Letters to the Editor: September 29 – October 5, 2016
F.C. 1 of Least Pedestrian-Friendly Areas Around D.C.
As an avid dog walker and runner living in the Mt. Daniels area, I read with dismay the recent, self-congratulatory guest commentary by Stewart Schwartz which touted Falls Church’s “walkable urbanism.” After three years of walking 4-6 miles every day in the neighborhoods between West Falls Church Metro and City Hall, I’ve found F.C. to be one of the least pedestrian-friendly suburbs in the D.C. area.
Almost none of the residential streets in this area have sidewalks on both sides; many have no sidewalks at all. Crosswalks of any kind are few and far between, and anyone walking the two miles from West Falls Church Metro to City Hall will find exactly one pedestrian traffic light (on Haycock – technically in Fairfax County) in the entire distance. Sidewalks in general are poorly maintained, uneven, and hazardous in the dark. Lines of sight at street corners are often blocked by the overgrown trees and bushes of homeowners, and in inclement weather, roughly half of homeowners do not shovel their sidewalks or intentionally shovel their driveways onto the sidewalks. Neither residents nor the municipality appear to take any responsibility for maintaining the accessibility of public walkways. Worse still, the Highland/Haycock intersection accessing West Falls Church Metro is completely impassible by pedestrians for weeks after winter storms when Fairfax County dumps snow onto sidewalks, forcing commuters into the busy street. That street is not a safe place to be in Falls Church, where I watch one in three drivers fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. My dog and I wear no fewer than five lighted devices after 5 p.m. during the winter months and still have near misses with cars roughly twice a week.
The dismal walkability of residential areas is one of our major reasons for choosing not to buy or live here permanently. I invite Mr. Schwartz to spend a few weeks trying to commute, walk his dog, or run in the neighborhood and then to call Falls Church “pedestrian-friendly” with a straight face. I’m confident he won’t be able to do so.
Via the Internet
A Vote for Johnson Or Stein in November Is a Wasted Vote
Henry J. Gordon’s letter (Sept. 22-28 edition) claimed that the choice in the upcoming Presidential election.is “between a crook and a fool.” And that, consequently, he would vote for the Libertarian candidate. In that same edition, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said, accurately as far as I can ascertain, that the Libertarian candidate is running on a party platform that would “eliminate environmental regulation, abolish the income tax, do away with public schools, and dismantle Social Security and Medicare.” Is that agenda, Ms. and Mr. voter, really what you desire for our country?
I recall that many years ago, in 1972, I felt I faced a similar non-choice – between Richard Nixon and George McGovern. I decided, “on principle,” not to vote for either gent, nor even Dr. Benjamin Spock, who was running on the People’s Party ticket. Although my one vote, of course, had no influence on the outcome, I came to regret it deeply. I think this November voters really have to decide between the two main candidates, one of whom will win the election.
A vote for Gary Johnson or for that matter Jill Stein “on principle” is, I reluctantly conclude, a wasted vote. This November, we really have to, as the Krugman headline claims, “vote as if it matters.” So I urge my fellow voters to choose between “the lesser of the two evils,” if you see it that way, or, perhaps, between the predictable and the unpredictable. Please examine your conscience and decide who, of the two major candidates, you’d rather have at the helm of the Ship of State for the next four years.
Mayor Clarifies Cost of City’s Traffic Calming Study
In response to Dan Lehman’s letter to the editor in the September 15-21 edition of the News-Press, to clarify, the total cost of both the Big Chimney’s Park upgrade and the related traffic calming is approximately $1 million. The traffic calming portion of the project alone is substantially less. Also, these improvements are being paid for from the proceeds of the sale of City land as part of the Harris Teeter transaction, not general tax revenues. I am sorry for any confusion.
Mayor, City of Falls Church
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