Fairfax County Recognizes 9/11 Anniversary — For those who missed it, watch the remembrance ceremony that Fairfax County held on Saturday (Sept. 11) to mark 20 years since the 9/11 attacks. The Town of Vienna commemorated the occasion with a ceremony of its own, and the McLean Community Center posted a “Taps” tribute with comments from local faith leaders.
Virginia DMV to Resume Walk-in Services — “Beginning Oct. 5, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles customers may choose to schedule an appointment for service or opt for walk-in service on alternating days at all 75 customer service centers…During the pandemic, [the] DMV began operating by appointment only as it reopened offices in May 2020 after a temporary closure due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.” [Inside NoVA]
Robbery Reported in Mosaic District — A man told Fairfax County police on Sept. 4 that an acquaintance had assaulted him and taken his property in the 2900 block of District Avenue in Merrifield. Police arrested the suspect, who fled the scene of the assault, on Sept. 7 and charged him with robbery and malicious wounding. The victim went to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. [FCPD]
Lee Highway Renaming Task Force Meets Tonight — The Confederate Names Task Force appointed to determine whether Fairfax County should rename Lee Highway (Route 29) and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway (Route 50) will hold its second meeting at 7 p.m. today (Monday). The meeting will be virtual and can be followed online, on Channel 16, or by phone at 703-324-5300. [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]
(Updated at 9:10 a.m. on 7/15/2021) Fairfax County is convening a “Confederate Names Task Force” specifically charged with making a recommendation about renaming the county’s portions of Lee Highway and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway.
The Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of the 30-member task force on Tuesday (July 13).
The task force’s mission is to review the names of Lee Highway (Route 29) and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway (Route 50) to determine if the roads should be renamed and, if so, what the names should be. A county-appointed facilitator will also work with the task force.
The roadways currently bear the monikers of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
This is a direct result of the work done by the county’s history commission to identify and inventory every place in the county named after a Confederate. The 539-page report noted that there were about 157 streets, parks, monuments, subdivisions, and public places in the county bearing names with ties to the Confederacy.
The most prominent were Lee Highway, about 14 miles of which runs through the county around Merrifield, Fairfax, and Centreville, and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway. About 8.5 miles of that roadway runs through the county, including Chantilly and near Fair Oaks Mall.
“In Fairfax County, our diversity is our greatest strength and it’s important that we honor and celebrate that diversity,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in the press release. “We cannot ignore what the Lee and Lee Jackson Memorial Highway names represent in our community and especially to our African American neighbors. The Confederate Names Task Force, which includes a diverse group, will examine and make recommendations on how both roadways can better reflect our values as we chart a positive path together for the future.”
The task force will meet monthly, starting later this month or early August, according to the agenda for the board meeting. The meetings will be open to the public, and the task force will seek input from the public prior to making a decision.
The group is expected to provide a recommendation to the county board by “the end of calendar year 2021.”
The task force is chaired by Sully District Planning Commissioner Evelyn Spain, who will be joined by 29 other members, including historians, civic organization leaders, homeowners’ association members, residents, professors, and faith leaders.
Spain says reevaluating the use of Confederate street and place names is necessary if Fairfax County wants to be inclusive and respectful of its increasingly diverse population.
“Naming highways after Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson celebrates men who fought a war against the United States to perpetuate slavery,” Spain said in a statement. “One Fairfax requires us to look at these issues through an equity lens to understand how these names have negatively impacted our community and people of color as well as how Confederate names adversely impacts them today…I’m honored to be a part of the Confederate Names Task Force as we work toward building a more inclusive and equitable Fairfax County.”
If the task force recommends changing the names of the roads, the county will have to undergo a somewhat complicated process to actually make it happen — much like it was when Arlington renamed its portion of Route 29 and Alexandria renamed Route 1, which had been named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
If changes are recommended, the task force would need to provide two to five alternate names for each road. Then, the county board and task force will hold at least one public hearing to allow for comment about the potential change.
After the public hearings, the board will then vote on whether to take the task force’s recommendation. A timeline laid out back in May projected that could happen in early 2022.
If the board votes to change the highway names, it would then submit a resolution to the Commonwealth Transportation Board requesting the changes while also committing to paying for the signage.
If that’s approved by the Commonwealth, the board has to pass a budget item for the cost of the signs, and an interdepartmental working group would set up a timeline for the actual switching out of signs and, finally, officially changing the roads’ names.
The working group will also coordinate with other jurisdictions on their name changes.
A list of possible new names for Lee Highway (Route 29) and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway (Route 50) could be ready as soon as this December.
On July 13, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors could approve about 25 members for a task force to examine the possibility of renaming the highways and appoint the group’s chair.
The group would recommend whether to rename those streets and what new names to consider this December. A public hearing and decision could come in early 2022.
“Approximately 30 organizations and individuals have expressed an interest in participating,” Fairfax County Department of Transportation Director Tom Biesiadny said yesterday (Tuesday). “14 organizations and individuals declined to participate.”
This schedule was announced one year after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. In Fairfax County, the movement prompted the board to consider renaming streets and structures with Confederate names.
Biesiadny and his staff presented their recommendations to the board’s land use policy committee for how to move forward with renaming Route 29 and 50 as well as streets and subdivisions.
“I think the schedule is good and compact,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “If we can get the recommendations by the end of the year, that would be helpful.”
The two thoroughfares are the first locations to be considered for new names after the Fairfax County History Commission compiled a list of street names, monuments and public spaces with Confederate ties.
The group identified more than 26,000 streets and places, which was first narrowed down to 650 well-known Confederate officers and locally-known Confederates and again, down to 150 assets confirmed to have Confederacy-associated names.
Some supervisors urged staff to keep coordinating with Fairfax’s neighbors.
“If it’s possible to be on the same page as Arlington and Loudoun, that’s great,” Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw said. “We shouldn’t be driven by their process, but that seems to be like a viable secondary goal.”
He also suggested the task force develop a naming plan that reduces confusion for local businesses.
“One of the things I have heard from businesses in and around the Kamp Washington intersection is that the status quo is very confusing,” Walkinshaw said.
Route 50 has four names depending on the location, Deputy County Executive Rachel Flynn explained to Tysons Reporter in December.
In Loudoun County, it’s John Mosby Highway, and in Fairfax County, it becomes Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway. Route 50 then becomes Fairfax Boulevard in the City of Fairfax, where it intersects with Route 29, also known as Lee Highway. East of the city, Route 50 turns into Arlington Boulevard once it’s back in Fairfax County. Read More
Fairfax County police are investigating a burglary at a local market along Lee Highway in the Falls Church area.
Police said that the burglary happened shortly before 2 a.m. on Tuesday (April 7) at E-Z Stop & Go Food Mart (7600 Lee Hwy). The roadside market sells groceries and wine and has a deli, according to signs.
Three men broke into the business, according to the police report. Sgt. Greg Bedor told Tysons Reporter that tobacco products were stolen.
“The suspects were described as men in their 20’s wearing dark clothing,” the report said.
Image via Google Maps
Fairfax County police arrested a teen who allegedly led police on a chase in the Falls Church area last night.
Police said that when they tried to stop a Chevrolet Silverado for a traffic violation around 10 p.m. last night, the driver sped off and eventually hit a fire hydrant.
The incident happened in the area of Lee Hwy and Shreve Road.
Police charged the 18-year-old driver from D.C. with disregarding police command to stop, destruction of property and no driver’s license.
Fairfax County police say a female pedestrian is in critical condition after being struck by a car along Lee Hwy in Merrifield.
Police received the call at 10:14 a.m. on Saturday (Nov. 23) for the crash involving a Toyota Solara and a female pedestrian, Sgt. James Curry, a police spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter.
Police tweeted about the crash shortly after 11 a.m, noting that eastbound Lee Hwy was closed at Cedar Lane.
“The pedestrian was taken to the hospital with injuries considered to be life-threatening,” the tweet said.
Shortly after 1 p.m., police tweeted again to say that Lee Hwy had reopened and that “the pedestrian remains in critical condition.”
Curry said that, as of 9:30 a.m. today (Monday), the police are awaiting an update on the woman’s condition.
The driver involved in the crash remained on the scene, Curry said, adding that no arrests have been made in connection to the crash.
The location of the pedestrian when the crash occurred and the cause of the crash are pending investigation, Curry said.
UPDATE: Lee Hwy is now open. The pedestrian remains in critical condition.https://t.co/LRqBVGd1tH
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) November 23, 2019
Map via Google Maps
Two Merrifield restaurants now have Fairfax County approval for a plan to address parking problems.
Back in 2013, the board OK’d a parking reduction from 123 to 100 spaces on the site, with 98 spaces for customers and two spaces — one for an employee and another for a shuttle for employees, according to county documents. The board made the decision because of the restaurants’ proximity to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.
Several conditions were put in place for the 2013 reduction to incentivize the employees to not drive, including a shuttle to and from the Metro station for employees and reduced-fare vouchers for public transit.
“However, soon after the restaurants opened, the operator discontinued the shuttle program and instead instituted valet parking on adjacent sites,” according to county documents.
To address concerns about the parking situation, the Zoning Administrator requested a parking study in July 2017. The study found that the site requires 123 parking spaces.
Roughly 50 employees are on the site during peak operating hours, according to county documents.
Now, the board approved changes that will have:
- 100 spaces on the site of the restaurants
- 23 spaces off-site for the restaurants
- 74 spaces off-site “for additional parking demand”
The off-site spaces will be valet-parked at 2757 and 2843 Hartland Road.
“The total proposed parking supply of 197 spaces is adequate to meet the projected peak parking demand of 182 spaces, which is based on yearly sales data for the restaurants and potential parking demand associated with this data,” according to county documents.
Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth likened the situation to the children’s tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” saying that it’s important to get the parking numbers right — “not too much, not too little.”
“Parking is vital to the success of any business,” Smyth told her fellow board members. “This has been a dilemma here.”
Image via Google Maps
People interested in brainstorming ideas for how to make Lee Hwy (Route 29) safer can attend a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) night.
Local businesses and Virginia Tech planning students are planning to share ideas for improvements along the highway from Graham Road to Tinner Hill Road.
The meeting is set to take place from 6:30-8 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (601 S Oak Street).
Nearby, a study is underway to consider changes to Route 50.
Map via Google Maps
At the developer’s request, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is pushing its consideration of single-family homes in Merrifield to January.
Toll Mid-Atlantic LP Company is looking to knock down the existing house and structures by the Bear Branch stream valley and Lee Hwy to build 28 homes.
The redevelopment would keep about 35% of the property as open space. Each home would have a two-car garage, a 15-foot front yard setback and a 20-foot rear yard setback, according to the plans.
The Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed infill project in September.
The proposal was set to have a public hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today (Oct. 15), but the developer requested that the public hearing get pushed to the second board meeting in January.
Images via Fairfax County
Drivers on Lee Hwy (Route 29) can expect delays due to a crash along the highway at Graham Road.
The Fairfax County Police Department tweeted at 3:42 p.m. today (Tuesday) that a crash was partially blocking the intersection.
The north left lane is closed and the left turn lane is blocked, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
“Please be alert and expect delays,” police tweeted.
Map via Google Maps