Saturday, April 28, 2012

**Updated** U.S. 1 Widening & Woodlawn Stables

This past week, I've received quite a few emails and Facebook messages from people concerned about the future of Woodlawn Stables due to the widening of U.S. 1.

Here's what's going on.  U.S. 1 is going to be widened between Telegraph Road and Mount Vernon Memorial Highway/Old Mill Road (a.k.a. where Roy Rogers is).  The project is fully funded and is currently undergoing design and environmental reviews.  The Mulligan Road (Old Mill/Jeff Todd Way) project is also proceeding along the other edge of Woodlawn Estate.

I've written about it a few times:

At its northern terminus the road runs right in between the the Woodlawn Mansion and Woodlawn Stables.  Woodlawn was originally the main home on the 2,000-acre estate of  Eleanor Parke "Nelly" Custis Lewis - the granddaughter of Martha Washington who gifted the property to her.  Both properties are owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  This was also the National Trust's first property and was donated to them by former U.S. Senator Oscar Underwood of Alabama in 1952. The main house was designed by the Architect of the U.S. Capitol and was constructed between 1800 and 1805. 

There are also two other houses on the property that are historic - one between the main mansion and Fort Belvoir and the other south/east of the stables.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weekly Column: The New State Budget Misses the Mark

This column below was my weekly column that appeared in the Mount Vernon Gazette and Patch in their April 26, 2012 editions:
The New State Budget Misses the Mark

I voted against the final state budget last week because it fails to address our needs and reflects badly-skewed priorities.    It was an eventful two days in Richmond.

The Senate budget deadlock  centered on new funding to “buy down” tolls on the Dulles Toll Road and in Hampton Roads.  Hampton Roads is in revolt right now due to a public-private partnership the Governor negotiated for a new tunnel that could cost Portsmouth drivers $1,000 per year.

Several years ago, the Dulles Toll Road was transferred to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which assumed responsibility for the construction of the Silver Line.  Tolls will double next year to over $4.00 per trip.  For someone driving five days per week, fifty weeks per year, that totals over $1,000 .  The High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes on the Beltway will bring more tolls, plus the Governor has plans to bring HOT lanes from Fredericksburg to I-395.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The New 1940 Census: Mount Vernon & Lee 70 Years Ago

The 1940 Census has just come out and being a local history geek, I had to go look.  My grandparents didn't move to Mount Vernon until Halloween Day, 1941, so it predated their arrival, but it gives a fascinating glimpse of our community poised for the massive growth that arrived 1945-1960.

The Census has a map that helps you get oriented.  the Fairfax County Map is split into quarters and two parts are relevant for our area.  One if the overall map for our quadrant. Second, there is a closeup of Route 1.  You can click on the copies below to enlarge or I've put both below or you can download your own copy here:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mt. Vernon & Lee Potomac Cleanups This Weekend

The Friends of Little Hunting Creek have organized numerous cleanups next weekend as part of the 24th Annual Alice Ferguson Foundation Potomac Cleanup.

Please volunteer at one of these sites in our community. 

Delegate Scott Surovell at Upper Little Hunting Creek At Huntley Meadows & Sequoyah Apts
Time: Noon to 4 p.m.
Contact: Delegate Scott Surovell or Megan Howard at 703 850-8618
7950 Seven Woods Drive
Alexandria, VA 22306
This site upstream of the Janna Lee Ave. bridge also needs your help. Travel south on Route 1 from Alexandria and turn right onto Buckman Road, turn R on Seven Woods Drive, take the 2nd right after Laramie Place and turn into a parking lot that includes a playground. (If you reach Silverada Place, you have gone too far.)

Gum Springs Community Cleanup
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Contact: Bryan Birch, 571-201-2802.
Meet at Shaw Park Court (Go South on Route 1, make a U-Turn at Mount Vernon Highway/Buckman Rd, turn R on Napper Rd, R on Shaw Park Court and park at the end.

Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Contact: Karl Egloff, 571-214-2773
Take the Mount Vernon Pkway S from Alexandria, turn right at Stratford Lane (1 mile north of Mount Vernon), L at Captains Row, to 9000 Captains Row. 

Help the Girl Scouts at Janna Lee's Creekside Village
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Contact: Kathy Lehner,
Come help the Creekside Village Girl Scouts clean up this trash hotspot! From Route 1 (at the intersection with Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy), turn west onto Buckman Rd, R on Janna Lee Ave., to the bridge over Little Hunting Creek (just before the Creekside Village Apts). 

Paddle at Stratford Landing
Time: 1 to 4 p.m.
Contact: Celia Boertlein at or Paul Siegel at 703-346-9141.
Bring your canoe or kayak, life vest, and paddle, and meet at the canoe launch at 8706 Stockton Parkway (across from 8707). At this site volunteers will retrieve trash from the water. Experienced paddlers only; any children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weekly Column: Lee & Mount Vernon’s Streams and Rivers Are Polluted, says Virginia DEQ:

This column below was my weekly column that appeared in the Mount Vernon Gazette, Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in their April 5, 2012 editions:
Lee and Mount Vernon’s Streams and Rivers Are Polluted, says Virginia DEQ

Last week, I received a report from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regarding Mount Vernon and Lee’s rivers and streams. The annual assessment reports are disturbing and continue to show our rivers and streams are in poor health.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s analysis of the data, 71% of Virginia’s streams violate state water quality standards along with 94% of all estuaries (tidal parts of Hunting Creek/Cameron Run, Little Hunting Creek, Dogue Creek and the Potomac River). Every embayment and stream monitored in my delegate seat violated state water quality standards.