The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Reston wants urban street grids around future Metro stations

Fairfax County wants to make it easier to walk, bike, and drive in Reston, especially to current and planned Silver Line stations. A new street grid and three ways to cross the Dulles Toll Road are part of the plan to make that happen.

Image from Fairfax County

The county's Department of Transportation recently kicked off the Reston Network Analysis, which is focused on finalizing the grid of streets necessary to support the coming development around three new Metro stations in Reston.

Ideas for near the stations include new bike lanes, adjusted traffic signals, and re-striped roads, as well as realigned or wider roads. It's also possible that Fairfax will build new roads in these areas.

Proposed bike facilities in Reston. Image from Fairfax County.

One of the Reston-wide improvements is the Soapstone Drive Overpass , which will provide another connection across the Dulles Toll Road and a new way to get to the Wiehle-Reston East station.

There will also be a Town Center Parkway Underpass to provide an additional connection across the Dulles Toll Road to help relieve Fairfax County Parkway and Reston Parkway. It will also provide a direct connection from the transit-oriented developments to the north and south of the Reston Town Center station.

A November presentation also mentioned a South Lakes Drive Overpass. The connection would be similar to the Soapstone over pass, allowing for pedestrian, bikes, single-occupancy-vehicles and busses to cross the Dulles Toll Road without using Wiehle Avenue or Hunter Mill Road.

The Reston Transportation Study Area. Image from Fairfax County.

The study will also look at ways to improve four specific areas: Reston Parkway from Lawyers Road to Baron Cameron Avenue; Fairfax County Parkway at Spring Street; Fairfax County Parkway at Sunrise Valley Drive; and Rock Hill Bridge, which connects Loudoun County and Fairfax County over the Dulles Toll Road.

These areas are under consideration because they are important parts of Reston's transportation network and are currently over capacity or will be after the redevelopment around the Metro stations occurs. The study will also look at how to make it easier to bike and walk in these areas.

The Hunter Mill Supervisor has appointed the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group to help staff develop and test ways to make the street grids better.

In 2015, the Fairfax Department of Transportation presented a report that summarized existing conditions by looking at traffic counts from mid-2015. Among the key findings in the report:

  1. During evening commutes, the intersection of Wiehle and Sunset Hills rates an "F" for level of service
  2. The planned grid of streets will make pedestrian access and mobility near transit stations better
  3. The report also published baseline vehicle volume levels near current and future Silver Line stations
For future trips that come from more density around the coming Metro stations, the goal is to cut vehicle trips within a quarter mile of the stations by 45%.

Members of the public can learn about and comment on the project at a meeting on Monday, February 1 from 7-9 pm at Lake Anne Elementary School, which is at 11510 North Shore Drive in Reston. You can also contact project manager Kristin Calkins at

Kristy Cartier is The Marketing Curator and does digital marketing for associations and business-to-business organizations. She grew up in Vienna and now resides in Fairfax after 10 years in Kentucky. Kristy holds a Master's in Agricultural Economics from the University of Tennessee.  


Add a comment »

There already is a grid across much of reston. It just needs to be filled it. A lot of this is actually just connecting parking lots and building access.

Hopefully that'll mean that Reston Town Center as we know it today will feel less and less like an island.

by drumz on Jan 29, 2016 12:37 pm • linkreport

How many existing structures will have to be razed for this?

by DSims on Jan 29, 2016 1:25 pm • linkreport

I commute to Reston (silver line to Wiehle where I transfer to a FFX Connector bus). While I hope they do implement these larger scale projects, it would be great to see them start more immediately with smaller scale projects.

Namely, sidewalks on both sides of the street (Reston has this quirky habit of providing a sidewalk on one side only and having that side switch randomly, meaning you have to cross the street a lot or walk in the grass along the shoulder), cross walks so you can get to the bus stops with out playing a game of frogger and SNOW REMOVAL. The sidewalks along major roads leading to the metro station have not been touched. You can currently only access the metro station via vehicle or cross country skis.

by Nick on Jan 29, 2016 1:49 pm • linkreport

Isn't it hard to build street grids around Metro stations, when the Metro stations themselves are in the middle of a very wide limited access highway? Rail in the middle of highway medians is cheap to build upfront, but it tends to come at the expense of development in the first 1/4-to-1/2 mile that usually TOD thrives on.

by Dave on Jan 29, 2016 1:49 pm • linkreport

To be clearer: I do think they can create TOD islands on the northern and southern sides of the new stations, probably similar to Reston Town Center itself (nobody walks to/from the town center from other places, even as people do lots of walking within it).

But an actual interconnected grid around these new stations would suggest the building of multiple roads crossing over the Dulles Toll Road (and ideally the burying of the highway entirely a la I-93 in Boston so that the highway has no impact on pedestrian street life)... which I doubt Reston is going to pursue.

So basically, at best, you end up with 2 Merrifields at each station... which isn't at all the same as the pedestrian friendly urban fabric you see from Rosslyn to Ballston.

by Dave on Jan 29, 2016 1:57 pm • linkreport

This is exactly what needs Fairfax need to do.

The creation of little urban-like hubs around each Metro station will serve the county well. These "hubs" will keep the county at the forefront of development well into the 21st century.

Expanding the grid of Reston Town Center toward the new station should be strongly considered.

by Sage on Jan 29, 2016 1:59 pm • linkreport

Doesn't need to be Arlington (Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor) or DC like in anyway. Quite obviously there are enough people who prefer the DC/Arlington vibe but maybe not so obviously to those who never venture outside the Beltway, there are plenty of us who like the Restons of the world just the way they are. Expanding it's grid network in the vicinity of Metro makes a lot of sense.

by xtr657 on Jan 29, 2016 2:33 pm • linkreport

Even within single stations, this is not a "grid" by any stretch of the imagination.

It's several disconnected grids.

In other words, it's still very much suburbia, and seems reasonably hostile to walking and cycling.

by andrew on Jan 29, 2016 5:33 pm • linkreport

@Dave: Fairfax Drive/Glebe Road crossing are 100 ft and 115 ft. Prosperity Ave/Gallows Road crossings are 105 ft and 130 ft. They are both horribly pedestrian unfriendly. Aside from a few more years of development at Ballston, how are they so different? A grid pattern is developing in Merrifield as the land is redeveloped. So how are the two that different. Merrifield will look similar to Ballston today. Just give it 10-15 years.

by RailGuy on Feb 1, 2016 10:00 am • linkreport


The problem at Merrifield is the Rte 29 crossing, which I thin is greater than that (?) and cuts off an important piece of WUP from the metro station.

The other thing is that Ballston has walkable proximity to Va Square, which has walkable proximity to Clarendon, etc etc all the way to Georgetown. Merrifield at best is an island. While I think such WUP/TOD islands have considerable value, I cannot see Merrifield in 15 years reaching the level of connectivity and urbanism that Ballston has today, and of course by then Ballston will be improved.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Feb 1, 2016 10:08 am • linkreport

This could be a good start, but the whole area needs to be backfilled with sidewalks, bike paths and wider roads, not necessarily more lanes, but shoulders or bike lanes. My neighborhood has sidewalks for the most part, on the busiest road you have to cross twice to get from one end to another. Its too late to fix the cluster that is the road system in the Oakton/Vienna/south Reston area, if you're going to build suburban sprawl you might at least build all the amenities like sidewalks, bike paths and street lights.

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs in what I thought was typical suburban neighborhoods until I moved out here. We had relatively narrow streets that were pretty much all interconnected. They had painted bike lanes on both sides, and sidewalks set off the road. On the major roads they put paved bike paths in place of sidewalks on one side. It was possible to take direct routes pretty much anywhere I wanted to go without needing to ride on a street with a speed limit over 25 mph and if I did need to take a major road, there was a wide bike path. This standard was held up even along roads lined with big box stores and car dealers, leading up to a major mall and office area. Even though the area was still very car centric with a poor public transit network (unless you were heading into the city), if you had to or wanted to, the option to get everywhere on foot or by bike.

Its patently ridiculous that much of Fairfax is built to what I would call a rural standard less than 15 miles from DC.

by Eric on Feb 2, 2016 9:10 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

You can use some HTML, like <blockquote>quoting another comment</blockquote>, <i>italics</i>, and <a href="http://url_here">hyperlinks</a>. More here.

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.


Support Us