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Old 09-26-2009, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,368 posts, read 20,163,370 times
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I don't want to get into any arguments or LONG drawn out posts: suffice it to say that I feel like someone who just recently moved here, and into an area that MANY pointed out was a family oriented area, etc. really shouldn't be throwing stones, working to "change", etc. things that may not personally suit but obviously suit many others.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,103 posts, read 67,204,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
Most people don't want to live "vertically". Unless the American Dream changes, you will not see much change. If you went vertical in FFX County then you'd probably see the same "white flight" that previous generations in the cities saw.
The problem though with well over 300,000,000 people (and growing daily) the current "American Dream" of living in those aerial images I've provided can't be sustainable in the long-term for everyone. Traffic congestion will reach the point of no return because the population will become so widely-dispersed in metropolitan areas that trying to add new mass transit options will be worthless. Wildlife will suffer because so much of our woodlands will have been clear-cut for lawns (expect continued increases of deer/car collisions). Our waterways will become more polluted as pesticides, fertilizers, and other household chemicals are washed into them. It's okay for John & Jane Doe to harbor this as their "dream." When John & Jane Doe + EVERYONE ELSE wants this "dream," then what can you do? If we gave everyone in the Metro area their own half-acre or acre of land and said "enjoy," then the metro area's boundaries would extend much further outwards than they already do.

I'm well aware that this isn't just a NoVA-specific issue, but as long as I'm living here I'm going to try to raise awareness of this. I know Normie and others on here are polar opposites to me with their "landowners should have the right to do whatever they want" mantra, but if we don't take a reality check SOON to see the path the entire area is headed down, then we'll be in a lot of trouble. I'm guessing the planners of Tyson's Corner didn't give a damn about the problems that would be faced by future generations. That's not to say that WE can't give a damn NOW about our own next generations by taking the difficult steps today to leave them with a better place to live.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,103 posts, read 67,204,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flamingo13 View Post
I don't want to get into any arguments or LONG drawn out posts: suffice it to say that I feel like someone who just recently moved here, and into an area that MANY pointed out was a family oriented area, etc. really shouldn't be throwing stones, working to "change", etc. things that may not personally suit but obviously suit many others.
Would this be the tried-and-true defense of "You just moved here; you therefore can't have an opinion?" With all due respect what does "family-oriented" have to do with this discussion? Are "families" expected to be subjected to living in sub-par-planned environments where mommy and daddy spend most of their time needlessly behind the wheel stuck in traffic instead of spending time with their children? Do you have any idea how many hours the typical NoVA commuter loses every year behind the wheel and how easily those hours could have been spared if people had cared about planning before we hit the problems we've been having today? We'll see how well the "viva la sprawl" model works for the next generation who will be dealing with a much larger population base here in NoVA without sufficient funding to pay for repairing the damages brought on by poor planning of OUR generation because OUR generation also managed to drain the treasury in a double dose of an "Oops. Our bad!"
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:28 PM
 
518 posts, read 1,292,948 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
J, I've volunteered recently to help out at the Reston Regional Libary book sale (and will be there tomorrow as well after church to assist with the sale and take-down). I'm meeting people at my church and also have immediate volunteer plans there. I went to the first Land Use College session and decided not to attend any further ones since I sensed that my ideologies of increasing density in Reston in order to accommodate more people without losing more open space were in the unwelcome minority (much as how the anti-Brown's Chapel indoor recreational center groups were very snarky/nasty with the pro-rec center groups). In the interest of not wanting to be labeled a "trouble maker" (I was even formally introduced to the apparently much-maligned Supervisor Hudgins) I'm abstaining from further participation. I'm going to be sending in $10 soon to help fund the Reston license plate drive (even if I'm no longer living here when they're finally produced). I'd like to help out with community litter clean-ups. It's not like I'm just sitting on my rear-end complaining about Reston and not doing anything about it. I just honestly feel like I'm living in a typical American suburb and still don't see what makes it "one of a kind," as has been proclaimed by many. I drive down a windy two-lane road with few sidewalks, curbs, or streetlights past low-density garden-style apartment units to access a busy four-lane road to get to my office, passing many neutral-toned McMansions in the process as well. I'm within walking distance of Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Macaroni Grill, and other chains. I'm not a terribly long walk from Target, the YMCA, Chick-Fil-A, etc., but I don't feel comfortable crossing all of the very wide and busy streets to get there. Reston has chain restaurants, big-box stores, traffic congestion, and a great deal of low-density residential zoning. The downtown ("town center") feels like an afterthought developed at the last-minute instead of a place that the town gravitated towards originally and grew up around and dependent upon (as should have been done). I don't see how that really clarifies it as being different from many other American suburbs.
As I'm sure you realize the newer commercial developments you mentioned were not part of the original scheme. The newer parts of Reston, whether they are the typical big box stores or the denser town center are unfortunately disconnected from the other neighborhoods of Reston such as the attractive 60s-era Lake Anne area. Reston all around is just not very cohesive, despite its initial "utopian" vision.

Irvine, CA, another 60s era "new town" with suburban-utopian aspirations also billed itself as the cure for the anonymous sprawl of suburbia. Design was a key part of it--the lead designer was the noted architect, William Pereira. He designed the Transamerica "pyramid" tower in San Fransisco. I don't think Irvine looks particularly different from other new LA suburbs, but what it does have, like much of LA is a cohesive sidewalk and trail network. Many homes are within walking distance of most amenities. Woodbridge is one such community in Irvine. You might recall that the local high school there was used in the old Christian Slater & Tony Hawk movie "Gleaming the Cube." In keeping with the community's theme, the various buildings of the high school campus are all connected by bridges.

The wikipedia article on the city mentions all the communities in Irvine. They all have themes, fitting I suppose since Disneyland is close by.
Irvine, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't particularly care for Irvine myself as I'm a city person, but it is a decent place to raise a family, and because of the excellent pedestrian infrastructure, kids and seniors have a lot of independence.

My solution for Reston would be to improve the pedestrian infrastructure, but unfortunately I don't think there is an easy solution for the roads, the 8-10 lane arterials. But, Fairfax County could create more medium-sized roads that then would preclude the need for the few massive eight lane ones that divide communities. Arlington, for example, has many medium sized roads that run parallel to each other, and this obviates the need for anything larger. This would be difficult in Reston however because most land is already developed.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,103 posts, read 67,204,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flamingo13 View Post
I don't want to get into any arguments or LONG drawn out posts: suffice it to say that I feel like someone who just recently moved here, and into an area that MANY pointed out was a family oriented area, etc. really shouldn't be throwing stones, working to "change", etc. things that may not personally suit but obviously suit many others.
By the way, the majority has been wrong in the past before and will be proven to be wrong again in the future. At one point the majority of Americans were not oppposed to enslaving our African-American brethren. At one point the majority of Americans were indifferent towards women being unable to vote. At one point the majority of Americans were against interracial marriages. At one point people were opposed to entering WWII until it finally became apparent that if we didn't act soon we'd also fall. As of right now we're currently battling the same-sex marriage issue, and even though we're all split 50/50 there has been a noticeable trend towards support of that as well. Just because my fear of what sort of MESS we are going to be leaving for our children and our children's children is not something many in America want to hear about because they'd rather just watch "American Idol" and toss these arguments by the wayside doesn't mean it's not worthy of discussion. The Baby Boomers, my predecessors, were one of the greatest generations for all of the scientific, military, and technologic contributions they've made (and are continuing to make) for society as a whole, but they're also one of the most selfish---seeking out what fits their own best self-interests without giving a damn what sort of effects those choices might have on my generation---the next one in the pipeline---who will someday have to PAY for the indulgences of today. The reason why we have the nation's second-worst traffic congestion and one of the worst sprawl issues in the nation can both be directly tied back to mistakes made by our predecessors. Do we want OUR children to be blaming US too for screwing up?
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,103 posts, read 67,204,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irvine View Post
As I'm sure you realize the newer commercial developments you mentioned were not part of the original scheme. The newer parts of Reston, whether they are the typical big box stores or the denser town center are unfortunately disconnected from the other neighborhoods of Reston such as the attractive 60s-era Lake Anne area. Reston all around is just not very cohesive, despite its initial "utopian" vision.

Irvine, CA, another 60s era "new town" with suburban-utopian aspirations also billed itself as the cure for the anonymous sprawl of suburbia. Design was a key part of it--the lead designer was the noted architect, William Pereira. He designed the Transamerica "pyramid" tower in San Fransisco. I don't think Irvine looks particularly different from other new LA suburbs, but what it does have, like much of LA is a cohesive sidewalk and trail network. Many homes are within walking distance of most amenities. Woodbridge is one such community in Irvine. You might recall that the local high school there was used in the old Christian Slater & Tony Hawk movie "Gleaming the Cube." In keeping with the community's theme, the various buildings of the high school campus are all connected by bridges.

The wikipedia article on the city mentions all the communities in Irvine. They all have themes, fitting I suppose since Disneyland is close by.
Irvine, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't particularly care for Irvine myself as I'm a city person, but it is a decent place to raise a family, and because of the excellent pedestrian infrastructure, kids and seniors have a lot of independence.

My solution for Reston would be to improve the pedestrian infrastructure, but unfortunately I don't think there is an easy solution for the roads, the 8-10 lane arterials. But, Fairfax County could create more medium-sized roads that then would preclude the need for the few massive eight lane ones that divide communities. Arlington, for example, has many medium sized roads that run parallel to each other, and this obviates the need for anything larger. This would be difficult in Reston however because most land is already developed.
This would definitely be a difficult undertaking. Reston isn't nearly as pedestrian- or cyclist-friendly as it was likely first envisioned to be due to these wide arterials. Even though I'm a distance runner I would NOT feel at all comfortable walking across all of the major intersections along Reston Parkway in an effort to get across the toll road. The toll road in and of itself has fractured the community (I'm still not familiar at all with South Reston)---the fact that the Metro stations will be along it might help to bridge this gap somewhat at least.

What I want to personally know though is if these other businesses were never in the "plan" for Reston, then why even have a plan at all if it's not going to be adhered to? I spoke out at the first Land Use College session here in Reston to ask what sort of levity our impending "new" plan would have when development initiatives were being taken into consideration by the county---would each proposal be carefully reviewed by officials (including from Reston's HOA and/or Design Review Boards) to ensure compliance with our plan, or would there be "wiggle room" (i.e. the developer who did the best job greasing the palms of county officials would get the green light, plan be damned?) I had numerous people nodding their heads in support of my question, and I was given a very roundabout answer by the presenter, who initially had a "deer in headlights" look. I'm familiar with just how little emphasis was put upon adherence to community plans back in PA, and I wanted to ensure that all of the time we'd potentially be expending NOW to draft up a new plan to better the community for our children would not be for naught.

What are comprehensive plans for if they're just going to be disavowed? They were drafted for a reason, no?
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:05 PM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,044,996 times
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As they say, sometimes to go forward one must look at the past.

Credit to irvine who posted this link in another thread about developer John "Til" Hazel who apparently played a major role in setting the template for "today's" Northern Virginia. (You'll have to scroll down a bit to get to him).

Washingtonian Magazine - Dining and Restaurants, Shopping, Politics, Entertainment, Nightlife, Real Estate, News and Events in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia (http://www.washingtonian.com/print/articles/6/174/6617.html - broken link)
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,528,323 times
Reputation: 1147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
J, I've volunteered recently . . .
It's not like I'm just sitting on my rear-end complaining about Reston and not doing anything about it.
I'm glad to hear that you are getting out and meeting the people of Reston. I hope that the more you get out and meet people the more you will enjoy living in Reston.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
I just honestly feel like I'm living in a typical American suburb and still don't see what makes it "one of a kind," as has been proclaimed by many. I drive down a windy two-lane road with few sidewalks, curbs, or streetlights past low-density garden-style apartment units to access a busy four-lane road to get to my office, passing many neutral-toned McMansions in the process as well. I'm within walking distance of Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Macaroni Grill, and other chains. I'm not a terribly long walk from Target, the YMCA, Chick-Fil-A, etc., but I don't feel comfortable crossing all of the very wide and busy streets to get there. Reston has chain restaurants, big-box stores, traffic congestion, and a great deal of low-density residential zoning. The downtown ("town center") feels like an afterthought developed at the last-minute instead of a place that the town gravitated towards originally and grew up around and dependent upon (as should have been done). I don't see how that really clarifies it as being different from many other American suburbs.
I know we live in vastly different parts of Reston and that may be a big part of our outlooks. Where I live the paths have tunnels under the roads (which would be easy to cross without them). We have sidewalks and curbs though no street lights (and I think that is just fine as I oppose the light pollution). I don't see the need to increase density in Reston and I like how Reston has areas that are more and less dense. I don't frequent the chains and big box stores and most often eat out at Cafesano which is a nice walk from my house. I think the wonderful open spaces, lakes, and path system qualify Reston "as being different from many other American suburbs."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
I've read all about Mr. Simon's grand vision for the "new town", and while I agree with many of those facets as being a good start for a great community I don't really see some of them as having been successfully realized. You can't really eschew your car if you live in Reston, as was originally hoped; the trail systems are nice for a stroll, but most don't really connect day-to-day destinations.
I don't think living without a car is realistic vision. I think the trail system does connect day-to-day destinations in my part of Reston. I can walk on the trail to the closeby convenience store, the swimming pool & tennis courts, and to the South Lakes shopping center for groceries and eating out. A bus at the end of my street takes me to Metro and then into DC. When I commuted into DC I would often look longingly at the offices located a little over a mile from my home and wish that my job was in one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Reston's increasingly upper-middle-class orientation means that Mr. Simon's original plan for people from all walks of life to live here comfortably at all stages of life is being compromised for those on the lower socioeconomic rungs---as a prime example I'm college-educated (en route to my MBA) and make over $40,000 per year (not exactly an awful salary for a 22-year-old) and was barely able to afford one of Reston's relatively inexpensive 1-BR apartments. How could a single working mother afford to live here? A single person who wasn't college-educated and had a correspondingly lower income?
I look around and do see people from all walks of life in Reston. I believe there are subsidized apartments for those who are further down the economic ladder than you are. I think the issue is that they are not livinng alone in their own apartment but sharing living arrangements with family and friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
The 2010 Census will likely reflect Reston having a population of roughly 65,000. That is expected to grow considerably in the coming years. Where would you rather they all go? In several "garish" high-rises clustered around Metro stations to decrease the number of vehicle trips they'll be making or spread out in a ton of new single-family detached dwelllings, clear-cutting many acres of land in the process, and increasing the burden on our already overtaxed streets? (Try driving to Chantilly/Centreville at some time during the evening rush or even just turning left out of Parc Reston onto Temporary Road).
Reston will only grow if there are places for the new people to live. I don't see that Reston needs to grow. One of the reasons I chose Reston is that it is a mature community and that there is not a lot of undeveloped land available for "a ton of new single-family detacted dwellings". I wouldn't try to turn Left out of Parc Reston - I would change my route to make a right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
From what I understand Mr. Simon himself is actually a proponent of Metrorail and of more transit-oriented development to provide Restonians with greater opportunities to access the District, so I'm incredulous that many in the "anti-density" camps keep referencing him in an attempt to show that new high-rises are in direct conflict with Mr. Simon's grandiose vision.
I look forward to the Metrorail reaching Reston.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
I don't "hate" Reston, nor have I ever.
Glad to hear that, but that is not the impression you give on this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
It seems like a beautiful place to raise a family, and maybe I'm just at the wrong "life stage" to fully see how it is superior to the rest of NoVA. I'm just honestly still not seeing the "special" qualities it has that the over-50 crowd here brags about.
I don't fit into either of the life stages you mention and I think Reston is a wonderful place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Reston is only "special" to me because they managed to successfully retain so many trees. Otherwise if you were to remove much of the tree canopy Reston would just look like any other 'burb (save for the town center skyline).
Trees do make Reston special!
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,103 posts, read 67,204,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
As they say, sometimes to go forward one must look at the past.

Credit to irvine who posted this link in another thread about developer John "Til" Hazel who apparently played a major role in setting the template for "today's" Northern Virginia. (You'll have to scroll down a bit to get to him).

Washingtonian Magazine - Dining and Restaurants, Shopping, Politics, Entertainment, Nightlife, Real Estate, News and Events in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia (http://www.washingtonian.com/print/articles/6/174/6617.html - broken link)
Essentially though the article just praises Mr. Hazel for the "growth" of NoVA being more profound than Maryland or DC during this era. Nowhere does it make reference to good growth though. The NoVA of today with its sprawling nature might have been fine if we had 1/3 of the population using our existing infrastructure, but with rapid population growth still projected (Virginia has grown by about 10% since 2000 and believe it or not DC has led the nation since 2000 in population growth) with very few infrastructural improvements planned I just don't see how this is going to be a "desirable" place to live in another decade. There are far too few commuting routes across the area, and mass transit doesn't reach the bulk of the population.

This thread wasn't meant to be "trollish" or anything, as I know some people are really tiring of me beating this supposed dead horse. However, this is my passion in life---seeing an undeveloped 10-acre parcel of land for sale and wanting to see it utilized to serve the best needs of the community as a whole entity, not just a developer's pockets. Fairfax County growing by 10% between 2010 and 2020 would mean 120,000 more people on our roadways. Do you all honestly think that with already having the nation's second-worst traffic congestion and one of the longest average commute times that continuing to develop in the fashion that we have been (dependent upon the car) that things are magically going to get better? No. They're going to rapidly deteriorate.
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,752,398 times
Reputation: 316
One way for any individual to, personally, help solve these problems is to volunteer for/get involved with the Coalition for Smarter Growth. The Greater Greater Washington blog is also a hub for these kinds of ideas.

I went out to Brambleton for the first time last week and it was lovely. I dearly wish it wasn't such a commute to my husband's work, because I would buy there in a minute.

But if it was closer to my husband's work, then houses would cost twice as much as they do, you know? And most families like mine are looking to get the best house for their money. We've opted to rent in Falls Church for the short commute, but even if I could come up with the cash to buy this house, I could not come up with the cash for the renovations it would inevitably need. I can understand why people suck up the commute from places like Bristow in order to have a house they can genuinely afford. When they do this, they're making a smart financial decision for their personal families, which overrides other considerations like what is best for the region, what is best for road congestion, and even what is best for their health. I don't know any other 30-something-mom-of-two who has chosen her neighborhood based mostly on walkability the way that I have. (And I pay dearly for it - not only do I not own a home and miss out on the financial benefits and security of buying, but the home I rent has mice, mold, and God knows what other hazards. Just to be able to walk to Giant!) For most people, community is such a secondary concern to being able to live in a decent house that won't bankrupt you. I don't know how to get over that hump I'm glad that smarter people than me are thinking about it, though.
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