At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors safety and security committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday), Police Chief Kevin Davis stressed that the department is focusing on education and enforcement, with pedestrian safety as a primary mission.
The police department recorded 24 pedestrian fatalities last year, a five-year high — though there were fewer pedestrian-related crashes overall (153) than in 2018.
That count doesn’t include crashes on state highways, which are reported by Virginia State Police, or on the Dulles Toll Road, which is enforced by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police. Per state data, Fairfax County had a total of 192 crashes involving pedestrians, 32 of whom were killed — by far the most since at least 2010.
Deputy Chief of Police Bob Blakely said the rise in pedestrian fatalities is “very concerning.” The police department is also reminding officers about prevention and awareness by refreshing training, reminding officers and sharing information internally, he said.
“Our number one coal it to reduce crashes. If we reduce crashes, we reduce fatalities,” Blakely, adding that it’s not to write tickets.
Each month, the police department hopes to focus on specific traffic safety initiatives with targeted public-facing campaigns and awareness months around the year.
The police department will resume Road Shark — in which officers are assigned to high-traffic areas for enforcement — on June 4 through June 18.
Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk asked the department to consider focusing on more pedestrian-safety campaigns throughout the year.
Davis noted that while overall crashes are lower now than in 2018 and 2019, the number of citations rose by 6,000 between 2022 and 2021. In line with national trends, the FCPD saw significant dips in the number of warnings, citations and crashes during the height of the pandemic.
The department issued roughly 115,000 citations in 2018 and 2019 compared to between 49,000 and 56,000 in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross encouraged the police to provide information about the consequences of speeding and disobeying traffic laws.
“People think it’s a black hole, that nothing happens,” Gross said.
Davis said that it can be easy to raise awareness about high-profile incidents and more challenging to provide information on how individuals were adjudicated.
Law enforcement and county officials hope the addition of speed cameras — a pilot program that will begin this year — will help reduce speeds in highly problematic areas.
“This is going to really effect behavior in those localized areas,” said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.
But Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw said that part of the solution may lie in pursuing societal change: limiting the speeds at which vehicles can operate.
Reflecting on how seat belt usage factors into crash injuries and deaths, Walkinshaw said state and local officials should monitor some federal efforts and technologies that control the speed of cars.
“There is not reason that cars need to be traveling more than 100 miles per hour,” Walkinshaw said, adding that electric vehicles can be even more problematic with high speeds and performance.
He conceded that he may not be very popular amongst the car hobbyist crowd.
Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said high speeds in low-speed areas continue to be problematic.
“That’s the area where I have so much concern,” Palchik said.
FCPD says it also hopes to work with Fairfax County Public Schools to provide educational resources to new and future drivers in classrooms.
Photo via VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter
A firefighter was injured while responding to a house fire in Vienna just before midnight.
“Crews arrived [with] fire visible from 2nd floor of a house under construction,” the department said.
The firefighter’s injury was described as “minor.” An investigation into the fire is now underway, and the department says more information will be shared as it becomes available.
11:58 p.m. Tuesday, units were dispatched for a house fire in 1000 block of Westwood Dr. NE in @TownofViennaVA. Crews arrived w/fire visible from 2nd floor of a house under construction. One minor firefighter injury reported. More info as it becomes available. #FCFRD : M Clark pic.twitter.com/cmKsibQZPk
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) February 1, 2023
Redevelopment Proposed in Bailey’s Crossroads — “Several community members who attended a Fairfax County Planning Department presentation on a proposal for a major mixed-use project on the Food Star site in Bailey’s Crossroads said the county should address the immediate problems in that area first. Those problems include crime, litter, traffic, weeds in the median, safety and trash issues at Skyline Park, and the lack of safety for pedestrians.” [Annandale Today]
Lorton Man Charged With DWI in Alexandria — “A 23-year-old Lorton man was charged with driving while intoxicated after allegedly crashing into four cars in Old Town. The crash occurred near the intersection of S. Patrick Street and Gibbon Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Three people suffered minor injuries and went to the hospital, and the driver was released later that day.” [ALXnow]
No Safety Threat After Alleged Sexual Assault — Frost Middle School Principal Anthony Harris said in a letter to families on Monday (Jan. 30) that “there is no reason for concern about students’ safety” after one student reported that she had been sexually assaulted in a bathroom on Jan. 12. Fairfax County police are still investigating, but said there is “no apparent threat” to students or the general community. [WTOP]
County Prosecutors Share More Bond Data — “Fairfax County’s top prosecutor says his office is now recommending fewer people sit in jail for minor and nonviolent crimes — and he has the data to prove it. The data, released Monday morning by the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, is a follow-up from data released in October.” [DCist]
GSA Seeks to Offload Groveton Property — “The General Services Administration is holding an online auction for a 10.5-acre site in Alexandria that features an empty, 110K SF office building surrounded by parking lots and green space. The bidding process began in late December, and the agency expects to close the auction in late February.” [Bisnow]
Tysons Tech Company Explores Sale — Cvent, a Tysons-based company that provides software to support in-person and virtual events, “is exploring a sale that could value the cloud-based event-software provider at upwards of $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.” After going public in 2021, the $3.3 billion company has seen its shares lose nearly half their value from an early 2021 high. [Wall Street Journal]
Vienna Opens Parking Survey — Vienna’s public works and economic development departments have launched an online survey to gather information about the town’s current and future parking needs. Open through Feb. 28, the survey is part of a supply-and-demand study that will help inform the town’s ongoing zoning code update. [Vienna Voice]
Construction Concludes on Fort Belvoir Water Project — Construction is mostly finished on a main water line replacement along Richmond Highway that serves Fort Belvoir, according to American Water Military Services Group General Manager Wes Casa. In the works since July 2021, the project “involved replacing a 3,100-foot-long section of 24-inch potable water pipeline that had reached the end of its useful life.” [On the MoVe]
GMU Delivery Robots Celebrates Fourth Anniversary — “It was January 2019 when George Mason University became the first college campus in the United States to offer autonomous food delivery through Starship Technologies. Now Mason and Starship are celebrating four years of autonomous robot deliveries.” [GMU]
It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 42 and low of 32. Sunrise at 7:16 am and sunset at 5:31 pm. [Weather.gov]
Seven restaurants in Fairfax County are part of this year’s Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list.
The restaurants that earned a coveted spot include:
- A&J Restaurant in Annandale
- Aracosia in McLean
- Elephant Jumps in Falls Church
- Honest Grill in Centreville
- L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls
- Mama Chang in Fairfax
- Marib in Springfield
The highly anticipated list was published by the regional magazine for the first time since 2020. That year, nine local restaurants made the list, including several that reappeared this year: A&J, Elephant Jumps, Mama Chang, and Marib.
A&J Restaurant at 4316 Markham Street is no stranger to these types of accolades. The two-decade-old Annandale dim sum eatery was on the 2020 and 2019 lists as well, and last summer, it won a RAMMY for its brunch.
“We are excited to be included in the 100 Best again. Since we opened in the mid-90s, the Best Bargains issue featured us every year. 2019 marked the first time we were included in the 100 Best,” a restaurant spokesperson told FFXnow via email. “There are many outstanding restaurants in Fairfax County. It is great to see The Washingtonian highlight some hidden gems in the suburbs.”
Korean barbeque restaurant Honest Grill opened in 2021 in the Centreville Square Shopping Center and immediately got the attention of the magazine’s critics.
Restaurant manager Kevin Yoo told FFXnow that Honest Grill’s inclusion is “a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff, and a reflection of the restaurant’s popularity among Washington DC foodies.”
Yoo also noted that the county has a “thriving food scene” that’s attracting a “growing local community of culinary innovators,” as evidenced by the restaurants that made this year’s list.
Aracosia, which opened about three years ago in McLean, serves Afghan cuisine and is owned by a Kabul native. Elephant Jumps on Arlington Blvd near Merrifield is regarded as one of the best Thai restaurants in the region.
The famed French establishment L’Auberge Chez Francois has been in Great Falls for close to 50 years. Springfield’s Marib is perhaps the centerpiece of a booming Yemeni food scene in Northern Virginia, while Mama Chang is one of several very popular area restaurants by former Chinese embassy chef Peter Chang.
Elsewhere, Arlington County placed four restaurants on the 2023 list. Plus, the magazine included a number of restaurants in Alexandria and Falls Church City included as well.
A preview of summer at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts has arrived.
More than 50 artists have been scheduled for the upcoming season at the Filene Center (1551 Trap Road), the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced today (Tuesday).
“The shows we’re announcing today are quintessentially ‘Wolf Trap,’ with extraordinary artists spanning genres and generations,” Wolf Trap Foundation President and CEO Arvind Manocha said. “Now is the perfect moment to call your friends and family, and make plans to hear your favorite artists live in one of the most beautiful settings in the country. We can’t wait to see you.”
Kicking off on May 25 with The Avett Brothers, a regular presence at the park, the season will be highlighted by pop singer John Legend, guitarist Kenny Loggins’s farewell tour, and a two-night tribute to Studio Ghibli movies, including “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro.”
This summer will also feature Wolf Trap first-timer Jason Mraz, a two-day Out & About Festival dedicated to LGBTQ artists on June 24 and 25, and a variety of orchestral, opera and dance performances, including the Richmond Ballet’s debut for “Carmina Burana” on Aug. 30.
In addition to the Studio Ghibli tribute on July 14 and 15, which will be led by composer Joe Hisaishi, the National Symphony Orchestra’s schedule includes screenings of “Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi” and “Jurassic Park.” The group will also play Brahms and Tchaikovsky with violinist Hilary Hahn on Aug. 4 and Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” alongside NASA footage on July 7.
For musical theater fans, Arlington’s Signature Theater will return on June 16 for its third annual “Broadway in the Park” concert, this time featuring Lea Salonga, the Filipina actor who originated the role of Kim in “Miss Saigon” and provided the singing voices of Disney’s Mulan and Jasmine.
The full schedule of announced shows can be found on Wolf Trap’s website. Tickets will go on sale for the general public at 10 a.m. on Feb. 17, though presales began today for members who donate $80 or more to the foundation.
Additional performances, including artists at the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, will be announced in the coming months, according to the foundation.
Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].
The 2023 Wolftrap Schedule is out and some shows are already sold out, but otherwise some tickets are going on sale in February.
If you’ve never been, here are some of my tips:
- Parking is free, but if you take the Toll Road, you’ll pay a toll (see what I did there)
- You can get in up to 90 minutes before the show and lawn seats are first come, first serve. Bring a blanket to sit on! If it has rained in the days leading up to your concert, bring a tarp to set under the blanket so any mud/moisture doesn’t seep through.
- Covered seats open up 30 minutes before show time
- Bring your own food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are all OK, just no kegs). They also have concession stands to purchase food and beverages.
- Remember that the show goes on regardless of rain! So bring your poncho or smaller umbrellas (anything under 6 ft in diameter).
- No athletic equipment (think little kids throwing a ball or frisbee) or dogs are allowed (unless they’re service animals!)
- No wagons or carts to carry your stuff, coolers on wheels must not exceed 18″ x 16″ x 12″
- Each person can bring in up to 2 bags, but that doesn’t include blankets to sit on
- If you want back support, bring a little chair. This makes my old back happy!
Kidz Bop is coming in July! We took our kids to this a few years ago and it was a great first show for younger kids.
The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com
The nearly 24-acre, mixed-use development planned for the West Falls Church Metro station will come with at least a few upgrades to the surrounding transportation network in Idylwood, if it’s approved.
Developers EYA, Rushmark Properties, and Hoffman & Associates — known collectively as FGCP-Metro LLC — have agreed to construct a shared-use trail along the north side of Haycock Road over I-66, according to a draft proffer agreement in Fairfax County’s Jan. 24 staff report on the development plans.
The proposed trail would replace the road’s existing asphalt sidewalk and one of its westbound lanes. It would be at least 10 feet wide — exceeding the 8 feet recommended by a county study of the area’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
A concept plan shows the trail being separated from the road by a 3-foot-wide jersey barrier on the I-66 bridge and a guardrail and buffer strip to the east of the bridge. With the trail, the developers would also add a crosswalk across Turner Avenue, where the trail would begin.
Under the proffers, which are conditions tied to the development, the Haycock Metrorail Connector Trail must open before the county issues a 40th residential-use permit for the townhouses planned on the Metro station site, though the deadline can be deferred if needed to get required approvals and easements.
Other improvements that the developers say they’ll provide include:
- Falls Church Drive: pedestrian crosswalks, installation of pedestrian-actuated signalization, and modifications to the existing median, including an eastbound left turn lane
- Haycock and Great Falls Street intersection: an exclusive left-turn lane and a single shared through/right-turn lane in each direction along Haycock
- A right-turn lane along Grove Avenue at its intersection with Haycock Road
- An extension of West Falls Station Blvd through the Metro property, with $2 million offered to help pay for the new road’s construction in Falls Church City’s nearby West Falls development
- On-road bicycle lanes on both sides of West Falls Station Blvd
- Up to four bus shelters
- A concrete pad for a future Capital Bikeshare station
The developers have also agreed to conduct a traffic signal timing analysis and contribute $20,000 that the county can use to install traffic signal preemption devices on traffic lights within a 5-mile radius of the development site.
The development’s traffic impacts have been a top concern for many in the community, who argue that the existing infrastructure is insufficient even without the over 1 million square feet of residential, office and retail space that FGCP-Metro hopes to build on the Metro station’s parking lots at 7040 Haycock Road.
Another 820,000 square feet of development has been proposed on Virginia Tech’s adjacent Northern Virginia Center campus.
Metro’s West Falls Church redevelopment will bring up to 810 multifamily units, 90 townhomes, and a 110,000 square feet office building with up to 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
The developers intend to build the project’s eight blocks in four phases. Individual plans have been submitted for the grid of streets, townhouses, the office building and one multifamily building, along with two proposed parks, but the blocks could be completed in any order under the proffer agreement.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust’s office will hold a virtual community meeting on the project at 7 p.m. today (Tuesday). The application is set to go to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
See Vienna’s Ilia Malinin Win Ice Skating Title — Ilia Malinin, an 18-year-old Marshall High School student, became the U.S. men’s figure skating champion on Sunday (Jan. 29), even after missing the quadruple jumps planned in his free skate program. Known as the “Quad God,” he became the only skater to ever land a clean quad axle in competition last fall. [WTOP]
Flu Activity Still Higher Than Usual — “Among children ages 0-17 years, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity in Fairfax remains higher than usual. While visits to emergency departments and urgent care centers for ILI are lower than they were in the late fall, pediatric flu activity is still above average and respiratory illnesses continue to circulate in the community.” [FCHD]
Man Sentenced in Skyline Overdoses — Michael Vaughn, a 28-year-old man from Dumfries, was sentenced to 30 years in prison yesterday for distributing fentanyl that resulted in six overdoses during a party at the Skyline apartments in Bailey’s Crossroads in 2021. One person died after overdosing on the drug, which was mixed with cocaine. [U.S. Attorney’s Office]
Arrest Made in Fairfax City Carjacking — “City of Fairfax Police arrested a 31-year-old Maryland man early Sunday morning for a carjacking that occurred in the parking lot of a local convenience store, according to a release. Officers were called around 2:40 a.m., to the 7-Eleven located at 3910 University Drive for the report of a carjacking in progress.” [Patch]
Residents Skeptical of Possible Rollins Drive Closure — In response to ongoing safety issues, the Virginia Department of Transportation has proposed temporarily closing Rollins Drive at Fort Hunt Road so it can add a pedestrian refuge in a crosswalk. But many attendees at a recent community meeting opposed the project, suggesting other options such as a four-way stop or allowing right turns only onto Fort Hunt. [On the MoVe]
Public Art Projects Planned in Vienna — “A sunrise mural later this year may grace a tan-brick wall at the Vienna Community Center, and three other Vienna Public Art Commission projects also appear to have the Vienna Town Council’s support…If the Council grants its assent, the commission likely could begin painting the wall in September or October.” [Sun Gazette]
County Appoints New Code Compliance Director — “Gabriel M. Zakkak has been appointed director of the Department of Code Compliance (DCC). He succeeds Jack Weyant, who retired this month…The Department of Code Compliance investigates neighborhood quality of life complaints involving most zoning, noise, property maintenance, building, fire, blight and grass.” [Fairfax County]
County Libraries Introduce Learning Tablets for Kids — “Launchpads are now available for checkout at 23 FCPL branches! These are durable, kid-friendly learning tablets with pre-loaded apps, stories, and videos and are designed to give kids the tools to learn the way they learn best.” [FCPL/Twitter]
It’s Tuesday — Light rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 51 and low of 34. Sunrise at 7:17 am and sunset at 5:29 pm. [Weather.gov]
Fairfax County is looking for artists to contribute to a COVID-19 memorial.
“The selected artist/team will design, fabricate, and install a permanent work of art that will commemorate the suffering of people in the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the heroism of the people who responded to the emergency,” ArtsFairfax said in an email.
The memorial commemorates the approximately 1,743 deaths from Covid in the Fairfax Health District, where there have been approximately 264,451 cases. The district includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.
“This scale of disease and its impact to the communities of Fairfax County, as well as the impact to a County workforce that responded to the public health emergency, are worthy of memorialization,” ArtsFairfax said in a release. “The County has identified a location for a significant public artwork that will commemorate the suffering of people in the pandemic as well as the heroism of the people who responded to the emergency.”
The memorial will be located at the center of the plaza at 12055 Government Center Parkway.
The application is open to all artists living and working in the area — meaning anywhere between Richmond and Baltimore, according to the release — and eligible to work in the U.S.
A $200,000 artist fee includes design, materials, fabrication, insurance, travel, packing, shipping, installation and a maintenance plan for the artwork, the release said.
Admission opened on Jan. 23. An online information session is scheduled for Wednesday (Feb. 1) at 3 p.m. The application deadline is April 12.
Big Buns Damn Good Burgers has arrived in McLean.
The regional burger chain opened its newest location at 1336 Chain Bridge Road on Jan. 16, a spokesperson told FFXnow.
“We are so thrilled to bring Big Buns [Damn] Good Burgers to the discerning diners of McLean! This is our 8th location in Virginia, and with McLean’s diverse professional community it’s a perfect fit for our next Big Buns,” said Warren Thompson, president and founder of Thompson Hospitality, which owns the brand.
Also behind the recently opened Milk & Honey Cafe in Fairfax, the restaurant group confirmed in September 2021 that it had subleased space for Big Buns and a Matchbox Pizza from Lidl, which launched its McLean store on June 1.
Combined, the two restaurants occupy 6,200 square feet of space. Initially, they were both expected to be finished in the second quarter of 2022, but durng the pandemic, supply-chain and permitting delays have slowed down retail build-outs across Fairfax County.
Matchbox is currently scheduled for a Feb. 6 opening, but Thompson noted that the date is “subject to change.”
Started by Craig Carey and chef Tom Racosky in 2007, Big Buns opened its first restaurant in Ballston that June and has now expanded to a total of nine locations, including one in Florida. The Fairfax County sites have all arrived within the past two years, starting with Reston and followed by Vienna and Herndon. There is also one in Fairfax City.
In addition to a variety of burgers, the menu features chicken sandwiches, vegetarian bowls, fries, milkshakes and alcoholic drinks, including craft beer and cocktails.