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.
Yansi Martinez Gonzalez, a 26-year-old resident of Falls Church, was charged on Tuesday (Aug. 30) with reckless driving and driving without a license for her alleged role in the fatal Aug. 18 crash, where two cars collided and one hit Sweat as he was walking in a parking lot in the 6200 block of Arlington Blvd.
According to police, Martinez Gonzalez was driving north in a 2012 Honda Civic on Wilson Blvd when she attempted an “improper” lane change from the left lane, running into the side of a Volkswagen Jetta that was headed in the same direction.
“The collision forced the Volkswagen off the roadway into the adjacent parking lot, striking Mr. Sweat as he was walking,” the FCPD said. “The Volkswagen continued over a median and struck a parked 2010 GMC Yukon before coming to rest in a mulch bed.”
Martinez Gonzalez has been released on a summons ahead of a scheduled court appearance.
A construction foreman, Sweat left behind a wife and eight children. Talking to FFXnow last week, his eldest sister, Jean, and niece, Tierra, described him as a kind, loving person and a music enthusiast.
Tierra Sweat also called for safety improvements around the Wilson and Arlington Blvd intersection where the crash occurred.
Photo via Google Maps
The family of a Maryland man who died after a car struck him in a Seven Corners parking lot is seeking justice.
Albert Sweat, 62, of Silver Spring, was killed on Thursday (Aug. 18) after two cars that were merging into the same lane collided in Wilson Blvd, Fairfax County police reported.
The driver of a 2012 Honda Civic attempted to change from the left lane to the right at the same time that the driver of a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta went from the right to the left lane. Both cars collided, causing the Volkswagen to veer off the roadway into the parking lot.
The Volkswagen hit Sweat, a construction foreman who was walking through the parking lot in the 6200 block of Arlington Blvd. The car also hit a median and an occupied 2010 GMC Yukon.
The police department is continuing to investigate the details of the crash to determine if charges will be pursued.
Family members say they want justice for Sweat, who will be remembered for his love of music — including teaching the art to his children — and his kind and loving personality.
Jean Sweat, his eldest sister, says the incident is best described as “vehicular manslaughter.”
“Because of two irresponsible drivers…his kids will grow up without a father around. As a husband, brother, father and uncle, he will truly be missed. His demise should not be in vain,” Jean Sweat said.
He leaves behind his wife and eight children, two of which are from a previous marriage.
His niece, Tierra Sweat, said Albert was in the area working to secure a contract for a gazebo he planned to build. He was killed in front of a guitar store — a bitter irony given his love for music.
According to Tierra, crash witnesses indicated that the intersection where the crash occurred is prone to accidents.
“There is a clear problem in that intersection that needs to be addressed,” she said.
So far, police do not believe that alcohol or speed were a factor in the crash.
Still, Tierra hopes that some change can come out of her uncle’s untimely death — whether it is fines or new traffic laws or an assessment of crashes in that area.
“This was just negligence and heinous,” she said.
(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) A pedestrian has died after a crash in Seven Corners that reportedly involved two different vehicles, the Fairfax County Police Department says.
Police received a call for service to the 6200 block of Arlington Blvd at 8:38 a.m., according to FCPD spokesperson Sgt. Tara Gerhard. The person was transported to a hospital, where they died. Both drivers remained on the scene, according to police.
Gerhard confirmed that the crash hasn’t required any road closures. The Virginia Department of Transportation’s live traffic site doesn’t show any significant congestion, though a Route 50 camera at the nearby Patrick Henry Drive intersection appears to be down.
However, the FCPD advises community members to avoid the area.
Officers are on scene of a two-vehicle crash involving a pedestrian in the 6200 blk of Arlington Blvd in Seven Corners. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital & pronounced deceased. Both drivers remained at the scene. Please avoid the area. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/3ODR1j3rV4
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 18, 2022
Richard Montano, 47, was arrested at his home in Arlington around 6:30 p.m. after allegedly fleeing the scene of the homicide in the 2900 block of Willston Place, where police say he assaulted Silvia Vaca Abacay, 40, of Falls Church and set her on fire.
Officers responded to The Villages at Falls Church at 3:05 p.m. after a neighbor reported a man and woman having an argument in an adjacent condominium, the Fairfax County Police Department said yesterday (Thursday).
There, they found Vaca Abacay “on fire and suffering from multiple stab wounds to the upper body,” according to the report announcing the charges against Montano.
“First responders extinguished the fire and attempted to provide life-saving measures. Sadly, she was pronounced deceased at the scene,” the FCPD said.
According to police, a witness reported seeing a man flee the scene, prompting a shelter-in-place order for residents while officers searched the area.
The FCPD says Montano was identified as a person of interest based on “an investigative analysis” of the condo by detectives with help from professional support staff. They also located surveillance footage that showed Montano entering the home prior to the murder, according to police.
The Arlington Police Department provided assistance in locating and arresting Montano, who is being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
In addition to murder, Montano has been charged with burglary with intent to commit murder and burning of an occupied dwelling.
“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is in the process of conducting an autopsy to determine the exact cause and manner of death,” police said.
The FCPD has investigated 14 homicides so far this year, slighly under the 15 homicides recorded by this point in 2021.
Updated at 5:50 p.m. — Fairfax County detectives are still investigating and looking for a suspect in a homicide at Willston Place in Seven Corners, but the shelter-in-place order has been rescinded.
Earlier: Residents of The Villages at Falls Church have been told to shelter in place, as police search for a possible suspect in a homicide in the Seven Corners area.
Police say officers found a dead woman inside an apartment, and a witness reported seeing a Hispanic man wearing a white hat, light blue shirt, and khaki shorts “running” from the scene.
The FCPD advises community members to avoid the area.
Please avoid the area as officers continue to search for the suspect. Call 911 w/info. More updates to follow. https://t.co/KfiwPLndJq
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 10, 2022
The investigation is occurring just blocks away from where police were conducting an undercover drug operation last week that ended with a detective shooting a man.
Area residents were also subjected to an hours-long barricade that Tuesday (Aug. 3) when a man at the Barcroft Hills condominiums was seen carrying a gun and yelling threats from a balcony.
This month, Fairfax County residents in need will have a couple of opportunities to stock up free fresh produce and other food.
The Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate is taking part in the Capital Area Food Bank‘s Community Marketplace program, which provides fresh produce every second Saturday of the month. The next distribution is slated for Saturday (Aug. 13) from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the center, which is located at 12125 Pinecrest Road in Reston.
The partnership is the product of an alliance between the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and the food bank, which aims to bring food distributions to communities in need.
Lately, nonprofit partners have reported high levels of food insecurity in the state and the county. Food insecurity is a growing challenge for moderate-income families in what is becoming a high cost-of-living area.
According to the food bank, one out of 10 residents in the D.C. region is food insecure, nearly a third of them children.
The Willson Multicultural Center in Seven Corners will also hold a food distribution this month through a partnership with Comunidad, a nonprofit in Falls Church that aims to engage and help locally rooted community leaders.
The event serves over 250 families each month, and volunteers take boxes of food to the homes of local Ukrainian families.
The community marketplace concept intends to bring farmers-market-style opportunities with high-quality, fresh produce for people who are food insecure. The events often include cooking demonstrations, utility assistance, health screenings and descriptions for recipes.
Photo via Anne Preble/Unsplash
Two Face Drug Charges After Seven Corners Police Shooting — “Two men have been charged after an officer-involved shooting that occurred last night at approximately 10:45 p.m. in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard in Seven Corners…The officer involved in the shooting has been identified as an 11-year veteran assigned to the Street Crimes Unit.” [FCPD]
Local LGBTQ+ Student Group Speaks Out — Fairfax County’s Pride Liberation Project released a statement backed by more than 600 students criticizing a proposal from the state Department of Education that they fear will classify any references to LGBTQIA+ people and events as sexually explicit. The guidelines address a new law that requires parents to be notified when school materials include sexually explicit content. [The Washington Post]
Meet Reston Association’s New CEO — “On Thursday, July 28, the Reston Association board of directors voted unanimously to confirm Mac Cummins, AICP* as the next chief executive officer of the non-profit organization…Cummins sat for a Q&A with the Connection Newspapers on Friday, July 29.” [Connection Newspapers]
Police Chief Addresses Staffing Emergency — The Fairfax County Police Department declared a personnel emergency last week, requiring officers to work mandatory overtime to compensate for staff shortages. Chief Kevin Davis says the department’s 189 operational vacancies are exceptionally high, though 51 recruits currently in the academy will eventually join the force. [ABC7]
Back in Nature, Snake Found in Fairfax Is Healing — “K2C Wildlife Encounters, LLC, received a call on June 5 from a Fairfax resident who had a snake in their backyard that they wanted removed…The female, eastern ratsnake had a torn jugular vein, a hole in her trachea, a protruding eye, numerous lacerations, and broken ribs.” [Patch]
New FCPS Teachers Prepare for School Year — “Minutello and Edinborough are among the newest teachers in Virginia’s largest school system, and are starting at a time when staffing challenges are making headlines. The county had hundreds of vacancies at the end of the last school year, but 97% of staffing positions have been filled as of last week, Superintendent Michelle Reid said.” [WTOP]
Centreville’s Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Lot to Temporarily Close — “The parking lot and entrance for Cabell’s Mill will be closed from Aug. 8 through Oct. 7, 2022, for construction. Work related to the new Stewardship Education Center will include a larger parking lot that will include features and a design that will better control and filter water from rain and runoff from the adjacent neighborhood.” [FCPA]
State Sales Tax Holiday Starts Tomorrow — “The 3-day sales tax holiday starts the first Friday in August at 12:01 am and ends the following Sunday at 11:59 pm…During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax.” [Virginia Department of Taxation]
It’s Thursday — Humid throughout the day. High of 95 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]
A Fairfax County detective shot a man last night (Tuesday) during what police say was a narcotics investigation in the Seven Corners area.
As part of a drug investigation, undercover narcotics detectives in the area that evening identified people “who were allegedly involved in the illegal distribution of narcotics,” Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a media briefing.
“When they went to make the arrest, the persons were inside a motor vehicle. They took off at a high rate of speed,” Davis said. “They drove very recklessly, as you can see from the scene behind me, and when we attempted to take them into custody, a Fairfax County detective discharged his firearm.”
Officer-involved shooting: Detectives were conducting an investigation near Arlington Blvd/Patrick Henry Dr. Prelim, suspect was shot as officers attempted to arrest him in a vehicle. The man was taken to hospital for injuries not considered life-threatening. No officers injured. pic.twitter.com/viAZ3BoIOQ
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 3, 2022
A preliminary investigation of the incident indicated that the car had “jumped a couple of curbs” before police blocked the vehicle in, Davis said.
According to Davis, the man who got shot was transported to a local hospital with an injury to an “upper extremity,” possibly his arm, but he’s expected to make a full recovery.
No other injuries were reported, including to a person in the vehicle’s front passenger seat or the police officers.
Criminal and administrative investigations into the shooting are underway. The detective who fired his gun is now on “a routine administrative status,” Davis said.
“It’s a very thorough criminal investigation. It’s a very thorough administrative investigation,” Davis said. “We work hand-in-glove with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and we conduct a best-in-practice officer-involved shooting investigation.”
The shooting occurred just over a mile away from where police were engaged in an hours-long standoff with a man at the Barcroft Hills condominiums who had been spotted carrying a rifle and making threats.
Fairfax County police officers have now shot five people this year, two of them fatally at Springfield Town Center in late June and at a McLean home in early July. Police also shot a man in Lorton who was reportedly armed with a rifle in February and a man wielding a bow and arrow in Chantilly on Jan. 6.
Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday (May 10) to allow time for a homeless shelter replacement proposal to come to fruition, extending a review period to Aug. 10.
The capital project will transform the 9,500-square-foot Patrick Henry Family Shelter in Seven Corners to a new 24,000-square-foot permanent supportive housing facility with 16 units and a multipurpose room.
The extension of the 2232 review, which is required for proposed public facility projects, will give the county more time to acquire land rights needed for construction, according to Department of Public Works and Environmental Services spokesperson Sharon North.
“This complex land acquisition is necessary to receive all zoning and permitting approvals for the project,” North said. “As a result, the project schedule has been extended beyond what was originally anticipated.”
The building at 3080 Patrick Henry Drive is part of the Hollybrooke II Condominium complex, which was originally built as apartments in 1952. The county bought the building in 1985 and converted its 10 units into emergency housing shelter.
The units were expanded into the current shelter in 1996 and 2006.
Per a March application on the new project:
The existing structure is in poor condition, not code compliant, has multiple accessibility barriers and does not meet the program change to permanent supportive housing units. There is a critical lack of permanent supportive housing to serve the County’s homeless population. Studies show that no other method is proven more effective than supportive housing for ending chronic homelessness.
The new facility will be four stories and have five 2-bedroom units, eight 3-bedroom units, and three 4-bedroom units to continue serving large families experiencing homelessness.
While the Board of Supervisors owns the existing building, which will be demolished, the surrounding land and parking areas are controlled by the Hollybrooke II Condominium Association.
“For that reason, the [board] must obtain land rights in order to commence construction of the project,” North said. “With final approvals and purchase, the separation and ownership will transfer to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.”
The project is currently being reviewed by the county’s land development and planning staff. North says approvals from both departments are expected to come late this year.
Voters approved $48 million in bond money for the project and three other shelters in 2016. Those include the Embry Rucker Shelter in Reston, a joint fire station and Eleanor Kennedy Shelter relocation project in Penn Daw, and the Bailey’s Crossroads facility that opened in 2019.
The county has been working to increase its permanent housing assistance, making 1,645 beds available this year — a 12% increase from last year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ annual Point-in-Time count released May 4.