Updates from Letty – May 10, 2024

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,

With rain in the forecast, I’m moving my walking office hours to Monday at 12 pm, Cherry Hill Park. I’d welcome any final budget comments either in person or via email as we approach the finish line on Monday night. We’ve had a good budget season with a lot of detailed deliberations, markups, and a whopping set of 82 (!) budget Q&As. The budget is one of the most important decisions we make each year, and you can rest assured that we are thoroughly weighing all the different needs across the community.

As a little break from the budget this week, I’ll highlight a few calls to action:

  • Walk: tomorrow is the Women’s History Walk at Cherry Hill. I’ll be volunteering in the morning, so come say hello!
  • Celebrate: on Monday, join us for our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebration – there will be cultural performances at 7 pm at City Hall, preceding our meeting at 730 pm.
  • Share: our Rec and Parks department would like your feedback on new play equipment at Berman Park that this upcoming budget will fund.
  • Advocate: many public comments in the past have helped us win critical grant funding. Take a minute to write in for transit priority signals that will improve bus service and alleviate congestion on Rt 7. Read on for a suggested blurb and how to show your support.

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms and mom figures out there!

What Happened This Week

(1) Berman Park

Up next in ongoing park updates is Berman Park, where the play equipment is expected to get a refresh this coming year. The playground equipment has a $400K allocation in the Capital Improvements Program with about half of the funds coming from nearby new development cash contributions.

The Rec and Parks team held a community meeting at the park this week, so the young and young at heart could offer input on the improvements and what’s important to them. I was glad to see Spanish translation offered for nearby residents too. As currently scheduled, the playground equipment is expected to be upgraded this fall/winter, perhaps in conjunction with the Berman Park trail crossings project which will update four of the trail’s street crossings, specifically at Ellison Street, Kent Street, Irving Street, and South Spring Street. The new crossings will include high visibility markings to highlight the trail crossings and narrowed street cross-section to shorten the pedestrian crossing distance

More swings? Slides? Climbing equipment? Email Csingal@fallschurchva.gov with comments and your contact info so you can stay tuned in for regular updates on the project as well.

(2) Help Us Win Transportation $

Public comments are an important part of the selection process to allocate competitive regional grants and as a small jurisdiction, many of the improvements you see rely on grant funding. Falls Church has been quite successful in the past few years in winning funds for important transportation safety projects at Rt 7/Haycock (now underway) and projects at Shreve Road and at N. Washington in the coming year.

The City submitted its Signal Prioritization Project, which includes installation of Transit Signal Priority (TSP) technology at up to seven intersections along the future Route 7 BRT route, which mirrors the current 28A. Transit signal priority is a technology that allows buses to communicate with signals. The installation of transit signal priority technology improves transit options and operations, without taking up additional space in the roadway or right of way, which then encourages more ridership and reduces reliance on single occupancy cars.

By May 19, submit your support for the City’s project (CFC-011) using the NVTA FY2024-2029 Six Year Program Feedback Form. Suggested blurb below.

“I support this grant application because it will improve transit options and operations, along the future Route 7 Bus Rapid Transit route. The project will enhance service frequency and capacity at bus stops and stations, resulting in more consistent schedules and reduced waiting times for passengers.”

(3) Floodway Ordinance

For awareness, we also adopted updated floodplain regulations to meet new FEMA standards effective this June. Having updated code also enables the city to continue participating in the National Floodplain Insurance Program (NFIP) which offers currently at 15% discount to our residents. Impacted properties have been notified and a number of public meetings have occurred, weighing the stricter standards to lower flood risk with property owner feedback for their flood-risky property.

What’s Coming Up:

Saturday, May 11 – Women’s History Walk (10-3, Cherry Hill Park)

**Monday, May 13 – Letty’s Walking Office Hours (12 pm, Cherry Hill Park)**

Monday, May 13 – City Council Meeting – Budget Adoption*

Monday, May 20 – City Council Work Session*

Tuesday, May 28 – City Council Meeting*

*Mondays (except 5th Mondays and holidays) at 7:30 pm. You can access the agenda and livestream here, including recordings of past meetings