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Intersection reconfiguration near Clarendon set to wrap up this spring

Arlington County is nearing the end of project to overhaul of the intersection of Washington Blvd and 13th Street N., near Clarendon.

The redesigned intersection will have two lanes of travel in each direction, while the new 13th Street N. will make a “T” with the new Washington Blvd.

“The benefits of the wider sidewalks and utilities moved underground are a better pedestrian experience for current and future residents, and a more streamlined traffic pattern for vehicles,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors said.

Previously, Washington Blvd surrounded a triangular patch of grass and dirt bordered by sidewalks — which county documents have described as a “diverter island” or “porkchop” — on all three sides. Drivers had to navigate around the island to either continue onto Washington Blvd or turn onto 13th Street N.

When this stretch of Washington Blvd was first identified for changes in the 2014 Clarendon Sector Plan, it also had a reversible travel lane between 13th Street N. and Wilson Blvd.

This pattern appears to have been removed a few years before the construction on the new “T” intersection began in 2021, according to Google Maps street views from prior years.

The old reversible travel lanes along Washington Blvd between 13th Street N. and Wilson Blvd (courtesy of Arlington County)

The Arlington County Board approved a contract to Sagres Construction Corporation to undertake the streetscape improvements and utility undergrounding in February 2021. Work started that spring and is expected to last 18-24 months.

“The project is still under construction and is expected to be completed this spring,” Pors said. “There’s still work to be done on signals, curb and gutter, milling and paving and landscaping.”

As part of the project, the work provided public open green space with seating and trees for a future park at the intersection, Pors said. The park will be at the northwest corner of the intersection, south of a reconfigured N. Johnson Street.

The site of the proposed open space at the intersection of Washington Blvd and 13th Street N. near Clarendon (via Arlington County)

The project will also deliver wider sidewalks and improved pedestrian crossings, underground utilities, new traffic signals, street lights and street trees. It costs an estimated $6.4 million, from local commercial and industrial taxes earmarked for transportation and developer contributions.

The 2014 Clarendon Sector Plan called for these changes, which were then incorporated into the Red Top Cab properties redevelopment. The County Board approved this redevelopment in 2015, and the first phase was completed in the spring of 2021. Construction on the second phase began in January 2022.

The second phase, at the corner of Washington Blvd and 13th Street N., is comprised of a multifamily building with 269 homes.

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