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Votes

The School System's View

Median prevents left turns in and out of Rocky Run.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) also has problems with the current design of the Stringfellow Road project. And they were explained in detail in a letter written to VDOT liaison Bud Siegel more than a year ago — June 8, 2006 — by Lewis Rauch, director of the school system’s Department of Facilities and Transportation Services.

Rauch stated, for example, that the planned median would prohibit any left turns into or out of Rocky Run Middle School and would force northbound school buses to enter via Poplar Tree Road.

FURTHERMORE, he wrote, it would "result in major relocations of the existing bus loop, kiss-and-ride and parking areas, [plus] the addition of a turn lane to Stringfellow — causing disruption of the operation of the school and using a lot of public funds. This is not an endeavor we would like to undertake."

Yet a year later, VDOT’s plan remains unchanged, and all Siegel would say last week is that Rocky Run’s entrance is "one of the unresolved issues." But Kevin Sneed, FCPS’ director of Design and Construction, said plenty at the July 25 meeting.

"Twenty buses and around 265 cars exit and enter Rocky Run every day," he said. "I think it’ll be very difficult to have a single entrance off Poplar Tree. We’d have to cut extra entrances off Poplar Tree, maybe flip the parking lot and bus loop, or put the kiss-and-ride in the back."

A woman in the audience said, "It’ll be a mess." And Sneed replied, "Yeah, I agree."

Then a man stood up and told Siegel, "We’re not going to lose this entrance! We can’t give up a left-hand turn here — especially for the use of first-responders if, for example, there was a fire or a shooter in the school."

Added Sneed: "We told VDOT to keep it open and asked for a left turn through the median." Siegel then acknowledged the importance of a left turn there and said VDOT planned to meet with Rocky Run’s principal and assistant principal soon.