News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Where Da Woonerf At? Reston Development Guidelines Offer A Tantalizing Photographic Glimpse Of Our Hellish, Mixed-Use Future

If you'd look at some of the stunning architecture going up around us, you would think that Fairfax County could give two whits about what Reston's sweeeeeeeeeeet revenue-generating transit-oriented development looks like, so long as it keeps the tax revenues flowing meets appropriate land use guidelines. You would think! But nothing could be further from the truth, silly rabbits, and as proof, the county has released an immense, nearly 200-page set of "Guidelines for Development" for the Reston Transit Station Areas. Shockingly, the word "woonerf" is used exactly one (1) time in the voluminous document.

Be warned, the PDF is huge -- especially for those of us still using 300 baud modems to connect Restonian World Enterprises to the outside world. Fortunately, it's mostly pictures, which gives us lazy "web loggers" with limited literacy skills the opportunity to look at what the county cares about, or at least professes to.

1. Trees, Randomly Spaced
We like trees, so that's great! But the guidelines talk about "randomly spaced street trees," which probably won't look like the schematic above.

2. Parks, Linear, Inexpensive
Linear parks are fun! Besides not putting developers on the hook for funding actual public amenities where people can gather without arbitrary restrictions, these privately owned parks also can serve as "open space connections," assuming there's open space between them instead of assortments of midrise mixed-use chain retail and "luxury" apartments for the car-free millennials, who, judging by this photo, apparently love playing table tennis outdoors on a school bus-colored table.

3. Boulevards, Grand
Without irony, the report says Sunrise Valley Drive should be treated as a "grand boulevard." Sounds great, but then they included this picture:

Oooh la la! Funny, we thought Tysons was supposed to be the Paris of Fairfax County.

4. Variation, Architectural (and no setbacks)
"Utilize a consistent build-to line or street edge that frames the public realm but also allows for architectural variation and interest." They used the Vy development as an example, but the first shot in the report (thankfully) shows it at a great distance.

Next time, let's try a vantage point of low earth orbit, kthx.

5. Bikes, Everywhere
People are losing their minds about the most recent restriping of South Lakes Drive, but as experience has borne out from a similar project on Personal Injury Lawyers Road, we'd argue it's still a tad safer than the illustration above.

6. Garages, Screened
Maybe it's us, but this seems to be throwing shade on the whole just-stick-a-couple-of-boards-on-the-massive-concrete-structure approach taken by a development that will go unnamed in this item (but not this "web log" post).

7. Blocks, Wooden, Uncomfortable
No idea, actually.

8. Steetscapes, Not Overwhelming
Nope, not claustrophobic at all.

9. Art, Public, Awesome
At least our existing An Arts don't look like this Minion on a norovirus-stricken Carnival cruise.

10. Bollards, Fanciful, Still
You can't fool us! A fanciful concrete bollard with some greenery growing out of it is still a fanciful concrete bollard.

This just scratches the surface of the guidelines, which we'll likely revisit as soon as the PDF finishes downloading, the end.


  1. Actually, linear parks can be publicly owned. The High Line and the W&OD are examples. But what they're envisioning is more likely to be the privately owned, woonerfy things that keep the Bad Elements away.

  2. Maybe the woonerf will keep everyone from complaining about the South Lakes restripe. If we keep building so much awesome high rise goodness near south Reston, I think our road diets might discourage cut-through on our newly-emaciated roadways, especially before they finish the Soapstone Connector by 2047 or possibly later. Let's show some solidarity and woonerf the SL/Soapstone intersection to traffic calm a bit more.

  3. know your bollard Linnaean names


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