Before getting to the news, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge, with the deepest of gratitude, the many condolences I have received from friends and subscribers alike. My father lived a long, happy, and productive life and now he rests in peace. Hasta el encuentro.
My mother, who is recovering from three successive strokes inside of five weeks, is hanging tough and is now able to eat solid food and walk with her walker at a rehab center.
Virginia to protect facilitate election vote
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam stated, “We will protect public health and ensure Virginians can safely exercise their right to vote in the November election.” Emphasizing the use of absentee ballots Northam proposed the following action and budget items:
- $2 million set aside for prepaid return postage on all absentee ballots sent out for the Nov. 3 general election.
- Localities will be permitted to use drop boxes or implement drop-off locations for residents who choose to vote absentee, under security standards to be set by the Virginia Department of Elections.
- Absentee cure process whereby Virginians’ voting rights are protected by allowing them to fix an error on their absentee ballot.
Restrictions of “chronic” phase of pandemic
As we move into the Chronic Phase of the Covid-19 pandemic Virginia authorities warn targeted restrictions may be needed to keep the virus contained. In Arlington County, for instance, pedestrians will be fined $100 if they do not maintain six feet of social distancing on streets and sidewalks. In Fairfax County, contingency plans include reinstating some of the previous restrictions in selected venues such as bars, restaurants, and shopping malls, if infection numbers inch upwards.
The pandemic has reshaped our commute
Infrastructure engineering firm AECOM produced a report that projects that the area’s Covid-related transportation changes will remain beyond the pandemic’s stay. They estimate that vehicle miles traveled by area commuters in 2025 will have decreased at the same time that transit ridership will decrease. The changes will effectively translate into Northern Virginians spending 31% less time traveling in 2025 than they might have before the pandemic. How this will affect infrastructure projects, the creation of jobs, and the economy, in general, is not clear.
South County Site-specific Plan amendments
The vote on one part of the plan has been postponed due to neighborhood opposition. The Hilltop Village Center project, construction to be built in that mound of land beyond the parking lot by Wegmans, drew opposition from residents of several neighboring communities and from Fort Belvoir for security reasons.
- The Fairfax County School Board has posted its reopening plan, affecting all schools in Lee District, here.
- The Fairfax County Chief of Police provided a special message related to the issues brought to the fore by the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Lee District Supervisor, Rodney Lusk, held a virtual listening meeting on police issues a recording of which you can reach here.
Energy, Internet, Transportation
- Virginia will build a new rail bridge over the Potomac River connecting Arlington and the District to significantly expand commuter and passenger train service over the next decade. The new two-track span will be constructed alongside the Long Bridge and will allow a 75% increase in the frequency of Virginia Rail Express commuter trains and a doubling of Amtrak service between the District and Richmond including the intervening stations that serve Lee District. The bridge will be built as early as 2027.
- Virginia Railway plans an extension at the Franconia-Springfield station adjacent to the Franconia-Springfield metro station. This work is planned for 2021.
- The Virginia Department of Transportation and Fairfax County Department of Transportation, have approximately 20 land-use improvement projects planned or active in our district.
- Those projects in the southern part of the county. (here’s an article about them) include:
- Telegraph Road at Hayfield Road—Provide an additional northbound through lane on Telegraph Road through the signalized intersection with Hayfield Road to reduce congestion and improve safety—the project is underway.
- Construct trail at Browne Academy from Edgehill Court to Dewey Drive—the project is awaiting funding.
- Springfield CBC Commuter Parking Garage Facility includes transit center, commuter parking, carpool, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, public amenities, and a pedestrian bridge over Old Keene Mill Road—waiting for final VDOT and Federal approval.
- For the latest information on Covid-19 in Fairfax County visit the county health department dashboard on the pandemic.
- Local Lee District residents were surveyed by Patch.com, nextdoor.com, and several other local communications sites and services, trying to ascertain what additional businesses residents want to see established in our district? The answers: 73% want more restaurants while 19% want more small businesses in general.
- The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, in affirming their support for Black Lives Matter also announced the establishment of a Task Force on Equity and Opportunity, whose mandate will include ensuring that equity and opportunity exist in the implementation of the county’s long-term strategic plan’s nine priority areas: Cultural and Recreational Opportunities, Economic Opportunity, Effective and Efficient Government, Empowerment and Support for Residents Facing Vulnerability, Health and Environment, Housing and Neighborhood Livability, Lifelong Education and Learning, Mobility and Transportation, Safety and Security.
- See Fairfax County’s newest demographics data dashboards for each district.
- Fairfax County government is asking residents to keep an eye out for the Asian Longhorned Beetle an invasive pest that has the potential to destroy hardwood forests and residential landscape trees. “Early detection and reporting is critical to its containment,” we are told.