Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Strongly Opposed to Pedestrian Underpass in Mount Vernon

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Strongly Opposed to Pedestrian Underpass in Mount Vernon

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) endorsed the design plans for Richmond Highway from Jeff Todd Way to Napper Road on July 30 that included two pedestrian underpasses: Dogue Creek and Little Hunting Creek. Gum Springs did not object to the new bridge for Little Hunting Creek but strongly opposed the inclusion of a pedestrian underpass.

Gum Springs opposed the pedestrian underpass for safety and maintenance concerns. Those concerns included:

  • limited or lack of resources (people and funding) needed to ensure the safety of pedestrians;
  • illicit activities such as temporary shelter for homeless individuals, drug use, muggings, child molestation, graffiti;
  • maintenance concerns to include drainage and flooding issues (snow, ice and rain), trash, litter; and
  • unsanitary because it could be used as an open port-a-john.

VDOT has acknowledged that there is a problem with flooding. So, if VDOT is aware that pedestrians will not be allowed to use the underpass because of weather-related events, flooding and other safety reasons, why build an entrance for pedestrians?

Another concern is the need for expanded or Increased police patrol. Certain activities we now see above ground will now be underground-away from prying eyes.

Supervisor Dan Storck considered the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations’ (MVCCA) resolution that supported the pedestrian underpass as a part of his support and endorsement for the design plans. Gum Springs voted to not support the Little Hunting Creek pedestrian underpass on April 9, 2019 but waited for the outcome of the April 24, 2019 MVCCA vote prior to transmitting its comments to VDOT.

The MVCCA resolution was defeated during its April 24, 2019 meeting. Gum Springs submitted its written opposition to the pedestrian underpass to VDOT on April 24, 2019 with reference to the MVCCA defeated resolution.

The defeated resolution astonished not only the MVCCA co-chairs and MVCCA Transportation Committee chair; but also, state Sen. Scott Surovell. The MVCCA co-chairs refused to transmit the defeated resolution by the April 26, 2019 deadline date established by VDOT. Instead, with the assistance of state Sen. Scott Surovell, the MVCCA Transportation Committee rewrote the resolution. When the Gum Springs MVCCA transportation representative asked members of the MVCCA Transportation Committee to raise their hands if they intended to use the pedestrian underpass, none were raised.

The MVCCA passed its revised resolution on May 22, 2019 and transmitted the revised resolution to Supervisor Storck on June 13, 2019. The MVCCA further compromised its integrity and what and who it represents by not transmitting the May 22, 2019 revised resolution that was presented and voted on by MVCCA members. The MVCCA Transportation Committee chair and/or MVCCA co-chairs transmitted a different revised resolution.

The use of the Little Hunting Creek pedestrian underpass may be at the same (low) level of usage as the bike lane to nowhere implemented by FCDOT and VDOT that Gum Springs opposed.

Queenie Cox


New Gum Springs Civic Association