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.The horror! Fortunately, we have the town's original founder to protect us from this unanticipated, undesired prosperity. Right?
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.
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.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:
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.
Which one is Manhattan, and which one is Lake Anne? Discuss.