You might have noticed them around town: brick sidewalks torn up by utility work or some other sort of construction project. You’ll see a small pile of bricks (or “pavers”) by a street lamp and patches of asphalt where the bricks were removed.
We were recently asked whose repsonsibility it is to put the bricks back by a reader who was unhappy with the fact that the brick sidewalk in front of the Hyde Park Harris Teeter had been torn up more more than a month (it has since been fixed).
Here’s the response we got from county spokesperson Karen Acar:
Maintenance responsibilities for sidewalks throughout the County can be a complicated issue.
In residential areas it’s pretty simple. In nearly all instances the County owns and maintains the sidewalks – except for driveway aprons, which are the responsibility of the property owner.
Commercial areas are more complex. Many of the commercial roadways, including Glebe Road, Lee Hwy, Columbia Pike, Fairfax Drive, and most of Washington Blvd, are owned by VDOT. In most cases, VDOT would be responsible for maintaining the sidewalks, but not always.
In many areas along VDOT roadways that have been improved beyond standard concrete sidewalks (for example, pavers or more complex paving or streetscape patterns), VDOT has transferred maintenance responsibility to a third party – oftentimes the County – as a condition of approving the non-standard treatment.
Another factor (whether on VDOT or county roads) is the presence of county-issued site plans or other site development approvals. Many commercial developments throughout the County include conditions which require the associated developer or building owner to maintain the sidewalk adjacent to and in front of their site. Many of the sidewalks in commercial areas are not on public right-of-way, but are instead on private land which has been encumbered with an easement to allow public sidewalks and utilities as part of the site development.
In nearly all cases where sidewalk disruption is the result of some utility maintenance or other work, the party that conducted the maintenance or work would be held responsible for restoring the area. The County should be able to track who is responsible for the work by checking various permit systems (building, right-of-way, etc.).
Permanent repairs are often completed the same day as the work, but in other instances, repairs could require two weeks or longer – particularly if the sidewalk disruption is related to a large-scale repair or maintenance program.
Currently, fiber optics are being installed around Arlington County, including Columbia Pike, under a permit from Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Once the contractor has completed installation, it is responsible for repairing the sidewalk.
To reports problems with a sidewalk, follow this link or call 703-228-6570.
Hyde Park photo courtesy Marsh Lucas.
In an effort to promote the use of energy-saving solar water heaters, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment is launching a new initiative this fall. The group will organize volunteers to install solar water heaters for Arlington residents willing to shell out the cash to purchase the systems.
ACE is calling it their “Solar Raisers Program” — a take-off on Amish barn raisings. They’ve started recruiting members to volunteer on weekends for the day-long installations. They’re also looking for homeowners who are interested in the solar systems.
Homeowners who participate in the program will save $3,500 in labor costs, ACE says. They will still have to purchase the water heating system itself — which should cost about $2,300 after tax rebates. And they will have to provide food and drink to the volunteers.
“With the reduced labor costs, the system typically pays for itself in less than four years,” ACE noted in an email to supporters. ”This compares to a seven to nine year period payback a full-priced installation.”
Arlington homeowners interested in participating (and anyone who wants to volunteer) should contact Dan Conant at conantd [at] gmail.com or 571-243-0745.
Conant says he’s received 15 applications from homeowners and has about 30 volunteers who have expressed interest in helping out.
Photo via Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
At a community chat hosted by the African American Leadership Council of Arlington Wednesday night, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy was asked about the changing demographics of the school population.
According to Dr. Murphy, school administrators have observed the following trends:
- An increase in Hispanic students
- A stablization in the number of black students
- A decrease in white and Asian students
A relatively low 15 percent of Arlington residents have school-aged children, school officials said. Roughly one quarter of the school-aged population attends private schools.
Arlington officials took select members of the media (read: not us) on a hard hat tour of the still under-construction Artisphere last night.
In her write-up of the tour, the Washington Post’s Jacqueline Trescott is skeptical of the county’s ability to finish the project in time for its scheduled October 10 opening.
Trescott then describes Artisphere’s effort to attract a younger demographic. Among the plans for getting 20-to-45-year-olds to participate in the arts: dancing.
Built into the programming, [Arlington cultural affairs chief Norma] Kaplan said, will be opportunities for interaction with the artists. “We are trying to attract audiences that normally don’t come into a cultural center,” she said. One idea is to have late-night dances, with regional bands, on the weekends.
The ballroom will have regular nights for salsa, swing and social dance, and Kaplan said she expected it to draw a crowd. “There will be live music 90 percent of the time. Dance is very popular in this area, but there aren’t a lot of ballrooms,” she said, describing the retractable bandstand as a “Murphy bed stage” in what is believed to be the second-largest dance floor in the area after Glen Echo Park.
Read more from the Washington Post.
Good morning, Arlington. It’s Friday the 13th.
What are you superstitious about?