Commentary, Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Now that classes are out for the summer, the results of the pilot project that installed cameras in certain school zones earlier this year will be analyzed and presented to the Board of Supervisors for possible expansion of the program.  During the spring pilot, which covered approximately two months and positioned cameras at eight Fairfax County Public Schools, more than 11,000 possible speeding violations were recorded.  Locations with the highest number of violations were South Lakes High School in Reston and Key Middle School on Franconia Road.  In Mason District, Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, on Sleepy Hollow Road, was selected for participation in the pilot program.  Data from the program indicates nearly 700 possible violations during the almost two-month study, even though the area is near a construction zone that often has flaggers out for the installation of a sidewalk along Sleepy Hollow Road.  The cameras are being considered for activation during summer school; Sleepy Hollow Elementary is a designated summer school.

No speed cameras are posted at intersections around Justice High School, but neighbors report that speeding vehicles rocketing through stop signs are a major concern.  A view of privately shared camera footage shows vehicles, sometimes with loud mufflers, too, regularly speeding, and not even slowing down for stop signs.  Although the footage didn’t capture drivers’ faces, it is doubtful that all drivers were students.  Sloppy driving habits seem to be epidemic in our area.  Targeted enforcement near Justice resulted in many citations but, of course, police enforcement cannot be on every corner.  Safety is the responsibility of all of us, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.

The very popular Spotlight by Starlight free concerts have returned to Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale.  Live entertainment can be enjoyed on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. through August 20.  Children’s shows are held on Saturday mornings at 10.  Log on to for a full schedule of programs at all Fairfax County parks this summer.  Mason District Park’s regular series began in 1991, making it the longest-running concert series in the county, and thousands of people have enjoyed live entertainment on the Newton Edwards Amphitheater stage for more than 30 years.  The amphitheater burned to the ground as a result of a lightning strike in October 2004, but was rebuilt, better than ever, in record time so that concerts could resume in June 2005. The amphitheater has bench seating for about 400, but many patrons bring lawn chairs; an accessible ramped area accommodates wheelchairs.  

International cultural performances are featured at Ossian Hall Park, 7900 Heritage Drive near Annandale High School, on Saturday evenings at 7:30.  Concertgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to spread on the grass.  Many of the performances are interactive, and you may be invited to join in learning a new dance!  All performances at both parks are suitable for all ages, and pets on a leash are welcome, too.  See you at the park!

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


  • Penny Gross

    Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at