News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, November 2, 2007

Is it a housing development or a soap opera? Maybe a little bit of both.

This week on a very special "Reston Heights": Annoyed neighbors.
A mixed-use high rise project slated for the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive has already drawn fire for the trivial detail that it's on the wrong side of the highway from the planned Metro station there. Fortunately, the developers, the JBG Companies, are taking a transparent approach to dealing with community members:

"To comment on specifics is impossible in a lot of different ways," Kelley said, explaining that approval of the PRC plan is a very preliminary step in the process.
Oookaaaay. Well, then. Of course, a large mixed-use development like Reston Heights is the ideal use for a spot close to a future Metro station. So what about the idea of building an awesome pedestrian bridge to that future station, so residents don't have to drive the 0.2 miles (estimated travel time: 20 minutes) across the highway to get to it?
They would like to build an elevated walkway from the development to the planned Metro stop at Reston Parkway, but Schlichting said that project would need to be a community effort with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Fairfax County, among others.

And we'd like to have a corral full of sparkly ponies, but that would require a community effort involving the National Council of Churches, the Design Review Board, the Green Party, and the Tooth Fairy... among others.

Folks who live in the nearby Hunters Green cluster are worried about what the development would do to traffic in an already congested area.
One resident even doubted whether JBG could fix or improve the traffic problem in general. "It all seems to be backwards to me," said resident Fred Rothwarf. "You know, some problems don't have solutions."

Schlichting said they would not progress with the development "unless we have truly mitigated the traffic."
Sounds like a job for the Tooth Fairy.


  1. The proposed development is not only on the wrong side of the toll road, it's on the wrong side of Reston Parkway. The station will be about 1/10 of mile west of the Parkway. The county hasn't even begun to think about getting pedestrians across that busy road.

    Also, in an amazingly stupid move, there will be no parking provided at the Reston Parkway metrorail station. All those people who use Reston Pkwy now to reach the toll road will have no place to park (except in Reston Town Center) so they can ride Metro. Well, they could drive to Wiehle or Monroe stations, clogging Sunrise Valley & Sunset Hills.

    Finally, the development is being constructed AT LEAST a decade before there will be a station at Reston Parkway. So all those new residents will be adding to the congestion on the toll road or parallel access roads to Wiehle station--still at least 5 years out.

    Terry Maynard

  2. Walking across Reston parkway - such a scary task. In fact it's so scary I cross over the road on foot -gasp- at Southlakes Dr several times a week.

    And you must not realize how short 1/10 a mile is. Most people can walk 1/4 mile in fifteen minutes. So I'd guess a lot of people could walk 1/10 a mile in 6 minutes.

    Just because you're SUV loving self can't ever imagine crossing Reston Parkway or walking 1/10 a mile (the distance from one end of the Town Center to the other), doesn't mean others won't.

    Transit oriented development works, go to Balston/Rosslyn corridor at rush hour, they have a lot more density, and you'll see traffic moves. And lastly, the time it takes to cross the Toll Road in rush hour is the same it takes on foot, if not longer. Hmmmm, I wonder which one the 500 new residents of Reston Heights would pick?

  3. Yes, the whole idea of Reston is that it's walkable. But the truth is that if you make it hard for people to walk, they won't. I know someone who literally drives across the street to church every Sunday -- and this is across an empty two-lane road, not Reston Parkway.

    One of the reason mixed-use developments in Ballston and Bethesda work is that they invested in pedestrian skywalks, tunnels, and traffic-calming features around their Metro stations. These folks are going to make a fortune on this mixed-use development; they can cough up a few bucks for a pedestrian bridge.


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