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FairfaxVienna sidewalk initiative keeps marching forward

Vienna sidewalk initiative keeps marching forward

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2022 will be marked by even more sidewalk projects financed by the Maud Ferris Robinson Charitable Trust, Vienna officials told the Town Council during a May 2 briefing.

Maud Robinson, a longtime Council member and civic activist who died in March 2019 at age 96, bequeathed the town $7 million for sidewalk projects, but set a five-year time limit for spending the funds.

The town so far has completed sidewalks on segments of Pleasant Street, S.W., Plum Street, S.W., Cabin Road, S.E., and Holmes Drive, N.E., but many more are about to enter the pipeline.

Town officials have increased design capacity for the projects and added a second design firm to help with those efforts.


Some upcoming sidewalk projects will be designed in-house and additional staff members will assist with administering the program, officials said.

In addition to the original 24 planned projects, the Robinson Trust has added four more along bus routes on Follin Lane, Tapawingo Road, Beulah Road and Lawyers Road.

These 11 projects, worth $2.52 million, are scheduled for construction in 2022:

• Cherry Street, S.W., between Courthouse Road and Cottage Street.
• Adahi Road, S.E., between Park and Glyndon streets.
• Charles Street, S.E., from Locust Street to Branch Road.
• Blackstone Terrace, N.W., from Holmes Drive to Lawyers Road.
• Symphony Circle, S.W., from Melody Lane to the street’s end.
• Meadow Lane, S.W., from Stephen Circle to Gibson Drive.
• Alma Street, S.E., from Delano Drive to Follin Lane.
• Timber Lane, S.W., from Tapawingo Road to Harmony Drive.

  • Birch Street, S.W., from Battle Street to Plum Street.
    • Oak Street, S.W., from Birch Street to Center Street.
    • Elmar Drive, from Desale Street to Park Street.
    Officials expect sidewalks, worth nearly $4 million overall, will begun being built along the following streets in 2023:
    • Branch Road, S.E., from Locust Street to Valley Drive.
    • Follin Lane, S.E., from 500 feet east of Alma Street to Electric Avenue.
    • Delano Drive, S.E., from Echols Street until the street’s end.
    • Melody Lane, S.W., from Desale Street to Lullaby Lane.
    • Tazewell Road, N.W., from Holmes Drive to Lawyers Road.
    • Desale Street, S.W., from Moore Avenue to Melody Lane.
    • Orrin Street, S.E., from Delano Drive to Follin Lane.
    • Beulah Road, N.E., from Edwin Lane to 200 feet north of McArthur Avenue.
    • Hillcrest Drive from Kingsley Road until the street’s end.
    • Courthouse Road, S.W., from Maple Avenue to Locust Street.

Officials are contemplating 10 more possible projects worth nearly $2.9 million for the 2023-24 time frame. Vienna officials have spent or encumbered slightly more than $1.1 million of the Robinson funds so far for sidewalk initiatives.

Not all sidewalk proposals have been greeted enthusiastically by town residents. Citing lack of support from residents, officials have canceled projects along portions of Pleasant Street, S.W., Plum Street, S.W., Cabin Road, S.E., and Holmes Drive, N.E.

Council members sometimes have disagreed with various proposals and that trend continued May 2. Several members questioned the need for the proposed Mill Street project.

“It’s an industrial area,” said Council member Howard Springsteen. “It will take away all of their parking.”

Springsteen also objected because town staff had obtained consent from the Robinson trustee for the Mill Street project before presenting it to the Council, which received it warily.

Vienna Public Works Director Michael Gallagher said going to the trustee is the first step of many that town staffers make in the sidewalk process.

“Just because it might be an eligible project doesn’t put it in stone that it’s a project,” he said.

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