Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

Last week, I announced the planned groundbreaking for a new pedestrian bridge across Route 50 at Seven Corners. This week, I’d like to tell you a little more about the long-awaited construction. The weather was perfect Monday morning as Board of Super-visors Chairman Gerry Connolly and I led a delegation of state and county staff, business and community members, and public safety personnel in a ceremonial ground-breaking for the new structure. The actual construction will be done by A & W Contracting, whose bid was accepted for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project.

The pedestrian improvement was initiated by VDOT and Fairfax County to improve the safety of pedestrians crossing Route 50. Since 2004, there have been nine crashes in the vicinity, resulting in six injuries and three deaths. The steel-truss bridge will have concrete decking, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant approach ramps with ornamental lighting, and fencing on both sides of Route 50. The bridge will be 143 feet long and a 305-foot ramp on the north side, and a 271-foot ramp on the south side of Route 50. The main span of the bridge will be enclosed and will have handrails and lighting for additional pedestrian safety. One attendee at Monday’s groundbreaking observed that he might be able to ride his bike all the way to the Falls Church Metro when the bridge is complete.

Special guests at the groundbreaking included Brian Downie, Vice President for Development at Saul Centers, which owns the Seven Corners Shopping Center; Mary Ellen Keaton, founding member of the Willston Task Force; and Dr. Kim Cook, president of the Vietnamese Resettlement Association. Rafael Cabello, an adult ESOL student at the Willston Multicultural Center, and Delegate Bob Hull (D-38) were among those who wielded a shovel for the ceremony. The bridge project is expected to be completed by November 2008, although Bill Cuttler, Assistant District Administrator for VDOT, ac-knowledged that everyone will work hard to accelerate that schedule.

With Halloween just around the corner, there is still time to buy your pumpkins and other seasonal décor at the Pumpkin Patch at First Christian Church, 6165 Leesburg Pike just east of Seven Corners. Bill Laliberte and crew will assist you in selecting just the right pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern; all proceeds go to the Bailey’s Community Shelter in Bailey’s Crossroads.

The 22nd Annual Annandale Fall Festival Parade, sponsored by the Annandale Chamber of Commerce, steps off at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, rain or shine. The parade route begins on Columbia Pike at Gallows Road, marches west on the Pike to a right on Maple Place (near the cannon), another right onto Annandale Road, and left on Markham Street, ending at Little River Shopping Center. More than 100 units are expected to participate, so get your spot on the parade route early. See you at the parade!