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Residents Fight County on Construction Project

by Katie Pyzyk July 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm 7,742 370 Comments

Some South Arlington residents are trying to fight the county on an upcoming construction project.

The county has been planning to redesign parts of Arlington Ridge Road from 23rd Street to South Meade Street. Some of the improvements include work on curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes. The county cites pedestrian safety as the reason for the revamping.

Some neighbors launched a campaign called “Save Our Streets” to oppose the approximately $200,000 project. Group members say they’re upset because of wasteful spending, the county isn’t listening to them and there’s a lack of transparency.

The group hopes to encourage other residents to write letters to the county requesting a suspension of the project, which has a construction start date set for August 8.  They want more time to give resident input and have it incorporated into the design.

County Manager Barbara Donnellan sent a memo to board members last month saying citizens’ concerns had been evaluated and the plan was adjusted accordingly. The memo concluded that “this project is ready and will move forward with construction.”

The start date was set for August 8 in order to avoid disrupting school children who walk in the area. Once work gets underway, the project is scheduled to take about four weeks.

  • doodly

    This is about people who don’t want change, don’t like having to drive the speed limit, and think they know more about traffic safety than the experts.

    For instance, slip lanes are dangerous as hell.

    • BerryBerryCold

      Many of the “improvements” made in N. Arlington are dangerous as well.

      • Take it down a notch

        Such as….?

        • BerryBerryCold

          Cement dividers placed in the middle of the roadway with no signage or anyway for someone to know its there.

          • NoVapologist

            How does one not notice a cement divider in the middle of a road?

          • BerryBerryCold

            a) snow

            or

            b) because it is at the crest of a hill.

          • b0rk

            c) texting on their phones

          • BoredHouseWife

            paint them orange.

    • HELPUS

      Hi Doodly:

      Do you live in the 22202. The slip lane in this instance right after an intersection on a down hill blind spot section of the Ridge. You may not know the impact of it being removed. A resident who actually lives on the Road counted over 100 cars during the elementary school drop off and another 100+ at pick up each day before school ended. Removing the slip lane poses a dangerous situation as parents with cars holding children will be stopping to make the sharp turn an difficult incline. Do you think that your statement that all slips lanes are dangerous may not fit in this instance? If you are interested in actually coming to the intersection to see what is being done here as the markings have been made, please let me know.

      • doodly

        Looking at the map, that’s not a typical slip lane between two right-angle streets. Not sure I’d even call it one. So you might have a point.

        • HELPUS

          Thanks. It is unique.

    • ZoningVictim

      Not if they’re designed correctly, according to this: http://www.walkinginfo.org/engineering/crossings-design.cfm

    • Tom

      In some circumstances slip lanes may be dangerous, but not in this case with steep grades (over 11 %), tight geometry and lack of sight distance. If one has not seen the intersection, it is unfair to comment on it.

    • Elizabeth Anderson

      We have no problem with the speed limit. We have consistently supported lower speed limits in this corridor and most of us observe the posted speed limit because we realize it is important for our safety and the safety of others.

      Does this person know where the slip lane is located, and the danger that will result from its elimination? The County is asking us to make a hard right turn from Arlington Ridge Road at the place where it slopes downward significantly. There is no way that traffic following someone attempting to make this turn could go around them. Hence, we fear that our vehicles will be hit from behind.

      • Josh S

        It’s a two-lane road. You’re not supposed to be going around someone making a turn anyway.

        • supported y;ou

          I supported you big time. And these were not in my back yeard.

    • Local_Resident

      Arlington County does not need to eliminate the entrance and turn around island at the intersection of Meade Street and Ridge Road. The closure would make vehicular access between Meade Street and Ridge Road less safe by increasing vehicle conflicts; exacerbating the intersection’s steep slope and cross-slope; increasing the danger with snow and slick pavements; creating an intersection entry point that requires trucks to encroach into oncoming traffic lanes; making Meade Street pedestrians walk out of their way along Ridge Road; and placing those pedestrians at vehicular conflict points. The closure would eliminate safe access of residents to northbound Ridge Road. The closure would also remove residential on-street parking.

      • JammingEcono

        How does the County’s plan exacerbate the intersection’s slopes? The County’s plan explicitly doesn’t change the slope at all. Any dangers from snow and slick pavement would still be there on the grade whether the County did anything or not. Suggestion for Meade St residents: If the pavement is slick, drive around the block via 24th/Nash/23rd to get to Arlington Ridge Rd. This is the same advice I’d give to anyone worried about sliding down a graded street — don’t take that street.

        As I read the plans, the County’s project will make vehicle conflicts LESS likely, not MORE likely as you suggest. Right now, northbound Ridge Road traffic turning left onto Meade (up the grade) has the potential to conflict with high-speed traffic exiting southbound Ridge Road onto Meade via the slip street. In essence, northbound RR traffic turning left on to Meade has to be aware of oncoming traffic TWICE in the space of about 20 feet. Not a recipe for safety, IMO.

        Despite you opinions to the contrary, the County’s plan is based on their expert knowledge of traffic conditions in the area (as opposed to one neighbor counting cars in an unscientific study), years of designing safer streets, and a years-long, inclusive planning process that your group neglected to engage in. I for one am looking forward to a safer pedestrian environment for the hundred of schoolchildren at Oakridge and Gunston and the hundred of regular citizens who routinely walk on Arlington Ridge Rd.

        • HELPUS

          Just curious. Do you have children walking or riding to school at Oakridge and or Gunston? Looking forward to your comments. Would also like to know if you have ever tried to make that turn at Meade during bad wether or even good weather.

          • JammingEcono

            @HELPUS – Yep, I’ve had a child walking and being driven to Oakridge for two years and have a second child who will be starting to do the same this fall. Hence my desire to see pedestrian and motorist safety in the area improved, which I’m confident the County’s plan will accomplish.

            And yes, I have made the turn at Meade and Arlington Ridge Rd in good and bad weather. Especially when turning left off of northbound Ridge Road onto Meade, I consider it a dangerous intersection since one must watch out for traffic coming from THREE directions in the space of about 20 feet (southbound Ridge Road traffic; southbound Ridge Rd. traffic turning onto the Meade at the high-speed, low radius slip way; and northbound Meade St. traffic). Not to mention that the pedestrian crosswalk south of the intersection creates another danger zone to worry about. Getting rid of the slip way eliminates one of the three sources of oncoming traffic and creates a standard 90-degree intersection that the County, from long experience, knows is safer for drivers and pedestrians than a slip way.

          • HELPUS

            I guess we disagree. I also have children and Oakridge as well as Gunston and have been driving and walking them for 7 years. I think it would be better to take a path down behind Haley Park directly to Gunston and Oakridge. The attendance has almost doubled in size. I am sure that you have probably seen how backed up the traffic can get down Pierce, Nash and onto 23rd Street. You will see an increase in that traffic as we add those parents utilizing Meade Street going up Nash and Pierce. I assume you also like the changes on Joyce Street. I am not against some changes, just do not agree with the design in it’s current form. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

          • JammingEcono

            Again, how would making the intersection at S. Meade and Ridge Road safer result in an increase of traffic on surrounding streets?

            Are you arguing that because Oakridge parents heading southbound on Ridge Road like taking the low-radius slip lane on to Meade St. so much, they will in greater numbers instead take 23rd to Nash and Pierce in order to get to 24th St/Oakridge? If so, that’s reasoning that’s difficult to defend, in my opinion.

          • travelor

            Helpus,

            I think that you may have sort of contradicted your self. Your statement “any dangers from snow and slick pavement would still be there on the grade whether the County did anything or not. Suggestion for Meade St residents: If the pavement is slick, drive around the block via 24th/Nash/23rd to get to Arlington Ridge Rd” is one of the reasons why the slip lane exists, since it allows flat access to the street during those periods of bad weather. Because of the unique topography of the street, it was [probably designed as a safety entrance lane for residents.

            And I am not really sure how having almost to come to a complete stop on a downhill road, in accelerating traffic at a curve in the road, while drivers behind you may be distracted by being on a cell phone or while texting on that phone (as surprisingly some young people have been known to do in the real world), would do anything to improve resident safety.

            Do you believe everything that a county transportation engineer tells you? Engineers are well known for their technical tunnel vision using one size fits all templates for everything. In this case, their one size does not fit the safety needs of residents who are actually living there on the street.

          • HELPUS

            travelor, not sure why you attacked. I am against the project. I agree that it is unsafe.

    • Yeah…whatever…

      And this is about someone who labels people without understanding what they are talking about….

    • Slip lane

      There have been no reported collisions at the slip lane for the last four years. Isn’t that good enough for you?

  • JerrySeinfeld

    I actually don’t favor some of the changes either, but I hate it when citizens use “lack of transparency” as a stand-in for “I told you not to do [something], and you’re doing it anyway!”

    • HELPUS

      Hi:

      There are a lot of local residence that are not for this project for other reasons. If you would like to know more, please let me know. I am a local resident (assuming you are also). The problem is that many people are not for the project because it is not going to help us, it is going to create problems.

      • BoredHouseWife

        I had overheard that the bus stop/sidewalk design narrowed the road?

        • Local Resident

          Yes, bus lane will be gone. And 23/Ridge section will be narrowed. Buses have hard time turning around this intersection “as is”. Can you imagine what will happen if this crazy project goes forward?

          • Josh S

            Come visit the intersection of South Fillmore and South 2nd. The 10B makes this 90 degree turn many times a day from one two-lane road to another two-lane road. To accommodate the move, the stop point for northbound Fillmore Street traffic was moved back from the intersection. Buses can now make the turn without running into anything or anyone.

          • charlie

            the buses will careen thru livings rooms all over Arlington Ridge?
            I’ve seen METRO and school buses make turns that self-indulgent SUV-drivers drinking their $5 latte/frappe and texting can’t make.

        • HELPUS

          Hi BHW. LOL, love your “handle”. Great point, the bus lane removal and narrowing will make it more difficult for metro bus as if it is not already difficult at this intersection for the buses.

    • Misguided Tactics?

      I also find it ironic that this group that proposes to want to “save our streets” is littering them with their negatively-phrased rants on yard signs they force fellow neighbors to look at on our daily commute and evening stroll.

      It honestly makes me sad to see them everyday.

      Couldn’t they have found a better way to say you care about the neighborhood streets than to deface them?

      • HELPUS

        This group tried to get help through other channels, went to the county meeting and spoke, has written letters, etc. What do you suggest they do? We could use your imput.

        • HELPUS

          sorry, input.

          • Neighbormom

            they should accept that they are not the majority stop fighting your neighbors, and know that their concerns are not outweighing the concern for children walking safely to school. It’s obvious to me after reading these posts (I even went to your website) that the people opposed are opposed for personal driving and parking convenience.

          • HB

            How do you know they are not the majority? I can’t count the number of neighbors who have noticed the signs and tell me that they didn’t know this project was happening in their own backyard. And when I tell them, they can’t believe that the project is moving forward.

          • Wiki_Man

            I was present during ARCA meeting where strong majority of all neighbors voted to put this project on hold until neighbors concerns are resolved.

          • JammingEcono

            @Wiki_Man – Is this the same meeting you left “since it was going nowhere”?

            Is this one of the meeting on May 5th and 19th that your civic association President described in his May 27 letter as “contentious” and which “pitted neighbor against neighbor and residents against County staff”?

            If so, excuse me then if I’m a bit suspicious of your claim that a “strong majority” voted to put the project on hold. Since there were no minutes kept at those meetings, we have no way of knowing what the vote count was.

            Nonetheless, it’s true that the ARCA President did request that the project be put on hold as a result of the meeting. And no, the County did not put it on hold. However, they did make changes to the project design based on community input at those meetings. That these changes didn’t satisfy you is another issue entirely.

            I don’t blame the County for holding firm against the MAJOR changes the SOS folks asked for, especially given the lack of consensus in the community, the late date at which these changes were requested, and the lack of valid reasons why the County’s expert evaluation of the traffic patterns and the proposed solution was lacking (the non-scientific “car counting” study mentioned multiple times in this thread notwithstanding).

      • What is the point?

        I think that the neighbors will clean up their own private property. What is so wrong by showing support by putting a Yard Sign?

        This is a small cost compared to the damage that this project brings to the area.

        Think about it….The County has effectively cornered these folks by ignoring them using some pretty low-key tactics. I’m not sure that people would be working this hard if this was not just cause. I’ve looked at their web site, and it is pretty elaborate and well-composed.

        Instead of complaining, you could at least support your neighbors’ expression and hear them out.

        • HELPUS

          Thanks. The neighbors that are involved are all very nice people with genuine concerns. They were not against the project if flaws in the design are fully and properly addressed. They are being made out to be trouble makers, not so.

          • JammingEcono

            That the neighbors involved are all very nice people with genuine concerns, I have no reason to doubt. I don’t believe that they’re trouble makers either.

            What I do believe is that they are wrong on the merits. There’s nothing inherently “bad” about that, but I’d rather not stand by and let unsound arguments derail a good County plan that makes an unsafe intersection safer.

  • darren

    Utterly ridiculous. I’m strongly in favor of these improvements, and would be doubly so if I lived along this stretch of Ridge Rd. I resent that these people are trying to argue that this will somehow degrade safety. NIMBYism taken to its absolute extreme of foolishness.

    • doodly

      There are ingrates who oppose every change. They will end up liking the changes in a few years and wonder why they were so mad, once they get used to them.

      • HELPUS

        doodly:

        Just curious, do you live in the neighborhood and do you commute to activities or school for children and or to work everyday? I would like to understand what base of residence is in support and which base is not. Looking forward to hearing your response. Thanks in advance.

        • doodly

          I’ve seen the same thing happen in my own neighborhood.

          Thanks for being polite, by the way.

      • Oppose unnecessary change

        On Wednesday, July 27, County Manager Donnellan finally told us how many accidents there have been at or near this intersection. According to her, these have been eight collisions at 23rd Street and Arlington Ridge Road from 2007 through 2010. There were none at South Meade. So what are they correcting? The answer is nothing. If there is one accident in the future at South Meade, it can be attributed to the ill-conceived elimination of the slip lane.

        • HELPUS

          I think it is also good to note that the accidents have been traffic related and not pedestrian related. Yes? It would help to have a left turn lane from Ridge east to 23rd. Not in the new design, why?

    • JerrySeinfeld

      It’s not NIMBYism. These people don’t want THOSE road changes somewhere else. They just don’t think those road changes are necessary.

      It’s okay for you to disagree, just as it’s okay for them to disagree.

    • HELPUS

      Hi Darren. Please come by the intersection. I can show you the impact that the changes will have on the neighborhood. I live in this neighborhood and do not think the changes will improve this intersection and do not want to see traffic bottle and see road rage become even more apparent. Please don’t judge residents until you have had a chance to see for yourself. There are genuine concerns. These neighbors are for change that makes sense, not change just for the sake of change. Even leaders in this community admit it is not perfect plan and that the county went overboard on what was requested, but they want something instead of nothing. A plan that is supposed to be a safety plan should be exactly what is needed. Those directly involved should have imput.

      • darren

        I have lived in Aurora Highlands/Arl Ridge for five years, and am very STRONGLY in favor of the county’s changes. I’ve seen one too many of my Meade St neighbors take that turn entirely too quickly for my walking/jogging/biking comfort. Slip lanes might prevent a few fender-benders, while still allowing Meade St folks to take that low-radius turn at prevailing roadway speeds, but the rest of us are grateful that the county is being aggressive in making Ridge Road safer for pedestrians. I fail to see how your less-aggressive plan does much except keep vehicle speeds up.

        • HELPUS

          Curious, where are you crossing? Are you using the crosswalk or just jogging along the road. I have lived here since 1992 and I am strongly opposed. Just curious, do you have children and do you commute to work. The neighbors opposed to the project are in support of the reduced speeds, infact they have supported all other traffic calming efforts. This particular change will effect more than just the residence of Meade. Some have done their homework. Are you aware that approximately 100 cars take that right each morning and afternoon for school pick up and drop off. Have you walked the project and scene how difficult it will be for buses to round the corners? Thanks for the correspondence. It is good to debate this. More people should really take a look at this.

          • Just Curious

            Since this thread is talking about the intersection, I think the bigger safety issue is all the construction vehicles parked on the corner, blocking the sidewalks to bikers and pedestrians. Sometimes two cars deep as the guys chat with each other as if they were not parked on a major street.

            When did the little office that had no activity become a construction depot? IS this street zoned for that kind of activity and are other residents OK with that?

          • HELPUS

            We do not control construction workers at the intersection or anywhere else. It seems that you know the area well and also know that there is no parking area on the Ridge. Please give your suggestions on where they should park and we can pass that information on to them. 🙂

          • HELPUS

            Interestingly enough, the house next to the little office is almost finished and you will probably see less construction activity and less county inspection vehicles blocking traffic there as well. It is not uncommon to see extra vehicles in any area where there is construction. Maybe we need more parking to provide for visiting vehicles. The little office is zoned commercial and has asked the construction to park on 22nd Street and 23rd Street. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Dear Doodly,

      Perhaps persons with ingrate-similar characteristics might call other persons “ingrates” without knowing anything specific about them or the project that they object to. Being a neighbor and immediately affected by this project, I in general love new things, changes, and development, but not at the cost of having the project put me and my family being put at the risk of rear-end collisions as we try to enter the County-designed street during rush hour traffic. Traffic calming measures have been put into effect throughout our neighborhood through previous County projects. This is simply a poorly designed project — especially the removal of what was originally built as a safety entrance slip lane — that is not addressing any real problem, was created by a totally neigbor insensitive County Transportation Department, and is being let go forward by what has become a big bureaucracy County Board that doesn’t have the nerve to stand up to its own Transportation Department. Please try to find out something about the project before you call people ingrates.

      • doodly

        I’m sorry. It’s just that I experienced ingrates in my own neighborhood when we had traffic-calming measures.

        On balance, I tend to trust the traffic engineers about safety more. But yes, perhaps they could be wrong sometimes.

        • Bleezer

          If you are mabye referring to the shrub islands put in the middle of some areas – for example n Utah st – those are horrible. Cant see around them and have to swerve to go around them, putting cars right in the path of pedestrians. also, drivers see the island and think ‘ traffic circle’ and then fail to heed the stop sign. dumb dumb dumb idea.

  • charlie

    the changes to Arlington Ridge have made the road more dangerous. removing the extra room for people to turn left to South 28th has made NB Ridge Road VERY dangerous as people try to squeeze by.
    and yet all this work gets done and slip for SB Ridge Road to Lang is still there.
    when i drive to work that way, the majority of the tailgaters and speeders go down that slip ramp to the school — teachers and parents alike.
    the 4-way red light at 23/Ridge Road is also silly because NO ONE ever waits for the light to turn after pushing the button. Why? Because there are so many gaps in traffic they can. And then the light turns and all the cars just sit their, spewing fumes and wasting gas while no one crosses on the 4-way red.

  • Charles

    Leave it to Arlington County to eff things up that are actually OK as they are. More stop lights, more development bloat, piss-poor consideration is the brain of Arlington. Considering how badly the County bungled Pentagon Row (go on, walk in a straight line from the Mall tunnel to Harris Teeter), you can’t really be surprised. This is the Brain of Arlington County.

    Nevertheless, you people keep re-electing the same Arrogantlington County Board members, what do you expect … things to improve?
    Don’t be stupid.

    • Josh S

      “you people?”

  • Local Resident

    Just to be clear here….this has nothing to do with opposing speed limits. As a matter of fact, the same residents in this area have to push County hard last year to impose 25mph limit on the Ridge Road. We really like the limit!

    This is about County designing project that is deeply flawed and ignoring citizen’s input. For example, they want to close down safety slip lane so that the citizens stop in the middle of accelerating traffic on Ridge Rd. and get rear ended. This includes Oakridge Elementary School parents driving through the area. County Officials themselves acknowledged issues, but just want to proceed and build something that has issues with safety and common sense.

    Transparency here means that the County simply did not inform many of the people in the area about changes and wanted to work only with “few” selected houses, who are getting tax free circular driveways paid by the County (i.e. taxpayers funds) for no apparent reason.

    There are a number of simple, safe, low-cost solutions that are applied all over Arlington. But, for some reason, County does not want to hear about them….

    You can see all the details at http://www.saveourstreets.net and see what we are talking about. Especially see this: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/design-is-flawed/

  • yrb

    Went to the website, 99% of the content – whining how nobody listens to them, I don’t see any serious arguments against the project or concrete proposals. It’s just trolling, somebody with nothing better to do trolls the county.

    • Misguided Tactics?

      I also find it ironic that this group that wants to “save our streets” is littering them with their negative, hostile signage which they force their fellow neighbors to view regardless of their position on this topic. I have actually avoid that corner on my evening walk with my dog to not be confronted by it.

      I actually find it sad that this is how they chose to get their point across. I wish we could find a better way to show we care about the neighborhood streets then to deface them.

      • HELPUS

        You may not know that they contacted local leadership to help take other paths to get help, have written to their elected officials among other things. Please send suggestions of a way that you feel may be a better way to reach people. Thanks for your comments.

    • Local_Resident

      Then, you did not read the content. Here is one of many explanations of what is wrong with the project:

      http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/design-is-flawed/

      Here is another one:

      http://saveourstreets.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/alrlington-county-letter-from-april-20113.pdf

      These are pretty detailed documents.

      If you don’t have nerves to read about traffic issues, please feel free to come to our area, and we can gladly walk you around and point the issues.

      Take care

  • Jan

    I really don’t understand the narrowing of Joyce street either. It’s so dangerous now for drivers and people getting out of their cars. If they don’t look before opening a car door, it’s going to get hit no matter the speed of the car.

    • Burger

      It is very easy. They want to clog the roads so people do not drive cars but walk or take Metro. It couldn’t be more apparent.

      • doodly

        The streets are going to be clogged anyway, Burger. You just don’t seem to get that.

        We have to encourage alternatives. We have no choice.

    • darren

      slowing cars down by making them drive with an abundance of caution so they don’t hit stuff is dangerous?

  • DD

    Did Favola get $$$ from the asphalt company?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      LOL! I’d bet dollars to donuts.

  • YES!

    Just because Facebook was invented does NOT mean us residents should form groups to oppose everything. Come on, let the County do what it needs to do and stop the temper tantrums. If everything results in an Save Our XYZ, then nothing really is important and it all becomes noise. Save something worth saving like whales, or kittens, or turtles.

    • Harold

      Turtles are yummy.

    • I got that PMA

      Or trying to save Arlington

    • Local Resident

      Well, if it affects safety and your life, it is important enough to react. I’m not going to sit down and wait for accidents to start happening at the intersections that had none.

      How a County can know what it is doing if the same has no data or study supporting it? And they acknowledged that in the public forum. Their main engineer did not even know the slope of Meade St and Ridge Rd and where east and west is.

      I’m not sure that I want to leave the County to be run by a bunch of bureaucrats and engineers disconnected from reality.

      That is why the County has the “Arlington Way” to engage citizens in its process? It would be then simply “Engineering Way”!

    • HB

      This county project is not needed. Perhaps they could use the money for better programs, like helping the local animal shelter.

    • It is noise.

      Anyone can build a website, post a blog, create a FB page, and get signs made on the cheap. The real challenge to our community are we capable of appreciating a broader perspective, even if it does not benefit you personally.

    • HELPUS

      Yes, did you feel this way about the save the library also……..

      • Library issue united community

        I fully supported and was semi-active in the library effort. But that effort was successful in uniting our community, while this issue has clearly divided it. Obviously, it is easier to get consensus and support behind keeping local libraries open than issues that will impact residents differently.
        United communities get the attention of their elected officials—divided communities do not. We should remember this in our materials and discourse.
        I do not have a strong position on this particular issue, but in the eyes of the County, we are divided and may appear a little schizophrenic in our desires and needs. When they hear from our community in the future, I fear they will remember this experience and may not be attentive to South Arlington needs.

  • YES!

    Save the Turtles!

  • YES!

    .

  • Chris Slatt

    The sole purpose of that Meade Street slip lane is so cars don’t have to slow down in order to “turn” onto Meade. Eliminating it just means the cars going to Meade St will have to slow down slightly when making the corner. This is somehow going to cause a rash of rear-end collisions?

    • SlipLaneVictim

      Not only that, but having to slow down will so enrage the drivers that they will purposely target pedestrians with their vehicles – or so goes the argument. The same case was made in my neighborhood when a slip lane was proposed for removal.

      • Road Rage

        Oooh – sounds fun! Can we assign points to various shirt colors, accessories (walkers, umbrellas, purse dogs), etc?

    • doodly

      Yes, because slowing down is dangerous because speeding cars behind you will hit you. I heard it on ArlNow.

    • HELPUS

      Hi Chris:

      Their will be a crossing at that turn. If people are crossing, it will be more than a quick stop. Remember that there will also be weather issues that will make it less safe to make that turn this winter. Buses also have a hard time already rounding the corners. Making that even smaller will also be difficult on the traffic.

  • YES!

    +1 Chris

  • speonjosh

    Yeah, visit the blog created by the residents. It comes across as not much more than a bunch of hot air. The letters sent by the county manager to the Board addresses each of the issues raised by the civic association and provides very reasonable responses.

    The major argument seems to be over the elimination of the slip lane. To argue that this is less safe seems to turn reality on its head. Cars will have to slow down to make the turn. Pedestrians have a much shorter cross, thus shrinking their exposure to cars significantly. How is that not safer?
    Also, I’d be curious to know what the traffic counts are of cars making that move – southbound off Ridge Rd onto South Meade. I suspect they are relatively low, making the whole thing a little bit of a tempest in a teapot. Similar to complaints about the configuration of a bus stop when the bus stops only 8 times a day?!?! That’s ridiculous. Typical for civic association complainers, but ridiculous.

    • Local Resident

      I wish it was hot air….Honestly, I have a busy life and the last thing I want to do is to spend majority of my time on some empty cause. I’m not a person who cares generally about these projects. But, this one is ridiculous.

      On the surface, everything looks like “normal”. But, you need to spend more than 1 minute looking at things…

      If you look carefully at the documents, you would see that County does not know what it is doing. It first classified project as NTC, then re-classify it very conveniently when it was apparent that they have no support among citizens.

      Look at schemas….If you think that building tax free circular driveways at citizen’s expense increases safety, then let it be.

      Come to our neighborhood and we can show you the entire situation.

      • speonjosh

        Why does it matter about the classification and reclassification? Does that change the merits of the project at all?

        I don’t know what you mean by “tax free circular driveways at citizen’s expense” but it’s also the first time I’ve heard about them. The blog certainly doesn’t emphasize them. Is this a major reason that the neighborhood is complaining about this project?

        • Local Resident

          Honestly, classification and de-classification does not matter unless that is a reason for County to spin the issue and avoid responsibility for implementing “Arlington Way”.

          Arlington is the LEADING County in the United States (if not in world) by having participatory citizen’s process.

          It is ok for the County to have dictatorship, but then that is not “Arlington Way”. See: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/my-way-or-highway/

          Please see the diagram and you’ll see circular driveways to be built: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/visual-representation/

          County land will be given to private citizens (tax free).

          Circular Direways are just one of the bad elements of this project. As a taxpayer, I would want County to spend money for public areas, and channel funds to more appropriate use.

          For me, the first and foremost thing is safety – safety of pedestrains and drivers.

          If you want to read details about design flaws, please see: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/design-is-flawed/

          • Josh S

            I am not trying to be snarky here – if you want people to take you seriously, I’d avoid calling the county board a “dictatorship.”

            And I have to hear from the neighborhood why their concerns about safety outweigh the county’s concerns about safety. There is a lot of scary talk about rear-end collisions but it is entirely speculative. What actual evidence is there that rear-end collisions will increase in this area?

          • JammingEcono

            +1

          • HELPUS

            Josh, the county did not initiate this project. It was initiated by ARCA. Ask how many people actually voted on the idea to send correspondence to the county asking for some changes. The project is a result of a few neighbors pressing the issue. The county has gone above and beyond what was asked for. No one asked them to fix Meade, they added that on themselves. The money could be used to open up a path down behind Haley Park and would remove any reason for kids to travel on Ridge Road to Gunston or Oakridge. Do you know how to read the plans? Many residents are having a hard time seeing what changes are being made.

    • HELPUS

      Hi:

      You asked for info on the slip lane and how often it is used. A resident on 24th did a study and on average 100 cars within an hour in the morning and again in the afternoon make that turn. The elementary school for the area is back off of 24th. We have over 600 students all trying to get to school. Many parents park on Meade and walk their children in to avoid the 10 to 15 minute wait on Pierce Street, which is backed up nearly to 23rd Street. Add those 100 cars to the lane and you will really have a mess. There is so much more to this than you realize. The neighbors there are hardworking people who are asking that the county reevaluate the situation before proceeding. What is the rush. The are not in opposition to the project if it is redesigned to make more sense.

    • Went to Save Our Streets website

      Wow. Some folks have some serious time on their hands. Can I get some names so you can come let my dog out for a walk so I don’t need to come back at lunch (it’s a real pain).

      But seriously, where were you guys when we were fighting to keep our library hours, save the Planetarium or Nature Center, or support Wakefield HS construction projects. Don’t recall seeing a line of folks to build websites for those neighborhood causes. I guess those weren’t in your back yard.

      • Activism is fine…

        I do not see what is wrong with activism. You should be grateful for people spending their time fighting for the neighborhood.

        People are fighting for their right cause and they have good feel that their safety and safety of others will be compromised. Sounds like they have over 50 families joining the effort.

        I don’t see the reason of any neighbor to undermine their effort.

        If you ask them to join your causes and explain their value, they may want to join you. Sounds like you did not have much luck with it.

      • HELPUS

        You may have also taken the time to do this if you lived on that street.

        • on the otherhand…

          if you were running a construction business out of a realestate office and like to use the bus lane for overflow parking for your trucks…

          • HELPUS

            on the other hand….. wow, you really seem to follow what everyone else is doing in the neighborhood. This is not a debate about the real estate office or it’s clients. Your comments are childish and off topic. Bashing and attacking people seems to be your focus. That is getting a little old. If you don’t mind, can we debate the issues of the project instead your own personal pet topics? Make valid point for or against the project.

            For example: I am for sidewalks on 23rd Street next to the church for neighbors and the children to utilize. I am not for removing the slip lane or the bus lane. The plan as it currently stands is not a good one.

  • Thes

    From time to time, I hear people suggest on this blog that only those with academic degrees in city planning should offer their opinions about development policy. I wonder if those same people will be as vociferous about insisting that only those with traffic engineering degrees should opine about the safety of a given roadway configuration. Oh, wait. I see they have not been.

  • FF

    Won’t someone please think of the children???

    • Local Resident

      One of our major worries is that this project could make things worse for pedestrians, esp. school kids.

      The traffic around OakRidge School is hectic at peak times. Nash Street becomes a game of dodging, bobbing and
      weaving because cars are parked on both sides of the street and people are letting each other by to navigate it. If the Meade Street slip lane is removed making that a more dangerous and treacherous turn into the neighborhood, then more traffic will naturally divert to Nash Street. One of my concerns is there will be a child hit on Nash, far from the actual slip lane in controversy. I don’t think the county appreciates how dangerous this street is when rushing parents are zipping in and out.

      To be honest, County has no data and no studies to help them make reasonable decisions. They pretty much “winged” all of this and disregard good input from people who actually live in the area and know the traffic flow.

      • Lou

        It’s pretty surprising that even after lowering the speed limit to 25 the county still thinks they need to slow traffic down by monkeying with the street layout.

        • speonjosh

          Why? As residents of the neighborhood themselves will surely note when it serves their needs, cars routinely exceed the speed limit along Arlington Ridge Rd.

          As the county administrator has made clear in her letters discussing this project, eliminating slip lanes is county policy. It is policy because they tend to be more dangerous than 90 degree turns, for obvious reasons.

          So, I don’t think it’s surprising at all that this projects has been put forth.

          • Local Resident

            The traffic on the Ridge Road has slowed down, but there are still drivers who speed up. There is no 100% enforcement in any business.

            I’m personally happy with reasonable measures that help Traffic Calming, and there are many of them applied throughout the area.

            But, we are talking here about expensive, unsafe and illogical overreach. If you look carefully at the design, you’ll see that County is building personal circular driveways for free…this does not make sense.

            Please keep in mind that for any NTC (Neighborhood Traffic Calming) project to go forward it has to have 60%/70% support of the affected area. This one has less than 3%-5% support.

            That’s why, County started to paddle back from NTC and Traffic Calming and started to claim that this was something else…Go figure!

            We offered good and simple solutions to the County. See them at Diagram Section: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/visual-representation/.

            Btw, eliminating Slip Lanes is not a “one size fits all” policy. If you look carefully at the County’s Manual, you’ll see that the County’ policy is to discourage building new ones. As a matter of fact, it all depends on geometry, position and safety record.

            There are TRULY dangerous places in Arlington where this money could be spent to fix REAL issue. Not an imaginary problem solving.

            County had no safety data for slip lane and/or any other parts of this project. This was publically acknowledged by their representatives.

          • JammingEcono

            Based on your own site’s documents, I think you may be stretching the amount of neighborhood support you have.

            From what I read in the Background section of SaveOurStreets, the County’s proposal had the support of the Arlington Ridge Civic Association. After “contentious” meetings on May 5 and 19, ARCA sent the May 27 letter to the County, which got results, as detailed in the County’s June 21 memo (which for some reason you label “County’s rejection of ARCA’s request”):

            – County agreed to incorporate two full lanes at the intersection of 23rd & S. Ridge;
            – County agreed to install “No Parking” signs at bus stop if project is delayed;
            – County agreed to change bike lane to a sharrow

            If you weren’t satisfied with these fixes, then one would think that the proper way to address this with the County is through ARCA. Based on “BS’s” April 27 letter and ARCA’s description of “contentious” meetings, I doubt you really have the 60/70% opposed vs 3-5% support you claim. Maybe if the “affected area” includes the dozen or so families in your crusade you do, but I certainly wouldn’t say that you have that level of support in the whole ARCA neighborhood.

            Not to mention that the County’s June 21 memo suggests that this plan didn’t get dropped on you at the last minute give their 2004 Arterial Transportation Management Study and April 2007 Walking Town Meeting. If this spat with the County only got off the ground in April 2011 for a project that was scheduled to break ground in August, one has to assume that you missed MANY chances to bring this up with the County when the project was in its design phase over the past few years.

          • HELPUS

            Did you attend the May 5th meeting? On average prior to the May meetings, do you know how many people attend ARCA meetings? Did ARCA survey ALL of the neighbors to see if they were for or opposed before sending support letters to the county or did they vote at a meeting that may have had less than 20 members present? I believe that a civic associations minutes should be attached to correspondence representing support for any issue along with a count of how many people attended and voted on the issue. If they had surveyed the neighborhood regarding support or none support for the design, neighbors may have spoken up sooner and we may not been writing here. If you can show facts to support that even 1/2 of the neighbors know what this plan is going to be, I would more supportive of your views.

      • speonjosh

        You seem to have established that Nash St is already a dangerous street. So if a child got hit on Nash after the project was complete, how could you reasonably assign the blame to the lack of a slip lane at Meade? What if it was a driver who routinely drove on Nash? What if it was someone brand new to the neighborhood?

        • Local Resident

          Yes, Nash is already dangerous street at peak hours. Removing slip lane will cause traffic to increase in Nash and make it EVEN MORE DANGEROUS street. County does not see and recognize any problems here (not now; let alone post-project).

          I’m not in the business of doing blame analysis, but if you are “adding oil to the fire” regardless who started the fire, you certainly take the responsibility for it. And that is what is County doing.

    • HELPUS

      I have 3 going to the two schools. I am not for the project in it’s current form. It needs improving. Traffic does not happen in a computer application, it happens out here on the streets and it has the element of human error. Years ago when traffic light cameras were installed, they saw a decrease in people running red lights. They also saw an increase in rear end accidents at lights. Cause and Effect.

  • NoVapologist

    I don’t oppose “traffic calming” wholesale, but some of these measures seem to be a way for the county to try to avoid actual enforcement of traffic laws.

    My 25mph residential block had some changes made to discourage its use as a cut-through during rush hours. It did reduce some of the speeding but some of it still remains. The county has said that the next option is to put up “speed bumps” (I can’t recall what the current county euphemism for them is). Nobody on our block wants that. We have tried to point out that the people still driving 40+ mph on our street are the same people every day and at the same time each day. It may seem like a crazy idea to the county, but putting a cop with a radar gun out there even once or twice (they have never done it in the 5 years I have lived on the block) would probably deliver the message to these Dale Earnhardt wannabes. The speed bumps they have suggested are actually the useless kind with the little cut-outs to accommodate fire trucks. The same cut-outs that will be used by the habitual speeders to avoid slowing down.

    • Arlresident

      Wow, we had the same exact problem and even complained to the police chief about it six weeks ago who told us he would send out officers with radar guns at the times of day we reported the problems (rush hour) and have we seen any officers… nope.

    • Josh S

      Speed tables, perhaps? They would definitely reduce speeds from 40 mph, if that is what people are actually doing. Do you have a radar gun? If not, how do you know how fast they are going?

      Wouldn’t there need to be an entirely separate police force created if an officer was sent out to write tickets at every block where people complain about the speeding?

      Traffic calming measures have the advantage of being there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for free. So, yes, you are 100% right that part of the reason they are put in is to avoid sending out police officers to write tickets. Instead, the measures “enforce” the law by forcing people to slow down by choice.

  • bobco85

    Does anyone have the design (or a link for) of what the plan actually looks like? It would be very helpful for judging the suitability of this project.

  • Tim

    This stretch of road needs some work. It’s not a good area for pedestrians or cyclists because people drive way too fast and the sidewalks are narrow and uneven.

    • Local Resident

      I agree with you. But what County is doing with this project does not make much sense.

      All what residents are asking is for the County to stop building something that will actually make things more unsafe while solving none of the key issues in the area.

  • JammingEcono

    Correct me if I’m wrong on this one, but doesn’t Oakridge Elemantary specifically put out cones to discourage parents from driving down 24th Street during pick-up/drop-off? Presumably this is to avoid school traffic going down 24th, turning left/north onto S. Meade and having to deal with the current dangerous intersection at S. Meade and Arlington Ridge Rd.

    With two kids at Oakridge myself, I always turn left/north off of 24th onto S. Nash specifically to avoid the “looking back over your shoulder” problem you encounter when turning right/south at the S. Meade/Arlington Ridge intersection.

    Looking at the County’s diagram on the SaveOurStreets site, it would seem like the proposed elimination of the island and the graded turn lane onto southbound Arlington Ridge road would solve that problem and create a safer intersection.

    Am I missing something here?

    • Local Resident

      Parents use mainly Nash Street. Look at my comment few screens up what would happen by closing slip lane. It will simply push more parents traffic to Nash.

      County says that Nash St has “endless” capacity to carry out the requested traffic. As County has no data or studies, they don’t know what happens on peak hours in Nash Street.

      • DoTell

        What County employee spoke of the magical street with “endless” capacity ?

        Human mythology is repleat with examples of the refilling chalice or such devices as the Celtic Cauldron of Dagda which had endless capacity. Do we now have such a myth for Arlington ?

        • DoTell2

          I take it from the lack of response, that in fact no employee spoke about “endless” capacity and Local Resident just made that quote up ?

    • You are correct.

      The plan does solve that problem, from what I know of it.

  • JammingEcono

    Re: Nash St., I hear you on the difficulty of navigating on S. Nash during school pick-up/drop-off. That said, since the school is already directing school traffic on to S. Nash anyway, I don’t see how changing the Meade intersection is going to have an impact on S. Nash traffic.

    If the desire is to make S. Nash safer for kids entering/exiting Oakridge, it would seem to me to make more sense to eliminate parking (either permanently or just during school hours) on one side of S. Nash so you widen the street for traffic coming to/from the school.

  • What?

    “County not listening” Yeah… And to think how silly those firefighters were to petition to change how government works in Arlington… What do they know… Doesn’t this prove that it is time to hold the politicians accountable?

    • Josh S

      Accountable for what?

  • bobco85

    I agree with the proposed plan, and think it will be safer for everyone (pedestrians, cars, and bicycles).

    The controversial “slip lane” problem reminds me of the problem that used to exist at N. Manchester St. and 4th Rd. N. (near Bluemont Park) where people would fly around the corner turning onto 4th Rd. N. After the corner was modified (there’s now a bulge making the pedestrian crossing a shorter distance and forcing cars to make wider and turns), cars now go around that corner slower than before. People will be forced to slow down, and that’s a good thing.

    As for the problem of traffic to the school being redirected, I think the neighborhood residents should focus their attention on working with the school to figure this out. There seems to be an existing problem with school drop-off/pick-up that needs to be addressed.

    • bobco85

      (correction) “…forcing cars to make wider turns…”

      • Local Resident

        This is safe plan if safety is getting rear ended in the middle of traffic by doing high-slope right turn 90 degree. At the same time, this is not safe for pederstrain crossing if you think that being close to Ridge Road and exposed to cars coming from four directions instead of two on Meade is safe.

        I’m not sure that N. Manchester is the same thing. This lane existed for over 50-60 years with no safety issues. What problem is County fixing here? I guess building extra circular direways tax free for lucky residents

        In terms of school…Honestly, if County is going to create bigger problem and then turn back to school and say:” you fix it”…this does not make sense. County should not be creating problems to begin with…esp. by spending dollars on issues that are not issues, and creating issues where they are no issues.

        • bobco85

          I disagree with the assumption that people will be getting rear-ended when making right turns from Ridge Road onto Meade. The intersection will only be as safe as the drivers who pass through it, and I think that people going the speed limit, signaling, and slowing down early enough for the turn will have little trouble (and yes, the cynical side of me wants me to stop holding my breath for this). I think the safety for the pedestrians will improve because they will be more visible and traffic will be forced to slow down to make the turn.

          Concerning the school, I was referring to earlier comments (including your own) that stated the peak times at the school caused traffic and safety problems in the neighborhood. This isn’t going to exacerbate the problems, but merely change certain aspects. The problems themselves will need to be dealt with.

          • Local_Resident

            I will not disclose the name, but one of the County Board members said to us that he/she would not take Meade St. turn after the re-design, but rather go around via 23rd.

            This tells you enough about the confidence in the intersection’s safety after the re-design.

            Btw, when you do re-design, you typically work on solving problems such as bad safety record. The County did not have any safety data about Meade St. intersection. Based on the memory of resident who lived here for 30-40 years, as a mater of fact, this intersection had great record in terms of safety.

            You can see yourself what may happen here….http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/is-this-what-we-want/

          • photo

            The point of this photo confuses me. The trailer is turning from a north bound direction so would not have used the “safer” slip lane as an alternative because it would have had to have been going southbound (which is was not). What is this photo trying to demonstrate?

          • Please,

            don’t undermine their arguments with facts. That is totally uncalled for.

          • It is not that hard….

            Photo is demonstrating truck stuck in the intersection.

          • Josh S

            Man, you guys got lucky on that one, didn’t you?

            The “can you imagine” argument holds very little water in just about any occasion. Yes, we can imagine. We can sit and pretend we’re in grade school all day and imagine things. And sometimes, like on June 18th, 2011 some of them will come true. But it doesn’t mean they will come true regularly. Mostly, life goes on rather uneventfully.

            And actually, these pictures had the opposite effect as you hoped for on me. It’s been a few months since I’ve driven through that area and my memory was somewhat diminished. After reading all this hyperbole on the blog, etc, I was beginning to get a picture in my head of a much greater slope, etc. The picture shows a much shallower grade than I had begun to imagine. As Zimmerman pointed out in such a delicious way in his letter, “modern cars can easily navigate such a situation.”

            Pretty much anytime you introduce an eighteen wheeler into residential neighborhoods, you’re asking for trouble. It provides very little support for the kind of argument you are trying to make about this particular intersection.

          • Robert

            I don’t think you get the point.

            You do not have to imagine eighteen wheeler here…imagine simple school bus. The bus will have a hard time turning on Meade St (after re-design). I hope that the idea is not to make things worse for school buses.

  • ArlRidge

    This is a really facinating dialogue among neighbors and residents. More constructive and polite than many comments I have seen on other topics.

    I live in the immediate neighborhood, do agree with the County plan. Having attended several of the meetings on the subject, I believe the County has listened and been transparent.

    There are a few neightbors who don’t want the change and a business on the corner that want to use the former bus lane for parking on a street that has none. (Now that is safe!)

    I drive these streets every day and see this as clear improvements to traffic calming and safety.

    • Wiki_Man

      I live in the immediate area, and do not agree with the plan. This plan is not supported by majority of the people since it just does not make sense. The local civic organization has written the letter asking county to do the reasonable modifications. From what I know, the County’s answer was pretty much to reject any suggestions.

    • Local_Resident

      Civil and fact-based dialogue is a good way to build the understanding and figure out solutions.

      “Few neighbors” are over 50+ familes on the record. County knows this very well. Go and walk around and you’ll see signs everywhere. Actually, this number is now even higher since many more familes have joined.

      The business you mentioned has its own parking. Citizen Association also objected to the removal of bus lane, since it jams the traffic and creates issues with the intersection.

      I can tell you that many more people are outraged that bus lane is gone and can not understand the logic.

      County Project manager explained that “The elimination of the bus pull-out is consistent with County’s vision in providing a safer environment for transit riders”

      I don’t understand how elimination of the bus pull-out provides a safer environment for transit riders if cars making the turn from 23rd Street South on to Arlington Ridge Road find it more difficult and passengers from the bus will not have the area they have now to alight from the bus and avoid much of the traffic. Driving on that intersection several times a day, I simply don’t see how the County’s plan is safer, and besides the concern over the safety of transit riders, there is a concern over the safety of cars and their passengers.

      • Dog Walker

        Local_Resident, Exactly where are these “over 50+ families on the record”. What record? All I can see from your website and these posting is folks hiding behind the mask of anonimity. Using initials and first names doesn’t exactly show your conviction to your cause.

        • JammingEcono

          +10

        • Local_Resident

          Do you think that concerned citizens will post people’s private personal information on the web site?

          The County Board has the information about the concerned citizens, and has fully acknowledged it. They don’t dispute the fact that there is an overwhelming majority of opposition to the project in the impacted area. The Board is just saying that they want to rail-road citizens.

          For your pleasure, since you are walker, walk around the area and see the signs. You’ll get some sense. Please keep on mind that we are running out of them if you want one. Come and talk to us, and get to know your neighbors. Our numbers have increased in the last few weeks just based on the continued County’s ignorance of ARCA’s and neighbors’ concerns.

      • It Stinks

        Taking away the bus pull out stops the traffic flow and increases pollution. Vehicles then have to wait for several lights to cross the intersection. I have seen cyclists just ride through red lights so it will not bother them to lose the bus pull outs. Doesn’t the air stink enough already?

  • Local Walker

    Everything this small group has said in their signs and on their blog implies that the community does not support these changes. They are wrong; the neighborhood is broadly in support, because it improves safety for the hundreds of children walking to the elementary and middle school each day. I also think it’s a joke when they say they are destined to be rear ended without a slip lane that serves approximately 10 houses. If this ever becomes a true concern, go around the block, there are two other roads that feed your street. Admit it, it is a matter of convenience, and you are willing to endanger children for a few seconds of commuting time.

    • Local_Resident

      I don’t think that convenience is pushing people to do so much action. Honestly, I’m not sure what would be the particular inconvenient about this design – it is same commute. What bothers people is that design is not safe, and will cause major issues down the road.

      The County does not deny that there is overwhelming opposition to this project in the impacted area. What County is saying is that citizens should not have much say in this project and that they are ignoring simple and effective solutions.

      You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I would never claim that I know the area better than the people who live right next to it.

      The major emphasis of the County’s plan is actually the redesign of the Meade-Ridge intersection, with
      conversion of the straight “split” roadway to become a graciously landscaped extension of 2 house’s front
      yards. Many residents and drivers currently use the Meade St. split and island as a safe turn, to head north on Ridge Rd. Closing the split will force drivers to turn around in a neighbor’s driveway, backing into potentially dangerous traffic (especially in the wintertime). So, while closing off such splits may be effective on straight, level roads with unobstructed vision, where 90o turns can be easily executed, in this case the 90-degree turn-off from Ridge Rd. has a steep, angled incline, so the proposed plan is MORE dangerous, to both drivers (especially in wintertime) and to pedestrians (e.g., Gunston students, who will be forced to walk in front of vehicles, alongside Ridge Rd. traffic, instead of safely up the hill, on Meade itself). Therefore, the County should implement a much simpler solution: placement of a nub at the entrance of the slip lane, instead of the major re-design that is currently being proposed. Additionally, that would allow the majority of the funding for this project to be spent on the community’s priority: increased pedestrian safety at Ridge & 23rd, with a 4-foot-wide utility strip by the western (south-bound) lane (and a narrower bump-out on the southeast corner), rather than spending the money on circular driveways, expansive front lawns, and the closure of the slip lane turn-off.

      • Huh?

        Again may I suggest, go around the block and all your potential catastrophes go away. Also, why are you people so against neighbors getting a bit more green space, you’re the only group I’ve heard of that is trying to preserve asphalt.

        • Local_Resident

          I’m all for green space, but I’m not sure that we all need to pay for tax free private circular driveways made on the County land.

          If the County would honestly listen and make this project low-cost and safe, there will be plenty of money left to improve green areas around our neighborhood and many surrounding streets.

          • Could this be jealousy

            I’m guessing you won’t be heading over to your neighbors new lawn for parties anytime soon. Are these neighbors part of your “overwhelming” opposition?

          • Local_Resident

            You are right….these couple of people who are getting free circular driveways may like this project. I don’t blame them at all. If somebody is giving you free money, what should you do?

            Well, County should not give it to being with….

  • Ridge road

    The county chairman of the board has stated twice in responses to the civic association that the county policy is to remove slip lanes. Zimmerman stated that the project was going forward and would start in August. The complaints are coming from residents who do not want to slow down while commuting home. Many have stated that their commutes would increase by a few minutes and that was unsatisfactory. It’s all about the individual and their cars. There is really no concern for pedestrians or others. I fully support this project and am looking forward to running up Ridge on the new sidewalks.

    • Local Resident

      The residents are not complaining about slowing down while commuting home. If that was the case, the citizens would not be supporting 25mph limit by pushing the County to impose it. Please read carefully the documents. If you’ve paid attention, you could see our simple and effective proposal to control speed that has been done elsewhere in Arlington.
      There is a huge concern for both pedestrian and driver’s safety. If 50+ families see issue here, then something must be going on here. We are all busy people, and really don’t have time to play silly games.

      For your information, County even realized themselves safety issues in a public setting. Their way to deal with it was to install warning sign. Their staff did not even know the slope/grade of streets that they were designing.
      The County’s redesign plan is, unfortunately, flawed. Residents have requested that the County (Board and staff) reverse course, put the intersection revision on hold, and incorporate resident insights and concerns into a workable redesign scheme, as we know the intersection well and we will bear the brunt of the re-design plan flaws.

      Unfortunately, resident perceptions are that we have no choice and no voice in this matter, that we were not listened to, and that the County has designed changes that will exacerbate safety issues rather than correct them, solving “problems” that don’t exist and ignoring problems that do plague our intersection and quality of life. So much for the famed “Arlington Way.” Neighbors are upset that we and our families may be put at risk by the County’s misguided plan. We seek to work with the County to develop a win-win plan, so we residents request that the County put the planned construction activities on hold, meet with residents and reconsider the design plan, and incorporate our considerations into the County’s plans.

      • Huh?

        You keep saying the county won’t listen then quote all the things they’ve done to placate you. From what I’ve seen and read on your own blog, they’ve not only listened they’ve responded point by point to all your concerns. They ruled for safety over convenience. As the other post said, go around the block if you are so concerned.

        • Spark

          What they should be saying is that the county has not incorporated the multitude of demands of the neighborhood. To some, incorporation of all demands is the only answer. There is no compromise, there is no working together. Sound familiar?

        • Local_Resident

          The County listened so much that they denied all six proposals that Civic Association recommended. Listening is not a process of denial but process of collaboration.

          If County has to say that NTC rules all of sudden “should not apply” for this project (although it was funded from NTC funds), this tells you that they are uncomfortable about their own position.

          I believe that most of people can read through serious reasoning vs. bureaucratic spin.

          All what resident want is a fair collaboration, not a sham process where County staff arrives to meet with residents to tell them that plan was 95% design and that they are really not going to accept much of feedback. Is that collaboration and listening?

          • Wiki_Man

            I was present for one meeting where County Staff was poorly handling basic comments coming from citizens. It became evident that they did not want to do much about any suggestions. I left the meeting since it was going nowhere.

          • JammingEcono

            Local_Resident – I think your late arrival to the debate over this is why the County is pushing back at your six proposals (several of which they actually compromised on, if not completely changing the design to suit your wants).

            According to the County’s memos, this project has been in the works for YEARS with plenty of opportunities for community input (and which ARCA participated in). This is the fabled “Arlington Way” which you loudly complain about the County not following. As I read the history of this issue (again, from your own documents), the “Arlington Way” was followed to the letter on this project. That your Johnny-come-lately input wasn’t incorporated wholesale into the project is not the County’s fault.

            I’d look in the mirror if you’re trying to assign blame on that one.

          • Local_Resident

            You have a good point about ARCA’s late arrival to the debate. If they were more engaged and sent letter earlier, we could maybe all in different situation. However, I feel that County just did not want to deal with anyone and went to do whatever it wants to do. How else you can explain the fact that County brought 95% design in meeting with residents out of the blue sky?

            Meade St was never marked by the County, and was literally included overnight. In addition, what County is doing does not match what Aurora Hills and ARCA requested back in 2009. You can see it for yourself:

            http://aurorahighlands.org/_Media/ARCA_AHCA_073009.pdf

            The County has not followed through this request, which in my opinion is reasonable. I can argue about some things in it, but it is nowhere close to failure like the current County’s design.

            This has nothing to do with some long-term planning. Please do not make up things as you go.

  • Jackflops

    Could someone explain to me how a driver going north on Ridge Road would be able to turn left onto S. Meade if the slip lane is removed? Would they then have to use the same lane that the southbound traffic uses to get onto Meade–which would be a hairpin turn for the northbound traffic?

    • JammingEcono

      Incorrect. Northbound and southbound traffic turning on to Meade will both make the usual 90 degree turns.

      For clarity’s sake, see the actual plan from the County, as opposed to SaveOurStreets’ misleading doodles.

      ACTUAL County plan: http://www.arcaonline.org/docs/Ridge-23rd_Signed_Plans.pdf

      • Jackflops

        Thanks for posting this.

        So it looks like all Ridge Rd traffic turning onto Meade will use the curvy lanes shown on the map, with the crosswalk.

        What about drivers already on Meade who want to go north on RR? How would they do so?

        • JammingEcono

          Drivers on Meade wishing to turn north onto Ridge Road will be able to do so with a standard 90-degree left turn, as they do today.

          The only change in traffic pattern at the Ridge Road/Meade St. intersection that the County’s plan make is that southbound Ridge Road traffic wishing to enter Meade St. will have to slow down and make a 90-degree right turn onto Meade, instead of the higher-speed, low-radius “turn” they have today.

          Good Street View does a good job of showing the current configuration visually: http://bit.ly/nXKZzN

          • JammingEcono

            Correction: Google Street View, not “Good” Street View.

    • Local_Resident

      You have a common-sense & simple map here:

      http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/visual-representation/

      • LVGuy

        Your map is also very inaccurate. I’ll trust the county’s diagram rather than yours.

  • YES!

    Local Resident – you seem very forthcoming and forward. Why don’t you share with us your name.

    • Local_Resident

      You can come to the area and meet all of us. It is not that difficult. Whereever you see the signs….And, there are lots of them!

    • HB

      It seems that some residents who are opposed to the project are posting their full names on the blog. I did not see that from you. Be the change you want to see 🙂

  • ArlForester

    The county came and stole part of our yard to install a sidewalk to nowhere when there was one on the other side of the street. Are they doing the same here?

    • Seems like it…

      I think that County will be taking part of yards, too. At the same time, The County will be giving free circular driveways (1400sq ft of top land) to a couple of houses. Go figure!

  • G Clifford Prout

    I so enjoy the new Ridge Road. I’ll be cruising down the avenue at 10 mph just so everyone is a little extra safe. 25 mph is way to fast for the children.

  • urmom

    are you serious? you all have got your panties in a bunch over a tiny little change to an intersection? for gods sake, let these people do their jobs and chill out a bit. maybe get a hobby or something else to occupy yourselves.

    • Sounds like people are serious

      When it comes to safety, people are serious. People are not going to sit and wait.

      I think that we live in a democracy, unless someone wants to argue that the County is an ultimate King, who is not responsible to anyone.

  • formerbristow

    It’s not a direct democracy, nimbys. Learn to endure change and such hardship as this presents to your affluent lifestyle. Vote differently next time.

    • SupportsSOS

      I think many people posting on this discussion are County employees (probably in the department that is ready to change the street) or shills for the County Board. Why don’t you let the SOSers have their say. Isn’t that what free speech is all about? BTW the County staffers need to look at making a leading left signal at the bottom of Ridge and Glebe for safety’s sake!

      • JammingEcono

        @SupportsSOS – Any basis for the allegation that this thread is being targeted by County employees and shills for the County Board?

        Check that: Any basis for the allegation aside from the fact that they disagree with the people who are up in arms about this project?

        Speaking as one who thinks the County is doing a fine job here, I am 1) not a County employee and 2) not a shill for the County Board.

      • I had a same feeling….

        I don’t know for sure, but my feeling is that the County employees are posting here based on the content of some responses and their links.

        I think it is a serious violation of the County Code for them to engage in a outreach operation against citizens. This is waste of taxpayer’s funds and it may violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

        I’m sure someone can ask County to look at the internet records of their employees and check out what they are doing on County’s time. Someone from media?

        • JammingEcono

          Again, please point to the specific postings in this thread that would support this allegation. The links cited are almost all from either the SaveOurStreets website itself or the ARCA site. I’m not sure what super-secret treasure trove of County employee-only data you think people are pulling from.

          Here’s an alternative hypothesis: The people on this thread who disagree with the premise of the SOS crusade have done a pretty good job of using facts and logic to debunk the arguments that have been made against the County’s plan. That you would be upset about losing a reasoned argument is understandable. However, the mere fact that you’ve lost isn’t evidence that the County is engaged in some Nixonian dirty tricks campaign to discredit you.

          • Local_Resident

            I think that people have made a fair explanation of what they are standing for in this battle.

            If you want to be the against the neighbors, please stand by the County.

            After reading this blog, a number of new people have decided to put their Yard Signs up and sign up their support. They did not like your overall tone and comments.

            I would like to believe that the County people are not posting here, but everything is possible.

          • Seems like it…

            Local_Resident – you are so naive. It is not that it is possible that County people are posting here, but they are actually doing it….Don’t you get it!

          • JammingEcono

            Again Seems like it, please point to specific instances that support the hypothesis. Otherwise, you’re just spreading aspersions against people who merely disagree with you.

            And again, for the record, I am neither a) a County employee or b) a shill for the County or c) anything other than a concerned citizen.

      • HELPUS

        The Glebe Road turning light would be great at Glebe.

  • Barbara Saxton

    The Meade Street intersection with Ridge has never had an accident, never requested a change, and the county is making it anyway. The county only works through civic associations so residents found out about it after the fact. I think many would admit that the county has a problem with communication. The civic association requested a halt and the county is doing it anyway. Spend the money somewhere else. A lot of these dollars is doublin the front yards of two people and puts a circular driveway in one. It’s a waste of money. But wait, the money came from developers in Potomac Yards and Pentagon Rd. for traffic calming. I don’t know about you but the speed limit is 25mph and in the morning the traffic moves at a snail’s pace. I guess we can expect more such projects around Arlington with all the work in progress for Crystal City. I think this stuff is smoke and mirrors. We are so fixated on this we won’t notice the huge changes in store for us in Arlington.

    • JammingEcono

      There’s so much wrong in Barbara’s comment, I feel to need to dissect.

      Quote: “The county only works through civic associations so residents found out about it after the fact.”

      Isn’t the civic association, by definition, MADE UP of residents? Isn’t it your responsibility as a resident to pay attention to what your civic association is doing? Aren’t civic associations around SPECIFICALLY to represent the community to the County so that the County doesn’t get overwhelmed by every Tom, Dick and Harry’s complaint?

      Quote: “The civic association requested a halt and the county is doing it anyway.”

      I assume you are alluding to the May 27 letter from ARCA to the County, which is cited on the SOS website? If that’s the case, while that letter does call for a halt, it ALSO goes out of its way to praise the cooperation ARCA has received from Betty Diggs. That’s the same Betty Diggs whom the SOS folks demonize on their stie. Note that the ARCA letter and the County’s June 29 response indicate there there is not a clear consensus in the community about this project.

      Regardless, in response to the May 27 letter, the County changed several components of the design. They didn’t halt the project altogether, but they did work with ARCA to address concerns. And again, I have to point out that the County briefed your association about this project in September 2010. That the Johnny-come-lately SOS folks didn’t activate on this until SEVEN MONTHS LATER is their own fault, not the County’s.

      Quote: “A lot of these dollars is doublin[g] the front yards of two people and puts a circular driveway in one. It’s a waste of money.”

      The County’s design for the S. Meads/Arlington Ridge intersection eliminates the slipway road to increase safety and pedestrian-friendliness at the intersection. If they did this without constructing new driveways for the two affected residents, those residents would have driveways that essentially ended several feet short of the roadway. Not only is that impractical, but my guess is that it’s probably illegal for the County to make that kind of change without fixing the problem the construction created. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that it’s cheaper for the County to just build new driveways for these two properties than to defend a homeowner lawsuit against the County for leaving their driveways without access to the road.

      Quote: “But wait, the money came from developers in Potomac Yards and Pentagon Rd. for traffic calming.”

      I’d be interested to see your source on that statement?

      Quote: “I don’t know about you but the speed limit is 25mph and in the morning the traffic moves at a snail’s pace.”

      The last ARCA neighborhood conservation survey ranked traffic issues as a top concern. Numerous SOS folks posting in this thread indicated support for traffic calming, the 25 MPH speed limit, etc. Complaining about lack of safety while simultaneously complaining that the low speed limit causes traffic backups is disingenuous.

      • Wiki_Man

        It occurs to me like you have lots of free time. I don’t understand the need to fight against your neighbors, but it is your call.

        Neighbors voted to put this project on hold via ARCA, and ARCA issued the letter on May 27th. I’m not sure that these people are saying anything different than what ARCA wrote in the letter.

        • JammingEcono

          If I’m fighting against neighbors, it’s to defend a County proposal that makes a dangerous intersection at S. Meade and Arlington Ridge Rd. safer. The SOS folks’ desired changes don’t hold the same weight with me as County’s expert opinion of what would make the intersection safer.

          The ARCA letter and the May 5th and 19th meetings are exactly how this issue should have been handled, in my opinion, all along. However, based on the information at the SOS site and the ARCA site, that appears to be the ONLY times ARCA has formally engaged the County on the issue.

          So, since the SOS folks didn’t get the changes they wanted through the normal channel (i.e. via ARCA), they’ve turned to a pressure campaign that relies on unscientific “studies” (the 100-car/hour counting study mentioned multiple times in this thread), anecdotal observations, bellyaching about two neighbors’ driveways being reconnected to the roadway by the County and complaints about unresponsive County staff (despite ARCA’s specific praise for Betty Diggs’ willingness to work with the community).

          In sum, I believe the SOS folks are making unrealistic demands of the County at a late date without well-supported evidence that the County’s expertise on this issue is flawed. If the SOS demands were implemented I believe it would maintain an unsafe status quo at that intersection, potentially endangering my children, other Oakridge students, pedestrians and motorists.

          • asdf

            JamingEcho
            One other point on the esteemed Arlington Engineers. 4 years ago, the same neighbor-activists fought with the county staff about repainting the 23rd/Ridge intersection to change to a left only lane southbound on Ridge in order to eliminate the merge just south of the intersection. Despite many years of documented accidents, including not-infrequent cars in yards and running up on the sidewalk because of being forced over in the merge, the staff refused to budge. They said that making a left only lane would result in backups onto 395 routinely. They were finally forced to make the change after a “walking county board meeting” when over 200 neighbors showed up. Guess what, the engineers were flat-out wrong. 23rd and Ridge is a much better functioning intersection. Backups to he 395 exit ramp are rare, and even at Rush hour traffic moves through the intersection efficiently.
            Bottom line, based on experience with the specific group of traffic “engineers” involved, we have reason not to believe in the quality of their work!

          • Amen….

            If the engineers were ruling the world, it would be the “Engineering Way”. Instead, we are having the “Arlington Way”, where citizen’s voice matters.

          • HB

            Unsafe status quo? Can you tell us how many children, students, pedestrians, and motorists have been hit since the slip lane went in? I haven’t heard of any.

            I think there was a reason why the slip lane was constructed in the first place – for safely reasons. Why else would the country put it in?

          • Local_Resident

            The County is fixing non-issue. There are no safety incidents reported for Meade St/Ridge intersection. County was not able to produce a single one.

            On contrary, the proposed design will cause serious safety issues. That is why, people are joining the cause in droves to prevent serious future problems.

            You could see clear vote during ARCA’s meeting in support of holding this project until serious concerns are addressed.

            I talked to many neighbors in person, and have not found even one who is supporting removal of the slip lane. Of course, with the exception of couple of houses who are getting tax free circular driveways?

          • Jesus

            “If I’m fighting against neighbors…..” Did not Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourself (Matthew 22:39)?

          • Cal Naughton, Jr.

            I like to picture Jesus as a mischievous badger.

          • Josh S

            honey badger don’t give a sh*t

      • asdf

        JammingEcono-
        Your turn to be dissected:
        While there are some people who did not feel they were adequately informed until too late in the process, the fact remains that neighbors who did work with ARCA and participate in the multi-month design review consistently and forcefully argued against the Meade changes. The County staff always fell back on the “County Policy” argument and did not negotiate on this issue at all. The County has been “talking” about this stretch of road for anumber of years. There was never any indication that it was moving past talk to action until this spring. The local neighbors initially worked through the standard routes (like ARCA), and only formed the SOS group when the County chose to deny ARCA’s clear request to delay the project to more fully assess the impacts. So…there has been years, if not months discussion with the County, to no avail.

        You note that ARCA did request halt to the project. End of story. The fact that ARCA was complimentary to Betty Diggs is irrelevant.

        Your point about the County getting sued over driveways ending without access to the road is simply non-sensical! Of course the driveways need to be connected to the road: but why more than a simple straight connection. There are plenty of houses on Ridge with only that setup (and no on-street parking). But in any event, this isn’t a big issue. The fact that someone is getting a good deal is not relevant to whether the project should go or not.

        Here’s the source on the traffic calming issue:

        The Potomac Yard Site Plan (SP #324) contains a clause requiring the developer to contribute $200,000 for improvements as outlined below. The original site plan can be found here: http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/CountyBoard/meetings/2000/oct21/item_11D.htm

        BEGIN QUOTE
        31. The developer agrees to contribute, in two equal payments, $200,000 in total for a Neighborhood Traffic Calming (NTC) program and to address problems with arterials (for example, South 23rd Street and Arlington Ridge Road) in Arlington Ridge and Aurora Highlands. The developer agrees to make the initial $100,000 payment to the County prior to approval of the first Final Site Plan and the final $100,000 payment to be made to the County at such time as the South Glebe Road intersection improvements are constructed in accordance with Condition # 21(a). The funds shall be used by the County for measures described in the County Board’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program, Process, Criteria and Measures.
        END QUOTE

        So, this is by action of the Board, an NTC project and must comply with NTC rules. NTC rules require a signifcant proportion of the affected neighbors sign on to support the project (I don’t have the exact percentage with me, but it’s on the order of 70% as I recall). Based on the signage, I think it’s pretty clear that >30% are actively opposed.

        Finally…people are not complaining that the low speed limit causes backups…people are complaining that the low speed that will be required to negotiate a multi-sloped turn, especially in bad weather will cause problems.

        • JammingEcono

          OK, number one, thanks for digging up the info on where the NTC money came from. That’s useful and debunks one of the complaints about this project — that two homeowners are getting their new driveways paid for by taxpayer money. At best, one could argue that the new driveways are being paid by ONE taxpayer (the developer business, assuming it’s an Arlington-based company). Glad to see you think it’s not a big issue, regardless.

          Number two: Here’s what SOS folks don’t get — Their interpretation of what would make this a “safe” intersection and the County’s expert understanding of what actually WOULD make it a safe intersection are different. The simple fact is that the County is right on this one and the SOS folks are wrong.

          For support, here are all the ways the slip lane is dangerous in the current configuration:

          1) Southbound Ridge Road driver (Street view: http://bit.ly/nNq8Rz) – Southbound Ridge Road driver driving at 25 MPH speed limited intending to make a right turn onto S. Meade has to be simultaneously aware of a) northbound Ridge Rd. traffic making left turn onto S. Meade; b) possibility of pedestrians crossing at crosswalk south of the intersection and c) possibility of cars exiting driveways on right side of street

          2) Northbound Ridge Road driver (Street view: http://bit.ly/qIxShA) – Northbound driver wanting to making a left turn onto S. Meade must similarly be simultaneously aware of a) oncoming 25 MPH traffic on southbound Ridge Road; b) Meade St traffic intending to turn northbound (left) onto Ridge Road; and then, once turn is initiated c) oncoming southbound Ridge Road traffic intending to turn onto S. Meade at/near 25 MPH speed limit via the slip lane AND d) semi-hidden pedestrian crosswalk on S. Meade south of the intersection.

          3) Pedestrians (Street view: http://bit.ly/pDrGKk) – Pedestrians intending to cross S. Meade at crosswalk must be simultaneously aware of a) oncoming traffic coming off of southbound Ridge Road (likely at/near 25 MPH speed limit); b) northbound Ridge Road traffic turning left onto S. Meade (likely accelerating to get across Ridge and up the grade) and; c) northbound S. Meade St. traffic.

          4) Northbound Meade St. traffic (Street view: http://bit.ly/pDrGKk) – Northbound Meade St. traffic comes to a stop at stop sign, must be aware of pedestrians crossing. Next, driver makes a right turn and stops again on the grade (Street view: http://bit.ly/oWdW1y). At this point, depending on whether he/she is turning right or left, they have to be aware of oncoming Ridge Road traffic. Depending on how long the vehicle is (a school bus, for example), driver has to be aware that southbound Ridge Road traffic exiting onto S. Meade via the spill lane (at/near 25 MPH mind you) and having to pay attention to all the factors noted on 1) could sideswipe the back of them.

          Conclusion: The slip lane and awkwardly-placed crosswalk all contribute to additional variables that drivers and pedestrians have to account for, raising the risk of accident.

          Solution: Get rid of the slip lane, move the crosswalk to parallel Ridge Road and create a safer intersection where all turning traffic has to negotiate standard 90-degree turns.

          Number three: ARCA stated that the County briefed them about this plan in September 2010. ARCA apparently didn’t have a problem with this plan until the SOS folks complained and, after a contentious meeting, asked the County to halt the project seven months after ARCA was first briefed and six months before ground-breaking was scheduled. The County made changes to the design based on this input but used their discretion and chose not to halt the project wholesale. That the County’s conclusion that eliminating the slip lane was the right one from a safety perspective is demonstrated at length earlier in this comment.

          Number four: I bring up Betty Diggs because SOS repeatedly claims she was unresponsive and yet ARCA claims she was. If by “unresponsive” you mean she didn’t halt everything to make wholesale changes to the project halfway in to the project, then yes I guess you’re right. If by “unresponsive” you mean she didn’t listen to SOS’s concerns and make some compromises, then SOS is wrong.

          Number five: You are correct that the NTC process is “generally expected to produce a traffic calming plan and obtain at least 60% support of the households in the area of impact.” (See pg. 4 here: http://bit.ly/pNu12W). Note too, however, that the NTC guidelines give the County some latitude for defining “area of impact”:

          BEGIN QUOTE
          The “area of impact” consists of (1) residences that directly front on the street segment where the traffic calming measures will be installed; (2) residences on cul-de-sacs or courts directly connected to that street segment; and (3) nearby residences on side streets directly connected to that street segment. The NTCC and County Staff may have to exercise judgment in determining the area of impact for any given project, depending in part on street layout. (Source: Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program Process, Criteria & Measure, Pg. 5)
          END QUOTE

          So depending on how the “area of impact” is defined for this project, we could be talking about a fairly small number of properties, potentially significantly less than dozens of households throughout the neighborhood suggested in other comments in this thread.

          Number six: You correctly note that ARCA did not request the S. Meade slip lane be removed as part of its NTC plan. However, the County’s policy is to reduce slip lanes and improve pedestrian safety. Given that the County has funds devoted to NTC in the area, it would seem logical that they would take advantage of the fact that they will have construction equipment in the area and have a policy priority of increasing pedestrian safety to address the slip lane issue.

          So, to conclude, I see no reason why I shouldn’t stand by my arguments on this one.

          • You said it…

            County has confirmed that taxpayer resources are used in building this project. They are not hiding this fact, since it is highly verifiable. The County selected expensive and unnecessary solution, so they have to dip into many funds.

            If you just stop for a sec and think, you will realize also the staff is paid from taxpayers resources to do this project. They are wasting their time instead of solving true transportation problems.

            Btw, County giving land to private owners for tax free circular driveways is waste of taxpayers resources.

            What kind of project improves “safety” for the Meade St intersection that has no recorded accidents?

            This does not make any sense.

            There is no mistery –

          • Wiki_Man

            Responsive?

            Responsive?

            Betty Diggs and County have rejected all six formal concerns and suggestions written in ARCA’s letter from May 27th.

            Betty Diggs came to meeting with residents to listen their comments with notion that she has 95% design. What kind of listening is that?

            Betty Diggs said that she only communicates with people, who are getting tax-free circular driveways at our expense.

            ARCA has voted to put this project on hold. You were minority in this meeting when you voted to support this project.

            You know what….you may agree or disagree with whatever you want, but County’s behavior in this project was everything but responsive.

          • Josh S

            Well, it sounds like you think the residents should be involved in creating the project from scratch. That would be, at the least, an extremely inefficient way to run a government. It’s not a pure democracy, it’s a representative democracy, plus we professionalized the civil service many, many years ago. Letting the traffic engineers design the project and then taking it to the community for feedback is, I think, SOP nationwide.

            The county makes decisions. Some people disagree with some of them. They shouldn’t accuse the county of being unresponsive as a result. It’s really unfair because you place the county in a no-win situation.

          • JammingEcono

            OK, time once again to dissect:

            Quote: Betty Diggs and County have rejected all six formal concerns and suggestions written in ARCA’s letter from May 27th.

            Response: First off, the May 27th letter identified five formal concerns, not six. In response, as detailed in the June 21 memo, the County undertook a complete review that resulted in two specific compromises:

            1) Field studies of traffic flow during peak hours, the data from which resulted in the decision to a) incorporate two full lanes and eliminate the bump-out on the SW corner of 23d and Ridge Road and b) adjusting bump outs on the west side of 23rd St at Ridge Road.

            2) Agreement to install “No Parking” signs at the bus stop if the project is delayed.

            So the County did not reject all the concerns of ARCA. What they did was make compromises to address two of them and defending their logical reasoning on the other 3.

            Quote: Betty Diggs came to meeting with residents to listen their comments with notion that she has 95% design. What kind of listening is that?

            Response: Betty Diggs was doing her job. Eleven months before the project was scheduled to break ground, the County briefed ARCA on this. Do you expect them to not do ANY design work for seven months while they wait for the possibility that neighbors won’t like it? The proper time for the SOS folks to have engaged on this was soon after the September 2010 briefing, not six months before ground-breaking.

            Quote: Betty Diggs said that she only communicates with people, who are getting tax-free circular driveways at our expense.

            Response: I don’t have special insight into Betty Diggs’ mind, but one would assume she was likely working under NTC guidelines which state that communication should be with households in the “area of impact,” the definition of which is at the County’s discretion. Regardless, the SOS folks may have a point about clarity, since Chris Zimmerman’s July 22 e-mail states that the project does not fall under NTC guidelines anyway, which may have been at odds with Diggs’ understanding.

            Quote: ARCA has voted to put this project on hold. You were minority in this meeting when you voted to support this project.

            Response: Where do you come up with the assumption that I was at the May 19 ARCA meeting where the vote was presumably held to ask the County to put the project on hold? In fact, I was not there, which makes sense because I don’t live within the ARCA boundaries. As I’ve stated earlier, I’m a concerned citizen with two kids who will be attending Oakridge and who wants a safer intersection at Ridge Road and S. Meade St. for myself, my kids, and the hundreds of my fellow motorists, pedestrians and cyclists who make use of the intersection. Based on this thread, I’ve reviewed the related documents on the SOS website, the ARCA website and the County’s website and have come away extremely confident that the County’s plan is the right one.

            Quote: You know what….you may agree or disagree with whatever you want, but County’s behavior in this project was everything but responsive.

            Response: To date, the County has:

            1) Held the September 2010 briefing for ARCA;
            2) Attended the May 19 ARCA to hear citizen concerns
            3) Conducted a detailed review of the project in response to those concerns
            4) Written the June 21 memo which details the 2 changes they agreed to make to the project;
            5) Chris Zimmerman has replied in person to the ARCA president to explain the County’s reasoning

            The record here clearly demonstrates that the County WAS responsive. Did they agree with all of the SOS folks’ proposed design changes? No. But that means the County was unwilling to make all the changes (a decisions I’ve defended at length), not unresponsive.

          • Dog Walker

            you said it & Local_resident (unless you’re the same person):
            You seem totally obsessed with someone recieving a “tax-free circular driveway”. From what I’ve noticed as I walk through the area there are quite a few driveways of this configuration along Ridge Road. So that leads me to ask: a) Envious? b) I’m assuming you’re upset that the “tax-free circular driveway” will increase the value of these folks’ home at no cost to them. Assuming that’s the case, don’t you think they’ll be paying higher taxes on a higher-valued property? Having a higher-valued home in the neighborhood is seen by most reasonable people as a benefit.

          • You said it….

            If you are ok with paying free circular driveways at taxpayers’ expense, that is fine. Most of taxpayers are not, esp. when this is unnecessary solution that can be solved cheaper and more effectively using different methods.

          • Jackflops

            OK, I was VERY skeptical about this project–I have extremely little faith in the County to be forthright or competent–but the points made above are hard to disagree with. For the record, I live very far away from this area and only occasionally go northbound up Ridge Road (usually at 40 mph, btw, being honest) on the way home. So my vested interest would be to keep the speed high.

            But the multiple variables that JE points out are insane. I’d never realized this because I’ve never in my life turned onto or off of Meade Street.

            That said:

            The County really should do a much better job of involving EVERY affected neighbor. A letter to each nearby house would’ve been a good idea; sounds like this was not done. Perhaps then a walking tour on a weekend so that everyone could’ve seen the problems with the current intersection.

            Even someone like me who doesn’t live there and loves to speed through there–the new 25-mph signs just provoked me to go faster–is amenable to reason. But you have to earn people’s trust first, and that means trying harder to keep them informed.

            The only thing I object to about this plan: Drop the idea of a bike lane. It’s narrow as it is. All this will do is get cyclists killed. Besides, anyone needing to go from N to S Arlington on a bike has multiple trail options (4 Mile Run, Mt Vernon).

          • Robert

            I disagree with speeding as most of the residents do. I was one among hundred or so people who showed up to help support 25mph speed limit on Ridge Rd.

            However, this proposed project makes very little sense to me. I did not know about it until very recently…Oh, well, I’m not a person who does involve with local community groups since they only attract retired folks, who have lot of free time on their hands.

            I think that people who are opposing this project have a good point. You have what is seems non-responsive County trying to impose unsafe and unwanted project at the taxpayers’ expense.

          • Josh S

            I’m just curious as to the thought process of a person who sees new 25 MPH Speed Limit signs and is provoked to go faster.

            Equally, what is the reasoning behind a declaration that adding a bike lane to a road will result in dead bicyclists?

          • Jackflops

            The limit was 35 mph for years, and that was reasonable. The limit on small neighborhood streets is usually 25. Ridge Road is a larger street, spanning several miles–surely classified as an arterial. Going 35 never seemed to endanger anyone, and seeing it lowered to 25 irritates me and seems arbitrary. If it were a street with kids playing, dogs being walked, etc., I would go 20 gladly. But Ridge is akin to Washington Blvd in the amount of traffic and its role in the street network.

            Re. bike lanes: The street there is too narrow for them. It can barely accommodate one car in either direction. Besides, who on earth wants to huff it up that hill!? Especially when you have those other options I mentioned?

      • Take it easy….

        FYI: It is a big turnoff to look at things as “wrong” or “rigth”. It is just your opinion. Take it easy…

        • Cheech

          Thank you King George III

        • Josh S

          Whoa. “just your opinion?”

          What would the world be like if every issue had no right or wrong answer and every expressed point of view was “just an opinion?”

          • Take it easy

            The world would be peaceful place.

            And, yes it is just an opinion that “Econo” is presenting unless he/she is the all mighty with absolute sense of truth.

          • Josh S

            “Son, you should get good grades in school.”
            “That’s just your opinion.”
            “Ma’am, as your doctor, I advise you to give up smoking.”
            “That’s just your opinion.”
            “I’m sorry sir, you’ve broken the law here, I’m going to have to write you a ticket.”
            “That’s just your opinion.”
            “Class, today we’re going to learn about evolution.”
            “That’s just your opinion. My opinion is that we are all the figments of the imagination of a very powerful alien supercomputer. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

            Truthfully, I have no idea what comment you are responding to. But not all opinions have equal value. I imagine there is reason to have doubt in everything since humans do appear to have tremendous fallibility. But I think the degree of doubt varies a great deal depending on the statement in question. If Econo was saying that chocolate is better than vanilla, well, sure, I agree that is his opinion. The statement cannot be defined. But if he is saying, for example, that slip lane turns are less safe than 90 degree corners, I would submit that is not an opinion. The statement can be defined. They either are or they aren’t.

          • Take it easy….

            “Slip lane turns are less safe than 90 degree corners” is just an opinion. It seems like unreasonable, esp. if you do not know the exact situation and have no data to support it.

            I choose Vanilla……who I’m is the possibility of world with opinions living in harmony.

  • Josh S

    In general, if this intersection has no history of accidents / injuries / etc then there would not seem to be much incentive to invest resources into making any changes here.

    On the other hand, I agree that the proposed changes do look safer than the status quo. It is somewhat hard to believe that this slip lane off an arterial, even one with a posted speed limit of 25, directly into a residential neighborhood, has not resulted in any accidents or injuries. It looks inherently unsafe and I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this intersection as a pedestrian. The arguments put forth that the new configuration will be unsafe are just hard to accept at all. A disinterested reasonable person would have a hard time seeing that making that right turn will be so terribly dangerous.

    So, you have this weird standoff – no real reason to do the project but no real reason not to do the project. But, unfortunately, there is money sitting there specifically for projects in this area. It was extracted from a developer for projects. You can’t NOT spend the money. It would be dumb. And the money specifically has to be spent in the area. Because slip lanes are, by county definition, undesirable, it is almost inevitable that they would design this project and carry it out.

    I don’t see how this could have played out any differently. Unless somehow the neighborhood residents could have had a chance years ago when the money first was anticipated to find an equally worthy project that perhaps would have been less controversial.

    • Local_Resident

      “In general, if this intersection has no history of accidents / injuries / etc then there would not seem to be much incentive to invest resources into making any changes here.”

      After months of silence and enormous pressure from the citizens, the County has just officially confirmed that there were no recorded accidents on Meade St/Ridge Rd intersection.

      That is right: ZERO! ZERO!

      This makes County’s case for the proposed changes aimed at improving safety laughable. As a matter of fact, the proposed re-design for non-existing problem, will start creating safety problems and accidents.

      If you have and overwhelming opposition to the project in the area, it does not come for no reason. Majority of local people know what they are talking about.

      • Local_Resident
        • JammingEcono

          So by that reasoning, if a loaded gun sitting on the floor of a pre-school hadn’t killed any toddlers recently, there’d be no reason to fix the situation?

          Obviously, in the pre-school scenario there would be a reason to take action to address the risk of someone getting hurt, even if no one had actually gotten hurt yet.

          Similarly, as I’ve described at length above, the S. Meade St. and Ridge Road intersection is an accident waiting to happen. In my opinion, the balance of evidence shows that there is sufficient reason to take preemptive action to address the safety hazards at the intersection. County policy on slip lanes is in agreement that they are inherently dangerous to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists and rightfully calls for their elimination where feasible.

          • Local_Resident

            Your example is not comparable and little silly. The data clearly shows no accidents as many residents have pointed that out in the past.

            If you are doing safety project, then there must be a serious safety issue for which you have data to back up.

            If safety records shows no issues, then what we are fixing here?

            Current policy on slip lanes is not exclusive and “one size fits all”. It is actually fairly balanced policy. The problem is that the County Staff interprets things as they please.

            Btw, County engineers were proven wrong many times….for example, see:

            http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/engineers-are-always-right/

          • JammingEcono

            I’ll grant you that the example I chose was extreme, but I chose it to illustrate a point — namely that a lack of accidents at a particular intersection does not prove it’s a safe intersection, as you suggested.

            I don’t have a traffic safety background. However, simply by using Google Street View I can identify numerous safety concerns that I was already aware of through anecdotal experience of driving and walking at that intersection.

            Is that to suggest that the County’s traffic engineers are ALWAYS 100% correct? Certainly not, and I have no reason to doubt that your experience four years ago with the repainting project is proof of that. Conversely, does your example prove that they’re NEVER right? Not at all.

            So as a citizen with an interest in making the community safer, what do I have to go on in this case?

            On the one hand, I have the weight of the County’s expert opinion (supplemented by a community-requested review and field studies), their willingness to make some (if not all) changes to the project, my analysis of my own observation of the intersection and my opinion on the worth of the County’s planning document (as opposed to the confusing SOS diagram).

            On the other side, we have the SOS folks’ car-counting study (unscientific as it may be), the opinions expressed at the contentious ARCA meetings and numerous opinions expressed on this thread and in letters the SOS folks sent to the County, and clear data showing no recent accidents at the intersection.

            So, as someone that wants a safer neighborhood, I weigh all these factors and decide whether I think the County or the SOS folks have the better-supported arguments. Clearly, in my opinion, the County does. Therefore, I’ll defend their process extensively because I want a safer intersection.

          • Local_Resident

            Diagram is pretty clear and simple. You are trying to complicate and twist reality.

            There are no studies that you mentioned. County could not produce them…The only information that they provided was just now that confirms no accidents on Meade St.

            You are entitled to your opinion, but if you don’t live in the area and look things through google, do you think that you know better than people who are living on the ground for 20-30 years?

            County has violated their own processes and common sense many times. I vote for safety, but fixing non-safety issue and creating hazards is not the way to go.

          • @JammingEcono

            I don’t have a strong opinion on this particular project, but I agree with you about the safety thing. Particularly when it comes to making streets that were designed only with the car in mind more safe for people. I’ve been involved with projects where the motorists point out that there has never been a pedestrian struck at so-and-so intersection, so why change it ? And, the fact of the matter is that no pedestrian would (literally) be caught dead walking there – so therefore no accidents.

          • Local_Resident

            Like you, I’m all for safety. There are so many really dangerous sections/intersections in the area, but Meade St/Ridge is not the one. ARCA and citizens never requested any work on this intersection. This was created by the County Staff overnigth for no reason.

            We may have hypothesis that something is more or less dangerous based on our “googling”, but nothing beats true safety records over time as well experience of the local people.

          • Outsider

            Econ – you don’t live in whatever the citizen association area is called, but know all the County’s details and activities beyond information on this site. It feels like you a County employee.

          • JammingEcono

            @Outsider – For the third time, I am not a County employee. I am a concerned citizen. If there are particular comments that make you “feel” like I’m a County employee, please feel free to point them out.

            What is fact is that I live within a civic association adjoining the ARCA, have kids at Oakridge, and drive/walk through the area in question frequently.

            Every bit of data I’ve mentioning in this thread comes from publicly available sources on a) the SOS website, b) the ARCA website and c) the County website. If I have any specialized knowledge, it’s that I know how to use Google.

          • Outsider

            You are making way more assertions including pretty contextual information, and you are defending strongly County’s employees although you supposedly never met them.

            Clearly, you are County insider!

            The County is in the sad state of affairs if they need to spend money on fighting what it seem as just citizen’s demands instead of fixing roads and solving real community problems.

          • ARCA Neighbor

            You must be with Aurora Highlands Group leadership. It would be really nice of you if you could stop telling ARCA residents seriously affected by the project what is best for the area in which they live and commute every day. This is very inappropriate esp. your basic insensitivity for neighbors in need. We will remember your stand next time when you have serious issue in your area!

          • Outsider

            ARCA – he is a County employee or something. He is way toooo defensive about their staff. Nothing to do with Aurora H.

          • JammingEcono

            @Outsider – If by “or something” you mean a concerned private citizen, then you’re spot on.

            I’m not being defensive of the staff, I’m being defensive of their process and their conclusions.

          • Outsider

            Yeah, right….You main mission to show how Betty Diggs is doing the great job despite all these people complaining about her. Any you said you never worked with her???

            Of course, you are County’ employee.

    • Robert

      “So, you have this weird standoff – no real reason to do the project but no real reason not to do the project. But, unfortunately, there is money sitting there specifically for projects in this area. It was extracted from a developer for projects. You can’t NOT spend the money. It would be dumb. And the money specifically has to be spent in the area.”

      Good point. I also think this is what is going on. The County needs to spend money on something, and they don’t care what they are doing and don’t think about consequences.

      There are way better uses for this money. That is not that hard to do unless you are Government 🙂

      • Local_Resident

        Robert – this is not a stand-off. The County is set to start this project on August 8, and they don’t intend to listen to the true citizen’s objections expressed clearly either via letters or meetings.

        As a local resident affected by this ill-designed project, I can not sit still and wait for the County to create safety hazards in my area just because the County seems to have extra cash and plenty of time to waste.

        Please tell them to visit other streets in our area that need serious help. I’m sure also that the developers will be happy for this money to be spent elsewhere…

        • Josh S

          What is a “true citizen?”

          • Local_Resident

            What is the point?

          • JammingEcono

            @Local_Resident – Because this gets to the heart of the SOS arguments about this intersection, here’s a summary of the two safety hazards it has been alleged the proposed traffic configuration will create, as I understand them (and feel free to correct if I misstate):

            1) Southbound Ridge Road traffic wishing to turn right on to S. Meade St. will have to slow down to make the turn more than they have to currently (thanks to the slip lane). This slowing traffic will increase the risk of rear-end collisions due to southbound Ridge Road traffic accelerating out of the stop light at Ridge & 23rd St. Additional risk will be created in slippery weather conditions because of the need to climb the significant grade at the intersection.

            2) Because of the elimination of the slip lane, southbound Ridge Road traffic wishing to get to Meade Street, and the 24th Street/Oakridge area beyond will instead choose to take 23rd Street to Pierce and Nash, contributing to traffic volumes there and increasing risk on those streets.

            Responding to #1: It is true that southbound Ridge Road traffic wishing to turn right onto Meade St. will have to slow down more to negotiate a 90-degree right turn as opposed to the lower-radius slip lane turn they currently do. Given the stated ARCA desire to reduce traffic speeds in the neighborhood, one would assume this would be viewed as a positive, but I digress. As you can see from this view of southbound Ridge Road exiting the 23rd Street intersection (http://bit.ly/pvUhbV), the southbound driver has a clear view of slowing traffic at the Meade St. intersection. In addition, because southbound Ridge Road traffic will negotiate a right-hand turn onto Mead St., the only reason they would need to come to a full stop before making the turn is if a pedestrian was crossing the crosswalk at the same time. The slippery conditions argument is perhaps more valid, but the grade for traffic turning onto S. Meade is significantly less than traffic turning off of Meade, so I don’t see this being a huge concern. If a driver is really concerned about slippery conditions, he/she could take the Pierce or Nash St. entrances to the neighborhood at those few times when it’s a real worry. Conclusion: There is little increased risk of rear-end collision and the slippery slope argument is managed by taking readily available alternative routes.

            Responding to #2: Under normal weather conditions, this seems like an argument without merit, in my opinion. I have a hard time believing that enough southbound Ridge Road drivers will change their route into the neighborhood because they don’t want to slow down to take a 90-degree turn onto S. Meade that it will have any impact on the Nash and Pierce street traffic levels.

          • Outsider

            @JammingEcono: July 28th, 2011 12:47 pm

            “I don’t have a strong opinion on this particular project,”

            AND YOU HAVE WRITTEN TENS OF POSTINGS UP TO NOW ABOUT THIS?

            Although you “never participated in any meetings”, but you know that there were “contentious”?

            You must be the County’s man.

          • JammingEcono

            The @JammingEcono posting you refer to wasn’t written by me. Whoever wrote it appeared to be directing the comment at me, however.

          • Outsider

            What is the difference? My point is still the same. You are County person, who cares a lot about forcing this project down the throat of some poor residents in the County.

          • JammingEcono

            I’m not forcing anything down your throat. I’m simply defending County process and conclusions that I happen to agree with through the use of reasoned arguments.

            Your own civic association indicated that there was not consensus among your neighbors that the County’s project was bad. Based on a preponderance of the evidence, I think it’s a good idea and am grateful to the County for sticking by the major element of the plan (eliminating the slip lane).

            And once again, I’m not employed by the County, despite yours and others’ constant unfounded allegations to the contrary.

          • NOVApologist

            I would be stoked if a Minutemen fan worked for the county.

        • Robert

          Local_Resident – it does not matter whether this is stand off or not. The County has proven many times that they have no intention of implementing good projects. This project is your best illustration.

      • Blue Sky

        So, let me understand this about Econ:

        1) Not living in the area (has no experience with intersections)
        2) Will Not be Affected by Results of the Project
        3) Using Google Maps to understand geography
        4) Has no transportation or engineering knowledge
        5) This is his first time ever looking at the problem
        6) Does not care about actual safety data around intersection
        7) Thinks that 50-70 families have no common sense to spot obvious safety issues

        And claims that he SERIOUSLY understands safety implications of this project?

        • Outsider

          As I said, Econ is County Employee. He knows more than what is available on Google.

          • Josh S

            What is this paranoia about county employees posting on ARLNow? Where does it come from? What is it about?

          • I had a same feeling…

            County employee posting here as a part of an organized outreach campaign against citizens (or taxpayers) is the serious violation of the County’s code.

            This is waste of taxpayer’s funds and it may violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

            In addition to a serious legal issues, this would be the shameful move.

            I would recommend someone complaining to the County and asking them to instruct their employees on a proper Code of Conduct.

          • JammingEcono

            @Outsider and @I had a same feeling: Seriously, where is the evidence to these allegations. For the FOURTH time, I am NOT a County employee. I am a concerned citizen who lives in an adjoining civic association, has kids at Oakridge, and frequently travels through the intersection. For the umpteenth time, I ask that you please cite specific instances in this comment thread where I relied on anything but publicly available information sources. If you won’t do that, please admit that you’re simply casting aspersions.

            To the commenter who previously suggested I am in the Aurora Hills leadership, that is also untrue and unfounded by the record in this thread, so please don’t attribute my comments to them.

            Now to address Blue Sky’s comments directly:

            1) I do live in the area (if not directly in the ARCA area) and I have plenty of experience with the intersection as a driver and pedestrian.

            2) I will be affected by the results of the project because I and my kids drive and walk through and around the intersection frequently.

            3) I used Google Maps to illustrate the points I was making in a way that people could more easily understand. That I used Google Maps to illustrate doesn’t detract from the validity of my arguments.

            4) It’s true I have no special engineering or traffic expertise. That said, even with my untrained eye, I can spot numerous safety hazards with the current traffic configuration and can see that the County’s proposal addresses them.

            5) That I just started commenting on this after the ARLNow article went up is irrelevant. I’m simply defending a County project I learned about recently and believe in.

            6) I do care about safety data around the intersection. I also care about the risk potential of the intersection. What I don’t want is for the first accident “data point” at the intersection to involve me or one of my kids.

            7) I never said the claimed 50-70 families involved in SOS can’t spot safety issues. I simply give more weight to the County’s interpretation of what is a safety issue and it’s proposed solution to same.

          • Blue Sky

            1) All human beings have plenty of experience with the traffic, especially if you live next to the roads that you use every day. So, why you are special?

            2) Now, you are in the area. You claimed previously that you were not and said you used Google maps. Make up your mind.

            3) It does tell a lot about validity of your comments. You are comparing Google Maps view vs. real citizen experience. No comparison here. Sorry!

            4) So, your one “Google” eye is better than 50-70 eyes of people who live next to the area? Your “Google” assessment makes sense vs. the assessment of real citizens living next to the spot. Whatever!

            5) You claimed that you just engaged in the discussion, and how you can claim to know what is safer or not since you don’t know the problem?

            6) Risk is proportional to past historical performance. If there was not data accident point for several decades, what makes you think that it will show up all of sudden? Do you think that the gold will start to rain tommorow out of the blue skies?

            7) So, you and County staff, who don’t live in the area, understand situation better than 50-70 families who deal with this on a daily basis?

          • JammingEcono

            @Blue Sky – Responding to your points:

            1) I never claimed to be special. I just claimed to have experience with the intersection as a not-infrequent user of it.

            2) I’m not clear on your point here. I will be affected because me and my family make use of the intersection. I used Google Street View to illustrate and support my points.

            3) I think you’re restating your argument from #2. I do have real citizen experience as user of the intersection. I used Google Street View to illustrate and support what I know from actual experience in the intersection.

            4) Again, you’re fixating on the use of Google to somehow attack my real-world experience.

            5) I engaged in this thread because ARLNow brought it to my attention. As I previously stated, I had experience with the intersection before the ARLNow article was posted. I do know what the problem is and I do claim that the County’s solution is the best one to address the inherent safety risk of the slip lane.

            6) Slip lanes inherently create more risk at an intersection than a standard 90-degree intersection does. The County recognizes this and has a policy of increasing pedestrian safety by eliminating slip lanes. I support this policy generally and even more so given my own analysis of the safety risks at the intersection.

            7) Yes, I believe that I and the County staff understand the safety risks at the intersection better than the SOS folks. This is based on the preponderance of evidence I’ve cited and the County’s long track record of evaluating and managing traffic risks.

      • Josh S

        I would like to point out that while made the point, I don’t agree that you can then conclude “they don’t care what they are doing and don’t think about consequences.” I imagine that the do care and have thought about the consequences. And still have concluded that this is the way to go.

        There is a difference.

        • Local_Resident

          The difference is that County is wasting money and creating unsafe solution for residents.

          • Big Brother

            Not only is the County wasting money, so are some of the people endlessly arguing and asking people to prove their point. I hope they are not Federal or County employees because they are posting during working hours!! I see quite a few of the same names over and over and over….just saying if you work for the government, please do your job and save your comments for after work. Don’t blog on time paid by taxpayers dollars.

  • Spark

    This has been a quite interesting read. I do appreciate the well thought out and researched responses. If you are “working” for the county it is great to know they have some topnotch people.

    I did notice that the SoSers blog site did direct you to this website. They were reporting the fact that they had received some press and wanted everyone to see their posted comments. However, once the comments went seriously against their demands that link on their site mysteriously disappeared. Hmmm gotta wonder.

    Speaking of their website, if you try to make a comment on that site, you must click a button that says you agree with their demands. No open debate like here, it’s the “either your with us or against us” polarization thing again.

    And finally, those signs I see everyday driving down Ridge to Glebe. The signs up on the apex at Ridge and Meade. Aren’t those on county property? According to all those drawings floating around it really looks like they are on county property. Maybe a call to the appropriate county office is in order. I have no problem with them being up on private property, I do have an issue if they are on county land.

    • Local_Resident

      Signs are located on the private property of those people who believe that this unsafe, unwanted and wasteful project should be stopped. You can not stop free expression of the people as much as you would like to do that and impose views of minority.

      If your best argument is repression, then I think we understand where the support for the project is coming from….

      This is very telling since you can see them all over the area, and can see that people are expressing an overwhelming opposition. Their voices will be heard!

      It started as 50 families, and it seems right now that these numbers almost doubled from what I’m hearing on the street. Right after reading this blog, many folks did come to express their support. I heard that they found as big turnoff to find people supporting the County’s project in such unreasonable ways on this site.

      There are no links from SOS site to this site. That is a complete fabrication. As a matter of fact, I will recommend to the neighbors to post a link. That would not be a bad idea at all! Thanks for your good suggestion.

      • Please stop

        Local resident, you have said enough. You are my neighbor, and a person I thought of as a friend, but you need to let this go. Your points have not changed they are only fascinating in that you,

      • Dog Walker

        Local_Resident, the signs at the apex of Meade & Ridge are most assuredly on county property (check your tax map … you can use the evil Google to find it). In fairness, there are a number of ‘vote for me’ signs also on county property further north on Ridge.

        As for the link from your SOS site to here — again, it WAS there, That’s how I was first aware of this story posted on ArlNow. The link has since been removed — interestly, as Spark noted above — once a large number of comments didn’t mirror your sense of outrage and impending doom.

        • Local_Resident

          There is simply no link at the web site and was never there. This is highly verifiable and easy to see. Please point to it.

          The County’s property is also allowed for the citizen’s or non-profit activities. This would be the great news – County is taking down the signs of majority of people in the area who are opposing the project. Wow!

          If your best argument is to suppress voice of those who are hurting, then that tells the best about its strengths.

          We live in the modern times, where democracy and freedom of expression are respected and well-established values.

          • JammingEcono

            Indeed it is highly verifiable, Local_Resident.

            In fact, the following link to Google search results prove the link was up but has since taken it down, just as Spark and Dog Walker noted (9th link on the list as of 7/30/2011): http://bit.ly/pWsJR5

            The original URL for the article linking from the SOS site to the ARLNow article was: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/arlnow-publishes/

            Why was the article taken down, Local_Resident? It certainly appears to the casual observer to be exactly as Spark suggested, that “once the comments went seriously against their demands that link on their site mysteriously disappeared.”

          • JammingEcono

            Actually, here’s a slightly better Google search results link where the removed URL is noted: http://bit.ly/nnprPF

            The link in question is the 8th one on the list as of July 30, 2011.

            On the Google search results link noted in my previous comment, one has to click on the “Show more results from saveoursteets.wordpress.com” link to show the URL in question.

          • Lurker

            Thanks Jammin, you are doing serious damage to their credibility. Maybe you can answer another question: I had seen the jpg of the petition they circulated a few months ago on the SOS site. When I went to look for it today it was gone. I had heard that many of the people who signed that initial petition were actually not supporting this current protest. If you can find it, I would love to take another look. Thanks again for your help. Not sure we will ever meet, but I do respect what you have done.

          • JammingEcono

            @Lurker – If it exists online somewhere, I haven’t been able to find it. Sorry.

          • Spark

            wow great work. Never saw the petition online. That would be awesome to see.

        • Robert

          Lurker – you are just doing damage to your own credibility. Just walk around the area and you’ll see the number of sings doubled just in a last 2-3 days. I heard from the group that they can not print enough signs for people to post.

          Lurker said: “Maybe you can answer another question: I had seen the jpg of the petition they circulated a few months ago on the SOS site. When I went to look for it today it was gone. ”

          FIRST OF ALL, SOS WEB SITE DID NOT EXIST SEVERAL MONTHS AGO!! There was never a petition or .jpg of petition on web site. That is fabrication and non-sense.

          Lurker said: “I had heard that many of the people who signed that initial petition were actually not supporting this current protest.”

          If you can not simply know the fact when the website was launched, what to tell about the reliability of your other information.

          Not that people who signed petition remained with it, but more people signed. I’m not personally keeping any tabs, but have seen one of the version with numbers now of over 120+ families in the area and growing.

          It is ok for anyone to agree or disagree about something, but statements mentioned here by some “supporters” of this project are pure fabrication.

          If these simple and verifiable facts are false, what to say about more important facts?

          • Lurker

            Hi Robert,

            I think we may have the same goal for finding the truth, so let me clarify: I may not have seen the petition on the site, but that was failing memory not intentional deception. I now have the petition, and though it is not dated, it refers to the April version of the plan which is why I assumed the petition was several months old, (and yes I do know when the SOS site was launched, it was the petitions age not the site’s I was referencing).

            This all goes back to my original question about is private land being seized for this project? The terminology on that petition included “removal of small business parking” and “paving over neighborhood corner flower garden”. Those statements strongly imply that private land was taken for this project, but in both cases that does not appear to be true. The “small business parking” I assume is the bus pullout which is not legal parking, and the 1×6 foot flower garden is county land that a neighbor has planted. As small as it is, you hate to lose any green space, except in this case the county needs to widen that corner for the hundreds of children who walk that way each day.

            This all goes back to this concept of support. If the petition and the SOS website contain factual inaccuracies, and does not allow for dissenting comments or corrections (The Jamming comment link from this morning was the 26th comment on that topic, but there are only 8 comments displayed on the whole site. And all are in support of the postions taken by the site). So when you count names as “supporters” you are counting people who are only being told the SOS side and in part some of those things are simply not true.

            Lastly, trying to deflect the harder questions by claiming they are written by a county employee will not stand up. I am indeed a neighbor, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be so passionate about this issue and correcting the facts. I believe that if the facts are known our neighborhood can heal some of the wounds caused by this fight, especially once they see how nice the street will look.

    • Outsider

      It seems that there are a lot of County people who are posting here in violation of their own County’s Code. Moreover, what a great story – County people posting against citizens and obsessed in taking down their signs. This is story for media to research.

  • Pat

    Econo: thanks, great debating and analysis skills. I’m convinced now that the project should be a go.

    Neighbors: all 50 or 100 or 4 of you – thanks for providing all the email addresses for our elected leaders. I plan to write all of them today (it’s my paid day off so don’t worry) giving my support to this project. I’ll be encouraging all my neighbors to do the same. I’m sorry to say you don’t have much support on this side of Ridge.

    And one last thing neighbors – you can misconstrue the facts, create your own twist in drawings, demonize the other opinion and the ones expressing it and even wish something to be true but the truth will always come out and logic will win the day.

    • Amen

      If only that could be the final word, but I too plan to thank the county for this plan

      • Outsider

        It looks like County people are having a day off, and ready to start campaign to influence people who pay their taxes. Even if you are on your time off, you are not allowed to do an active outreach campaign against citizens. Media needs to contact the County and ask for the internet record of all employees to be scrutinized.

      • Amen #2

        If only that could be the final word, but I too plan to write the letter to the county to oppose this plan.

        • Amen #3

          I too plan to write a letter to the Board opposing this plan and asking that the money be redirected to a leading left hand turn light at the bottom of Ridge Road where it intersects with Glebe. It is dangerous there and not at Meade. Why not do some traffic studies at that intersection?

          • Amen#4

            I had no idea what County was trying to do with Ridge Rd. That is so wrong. I have already sent my letter to the County opposing project!

      • JammingEcono

        @Pat & @Amen: Thanks for sending your support messages for this project and getting others to do the same!

    • Local_Resident

      The addresses of public officials are readily available on the internet. At least, that is not the top secret information!

      I hope you are not a County Staff member for your own job and good. Government should not influence Government. Make sense?

      Econ’s analytical skills go so far to deduct that if you have no accidents in decades that you have a safety issues. The County has even acknowledged that the number of safety incidents at Meade St is ZERO!

      Look here: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/county-smoke-aired-out/

      What kind of project fixes non-issue? That is a very curious form of engineering. It is not a surprise that engineers have been found wrong many times.

      See what happened with their “brilliant” assessment for earlier projects on the same Ridge Road:

      Look here: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/engineers-are-always-right/

      Arlington County does not need to eliminate the entrance and turn around island at the intersection of Meade Street and Ridge Road. The closure would make vehicular access between Meade Street and Ridge Road less safe by increasing vehicle conflicts; exacerbating the intersection’s steep slope and cross-slope; increasing the danger with snow and slick pavements; creating an intersection entry point that requires trucks to encroach into oncoming traffic lanes; making Meade Street pedestrians walk out of their way along Ridge Road; and placing those pedestrians at vehicular conflict points. The closure would eliminate safe access of 2300 block Ridge residents to northbound Ridge Road. The closure would also remove residential on-street parking.

      People who are real residents living next to this ill-designed project know what they are talking about….They don’t need Google to analyze safety issues – they can see it with their own eyes. This project is not a joke, but a serious undertaking that will have major negative safety implications for families. That’s is why, people are raising up.

      There are so many effective and simple solutions to improve these intersections if the County would start listening and have some common sense, instead of rushing to spend money on tax free circular driveways and give land for free!

      • JammingEcono

        @Local_Resident – You’ve been diligent in posting communications between the County, ARCA and the SOS folks on the SOS site. Many thanks for that.

        Would you be so kind as to post the entire July 27 message from County Manager Donellan either here or on the SOS site? Currently, you’ve only cited excerpts from the message on your blog.

  • JammingEcono

    A few more data points to add to the debate:

    1) The Aurora Highlands Civic Association was briefed by ARCA president Chick Walter and Andrea Walker, ARCA’s Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Control coordinator on May 11 about the project. The AHCA then unanimously voted to y to send a letter to the County Board thanking them for the project and encouraging them to move forward with it as a first step toward reducing the danger to pedestrians due to the current design. Why would the AHCA vote unanimously to support the project if your own civic association leadership was opposed? Sounds to me like the “overwhelming” opposition the SOS folks cite might be a wee bit overstated.

    Source: http://aurorahighlands.org/_Media/min2011_05.pdf (Item 6a)

    2) Surprised the County’s project page on this hasn’t been cited either: http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/dot/page82573.aspx

    Of note, the County’s proposal for the intersection was the result of TWO YEARS of consultation with ARCA. It certainly doesn’t seem the much-maligned 95% design the SOS folks are complaining about came out of the blue.

    • Pat

      Very true economic.

      There was at least three versions of the drawings distributed by arca. I think a 10% or something concept drawing, a 50% and the 95%. Also a few more versions recently taking into account the recent changes and tweaks. These were distributed and on the arca page at least from late last year. The arca transportation volunteer passed out many flyers throughout the neighborhood. IMHO plenty of engagement early. In addition, the Arca people were involved in all the other earlier changes to Ridge…speed monitors, knubbs, etc when that was done a few years ago.

      This has not been talked about much here but there was lots of discussion on a 4 ft green space between the sidewalk and curb…especially in the corner area at 23rd and Ridge along the big bushes. The designers had only so much space because none of the homeowners wanted to loose any property (something I can certainly appreciate) to contribute to the 4 feet. So to do the fit, only 2 ft was available in the envelope. There was great discussion amongst those affected.

      • Pat

        Sorry…Econo. The darn spell checker.

    • ARCA_Neighbor

      The person who is posting on this website 100x times a day is a member of the Aurora Highlands Group. This is the group that has “rubber stamped” this project without looking at any details in serious manner. It was only ARCA that seriously looked at the project details and realized many shortcomings of it, and asked for the work to be put on hold. Folks, there is a serious number of people in the area who are outraged about the results of this project. If you were present for ARCA’s meeting on this project, you would see that there literally there was no one who liked this project in the room.

      I was present for many public meetings, but I’ve never seen a County Official (guess she was a project manager or something) being so off in her approach in dealing with citizens. The County engineer did not even know where east and west is?

      I personally like some minor details of this project, but overall this is a bad idea. The high-level idea of doing something with the intersections is ok, but the particular design is horrible.

      Initially, this project contained serious narrowing of 23rd street. If it was not for ARCA’s intervention, this would remain the key element of the project. Aurora has blessed this. These folks do not pay attention to many issues. Clearly, the gentleman that writes here 24/7 looked at the project for the first time through some website. He is now analyzing project instead of looking it some time back.

      This project is in ARCA’s area and Aurora Highlands Group has nothing do with it. It is amazing to see how much they want to get involved against their neighbors and ARCA.

      • JammingEcono

        So which is it ARCA_Neighbor? Am I a super-secret County employee out to ram this project down the throats the neighborhood? Or am I a member of the dastardly Aurora Highlands Group cabal?

        Here’s another suggestion (which I’ve consistently and repeatedly stated): I’m a concerned citizen who lives in an adjoining civic association with kids at Oakridge who not infrequently drives and walks through this intersection. I want to see the County’s safer design for the Arlington Ridge Road and S. Meade Street intersection implemented so that me or a member of my family doesn’t become a “data point” when an accident occurs here.

        Nonetheless, I digress.

        Responding to the substance of your comment, ARCA_Neighbor, if ARCA was so seriously opposed to this project, why did the Aurora Highlands Civic Association vote unanimously to send a letter to the County Board endorsing the project at the same meeting May 11 meeting that ARCA President Chick Walter and ARCA Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Control Coordinator Andrea Walker presented on the project? If ARCA was so opposed to the project, why did Mr. Walter’s and Ms. Walker’s presentation to AHCA coincide with a UNANIMOUS AHCA vote in favor of the project? (Source: http://bit.ly/nS6jod – Item 6a)

        Here’s an alternative hypothesis that I would venture to guess is probably closer to the truth: ARCA membership is not overwhelmingly opposed to the project as you and many SOSers suggest. If fact, I would suggest that it’s entirely probable that ARCA leadership was fine with the project until the SOS folks raised a stink about it at the “contentious” (Chick Walter’s words, not mine) May 5 and 19 meetings. The SOS campaign in this scenario, would therefore be designed to try and raise the volume of the debate and drown out the real differences of opinion in the neighborhood, not to mention the many valid arguments in favor of the project presented in this thread. The ultimate goal would then be to try and pressure the County to halt the project by making them think (erroneously) that the vast majority of the ARCA and surrounding communities’ citizens are opposed to the project.

  • Lurker

    Thanks Jamming,

    I appreciate your vigilance to this issue, I wish I had seen the county’s project site earlier, because it does sum up the goals so nicely and undercuts the repeated statements that this project is unnecessary. http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/dot/page82573.aspx
    For those reading this on their phone and can’t follow the link here’s cut and paste directly from that site:
    Safe Routes to School
    The improvements scheduled for the area (listed below) are the result of a two year process with the Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA) and the community. They are consistent with our Master Transportation Plan “Complete Streets” initiative and efforts to create safe routes to school. The project will greatly improve the safety of children who walk to and from Oak Ridge Elementary School and Gunston Middle School.
    • Widening sidewalks and adding utility strips along Arlington Ridge Road at 23rd Street South,
    • Eliminating a slip lane at South Meade Street and a bus pull out at 23rd Street in order to reduce speeds,
    • Reconfiguring and narrowing intersections at South Meade and Oakcrest to reduce speed and improve neighborhood ingress and egress,
    • Creating ADA compliant sidewalks, curb ramps and crosswalks, and
    • Adding bike lanes and sharrows.
    This project will result in streets that are safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists and enhanced neighborhood livability. Community requests and input were not only the driver of this project, but also have been integral in moving the project forward. County staff worked with the community throughout the development and design of these pedestrian safety improvements. The project is fully funded by a combination of developer money (Potomac Yard developer in 2000) and County funds.

    “local resident” I am sure you will feel compelled to respond, while at it, would you confirm or deny that the county did not take private property? I know the small approximately 1foot by 6 foot flower bed you are hoping to protect, but it looks like that is actually county land based on the maps. I think since you have spoken so strongly against giving county land away, I am assuming if that is already county land you will not object to its use as a sidewalk for hundreds of children daily. In return, I will confirm that I am not a county employee, I do indeed walk and drive the intersection daily, and have children walking the route as well.

    • Pat

      From the drawings and from what I have heard and read, this project is being done totally within the county right-of-way. Oh yeah…not a county worker either.

      • So, what is the point?

        Even if this is true, what is the point?

        The main point is that the County is giving tax-free circular driveways and County’s land to private owners at the expense of regular taxpayers. And all of that is done to fund unsafe, unwanted and expensive project.

        TO ADD TO THE NON-SENSE, THE COUNTY IS SOLVING SAFETY ISSUES FOR THE INTERSECTION THAT HAS ZERO REPORTED ACCIDENTS.

        Go figure!

  • Lurker

    That would seem a bit hypocritical. The signs, the peition, many these messages strongly imply its private land.

  • Jammingecono

    @Amen#4: Why do you think what the County is doing with Ridge Road is wrong? Please elaborate.

  • Jack

    Interesting discussion. When does construction start?

    • JammingEcono

      August 8 is when construction is scheduled to start. Can’t come soon enough, in my opinion.

      • ARCA_Neighbor

        Yes, the work is scheduled for Aug 8th. Before then, there is enough time for County to stop this wasteful and unsafe project. I’m one of the many people, who are opposing this project and live directly in the area. Please stop by any of the houses and you can get the full story. If you would like to see what can be done, please visit the following website: http://www.saveourstreets.net.

  • Spark

    Oh look here…trying to spread the fight to Falls Church. Not sure what that is all about.

    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/falls-church-va/TGSSPF8E174UMOAC3

    • JammingEcono

      I posted a comment on the latest entry on the SOS blog directing visitors to this comment thread. We’ll see how long the SOS folks leave it up.

      Link: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/county-needs-to-stop-actions/#comment-26

      • So what?

        Who cares? You think that you and your comment and the most important event in the Universe. When you don’t have many facts, what is left for you to argue? If you comment will be posted on or not on some web site. Find yourself a life and job!

      • Outsider

        He is the County’s employee. He cares to act as “supportive citzen”, because this project has no real support on the ground!

    • ARCA_Neighbor

      This is interesting. I know that Arlington County had many issues in the Falls Church Area. I do not know the details, but I heard during several meetings at the County Offices that Falls Church citizens are being rail-roaded and that County did a lousy job in collaborating with citizens.

      I do not know about parallels between this project and Falls Church. But, it feels to me a bit like similar scenario.

      I heard from several people in different citizens’ associations that County is really focusing these days on high-raises and commercial businesses. They consider single-family homes as “nuisance”. I guess this makes sense from sheer tax volume perspective – commercial business brings money.

      • Robert

        I found this information about East Falls Church problems: http://www.arlnow.com/2010/06/17/5345/

        Here is the quote:

        “Critics said they weren’t adequately informed about the planning, complained that development would destroy the character of their largely low-density residential neighborhood, and worried that it would bring maladies like traffic, crime and pollution.

        Development is “unneeded and unnecessary,” and the planning that has gone into it is a “sham process” one person said. “We do not want to turn our residential neighborhood into another Ballston,” said another. Several people called for an environmental impact study.”

        Although the underlying issues are different, this feels a lot like problem we are having right now in South Arlington:

        – people are not informed about the project
        – “sham” process (not really aimed at fairly listening and collaborating with citizens)
        – unneeded and unnecessary project

        Wow…It seems that the Arlington County is doing the same thing everywhere. Any other cases like this one?

  • Lurker

    Jammin, no sign of your comment on the SOS site, the only comments (and there are not many) are ones in support of their position. Ironic that a group whose main position is open government and open communication actually deletes dissenting opinions.

    • JammingEcono

      To be fair, the comment right now says it is “awaiting moderation.” We’ll see if they actually let it get posted or not.

      • Robert

        It is time for you to return and do County work, instead of posting on this site and working against the Citizens. It is not allowed for County employees to perform these actions, while you are paid by the taxpayers.

        • JammingEcono

          Seriously, are the SOS folks stuck on the fictitious “County/Nixon dirty tricks” campaign theme again?

          Just to recap for those who are new to the thread, he’s the general gist of the allegations the SOS folks are using:

          They argue that Arlington County is so hell-bent on eliminating the slip lane at Arlington Ridge Road and S. Meade St. in the name of public safety that County employees have spent the past five days (including weekends!) since this ARLNow article was published engaged in an organized campaign to surreptitiously discredit opponents of the project (on County time no less!).

          As evidence of this Orwellian plot, they point to the numerous instances where supporters of the County’s proposal (myself included) have made reasoned arguments, based on publicly available information, in support the project and rebutting the objections the SaveOurStreets campaign has raised.

          This belief has endured despite:

          a) not one shred of actual evidence suggesting this is indeed the case;

          b) their ignoring of several requests to provide such evidence, should it exist and;

          c) the repeated assertions by supporters of the County’s proposal (myself included), that we are nothing but concerned citizens who want to see a safer intersection for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

          So, is there a secret County plot or have concerned citizens put forward reasonable arguments that the SOS people have no ability to counter. You be the judge!

          • Jack

            Absolutely correct Jamming.

            Also, Up here on the Ridge there is talk that the SoSers are really tea drinkers dressed in asphalt,

          • ARCA_Neighbor

            That is really not true. Folks, who oppose this project are just ordinary neighbors. If you think that majority of people in Arlington are tea party, then these people are tea party.

            That is bunch of bull….

          • Yeah…whatever…

            I heard the talk here at Ridge that those who support the County’s project are guess what…..County’s Employees.

            It is hard these days to find a well informed citizen, who thinks that fixing safety issues for the intersection with zero accidents in the last several decades is the project that makes any sense.

          • Outsider

            It is quite clear that you work for County. You’ve posted so many things in defense of County Staff and you are actually obsessed with it. Anyone can go back and see what you’re doing..

            You have information’s from the County sources and their spin.

            In addition, you clearly don’t care much about the citizens in the area – your only goal is to protect the County staff even if it means hurting citizens. At all cost!

            You are clearly tied to the County. I think that someone is asking media to take a look at the County’s internet records and figure out who is misusing County’s resources to fight citizens’ just claims.

          • ARCA_Neighbor

            Outsider – This gentleman is from Aurora Highlands group. He is one of those who approved this project without any serious look at it….although it was rejected by ARCA and majority of the residents. I don’t think he is a County’s man unless you label County’s man those who support County’s positions at the expense of neighbors. He is certainly minority (not affected by the project) and has free time to write day and night…I guess he may not have a job these days. Who knows, maybe County gives him a job after all!

          • JammingEcono

            @Outsider and @ARCA_Neighbor

            It’s very easy to link to specific comments (each comment’s timestamp has a unique link). Given this fact, I would once again ask that either one of you point to specific comments I have made that would support your allegations that I am:

            a) a super-secret County agent whose sole mission is to protect the reputations of County staff

            or

            b) a member of the Aurora Highlands League of Evil out to rain tyranny through unsafe traffic conditions on Legion of ARCA Superfriends.

            If you are able to do so, I’d be happy to respond to each in kind. As it is now, I’m afraid your comments basically amount to “he said … stuff … that I can’t rebut effectively, so he must be an evil insider (yeah, that’s the ticket!).”

          • Outsider

            ARCA – I’m sorry that you are misinformed. This guy clearly works for the County. Maybe that Highlands group is part of the County?

            It just does not matter…He is the County’s man, and I think that media will check the County’s records and figure out his department. I bet he works with/for Betty.

          • Outsider

            Here is just some of your lines about Betty:

            “…..praise for Betty Diggs’ willingness to work with the community.

            I bring up Betty Diggs repeatedly….

            Betty Diggs was doing her job…..”

            Btw, Betty Diggs is one of the most non-responsive people within the County.

            You are County’s man, and should not be working against the citizens. That is not allowed by the County’s Code.

  • Lurker

    Hi Jammin,

    No need to respond to Outsider, he sounds as ridiculous to me as he must to you. This “County Man” thing comes when they can’t respond to your facts. Demonizing you is his last resort. Of course my other theory is he is just lonely and using message boards as a social outlet. By saying provocative things he gets a response and validate his existence. For all we know he may live in debuke…

    • Outsider

      Lurker – the facts are pretty clear that he is the County’s employee. He posts here 24/7 and is defending County’s employees who have done poor job in collaborating with citizens.

      He should resign from the County’s position first and then engage in the proactive debate with the citizens. I don’t object that…After media researches this issue, we will learn about his department.

      • lurker

        Hi outsider. Those are not facts. I went and reread all your posts and nothing has been posted by you that indicates knowledge of this neighborhood. All your posts simply are calling people county employees as a way to negate their opinion. Do you live in the ARCA neighborhood

      • JammingEcono

        Outsider – I look forward to hearing the response you get from a reporter when/if he/she follows up on you allegations and, potentially, causes the County to expend taxpayer resources on a wild goose chase reviewing their employees’ Internet records to see if one of them is the “mysterious” JammingEcono. Please do be so kind as to post any responses to get from a reporter who would be willing to follow up on this “story.”

        Perhaps you wonder why am I so confident in this position?

        It’s because I know for a fact that I am not a County employee, a member of the AHCA leadership, or anything other than a citizen concerned enough with the safety of myself, my family and my fellow Arlingtonians that I would spend my personal time providing factual rebuttals to your many unsubstantiated allegations.

  • JammingEcono

    OK, Outsider, thanks for citing specific instances (only took my how many requests?). I see that you are somehow conflating my mentions of project manager Betty Diggs interactions with the community as an “obsession” with defending her and by extension, the County staff’s reputations.

    Nonetheless, I’m happy to respond to each quote you cite:

    Quote: “…..praise for Betty Diggs’ willingness to work with the community.”

    For reference, this comes from this comment: http://bit.ly/nkRvFB

    The phrase in question refers to a specific passage from ARCA’s May 27th letter to Chris Zimmerman in which ARCA President Chick Walter goes out of his way to applaud Ms. Diggs’ partnership with ARCA in solving traffic issues in the community. I noted this as evidence that contradicts the SOSers’ assertions that the County has been unresponsive to their concerns.

    Quote: “I bring up Betty Diggs repeatedly….”

    Intentionally or not, this is a misleading paraphrasing of what I actually wrote in the following comment: http://bit.ly/nZLQlR

    What I actually wrote was: “I bring up Betty Diggs because SOS repeatedly claims she was unresponsive and yet ARCA claims she was.”

    What is relevant here is that the SOSers had repeatedly referred to Ms. Diggs’ alleged unresponsiveness to their concerns as evidence supporting their contention that the County doesn’t care about their opinions. Quite the contrary, the County has been responsive, as evidenced by their willingness to meet repeatedly with ARCA about this issue and their agreement to multiple changes to the project design in response to many (if not all) of ARCA’s concerns. As project manager, it is logical that Ms. Diggs would have been a lead staffperson at these meetings.

    Quote: “Betty Diggs was doing her job…..”

    This comes from my comment here: http://bit.ly/pNRbpJ

    I wrote this in response to a criticism that SOS supporter Wiki_Man leveled against Ms. Diggs for bringing a 95% design to a meeting with ARCA on May 5 or 19 (unsure which one).

    My response on this is further strengthened by commenter Pat’s assertion in this comment: http://bit.ly/qbi5gj

    Note that Pat asserts that numerous designs for the project were submitted to ARCA prior to the 95% design that was being criticized. If true (and I have no reason to doubt that it is), this seriously undermines SOSers’ contentions that the current design was dropped on them at the last minute without adequate consultation by the County.

    Conclusion: Outsider’s assertion that Betty Diggs, either herself or as a proxy for the County generally was unresponsive to community input is not supported by publicly available information about this project. My argument that the County has followed its usual processes for soliciting and responding to community input on a project of this sort stands.

  • Help_Citizens

    The Save our Streets Campaign (www.saveourstreets.net) is a distress call citing that Arlington County has ignored the “Arlington Way”, which is nationally recognized as a shining example for citizen engagement, visionary planning, and use of scarce resources to improve communities.

    This is quite fascinating that the County does not understand that the collaboration is not One-Way process but Two-Way Street. Mr. Leach, head of Transportation Department, should know better than this since he wrote the scientific paper that describes the topic: “Collaboration: The Key to Success in Transportation”. It would be great to hear from him if he thinks that this project would be marked under the banner of successful collaboration.

    How can one mark collaboration successful as the other side feels that this process was colossal failure? If the key to success in the transportation is collaboration, how this project can be success if there is no collaboration?

    The County had only handful meetings with all concerned citizens. The County Staff arrived at the meeting with residents to hear their feedback about the design only to announce that they have 95% design fixed and that they are not in a mood to listen to justified resident’s safety concerns. This is not collaboration, but classical form of “sham” process.
    The citizens have emphasized a series of safety and other flaws in County’ design, but County Staff did not want to listen. See: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/design-is-flawed/

    In addition, the County designed expensive solution that provides tax free circular driveways and County’s land at no cost to a couple of owners. For a while, the County was insisting to talk only with those who agree with it because they are gaining direct benefits. See: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/arlington-county-can-not-talk-to-you/

    The County is trying to fix safety at Meade St/Ridge Rd intersection for which accident record is ZERO. This number was confirmed by the County Manager. See: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/county-smoke-aired-out/

    Basically, the County is fixing the non-existing problems and creating new problems.
    Arlington County Engineers seem to have issues that date to their previous project. See: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/engineers-are-always-right/

    Citizens have proposed many logical, low-cost and appropriate solutions that improve safety and fit the needs of the community. These solutions such as traffic nubs are applied successfully across the Arlington.

    If 50-100 families and residents do feel rightly ignored and their local association President states that “this project is something that we did not request”, what the Arlington County is thinking?

    I guess the County wants to rail-road residents at any cost and create solutions that would need to be fixed in the future at additional expense to tax payers.

    These people need our support. Please see how can you help at: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/about/

  • Truth and Reconciliation

    If you are a neighbor in this community, please do not believe the rhetoric without doing independent research. The SOS website should be treated with suspicion because they have not allowed corrections or opposing views to be published and much of what is published is conjecture and a one sided opinion based on car trips not pedestrians or bikers. Our neighborhood should try and see the benefits of this plan so that we can reconcile as quickly as possible upon its completion.

    For neighbors interested in the facts please check these links:
    http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/dot/page82573.aspx

    This County project is designed for Pedestrian Safety and traffic calming. The design was developed to improve those issues and is not a waste of money as described.

    To complete this plan the County is simply reconfiguring county land to its new standards for safety and ADA compliance, no private land has been taken.

    The money for the project was a developer set aside earmarked for these minor arterial roads. This is not being paid for out of general funds.

    The county did not ignore these neighbors; on the contrary the SOS people were given multiple opportunities to express their concerns including a special meeting of the civic association attended by county staff and a private meeting with a county board member. All of their concerns were heard, several were acted on as late as July, and when the county did not accept their concerns or alternatives, they offered a written explanation. Many of those can be found here on the civic association website: http://www.arcaonline.org

    Lastly, this is not simply a fight with the county, there are many among us who strongly support this plan because our children are walking through that intersection each day. Please be considerate of our opinions and and concerns too.

    • Jesus

      Did not Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourself (Matthew 22:39)?

    • Help_Citizens

      People are smart and they know how to read the facts. You should be considerate, because this project is first and foremost unsafe for both pedestrians and cars. The full spectrum of facts about this project was presented a couple of messages up. The majority of people, who happen to live in the area, have realized how much this project is poorly designed and are rightly requesting the changes to it.

      No one is against the improvements…but we don’t need platitude statements like “County engineers know what they are doing” or “County is doing improvements”. We need rather a serious deep dive into the key design flaws.

      ARCA has requested for this project to be put on hold for the same reasons. Please read ARCA’s letter and you’ll see the same conclusions. ARCA has sent follow up letters to the County requesting it to re-consider it. This project was never requested by ARCA.

      It is the time to speak the truth, not the County’s spin. Truth heals…

    • So much about safety…

      COUNTY’S CLAIM ABOUT THE PROJECT: – improve pedestrian safety and accessibility throughout the Ridge-S.23rd intersection and project corridor, including the placement of a new crosswalk at the Meade-Ridge intersection where drivers are most likely to expect pedestrians;

      REALITY: There have been no pedestrian accidents at the current pedestrian crosswalk on S Meade St. If the county really wanted to protect pedestrians, they could have placed a sign indicating that a pedestrian crosswalk was present. Such signage has never existed. The crosswalk has not been painted in years.

      • JammingEcono

        @So much about safety…

        So first off, I believe you are referring to the July 27 letter from County Manager Donellan when you state that there have been no accidents at Ridge and Meade St. The excerpts from County’s letter cited at the SOS site on July 28 states reports only on data from 2007-2010, a period of 4 years. I haven’t seen any data for the period before 2007, which would be useful to add context to this debate.

        Second, despite my request to do so, no one has posted the full text of the July 27 Donellan letter here or on the SOS site. Being able to see the full, unedited message would be useful to add context to it. To the extent that you or another SOSer can provide the full, unedited message, I’d appreciate it.

        Third, getting to the heart of your message re: safety, you argue that since there have been no incidents at the intersection in four years, the County should do nothing to improve safety. In response, I would argue that a lack of recent accidents doesn’t prove the intersection is safe.

        How can I argue this, you ask?

        First, refer to my comment here: http://bit.ly/ns1URA

        That comment illustrates the many inherent variables that drivers and pedestrians have to navigate in the intersection’s current configuration. The more variables you introduce for the driver or pedestrian to deal with, the higher the risk that one of them won’t be accounted for at a crucial time, leading to an accident. The County’s proposal to eliminate the slip lane would reduce the number of variables, thus reducing the risk, and leading to a safer intersection. Hence my strong support for the project.

        Second, the County recognizes that intersections with slip lanes are inherently more dangerous that standard 90-degree intersections. Installing pedestrian crosswalk signs and repainting the crosswalk would improve safety (since they would presumably increase motorist awareness). However, they would not improve it to the degree that the proposed structural change to the intersection would. The proposed change forces southbound Ridge Road traffic to slow down to navigate the 90-degree turn onto Meade instead of current higher-speed, low-radius turn via the slip lane. Slowing down this southbound Ridge Road traffic via the structural change of eliminating the slip lane is therefore inherently more safety-enhancing than simply installing pedestrian crosswalk signs and repainting the existing crosswalk.

        Conclusion: Just because there haven’t been any accidents in the past four years doesn’t change the inherent risk of the intersection. The County’s proposal reduces this risk substantially via structural changes (as opposed to the cosmetic ones you suggest) at the intersection. A safer intersection will be the result.

        • ARCA_Neighbor

          Manager’s letter can be found on the website.

          While you write ten pages per minute, you don’t say too much.

          Your logic is twisted and clearly you have an agenda. It must be so since you are spending your life on this website. I sincerely hope you have a job. If not, the County should give you one for arguing their impossible position.

          COMMON SENSE logic that if you have no accidents reported over decades (not only four years), then you do not have a problem. The data tells it all.

          YOUR TWISTED LOGIC is that your spin on safety overtrumps any facts. Actually you don’t have facts and don’t even live in ARCA’s area.

          • JammingEcono

            @ARCA_Neighbor – Where is the Manager’s July 27th letter?

            It is alluded to here: http://bit.ly/otDFfY

            and excerpts are posted here: http://bit.ly/oavXKo

            However, if the complete, unedited letter is posted somewhere on the SOS site, I’d appreciate you posting a link to it here or at least describing where on the SOS site it is located. As stated previously, seeing the complete, unedited letter would add needed context to the excerpts noted in the SOS blog postings.

          • Outsider

            If you can not find it on the site, you can go ahead and ask manager. Since you work for her, she will easily give you this data.

  • Josh S

    Such a bizarre thread. The same arguments made over and over by the same two or three folks. You begin to wonder what the motivation is. Because arguing in this thread is hardly making one iota of difference in terms of what will happen in real life. So why spend so much time here?

    • Amen #3

      Because the street changes will impact the local residents every day and cause traffic backups on Ridge Road. If you don’t live there, you shouldn’t be attacking the SOSers for going public for support. They have homes in the Ridge Road neighborhood and feel this project is not a good one.

      • JammingEcono

        @Amen #3 – How exactly do you suggest the proposed elimination of the slip lane would create backups on Ridge Road?

        The only change to traffic flow is that southbound Ridge Road traffic wishing to make the turn onto Meade St. will have to slow down more from prevailing Ridge Road speeds to navigate the turn. In other words, instead of being able to take the low-radius slip lane turn at/near the 25 MPH speed limit, they will have to slow down to ~5-10 MPH to make the 90-degree turn. The only reason southbound Ridge Road traffic would need to stop completely to make the turn is if a pedestrian was in the new crosswalk.

        As the County Manager noted in her July 27th letter, approximately 130-150 vehicles per day use the slip lane out of the roughly 17,000-20,000 cars that travel through the intersection per day.

        If we assume that half of the 17,000-20,000 vehicles traveling through the intersection are southbound (and thus in a position to make use of the slip lane), then roughly 1.5% of the southbound traffic on Ridge Road turns on to Meade in any given day via the slip lane. Applying this evenly over a 24-hour time frame, we’re talking around 6.25 cars per hour using the slip lane. If we assume that during peak traffic times (such as school drop-off/pick-up) this rate is tripled, we’re talking about approximately 18.75 cars per hour (or, stated another way, roughly one car every 3.2 minutes) that make use of the slip lane.

        However you slice the County’s numbers, it’s fairly obvious that the slip lane is not a high-capacity street, even assuming peak usage times. Yet you argue that by forcing one car every 3.2 minutes (during peak times, mind you) to slow down more than they must currently from prevailing roadway speeds to make the new 90-degree turn, it will lead to backups on southbound Ridge Road.

        Frankly, I have a hard time believing that line of argument given the admittedly back-of-the-envelope traffic analysis I shared above.

        As to your contention that I shouldn’t be “attacking the SOSers for going public” because I don’t live next to the intersection, that’s not a sound argument either.

        For one, I’m not attacking the SOSers themselves, I’m attacking their lines of reasoning. I’m all for residents raising their concerns with the County. If indeed the County had ignored them, I could see how their outrage would be justified.

        This isn’t the case in this instance, however. The County has held multiple meetings, responded in writing to concerns on multiple occasions and changed the project’s design to address some (but not all) of the concerns. The County rightfully stood by the major element of their design (eliminating the slip lane) because it comports with their policy of creating more pedestrian-friendly streets (a policy I support wholeheartedly). That they were also right to do so from a safety perspective (as I’ve demonstrated repeatedly throughout this thread) further reinforces my opinion that the County is in the right to not halt the project in response to the SOS pressure campaign.

        • Design Issues

          The County plans major revisions to the streetscape of the broadly defined Ridge Rd.-23rd St.intersection, to begin on 8 August 2011. The County’s redesign plan is, unfortunately, flawed. Residents have requested that the County (Board and staff) reverse course, put the intersection revision on hold, and incorporate resident insights and concerns into a workable redesign scheme, as we know the intersection well and we will bear the brunt of the re-design plan flaws.

          1. The County plans to install a narrow utility strip along Ridge Rd., but a 2-foot strip will be inadequate
          protection for the southwest corner’s busy pedestrian usage (especially during the school year), does not
          allow for the removal of the multiple utility poles in the sidewalk, AND will be inadequate to hold the snow
          that plows clearing the very wide intersection will dump onto the sidewalk. Staff can easily decrease the
          planned southeast corner bump-out and realign the lanes to provide a standard 4-foot buffer for pedestrians,
          for the utility poles, and for snow removal along this stretch. Please do so.

          2. The plan calls for re-paving the new sidewalk at the corner, pushing it back, to cover the flower bed, as
          well as jeopardizing the oak tree that shades that corner. Please leave that 3-year-old corner sidewalk as it
          is, and leave the flower bed and tree intact. I respectfully request that the County do everything possible
          NOT to kill the oak tree on that corner.

          3. The County’s latest change to the plan will remove on-street parking on 23rd St. during the day, and along
          Meade ST. permanently, thereby causing a hardship to elderly visitors and to residents who cannot park on
          Ridge and would no longer be able to park along the Meade St. split. Please keep the 23rd St. parking as
          is–prohibited 7-9 a.m. only–and leave 23rd St. lanes as they currently are, as this traffic lane has NOT been
          the site or cause of any of our many intersection car crashes.

          4. The major emphasis of the County’s plan is actually the redesign of the Meade-Ridge intersection, with
          conversion of the straight “split” roadway to become a graciously landscaped extension of 2 house’s front
          yards. Residents of the 2300 block of Ridge (as well as many passing drivers) currently use the Meade St.
          split and island as a safe turn, to head north on Ridge Rd. Closing the split will force drivers to turn around in
          a neighbor’s driveway, backing into potentially dangerous traffic (especially in the wintertime). So, while
          closing off such splits may be effective on straight, level roads with unobstructed vision, where 90o turns can
          be easily executed, in this case the 90-degree turn-off from Ridge Rd. has a steep, angled incline, so the
          proposed plan is MORE dangerous, to both drivers (especially in wintertime) and to pedestrians (e.g.,
          Gunston students, who will be forced to walk in front of vehicles, alongside Ridge Rd. traffic, instead of
          safely up the hill, on Meade itself). Therefore, the County should implement a much simpler solution:
          placement of a nub at the entrance of the slip lane, instead of the major re-design that is currently being
          proposed. Additionally, that would allow the majority of the funding for this project to be spent on the
          community’s priority: increased pedestrian safety at Ridge & 23rd, with a 4-foot-wide utility strip by the
          western (south-bound) lane (and a narrower bump-out on the southeast corner), rather than spending the
          money on circular driveways, expansive front lawns, and the closure of the slip lane turn-off.

          Unfortunately, resident perceptions are that we have no choice and no voice in this matter, that we were not listened to, and that the County has designed changes that will exacerbate safety issues rather than correct them, solving “problems” that don’t exist and ignoring problems that do plague our intersection and quality of life. So much for the famed “Arlington Way.” The civic association has proven incapable of advocating for residents. Neighbors are upset that we and our families may be put at risk by the County’s misguided plan. We seek to work with the County to develop a win-win plan, so the residents uniformelly request that the County put the planned construction activities on hold, meet with residents and reconsider the design plan, and incorporate our considerations into the County’s plans.

          This is pretty much what ARCA has requested from the County on our behalf.

    • Yes

      It seems that Econo has way too much time on his hands. He must either have no life or completely paid by the County to do this job. They better pay him big bucks since he does not sleep 🙂

  • Pets.com

    Wow. 3 comments personally attacking JE within 5 minutes, seemingly out of nowhere. Sock? Meet puppet.

    • Dog Walker

      That’s because there are clearly only about 3 people who keep harping on the same set of talking points — regardless of how many times they change their names on the comments. They’re making the same tired points on the article in today’s Washington Examiner as well.

      As for JE, keep it up. I enjoy reading a well-considered and researched argument. Even if the responses are churlish at best.

      I can’t help but wonder how long until we reach Godwin’s number.

      • JammingEcono

        Thanks for flagging the Examiner story, Dog Walker. I hadn’t seen it until you mentioned it. Wow, I didn’t know that the County had had 10 meetings with the community about this until I read Mr. Leach’s quote. In any case, I’ve commented over there to bring that thread up to speed with the actual facts of issue discussed at length here.

        • Outsider

          Yeah…the County had ten meetings with themselves. You can easily check the records since you work for them.

          Maybe County met ten times with the people who are getting free circular driveways.

          No wonder they avoided residents until late in the game. They were afraid that someone will figure out what is going on…

  • Collaboration

    It is quite fascinating that the County does not understand that the collaboration is not One-Way process but Two-Way Street. Mr. Dennis Leach, head of the County’s Transportation Department, should know better than this since he wrote the scientific paper that describes the topic: “Collaboration: The Key to Success in Transportation”. It would be great to hear from him if he thinks that this project would be marked under the banner of successful collaboration.

    How can one mark collaboration as successful if the other side feels that this process was colossal failure? If the key to success in the transportation is collaboration, how this project can be success if there is no collaboration?

    See details at: http://saveourstreets.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/mr-leach-discovers-scientific-breakthrough-collaboration-without-listening/

  • Dog Walker

    At the suggestion of the SOS advocates, I did indeed contact my state delegate in addition to the county staff they listed. I just received a response from Delegate Englin.

    I’m copying the response below, since I am relatively certain you won’t be seeing it on the SOS site. To summarize his response: It’s a good project and the county has done their job well. He’s also very direct with his opinion on the level of animosity that exists toward the county staff.

    ———

    Dear Constituent:

    This is a follow-up to my previous note about the Meade Street Project. For the sake of efficiency, I’m sending this to everyone who has contacted me about the project, whether they support or oppose it.

    As you might imagine, I’ve received numerous calls and emails from constituents about the project. Constituents opposing the project have expressed some combination of concern about the process by which the project has moved forward (alleging the County Board has not followed “the Arlington Way”) and about the details and design of the project itself. In response to those concerns, I had Arlington County staff brief me late last week, during which I asked a variety of tough questions about both the process and the design. Additionally, I have reviewed the materials various residents have provided, as well as information available on the Save our Streets blog and the Arlington Ridge Civic Association website. Now that I have dug deeper into the details of the project, I wanted to share what I have found:

    Process: Copied below my signature block is a project timeline that includes numerous substantive examples of citizen input and feedback and which demonstrates the County accounting for citizen feedback in the design process. While I understand some residents have mixed feelings about ARCA’s role in the process, using a neighborhood’s civic association as the primary mechanism for collaboration between residents and the County is a fairly standard and reasonable practice. Moreover, the County seems to have made multiple efforts to reach beyond ARCA directly to affected residents. It is also important to note that properly considering input and feedback does not necessarily mean that every specific suggestion can or should be incorporated into the final design. However, having reviewed multiple communications between the County and residents, it looks like the County has indeed been responsive to specific concerns, including making adjustments to the design where appropriate.

    Design: I am certainly not a traffic engineer, but the traffic engineers at the County have many years of experience with projects like these. I discussed with them all of the concerns I have been provided about the design of the project, and they had sound responses to each, based on data and standards. Details of the project design can be found at http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/dot/page82573.aspx. While I have heard a number of points of concern with the design, the one I will address most directly is the removal of the Meade Street slip lane, which seems to have generated the greatest volume of complaints. As I understand it, based on the actual volume of traffic turning from Arlington Ridge Road to Meade Street, if one were to design that intersection anew using current traffic engineering standards, there would be no need for a slip lane. The volume of traffic turning from Arlington Ridge Road to Meade Street is low enough for a 90-degree intersection to clear it without causing traffic problems on Arlington Ridge Road. Removing the slip lane allows for significant pedestrian improvements without harming access to Meade Street. Again, this is not my own personal assessment, but the assessment of professional engineers using empirical data and design standards who do this for a living and have done this successfully throughout Arlington County.

    My purpose here is not to get into every detail of the project design, but to provide some information about what seems to be a major point of contention among some residents, and to convey the larger point that the design does legitimately seem to be based on a combination of community input, empirical data, and established engineering and design standards.

    As a state legislator, I have no actual authority to delay this project, which is entirely within the purview of the Arlington County Board. However, as I stated in my initial note, my objective is to ensure that the County is giving full and appropriate consideration to various concerns so we can ensure the best outcome for the neighborhood. The more I have learned about this project, the more I appreciate how much actual engagement there has been between the County and residents. I recognize that this will upset some and satisfy others. However, in my experience, these kinds of projects can divide neighbors for a variety of reasons, but they almost always result in satisfied residents once the work is complete.

    On a final note, I have been dismayed by the harsh personal tone of some of the communications I have seen from residents to County staff. As public servants funded by your tax dollars, they are certainly your employees. However, it would be helpful if we could communicate with each other in a manner that assumes all involved — from residents to County staff to contractors — have good intentions and deserve to be treated with basic courtesy even when passions are high.

    Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue, and please get in touch if I can ever be of assistance — especially with matters that relate to your state government.

    Yours,

    David

    • JammingEcono

      Game. Set. Match.

      Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the SOSers accuse Dog Walker of working for (or being) Delegate Englin.

      Thanks for posting this. I’d post it on the Examiner comment thread too, for what it’s worth.

      • One man’s opinion…

        I don’t think that this process is about winning or loosing. It is about preventing unsafe project from happening in our neighborhood.

        David’s opinion is just one man’s opinion. David sided with the County because he wants to create political favors with the Board. He did not study the issue in any significant detail, and just blindly copied County’s materials.

        He does not support or oppose the project. He just thinks that the County did a “wonderful job”. Over hundred of families happen to disagree with his view.

        His calculation is that people will forget about the issue, but Board will always do him a favor back.

        The citizen’s will never loose track of his stand against them.

        • JammingEcono

          @One man’s opinion

          So your argument is that State Delegate David Englin is just another part of the conspiracy, then?

          In fact, what he says he did is almost exactly the opposite of what you claim. In response to outreach from constituents about this issue, he reviewed the information provided to him by affected residents (presumably the SOSers), did his own research on the project and finally contacted the County and got thoroughly briefed on the process and merits of this project.

          In the end, he came to almost exactly the same conclusion that supporters of the project (myself included) have been discussing here for days. Namely, that the totality of the evidence about this intersection supports the County’s decision to move forward on the project.

          That he called out the SOSers for their personal attacks (much of which has been on vivid display in this thread) is greatly appreciated, by the way.

        • Tinfoil Hat Merchant

          Your order has been received and is being processed. Please note that shipping usually takes 3-5 business days.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinfoil_hat

          • Dog Walker

            Just in time for the start of construction on Monday.

      • Dog Walker

        I did make a posting on the Examiner site but it is still apparently awaiting moderation. There haven’t been any new posting on that thread in several days so I don’t know if the moderator is away or perhaps they have a policy of ending comments after a specific timeframe.

        And to your point, JE, I do continue to expect some accusatory comments about my being part of some nefarious plot to undermine their efforts. But I have to admit, they’re doing a pretty good job of that on their own.

    • Outsider

      While I disagree with you stand, but I’m glad that you contacted your represenative, since you are not the County’s person. We had here County people trying to pose as citizens.

      • JammingEcono

        @Outsider: Apparently, you subscribe to the notion that if you repeat a falsehood often enough, it will become true.

        Again, I ask that you demonstrate a single shred of evidence to support your claim that any County employees using this thread to push the project.

        • Dog Walker

          JE, subscribing to that notion is practically a cottage industry among the SOSers. They have zero empirical evidence to use as basis for their claims of impending doom. They keep repeating the same disproven points, ad nauseum. Though as a side note, their posting of a picture of several cars waiting at a traffic signal as ‘evidence’ that speeding is not a problem on Ridge is downright laughable.

          • JammingEcono

            @Dog Walker: Indeed. Personally, when I saw the “lighting hitting Statue of Liberty” pic on Monday’s post, I was afraid that all of my well-crafted arguments would just crumble into dust.

          • Tinfoil Hat Merchant

            I’m making a fortune off of this!

    • ARCA_Neighbor

      Well, those engineers must know what they are doing….

      They are fixing the safety issue for the Meade St intersection that has no accident record in decades.

      If the County really decides to embark on this project despite the overwhelming opposition, and the accidents start happening…We now who to look for…David Englin, Dennis Leach and Transportation Department. Hope this does not happen, but they’ll have to do a lot explaining, because their lame attitude will not excuse their ignorance of the issues.

      • JammingEcono

        @ARCA_Neighbor:

        Glad to see that you understand the County is fixing a safety issue at the Meade Street intersection. And thanks to the elimination of the slip lane, the risk that an accident will occur will be further reduced.

        If you’re looking for assign blame, you should probably add some more names to your list, including:

        1) Chris Zimmerman and the rest of the County Board for having the gall to not capitulate wholesale to your demands
        2) the Aurora Hills Civic Association for unanimously voting to support the project
        3) All of the commenters on this thread who have pointed out the holes in your arguments
        4) Everyone in the ARCA who didn’t put one of your signs on their lawns
        5) The owners of ARLNow.com for allowing dissenting opinions to be posted on their site (unlike the SaveOurStreets blog)
        6) ARCA leadership for noting in their May 27 letter that there wasn’t consensus in the community

        Am I missing anyone?

        • JammingEcono

          Whoops – Meant to type Aurora Highlands Civic Association, not Aurora Hills Civic Association.

          • I am impressed.

            The only problem with their endorsement of your position is that they don’t represent our neighborhood. But it is nice that they were willing to support ARCA.

        • I am impressed.

          Thanks Patty and Bonnie of ARCA, we appreciate your thanks and acknowledgement.

  • Meade Street

    You are missing a lot of people Patty. Seems that very few people in Aurora Highlands know of this project. We just were contacted by a civil engineer with 40 years experience and he told us that he just learned of the project today. He says that very few people know that Ridge Road will be changed. I think this vote was made unanimous by the board but not by the residents.

    His words are…they are taking a chronic traffic condition and turning it into a chronic nightmare. He is dumbfounded that engineers would create a 90 degree turn on Ridge Road that will cause cars to stop to make the turn.

    Because of this, Arlington County has to place signs along Ridge Road stating that there are cars stopping ahead. These signs are telling drivers that there is a hazardous situation ahead….one that would not exist if these changes were not made.

    I think you will find that traffic is going to happen. 395 is. The Crystal City Sector as recommended by the Arlington County Board will more than double the population of Crystal City. Arlington County plans to move the traffic to the arterials….to Meade. Traffic is never going to lessen….so these attempts now….stopping a bus on Ridge Rd., stopping traffic on Ridge turning into Meade…will only serve to bring traffic to a standstill. Is that what you want?

    I don’t want my family to be rear-ended as they stop to make the turn. I don’t want a pedestrian to be run over who is in the crosswalk when someone whips off Meade as they take their child to school.

    This is a process that is excelerating to a close. You don’t even live here. Why expend your energy on this?

    For those of us who live in the neighborhood, we are amazed at the negativity it has created…..what should be logical to all garners remarks like yours. It is indeed sad.

    • Dog Walker

      This is another shining example of the SOSers circular logic. The county agreed to place a ‘cars turning ahead’ sign near the intersection of Ridge & 23rd in response to residents fears of being rear-ended while making the turn onto Meade. Now they’re using that point of compromise as ‘evidence’ that the county agrees the situation will be hazardous.

      On a slightly different point, today’s posting on the SOS site is from a “semi-retired, licensed Professional Engineer” who is opining on the reasons the county engineers have designed the new intersection as they did: political pressure, profit motives, and/or mistakes. Isn’t it just possible that professional traffic engineers will have a difference of opionion? His/Her cursory overview of some design documents and, very probably, the biased sketches provided by the SOSers informed one opinion. I, for one, will put my confidence in the collective opinions of the professional traffic engineers who have access to ALL the data.

      And one more point to Mr/Ms Meade St: You’re worried about being rear-ended as you “stop to make the turn” and yet you’re also worried about a pedestrian being run over when someone “whips off Meade”. Which is it?? Will drivers have to stop?? Or will they be taking a pedestrians-be-damned high-speed turn off of Ridge? Please, pick an argument and stick with it. Otherwise, we may think you’re tiltling at windmills.

      • History

        In addition, the semi-retired engineer on the SoSer blog wrote this about the slip lane:

        “I could list a dozen such features of this neighborhood that, while highly inefficient by modern standards, are gorgeous vestiges of our history, and lend a unique appeal to this small corner of Arlington.”

        So now the slip lane is a “gorgeous vestige of history”?

        I suggest writing to the Arlington County Historical Preservation Society and requesting that the slip lane be added as a historical monument to when ‘automobiles were king”.

        • ARCA_Neighbor

          You missed the point……

          • JammingEcono

            There’s a point to the SOS blog?

            Who knew??

      • ARCA_Neighbor

        So, if everything is so “safe” why put “safety warning” sign at Ridge Rd? The sign did not exist before, since the situation WAS SAFE. Now, it is unsafe, so we need a sign.

        Or let me put to you even in more simple ways:

        The County Manager has reported zero accidents in the last year at Meade St. intersection. The County is claiming that it is improving safety issues at the intersection. So, County is fixing a non-issue and inventing imaginary problems?

        We have a lot of issues in our area, and these $ need to be put on work where it matters. We at ARCA have a huge list of things that needs to be done. What a waste!

        I had also a chance to talk to the gentlemen, who is licensed engineer with over 40 years of experience in building roads in major urban areas including LA, DC, Arlington, Chicago etc.

        He did not know about the project until yesterday. When he look at the design, he said that this project is completely off-base, and he contacted us. And, no one talked to him before it…he was not part of any ARCA or neighbors’ activities.

        Folks, this project does not make any sense!!!

        • Circular Logic

          Wow – really?

          ARCA: “The new design won’t be safe.”
          County: “Yes, it will.”
          ARCA: “No, it won’t.”
          County: “Yes, it will, but I’ll tell you what – we’ll agree to put a sign there, OK?”
          ARCA: “GOTCHA! See? YOU JUST ADMITTED IT WASN’T SAFE! HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo!”

  • JammingEcono

    +100

  • John Fontain

    The semi-retired engineer on the SOS blog said: ” any vehicle that slows down enough to negotiate the proposed 90-degree turn will require a near stop, which in turn will stop traffic on Ridge Road. This will turn a chronic bottleneck into a chronic nightmare.”

    Aren’t there many, many other streets that intersect Ridge Road at 90 degree angles? How is this proposed 90 degree turn any different from the others that none of the neighbors are complaining about? If the neighbors are really worried about traffic becoming a “chronic nightmare” because of this proposed 90 degree turn, why aren’t they pressing the County to turn all of the other 90 degree intersections into slip lanes too?

    • JammingEcono

      Good question. I’d be interested to hear the SOSers’ responses.

  • Dog Walker

    Excellent point.

    ARCA_Neighbor, et. al, please explain how this new configuration will cause any more of a traffic issue than the previous 6 90-degree intersections between the overpass and Meade St. You can add at least that many driveways along the same stretch of Ridge, including at least 2 of your own group, that also require the homeowner to make a 90-degree turn.

  • JammingEcono

    BTW, I have to point our the latest updates to the ARCAOnline.org site which mention all of the meetings the County has had with ARCA about this.

    And because I’m a sucker for timelines, here’s my best shot at a timeline on this project (apologies to Delegate Englin, whose own timeline I haven’t yet had the pleasure to see):

    July 30, 2009 – ARCA and AHCA jointly ask the County to spend portions of developer funds from Potomac Yard to address traffic problems on Ridge Road and 23rd St. (Source: http://bit.ly/nyvR9h)

    September 16, 2010 – County presents “15%” design to ARCA for addressing the issues raised. Note that this appears to have been the first instance where the slip lane elimination was proposed. County receives input on design from ARCA. (Source: http://bit.ly/pydGgG)

    December 2010 – County presents redesign at at “walk” meeting with ARCA.

    February 2011 – County again meets with ARCA to discuss changes to the design.

    March 2011 – County AGAIN meets with ARCA to discuss changes to the design.

    March 25, 2011 – County presents another redesign based on ARCA input. This appears to be the first time that there were murmurs of discontent with the project (“Neighbor reaction here was mixed”) with some residents applauding the plan because it reduced incidenes of cars getting clipped in the slip lane and others bringing up the now-familiar “steep grade” complaint. (Source: http://bit.ly/nV3bS2)

    April 27, 2011 – First letter from SOS coalition to County Board is sent (Source: http://bit.ly/n92p3L)

    April ??, 2011 – SOS coalition surveys neighbors, reports 24 homes against plan versus two for it. (Source: http://bit.ly/pclFSu)

    May 5, 2011 – ARCA meets to review “95%” design.

    May 11, 2011 – ARCA President Chick Walter presents on project to Aurora Highland Civic Association. AHCA subsequently votes unanimously to send letter to the County Board thanking them for the project and encouraging them to move forward. (Source: http://bit.ly/nS6jod)

    May 14, 2011 – Jeffrey Humber, representing SOS families, presents to the County Board meeting (video here beginning at ~4:00 mark: http://bit.ly/kzzixA). County politely declines to intervene after thorough debunking by Dennis Leach.

    May 19, 2011 – In response to citizen discontent, ARCA again meets to discuss “95%” plan. Vote is taken to get ARCA to ask County to put project on hold.

    May 27, 2011 – ARCA President sends letter to County requesting hold, cites “contentious” meetings. (Source: http://bit.ly/ph8Tit)

    June 17-28, 2011 – County’s final design is plotted and signed off on by County Transportation Department staff

    June 21, 2011 – County Manager Donellan writes memo to County Board indicating that “95%” design will be changed to address some (but not all) of ARCA concerns.

    June ??, 2011 – SOSers send “options” letter, apparently to County Board member Mary Hughes Hynes. (Source: http://bit.ly/oSHPH0)

    June ??, 2011 – SOSers again write to Board member Hynes, apparently in response to her response to the previous letter, expressing continued dissatisfaction. (Source: http://bit.ly/nyQ6AR)

    June 29, 2011 – Chris Zimmerman writes back to ARCA, includes June 21 Donellan memo

    July 14, 2011 – SaveOurStreets.net domain name purchased. (Source: http://bit.ly/nWyFmQ)

    July 17, 2011 – SOSers write to full Board to again demand a halt to the project and (among other things) the Board’s “[h]onest acknowledgement of mistakes and restoration of citizen’s trust.” (Source: http://bit.ly/pLTyew)

    July 19, 2011 – Assistant County Manager Flanagan-Watson writes memo to full County Board responding to citizen concerns. This memo again discusses how SOS concerns are unwarranted, yet she agrees to place warning sign on southbound approach to Meade St. intersection (and even put a warning flag on said sign for 6 months).

    July 19, 2011 – SOS site launched(?), first of many blog postings on the project appear at SaveOurStreets site.

    July 22, 2011 – Chairman Zimmerman emails Chick Walter to explain again why project is moving forward, acknowledge the many changes tot the design made since May 2011 and alerts ARCA to new signage.

    July 22, 2011 – SOSers issue press release calling for halt to the project, claims Arlington County has ignored the “Arlington Way.”

    July 26, 2011 – ARLNow.com article posted, massive flaws in SOSers arguments exposed over next week-plus.

    August 2, 2011 – State Delegate David Englin responds to constituent input on the issue, defends the project 100%, calls SOSers out for personal attacks on County staff.

    August 8, 2011 – Start date for project.

    Takeaway: The County has heavily involved ARCA in this project from the beginning, has taken into account citizen concerns and made many changes to the project, even at the 95% design stage.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      I don’t currently live on the Heights(but I lived there 20 years ago, so I’m familiar with the area), but my take-away from your timeline is very different.
      1) The period between 2009 and Sept 2010 is irrelevant since no one knew what the County would propose.
      2) So first public concept to breaking ground has been less than 1 year.
      3) Doesn’t seem to me that anyone was asleep at the wheel if it became apparent that a more organized opposition(than just voicing concerns) would be necessary, if folks with concerns gave the county 4 months( Dec 2010-Mar 2010 – one of which is pretty much organizationally a dead month for the holidays) before organizing opposition because the county was ignoring significant objections. To me the criticisms that opposition voices are late to the party is ridiculous.
      4)

  • John

    The project is 3/4 done. The asphalt in the slip lane was being broken up today. Bye bye slip lane

  • Golden

    The slip lane is gone and the project is about 90% done. It is looking great.

  • Paul

    This is not looking grea. Actually, it is sad that this project has been conducted by the County since it decreases safety and creates long-term problems.

    Residents will remember this for a long time when the County simply steam-rolled them.

  • Golden

    Project is essentially done. A few more tweaks including re-stripping of the lane and crosswalks, and a telephone relocation. Project is great looking and hasn’t caused any traffic issues. The standard backups during rush hour are still there but the loss of a bus turnout and the slip lane have not increased the backups. The county should be congratulated for not caving under the pressure of the fringe.

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