Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Oakcrest Neighbors Raise Traffic and Safety Concerns

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Oakcrest Neighbors Raise Traffic and Safety Concerns

Three and a half years ago, Oakcrest applied for and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BoS) approved (by just one vote) Special Exception Amendment 2009-DR-008. The community welcomes Oakcrest School to the neighborhood but continues to have significant concerns regarding traffic and safety. Specifics:

  • After three and a half years, construction of the stoplight and turn lanes at the Hunter Mill/Crowell intersection is far from complete and won’t be finished by the opening of the school on Sept. 6. This failing intersection (initially promised to be a roundabout in Oakcrest’s original application) will be under even more severe stress after Labor Day.

  • Oakcrest requested and the BoS approved a contingency plan for this eventuality – which institutes severe restrictions on the number of trips generated by the school during peak hours. We have requested but have not yet received information on how Oakcrest will implement a traffic plan meeting these restrictions until the stop light is operational. We’ll be watching.

  • When asked at the February, 2014 BoS meeting, Oakcrest indicated they would support a traffic policeman stationed at the entrance/exit on Crowell Road. However, the BoS did not codify this as a requirement, and it is unclear whether Oakcrest will provide this safety enhancement.

  • Flashing lights warning of the school zone have been installed – but to my dismay, the lights on the westbound approach to Oakcrest are situated after, not before “dead man’s curve” on Crowell. Oakcrest states the placement was approved by VDOT. Seriously? Drivers will come around the curve at speed and then need to slam on their brakes during school hours to drop to 25 mph? Another environment ripe for accidents. What were Oakcrest and VDOT thinking?

  • The neighborhood meeting stipulated by the BoS to be held prior to the start of school has not been scheduled. Oakcrest states it is waiting for Hunter Mill District Supervisor Catherine Hudgins’ office to schedule. What is she waiting for? The first serious accident at the entrance to Oakcrest will be the fault of Oakcrest and the supervisors (including Supervisor Hudgins) who voted for this bizarre plan – over the more sensible plan originally agreed to by Oakcrest (roundabout at Hunter Mill and Crowell, entrance/exit on Hunter Mill). And the ultimate irony? A year after the February 2014 decision, Fairfax DOT staff reversed themselves (for the second time) and now support a roundabout at this intersection – and have documented this recommendation in the Master Transportation Plan for this corridor. Will chaos and traffic congestion increase after school opens and the stoplight is (finally) activated? If so, let’s remember who brought it on.

Laddie Suk