Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Many neighborhoods in Mason District have utilized the Residential Traffic Administration Program (RTAP) to resolve local parking and traffic issues. A Residential Permit Parking District (RPPD) restricts parking by non-residents in certain blocks, usually near high schools, transit stations, and apartment complexes. Traffic Calming and Cut-through Restrictions, as well as Through Truck Restrictions, address moving traffic, not parking, but all these programs require lengthy outreach and community involvement for successful passage.

A simpler method to address parking and traffic in local neighborhoods takes less energy and community involvement, but is dependent on each and every driver – in other words, each one of us. Here are some traffic and parking laws to keep in mind:

• Speed limit in most Mason District neighborhoods is 25 mph. Police tell me that stopped motorists often complain that they were just driving in their own neighborhood so it wasn’t really a problem! Twenty-five mph is 25 mph, whether in your neighborhood or someone else’s.

• Passing on the right is illegal, subject to a fine, a processing fee, and points on your driver’s license.

• Rolling through a stop sign also is illegal, subject to the same penalties as above. When I was learning to drive, the rule was that all forward motion of the vehicle must stop before accelerating again.

• Parking with the right side (passenger side) wheels not to curb is a ticketable offense, and epidemic in some areas. Failure to park with right wheels to the curb means that the vehicle crosses into the travel lane of oncoming traffic, and that’s a serious safety hazard.

• Blocking or parking within 10 feet of a public or private driveway is subject to a fine, even when it is your own driveway.

• Parking within 20 feet of an intersection, or within 30 feet from a stop sign can result in a ticket.

• Running a red light or failing to obey a traffic light has stiffer penalties, and has the potential for deadly crashes on our thoroughfares.

To refresh your memory about driving practices in the Commonwealth of Virginia, log on to

www.dmv.virginia.gov/drivers/manual.asp. You can download the manual, read it online, or even listen to it on your MP3 player. Safety is paramount in the operation of any motor vehicle, but is only as good as the driver who operates it. A little attention can go a long way.

Mason District lost two good friends recently. John Guillory, a Lake Barcroft resident, was an accomplished musician on instruments of the Middle Ages, a science professor, and an original member of the Bailey’s Crossroads Revitalization Corporation. His thoughtful and quiet approach was welcome in the hustle and bustle of our urbanizing area. He died at home just days after his 73rd birthday. Irv Denton, who was nearly 92, was an Air Force veteran of three wars, an accountant, and a community leader in Annandale for many years. Irv always had a smile on his face, and wrote a number of historical remembrances of Annandale. Both will be missed.

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