Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


 There’s something unique about the sound of a school bus rumbling through a neighborhood. Lighter than a fire engine or a trash truck, but more robust than a delivery vehicle, that big yellow bus lumbering down the street can serve as an alternate alarm clock on nearly every school morning. Not exactly noisy, but the “cheese wagon” makes a statement as it traverses our local streets to gather its precious cargo – our children.

Mason District is home to 13 public elementary schools, three middle schools, and four high schools. That means a lot of traffic moving students from home to school and back again. Fairfax County police remind drivers that passing a stopped school bus is illegal, is considered aggressive driving, and violators are subject to a hefty fine, a suspended license, and up to a year in jail. Drivers also are reminded to slow down in school zones. Flashing lights near schools will alert drivers that children are walking or riding the bus to school, and that crossing guards are nearby to assist in safe routes to school. Please be alert, slow down, and drive safely.

The first meeting of the newly-appointed Seven Corners Land Use and Transportation Task Force will be Tuesday, September 11, at 7 p.m. at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Task Force members who provide a variety of expertise, and represent residents, business owners, property management, and the development community, were selected after careful consideration. Assisted by staff from the county’s Office of Revitalization, the Task Force will meet monthly during the next 18 to 24 months to review the findings of the Visioning forums held in May and June, and develop recommendations for the future of the Seven Corners area. Two smaller workgroups – Quality of Life and Pedestrian/Bike/Transit – still are in the development stage, but are anticipated to meet also on Tuesday evenings. The meetings are open to the public.

The Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Emergency Management have teamed up to present a new emergency preparedness campaign: “Fairfax Prepares: 30 Ways in 30 Days.” Each day during September, a new, short, easy-to-read tip will be posted on the county’s Web site. Included with the brief information is an “ask,” something that you can do to implement the tip. During the long weekend, the tips focused on pets, cash, infants/toddlers, and the first day of school. September, as National Preparedness Month aligns, nicely with weather-related events, and presents an opportunity to re-evaluate your emergency kit at home and the office (are those new batteries in your flashlight?). Follow and participate in the campaign in these ways: http://fairfaxcountyemergency.wordpress.com/category/30ways-30days; www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/; follow the hashtag #fairfaxprepares on Twitter. You also can access a special Facebook page for the campaign. Memories of the derecho in late June are fresh enough to remind us all to be better prepared for unexpected, and possibly long-term, emergencies. 30 Ways in 30 Days will help.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov