News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Flashback Monday: Reston in the 1980s

reston ca. 1980 map-a.jpg

This exciting map shows Reston in 1980, back when the fake downtown was still a forest and Sought After North Reston was largely a bunch of muddy construction tranches and whatnot. Note the most significant architectural feature, the Great Wall of Reston, which was built at significant expense from onyx and black granite and surrounded our fair planned community -- and like its lesser counterpart in China, could be seen from outer space. Sadly, it was destroyed in the Great Sack of 1984, when the Herndonians overran the walls and looted the indescribable treasures of the Hechingers located where the Home Depot now stands.


  1. Memco or Hechingers?


  2. Just too bad that we can't roll back the clock and then persuade the county to take up some serious slow-growth initiatives.

  3. Memco...then Hechinger's...then Home Depot, n'est-ce pas?

    1. Jamesway was there at some point. Does anyone else remember that store?

  4. Anon 11:00

    exclusionary zoning is inconsistent with Simon's original concept for Reston but consistent with Luddites.

  5. In 1983 it was Bradley's, I think. A nice department store that was absorbed by a big corporation and then sold to raise cash.

    And Anon 11:00. It's not too late to slow the growth the county plans here in Reston along the Dulles corridor and at our shopping centers. Hudgins wants to replace the shopping centers with high-density, mixed-use development. And will there be parking at the grocery stores? Nah. We will be expected to ride our bicycles or walk to buy milk and cereal. The only way they can cram in all the new development they want is to restrict parking as a way to limit the use of the personal automobile.

    I miss the woods. There is so little left from when we came here in the early 80s.

    1. Well, then why not move? Are you not a driver? Are you not part of the overall problem?

  6. I thought Bradley's was where Harris Teeter is today?

  7. I like my bicycle, I live within easy walking distance of a grocery store and a short bus ride to the proposed Metro. All of this development has to be good for my property values. Bring it on.

  8. You live within easy walking distance of a grocery store? Hmmm. Prime location for redevelopment with mixed-use. You will be happy to trade your house/townhouse for an 800 sq ft apartment in a high-rise?

  9. Where Harris Teeter is today was the woods in the early 80s.

  10. what was the Bradley's is now the Home Depot.

  11. Try doing your weekly grocery shopping, for your family of four, with your bicycle. In February. Have fun!

  12. That's why I have a wagon as well, buying groceries for a family of three. During February no less. It's good exercise and strengthens the constitution.

    Don't like walking to the store during February but still want to eat? Try Giants' or Safeway's grocery delivery service. Don't like to cook? Try Domino's or Takeout Taxi.

    If the developers will pay 1m for my townhouse, I'll sell to them. If they cop to that, I'll move to Vienna instead.

    Harris Teeter was Bradley's. Home Despot was Hechingers and Memco before that.

  13. Harris Teeter was never Bradlees. Memco > Bradlees > Hechinger > Home Depot.

    I would LOVE to have a grocery store within walking distance. Lake Anne has gotten short shrift since Safeway left eons ago. I'd settle for a nice deli or grocery where a pint of fresh milk, morning paper, fresh bread and maybe some nice vegetables.

    If you had a store within walking distance your shopping trip for a family of four could be done with 1 bag of groceries a day rather than a weekly mega shop where you wind up throwing away a rotten bag of lettuce because your family did not get to it in time...

    Walking to a shop is much better for your belly/ass as well.

  14. Harris Teeter was never a Bradlees. The other posters are correct, that they were located in the now Home Depot location.

    Harris Teeter did start out as a Department store though, like a Belk's or Kohl's type store, but the name escapes me......

  15. From the Uplands of RestonSeptember 14, 2009 at 6:18 PM

    I was at the one previous mass protest in Reston, at RA in the 1990's. It was by all us tree-hugging Restonians, trying to stop development and tree destruction. And it worked. Oh wait ....

    This was way before the 2009 un-American town-hall meeting anti-health-care protesters.

  16. Hey does south Reston still have a vagina?

  17. Memco was acquired by Price Club, the predecessor of Costco. For a long time, the shopping center was still named Price Club Plaza.

    In 1980, people used to turn around on the Dulles Access Road to avoid paying tolls. Traffic on the road was very light. Beyond the US Geological Survey, there wasn't anything on Sunrise Valley past it till GTE/Telenet/Spring/Nextel arrived in 1982.

  18. Uh, are there people who actually have time to go to the grocery store every day? Do these people not have jobs/appointments/sports/social lives/school/etc?

    Hell, if a developer would give me a million dollars for my townhouse, I'd take it. But there is no reason to think they would offer that much. From what I understand, they generally give like 20% over market value. That wouldn't get me from my townhouse in south Reston to Vienna.

    I'd like a grocery store within walking distance as well. But tell me, please, what I'm supposed to do with three kids, two of whom do not walk yet, with no car. I can't pile my groceries on top of the stroller.

  19. Anon 4:45. "If the developers will pay 1m for my townhouse, I'll sell to them. If they cop to that, I'll move to Vienna instead."

    Usually when developers buy out a neighborhood they offer 20% more than the market value. What will that buy you in Vienna? Great Falls? McLean?

    Vienna is also about to be urbanized. Have a look at the plans for the new Vienna Metro Station, MetroWest. To live there you have to sign TDM documents agreeing not to use your private automobile.

    Personally I would rather stay and fight for Reston. Vienna is okay, but the county wants to change it as well.

  20. Reston sucks and you all suck and I suck and Memco sucked and everything sucks.

  21. Anon 12:55. Maybe you need some hot chocolate and a home-made cinnamon roll.

  22. Harris Teeter was originally Uptons department store.

  23. Got three kids and no car? Well, how are you getting groceries now? Try taking a bus. Call a cab and request an SUV. Unless your kids have a physical disability and will never walk, you will be able to walk with them. That's what I do with my kid. And he carries some groceries back as well. They're never too young to teach them life skills like WALKING.

    As for those who complain about having to go to the store everyday, my daily commute bus line runs by no less than two grocery stores. I would just get off, buy my groceries and then walk home. I also have a backpack which makes it easier. I prefer, however, to go in the evenings and buy tomorrow's and the next day's groceries so that I have them when I get home from work. It's mostly in the scheduling.

    If more of you would get off your fat, lazy asses and decide that you are going to rearrange your life so that you can live without a car even one day a week, you would be surprised at how easy that is. Just imagine what walking a mile or two would do for your health instead of hopping in your gas guzzling SUV.

    Next question, what are you going to do when gas goes back up to $4/gal.? Bitch about the unfairness of it all? Or are you going to figure out how to beat the gas companies at their own game?

    Get a grip people. Reston is already fairly pedestrian friendly, although I would like to see more sidewalks. The only thing lacking is personal fortitude on the part of our aerobically challenged denizens.

  24. Anon 9:54. Get off our fat lazy asses? And you typed that diatribe standing up at your computer?

  25. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 15, 2009 at 12:45 PM

    Anonymous 9:54: BRAVO!

    All of these people fear becoming "Arlingtonized," and all I can do is chuckle. If you have 10 acres to develop with the option of hacking all 10 acres up into 20 1/2-acre building lots for detached single-family dwellings housing less than 100 people or just using 2 acres to develop a multi-story residential high-rise housing 300 people while leaving the other 8 acres undisturbed and pristine, which do YOU think is better from an ecological standpoint? The more Reston builds UP, the more open space we'll ultimately be able to preserve. If you want the abhorrent cul-de-sac and automobile-centric lifestyle, then move to Loudoun County, where you can join the teeming masses who whine about the high tolls, high gas prices, long commutes, yada, yada, yada. Reston was always intended to have been a pedestrian-friendly community, and so shall it become!

  26. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 15, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    By the way, can someone define what is meant by "fight to save Reston?" Save Reston from what? Becoming a better place to live for those who want to reduce the amount of time spent behind the wheel? As for me I'll gladly walk from my present apartment to an upcoming Metro station to take the train to and from work in Tyson's Corner and take one more car off of horribly congested Route 7 in the process. What exactly are you all afraid of Reston devolving into---ARLINGTON? (Which, ironically, has HIGHER property values and is HIGHER on the "Best Places" list, is it not?) Why fear improvements? If this is the "vision" of Cathy Hudgins, then I like it!

    P.S. I'm well aware that Charter Oak, my current home, would likely be one of the first to see the wrecking ball due to its proximity to the town center. Not a big deal. There will be plenty of other apartments in Reston to consider, including whatever mixed-use one eventually overtakes the footprint of my existing complex. If it's for the betterment of the community at-large, then so be it. I still don't understand this mass hysteria and panic that some of you are falling into. Maybe we'll finally get an ample supply of NON-CHAIN businesses in our downtown!

  27. Ummm..maybe those of you so in love with Arlington should consider the following. Arlington has indeed done a world-class job of planning high-density development on either side of the Orange Line's route (as is already the case in much of Reston with the areas adjoining the Dulles Toll Road and future Silver Line). Go four or five blocks away from the Orange Line, however, and what you see in Arlington are basic suburban neighborhoods of detached houses, much as you have in Reston. No reason why high density and low density can't co-exist in the same community, be it Arlington or Reston, and people choose which lifestyle suits them better.

  28. BFCO, I find it puzzling that you would move to Reston when you so clearly prefer Arlington. Why didn't you move there in the first place?

    There is little logic to your arguements. You consider it appropriate to move to a place like Reston and then want it turned into something different, when you had the option to move to Arlington in the first place. But to the homeowners who like Reston the way it is, you tell them they need to get out and go to Loudoun county.

  29. If we must do high-density housing, we should start with Browns Chapel.

  30. We could name them Browns Chapel Towers at Baron Cameron. We could put a huge rec center on the ground floor too.

  31. 945 units will replace 181 units at Crescent Apts. Also along North Shore Drive at Fairway Apts, 950 units will replace 346 units. And that doesn't count the other additional units planned right at Lake Anne. Does any of this mean there will be non-chain stores? Nope. Same old chain stores. It will still be boring old Reston. Just wall-to-wall people.

  32. annon 4:26- it won't be wall-to-wall people for a while. The highrises that have been built near RTC sat vacant for months and months because no one wanted to purchase those apartments. They eventually ended up auctioning many of the units off at very low prices because they couldn't move them otherwise. For the most part, people who want a condo lifestyle don't want to live way out in Reston- they want to live closer to downtown. You can't change the fact that we are kind of out in the sticks out here.

  33. Anon 2:01 is right. What kind of people are we anyhow? I say we stay and fight the Blokes of the world to preserve the kind of Reston we worked so hard to build for families.

  34. We have a Potemkin urban village. All we need are the cardboard cutouts of the cool hipsters strolling along Democracy Avenue. Walk a couple of blocks in each direction and you run smack into a four-lane highway.

  35. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 16, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    Anonymous 2:01 PM: I've been all over Arlington and am well aware that there are stable low-density neighborhoods not very far removed from the high-density areas along the Orange Line. My "issue" is that all I'm seeing is staunch opposition towards the creation of any MORE high-density and/or transit-oriented development coming to Reston, and I don't quite understand the logic of the opposition. Increase the supply of high-density housing, and the prices will gradually descend to the point where more people will be able to afford it. Nobody has countered my example yet about the undeveloped 10-acre parcel. Is it better to house 100 people using all 10 acres or three times the population on 1/5 the land area while preserving the rest? Go out to places like South Riding and other echelons of Loudoun County, and what do you see? A plethora of drab single-family detached dwellings with an embarrassing scarcity of trees. If all of those homes were compounded into ONE building, then those who want to see open space preserved COULD. You could sit on your balcony overlooking trees instead of McMansions.

    Anonymous 2:25: My job was originally in apparently less-sought-after Herndon before I was relocated to Tyson's Corner. I shuddered at the thought of a daily Clarendon to Herndon commute, especially now when my commute just from Reston to that part of McLean can often times be 30 minutes, hence why I settled here. Also, have you seen the rent prices lately in Arlington? I'm already paying over 50% of my NET income in rent to live in Reston (and supposedly my complex is a "good deal.") How on Earth would I be expected to be able to afford more than that to live in Arlington? Salaries just haven't kept pace here with the rising cost-of-living.

    As an open-ended question, what's so bad about Arlington, anyways, that instills fear into so many people? Everyone whom I speak with would much prefer Reston emulate Arlington instead of copying Loudoun County. As of present I still don't understand this "Save Reston" movement. Save Reston from what? The bogeyman? A massive Macaroni Grill expansion? Having Baron Cameron Avenue renamed "Alabama Drive?" Swine Flu? Larry King? Nobody has answered that one as of yet either.

    My point here isn't to offend. I'm merely curious as to why Reston is one of the few places I've ever been to that largely fears change and progress? For heaven's sake we don't even have nearly enough streetlights or sidewalks!

  36. BFCO: Where, exactly, are you finding an undeveloped 10 acre parcel in Reston?? Unless you are talking about Brown's Chapel, no such land exists here. Any new development will involve removing something that is already here. I live in a townhouse community fairly near the new metro station. I don't want to lose my home to new development. I know all my neigbors. I am within walking distance to the schools my kids will attend through high school. I love my neighborhood. To you, your apartment may not hold much emotional attachment. But some of us have lived in reston for year and don't want to see our homes bulldozed to make way for what you refer to as "progress." I grew up here and do not want to be forced out.

    I would also like to hear where the money is going to come from to build additional roads for the people who are going to occupy the additional dense housing. These people are NOT going to come without their cars. My husand's commute (in high-rent McLean, so we can't move any closer than we are now) has already gone from 20 minutes to 45 in the last 6 years, largely because of the increased traffic in and out of Reston. We can't drive from our townhouse in south reston to the north part of town for 2 hours in the morning and another 2 or 3 hour period in the afternoon because the traffic is so terrible. High-density housing is a nice idea unless you think about the traffic impact. Our roads are already unable to handle the number of cars on them. And I really don't believe that the new metro line is going to make that much difference.

  37. From Anon 2:01 to Oak Bloke:

    Thank you for a respectful and thoughtful response, and in the interest of having a constructive dialogue,I'll attempt to strike the same tone.

    These are some thoughts I have; I can't empirically prove all of them, but here's my take on a few things for what it's worth.

    1. Reston is already high-density if you consider that we have a population of 60,000 on approximately 15 square miles, i.e., a density of 4,000 people per square mile. Not exactly Manhattan, but also certainly not Aldie or Lucketts.

    2. It could be that opposition to more intense development is due in part to worries about accommodating the sheer number of extra people. I'm not a parent, so I can't speak as to how crowded elementary schools in Reston are. But I can speak to the traffic on Reston Parkway, Wiehle Avenue, and the Toll Road. Bad enough now; logical to assume however many more people will make it even worse.

    3. Transit-oriented developemnt works to an extent but is not a panacea. If high-rise office building go up on, say, the Wiehle park&ride, yes, a certain percentage of office workers will get there via the Silver Line or Fairfax Connector. But I suspect more will still drive for the convenience (especially if they live elsewnere in Fairfax or in Loudon) and, with the way Metro's fares keep rising, for the cost.

    4. You're right that it makes sense to save open space by clustering people -- I cringe every time I see those endless, soulless rows of townhouses along the Dulles Greenway or around Leesburg. But it may be a moot point in Reston, because there is no undeveloped land left. Redevelopemnt is another matter; I'm not familiar with the plans for replacing the Crescent and Fairway complexes. But will their redevelopment plans lead to more open space in their current footprint, or is it just jamming more units in with no net gain, or even a loss, of open space?

    As I said, just some of my thoughts on what promises to be an ongoing issue of discussion in Reston and elsewhere in northern Virginia.

  38. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 16, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    Anonymous 1:49 PM: I was merely using the "10-acre" example for illustrative purposes. I'm well aware that Reston no longer has vast undeveloped acreage. Arlington has nearly four times the population of Reston, and yet the traffic situation there isn't much worse than it is here because so many of those people live near to transit options that they can afford the luxury of forgoing a car on a frequent basis whereas everyone in Reston has the car attached to the hip. The traffic in Reston is indeed IMMENSE for several hours per day, not only on the usual suspects of Reston Parkway or Route 7100 but also even on unsuspecting secondary roads such as Temporary Road and Lawyers Road, but this isn't caused by too dense of a dense population but rather a population that is too far sp-r--e---a----d out from its basic needs. Reston, with a present estimated of population of around 65,000, is already far too large to be clinging to a suburban mindset for infrastructural planning. As far as "where's the money going to come from?" for these necessary improvements, perhaps if developers in prior years had been required to adhere more strictly to a more "updated" town master plan we wouldn't be facing the problems we are today in our community? I feel the same way about the BILLIONS of tax dollars we're soon going to be shelling out via the "Transforming Tyson's" project---one that would have been unnecessary had prior generations had any sort of forward-thinking urban planning vision.

    As a fellow McLean (Tyson's Corner) commuter I concur that the trek along Route 7 is a nasty one on the days when I don't head out the door by 5:30 or 6 AM---exacerbated of course by the "left lane hogs" and the lack of police enforcement. However, I'd be more prone to point the accusatory finger at county zoning/planning officials who permitted Reston to grow as large as it now is---the most heavily-populated community of NoVA outside the Beltway---WITHOUT thinking ahead to how each subsequent new development would combine with others already approved or in the pipeline to strain existing infrastructure. For example, I'm actually OPPOSED to new dense development along North Shore Drive until a "fix" (i.e. a parallel road) to the occasional congestion issues along Temporary Road are addressed.

    Will things improve with Metro? Using myself and others I've spoken to as prime examples---yes. In 2014 I'll be able to walk to a Metro station and take it to work---one more car off of Route 7 or the Toll Road for your husband's commute. When business trips arise I'll be able to take the train to Dulles Airport instead of giving Super Shuttle a call. When I want to head into the District for cultural or sporting events I can just hop the train instead of driving into the city or driving to another Metro station nearer to the Beltway. How many people who currently drive to work in Reston from other communities will take the Metro instead? Metro will NOT be a "cure-all", but it is indeed a NECESSARY (and costly) step in the right direction to get Reston back on the right track (pun intended) for being a great place to live with more people OFF the roads.

    We're in the same boat---we would like to live closer to work/closer to the District but can't afford to. Many of my friends and co-workers share this sentiment. MOST people moving to Reston nowadays (perhaps not in the "grand Levittown-wannabe vision of 1965") are also just moving here because it's the closest thing to urban they can afford in Northern Virginia. I like Reston a lot overall (granted not as much as Arlington), but when I see people DEFENDING a lack of good mass transit, dearth of sidewalks/curbing, absence of streetlights, dangerous intersections for pedestrians/cyclists, traffic congestion, etc. as being acceptable by-products of a 40-year-old "vision" I must say I'm dismayed. Reston has the potential to be, by far, the best community in America, but sadly as of right now it is falling short.

  39. The projected decrease in numbers of cars using the Toll Road after the Silver Line is complete will only be 5%.

    And in response to Anon 2:16, I have a copy of the plans for Fairway Apts. There is very little open space in that plan. There isn't even a tot lot. P&Z and DRB requested changes. Let's hope the developer, JBG, makes some. Adding 600 new units to a street which has one lane blocked every morning with parents dropping off kids to Lake Anne ES would make for a challenging morning commute. And that doesn't take in account the additional residential units planned for Lake Anne.

    And to Bloke: Reston is built-out. The roads were designed for our current population. Changes to the roads must be made by VDOT. VDOT has no money. None.

  40. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 17, 2009 at 6:22 AM

    Is anyone else curious as to Reston's fate now that I've learned that Fairfax County has specifically named Tyson's Corner as its "downtown?" Where does that leave Reston in terms of importance for future planning considerations? Are we destined to become a "satellite city" of the new and improved Tegucigalpa---errr---Tyson's Corner?

    By the way, I just wanted to thank everyone for the civilized discussion. Compared to the nitwits on both sides of the "Taj Mahal Rec Center" issue who were hurling some very nasty things at one another like juveniles this thread has proven to be one of the most REFRESHING debates I have ever participated in. I realize I'm in a very small minority in Reston who wants to see transit-oriented development come to fruition to (hopefully) take more cars off our congested roadways (i.e. it taking me nearly an hour to get just to Centreville yesterday at around 5:30 PM), but I'm most certainly open to persuasion from those who have lived here since the founding of our beloved "Mauve Wonderland" of sorts and who know the needs and interests of the community far better than I do. All I know for certain is that Reston in its current state is NOT the Reston a lot of people want---it's simultaneously now too congested for the taste of the original homesteaders and it's too "suburban" for many newcomers. Some want to return to the Reston of 1978. Others want Reston to evolve into a premier urban center for Northern Virginia. Can a respectful balance ever be struck?

  41. Regarding the Tysons development please have a look at Mr. Jackson's letter to the Fairfax times:

    Also while you are look you might want to look at the other letter regarding funding of the Dulles Rail project:

    If you want more info on Tysons redevelopment plans:

    Clark Tyler stated in the video on that website that people who moved into residences at Tysons would have mileage restrictions and eventually they would get down to 10 miles. That video doesn't seem to work anymore. My take on that statement is that if you live in Tysons you can't drive to Rockville to work.

    It's very important to have a look at the Tysons plans because not only will they affect Reston, Reston's redevelopment is to be based on the Tyson's plan: carbon neutral.

    You may like being able to walk to the store, to take mass transit to work, but how would you feel if you had no choice?

    And Bloke, I didn't see you at the Land Use College Tuesday night. You didn't miss much. Come next time. They will talk about transportation. Bound to be interesting.

  42. VDOT references Reston and Herndon together whenever they present future employment centers. There are four planned stations from Wiehle to 28 that impact on Herndon/Reston.
    All of the urbanization need not be concentrated in Reston.

    If the planners hadn't shortsightedly allowed lesser density development within Reston Town Center in the form of mid-rise condos and townhouses along Town Ctr Pkwy, we wouldn't already be confronted with spillover development from the city within Reston.

  43. Bloke:

    I actually have no problem with higher-density housing. I would really like to be able to walk places and leave my car at home. I strongly disagree with the current plans for redevelopment, however. Here are my issues:

    1)I don't support higher-density development UNLESS there is a concurrent plan to fix our roads. The fact is that metro is an outdated mass transit system, and bringing the silver line to reston is not going to come anywhere near solving our transit problems. Metro was designed for a time when most people lived in the suburbs and commuted to DC. Nowadays, most people live in the suburbs and commute to other suburbs. For the most part, metro (as it is now) does not work for this model. You can't get from Springfield to Reston without going all the way downtown and then coming all the way back out again. The new metro station is not going to appreciably reduce our traffic, and if Reston becomes even more dense without some concrete ideas of how to fix this problem, I can't support higher density- it will just turn out traffic into a complete nightmare.

    2)I don't support removing existing neighborhoods. If developers want to work on the shopping centers or office parks,that's one thing. But forcing people out of existing neighborhoods (which is what Hudgins has discussed) is wrong. Lots of people (myself included) do not want to live in condos, and we have established neighborhoods and communities which we should not be forced to leave so that FFX county can increase its tax base by adding more residents.

    3) To my knowledge, no studies have been done on how adding thousands of additional residents is going to affect the local schools. Several of our elementary schools are already full. Is the county going to build new schools for us, or are the kids going to be stuck in trailers?

    4) I don't support increasing the tolls on the DTR to pay for development. Those tolls should have been eliminated years ago anyway- they were initiated to pay for the road itself, which has long since been paid for.

    Those are the majority of my objections. I hope that gives you some idea of what people are worried about.

  44. If there's too much density away from the stations, it's going to obstruct the flow of buses and commuters who are trying to reach the rail system. It'll be detrimental to traffic flow in the same way that infill development has slowed Route 7 and Fairfax County Parkway to a crawl during rush hour.

  45. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 17, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Anonymous 9:56 AM: Thank you for the clarifications. I read Mr. Jackson's letter, and I agree that it sounds like Tyson's Corner may just devolve from its current abysmal state to an even more concerning state. However, I'm not so certain that people won't be "allowed" to leave a prison-like Tyson's Corner. Judging by what I've read about the "Transforming Tyson's" project on the county's web site it sounds as if personal vehicular usage would be mitigated to promote pedstrian- and cyclist-friendliness, but people would not "mandatorily" have to surrender their vehicles. That sounds a bit extreme to make any attempts at marketing housing there successful, does it not? I mean, I'm a large supporter of transit-oriented development, but even I would prefer to have a car available to me from time to time should I get the urge to go to Harper's Ferry for the day or something.

    Also, I don't think I'll be attending any more Land Use College sessions for fear that I'll be booed and hissed out of the room. I may try to be respectful and open-minded with my opinions, which are obviously divergent from the majority, but I know there is definitely an "old guard" element of Restonians from the 1970s-era who resent what we newcomers in the 2000-present era have to suggest, as we are supposedly less "invested" in the community than they are. The amount of eye-rolling, head-shaking, glaring, etc. I acutely observed (while they may have thought they were being clandestine) at the first session when a few people spoke made it apparent that people can't behave in an adult manner. If you disagree with someone, then why not try sitting there RESPECTFULLY and then raising your hand to offer a counter-argument, as we did in high school debates? I may not agree with many of the "old guard" viewpoints, but I'd never attempt to quell their right to speak their minds and make their voices known. I'm brand new to Reston and at age 22 am obviously "wet behind the ears" in terms of overall life experienecs, but I've had an intense passion for urban planning ever since I was a pre-teen and have spent countless hours reading land use policy books, researching land use laws, analyzing demographics trends, etc. I'm not totally worthy of being disavowed when I wish to share an opinion just because of my youth or brief tenure in Virginia (or because I'm a "threat" to the "Save Reston" movement).

  46. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 17, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    Anonymous 11:46: You make some very valid and compelling arguments, and I can totally understand where you're coming from. I actually appreciate you (and others) taking the time to try to "convince" me about the errors in Supervisor Hudgins's plans in such a non-confrontational manner. Back in my native Scranton, PA a fist-fight likely would have broken out by now! :-)

    Here are my rebuttals:

    1.) Rush-hour traffic in Reston is indeed horrific. Ironically it took me nearly an hour yesterday just to get from the intersection of Temporary Road & Reston Parkway to my destination in Centreville---a total jaunt of perhaps nine miles. However, the "roads" aren't the problem. Even adding another lane each direction to Fairfax County Parkway, Route 7, AND Reston Parkway won't be a cure-all by any stretch. Ultimately an array of solutions will need to be combined that may include adding an additional lane in each direction to each roadway, asking major employers in Reston to better stagger typical workday schedules (and/or to promote a rotating one-day-per-week telecommuting option amongst their workforces), improving the RIBS routes and schedules, and perhaps even constructing an entire new road or two to ease "choke points." As of right now Temporary Road, near my home, immediately comes to mind as a rush-hour trouble spot because it is really the only convenient connecting road between Reston Parkway and North Shore Drive. Anyone who has tried to turn left out of Parc Reston lately at rush-hour and has had to wait for traffic to clear not only from both directions of Temporary Road but also Old Reston Avenue knows what I'm talking about. A parallel road to Temporary (what kind of a street name is that, anyways?) should be built somewhere else along the Parkway. I will NOT take exception to this argument of yours, as it is one I concur with. However, adding all of the lanes in the world will in and of itself never fix our traffic ailments. A multi-faceted solution is needed.

    2.) I'll keep this one brief (imagine that). Nobody should be "forced" to vacate their properties for private development, even through eminent domain, which can only be used if the applicant proves its case that its development would be substantially more beneficial to the community as a whole than what presently exists. You have my support here. I personally wouldn't mind my apartment being razed and replaced by a high-rise condo tower, but others in Charter Oak might not feel the same way.

  47. The Bloke From Charter OakSeptember 17, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    3.) The county would indeed be expected (and obliged) to find classroom space for an influx of new students into the Reston area. That isn't something up for debate---new school construction would HAVE to happen. Where would the funding come from in a county already drowning in red ink? A massive tax increase, of course. Would county residents support increased taxes to fund better school facilities to accommodate growth? Likely not. This caused an uproar back in Pennsylvania with the North Pocono School District---a district facing current growth and projected future growth as it is "squeezed" by sprawl pressures from both Scranton to the northwest and the NYC commuter spillover from the southeast. Natives were so infuriated with their school board's decision to hike taxes to fund construction of a new high school to house the transplants that they voted them out. Would the same happen in Reston? Undoubtedly. Regardless though growth IS anticipated to come to Reston. Do we want that growth via dense development that will save more open space or growth via more single-family detached homes that will eat up more open space in the long run? I can't think of a more DISGUSTING sight than what can be seen in places like the Eastern half of Loudoun County---seas of cul-de-sacs lined with McMansions with cleared lots and nary a tree in sight.

    4.) Eliminate the tolls on 267, and where will VDOT find the funding to maintain this roadway? It may sound unfair to tax people through higher tolls to support a rail line they don't ever intend to use (and you may be right there), but what is the alternative? Letting tens of thousands MORE people move to Loudoun County in the coming years, all of whom will funnel on down through Reston in their cars en route to Tyson's Corner/DC? A rail line IS needed between the Dulles/Reston area and DC. How else would this be paid for in a more "fair" manner? (I'm not being confrontational---I'm honestly curious to hear ideas on how to fund the rail line from opponents to the toll increases).

  48. The Bloke From Charter Oak (Soon-To-Be "Broke in Charter Oak")September 17, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    Anonymous 10:31 AM: Agreed. While I can't afford 90% of the businesses in our faux-downtown (perhaps I should be "Broke in Charter Oak?") I still do like to patronize it quite frequently---if for nothing else than to sit on a bench with friends while talking and people-watching on a pleasant evening. It boggled my mind why so much relatively low-rise development (i.e. Spectrum Center and Oak Park as prime examples) was permitted literally adjacent to the town center. I see there is currently a construction site footprint for another high-rise condo tower roughly across the street from the Rolls-Royce Building, so that is of promise---perhaps several hundred more potential newcomers will decide to locate there, limiting the available market of prospective buyers for any developer who may have been planning to bulldoze other existing neighborhoods. I really feel as if the town center missed its full potential. It is a REGIONAL downtown for hundreds of thousands of people in Herndon, Sterling, Ashburn, Great Falls, Chantilly, etc., etc. It should have had a larger footprint with even higher density. In that sense those who opposed increasing Reston's density could have their gripes contained in one pocket of town.

  49. Okay, Bloke, you don't get out of coming to the Land Use College with that argument. Somebody rolls their eyes at you and THAT is enough to keep you away? Come on.

    I hate to tell you, but this town Simon created comes with its own set of rules and political interaction on cluster boards is part of the deal. Simon wanted intense democratic interaction as part of the New Town. People here have had lots of practise.

    With regard to restriction of vehicle use at Tysons, they will do it with high parking fees, limitation on the numbers of parking spaces provided with residential units and voluntary non-use of vehicles. At MetroWest in Vienna people will be required to relinquish using their cars some portion of the work week in order to move in. What happens if mom needs to go to a nursing home and the best place is in Manassas? Will you have to move or chose not to see mom? What if your employer relocates to a spot not serviced by mass transit? Will you have to move?

    Of course, it will keep people from moving in. Businesses won't move in there, either, if their employees can't get to work except on mass transit. The power brokers who are pushing the new Tysons don't seem to be thinking clearly.

    Oh, and there is no Save Reston movement. Practically nobody has any idea what the county plans for Reston. People don't read the local papers if they do get them and many don't. But when they find out, Cathy Hudgins is going to get an ear-full.

    And there are a number of "old guards" who want redevelopment at the highest possible intensity. They want Reston to look like downtown Manhattan. It's not an age thing.

  50. Wow! Is this the largest comment thread in Restonian history?! LOL! :-)

  51. The Virginia legislature passed legislation a couple of years ago that disallows using eminent domain to increase tax revenue. This was done to counter the Supreme Court's Kelo vs New London decision. So the county cannot take our homes with eminent domain, but they can rezone and tax us out.

    About the schools--the county has suggested placing schools in high-rises and bussing kids to playgrounds for recess. I would add more here, but really, bussing kids to recess?

  52. My recollection was that the county wanted a certain number of age-restricted housing in these new cities to reduce the growth in demand for public schools.

  53. The high-density housing in downtown Falls Church provided very small units to discourage families, but families moved in anyway and filled up the schools to the brim.


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