Wilson Blvd Sidewalk Improvements Delayed — Arlington County Board members were apologetic on Saturday after a resident complained about the state of sidewalks along Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont area. The first phase of an improvement project, which will only consist of repaving and restriping the road, is now not slated to take place until the spring. County leaders promised to try to implement the second phase, which will actually improve the sidewalks, sooner rather than later. [InsideNova]
Bar to the Rescue in Crystal City? — Crystal City property owner Vornado hopes Highline, a new bar coming to the neighborhood, will help its growing tech community there after work. Vornado is trying to restyle Crystal City — which has lost government tenants for millions of square feet of office space, as a result of BRAC — as a tech hub. [Washington Post]
Neighborhood Conservation Projects Approved — A $2.5 million slate of four neighborhood improvement projects was approved by the County Board on Saturday. The projects include three in north Arlington and one in south Arlington. [Arlington County]
Bank Robber Sentenced — A D.C. man who robbed two Wells Fargo banks in Arlington has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, federal prosecutors announced. James Link, 57, was accused of robbing a Wells Fargo branch on Nov. 25, 2013, injuring an elderly woman in the process, and a branch on Dec. 31, after which he and an alleged accomplice were arrested by FBI agents who were waiting outside. [U.S. Dept. of Justice]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Four projects aimed at improving pedestrian safety, removing invasive plants and more are likely to be approved at this Saturday’s regular Arlington County Board meeting.
The final four projects funded by the 2012 Neighborhood Conservation bond, approved in June by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, will receive a total of $2,540,175 if the Board approves them. About $1.3 million of those funds would come from the 2012 bond, while about $1.2 million is expected come from the bond referendum on the ballot on Nov. 4.
The four projects up for approval:
- Pedestrian safety and street improvements for the intersections of N. Vacation Lane with N. Stuart and N. Utah Streets in Donaldson Run. Improvements include replacing a yield sign with a stop sign at the northeast corner of N. Stuart Street, replacing sidewalks on N. Utah Street and curb extensions at both intersections. Total cost: $608,749.
- Street improvements for N. Quintana Street between Washington Boulevard and 19th Street N. in East Falls Church. This includes constructing curbs and gutters on both sides of the road and installing a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side on the street. Total cost: $756,581.
- Park improvements for Oakland Park at 3701 Wilson Blvd. in Ballston-Virginia Square. This project is meant to give the park a complete upgrade, bringing features up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards and adding new site furnishings, ornamental plantings and wood decking. Total cost: $798,845.
- Removing invasive plants from Lucky Run Stream in Fairlington-Shirlington. The project calls for creating a “pollinator habitat between the stream bank and bike trail” and creating buffers with trees on either side of the stream. Total cost: $376,000.
The four projects were selected from a pool of 26 applications from neighborhoods around the county because they scored the highest on the NCAC’s points system, which is explained in the county staff’s report.
The county also has produced a five-minute video, embedded above, in honor of the Neighborhood Conservation Program’s 50th anniversary.
“When it was created in 1964, the goal was to empower residents by having them come together to discuss and share ideas for improving their neighborhoods,” the narrator says. The video includes interviews from NCAC Chair Bill Braswell and other committee members. “Over the years, the program has moved from beautification efforts to focus more on infrastructure needs… The program enables residents to identify and plan projects in their own neighborhoods.”
Clinton Signs Books at Pentagon City Costco — Former Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton signed books at the Pentagon City Costco store on Saturday. One group of Clinton supporters who lined up outside the store Saturday morning told ARLnow.com that they were in line for more than 4 hours before getting their books signed. The signature: a simple, cursive “Hillary.” Also dropping by on Saturday was Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was shopping and stumbled upon the event. [Huffington Post, Washington Post]
Board Approves Waycroft-Woodlawn Plan — The County Board on Saturday unanimously approved an updated Neighborhood Conservation Plan for the Waycroft-Woodlawn community, located northwest of Ballston. The plan calls for funding “to address speeding and cut-through traffic, improve pedestrian safety, enhance street conditions and make park improvements.” Waycroft-Woodlawn has 1,600 residents, mostly in single-family homes. [Arlington County]
Healthy Vending Machine Installation Complete — Arlington Public Schools has completed installation of 115 new “FitArlington Healthy Vending Machines” in all 40 APS-owned buildings. The machines offer “bottled water and 100% fruit juice beverages, and a variety of healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, baked chips, and granola bars.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Snow Leads to Numerous Accidents — Numerous accidents were reported around Arlington this morning due to snow-slickened streets. Accidents were reported on Route 50 near Carlin Springs Road, Lee Highway and Key Blvd at N. Rhodes Street, and on N. George Mason Drive across from Lubber Run Park. As of 9:00 a.m. the accident on Route 50 was still reportedly causing traffic backups.
No Tickets for Snow Removal Violations — Arlington County has not handed out any tickets or fines for violations of the county’s snow removal ordinance so far this winter. The ordinance requires home and business owners to shovel their sidewalks within 24-36 hours of the end of a snow storm. County Manager Barbara Donnellan told the County Board yesterday that it had received 118 snow removal-related complaints, but each time a property owner was notified of a violation they “took care of it.” [Sun Gazette]
Lopez Receives Local Endorsements – Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) has picked up the endorsement of some local Arlington County figures in his run for Congress. Lopez announced this morning that he has been endorsed by Arlington County School Board Member Emma Violand-Sanchez, Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur and former Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Mike Lieberman.
Alcova Heights Neighborhood Plan Approved — The County Board last night approved an update to the Alcova Heights Neighborhood Conservation Plan. The plan calls for improving the neighborhood’s appearance while preserving its character and protecting it from speeding and cut-through traffic. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Six projects are slated to receive $3.5 million in funding in the fourth
and final round of appropriations from 2012′s $11 million Neighborhood Conservation Bond.
The projects are:
- Street improvements to the 5700 block of 2nd Street S. and the 100 block of S. Kensington Street in Glencarlyn. Cost: $724,042. Expected completion date: June 2016.
- A trail connector from the 4800 block of 7th Street S. to the W&OD trail in Barcroft. Cost: $135,317. Expected completion date: October 2015.
- Pedestrian safety improvements to 19th Road N. between Woodstock Street and Upton Street in Waverly Hills. Cost: $753,845. Expected completion date: May 2016.
- Street improvements to S. Lang Street between Arlington Ridge Road and 28th Street in Arlington Ridge. Cost: $713,003. Expected completion date: October 2015.
- Streetlights and trail improvements on N. Ohio Street between 22nd Street and Washington Blvd in Highland Park Overlee Knolls. Cost: $380,369. Expected completion date: July 2015.
- Park improvements to Woodlawn Park in Waycroft-Woodlawn. Cost: 795,000. Expected completion date: None given.
The projects were chosen based on a priority scale and approved for recommendation by the NCAC in December.
The projects given the highest priority were those in neighborhoods that have recently updated or completed new conservation plans and in neighborhoods that have waited for projects the longest. The county staff report has the full list of criteria.
Board Accepts Arlington Ridge Neighborhood Conservation Plan — At its meeting on Saturday (October 19), the County Board voted unanimously to accept the first revision in 40 years to the Arlington Ridge Neighborhood Conservation Plan. The plan outlines residents’ vision for the neighborhood and names improvements residents most desire. The plan includes more than 100 recommendations, including a neighborhood “zoning freeze” in light of the area’s 37.5 percent increase in population from 2000 to 2010. [Arlington County]
$1.5 Million Approved for Neighborhood Improvement Projects — The County Board approved $1.5 million in funding for three street improvement projects. In the Leeway neighborhood, along 24th St N from N. Illinois Street to N. Kensington Street, $781,082 was approved for sidewalk, curb, and gutter street improvements. Nearly $160,000 was approved for the installation of LED street lights in Columbia Forest, on S. Edison Street from George Mason Drive to 11th Street South. And more than $521,000 will go to improvements in the Williamsburg neighborhood, on N. Sycamore Street from 26th Street North to Williamsburg Blvd, for traffic lane reduction, bike lanes, ADA compliant ramps at intersections and landscaped medians. [Arlington County]
Survey Puts Metro Area on List of Best Apartment Kitchens — A survey by Apartment Guide magazine lists the D.C. metro region as number four on a list of rental properties with the best kitchen amenities. Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles were the top three. [Sun Gazette]
ARCA is proposing an update to its Neighborhood Conservation Plan, its first since 1973, which the Board could approve during Saturday’s meeting. The civic association said the zoning freeze request is being made in light of the 22202 zip code’s 37.5 percent population increase between 2000 and 2010.
In its request to the county, submitted this spring, ARCA asks the County Board “to ‘freeze’ zoning within and outside the ARCA area until the full impact of present development plans in areas adjacent to us can be fully assessed in order ultimately to conserve the peaceful single-family character of our neighborhood and protect our quality of life and the air we breathe.”
County staff recommends the neighborhood plan be accepted by the Board, but with notes from county staff essentially denying the proposed halt to zoning. Helen Duong, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, said there are no zoning freezes in place in Arlington, “nor have there ever been.”
“A neighborhood’s request for a zoning freeze is not a typical recommendation in Arlington County,” Duong told ARLnow.com. “More often we see communities asking that the County adhere to the General Land Use Plan and zoning plans and to not consider making changes without going through an inclusive neighborhood process.”
The neighborhood plan does not become codified upon its acceptance by the Board. Instead, the plan consists of recommendations which are then to be implemented by county staff, provided they are consistent with county policy.
There were several other recommendations in the plan that county staff expressed concern about, in terms of implementation, including:
- Expansion and improvements to the Aurora Hills Library and Community Center
- Proactive noise monitoring
- Undergrounding of utilities on Arlington Ridge Road
- Use of speed enforcement cameras
- Erection of sound barriers on I-395
The speed cameras would require authorization from the state legislature, and ARCA requests that the county lobby the legislature for that permission.
Other neighborhood priorities identified by ARCA include maintaining its nine public parks, improving sidewalks and streetlights, “proactively limiting and managing traffic,” and designating Aurora Hills Library and Community Center the neighborhood’s “cultural hub,” despite the fact that the facility is in adjacent Aurora Highlands.
The Arlington Ridge neighborhood is located just west of Pentagon City. Many in the neighborhood vehemently opposed the 2 million square foot PenPlace development in Pentagon City, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in September.
If passed, the motion would fund $781,082 for street improvements on 24th Street N. from Illinois Street to Kensington Street; $159,751 for new streetlights on S. Edison Street from George Mason Drive to 11th Street; and $521,409 for median and striping improvements on N. Sycamore Street from 26th Street to Williamsburg Blvd.
The three projects were recommended by the Neighborhood Conservation Action Committee. The money would come from the Neighborhood Conservation Program, an $11 million pot of money used for relatively small citizen-initiated projects. The three projects would be the third installment of the latest Neighborhood Conservation fund, approved by referendum last year. Four projects were funded last fall and five were funded this spring. If approved, the program would have $4,866,407 in funding left for future projects.
The projects were selected on a points-based system. They were the three highest-scoring projects out of the 25 proposals the NCAC reviews. County staff supported the NCAC’s recommendations in its report..
The item is on the Board’s consent agenda, which means unless a Board member or a citizen decides it warrants further analysis at the Board’s Tuesday meeting, it should pass without additional discussion on Saturday.
The Board unanimously approved the plan, which updates a previous plan that was passed in 1987. The new plan seeks to protect the communities from traffic impacts, maintain public infrastructure and foster a sense of community. It was created over the course of eight years with the help of community input.
“The program reflects the County’s belief that no one understands what a neighborhood needs better than the people who live there,” County Board Chair Walter Tejada said in a statement. “The County Board thanks the residents of Fairlington-Shirlington for working for eight years to produce this thoughtful, realistic plan to help ensure this area of the County will remain a great place to live for decades to come.”
Fairlington, with a population of 8,000 residents, is southwest of Shirlington, population 1,500, and bisected by I-395.
Fairlington was created as a publicly-financed housing complex for defense workers during World War II. Shirlington was a swampland before becoming a shopping center in the 1940s. The current Shirlington began to take shape, with high rise housing and and an “urban village” of retailers, after being purchased by Federal Realty Investment Trust in 1995.
The new Neighborhood Conservation Plan contains 35 service and infrastructure recommendations. The full list, which can be found below (after the jump), includes recommendations ranging from increased speed enforcement to new bus shelters to efforts to curb helicopter noise.
“In the coming year, County staff will be working with the association and residents to help identify priority improvement projects for funding,” the county said in a press release.
Photo courtesy Arlington County
It’s the First Day of Spring — At 7:02 this morning, astronomical winter ended and spring officially began. Spring also means longer days. Currently, we’re gaining about two and a half minutes of daylight per day. [Capital Weather Gang]
EFC Has Fullest Metro Parking Lot — East Falls Church has the fullest parking lot in the Metro system, with a 120 percent usage rate. Demand for the lot is only expected to increase when the Silver Line opens. [Washington Examiner]
Playground Coming to Long Bridge Park — The Arlington County Board yesterday approved $186,000 in funding for a new playground at Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City. [Sun Gazette]
La Tagliatella to Open in Shirlington — La Tagliatella, which is starting to wrap up work on its new restaurant in Clarendon, will be opening a second Arlington restaurant in the former Extra Virgin space in Shirlington. La Tagliatella is a global, European-based Italian restaurant chain. The Arlington restaurants will be the company’s third and fourth locations in the U.S. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Board Approves Neighborhood Projects — As expected, the County Board yesterday approved $2.5 million in funding for five Neighborhood Conservation projects. The funds will come from bonds approved by Arlington voters. [Arlington County]
Out of the 27 projects considered by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee in December, five were recommended for funding.
- Park improvements at Tyrol Hill Park in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood. Improvements — pictured, left — include demolition of the old existing play area, construction of a new tot and school-age play area, accessibility improvements, new concrete walkways, new site furnishings and a new water fountain. ($670,000)
- Street improvements on N. Buchanan Street between 24th Road and 24th Street N., in the the Old Dominion neighborhood. The project proposes a 24-foot wide roadway, curb and gutter improvements, and a 5-foot wide sidewalk on either side of N. Buchanan Street. ($310,246)
- New streetlights on 9th Street, 7th Street and S. Highland Street in the Arlington Heights neighborhood. The project will install “Carlyle style” LED lights. ($477,339)
- Park improvements at Chestnut Hills Park in the Yorktown neighborhood. The project includes “frontage and beautification improvements,” as well as new benches, a new accessible pathway to a portable toilet, a new enclosure for the toilet and pedestrian safety improvements. ($708,776)
- New streetlights on N. Cleveland Street between 1st Road N. to Washington Blvd, in the Lyon Park neighborhood. The project will install “Carlyle style” LED lights. ($147,843)
This round of Neighborhood Conservation funding also includes $200,000 for “missing link” projects.
Funding for the projects will be provided through Neighborhood Conservation bonds. The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhood groups to apply to the county for public improvements requested by residents.
Neighborhood Projects Approved — The Arlington County Board unanimously approved $3.4 million in funding for six neighborhood improvement projects. “This is the third round in funding for key recommended Neighborhood Conservation projects from the 2010 voter-approved $9 million Community Conservation Bond,” the county noted in a press release. [Arlington County]
County Looking for Partner to Spruce Up Farmhouse — The Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for a charitable individual or organization interested in restoring the historic, county-owned Reevesland farmhouse and estate. The restoration is expected to cost upwards of $1 million. [Sun Gazette]
DESIGNArlington Awards Announced — Arlington County is recognizing outstanding architectural or landscape design through its second-annual DESIGNArlington awards. Among five recipients of the highest “Award of Excellence” this year, three are county-owned buildings and two are private residences. [Arlington County]
John Glenn, Astronaut and Arlingtonian — Astronaut (and U.S. Senator) John Glenn lived in Arlington for about five years around the time he was becoming a celebrity space pioneer. Glenn lived in a single-story home near Williamsburg Junior High School (now Williamsburg Middle School) between 1958 and 1963. [Arlington Public Library]
The Arlington County Board will consider approving $3.4 million worth of Neighborhood Conservation Program projects at its meeting on Saturday.
In December, the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee considered 33 different requests and recommended six for the current round of NC funding. Among the recommended projects:
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs and bike lanes on Patrick Henry Drive from 16th Street N. to Washington Boulevard in Westover Village ($531,829)
- Park improvements to the playground at Glencarlyn Park in Arlington Forest ($485,000)
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs and bike lanes on N. Sycamore Street from 26th Street N. to Williamsburg Boulevard in Williamsburg ($679,101)
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs, landscaping and possible bio-retention features on 23rd Street S. from S. Culpeper Street to S. Columbus Street in Claremont ($495,671)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and streetlights on 20th Street N. from N. Kenmore Street to N. Monroe Street in Cherrydale ($562,481)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and streetlights on S. Fern Street from 22nd Street S. to 19th Street S. in Aurora Highlands ($683,673)
Funding for the projects will be provided through Neighborhood Conservation bonds. The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhoods to, essentially, compete with one another to receive funding for public improvements requested by residents.
The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee is recommending that the County Board approve five new street improvement projects when it meets this weekend.
The total cost of the projects — which are expected to improve the appearance and safety of the streetscape — is estimated at $2.8 million. Of the five projects, all but one are in North Arlington.
The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhoods to compete with one another to receive funding for public improvements requested by residents. The five projects expected to receive funding over the weekend include:
- Beautification plus pedestrian safety improvements with raised medians on Yorktown Blvd between Little Falls Road and 30th Street N., near Yorktown High School. ($202,599)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and street lighting in Glencarlyn, on 4th Street S. between Lexington and Kensington Streets and on Lexington Street between 3rd and 4th Streets. ($653,033)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and street lighting in Ashton Heights, on N. Piedmont Street from 5th to 6th Streets. ($519,345)
- Beautification plus pedestrian safety improvements with curb and median extensions in Tara Leeway Heights, on N. Patrick Henry Drive from 18th to 20th Streets. ($717,897)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, and gutter in Leeway, on N. Illinois Street from 22nd Street to Lee Highway. ($716,692)
The last round of Neighborhood Conservation projects included street, park and sign improvements in six different neighborhoods. This time around, the committee passed over proposed park projects in Penrose, Arlington Forest and Boulevard Manor; pedestrian safety projects in Westover Village, Waverly Hills and Claremont; and street improvement projects in Williamsburg and Maywood.
The funds are intended to pay for basic street and park improvement projects, which are proposed by neighborhood groups. This year, most of the money is coming from a $9 million Neighborhood Conservation bond, approved by Arlington voters in November.
In December, the county’s Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) recommended seven projects for the first round of funding under the new bond, out of 33 proposals. The recommended neighborhood projects are listed below.
- Rock Spring — $12,500 — Neighborhood sign design, fabrication, installation
- Rock Spring — $732,245 — Beautification, pedestrian safety and street lighting improvements on Williamsburg Blvd from George Mason Drive to N. Kensington Street
- Arlington Heights — $381,478 — Beautification, pedestrian safety and street lighting plus sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on Arlington Blvd from S. Fillmore Street to S. Irving Street (Phase 2)
- Douglas Park – $495,000 — Park improvements, lighting and trail upgrades to Doctor’s Run Park
- Ballston/Virginia Square — $719,956 — Sidewalk, curb, gutter, beautification and pedestrian safety improvements on Kirkwood Road from Lee Highway to 14th Street N.
- Dominion Hills — $269,678 — Beautification, pedestrian safety, sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on Patrick Henry rive from 9th Street N. to Wilson Blvd (Phase 3)
- Columbia Heights – $391,703 — Sidewalk, curb, gutter and street lighting improvements on 11th Street S. from S. Edgewood Street to S. Cleveland Street
There are two rounds of Neighborhood Conservation funding each year. In October, the NCAC and the county board agreed to spend $3.87 million on ten separate projects throughout the county.