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The intersection of Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) and Allen Street in West Falls Church (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A man died last night after being hit by a vehicle in the Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) intersection with Allen Street in West Falls Church.

The Fairfax County Police Department reported that officers were at the scene of the crash shortly before 8:30 p.m. The pedestrian was transported to a hospital, where he died, police said.

Based on a preliminary investigation, police say 66-year-old Kamrul Hassan from Falls Church was crossing from the north side of Arlington Blvd to the south when a 2010 Toyota Prius going east struck him in the Allen Street intersection.

The driver had a green light, according to the FCPD.

“Preliminarily, speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors for the driver in the crash,” police said.

The driver remained on site when police arrived. The crash triggered a closure of eastbound Route 50 as detectives with the FCPD’s Crash Reconstruction Unit began an investigation.

Hassan is the 20th pedestrian to die on Fairfax County’s roads this year, according to the FCPD, nearly doubling the 11 pedestrian fatalities recorded at this point in 2021. However, the department only reports crashes it investigated.

The Virginia State Police responds to crashes on major highways like the Beltway or I-95, while the Dulles Toll Road is in the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police’s jurisdiction.

By FFXnow’s count, this is the 27th fatal pedestrian crash in Fairfax County this year. Virginia crash data shows 23 fatalities through October, but November saw pedestrians die on Columbia Pike, Route 29, and I-495.

It has been the deadliest year for pedestrians in the county since at least 2010.

Map via Google Maps

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Proposed “Ring Road” street changes at Seven Corners (via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County has come up with a plan to improve Seven Corners and will be explaining it to residents next week.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is holding two virtual meetings on Nov. 8 and 9 to update and ask for feedback from residents on its findings from the Seven Corners Phasing Study.

The four-phase plan will build a “Ring Road” that the county believes will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as relieve traffic congestion, in the Seven Corners area, particularly where Route 7, Arlington Blvd (Route 50), and Wilson Blvd all meet.

The first phase is to build a Ring Road on the west side of the interchange between Arlington Blvd and Route 7. The Ring Road will then be extended to the south side, and the central interchange will be reconfigured above Arlington Blvd where Route 7, Wilson Blvd, and Sleepy Hollow Road meet. The final phase will complete the Ring Road on the east side of the interchange connecting Wilson and Roosevelt Blvds.

The interchanges in and around Seven Corners are known to be confusing and dangerous. As recently as August, it was the site of a tragedy when a driver veered off the road and fatally hit a pedestrian in a nearby parking lot.

The Seven Corners study dates back a decade when a community task force first started discussing the future of the area.

The task force proposed recommendations in 2015 that were adopted into a plan amendment approved by the Board of Supervisors. At that time, FCDOT committed to a “phasing analysis” to determine how and in what order improvements were to be made.

In June 2020, FCDOT started conducting this analysis looking into “future transportation conditions; incorporated feedback received from previous rounds of outreach; and worked with various stakeholders to identify a recommended phasing approach.”

In Feb. 2021, a community meeting was held to update residents on that work and, again, in November.

Now, a year later, FCDOT is reaching back out to the public for a final round of feedback for the phasing study, which is expected to be completed by early next year.

However, there’s no set timeline yet for the project’s engineering and design phase, which is “dependent upon funding,” FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger told FFXnow in an email.

“The County has applied for Smart Scale funding from the Commonwealth for the first phase of the project and expects to hear early next year whether funding has been awarded,” Geiger said.

The county will also apply for federal funding as well. Once funding from local, state, and federal become available, design, utility coordination, and right-of-way acquisition will commence.

Once funding is awarded, Geiger said it should be expected that Phase 1 will take two years to construct.

The timeline for the other three phases is hard to predict at this point since they are “contingent upon the availability of funds.”

“We will continue to apply for funding progressively based on construction start for each phase,” Geiger said.

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The Dulles Toll Road exit to Trap Road (via Google Maps)

Two people died in a moped crash on the Dulles Toll Road near the exit to Trap Road last night (Wednesday).

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash with multiple injuries in the toll road’s westbound lanes at 9:40 p.m., MWAA said in a statement to FFXnow.

The arriving officers found a moped and one person who was dead in the roadway. A second person was transported to a hospital with critical injuries and later died, according to MWAA.

Police have identified the man found dead at the scene as 23-year-old Nyjell Dae Quan Lewis from D.C. The person who died at the hospital was 20-year-old Kia Renee Hobbs from Suitland, Maryland, according to the authority, which says she is “presumed to be a passenger on the moped.”

“The Dulles Toll Road was closed during the crash reconstruction,” MWAA said. “The case is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed. With the investigation ongoing, we can’t answer any further questions at this time.”

Though MWAA has characterized the incident as a single-vehicle crash, scanner watchers told FFXnow that a car was reportedly involved. An MWAA spokesperson said they “can’t confirm additional details.”

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department also responded to the crash but deferred to MWAA police when asked for information.

The Dulles Toll Road crash was one of two fatal incidents reported in Fairfax County yesterday.

At 11:24 a.m., Fairfax County police and fire personnel were dispatched to the Route 50/Sully Road interchange in Chantilly after a car drove into a light pole. The driver — identified as Arjen Weiss, 62, of Chantilly — was transported to Reston Hospital, where he died.

“Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit determined Weiss was driving westbound on Lee Jackson Memorial Highway on the ramp to northbound Sully Road,” the Fairfax County Police Department said. “His vehicle left the roadway for an unknown reason and struck a light pole. Detectives believe alcohol and speed were not factors in the crash.”

There have now been eight traffic fatalities reported in Fairfax County this month, including four pedestrians and two people who died in a one-car crash on Route 7 in Tysons last week.

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A data center or warehouse is proposed for Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway, now known as Route 50 (via Fairfax County)

One of two options — a data center or a warehouse — is proposed for a nearly 79-acre parcel in Chantilly on what used to be called Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway.

The property owner is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to rezone a nearly 5.4-acre portion of the property for a data center or warehouse, according to an Oct. 3 application. The project is coined Chantilly Premier.

“The proposed development would encourage business and commercial endeavors in the area and add to the diverse industrial and commercial tax base surrounding Dulles Airport,” the application says.

Identified as PDCREF2 Chantilly LLC, the applicant says it’s open to dedicating the unused portion of the massive, undeveloped property — known as parcel six — to the county for preservation.

The site is currently zoned for two uses: highway commercial and general industrial. It’s located outside of the floodplain area roughly 1,200 feet west of Route 50’s intersection with Stonecroft Blvd.

The proposal would rezone most of the area that is not a floodplain for industrial uses in order to develop a 402,000-square-foot data center or a 150,000-square-foot warehouse.

Roughly 92% of parcel six will remain undisturbed.

The data center would include 50 parking spaces and two loading spaces. The building would be mostly screened from view from the highway and neighboring properties, according to the application.

The warehouse option is less intense, allowing 164 parking spaces and 30 loading spaces. It would also be screened mostly from view.

The application does not favor one option of the other, saying either use would “add to the diversity of industrial uses in the area and complement the automobile oriented uses to the east.”

The county has not yet accepted the application for review. It is in the initial planning phases.

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A road sign for Lee Highway, also known as Route 29, in Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Lee and Lee-Jackson highways may officially no more.

In a 9-1 decision, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to change names of Lee and Lee-Jackson highways to Route 29 and Route 50 respectively.

“This is a necessary and important change for Fairfax County. We will continue to strive to realize our vision of a more equitable One Fairfax,” wrote Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay in a statement.

The move comes after a yearlong review by the county’s Confederate Names Task Force, which called on renaming the highways. The task force submitted recommendations in December.

Overall, updates to signage is expected to cost roughly $1.4 million, according to a county memo. An additional $1.5 million is estimated for a financial assistance program that would affect businesses and residential units that may be impacted by the name change.

That financial assistance program will be developed in the fall through a formal proposal.

Supervisor Pat Herrity — the board’s lone Republican — voted against the proposal. Officially changing the names will require the approval of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

The vote comes at the heels of a June decision to change the Lee District’s magisterial name to the Franconia District.

Evoking Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the highways were among 150 sites in the county with names whose Confederate origins were confirmed by a 2020 report from the Fairfax County History Commission. Combined, they represent over 20 miles of roadway from Chantilly on the county’s western end to the Falls Church border in the east.

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A road sign for Lee Highway, also known as Route 29, in Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A formal vote won’t come for another month, but several Fairfax County supervisors indicated support yesterday (Tuesday) for using routes 29 and 50, respectively, as the official names for the roads known for now as Lee and Lee-Jackson Memorial highways.

The Board of Supervisors directed county staff by a 9-1 vote to prepare a resolution for its next meeting on Sept. 13 endorsing Route 29 and Route 50 as the new names after a year-long review process that included a community task force and public surveys.

While route numbers don’t carry the same symbolism as Arlington County renaming its portion of Lee Highway after abolitionist John Langston, board members expressed hope that the move will reduce the confusion of navigating the county in addition to discarding reminders of the area’s Confederate past.

“Frankly, calling them by the route numbers is what a lot of people already do today voluntarily, so I don’t see this as a heavy lift at all for these two major corridors and I think will chart us a better course moving forward,” Chairman Jeff McKay said.

If the resolution passes, it will go to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which will have the final say, as required by state law.

Evoking Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the highways were among 150 sites in the county with names whose Confederate origins were confirmed by a 2020 report from the Fairfax County History Commission. Combined, they represent over 20 miles of roadway from Chantilly on the county’s western end to the Falls Church border in the east.

Recommending that both roads be renamed, the board-appointed Confederate Names Task Force suggested five alternatives each, including the route numbers, in a report finalized in December 2021.

Surveys of property and business owners in the corridor conducted this past spring found that they preferred the route numbers over the other options, which included following Arlington’s lead with Langston Blvd for Lee Highway.

“I think this is basically as close as we’re going to get to consensus on the names,” said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, who chairs the board’s transportation committee. “I think this is a very reasonable and practical way to address the challenge that we’re facing, and I think it’s a big step towards moving away from memorializing that time in history and some of those folks and really updating that.” Read More

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) A tractor-trailer caught fire on I-495 this afternoon (Wednesday), shutting down all southbound lanes at the Route 50 interchange in Merrifield.

The fire appears to have sparked right as the afternoon rush hour was getting underway. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported at 4:16 p.m. that it has units on the scene working to extinguish the fire.

“Currently no clue as to how long the entire roadway will be closed,” a fire department spokesperson told FFXnow.

There have been no reported injuries resulting from the fire, according to FCFRD, which notes that the express lanes are open.

The Virginia Department of Transportation advises that drivers find an alternate route. VDOT traffic cameras suggest vehicles backups on the Beltway extend past Tysons to the Lewinsville Road bridge.

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Eastbound Route 50 is closed at Westmoreland Road after a crash and fuel leak (via VDOT)

Eastbound Route 50 is completely closed in the West Falls Church area, as Fairfax County police and firefighters clean up a vehicle crash and fuel leak.

According to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, there was a two-vehicle collision near the intersection of Westmoreland and Summerfield roads. A person with a minor injury has been transported to a hospital, department spokesperson William Delaney says.

There was also a “small gas leak from gas tank of one vehicle,” according to Delaney.

All eastbound lanes on Route 50, also known as Arlington Blvd., have been shut down, along with one westbound lane that has been blocked off to accommodate the emergency response vehicles. Traffic going west is creeping by in the right lane.

Delays now stretch back to I-495, according to the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination. A detour for eastbound traffic has been put in place, and drivers should follow police directions, according to a Virginia Department of Transportation traffic camera update from 9:05 a.m.

Delaney says it’s currently unclear how long the road closure will last. The FCPD advises avoiding the area.

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Route 50 traffic waits at a stoplight at the Lees Corner Road intersection (via Google Maps)

An online survey looking at ways to improve congestion and reduce crashes on Route 50 in Chantilly closes Monday (April 11).

The Virginia Department of Transportation is reviewing potential intersection improvements on a 1-mile segment between Chantilly Plaza and Plaza Lane, including at Lees Corner and Stringfellow roads.

The survey focuses on whether a left turn should be removed for westbound Route 50 traffic onto Lees Corner Road, among other changes.

The study is also considering removing a left-turn lane for eastbound Route 50 traffic onto Stringfellow Road.

The review is part of a Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions (STARS) study, an effort by VDOT to tackle short-term and affordable projects.

The study is expected to be completed this spring or summer. VDOT will then work with Fairfax County to identify funding to make improvements happen.

An initial study looked at nearly 2 miles of Route 50 between Route 28 and Stringfellow Road. A final report was delivered in March 2021.

The study carries an overall cost of $450,000, split between $317,000 for the first phase and $133,000 for the second, current phase.

Photo via Google Maps

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A report recommending that Fairfax County rename its portions of Route 29 and Route 50 will go before county leaders tomorrow (Tuesday), even as concerns about the financial impact linger.

Compiled by the 26-person Confederate Names Task Force, the report details the process used to determine that Lee Highway and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway should get new names and recommends five possible replacements for each road:

Recommended Top Five Alternative Names for Lee Highway (Route 29)

Cardinal Highway, 13 votes
Route/Highway 29, 12 votes
Langston Boulevard/Highway, 6 votes
Lincoln-Douglass Highway, 6 votes
Fairfax Boulevard/Highway, 5 votes

Recommended Top Five Alternative Names for Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway (Route 50)

Little River Turnpike, 16 votes
Unity Highway, 12 votes
Route 50, 6 votes
Fairfax Boulevard, 4 votes
Blue & Gray Highway, 3 votes

Appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last July, the task force voted 20-6 on Nov. 30 in favor of changing the name of Lee Highway and 19-6 for Lee-Jackson Memorial.

Task force chair Evelyn Spain will present the final report to the board during its regular meeting tomorrow, which will begin at 9:30 a.m.

“The Board set up this important committee to review the names of two major arterials and now we are eager to hear their report,” Board Chairman Jeff McKay told FFXnow in a statement. “Any decision to change street names is one our Board will take seriously as we consider the report as well as other community input before any decisions are made. I am proud that this Board has a strong record of focusing on racial inequities and advancing our community together.”

The two highways are among 150 landmarks in the county identified as bearing names tied to the Confederacy, according to an inventory that the Fairfax County History Commission presented to local leaders in December 2020.

The commission found that the Virginia General Assembly established Lee Highway in 1922 as a statewide route serving as a national memorial for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

That same year, the state House and Senate Roads Committee also agreed to rename a section of Little River Turnpike after Lee and fellow Confederate Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.

The task force recommended that both highways get new names to “accommodate the equity initiatives and growing diversity in Fairfax County,” the report says. It also acknowledges that the changes “will likely be major impositions upon the residences, businesses, and communities” in those corridors.

The group suggests that the Board of Supervisors consider providing financial assistance to those affected, if it ultimately approves the name changes.

The final report features several letters from the task force members who opposed or abstained from voting on the name changes. Objections include:

  • A public survey found 23,500 respondents want to keep the names as they are and 16,265 in support of changes
  • The cost to make the change, which could total $1 million to $4 million, according to county staff
  • Even though the institution of slavery was evil, the name switch “erases history”

“We believe the $1M to $4M required to rename these two roads would be more effectively spent pursuing a community engagement project (e.g. an African-American Heritage Trail, a museum, and/or new historic markers),” the dissenters said, noting that Prince William County is adding to its African American History Trail. “We encourage Fairfax County to pursue similar projects.”

To coincide with Black History Month, the county launched a project last week focused on local Black and African American experiences, including support for students to identify options for new historical markers.

Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.

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