News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Indoor Rec, Toll Road Hikes, and a New HQ: RA Board Goes for Hat Trick

floor plan.jpgSo, the Reston Association Board decided to hold a "special" meeting during the doldrums of August, when nothing ever happens. Right? Well, on Friday evening, a time when everyone's really paying attention to the news, the RA released the "action" from the meeting. Long story short: Get ready to pay higher tolls on your way home from work before picking up your pool passes at some generic Class A office space near the Toll Road and then heading off to some unknown location for an indoor rec center:

* Parks and Recreation: A plan to give the Parks and Planning Advisory Committee direction to review all the studies and reports on recreation and set up a timeline on indoor tennis, indoor aquatics and recreation enhancements to Brown’s Chapel Park. This will be presented to the board in February 2010.

* Dulles Toll Road: Approved a resolution in support of increased tolls.

* RA headquarters: Following an executive session, the Board approved a measure to give CEO Milton W. Matthews the go-ahead to send letters of intent to prospective landlords.
In other words, say hello to those child labor cubbies real soon.

Here's an account that provides more detail on the indoor rec part of the meeting, during which the idea of a Very Special Committee to focus on indoor rec was shelved in favor of, you know, using the one they've already got:
Board member Richard Chew presented a draft resolution to create a new special committee to plan for recreation. The group would analyze data RA has previously collected, supplement the information with two public meetings and an online survey and take other steps to create a master plan for recreation in Reston.

Chew's resolution also provided the new committee up to $50,000 to spend on additional surveys and studies. Many members of the board felt that there is no need for additional studies. Reston resident Frank Filemeyer said he thinks RA should understand what the community is looking for after the summer's series of district meetings.

"We should move forward aggressively with indoor recreation," Filemeyer said. He said looking at the original resolution it seems that it will add unnecessary time and cost to the process. "We already know pretty much what the members want," he said. "Let's just move forward with it."

During discussions the majority of the board said they agree with Filemeyer that creating another committee and completing more surveys would be unnecessary but wanted to be able to include more members of the community in the discussions. Chew said the intent of the resolution is not to recreate the previous studies, but to supplement them by speaking directly with the users of recreational facilities.

RA President Robin Smyers said she does not believe additional data and studies are needed. She said RA has years of previous studies and surveys as well as information from the recent district meetings. She said she also is not in favor of prolonging the process or adding to its cost.

A new motion was made to use the current Parks and Planning Advisory Committee. According to Monroe the current committee has a number of inactive members as well as a number of vacancies.

The committee has been directed to rededicate its efforts, reorganize and re-establish the committee's membership and fill vacancies and undertake the task of developing a timeline for recreation to present to the board in February 2010. The top priorities of the committee will include an evaluation of recreation plans for Brown's Chapel Park, as well as indoor tennis and swimming.
Use common sense rather than spend up to $50,000 on new studies? What's gotten into the RA Board? If this keeps up, they might start making sense.


  1. So, they just don't give up...

  2. Because I'm sure if RA told MWAA they didn't want higher tolls MWAA would totally obey every order. Ha. It'll be interesting to see what happens at MWAA's first public hearing tonight.

  3. Perhaps I'm dense, but could somebody please explain to me why the RA feels it necessary to express an opinion on how much we should pay to drive on the Dulles Toll Road? And why, when most of us are tightening belts, it's a good reason for tolls to increase? All I could find on the RA Website was the following statement, copied verbatim, from the August 18 "President's Perspective" section:

    "For some of you, it may seem strange that the Association is taking a position on regional issues such as the Toll Road and rail to Dulles. However, long ago, we began looking out for the interests of Restonians through working with organizations that make decisions that affect us."

    OK, but still not a word anywhere why the RA supports a toll increase. I guess paying more for our daily commute is in our best interest?

  4. Maybe not, but at this point if the Metro extension got pantsed because the toll increase didn't get through, we'd all be in trouble. Property values already reflect the idea that Metro is coming, so if that went off the table, they'd likely plummet.

  5. Agreed ... we need Metro... and I know that leaves a sour taste with some folks...

  6. I miss flashback Mondays

  7. As the person who posted the question at 1:32 p.m.: don't get me wrong, I fully support Metro coming out to Reston, and I agree that Toll Road users should bear some of the cost. Operative word there is "some". I seem to recall reading a little while back (afraid I can't remember exctly where) that Toll Road users were going to end up paying a far greater percentage of the total Metro construction cost than was originally planned, and, as usual, the developers and commercial building owners along the planned route got the sweet end of the deal.

    And by the way, I ride Metro every day into Washington. But I still don't see why Toll Road users should pay more than a reasonable share of the cost (when compared with the share paid by the feds, Virginia, Fairfax and Loudoun, MWAA, and the commerical interests).

  8. How 'bout a draft resolution to put 4 lanes back on Lawyers. I notive the rubber marks and emergency flare ashes have not diminished. Now I see white-knuckled commuters using the suicide lane to pass little old ladies who are going 25. How long 'till the first cyclist gets splatted?

  9. RA ha NO business, mandate or authority to say anything about tolls, Metro narrowing highways and adding bike lanes or anything similar. Those are members' rights and they are not subrogated or otherwise delegated to the RA.

    Once again, the RA is WAY out of bounds and is WASTING your assessments. Another $50,000 to study something that CLEARLY is NOT wanted? Thankfully that idiot Chew's idea got quashed.

    I, any many many others, OPPOSE higher tolls on a toll road we were all promised would be FREE of tolls by now -- especially to pay for expansion of a 33-year old dysfunctional and dangerous transit system that cannot now be maintained.

    Incidentally, it's Frank "Pfeilmeier."

  10. How about we aren't all paying for Dulles Rail. Check out the grant funding below.Many of us are for Metro and we want it now. I saw this in the notice coming in the Business Journal. Good for your for opposing higher tolls. The schmucks who live in bankrupt Loudon pay $5 just to get to Reston. That toll is ridiculous and keeps going up on the whim of the private owner.

    Notice Of Grant Award
    Title: ERNS:2009 - 49 USC 5309 - New Starts – Economic Recovery (CFDA# 20500)
    DOT Agency Disbursing Funds: Federal Transit Administration
    Project Number: VA-36-0001-00(VA)
    City/Country/State WASHINGTON, VA
    Place of Performance Northern Virginia
    State Congressional District 1,8,10,11
    Entitle Amount $ 77,260,000.00
    Discretionary Amount $ 0.00
    Total Grant Amount $ 77,260,000.00
    DOT Regional Office/Telephone Number Bicchetti (215) 656-7100/Glenn 202-219-3562

    Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project extending heavy rail service to Wiehle Avenue

    This grant is funded under the American
    Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
    This grant, in the amount of $77,260,000 ARRA 2009 Capital Investment Program Allocations for New Starts Projects, is part of the Federal funding for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) which was signed on March 10, 2009. The award of this ARRA Capital Investment Grant will enable The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to accelerate the schedule of construction for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project and reduce project finance costs.

    The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), in cooperation with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), is constructing an 11.7-mile extension of the region’s Metrorail system from west of the existing East Falls Church Metrorail station through the large Tysons Corner employment and retail center to Wiehle Avenue in the Reston area of Fairfax County. The project will be operated as a separate Metrorail line under a new service configuration that terminates in Washington, DC at the existing Stadium-Armory Metrorail station. The proposed project scope includes construction of five new stations, a 2300-space park-and-ride lot at Wiehle Avenue, and expanded storage capacity at WMATA’s West Falls Church rail yard. The project also includes the purchase of 64 heavy rail vehicles. The extension would be operated by WMATA, with trains operating at seven minute peak frequencies from the Wiehle Avenue station through East Falls Church, continuing along the existing Metrorail Orange Line track east through Arlington County, downtown Washington, DC, Capitol Hill, and terminating at Stadium-Armory. The 11.7-mile extension is the first phase of a proposed 23.1-mile extension of Metrorail west to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.

    All administrative and statutory
    requirements have been met.

    Should you have any questions, please contact the Office of Congressional Affairs (202)366-4904

  11. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 4, 2009 at 8:58 AM

    To the 10:37 AM "Anonymous," if you are so opposed to extending this supposedly dysfunctional mass transit line out to Reston, then what is YOUR suggestion on how traffic congestion can best be alleviated not only now but in future years as Reston and points west (i.e. Loudoun County) continue their massive suburban growth? I am frequently held up in slow-moving traffic along Route 7 on SATURDAYS en route to Leesburg. My commutes between Reston and Tyson's Corner are rarely enjoyable and hassle-free. If you (and others) are opposed to mass transit, then what IS your solution? Widening roads only serves as a short-term "band-aid" fix to increase capacity.


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