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Votes

Critical Hours, Critical Spots

Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Traffic generated by commercial and residential growth in Reston created a couple of congestion trouble spots in the community. Most notable are intersections at Wiehle Avenue and Dulles Toll Road, and Reston Parkway and Dulles Toll Road. Patti Nicoson, chair of the Reston Metrorail Access Group and president of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association, said long lines of traffic form on Wiehle Avenue, both in the morning and in the evening. The commuters who go to the fast food haven off the road, where McDonalds and Taco Bell sit, generate some of the morning traffic, she said. Reston Parkway has its problems, too. "I see it quite backed up in the evening," said Nicoson.

ROADS intersecting Reston Parkway and Wiehle Avenue are problematic, according to Arthur Hill, vice-chair of the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee and a Reston resident since 1994. The Dulles Access Road, which runs in the median of the toll road, the toll road itself, Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road all run parallel to each other.

Hill said that anyone coming to Reston, whether it is for shopping, entertainment or work, has to come on one of those roads. Meanwhile, Reston Parkway and Wiehle Avenue are the only roads that cross over all four of them in the center of Reston. Fairfax County Parkway, at Reston’s western edge provides some relief. "The Dulles Toll Road and the Access Road divide the community like a river," said Hill.

Dave Edwards, a Reston resident since 1967, sees today’s congestion as a logical occurrence, stemming from many people who live, work and play in Reston. "I am not upset by traffic in Reston," he said.

DIFFERENT people have different opinions on whether rail will help ease Reston’s congestion, but things are likely to get worse before they get better. The two Reston stations on the "Silver Line" are planned in the median of the Dulles Airport Access Road, slightly west of Wiehle Avenue and slightly west of Reston Parkway. Hill said there are ways of mitigating the effects of stations’ construction on the congested roads, such as building temporary roads around the projects.