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Optical speed bars intended to slow down drivers have been installed on Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Station (via Pat Herrity/Twitter)

Calls for safety improvements on Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Station have resurfaced in the wake of last week’s car crash that killed two teens and put a third in the hospital.

As an online petition urging Fairfax County to prioritize regular maintenance and new safety features surpassed 12,000 signatures, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity — who represents the area — met with state and county transportation staff to discuss short, mid and long-term options for addressing long-standing safety concerns.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and Del. Kathy Tran (D-42) also attended the meeting yesterday (Wednesday).

“Both VDOT and County staff came to the meeting with ideas for improving the safety of the road and will be working to address the feasibility and timing of these potential improvements including those recommended by residents,” Herrity tweeted, adding that another meeting will be held next week.

A key connection between Lorton via Route 123 and the Burke/Fairfax Station area, Lee Chapel Road has been the site of 243 vehicle crashes since 2011, resulting in 148 injuries and two deaths, according to state data.

That includes the fatal Jan. 10 crash, where a sedan veered off the road while going over a hill approaching the Fairfax County Parkway intersection, according to police. The crash killed 16-year-old South County High School students Ariana Haftsavar and Ashlyn Brotemarkle, who were identified publicly by family and friends.

Started by classmates of Ariana and Ashlyn, the petition says local residents have been questioning the road’s safety for years, noting that a 19-year-old died in a crash at the same intersection in 2015.

“The solution for this conflict is to keep the road maintained regularly by doing something big like putting in safety features to something small like filling in potholes,” the petition says. “Safety features include signs that blink when you are to slow down at turns, road lights, safety signs before the road starts, and guardrails.”

After the last week’s crash, the Virginia Department of Transportation added “optical speed bars” on the road last Friday (Jan. 13). The striped markings are thought to reduce speeds on curves with an optical illusion that makes drivers aware of how fast they’re going.

“We are saddened to hear of the loss of two of our community members,” VDOT said in a statement. “As is customary, we allow time for the police department to fully investigate the crash to determine the facts, circumstances, and cause. Once we receive the finalized police report, our Traffic Engineering group will perform a safety review of the location.” Read More

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Northbound Lee Chapel Road approaching Fairfax County Parkway (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 5:35 p.m.) Two people died and one person was critically injured when a Lexus ran off Lee Chapel Road near Fairfax County Parkway in Fairfax Station last night, police say.

(Correction: This article originally described the crash as being in Burke, but it occurred on the Fairfax Station side of Fairfax County Parkway.)

The sedan had three occupants — all female teenagers — when it “crested a hill” while traveling north in the 7400 block of Lee Chapel Road shortly before 9:30 p.m., the Fairfax County Police Department reported today (Wednesday).

“The driver lost control, left the roadway and the vehicle came to rest on its roof,” police said.

An emergency crash notification went out to dispatchers at 9:26 p.m. Officers who searched the area found a 2019 Lexus IS350 off of the road.

Fire and rescue personnel pulled one teen out of the vehicle who was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, but two other teens died at the scene.

The FCPD says its detectives believe preliminarily that the car may have been speeding when it crashed. Lee Chapel Road has a speed limit of 40 mph.

“Alcohol was not a factor in the crash,” the department said.

This is the first fatal crash that the FCPD has reported this year. In a year traffic fatalities spiked across the D.C. area, Fairfax County saw 63 people, including at least 30 pedestrians, killed in 2022 — the most of any year since 2010, according to state data.

Photo via Google Maps

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Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) A man was struck by a bus and killed on Fairfax County Parkway this afternoon, Fairfax County police say.

Police say a preliminary investigation indicates that the man “intentionally jumped in front of a vehicle” at the Old Keene Mill Road intersection in Burke. The call for service went out at 1:48 p.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The road has been closed from Old Keene Mill to Burke Lake Road to the north. Traffic backups extend for approximately 1 mile, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic information site.

The FCPD confirmed to FFXnow that the vehicle was a bus, but not a school bus.

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Farmers market (via Fairfax County)

While the onset of winter usually heralds the end of farmers markets, Fairfax County announced last week that three markets around the county will brave the chill to continue into December.

“The Fairfax County Farmers Markets have extended the season at three popular market locations,” the Fairfax County Park Authority said in a release. “The Reston Farmers Market will remain open until Dec. 3, 2022; the Burke Farmers Market is open until Dec. 17, 2022; and the McCutcheon/Mt. Vernon Farmers Market will be open until Dec. 21, 2022.”

Along with the extended season, some of the markets will be getting a handful of new vendors and new wintery items typically not available in the other seasons.

“Our farmers and producers will continue to bring an abundance of winter squash, greens, apples, potatoes, fresh-baked breads, locally raised meats, and unique prepared foods,” the release said. “Extended season vendors will bring new products, such as macaroons, bagels, kombucha, Moroccan sauces and more. Be sure to visit Burke, Reston and McCutcheon/Mt. Vernon to support your favorite vendors through the season, and to welcome our new vendors.”

The farmers markets with extended hours are:

  • Burke (5671 Roberts Parkway): April 16-Dec. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon
  • Reston (1609-A Washington Plaza): April 30-Dec. 3, from 8 a.m. to noon
  • McCutcheon/Mount Vernon (2501 Sherwood Hall Lane): April 20-Dec. 21, from 8 a.m. to noon

Customers and vendors had requested a continuation into December for the Mount Vernon market — typically the last one to close just before Thanksgiving, according to Park Authority spokesperson Judith Pedersen.

The Burke and Reston markets were also chosen for extensions, because they’re held on Saturdays, are the park authority’s largest, and “have vendors with enough products and product mix to sustain a vibrant market,” Pedersen told FFXnow.

“Unfortunately, the weather is too unpredictable to extend through the winter,” she said. “However, all vendors from the other markets are invited to participate in the extended season at these markets if they have product to sell.”

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Springfield District School Board Representative Laura Jane Cohen is running for Virginia’s newly created 15th House District (via Laura Jane Cohen)

A current Fairfax County School Board member is running for the newly created 15th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Laura Jane Cohen announced her candidacy yesterday — a day after Election Day. Her announcement couched her candidacy as an effort to stand up to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the “far right,” citing a desire to defend public education, reproductive freedom, voting rights and gun violence prevention.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to live, work, and raise my children here and I am excited to begin this journey to represent this amazing community in the Virginia House of Delegates,” Cohen wrote in a statement. “In my time on the School Board I’ve had the opportunity to prove my grit and resolve in protecting and fighting for our families and I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving our community and our Commonwealth.”

Cohen was elected to represent the Springfield District on the school board in 2019, unseating two-term Republican incumbent Elizabeth Schultz, who now serves as assistant superintendent of public instruction in Youngkin’s administration.

A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in political science, she moved to Fairfax County in 2001, when she worked as an advocate on Capitol Hill for national nonprofit disease organizations.

At the time, she was the director of outreach for a national Parkinson’s nonprofit organization, according to Fairfax County Public Schools. She then worked as a preschool teacher after having two kids and later joined FCPS as a long-term substitute. She also ran a small business in Clifton before joining the school board.

While on the school board, Cohen has said she’s faced threats and harassment, particularly when she talks about gun violence prevention and her support for the LGTBQ community. A recall petition filed against her by the Open FCPS Coalition, which opposed school closures due to COVID-19, was dismissed in February.

The new 15th House District is one of three created by the Virginia Redistricting Commission last year and includes Burke and parts of Fairfax. It incorporates portions of the Springfield and Braddock magisterial districts.

No other candidates have formally declared their candidacy for the new district.

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Updated at 5:45 p.m.The gas leak in Vienna was stopped around 1:30 p.m., the county fire department said. The cutoff caused an outage for seven customers, who are now in the process of being reconnected, according to Washington Gas.

Earlier: Fairfax County firefighters are currently responding to two separate gas leaks in residential neighborhoods, one in the Town of Vienna and another in Burke.

In Vienna, portions of Tapawingo Road and Park Street have been closed to traffic, as crews shut down a gas leak from a 2-inch pipeline in the 100 block of Tapawingo Road SE. As of 12:30 p.m., the leak has been stabilized, but firefighters from the county and town are waiting for Washington Gas to arrive.

Firefighters are also in Burke to address a different, active gas leak in the 9600 block of Bronte Drive. All nearby houses are safe, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said.

In both cases, the leak was caused by workers hitting a pipeline, according to the fire department.

The department said it doesn’t currently have information about what the workers were doing or estimates for when repairs will be completed.

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Morning Notes

People watch fireworks at Vienna’s 2022 Fourth of July celebration (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Springfield Motorcyclist Dies After Burke Crash — Becoming the sixth non-pedestrian killed in a vehicle crash this year, Nema Mirsaeedi, 31, of Springfield died yesterday after being thrown from his motorcycle in a crash with a car attempting to turn into a shopping center on Burke Center Parkway. The crash occurred at 6:39 p.m. on Sunday (July 3) and remains under investigation. [FCPD]

County Responds to Supreme Court Security Request — “Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley originally penned the letter, asking that state and local law enforce their respective picketing laws near the homes of Supreme Court justices…Fairfax County officials say they already received the letter and that their stance remained unchanged.” [WTOP]

FCPS Officially Has New Superintendent — “Michelle Reid, Ed.D. was sworn in as the superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools on Thursday, June 30, at Luther Jackson Middle School. Her term begins Friday, July 1. ‘It’s important for me to remember that learning happens best in community, and this is an amazing community,’ said Dr. Reid.” [FCPS]

Hiker Injured Falling Off Great Falls Ledge — “On Saturday, at 2:31 p.m., units were dispatched to 9200 Old Dominion Drive for an injured hiker. Hiker fell 40 feet down a steep rocky ledge. Crews fully immobilized and carried person out via stokes basket to Fairfax County Police Department helicopter. Transported with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.” [FCFRD/Facebook]

Fairfax History Commission Seeks More Resources — “Commission Chairman Cheryl Repetti, who delivered the group’s annual report to the Board of Supervisors June 28, asked supervisors to finance a full-time staff member and allot extra county staff hours to help fulfill the board’s requests of the commission.” [Sun Gazette]

South Lakes HS Stadium Closed — “Hey Seahawks…Our stadium is CLOSED while we make some improvements to it. The turf is being replaced & the bleachers are getting a minor upgrade. Should take a month. Thanks for your patience.” [South Lakes Athletics & Activities/Twitter]

Longtime McLean Postal Workers Retire — “[Scott] Arnold and his best friend in the Postal Service, Rob Receveur, both had served McLean for years, and this past week, both were celebrated as they hung up their mailbags…It’s hard to quantify Arnold’s legacy, but you can sense his effect by how the neighborhood’s residents have shifted their lives to remain close to him.” [The Washington Post]

Firefighter Adopts Rescued Kitten — “May 28, Tower 424 and Tech Austin Adams rescued kitten out of a tree. Kitten was very young. @FairfaxCountyPD Animal Protection took him to @fairfaxanimals. Tech Adams kept in touch. Thursday, he and his wife adopted kitten — now named Ash!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Virginia Shares Data on Firearm Injuries — “The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched a new data dashboard on firearm injuries in Virginia showing the number and rate of emergency department (ED) visits from 2016 to 2022. The dashboard shows firearm injury data by year, health district, age group, sex, and race/ethnicity across Virginia.” [VDH]

It’s Tuesday — Rain in the evening. High of 84 and low of 71. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Media crews wait outside the Fairfax County Courthouse for jurors to deliver a verdict in the defamation trial involving actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp (staff photo by David Taube)

Baby Born at Reston Fire Station Makes Visit — “Today, Station 25, Reston, B-Shift hosted Baby Ivy, who made her entrance into the world in Station 25 parking lot recently, and her big brother, mom and dad. 25-B were thrilled and presented the family w/station shirt/patch. Baby Ivy brought some goodies for the shift!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

TJ Students Reflect on First Year Under New Admissions System — “As the adults did battle in courtrooms, students such as Sarah Castillo were reconsidering their options. Hundreds of students who had neither thought of applying to TJ, nor felt they had a chance of acceptance under the old admissions system, now took the plunge — and some of them, including Sarah, got in.” [The Washington Post]

Burke House Fire Leads to Over $500K in Damages — Smoldering embers dropped in a pile of sawdust ignited a house fire in the 8900 block of Arley Drive on Thursday (May 26) that displaced two people and resulted in $516,075 in damages. Firefighters at the scene saw “heavy fire” through the two-story house’s roof, and one resident got minor injuries. [FCFRD]

Over a Quarter of Primary Mail Ballots Returned — “We’ve had about 28% of #votebymail ballots returned so far in the Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District. Return your ballot now or #voteearly in person at the Fairfax County Govt. Center” [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

West Falls Church Restaurant Closed Permanently — DC Steakholders owners Usman and Lilly Bhatti said in a May 4 message that “inflation, staffing shortages, and rising food costs have taken a toll on our business,” noting that their food trucks and catering business will continue. The restaurant first opened on Arlington Blvd. in April 2019 and served burgers and frozen custard. [Annandale Today]

Reston Food Delivery Business Plans Expansion — “Frolick is a fresh take on food delivery, offering a rotating menu of chef-prepared meals — delivered for now only in Northern Virginia but soon expanding to D.C. and then, perhaps, well beyond…Frolick was born in the summer of 2021 with a big assist from GateGroup, the Swiss-based airline catering giant whose North American headquarters is in Reston.” [DC Inno]

Future Springfield Town Center Hotel Site Sold — “PREIT…announced execution of a purchase and sale agreement for 11 outparcels that will generate gross proceeds in excess of $32 million. The Company also executed an agreement of sale for a vacant parcel at Springfield Town Center set to be developed into a hotel site for $2.5 million as the Company executes on its vision of delivering one-stop destinations for the communities it serves.” [PREIT]

Jefferson Manor Kids Start Pet Directory — “Two sisters in Alexandria, Virginia, created a directory of all the neighborhood pets to raise money for good causes and bring the community together.” There have been 144 different pets submitted to the directory so far. [NBC4]

Free Fishing Day This Weekend — The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is helping people learn how to fish with an event from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. this Saturday (June 4) at Burke Lake. Equipment and bait are provided, and attendees don’t need to purchase a fishing license. [DWR]

It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:47 am and sunset at 8:30 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Guinea Road facing Olley Lane in Burke (via Google Maps)

A 40-year-old Fairfax driver faces criminal charges for a vehicle crash that resulted in the death of a 58-year-old man who was using a crosswalk in Burke, police said yesterday (Sunday).

Rachel Isner was charged with careless driving and infliction of injury on a vulnerable road user. The crash happened at the intersection of Guinea Road and Olley Lane on April 20 when Lloyd Ingram, of Burke, was in the crosswalk and had the right of way, police said.

“Detectives determined Isner was not traveling at excessive speed,” the Fairfax County Police Department said. “She was issued a summons and released on recognizance.”

Ingram was crossing Guinea from north to south at Olley Lane when the 2013 Kia Forte hit him. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Ingram’s death marked the sixth pedestrian fatality in 2022 — twice as many pedestrian fatalities as Fairfax County saw in the same timeframe in 2021.

Photo via Google Maps

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Guinea Road facing Olley Lane in Burke (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) Lloyd Ingram, a 58-year-old Burke resident, died after being hit by a vehicle yesterday (Wednesday), Fairfax County police reported.

The crash happened in Burke around 6:30 p.m., and a preliminary investigation found he was walking in the crosswalk, police said.

A 2013 Kia Forte struck him at the intersection of Guinea Road and Olley Lane, and the driver remained on the scene, according to police.

Fairfax County Police Department Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives arrived on the scene of the crash around 8:30 p.m. Guinea Road was closed for more than two hours as police investigated.

Ingram, a pedestrian, was transported to a hospital, where he died. The driver of the vehicle that hit him remained on the scene, according to police.

Police are asking people to contact them with information. Authorities said the case is still active.

This is the sixth pedestrian fatality in Fairfax County this year, following a death in Springfield on April 3.

Photo via Google Maps

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