On Saturday the Arlington County Board approved a number of transportation projects designed to improve the safety, appearance and accessibility of streets, sidewalks, trails and bus stops in the county.
Arlington agreed to match $935,000 in state funds — a total of $1.87 million — for four “priority transportation projects.” The projects include:
- Old Dominion Drive, Phase II — “Installation of curb, gutters, storm drains, sidewalks, upgraded traffic signals, street lights and bus stops on Old Dominion Drive between North Glebe Road and 38th Street North. The County and State will each provide $500,000 toward this project. Total funding is $4.37 million.”
- Washington Boulevard Trail Phase II — “Construction of a trail parallel to Washington Boulevard from 2nd Street South to Columbia Pike. The County and State will each provide $170,000 toward this project. Total funding is $1.6 million.”
- Five Points Intersection Improvements — “Pedestrian improvements to sidewalks and street crossings at the intersection of Old Dominion Drive, Lee Highway, Military Road, and North Quincy Street. The County and State will each provide $225,000 toward this project. Total funding is $650,000.”
- Kirkwood Road Pedestrian Improvements — “Construction of new sidewalks along the west side of Kirkwood Road from 17th Street North to Lee Highway. Work is slated to begin in the fall of 2011.The County and State will each provide $40,000 toward this project. The total funding for this project is $280,000.”
“The transportation projects that the Board is authorizing today reflect the County’s policy of building infrastructure to support many types of travel,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement over the weekend.
The Board also approved five Neighborhood Conservation projects that will improve and beautiful streets, sidewalks and medians in the Tara Leeway Heights, Leeway, Glencarlyn, Ashton Heights and Yorktown neighborhoods. The projects carry a price tag of $2.8 million.
“Through Neighborhood Conservation, residents identify the projects that will improve pedestrian safety, prevent flooding, light streets and beautify public spaces in their neighborhoods,” Zimmerman said. “It is an effective way to ensure that Arlington neighborhoods remain strong, safe and attractive.”
Finally, the Board approved a nearly $400,000 contract to upgrade “31 existing, high-priority bus stops across the County.” (The stops include Metrobus and ART bus stops.) The upgrades include new bus shelters, improved street crossings, new or upgraded sidewalks, as well as new curb ramps, benches, trash receptacles and landscaping. The project is being paid for with federal and state funds.
(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) When we last visited the site of the future Long Bridge Park in March, it was still a vast expanse of dirt and construction equipment. Now, the park, on Old Jefferson Davis Highway near Crystal City, is a vast expanse of dirt, construction equipment and artificial turf.
The Sun Gazette reports today that the park is “definitely” on track to open at some point this fall, according to County Manager Barbara Donnellan.
When it does open, the
$50 million $31 million first phase of the park will feature lighted multipurpose athletic fields, concession stands, picnic areas, a rain garden, a lush esplanade and a public plaza. Just don’t expect much tranquility — every few minutes the roar of planes landing at Reagan National Airport, and occasionally the whistle of trains passing by the eastern end of the park, interrupts any momentary sense of being away from the bustle of the surrounding area.
A second phase, expected to begin construction in 2013, will feature a large new aquatics, health and fitness facility (see renderings here and here). Expected sooner: a much-needed repaving, and possible renaming, of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.
Cafe Caturra, a Richmond-based coffee shop/wine bar/soup-salad-and-sandwich restaurant, is now open in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center. The 3,400 square foot eatery, which features a decor partially made from reclaimed materials, officially opened its doors to customers on Friday.
Located at 2931 S. Glebe Road, Cafe Caturra offers specialty coffees, 24 boutique wines, two draft beers, and 20 bottled beers. The restaurant is offering mimosa specials on Sunday and is planning to eventually offer a weekday happy hour, according to marketing director Melissa Kirkpatrick.
The food menu includes soups, salads, paninis, pizzas, brioche sliders, small plates, cheese, charcuterie and desserts.
The restaurant will be hosting local musicians between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. It also has a local art program that will display works from local artists. Founder Jeff Grant says he hopes Cafe Caturra becomes a neighborhood hangout.
“We’ve built a strong heritage as a gathering spot for people in the communities we serve,” he said.
Cafe Caturra opens at 11:00 a.m. seven days a week. It closes at 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The board voted unanimously on Saturday to approve the complex, which includes a 13-story building and a 6-story building connected via an elevated glass skywalk. The complex will be located on the block currently bordered by Wilson Boulevard, Fairfax Drive, N. Kansas Street and N. Lincoln Street. The block is currently home to small low-rise office buildings and surface parking lots.
The new complex, tentatively dubbed Virginia Square Towers, will include nearly 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, 630 underground parking spaces and a central public plaza with benches and a water feature.
Running through the central plaza will be a new cobblestone street, to be labeled 9th Street N. The street will be narrow, with wide sidewalks, so that bicycles and pedestrians will be “privileged” while cars will only be “tolerated.” One of the project’s designers said he envisioned an “active and friendly” street where people would be comfortable “playing stick ball in the middle of the road.”
Developed by the Dittmar Company, the buildings will include six dedicated affordable housing units and are expected to attain LEED Gold green building certification. The complex will also be “district energy ready,” meaning it could utilize heating and cooling from a central neighborhood source, which is consistent with the goals of Arlington’s new Community Energy Plan.
As part of the conditions for approval, Dittmar agreed to pay up to $36,000 for the installation of multi-space parking meters along the project’s frontage, $75,000 for the installation of a new traffic light at N. Kansas Street and Wilson Boulevard, $75,000 for public art in the Virginia Square Metro station area and $2.2 million to the county’s affordable housing fund.
A few residents of the Virginia Square Condominiums, located across Lincoln Street from the new complex, expressed concern about the new building’s rooftop water tower obstructing their view. Other than that, little concern was raised about the project during the meeting’s public comment period.
The annual wine and food festival known as Vintage Crystal: A Taste of Wine and Jazz was held Sunday afternoon in Crystal City.
The event featured tastings of more than 30 types of Spanish and South American wines, as well as free food samples from local eateries like Jaleo, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Kora. There was also live performances of Latin jazz, rumba, salsa, and samba music — complete with dancing.
Here are a few of our photos from the event.
Car Runs Into Apartment Building — A car ran into an apartment building on Lee Highway over the weekend. The impact punched a big hole in the side of the brick building, located at 4343 Lee Highway in Waverly Hills. [WUSA9]
Chorus Performances Relocated — The Potomac Harmony Chorus has announced that its 35th anniversary show, Melodies, Memories and Magic, will be relocated to the Washington-Lee High School Auditorium from the earthquake-damaged Thomas Jefferson Community Theater. The all-woman chorus is also seeking a new venue for its December holiday concert and sing-along. [Potomac Harmony Chorus]
Merrick Holds Cash Advantage — As of Aug. 31, Republican state Senate candidate had a nearly 9-to-1 campaign cash advantage over Democrat Barbara Favola, who had just emerged victorious from a bruising primary. [Sun Gazette]
Julia’s Empanadas Now Served at Boccato — Clarendon’s Boccato Gelato (2719 Wilson Blvd) started serving D.C.’s famous Julia’s Empanadas over the weekend. The expanding eatery is planning to start serving baguettes and pastries from Arlington bread delivery service LeoNora Bakery on Oct. 1. [Clarendon Culture, Twitter]
Photo courtesy David Johnson