The community garden on S. Four Mile Run Drive will grow by almost 10,000 square feet, giving space for 40 new gardeners to grow herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers.
The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the garden’s expansion, entering into agreements with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority — which owns the land — and Dominion Power, which runs power lines above where the garden expansion will be.
“What a great example of thinking outside the box to find solutions,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a press release. “This is a win-win for everyone. Not only will the County be able to provide more garden plots, the space is currently overrun with invasive plants, which will be removed when the garden is built by Parks and Recreation staff.”
The expansion will tack on 9,900 square feet to the garden, which is directly adjacent to the W&OD Trail, and across the street from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The garden will be on the NVRPA’s land, and as part of the agreement, if the park authority deems it needs the space, or the garden is encroaching too much on trail users, it can terminate the agreement with 60 days’ notice. The county is responsible for maintaining the garden, and the gardens are each run by a community association and an appointed “chief gardener.”
The expansion will add space to help whittle down the ever-expanding waiting list of gardeners hoping to use county space to grow their plants, a recommendation of the Urban Agriculture Task Force. According to the county, there are about 350 people on waiting lists for plots and half-plots of space at one of Arlington’s seven community gardens.
One plot costs $60 a year with water and $50 without water. The expansion will bring the total number of plots in county gardens to 265. Full 20-foot-by-20-foot plots are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and those interested in joining the waiting list can apply online.
A single-vehicle accident on S. Arlington Mill Drive ended with the car rolling down an embankment and ending up on its roof.
The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. The driver of a newer-model Acura was heading down Arlington Mill Drive, near 9th Street S., when she somehow lost control of the vehicle, drove over a curb and down the steep embankment.
The car ended up on its roof, just steps from Four Mile Run and a popular pedestrian path. Amazingly, the driver was unhurt and was able to crawl out of the passenger side of the vehicle on her own power as police and a fire department rescue squad were arriving.
Police on the scene said they were unsure exactly how the accident happened. A flatbed tow truck is currently on scene, trying to figure out how to get the car up from the embankment.
No word yet on whether the driver will face any charges. The accident happened less than a block from the Arlington Mill Community Center and the site of an earlier water main break.
(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) A broken water main has filled a section of Four Mile Run Drive with water, causing emergency crews to shut down the road while it is undergoing repair.
The break is near the intersection of Four Mile Run Drive and S. Cleveland Street, near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and W. Glebe Road, I-395 and the Alexandria border.
Arlington County Police Department and fire crews are responding to the area. According to scanner traffic, there may be “multiple” breaks in a “pretty big line,” and it may affect water service in the area.
County Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said the line is 12 inches big and the break has affected about 150 customers in the area.
“Repairs will continue through the late evening and commuters are advised to avoid the area and seek alternate routes,” Baxter said.
Last winter, a 16-inch water main burst on S. Arlington Mill Drive in Shirlington, causing water pressure to be significantly affected in large swaths of the area, and causing Abingdon Elementary School and the Fairlington Community Center to close. Repairs to that line took more than 48 hours to complete.
As of noon, water was continuing to flow out of the break, but traffic on Glebe Road is moving through. The section of Four Mile Run Drive that is closed is not connected to the one that runs from Columbia Pike to the Weenie Beenie near Shirlington.
A portion of the trail near the junction with the Mt. Vernon Trail will close during the day in order to demolish a bridge overhead. Closures will be in place from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The trail will be open on Sundays.
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) notes that a detour will be in place for ADA compliance, but it may not be the best option for some trail users, such as bikers. The detour diverts traffic off of the trail and onto the west sidewalk of Jefferson Davis Highway, then across the highway at the S. Glebe Road signal. Those using the detour can reconnect with the trail farther east via new switchback ramps.
A new temporary staircase and accessible path has been built near Potomac Yard.
The path leads from Potomac Avenue, behind the Eclipse condominium building, to the Four Mile Run trail.
The access way is a “long-term detour” that was installed as part of the Four Mile Run Restoration Project and a bridge demolition project, according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman.
A ceremonial swinging of sledgehammers kicked off the demolition of an old bridge over Four Mile Run this morning.
The bridge, located between Potomac Avenue and Route 1 near Potomac Yard, was used by trains until the late 1980s when the railroad was decommissioned. It has since sat out of use, overgrown with vegetation.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and Alexandria Mayor William Euille were at the bridge Monday morning, sledgehammers in hand, to announce the start of demolition, which will get fully underway in two weeks. The demolition is expected to be completed by April.
The bridge is being taken down to create open space above Four Mile Run, which environmental officials from both jurisdictions say will allow the stream to grow vegetation and develop a healthier ecology. Moran recalled a large flood in the 1970s, after which the local governments decided to pour in concrete. The concrete mitigated flood impacts but wound up damaging the stream’s ecosystem, Moran said.
“The vegetation serves its purpose if you allow it to grow,” Moran said, “and this does.”
The Pulte Group, which owns the Potomac Yards development adjacent to Four Mile Run, will fund the $3.5 million demolition and the stabilization of the stream banks. After the demolition, Alexandria and Arlington will jointly fund a new, urban-style park on another unused bridge, adjacent to Potomac Avenue.
The plan to transform the area started in 2006 when both jurisdictions passed the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan, and has been helmed by the Arlington/Alexandria Four Mile Run Redesign Task Force.
“We finally are seeing these plans come to fruition,” Moran said. “We’ve been waiting 25 years for a ribbon cutting here, and now we’ve got a sledgehammer smashing.”
Arlington County Police responded to an accident at the Department of Motor Vehicles (4150 S. Four Mile Run Drive) today, after a car crashed into a fence.
Police say the driver was at the DMV to take a driving test. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., the driver somehow jumped a curb in the parking lot and smashed into the fence.
Police are not able to release many details about what happened because the investigation into the incident is still ongoing. For now, it has not been determined if the driver will be charged.
Nobody was hurt in the incident.
The attack happened around 11:00 a.m. According to new details released by police, a woman was walking down the trail in the area of Glencarlyn Park when a man approached her from behind. He motioned for the woman to get off the trail and walk into the woods, police said, but she refused and screamed for help.
The man then used a knife to stab the victim three times in the neck, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Other trail users heard the woman’s screams but the man fled the scene on foot before help arrived.
The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries. She remained alert and was able to talk to officers before being transported to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Sternbeck said.
“The suspect is described as a white Hispanic male in his 20’s, approximately 4’8” tall and 130 lbs,” according to the police report. “He was wearing a yellow Polo shirt and dark pants.”
Police plan to talk to the victim today in an effort to get a fuller description of the suspect, possibly for the creation of a composite sketch. Sternbeck said the incident “was a very brazen attack on a Saturday morning,” and a reminder that trail users should always remain alert.
“First and foremost, be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “If you are going to go on the trail, invite a friend to go with you. It’s very rare that we see an attack on the trail where the victim is with a companion or a group. The majority of times they’re attacking a woman who’s alone.”
Earlier this year the Arlington County Police Department produced a video that details a number of safety tips for users of local trails.
Woman Attacked on Four Mile Run Trail — A man with a knife attacked a woman who was walking alone on the Four Mile Run Trail on Saturday morning. The woman suffered “minor, non-life threatening” injures. The suspect is still at large. [WJLA, NBC Washington]
Yorktown Falls in Soccer Championship — The Yorktown High School girls’ soccer team lost 2-1 to Chantilly in the Northern Region championship game on Friday. The team, which finished regional play with a 20-2 record, will still continue to the state tournament. The first round game will take place on Tuesday at Battlefield High School. [Sun Gazette]
ACPD Officers Honored for Fighting Car Theft — Three Arlington County Police officers have received state Law Enforcement Officer Awards for their work in helping to fight car theft. “LEO Award winners are selected by judges from the insurance industry, partnering law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles for their exemplary actions related to Intelligence, Prevention, Enforcement and Recoveries in fighting the crime of vehicle theft,” police said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Examiner Skewers Board for Signature Bailout — The Arlington County Board “blindsided” taxpayers by approving a $250,000 bailout for Signature Theatre during a closed session, according to a Washington Examiner editorial. “Other financially struggling artistic venues have to scale back productions, sublease space or launch pledge drives when money gets tight,” the Examiner editorial board wrote. “But Signature Theatre has friends in high places who apparently believe it’s too fabulous to fail, county taxpayers be damned.” [Washington Examiner]
Photo by MJordanRomero
The sewage release was the result of a blocked 12 inch sewage pipe, in the area between the Dominion Plaza Apartments (1200 S. Courthouse Road) and the Arlington Village Condominiums (1400 S. Barton Street), near Columbia Pike.
Crews have successfully cleared the blockage and stopped the flow of raw sewage into Arlington Branch, according to the Arlington Department of Environmental Services.
The county says people and pets should avoid Arlington Branch, Lower Long Branch and Four Mile Run until further notice.
“Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters — including wading or swimming,” the county said in a press release (below). “The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.”
Arlington County today advised residents to avoid water downstream of a sewage release that occurred between the Dominion Plaza Apartments and Arlington Village Condominiums, just above the Army Navy Country Club into Arlington Branch, a tributary to Lower Long Branch. Arlington Branch, Lower Long Branch and Four Mile Run from Columbia Pike downstream to the Potomac River should be avoided. This is a precautionary measure following the discovery of a sewage release resulting from a blocked 12” sewage pipe. Water, Sewer, Streets crews are actively working to remove the blockage from the pipe and stop the release.
Residents are advised to stay away from the affected waters and to keep their pets away until further notice, to eliminate the risk of exposure to untreated sewage. Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters – including wading or swimming – until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.
Recreational areas affected adjacent to the streams include Fraser Park, Troy Park and Four Mile Run Park.
NOTE: Residents are reminded that stream water can contain microorganisms that can make people sick, whether the stream is located in an urban area or in the middle of a forest. Even after the discharge is naturally flushed from the streams, the County’s normal precautions for safe use of streams apply. You can find information and safety tips on Arlington streams, including information on reporting stream pollution incidents, on the Department of Environmental Service website.
World Gym Now ‘Exercise Nation’ — The poorly-reviewed World Gym at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive has changed hands and is now “Exercise Nation,” a small low-cost gym chain with existing locations near Baltimore. Memberships start at $10/month. [Washington Business Journal]
Metro Ramps Up Anti-Harassment Campaign — This month Metro began tracking all forms of sexual harassment, one additional step in the agency’s ongoing anti-harassment campaign. [Greater Greater Washington]
Four Mile Run Watershed Cleanup — Arlington County is organizing a watershed cleanup for Four Mile Run on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will be asked to help clean up at one of several sites along Four Mile Run, Arlington’s largest watershed. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Forum to Feature Streetcar Supporters, Opponents — On April 10, the Arlington Committee of 100 will hold a forum about the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar. A streetcar supporter, Arlington Chamber of Commerce chairman David DeCamp, will face off against a streetcar opponent, “Peter’s Take” columnist and former Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Peter Rousselot. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
An aging county-owned building near Shirlington is being torn down as part of the expansion of Jennie Dean Park.
The LaPorte Building at 3600 S. Four Mile Run Drive was purchased by Arlington County for $3.6 million in 2002, as part of a long-range expansion plan for the 22.4 acre park. It was most recently used as a temporary construction office during the expansion of Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant. The building was vacated by the plant contractor in late 2010.
Now, the county is preparing to finally tear down the run-down structure. The demolition will be conducted in an environmentally-responsible manner, officials say.
“Rather than using traditional means and methods, the County’s contractor will deconstruct the building,” said Dept. of Parks and Recreation Construction Management Specialist Brenda Parker. “This entails taking apart the building in order to reclaim, reuse and/or recycle as much of the materials as possible.”
After the structure is town down, the lot will be turned in to open space.
“Once the building is removed, the area will be graded and seeded, a portion of the fence will be removed, temporary landscaping will be installed around the site perimeter and benches may be added at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and S. Nelson Street,” Parker said. “That work should be completed by early 2013.”
An adjacent, existing parking area will be maintained, however, in order to temporarily store equipment and Arlington Transit buses while a new ART facility is constructed. Use of the temporary storage area is expected to last through the end of 2013, at which time the parking lot will be demolished and converted to open space.
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to approve an agreement with VDOT to design a trail connector from the Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac Avenue in Arlington. Potomac Avenue runs from Crystal City to the shops and new residential developments in the Potomac Yard section of Alexandria.
Currently, the Four Mile Run Trail connects with the west side of Route 1. One would then have to cross the busy thoroughfare to get to Potomac Yard. A steep, informal dirt path that connects directly from the trail to Potomac Avenue also exists, but can be difficult to climb.
County officials say the new trail connection will be accessible to those with disabilities.
“The trail connection will provide an ADA compliant multi-use trail connection between the Potomac Yard development on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County) and the Four Mile Run Trail which is also on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County),” wrote Shannon Whalen McDaniel, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services. “The new trail connection will replace a informal dirt pathway (goat path) that currently exists along the steep embankment between Potomac Yard and the Four Mile Run Trail.”
The design and engineering for the new trail connection is projected to cost $250,000. Of that, $190,000 will come from federal funds and $60,000 will come from Arlington County. The actual construction of the trail connector hasn’t been funded yet, but is expected to be complete no later than 2016. No construction date has been set.
Image via Google Maps
A woman died this morning after jumping from the Columbia Pike bridge over Four Mile Run.
Several witnesses saw the woman jump, around 10:30 a.m. She landed on a paved section of the Four Mile Run Trail and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Arlington County Police are investigating the incident as a suicide. The woman was in her 30s and was known to have mental health problems, said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
Update at 9:20 a.m. — The surfacing below the fitness stations has been installed and the equipment is ready to use.
Arlington County has installed brand new fitness equipment along a stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail near Shirlington.
That stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail, which runs parallel to Arlington Mill Drive, was repaved last month.
The new Energi-branded outdoor fitness equipment utilizes bars and platforms to allow dozens of simple exercises that work out nearly all of the body’s 600 muscles. The equipment replaced older, deteriorating equipment that was once there, in Shirlington Park.
The equipment is still off-limits to the public while a contractor prepared to install surfacing under each station. No word yet on when that work might take place.