Opinion: Commentary: A Look at Year Ahead for Springfield District: Changes Under Design

Springfield District has a lot happening in 2019. We have numerous transportation, school and park projects under design and going to construction, and events for citizens to attend from student job fairs to free document shredding, to evening concerts at Burke Lake Park in the summertime.

Transportation Improvements

Since taking office, improving the transportation network for Fairfax County residents has been one of my highest priorities. Reducing traffic congestion significantly enhances residents’ quality of life. Many transportation projects -- some local and some regional -- are moving forward. Many of these projects also include pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

Transportation projects that are progressing through design:

  • Widening of the Fairfax County Parkway from four to six lanes from 123 to Route 29 with a grade separated (no light) interchange at Popes Head Road. A public information meeting is set for Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax. A study to look at the future of the entire Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways is also underway. I do not see tolls in the future of the Parkway as some have discussed.
  • Widening the last four lane section of Route 29 between Union Mill Road and Buckley’s Gate Drive to six lanes.
  • Widening Route 28 from the Prince William County line to Route 29 from four to six lanes. A public meeting will be held in early 2019; date TBD.

Transportation projects moving towards construction:

  • Widening Rolling Road between Viola Street and Old Keene Mill Road from two to four lanes — construction of the first phase of this project, an additional left turn lane and dedicated right turn lane on northbound Rolling Road at Old Keene Mill Road should start this fall.
  • Realigning the sharp curve on Burke Road and adding and improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the corridor between Parakeet Dr. and Peregrine Dr. will start the land acquisition and utility relocation processes this year.

Work on the Express Lanes on I-66 outside the Beltway continues this year; this project includes the much-needed interchange improvements at Route 28.

Older Adults in the Community

As Chairman of the Board’s 50-plus committee, I am pleased to report that we have had made great strides implementing the 50-plus Community Action Plan in response to the unique challenges of the increasing number of older adults in our County. The Plan includes 31 initiatives regarding housing, transportation, community engagement, services, and safety and health in order to make a more vibrant, active, and supporting community for older adults. In 2019, we will begin a review of the plan and assess the emerging needs of our older adults in order to update existing initiatives and implement new strategies. To learn more about the 50+ Community Action Plan visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/familyservices/older-adults/fairfax-50-plus-community-action-plan .

Schools

Several schools are receiving much-needed renovations districtwide. West Springfield High School and White Oaks and Cherry Run Elementary Schools are wrapping up renovation work, while Silverbrook Elementary is just getting underway.

Teen Job Fairs

Four years ago, I started hosting teen job fairs at local high schools. These well-attended job fairs are co-hosted with the Connection Newspapers, local Chambers of Commerce, and some of my colleagues on the Board. In 2019, we plan to host job fairs at West Springfield, South County, Mount Vernon, Chantilly, Oakton, and South Lakes High Schools.

Parks

Last summer, I hosted a Springfield Nights Summer Concert Series at Burke Lake Park and am happy to share that I will be doing the same in 2019. Springfield Nights not only showcases great performers from the region but also provides an opportunity to highlight some of our local high school musicians as opening acts for each evening’s program. Attendees also have the opportunity to visit the recently-completed new driving range and clubhouse at the park.

This spring, the Park Authority and the Board of Supervisors will be making an important decision regarding the future of Lake Accotink. It is highly likely that voters countywide will have the ability to weigh in at the ballot box this November on the roughly $50 million in bond funding that will be required to save the lake. Currently, the Park Authority is updating the options for the lake based on valuable feedback and suggestions it received from citizens. Lake Accotink has been an integral part of our community for decades, and I hope the community and the Board of Supervisors will support keeping the lake intact.

Public Safety

While the DEA and Fairfax County Police Department hold very successful semiannual drug take back events, twice a year has proven to not be enough. After pushing for a successful pilot program establishing a permanent prescription drug collection box at the West Springfield District Police Station, the County will be expanding this program to additional police stations early this year. This expansion will allow more members of the public to easily rid their medicine cabinets of unused medication, no questions asked, and is another step in addressing the prescription drug public health crisis.

Document Shredding

The County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) hosts a free document shredding event in each magisterial district annually. The event hosted at the West Springfield Government Center has become so popular that DPW has moved this year’s event to the Rolling Valley Park and Ride lot in Burke. It is set for Saturday, April 13 from 7-11 a.m. For the other locations (events are held throughout the year), visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/recycling-trash/document-shredding.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of what is happening in Springfield District in 2019, but some examples of the good things underway in our community. I sincerely appreciate citizens for allowing me to represent them in the Springfield District and wish readers and their families a happy and healthy new year!

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