Notes on Reston Task Force Meeting, May 11, 2010 Prepared by Terry Maynard Last evening’s Reston Task Force

(RTF) meeting was one of the most informative and useful of the many meetings the RTF has had, in this writer’s view. There were several informational presentations (outlined below) which, while somewhat uneven, provided important information for the RTF to consider as they come to grips with their planning charge. (Note: Links will be provided to the presentations when they are posted on the RTF webpage.) Public Comment: 1. Terry Maynard, chairman of the Reston 2020 Transportation Work Group, gave a quick update on the progress of the work group, including some of the research it has done and some transportation planning principles guiding the work group’s effort. (See text at http://reston2020transportation.blogspot.com/2010/05/statement-update-on-twgfor-reston-task.html) 2. Joe Stowers updated the RTF on the progress of the effort at a preliminary engineering study of the air rights issue along the Dulles Corridor. He noted that a marketing expert, Robert Charles Lesser, will brief the committee overseeing the study on June 1. He added that RA is considering a letter to ask they extend to the study area to include the Reston Town Center and Herndon-Monroe areas. Patty Nicoson added that VHP (which supported RMAG) has been selected as the consultant for this effort. Administrative Remarks: 1. Patty Nicoson announced that an additional RTF meeting has been scheduled for June 1. She noted that this was the only Tuesday on which they could arrange for marketing expert Robert Charles Lesser to brief the RTF. Other specific agenda items are uncertain, but will likely hinge on TOD sub-committees to be set up by the RTF. 2. Ms. Nicoson reminded the RTF and others of the seminar this Saturday, May 15, 9AM, at South Lakes HS regarding TOD development. (See announcement here.) 3. The Reston Historic Trust has asked to provide walks for the RTF around the TOD areas. One has been scheduled for May 22. Process Committee Update: • Key takeaway: The RTF will create small committees, like the Reston Town Center Committee, for the Wiehle and Herndon-Monroe TOD areas later this month to establish “frameworks” for development in each area. They will report back by the end of June.

1

Mark Looney, RTF member, provided an update on the recent meetings of the Process Committee. The bottom line from those meetings is that the small group committee approach evident in the Town Center effort has proven beneficial in shaping a vision for that area and could be used to provide a similar framework for the other TOD areas. They agreed to create similar committees for Wiehle and Herndon-Monroe with readouts later this month. A key issue for these committees is how to handle the information they develop. It is critical to integrate the new information—from stakeholders and the community—with the old, Looney said. The Process Committee envisions each committee coming forward with a framework for its TOD area, including vision or theme, proposed densities, a grid of streets, and details of areas that need to be worked out. The output should include a vision, density, a grid of streets, and a list of items that ought to be considered in the Comprehensive Plan. The goal is to complete this process by the end of June. He added that the Process Committee recommended that the RTF receive a brief from Comstock and the FC DPZ on “lessons learned” from the Wiehle plan experience at a date TBD. Looney noted that what to do with the south side of the Reston Parkway station area remains unresolved. In Qs&As, RTF member Dick Kennedy wondered about the availability of readouts from the “roll up your sleeves” sessions. He was concerned that the results had not been captured. Bill Penniman also expressed concern about the small groups defining density for the RTF. Heidi Merkel, DPZ responded that they would compile the information and hand it off to the small groups to create framework. She added that GMU would present its forecast for future density in Reston (2030-40-50) in mid-June. She added that the RTF will need to meet over the summer to discuss transportation, among other issues. Dick Kennedy expressed his continuing concern about the small groups coming up with ideas about which the full RTF is not informed. Bob Simon noted that the last place that density allocation should be considered is in a small committee, adding that the RTF needs to tread carefully on density, design, and market in its deliberations. Reston’s Parks and Facilities • Key takeaways: (1) Reston has abundant park and recreation facilities by any standard, except in the RCIG area—where it has none. (2) Reston needs a Recreation Center and it should be paid for by the County on County land like the other eight Recreation Centers in the County.

Larry Butler (RA), Leila Gordon (RCC), and Sandy Stallman (FCPA) each provided briefings on their respective organizational efforts, including their needs, challenges and opportunities. The following are some of the highlights from each. (The full briefing package is here: http://reston2020transportation.blogspot.com/2010/05/statement-updateon-twg-for-reston-task.html )

2

Larry noted that broad scope of RA’s recreational physical assets and related activities. Among the key opportunities and challenges he foresaw were: • Potential conversion of existing facilities (outdoor to indoor tennis) • Maintaining the value of RA’s aging infrastructure • Maintaining pedestrian access to dispersed facilities Among the key capital needs RA faces are: • Converting some outdoor to indoor facilities • Lighting ball fields to expand capacity • Creating more multi-purpose courts and fields • Implementing “Reston on Foot” pedestrian recommendations, especially around TODs/RTC • IPAR funding Leila Gordon, RCC, described RCC’s current facilities and programs, noting that many programs are over-subscribed. RCC needs to meet this program demand, upgrade its facilities, and move patrons to/from its programs. She noted RCC has limited land acquisition potential and financing is a challenge. She foresees opportunities in the broadening of RCC’s tax base as development occurs, establishing partnerships with the County, RA, and other Reston non-profits, and the use of proffers. Sandy Stallman spoke about the activities of the FC Park Authority and Reston’s parks, including those in the general area of Reston. She described the FCPA’s major needs as additional play areas, athletic fields, and skate parks, and some emerging needs for cricket, pickleball (!), large event space, and family gathering areas. In showing the Reston are parks map, she noted that there are no park areas in the RCIG. She described FCPA’s urban park framework, a framework based on studies of urban park strategies nationwide. Key requirements: They should be publicly accessible, pedestrian-oriented, provide visual enhancement and a sense of identity, and facilitate social interaction. She noted that FCPA has set a pair of standards for parks in urban areas, both of which must be met: • 1.5 acres of park for each 1,000 residents • 1.0 acres of park for every 10,000 employees She went on to describe a topology of urban parks, how FCPA works within the planning and zoning process (including the PRC areas), and provided some examples of their efforts in Tysons and Herndon. In Qs&As, Sandy was asked whether Reston meets the standards. Noting that the PRC put those requirements in place up front, she responded in the affirmative. She also affirmed that the Tysons standards are moving forward in the Comprehensive Plan reviews. Larry Butler added that RA meets every known existing standard with only deficiencies in the RCIG, where there are no parks. Sandy Stallman suggested that parklands should not be set aside by the parcel, but grouped together to better serve the whole area. Judy Pew, Task Force member, noted that Reston does not have a Recreation Center, yet there are eight other huge ones through the County. It noted one should be built by the 3

County with bonds on County land. Leila Gordon rejoined that the County is near its debt ceiling and we need collaboration to accomplish that end. Sandy Stallman noted the next County park bond request is not scheduled until 2014. Paul Thomas, Task Force member, added that a Recreation Center could be put on the bottom two floors of some larger commercial development in the middle of the TOD areas. In following up on a question from Patty Nicoson, Larry Butler committed the threesome to participate with the RTF going forward in shaping ideas about parks and recreation in the TOD areas and beyond. A brief discussion on Tysons, driven by a question from Kohann Williams, indicated that the Board would be having its hearing on the Tysons’ Plan proposal on May 25, per Frank De La Fe, RTF member. Kohann wondered if some of the pending proposals presented by experts to the Tysons TF (such as those on parks and recreation) were still considered too aggressive by the Planning Commission and the Board. Transportation Conditions in Reston • Key takeaway: FC’s Department of Transportation has a well-developed, but unfunded, plan to expand Reston transit and road service over the next decade under the existing Plan, and it’s working on a new plan to reflect likely added density in Reston under a revised Plan. (The briefing presentation is here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/projects/reston/presentations/dulles_presentatio n_lw.pdf )

Leonard Wolfenstein, FC DOT, provided a briefing on Reston’s current traffic characteristics, transportation plans under the current Comprehensive Plan, and some transportation demand management (TDM) lessons from their Tysons planning experience. His comments on current traffic noted how and where Restonians’ commute to work, including trips to “central Reston.” He noted that the County transit plan appreciates the service adjustments needed to serve Reston’s Metro stations and will offer peak period service on 15-30 minute headways. There roadway plan for Reston includes come key road widening—including Reston Parkway south of the toll road—and the construction of two crossings of the toll road—the Soapstone and Edmund Halley extensions. The plans, however, are not funded. Leonard noted that FC DOT is finalizing a TDM study that looks at how to ameliorate traffic congestion in TOD areas. At present, the study recommends a trip reduction goal of 35-45% based on ITE PM peak hour rates, a high level of transit service, and the need for a maximum number of parking spaces in new development. He provided examples of trip reduction goals and parking space limits that are part of the draft Tysons plan before the Board of Supervisors. • In Qs&As: In response to a question from John Carter, RTF member, Leonard noted that FCDOT will analyze the traffic impacts of the proposals the task force develops. 4

• • •

Bill Penniman asked that FCDOT provide an assessment of the impact of the immediate arrival of Metro at Wiehle. Paul Thomas wondered if there was any reason not to adopt the Tysons parking requirements. Leonard noted that he was not sure they would be adopted at Tysons and may not be needed in a less dense Reston core. Art Murphy asked that FCDOT be sure to include a study of reverse traffic flows in its assessment.

Reston Town Center • Key takeaway: The Reston Town Center (RTC) Committee has developed a vision for north RTC with a grid of streets, a civic green, and vehicular links to the Reston Parkway Metro station.

Heidi Merkel began this presentation by outlining the current land uses and densities in the north RTC and the unique opportunities stemming from the limited number of owners in this area. This set the foundation for comments from the RTC Committee. Robert Goudie, displaying a draft layout of RTC, noted how the RTC Committee had tried to blend the vision of local landowners with community needs in establishing a grid of streets for north RTC. The layout included a large civic green, a civic center, room for the new police station, and recognition of future retail development along Fountain Drive in the Spectrum area. Mark Otteni described how central RTC would be linked to the Reston Parkway Metro through Boston Properties property, including proposed vehicular and ped/bike overpasses over Sunrise Valley Drive and the W&OD Trail. He also envisioned a large, accessible open courtyard in the middle if their property tied to the north-south RTC-Metro access. Draft Planning Principles Although the draft planning principles had not been distributed to RTF members ahead of time (they will be sent today), John Carter outlined his thought process in assembling a proposed set of Reston planning principles. He noted that his draft came from RTF, Reston 2020, County, and e-mail inputs. He described his approach as follows: 1. Each principle is stated as a short sentence (5-7 words) followed by a short explanatory paragraph. 2. The principles are articulated as aspirations, not instructions. 3. They are Reston specific. 4. They are organized around a vision up front, followed by sections on places (RTC, TODs, etc) to tie the principles together, and elements (environmental, transportation, open space, etc.) 5. It concludes with a next steps section.

5

(The draft planning principles are at: http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2010/05/restontask-force-draft-planning.html ) Closing Patty Nicoson reminded the RTF of an additional meeting on June 1, and the meeting was adjourned.

6

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful