Fairfax County is making another push to fund pedestrian safety improvements at Shrevewood Elementary School in Idylwood.
The long-gestating crosswalks project is one of five that the Fairfax County Department of Transportation intends to submit to the state for funding consideration under the federal Transportation Alternatives grant program.
“This program invests in community-based projects that expand non-motorized travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historical and environmental aspect of the transportation infrastructure,” FCDOT said in a press release last week.
For fiscal year 2025, which starts July 1, 2024, the department will request a total of $9.2 million to fill walkway gaps to the Mason Neck Trail in Lorton, add a shared-use path on Compton Road in Centreville, and support three Safe Routes to Schools projects — a program that encourages students to walk and bike to school.
Shrevewood Elementary School — Safe Routes to School
- Total estimated cost: $2.99 million
- Grant request: $1.14 million
Part of a larger effort to improve safety in the Shreve Road corridor after a fatal crash in 2019, this project will add marked crosswalks at Fairwood Lane, the school’s eastern driveway and across Virginia Lane at Virginia Avenue. The Fairwood Lane crosswalk will include a pedestrian refuge island.
FCDOT says the crosswalks “will provide neighborhood access to school amenities” and the nearby Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
Bush Hill Elementary School — Safe Routes to School
- Total estimated cost: $3.66 million
- Grant request: $1.86 million
Approximately 850 feet of sidewalk will be added on Bush Hill Drive between Ninian Avenue and Larno Avenue in Rose Hill.
“Completing this missing sidewalk link will improve safety and accessibility for children walking and bicycling to school,” FCDOT said.
Lake Braddock Secondary School — Safe Routes to School
- Total estimated cost: $2.55 million
- Grant request: $2.04 million
Crosswalks and a pedestrian signal will be constructed at the school’s entrance on Burke Lake Road. The project will also reconstruct a sidewalk on the road’s south side to be 6 feet wide and bring six ramps up to ADA standards.
Mason Neck Trail
- Total estimated cost: $13.96 million
- Grant request: $1.7 million
The project will build missing pieces of the walkway along Gunston Road from Richmond Highway (Route 1) to the existing trail.
Compton Road Walkway
- Total estimated cost: $9.3 million
- Grant request: $2.5 million
Approximately 550 feet of a 10-foot-wide, paved shared use path will be added on the east side of Compton Road, connecting the Cub Run Stream Valley Trail with an existing path crossing to the Bull Run Regional Events Center’s entrance.
The project will also widen a bridge over Cub Run to accommodate the shared use path.
FCDOT Communications Specialist Lynn Krolowitz noted that the grant request amounts could be revised if the project cost estimates changed before the applications are finalized in October.
“FCDOT select projects based on several factors such as program eligibility criteria and project readiness requirements, the need of continued funding for existing projects, and previous Board approval/consideration, which assumes some level of public involvement,” Krolowitz said in an email to FFXnow.
To be eligible for Transportation Alternatives grants, projects must have already gotten public feedback, be ready for design, require less than four years of construction, have a “logical” endpoint — such as an existing sidewalk or a road intersection — and be beneficial even if no other improvements are made in the area, according to FCDOT.
Three of the projects under consideration in this round, including the Shrevewood project, have previously gotten the grants, giving them priority in the selection process, Krolowtiz says.
FCDOT will host a virtual public input meeting to discuss the proposed projects at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).
Image via Google Maps
An anonymous Instagram account that attacked LGBTQ students at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke has been shut down and the perpetrator identified, Principal Daniel W. Smith said in a message to the school community yesterday (Tuesday).
The now-deleted account surfaced Monday afternoon (March 7) with photos of students identified as members of the LGBTQ community and demeaning captions, screenshots show.
The bio said that the account was “owned and operated by the Lake Braddock Gimmick Association” and contained homophobic and transphobic language.
According to Smith, administrators worked with Lake Braddock’s cybersecurity team to get the account taken down and identify its creator, apparently a student.
“I am deeply troubled that any student at Lake Braddock feels that this is acceptable behavior. This is not the kind of school community we seek to cultivate,” Smith said, stating that “appropriate disciplinary action” will be taken in accordance with Fairfax County Public Schools policies.
While screenshots suggest the account had limited reach, it contributed to an unsafe school environment for LGBTQIA+ students, including intersex and asexual and agender individuals, the Pride Liberation Project — an advocacy group of queer and allied FCPS students — said in a statement released yesterday morning.
The group urged FCPS to take action by investigating the account, condemning it and making the consequences for harassment clear, and ensuring access to mental health supports for all students, particularly those at Lake Braddock.
FCPS has prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity since 2015. The school board adopted a regulation in July affirming transgender and gender-expansive students’ right to be identified by their chosen name and pronouns, and to use facilities that match their identity.
Even with those supportive policies, though, LGBTQIA+ students in FCPS continue to report “elevated” levels of harassment and bullying, Pride Liberation Project student leader Aaryan told FFXnow.
Fairfax County’s most recent annual youth survey, published in October 2020, found that of the 17% of teens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning, 21% reported experiencing bullying and 11% said they experienced cyberbullying — higher rates than those reported by non-LGBQ students.
“In general, FCPS LGBTQIA+ students have reported experiencing high levels of harassment at school, such as the frequent use of slurs,” the Pride Liberation Project said. “However, this is one of the most targeted attack[s] that has occurred against LGBTQIA+ students.”
Aaryan says the Instagram account also appeared at a time of “elevated rates of anxiety and stress” for many students amid a national wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation, from Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and bans on transgender youth participating in sports to efforts to prohibit and criminalize gender confirmation surgery.
In his message, Smith said he will meet with LGBTQIA+ student groups this week “to listen, learn and continue the dialogue around their experiences in our school community.”
“I ask you to engage in a conversation with your student about our expectations for behavior that contributes to our shared vision here at Lake Braddock, and to continue these critical conversations about respect, kindness and acceptance in our community,” Smith said. “Our students can make a difference in this world by learning to embrace our differences instead of using them to divide us.”
Photo via Google Maps