News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Herndon-Monroe Metro Station: A Toll Road Runs Through It

338216_3325722.jpgWith all the excitement about the proposed sunless canyon Wiehle Metro development, we keep forgetting that Metro's Silver Line will eventually extend to the site of the current Herndon-Monroe park-and-ride, currently home to a crumbly garage, some bird-intensive wetlands, and Targetville's sister city.

Fortunately, the Reston Master Plan Task Force With a Ridiculously Long Name (RMPTFWARLN) hadn't forgotten, and during its meeting last weekend, brought Herndon and Reston residents together to discuss the area's future. Just check out this West Side Story-like introduction to a fancy "news paper" article about the meeting:

Ian McDonald of Herndon wondered whether more pedestrian and bicycle routes over the Dulles Toll Road were planned for the area where the Herndon-Monroe Metro station will one day be situated. Regarding the existing Monroe Street bridge, he said, "The pedestrian facilities on there are not great."

Meanwhile, Anthony Balducci of the Polo Fields neighborhood in Reston worried that in the future, drivers would park in his community and walk to the Metro station, as some already did in order to access the existing park-and-ride facility.

Both men live less than a half-mile from the planned Herndon-Monroe Metro station, but the community workshop at Langston Hughes Middle School Saturday morning, Feb. 27 represented a rare occasion when they might meet in a public forum, as residents and leaders of Reston and Herndon came together to discuss the future of the area around the Metro station they expect to share by 2016.
KNIFE FIGHT! KNIFE FIGHT! No, wait. That's not what happened:
County planner Heidi Merkel told the nearly 200 people in attendance that the areas of prime concern to the county, in accordance with Fairfax’s transit-oriented development (TOD) policies, were those within a half-mile of the stations, but she noted that some low-density, single-family-home neighborhoods crossed into those circles. "We are not proposing or planning any changes for those areas," she said.

Most of the areas around stations, though, will see increases in density, as planners attempt to mitigate future traffic congestion caused by the rapid population and job growth the area is expecting.

THE HERNDON-MONROE STATION will sit in the median of the Dulles Toll Road, near the current park-and-ride facility, with Fairfax County to the south and the town of Herndon to the north. For the county’s part, Merkel said, this station is the most problematic for transit-oriented development. According to policy, the greatest density is to be situated closest to the station, but to the immediate south of the planned Metro stop is a 1,700-space parking structure that is to double in size. And the low-density Polo Fields neighborhood is within throwing distance of the parking garage and will have to be buffered from any new development. Meanwhile, the nearby property of the Reston Arboretum office development contains a natural wetland. "Staff does not anticipate any proposals to change the wetland area," Merkel said to applause.

To the north, however, the land in Herndon closest to the station is already planned for urban development, said town planner Kay Robertson. The town has not yet established transit-oriented development goals but is seeking a consultant to develop a policy, she said.
So wetlands and single-family homes will remain on one side of the Toll Road, with giant high-rise complexes that will serve as shining monuments to tolerance on the other. Or maybe not:
Herndon Town Council member Charlie Waddell said the first reaction he usually heard from residents was that they didn’t want the area overdeveloped. But he said the council had also received suggestions that nightspots and hotels be built there, and he noted that a trolley system to serve the area and possibly even connect it to Reston Town Center could be desirable.
A booze boat-like trolley linking H-M with Reston Town Center so tipsy consultants can safely hit both Pizzeria Unos and some new Macaroni Grill-caliber good-time eatery at Herndon Monroe during the very same happy hour? Well, why didn't they say so in the first place?


  1. So is the "KNIFE FIGHT" comment because of the different 'gangs' or because the meeting was at Langston Hughes Middle School...(this is sarcasm in case anyone misses it)

  2. Who will join me for dinner at Mac Grill?

    I have a two-for-one coupon and can't wait to stuff my face with all that bread, olive oil and grilled macaroni.

    MARK MY WORDS: The birds will be evicted; the wetlands drained and paved over; the crumbling eyesore of a garage torn down (can't happen soon enough!) and Sprint will finally find a buyer for itself and abandon it's four buildings which will be summarily demolished and turned into ugly brutalist high-rise eyesores for the next generation to have to see daily.

  3. Actually, I'm hoping that they keep the HM parking garage. First, it will house primarily the LoCo commuters, thus keeping the Wiehle available to the locals. Secondly, the interior ramps are great for skateboarding. I know you're not supposed to do it there, but when nobody's around in the evenings or on weekends -- Cowabunga!


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