West Springfield Village News . . .
From the President - John Cooley - Spring is the busiest time for our Civic Association with several activities and events. And the need for volunteers is greatest during spring activities. Even so, we now operate with a fraction of the volunteer hours we needed before. I am thankful for the small pool of volunteers who do a lot for the village, but we need to replace many of them. So, I’ll start off by asking for you to help with the yard sale, community cleanup, Memorial Day activities and at our May meeting. You can learn more in related articles below. We have been very successful as a voluntary Civic Association for a variety of reasons, but mostly because many of your neighbors are willing to help make this a good community and to keep it that way. Please join them.
Most of the coordination for these activities are done via email and enews. If you aren’t receiving the Thursday enews, send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your email address.
We also have the West Springfield Village Facebook group that is a quick and efficient means of alerting the neighborhood. If you aren’t one of the 339 members of that group, please do join it. And, we and the Fairfax County Police expanded our reach using NextDoor. I recommend that all join the NextDoor, if for no other reason than to stay in touch with police activities and initiatives. We publish the Village Crier three times each year; the next one will be late September/early October.
And we maintain a Village website (www.westspringfieldvillage.org) where you can find go‑to‑contractors, Association documents and photos. You may not use it as often as we’d like, but those wanting to buy or rent in our area certainly do.
The biggest challenge we’ll face in the foreseeable future will be the widening of Rolling Road. The intent is to add capacity to Rolling; assuming the current traffic volume is near max capacity and future traffic volume will exceed its capacity.
This reminds me of a famous movie where the line “If you build it, they will come” was featured several times as Kevin Costner built a baseball field for the spirits of the legends of the game. Anyhow, we’ll dedicate a lot of this Crier to Rolling Road hoping all will be fully aware of what will soon happen to our quality of life.
Rolling Road Widening Project ‑ The planned project to widen Rolling Road (RR) to 4 lanes, 2 northbound (NB) and 2 southbound (SB) with a 16-foot raised median and left-turn lanes will probably happen this time. It had been first introduced in the late 1980's and shelved only to be restarted twice more only to be shelved again due to lack of funding or priority. It is on again and with good financial footing. In addition to the road design, 3-foot biking lanes (NB & SB) and 10-foot curbside parking lanes are also being considered and may still be included in the eventual plan. A 5- to 8-foot asphalt, multi‑modal path was to be put on the west side of RR and extend all the way to Old Keene Mill Road. On the eastern side of RR, a standard 5-foot concrete sidewalk was to be installed and still may be. VDOT is attempting to fund this project without reliance on Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) money so it will be exempted from more strict standards such as lane width. Without FHWA involvement, VDOT can use 11-foot lanes as opposed to the federal standard of 12. For over 20 years now, we have been faced with a couple of choices: 1) convince our elected officials that widening RR should not happen since it will not increase traffic flow, capacity maybe, but not the flow due to restricted traffic at the intersection of Rolling and Old Keene Mill roads. Or, 2) attempt to ameliorate the damages from the project before, during and after it is completed. But, if we stop the project, we’ll never see it again.
Up to this point, we (Civic Association of West Springfield Village) have taken a third approach by asking VDOT to delay long enough to complete three smaller projects and then count the cars to decide if the road really needs to be widened. First – install another traffic light on RR to segment NB traffic; that is now done and operational at Rolling Road and Hunter Village Drive. Second, wait until that second on‑ramp is completed from RR / Parkway onto westbound (WB) Parkway; that will be completed soon. And third, we believe that if the intersection at RR & OKM Roads has any chance of handling additional traffic, another left turn lane from NB RR onto WB OKM Road has to be completed. That may or may not be in the current redesign, but we still believe it should be completed and then survey the traffic to see if whatever gains the widened road bed will offer outweigh the costs to those who will lose property to the project.
Justification for the project was the assumption that according to VDOT, RR was/is at or very near full capacity and by connecting the two segments of the Fairfax County Parkway and the opening of the new National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) – traffic volume would surpass its capacity. Therefore, it needed to be widened to accept that increased traffic volume. VDOT says we now have between 18,000 and 21,000 vehicles on this section of RR per day and, in my opinion, that is manageable. Yes, it gets backed up during rush hour traffic, but no more than most roads in the area.
But will additional capacity and volume add to the rush hour backups? The intersection at RR & OKM Roads is the restrictor. Drivers wanting to continue north toward West Springfield High School now queue up in existing two lanes from the intersection back to south of the entrance to the Sunoco Station. That is often all that can make it through one traffic light cycle.
Simply adding more cars to the queue will not mean more will be able to get through on one light cycle. And, given that OKM road is at full capacity during rush hours, changing the timing of the light won’t address the issues.
We continue to push for that third project to be completed to see if it, along with the other two smaller projects, will be all that is required for RR.
But if they go ahead – and it appears they will – VDOT believes they have most property right‑of‑way needed for the final design. They own the utility easement which is about 7.5 feet from curb to just inside sidewalk. That will become road bed and the utilities easement will have to move back toward homes. How far back? At least 7.5 feet, more if the multi‑modal path is wider than 5 feet. On average, the curb will be moved at least back to where the mailboxes are now and possibly more if the biking and parking lanes are included in the project. On top of the new utility easement, most homes will give up another 5 to 10 percent of their front yards for a temporary construction easement. Some residents may not be able to park any cars in their driveway during construction and certainly less than now after it is completed.
The current redesign is the 4th iteration of the plan, each costing $3 ‑ $5.0 million for preliminary engineering, environmental impact studies, traffic counts and consulting. It is now expected to cost $35.2 million. Money had been the issue before in shelving the project, but now $25.6 million of the expected project cost of $35.2 million is in hand. The balance is expected from FY18 to FY21. The preliminary engineering and redesign is ongoing, but close enough to commence Public Information Meetings this June and Public Hearings soon afterwards. Right‑of‑way acquisitions are planned to begin in FY17 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) and will take a couple years. And then construction starts in FY19. It had been forecasted as an 18-month project, but we’re not sure what the newest redesign will take to complete, especially if adding a second left-turn lane at RR & OKM Road.
VDOT had planned to widen the road in phases to ensure at least one northbound lane and one southbound lane will be open throughout. Again, we’re sure what they’ll do with the new plans. In each of the public hearings on previous plans, the input was mixed, depending on which side of the intersection of RR & OKM Road you live.
Those who live and commute from north of the intersection of Old Keene Mill (OKM) Road are excited to have it widened to 4 lanes, thinking it would ease their commute. And, it may actually help the southbound traffic during morning commutes toward the Parkway and Fort Belvoir. But, as discussed above, I doubt it will do much for the evening northbound commute.
Those who live south of OKM Road and north of the Parkway are a bit more wary of this project for the impact it will have on their quality of life before, during and after the project. Most are convinced that the roadbed does not exceed capacity except during rush hour commuting. We are skeptical that adding additional traffic on RR will improve the flow of traffic due to expected restrictions at the intersection of RR & OKM Roads.
We also submitted the following requests and issues with the proposed project:
* A stakeholders-only meeting with VDOT and our elected officials to discuss the project and options such as biking lanes, curbside parking. It is difficult for those most affected by this project to be heard at Public Information Meetings or at Public Hearings.
* A simple, uncluttered map that each RR homeowner can see how much of their yard will be taken for this project and how much more will be taken as a construction easement. The project designs plans are hard for engineers to understand and do not adequately illustrate the amount of property to be acquired for this project.
* Speed limit - we have 57 homes that front Rolling Road and several side streets that feed Rolling Road. Even if you widen it, it still has to be considered a residential street for safety and the speed limit remain at 30 MPH, knowing that drivers will speed upwards of 40 MPH.
* Restrict Oversized and Hazmat Traffic - We now have larger trucks using Rolling Road to access the Parkway, Highway 1 and I‑95. Local deliveries are ok, but it is being used now for more than local deliveries. Granted this is an enforcement issue, but the close proximity of homes along RR clearly mandate no hazmat truck traffic other than fuel for local service stations.
* Retain the traffic light at Barnack Drive and Rolling Road. That light is invaluable to the safety of our Rolling Valley Elementary School children and often the only way of turning left onto NB Rolling Road traffic during evening rush hour traffic. For the sake of moving traffic, that light can be switched to a blinking, warning light during hours when school buses aren’t turning onto Barnack Drive or from Barnack onto Rolling Road.
* Storm Water Management - the west side of Rolling feeds into a 39-inch conduit that now blows SWD intake boxes and sidewalk out of the ground at Landor Lane & Vancouver Road. It can’t take on more storm water drainage.
* Curbside Parking or Double Wide Driveways - This should be addressed only to those with property that front Rolling Road. But they should have input before the project plan is updated. If a double wide driveway apron is factored into the design, each will have the option of widening their driveway.
* Biking Lanes - Let them use the multi‑modal path instead of taking more property for putting the biking lanes on the actual road bed.
* How can we turn left from side streets onto Rolling Road? Getting across one lane of traffic to wait to enter the opposite lane is difficult and dangerous at best; what will it be with two lanes travelling in both directions? This holds even more concern for school buses or other long vehicles. This will be even more of an issue for Kenwood Oaks and Rhygate subdivisions.
* 16-foot raised median or continuous turn lane - which would cause less encroachment on Rolling Road home lots? Would the continuous middle turn lane give a safe harbor for school buses attempting left turns onto RR?
* Bury the utility cables - The overhead cables are unsightly and will be even more so when moved back closer to Rolling Road front doors. However, the additional capacity on the road should still merit street lights.
The project has the support of our Springfield District Supervisor, Pat Herrity, and our Delegate to the Virginia Assembly, Dave Albo. When it fell off the Fairfax County Transportation Authority’s list of priority projects, Herrity and Albo lobbied to put it back on and to move ahead as soon as possible. But what if those three, less expensive projects resolve the rush hour traffic backups; why then widen Rolling Road?
I co‑signed a letter to VDOT, FCDOT, Supervisor Herrity and Delegate Albo. You can find that letter and Albo’s response at our website (www.westspringfieldvillage.org).
Whether you want to stop this project or ameliorate the damages, send your comments about this project to meeting_comments@VDOT.virginia.gov. Be sure to put “UPC5559 Rolling Road” in the subject line of the email. And then attend the Public Information Meetings and Public Hearings. Remember that for every comment we make, several more will be made by those wanting Rolling Road from Old Keene Mill Road to the Parkway widened as soon as possible.
Village Meeting - Thursday, May 12, 7:30 to no later than 9:00 p.m. in the Library at Rolling Valley Elementary School. We only meet twice each year. The spring meeting is to determine the membership dues for the following year and ideally to catch up on big ticket items such as the Rolling Road project.
Community Yard Sale - Saturday, May 14, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.;, however, you can expect first customers at/about 6:30 - 7:00 a.m. If needed, the rain date for the yard sale is the following Saturday, May 21. In advance of the yard sale, send me your intent to participate, your street address and a general category of items you want to sell. Spice up that list to motivate buyers to come to you. A few days before the 14th, we’ll prepare a list of participants by address and category of items and attach that to a map of the village. We’ll make copies for each participating address that can be provided to your customers to help guide them to the next sale location. Your Civic Association will advertise in the Washington Post and will post Yard Sale signs. We can’t post signs in the median of Rolling Road anymore – including the strip between the curb and sidewalk – so I’m asking your permission to post in your Rolling Road yards just inside the sidewalk.
Those corner lot homes are good places to place a sign to direct buyers left and/or right to other Village addresses. I am not as concerned about posting signs in the verge on side streets, but do ask that all of the yard sale signs stay in place so we can pick them up again after the sale. You should plan on putting a sign where customers have to make the last turn to get to your home.
Village West Pool President Jason Henry has offered the pool parking lot for those who may want to set up there for the sale. We had hoped that someone would volunteer to occupy a stand to sale stuff from their home. Are you interested in that type of consignment sale?
Free for All - With the extra, yard‑sale traffic, we’ve found that it is a good time to also give away things to anyone who happens by and wants what you put out curbside with a large FREE sign posted on it. Be sure to separate free items from what you don’t want to give away.
The Yard Sale and Free for All work very well, but we do need a coordinator and a few volunteers to help distribute the lists of participants, to place the signs and to pick them up once we’re finished. All in our Village are invited to participate in the yard sale – even those who did not join our Civic Association.
Community Cleanup - Saturday, June 4, from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon. This is a great way to get rid of larger items that would cost you upwards of $50 for curbside collection by your trash service. Bring that old grill, lawn mower, mattress, recliner, appliances, etc. to Rolling Valley parking lot for collection at no charge for Civic Association members. Drain fuel and oil out of gas‑operated lawn mowers and other gas‑powered tools. Rock, brick, mortar and ceramic type items are prohibited as are hazardous materials, tree stumps and basically anything that can’t be recycled or burned. Those who aren’t members of our CA will pay $10.00 for this service, but comes with membership in our Civic Association for the rest of this membership year. New neighbors who arrived the Village after Nov. 1, 2015, receive free, full voting rights including the cleanup, but we ask that you complete the membership form for our records.
Fairfax County’s Solid Waste Department will position their trucks and the Jaws of Junk (a truck mounted crane with bucket jaws) to load your offerings. If nothing else, stop by with your children to see the Jaws of Junk in operation. We hope to have someone volunteer with a pickup and crew to make curbside collections for those who need help getting their junk to the collection site. Please notify me (email@example.com) if you will need help getting your junk to the school parking lot. If you have friends in the Rolling Valley subdivision, they are also invited to use this service, but will need to be a member of our CA or join at the site. Look for updates to this invaluable service in the enews. And, we need volunteers.
Last Chance Corral - If your junk still has useful life, we put it into the Last Chance Corral that will be the first stop as you enter the parking lot. Anything left in the LCC is free to anyone wanting those items, Village residents and non‑residents alike. At 12:00 noon we give anything still in the LCC to the Jaws of Junk.
Memorial Day Weekend Parade, Pool Party and Barbeque - May 28, co‑hosted by the Village West Pool. A patriotic-theme parade starts at 1:00 p.m. from the Rolling Valley ES parking lot. We’ll parade (walk slowly) down Barnack Drive to the pool on Elkton. The pool is open free of charge for all Village residents and you’ll be able to eat and drink during breaks from swimming. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs and other grilled foods will be sold at a modest prices for the benefit of the pool. Your Civic Association will provide free drinks, chips and some cookies and dessert items. We ask that you bring a side dish to complement the grilled items – such as potato salad, baked beans, a dessert or fruit to share with others. This has been a huge success in past years and I expect this year will be the same. We will need folks to post at each intersection along Barnack to keep uniformed drivers from disrupting the parade. We will close Barnack to vehicular traffic starting at 12:55 p.m. until 1:40 p.m. from the intersection of Harland down to the intersection of Elkton for the safety of those in the parade.
Please plan accordingly. We normally put a vehicle in front and one in the rear, but tell your kids to stay behind the lead vehicle and in front of the trail vehicle for their safety. Intersection guard volunteers are needed at intersections along Barnack at 1) Harland, 2) Wythe, 3) Vancouver, 4) Loudoun, 5) Smyth and 6) Elkton. Ideally, those who live close to those intersections will volunteer for to be road guards.
Slower groups will be asked to move to the sidewalk for their safety soon after the lead vehicle gets to Elkton. Refreshments along the parade are always a big hit with the kids, especially watermelon.
It’s good family fun and a relaxing format to give thanks to those in military service, those who have served our country and the families who have endured deployments. Help is needed to make this a safe event. Please don’t assume others will step up. Come help set up at 12:00 noon. Meet at the pool pavilion. Let me (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you will help set up, clean up or serve as a road guard.
Ultimate Frisbee - We have a celebrity living in our Village. She is Sarah Itoh and her boyfriend, Anthony Rabbani (Ontario), both are ultimate athletes. Sarah is actually on the U.S. National Mixed Team and will compete in London this year. She hopes to run clinics for local kids soon. If you want to learn more, contact Sarah at email@example.com. We ran a long version of her story in recent enews; let me (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you want a copy of that article.
Welcome Webmaster Bob Havey - Bob is also our resident computer whisperer and owner/operator of D2D Computer Services. His ad is in our directory, but we’re thankful he was willing to replace Russ Hilliard in this critical role.
Home‑building Trip Fundraiser - My name is Elaine Porter and my family and I (5 of us) will be travelling to Mexico this summer on a home‑building effort to build basic housing for needy and homeless families. To raise the funds necessary for this trip, I will be selling my "neighborhood‑famous" baklava! You may order by the piece (triangle shape with 3" height and 2" base) for $2 or a whole tray of 32 pieces for only $60 (a savings of $4!). My baklava is made with approximately 1 pound of walnuts, so you will not
be asking, "Where's the nuts?" For detail ingredients or to place your order today, please
email me at email@example.com or text me at (703) 470‑9992 and tell me:
1) How much baklava you want to order
2) When do you want/need it
3) How would you like it packaged (a slight additional charge may be necessary if baking cups are requested)
Civic Association of West Springfield Village
Post Office Box 2204
Springfield, VA 22152