Much of Mason District was developed as a purely suburban model, geared for cars, not pedestrians. Many subdivisions were designed without sidewalks, allowing for a larger expanse of lawn to mow, perhaps, but certainly not encouraging walkability or neighborhood interaction. Since sidewalks were not required by local ordinance years ago, portions of Mason District and Fairfax County have been playing catch-up, using transportation bonds approved by the voters to construct the absent sidewalks. You can see those bond monies at work along Leesburg Pike between Seven Corners and Baileys Crossroads, as pedestrian improvements are underway.
A pedestrian project on the north side of Leesburg Pike, west of Row Street, currently under construction, will include a five-foot concrete walkway that will provide safe access to connecting walkways leading into the Seven Corners commercial business center. This project will include curb and gutter, and accessible ramps constructed in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
A series of walkways will be constructed later this year on both sides of Leesburg Pike in the Culmore area. Portions of these walkways will be located in front of the heavily traveled areas of the Culmore Shopping Center and St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Included is a crosswalk and pedestrian activated signal to facilitate safe pedestrian crossing across Leesburg Pike at the Glen Forest Drive/Charles Street intersection.
Other projects to be completed later this year and in 2015 include a brick walkway on the southern cloverleaf of the Columbia Pike and Leesburg Pike intersection that will provide pedestrian access between Columbia Pike and Seminary Road, sidewalk segments on the north side of Leesburg Pike east of Rio Drive, and on the southern side of Leesburg Pike east of Nevius Street. Accessibility improvements also are planned for the Seven Corners intersection.
These projects join others in Mason District that include new sidewalks on Columbia Pike in Annandale along the frontage of the Annandale United Methodist Church, and an extensive section of replaced brick walkway, to meet ADA requirements, along Fire Station 8 frontage west toward the ACCA Child Development Center. Those projects also resulted in redesigned commercial driveway entrances for safer vehicular access.
Later this month, a walkway along the entire southern length of Elmdale Road will be constructed, facilitating the already heavy use of that residential street by pedestrians and runners. The new walkway will follow the fence line along the Pinecrest Golf Course. The new walkway is expected to be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting.
Several bus stop improvements in Mason District also were made by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services during the past year. Sidewalks and bus pads, along with some new bus shelters, make pedestrian and commuter travel safer and more do-able. Walking improves health, eases congestion, and reduces pollution, and these walkway improvements make our community so much safer.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]