Reston is a census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The population was 58,404 at the 2010 census. An internationally known planned community founded in 1964, it was built with the goal of revolutionizing post–World War II concepts of land use and residential/corporate development in suburban America. The Reston Town Center is home to many businesses, with high-rise and low-rise commercial buildings that are home to shops, restaurants, offices, a cinema, and a hotel. It comprises over 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of office space. Municipal, government-like services are provided by the nonprofit Reston Association, which is supported by a per-household fee for all residential properties in Reston. In 2017, Reston was ranked 29th in the Best Places to Live in America by Money magazine.
The growth and development of Reston has been monitored by newspaper articles, national magazines, and scholarly journals on architecture and land use. In 1967 the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, visited Reston to take a walking tour along its pathways as part of her interest in beautification projects. Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin visited Reston elementary schools named for them. The Washington Post featured a road trip to Reston in January 2006, and a relatively new website “Beyond DC” has a page devoted to Reston with almost 150 photos.
Reston experienced increasing traffic congestion as it grew in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was a time when Reston’s population was growing but the Dulles Toll Road had not been built. Commuter traffic between Reston and Washington created serious traffic congestion on the roads that connected Reston to Washington DC. In 1984 the toll road opened, and in 1986 the West Falls Church Washington Metro station opened. Most recently the Fairfax County Parkway, a major north-south artery, was opened.
Reston has grown to a point where it now fits the definition of an edge city. While Reston takes on the statistical properties of an edge city, its tightly controlled design averted several problems they typically face, such as hostile pedestrian situations and lack of mass transit. Many of the neighborhoods in Reston were designed to be medium density, which is atypical of an edge city. In other ways it is a textbook example, with a majority of medium-rise office buildings, and some citizens opposed to the expansion of its high-density core.
Reston is a 10-mile drive from Tysons Corner and the Capital Beltway to the east, and 6 miles (10 km) from Washington Dulles International Airport to the west. Reston has four local exits on the Dulles Toll Road. Direct access to and from the airport is free. The Dulles Toll Road splits the community along a west-to-east axis, while several roads run north-south: Fairfax County Parkway on the western side, Reston Parkway through the center of town, Wiehle Avenue through the northeastern residential section, and Hunter Mill Road on the eastern border. Office space in Reston is primarily located along two roads running east-west on either side of the Dulles Toll Road: Sunrise Valley Drive to the south and Sunset Hills Road to the north.
Twelve percent of Reston citizens use a method other than car to commute to work. Five percent work from home. Two percent take the bus.
The Metro‘s Silver Line was built in the Dulles Toll Road’s median. One of its stations near the Wiehle Avenue/Dulles Toll Road interchange (phase one), Wiehle–Reston East, opened on July 26, 2014. A second station at the Reston Parkway/Dulles Toll Road interchange (phase two), Reston Town Center, will open upon the Silver Line extension in 2018, as will a third station (Herndon), which will straddle the Herndon/Reston border at the existing Herndon Monroe transit hub. Fairfax County provides several commuter express buses from free park-and-ride lots to the West Falls Church station.
The Reston Internal Bus System (RIBS) is a set of five routes that circulate within the community, using Reston Town Center as a transfer point. The fare system is the same as that of Fairfax Connector. RIBS has been operated for 20 years by Fairfax County’s Fairfax Connector bus service. Metrobusservice is available to Washington Dulles International Airport from the Herndon Monroe Park and Ride (which is located in Reston), and it is also possible to take routes to the West Falls Church station, which then connects with Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Because it is a planned community, Reston has many walking trails throughout. Bicycles are also permitted on the trails. Motor vehicles, except maintenance and police vehicles, are prohibited from using the walking trails.
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