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What's Up With That?

Why are there escalators on the opposite side of the Dulles Toll Road from the 2,300-space Wiehle-Reston East parking garage?

In just about a year, Metro's Silver Line Wiehle-Reston East station will open, moving passengers via rail to Tysons, DC and beyond.

The progress at is taking shape - but what of the lonely escalators all the way on the other side of the Dulles Toll Road?

The parking garage and bus bays on the north side of the toll road will connect to the station at Sunset Hills and Wiehle. But on the south side, there sit two escalators only accessible from the parking lots off Centennial Park Drive and Association Drive.

Those lots are privately owned by Vornado  Realty Trust and there are signs everywhere that say violators will be towed. A large parking garage in the middle of that area serves the many offices there and already has gate access.

There are no current plans for a public Metro parking lot on the other side of the Toll Road, says Maggie Parker, spokeswoman for Comstock, which is developing the public-private parking garage.

Pedestrians coming from the Soapstone/Sunrise Valley/South Lakes area would be able to access the escalators, but would have to come from Sunrise Valley, which is not pedestrian-friendly in the area around Wiehle.

Terry Maynard of advocacy group Reston 2020 says his organization of citizens is not advocating more parking on the south side of the toll road. 

Maynard says they would like to see bus access and a kiss-and-ride lane to those escalators.

"It would relieve traffic going across the bridge," he said. "We are trying to discourage people from parking near the Metro at all. Right now, the only access planned [on the south side] is a trail from the end of the road bridge to the escalators.

 

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Chipperson December 05, 2012 at 11:53 AM
If I'm not mistaken there is a bus drop off on the south side. That's why there is all the construction on the shoulder of the toll road eb lane
Joe Ganley December 05, 2012 at 12:09 PM
I don't see how Sunrise Valley "is not pedestrian-friendly in the area around Wiehle." There is a multi-use path on the north side of the road from Wiehle to at least South Lakes, and in the other direction there are sidewalks all the way to Reston Parkway. I walk and bike in that area every day with no difficulty.
Chris Purcell December 05, 2012 at 12:19 PM
As someone who lives south of the toll road, I certainly hope I don't have to cross the toll road just to get to the Metro.
Alison Kamat December 05, 2012 at 01:13 PM
The pedestrian crossings at the Toll Road are downright dangerous. I sure hope they put some bike racks on the south side of the station for those of us who live south of the Toll Road.
Lucinda Shannon December 05, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I'll be riding my bike or a bus to that south side and I appreciate that they are providing an entrance on that side. It would be more congested if all the south side people had to cross the toll road.
Stealth Ops December 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Why are we even asking the question? This is all poorly planned. The left turn at Sunrise and Wiehle is a already a mess and there are no improvements being made. I bet that this will be a bigger bottleneck when metro opens next year, add on to that the recent "road diets". It seems like real estate development is on steroids but there's little or late planning to improve the current infrastructure on anything here. It seems like nothing around accessibility to the metro is being looked at seriously.
Joe C December 05, 2012 at 03:08 PM
You are correct. That is Metro's primary purpose for the escalators on that side. Fairfax County Connector buses will enter the toll road at Reston Parkway, exit at Wiehle and then exit that ramp to a special bus-only unloading ramp, according to the Metro Plans I have seen online. There is not any open space to make parking on the South Side of the Toll Road, but hopefully, there will be much better crossings installed across Sunrise Valley. At least one Pedestrian bridge should be installed, at a minimum west of Wiehle at the intersection with Sunrise Valley. http://www.dullesmetro.com/stations/wiehle.cfm.html There are no plans for South Side Kiss and Ride. Reston 2020 has been suggesting a crossing of the Toll Road located near Soapstone, which might divert some traffic from crossing at Wiehle. Beyond that, expect traffic at Sunrise Valley/Wiehle to remain a mess during rush hours.
Dennis Schulte December 05, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Alison and Lucinda, I believe that the Soapstone bike lane was put in partially for riders going to metro.
The Convict December 05, 2012 at 04:20 PM
There are no sidewalks along SR Valley Drive between the entrance to the Sheraton and Colts Neck Road.
The Convict December 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I hear you. I was making the left at that intersection this morning at 8 am. It was backed up to within yards of Soapstone.
Bruce Wright December 05, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Ten bike racks and bike lockers are planned on the south side of the station. There will also be a short walkway leading to the Vornado parking lot. Originally the only entrance to the south side of the station would have required pedestrians to walk to the end of the Toll Rd exit ramp at Wiehle to enter a long walkway to the station. Also, Fairfax County has funds for building a sidewalk along the south side of Sunrise Valley Dr from Soapstone to South Lakes Dr. That's probably why there have been survey crews working in that area over the past couple of months. I suspect many more people will be wanting to bicycle and walk to the station once it opens. With good bike facilities it will be the quickest, cheapest way to access the station for people living within a mile or two of the station. There have been many, many meetings over the past several years in which citizens worked with county staff to help plan access to the station. The Reston Metro Access Group met for at least a year if not more. It's always interesting that few people pay attention to these planning efforts, but when projects start to show up on the ground people suddenly become interested.
Terry Maynard December 05, 2012 at 07:42 PM
The south side bus stop is only for buses exiting the DTR--buses from the Herndon-Monroe parking garage and Loudoun buses principally. With one exception, all the buses whose routes begin within Reston will go to the north side bus terminal in the Comstock development. This means all the south side originating buses (except the 585 coming up Reston Pkwy to DTR) will cross over Wiehle to the north side Comstock bus terminal. Find the map links here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/dullesrail/allroutes.htm Other notes: --The Soapstone connector, first recommended by RMAG in 2008, is in the feasibility study phase--and most definitely won't be in place when Wiehle Station opens. It will also have to be far west of Wiehle station due to steep grade and Metro power station issues there. --None of the other good recommendations by the RMAG for improved pedestrian safety in the Wiehle station area have been acted upon by the County. --The RTF Wiehle committee & RCA Reston 2020 both recommended a bus stop and kiss & ride on the south side of the Wiehle Station as well as ped/bike pathways to reach the bridge from the south. They could be incentives for increased development on the Vornado site--many years from now. --Reston 2020 and RTF community forums have recommended a pedestrian bridge from the eastern Indian Ridge area to Plaza America across the Dulles gap. --Comstock will have the 2,300 space parking garage & bus terminal ready by Metro opening.
Tim Dennison December 06, 2012 at 01:39 AM
We are trying to discourage people from using the Metro at all.
Michael December 06, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Another crossing is the most critical piece of this. There are many of us who need to cross regularly between north-side and south-side and it's becoming more difficult every year, even without metro. Once the station opens it will be nearly impossible - RTC traffic makes Reston Parkway unusable, and Metro traffic will do the same to Wiehle.
Stealth Ops December 06, 2012 at 04:02 PM
It's not about becoming "suddenly" interested, it's what seems ineffectiveness on these planning efforts. You can have many groups, commissions, task forces and whatever anyone can call them, but sometimes the needs are not address cogently and we end up always being reactive, than proactive.
The BSD Guy December 06, 2012 at 07:05 PM
That's what tax payers are for, fella! Developers create a mess, make profits, leave town, and then you have to have your taxes increased in one way or another to cover the costs of all the problems they're continually creating. Anywhere developers go, trouble follows.
Terry Maynard December 10, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Alison--The 2009 RMAG report to the BoS had several very specific and very good recommendations about how to adjust the through and turning lanes as well as improving the pedestrian crosswalks. (Still no ped/bike overpasses, however.) Nothing has been so far with those recommendations. FC will be hardpressed to complete them by a year from now when Metro opens there.
Lucinda Shannon December 12, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Thanks for the information Bruce. And more importantly, thanks for all the work you all do to facilitate safe biking in our area. Having more people on bikes will keep more cars off the road. And I'm glad to hear there will be bike racks on the south side so I don't have to lock my bike to a tree. :)

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