Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpLast week’s column about pedestrian safety hadn’t even been printed when Mason District experienced another life-threatening pedestrian acciden. This time, the pedestrian was a young woman crossing Braddock Road at Witch Hazel Road near the Green Spring Gardens entrance.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the pedestrian was at or near the crosswalk, but the driver, who was not exceeding the speed limit, did not see her in the dark, in the rain.

Fortunately, the driver stopped immediately to render aid, and the victim was transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries. No charges have been filed. It was simply an awful, awful, accident.

This was the latest in a rash of tragic and preventable accidents. In barely three weeks, one pedestrian was killed, three others injured, and a moped driver lost his life in a hit-run accident near Willston on Halloween night.

This has got to stop! Pedestrians and drivers alike need to be alert and pay attention to their surroundings.

Get off your devices and watch where you are going. Wear light or reflective material at night; it is almost impossible to see a pedestrian dressed in dark clothing at night in the rain – a worst case scenario. Just because you can see vehicle headlights doesn’t mean the driver can see you. Let’s not have any more tragic and preventable accidents. Be alert, slow down, and live.

Pedestrian safety is enhanced by sensible trails and sidewalks. A new sidewalk segment along Leesburg Pike near Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque was celebrated Friday with a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new walkway connects The Jefferson Apartments (originally known as Ravenwood Towers) east to Row Street, providing a much safer trip for residents who contended with a “goat trail” along Route 7 for decades.

The new sidewalk is just west of the signalized pedestrian crossing at Row Street, and pedestrians now have safer passage all the way to Seven Corners Shopping Center. The new walkway segment was funded by a Transportation Bond approved by voters in 2007.

Last year’s blanket drive for Syrian refugee families was so successful that the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and area jurisdictions are undertaking another blanket drive this month.

New or clean, gently used, blankets are being collected at all Board of Supervisor offices in Fairfax County until November 21.

The blankets will be shipped via Maersk Lines to a charitable organization in Turkey for distribution to refugees fleeing from violence of civil war and ISIL.

You can leave your donation in the large cartons in the lobby of my office at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.

Last year’s drive collected nearly 18,000 blankets; the aim is for thousands more this year, as the need becomes greater every day. For more information, please visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs/blanketdrive.


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