Letters to the Editor: June 9 – 15, 2016
Tolls on I-66 Won’t Reduce F.C. Traffic
Does the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce really think by making I-66 a toll road that it will reduce traffic congestion in the area? What it will do, of course, is add more money to the city’s’ coffers. We have gone down this road before (no pun intended).
One of the factors that adds to vehicle traffic is the constant construction of new housing developments and office buildings. Every time a new structure is erected the person or persons occupying that home or office in most cases will own some kind of vehicle, this adds additional traffic on our roads. Now we are faced with an additional problem: the deteriorating Metro system and repairs which will be a headache for many especially throughout our area in coming months.
Whether we like it or not, as residents or commuters, we have put ourselves in a catch-22 situation.
No Net Gain For City of F.C. With I-66 Tolls
I rate the story reported in the June 2-8 edition of the News-Press somewhere between “ridiculous” and “You’ve Got to be Kidding.”
The article’s headline “Tolls Coming on I-66 Will Go to Ease Area Congestion …” suggests that, according to a representative of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, the proposed I-66 toll-HOV system will somehow benefit Falls Church City-area residents. One shouldn’t leave this article or these discussions believing that the proposed I-66 toll system will be a net gain for the City residents.
It is both obvious and certain that the City will suffer from a significant increase in traffic volume from those who (1) seek to avoid the tolls or (2) have insufficient passenger count to qualify for HOV treatment. These opportunists will surely seek alternative routes through Falls Church further choking not only major traffic arteries such as Broad Street, Washington Street, and Arlington Boulevard but also highly impact real or imagined “possible shortcuts” connecting through neighborhood streets. Pass-through commuters are likely to search and find these previously obscure and infrequently used routes through the City by using current “apps” such as Waze to guide them in the search for the “perfect commute.”
The anticipated “benefit” to the City will ostensibly appear in the form of funding a bike sharing program. Who in their right mind will ride a bike in and among the slow-moving stop-and-go traffic traveling through the City?
So just as Jack traded to get his magic beans, F.C. has traded to get $850,000 worth of new bicycles. Commuters in cars crawling through Falls Church streets will envy the quality of life in Falls Church City as they jealously drive past the racks of new, but seldom used, bike-share bikes.
G T Bowman
Why Not Rename School to Stuart-Sedgwick High?
I’d like to suggest a compromise in the debate over changing the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School.
Stuart was more than “a Civil War general,” as a News-Press editorial recently described him. When he was killed in the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864, his friend, Union general John Sedgwick, called him “the greatest cavalry officer ever foaled in America.” Sedgwick himself was killed at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House the same year – the highest ranking Union officer killed during the war.
Why not rename the school Stuart-Sedgwick High?
Sedgwick, from Connecticut, has had towns and streets named after him, but apparently only one school – in Washington State. Stuart’s and Sedgwick’s friendship can be compared to the better-known, anguished one between Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and the Confederacy’s Lewis Armistead, who was mortally wounded at Gettysburg while fighting Hancock’s forces.
Pairing Stuart and Sedgwick in a single name would remind us of the tragic division of loyalties among families and friends in a nation that was morally and economically conflicted in its embrace of slavery. Stuart’s father-in-law in fact chose to remain in the Union army when Virginia seceded.
The new name would focus a new generation of students on personal dimensions in the war – as well as the cruelties of the institution leading up to it in which slave families were often sold and divided. It also would symbolize renewal of a union.
It’s appropriate to debate how the Civil War should be memorialized. Hundreds of thousands of individuals died on both sides. But instead of dividing communities, it would be a better result if dialogue today can find common ground and bring us closer together.
Meal Tax Push By Fairfax Board Is Shameful
Even in the most liberal circles it is rare to find hard working people who say “Yes, please tax me more” or “Yes, Mr. and Ms. Government official, please spend more of my money.” This being said, I believe it is safe to say that when local politicians need to push a new tax or even achieve the harder feat of getting everyone to vote yes on a referendum that imposes the tax, like the meal tax, it is imperative that they find some constituency to help push the new revenue agenda.
One of the most overused pathetic excuses for new tax revenue is the old standby “it’s for the children.” Well, our Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has now also maliciously cultivated a downtrodden constituency needing the help of a new tax by denying pay raises for the Fairfax County school employees. This denial is taking place while at the same time the board is blaming the no-raise situation on the fiscal shortfall that they themselves have created. This is a pathetic and low-down way of getting support for a new tax.
The Board should be ashamed of themselves, using hard working folks in a noble profession to push an agenda but they know that that is the only way to find enough support to get it passed. Pathetic!
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