A new report from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) found a “startling increase” in the number of pedestrian fatalities in Northern Virginia last year.
Along with the increase in pedestrian fatalities, DMV found a smaller increase in overall traffic-related fatalities in the region.
“In 2022, 56 pedestrians were killed as a result of crashes in the Fairfax region, compared to 37 in 2021,” the DMV report said. “This is an increase of 51%. Overall, based on preliminary numbers, there were 203 traffic-related fatalities in the region in 2022, a 3% increase compared to 2021.”
Crashes increased by 4% throughout Virginia last year.
A report compiled by the Traffic Records Electronic Data System (TREDS) put the number of total traffic fatalities in Fairfax County at 65, with 4,922 injuries.
Last year was the deadliest year for Fairfax County pedestrians in over a decade. With 32 deaths, the county was the site of over half of the pedestrian fatalities in Northern Virginia last year.
“We provide this data to give folks a look at what’s going on right now in their communities,” acting DMV Commissioner Linda Ford said in the release. “We hope drivers will be motivated to make a change and put a stop to the behaviors that we know contribute to these devastating crashes. Each of these numbers represents a real person and many are people in your community.”
“We provide this data to give folks a look at what’s going on right now in their communities. We hope drivers will be motivated to make a change and put a stop to the behaviors that we know contribute to these devastating crashes,” said Acting DMV Commissioner Linda Ford.
— Jordan Pascale🎙️ (@JWPascale) January 19, 2023
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Fairfax County is considering automatically filing vehicle tax returns for residents in the future, potentially saving more than 70,000 residents money.
At last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, elected officials authorized a public hearing for Dec. 6 to discuss a possible county code change that would eliminate a step for residents when registering a vehicle.
Currently, when a resident registers a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) notifies the county. Then, the county’s Department of Tax Administration (DTA) sends “a courtesy letter” to the resident reminding them to separately file a tax return within 60 days.
If the resident doesn’t register in that time, they face a 10% penalty on top of their owed personal property taxes.
Approximately 72,000 residents do not file tax returns for their vehicles in a timely fashion on an annual basis and are subject to the 10% penalty, a DTA spokesperson told FFXnow by email.
On average, that’s about 54% of residents who either bought a new vehicle or moved one into the county, they said.
If approved, the proposed change would eliminate that extra step. The county would automatically file the personal property tax return on the resident’s behalf within 30 days.
(Correction: This story initially said the DMV would automatically file tax returns for residents, but a Fairfax County spokesperson clarified that the filing would be done by the county itself.)
The amendment would also get rid of the 10% late penalty “if the vehicle is timely registered with the DMV,” notes the staff report. If approved, the change would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
“This proposed change will make it easier for taxpayers, as well as help them avoid unnecessary penalties,” the DTA spokesperson said. “Many taxpayers who buy a new vehicle or move one into the county don’t understand that they are required to separately file a personal property tax return in addition to registering it with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.”
The proposed amendment would also clarify that taxes on trailers and semi-trailers would be prorated based on when ownership changed during the calendar year.
Getting rid of the late penalty would result in a loss of about $2.4 million in revenue for the county on annual basis.
“The potential loss incurred is a small fraction of the revenues generated from the personal property tax,” the spokesperson noted.
In the current fiscal year 2023, though, the net loss would be about half of that since the change in code would not be retroactive, with January marking the halfway point of the fiscal year.
The adopted 2023 budget already reflects the potential $1.2 million loss, per the staff report.
Man Dies After Fairfax City Crash — “A 32-year-old Maryland man died from injuries he received when the motorcycle he was riding Monday afternoon collided with an SUV on Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax City, according to a police release.” [Patch]
Suspect in Fatal Springfield Stabbing Extradited — “This evening, Jose Heber Hernandez Mejia was extradited back to Fairfax County from South Carolina. He’s charged with 2nd degree murder for the July 17 domestic-related stabbing in the 5200 block of Rolling Rd. Hernandez Mejia was held on no bond.” [FCPD/Twitter]
Arrests Made in Child Solicitation Sting — “Six men ranging in ages from 26 to 43 were arrested by Fairfax County Police as part of an online sting to identify and apprehend predators seeking to exploit children using the internet, according to a police brief.” [Patch]
Food Stolen From Mount Vernon Daycare — “Officers were called to the KinderCare at 4287 Buckman Road early Monday morning for a burglary that occurred over the weekend. When officers learned thousands of dollars worth of food was stolen from the center, they quickly jumped into action to ensure the kids wouldn’t go hungry by purchasing breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks.” [FCPD/Facebook]
Virginia Sees Bump in Pro-Choice License Plates — “Pro-life and pro-choice license plates aren’t new to Virginia: The commonwealth has issued ‘Choose Life’ plates since 2009 and ‘Trust Women. Respect Choice.’ since 2010…Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, though, more people are buying pro-choice plates.” [Washingtonian]
Fire Department Enlists Starbucks for Backpack Drive — “#FCFRD is partnering with select local @Starbucks stores to collect backpacks for underprivileged children. Backpacks will be given to local schools in #FairfaxCounty for distribution. Backpacks will be collected until August 12. Please donate a new backpack today!” [FCFRD/Twitter]
Metro Seeks to Add More Trains — Metro is seeking permission to operate more of the 7000-series trains that were sidelined late last year after a derailment in Arlington, according to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The transit agency is currently permitted to run 64 cars, or eight trains, per day, as long as their wheels are inspected daily. [The Washington Post]
State Legislators Consider Changes to Recall Process — “Activists in Virginia are increasingly turning to the state’s court-driven recall process to try to take out their frustrations on local officials they feel have done something wrong…The fact that the recalls almost never work doesn’t seem to be stopping the trend, but it’s causing some lawmakers to rethink a system that empowers judges, not voters, to decide when politicians deserve to be kicked out of office early.” [Virginia Mercury/Inside NoVA]
“American Idol” Winner to Take Wolf Trap Stage — “Her victory on Season 3 of ‘American Idol’ made her a household name. Now, Fantasia Barrino is bringing her signature sound to Wolf Trap in Virginia on Aug. 19.” [WTOP]
It’s Wednesday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 88 and low of 77. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]
Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]
Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]
New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]
GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]
McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]
Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]
Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]
DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]
It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]
Down the road, Herndon residents may not have to travel as far to access services by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The Herndon Town Council is exploring the possibility of bringing permanent DMV services to the town — an initiative that was broadly discussed at the council’s quarterly strategy meeting late last month.
It’s not the first time council members have floated the idea.
At a strategy meeting earlier this year, the council directed staff to research the possibility of more permanent services in the town.
In response to that directive, Town Manager Bill Ashton III told the council on May 26 that a partnership to bring the DMV to Herndon Fortnightly Library was underway — similar to services provided prior to the beginning of the pandemic.
“This location is ideal because of the ample parking conveniently located in downtown right off the [Washington & Old Dominion] Trail and it has an adjacent bus service to the library,” Ashton said.
Ashton noted that this option was less costly and provided services without the need for other resources.
But Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila said he thought the council was seeking more permanent offices for DMV, possibly on town-owned property.
“That was my understanding of what was requested,” del Aguila said.
Ashton said he thought the council was seeking a more short-term alternative and would look into the matter.
Councilmember Signe Friedrichs encouraged her colleagues to ensure that prioritized initiatives discussed during council meetings were clear and did not leave room for interpretation by staff.
“We need to be a lot more specific on these things…Do we really want to do this?” she said.
The discussion on the issue is preliminary — a feature that Councilmember Sean Regan emphasized is a part of the “iterative” process the town must pursue before long-term planning.
He noted that key information — including whether there is an unmet need and the DMV’s input on the issue — are needed before the possibility of a vote is considered.
Councilmember Pradip Dhakal encouraged town staff to explore the issue further.
“If we have something consistent and predictable, people will know and start following,” Dhakal said.
Life Sentences Recommended in McLean Murder Case — “A Fairfax County jury delivered a guilty verdict Monday against a woman accused of killing her own mother and sister in 2017. Megan Hargan, 35, was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, and two counts of using a firearm in committing a felony.” [WUSA9]
Great Falls Fire Caused by Garage Door Opener — A house fire in the 9900 block of Deer Pond Drive on March 22 was caused by “an electrical event involving wiring to a garage door opener,” Fairfax County Fire and Rescue investigators say. The fire didn’t result in any injuries or displacements, but it caused approximately $87,500 in property damages. [FCFRD]
Dead Fish Near Frost Middle School Under Investigation — “Construction at Frost Middle School in Fairfax may be the cause of a significant fish kill incident that occurred last week in the nearby Long Branch Stream, state officials said…The cause of the fish kill remained under investigation as of 3 p.m. Monday, according to VEDQ’s incident report.” [Patch]
Reston National Developers Propose “Quality of Life” Study — “Reston National Neighborhood Study Group will be examining ‘quality of life’ gaps between north and south Reston and the implications those purported gaps may have on property values…The group plans to finish its study in April and follow it up with a round of community meetings.” [Patch]
Tysons Company Anticipates Eventual Relocation — “Tysons residential and commercial security company Alarm.com Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: ALRM) expects to continue building its Northern Virginia headcount to the point it will outgrow its nearly 190,000-square-foot facility. That’s after it announced earlier this year the addition of another 180 jobs at its headquarters as part of a $2.6 million investment to grow its research and development operation there.” [Washington Business Journal]
“Manageable” Growth Expected for Region — “Northern Virginia localities should expect moderate levels of jobs growth in the coming two decades, with the metropolitan area as a whole adding perhaps 880,000 new ones by 2045…During that 23-year period, employment is slated to rise 27 percent in both Arlington and Fairfax counties” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
DMV Coming to Reston Tomorrow — “DMV Connect, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ mobile service, will be at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods this week: Wednesday, March 30, Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.” [RCC/Twitter]
Learn About Home Buying at Tysons Library — “In the market to buy your first home, #Fairfax? Join us and @kwri McLean Realtor Tom Hanton at our Tysons-Pimmit Regional branch April 5 at 7:30pm to learn how to navigate the process of #homebuying and be prepared emotionally and financially.” [Fairfax County Public Library/Twitter]
It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 43 and low of 21. Sunrise at 6:59 a,m. and sunset at 7:30 p.m. [Weather.gov]
The Herndon Town Council is considering ways to bring Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles services to the town.
At a quarterly strategy meeting on Thursday (March 24), a majority of council members said that Town of Herndon residents need DMV services.
Councilmember Naila Alam, who proposed the initiative, said the service is needed for low-income residents and those unable to travel long distances.
“It’s like a thief that comes at night to steal your sleep,” Alam said of the challenges those residents face. “I want to catch that thief.”
Most council members agreed with the suggestion, which was made at a meeting intended to flag the council’s priorities.
The DMV provided monthly mobile services to the town in the past, but the effort dissipated once the pandemic hit in the area. The nearest DMV center is located on Sterling Boulevard.
Managing cut-through traffic in the town also ranked high on the council’s priority list, but council members noted that it may be difficult to address that issue, particularly because of legal restrictions.
At the meeting, the council simply directed town staff to research the issue, its feasibility and overall cost.
The council will review the staff’s research at its next strategy meeting in roughly three months. A formal proposal is not under consideration at this point.
Other issues — like managing community noise and developing restrictions to single-lot family development — did not rank high on the council’s overall priorities.
Some members raised the possibility of making records related to Comstock’s redevelopment of downtown Herndon public.
Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila said that many residents often inquire about improving the accessibility of public records.
“Let’s make it easy,” del Aguila said, adding that he would like to see if closed meetings can be recorded.
The council also refined its process for sifting through identified priorities at the meeting with an eye for expediency and clear identification of issues and solutions.
Expanded DMV Service Starts Today — “The Virginia DMV will offer both appointments and walk-in service Monday through Friday at all 75 locations starting Wednesday, March 2, Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller said in a news release. Walk-in service will still be an option at some offices on Saturdays.” [WTOP]
Local Students Learn About Russia-Ukraine Conflict — A political science and current affairs class at Langley High School has turned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a central topic of discussion. Teacher David Kuhn says his students, some of whom have lived in Russia, have shared “perspectives…beyond what their [years] would indicate.” [WUSA9]
Worker Rescued from Tree in Chantilly — For the second time in as many weeks, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units helped free a person caught in a tree. A worker stuck 20-30 feet up a tree in the 4300 block of Warner Lane was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries yesterday afternoon (Tuesday). [FCFRD/Twitter]
McLean Community Center Encourages Masks — “Per current metrics, Fairfax County’s COVID-19 Community Level is low, and masks are now optional in county facilities. While masks are no longer required, MCC highly recommends that patrons continue to use masks while in its facilities to protect those too young or unable to be vaccinated in our communities.” [MCC]
Reston Condo Fire Displaces One — The condominium fire in the 1400 block of Northgate Square that ended in a cat’s death displaced one resident and caused an estimated $93,750 in property damages. Investigators say the fire started accidentally in a bedroom when “unattended incenses” burned “too close to ordinary combustibles.” [FCFRD]
Reston Tech Company Lands Millions in Funding — “GridPoint, a building energy management and optimization technology that decarbonizes commercial buildings, announced Tuesday that it has closed a $75 million investment round. Goldman Sachs Asset Management led the round, with Shell Ventures, another veteran investor in GridPoint, also participating.” [Commercial Observer]
Reston Association Election Begins — “Voting is now open for members of Reston Association to cast their ballots for the 2022 Board of Directors’ election. Ballots are due by April 1 at 5 PM. Members of RA, both property owners & renters can cast their vote in the election.” [RA/Twitter]
Public Meeting on McLean Central Park Tonight — The Fairfax County Park Authority will present a revised development concept for the park by Dolley Madison Library with a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. An initial concept included an amphitheater and dog park but drew some skepticism from community groups. [Patch]
It’s Wednesday — Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 61 and a low around 44. Sunrise will be at 6:38 a.m. and sunset at 6:03 p.m. [Weather.gov]