Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


An important local government responsibility is building and maintaining infrastructure — those public facilities, which are necessary for the safe, timely, and environmentally sound functioning of our community. Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) recently released a report about FY 2017 capital projects completed across the county.

Although road construction and maintenance in Fairfax County is the responsibility of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT), $40 million county and regional transportation funds was used to widen and re-align Lorton Road in the southern part of the county. I remember when Lorton Road was a small country byway, but the Lorton area is growing rapidly, and that bucolic little road now carries much more traffic, necessitating an improved and expanded roadway along with signalized intersections and stormwater facilities. Some transportation facility improvements are quite small, but provide improved options, like concrete bike share pads and walkway segments, bus stop pads (so riders no longer have to wait on muddy or rocky ground), and pedestrian intersection ramps (as was done near Seven Corners).

Other projects classified as transportation improvements must go through a community process to demonstrate support before being approved and installed. Speed humps, signage, and pavement markings were installed on Mason District’s Carol Lane, Clifton Street, Patrick Henry Drive, Trammell Road, and Woodley Lane as part of the traffic calming process. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, speed humps help slow traffic on neighborhood streets and, since many drivers do not pay attention to their speeds, the traffic calming program is available for neighborhoods to address speeding. Other installations, such as on Elmdale Road, are in process and should be included in the next DPWES annual report.

Some county construction projects rarely are seen by the public, but are crucial to everyday life. Such was the case for Lake Barcroft, where two aging pumping stations that convey wastewater around the lake were rehabilitated, replacing existing sewage pumps, backup generators, electrical wiring, odor control systems, and wastewater sewage grinders. County sewer service was maintained during the rehabilitation, so most residents were completely unaware of the necessary work that was being done, right under their noses (fortunately, the odor control systems worked flawlessly!).

A total of 110 projects were completed across the county in FY 2017, for an infrastructure investment of $114,250,173. Mason District had fewer completed projects in this report; many projects were completed in the previous fiscal year, and other projects are underway, but not yet complete. Many thanks to the hundreds of skilled and selfless county employees whose good work, year in and year out, keep our infrastructure in operational readiness, and fulfill the county’s core purpose: “to protect and enrich the quality of life for the people, neighborhoods, and diverse communities of Fairfax County.”

Don’t forget the Mason District Resilience Summit and Expo, which will be held on Thursday, October 12, at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, in Annandale. The Summit features a Senior Safety Seminar at 2 p.m., followed by a Resilience Expo at 4 and a General Session at 7 p.m. All ages are welcome. I look forward to seeing you there.


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