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Missing segments along Sunrise Valley Drive will be completed as part of the walkway project (via FCDOT)

Construction on a new walkway along Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston is set to begin in the winter of 2024.

At a meeting before Reston Association’s Design Review Board on Tuesday (Oct. 18), Fairfax County transportation planners said the project would provide much-needed pedestrian enhancements from Reston Parkway to Soapstone Drive.

The project will also provide a critical connection from the future Reston Town Center Metro station to adjacent neighborhoods, according to Sonia Shahnaj, a project manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Construction of a 10-foot-wide walkway is planned, filling in missing segments along the north side of Sunrise Valley Drive.

In response to questions from DRB members on landscaping and tree preservation, Shahnaj noted that the presence of many utilities makes landscaping very challenging. FCDOT plans to remove eight trees throughout the entire project — including one that is nearly dead, she said.

“We are trying to save the existing trees, but there’s not enough buffer,” she said.

The project will add illumination on Sunrise Valley and Colts Neck Road, along with an 8-foot-wide refuge island at Indian Ridge Road, ADA curb ramps and bus stop improvements. A new bus shelter and loading pad are also planned.

Indian Ridge would get a 10-foot-wide asphalt walkway, in addition to the removal of a westbound turn lane to a driveway entrance.

A shoebox-style fixture is planned at Colts Neck Road. Crosswalks are planned at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Colts Neck, at commercial driveway entrances, and at the Sheraton Reston Hotel entrance.

DRB member Brian Cutler encouraged the county to look into installing a flashing light system for pedestrians at Indian Ridge.

“Cars are coming down that hill really fast,” Cutler said, referring to the west side of Sunrise Valley.

Shahnaj said the county explored the possibility of flashing beacon lights, but pedestrian traffic in that area does not warrant the addition, based on state guidelines.

“I’m not sure it’s warranted at this location,” she said, adding that the county is open to examining other pedestrian safety measures in that area.

Design plans will be finalized this November. Initial land acquisition is slated for the winter, with utility relocation and the beginning construction expected to begin the winter of next year.

Construction will likely be finished in the fall of 2025.

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Herndon’s Merrybrook building, which has history rooted in the Civil War, is now under the Fairfax County Park Authority (via Visit Fairfax)

The developer of Arrowbrook Centre, a massive mixed-use project in Herndon, has officially dedicated nearly three acres of land to the Fairfax County Park Authority. 

The park authority announced on Wednesday (Aug. 3) that Arrowbrook Centre LLC gave it 2.6 acres of land in the northwest quadrant of Centreville Road and Sunrise Valley Drive. Known as Merrybrook, the property was home to Confederate spy Laura Ratcille Hanna.

She lived at the home from 1869 until her death in 1924. More recently, David and Winifred Meiselman owned the property and continued to live on it through a life estate lease agreement with Arrowbrook Centre LLC.

The stakeholders decided to dedicate the property to preserve its local history. 

The property’s home is on the state and national register for historic places because of its connection with the Civil War and its architectural development. 

 “The Park Authority will be considering the best course forward for this property,” David Buchta, a heritage conservation branch manager for FCPA, said. “There are a few options to consider but all of them focus on telling the story of this property and the people who lived there. We are pleased to have this property and thankful that Arrowbrook Centre LLC was willing to provide this generous gift to the community.”

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Reston Kabob was chosen for an accelerator program run by DoorDash (photo by Masoud Shoja)

Reston Kabob is getting a chance to uplift its immigrant-owned business through an accelerator program operated by DoorDash.

The Reston-based eatery is part of the first cohort for DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Goods, an education program designed to support consumer-packed goods that are owned by entrepreneurs who are female, transgender, immigrants or people of color.

Through the program, Reston Kabob will get an extra boost to bottle its sauces, which are made from scratch.

Store manager Masoud Shoja says customers have been requesting the business, which opened in 2003, to bottle its sauces for years. He is an Afghan immigrant who came to the U.S. in the 1980s with his family as a baby. The family fled the Soviet invasion.

After reopening in January 2020, the business explored bottling its sauces, but the pandemic and associated supply chain issues derailed that opportunity.

“Earlier this year, we were finally able to source the bottles, make labels, etc and we started bottling the sauces to sell in store and potentially on 3rd party delivery apps or our website,” Shoja said. “Coincidentally, a week later we received an email to participate in the accelerator program and we saw it as a great fit. The accelerator program highlights packaged goods from local markets.”

Shoja said he opened up to the opportunity to sell beyond Reston Kabob’s platform because of the pandemic.

“The pandemic taught us to be versatile and adapt,” he said. “One way we adapted is to package our sauces where they can be shipped or sold to customers as opposed to customers coming into the physical brick and mortar restaurant location. The accelerator program essentially ‘accelerated’ this opportunity for us.”

The inaugural cohort includes a broad swatch of business owners from Chicago, New York City and the greater D.C. area.

In addition to a six-week education program, Reston Kabob will receive a $5,000 grant to support growth, access to marketing and sales support from DoorDash, and the chance to sell their items via DashMart, a DoorDash-owned and operated grocery and convenience store.

“We hope to gain new customers and grow from there,” Shoja told FFXnow. “If it’s successful, we can launch newer products and flavors and potentially rebrand it to have a more broad appeal as opposed to a localized one.”

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