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Letter: Questioning Bus Route 432

An open letter to Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) and Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman.

To the Editor:

I just received an email regarding the proposed Bus route 432 that will come through Old Courthouse Road to Trap then Wolf Trap.

  1. I am very surprised by this proposal of a "park and ride" route for the Silver line. I went to the Planning Commission meetings from 2009 to 2011 on Comprehensive Plan for Tysons re-development. This concept of "park and ride" and our community, specifically Old Courthouse Road, were not part of Tysons re-development. I believe it is misleading or even a misrepresentation for Fairfax County to advertise, promote, market to the public the whole concept of "imagine people not cars" when it will be bringing and routing more buses in the surrounding communities of Tysons. Is this the result of poor planning? Poor design?
  2. On May 6, 2011, I spoke with Mr. Randall White from Countywide Transit Services Coordinator, Transit Services Division, at Fairfax County Department of Transportation. During this conversation, he said that Old Courthouse Road is not a good bus route, he "added several more concerns to that list based on recent observations of field conditions." Mr. White also stated missing infrastructure, geological (yes, this community sits on a large slab of stone so when a FEDEX truck passes by, the entire house shakes) as well as sight distance issues on the curve going down the hill from Gosnell, which has a blind spot (dog leg right) before the intersection of Old Courthouse Road and Westbriar Court/Road. Another is the upward hill/curve on Old Courthouse Road and Creek Crossing.
  3. Our community has started and is pursuing VDOT's Safe Routes to School, a federally-funded, state conducted program to bring safety to children who walk and bike to Westbriar ES, at the same time reinforcing healthy habits to battle obesity. I have already spoken with SRTS coordinator Robert Williams in Richmond. Research shows traffic pollution has adverse effects on public health specifically on children, elderly, and people with pulmonary, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases.

Below is an excerpt from Safe Routes to School and Traffic Pollution, Get Children Moving and Reduce Exposure to Unhealthy Air, published in June 2012, page 6:

a. "Common types of traffic pollution include particle pollution, such as fine and ultrafine particulate matter; nitrogen oxides (NOx); hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), including carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); carbon monoxide (CO); and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition, two of these types of traffic pollutants, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, produce ozone (O3) when they mix in the presence of sunlight. [See page 8 for additional information.] Results of scientific studies have shown that short- and long-term exposure to these emissions may cause adverse health effects, particularly in sensitive populations, such as children, the elderly, low-income populations and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions including asthma or cardiovascular disease."

I do not want my family as well as children and families of this community to be breathing carcinogens from traffic pollution resulting from additional traffic.

Lastly, I am challenging all of our elected officials to join me in investing in the safety, health, and wellbeing of the families, specifically children, in this community. Help Vienna BAC transform Vienna to a bike and pedestrian friendly community by making common sense improvements around Westbriar ES, i.e., completing missing sidewalks, adding speed tables, improving signage, and creating more visible crosswalks that prevents injuries and saves lives."

If we can make it safe for children to be able to walk or bike anywhere, research show that it benefits their health and overall performance in school, their minds are more open to absorb and learn more.

My goal for the May 4 WOD Safety and Bike Rodeo is to have 200 children attend the Bike Rodeo (70 in 2012) and provide them with 200 free bike helmets by raising the money through sponsoring businesses—I have six very enthusiastic small as well as large businesses so far that are on board and I plan to add more. I am extending this challenge to all the elected officials on this list—what is your contribution to our children’s future—the health, safety, and wellbeing of the children in this community?

P.S.—I would like to see the data research which shows traffic volume will decrease when the Silver Metro is constructed. What is the anticipated workforce and demographics of the 100,000 people living and working in Tysons? What is the cost of housing for each of these segment markets?

Cris Janoski

16-year resident of Old Courthouse Road

The writer is a member of Healthy Kids Steering Committee, Safe Kids Worldwide, Safe Kids Partnership, a CTCOCR Committee member, and on the Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee.