Letters to the Editor: September 16 – 22, 2010

Ignorance of Traffic Laws Is Unsafe for All


I appreciated the letter from Phillip Troutman because ignorance of traffic laws decreases safety for all.  Some previous writers faulted riders who did nothing wrong as well as those who did.  For safety, I would remind drivers of one more law from the Va. Code 46.2-839, 46.2-907, which applies to cyclists riding on the road, usually because there is no bike trail along the route:  “Motorists must approach and pass a bicyclist at a reasonable speed at least two feet to the left of the bicyclist.” (Emphasis mine.)

As a bike commuter of many years who frequently rides along the road, I know that this rule is often disobeyed (and I have yet to see a driver ticketed for it.).  Not infrequently drivers zoom by an inch or two from my arm.  Recently somebody nicked my elbow with his mirror.  When I pointed this out at a stop sign, he said I was too far out into the road, neglecting the fact that bike riders have to worry about doors opening while passing parked cars.  (To his credit, when I mentioned this he apologized, but it made me wonder if he had driven close intentionally to ‘teach me a lesson’.)

Like drivers, bike riders do make mistakes, but the survival instinct assures that most will not be too reckless.  Death and serious injury are significant deterrents, and when bike meets car there is little question who fares worse.  And thank you to the many drivers who give bike riders even more space than their due, always stop at bike route intersections and check before opening their cars doors while parked on the street.

Sarah Bayldon

Falls Church


Says No ‘Tiff’ Between Trail Users & Vehicles


I continue to decry your paper’s apparent emphasis on there being a “tiff” between trail users and motor-vehicle drivers, in general, vs. some specific and tricky problems with some of the street crossings of the W&OD.  Too much is made of the often excessive venting of emotions in these issues.

Let me stress that the placement of those crossing signs in the middle of a trail travel lane across sometimes busy roadways was a poorly conceived, even dangerous act.  And so we should be glad that the signs are gone, not bemoaning some tragic “theft.”

The most difficult crossing –that of West St.– could be improved by making the street at that point more narrow, so that trail users would cross in less time/distance.

Dan Lehman

Potomac Pedalers Touring Club



F.C. Should Use Raised Crossings Like in Europe


Pedestrian crossings in Europe are raised from the roadway by a few inches, creating a wide and flat ‘speed bump’ that requires drivers to slow down and are a red brick color to be seen easily. Many of them also have a strip of flashing white lights for added visibility that are powered by solar panels. This is a permanent solution and we would not have to worry about signs being stolen.

Leslie Hutchison

Falls Church



Says Connolly & Moran Must Be Voted Out


It is hard to know where to begin commenting on your September 8 election endorsements. Gerald Connolly and Jim Moran have combined with the current radical administration and Congress to spend the next several generations into oblivion and you think that qualifies them to be re-elected. Just today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, agreeing with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullins, said that the debt the Democrats have amassed in 18 months is a national security threat. She said the size of the debt constrains our ability to act in our own self-interest and it makes us look weak and ineffectual abroad.

Under any objective standard, such irresponsibility requires firing. Both men deserve to be in an unemployment line like the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the grossly ineffective, ineffectual policies established by this regime. In the Washington Post today we learn that jobs will leave Virginia when a GE plant in Winchester that manufactures incandescent bulbs will close because they cannot compete with the Chinese manufacturers producing compact fluorescent, halogen, and LED bulbs. We have been told that “green” policies will create jobs, but this “green” technology mandated by the US government is actually shipping well-paying jobs to China.

And then there’s your claim that both Connolly’s and Moran’s opponents are “inexperienced.” Keith Fimian has raised a family, been active in his community, both here and across the country, and has built a national company that has created jobs and contributed to the overall economy. Patrick Murray had a distinguished career in the Army before deciding to run for office. Contrast this to two professional politicians who have spent decades polishing their ability to spend other people’s money wastefully.

If anything these people have done were working our unemployment numbers would be going down, not up as they are. It is counter-intuitive, not to mention non-sensical to say otherwise. Both men must be turned out of government in order to give our children and grandchildren a chance for a positive future.

Linda Barlett



F.C.’s League of Women Voters Marks Anniversary


September 17 will mark the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. The League of Women Voters of Falls Church believes there is no better way to honor this historic document than to register to vote and to exercise the right to vote in every election.

Tuesday October 12 will be the last day to register to vote for the November 2 general election. Falls Church City residents will elect a member of Congress in that election. Citizens may register to vote in person at City Hall or by mail. Applications to register by mail are available at City Hall (300 Park Avenue) and at the Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 North Virginia Avenue). Applications may also be requested by calling 703-248-5085.

The League of Women Voters of the United States and the Falls Church League work together to provide tools to help citizens become better informed about elections. The national league’s award-winning website, www.VOTE411.org, provides a voter registration tool, a nationwide polling place locator and nonpartisan information about candidates. The Falls Church League, meanwhile, has supported local voters’ guides and targeted voting machine training. See www.lwvfallschurch.org for more information.

Ellen Salsbury

President, League of Women Voters of Falls Church

Letters to the Editor may be submitted to letters@fcnp.com or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.