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The Strange History of Freedom Park

Greater Greater Washington ran an interesting article yesterday comparing Rosslyn’s Freedom Park to a newer, more well-known elevated urban park — New York City’s High Line.

The two are vastly different in terms of use, writer Dan Malouff concluded, but yet are similar in concept. For instance, the High Line was once a freight rail line designed to transport goods to and from the city more efficiently than ground-level rail. Freedom Park, on the other hand, was originally meant to be an elevated highway to help move commuters into the District more efficiently than Wilson Boulevard and N. Lynn Street.

For those who weren’t around in the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s, the idea of Rosslyn’s “Loop Road Bridge” may seem a bit wacky. N. Lynn Street does get backed up at rush hour, but hardly enough to justify a whimsical, Disney World-esque elevated highway that ran in between skyscrapers and over existing roads, and which did nothing to alleviate traffic on the real bottleneck: the Key Bridge. At the time, however, transportation planners believed that the Loop Road Bridge was “the final piece to a road system that would reduce traffic in the Arlington high-rise district,” as Washington Post reported Charles W. Hall wrote in April 1993.

Nonetheless, after 20 years of planning, construction on the bridge abruptly stopped in 1990 when significant engineering problems were discovered. The county fired its construction contractor and a legal battle ensued. The bridge — unfinished and unfit for vehicle traffic — remained an eyesore until 1994, when the County Board finally voted to turn it into a park with the help of a developer.

Greenery, a fountain and covered dining areas were envisioned for the park. Concerts, events and food vendors were also part of the plan. Only part of the vision has materialized — Freedom Park does have planters and greenery, and is a somewhat popular destination for workers on their lunch breaks, when the weather is nice. But now, in 2011, the park can hardly be considered the vibrant destination that county leaders had hoped.

The fact that the Newseum moved from Rosslyn to D.C. in 2008 did not help matters. The museum made use of the park for some of its artifacts.

“The opportunity to create a park… is a substantial amenity for the community, and it links nicely to the Newseum, which is expected to bring millions of visitors to Arlington,” County Manager Anton Gardner told the Post in March 1994.

So far Artisphere, which opened in the Newseum space last year, has not utilized the park. More photos, after the jump.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. đź•— News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

Spend the first Sunday of March tasting a great wine selection at Arrowine’s Super Sunday Tasting!

Workers lowered signage today (Friday) from the now-former Giant supermarket in the Lyon Village Shopping Center. Several passersby watched with interest as the team unscrewed the letters G-I-A-N-T from the…

New properties just listed in Arlington include a 3 BD/3 BA home with an expanded kitchen, fireplace and two lower levels.

March General Membership Meeting

NAACP Arlington Branch is celebrating Women’s History Month with a virtual public safety and Virginia legislative update. Our speakers are Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Delegate Adele McClure.

Guest Speakers

Adele McClure
Virginia House of Delegates, 2nd District in Arlington

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Early Years Preschool is a small non-profit preschool and parents day out program that has served local families since 1992. Early Years Preschool is located in the Cherrydale neighborhood at 3701 Lorcom Lane.

Early Years Preschool offers part-time programs for young children between 12 months – 5 years old. Early Years also offers a 6 week summer program! The school day is 9:30-2:30, with the option of morning extended day offered at 9am. Families have the flexibility of registering for 1-3 days/week in their parent’s day out program (12 months- 2 year olds) and 2-5 days/week for their preschool program (3-5 year olds).

Early Years’ teachers provide a nurturing environment that promotes the development of a child’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical skills. Creative and stimulating theme-based activities allow each child to develop and learn at his or her own pace through exploration and play.

Learn more about Early Years Preschool by contacting the admissions team at [email protected] or by visiting their website at http://www.earlyyearspreschool.org

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Renegade Mode

Having worked with the likes of Gary Numan, DJ Neidermeyer lends authenticity a go-go. Enough to satisfy even the purists.

The Renegade boasts all of the virtues of Arlington’s premier music venues while providing bar bites that rival most restaurants

Self-led Decision Making – An IFS Approach

Whenever we feel indecisive, it’s usually because different parts of ourselves see things differently and are motivated by different priorities and concerns. In fact, it’s usually the friction between these different “camps” that makes us feel stuck.

We can mediate

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