Updated: 8/16/15; 18:42:44

pedantic nuthatch
Life in a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. B.M.A.T.C., and Etruscan typewriter erasers. Blogged by David Gorsline.

Saturday, 28 February 2004

I may get my Metro station in Reston yet. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has passed a new special tax district plan that will provide the country's share of the costs for extending the rail system to Wiehle Avenue.

There's been a lot of grumbling that a Metro terminus, even if temporary, would be bad for Reston, that it would lead to more intensive development along the arterials. Christopher L. Moore opines for one of the suburban free papers:

Planners, dreamers, neighbors have worked tirelessly and zealously over the last 40 years to make sure the community developed in a thoughtful, engineered and useful way.

Now rail to Dulles would come careening through the heart of Reston, leaving a terminus station at Wiehle Avenue for years, perhaps decades, and turning Reston into Clarendon, perhaps, or Rockville, or even worse, Vienna.

Moore is mistaken. Commercial development along the Toll Road and Reston Parkway has already scrubbed away much of what made Reston special. I've seen two shopping malls redeveloped since I moved here 19 years ago. One of them was a charming underperformer, Hunters Woods Plaza; it was obliterated in the mid-1990s. Reston is no longer the granola-crusted Eden that was envisioned in the 1960s, and it never will be again. (Of course that doesn't mean that we should give up on it.)

The geography of the locales Moore threatens could not be more diverse. The Vienna station complex indeed is an unlovely arbitrary terminus, fed by a traffic-chokled freeway. But there wasn't anything there to begin with. Clarendon was a run-down semi-urban neighborhood that has thrived (so far as I can tell) since the Orange Line opened there in the 1980s. It's most likely that Sunset Hills Road will come to resemble strip-malled Route 355 through Rockville, but that's going to happen whether Metro is built or not.

My jaw drops at this solecism of Moore's:

The federal government should not get involved in building a rail line through Tysons Corner, a relatively small commercial area that is not plagued with terrible traffic and has no impact on the federal interstate highway system.

Tysons Corner sprawls across Interstate 495 and is the archetype for all edge cities. Plans call for at least four rail stations to serve Tysons.

posted: 1:08:02 PM  

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