News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Breaking news! Reston apparently full of trepidation, awesome mauve buildings

The day after Thanksgiving, Restonians from North Point to Southgate apparently all awoke to face a new day full of trepidation. So said no less an unimpeachable source than the Washington Post, and once we got out a dictionary, we plowed through the story to see what they meant:

From Tysons Corner to Rockville Pike, communities across the Washington suburbs are aspiring to become what Reston has been for more than 40 years: a place where you can buy milk, take a photography class and commune with nature without stepping foot in your car.

Now, Reston -- which famously pioneered the kind of walkable, environmentally friendly, mixed-use suburban neighborhood that is all the rage these days -- is on the cusp of its own transformation. And some residents say they fear it could lose the delicate balance that made it a model.

Three Metrorail stations are slated to open in the town as part of a planned extension to Dulles International Airport, and high-density developments are expected to be built around at least two of them. Plans are underway to redevelop Lake Anne Village Center, a lakeside plaza in Reston that was modeled after a European village. And several other redevelopment projects that would add density elsewhere in the town have been proposed.
The horror! Fortunately, we have the town's original founder to protect us from this unanticipated, undesired prosperity. Right?
Among the most staunch proponents of change is Simon himself. At 94, he lives on the 13th floor of a high-rise jutting up from Lake Anne Plaza.

Simon said he thinks the execution of his vision was flawed. Only part of the town center was developed to its potential, he said, and the area has too many strip malls that should have been built to be more pedestrian friendly. About 60,000 people live in Reston, although Simon's original plan called for 80,000. Simon estimated that after Metro moves in, 100,000 people will live there.

"Think of it this way. You have a wonderful portrait of your grandmother, and you love it and want to preserve it," he said. "But the frame looks like hell. So you go to a store where they have frames, and you buy a frame. That's what it is. We're not monkeying with your grandmother; we are enhancing her."

Some residents say they fear that Lake Anne will be the first domino to fall in a chain reaction that would turn Reston into a traffic-clogged Manhattan.
Leaving the unsettling image of "monkeying with your grandmother" aside for a moment, let's think about that last statement for a moment. Manhattan? We think it's time for a brief but informative quiz. Study the two photos below closely:

Which one is Manhattan, and which one is Lake Anne? Discuss.


  1. Anyone who considered the hack reporter who wrote that piece of equine excrement masquerading as a story, they'd know she's a fool who regularly deals in uninformed hyperbole. Thank you ever so very much for pointing that out photographically.

  2. I dunno, the story sounds right on the money from what I've heard from people. "Don't do it!" "What about the trees!?" "GREEN SPACE!!!!!"

    I mean, come on, look at Lake Anne. Those poor business owners can barely keep up with the rest of Reston. Tavern on the Lake was foreclosed on. What do you expect the businesses to do? Fail so the 20 people who actually frequent Lake Anne can have it stay how it is and those that don't bother to go there don't lose their trees?

    The place looks like an abandoned concrete playground.

  3. Abandoned concrete playground is correct! Look for the outrageous "...Reston historic district..." sign on Baron Cameron Road as you approach the Fake Anne turn.


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