News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Always Bet on Russet Brown: Could Reston Get a Casino? (Updated)

V. v. exciting news for those with more money than basic working knowledge of probability: Apparently two Northern Virginia lawmakers snuck a last-minute proposal into the current General Assembly session that, if approved, would allow casinos in very specific parts of Northern Virginia. Give us some one-armed-bandit blockquote, BFFs at Reston Patch:
Virginia Sen. David Marsden (D-Burke) and Del. Wren Williams (R-Stuart) introduced legislation on Friday that could make casinos a reality along Metro's Silver Line in Reston. Language in Marsden's bill narrows the location of a "casino gaming establishment" to "within one quarter of a mile an existing station on the Metro Silver Line, (ii) part of a coordinated mixed-use project development, (iii) outside the Dulles airport flight path, and (iv) outside the Interstate 495 Beltway."

Sounds like (v) Reston! And so, unfortunately, does this:

Marsden, who chairs the Senate finance subcommittee on economic development and natural resources, told the Business Journal that he was approached by developers with properties that would fit the type of development being proposed.  


Anyhoo! Instead of wondering what dispiriting, open-space threatening proposals with sweeeeeeeet tax revenue to help sway otherwise open-space favoring local officials might be coming down the pike, let's think about what some exciting games of chance might look like in our plastic fantastic planned community. Fun!

Roulette: In keeping with DRB regulations, red and black numbers are replaced by Russet Brown and Harvest Gold. 

Mauvejack: Don't go over 21. Don't use white stone or red mulch. 

Baccarat: Sure it's confusing, but no more so than figuring out how to buy a pool pass.

Texas Hold 'Em: Beats the donuts of the same name.

Slots: Gotta do something with all that change now that the Toll Road is going cashless. But the minimum payment begins at $11 and will increase every few years.

Craps: For once, not what you get if you take a dip in one of Reston's lakes.

Sportsbook: Will your 4th grader's soccer team beat the spread? Maybe, if you hide the opposing team's halftime oranges and juice boxes! Ruthless? Sure, but we're guessing there won't be much local golf to bet on if this proposal goes through, if you get our drift and we think you do, the end.

Although this issue has not been discussed by the Board of Supervisors, the idea of using the most valuable commercial and residential real estate in the region on a casino strikes me as foolhardy. In my decades exploring and building plans and consensus on transit-oriented development in the Dulles corridor this was not the type of development or “community” anyone ever brought up. This is a bad idea on multiple levels (including the emerging concepts around equity in land use) but I am confident our excellent delegation in Richmond will do the right thing.

Update to the Update: The "excellent delegation in Richmond" did just that. Give us some legislative blockquote, BFFs at Reston Patch:

A last-minute bill submitted by State Sen. David Marsden (D-Burke) that would've paved the way for casinos to be built within a mile of Silver Line Metro Stations in Fairfax County was killed in committee on Wednesday afternoon.

At Marsden's request, the General Laws and Technology Committee voted unanimously (15-0) to have the bill stricken... Marsden was approached by developers with properties that would fit the type of development being proposed. 

“It’s just too rushed, and so I’m probably going to have to talk to the individuals who approached me about it,” Marsden told Business Journal, declining to name them
It's a shame Silver Line gambling is now CANCELED, because we'd bet good money on who those individuals might have been, the end.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Lake Audubon CANCELED: Are Other Reston Waterways Next? (Updated)

Shocking news out of South Reston, where one of our beloved lakes is about to be CANCELED, like some tawdry loose-lipped Hollywood star. Give us some politically correct blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

Reston Association’s Board of Directors has begun preliminary conversations to consider launching a community dialogue on potentially renaming the lake, which is named after 19th century artist and known enslaver John James Audubon.

The move, pitched by at-large director John Farrell, would kickstart a community dialogue on the possibility of a name change. Early next year, Farrell and others will host an exploratory meeting with area stakeholders to discuss whether or not there is interest in changing the name of the lake.

“It seems to me that there needs to be a reconciliation of our fundamental founding principles of inclusion with this guy’s history,” Farrell said at a Dec. 15 board meeting.

Audubon enslaved at least nine people and was publicly dismissive of the abolitionist movement.

Actually, this is definitely worth considering given Reston's principles, which were at odds with the rest of suburban Virginia at the time of its founding.  Even the storied Audubon Naturalist Society is changing its name for the same reason! 

But this could be just the beginning. Are any of our waterways safe? Consider:

Lake Thoreau: Named after a guy who spent a night in jail. Even worse, look at his own lakefront home:

Moss-covered siding? Window trim and mullions that aren't the right shade of Weathered Russet? That unauthorized shed in the back? We bet the Concord DRB had a field day with this guy. 


Lake Newport: As befits fancypants North Reston, named after an exclusive New England town—you know, real whales and sails, cobblestone streets, cut of your jib territory. But fancypants Newport was the center of New England's slave trade—and more than half of all slave trading missions across all of North America. What do you think paid for all those fancy mansions?

Verdict: Not even close. CANCELED. We're serious about this one -- it's gross. Rename it Lake Woonsocket or Pawtucket Pond or something.

Lake Anne: This one's a bit tougher.  Googling "Anne Canceled" on Bing dot Com brings up something about some Canadian Netflix series called "Anne with an E" not being renewed after its third season, which is apparently what passes for news in Canada along with maple syrup shortages. It was described as a "quintessentially Canadian story." Just look at this picture:

Verdict: Do we look Canadian? Remember the War of 1812 and shout CANCELED, with a side of backbacon, or whatever. Cry, Tim Horton, cry.

But those aren't the only Reston waterways! The RA website also highlights Butler Pond (classist—CANCELED) and Bright Pond (unfair to the visually impaired—CANCELED). Then there's Difficult Run, which is about as ableist as it gets—TRIPLE CANCELED. South Lakes Village Center should really be renamed the Village Center Between the States. And as people who have trouble reaching the top shelf at the grocery store, don't get us started about Tall Oaks, the end.

Update: Our favorite correspondent, the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston, adds some other locations that may fall under the baleful eye of the CANCEL crowd:

Angel Wing Court – offensive to atheists and Satanists

Buttermilk Lane – agita-inducing to the lactose intolerant

Chapel Cross Way – see Angel Wing Court above

Church Hill Place – ditto the above. Also offensive to ex-British colonies

Fairwind Way – burrito eaters object

Grey Squirrel Lane – hurtful to black, red, and albino squirrels

Hemingway Drive – Papa was way too macho

Hunt Club Road – PETA objects

Indian Ridge Road – change it to Native American Road pronto

Lofty Heights Place – flatlanders want equal treatment

New Dominion Parkway – wait, the Dominion is back? Didn’t Star Fleet whoop its ass in Deep Space 9?

Trophy Lane – change to Everybody Gets An Award Lane

Whisper Way – shhhhh! Not for those with hearing loss

Friday, December 30, 2022

Another Year, Another Listicle: What's Hot and Not in Reston for 2023

As another year comes to a close in our plastic fantastic planned community, it's once again time for us to reflect on the year just past--and what's to come.  Enjoy this oh-so-original listicle format, and here's to a happy, appropriately earth-toned new year.


Silver Line Phase 2 grand opening

A far, far more important grand opening
Hanging out with our besties at Clyde's

Crowding around our recently obtained scale model of a 1930s schooner in the sunken living room
Sexy DRB meetingsNot-so-sexy Comprehensive Plan meetings
Watching teevee (or at least PBS
Reading books
Reston's Russian connectionLiteral, not symbolic, bears
X-rated bike trails in ViennaNude pickleball in Reston
Mixed-use communitiesGated communities
Paying RA dues
Using the money to own a piece of RTC-adjacent property
Issac Newton SquareIssac Newton quadrilaterals
Hanging out in a true livable community, which apparently involves Gastby's Tavern

Invasive plants as an excuse for widespread redevelopment

Just goin' for it

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Silver Line Phase 2 Opens, Robbing Reston Of Its Presence On Metro Signage Announcing Elevator Outages Regionwide

It's official: Reston is no longer at the edge of the known world, at least if you're one of the Sleestaks wage slaves commuting to work on Metro every day. With the grand opening of Phase 2 of the Silver Line today, some weird place called "Ashburn" is now the end of the line, in more ways than one. We'll have to check it out one day! 

But we digress. Today's official grand opening celebration included ribbon cuttings, a couple of weird stories by area politicians, including Sen. Tim Kaine dreaming about flying trains and Loudoun County's one remaining county supervisor from a pivotal vote back in ought-twelve recalling how they almost blew it, on account of bloggers, and more! Our VIP invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, but the good news is our fellow YouTube viewers found all the pomp and circumstance quite riveting:

We haven't seen such a shocking lack of decorum since the last time we watched a DRB meeting online. But again, we digress. Show us the swag!

One day, you can show these to your grandchildren and tell them about the time the government provided a (semi-) functional service to its citizens. The way things are going for Metro, local governments, and the whole democratic experiment in general, that day may be... very soon.

Here's some exciting video of the first train leaving Dulles:

And more:

And still more!

And if you're really into this kind of thing, please to be enjoying this Instagram video of the entire new segment of the line, from Wiehle-Reston East to Ashburn.

And yes, we plan on doing some investigative journalism, whatever that is, by recreating our historic ride on the Silver Line into DC in the other direction. If anyone has a contact with the Brambleton consulate and can help arrange a 24-hour visa for Loudoun County, that would be a big help, the end.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Back to the Future: Barnes & Noble May Return to Reston Spectrum In Chain Store Bingo

Imagine this photo, taken with some primitive cellular telephone way back in ought-thirteen -- practically a daguerrotype -- only in reverse. If our BFFs at pornographic park-loving The Burn are correct, Barnes & Noble may be returning to the Spectrum. Wait, what?

Give us some good retail blockquote, BFFs at the Burn:

It looks like the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain is planning its triumphant return to Reston — almost a decade after it closed a store in the very same shopping center. The Burn has learned that B&N is planning on opening a new bookstore and cafe in The Spectrum at Reston Town Center. That’s the shopping complex just to the north of the Reston Town Center lifestyle center along Reston Parkway. The space that will become the bookstore appears to be the same space that formerly housed an Office Depot store. That’s next door to the Harris Teeter grocery store.

That's a lot of detail, but lengthy, monotonous lists of chain retail are how folks in Loudoun have to give directions anywhere.

But we digress. Supposedly B&N never wanted to leave Reston in the first place. And, as our favorite correspondent, the Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, points out, apparently our plastic fantastic fake downtown is now being referred to as a "lifestyle center," assuming paying for parking and walking by empty storefronts is a "lifestyle." 

But the weirdness continues! Today, our BFFs at the Burn reported that Whole Foods might be considering moving to where Best Buy once sat before it closed two years ago. (To give directions to Ashburnites, what we mean is "Next to the Container Store, which is across from Not Your Average Joes, which is behind the PetSmart, and across the Toll Road from the future Wegmans.") They posted this image from Spectrum owner Lerner's website as evidence of the move: 

We're not sure why a web log dedicated to the nirvana of Eastern Loudoun County has suddenly developed a fixation with Reston chain retail, but maybe with Wegman's imminent arrival they've decided we're worthy of being in the club. What's even stranger, though, is that almost all of Spectrum (except the part with Harris Teeter and the maybe B&N) was approved for a massive redevelopment back in 2013 -- not surprising, since its big box configuration was always envisioned as temporary until there was demand for more bollardy goodness like what the developers envisioned back in ought-thirteen:

Guess that demand isn't there yet. And maybe -- just maybe -- this round of Chain Bingo will end with a a happy ending to our shattered dreams:

A web logger can dream, can't they?

Update: Signage at the Spectrum location confirms that Barnes & Noble is looking to open in Spring 2023.

Monday, October 31, 2022

BREAKING: Two Important Reston Opening Dates Announced, One Slightly More Important Than The Other

V. v. exciting news has come across the wires Internets over the past few days! First, our BFFs at Metro have announced that after years of concrete melting in the rain, the same rain making the rail tracks that remained unused due to the aforementioned melty concrete somehow turn to rust from disuse, faulty "heat tape" (whatever that is), various train cars catching on fire, etc. etc., the second phase of the Silver Line -- our personal E-ticket ride to the wonders of Herndon, Dulles, and the Particleboard Great Beyond, will finally open on November 15, only eight short years after we were able to first take the train towards civilization in the other direction.

In a sign that whoever runs Metro's social media team is under the age of 65, they announced this news to the tune of Lizzo's "About Damn Time."

The kids 45-year-old social media managers are all right.

So yay, in just two short weeks we'll no longer have the first crack at empty seats as trains bring in wage slaves from as far west as Ashburn on their way into places with, wedunno, actual jobs. And in two short weeks, we'll start hearing grumbling about how the trains will bring the "wrong element" to such upstanding locales as Brambleton (too late!). But we don't care, because there's a much more exciting opening for us here in Reston to focus on:

BREAKING: Our Prepared Food Budgets

That's right, the shiny new Reston Wegman's is scheduled to open at precisely 9 a.m. on February 1, 2023, on the ground floor of something called the "Edmund" in the Halley Rise development. No word if the robot cars will be available at that point to help us transport our giant cheese platters from the store to Level 47 of the parking garage.

So in one fell swoop, the one reason we might have had to take the Metro westbound is gone -- no more trips to Sterling! And given the postcard recently delivered to Restonian World Headquarters by uniformed federal agents, we may not need to take it eastbound for much longer either:

Talk about live, work, play, the end.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Not on the List: Reston Again Snubbed By Money Magazine's Best Places to Live

No need to roust Kasey Kasem from his unmarked grave in Norway this "spooky szn," as the kids may have said as recently as last year, as listicle-generating sweatshop Money magazine has once again failed to rank our plastic fantastic earth-toned community in its annual list of the Best Places to Live With Ample Off-Street Parking and Midscale Chain Retail.  

It's a tough pill to swallow. Exactly a decade ago, Reston was ranked #7 on this meaningless but fun list, but of course that was before the Great Unpleasantness. Just two years ago, we were kicking our Wegmans-curious neighbors to the west to the curb, and last year we had the best Zoom backgrounds for interminable "check-ins" anywhere in the country. But as a wise man once said, those days are gone. 

It gets worse. Adding insult to injury, our evil suburban Baltimore doppelgänger, Columbia Maryland, just beat Reston's all-time top ranking, coming in at #6 on this year's list. Apparently, the deciding factor was that they're finally getting rid of the shopping mall in the center of their planned community and replacing it with a fake downtown vibrant urban core. How... original! Making matters worse, the only Virginia communities to make the top 50 were Arlington and Alexandria. Why? They cited "Gatsby's Tavern" as the big entertainment draw for Alexandria, which,... come on. Obviously, the paid-by-the-click writers hired by Money have never enjoyed a truly rocking happy hour in a real fake downtown.

Oh, wait.