stable community,” Hudgins said. “[It is] a community well-established, different from this [transit-oriented] development but very much in concert with it.”

Hudgins showed her audience a map featuring the three Reston TSAs — encompassing the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations — and pointed out more than 40 development projects that are in the works within those boundaries.

“This would not be happening if we had not approved the transit that is coming to the area,” she said. “It’s working.”

Hudgins said the Tax Service Districts that have been established in Reston and Tysons in order to help fund transportation improvements in the community were “a lot of work” to develop, but they represent a “success model” for the county. She said increasing public transit and making more walkable communities around the stations is “a creative, very smart way to approach how we develop and keep economic development going.”

“Many folks — not just millenials, but seniors — find it important to be able to live in a community where everything is at their fingertips,” Hudgins said. “[With transit-oriented development], they feel that there is housing that fits for them, there’s recreation that fits for them, and there are restaurants and the thriving other services that they need. They aren’t getting in their car. They want to be able to walk or take transit, and that’s what’s happening here.”

Hudgins said that when the Reston Plan was approved over 50 years ago, it said “Fairfax County would be wise if they would establish these areas, preserving more open space for single-family homes and others, but bringing these more dense areas to concentrate things.”

“Fifty years later, we’re getting there,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the story about how Fairfax County continues to thrive.”

by Dave Emke — March 22, 2017 at 11:30 am 48 Comments

Rendering for Golf Course Overlook/Credit: olf Course Overlook LLC

Proposed rezoning of Golf Course Plaza, a three-acre parcel on the west edge of Isaac Newton Square, is scheduled for a Fairfax County Planning Commission hearing June 21.

Location of planned high rise near W&OD and Hidden Creek/Credit: Golf Course Overlook LLCThe proposal, which first came to light in May 2016, would see the property (11480 Sunset Hills Road) become the home of a 392,600-square-foot multifamily residential structure with three levels of underground parking. Currently on the parcel is a three-story office building and a surface parking lot.

The residential building would feature 413 units. Developer Golf Course Overlook LLC seeks to rezone the property from I-5 (General Industrial) to Planned Residential Mixed-Use. According to the summary of Reston Association’s March land development tracker, it is “unclear whether any commercial uses would be retained” on the property.

The site is between the W&OD Trail and the fourth hole of the Hidden Creek Country Club golf course. It is about a third of a mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. According to the land development tracker summary:

“The site is located in the Wiehle Station Transit-Oriented Development District and designated Residential Mixed Use, which seeks to retain a 75/25 mix of residential and non-residential uses respectively, at intensities of up to a 1.5 FAR [Floor Area Ratio]. Isaac Newton Square is planned to be home to 3,200 (of the 4,600) residential units for this district.”

A county staff report on the project is to be released June 6. Signs advertising the hearing are to go up May 31.

Images via Golf Course Overlook LLC

by Dave Emke — March 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm 29 Comments

1808 Michael Faraday Court

A developer has submitted an application to rezone another property off Sunset Hills Road near Wiehle-Reston East Metro station to residential use.

Faraday Partners LLC has made the request for 2.9 acres at 1808 Michael Faraday Court to become a multifamily dwelling area. The Washington Business Journal reports the proposed project is a seven-story apartment building with up to 261 units.

Quoting the statement of justification, the project is described as drawing upon “traditional motifs that are reminiscent in design, height and historic loft-style industrial buildings found in revitalized urban areas.”

Michael Faraday Court is a short road off Sunset Hills with no outlet. In addition to the property in question, it is home to the SkateQuest facility and an office building.

A 2-acre portion of the site is currently zoned I-5 (general industrial), while the other nine-tenths of an acre is zoned I-4 (limited industrial). The site is the former home of the Academy of Christian Education, which moved to Parkridge Boulevard last year.

This is just another in an ever-growing list of residential projects proposed for the corridor east of Wiehle Avenue. Others include:

Numerous additional projects are in the works on the west side of Wiehle Avenue as well. In 2014, Fairfax County reworked Reston’s land-use plan to encourage such development in the area of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations.

“In the future, the three station areas could become home to a total of 30 million square feet in offices and 28,000 housing units,” the county said in its announcement of the plan’s revision. “The plan aims to make [the Wiehle-Reston East] station area an education-focused neighborhood with housing that is well-connected to transit by new walkable streets.”

by Dave Emke — March 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm 9 Comments

METRO Wiehle-Reston EastThe Metro board is set to vote Thursday to approve an FY2018 budget that includes 10-cent fare increases on rush-hour rides and 25-cent hikes at other times. Regular and express bus fares will also go up by 25 cents, while the rate for the bus to Dulles Airport will jump from $7 to $9.75.

The increases in fares are expected to raise $21 million for Metro as the transportation system works to shore up a projected $125 million shortfall in its budget.

Ridership on Metro plummeted from 2015 to 2016, with stations in Virginia seeing a decrease in users of more than 12 percent when comparing the fourth quarters of each year. Wiehle-Reston East’s decrease was 13.4 percent, the greatest drop among Virginia stations on the Silver Line, which had a 9 percent decrease overall.

Service frequency during rush hour outside of DC will also be decreased as part of the plan. For the Silver Line, trains will run every eight minutes instead of the current six-minute interval. The original proposal had called for off-peak frequency to be decreased as well, from 12 minutes to 15; however, that has been dropped from the final plan.

Virginia representatives on the Metro board discussed the proposed changes, as well as increased local contributions to the budget, during a January public forum in Reston.

The new rates are expected to go into effect around July 1.

by Dave Emke — March 1, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Morning Notes

Strong Storms Possible Later Today — Temperatures in the 70s are again predicted for this afternoon. However, showers and thunderstorms are possible into the evening, with damaging winds and large hail also possible. [Capital Weather Gang]

More Craft Beer on the Way? — New zoning regulations approved Tuesday by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors may open the door for more small breweries in Reston. There are currently seven licensed craft breweries in the county. [Fairfax County]

Rider: Metro Worst System He’s Used — David Ballard, of Reston, compares his experience on the Metro to public transportation systems in Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, Dallas and Mexico City. He says the DC system not only is “by far” worse than the others, it’s more expensive. [Washington Post]

Metro Ridership Down Dramatically — At the Wiehle-Reston East station, ridership was down 13.4 percent in the last quarter of 2016. Ridership on the Silver Line as a whole was down 9 percent. [WTOP]

by Eve Thompson — February 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm 5 Comments

Reston Real Estate column banner

There are some new apartments in town, and they’re called BLVD Residential at Reston Station. One guess where they’re located. I have to say, they look very nice based on those pictures in the development’s web gallery.

Here are some more details on them:

The developer is Comstock. This mixed-use development has 450 apartments and is located directly adjacent to the Wiehle-Reston East station. Units are luxury studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom plus den apartments. All feature top-of-the-line amenities like gorgeous wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. Click here to see the floor plans.

In addition to the gorgeous apartments, the building includes:

  • Rooftop pool and terrace, demonstration kitchen, bar and game room
  • Rooftop fitness center, weight room and yoga studio
  • Pet-friendly and smoke-free environment
  • A Starbucks (which is very handy on that short walk to the Metro station)

RA ACCESS

While the building does not fall within Reston Association’s covenanted land, BLVD Residential is one of the first buildings in the TSA (Transit Station Area) to be brought into Reston Association through a supplemental declaration. What this means to residents is that they will have access to RA programs and services at alternative rates compared to other members. And design review for the property will be conducted with support from Reston Association staff using urban design guidelines developed for Reston Station.

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]

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