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Morning Notes

FCPS Can Keep Enforcing Mask Mandate — An Arlington County judge ruled yesterday (Tuesday) that Fairfax County Public Schools and the six other districts engaged in a lawsuit against Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order can enforce their requirements until the legal challenge is resolved. The ruling came as the state Senate, led by Sen. Chap Petersen, approved a measure to let parents opt out of school mask mandates. [The Washington Post]

I-495 Pedestrian Bridge Under Construction — “Check out the progress on this bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-495 and the connecting shared-use path in Tysons! This link from Tysons One Pl/Fashion Blvd to Old Meadow Rd and Provincial Dr is scheduled for completion this summer.” [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Keam’s Roundabout Funding Bill Dies — A House of Delegates subcommittee voted to table legislation proposed by Del. Mark Keam, who represents Vienna and much of Tysons, that would’ve given more funding to sidewalk and roundabout projects. Virginia currently requires regional transportation funds to be prioritized based on congestion relief. [Sun Gazette]

Valentine’s Day Market Coming to Tysons — “Need a gift for your Valentine? @CelebrateFFX has you covered! Stop by the Loving Shop Local Market, this Saturday, Feb. 12 from 12-5 PM at The PARC for all of your Valentine’s Day essentials!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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A crosswalk on Dolley Madison Boulevard at Elm Street (via Google Maps)

The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) will weigh in tonight (Wednesday) on the bicycle and pedestrian safety projects that it believes Fairfax County should fast-track.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors set a goal on Oct. 5 of spending at least $100 million on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements through June 30, 2027, stating that federal relief funds have given the county some flexibility to make one-time investments.

In an email to members, MCA says Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust has asked for its help identifying priorities for McLean, as county leaders consider which projects to potentially fund and expedite.

MCA’s transportation committee has identified 14 projects in a draft resolution that its board of directors could vote on during a virtual meeting at 7:30 p.m. President Rob Jackson said changes to those plans could occur, but he suggested proposals should be done so before the meeting to build support.

“Even assuming the $100 million is split evenly among the nine Magisterial Districts, our priorities complete [sic] with projects in the Herndon and Great Falls areas,” Jackson noted in an email. “So, the Committee’s prioritizations and rationale for those priorities are critical.”

The projects would be in addition to the county’s ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan and other existing county efforts.

In its draft resolution, MCA’s transportation committee cites demand, safety concerns, and connectivity to public transit and schools as factors it considered when choosing projects to designate as priorities.

High Priority Projects

Most of the projects are near Haycock Elementary and Longfellow Middle schools, which the resolution says suffer from cracks and bulges on area sidewalks.

In addition to proposing sidewalk repairs along Westmoreland Street between Gordon Avenue and Haycock Road, the draft resolution focuses on possible improvements north of Haycock Road:

  • Repairs to an asphalt trail between Westmoreland and Great Falls Street
  • Widening the concrete sidewalk by 1 foot on the bridge over I-66 to accommodate pedestrians walking side-by-side or going in opposite directions
  • An engineering study looking at options to make the walkway between the I-66 bridge and Great Falls Street consistently 5 feet in width, reduce sloping, and add a painted crosswalk across the Turner Avenue intersection

Other key projects included in the draft resolution address concerns to the north end of McLean:

  • Study a potential pedestrian bridge across Dolley Madison Boulevard and other safety upgrades, such as traffic beacons at the Ingleside Avenue or Elm Street crosswalks
  • Repair an asphalt trail along Balls Hill Road between Thrasher Road and Heather Hill Lane

The seventh high-priority project is to construct a sidewalk near Lemon Road Elementary School on Redd Road from Idylwood Road to Reddfield Drive in Pimmit Hills.

Secondary Projects Identified

The resolution also includes a list of secondary projects that MCA would like the county to pursue when possible:

  • Repair portions of an asphalt trail along Dolley Madison Boulevard between Old Dominion Drive and Lewinsville Road
  • Maintain and upgrade asphalt trail along Georgetown Pike just east of Dead Run Creek
  • Repair an asphalt trail along Douglass Drive from Georgetown Pike to Father John Court
  • Construct sidewalks along the north side of Birch Road from Birch Grove Court to Kirby Road and on Linway Terrace from the intersection of Old Dominion and Birch
  • Create a trail along Lewinsville Road between Swinks Mill Road and Bridle Path Lane
  • Conduct a study of a potential trail along the south side of Old Dominion between Balls Hill and a bridge over I-495

Photo via Google Maps

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The side of Alma Street SE slated to be studied for a sidewalk (via Google Maps)

Tensions are brewing in the Town of Vienna should pursue adding sidewalks.

Most, and possibly all, of the neighbors on Alma Street SE have voiced opposition to a new sidewalk there, signing a petition to try to prevent the project that’s being evaluated for the western side of the street.

Meanwhile, others argue that a lack of sidewalks creates safety and accessibility issues, where vehicles and pedestrians share the road and visual obstructions can heighten the potential for danger.

Town leaders have been racing to advance a slate of sidewalk projects — primarily in residential neighborhoods — and use money in a $7 million trust left by former Councilmember Maud Robinson after her death in 2019.

The money dedicated to the Robinson Trust Sidewalk Initiative, which seeks to fill gaps in the town’s network, expires in fall 2024.

How should the town proceed? Should Vienna use its right-of-way to build sidewalks as a public good, even if they cut into a resident’s lawn or driveway, or should the town only build projects when it has the support of adjacent properties?

Photo via Google Maps

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