Lake Anne's Washington Plaza in Summer

Lake Anne's Washington Plaza in Summer

Monday, May 31, 2010

RESTON TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS AT JULY 27, 2010, MEETING

Subject: Reston Task Force committee meetings

Good afternoon all (Reston Task Force members),

At last Tuesday's Task Force meeting, a question was raised as to when the Task Force Committees for the Town Center, Wiehle and Herndon-Monroe should conclude their work. Today Patty and I agreed to add a full Task Force meeting for Tuesday July 27. It is our thought that the Task Force should discuss the committee recommendations at that meeting.

To facilitate discussion at that meeting, we ask that each committee plan to forward to Patty, myself and Sandi a document summarizing the committee recommendations by COB on Thursday July 15th. We will ensure that the Task Force members and public (via website) have at least 7 days to review the recommendations.

I understand that the July 4th weekend is in that time period but hopefully your committees can schedule one or two additional meetings in that timeframe.

On another note, I am looking to identify some meeting locations for your committees. More on that next week.

Finally, attached are guidelines for the committees that the Process Committee suggested to help address use of email among the committee members and FOIA concerns

Have a good holiday weekend.

Heidi
Heidi T. Merkel, AICP
Senior Planner
Planning Division, DPZ
direct phone: (703) 324-1383

FINAL Reston Task Force Committees Doc (5/17/2010)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Revised Draft North Town Center Vision and Straw Man, May 28, 2010

Note from Robert Goudie, Co-Chair, Reston Town Center Committee:

I attach a revised draft of the TCN section of what ultimately will be a broader Committee report on all of TC to include the Metro Station (north and south). Included is an updated straw man map reflecting what is in the report so far (modified the green space; did some greening of the streets as well; indicated by dotted line the new streets). The text edits I hope capture the things we talked about Tuesday (I’m providing a clean copy and not redline; a redline at this point would be meaningless and messy). I want to just briefly comment on the increased density trigger we have drafted based on last week’s discussion:

1. 50 du/ac on the 41-acre TCN site would yield @ 2,000 res units. So the fundamental idea we have structured is this: Inova may build up to the existing 0.7 non-res FAR so long as the needed infrastructure (grid and open space) is built; it may go up to 0.9 non-res FAR so long as in addition to the grid and open space there are at least 1,000 residential units on the ground (of course it could be more; this is a floor).
2. How was that number arrived at as a good-faith trigger? If you add in what is planned for the extended TCN area (Spectrum and RAJ, which is @ another 1500 units), that yields a total minimum of @ 2500 res units for the extended TCN area (with the trigger).
3. By way of comparison: the extended Urban Core, at 50 du/ac, yields about 4200 res units. Right now, on the ground, there is about ½ that. So the extended TCN (when built out according to the trigger and the Spectrum concept plan) would have roughly the same number of res units on the ground as currently exist within the extended Urban Core (probably slightly more, +/-). So that is some perspective for each of you to judge whether this is a trigger that meets your objectives.
4. One further comment on why we didn’t, for example, go up to the 2,000 units for the trigger. We all know the res market goes hot and cool based on supply/demand. If we lock in the trigger floor at too high a number you run the risk of land staying fallow for long periods if there is a cold res market. Folks won’t build the res and are then locked out from developing other things we may want because they haven’t met the trigger. That concern has to be balanced with setting a floor that actually gives you something you want regardless of market conditions, which is some meaningful mix of res and non-res. We thought 1,000 was a good-faith benchmark and of course nothing precludes Inova from going beyond that number; it is a floor/minimum to allow the 0.9 non-res FAR. So I hope all that is helpful background for the discussion.


Reston Town Center North (TCN) Vision Statement (Revised).Doc--05-28-10

Revised Reston TC Straw Man--05!28!10

Defense Intelligence Agency seeking half million square feet, Washington Business Journal, May 28, 2010

by Tierney Plumb

The Defense Intelligence Agency is on the prowl for a 523,000-square-foot space in Northern Virginia, a prize expected to go to one of four sites in Reston, Alexandria and Falls Church.

The Defense Department agency, which provides the Pentagon with intelligence on foreign threats, will remain headquartered at Bolling Air Force Base in D.C., but the new lease will consolidate the DIA’s other office space in the region, which includes a sizable amount at 3100 Clarendon Blvd. in Arlington, the Pentagon and classified locations.

The agency is seeking 250,000 to 310,000 square feet to be ready by February 2012, likely knocking out any build-to-suit options, sources say. The DIA wants to occupy the rest of the space by May 2013. It is working with the General Services Administration on the 20-year lease.

The site must be in Northern Virginia within four miles’ driving distance of an existing Metrorail station or one scheduled to be operational by 2013. That’s an unusual requirement: It allows areas near the incoming Silver Line Metro stops to compete (emphasis added). . . .


See the Washington Business Journal for the rest of this article.

Friday, May 28, 2010

RCA Resolution on Density in Reston, April 26, 2010

RCA Density Resolution --As Approved on 042610

Announcement: 2010 RCA Sustainable Reston Awards Program

We are happy to announce the opening of the Second Annual Reston Sustainability Awards, in which we will present four awards to two individuals and two organizations, that our judges feel exemplify the principle of Sustainable Development: “activities that meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of generations to come.”

Nominees must reside or be headquartered in Reston. If you know of a deserving candidate (including yourself or your own organization) please read the attached details and fill out and submit the nomination form.

If you have any questions, please contact us at sr.info@restoncitizensassociation.org.

2010 Reston Sustainability Awards Program

RCA Reston Sustainability Awards Nomination Form

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Column: Accidental Master Planning, Part 2, John Lovaas, Reston Connection, May 26, 2010

Last time, we projected that the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force (with a moniker like that you know something’s wrong) is on a path to take Reston from 65,000 folks to upwards of 150,000 and to mega-urban commercial construction unless logic, vision and a sense of community soon join the profit and tax engines as equals in this process.

While the sharply limited mandate and piecemeal rather than comprehensive approach Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) dictated to the Task Force make the prospect of a favorable, livable community outcome doubtful, there are positive forces at work keeping hope alive. Principal among these are the several talented and caring people who somehow got onto the Task Force itself. Then, there is the Reston 2020 Committee, formed by the newly invigorated Reston Citizens Association (RCA), which is not only persistent, but has fine leadership and an unusually large group of committed residents fighting for the right to participate in shaping the future of their community. They also have created a dynamite, user-friendly blog, http://reston2020.blogspot.com, courtesy of Terry Maynard. To date, these citizen forces have successfully pressed the Chair to get ideas before the Task Force despite resistance from the developer clan.

But, the challenges to a community-friendly result are formidable. Take the example of the Town Center Subcommittee of the Task Force ably led by TC resident Robert Goudie. Their job would seem easiest of the three station subcommittees. But, flaws in the in-place Town Center grid — namely three 4-6 lane, east-west arteries cutting through it, frustrate pedestrian connectivity and effectively chop TC into three separate areas. Also, in north Town Center, besides developer pressure to keep density here at levels more appropriate nearer the rail station, the county is the problem — planning a giant new, fortress police station (and new Supervisor digs?), maintaining a foul fuel depot for county vehicles on prime land, and refusing to clean up a potentially beautiful, 5-acre Park Authority-owned plot on Fountain Drive.

And, the entirety of the corridor rail station areas is being looked at piecemeal with: ZERO planned park areas (according to RA and the Park Authority itself); no mention of basic public facilities like schools anywhere; and potential density including as many as 23,000 new residences. The lack of a vision for even the Phase I study area is ominous both for the study area and for study Phase 2. Imagine what it may look like when they finally add up all the pieces for Phase 1. Would you want to live there?

If the ugly scenario I am projecting is realized, will it be enough to get the attention of Task Force leadership and County staff? Will it be enough to get them to think vision and community, to listen to voices of the community which surround them on the Task Force and in Reston 2020, and to head in a new direction before visiting the Phase 1 disaster on all of Reston?


By John Lovaas
Reston Impact Producer/Host

Letter: Supervisor Hudgins to Hunter Mill District, May 25, 2010

Dear Hunter Mill Friends,

Today's meeting marked some notable accomplishments by our citizens and County staff. We recognized some of our outstanding high school athletes in gymnastics and swim and dive for winning their state titles. We thanked both individuals and organizations for their many years of service to the County. And, we recognized our County staff whose swift actions saved the life of a 5 year old.

On the business end, we adopted water systems principals recommended by the Consumer Protection Commission, and authorized a 2010 Transportation Bond Referendum which will be on the ballot in the fall elections.

The Board also approved the rezoning for Comstock Reston Station Holdings which permits transit-oriented development near the Wiehle Avenue Station. The project will contain; a public plaza that will welcome Metro riders; 20% of the residential units will serve workforce; Reston Association will have new members from these residents; and proffers for parks and schools. Office buildings will be LEED certified. The Comstock proposal is not a perfect plan but we are unable to go back to the drawing board if we hope to meet deadlines for the coming of rail. This one project can't solve all our transportation problems in the area, but you have my commitment I'll continue pressing for solutions as we move forward. (Emphasis added.)


Cathy Hudgins

Summary: Reston 2020 Meeting with Fairfax County School Officials, May 10, 2010

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN UNDERSTANDING SOME OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF FUTURE RESTON POPULATION INCREASES.

R2020 Meeting With FCPS Officials--051010

Summary: Reston Town Center Committee Meeting, May 18, 2010

Reston Town Center Committee 5-18-10 Meeting Summary

Summary: Reston Town Center Meeting, May 4, 2010

My apologies for not posting this sooner.

TC 5-4-10 Meeting Summary

Supervisor Hudgins' "Hunter Mill Highlights" on Area Development, May 2010

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins' May newsletter devotes a couple of pages to development issues in the Reston area, including land use projects under consideration and Reston Task Force developments. These are provided below.

MAY 2010 HM Highlights Newsletter Extract

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunrise Valley Wetlands Nature Park, Statement by Polo Fields Homeowners Association, May 25, 2010

Sunrise Valley Nature Park Statement--Polo Fields Homeowners Assn.

Transit Oriented Development Seminar Presentations, May 15, 2010

Below are posted the three presentations made at the Saturday, May 15, TOD seminar at South Lakes High School sponsored by the Dulles Corridor Rail Association and the Reston Association. Also included is a summary of Ian Lockwood's presentation prepared by Dick Rogers, Reston 2020 Committee.

From this attendee's perspective, the seminar shows how advantageous transit oriented development can be and how far Reston and Fairfax County have to go to achieve that success. The three presentations followed by a Q&A period.

The three presentations are:
--TOD Street Network Design, by Ian Lockwood, noted traffic engineering consultant
--Planning at Montgomery Metro Stations, by John Carter, Montgomery County Planner and Reston resident
--40 Years of Transit Oriented Development in Arlington County--Robert Brosnan, Arlington County Planner
There is a tremendous amount of important information in these presentations and summary. Please take your time to review them.

Terry Maynard
Blogmeister

Street Network Design Ian Lockwood Aecom

Summary of Ian Lockwood Presentation--May 15--RRogers

Planning at Montgomery Metro Stations--John Carter

40 Years of Transit Oriented Development

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Three-Beltways Boosters Perpetuate Urban Growth Myths, David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington, May 24, 2010

When the "2030 Group" recently launched to push for "good sustainable growth," some charged that it's just a stalking horse for the freeway lobby and the roads they've been pushing unsuccessfully for decades.

That charge stemmed largely from the involvement of cofounder John Tilghman "Til" Hazel, a longtime freeway proponent. Jonathan O'Connell recently interviewed Hazel, who largely confirmed the fears by giving essentially one complaint about Fairfax County: that leaders had turned away from his endless freeway-building vision.

Hazel doesn't just want one Outer Beltway, he wants two, in addition to the existing Fairfax County Parkway, for a total of four circumferential Fairfax freeways. O'Connell, to his credit, posed most of the counterarguments to endless freeway-building. Can't Metro also relieve congestion? Isn't Fairfax trying to grow at Tysons, around Metro stations? Isn't the worst traffic east-west in Fairfax, along the current corridors, rather than north-south in the directions that any beltway would travel? Didn't the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor grow without increasing traffic? Are you the "king of sprawl"?

Hazel, who was unapologetic about being the "king of sprawl," responded with answers that come right out of the 1950s, which was when Hazel was in his 30s and perhaps developing his worldview. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have learned much since.

Hazel's comments perpetuate several longstanding myths. . . .


For Mr. Alpert's take on "myths" about development based on the O'Connell interview with Hazel, click here.

In fact, for those interested in a "smart growth" perspective on Metro DC development, the Greater Greater Washington website has many valuable articles. Whether or not one agrees with Mr. Alpert, the website provides some cogent arguments for "smart growth" versus "sprawl." Take a look!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Agenda: Reston Task Force Meeting, May 25, 2010

RESTON MASTER PLAN SPECIAL STUDY  
TASK FORCE  
 

May 25, 2010 
 
Task Force Meeting  
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne 

 
AGENDA
 
 
7:00 p.m.  Public Comment Period   
 
7:15 p.m.  Administrative Items ‐ Patty Nicoson, Task Force Chair 
• Approval of 4/27 and 5/11 meeting summaries 
• Formation of Wiehle Avenue and Herndon‐Monroe Sub‐Committees 
 
7:30 p.m.  Briefing:  Fairfax County Affordable Housing Policy  
  Heidi Merkel, Department of Planning and Zoning 
 
7:40 p.m.  Input on Wiehle Avenue Station Area   
• Bill Penniman, RCC Board, TF Alternate Member 
• Property Owners 
 
8:05 p.m.  Task Force Small Group Activity re: Wiehle Avenue  
 
9:00 p.m.  Report out of Activity and Task Force discussion of results 
 
9:30 p.m.  Adjourn ‐ Patty Nicoson 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tysons’ Future Density Debated, The McLean Connection, May 19, 2010

Planning Commissioners conduct last meeting before creating Tysons Corner draft plan.

By Mike DiCicco


At its final meeting on Wednesday, May 12, the Tysons Corner Committee of the county Planning Commission prepared to hammer out a draft plan that would set an interim vision for the redevelopment of the world’s largest "edge city" for the year 2030.

Previously, a Tysons Task Force appointed by the county had created a plan that looked well beyond 2050, but Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn (At-large), chairman of the commission’s Tysons Committee, proposed in March that the "planning horizon" be reduced to two decades from now, an idea that gained some favor among residents and developers alike.

"One reason is, I have a hard time seeing beyond 20 years," Alcorn said at the May 12 meeting. Also, he said, many of the regional transportation improvements that would be needed to support development beyond levels anticipated by 2030, such as high-speed transit corridors, remained unfunded and unplanned. "Several of these items are really just place-holders at this point," Alcorn said, adding that projects like the proposed Metro Purple Line would need to be fleshed out while Tysons Corner was undergoing its initial 20 years of redevelopment. . . .


The rest of this article is here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Area North of RTC Focus of Task Force; Macaroni Grill Doomsday Clock Inches Closer to Midnight, Restonian, May 21, 2010



We have no idea what these three proposals for the fertile, unspoiled lands north of Reston's Fake Downtown actually mean, but the Un-Acronymable Reston Master Plan Task Force (UARMPTF) will meet tomorrow to get input on this pristine area.

"On Saturday, May 22, the Reston Task Force will conduct another community meeting at 9 a.m. at Langston Hughes Middle School, to get input on the North part of the Reston Town Center, Cameron Glen area and the Police Station area development."

For the rest of Restonian's post, click here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Column: How Much Is Enough?, Jack Kenny, Reston Connection, May 18, 2010

Reviewing the recent actions of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at just one meeting brought to light an interesting statistic. If one totals up the proposals for residential development of Reston, it appears that Reston population will grow about 5 percent. Our 60,000 residents will become 63,000 soon if all of the proposals are approved. Five percent might not seem like much. We can all say a mere 3,000 more residents will be a drop on the bucket. Our infrastructure should easily be able to accommodate that population increase.

Hold on. Those are the actions coming out of just one meeting. How many more Board meetings are on the calendar and how many more proposals for additional high-rise residential units are waiting for approval action? It is not inconceivable that mere 5 percent could grow to 25 percent in a very short time. Now we start to talk real numbers. Can Reston's infrastructure support a 25 percent increase? . . .


For the rest of this column, click here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Metrorail Impact Debated, Reston Connection, May 19, 2010

Learning from neighbors’ experiences.

By Emily Poe


Reston community members and leaders met Saturday, May 15 to discuss options and concerns for the new Reston Metrorail project, which is part of the larger Dulles Corridor Metro Project.

Chief among many community members’ interests in the new transit development plan is how local traffic patterns would be affected, especially in light of the planned Wiehle Metro station, which is set to open in 2013, with 2,000-plus spaces in a parking lot and station entrances on both sides of the Dulles Toll Road, according to the Dulles Metro website.


Click here for the rest of this article.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Here Comes the Neighborhood, Christopher B. Leinberger, The Atlantic Magazine, June 2010

Conventional suburbs are overbuilt and out of favor. In cities and suburbs alike, walkable neighborhoods linked by train are the future. Here’s how a new network of privately funded rail lines can make that future come to pass more quickly and cheaply—and help reinvigorate housing and the economy.

Urban-style housing in walkable neighborhoods—including those in the inner suburbs—is what’s in demand today. And for a variety of reasons, that demand will intensify in the coming years. Only by serving it can the country kick-start growth in an enormous and essential part of the economy.

Yet the creation of new, attractive urban spaces is slow and difficult, and becomes all but impossible without substantial new infrastructure. Most of all, it relies on good transit options—especially rail links—around which walkable neighborhoods can develop. Rail, biking, and walking infrastructure is the backbone of urban development, and as a country we’ve for the most part neglected to build it in recent decades, in favor of new roads for new suburbs farther and farther away from metropolitan hubs. To support growth in the next decade, we need to change that dynamic—and nourish our walkable urban spaces and neighborhoods. Complicating matters, in these cash-strapped times we need to find a way to do so on the cheap.

The article discusses ways to finance the public transit needed to make these kinds of neighborhoods possible. These include "tax-increment financing" used in Chicago, "special-assessment districts" used in DC to build a station in the 1990s, and changing federal transportation laws to provide more funds and take less time to approve public transit proposals.

Here's the link to this article that looks at building neighborhoods and linking them through privately-funded transit.

In fact, the Atlantic Monthly has a whole blog on The Future of the City. Check it out!

Future Housing Shortage in Metro Washington? GMU's Center for Regional Analysis Forecasts for the 2030 Group

George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis has begun producing a series of long-term analyses for the "2030 Group," a group of a few dozen of the region's largest developers and property owners.

A key theme in GMU CRA's first two reports is that the Washington Metropolitan area will face a major housing shortage over the next twenty years, diverting income produced here to spending beyond the metro area with consequent adverse effects on retail and other consumer-based business growth as well as tax revenues. While the two forecasts highlight this relative revenue under performance, they do not note, for example, that the Washington metro has the highest personal income and growth rate for income of the three comparative areas in Technical Report #1, nor do they assess the effects of forecast growth (or implicit accelerated growth) on existing residential areas, transportation, the environment, and other factors that comprise a more holistic view of the Washington metro area.

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020

Here are a couple of key passages about future housing shortages in the area and their implications with links to the full documents.

Page 2, The Future of the Washington Area Economy: Alternative Forecast, Employment, and Housing Implications, Technical Report #2, Stephen S. Fuller, GMU CRA, September 2009.



Page 2, The Washington Metropolitan Area 2030 Economic Outlook: Standard Forecast, Technical Report #1, Stephen S. Fuller and Ellen Harpel, GMU CRA, March 2009.


Interview with John T. Hazel: Dubious on Tysons plans, Washington Post, May 17, 2010

Developer and lawyer, Til Hazel talks with reporters over lunch at the Towers Club.

By Jonathan O'Connell
Monday, May 17, 2010


To Til Hazel, you are either "open for business" or you're an "anti" -- as in anti-growth, anti-prosperity. There isn't much in between. As a land-use attorney and later a developer in partnership with Milton Peterson, John Tilghman Hazel Jr., 80, has argued for pro-growth policies in Fairfax County for more than 50 years, leading its march from a spread of dairy farms to a home for more than 1 million residents and 570,000 jobs. Today, Hazel is dissatisfied enough with the region's elected officials that he and Robert E. Buchanan of Buchanan Partners recently launched a new organization, the 2030 Group, to push for policies to benefit long-term economic prosperity.

Capital Business recently interviewed Hazel. Following are excerpts:

You don't seem pleased with the local political leadership.


Well, when you put it all together, what concerns me, 50 years later, we're sort of at a tipping point. We're seeing all these projections. Steve Fuller, in that article ["A place to lay their slippers ... (x 694,000), Capital Business, May 10], is talking about the possibility of 1,600,000 jobs, but to do that you need places for people to live. The political world is totally without leadership, at all levels. . . .


Click here for the rest of this article.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

UPDATED: TRACKED AND CLEAN VERSIONS, Reston Task Force DRAFT Planning Principles, May 12, 2010

UPDATE: There seems to be some concern that the draft posted on the County Reston planning website ("clean version" shown below) does not reflect the writing of the draft's original drafter(s). The changes from the original significantly change the meaning of the draft in some ways. We have obtained a version of the draft with the edits in it ("tracked version") and post it for your information as well.

Below are BOTH versions for your perusal.

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020
Blog Administrator


Tracked Version:

"DRAFT Guiding Principles(Dated 4-10-2010)-2--TRACKED changes

Clean Version:

Draft Guiding Principles May12

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lerner Enterprises sues Fairfax County over north Reston Town Center density, Washington Business Journal, May 14, 2010

UPDATE: The full text of this article is now available here.

UPDATE #2: ...and here is Restonian's take on the Lerner lawsuit, including mourning the loss of the Macaroni Grill.

by Sarah Krouse

A Lerner Enterprises Inc. affiliate is suing Fairfax County over the way the county allots density in the area just north of Reston Town Center.

The entity, Reston Spectrum LLP, filed suit in March in Fairfax County Circuit Court, arguing that it should be able to develop its site to the specifications the county approved in a 2006 conceptual plan.

The Lerner site sits between Route 602 and Fountain Drive and includes retailers such as Harris Teeter, Best Buy and Elizabeth Arden. Lerner wants to transform the 24-acre stretch into as many as 562 residential units and up to 406,000 square feet of retail or office use.

It secured county approval of a finalized conceptual site plan in 2008 using extra density from the neighboring Reston Regional Library, which was deemed a park in 1992, allowing it to transfer density to nearby developers.


Regrettably, the rest of this article is for "paid subscribers only."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pedal pushers drive bike commuter surge, Fairfax Times, May 11, 2010

Annual Bike to Work Day events scheduled for May 21

by Kali Schumitz | Staff Writer


Thousands of people throughout the region are expected to participate in the annual Bike to Work Day events May 21, but for a select group of commuters, biking to work is the norm.

"Bicyclists are the only people I know who enjoy their commutes," said Bruce Wright, 60, a Reston resident and cycling advocate who has commuted by bicycle for about 30 years. "When they get to work, they're refreshed and ready for the day."

Although they have just recently started gathering hard data, transportation officials in Fairfax and Arlington counties say they have seen bike travel grow in recent years, getting a particular boost when gas prices exceeded $4 per gallon in the summer of 2009. . . .


For the rest of this article, click here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Column: Shaping the City: Terms, mind-sets must be changed to encourage and enable more walking in cities, Roger K. Lewis, Washington Post

By Roger K. Lewis
Saturday, May 8, 2010; E05

The time has come to acknowledge that walking will be an indispensable component of 21st-century transportation. Today's plans for urban and suburban growth envision walkways as a vital part of multi-modal transportation networks. Walking is great exercise and beneficial to health. Unlike cars, buses, trams and trains, walking consumes no fossil-fuel energy and leaves no carbon footprint. Equally important, walking can be a positive aesthetic experience.

The term "transit-oriented development" (TOD) paints an incomplete picture of state-of-the-art planning and urban design. The terminology should change, along with our mind-set. We should talk about and advocate multi-modal-transportation-oriented development.


For the rest of this article, click here.

Letter: Traffic study and recommendations still need work, Rob Whitfield, Fairfax Times, May 11, 2010

Fairfax County has again delayed the public hearing on the proposed Comstock Reston Station Holdings LLC project at Wiehle Avenue Metro station.

The county has so far failed to design or identify funding for local transportation improvements which will be needed adjacent to planned Dulles Rail project stations to accommodate Transit Oriented Developments. Upgrades will be needed to various intersections in Reston. Worrying about design defects and limiting vehicular access to the plaza at the proposed Comstock Wiehle development during peak periods is akin to trying to deal with fleas when a herd of elephants is crashing around the house.

The Planning Commission, in overruling county staff who recommended rejection of the Comstock Wiehle proposal, has done nothing to address the fundamental problem involved -- increased traffic. At full build-out of the proposed 1.3 million square foot mixed use Comstock project, some 1,200 to 1,800 peak hour vehicle trips will be added to the local road network.

Certain transportation improvements in the Wiehle Avenue vicinity were required by the Dulles Rail Federal Transit Administration's Record of Decision of March 2005 and are being paid for from Phase 1 Dulles Rail funds. The county is spending $4 million on building sidewalks in the local area. However, it appears that little is being proffered by Comstock for local road improvements in its project proposal.

At Comstock Wiehle, 2,300 spaces for Metro riders would be built in an underground garage plus an additional 3,000-plus spaces for the proposed 1.3 million square foot mixed use Comstock development. (The county staff report omits the total number of parking spaces). The total number of parking spaces at Comstock Wiehle will be similar to the total parking provided at Vienna and Springfield Metro stations for which exclusive access ramps to and from I-66 and I-95 are provided to limit traffic impacts on the street system.

Currently, a total of 5,840 parking spaces exist at Vienna Metro. Tax records indicate that Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority owns approximately 30 acres there. By contrast, the county owned site at Wiehle Avenue contains only 9 acres which, together with 3.5 acres owned by the applicant nearby, total 12.5 acres for development. However, no direct ingress or egress to the Dulles Toll Road will be provided.

Citing budget constraints, the Reston Master Plan update "Task Force" leadership and county staff have stated that they do not intend to study traffic problems in Reston or the far worse conditions that will be created by additional traffic generated by developments around proposed Metro stations and the Town Center area.

It is complete lunacy to not evaluate comprehensively the potential parking and road improvements required to accommodate new traffic demand to be generated by future developments of Comstock, JBG, Boston Properties, Vornado Realty Trust and other landowners whose property abuts the Dulles Toll Road at or near Wiehle Avenue. The same is true for other stations proposed on the Dulles Corridor in Herndon and Reston.

Already severe peak period traffic congestion (Level F) exists in eastern Reston at intersections between Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue, Sunrise Valley Drive and Hunter Mill Road, Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road and Hunter Mill Road. Little has been proposed in the Comstock plan to ameliorate traffic congestion and the county's proposed penalties for not complying with a trip reduction plan are totally inadequate.

As a pre-condition of approving Comstock Wiehle Avenue development and any other Reston transit station project, we should require Fairfax County to create a "Road Club" (preferably to be called a "Public Improvements Club"), as has occurred in similar situations in Tysons Corner and elsewhere in Northern Virginia.

Now is the time for residents and businesses in Reston to insist that the county evaluate and plan for potential traffic congestion resulting from rail and the Master Plan update for station areas and around Town Center on a comprehensive basis. Bob Simon planned Reston as a place where people could live, work and play, and not as a focal point for thousands of commuter vehicles.

Rob Whitfield, Dulles Corridor Users Group

County explores financing options for roads in Tysons Corner area, Fairfax Times, May 11, 2010

Supervisors will decide on funding mechanisms this summer

by Kali Schumitz | Staff Writer


Fairfax County officials have started considering how they will pay for nearly $1.5 billion in roads and transit costs that will be needed to support future growth in Tysons Corner.

Last week, county staff outlined a mixture of funding mechanisms to raise the money from both public and private sector sources. The initial staff proposal includes a 55 percent public funding share through bonds, taxes and state or federal transportation dollars, and a 45 percent private share from developer contributions and localized tax districts.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will decide on the funding mechanisms when it considers the new land-use plan for Tysons Corner this summer.

The proposed 55-45 split is unlikely to please either community activists or future Tysons developers. . . .


Click here for the rest of this article.

BRAC shifts heighten traffic concerns in southern Fairfax, Fairfax Times, May 11, 2010

A possible cautionary tale for Reston, although our growth is not being driven by outside forces.

Only one road to be completed before defense workers are relocated

by Kali Schumitz | Staff Writer


When thousands of Department of Defense workers are relocated to Fort Belvoir next year, only one new road in southern Fairfax County will be ready to accommodate them.

The final section of the Fairfax County Parkway, which provides access to the former Engineer Proving Ground, now known as Fort Belvoir North, will be completed on schedule. That area is set to house about 8,500 employees from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in a new office complex.

But there is no relief in sight for the already congested Route 1 corridor in the Alexandria section of the county. . . .


Click here for the rest of this article.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Final Agenda: Reston Task Force, May 11,2010

RESTON MASTER PLAN SPECIAL STUDY
TASK FORCE

May 11, 2010


Task Force Meeting
Reston Community Center at Lake Anner


AGENDA


7:00 p.m. Public Comment Period

7:15 p.m. Briefing: Planning for Parks and Recreation Facilities
• Sandy Stallman, Fairfax County Park Authority
• Leila Gordon, Director, Reston Community Center
• Larry Butler, Reston Association Director of Parks & Recreation

8:00 p.m. Briefing: Macro view of Transportation Network
• Leonard Wolfenstein, Department of Transportation

8:30 p.m. Update: Town Center Committee of the Task Force
• Committee Representatives

8:45 p.m. Update: Process Committee of the Task Force
• Mark Looney, Committee Representative

8:55 p.m. Update: Draft Planning Principles
• Patty Nicoson, Task Force Chair

9:05 p.m. Briefing: Fairfax County Affordable Housing Policy
• Heidi Merkel, Department of Planning and Zoning

9:15 p.m. Overview of north Reston Town Center area
• Heidi Merkel, Department of Planning and Zoning

9:25 p.m. Upcoming Meetings -
--Saturday May 15th – Community Forum re: Transit-Oriented Development (South Lakes High School cafeteria)
--Saturday May 22nd – Reston Town Center north Community Meeting (Langston Hughes Middle School)
--Tuesday May 25th – Task Force Small Group exercise re: Wiehle Avenue (RCC at Lake Anne)


9:30 p.m. Adjourn - Patty Nicoson

An Art Park Sprouts (for Now) Where New Buildings Were to Grow, New York Times, September 17, 2009

By ERIC KONIGSBERG

On Friday morning, in what might be seen as evidence that tough economic times can be good for art, a new 37,000-square-foot outdoor exhibition and performance space will open in Lower Manhattan.

Occupying an irregularly shaped city block at the northwest corner of Canal and Sullivan Streets, it will be both a park and a showcase for established and newer artists, open from 7 a.m. till dusk daily, except in January, February and part of March. Appropriately — given that the lot is on loan for about three years from developers who had hoped to build there by now — the project will be called LentSpace. . . .


Click here for the rest of this article.

For a slideshow of the LentSpace site, please click here.

Strawman Outline for Reston Task Force Report

Strawman Outline for Reston Task Force Report

Summary: Reston Task Force Process Comm. Meeting, May 7, 2010, John Lovaas

This second Task Force Process meeting, held Friday morning at the Supervisor’s police station, had a much smaller attendance. Only six Task Force members were present, including Chairperson Patty Nicoson, M. Looney, J. Stowers, A. Hill, V. Foster and B. Penniman. Heidi and Richard Lambert were there from the county.

While their agenda had 4 items, most of the time was spent on bantering back and forth about whether or not to establish subcommittees along the lines of the Reston Town Center (North) subcommittee and when, and what should be on the agendas for the upcoming Task Force meetings on May 11, May 25 and the special one June 1 as well as the Community Meeting May 22. A draft table of contents for the Task Force final report prepared by Foster and Penniman was handed out but not discussed. (NOTE: The draft outline is here.) It starts an idea of where they think they are going.

While the repetitive discussion on whether and when to create two subcommittees, one for the Wiehle station area and one for Herndon Monroe, was going on, a couple of troubling themes kept coming up from 2 development folks. Mark Looney agreed stressed his theme of keeping TF discussions at a general level, not get into detail of land uses, F.A.R.’s which should be left to landowners. County staffer Merkel sometimes seemed to back this, while Joe Stowers insisted that comp plans should “be about options”. Looking to realize land areas’ “development potential” was stressed often. Note: I found this troubling because it sounds like the objective is to fill land with buildings, not necessarily to create a thing of beauty, that stresses community, liveability and mobility. Open space, natural areas and infrastructure such as schools are not mentioned. Transportation improvements for pedestrians and bikes in addition to roads are given modest lip service but are not the focus.

There was apparent unanimity to create the two new subcommittees with an RTC type mandate. Mentioned but not resolved, I think, was the question of extending the RTC Subcommittee mandate to include all of TC north and particularly south of the station—the latter being of particular concern because there has been so little conversation of “development potential” on that side—including connecting eastward to JBG Land.

As I understood it, the plan is as follows:

At the May 11 Meeting:
-County staff presentations on: Transportation—“situation in current transportation Hpatterns, changes likely with advent of transit.”
-County staff on Park Authority role, changes in way they plan park space. [Arthur Hill of P & Z said he thought “park stuff” was peripheral; TF’s focus is on commercial, industrial ? and residential development!]
-On affordable housing. (after suggestions that this be dropped—it was retained, I think.)
-Update on Process meeting!
-Update by RTC subcommittee—and possible discussion of extending their mandate to the south side, encouraged by lawyer Looney.
-Discussion of Planning Principles maybe. (Remember them?)

May 22 Community Meeting:
-Special presentation by a high-powered real estate market consultant; TOD discussion; breakout groups to discuss Herndon-Monroe station

May 25 TF Meeting:
-Wiehle Station breakout groups
-formation of Wiehle subcommittee—to report by end of June; announce and begin formation of Herndon-Monroe subcommittee
-Report with recommendations of Reston Town Center Committee—although this likely to slip to June 1 meeting with addition of southside mandate.

June 1 TF Meeting: Possible report of Reston 2020 Parks/facilities group pressed on chair by Leila Gordon. Led to discussion of opening to presentations by 4 other Reston 2020 groups—Environment, Transportation, RUDL and ?X?; possibly RA committees, others. Possibly report of RTC subcommittee, formal kickoff of H-M Subcommittee. (delayed after it was pointed out that the TF would be wise to give Polo Fields neighbors a lot of advance notice or there could be “political trouble”.
The latter led to expanded concern about the need to make the communities and community aware of changes to meetings schedules, changes to agendas in upcoming meetings, getting word to groups who might be invited to make presentations including Reston 2020 groups and any others, like RA committees, possibly ARCH, etc. Comment: While Chairman Nicoson has been more receptive than the norm to community input, she is under pressure from several TF members and the calendar to move on and leave the community aside. I fear an attempt to line up all possible groups, give them 10 minutes each, check that block as “community participation” done and move on without any real effort to incorporate important substantive work done by 2020 work groups in particular.

Opinion: The Process group again failed to see the forest while being led by the nose into the trees. The TF still has adopted NO guiding principles as they go piece by piece looking for development potential NOT community potential. In the first place, they should have adopted an overall vision for Reston (while there has been talk of at least doing so for the corridor, there is no vision at that level either.) from which would have flowed the planning principles to guide their analysis and discussions of the 3 station areas, Town Center and the village centers (and other areas?) to follow.

Instead, the TF is building up the maximum “development potential” in discussions increasingly led by landowners and their lawyers with no overall vision. So, the group maximizes what can be done at Wiehle, then Town Center and then Herndon-Monroe before moving on to do the same for each of the 5 village centers—and then maybe the connecting, all-enveloping high density “sinews”. You get the idea.

OK, so what does it matter what order they go in? It matters because as we get down the pike, or at the end, we’ll find we have a residential capacity for 150-160,000 people and commercial development greatly surpassing the new, but now revised downward, 85 million square feet at Tysons Corner. And, we’ll find we have no schools for this 150% increase in population, nowhere near civilized amounts and quality of open and natural spaces, and pathetically inadequate pedestrian, bicycle and even vehicular transport infrastructure. Only a couple of people on the Task Force, especially John Carter, recognizes this. What will it take for the sheep to stop being led and starting to approach a master plan at the community level.

The current approach is backwards and marches us towards a Tysons outcome NOT a Reston outcome.

John Lovaas

Seminar: Metro Is Coming to Reston, Saturday, May 15, 2010, 9-11 AM, South Lakes HS

051510 Tale of Two Counties Flyer

Summary: Reston Town Center Committee, May 4, 2010

TC 5-4-10 Meeting Summary

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Planning for Rail in Reston, Bulova Byline, Chairman's Monthly Report, May 2010

Reston will soon benefit from the arrival of Metrorail. Service at the Wiehle Avenue metro station will begin in December of 2013. The County owns a 9 acre site at Wiehle Avenue and has negotiated a development agreement to build approximately 1 million square feet of commercial, retail, hotel, and residential facilities in concert with the station. These facilities will be in place when the station opens.

Six more stations will open in 2016: Reston Parkway, Herndon-Monroe, Route 28, Dulles Airport, and Route 606 and Route 772 in Loudon County.

The Reston Parkway station will have entrances on both sides of the Toll Road via a pedestrian bridge crossing the toll road and access highway. There will also be bus bays and kiss & ride lots, and parking on the south side of the station at Sunrise Valley Dr. The north entrance will be within walking distance of Reston Town Center.

The County is prioritizing transit in Reston to make sure that we are able to take full advantage of the benefits of rail. When Wiehle Avenue opens we plan to implement a feeder bus plan with routes serving the Town Center, increase the frequency of the buses to the station so that they match train schedules, and develop dedicated bus facilities. Once the Reston Parkway station opens we will re-route bus service to serve the station entrances and develop dedicated bus facilities along Sunset Hills Rd. There are many other improvements that are planned to ensure that the stations are accessible to the community, including crosswalks, trail crossings, sidewalks, mixed use trails, and on-street bike lanes.

In addition to making transit improvements we will also be re-planning the areas around the stations to make sure we take full advantage of the benefits of Rail. Earlier this year, Supervisor Hudgins led a Reston Master Plan Special Study to identify appropriate changes to the County’s Comprehensive Plan to guide development in Reston and the Dulles Corridor.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fairfax County outlines tax options for Tysons Corner road projects, Washington Post, May 8, 2010

By Kafia A. Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 8, 2010

A mix of financing options, including tax increases, are needed to pay for road upgrades as Tysons Corner transforms into a city, according to a Fairfax County report.

Although the future of Tysons is transit-oriented via Metro's Silver Line, county transportation officials say road improvements are essential to increasing mobility within the congested business district.

The report, released Thursday, says Tysons needs an estimated $646 million in transportation improvements to accommodate growth over the next 20 years. To pay for those upgrades, county officials have outlined a financing plan that calls for the public to fund 67.5 percent of the cost, and the private sector 32.5 percent....


Click here for the rest of the article.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Draft Agenda: Reston Task Force, May 11, 2010

DRAFT
RESTON MASTER PLAN SPECIAL STUDY
TASK FORCE

May 11, 2010

Task Force Meeting
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne

DRAFT AGENDA


7:00 p.m. Public Comment Period

7:15 p.m. Administrative Items - Patty Nicoson, Task Force Chair

7:30 p.m. Briefing: Planning for Parks and Recreation Facilities
• Sandy Stallman, Fairfax County Park Authority
• Larry Butler, Reston Association Director of Parks and
Recreation

8:00 p.m. Briefing: Macro view of Transportation Network
• Staff, Department of Transportation

8:30 p.m. Briefing: Fairfax County Affordable Housing Policy
• Heidi Merkel, Department of Planning and Zoning

8:40 p.m. Update: Town Center Committee of the Task Force
• Committee Representatives

8:50 p.m. Update: Process Committee of the Task Force
• Mark Looney, Committee Representative

9:10 p.m. Update: Draft Planning Principles
• Patty Nicoson, Task Force Chair

9:25 p.m. Upcoming Meetings -
Saturday May 15th – Community Forum re: Transit-Oriented Development (South Lakes High School cafeteria)
Saturday May 22nd – Reston Town Center north Community Meeting (Langston Hughes Middle School)
Tuesday May 25th – Task Force Small Group exercise re: Wiehle Avenue (RCC at Lake Anne)

9:30 p.m. Adjourn - Patty Nicoson

Approval Recommended for Comstock Development, Reston Connection, May 5, 2010

Planning commissioner cites cooperation by developer.

By Mike DiCicco
Wednesday, May 05, 2010


At its meeting last Thursday, April 29, the county Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the development proposed by Comstock Partners next to the future Wiehle Avenue Metro Station.

Before recommending approval, Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner Frank de la Fe noted that the commission had received numerous public comments on the development proposal and that, as of the March 25 public hearing, county staff had recommended denying the application. At that time, he said, staff still had three major issues with the application — a failure to address environmentally friendly building standards, lack of an adequate plan to cut down on vehicle trips and unrestricted vehicular access to the plaza at the heart of the proposed development.

Since then, Comstock had continued to work with the county, and staff now recommended approval, de la Fe said.

However, he said that, although the issues of "green" building and traffic management had been resolved, "The issue of vehicular access to the plaza remains problematic." . . . .

Click here for the rest of the story.

The Old West, Patrick Kane, Reston Planner, May 6, 2010

In the day the cattle-ranchers’ land was separated by such things as mountain ranges, rivers, and fences. When the grass fattened the cows, the roundup began and headed towards the canyon. The Injuns knew this was coming and took positions on ledges and behind boulders and took out the cowboys and then stole the cows and herded them to market, selling them back to the cowboys. I know this because I grew up near the canyons connecting the San-Fernando Valley’s fertile farmland with the harbor et al. I then took a job with the movie studio, specializing in the westerns, which permanent sets in the back lot with mixed use. Hotel rooms were above the cowboy gathering places.

This issue came to my focus when the traffic backup over the Reston Parkway Canyon caused my daughter to be late for her aerobic swim class at Hunter’s Woods Community Center; I thought a cowboy story might catch the task force members’ attention. There has been talk of a Palatiello Tunnel; another idea was a toll bridge connecting a road through Hidden Creek to align with Soapstone Drive. A previous owner of Hidden Creek realized this would open some under-utilized land at the edge of the golf course to his benefit.

This idea was generated in my planning for the reinvestment of the Sheraton Inn and Conference Center. This planning also included an air-rights deck between the Sheraton and Plaza America, which could accommodate a number of toll road crossings (bus, bike, pedestrian, special permit vehicles, and the Central Reston Metro Station). This would also be an appropriate connector point to Reston’s largest employers, USDS, Sprint, and the community’s lower-cost housing neighborhoods, the town center, and all of south Reston. As proposed in the approved development plan amendment, which is creating Reston Heights and includes a .5 million dollar proffer to connect this quadrant with a metrorail station. The Youtube on the Wiehle Outlet describes another approach to a canyon.


Patrick F. Kane 5-6-2010
www.PatrickKane.com
703-471-7426

Fairfax officials roll out tax options to pay for Tysons, Washington Examiner, May 7, 2010

Brian Hughes
Examiner Staff Writer

Fairfax County officials Thursday announced a mix of public and private funding options -- many of which involve raising taxes -- to pay for the road network for a redesigned Tysons Corner.

Planners had called it perhaps the most daunting in a series of hurdles that must be cleared before supervisors can sign off on plans next month.

Options include using an extra penny from property taxes, establishing a 4 percent meals tax or designating special tax districts. Officials say they also could turn to general obligation bonds, a commercial transportation tax or tax-increment financing to drum up cash. . . .


Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Fairfax-officials-roll-out-tax-options-to-pay-for-Tysons-93028664.html#ixzz0nGUhRSAE

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Charter: Reston Town Center Committee, Reston Task Force

Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force:
Town Center Committee

Committee Members: Pete Otteni (Co-Chair), Robert Goudie (Co-Chair), Phil Tobey, Mark Looney, Rae Noritake, Bill Keefe, Susan Mockenhaupt, Terri Phillips, Joe Stowers. Heidi Merkel (staff).

Committee Mission Statement: The Committee will look at what if any changes should be made to the County planning documents to accommodate Town Center’s future growth, including the following:

1. Consider if north and south Town Center need to be better integrated. Some considerations:
a. Should a north-south, pedestrian-friendly connector through the extended urban core be defined (much as Market St. connects east with west through the core)?
b. To what extent, if at all, does New Dominion Parkway interfere with realizing this goal?

2. Consider goals for the possible future development of the North County Government and INOVA parcels.
a. What additional public and community facilities are needed and could be accommodated?
b. Are public-private partnership opportunities available to encourage development of such parcels and needed facilities?
c. How can expansion of the library and police station best be incorporated into the plan?

3. Consider future residential density amounts and concentration.

4. Review the grid and consider what updates based on projected future development are warranted, with a goal of ensuring the free flow of especially pedestrian and bicycle but also vehicular traffic from the Town Center Metro station to the north end of the Spectrum lot and everywhere in between.
a. Review the Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) recommendations for Town Center.
b. Review conclusions/recommendations generated at prior bike/ped “summits” and whether any additional bike and ped improvements should be recommended.
c. Consider whether improved pedestrian crossings are warranted and, if so, which ones -- especially across the main arteries framing the urban core (Reston Parkway, Bluemont, Town Center Parkway, and New Dominion).
d. Does an internal Town Center bus, trolley, or other circulation service make sense?

5. Consider what infrastructure improvements beyond those affecting the grid should be recommended.
a. How can open space be encouraged and protected?
b. How should public parking needs be addressed and where should such parking be located to ensure both commercial success and an urban core free of vehicular congestion?

6. Consider key urban design issues to further build upon Town Center’s unique identity.
a. This might include signage, street plans, and landscape treatments.
b. Consider incorporating a plan for public art and art galleries (using IPAR as a resource) that enhances Town Center’s position as a locus for the arts.

Timetable for deliverables: The Committee will seek to have recommendations prepared for presentation to the Task Force at the Task Force meeting to discuss Town Center.

General Requirements

Committee members will be appointed by the Task Force Chair from among the Task Force’s members. The Committee will report to the Task Force and be accountable under the County FOIA and regular Task Force order, assisted by County Staff. Non-voting expertise could be sought if the Committee deems that appropriate.

- end -

Column: Transportation: Creating an Incentive for Slow Growth at Tysons, Robert Jackson, President, MCA, Fairfax Times, May 4, 2010

Transportation and financial realities create strong incentives for Fairfax County to keep growth at Tysons Corner in the slow lane for years to come. Despite the Board of Supervisors' charge to the contrary, transportation planning was an afterthought to the supporters of rapid and intense growth at Tysons. For example, the Tysons Land Use Task Force's "vision" report merely touches upon road improvement needs over a few pages of text. Big landowners and their agents were focused on pushing density as high as possible, instead of trying to size future density to transportation realities.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation picked up the slack. Indeed, the county prepared what is likely the most complex "527 Traffic Impact Analysis" ever submitted to the Virginia Department of Transportation. But even after superlative work by county engineers, VDOT identified a number of problems with the study. Much more planning and analysis are required. In short, the transportation needs of an urban Tysons are multifaceted and very expensive.

On April 19, Fairfax County released its latest road and transit cost estimates for the next 20 years (which are in addition to the $5.3 billion price tag for bringing the Silver Line just to Wiehle Avenue). The current projection of $1.762 billion, stated in 2010 dollars, is broken into five-year increments. For example, by 2015, the county needs $162 million for two road projects and capital investment in more buses. In addition, the annual operating costs for these new bus routes are estimated to be $18 million.

While these cost totals are daunting in and of themselves, it is critical to note that, even after spending all of this money -- plus the full cost for constructing a rail to Dulles Airport and beyond -- and after taking other actions, such as eliminating free parking throughout most of Tysons, traffic engineers have concluded the transportation network, including the Beltway, the Dulles Toll Road and Routes 7 and 123, would hit the failure stage once Tysons reaches 84 million square feet (going from today's approximately 45 million square feet). This means that, at some point in the future, the more than $1 billion invested in road improvements will no longer perform acceptably.

When will this happen? It depends, of course, on how fast Tysons is permitted to grow. Experts from George Mason University made three growth estimates for Tysons Corner. The "fast growth" estimate projects Tysons will reach more than 82 million square feet by 2030. In other words, by the time all of road improvements needed to grow Tysons to 84 million square feet are finally completed, the entire transportation network will be close to fatal gridlock. More important, since many of these improvements would be funded through bonds, they wouldn't be paid for by the time they reach the point of failure, if Tysons is allowed to grow rapidly. It will be similar to being required to keep making monthly payments for an uninsured car that has been totaled in a wreck.

On the other hand, if the county decides to slow down significantly the pace of growth at Tysons, GMU estimated Tysons would not reach 84 million square feet until close to 2050. Slowing the approval of development at Tysons permits the county to extend the functional life of more than $1 billion of road improvements for almost 20 more years. That is a very strong incentive for Fairfax County to take a very measured pace in Tysons for years to come, despite the likely pleas to the contrary from landowners. The public interest easily trumps private gain in this instance.

The letter writer is an attorney and serves as president of the McLean Citizens Association.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reston's Wiehle Ave. development plan poised for approval, Fairfax Times, May 4, 2010

After monthlong delay, planners give public-private partnership green light
by Kali Schumitz | Staff Writer



A proposed office and residential complex at the Wiehle Avenue Metro station in Reston received the green light from county planners April 27.

Under a public-private partnership deal with Fairfax County, developer Comstock Partners proposed building a parking garage and bus facilities for the new Wiehle station as well as a seven-building office and residential complex.

County planning staff had some concerns with Comstock's designs, particularly regarding vehicle access to the complex's main plaza . . .

. . . The builder made adjustments to the planned use of the plaza and strengthened the plan language regarding environmentally friendly building design and encouraging transit use.

The Planning Commission subsequently recommended approval of the application, which the Board of Supervisors could take up later this month....


Click here for the rest of this story.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alternative Concepts for Consolidated Development of North Reston Town Center

Alternative North Reston Town Center Consolidation Concepts

Agenda: Reston Town Center Committee Meeting, May 4, 2010

Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force:
Town Center Committee


Committee Members: Pete Otteni (Co-Chair), Robert Goudie (Co-Chair), Phil Tobey, Mark Looney, Rae Noritake, Bill Keefe, Susan Mockenhaupt, Terri Phillips, Joe Stowers. Heidi Merkel (staff).

Committee Mission Statement: The Committee will look at what if any changes should be made to the County planning documents to accommodate Town Center’s future growth, including the following:

1. Consider if north and south Town Center need to be better integrated. Some considerations:
a. Should a north-south, pedestrian-friendly connector through the extended urban core be defined (much as Market St. connects east with west through the core)?
b. To what extent, if at all, does New Dominion Parkway interfere with realizing this goal?

2. Consider goals for the possible future development of the North County Government and INOVA parcels.
a. What additional public and community facilities are needed and could be accommodated?
b. Are public-private partnership opportunities available to encourage development of such parcels and needed facilities?
c. How can expansion of the library and police station best be incorporated into the plan?

3. Consider future residential density amounts and concentration.

4. Review the grid and consider what updates based on projected future development are warranted, with a goal of ensuring the free flow of especially pedestrian and bicycle but also vehicular traffic from the Town Center Metro station to the north end of the Spectrum lot and everywhere in between.
a. Review the Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) recommendations for Town Center.
b. Review conclusions/recommendations generated at prior bike/ped “summits” and whether any additional bike and ped improvements should be recommended.
c. Consider whether improved pedestrian crossings are warranted and, if so, which ones -- especially across the main arteries framing the urban core (Reston Parkway, Bluemont, Town Center Parkway, and New Dominion).
d. Does an internal Town Center bus, trolley, or other circulation service make sense?

5. Consider what infrastructure improvements beyond those affecting the grid should be recommended.
a. How can open space be encouraged and protected?
b. How should public parking needs be addressed and where should such parking be located to ensure both commercial success and an urban core free of vehicular congestion?

6. Consider key urban design issues to further build upon Town Center’s unique identity.
a. This might include signage, street plans, and landscape treatments.
b. Consider incorporating a plan for public art and art galleries (using IPAR as a resource) that enhances Town Center’s position as a locus for the arts.

Timetable for deliverables
: The Committee will seek to have recommendations prepared for presentation to the Task Force at the Task Force meeting to discuss Town Center.

General Requirements


Committee members will be appointed by the Task Force Chair from among the Task Force’s members. The Committee will report to the Task Force and be accountable under the County FOIA and regular Task Force order, assisted by County Staff. Non-voting expertise could be sought if the Committee deems that appropriate.