News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RA Board Election Breaking News: Refreshments WILL Be Served

Screen shot 2010-04-12 at 10.43.02 PM.jpg
Well, now that THAT's cleared up, hopefully we'll soon learn who won the uneventful RA Board elections. At-large candidate Rod Koozmin announced elsewhere on this "web log" that he was not one of the winners, but otherwise, the Cone of Silence has remained unbroken, by and by.

Meanwhile, outgoing RA President Robin Smyers has written what we presume will be her final "web log" on the RA's site. Here's part of what she had to say:
This community is going through profound changes. But, this I believe. No matter how busy we get, how stressed out we are, or how we may not always agree, Reston will continue to thrive, succeed, and continue to be a great place to live, work, play and get involved... Finally to all Restonians, just remember, volunteering is easy. All it takes is someone to tap you on the shoulder, and ask you to give some time. Or maybe you are already involved. Why not ask someone you know to join in and give back? It has truly been a humbling and fulfilling experience for me; one that I hope many of you will consider trying. Whether you have a couple of hours to give, or many, get involved, give back, and make a difference. After all, this community is rich with talent and so much good happens in Reston every day!
Well put. Whoever winds up winning, we wish the upcoming RA Board the best of luck, at least until they announce plans to build an awesome giant floating rec center in the middle of Lake Anne and convert the existing village center into a parking lot. Seriously, we thank all the candidates for their willingness to serve under what are now demonstrably thankless circumstances.

If anyone winds up going to the awesome, refreshment-laden celebration tonight, let us know who won -- and what the refreshments were like -- in the comments. We'd be there, but we're exercising our God-given responsibility as "citizen journalists" for another worthy cause. After all, American Idol isn't going to watch itself!

Also, if you don't care for free refreshments or bad singing, the Reston Master Plan Task Force With an Acronym Defying Name (RMPTFWAADN) is meeting tonight at RCC-Lake Anne to discuss the Herndon-Monroe area, among other things. No word, though, on whether refreshments will be served at that event.


  1. LOLA (Lollygagging on Lake Anne)April 13, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    All elections should adopt a similar process. No information concerning the outcome of any election would be published. All candidates would be required to attend inauguration ceremonies, and the losers would be ushered one-by-one off the platform immediately prior to the Oath of Office being administered to the sole remaining 'winner'.

    It does have a certain 'charm" about it -- and it shows well on TV.

  2. In other words, LoLA, you subscribe to the Survivor Tribal Council format. I can hear the election board commissioner doing her best Jeff Probst, "Once the votes are read, the decision is final. The persons voted out will be asked to leave the tribal council area immediately. I'll go read the votes."

  3. Apparently all the candidates were advised yesterday. So why withhold the info from the RA membership? to add drama to tonight's soiree at the Sheraton? To tease increase attendance at the Sheraton?

    Why does this feel like a high school student council election but without the creative posters?

  4. rules are rules...

  5. The irony of RA's annual meeting tonight at the Sheraton celebrating what we have in terms of quality of life while, across town at Lake Anne community center, the task-force-with-the-really-long-name is plotting how to disrupt that life is not lost on me.

  6. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"April 13, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Anonymous @ 10:27 AM: How is the task force "plotting" to "disrupt" a typical Restonian's quality-of-life? Am I missing something?

    After taking nearly 25 minutes yesterday to get from Charter Oak to Target via car due to the congestion on Reston Parkway anything planned to help increase transit-oriented development and improve the community's walkability are a plus to me! Before the naysayers chime in I realize I could have walked from Charter Oak to Target (albeit an unpleasant walk beside angry motorists), but I was feeling under the weather yesterday and didn't want to chance it (I was actually driving to Target to buy an air purifier to try to help my breathing). I also could have driven straight onto New Dominion Parkway from Temporary Road, hanging a left at Town Center Parkway to Sunset Hills to Target, hence avoiding much of the congestion, but that thought hadn't crossed my mind until I was already in the Reston Parkway Cha-Cha Line. D'oh!

    This community needs "smart growth." If we put up a "Great Wall of Reston" and say nobody else can come here with our arms folded while stomping our feet, then they'll all just end up moving to Loudoun County cul-de-sacs and driving to Reston or through Reston anyways, so why not capture them as new residents to enjoy the tax revenues? Ideally we could push for more transit-oriented infill to our east, but that's unlikely to happen anytime soon. They've been talking about "Transforming Tysons" for years from what I understand, and as I look out my window now on a quick break the place is still an armpit where it's easier to drive across most streets rather than play "Frogger." The Baby Boomers who laid out NoVA hurriedly and without much foresight in the 1970s-1990s really ruined it for my generation, which will now have to spend BILLIONS to fix this mess. As more move here and congestion worsens, the area will become increasingly unattractive to new economic development interests (i.e. slowing job growth). A downturn in employment growth here coupled with a population still rising will lead to higher unemployment. High unemployment will help to greater levels of substance abuse that will increase crime (and reduce your coveted property values). The poor planning here that occurred decades ago and is continuing to this day will catch up to the area at some point, and when it finally does the end result won't be pleasant. We need more Ballston/Rosslyn Corridors. We need more Brambletons. We need more Kentlands. We need less South Ridings, Broadlands, Loudoun Valley Estates, etc. When will people here finally "get it?" It hasn't sunk in yet. Imagine how much worse traffic congestion here will be in five years.

  7. The fast way to get to Target is to drive past the Town Center to Fairfax County Parkway and turn off at the Spring Street exit. It's probably no more than 5 to 10 minutes from North Shore Drive.

  8. Roads near Town Center are already maxed out for the short rush hour period. They can't build roads any wider there. It would also be a waste as peak traffic there far exceeds normal use during weekends, weeknights, and between 10 and 4 on weekdays.

    The introduction of Metro there will not result in reduced traffic. There will be more traffic during rush hour.

    Suggest you do errands at other times. You only have yourself to blame.

  9. BiCO, in case you haven't figured it out, there's no amount of transit oriented development that's going to decrease the distance between your house and Target. The obstacle that's keeping you from getting to Target quickly is cars. People like their cars. (Apparently, you do as well.) Adding tens of thousands of additional residents is going to add, at a minimum, thousands of more cars, no matter how many trains and buses you put in. Without extra lanes, you're going to have even longer travel times between where you are and where you want to be.

    If you think that the quality of life in Reston sucks now, just wait until it takes you an hour to get to Target by car from your home with snot flowing from your head like Old Faithful. Once the development really gets going, before you know it, you'll be living in downtown Falls Church.

    No, BiCO. Decreasing traffic around here is only going to happen when the cost and inconvenience of operating a vehicle becomes so onerous that walking, running, biking, motorcycling, taking the bus or ordering on-line like like viable alternatives. I firmly do not believe that will happen until gas hits $5/gal or more.

    Even then, that's questionable. Given the last gas shock of $4/gal, people may have decreased their driving some, but not much. And once the price of gas dropped, people started buying SUVs again -- and not the hybrid models either.

    No, BiCO, if urbanization and higher housing densities were the solution to quality of life, people would be flocking to the cities. While some people are moving into the cities, most people -- especially with families -- are trying to get out.

    No, Homer, in Reston, the only Smart Grown Is No Growth (unless it includes a roller rink for a Roller Derby team.)

  10. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"April 13, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Anonymous @ 11:27: "I only have myself to blame?" I'm not the one who was here 10-30 years ago and sat by idly as terrible long-range urban planning mistakes were made. People that could have (and should have) spoken up years ago didn't, and now as the community continues to grow rapidly we're all suffering in the present.

  11. I'm really glad I gave up reading BiCO's posts.

  12. If everyone else stopped driving, I would spend a lot less time sitting in traffic. Then I would have more time to whine on Restonian. How can I make this happen?

  13. BiCO you could have WALKED on the path that leads to RTC, then thru RTC to RTC pkwy which has a path adgacent to it, and thence to Target via... wait for it... path.

    Asphalt: it is not just for cars anymore.

  14. Bico

    These rants that are completely contrary to documented history are really tiresome.

    All FFX does is engage in endless rounds of land use planning. The current comprehensive plan was started in the late '70s and has 5+ volumes. Each as thick as many phone books with recommendations so detailed that individual tax parcels are referenced. It was originally called the "Plus" plan and you can read a book about it in the FFX Library system. It replaced the Wedges and Corridors plan from the '60s.

    It's not the lack of planning that's the problem.

    It's the meta-ethic of the plan: keep the jobs here; let the housing demand created by those jobs be satisfied by other localities. And just to make sure, don't build the roads we knew we'd need to get folks from those houses outside of FFX to the jobs in FFX. Classic exclusionary land use planning. But it was exquisitely planned and determinedly executed.

    Except in Reston, where the plan had the opposite guiding principal: a place where people of all ethnicities and socio-economic levels could live work, shop and play in the same place.

    You're right that following the exclusionary model will not make things better. But neither will TOD because, as your trip to Target demonstrates, no one will voluntarily give up the convenience and autonomy of the single occupancy vehicle. Bringing the groceries home for a family of 4 is not going to be done on a bus if Momma has any alternative. Commuting to work accounts for only 30% of all trips. Meaning 70% of trips are NOT work related. Those trips are too dispersed in time and direction to be amenable to mass transit of any kind.

    Is there a solution? I'll be damned if I have an obvious one. So we slog on.

  15. Solution:

    Let's all move to Amsterdam and ride trams and our Bikes.

    Bonus: Coffee houses!

    Alternative, Elect Rod and get those Canals built!
    Then get Hudgins to put in the Trams.

    As for the coffee houses, just hang around the paths waiting for some burner-tens.

  16. Coffee houses, HKCD? When was the last time you were in Amsterdam? Bring on the pot bars and the houses of ill repute. Now that's economic stimulus that would contribute directly to our quality of life. (But stay away from the train station. The panhandlers are aggressive, especially the English speaking ones.)

  17. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"April 14, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Anonymous @ 2:45: I would also love the luxury of giving up reading YOUR contributions, but when you're too lazy to assign a pseduonym to your posts so people can start to identify you it becomes pretty difficult to do so.

    Anonymous @ 3:32: I maintain that traffic in Arlington, a community with roughly four times the population of Reston, isn't nearly as bad. Every time I have driven through the Ballston/Rosslyn Corridor I'm never ceased to be amazed by how much less congested it is than many of the roads in and around Reston Town Center at rush-hour, and the Metro stations I've used in Arlington are always quite busy. Obviously even though people in Reston fear the word "Ballston" they are doing something right that we're NOT doing. I'll "whine" all I want until Reston becomes a better place to live for the hefty money I pay, even if I have to run for something MYSELF to make it happen.

    HCKD: I prefaced my earlier rant saying I COULD have walked but chose not to due to my illness, so, yes, it is my own fault. I understand it would have saved the aggravation of sitting in gridlock. I could have easily avoided the hassle by just deciding to save my money and NOT help the economy that evening, but I wanted to buy something that would give me a shot at helping to beat what ailed me. Yes, I DID choose to leave my home, but at just after 6 PM it was NOT rush-hour. If you're going into work for 7 and are not getting out until 6 everyday, then I'd look for a different job! Most people don't work beyond 9 hours per day.

    Anonymous @ 5:14: I stand by my criticisms of the poor long-range planning of prior generations. Arlington has four times our population and is on the cusp of a city of 600,000, yet the rush-hour through the core of that community is tame compared to OUR rush-hour. I've rode the rails on Metro enough times to have observed people boarding at Ballston and getting off at Rosslyn (presumably some then transferring to head down to Pentagon City or Alexandria). Between all of the Metrorail stops, ART, and generally higher densities and a more pleasant pedestrian and cycling experience Arlington has managed to keep itself liveable.

    Reston has become noticeably more congested even in just the one year I've lived here, and it's only going to get MUCH worse in the coming years if we keep encouraging sprawl by shunning infill and transit-oriented development in Fairfax County in favor of new housing in Loudoun County. It's digusting that I have to go into the office for 6 AM in Tysons Corner to avoid getting stuck in absolute gridlock later in the morning on Route 7. Once the Silver Line arrives I'll hop a train that runs every 10 minutes and be on my merry way, being able to walk to a train station from my apartment and office. This project SHOULD have been completed by now, but NIMBYs here hold everything up. The solution here is NOT to widen roadways. L.A. has wider roads than NoVA and much worse traffic. The solution? The Silver Line, more bike paths, more sidewalks, more efficient bus service (no CUTS!), higher density to make it more attractive for people to eschew their vehicles, and cheaper housing in Fairfax County so everyone and their step-mother stops rushing to find affordable housing in Loudoun County and then commuting to or through Reston to get to work/shopping/dining.

  18. All the non-local Arlington traffic tends to stay on the major highways that lead out of DC. If you drive in the direction of the predominant flow during rush hour, it's as bad as any place in the area. Even on the weekends, Route 66 becomes backed up because of all the people driving into DC on Saturday night.

    The other thing you have to remember is that the extension of the Orange Line out to West Falls Church and Vienna keeps a lot of the commuter traffic out of Rosslyn and Ballston. The Herndon/Reston bus routes used to end at Rosslyn and Ballston as did other Western FC bus routes.

  19. Bico

    Then sadly you will stand in willful ignorance.

    Please define "sprawl"? I find it is a pejorative used to condemn any development which the speaker opposes and has no generally accepted meaning.

    While Arlington and Reston will have similar density when Reston builds out, they really are two different communities.

    Next time you're riding down 66 count how many underpasses and flyovers move local Arlington traffic over the 4 lanes of 66. That interstate was built after Arlington was built out. Reston has only 5 crossings of the 12 lanes of the access and toll roads which right of way was in place in '65 before Reston really got started. The Weihle bridge was so expensive special financing arrangements had to be provided.

    Get out a map and count the bridges between Arlington and DC. Arlington was, and remains for many of its residents, DC's bedroom. There are only 2 ways to get from Reston to Tysons.

    Tysons has more jobs than Arlington or DC compacted into a smaller area than downtown DC.

    You won't be using the Silver Line to get to Target. 6 pm is still rush hour according to the Institute for Traffic Engineering. Most of us work 9-12 hour days that's why our average income exceeds $100,000.

    The Silver Line will move no more than 10% of commuters at enormous capital and operating expense which is a bailout for Bechtel and the featherbedding Metro unions funded by huge subsidies by Fairfax taxpayers and Toll Road drivers.

    Few will ever ride the 21 stops from Metro Center to Dulles. They'd have to pack a lunch except food and drink are prohibited on Metro. Unlike commuter rail cars, Metro cars have no lavatories. Pillows and blankies will not be available, even for a charge. There will never be express trains. The design precludes it. There's no more headway downtown. So every train to Dulles is one less train on the Orange, Blue or Yellow line.

    It's unlikely Loudoun will agree to the massive subsidies resulting from Silver Line extension into that County. Once they join, they have to pay a share of the whole system's annual revenue shortfall, not just the portion of the Silver Line in Loudoun.

    Other than that Silver Line's the cure for dandruff, halitosis and lumbago and all other maladies afflicting Reston, including Convict's xenophobia and homophobia. Yippee.

    I'm glad you or someone will find some use for the Silver Line, it would be a shame if it was the total waste I expect it to be. For the rest of us, it will be an expensive white elephant.

  20. Bico, the definition of whining is complaining without actually doing something to change whatever is bothering you. You are whining. A lot.

  21. Coffee house was the euphemism for as you call it a "pot bar." At least that was how it was back in '91.

    Grasshopper was one I remember (sort-of)

  22. 12:17 Your anti-silverline predictions are unwarranted and unfounded. There will be plenty of people riding from Herndon/Reston to Tysons and thence onwards to DC.

    People already take the Orange line to WFC and get on the Dulles shuttle. With an easier commute, people sure will sit on the subway from DC to Dulles.

    In one breath you talk of the many commuters on 66 yet somehow believe that people will not be riding the train to escape that same traffic.

    I smell the tell-tale scent of the defication from a male cow.


  23. HCKD

    Today the ride from Vienna to Farraguat takes more than an hour and its only 11 stations. How long will a ride that has 21 stops take? 2 hours; 3?

    When did I write about commuters on 66?

    That odor must be emanating for your own ears.

  24. What?!

    It takes me an 1:15 to get from Reston to Union Station and THAT is using the bus to get to WFC and a transfer at Metro station.

    Not exactly accurate description of commuter time from Vienna to Farragut West which actually takes 20 minutes or so.

    Where is that smell coming from? Oh yes, from the Bullshit you are heaping into this discourse.


  25. HCKD

    I regularly travel from Vienna to Farragut when I can find a space at the garage. Good luck with that.

    If I get there in an hour and 1/4 during rush hour, it's a great day.

    How many stops on the bus from Reston to WFC?

    Is this the express run that uses the access lanes?

    That smell is the battery in you watch shorting out.

  26. HCKD

    You get on a bus and travel 12 miles to WFC, wait for a train, travel 10 stations to Metro Center get off, climb stairs, wait for another train and travel 3 more stations in 75 minutes. In the middle of rush hour!

    What fantasy are you hallucinating in? You've got some of the real good stuff from the West Coast, right? They used bovine excrement to grow it, right?

  27. 75 minutes is a pretty realistic number for my commute from Reston to McPherson Square, which includes a bus from my home to WFC and then a train ride to McPherson Square. I left the office at 6 pm yesterday and was home at 7:15 and that includes walking from the office to the Metro and from the bus stop to my house.

    The train ride from Dunn Loring to McPherson Square is only about 25 minutes. During the height of rush hour, trains pass through the station every 3-6 minutes. Speaking of which, the 55X buses should be passing through the Wiehle P&R every 7.5 minutes as well.

    Here's a hint for you Anon. If you're trip from Vienna to Farragut is taking more than an hour, I would suggest that you stop getting off of the train at each station. Not only will you be getting to your final destination faster but you'll also get to keep your seat for the entire ride, which is the advantage of driving to Vienna.

    BTW, one of the kiddos likes to ride the train so occasionally we'll take the round trip on the Orange line. It's a one-hour ride from Vienna to New Carrollton. Heck, it's only 45 minutes from East Falls Church to Stadium Armory when I go to watch the girls slug it out at the DC Armory. (Congrats DemonCats on your 136-82 victory over Scareforce.)

  28. 11:24 yes I catch the 552 in front of my house at 6:50 It goes to WFC via wheile. I get to my destination by 8:10.

    On a good day I even snag a seat.

    There are the very rare delays. But those happen infrequently and are also to be expected.

    In 2014 or whenever the Silverline opens up I'll be riding that in along with thousands of others.

  29. Brooklyn Bridge SalesmanApril 15, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    Hickory's commute times match my own experience.

    The last few years when I was working part of the year in DC, it would take me 55-60 minutes from the time I got on the 553 bus to the time I got off Metro at L'Enfant Plaza. And mind you, the 533 travels the always-crowded toll road, not the airport road. From West Falls to L'Enfant Plaza on Metro was approximately 30 minutes.

    Two caveats. About once every two weeks or so you could count on a bad back-up on either the toll road or Metro that significantly increased commuting time. And a few years ago when I was fortunate enough to get a ride into town every day, I could get from Reston to downtown DC in 35 minutes or so, far faster than using public transportation.

  30. I get to work in DC, door to door, in one hour flat. 30 minutes of that is riding the bus and train, the other 30 is walking and waiting. It's not always super-reliable in the late afternoon when I do it, but certainly more reliable than driving would be, not to mention better for my sanity since people are such sucktastic drivers.

    I am very much looking forward to the Silver Line so I can skip the bus part.


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