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Meeting Tonight to Discuss Traffic Impact of New School

by ARLnow.com — October 11, 2012 at 10:25 am 2,456 20 Comments

Parents and residents who live around Williamsburg Middle School (3600 N. Harrison Street) will be told tonight how a new elementary school will impact traffic.

As part of its plan to reduce school overcrowding, APS is planning a new 90,000 square foot, 3-4 story, 600 seat neighborhood elementary school on the Williamsburg campus. The school is projected to cost $35 million to build and construction should last from Jan. 2014 to Summer 2015.

Toole Design Group, a transportation consultant hired by Arlington Public Schools, will present the results of a Traffic Impact Study at a community meeting scheduled from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at the Williamsburg Middle School auditorium. The meeting is open to the public.

The consultant is also working on parking issues related to the new school and the proposed expansion of Williamsburg Middle School itself. The changes may result in 570 additional parking spaces on the site, according to a recent community presentation.

  • Optimistic

    There will not be any traffic impact.

    • Arlington Planner

      Because all students, parents and staff will walk or bike to school.

  • NIMBY the Chicken

    What should happen is Kensington St should be enhanced to accomodate the traffic. Lane lines or a small median, upgraded lighting.

    What will happen is Kensington st will get big dumb curbs, four-way stops, and probably a light at Williamsburg and Kensington.

    Oh, and speed humps. Or tables. Whatever the “in-word” is for the asphalt abominations.

    • Luke Duke

      I call ‘em YEE-HAA opportunities…

  • gospelsinger

    I don’t understand why the location was chosen – other than there being enough room. WMS is right next door and Yorktown within about 4 blocks. The staggered schedule will get everyone there – but traffic will start around 7:30 and not finish until 9 am – mostly non-stop I’m just glad my son is out of WMS this year – so we don’t have to deal with all the traffic.

    • Mary-Austin

      That is where there is a need for a new elementary school.

      I still think the former Woodmont school is the best site.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    More importantly – why add a school right on the edge of the county? – this site is less than 3 houses away from the county line.

    • southarlington

      That is because that are where the overcrowding issues are…..what is going to happen to the soccer fields and are they just going to go down to one.? Also why build a elementarty school close to a middle school ? Does not make sense …why can’t they build up on all the overcrowded schools that makes more sense…?

      • DCBuff

        You all are commenting in isolation without following the larger paln. APS does plan on adding to at least two schools, ATS and Ashlawn, and maybe McKinley too, to increase capacity. Not all schools have enough land to provide any additional capacity. And, in the country’s smallest county, it is about the land. I’m not saying everything that is being proposed is the best way to go about it, but one can’t simply pick off a particular part of the plan without looking at the whole thing. There is plenty on the APS website on this.

        • Guest

          It is about the land — but the fact that the school board took any potentially purchases of adjoining county land off the table before any schools were chosen for expansion was ridiculous. Ostensibly it was done to make things happen more quickly, but they have sacrificed speed for common sense.

      • Louise

        Elementary schools run best when kept small (a good reason to build a new school instead of increasing the size of current overcrowded schools). Williamsburg is an ideal location–they have the space, and this is where the overcrowding is. The decision has already been made.

      • gospelsinger

        yes – expand the schools and make them bigger. I don’t think they want bigger elementary schools though.

  • Future

    A new school where there is land makes sense. The additions may or may not make a difference. From what I’ve hard about the Ashlawn one, they may be looking at 1 additional classroom net after the trailers are removed. I don’t get it…

    • DCBuff

      They will be needed at the expensive, fancy new high schools which were all built with a capacity below projected need when the current crop of elementary school students all go to high school.

  • Beth M.

    What about the land at Madison, Lee, and Reed, where community programs are being housed? Does that land still belong to the schools or the county? Wasn’t the arrangement supposed to be that the school district reserved the right to turn them back into schools, and the community programs (which take up far less space) would be moved? Those areas are closer to where the actual need is — not right next door to an existing elementary school.

    • Just thinking

      Totally agree. Those fields are also used by YHS which barely has the open space it needs to support its sports activities at Greenbrier Park. I don’t think many appreciate what a premium those fields are to kid/student sports in Arlington….and probably others.

      • Arl Parent

        Those sites are County sites, so they are not available to APS without negotiation. Nonetheless, they are very much still in the mix. Reed and Madison each were analyzed and found less advantageous than the chosen sites for various reasons. Reed, because the school was literally just redone, and Madison, because of renovation expense and historic preservation issues. Lubber Run was also analyzed. Now, the present building plan will not totally solve the elementary school capacity problem, and we have a burgeoning middle and high school crisis as well. We may very well need these sites for round two — which will be proposed in the 2014 school bond.
        I would look for them to become part of the conversation again very soon.

        • Joey2W

          I graduated from O’Connell in North Arlington. These days, very few O’Connell kids are from Arlington — most come from Fairfax county and beyond, and there is kind of a glut of Catholic high schools in the immediate area. Has anyone checked with the diocese on the possibility of APS purchasing that school property? For the right price, they might do it — and the diocese would end up with enough money to buy property farther out in Fairfax or Loudon, build a brand new DJO, and have money left over.

  • local26

    Did anyone attend the meeting @ WMS Thurs night? Can you give us a summary?

  • George

    On several occations, I’ve asked the School Board times to answer this simple question, “Have you considered turning the Lee Center and/or the Madison Center into elementary schools.” They refused to answer the question. Why? What is going on?
    They work for us, right?

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