Churchill Elementary School Sidewalk Complete
Parents were concerned about heavy traffic on Raymond Avenue.
Fairfax County has completed a sidewalk on Raymond Avenue between Churchill Road and Capitol View Drive, a popular walking route for Churchill Elementary School students.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust initiated construction of the 5-foot wide, 350-foot long sidewalk at the urging of Churchill parents concerned about the heavy traffic on Raymond Avenue during school arrival and dismissal hours and the lack of a safe way for their children to walk to school. Without the sidewalk, children were forced to walk on a narrow dirt path or in the street, according to Foust’s office.
The project was requested in April 2004 when the PTA of Churchill Elementary School sent a petition signed by 162 residents within the Churchill school district to the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services requesting a sidewalk. Churchill Principal Don Hutzel and Wade Smith, Dranesville appointee that time, pushed for the project, which was not able to be built at the time due to engineering, right-of-way and funding difficulties.
The Virginia Department of Transportation installed no parking signs along Raymond Avenue near Churchill Road in March 2003. McLean district police also positioned an officer and a cruiser at Raymond Avenue and Churchill Road during school arrival and dismissal times.
Churchill Elementary School parent and neighbor Heather Bensten Schone resurrected the project in February 2009 when she contacted Foust, presenting another petition with the signatures of 70 residents sharing concerns about student’s pedestrian safety. In June 2009, Foust obtained $300,000 to fund the walkway through the county’s Commercial and Industrialization Tax. Construction began in December 2012 and was completed in February.
“This sidewalk is long-overdue and will be a great relief to the many parents whose children walk to Churchill Elementary School along Raymond Avenue,” Foust said in a statement. “I want to especially thank Principal Hutzel and Heather Bensten Schone for their determination in seeing the project through to completion.”