Arlington, VA

You’re probably not taking Fido to play in the creek in sub-freezing weather, but you’ll want to nix any such plans at the Shirlington dog park for the next couple of days.

Arlington County crews braved freezing weather on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to repair an 8-inch sewer line that failed and sent sewage spewing into Four Mile Run, near the Barcroft neighborhood, for the second week in a row.

“The Department of Environmental Services advises to avoid all contact with Four Mile Run south of 7th Street due to a sanitary sewage release,” said an Arlington Alert message on Sunday afternoon. “Blockage was removed from the same pipe after a release last week. Crews on scene investigating pipe’s condition.”

As of Tuesday morning, the department said repairs had been completed. All people and pets, however, should avoid Four Mile Run downstream of 7th Street S. until at least Wednesday night.

As a result of the sewage release, a planned MLK, Jr. Day of Service trash cleanup along the stream has been postponed until Saturday, Feb. 1.

Photo via Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services

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(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) A community group is pushing the county to develop a new dog park in Pentagon City.

Pentagon City Dogs recently submitted a proposal to Arlington County officials calling for a new, 25,000 square foot dog park within Virginia Highlands Park, an 18-acre collection of athletic fields, tennis courts, and some wooded areas at 1600 S. Hayes Street, across from the mall.

Currently, there are no established, public dog parks in the 22202 zip code and dogs are not permitted off-leash in Virginia Highlands Park. Supporters say a little-used portion of the park between a softball field and 15th Street S. could be an ideal location.

“The location provides easy access from high-rise and single family homes without any disruption of the quality of life of the neighbors,” the group wrote in their proposal. “In fact, the closest single-family homes are the equivalent to nearly two blocks at the end of the proposed dog park.”

The Instrata Pentagon City apartment building, however, is across the street from the proposed location.

The group also argues the location would be ideal for a dog park because of its established amenities including water, trash services, parking, and accessible entrances.

At least 20 volunteers from Pentagon City Dogs have signed up to maintain the space. The group has gathered over a hundred signatures from local residents in support, plus an endorsement from the Aurora Highlands Civic Association.

“The 22202 communities have been expressing a need for dog parks for decades, and the population of both residents and pets continues to increase,” the association wrote in its endorsement.

The proposal suggests that an initial version of the dog park could be established at minimal cost with heavy-duty temporary fencing.

“Arlington Parks & Recreation is aware of the interest to explore the opportunity for a temporary dog park in Virginia Highlands Park,” parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish tells ARLnow. “Our recently adopted Public Spaces Master Plan includes new options for dog parks as we too see a growing interest in off-leash areas for our four-legged friends.”

Pentagon City Dogs says its members are willing to back up the park plan with money to help fund it. The group is in the early stages of fundraising efforts for the park, including seeking business donations, sponsors, and individual donors.

“While there is a possibility of County funding, we think our best chance of success will be if we can bring funding along with our proposal to the County,” said Lowell Nelson, spokesman for Pentagon City Dogs.

To accommodate the expected crowds, the group says it may be necessary to take away from of one of the current softball fields.

“There will be easily 50+ dogs (small & large) at peak times,” the proposal says. “The size would need to be at least 22,500 ft to avoid conflicts, which can be achieved by expanding into space currently occupied by one softball field. “

There are eight established county-run dog parks in Arlington, open from sunrise until half an hour after sunset.  The nearest to Virginia Highlands Park is Towers Park, nearly two miles away at 801 S. Scott Street.

A similar initiative has begun for Eads Park, which is a mile away and similarly endorsed by the Aurora Highland Civic Association. In addition, a community group has been pressuring the county to build a temporary, gated space for dogs in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park.

Nearby, Amazon has proposed 1.1 acres of open public space — for “a dog park, recreation areas, farmers markets, and more” — at its forthcoming headquarters in Pentagon City.

Photo via Google Maps 

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A new group is pushing the county for more space dedicated to its four-legged residents in Rosslyn’s growing neighborhood.

R-Dogs, LLC was one the groups at last week’s Cider Fest — the new group set up a table to hand out treats and dog waste bags, while advocating for a new dog park.

“R-Dogs is working with Arlington County and Rosslyn BID to build a top of the line park to be renamed Rosslyn Community Park,” the group said in a statement to ARLnow. “The new park will include a dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs. A separate area will also be built for individuals in the community to sit, socialize and enjoy watching their dogs play.”

The seven-member group has yet to pick a spot for the park, but for now is calling for a temporary, gated one to be set up in the western half of Gateway Park at the corner of N. Nash Street and Lee Highway.

In its application to the county, R-Dogs is also proposing the park incorporate several features, such as:

  • A shaded shelter with benches
  • Separated sections for large and small dogs
  • Drinking fountains (for humans and dogs)
  • A water misting station for dogs to cool off under
  • A water-washing station
  • A raised seating area with the area underneath “sealed off to prevent dogs from hiding and being difficult to impossible to catch.”
  • A bulletin board

The group argues in the application that Gateway Park is an ideal location for a dog park because it’s lightly used, in need of repairs, and it’s not close to homeowners who might be bothered by barking.

The land on which the park sits is owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and managed by the county. It’s situated next to Key Bridge Marriott site redevelopment (1401 Lee Highway) which plans to add 451 housing units and renovate the hotel.

“Parks, and especially dog parks, are a magnet to draw the community together, increase housing values, and attract new businesses and builders,” the group wrote in its application.

John Hummel, president of the North Rosslyn Civic Association, wrote in a letter of support that North Rosslyn has “witnessed a gradual but significant loss of walkable green space” in recent years and Gateway Park’s state of disrepair means some residents don’t feel comfortable using it.

“While NRCA has no idea of the design nor expected lifetime of this Temporary Dog Park, NRCA is in support of improvement of Gateway West to provide an attractive walkable space where residents can safely meet neighbors, chat, and let dogs run unleashed,” wrote Hummel.

The group held a public meeting last month to review the architectural plans for the site, per an Instagram post, and is asking for signatures of support for the project.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

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Morning Notes

GW Parkway ClosureUpdated at 9:15 a.m. — “All lanes of the GW Parkway are now closed during Friday morning’s rush hour due to a large sinkhole that was discovered overnight.” [Tysons Reporter]

HQ2 Impact to Be Bigger Than Expected? — JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and George Mason University’s Stephen S. Fuller both think many are underestimating HQ2’s impact on job creation in the region. [Washington Business JournalWashington Business Journal]

Arlington Gets High Marks for Dog Parks — Arlington is No. 10 on the Trust for Public Land’s ranking of cities with the most dog parks per capita. Arlington has eight dog parks, or 3.5 for every 100,000 residents. D.C. ranked No. 22 on the list. [Trust for Public Land]

Wilson Blvd to Close Again in Ballston — “That stretch of Wilson Boulevard at @BallstonQuarter that’s now closed eastbound on school nights 8pm-6am for 8 weeks? It’ll also be closed both ways this weekend, Friday 8pm to Sunday 6pm. Lots of pedestrian bridge to do.” [Twitter]

Road Closures in N. Arlington — “The Nottingham/Discovery Elementary Schools 5K race will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will close several roads from approximately 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]

Basketball Fundraiser Tonight — “New Directions High School students will play Arlington County’s heroes — including some of the police department, fire department, probation and prosecutor’s office” tonight at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School to raise money for New Directions. [Twitter]

No Hyperloop for Va. for Now — “Virginia transit officials flew to California to check out Elon Musk’s Boring Co. tunnel. They say they’re gonna stick with traditional roads and railways for now. ‘It’s a car in a very small tunnel.'” [Virginia Mercury, Twitter]

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Top 3 Dog Parks Of Arlington, VA

Arlington’s neighborhoods are packed with condos and high-rise apartments, but dogs without backyards have an abundance of dog parks nearby. We researched Arlington dog parks to bring you the top 3 where dogs and owners alike can socialize! Watch for our article coming soon to ARLnow.

Posted by Keri Shull Team on Friday, October 26, 2018

Like most of us, dogs love fresh air, sunshine and room to stretch out.

Arlington’s neighborhoods are packed with condos and high-rise apartments, but dogs without backyards still have three excellent dog parks nearby. These are all places where you can let your dog run off leash and play with other dogs while you get to know your neighbors.

Taking your dog to the dog park might even help reduce the costs of veterinary care — like us, dogs are healthier when they’re well-exercised and have time to socialize. Young dogs need an outlet for their abundant energy, while older dogs can be taken to the park and motivated to play with younger dogs.

In the video above, Keri Shull and Drew Carpenter of the Keri Shull Team break down the top three dog parks in Arlington. All of these dog parks stand within easy reach of popular Arlington residential and business areas.

3. Shirlington Park — Shirlington

Location: 2754-2798 S Oakland Street, alongside the Four Mile Run Trail. Parking is easy to find here.

Shirlington park is natural and grassy, with many areas to run. One advantage of Shirlington dog park is that the smaller dogs and larger dogs have separate play areas, so your pug won’t have to dodge the massive mitts of a Newfoundland.

2. Glencarlyn Dog Park — Glencarlyn

Location: 301 S Harrison Street, northwest of Shirlington Dog Park, also located along theFour Mile Run Trail.

Glencarlyn dog park offers free parking.

Glencarlyn is the best of these dog parks to visit if you also have children who want to run and play. It’s a beautiful park with picnic tables, a playground, an off-leash dog park area and a stream. Glencarlyn is strung with trails for biking and jogging. There’s even a “learning loop” where wobbly young bicyclists can practice their skills.

1. James Hunter Park — Clarendon

Location: 1299 North Herndon Street, this is right in the heart of downtown Arlington.

Clarendon’s James Hunter Park features a solar-powered stone waterfall pool for dogs to cool off in during the dog days of Arlington summers. This fountain runs about three seasons of the year, then closes in the wintertime.

This park is completely enclosed by a fence, so dogs can run off-leash without escaping. Unique sound paneling muffles the dog noise so nearby high-rise neighbors aren’t disturbed by raucous dogs.

This dog park is locally a bit infamous for costing $1.8 million to construct.

Parking can be a little more difficult to find here than at the Shirlington or Glencarlyn dog parks, but if James Hunter Park is within a 30-minute walk of your house or condo in Arlington, this is a park your dog will love, especially during the summer.

Dog’s Choice

What’s your dog’s favorite dog park in Arlington? How can you tell? Let us know in the comments!

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Arlington is earning more high marks for its high-quality parks, this time winning the spotlight for its large number of amenities like playgrounds and nature centers.

A new report from the Trust for Public Land released today (Wednesday) ranked the county eighth in the country among large localities when it comes to park acreage per 1,000 residents. With 1,767 acres of parks in the county’s 26 square miles, Arlington has about 7.75 acres of parks for every 1,000 people, better than major cities like San Francisco and New York.

Those high marks mirror previous studies by the California-based group, which is leading an advocacy effort to ensure that everyone living in a city is within a 10-minute walk of a park. The Trust for Public Land previously ranked Arlington fourth in the country for its park system by evaluating a variety of different metrics.

But this time around, the group also studied the number of recreational amenities available in the county’s parks to provide an even more granular view of where Arlington stands. In all, the researchers awarded the county six top 10 marks for its distribution of various amenities.

With a total of three nature centers to serve its roughly 228,000 residents, the county ranked fourth in the nation. Arlington’s 99 playgrounds, good for 4.3 playgrounds per 10,000 residents, was also good enough to tie the county for sixth overall.

The county’s 87 tennis courts ranked seventh nationally, while its 12 pickleball courts placed ninth. Similarly, Arlington’s eight community gardens and 301 garden plots also ranked ninth.

Finally, the county picked up a 10th place ranking for its number of dog parks, with eight in total.

D.C. also ranked quite highly in the group’s rankings once more — the District placed first in the nation in park acreage per 1,000 residents, and earned five other top 10 marks.

File photo

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Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday, June 5

Urban Agriculture: Herbs
Westover Library (788 N. McKinley Road)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Attendees of this workshop will learn how to nurture a kitchen garden that will give them easy access to fresh herbs. Those interested may RSVP here. Attendance is on a first come, first served basis.

Wednesday, June 6

Defining Our Digital Destiny: The Future of Work in Arlington*
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

A panel that includes representatives from Virginia Tech and the county government will discuss how technology will affect the future of the Arlington workforce. Attendees will have the opportunity to network before the panel begins at 6:30.

Brunch and Business: The Successful Journey of an Immigrant Entrepreneur
Arlington Economic Development (1100 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Three Arlington entrepreneurs will discuss their paths from arriving in the United States to starting their own businesses. Admission is free, but registration is required.

Thursday, June 7

YEA! Trade Show
Ballston Center (1000 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 5-7 p.m.

The 2018 class of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy will present their new start-up businesses. Goods and services developed by YEA! students will be available for purchase.

Hip Hop Thursday Cycle Class at Ryde in Clarendon
Ryde Cycle (1025 N. Fillmore Street)
Time: 7:45-8:15 p.m.

Join certified Ryde Cycle instructors for a high-intensity cardio workout featuring rhythm-based choreography and a candle-lit studio. First time “ryders” can take advantage of a buy one get one free offer.

Friday, June 8

PRIDE Buttons
Connection Crystal City Library (2117 Crystal Plaza Arcade)
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Supplies will be provided to craft unique PRIDE buttons in celebration of Pride Month. RSVP for an event reminder. Attendance is first come, first served.

Supreme Fridays
G.O.A.T. Sports Bar (3028 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

The first Supreme Friday at The G.O.A.T. will feature two floors of DJs and music, video games, HD TVs and more. Bar-goers can register here to skip the line.

Saturday, June 9

Unveiling of Historic Civil Rights Plaque*
Hair Vogue (3815 Lee Highway)
Time: 10:30-10:45 a.m.

A plaque honoring participants in the first day of lunch-counter protests in northern Virginia on June 9, 1960 will be placed at 3815 Lee Highway — formerly the location of the Cherrydale Drug Fair, where the sit-in occurred.

Anniversary Celebration: Cherrydale at 125
Cherrydale Branch Library (2190 Military Road)
Time: 11 a.m.

Cherrydale will commemorate the 1959 desegregation of Stratford Junior High, the 1960 Cherrydale Drug Fair sit-in and the contributions of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Sunday, June 10

The Arlington Triathlon*
Washington-Lee Aquatic Center (1301 N. Stafford Street)
Time: 8-10:30 a.m.

This event invites competitors aged 7-15 to participate in a run-bike-swim race to benefit the Arlington Triathlon Club. Registration information may be found online.

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic
Crystal City area (2121 Crystal Drive)
Time: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Competitive cyclists will compete for the Crystal Cup and cycling enthusiasts of all levels can participate in other events on the second day of the Armed Forces Cycling Classic, following Saturday’s Clarendon Cup races.

Bark in the Park*
James Hunter Park (1229 N. Herndon Street)
Time: 3-6 p.m.

Bring your dog for free live music and Smoking Kow barbecue at the Clarendon dog park. Event is presented by Clarendon Animal Care and Clarendon Alliance.

Rosé Garden
Ten at Clarendon (3110 10th Street N.)
3-6 p.m.

Free rosé from Screwtop Wine Bar and light hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Ten at Clarendon courtyard. RSVP on Facebook to attend.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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County staff are set to reveal the new design features for dog park improvements at Benjamin Banneker Park in East Falls Church.

The public will get a look at the conceptual dog park design tomorrow during a meeting at Tuckahoe Elementary School, starting at 7 p.m. Some proposed additions include new furnishings and play features.

The dog park renovations are a part of a larger plan to transform Banneker Park, which was announced in December. Besides the improved dog area, Benjamin Banneker Park will get wider trails, improved accessibility, parking lot improvements and a relocated playground that will be separated from trails and visible from the street.

Information shared at the dog park design meeting will be shared on the park project’s web page. In the future there will also be an opportunity to share thoughts on the dog park’s conceptual design and features.

Photos courtesy Arlington County 

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Someone squealed on the owner of a pet pig who has been bringing his or her precious porcine to the Shirlington dog park.

A tipster tells ARLnow that a pig has been coming to the dog park with its owner for at least the past two Saturdays, even though county code specifies that “no animals should be inside the dog park perimeters whether on or off of a tether or leash except for dogs.”

Additionally, Arlington residents cannot keep or maintain “any pig, shoat, sow, hog, or other porcine animal anywhere within the confines of the county.” Pigs have been illegal to keep as pets in the county, according to the local ordinance, since 1935.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington have heard of the pig, which arrives on a leash and harness with its owner.

“It was casually mentioned to me today that a friend was aware that a pig had been in the dog park,” said Jennifer Toussaint, the county’s chief animal country officer, told ARLnow Monday.

However, the AWLA had not received any complaints or service calls regarding the prohibited pig. Toussaint has never received a formal complaint about a pig in the county during her ten years with organization.

The Dept. of Parks and Recreation would, in fact, have to be first to get involved, given that it is a question of inappropriate park usage, according to Toussaint.

AWLA is an education-based agency, she added, so pigs wouldn’t be confiscated immediately. After informing owners of the county code, the shelter’s policy would be to give owners a week, as a compliance period, to re-home their pet where it could be legally kept.

If an owner was unable to find a suitable home, there are “quite a few farm sanctuaries known to assist locals in Northern Virginia with pets” that were, intentionally or otherwise, illegally acquired.

Unlike some more nuanced local laws, Toussaint said it’s not difficult to understand that it’s illegal to have a pet pig in Arlington.

“Some ordinances are very tricky to understand,” she said. “This is pretty much a clear, one sentence ordinance.”

Courtesy photo

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A report on the future of the Shirlington Dog Park did not recommend reducing its size, but still left members of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group with plenty of questions.

The report, prepared by a committee of five group members over the summer, made various recommendations for the park’s short, medium and long-term future.

It looks to find ways to manage stormwater runoff into Four Mile Run from surfaces that do not absorb rainwater and to ensure the park remains well-used. The report was drafted after the Arlington County Board sent plans to reduce its size back to the drawing board.

The report said taking down two county-owned warehouses on S. Oakland Street, adjacent to the park, would help manage stormwater runoff and allow a connection between the dog park and a proposed arts district nearby.

“In addition to addressing some adjacent stormwater issues, this would serve an array of complementary objectives such as integrating this new park area and the dog park with the arts district, provide a flexible-use area for festivals and arts events, provide swing space for recreational functions as Jennie Dean Park is developed, and improve connectivity and open up the line of sight from South Four Mile Drive into the park,” the report reads.

But in suggesting those warehouses be taken down, some group members argued the committee exceeded the scope of its study.

“I felt as though the report spent a lot of time on issues that frankly were not in the group’s charge,” said group vice chair Robin Stombler. Others noted that a report on a potential arts district suggested using the warehouses as space for artists.

Longtime civic leader Carrie Johnson expressed her disappointment at what she described as a “disputed space problem,” and urged the group to find a compromise between the warehouses’ use in the arts district or removal for the dog park.

“I would have hoped to hear less fighting over acreage and more about how it could be used for everybody’s benefit,” she said.

In the short-term, the group recommended various small ways to help manage stormwater at the park, including no longer mowing the grass, protecting existing trees and limiting access to the stream.

But in the medium term, the report called on county government to show leadership in managing stormwater runoff from its buildings to help protect the park. They also urged an expansion of a program where businesses receive grants and other incentives to install ways to manage stormwater through green roofs, rain barrels and the like.

The area’s current zoning encourages making changes through redevelopment, as opposed to incentivizing existing businesses to make those environmentally-friendly tweaks.

“There seems to be no answer here, because the county seems unable to change anything for the existing businesses until they redevelop,” said Anne Inman, a group member.

The report noted that the need to balance stormwater with the park’s popularity is a “catch-22,” as “leaving the park in its current condition is not a viable long-term solution, but efforts to mitigate the environmental issues would trigger significant, costly and undesirable changes to the park.”

Group chair Charles Monson said they will not look to endorse any report prepared by a committee, but will instead use them to guide their thinking as planning the area’s future continues.

The report’s full recommendations are after the jump.

Read More

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Members of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group sought to regroup Tuesday night and try to plot a new path forward on the future of the Shirlington Dog Park.

But the need to balance the park needing to manage stormwater while preserving a beloved community asset weighed heavily after a strong backlash against reducing its size.

That community anxiety about the park’s future helped result in the County Board directing staff late last month to go back to the drawing board. Plans drawn up by staff would have shrunk the 109,000 square foot park to as little as 27,000 square feet to accommodate stormwater management.

During their work session, Board members said there must be a better balance between environmental needs and community desires. But some working group members felt the environment was forced to take a back seat.

“I felt extremely distressed with the comments and presentation because it didn’t deal with the environment,” said group member Nora Palmatier.

Several group members also criticized staff for not presenting more options to deal with stormwater beyond a 35-foot buffer near the stream. And while at-large member Keith Fred said it was a “shame” there hadn’t been more conversations about environmental protection at the site a year ago, others said it was an opportunity to put forward new plans.

“We have been challenged as a group and staff as well to think outside the box and look at other alternatives to protect what is a very important economic driver for the Valley,” said group member Adam Henderson.

And Edie Wilson, a member of the working group representing the Shirlington Civic Association, said that despite the community’s strong opposition to any changes at the park, residents care about balancing it with any environmental needs.

Wilson said it is possible to “walk and chew gum at the same time,” and that with staff putting new options forward, she looks forward to seeing what can be done.

“We need to be very careful with the assumption that we don’t care about the environment,” she said. “We have a variety of ways to do both. There’s work to do.”

Later in the meeting, Wilson said more must be done to educate the community about what is being done in the area, and particularly to show them why changes may need to be made to the dog park.

“We really need some public education, and I mean public education in the most civil sense of the word,” she said. “People have a lot of questions.”

County staff said they will meet with County Manager Mark Schwartz later this week to chart a path forward for the park and other projects in the Four Mile Run Valley. No public speakers at the meeting addressed the dog park’s future.

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