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Pace of Paving Unchanged this Year, Will Ramp Up in 2014

by ARLnow.com | May 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 604 views | No Comments

Poor road conditions on Columbia PikeRoad construction season is underway in Arlington, but a concerted effort to improve overall road conditions won’t really ramp up until next year.

Arlington County crews will pave 49 lane miles this year, about 5 percent of the 974 lane miles of roadway maintained by the county. That’s a big step up from the 25 miles paved in 2009, 30 miles paved in 2010 and 36 miles paved in 2011. But it’s unchanged from the 49 miles paved last year.

The number of miles paved will jump next year, when extra funding kicks in thanks to the county’s FY 2013-2022 Capital Improvement Plan. Starting in 2014 and throughout the remainder of the CIP, the Arlington plans to pave 72 lanes miles per year.

Arlington County Paving Conditions as of FY 2013By paving 72 lane miles, Arlington will get on a 15-year paving cycle recommended by county engineers. As of 2012, the countywide average Pavement Condition Index (a measure of road quality from a scale of 1 to 100) was 68.9. The extra paving is projected to improve Arlington’s average PCI to 74.6.

(The average county street deteriorates to a PCI of 45 after 15 years.)

Arlington’s road construction season starts in March and ends at the end of October. Among the roads set to be repaved this year are portions of Wilson Blvd in and around Clarendon, as well as portions of N. Harrison Street, Four Mile Run Drive and Shirlington Road.

In Fiscal Year 2013, the county spent $7.55 million of its $1.05 billion budget on paving. In the just-passed $1.09 billion FY 2014 budget, it will spend $7.63 million. Next year, that is expected to increase to $11.24 million.

‘Next Generation’ Metro Plan Includes New Stations, Tunnels

by ARLnow.com | January 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 2,871 views | 76 Comments

Illustrations of capital improvements proposed by Metro

A long-range strategic plan for Metro, released today, includes the possibility of two new stations in Arlington, a new tunnel from Rosslyn to Georgetown, and a new streetcar bridge from Arlington to D.C.

The “next generation” plan, dubbed “Momentum,” would expand the Metro system to “help ensure the long-term competitiveness of the National Capital Region and keep pace with demand from expected population growth,” according to WMATA.

The plan calls for the following to be completed by 2025:

  • Upgrade of Metro’s electrical system to allow the system to operate 100% 8-car trains. (Cost: $2 billion)
  • New connection from the Orange/Silver Line to the Blue Line, bypassing Rosslyn station. Alternatively, the plan calls for a new Rosslyn Metro station. (Cost: $1 billion)

The plan calls for the following to be completed by 2040:

  • New Pentagon Metro station that would allow Orange/Silver Line trains to reach D.C. via the Yellow Line bridge. (Cost: $600 million)
  • Orange/Silver Line “express track” from West Falls Church to a second Rosslyn Metro station. (Cost: $2.3 billion)
  • Extending the Orange Line to Centreville and Bowie, and the Blue Line to Potomac Mills. (Cost: $6.8 billion)
  • New Yellow Line alignment from Pentagon to Thomas Circle via tunnel under 10th Street. (Cost: $2.7 billion)
  • New Blue Line tunnel from Rosslyn to Georgetown, new tunnel from Georgetown to Thomas Circle via M Street. (Cost: $3.3 billion)
  • MARC commuter rail extension from Union Station to Crystal City. (Cost: TBD)
  • Connection between Columbia Pike/Crystal City streetcar and D.C., across the Potomac. (Cost: $200 million)

WMATA, which is funded by contributions from the federal government and D.C. area localities like Arlington, says it would need an addition $500 million in funding per year to accomplish its 2025 goals, and an additional $740 million per year for the 2040 projects. That’s on top of the $1 billion per year it needs just to maintain the existing system.

Without the pricey improvements, Metro officials say the system will soon run out of ridership capacity.

“Our customers know that many trains, stations and buses are already crowded and we need to begin planning now to prevent that from worsening and prepare for more riders,” Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles said in a statement. “As the jurisdictions plan various expansion projects, we also need to make sure that we have a seamless, multimodal, transit network and Metro is in a unique position to serve as the transit planner for the national capital region.”

The Washington Post has additional details about the Metro Momentum plan, including D.C. improvements to Metrorail and regional improvements to Metrobus.

Board Approves $2.4 Billion Capital Improvement Plan

by Katie Pyzyk | July 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm | 2,194 views | 40 Comments

The Arlington County Board approved a 10-year, $2.4 billion Capital Improvement Program (CIP) at its meeting on Saturday (July 21). The money will go toward a variety of projects ranging from building new schools to a new aquatics center to investing in streetcar plans.

“This CIP is both a financially sustainable plan that strikes a balance between maintaining our existing infrastructure and making strategic investments that will meet the needs of our growing community, and a vision for the future,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “Our sound, forward-looking financial plan will help maintain the County’s triple-Aaa bond ratings.”

One area receiving a funding boost is infrastructure, including nearly $13.2 million for repaving many of the county’s roads. While residents report being pleased overall with the county’s services, according to the 2012 Resident Satisfaction Survey, street maintenance is a category listed as needing much improvement.

“Our streets, parks, facilities, water system and technology all need on-going maintenance and upgrades if we are to continue to provide the high-quality services that our community expects and that attract employers and visitors to Arlington,” Hynes said.

The bulk of the CIP is funded through general obligation bonds, which will be put to voters on the November 6 ballot. There will be four referenda totaling more than $153 million, in the categories of Metro and Transportation, Local Parks and Recreation, Community Infrastructure and Arlington Public Schools.

A significant portion of the allotted money in the parks referendum – $42.5 million – would go toward the construction of an aquatics facility at Long Bridge Park.

The Columbia Pike streetcar would also get funding under the CIP, pending tonight’s County Board vote on approving the streetcar plan. Because the bulk for the $250 million streetcar project would be funded through means other than bonds, it is not included in a referendum. Arlington will be responsible for 80 percent of project costs, while Fairfax County will be on the hook for the other 20 percent. Of Arlington’s $200 million tab, the county hopes to obtain $92.7 million in federal and state funding.

“The Board also believes, after years of conversation with the community, that strategic investments in our transit system and our recreational opportunities – providing a streetcar system and an aquatics and recreation facility at Long Bridge Park — will well serve generations of Arlingtonians to come,” Hynes said.

The board voted to amend the CIP to accelerate phase three of the Long Bridge Park project, which includes building a playground at the park. An amendment would reallocate $1.4 million for the playground, which was originally slated to be part of the 2016 planned bond referendum. Board member Walter Tejada was the lone dissenter, questioning why the money would be put toward a playground instead of a facility he says many people have asked him about — an indoor soccer facility.

“There’s an objection on the part of thousands of Arlingtonians, that our plans still don’t address all the aspirations that people have expressed. In particular in the case of indoor soccer,” Tejada said. “I would say that this language falls short and for those reasons I’m not going to support it.”

Hynes countered that the playground holds a far smaller price tag than an indoor soccer facility would, making it easier to fund.

“There are many aspirations in this community by many people. This is about whether we can accelerate a very small, relatively inexpensive thing to meet a need,” said Hynes. “A brand new building for indoor soccer is an $80 million expenditure. To rearrange this ten year plan to accommodate that would require us to make other priority choices.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the CIP, which covers FY 2013-2022. The move from a six-year to a 10-year plan is intended to allow for better planning and financing of multi-year projects. The CIP will be updated every two years.

Aquatics Center Takes Center Stage at CIP Hearing

by ARLnow.com | June 28, 2012 at 10:40 am | 5,959 views | 110 Comments

(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Opponents and supporters of the planned Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center spoke out at Tuesday’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) hearing.

County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed FY 2013-2022 CIP describes the center as a “one-of-a-kind recreational, fitness, and competition asset [that] will provide long-term value to our community and attract people regionally to the unique combination of assets that is Arlington — to work, to play, to live.”

While supporters say Arlington County “can afford… world-class facilities” like the aquatics center (see statement from Nathaniel Giddings, after the jump), detractors — like fiscal watchdog Wayne Kubicki and GOP County Board candidate Matt Wavro — say that the county actually can’t afford such “vanity projects.”

Kubicki, chair of the Arlington County Civic Federation’s Revenues and Expenditures Committee, said in a statement (excerpt below) that the aquatics center will impose a long-term fiscal burden on taxpayers, who are already faced with a rising county budget.

Donnellan has proposed including $42.5 million worth of the aquatic center’s $70+ million cost included in a larger park bond, to be considered by county voters in November. The Civic Federation has called for the aquatics center to appear on the ballot as a separate bond item.

Kubicki made the following personal remarks to the County Board at Tuesday’s hearing.

The CIP projects 3% annual revenue growth for FY14 through 16….

Combining just the operating costs for new items such as Arlington Mill ($3.3M) and the Silver Line (our first year cost is $1.7M), and increased debt service costs, our FY14 budget already needs over $14M in growth – before increasing anything.

Funding the proposed CIP will necessitate major revenue growth, well over 3%, and unlike the past two fiscal years, where the burden of increased spending fell mostly on our commercial sector, the next several years will more heavily fall on homeowners. Commercial assessments are very unlikely to jump a third straight year.

There is one prime candidate for controlling some of this – the Long Bridge pools building, with its $73M price tag.

With our admittedly deteriorating infrastructure, and pressing school capital & operating needs if enrollment growth continues, coupled with uncertain future revenues and the over $7M in annual operating subsidies for the two streetcar lines upcoming, is Long Bridge really a priority? Can it seriously be called a “need”?

Combining proposed debt service, including the $20M interim non-bond borrowing, with its projected operating subsidy, Long Bridge’s annual cost is nearly $7M per year. That’s over one cent on the current tax rate- for one single building, that most residents will never use, and that many would have trouble finding, even if you gave them a map.

The Long Bridge project raises the term “vanity project” to a new level, and fiscally has the potential to be the Artisphere on steroids.

If Long Bridge is on the fall ballot, it should be as a separate, stand-alone referendum, with nothing else attached to it, as the Civic Federation strongly recommended to you. The fiscal ramifications of this project deserve separate discussion and a separate vote.

Matt Wavro, Republican candidate for County Board, said that the funds proposed for the aquatics center should instead be used for neighborhood projects and for the maintenance of existing recreational facilities. (Excerpt of his remarks, after the jump.)

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Arlington to Hold CIP Public Hearing Tonight

by ARLnow.com | June 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm | 1,367 views | 18 Comments

Arlington will be holding a public hearing tonight to seek comments on the county’s FY 2013-2022 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

The hearing is scheduled for 7:00 tonight (Tuesday) at the County Board Room on the third floor of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard. On-site speaker registration begins at 6:00 p.m. The hearing is being held in advance of the Board’s consideration of the CIP and the 2012 bond referenda at its July meeting.

The $2.4 billion proposed CIP includes “funding plans for the full range of County infrastructure needs, including parks, facilities, streets, transit, water and sewer infrastructure and technology.”

Among the bond referenda expected to be included on the Nov. 6 ballot, pending approval by the County Board next month:

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | May 17, 2012 at 9:14 am | 1,590 views | 19 Comments

County Manager Proposes $2.4 Billion CIP — Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed a $2.4 billion Capital Improvement Plan for FY 2013-2022. The CIP includes big ticket items like a new Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center and streetcars for the Columbia Pike and Route 1 corridors. It also includes maintenance-related item, like increased funding for street paving, parks and facility renovations, and replacement of aged fire stations. [Arlington County]

Arlington Eateries in Dining Guide — Two Arlington restaurants — Eventide and Ray’s The Steaks — have made Tom Sietsema’s spring 2012 dining guide. [Washington Post]

Shuttleworth Keeping Race Close? — The campaign of Democratic congressional challenger Bruce Shuttleworth is touting new polling numbers that it says show Shuttleworth has a chance against incumbent Rep. Jim Moran. The poll reportedly shows a thin margin between Shuttleworth and Moran among likely voters — 16 percent to 19 percent — with 65 percent of likely voters undecided. A Moran spokesman said the claim of a close race was based on “laughably inaccurate numbers.” [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by ddimick

APS Capital Improvement Plan Includes New Schools

by Katie Pyzyk | May 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm | 5,065 views | 81 Comments

Big changes have been proposed for a number of local schools.

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy presented his proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Fiscal Years 2013-2022 at a meeting last week. The plan totals nearly $538 million and includes funding for two new elementary schools and additions to three others in order to help address the school system’s capacity issues.

“I believe these changes will enable APS to provide much needed instructional space while continuing to maintain existing facilities that meet the needs of our students and teachers,” Murphy said.

Over the past three fiscal years, APS saw an 18 percent increase in students, which is nearly 3,400 additional students. APS is expected to reach capacity at the elementary school level by next fall.

Five specific capacity-generating construction projects have been identified, and would be funded through current reserves and the 2012 and 2014 bond referenda. Those major projects included in the CIP are:

  • A 12-room addition to Ashlawn Elementary School that would be completed in 2014 and would add an additional 225 seats. Funding for this would come from current capital reserves.
  • A 12-room addition to Arlington Traditional Elementary School that would be completed in 2014 and would add an additional 225 seats. Funding for this project would be included in the FY 2012 and FY 2014 bond referenda.
  • A 12-room addition to McKinley Elementary School that would be completed in 2017 and will add an additional 225 seats. Funding would be split between the FY 2012 and FY 2014 referenda.
  • A new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School site that would be completed in 2015 and would add 600 seats. $4 million to be used for the design phase would come from current capital reserves.
  • A new choice elementary school on the Carlin Springs/Kenmore site that would be completed in 2017 and would add 600 seats.

The development of these five projects represents the culmination of the “More Seats for More Students” initiative that launched last year. That planning process involved surveys, computer modeling and months of work sessions.

“The process was structured to be objective, transparent, and result in a set of options driven by School Board determined criteria,” Murphy said. “I am pleased that we met these goals and look forward to deliberating with the Board on this CIP.”

There are “placeholders” included in the CIP to be used for capacity funding in the 2016, 2018 and 2020 referenda. Those funds total $253 million and would likely be used for an additional elementary school, a new middle school and additional space at the secondary school level.

The CIP also includes $34.6 million for HVAC and roofing projects, $21 million for infrastructure projects and $63.4 million for minor construction projects or maintenance.

There will be a public meeting on the CIP on May 24, and the School Board is scheduled to adopt it on June 19.

Board Approves 1900 Wilson Development, Adopts CIP

by ARLnow.com | June 16, 2010 at 7:37 am | 1,222 views | 3 Comments

In a flurry of activity last night, the Arlington County Board approved a major development plan, adopted a $1.2 billion Capital Improvement Plan, and heard plenty of citizen input on the controversial East Falls Church redevelopment plan.

The board approved a developer’s plan to build a nearly 25,000 square foot, 200-unit residential complex at 1900 Wilson Boulevard, the current site of a Hollywood Video store and a small office building. The complex will include a number of street-level retail bays that officials hope will help foster more street life on the stretch of Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards between Rosslyn and Courthouse.

“This building fits into our vision of transforming the Courthouse-Rosslyn area into another great Arlington urban village,” Board Chairman Jay Fisette said in a statement. “1900 Wilson Boulevard is a well-designed building that will enliven that block with its combination of homes with street-level stores and great places to eat.”

Last night the board also adopted a $1.2 billion, six-year Capital Improvement Plan. The plan will fund:

  • Construction of the new Wakefield High School
  • Columbia Pike redevelopment and streetcar line
  • Planning costs for the Long Bridge aquatics and fitness center
  • Street redevelopment and transportation initiatives in Crystal City
  • A “strong commitment to Metro” with $85.8 million in new funding for a total of $121.6 million over six years
  • Maintenance for roads, parks, county facilities and technology

In addition, the board heard public comments on the proposed, controversial East Falls Church redevelopment plan.

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