Letters to the Editor: August 26 – September 1, 2010

‘Idaho Stop’ at Bike Trails Should Word


Regarding the right-of-way at intersections, we should consider adopting an “Idaho stop” law for bicycles in Virginia, or at least in Falls Church. In Idaho, bicyclists may legally treat stop signs as yield signs; they are not required to come to a full stop.

This law promotes cycling by making it more efficient: the difference in energy required for a bicyclist to start from a complete stop versus a rolling stop is considerable. For an excellent overview of the Idaho-stop bicycle law that has been in force for 27 years, see urbanvelo.org/bicycle-rolling-stop-animation-idaho-stop-law. The Idaho stop law does not allow bicyclists to blaze through intersections without looking; it legalizes safe bicyclist behavior, allowing police more time to concentrate on dangerous behaviors of motorists and bicyclists.

Joyce Klein

Falls Church


In ’50s, No Black Families In Falls Church


I am a product of the Falls Church schools system, having gone from first grade (there was no kindergarten then; my mother’s private school was the primary kindergarten in Falls Church) through twelve here. I graduated from George Mason High School in 1956, and still wear my (somewhat worn) class ring.

I was in high school when the Supreme Court ruling desegregating schools was issued. And of course nothing changed. There were no black kids in the Falls Church public schools. None.

And for a very simple reason: to my knowledge no black families then lived within the city limits of Falls Church.

I was too young (10) in 1948, when Falls Church became a city, to be aware of the politics involved in drawing the city borders, but I was quite aware that the “Negro” section of the immediate area was immediately south of Hillwood Avenue and east of Lee Highway (no one called it “South Washington Street”); Annandale Road bisected it; Tinner Hill encompasses it. And this section, marked by unpaved roads and smaller houses, was just outside the city limits.

In those days de facto segregation was common practice. Another “Negro” section existed on either side of Lee Highway in Arlington, between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive. The races lived apart.

Was the City of Falls Church deliberately created in a manner to exclude all black residents? I don’t know. But that was the effect. And things stayed that way throughout the period I was in the city’s schools. The only black people I ever met as a child were my parents’ friends. My parents were northerners.

But in the mid-’50s one black family did move into the city, to an address on Van Buren Street, next to the Four Mile Run Park, then isolated from any neighbors. The woman who owned the property reputedly sold it to that family to spite her neighbors. Such was progress then. We have come some distance since then, I’m glad to say.

Ted White

Falls Church


Young Credits His Staff for Company Success


My thanks to the News-Press for the article regarding our ability to fill retail space in the City.  However, the most important aspect of our success was not mentioned:  those in the company who do the real work and make things happen, day in and day out.

With Joe Wetzel’s leadership and hard work, Marina Boyer and Paola Lainez take care of the numerous tasks that must be completed to bring new businesses to the City–and keep those already here in place.  They form a team with me of which I am very proud.  I want to publically thank them for their efforts over these past years and, hopefully, far into the future.

Bob Young

Falls Church


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