News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

BREAKING: Woonerf Unceremoniously Yanked From Reston Promenade Development, Shattering Our Schoolgirl Dreams of Dodging Traffic on Sidewalks

Talk about "burying the lead," as people in the news business haven't said in years because of whazzitcalled, the death of print journalism or whatever: It looks like our dreams of a mixed-use nirvana where pedestrians and cars live together in harmony, laughing/beeping as they stroll/drive down the road, high-end ice cream/wiper fluid in hand/wiper reservoir, are dead, like so many glossy magazines and fried dough dispensaries.

In a fancy "press release" about county-approved changes to plans for Comstock's awesome Reston Promenade hotel/retail/office/residential complex just north of the current maze of parallelograms known as Reston Station, Fairfax County saved the bad news for the sixth paragraph: Woonerf is going to stay below sea level in the Netherlands, where it apparently belongs. Give us the bad news, county press release:

Removing the woonerf — a Dutch-style “living street” without sidewalks and curbs that pedestrians, bicyclists and cars share — to improve the experience for pedestrians by discouraging car traffic.
There are other significant changes, including turning the planned hotel 90 degrees (like Tetris, Comstock's parallelograms apparently are rotatable) to improve visibility and "bring more daylight into the Promenade," not that any cars will be able to take advantage of the sunshine.

Comstock also must have run out of consonants, as a planned residential building is now going to be an office building, reducing the number of residential units from 590 to 340. No word on whether the new office building will be called "FFC" to keep up with BLVD, its vowel-free residential neighbor across the street.

The decrease in housing brings the overall project more in line with the county’s land use recommendations. The Promenade will be divided almost evenly between residential and commercial development, as called for by the Comprehensive Plan. Before, it was 70% residential and 30% non-residential.
And while the number of residential units is down, Comstock is allocating the same 16.5 percent of them for affordable housing, more than the county-required minimum -- so good on them.

The Tetris move with the hotel building also puts the pocket park on the corner of the property, where it will (imaginatively) be called "Corner Park." Give us some good blockquote, press release:

Previously planned as a primarily hardscaped, urban plaza, this 16,200-square-foot park will feature an open lawn, outdoor seating, tables and chairs and bicycle racks. In total, the Promenade offers 1.2 acres of park space. Comstock also will contribute more than $2.3 million to the county for athletic field construction, plus $646,000 for on-site recreational facilities.

There's more, including the fact that the county is selling a piece of land within the parcel to Comstock for $3 million, which will allow the company to "shift density" and generate "an estimated $8.6 million per year in rental revenue for the county." But mostly we're just sad about the lack of woonerf. But even so, there is a bright side -- open spaces where cars are not allowed to be can only mean one thing!

Screen shot 2010 05 11 at 10 06 29 AM

Hope springs eternal, the end.


  1. Funny story, but it "leads" with "burying the lead" which is incorrect: Search Results
    Featured snippet from the web
    bury the lede. (idiomatic, US, journalism) To begin a story with details of secondary importance to the reader while postponing more essential points or facts.

  2. Oh dear! No woonerf? WWCHD? (What would Cathy Hudgins do?)


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