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A rendering of the proposed Parkview development and promenade at the gateway of the Herndon-Monroe Metro Station (via Town of Herndon)

When Metro riders get off the future Herndon-Monroe Metro Station, town planners want the first impression of the town to be a unique experience.

That’s part of the reason why town officials are working on the Herndon Metrorail Promenade, a 500-foot-long and nearly 70-foot-wide gateway plaza that will connect the Metro station to Herndon Parkway.

It’s designed to be the first introduction to the town, offering a “gateway experience…unlike all other major entrances to the town,” staff said in planning documents.

Up to $200,000 is up for consideration for the project as part of the town’s Capital Improvement Plan, a long-range planning tool that will be discussed by the Herndon Town Council tonight (Tuesday).

While it’s too early to know what the promenade will look like, town planners hope the “quality, form, scale and aesthetic design of the whole and its components will create a lasting impression” of the town on pedestrians.

A walkway along the center of the future promenade will serve Metro riders once the station opens. Another public walkway that’s currently under construction will run from Metro’s pavilion to the sidewalk of Herndon Parkway and two land bays.

Strategically, the gateway is intended to boost the success of the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core. It will feature a mix of plaza spaces and planted areas with sculptural elements and seating to welcome visitors into town.

It’s not yet clear how the promenade will match up with the proposed Parkview development, which will open up directly to the plaza at 593 Herndon Parkway from the Metro station door. Lerner Enterprises’ mixed-use project went to the town’s planning commission for a discussion last night (Monday).

It will be a while before the town’s vision for the promenade comes to fruition. Currently, the project has no timeline, as only design and engineering funding the project has been allocated.

Town spokesperson Anne Curtis tells FFXnow that the land for the future promenade is currently owned by three different entities.

“The town owns the center portion, where the existing walkway is located; private property owners own the land adjacent to the walkway.  These owners will be providing improvements when redevelopment occurs,” Curtis wrote in a statement.

Design and engineering will also be necessary to make sure that the current walkway is redesigned to become a “seamless” part of the promenade, Curtis said.

Developer contributions for the project are expected, along with other funding sources.

While much remains unknown about the promenade design itself, the opening date of the Metro station also remains a mystery. There currently isn’t even an estimated timeline for opening the Silver Line’s long-anticipated second phase, even as crews complete final testing and pre-revenue service activities.

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The Reston Town Center Metro station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

No one raised even the semblance of a timeframe for opening the long-delayed extension of the Silver Line into Loudoun County during a Metro board discussion on the issue yesterday morning (Thursday).

Officials provided no specific date for when the 11.4-mile extension could begin operations. A late summer opening was anticipated after a series of previous delays, but even that appears tentative at best.

Instead, officials say they’re focusing on reaching a long-anticipated milestone: operational readiness. A major condition of this step is testing conducted by Metro.

Andrew Off, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s executive vice president of capital delivery. told WMATA’s Safety and Operations Committee that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has not made significant progress on safety certifications for the Dulles International Airport rail yard, noting that the process seems to be “taking more time than usual.”

MWAA has also not determined the root cause of a problem related to heat tape, which prevents ice build-up on the rail when it rains or snow.

“We’re trying to figure out what the real problem is,” Off said.

Before operational readiness is declared, MWAA must resolve critical operational issues. If Metro accepts the project from MWAA, the entity will continue a nearly three-month period of broadly defined “pre-revenue activities” before trains start running.

That date has already been delayed several times, resulting in some mounting frustration from Fairfax County officials.

At the meeting, officials emphasized that there is not fixed duration for Metro to declare operational readiness, because it depends entirely on the progress of testing.

Overall, punch list progress is nearly complete. Roughly 85% of the punch list for Package A — the main line and stations — has been complete, along with 97% for Package B — which covers the Dulles rail yard.

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Morning Notes

Despite chilly weather, the sun came out Tuesday, casting shadows from trees at the corner of Jefferson Manor Park off Telegraph Road (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

County Libraries to Resume Standard Hours — Fairfax County Public Library will once again open its eight regional branches seven days a week, and its 14 community branches on Mondays, effective this Sunday (April 3). The system truncated its hours starting in January due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and high staff vacancies. [FCPL]

Omicron Subvariant Identified in Fairfax County Patients — “BA.2 is now estimated to be responsible for about one in three COVID-19 infections in the country and one in five COVID-19 infections in Virginia. While BA.2 appears to be more contagious and can spread faster, it is not known to make people sicker.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

County Commonwealth’s Attorney Responds to Miyares Criticism — “The two powerful men have been in a feud for months. Attorney General Jason Miyares is pushing for tough-on-crime policies, while [Steve] Descano campaigned on ending mass incarceration and reforming the criminal justice system.” [ABC7]

“Coming to America” Restaurant Planned for Springfield — “Starting in May, shoppers at the Springfield Town Center can stride through the golden arcs of McDowell’s and order a Big Mick — a burger that is totally different from that other sandwich, thank you very much, because the buns don’t have seeds.” [Washingtonian]

Falls Church Approves Founders Row Part II — “The Falls Church City Council approved yet another large scale mixed use project for its downtown corridor Monday night, by a 5-2 vote giving a final OK to what has become known as the ‘Founders Row 2‘ project that will fill the space at the now vacant Rite Aid and the carpet store at the corner of W. Broad and S. West St.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Congress Members Concerned about Silver Line Phase 2 Delays — “U.S. Reps. Jennifer Wexton (D), Don Beyer (D) and Gerry Connolly’s letter to MWAA came a day after Paul Wiedefeld, the CEO and general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said unresolved issues…are preventing a declaration of operational readiness.” [Patch]

Capital One Partners with MLB — “McLean’s Capital One Financial Corp. is Major League Baseball’s new official banking and credit card partner. Capital One announced the multiyear deal Monday…Terms were not disclosed, but reports have pegged it as a $125 million deal for MLB over five years.” [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Library to Host First Responders on Saturday — “Join us as we celebrate the brave men and women who rush to emergency situations every day to take action when disaster strikes. Meet our local firefighters as they showcase the equiptment used for respond to emergencies. 11am-2pm at Reston Library.” [FCPL]

Local Students Compete in Special Olympics — “Congratulations to the Madison Special Olympics Unified Basketball Team who competed in their first Special Olympics this weekend at Marshall HS.” [James Madison High School/Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 36. Sunrise at 6:57 a.m. and sunset at 7:31 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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