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FairfaxOpinionLetter: Upgrade to Oakton lane unnecessary on many levels

Letter: Upgrade to Oakton lane unnecessary on many levels

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Editor: The resistance highlighted in the Jan. 5 Sun Gazette article regarding the Fairfax County government’s staff proposal to upgrade Hickory Hollow Lane in Oakton includes many more than the two residents identified in the piece.

The Fairfax County Road Maintenance Improvement Program’s plan to increase culvert sizing to alleviate flooding of Hickory Hollow Lane by the Rocky Branch stream is greatly needed and appreciated by area residents. However, the plan to widen and pave the approximately 550 feet of the gravel roadway that abuts the two local residents’ properties is unnecessary, unwanted and wasteful.

As a resident who walks our dog Lucy on Hickory Hollow Lane daily, I can attest that the existing roadway already handles, as the article states, “tractor-trailers, cement and dump trucks, delivery vehicles and MetroAccess vans” regularly. Widening and paving that segment of the roadway will do little to improve access.

The article also reported that residents indicated “widening and repaving the road would require removal of all of the 70 to 80 mature trees lining the right-of-way and would increase water runoff and erosion.” While the county government intends to plant new trees, it cannot replace the many 40-plus-foot trees in my lifetime to assure continued habitat for local and migratory birds, deer, fox and other wildlife that the many dog-walkers, trail-runners, mountain bikers, high-school cross-country teams and Ashlawn Park strollers have come to relish.


How ironic that county staff wants to remove the mature tree canopy in Oakton while, as the Sun Gazette reported last November, “Vienna Looks for Way to Up Its Tree Canopy.”

While I appreciate Road Maintenance’s mandate to bring all roads up to latest VDOT and nationwide standards, I question the urgency to spend $1.3 million to widen and pave the aforementioned section of Hickory Hollow Lane at his time. I’m sure taxpayers can identify many roadway improvements having much greater benefit to the community than forcing more pavement on residents who do NOT want it.

In a time when budgets are tight and preserving natural environments critical, why can’t the county government solve the stormwater flooding much less expensively and faster by installing larger box culvert(s) now, deferring the wasteful paving that destroys the natural environment local residents wish to preserve?

Peter Andrejev, Oakton

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