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Letter: Schools, County Need to Work Together

Hynes: FCPS has to be very careful how it spends school construction bond funds, to comply with the law and to have any hope of addressing backlog of renovations and additions.

Degraded streams are a challenge throughout Fairfax County. Property renovations and additions provide opportunities to rehabilitate streams damaged by decades of over-development and the school system is committed to playing a responsible role in that effort.

School system and county government staff are working together to that end, across the county and here in Reston. I want to thank Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova for their active involvement.

The costs of stream restoration are significant. Retaining storm water on the Sunrise Valley ES property, for example, would cost 10 times what traditional, and currently acceptable, storm water on the Sunrise Valley property, for example, would cost ten times what traditional, and currently acceptable, storm water management improvements would cost - $500,000 as opposed to $40,000.

The school system has to be very careful how it spends school construction bond funds, to comply with the law and to have any hope of addressing our backlog of desperately needed renovations and additions.

It is because of those constraints that we are working with our partners in county government to find a solution.

As for extra parking and kiss-n-ride spaces, there is a balance to be struck and not everyone will agree on how best to do that. Where we see kiss-n-ride lines and school parking clogging neighborhood streets, creating unsafe conditions, it makes sense to build in more capacity on site.

I am working with Safe Routes to Schools proponents and county and FCPS staff to improve pedestrian and bike access to schools and to help parent communities transition from car dependence to healthier alternatives. For example, the Sunrise Valley renovation was improved to add a pedestrian/bike trail connecting a county trail with the sidewalk in front of the school.

Transitioning families out of their cars is a process, as much about infrastructure as about habits. Incentives have to be moving in the right direction, but it can not be forced.

I am grateful for this conversation. Schools are public spaces. Community input is essential to good outcomes. I also believe that respectful dialogue is essential. I take everyone at their word. We all want what's best for children and the environment. I don't know anyone who sees the values of public education and environmental stewardship at odds.

Pat Hynes
Hunter Mill Representative to the School Board

Hynes is writing in response to about planned renovations at Sunrise Valley and Terraset Elementary Schools

Pat Hynes August 14, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Mr. Sogandares, please keep in touch and let me know how you feel about the plans as they move forward. I attended the DRB meeting where the Terraset plans were presented and I recall that the effect of run-off on neighbors was discussed. You are right that storm water management is not just about environmental stewardship in the abstract - there are neighbors who are directly effected. Pat Hynes pmhynes@fcps.edu
Frank Sogandares August 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I will keep you apprised.... (I brought the issue up at the DRB meeting... not FxCo)
Lilguy August 14, 2012 at 07:18 PM
What may be legally "acceptable" for storm water runoff is not necessarily the same thing as "the right thing to do," especially here in tree-hugging Reston (& count me among'em). The difference between deciding to do the easy "acceptable" thing and the more important "right thing" is called leadership. That's what you were elected for. At the same time, I expect Rolband and WSSI are angling for another remediation contract in Reston.
Bruce Wright August 14, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Ms. Hynes, Thanks for your thoughtful response. You are so right when you say that "Transitioning families out of their cars is a process, as much about infrastructure as about habits. Incentives have to be moving in the right direction, but it can not be forced." I sense that the new school board is moving in the right direction and rethinking the expansion of kiss & ride facilities. The Board also seems much more aware of the need to improve ped/bike facilities. Changing habits, habits that have been encouraged by the expansion of kiss & ride facilities throughout the county, will take time. Events like Bike to School Day and Walk to School Day are just as important as building more sidewalks and bike facilities. Many schools are already bike- and ped-friendly; parents just need a little encouragement and support to get out of their cars and get their kids walking and biking.
Robert Mowbray October 08, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Over a year ago the Reston Association adopted a policy to oppose any development or redevelopment in Reston which will result in increased storm waste volume or decreased green space or tree canopy. As I understand the current plans for TES and Sunrise Valley will result in increased stormwater runoff and decreased tree canopy. I hope that steps will be taken to comply with Reston Association's position on these issues. Also Terraset was a state of the art school when it was built. I hope that steps will be taken to alter the plans for renovation so that they meet LEEDS standards.

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