Karen Habitzreuther will be recording what she learns from Fairfax City residents during her campaign for City Council.
Saturday July 29, 2017
Meetings with Voters on Email and Social Media …
Feedback on Traffic & Fence on Hill Street
My top concern here in Fairfax City is this crazy traffic. It seems to stop dead at every city border. I would also wave a magic wand to make the city more walkable. For example—our neighborhood has been trying to get rid of a giant fence at the end of Hill Street for TWO YEARS. That fence separates us from a little shopping center. We could walk to Starbucks if that fence was gone. Thank you for asking for my opinions. I would like to hear your opinions since you are running for council. — Deb Smith, Friendly City Resident
Karen’s response to Traffic: Ameliorating our traffic congestion in and around this City is a top concern for me also! It impacts everything else, e.g., public safety, City attractiveness as a destination, economic development and retention of businesses, availability and timeliness of public transportation, leisure time, pollution, and on and on. It is a Quality of Life issue! As of right now, I have spoken directly with the City Manager and his Transportation Director about this to ensure we have a regularly-evaluated and process-based strategic plan for transportation improvements in the City that ensures that planned near-term City transportation improvements are not only integrated to be mutually supporting with County and VDOT initiatives, but also with planned City land-use projects, and that these near-term improvements contribute to the attainment of the vision in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
This is something that I have been following for months now at our City Council meetings as well as discussing with involved City Staff leadership. The City has just posted its Two-Year Transportation Program on its website at: http://www.fairfaxva.gov/government/public-works/transportation-division/transportation-project. Fairfax City residents, please take a moment to review this draft Two-Year Transportation Plan. The City is looking for input and has provided a place for it. Feel free to share this information with any of your City resident friends. Promoting public input is important.
Karen’s response to the Fence Issue: As to the giant fence at the end of Hill Street hindering the walkability for residents there, thank you for bringing this to my attention. Please put me in touch with your neighborhood representatives who have been working on this for two years, so I can educate myself on what has been attempted to fix this issue so far and then I can work with your neighborhood to find a solution to correct this! I couldn’t agree more that our City needs to be more walkable! That is one of the reasons that I was against approving the application brought forward earlier this month to develop the land where the Furniture 2 Go, Patriot, and Amity businesses are. Approval required granting many exceptions to our zoning standards, one of which was to reduce the required sidewalk width from five feet to four feet! This is NOT in the best interest of making our City more walkable and improving public safety!
Feedback on Party Affiliation
I am a registered Virginia voter and would like to know your party affiliation; it was not indicated on the recent flyer that I received in the mail. You may feel that Council members are not political; however, I will not vote for anyone unless I know if they are Democrat or Republican. Many times those who serve on local Councils or School Boards move into higher governmental elected positions and I would like to know in advance of voting a candidate’s party preference. I await your response. –Interested City Resident
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am happy to answer your question. I do not, nor have I ever, had a party affiliation. I am proud to say that I have intentionally remained fiercely independent throughout my years as a voter. I will not pledge myself to any political party; I wish to retain the ability to vote for any candidate, regardless of party, who I believe will do the best job in the office for which he or she is running. I characterize myself as fiscally conservative; I unequivocally believe that it should be any elected official’s responsibility, without regard to party affiliation, to demand judicious, well-planned, and the accountable, best use of the taxpayers’ money with which he or she is entrusted. I truly look forward to meeting you in person and listening to your concerns with regard to our City so I can best represent you! I appreciate your involvement and I am grateful in anticipation of your vote! The opportunity for absentee voting is already available; it began yesterday, Friday, July 28th. For more information, please visit: http://www.fairfaxva.gov/government/voter-registration/absentee-voting.