Another one of our fancy annotated maps can only mean one thing: The Acronym-Happy Fancy Reston Master Plan Task Force Previously Known as the RMPTF (TAHRMPTFPKARMPTF) has received a draft of its subcommittee's proposals for Wiehle Avenue, which calls for "a viable pedestrian and transit oriented place in which residents and workers can live, work, learn, shop and play with minimal need to drive a car." Which is good, since that fancy county parking garage is going to be filled with people commuting in from Loudoun's particleboard wastelands for the foreseeable future.
The document suggests that anything within a half-mile of the Metro station -- up to Sunrise Valley Drive on the south side of the Toll Road -- should be developed as "mixed-use, transit-oriented development" (translation: Cheesecake Factories on the ground floor, fancypants condos above). The subcommittee left some room open for development beyond that half-mile radius if it's part of a coordinated plan, such as redeveloping Plaza America, or if the developer promises shuttle service to the Metro or parks or a shiny bauble like an indoor rec center or something (cough cough bribe cough cough). Otherwise, the committee argues that development beyond that point should wait until there's another bridge or two across the Toll Road, presumably connecting Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills at Soapstone and South Lakes (see the fancy map above).
The committee would like to see "educational and cultural institutions in urban-type campuses" (The 'Hervard' Correspondence Institute of Diesel Truck Repair and Gun Cleaning, or maybe a rollerdrome?) and stresses the importance of developing residential properties, particularly given the fact that existing Reston rules prohibit them along the Toll Road.
Then there's parking: The committee recommends reducing minimum parking requirements in this development area, both immediately and over time. Which is good, because until those additional bridges are built over the Toll Road, no one's going anywhere for a good chunk of the day. And then there's this:
The W&OD should be utilized as a bicycle and pedestrian "highway" to get people to and from the Wiehle station.Those distance cyclists who zip past joggers and strollers at 30 mph are gonna love that!
The committee also repeats the need for a more urban grid of streets and ample accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians (i.e., fanciful concrete bollards to protect them from Grand Theft Auto-like drivers hopping curbs to try to make the 9:01 train into DC).
The committee is also pushing for a 20-25 percent open space requirement, with each developer expected to offer some space. The report also calls for an indoor recreation facility and "large athletic fields" in or near the development area.
Overall, the committee sees Wiehle as having lower development levels than the Reston Town Center, but a higher ratio of residential-to-office development. However, the committee deferred making a recommendation on what that ratio should be.
All in all, much of this sounds reasonable, especially since development is coming whether we like it or not. Of course, it's important to remember that all of these are merely proposals, guidelines, and nice-to-haves. The rubber hits the road when the county votes to approve specific development proposals, such as the Comstock Wiehle Metro development -- currently the only project on the books around the new metro station. It's safe to say that the Comstock proposal compromised on some of these principles for expediency, so it'll be important to keep an eye on every new project that comes down the pike as development inches forward.
Also, where's our Cheesecake Factory?