Editor: As a resident of the Cardinal Glen community in Sterling, I am deeply alarmed by the Route 7 corridor study to limit access to our neighborhood to a right in/right out-only onto Rt. 7.
The proposal includes removing the fully functional traffic light at the intersection of Cardinal Glen Circle/Sterling Blvd. and Rt. 7. That traffic light offers us a safe passage in and out of our homes. To go eastbound on Rt. 7 we will be forced to make a U-turn lane at or near Potomac View Road. It forces us to make an aggressive right turn onto Rt. 7’s heavy flow of traffic, only to muscle our way into the leftmost lane immediately. The Potomac View intersection is already infamous for its high number of accidents.
Residents of our community rallied together and met with Supervisor Koran Saines and representatives from the county’s Department of Transportation & Capital Infrastructure. What’s concerning is that no one from the DTCI or county leaders reached out to us, the residents who will be most affected by these changes, before our invitation.
The whole neighborhood overwhelmingly rejected the proposal, citing concerns about safety, emergency personnel access into our neighborhood, and dropping home values due to unsafe/inconvenient access.
The initial response from the representatives was not reassuring. Koran Saines set the tone with “you can’t please everyone when you make these decisions.”
When we focused on the primary safety concern, John (JT) Thomas from DTCI stated: “Accidents that come from making a right-hand turn tend to be less fatal.”
Accepting a risk that we have to sacrifice our safety for the needs of other commuters is unconscionable.
As Bob Brown from DTCI walked through the plan, I wondered did he ever try to exit Cardinal Glen using a right-only without the aid of the traffic light? I can rarely make the right turn unassisted, even during non-rush hour traffic.
While I appreciate the intent of the study, in dealing with the county’s rapid growth and high traffic, I oppose the measures to put in place interim safety improvements that will disregard the safety and convenience of over 500 people in addition to the Bahai temple and its congregants located on our grounds. This could be a basis for a lawsuit, if we have no other recourse.
Interims could last decades with a shifting political landscape and will to fund the full 2040 design. In the future, I will vote no on capital infrastructure improvement plans because I have lost faith in the process, the county leaders, and their lack of transparency when it comes to engaging the citizens who will be affected the most.
Maliha Balala, Cardinal Glen