Although there might not be any new buildings at the Wiehle Avenue Metro station when service starts in 2013, riders at least will be able to park at the Reston commuter rail station.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved plans last week for an eight-building residential and office complex near the future station, centered around a public plaza. The project also includes a 2,300-space public parking garage, as well as bus and "kiss and ride" facilities.
Although the market will determine how quickly new buildings go up, developer Comstock Partners has promised that, at a minimum, the Metro facilities, parking garage and the public plaza will be complete when service begins in late 2013. Comstock is building the project through a public-private partnership deal with Fairfax County, which owns most of the land that will be developed.
Supervisor Catherine Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) said this project is only the beginning of redevelopment proposals to accompany Reston's two future Metro stations.
The 23-mile Silver Line, which eventually will support six rail stations, will branch off the existing Orange Line at Interstate 66 in Falls Church, proceed through the median of the Dulles Toll Road/I-66 connector road before diverting south into Tysons Corner and back up the Dulles Toll Road to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.
The first phase of the extension, including four stations in Tysons Corner and the Wiehle station in Reston, is expected cost $2.6 billion. The overall cost is estimated at $5.25 billion, with a completion date expected in 2016.
"It's important that this site is developed well, but it's also important that the adjacent properties complement that development," said Hudgins of Reston.
Although Reston residents who have been following the project closely say many of their concerns about the project have been addressed, a few expressed lingering concerns the project will exacerbate existing traffic problems at the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road.
"The expected increase in traffic will rival the old mixing bowl's frustration and traffic," said Reston resident Robert Petrine, referring to the Springfield interchange where interstates 95, 395 and 495 come together. "The plan does not appear to take into consideration the local community."
As part of the development, Comstock will make some improvements to the Wiehle-Sunset Hills intersection to accommodate increased traffic volume and make it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, said Rick Stevens, a county transportation planner. The Washington & Old Dominion Trail crosses Wiehle Avenue close to the intersection.
Comstock has made changes to the plan throughout the review process to address community and county staff concerns, such as promising to set aside 19.5 percent of the residential units for low- and moderate-income housing. The buildings also will be built to environmental design standards.
Hudgins said she thinks the project now reflects the principles that Reston was founded on 46 years ago.
"This is really the beginning of this project, and making sure that it represents what Reston is," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D-At Large). "I think this will be a very exciting place."