(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) The Arlington County Board took a step forward in setting a vision for the future of Rosslyn on Saturday.
The Board approved the the framework for its planned Rosslyn Sector Plan Update. It’s an outline for a plan that when finished and approved, will help move Rosslyn from its auto-oriented, commercial feel to what the County Board hopes will be a mixed-use hub of street-level activity.
Among the components of the framework the Board approved this weekend were developing more housing in central Rosslyn, studying turning Ft. Myer Drive and N. Lynn Street into two-way streets, creating a full 18th Street corridor to remove the “superblocks” between 19th Street N. and Wilson Blvd, creating an “esplanade” and connecting the open spaces in the area.
The 18th Street alignment was the source of some dispute between Rosslyn property owners last month, and the framework left the final alignment of the pedestrian and bicycle corridor to be determined. Tad Lunger, a lawyer representing the owner of the Ames Center at 1820 N. Fort Myer Drive. Lunger, spoke at Saturday’s meeting.
“This process, which lasted for over a year, resulted in many of the framework plan’s issues to remain unresolved and a source of anxiety to many stakeholders in Rosslyn,” Lunger said. “As a result, most major issues were not really addressed until the past month’s public portion of the process.”
The plans to turn Lynn Street and Fort Myer Drive into two-way streets also concerned residents of the area, who feel it could have traffic implications for the neighborhoods.
“The change of Lynn Street and Ft. Myer Drive to two lanes going in each direction from their current four lanes is probably a benefit to Rosslyn,” said Radnor-Ft. Myer Heights Civic Assocation President Stan Karson, “but it could have unintended consequences to the residents of the nearby area because of the possible and probable backup in the area.”
Among other goals set by the framework:
- Making Rosslyn a more walkable neighborhood
- Adding building density — especially housing density — in central Rosslyn while maintaining “sensitive transitions” to lower density on the edges
- Encouraging “more varied building facades”
- Enhancing connectivity among Rosslyn’s parks and green space, including additional connections to the Potomac waterfront
- Working with WMATA on plans for a second Rosslyn Metro station
- “Preserving the potential” for connecting D.C.’s planned Georgetown-to-Union Station streetcar line to Rosslyn
- Narrowing excessively wide streets by building wider sidewalks and more bike lanes
County staff will now take the framework and develop the specifics of the Rosslyn Sector Plan Update, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2014. The public will continue to have input through the Realize Rosslyn process, the county said.
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