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Residents Voice Opposition to New Glencarlyn School

by ARLnow.com June 26, 2012 at 9:30 am 6,101 106 Comments

The Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association is asking the Arlington County Board for help in its fight against a new proposed school in the neighborhood.

To address school capacity issues, Arlington Public Schools is planning to build a number of new schools, including a new 600-seat “choice” elementary school on the site of the existing Kenmore Middle School/Carlin Springs Elementary School campus.

The Citizens’ Association says the new school, slated to be built by 2017, would bring the total number of students attending schools in the Glencarlyn neighborhood to 2,600, including at Kenmore, Carlin Springs and nearby Campbell Elementary School. That, the association says, presents major traffic, parking and open space issues that will degrade the quality of life for residents.

The association is asking for the County Board’s help after not getting a satisfactory response from the School Board.

“We have tried to raise our concerns with the School Board, but our community was not consulted during the planning process, despite our requests that it do so, nor has it been responsive to our questions and concerns,” Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association President Peter Olivere wrote in a letter to the County Board (after the jump). “We need your help.”

Olivere told reporters that Glencarlyn residents do not want to be portrayed as having a “Not-In-My-Backyard” attitude.

“Please, we very much do not want to be categorized as NIMBY; we only want a process which fully addresses the community concerns before a final decision is made, which is the ‘Arlington Way,'” he wrote.

As previously reported, Arlington Public Schools is facing a significant capacity crunch. The school system is expected to reach capacity at the elementary school level by next fall. The new choice school in Glencarlyn is one of five proposed new capacity-generating construction projects throughout the county.

The full letter from the Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association, after the jump.

June 25, 2012

Members of the Board:

The Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association is requesting the assistance of the County Board in addressing significant neighborhood concerns related to the proposed construction of a new choice school in our community. Although the members of the Glencarlyn community generally support the School Board’s efforts to address the capacity needs of the school system, there is strong, broad-based opposition to adding a fourth school within a small geographical area. We have tried to raise our concerns with the School Board, but our community was not consulted during the planning process, despite our requests that it do so, nor has it been responsive to our questions and concerns. We need your help.


As you are aware, the Glencarlyn community is already the site of three Arlington schools: Kenmore Middle School; Carlin Springs Elementary School; and Campbell Elementary School. The School Board’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) includes a total of $46.4 million for the construction of a new choice elementary school at the Kenmore/Carlin Springs location, $4.5 million to come from the November 2012 bond referendum and $41.9 million from 2014 bonds. The addition of that new school will bring the number of students to over 2150 on that site. When Campbell, just one third mile away, is included the total will be 2600, which is 750 more than the high schools. Because three of the schools will be choice schools, they will create a substantially higher level of traffic, particularly during the morning rush hour, than would neighborhood schools.

The four schools are all primarily served by a short segment of Carlin Springs Road, which already operates at well over capacity. In fact, traffic conditions are currently so bad they frequently back up from Arlington Boulevard to Columbia Pike and occasionally disrupt morning programs at the schools with late arrivals. Operating a fourth school in that same small area will compound existing traffic conditions and create new safety issues for many students who walk to school along a busy road on narrow sidewalks next to the roadway.

Parking will be an immense challenge both during and after the schools’ regular operating hours. Demand for parking spaces for recreational use of the athletic fields and afterschool programs, including the Kenmore theaters, often results in use of adjacent residential streets. With the loss of overflow parking on the Kenmore site and more afterschool events to accommodate, there may be a doubling of the demand for parking on neighborhood streets. As one of the oldest communities in Arlington, most Glencarlyn streets are very narrow and many don’t have sidewalks, since they predate county ordinances governing street width and emergency vehicle access. Imposing 2 additional parking demands on neighborhood streets creates new safety concerns and degrades qualify of life for local residents.

We have both met and exchanged several letters with the School Board and Superintendent, urging the School Board to defer the final decision on the site until the school staff has worked with the neighborhood to determine that satisfactory solutions exist to effectively mitigate these critical issues regarding increased traffic on already overcrowded streets, overflowing parking into neighborhood streets, pedestrian safety, and related issues. We asked the School Board to agree to reject this location if the community concerns are not able to be met, whether or not an alternative location for a school has been identified. The School Board’s responses have essentially ignored our request for the delay and note that the community concerns will be considered during the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) process. However, the BLPC Process does not begin until after the school is funded and substantial design funds have been expended, thus providing no assurance that our critical neighborhood issues will ever be addressed.

Request to the County Board

The School Board committed at the beginning of the Capacity Planning process to include Neighborhood Resources as a criterion in the site selection process. The Schools also acknowledge that neighborhoods were not consulted in determining the impact during that selection process. Clearly the focus of the School Board is students and not the community, and that is evident from its handling of the input into the process and their responses to our letters.

We understand that the County Board will review the School Capital Improvement Plan and can adjust the total funding included in the November bond issue, but the County Board cannot address the specifics of projects included. However, the County Board does oversee the approval of the construction of new facilities and in that role will be focusing on the broader community concerns which the School Board chose not consider.

Consequently, we request that the County Board, as part of the discussions on the proposed School bond amount, specifically state that the locations identified by the School Board in its CIP are contingent on reaching satisfactory solutions to mitigate issues of critical concern to the community and that the County Board will reject locations if those critical community concerns are not effectively mitigated, whether or not an alternative location for a school has been identified.

We thank you for your support in this matter of considerable concern to Glencarlyn and other members of the community who either travel on Carlin Springs Road or use the area for recreation.

We have attached a copy of the resolution passed at a Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association meeting and issues that we identified in our initial letter to the School Board on April 5, 2012.


Peter Olivere
Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association
cc: Arlington School Board

  • JamesE

    Residents voice opposition to _________________

  • Elmer

    Its so politically incorrect to be labeled a NIMBY.
    Sad when the use of a term as a weapon can be used to shut down any chance of intelligent discourse.

    • drax

      Yep, it’s stale.

      It’s fine to not want something in your backyard if you wouldn’t want it in anyone else’s either.

      In this case, they aren’t opposing a school, just three schools.

    • Bandersnatch

      “Although the members of the Glencarlyn community generally support the School Board’s efforts to address the capacity needs of the school system, there is strong, broad-based opposition to adding a fourth school within a small geographical area”

      So we support it, but not in our… Backyard…

      Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

  • Confused

    Wait–there’s an elementary on the same site as Kenmore MS? And they’re going to put a second elementary there, rather than just expand that one? I don’t understand.

    And WTH is a “choice” elementary school?

    • Elmer

      A “choice” school is one where they bus in the “chosen” kids from all over the county. Its the opposite of a “neighborhood” school (which has a lower class connotation to it for the elites in the county).

      • Lee-n-Glebe

        Relax. If by “chosen” you mean “picked randomly in a lottery from those who voluntarily applied”, then you’re right. I still don’t get how the “elitist” argument (or, more precisely, “jab” as calling something “elitist” isn’t an argument, per se) jives with a lottery selection process.

      • drax

        Enough with the baseless claims of “elitism.”

        You’re a conservative, right Elmer? So you should support school choice, right?

        • Elmer

          Drax, If the public schools are so bad the parents have no option but to ask for better by way of vouchers, charter schools,etc. yes, I am for choice.
          That’s hardly the situation in the APS.
          Apples to oranges, drax

          • WeiQiang

            “no option”? “public schools are so bad” in Arlington?

          • Elmer

            Obviously you don’t get it. I am pointing out that when the public schools are bad, I am for “choice”. As I replied to drax who is trying to lock me as favoring “choice” in all circumstances, that is not the situation in Arlington. Therefore by claiming that as a conservative, I am supposed be for school choice in all circumstances, drax setting up a false “choice”.
            Got it now ??

          • WeiQiang

            I get the point that you’re trying to make. I’ve looked at your characterizations and I’m just not in sync with your rhetorical devices, I suppose; specifically, your explanation of choice and neighborhood schools and the related references to elites.

            To say that you are for “choice” is confusing the term used in Glencarlyn [which means “lottery”] with the use of “choice” in other jurisdictions, which has a decidedly different meaning.

          • Ivy

            “choice” is code for subsidized private schools

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            That anyone can go to, for no additional charge, if they apply and are randomly picked in a lottery.

          • Elmer

            Certianly a question of priorities. Inner center kids with bad public schools should have a choice, subsidized if necessary, to go to a voucher or charter school.
            How does that apply to Arlington? This county even pays for a Montessori school for heaven’s sake. Anywhere else that would be at the parents cost.

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            I’m not getting this. If anything, these schools offer more choices, not fewer. Say your neighborhood school, Glebe, has this program called SMART (Science and Math through Art & Technology, I believe). And say, for whatever reason, you don’t want this new-fangled learnin’ style, you want something more, say, “traditional.” So look – even though it’s not in your neighborhood, you have the option of applying to Arlington Traditional School! You are not guaranteed entrance, as that’s done by a lottery.

            How is this possibly bad and / or elitist?

      • Carol_R

        You mean a magnate school.

  • John

    That actually is a bad site for a school. A new school should be placed in a walkable neighborhood, and not at the edge of the county.

    • WL95


      These people should be upset. Why do new schools need to be built in their neighborhoods? The neighborhood didn’t grow. Oh that’s right, Arlington is allowing thousands of new residential units to be constructed along their smart growth corridors but forgot about new schools in close proximity to the new housing.

      • Sherriff Gonna Getcha

        are the brown flip floppers having children???

        guess its time to start my baby store business… wet ones on wilson.

      • 5555624

        They need to build it along Columbia Pike, were the county wants to put 10,000 new housing units. The kids can take the School Streetcar to school instead of the bus.

  • Joe Hoya

    As much as I want to write this off as another example of NIMBY, that stretch of Carlin Springs is already a traffic nightmare. Another school there is only going to make things worse. I’m curious to know whether the school board took this into account and, if so, what their reasons were for going ahead with the plan.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      That is a LOT of school in a very small area.

    • dk (not DK)

      +1. I live nowhere near this area, but have had the misfortune of being stuck in the parking lot following a Saturday afternoon youth soccer game. It’s kind of reminiscent of a post-concert parking jam, without the benefit of anxiety-calming substances, LOL.

    • Arlwhenver

      Since we know a trolly is the answer to all traffic and transportation problems….

      Due to the traffic gridlock, whenever we need to get to the Kenmore complex or Campbell Elementary during peak traffic instead of travelling via Route 50 and Carlin Springs Road, we go west out Columbia Pike, turn right on Dinwiddie which eventually evolves into South 7th, exiting on to Carlin Springs Road at Campbell. And, of course we know, with the humongous increases in density and the trolley planned for Columbia Pike, that will remain a viable option — not.

      Bottom line is the County planning intelligenstia isn’t committed to building or improving a road system that supports the population it wants and the high density development it is addicted to. Have fun people, living in a County where you won’t be able to get much of anywhere at any time, because you are headed pell mell in that direction.

    • T.D.

      Exactly. The difference between the time it takes my bus to go up Carlin Springs from Skyline to Ballston during the summer vs. during the school year can be as much as 25 minutes, and I can’t imagine how much longer it will take with yet another school there.

      Actually, now that I think of it, the 7:30-8:00 a.m. nightmare wasn’t nearly as bad three years ago as it is now. I think the light at 50 got retimed somewhere along the line to allow for more time for cars turning left off 50 east onto Carlin Springs north. Maybe if they retimed it again to allow for more north-south traffic, it would alleviate some of the issue?

    • T.D.

      To clarify, the trip from Skyline to Ballston is like 15-20 minutes in the summer or in non-school hours, and when school’s in, it’s more like 40+ minutes.

  • BluemontFred

    They don’t won’t to come across as having a NIMBY attitude, yet that is what they are doing. Deal with it. The school system is over capacity and they need to build in additional seats.Did the civic association attend any of the community forums to address this issue? The school won’t open until 2017. I think there is plenty of time to address parking and traffic issues.

    • SoArl

      You’ve obviously never been on Carlin Springs between 7:30 and 8:00 am during the school year.

    • drax

      Fred, please post your address so we can propose building three schools right across from you and you can not complain.

      • neutrino

        How about they just make traffic on Carlin Springs for those few blocks Local Only during rush hours?

        • Joehoya

          Unfortunately, I don’t see how you can enforce that on such a major road.

          Carlin Springs is one of the main North-South thoroughfares in that part of Arlington and the only way to get directly from 50 to Columbia Pike west of George Mason

        • Apparently act like I’m 50

          What, because George Mason or Glebe are such better options?? What route would you propose people heading to and from Ballston take?

      • BluemontFred

        I live less than a mile from the site.

        • John K.

          Then you know how horrible traffic is at this site (near which I do not live). This will not help. The county needs more capacity, but that is not the right spot. Don’t we have more land in the complex down on Arlington Mill? Not optimal, but at least it would spread some of the impact.

        • drax

          But you live more than across the street, Fred.

    • Gibby

      Actually, it’s more like AIMBY–Already In My Back Yard (and 3x over).

  • SteveM

    Not sure, but I believe a choice school is one that has a some type of special program that students/parents can choose over their home school. I think the county is constrained because nobody wants to change school boundaries or wants relocatables on school grounds. So, new schools must be built, but where? I imagine this was the “least bad” of several options. What is a bit concerning however, is the claim that there are “too many schools in our neighborhood.” My neighborhood has the career center, Henry elementary and TJ middle (and a library and a health center). Depending on the size of neighborhood, I would guess most have multiple eduction related public facilities. Without hard data showing “excess density” in one neighborhood over another, it is hard to accept that as a valid argument.

    • SoArl

      Again, the traffic is the big issue. It literally gets backed up from 50 all the way to Columbia Pike in the morning during school drop-off times.

      • SteveM

        I did not mean to diminish that concern, but traffic is likely an issue for most education facilities and needs to be addressed with proper traffic management and possible modified school schedules. For example, the two elemntary schools would likely have different start times and would be different again from the middle school start time. I don’t have the answers, but I do not think the school board and the staff just threw a dart at a map and said “build here.” Nor did they look at property values and say “they pay less in taxes, ergo, they have less influence.” It is likely they will take the concerns noted by the citizen who wrote the letter into consideration. What is also true is that the person writing the letter does not speak for everyone in the neighborhood. The leader of a neighborhood association is not elected and may in fact represent the minority.

        • SoArl

          Carlin Spring is the only north-south route in the part of the county. It’s busy even when school is not in session. There is no way “proper traffic management” could address the problems unless they built another north-south route. Seriously, those who don’t live in the area don’t understand how bad it is.

          • maguire1166

            George Mason, Glebe, Manchester, rte. 7, all approximate the carlin springs stretch. But, as I noted earlier, I do not claim to answers. I am suggesting that every proposal for new capacity near where the students are will have “traffic” problems. The school system, however, does not make transportation decisions and is reliant on the county to help out. Will the streetcar on Columbia Pike help carlin springs traffic? No.

          • SoArl

            Rte. 7 doesn’t run north-south. George Mason and Glebe are completely jacked up in the morning. If you all don’t sit on Carlin Spring every morning, you’re not really in a position to opine.

          • SteveM

            So, only people that have a say in how to manage traffic on Carlin Springs are those that contribute to the problem. Got it. Rte. 7 is diagonal as is part of Carlin Springs. Thanks for helping me prove my point by stating all of the n-s routes are busy, yet the trolly is e-w. The problem, I think, is not school location problem, but traffic capacity problem.

          • SoArl

            Well, the school would make it worse, correct? How in the world did this turn into a trolley discussion?

          • SteveM

            Traffic will get worse no matter where they put the school is my point, particularly if you put the school near where the overcrowding is a problem. Remember the boundary change idea went nowhere. Clearly, just changing the school boundaries to match the changing enrollment is the most efficient way to address the problem (not gonna happen). The county (may have/should have) integrated transportation issues with new school capacity planning. At risk of appearing to defend the proposal, I am suggesting that the school planners likely weighed many factors over which they have more control (e.g., not transportation) when selecting a site for new construction. I bring up the trolley because it is $250 million out of possible transportation spending. That could be sued to help with traffic issues you have mentioned on all the n-s routes. If the county had asked the schools how best to use that transport money, I doubt they would have suggested a Columbia Pike trolley.

  • Andrew

    Is there anything that people in Arlington won’t complain about? Just about everywhere else, proximity to schools would be considered a major real-estate selling point.

    • drax

      Not three schools, and massive traffic jams, though.

  • BarcroftRambler

    There are some auto repair shops, tow yards, and various other low rise commercial properties on S Four Mile Run Dr that could be used for a new school. Declare imminent domain and have at it.

    • drax

      Imminent domain? Like by close of business today? 😉

      • SteveM


      • Not so fast my friend…

        Bravo, sir…bravo

      • sunflower

        love it !!…you brought a smile to at least 3 people. …and so much nicer than “you’re a stupid _________!” or such

  • Chris Slatt

    I think this plan COULD work, but the neighborhood is right to be concerned and the School Board and staff need to hurry up and engage them. A lot of it is going to hinge on precisely how vehicles get into and out of the three schools, because Carlin Springs Road is overburdened as it is. If they can work out a reasonable way to dump some more of those cars onto Manchester and Glen Carlyn Rd it might be doable.

  • Gymmyray

    There isn’t an “ideal” location for a new elementary school in Arlington. Wherever a school is sited there are going to be significant traffic concerns. We’ll soon be hearing from the folks up at Willliamsburg who also will be complaining about the new elementary school on that site. Yes, it’s NIMBY but the school board has few viable options.

  • SteveM

    Hmm, sounds like some transportation issues that the $250 million saved by not implementing the streetcar plan could be used for… Someone send a note to Mr. Zimmerman/Ms. Hynes as the schools do not handle transportation spending.

    • neutrino

      You’re proposing a Carlin Springs streetcar?

      • Richard Cranium

        I thought he was proposing new slip-lanes.

        • John K.

          Off with his head!

    • drax

      What exactly would you spend it on to fix this problem, Steve?

  • beman

    the arlington forest neighborhood was able to convince the school board to remove Lubber run as an option for a new school siting that it would be to traffic nightmare having two schools next to each other….go north arlington.

  • RebeccaK

    Other sites were considered and rejected, but they should be put back on the table — for instance the Madison Center, in the far north end of the county. This would help redirect the solutions northward, which is where the student boomlet sprouted anyway.

    • NGlebe

      Completely agree that Madison Center should go back on the table. Its in the right place, and the school is already built.

    • dk (not DK)


  • South Awwlington

    I’ll trade one Community Center and one Affordable Housing complex in my neighborhood for this one school.


    • SoArl

      Let’s just give them the affordable housing complex. I’m kind of excited to have a gym down the street.

      • South Awwlington

        We’ll have to wait and see how this works out. A gym down the street will be nice. Now if we could get some decent restaurants and maybe a bar or two.

  • WeiQiang

    Novel idea: put a new school in the Ballston Commons Mall. Mixed use. Commercially supported. Centrally-located. Plenty of vacant space.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      THAT’S THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER because . . . because . . .

      Wait a minute. I’m trying to find a reason to dislike the idea and I’m having a tough time. About the only thing I can come up with is the lack of outdoor play space.

      Of course, it’s all theoretical as the property is privately owned. Eminent Domain proceedings are not entered into often or lightly, and I consider that a good thing. While I tend to think that the location and capacity are indeed good, I suspect convincing Forest City to donate the property to the County is impossible, and getting them to sell it for what the County would be willing to pay for it awfully close to impossible.

      Interesting thought though – seriously!

      • Sam Walton

        The lack of outdoor play space is solved with that odd triangular lot they wanted to convert to bocce ball courts. Given how people drive along Wilson and Glebe, not sure anyone would want elementary school children walking along that route. . .

        But it IS thinking outside the box. You’d think that with all the highrises along RBC that instead of affordable housing considerations that they’d ask the developers to build ground-floor schools every half mile or so – FOR FREE – right along the transit corridor – or would that make too much sense?

      • WeiQiang

        Why is eminent domain an issue? Lease the space … some sort of 10-15 yr lease on the place with some concessions for something elsewhere in the county.

        There’s an ice rink right? You could make the new “Leonsis Learning Academy” a magnet school or ‘choice’ school. Isn’t there other rooftop or garage space that could be used? I mean, kids aren’t allowed to run or jump anymore, so maybe just some space to stand vibrantly.

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          Your last comment can’t possibly be true, as I know for certain that if my oldest couldn’t run or jump he would spontaneously self-combust like a Spinal Tap drummer. So there must be some sort of accommodations being made somewhere.

          I think FC is holding the mall lightly occupied with mostly temporary tenants for an eventual overhaul, and that the likelihood of them wanting to enter into long-term leases is low.

          Although I continue to like the idea. And I intend to somehow work the phrase “standing vibrantly” into a conversation in the next day or so.

  • chris

    Define “traffic nightmare”
    I use Carlyn Springs Rd, because itis easy to get through Alington heading south to Skyline, or Bailey Crossroads as it is it an easy alternative.
    I think the site is centerally located giving easy access to students from both North and South Arlington. It makes more sense for the School Board to utilize property it currently owns rather than aquire new property.

    • Build it and they will come

      Precisely right.

      Traffic congestion should be one of the least important hurdles in determining where to build a school.

      If you have the land available next to a few major arteries – take advantage of the opportunity and build it. Just make sure it is big enough – unlike W-L!

  • Homeowner

    I lived in that neighborhood when Carlin Springs Elementary and Kenmore were built and learned first hand that schools don’t make good neighbors and the BLPC (my wife was on it) are a joke. There’s no way to put that school on that site without significantly degrading the quality of life for those houses on 1st and 2nd St. South.

  • Mary-Austin

    Shouldn’t we also be looking at options in North Arlington as that is where a lot of the overcrowding is.
    Not sure there is a need for another magnet school placed in South Arlington. Of course, if they build it students will come to avoid crowding in other places. The site would better be served with more open space.
    I propose renovating the former Woodmont School, off Lorcom Lane, where there currently isn’t a school nearby.

  • Murphy’s Law

    Yet another foul-up by Superintendent Murphy. Traffic and parking are legitimate concerns, and should have been specifically addressed with the surrounding community before the site was chosen. Murphy typically uses an autocratic, top-down approach, as he did with his ill-fated plans to implement block scheduling, raise class sizes three years in a row, and put trailers in the wrong locations on school campuses. After an issue blows up, he has to retreat and start again.

    It’s well past time for the School Board to critically consider whether Murphy’s contract should be renewed.

  • WL95

    It’s time (maybe past time) that Arlington start thinking about the urban school model. You just can not expect to add 40,000 housing units in dense development and continue to build schools suited for a more residential / suburban environment. We do not have the open green space for that anymore. Smart growth needs to include space for schools. It should be a requirement for some developments just as much as affordable housing. Schools need to be included in the dense core areas and integrated into the multi-family residential construction.

    • Mary-Austin

      You have a good point there.

    • Tricia

      They should start build their outdoor areas on top of the schools, like basketball courts for P.E. on the roof and what not. And build their parking underneath like all the more urban office buildings do. That would totally cut down on the amount of space needed for a school and would give more options for where to build new schools.

  • Nimby

    This is the definition of Nimby! Shame on you Carlin Springs.

  • What?!

    Glen Carlyn sounds like a lot like their whiny neighbors in Westover. We live in a city with 200,000 people not in North Dakota.

    • T.D.

      Newsflash — it’s not a city. It’s a county. Same population, but it’s not a city.

  • Narlington

    I think if you build anything in Arlington it cause a major traffic jam, like a FroYo. Tell parents to stop dropping little Johnny off at school and make him walk, maybe the kids will lose some weight in the process. Oh yea and eat only FroYo

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      Nice. You should check out the local elementary schools (unless you’re one of the flasher pervs, then don’t). You will be surprised at how few fat, let alone obese, kids there are.

      As I replied to another post, walking isn’t always a viable option, especially at the elementary school lever, and especially where both parents work (as is common around here).

    • In the neighborhood

      That’s half the point – the kids can’t walk to the school because it is a “choice” school – kids drive in from all over the county. AND that’s the biggest problem with the terrible traffic, kids who go to the neighborhood school on that site, can’t walk because it is too dangerous, narrow sidewalks, few cross walks, and lots of impatient commuters stuck in traffic.

  • JohnB

    Why are these kids being driven in cars to the school? Aren’t there buses? If there are, how would the addition of 15 buses make it a “traffic nightmare?”

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      This again? Buses don’t serve if you’re too close, 1.5 miles I think. Many parents don’t have time to walk the kids to school, walk home, and still make it into work on time. Dropoff times aren’t exactly flexible – at Glebe there is a 10 minute window (ok – it’s a little fluffy, maybe enforced on the low side of 15-20 minutes). Before that 10 minute window you have to enroll in, and pay for, morning extended care. Finally most people don’t let their kids walk alone until (maybe) the very tail end of Elementary School or, more likely, middle school.

      • JohnB

        Not having children and not having been in school for some time I honestly didn’t know. Is there any data on the percentage of kids served by buses vs the percentage of kids not served? I’m trying to understand if the neighborhood has a legitimate concern or are blowing things out of proportion.

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          Not sure about where to get the data, but anecdotally I believe Glebe (my only direct point of reference) is served by very few buses – fewer than 5. And there are lots of kids within 1.5 miles. I believe that to be true for the other elementary schools as well.

          And I do think the neighborhood has a legitimate concern, although the decision may have already been made. That is going to be one densely populated school complex with a 3rd school on the site. If the 3rd is, indeed, a choice school, that will likely increase the number of buses as more kids will be coming from farther away, but the car traffic will definitely increase by a not-insubstantial amount as well.

  • Glencarlyn Neighbor

    If one defines questioning or opposition to any proposed new construction as NIMBY, then yes, this is NIMBY. However, what the Glencarlyn community is asking is that the county fully investigate the impact of the new school on traffic, parking, safety, and other potential problems, including the costs to mitigate those problems, before simply moving ahead with funding and construction of the school.

    Thus far, the School Board has ignored our requests to do so, telling us that that traffic, etc are issues for the county to address, but not to worry, because they can be addressed later. If NIMBY means that we should accept these promises of future action after the school is built as good enough, then yes, this is NIMBY.

    One reason why the School Board’s assurances don’t assuage our concerns is that when the first elementary school (Carlin Springs Elementary) was built on the Kenmore site a few years ago, we were told the same thing. That is, don’t worry about traffic and other issues, because they will be dealt with and resolved by the county later on. Others on this website have already commented about how well that has turned out.

    So what do we want? We want the county to identify in advance the potential impact of building a third school on the Kenmore site, devise a plan for mitigating potential problems, and then put funding in place to implement the solutions.If you want to label our concerns as NIMBY, well … there’s a place for you on the School Board, which so far has also dismissed our concerns.

    • CampbellSchoolDad


  • nom de guerre

    The area around the proposed school site is very unique. It is bodered on the north by Bluemont Park and on the Southeast by Glen Carlin Park. As such, there are no alternative through streets other than Carlin Springs Road to go north, south, east or west for all of the residents. As others have indicated, this road is already very congested and the neighborhood has more that its fair share of schools already. This plan will also impact Fairfax County residents as this location is right on the border. I believe that all the Citizen’s Association is asking for is some type of voice in this matter and I think that is a reasonable request.

    • JohnB

      Agreed. Defiantly in need of some traffic engineering in parallel with the additional school.

    • WeiQiang

      A high-speed flyover ramp from Rt 50 westbound directly on to the school property … or slip lanes.

  • nom de guerre

    Todays police graduation ceremony was held at Kenmore Middle School. Just ask them how easy it was to exit the parking lot onto Carlin Springs Road after it concluded when everyone was trying to leave at the same time. There is only one way in and one way out.

    • UptonHiller

      They probably just turned on their police lights and drove right through. Probably made a few u-turns while they were at it.

  • APSnumberone

    What about the Wilson School site? The SB already owns it, and it is just sitting there. Why not develop that into a more modern school building?

    • CampbellSchoolDad

      +1 with Wilson School Site. It is right across from my office and sits unused.

      This isn’t a NIMBY issue, as a resident of the neighborhood and morning commuter, we already have a significant traffic back up every morning with the three traffic lights between S 5th St, S 3rd St and Arlington blvd. Traffic is even horrendous on Saturday and Sunday afternoons after all of the little league games.

      Just like the Army and Mark Center, the Arlington County Board and the fantastic trolley folly (much like the Simpson’s Monorail episode), the School Board has spoken from on high and now us common folks have to deal with it.

  • The Bible

    Psalm 137:9 (KJV): Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

  • Glen Carlyn NOW

    I am a Glen Carlyn resident.

    First, the “Citizen’s Association” hardly represents the neighborhood. Despite the large number of families that have move in, the Association is dominated by a small handful of retirees.

    Furthermore, there is a racist undercurrent in the Association against the Latino population in Barcroft. I stopped attending Association meetings after hearing the members informall express some ignorant ideals about our neighbors after the meeting, which seemed to be the consensus of the group.

    This was also affirmed in an article in the neighborhood paper, the Village View (March 2012 p.7)*, which examined why so many G.C. families are opting to enroll their children in schools other than our neighborhood schools. “About 50% of our zip code’s population is Caucasian. But our neighborhood school’s? 5%. In the views of the board, it’s OK for G.C. parents to ship their children to schools in other neighborhoods, meanwhile they oppose building a choice school where these children could walk to.

    So not only is the G.C. Association racist and NIMBY, they are also hypocritical.

    * http://www.glencarlyn.org/VillageView/Village_View_2012_03_Mar.pdf

    • Glencarlyn Neighbor

      Let’s see … calling people “racists.” That’s an effective way to intimidate opponents and shut down debate, but not so effective at actually gathering facts and information, discussing options, gaining insight, and gathering consensus around workable solutions.

      Have you got any facts or arguments to help us see this issue more clearly, or do you just want to call people names?

      • Glen Carlyn NOW

        My intent isn’t to shut down debate or dissent, what I’m doing is casting light on the disingenuous motives of the GCA. If someone walked up to you and accused you of being a criminal based on your skin color, would you be willing to “gather consensus around workable solutions”? Heck no.

        I am a Hispanic, however I don’t “look” like the stereotype and don’t speak with an accent. On one specific occasion, when discussing schools the the Board members, one mentioned that I shouldn’t send my kinds to Carlin Springs Elementary because it’s full of ‘those people’. When I pressed about what he meant about ‘those people’, he responded that my kids wouldn’t be safe in that school given all the illegals that go there. Most of the board leadership was there and heard this comment. Judging from their nods, they appeared to tacitly agree.

        Regarding the supposed traffic issue, for GC residents this isn’t a real problem. At 7:30 AM, when traffic on Carlin Springs Rd is backed up to Columbia Pike, I simply get to US50 by turning from 2nd or 1st street onto C.S. This takes me all of two minutes. Indeed the biggest bottleneck is the 7-11 on the corner of 1st and C.S.

        Opening a charter school within walking distance of the neighborhood would be a valuable improvement to the quality of life here. GC is already a great place to live; these schools would only improve it.

        • Glencarlyn Neighbor

          The private conversation you had with a GCA member is indeed troubling, as was the lack of response from its Board Members. However, based on my longtime experience living in the neighborhood and talking with neighbors, this person does not represent the views of the many people I know.

          With that said, it may be true, as you argue, that the opposition to the new choice school is misguided because traffic congestion won’t be a problem (or, at least, it won’t get worse). That’s something that can be verified by the county through study of traffic patterns. The same with parking and other concerns. We recognize that there will be traffic and other issues wherever the new schools are built. We simply ask that studies be done and plans made and funds appropriated to address these problems–before the School Board moves ahead with funding and construction. We have learned by experience that if it’s not done beforehand, then it won’t be addressed afterwards.

          Regarding the alleged racism of Glencarlyn residents: If racism was informing their views on this issue, then they would favor a new choice school on the Kenmore grounds, which would give them another non-neighborhood school option close by.

          Again, without excusing the ignorant remarks made to you, I think you are making the same mistake as this person: Attributing characteristics and beliefs to a entire group of people because of your experience with one or two.

  • In the neighborhood

    I live right across the street from the complex and can’t get out of my street on the weekend when large events let out. I can only imagine that another school will make that the case every morning. I really don’t mind a new school there, but the county should make a committment to look at traffic issues and to provide the resources, if necessary, to make it work. All the more tricky becuase they will have to work with Fairfax County.

    • nom de guerre

      What makes you think they will work with Fairfax County this time since they didn’t work with them very much when Carlin Springs ES was built? The only concession made was that buses would enter the school off of Carlin Springs Road.


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