Press Club

(Updated on 5/18) A local family raised nearly $2,000 holding a yard sale this past weekend to help children impacted by the war.

Constantin, a Ukrainian-American who lives in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood and flew flags on 1-66 overpasses earlier this year, held the sale in his front yard Saturday morning in support of the D.C. area non-profit United Help Ukraine.

The funds will specifically go to the Hibuki Therapy Project, a program that pairs toy stuffed dogs and specialized therapists with children impacted by the ongoing war.

https://twitter.com/iFirebrand/status/1525976966620450821

“It’s important to [bring] attention to the victims of the war,” Constantin told ARLnow via phone as he was rehanging Ukrainian and American flags over I-66. He asked his last name not be used for safety concerns.

He placed flyers for the yard sale near the Westover Library, the Lee-Harrison shopping center, and Nottingham Elementary. They attracted attention.

It was a “very strong turn out,” Constantin says, with neighbors donating both items and money to the effort. In all, he believes they made at least $1,600, though probably more since some folks donated money without buying items.

He held the yard sale not only to raise money to help those back in his homeland, but to show his own children how they can make a difference.

“I wanted to show my children how… they can take a specific thing, sell it, make money, and how it can go to a specific cause in Ukraine,” he says.

All of the money went to United Help Ukraine, which focuses on providing medical supplies and basic needs to Ukrainian refugees.

The local nonprofit has raised $25 to $30 million since Russia’s invasion in late February, President Maryna Baydyuk tells ARLnow. Through the Hibuki Therapy Project, 1,000 toy dogs have already been distributed to Ukrainian refugee children. The hope is to manufacture and distribute 6,000 in total, Baydyuk says, as well as train dozens of counselors who can help while the kids are at the refugee camps.

“Children are the most vulnerable group of refugees, so we want to focus on their psychological help,” Baydyuk says.

This yard sale won’t be the end of Constantin and his family’s efforts. He’s currently planning a block party fundraiser for early June that will give his East Falls Church neighbors. Even after close to three months of war, Constantin said it’s clear to him that Arlingtonians are still very much aware of and concerned about the ongoing human toll from the invasion.

“It’s very heart-warming as an American to see the number of Ukrainian flags going up in Arlington,” he said. “They are still everywhere.”

0 Comments

A basement fire in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood drew firefighters to a house near Tuckahoe Park this afternoon (Wednesday).

The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes of firefighters arriving at the two-story home on the 6400 block of 24th Street N., ACFD Battalion Chief Robert Eversburg said. The fire was contained to the room it started in.

There were no occupants home at the time of the fire, he said. One firefighter was injured, cutting his hand during the response.

Neighbors called 911 after seeing smoke coming from the roof, according to scanner traffic. When firefighters arrived, they forced entry into the home and found it filled with smoke.

The county fire marshal is now investigating the cause of the blaze.

0 Comments

A detached garage stands just across the street from the East Falls Church Metro station and a stone’s throw from an I-66 entrance and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

Elsewhere in the county, developers would be champing at the bit to turn this transit-accessible carport into an apartment building with ground-floor retail.

Instead, the garage prevails as just one example of prime real estate near the station that could support the walkable development some residents and county leaders have envisioned there, but which has yet to materialize. (The garage, it should be noted, is on a parcel of land zoned only for single-family homes, preventing such development.)

Arlington has encouraged transit-oriented growth along other Metro corridors and is even seeing it along Columbia Pike, where affordable prices and the form-based code are driving and guiding significant redevelopment, connected by bus but not by rail — and only sporadically by trail.

The lingering presence of the garage — and the continued teardowns of older homes to make way for larger single-family homes, just a block or two from the station —  encapsulates how little the East Falls Church Metro-area landscape has changed, despite a plan approved in 2011 to guide future development, the opening of the Silver Line to Tysons and Reston, and the billions invested in the Metrorail system each year.

There is little evidence here of the transit-oriented development, known as “smart growth,” that has borne fruit elsewhere in Arlington, save perhaps a single block of N. Westmoreland Street featuring newer apartment buildings and some hip restaurants, a bookstore and a barre studio. (The block is located between a self-storage facility and a quiet neighborhood of single-family homes, which stands between it and the Metro station.)

After a decade of being focused on other pursuits near the station, like a $2 million bike facility and bus bay expansions, Arlington County and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are taking a second look at the 2011 plan and how it could be updated to encourage transportation and public space improvements. This work is happening as the county wades deeper into an effort to plan future development along Langston Blvd, which runs right by the station.

Ultimately, these planning efforts will still hinge on developers pitching projects.

“There’s got to be an incentive for there to be redevelopment and improvements to the corridor,” says Natasha Alfonso, a county planner. “We’re going to be relying on the private sector to achieve improvements to this corridor… There’s just a lot and the county doesn’t have money to pay for all that.”

Hurdles to redevelopment 

Currently, there are a host of obstacles to transit-oriented development near the station, according to WMATA spokesman Ian Jannetta.

One of the chief reasons he cited is residential zoning.

The plan approved by the Arlington County Board in 2011 only identified two single-family homes — across the street from the “Kiss and Ride” lot — as slated for potential redevelopment, and emphasized that any such efforts would have to be balanced with “preserving and protecting the nearby existing single-family residential areas.”

Still, it faced strong opposition from some community members who said it encouraged too much development.

Two homes across the street from a Metro station parking lot, possibly slated for redevelopment in East Falls Church (via Google Maps)

The final report recommended building heights of three to nine stories tall, with shorter buildings easing the transition to existing residences from taller buildings near I-66 and other locations “where they will have a minimal impact on surrounding single-family areas.” Read More

0 Comments

Arlington County is requesting feedback on partial designs for expanded bus bays and pedestrian safety improvements at the East Falls Church Metro station.

The $6.6 million bus bay expansion project, a capital improvement project approved last year, is part of a handful of near-term upgrades planned at and around the Metro station, the parking lot of which was frequently packed pre-pandemic.

Project and regional transit representatives say the expansion will allow for more regional bus routes without causing traffic jams while making walking from the park-and-ride lot safer. The existing bays currently serve nine Metrobus, Arlington Transit (ART) and Fairfax Connector bus routes.

“The East Falls Church Metrorail station currently has four bus bays that are at maximum capacity,” according to the county. “The project will expand bus bay capacity by adding up to three new bus bays and replacing the existing shelters in the off-street bus loop at the East Falls Church Metrorail station.”

Arlington is leading and sponsoring the project, but Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) owns the Metro station, the bus loop and park-and-ride lot.

The county asks locals to say whether the proposed changes will make them feel safer walking, taking the bus, biking, scooting and driving. The survey, open through Sunday, March 20, includes an interactive map people can use to give location-specific feedback.

 

“What this expansion will allow us to do is get buses in and out of the bus loop more efficiently so we don’t have as much gridlock as we currently do at this time,” WMATA planner André Stafford said in a meeting Tuesday.

It may be awhile before more bus routes are added, county transit planner Paul Mounier said in the same meeting.

The county will install seven new bus shelters and is considering adding a new signal and crosswalk at the Washington Blvd entrance to the park-and-ride lot.

Arlington County staff identified this expansion project back in 2011. Four years later, staff found the biggest needs were increasing the capacity of the bus bays, adding refuges to the 150-foot crosswalk that passes in front of the bus loop, replacing the aging, hazardous cement and adding ramps accessible to people with disabilities.

After the expansion work, Arlington will make streetscape and signal upgrades to N. Sycamore Street, Arlington County project manager Kenex Sevilla said Tuesday. The street forms the eastern edge of the Metro parking lot and bus bays.

Meanwhile, both Arlington and the City of Falls Church are expanding Capital Bikeshare stations nearby. The station was once a popular station to ride to that is still recovering from the pandemic-era hit to commuting. A new $2 million, 92-spot bike facility to accommodate cyclists made its debut in August 2020.

This area is poised to see other development in the future, too. WMATA is studying the site for future transit developments while the Department of Community, Planning and Housing Development is studying it as part of the Plan Langston Blvd initiative. A second entrance to the station was put on hold in 2018.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Runners at Washington-Liberty High School in the mist and fog (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

APS Test-to-Stay Date Set — “Arlington County Public Schools, in Virginia, is planning to launch its test-to-stay program Feb. 14, a school spokesman said. The coronavirus testing will initially be offered to students only, for free, at Syphax Education Center from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on school days.” [WTOP]

Police Probe Particularly Problematic Pothole — “Scanner: Police responding to intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Sycamore Street in East Falls Church for multiple reports of a large pothole damaging passing cars.” [Twitter]

Another Guy Arrested With Gun at DCA — “A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer stopped a West Virginia man from bringing a loaded handgun onto a flight leaving from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) early Tuesday morning, according to a TSA release. The TSA officer detected the .40 caliber gun while searching the Bunker Hill, West Virginia man’s carry-on items at a DCA checkpoint.” [Patch]

ART Performance Is Best in Region — From MetroHero: “Our January 2022 regional bus performance reports are now live! ART: B. DASH: B-. Fairfax Connector: B-. MTA Local Bus: C. Metrobus: C-. Ride On: D+.” [Twitter]

Marymount to Host National Event — “Marymount University has been selected by the Center for Excellence in Education to host the national finals of the 2022 USA Biolympiad, to be held on campus May 28 to June 9. The USA Biolympiad is the nation’s largest cost-free biology-education testing and training program for high-school students in the U.S.” [Sun Gazette]

Photos: Church’s Lunar New Year Celebration — “Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass in honor of the Vietnamese New Year at Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Church in Arlington Jan. 30. Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, is celebrated Feb. 1 this year. Following Mass, Bishop Burbidge blessed a shrine to Our Lady of La Vang in a courtyard outside Holy Martyrs.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]

It’s Groundhog Day — Patchy fog today before 8 a.m. Otherwise, Groundhog Day will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 46. Sunrise at 7:12 a.m. and sunset at 5:31 p.m. Rain likely Thursday, mainly before 1 p.m. Otherwise cloudy, with a high near 56. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

Seafood restaurant Chasin’ Tails is swimming out of Arlington and about a mile down the road to Falls Church, co-owner Au Dang confirms to ARLnow.

The decade-old restaurant that’s inspired by backyard crawfish boils is heading to Founders Row, a new development just over a mile from its current location at 2200 N. Westmoreland Street in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood. The move is expected to happen possibly in June, depending on permits, with the closing and opening of the restaurants happening simultaneously.

The move was first reported by the Falls Church News-Press.

While it’s not a big move distance-wise, Dang says setting up in the new development is a good opportunity for the restaurant.

“We saw an opportunity at up and coming Founders Row,” he says. “It wasn’t anything about the current situation. It’s just an amazing spot in Falls Church.”

The development will actually be home to three restaurants from the same ownership group, Happy Endings Hospitality. Chasin’ Tails will be joined by Roll Play, which currently has a location in Tysons, and Vietnamese restaurant Nue.

All three are different concepts and will have “separate experiences,” Dang notes.

Dang and his co-owners, which includes his brother, aren’t completely leaving Arlington, though. They still own the Happy Eatery food hall in Rosslyn, which opened in late 2019 under the slightly longer and more risque name “Happy Endings Eatery.”

The last decade hasn’t come without its challenges for Louisiana-inspired Chasin’ Tails, but it’s all led to this point of expansion, Dang says.

“We had hard lessons to learn,” he says. “We’ve taken all the knowledge we’ve acclimated to make improvements in interior design and overall branding. This is the best we have to offer.”

Initial funding for Chasin’ Tails came from the $8 million Au and his brother Di won playing poker.

For longtime customers, Dang knows this may be an adjustment but anticipates they make the trip across the border and join them in Falls Church.

“We thank you so much for the support,” he says about the restaurant’s customers. “But we hope they visit us in Falls Church.”

0 Comments
Ruthie’s All-Day (courtesy photo)

Eighteen Arlington restaurants are participating in this winter’s Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week from Jan. 17 to 23.

As in the past, there are usually three different tiers of menu: lunch or brunch, dinner, and a higher tiered dinner menu. More information and most menus are available on the event’s website.

With Covid cases continuing to break records, many local establishments are offering their restaurant week menus for take-out and delivery, in addition to dine-in options.

The Arlington restaurants listed as participants are below, sorted by neighborhood.

Arlington Heights

Ballston

  • Rustico is offering a three-course, $40 dinner menu, along with cocktail and wine pairings. There’s also take-out and outdoor dining available.
  • SER Restaurant is offering a three-course, $25 lunch menu and a $40, three-course dinner menu with $15 wine pairings.
  • The Melting Pot is offering a three-course lunch menu for $25 and a three-course dinner menu for $40 per person. For an extra $5, get chocolate fondue.
  • The Salt Line in Ballston, which opened in October, is offering a two-course lunch menu for $25 and a three-course dinner menu for $40. The heated outdoor patio space is available for dining.

Clarendon

  • Spice Kraft Indian Bistro is offering special Pongal Festival menus, a five-course vegetarian meal for two for $45 and a non-vegetarian meal for two for $55. There’s also special wine and cocktail pairings. The menus are available for take-out and delivery.
  • TTT Clarendon is offering a lunch for $25 that comes with a protein, two sides, and a dessert and a dinner for $40 that comes with all of that plus a margarita.
  • Ambar, known for Balkan cuisine, has an “unlimited plates” lunch option for $25 and a dine-in option for $55. Plus, a take-out option for two for $60 or, add in a bottle of wine, and get it for $70.

Crystal City

  • Crystal City Sports Pub, which narrowly avoided a fire last month, is doing a three-course menu priced at $40 for one or $70 for two people. There is outdoor seating and the menu is available for take-out.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s on notes it is participating, including with take-out options, but no menu has been posted as of publication.

East Falls Church

Pentagon City

  • Matchbox is offering a $40, three-course dinner and outdoor seating remains available.
  • Epic Smokehouse on S. Fern Street is offering a $55, three-course dinner with wine and cocktail pairings.

Shirlington

  • Big Buns in Shirlington (as well as its location in Ballston) is offering $25 lunch and $40 dinner menus, all available for dine-in, take-out, and delivery.
0 Comments

Morning Notes

Crew boats in the Potomac River at twilight near Rosslyn (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Homes Coming to Large N. Arlington Property — “The Febrey-Lothrop estate in the county’s Dominion Hills neighborhood, located at 6407 Wilson Blvd. not far from the Fairfax County line, will soon see work begin on nine two-story homes, according to county permit records. The permit applications were filed last month by the property’s new owner: KLTOLL AIV LLC, a company controlled by New York-based Kennedy Lewis Investment Management…. Elise Cleva, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, noted in an email the plans aren’t set in stone and ‘could change at any point if the owners decide not to construct all nine or if any issues prevent them from constructing the intended number of houses.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Demolition of 19th Century Home — “The circa-1889 Fellows-McGrath House in East Falls Church was being demolished [Monday], making way for a new home or homes. Photo courtesy of Charlie Clark.” [Twitter]

Bomb Squad Response in Courthouse — From yesterday afternoon: “There’s a suspicious package response on the 1300 blk of N. Courthouse Road, a block from the county government and police headquarters. Police requested the bomb squad respond to the location around 10:15 a.m., per ACPD. Sounds like the closed roads will reopen soon.” [Twitter]

Police: Drunk, Armed Man Arrested in Rosslyn — “N. Lynn Street at Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:08 a.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of a male asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle. Upon arrival, officers located the running vehicle, made contact with the sole occupant who was in the driver’s seat and observed a firearm in plain view on the passenger’s seat… During a search of the vehicle prior to towing, ammunition was recovered. [The suspect], 45, of Accokeek, MD, was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, Refusal of Breath/Blood Test and Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm.” [ACPD]

Tucker Carlson Interrupts Dems at Meeting — “The Dec. 1 Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting was held in person, but also broadcast online via YouTube for those unable to attend. Technological gremlins… were in evidence. The meeting began about 15 minutes past its scheduled 7 p.m. start time when the YouTube connection proved unstable. Far worse, indeed horrific, from a Democratic point of view: Midway through the meeting, the screen that was used for PowerPoint presentations at the meeting suddenly started serving up the sounds of… Tucker Carlson on FOX News.” [Sun Gazette]

Wakefield Football Coach Steps Down — “Wayne Hogwood’s successful nine-year tenure the winningest head coach in the history of the Wakefield High School football program has come to an end. Hogwood stepped down in recent days because of family matters. He has three young children who are heavily involved in multiple youth sports, and Hogwood wants to spend time for the next couple of years, or so, being involved with watching them play during the fall and helping his wife transporting the three to games and practices.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Cold weather is back and snow is on the horizon. Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 41. Sunrise at 7:14 a.m. and sunset at 4:45 p.m. Tomorrow there is a slight chance of rain, snow, and sleet before 7am, then rain and snow likely between 7am and 4pm, then snow likely after 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

(Updated on 11/22/21) The way has been cleared for the demolition of a home built in 1889, near the East Falls Church Metro station.

The Fellows-McGrath House, located at 6404 Washington Blvd and profiled in the Falls Church News-Press earlier this year by local historian Charlie Clark, was home to Harry Andrew Fellows. Fellows was Mayor of Falls Church and in 1932 became the first chairman of the newly formed Arlington County Board. The home was later a bed and breakfast known as “Memory House,” according to a real estate listing.

There is also a 130-year-old chestnut tree on the site that may be destroyed in the redevelopment now that demolition permits have been approved for the site.

Earlier this year, Clark reported that the home was purchased by Manassas-based FNM Investments LLC for $1.1 million and determined to be “uninhabitable.”

A demolition permit has since been filed and approved for the property. A county spokeswoman said such permits for private homes are outside of the discretion of the County Board.

“On August 18, the County approved a Land Disturbing Activity (LDA) permit for the Fellows-McGrath House… and on September 3, the County approved a demolition permit,” said Erika Moore, communications specialist for Arlington County. “Both LDA and Demolition permits are approved administratively. Neither the County Board nor the County Manager has authority to stop their issuance when all requirements are satisfied.”

Like the Febrey-Lothrop estate, which was demolished earlier this year, the Fellows-McGrath House’s run-down state makes the land it sits on more valuable to developers than the house itself.

“Manassas realtor Masum Kahn, who bought the house after eight months on the market to build modern homes, has not set a demolition schedule,” Clark reported in September. “Though he would consider selling ‘for the right price.'”

Local preservationist Tom Dickinson, after an unsuccessful bid to save the Febrey-Lothrop, launched a similarly doomed effort to save the Fellows-McGrath House.

“This sad situation about the subject property only serves to reinforce the fact that the County Manager and County Board could not care less about preserving and conserving unique, significant historic homes and property in Arlington,” Dickinson said. “Unlike our neighboring jurisdictions in Alexandria and Fairfax, Arlington is completely oblivious to the civic, community, and even economic value tied to historic properties… [it’s] another sad and unjustified loss to the entire community to see a magnificent, totally restored, unique 1889 Victorian crushed and bits and pieces hauled to a landfill.”

Dickinson said he filed an application with the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board to designate the property as historic, but the application was tabled — and the fate of the house was likely already sealed given that the owner had already filed for a demolition permit.

Now, Dickinson said he is advocating for changing state laws so that Arlington County’s historic designation process no longer needs to race against its own administrative permit approval process.

“We are working to amend state laws in order to eliminate this Catch-22 that was also the death knell for the late, lamented Febrey Lothrop Rouse estate,” Dickinson said. “If passed, this amendment would prohibit the issuance of a demolition permit for any property under review for local historic district designation.”

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Fundraiser for Man Killed in Crash — An online fundraiser for Stevan Zikic, the 26-year-old Alexandria man killed when he collided with a school bus while riding a motorcycle in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood, has raised nearly $35,000 for “overseas transportation and funeral costs.” [GoFundMe]

County Board Approved Pike Plan — “The County Board voted 5 to 0 to approve zoning updates that will help realize the vision of Columbia Pike as a walkable ‘Main Street’ by providing greater flexibility for commercial, office, light industrial, and agricultural uses–including animal boarding and craft beverage production — on ground floors along the Pike.” [Arlington County]

Public Art Plan OKed — “The Arlington County Board voted 5 to 0 today” — despite some last-minute opposition — “to approve an update to the Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) that will better serve placemaking efforts and improve the quality of public spaces around the County. The update, which is part of the County’s overall Comprehensive Plan, details the vision and guiding principles of public art in Arlington and sets priorities and themes centered around goals to integrate, expand, connect and engage through public art installations around the County.” [Arlington County]

Unhoused Taking Up Residence Under Bridge — “Eight months after the W&OD bicycle-pedestrian bridge opened at the Arlington-Falls Church border, members of our homeless population have gravitated there… I’m told by Kurt Larrick, assistant director of the Human Services Department. ‘Our outreach teams,’ which include PathForward volunteers, ‘are making regular visits.’ On Oct. 15, they spoke to two men sleeping at the base of a footing for the bridge. They didn’t seem interested in services now but agreed to discuss the possibility when reminded of the location’s vulnerabilities.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Beyer ‘Falling Short’ in Fundraising — “Let’s say you’re independently wealthy, well-regarded by most constituents (even from the opposition party) and occupy a district so reliably Democratic that the only way an incumbent could possibly lose the seat is via a scandal… What would you be doing? If you were U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), you’d still be asking supporters to send you money.” [Sun Gazette]

Two Men Beaten in Crystal City Area — “Victim One was inside the business in line at the register behind the suspect, when the suspect allegedly turned around, struck him in the face, exited the business and verbally threatened him from outside. A short while later, Victim Two attempted to enter the business when the suspect, who was still standing outside, allegedly struck the victim in the back of the head with a blunt object before fleeing the scene on foot. Arriving officers located Victim Two outside of the business with a large laceration on the back of his head and administered aid until medics arrived on scene.” [ACPD]

Here Comes the Flu — From Virginia Hospital Center ER chief Mike Silverman’s latest social media post: “Our COVID isolation numbers in the ED have been pretty stable over the last 3 weeks. We’re better than a month ago but we continue to have a steady number of patients who require our COVID isolation protocol. Hospital wide, our inpatient census is up a touch from last week and our overall percent positive rate for the hospital is also up a bit. We are starting to see just a sprinkling of flu cases over the last month. It’s not too late to get your flu shot.” [Facebook]

It’s Monday — Today will be breezy and mostly sunny, with a high near 51. West wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Sunrise at 6:51 a.m. and sunset at 4:54 p.m. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny, with a high near 53.

0 Comments

A busy street in the East Falls Church neighborhood is slated to get safer crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.

Arlington County has selected N. Sycamore Street between Langston Blvd and 19th Street N. — near the East Falls Church Metro station and not far from the W&OD Trail — as site of a new Complete Streets project. This segment “presents intersection crossing challenges for bicyclists and pedestrians,” according to the project webpage.

The intersection of N. Sycamore Street and Washington Blvd, within the project’s boundaries, was the site of a fatal crash last Wednesday. Prior to the crash, the street segment has seen one serious collision between 2013 and this summer: one with severe injuries in 2019, according to Arlington County crash data.

The webpage for the project went live two weeks ago, says Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien. County staff will soon solicit public feedback that will be used to develop a concept plan.

“Existing Conditions Feedback will kick off later in November,” O’Brien said. “This feedback, along with other data and planning guidance, will help staff formulate a concept design. Once staff have developed a community-informed concept, that concept will be shared for additional public feedback.”

The boundaries of the new N. Sycamore Street Complete Streets project (via Arlington County)

Funding for changes to N. Sycamore Street, first identified as having a need for safety upgrades in 2011, was included in the 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan adopted this summer. It’s been a long road to get the project on the schedule, however.

Staff developed preliminary plans in 2015 and, in 2016, twice applied unsuccessfully for transportation grants for the 2018 fiscal year, O’Brien said.

In 2017, the county successfully applied for and received $250,000 in Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing funds for the 2020 fiscal year. Then, the pandemic hit.

“This project was deferred as part of the FY 2021 CIP, due to revenue constraints because of COVID,” she said.

Since 2011, staff have studied the street twice and have some hypothetical designs on hand as a result.

In 2015, the county received a grant to study ways to improve pedestrian and cycling access to the East Falls Church Metro station, once a popular station to ride to that is still recovering from the pandemic-era hit to commuting. A new $2 million, 92-spot bike facility to accommodate cyclists made its debut in August 2020.

Four years later, the county received a grant to study a gap in the W&OD Trail, where trail users are routed through Benjamin Banneker Park and residential streets.

The gap in the W&OD Trail in East Falls Church (via NOVA Parks)

Improved crossings at 19th Street N. could be an interim solution to the gap, according to the project page.

Although this transportation project’s scope is bound by 19th Street N. and Langston Blvd, eventually, the county envisions improved bicycle amenities further up and down N. Sycamore Street.

“The 2019 adopted Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan recommends N. Sycamore Street as an enhanced bicycle facility between Williamsburg Blvd and the East Falls Church line,” the project page says.

Arlington will be coordinating the project with planned stormwater improvements to Crossman Run as well as a project to add bus bays and improve bus circulation at the nearby Metro station.

The project is funded with a mix of Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, local and state funding, plus bond funds.

Hat tip to Stephen Repetski

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list