I recently had the pleasure of hosting an ice cream social event for the residents of Potomac Woods Senior Living. Thank you to all who attended! While much fun was had, it was also an opportunity for residents to express their ideas about bettering the community. As promised, my staff and I are seeking solutions to concerns raised by attendees. Following are actions that have been taken to date. Expect more updates as progress continues.
Speeding and Parking
The Prince William Department of Transportation (PWDOT) has added Pine Lane to its speed study schedule. County staff will place “loggers” on the street for 48 hours to record the speeds of passing vehicles. If the results demonstrate the need, PWDOT will consider the installation of traffic calming devices, such as speed tables and enhanced speeding fines of $200. Southampton is not eligible for a speed study as there are no driveways and is therefore not considered residential. Police presence will also be used.
Residents reported that the car dealership at Pine Avenue and Route 1 has been responsible for some of the speeding and has been parking their vehicles along Pine Avenue. This is unacceptable and I have asked police to closely monitor this location and issue citations for any speeding or parking violations. I will also be personally reaching out to the dealership to request that they refrain from parking their vehicles outside of their site plan.
Pedestrian Safety & Accessibility
A resident inquired about a crosswalk across Route 1 at Pine Street. A traffic engineer from the PWDOT reviewed the area and determined that a crosswalk was not safe at this location because of its proximity to the intersection with Optiz Boulevard. Virginia Department of Transportation will not approve a signalized intersection this close to another traffic signal, and having a painted crosswalk (with no signal) at the location would be dangerous.
Pedestrian safety and accessibility concerns were also expressed regarding Daniel Stuart Square shopping center. This is private property and Prince William County has no authority to initiate pedestrian or traffic improvements. However, I asked our traffic engineer to review the site and make suggestions for improving pedestrian access that can be shared with the private property owners. I update Potomac Woods residents when the property owner responds to our request.
The sidewalk on Southampton Street between Pine Lane and Montgomery Avenue is expected to be completed this fall. After a series of challenges, including design problems and relocating utilities, I am pushing hard to have this completed by November 18, 2018. We will honor the five-year anniversary of the passing of Sally Ann Okuly when this project is done. Sally, a resident at Potomac Woods, while died after being hit by a car when crossing Opitz Boulevard nearly five years ago.
Also in this area, there is a new sidewalk planned on Opitz Boulevard between the Potomac Library and Potomac Center Boulevard. It is scheduled to begin construction this summer.
Mosquito and Forest Management inspected the area behind the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton (OWL) Fire Station, and other known nearby mosquito sites on May 30. Pesticides were applied as needed in these locations to help keep the mosquito population down. The sites where mosquito larvae were located have been added to the database and will be checked periodically moving forward.
A resident at the ice cream social reported that the water pressure in the building had decreased significantly. The Service Authority Operations and Maintenance team was sent to Potomac Woods and increased the water pressure. However, the property manager has expressed concern that the pressure is now too high and could cause damage to the pipes in the building. The Service Authority will be working with the property manager and building maintenance to adjust the water pressure.
The litter crew was dispatched to Southampton Street and Pine Lane to clean up litter in the county right of way, and report any litter violations for private property. Neighborhood Services will be following up with any private property violations. Residents may call my office at 703-792-4646 any time they observe litter and we will get the county crew back out.
The county is aware that there are some homeless individuals living in the woods near the complex. The police visit the area periodically to check on the welfare of the individuals, ensure there are no threats to public safety and inform them of available county services. Neighborhood Services also performs periodic checks to mitigate litter and other county code violations. County inspectors have asked the volunteer firefighters at OWL to keep an eye on the area and report any violations observed. If you witness suspicious activity, please call the police non-emergency number at 703-792-6500.
Many Potomac Woods residents expressed concern over the lack of affordable housing. I share their concern and hope that in the near future we will have the Board of County Supervisors support me in introducing policies that will promote affordable housing in the County. Other counties in the Northeast have successfully implemented policies that require new developments to include residences that are rent capped based on what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sets as affordable. Look for more on this topic in the next New Woodbridge Vision newsletter; community support will play a vital role in making the necessary policy changes.
In the meantime, there are services available through Northern Virginia Family Services that can provide assistance for living expenses; including income-based housing rentals and rental and utility assistance. For more information, please call 703-748-2552 or visit www.nvfs.org. The Prince William Area Agency on Aging is another resource: firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-792-6374.
Activities for Seniors
Another issue raised at the social was the need to increase activities for senior citizens in the area. The Woodbridge Senior Center offers a variety of activities, classes, and programs that are available for a $25/year membership (or $2/day) including ceramics, origami, Spanish and French language lessons, dancing and computer lessons. Many of our parks also offer free, or low-cost, activities such as tai chi and adult fitness classes.
It brings me much fulfillment to be able to turn the concerns of the community into action plans for a better future. I’m grateful to these senior citizens for their dedication to our community and I look forward to monitoring these issues and providing further updates as they arise. To all Woodbridge District residents—please feel free to contact me at any time if I can be of service. I am honored to be your representative on the Board of County Supervisors.