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Park Authority to begin master plan for Falls Church park

The Fairfax County Park Authority is starting the master plan development process for Ruckstuhl Park, an undeveloped park site in the Falls Church area of the county.

The 7-acre property was formerly owned by Lily Ruckstuhl, who conveyed the land to the county through the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust at the time of her death in 2008. According to park officials, Ruckstuhl had expressed her desire that the property be forever preserved, preferably as a park.

At a meeting on Wednesday, July 30, Park Authority staff will discuss current conditions of the park and gather input and ideas about possible uses for the land. Using this input, park staff will later develop a draft master plan, which will be brought back to the community for review and comment.

The meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Lemon Road Elementary School.

Express Lanes now offer pricing alerts

This week, the 495 Express Lanes launched new pricing alerts that allow customers to receive notification of the current toll price via email or text so they know the price to travel on the Express Lanes before they get on the road.

The Express Lanes allow drivers to pay a variable-price toll for a congestion-free ride on the Capital Beltway between the Dulles Toll Road and the Springfield Interchange.

Drivers can customize the alerts so they receive information for specific routes or specific times of day. The alerts can be edited, added or deleted at any time.

An Express Lanes account is required to sign up for the alerts. Customers must log into the account page of the 495 Express Lanes website, 495expresslanes.com.

Local hospitals earn high marks

Inova Fairfax Hospital was named the best medical campus in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and No. 2 in the state in a recent report from U.S. News and World Report. The hospital also made it onto national lists for specialties in gynecology and neonatology.

This is the third year in a row Inova Fairfax has been named best in the region. Inova Fair Oaks Hospital was ranked No. 9 in the region and No. 14 in the state.

Reston Hospital Center, owned by Inova competitor HCA, ranked No. 13 in the region and 20 in the state.

The rankings are based on how hospitals care for more challenging patient cases, as well as performance in certain specialty areas.

Major bus service changes go into effect July 26

The opening of Metro’s Silver Line July 26 also will usher in major changes to the county’s Fairfax Connector bus service. Fairfax Connector will launch 16 new routes, implement changes to 28 routes and discontinue five routes the day the rail service begins.

The main goal of the service changes was to provide the “first mile” or “last mile” transportation for commuters, connecting their homes and businesses to the new rail stations. For details on the new routes, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/silverline/.