Protect Stenwood Elementary School's land and the safety of our children
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As parents and other supporters of the children and staff at Stenwood Elementary, we ask VDOT to strongly consider the impacts of the I66 Outside the Beltway and Gallows Road expansion projects on our community school.
Any proposed changes to the parallel I-66 regional bicycle trail must not allow additional land loss or open access to the school.
- If the trail must run alongside the school grounds, it must remain on the highway side of the soundwall to protect the safety and security of the school grounds. Extensive public comment was provided on this topic in 2015, including a formal statement of opposition from the Superintendent, and the highway side design was approved as part of the Preferred Alternative.
- Moving the trail to the school/community side of the soundwall would allow unrestricted public access to the school grounds just feet away from where the children play. This poses an extreme safety and security risk to our children that absolutely cannot be allowed.
- Furthermore, any access from the trail to the surrounding school property must be secured with concrete or brick wall structures, not chain link fences that are easily broken in to.
- Any alternative trail designs considered should look at options for the trail to not run alongside the school grounds, offering the opportunity to significantly reduce land takings and the loss of the mature treeline barrier at the school.
Gallows Road expansion plans must include safety improvements around school entrance/exit and along pedestrian path.
- We remain concerned about having such a wide road with 6 lanes of traffic in front of the school, exacerbating existing safety issues at the entrance/exit of the school and encouraging more cars and faster driving that puts children walking to school at greater risk of injury.
- Of utmost concern is that the concept plans showed the expansion of Gallows Road stopping abruptly right after the Stenwood Elementary school entrance/exit and before the next traffic light at Cottage St. Having 6 lanes merge down to 4 lanes in this spot will inevitably create a bottleneck right at the school's main access point, which is already a difficult and dangerous exit point.
- The final design must improve the safety of this road and add features to improve accessibility to the school, including proper school zone lights/signage (such as lights flashing during school hours above a speed limit sign on each side of the road; something that is present at other local schools with less traffic such as Lemon Road Elementary) and safety rails along the walking path.
Construction should be planned to minimize disruption of daily instruction and testing and the negative psychological impact on our children
- We request that there be no “activities with objectionable noise" (ie, blasting/explosives, jack hammering, vibrating rollers and the like) during school hours and particularly during and the week before standardized testing).
- We request that there will always be car and pedestrian access to the parking lot of the school during school hours and afterschool activities.
- We request that noise monitors be put in place on the school grounds to monitor the impact of construction and long-term noise pollution at the school site.
Final designs should consider the long-term noise and air quality, environmental, and sustainability impact at the school with appropriate mitigations
- We have great concerns about the noise and air quality impact that the additional roads will have on our children. We ask that proper soundwalls/protection (both natural barriers and taller, aesthetic soundwalls) be put in place to preserve the environment of our community school. Air quality monitors should also be put in place at Stenwood Elementary to monitor the impacts to our children and the community during construction and after.
- The current design threatens the environment and sustainability of the school’s campus by proposing to remove its mature trees and natural vegetation. If a new treeline were to be planted the new trees would not be as mature and tall as the current treeline and the planting of new trees may require additional land loss impacting the schools track and ballfields. The treeline and ballfield are important features of our community school and we ask that the project planners make the preservation of these features a priority in the final plans.
More About The Stenwood Elementary School Community
Stenwood Elementary School has served elementary-aged students in the Dunn Loring neighborhood for more than 50 years, beginning in 1963. The school provides educational instruction for over 550 preschool and K-6 students under the guidance of over 70 Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) staff.
The school is located at the heart of the Dunn Loring/Vienna community and is the reason many residents chose to live in this area. We are a transit-oriented community, with many residents commuting to and from work via the Dunn Loring metro station. We are also a bicycle-friendly community that benefits from the nearby W&OD trail (less than 1 mile from the school). We are an active and engaged community that embraces the rapid growth in our area, but is mindful that this be done without the loss of the strong community already present.
Our children deserve to continue their studies in a safe, community school and we are counting on your support to ensure this project strongly considers their needs.
Parents and Supporters of Stenwood Elementary
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