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Glimpsing the future at Wiehle-Reston East open house

By Karen Goff

Saturday - 7/19/2014, 12:55pm  ET

Sen. Janet Howell, Del. Ken Plum, 
Rep. Gerry Connolly, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Fairfax County Board 
of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova Wiehle-Reston East Open House Ribbon cutting for Wiehle-Reston 
East Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins 
remarks at ribbon cutting for Wiehle-Reston East Rep. Gerry Connolly at ribbon cutting 
for Wiehle-Reston East Visitors at Wiehle-Reston East Open 
House Bike racks at Wiehle-Reston East Open 
House Bus bay at Wiehle-Reston East Food trucks at Wiehle-Reston East 
Open House Wiehle-Reston East Open House Wiehle-Reston East Open House Wiehle-Reston East Open House Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins

Reston’s future as a transit-oriented community officially gets started next week, when the first Silver Line Metro train departs from the Wiehle-Reston East station.

But for Restonians and other nearby residents, accessing the station is nearly important as the riding the trains. Visitors got a look on Saturday at where the bikes will go, where the buses will drop off and depart, and other logistics at a Fairfax County open house.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who was one of many local dignitaries who worked for many years to get rail to Reston, says the seven-level garage and Comstock’s mixed-use development above it is a great example of a public- private partnership that will benefit the entire community.

The county and Comstock teamed to build the $90 million parking structure, which will feature a bicycle repair room, parking for 200 bikes and 10 bus bays. It is the only station on the five-stop, 11-mile Silver Line Phase 1 that features parking. Wiehle-Reston East will be the end of the Silver Line for at least five years, when Phase 2 will take passengers to Reston Parkway, Herndon, Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.

Hudgins says she hopes residents will look at the many ways to access the Metro station.

“Yes, we are celebrating the garage,” she said prior to a ceremonial ribbon cutting. “But we want our neighbors to get out of their cars and get on Metro. “A lot of folks can ride their bikes here if they chose. We’ve improved bus services.”

Representatives from Fairfax Connector, Fairfax Advocates for Better Biking, Metro, Washington Flyer and other transportation-related groups were on hand to answer questions from potential Metro users. On the plaza above the garage, visitors could check out the construction of Comstock’s BLVD apartments.

Some of the open house visitors were making plans on how Metro will fit into their lives on a daily basis. Others said they plan to take it occasionally to get into D.C.

Bob Whiteman of Oak Hill said he moved to Reston in 1980, and even then his Realtor told him “a train to Dulles would be here in five years.”

“I believed [rail] would never happen,” he said. But now that he is two years from retirement, the federal employee said he will most likely stick to his usual commute.

“It is actually cheaper to carpool downtown and pay for parking,” he said.”But I will take Metro at some point, like during a snowstorm.”

Denver Lovett, a retiree who has lived in Reston since 1974, said he is looking forward to the convenience on a lot of levels.

“I won’t have to drive to the Vienna Metro at Nutley,” he said. “When my daughter comes to visit from New York, she can just ride Metro here from downtown. It is going to make the trip so much better. Hopefully traffic around the station won’t be too bad.”

The garage officially opens on Saturday, July 26, the same day as Silver Line trains start running. Parking at Wiehle-Reston East will be $4.85 a day; $65 a month for reserved parking. Spaces in the bike room will be $75 annually. For more details, read this previous Reston Now story.