News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Carry the Bollards, Subtract the Loaded Potato Skins: The Numbers Behind Future Reston Traffic

traffic equation.jpg

When Reston's future traffic woes are explained this simply, everything makes total sense! Poindexters, please to be checking our math on this fancy equation, part of a presentation on the traffic impact of Metro development by Fairfax County planning staff. Whoops! We forgot to carry the fanciful concrete bollards and subtract the loaded potato skins. No wonder we're still waiting for our Ph.D. in quantitative analysis from one of the Caribbean's most prestigious correspondence schools to come in the mail.

Anyhoo, the results of all this math and whatnot? Traffic. A lot of traffic -- even if a much-needed bridge across the Toll Road at Soapstone gets built. Check out this fancy map:

traffic map.jpg

Better get used to red lights. So what's the good news? County planners have, as they say in the movies (and in their own job titles), a plan:
Reston Master Plan Special Task Force members heard from county traffic experts on possible options to stem highly congested intersections near the future Wiehle Avenue station. The county plans to revisit zoning in the Reston area in preparation for Metrorail’s arrival at Wiehle in late 2013. The task force is studying predicted residential and commercial density levels in an effort to make a land-use recommendation for the county.

“We’re well aware of the fact that there is a big menu for mitigations,” said county Senior Transportation Planner Dan Southworth during Tuesday’s meeting at the Reston Community Center Lake Anne.

Discussion focused on possible improvements to five intersections: Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive; Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road; Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive; Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills; and Fairfax County Parkway and Sunrise Valley.
Those improvements mostly involve multiple turn lanes and things of that ilk, all of which will definitely be needed.

Meanwhile, our BFFs at Reston 2020 have done their own analysis of traffic patterns. They argue that emphasizing more residential development, as opposed to just trapezoidal office space, in areas near Metro stations will result in just 1/8 of the additional traffic projected by the county and give developers nearly as much economic return on their bollardy investments. Read their fancy report here.


  1. "a big menu for mitigations"

    Google translate says this means:

    "lots of projects that we have no idea how to pay for but which will be essential"

  2. You can only push so many cars through an intersection, no matter how many "experts" you throw at it. Another "taskforce" to come up with more "recommendations" that will be filed away and forgotten, or used selectively as support for what the county and developers already have planned. The quality of life in Reston? You can stick a fork in it.

  3. Supervisor Hudgins has the solution to all these problems: road diets. Like it or not, there's a lot of backwards thinking about roads and traffic for our future.

  4. Whoa, had a dyslexic moment there for a second and thought that was the formula for time travel. Wait...on second glance, it IS in fact the equation proving how the flux capacitor generates 1.21 gigawatts of electricity so we can all go back in time. Homicidal nudist colony, here we come!


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