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Wilson Blvd Construction Winds Down, Next Phase in the Works

by Katie Pyzyk — April 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm 2,966 18 Comments

There’s been a lot of work on Wilson Boulevard in Virginia Square for months, but the second phase of a large scale renovation project is nearly complete.

The latest work involved removing a small island on N. Quincy Street and building a curb extension. Wider sidewalks and ADA compliant ramps have also been installed. Tom Hutchings, Project Manager for the Wilson Boulevard Improvement Project, explained that it’s an effort to improve pedestrian safety along a stretch of road typically considered tough to cross.

“That’s what this whole Wilson Boulevard project is about,” Hutchings said. “We’re tightening the street up and making the crossing distance shorter.”

One more curb extension needs to be installed on the opposite side of N. Quincy Street, but the existing improvements to Wilson Boulevard are already being considered successful in making the area safer.

“It has changed pedestrian behavior and we see a higher level of pedestrian activity,” Hutchings said.

The current phase is nearly complete, but there are a few things that need to still go in. The highest priority was finishing essentials like the new curbs, gutters and traffic lights. Things that don’t directly affect safety, such as Quincy Street bus shelters, street lights and trees, were viewed as a lower priority. Those have all been ordered and need to be installed.

“For the public, it’s perfectly functional, but there are elements that need to be finalized,” said Hutchings. “They should all be complete within three months, unless we have to wait until fall with the tree planting.”

This is part of the same project that brought the much awaited traffic lights to the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Pollard Street near Gold’s Gym. The work from N. Quincy Street to the area around the Arlington Arts Center builds off of the design of the Virginia Square Sector Plan. Work has been done in phases to coordinate with new development and engineering demands.

The final phase of the project moves down Wilson to N. 10th Street near Mario’s Pizza. Construction on that section will be extensive, so the county is working on setting up a website to give updates on the progress. The website, which is expected to be up and running in the next few weeks, also will list any upcoming traffic disruptions. However, that phase is still in the planning stages, and construction is not slated to begin for about two years.

  • .T-G.E.O.A

    If the county wants to put in all of these pedestrian features and crosswalks every 100 ft, can’t they at least install street lamps so the damned crosswalks are VISIBLE at night?

    Someone is going to end up road kill over this.

    • WeiQiang

      Testify. The new mid-block crosswalks on S. Joyce connecting Pentagon Row to the River House complex side of the street aren’t going to cut it. Drivers just don’t care if someone is in the crosswalk and the lighting is inadequate to help. Add to that the fact that pedestrians there seem not to care to use crosswalks (or obey pedestrian signals) and the situation just gets more funner.

    • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

      agreed, it looks great and is nice during the day but really needs some street lamps. not sure what the deal w/ this is.

    • Alex

      And how about street lights that work like the smart LED ones they have in courthouse and not the faux historic globes which just pump energy up to the sky?

  • Bender

    How about removing the “Boulevard” designation and changing it to a more accurate “street” or “road” or most accurately “narrow pathway”?

    • Jackson Browne

      Er… No

  • BreakPause02

    All these changes are DANGEROUS. The county is being irresponsible towards all alike.

    • Maria

      Why?

  • Barcrofter

    How about putting the power/telecom lines underground so there aren’t telephone poles running down the middle of the sidewalk. I feel like we are still in some western expansion mining town left over from the 1800s.

    • Thes

      That costs a few hundred thousand dollars per block, I’m told.

      • bred

        That’s true, but with new devekopment I blieve that it’s required that the utilities be put underground.

        • drax

          So whenever a new development comes to Arlington, we know what to do.

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      [piano player suddenly stops playing]

      [all heads in the saloon turn to Barcrofter]

  • Brian K

    I was driving one night on Wilson by Mario’s about 2am coming back from DC… when out of nowhere these drunk idiots run into the middle of the road on the bend without looking, and literally middle of street. I had to slam with all my might on the brakes and thankfully stopped in time … everything went flying off my seat, dash (gps), etc.

    Part of it is not safety features but just dumb people, too.

    • Lacey Forest

      Luckily the Jack Daniels bottle is square, so it didn’t roll out from under the seat.

    • Maria

      You can’t fix stupid.

  • KRS

    They did a bang up job (after multiple efforts) on the entrances to Golds Gym. Ask any of the people who park there and scrape the bottom of their front fenders every time they pull in.

  • other side of the river

    It’d be nice if they’d attempt to time the lights between Ballston and Courthouse.

    The left from Clarendon onto Veitch at Courthouse is particularly egregious.

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