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Saturday, February 4, 2023
FairfaxOpinionLetter: Time to move forward on sidewalk bequest

Letter: Time to move forward on sidewalk bequest

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Editor: In 2019, the late Maud Robinson gifted $8 million to the Vienna town government to build more sidewalks. This gift should allow Vienna to achieve its goals of completing a walkway network and creating a safer, more walkable Vienna.

So far, town leaders have spent nothing and constructed no sidewalks. They have proposed sidewalk projects on several streets that already have town-owned sidewalk right-of-way. All would be constructed on property that already is owned by the town.

Rather than moving forward with the highest priority sidewalks or notifying all residents of the proposed projects, the town government sought feedback only from residents on the proposed streets. Some of these residents opposed them. As a result, several of the proposed sidewalks were put on hold.

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Sidewalks benefit all Vienna residents. And most Vienna residents want more sidewalks: 87 percent of Vienna resident respondents in the 2016 community survey said that adding sidewalks and trails to better connect the community were an important initiative to take over the next five years.

They improve safety, enhance our community, benefit our businesses and relieve our crowded roadways. They are a public good.

The town must use the funds by 2024. We could lose this $8 million gift if town leaders continues to wait, listening only to a small group of residents. But what do the rest of us think? Tell the Town Council by e-mailing sidewalks@viennava.gov.

Julie Hays, Vienna

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