News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reston Town Center Metro: A Destination, Not a Garage With Rad '80s Art

Water enhanced pedestrian bridge.jpgThe Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force We're Tired Of Mocking For Its Unweildy Long Name (RMPSSTFWTMFIWLN) meets at 7pm tonight at South Lakes High School. For us, it's another excuse to post a fanciful schematic, this one of a "water-enhanced pedestrian bridge" at the site of the new station.

Tonight's meeting will recap a community meeting which looked at the area around the Reston Town Center Metro station, which apparently is being envisioned as a "destination station." Please to be explaining:

Fairfax County senior planner Heidi Merkel said the station will be a destination station, where people will go to spend time, rather than a collector station where people will park to ride the Metro to other areas. The station will include bus loops and kiss-and-rides on each side, but no parking garages will be built.
Good to know. Residents at the previous meeting pointed out that the idea of no parking garage is all well and good, but that needs to be balanced by other transportation improvements to work.
Robert Goudie, also a Task Force member... said he is in favor of no parking, helping to take more cars off the roads, but the station will require a good circulator bus system. He said there is a fear of disconnectedness between the north and south sides of the station, as well as the area between Reston Town Center and where the kiss-and-ride will be.

Dave Edwards, also a Reston resident said the Task Force should demand that the results of the Reston Metrorail Access Group study be incorporated into the new master plan. The study, completed in 2008 outlined a number of transportation improvements that Reston could benefit from for future Metro development. Edwards said the area also needs further transportation analysis.

Reston resident Freya DeCola said there should be more open space in the development. She said what open space currently exists at Reston Town Center is not adequate. She said there should also be easy to use transit links from the station to Reston Town Center and Lake Anne. She said south of the station, toward US Geological Survey, should be more walkable and pedestrian friendly.
The Reston Town Center station would not be included in the first phase of the Silver Line extension, which ends at Wiehle Avenue, so there's a little more time to hash this piece out. Of course, much of the development immediately around the station is relatively new or in the planning stages (remember JBG's Reston Heights?), so it's not clear how much of a blank slate there is to provide the awesome express moving walkway from the station to the front steps of the Macaroni Grill we've all been secretly hoping for.


  1. Yet another testimonial to the laziness of most Americans. The Abomination on the W&OD is only a couple of hundred yards from the Toll Road. Do most people need a circulator bus to carry them that short distance?

    And while The Powers That Be seem to think that parking garages aren't necessary at the AW&OD station, I can assure you that many people will avail themselves of the free parking at the AW&OD and then walk the couple of hundred yards...or ride the free circulator bus. After all, how are you going to tell the difference between some LoCo commuter and any of the RTC's mixed-use denizens or shoppers? Are you going to make them show ID or flash a validated reciept? Or is RTC going to post storm troopers at the entrances to the parking garages during the morning and afternoon rush hours?

  2. Convict, my guess is they'll probably put up a 3-hour parking limit and start towing people at RTC to avoid having it turn into a commuter lot.

  3. I would think that's a possibility as well. However, no matter how "transit friendly" Reston becomes, some employees will still drive there.

    Many shopping centers are faced with the same problem. However, it's easy to watch for the commuters fleeing the parking lot for the bus stop first thing in the morning. However, take a large shopping complex with a lot of offices and apartments, throw in major bus station. I think it's going to be very difficult for the AW&OD folks to police their parking lots short of issuing stickers/mirror hangers.

    I also think that it's only going to take accidentally towing a resident or a commercial tenant's employee's car a time or two before RTC stops policing the parking lot at all except for the most grievous violators.

  4. Wait, parking at Wiehle which is within 1/2 mile of residential areas and the Reston Town Center station has none? Sounds like the RTC metro will be at a lower density which makes absolutely no sense.

    Please tell me I'm wrong.

  5. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"April 28, 2010 at 7:33 AM

    Convict nailed it on the head. Most Americans ARE lazy. In Tysons Corner dense redevelopment is generally being concentrated within 1/4-mile radius of each of the four proposed Metrorail stations because this has been determined to be the "walkable" threshold. While apartment-hunting in North Arlington a couple of months ago you'd be surprised just how much cheaper it was to rent an apartment in Cherrydale ($200/month-$300/month LESS) vs. Ballston, even though it is only about a mile's walk from many parts of Cherrydale to the Ballston Metro---unless you have a legitimate disability that hampers walking appreciable distances then a mile, to me, IS "walking distance."

    The reason why I still call Reston's rental market grossly over-priced is because Archstone was going to charge me the SAME RENT for Charter Oak (>$1,300/month) as I'd have been able to pay to walk to the Ballston Metro from Cherrydale. I'd have been mere minutes from the District, would have been nearer to young gay singles, nightlife, SIDEWALKS, and actually would have been closer to my Tysons Corner office via a reverse-commute on backroads. I'd expect to pay MORE for that than Reston---not the same price. Apparently more and more of my neighbors are realizing Reston isn't really good for the "bang-for-your-buck" factor, either, if you're a renter who doesn't care about "good schools" and doesn't work in Reston/Herndon. My upstairs neighbors moved out two weeks ago. My next-door neighbor moved out a few days ago. I'm moving out in a couple of weeks, and other neighbors I've spoken to are also leaving. Yes, others will eventually take our place, but it really says something to me when retention isn't a primary concern of apartment complexes. Unless I can be assured that Reston is going to be just as desirable as Arlington by this time next year (and judging by all of the adamant chest-pounding pro-Ashburn NIMBYism here it's looking like transit-oriented progress isn't very likely) then next Spring I'm moving out of the community as well so I can get so much more for the same price point in Arlington. Nobody has ever been able to tell me why comparably-appointed apartments in Reston are the same price as those in Arlington without just getting angry and saying "then MOVE to Arlington and don't let the door hit your...!" That really doesn't answer my question though. Why is Reston > Arlington for renters? Nobody has ever been able to convince me of that yet without getting offended.

  6. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"April 28, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    A quick run-down of the way I view both communities:

    ARLINGTON: Great transit-oriented development while retaining walkable tree-lined neighborhoods within a mile's walk of Metro.
    RESTON: NO Metro, and people continue to think Metro is a "boondoggle." Transit-oriented development is opposed.

    ARLINGTON: Manageable surface street congestion.
    RESTON: Horrible north-to-south congestion during the evening rush. Route 7 and the Toll Road are nearly as bad as 66 or 95. Reston Parkway is worse than Fairfax Drive in Ballston or Wilson Boulevard through Clarendon/Court House, while Arlington has roughly 3.5 times the population of Reston.

    ARLINGTON: Very close proximity to the District via rail.
    RESTON: 30 minutes from DC (without congestion), and typically more like 40-45 minutes. One can take a bus from Reston to West Falls Church and then hop the train, but this is typically just as long (if not longer) than driving.

    ARLINGTON: Great schools.
    RESTON: Great schools.

    ARLINGTON: Low violent crime.
    RESTON: Low violent crime.

    ARLINGTON: Sidewalks
    RESTON: Meandering trails supplant most sidewalks, but you can't ALWAYS get "there" from "here" via trail. Nobody should ever be expected to push a stroller IN the street.

    ARLINGTON: Literate and liberal populace.
    RESTON: Liteate and liberal populace.

    ARLINGTON: Thriving population of young singles/active nightlife. Seen as "hip" and "where it's at."
    RESTON: Thriving population of married couples with children, empty-nesters, and retirees. Nightlife consists of drinking at a chain restaurant and talking about work (or working) on weekends. Seen as "keeping up with the Jones's" and "self-congratulatory."

    ARLINGTON: Large and "open" LGBT community.
    RESTON: Large and "closeted" LGBT community.

    ARLINGTON: Proximity to National Airport.
    RESTON: Proximity to Dulles Airport.

    All in all I still just don't see what "edge" Reston has over Arlington to justify comparable rent prices. Can someone "cue" me in? What am I missing? Arlington most certainly isn't UNDER-priced, so...

  7. ARLINGTON: Doesn't have BiCO
    RESTON: Has BiCO

  8. ARLINGTON: Not for long.
    RESTON: Not for long.

  9. 1/4 mile is only the perimeter for the highest level of density (believe it's around 4 or 5 FAR). The increased density goes out to 1/2 mile.

  10. It all comes down to basic economics, BiCO. The rents in Reston are set at the point at the maximum the owners believe they can make the highest profit possible. Maybe Reston doesn't have as much to offer as Arlington but people like you seem to keep on renting at these incredibly high rates. Maybe not everybody has BiCO values?

    As for me, I like my family-oriented, soon-to-have-Metro, traffic congested thru-way, trail-ridden and sidewalkless, self-congratulatory, closeted LGBT, close-to-Dulles-but-far-from-National, roller rinkless Reston. If you think that you're going to be happier in Arlington, well, you already know what I'm going to say.

  11. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods"April 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Yes, I do know what you're going to say (and what most others are thinking), and I WILL vote with my feet next year to relocate to Arlington so you can all have a luau when I'm eventually "Simpleton in Arlington (SiA)." In the interim I won't bash Reston into the ground because what doesn't work for me is possibly ideal for others. What I posted above was just my own personal COMPARISONS between the two communities and my dismay at how little "value" I see myself getting in return for the high rent that is charged here. People may not agree with them, but I never professed to be the "know-it-all" some claim I must think I am. I decided to give another complex in Reston a shot so I could stick it out another year and see if things had a chance to improve here to Arlington's level before permanently giving up. I could conceivably run for a position on the RA Board to try to give the youth of our community a voice we obviously don't have, but if most of the voice of Reston is synonymous with "developers suck", "we don't need no stinkin' train", "why strive for better?", "chain restaurants rock", "brown people scare me", and "change is bad", then I can't really ever make an in-road with a NIMBY brick wall like that because that wall would have to go the way of the Berlin Wall to make this place more attractive to retaining youths such as myself.

    The over-priced poseur-ish abomination called RTC won't keep us here. Ailing village centers like Tall Oaks or Lake Anne, which may have been quaint in their day but are now falling by the wayside, won't keep us here. Traffic jams obviously won't keep us here. High rents certainly won't keep us here. "Good schools" won't keep us here when you can say the same for most of NoVA. Most whom I've spoken to about Reston don't "hate it", but they don't "love it" either. They just sort of shrug their shoulders indifferently. They agree with me that changes need to be made, but instead of striving to bring about these changes they'd rather just adhere to the Bystander Effect, sitting around assuming someone else will rise to the call. Out of my peers who moved here last year I will be the only one staying. I flirted with the idea of making a huge name for myself (in a good way) when I first moved here to bring about "hope" and "change" (to quote our president), but that enthusiasm waned when I realized most in Reston don't even realize RA even exists, don't even know about the ongoing master planning process, don't care one way or the other about redevelopment (or lack thereof), think Macaroni Grill is "down home cooking", etc., etc. I have difficulty working with apathetic people, especially sheltered suburbanites. I legitimately think Reston has amazing potential to be something unbelievable for EVERYONE---not just people with children, people who work in Reston, people confined to subsidized housing, or aging hippies who have lived here since the '60s or '70s and grew up with Reston as it matured. Arlington is becoming the premiere place to live in NoVA (if it isn't already), and most I know who are leaving Reston are moving there because of its high image. Why does nobody want Reston to compete for that noble title?

  12. So, good bye, BiCO. Enjoy Arlington!

  13. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods" and eventually "Arlington's Snazziest Simpleton (ASS)"April 28, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Thanks, Anonymous. I'll be gone next Spring, just like so many others before me who could only handle a couple of years here.

  14. Thank God Arlington is becoming the premiere place to live in NoVA. Maybe there's hope for Reston yet for all the proposed high-density development to go away. If so many people want to live in Arlington, then let them increase their density further so the rest of us can enjoy Reston as it is.

  15. "unless you have a legitimate disability that hampers walking appreciable distances then a mile, to me, IS "walking distance.""

    My disability is the suit and tie my fascist employer makes me wear, and walking any distance in that suit in the summer SUCKS (and is unacceptable on the way to work, since you get there a sweaty wreck).

    "RESTON: Liteate and liberal populace." <-- LOL, not all that literate!

  16. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods" and Eventually "Arlington's Sexiest Simpleton (ASS)"April 29, 2010 at 6:22 AM

    Wow, Anonymous. You got me. One typo negates my intellect. :-)

  17. You do a pretty good job of that all on your own, BiCO.

  18. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO): Soon-to-Be "Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin Woods" and Eventually "Arlington's Sexiest Simpleton (ASS)"April 29, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Ouch! Someone got up on the wrong side of the earth-toned cul-de-sac this morning!

  19. Hey BiCO, you'll be missed here at the Restonian . . . we looked at D.C., Arlington, etc when we moved to the area but decided the best place for kids was Reston. If I was single and under 30, I think I would be further in where the hot spots and the city life are - I did before kids. Reston just wasn't made for the single scene, more specifically for the outdoors type.

  20. AGAIN BiCO???

    I cannot keep up with your constant threats/promises of relocation.

    Last I checked it was going to be Arlington or Winchester, then you decided that Colvin Woods was where it was at.

    You constantly gripe about how much better Arlington is than Reston, but you are still here. WHY?

    A 20-something singleton (regardless of sexual orientation) will enjoy Arlington or the District over a suburb. So why do you punish yourself (and us collaterally) by remaining in Reston?

    Seriously... Move! And then when you are in your mid-late 30's (hopefully by then a non-bigoted Governor in Richmond will sign legislation allowing same-sex marriages) you can move back here and raise a family.


  21. O.K. Lets get back on topic . . . there is a meeting Ma 15th 9-11 at Southlakes HS to show us how great the Metro will be in Reston . . . I wonder if they will actually listen to our concerns or is it brainwashing. Does anyone know the agenda or who is sponsoring the meeting?