|An overgrown median strip.|
The supervisors urge Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne to reinstitute the policy of six mowing cycles a year. They have received numerous complaints about overgrown grass in neighborhoods and along high-density roadways. The unkempt grass is not only an eyesore; it’s a safety hazard.
“Many residents in Lee District and across the county rely on well-maintained sidewalks to travel to bus stops, get around their neighborhoods, and visit local businesses,” McKay says. “Poorly maintained sidewalks and medians reduce driver visibility, discourage travel around neighborhoods, and make life difficult for children, senior citizens, and working families.”
“This is first and foremost a safety issue,” says Cook. “Our roads are heavily traveled and those making left turns or U-turns sometimes must put themselves and others at risk because tall grass blocks their view.”
In addition, tall grass encourages more ticks, which often carry Lyme Disease, and could have a negative impact on property values.
The mild winter and lack of need for continued snowplowing left unallocated funding in VDOT’s road maintenance budget, the supervisors point out, and those funds could be used for mowing.
VDOT used to mow six times a year. But that was cut to three during the recession, and the recession is now over, Cook says. “Furthermore, Fairfax residents are paying an extra penny on the sales tax to Richmond to fund transportation needs. If people in Fairfax are going to pay more, they have a right to see basic maintenance at least as good as pre-recession levels.”
VDOT mowing practices often directly conflict with localities’ expectations of homeowners, McKay adds. “It doesn't make sense that residents are held to a higher standard of grass maintenance than the state government.”