Letters to the Editor: November 14 – 20, 2019
Scooters Will Negatively Affect Mobility-Impaired
Falls Church City is considering regulations to govern the use of electric scooters, bikes etc. within city boundaries. These modes of transportation often are used and parked on sidewalks. A drive around Arlington and D.C. provides an abundance of examples of the dangers posed by these devices in particular to sight- and mobility-impaired individuals, especially when parked in a way that blocks a sidewalk or street corner.
Perhaps those responsible for approving regulations in this regard, in addition to hearing from knowledgeable residents, should accompany individuals who are sight or mobility impaired along our sidewalks and crossing our streets to learn firsthand the issues that they need to consider. We should not make it even more difficult than it already is for disabled individuals to get around.
Upcoming Scooters Should Be Allowed On F.C. Sidewalks
Dockless scooters are coming to Falls Church and how we receive them will say a lot about our values and priorities for the future. At issue is whether or not these and other electronic devices such as skateboards and e-bikes should be permitted on City sidewalks, as bicycles currently are by code.
City staff performed a detailed review of the policies and experiences of neighboring jurisdictions and recommended e-scooters be permitted on sidewalks at speeds limited to 6 mph, with street riding encouraged. Despite this well-researched recommendation, some members of City Council are calling for scooters to be banned from sidewalks (except for on Routes 7 and 29). This would be a regressive change to our City code that would endanger City residents who ride e-scooters on busier roads like Annandale, Great Falls, West, Lincoln and Hillwood or in areas with limited visibility.
At two square miles Falls Church is an ideal candidate for shared mobility devices such as e-scooters, which offer people the ability to make short trips without the use of a car. Our Council claims to support alternate modes of transportation.
Let’s hope they make it safer and easier for people to choose to leave their cars at home by rejecting this amendment to our City code.
City Should Improve Sidewalks to Increase Scooter Safety
Thank you for the interesting article on scooters in the Falls Church News-Press in the Oct. 24-30 edition. I am a bike rider and have large wheels on my bike.
Unfortunately, scooters have small wheels. Small wheels mean higher risk. When sidewalks are poorly constructed and maintained, the risk is even greater.
I would suggest that Falls Church spend some of the surplus we have to improve the sidewalk infrastructure.
None of us will be happy when scooters are crashing due to poor sidewalks.
New Bump-Outs in Falls Church Are A Very Bad Idea
In my humble opinion, the bump-outs that are being built at several intersections in Falls Church will be found to present a hazard and inconvenience without any benefit. By “bump-out” I mean the curb/sidewalk structures being built at intersections, narrowing the roadways. These bump-outs will make safe driving difficult for large vehicles such as school busses, fire engines, and emergency rescue vehicles.
The problem is that, by narrowing the roadway, large vehicles that are making a right turn will have to intrude on the on-coming traffic lane, and if this lane is occupied traffic will be impeded. The handy solution, of course, is to keep the normal traffic from getting close to the intersection, and you can observe this at some of the already completed bump-out intersections where the “wheel stop line” has been painted well back from the intersection. This precludes right turn on red because from the stop line a driver cannot see the crossing traffic. Drivers can be expected to move forward after stopping to see whether the way is clear, thereby interfering with any oncoming right turn traffic.
Perhaps of less importance, the bump-outs will be an inconvenience to snow removal efforts for two reasons. It will be difficult to avoid collisions with the curbs, and the bump-outs will limit the space to deposit the snow (presuming that the intersection will be kept open to pedestrians).
Lastly, building bump-outs is expensive, and if they must be removed later, when they are found to be undesirable, they will be even more expensive.
Democrats May Not Be in Charge of Va. Redistricting
The Democrats may not be in control of redistricting in Virginia for 2021. The anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment promoted by Onevirginia 2021 would take redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and put it in the hands of a commission with eight citizens and eight legislators appointed by retired judges. Six citizens and six legislators would have to approve new maps and the legislature could not amend them. This plan passed the Virginia House and Senate in the last session.
As per the Virginia constitution, it will have to be approved again in the upcoming legislative session. If approved, it will be placed on the ballot next November for approval by the voters.
Via the Internet
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