Updates from Letty – April 27, 2018

Blog posts are the personal views of Letty Hardi and not official statements or records on behalf of the Falls Church City Council  

Dear Friends,

This week’s update will be short and sweet. Two things:

(1) If you haven’t heard by now, the FY19 budget process is done. Whew. The headline says it was a 7-0 vote, but I encourage you to read beyond the headlines. Starting July 1, the real estate tax rate will increase 2.5 cents to $1.355 per $100 of assessed value; the average homeowner will see an increase of about $431. All other tax rates remain the same. While there was a unanimous vote on the budget, it was not a unanimous endorsement of how we got there. In my opinion, no one is a winner when the process is contentious and messy. I’ve posted my comments that I gave on Monday night – please take a few minutes to read or watch – several of us spoke about our concerns, risks ahead, and how we can do better. We all have a role in improving the process, even as citizens.

(2) As I mentioned last week and in my budget comments above, here’s something we should all be able to rally together for Falls Church. We’ve applied for a $15.7M transportation grant to improve walkability and pedestrian safety at the Broad/Haycock/Shreve intersection around the MEH and GMHS campus. $15M is a big grant (a project we would have a hard time funding ourselves out of our $90M annual budget) and critical for safety, access to Metro, and the GMHS project. Outreach to the PTAs and various other citizen boards and commissions is underway. Strong, grassroots advocacy can make a big difference to help us win this very competitive grant. Even if you no longer have students at those schools or no students there yet – sports, camps, and community events occur there for all ages and is an important corridor for transit users. And by the time the improvements are done, your kids could be attending school there!

If you wrote to me about the budget, I encourage you to use the same effort and write to the NVTA with your support of this grant! (Better yet, show up in person.) It’s more powerful when people provide personal sentiments and experiences, but I’ve suggested a quick blurb below as a starting point.

  • TransAction Project Title: Falls Church Metro Station Access #334, Falls Church Multimodal Improvements Project #66
  • Scope: Install 4 traffic signals (including HAWK signal crossing Haycock), add crosswalks, widen existing sidewalks, relocate and underground utilities, install lighting and trees along Haycock and Rt 7.
  • Supporting statement: “I support this grant application because it will support a safer pedestrian and bicycle friendly corridor for students and workers who are traveling through the Shreve/Haycock/Rt 7 intersection to get to and from school or the West Falls Church Metro. Also, this will help with economic growth, development of a new high school at the site, and reduce car congestion by implementing infrastructure for multi modes of transportation.”
  • How to Make Comments:
    • Public Comment Period – started Friday, April 13, 2018 and will close at midnight on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
    • In Person: May 10, 2018 7:00 p.m, NVTA offices, 3040 Williams Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22031. (The Open House will start at 5:30 p.m. and the Public Hearing will commence immediately following a 7:00 p.m. presentation.) Each speaker will have three minutes to provide comments on the Candidate Projects.


With that, we’re taking next week off (we get a mini break when there are five Mondays in a month) so I’ll resume blogging the first full week of May. We’ll be turning our attention back to the campus project – the first round RFP responses for the 10 acre economic development are due next Tuesday 5/1 and we’ll post the responses for viewing by 5/15. In parallel, we’ll be working on the detailed RFP which will be issued later this summer. On the school front, we await the detailed design responses on 5/17.



What’s Coming Up​:

  • Tomorrow, Friday April 27 – Campus Coordinating Committee meeting – 730 am, Central Office
  • May 7 – City Council Work Session – 730 pm
  • May 10 – $15.7M transportation grant public comment opportunity – 7 pm, NVTA offices, 3040 Williams Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22031
  • May 14 – City Council MEeting – 730 pm
  • May 20 – Last day to submit email comments for $15.7M grant – email: SYPcomment@TheNoVaAuthority.org
  • May 20 – Sunday Series Town Hall – 2 pm, Community Center