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Board to Consider Awarding $3 Million in Neighborhood Funds

by ARLnow.com — February 8, 2011 at 11:44 am 938 54 Comments

On Saturday, Arlington County board members will debate where to award some $3 million worth of Neighborhood Conservation funds.

The funds are intended to pay for basic street and park improvement projects, which are proposed by neighborhood groups. This year, most of the money is coming from a $9 million Neighborhood Conservation bond, approved by Arlington voters in November.

In December, the county’s Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) recommended seven projects for the first round of funding under the new bond, out of 33 proposals. The recommended neighborhood projects are listed below.

  • Rock Spring — $12,500 — Neighborhood sign design, fabrication, installation
  • Rock Spring — $732,245 — Beautification, pedestrian safety and street lighting improvements on Williamsburg Blvd from George Mason Drive to N. Kensington Street
  • Arlington Heights — $381,478 — Beautification, pedestrian safety and street lighting plus sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on Arlington Blvd from S. Fillmore Street to S. Irving Street (Phase 2)
  • Douglas Park – $495,000 — Park improvements, lighting and trail upgrades to Doctor’s Run Park
  • Ballston/Virginia Square — $719,956 — Sidewalk, curb, gutter, beautification and pedestrian safety improvements on Kirkwood Road from Lee Highway to 14th Street N.
  • Dominion Hills — $269,678 — Beautification, pedestrian safety, sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on Patrick Henry rive from 9th Street N. to Wilson Blvd (Phase 3)
  • Columbia Heights – $391,703 — Sidewalk, curb, gutter and street lighting improvements on 11th Street S. from S. Edgewood Street to S. Cleveland Street

There are two rounds of Neighborhood Conservation funding each year. In October, the NCAC and the county board agreed to spend $3.87 million on ten separate projects throughout the county.

  • El Fat Kid

    me! me! me!

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    Can they use some of the funds to tear up some of these f’ing speed bumps and circles and repave the streets? Seriously its getting impossible to get anywhere in this county without destroying your car or going a mile out of your way to avoid destroying your car.

    • local

      You could, like, slow down a little. Doesn’t cost you anything either.

      • LyonSteve

        Sure it does. Having to slow down to below the travel speed (say 25mph) for a speed bump and then re-accelerate uses more gas since you have to re-accelerate and gas costs money.

        • Westover

          Cheaper than the court costs over a dead kid.

        • local

          You could just not accelerate in between them.

          Seriously, if people didn’t speed dangerously through neighborhoods, these things wouldn’t be necessary. I’m sorry they irritate you, but the roads exist for all of us, not just you. Traffic irritates me too but I don’t expect everyone to get out of my way so I can have what I want.

          • Westover

            This is a fact, they are designed so that you should be able to maintain the speed limit without causeing any damage to a well-maintained unmodified vehicle.

          • JamesE

            depends on the car, my car is unmodified but at 25 mph I would do major damage to it going over a speed bump.

          • Westover

            No you wouldn’t or the DOT would not have passed it.

          • Westover

            I am referring to the engineered speed bumps put up by VDOT and Arlington County. The monstrosities installed in private parking lots do not apply here.

          • local

            Yes – speed HUMPS or flat-top speed humps is the term. Speed bumps are the huge things in parking lots.

            If someone thinks a speed hump is an inconvenience, maybe – just maybe – it means they’re going too fast. Ya think?

          • charlie

            it is fact that they are DESIGNED in such a way.
            BUT it is also a FACE that they are NEVER INSTALLED correctly.
            Try the bump on 16th Street North between Greenbriar and Harrison. You CANNOT go over that at a speed over 15 mph. It is too big.

          • local

            So every single speed hump is installed wrong, and no speed above 15 is possible. Wow. Alert the media.

          • shirley

            on my street, all of the speed bumps had to be shaved after installation. and two circles near me were completely removed and reinstalled.

            like i said, go on 16th street between harrison and Greenbriar and tell me if that one works for you.

            you are right, i am not going 25. i’m going 15-20 and bottoming out.

            try it and get back to me.

          • Westover

            I hit that one daily and have never had an issue, but will take the wife’s volvo over it next chance I get to see.

          • local

            Shirley, so some were installed wrong? Well, that’s the problem then. Glad it was fixed.

            I go up and down Harrison sometimes, and I’ll look at my speed next time. I never feel like I have to slow down too much though.

        • Larchmont

          The speed bumps are designed for 25mph. Please don’t slow down for them.

          • LyonSteve

            As long as you pay the damage to my car.

            If you ever notice right after these “engineered” for 25 MPH speed bumps/humps that the pavement is all scratched up? That’s people’s bumpers hitting the pavement.

          • local

            Those people who scratch themselves on speed humps probably weren’t going 25. They will have to pay for the damage to their cars, like you have to.

            It’s really simple – slow down or face the consequences. It’s part of being an adult.

          • LyonSteve

            Did you not read what I wrote?

            I cannot go over those “humps” at 25MPH. Plain and simple. And my car is completely stock from the factory.

            I suspect many other sedans and coupes cannot go that speed either.

          • local

            It wasn’t that clear.

            So go complain to the county engineers so they can design them better.

          • Westover

            Those are folks going over 25 or with lowered or overloaded vehicles. There is not a speed bump in the county that you will damage your car on going 25mph, if your car is the way the factory sent it off.

      • Val

        Word–the speed limit on most roads in Arlington is 25, and precious few are following it. Stop cutting through neighborhoods and you won’t have to go over speed humps.

  • Westover

    The Dominion Hills Project is already going, and looks to be atleast a third of the way done. Wish they would put some more funds in building out the over crowded elementary schools rather than just dumping trailers on the grounds.

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      Yes, this funds phase three of the Dominion Hills project and phase two of the Arlington Heights project. (I’ll add that to the article.)

  • KArlington

    Baseline street/curb/gutter projects should take precedence over anything considered “beautification.” This process was a nightmare in my neighborhood and resulted in half a million spent for much neighborhood tension and nominal effect (other than we have 2 sets of streetlights sucking up energy).

    • local

      It’s up to your neighborhood to choose.

    • Blue

      Are you in Bluemont?

      • local

        Bluemont had a good plan process and the improvements involved adding sidewalks, not lights.

      • KArlington

        Of course the neighborhood got to choose – but over the course of 10 years and one busybody trying to get it through, people change minds, move away, etc etc. When it came time for design reviews, the current neighborhood did not want the project any more but we were stuck with it.

        I don’t think it should be up to citizen vote whether your streets get repaired or you have serious drainage issues, which are directly related to whether you have curbs and gutters. It’s the county’s responsibility to address these basic infrastructure issues. If people want pretty trees and grass strips and fancy streetlights, take up an assessment in that neighborhood, not from a “general fund.”

    • charlie

      I would argue the other point — basic street and road issues should be handled by the COUNTY wihtout causing neighborhoods infighting and civic associations being pitted against one another. It is a basic government function to do curbs and gutters — it should not be done this way.
      NC should be for acutal beautification.
      Terrible policy.

      • local

        I agree. Except in some neighborhoods, some might oppose gutter improvements with the idea being that they work against “conservation.”

        • charlie

          the county policy to put curb and gutters in and a sidewalk on ever block is good social policy and should continue. neighborhoods should not be allowed to over rule that just because they don’t like it. it is one of those things that is good for EVERYONE.

  • metro

    Didn’t they just completely redo Kirkwood Rd. two years ago?

    • LyonSteve

      That’s what I was thinking too…

    • CJR

      Maybe they redid the road, but not the walkways as you get closer to Lee Hwy – hard to push a stoller along there. It would be nice for that area to be improved – a lot of potential, but right now, it is just ugly.

  • Bender

    “pedestrian safety, curb and gutter improvements”

    In other words — road narrowing and intersection narrowing.

    Also, I see that most of this slush fund appears to be going to affluent North Arlington.

    • local

      No, you may not assume that it’s all road narrowing. But some of it might be. And that’s because it’s for pedestrian safety. That’s a good thing.

      As for it going to North Arlington, the NC process allows any neighborhood to get funds by doing a plan, so that silly claim is a dead end.

      If you want to know who has done a plan and when: http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/CPHD/ons/conservation/CPHDOnsConservationPlans.aspx

      • Lou

        Those are a lot of plans listed on that page. Why are they not all getting funded?

        • Josh S

          Several reasons -
          If you add up all the plans, they cost more than the Neighborhood Fund has. So, there is a selection process.
          Two, some of these plans have been in existence for some time. If they don’t get funded in a given round, they are typically left in the pile and re-competed.
          Three, neighborhoods that have recently had projects that were awarded funds will typically have a higher hurdle to overcome in the next round – there is some interest in spreading the wealth around the county.
          Four, As indicated elsewhere, many projects have multiple stages – build a new picnic shelter this time, re-sod the field next time. Etc.

          • Lou

            So “doing a plan” does not automatically get you the funding, and there is some process in place to decide which plans get funded. Thank you. Just wanted to clear that up.

          • local

            Exactly. The informal practice is that every plan automatically gets it’s first priority funded immediately, but then they have to wait in line. That’s why you’ll see the biggest projects first in these plans.

  • Bender

    “No, you may not assume that it’s all road narrowing. But some of it might be. And that’s because it’s for pedestrian safety. That’s a good thing.”

    “Nobody said the more narrow a road the safer. That’s goofy.”

    Way to be consistent there dude.

    • local

      It’s consistent when you think harder about it. Maybe I didn’t put it clear enough.

      Of course a road that’s already narrow doesn’t need to be narrowed to be safe. If it’s too narrow, it could be unsafe.

      • Bender

        Yeah, OK. I’m sure if I think hard enough, I’ll believe that the extra snow and cold weather all over the world is due to global warming.

  • MKJINVA

    @local – S Arlington has had plans for decades. We have had representatives from Arlington County come out to our Community Meetings and “listen” to us – all we get are signs that say “Slow Down” and post your speed. Nothing is done about it. Now, they are adding a sidewalk by the baseball fields across from River House – I assume for pedestrian safety. If that is the case, then there are 2 sets of sidewalks on the same side of the road – one down by the road and another 5 ft up by the fields. This took out the 10-12 parking spaces in front of the baseball fields which means MORE cars will be parking in our neighborhood. It is a nightmare during baseball season, which is hellishly long. Because we have few baseball fields, teams from all over play from sunup until 10PM at night. So, that means residents have no parking from April – Oct and cars are speeding around, creating parking spaces, trying to their game. No pedestrian safety there. Maybe something is in the works, and would appreciate to know what it is.

  • Resident

    The Kirkwood Road project is to add a sidewalk on the west side of the street so that pedestrians going to Science Focus School or the Y or up towards Clarendon don’t have to walk in the street.

    • LyonSteve

      Are they going to take space from the narrow car lanes, the bike lanes, or remove parking?

  • MKJINVA

    @ Resident – I am talking about Pentagon Row

  • Bender

    It should be noted that these are NOT “general revenue” funds. These are bond funds, that is, BORROWED MONEY.

    This is not money that Arlington just happens to have lying around. After conning people into approving yet another “oh-so-necessary bond issue,” they then went and borrowed a bunch of money, AND ONLY THEN started to engage in this exercise of deciding how to spend it.

    If any of these projects had any great merit, they should have been approved BEFORE the bond election, so that approval of the bonds would have had some financial legitimacy, rather than merely the creation of a slush fund for the Board.

  • ArlHeights

    What about S. Ivy? We barely have any street lights and only half our street has sidewalks.. S. Irving already has both!!

    re: Arlington Heights — $381,478 — Beautification, pedestrian safety and street lighting plus sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on Arlington Blvd from S. Fillmore Street to S. Irving Street (Phase 2)

    • local

      You have to participate in the neighborhood plan process to get what you want from this program.

    • Josh S

      +1 to what Local said. Complaining on a blog discussion thread has close to nothing to do with the process. Go to your neighborhood association meetings. That’s where the decisions are made at the neighborhood level as to which projects to put forth. (Or at least that’s where they should be made.)

  • G. Clifford Prout

    What ever happened to the street improvements on S Barton St.>? Was approved, the ground was spray painted but nothing ever happened.

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