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Task Force Gets a Look at Traffic Trouble

The Silver Line will bring thousands of people and jobs to Reston - but what's road traffic going to look like?

The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force got a look Tuesday at where some of Reston's tightest traffic spots may be after Metrorail's Silver Line opens —and what projects will be planned to alleviate congestion.

Dan Southworth, senior transportation planner for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, and Dan Goldfarb of Cambridge Systematics showed task force members estimates using the high end of George Mason University's projections, plus an additional 20 percent increase in residential population.

GMU's projections estimate 43,236 jobs and 17,620 households added to Reston between 2010 and 2030.

The transportation analysis points out that the majority of trips around Reston will be by vehicle and that several intersections — Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road and Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive, among them — will need what the planners call "full build improvements" to alleviate the situation.

Reston's first Silver Line Station at Wiehle Avenue is slated to open in late 2013.

To see the full report, click here.

The BSD Guy June 14, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I see several problems with this: 1. As far as I'm concerned, anything out of George Mason University has to be held highly suspect due to the "brilliant" Dr. Fuller's close ties (as in he works for them) to the development community. I didn't put a gun to GMUs head and tell them they should let one of their professors go out and become special interest poster boy of the decade, they did that all on their own. If people now look down on them or hold anything they say suspect, that's their problem. 2. WHY IN GOD'S NAME are they doing a traffic study now when they don't even know what buildings will be where? As the developers continue their never ending food fight to battle for the right to put up yet another empty office building at investor and resident expanse and for these people to be even attempting to make predictions is idiotic. 3. Will we hear yet another conclusion from this group like: "TO ALLEVIATE CONGESTION, YOU NEED TO DEVELOP MORE AND INCREASE THE DENSITY". ...don't laugh people, they pulled that one about 10 years ago and got away with it. Now that we have the worst traffic in the U.S., you can see how well that "prophecy" (which I also think had the "brilliant" Dr. Fuller's fingerprints all over it) worked out.
Terry Maynard June 14, 2012 at 07:11 PM
As an attendee at the presentation and a task force member, I was deeply disappointed in the presentation. While I could go on at length (OK, as I often do....), I will simply make two points: 1. Even in the unlikely event of "full build" improvements at key intersections, overpasses, etc., traffic congestion will more than DOUBLE in peak period (not sure whether AM, PM, or both) from ~60 seconds to about 130 seconds at "gateway" intersections. Note that this is for EACH intersection. These are the intersections of Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills with Wiehle, Reston Pkwy, & FC Pkwy. With a more likely "partial build", the delays more than TRIPLE to more than 200 seconds--each. (KEY ASSUMPTION: That the Reston TOD areas will develop to their permitted densities--the numbers noted in the Patch article--which is UNLIKELY.) 2. Despite my specific request to FC DOT a month ago, they have not examined (or at least are not presenting) the projected cost for the improvements they outlined in their analysis. Several task force members (including myself) challenged this failure to consider implementation issues as raising doubts about a new plan's prospects. By way of background, roadway improvements at Tysons are now estimated to be about $2.5 billion in 2012 dollars and reach $5 billion over 40 years in future dollars--all before considering financing costs. The current funding proposal there splits those costs roughly equally between developers and the public.
Terry Maynard June 14, 2012 at 07:18 PM
BSD--You have a right to be skeptical and concerned. The forecast the task force is using for Reston is the same one used by the Tysons TF--and was completed in 2008 before we knew we were in a recession and were starting to think about the huge federal deficit problems that will lead to local spending cuts. ...and that's not the half of it. There are so many flaws in the assumptions and analyses the task force is using--workspace/employee and dwelling sizes WAAAY too large, for example--that any plan will be seriously flawed and provide no real constraints. This will, of course, give developers huge rights to build what they want where they want when they want. Several Reston citizens groups--including RCA--are trying to prevent that. More details later as we sort them out.

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