Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpMulti-modal is today’s phrase used to describe the menu of options available for transportation — roadways, mass transit, light rail, sidewalks, bike lanes, trails — all public improvements that answer the needs of the community to get from one place to another, whether on foot, or some sort of vehicular transportation. The 20th century’s demand for improved roads to accommodate the automobile turned old market roads and cowpaths into high speed, and congested, highways. The mid-century interstate system made limited access travel commonplace, for work and for play. Left behind, perhaps, was the desire for slower-paced, more local connections that offered opportunities to leave one’s four-wheeled vehicle in the driveway, in favor of walking or biking.

Building and improving walkways and trails has been a major focus of my time in office. The trail and pedestrian bridge on Columbia Pike across from the Lake Barcroft dam took three years to fund and design, and greatly improves safety over the Holmes Run chasm. Walkways along Little River Turnpike, when finally connected, will allow pedestrians to walk from Lincolnia all the way to the library and downtown Annandale. Walkways along Route 7 from the Alexandria border to Seven Corners have been upgraded with signals and accessible ramps, funded by a county transportation bond approved by the voters. Perhaps I am most proud of the pedestrian bridge spanning Route 50 at Seven Corners, which first was promised in the 1980s by former Supervisor Tom Davis. Working with VDOT, the shopping center owners, and the community, I spearheaded construction of the bridge in 2009, eliminating fatalities from pedestrian-vehicle crashes on Route 50 near Patrick Henry Drive.

Finally, a project is underway to provide a safer walking (and biking) route along Sleepy Hollow Road. More than 20 years ago, young mothers often asked me for walkways along Sleepy Hollow Road so they could take their young children in strollers for errands, exercise, and enjoyment. It was a reasonable ask, but not easy to answer. Those children are college age now, and there still are few pedestrian connections along the well-travelled road that is one of the few direct routes between Columbia Pike and Leesburg Pike. Safe and attractive walkways are important amenities for any neighborhood, and I will continue to work with county transportation staff and the community to reduce the negative impacts of the walkway, including a narrower footprint that keeps more trees and vegetation intact.

Property owners, who believe their assessments are not equitable in comparison with similar properties or exceeds fair market value, may appeal directly to the Board of Equalization (BOE) until June 1, 2018. BOE appeals forms are available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/boe, or by calling 703-324-4891. The BOE is a separate entity from the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA).

Residents, who missed the DTA assessments appeal deadline of May 1, 2018, may file an administrative appeal with DTA in 2019 for the 2018 year, and other years that still are open under the statute of limitations. Information about filing an administrative appeal with DTA after May 1, 2018 is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes/real-estate/assessment-appeals, or by calling DTA staff at 703-222-8234; TTY 711. For information about other tax-related assistance, visit the DTA website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes.


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