To the Editor:
My message to VDOT : The proposed bike path along I-66 adds insult to injury for homeowners and communities who already stand to lose from the proposed widening of I-66 by robbing us of an additional 7-10 feet of property. Stenwood Elementary is already slated to suffer major losses of ball fields heavily used by children throughout the year. The bike path takes even more of those fields. I live in Cyrandall Valley townhouses off Blake Lane. We are already slated to lose most of the woods behind my home when the 66 sound wall is pushed much closer to our homes. Many trees will be killed and a fragile natural habitat destroyed. The Fairfax County Park Authority estimates that up to 150 ACRES of trees will be destroyed by the proposed I-66 project.
A bike path inside the wall would mean the destruction of the rest of the trees along the wall not already destroyed by the 66 widening. It would rob us of the few small green spaces we have between us and the wall and in some cases would be a very tight fit to even squeeze the path into our community. And our community land would have to be taken from us for this to occur. Our children currently play in these open areas. Those living as I do right along the wall would go from having a peaceful wooded area where more deer walk through than people to a high traffic of strangers traversing right outside our backyard courtyards.
Safety concerns are obvious. It is bad enough having the incessant racket of 66 traffic brought much closer but losing the little green space and trees standing between our community and the God-awful highway is just too much ! I have not owned a car for over 35 years and only use public transportation and my own two feet to get where I need to go.
I am all for fewer cars - which is why the 66 plans for more asphalt revolt me. And I am all for alternate modes of transport, including bikes. But the cost of a bike path railroaded through the length of I-66 is just too high for communities like mine and kids like those at Stenwood Elementary. Accommodations must be made and appropriate detours and workarounds developed instead of just plowing through folks back yards and precious community green space. There is already an established bike route on Blake Lane right in front of our development.
My neighbor is an avid bicyclist and rides to work frequently. At the VDOT hearing last night he testified against the bike path through Cyrandall Valley as destructive and unnecessary. He cited numerous other trails which he already uses regularly. VDOT should not stand against those like Stenwood and Cyrandall Valley who have a very compelling case against forcing a bike path through them.