(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) The industrial stretch of Four Mile Run Drive near Shirlington could one day house more arts or recreational facilities. Or at least, that’s what some local residents have asked for.
Last June, Arlington County began holding public working groups for its Four Mile Run Valley initiative. The goal of those working groups has been to gather ideas from the public to “help guide public and private investment in the area over the long term,” according to the county.
The Four Mile Run Valley area as defined includes Four Mile Run Drive, the Nauck Town Square area, Shirlington Road, Shirlington Park, Jennie Dean Park and Nelson Street. Many of the businesses along Four Mile Run Drive are car-oriented: body shops, towing lots, service centers, gas stations, car washes and the Virginia DMV office, which was set to reopen this week following renovations.
So far, members of the public have asked for additional pedestrian crossings and bridges, more access for cyclists and an “arts walk” with public art and studio, theater or rehearsal and “maker” spaces. Meeting attendees have asked the county to preserve the area’s industrial character, citing Yaletown in downtown Vancouver, Canada as an example. There has also been discussion of designated artist housing.
Other requests include upgrades for nearby dog parks (including the heavily-used Shirlington dog park), an indoor “field house” sport facility for local little league baseball teams and the construction of a multi-use activity center for cultural, art, recreation and community events.
How all of these improvements might look, however, is still up in the air. The plan is currently in its “very early stages,” according to Chikwe Njoku, the county staffer leading the project.
“We’re in the process of taking that information and developing concepts and alternatives,” said Njoku. “We’re not at a point where we’re ready to make a recommendation on what that might look like.”
Arlington County will continue to hold about two working groups a month throughout the year, Njoku said. Next month, officials will begin to share designs and ideas.
The next working group meeting is scheduled to be held at the Parks and Natural Resources Operations Building at 2700 S Taylor St. next Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Photos via Arlington County’s Four Mile Run Valley Dec. 6 presentation
Walkers, joggers and cyclists soon will have to take a detour on the Four Mile Run Trail as Arlington County works to revitalize the path and the stream that borders it.
Work on the Arlington side of Four Mile Run between Mt. Vernon Avenue and Route 1 tentatively is scheduled to begin tomorrow (Sept. 20) and last until next fall, according to a county notice. During construction, the path in that area will close.
Trail users can take a detour through Alexandria across the stream. Signage on the path will provide directions.
The pathway will get new asphalt and railings, as well as a new observation platform. As for the stream, the county’s notice adds:
The work in the stream will include naturalization of the stream bank and construction of living shoreline features along the edge of the stream. Living shorelines are a more environmentally sensitive way to protect stream banks and coastal areas, with wetland plantings behind small stone breakwaters. They provide numerous benefits including:
- reducing erosion along the bank,
- improving water quality by capturing sediment and utilizing nutrients, and
- providing habitat for fish and waterfowl.
The existing stone rip rap that currently covers the stream banks will be removed and replaced with native vegetation that will improve the habitat quality and aesthetics of the stream channel. Some of the stone will also be reused to create the living shoreline features.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the restoration project is slated for Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m. near Mt. Vernon Avenue and S. Glebe Road.
On Thursday, a local mother wrote to a local email listserv to warn about meatballs her dog scarfed up along Four Mile Run in Bluemont Park. The meatballs, she said, contained what her vet thought was rat poison. (The vet was able to quickly induce vomiting and the dog is expected to be okay.)
The story quickly made its way around other local listservs and attracted the attention of Fox 5, which interviewed the dog owner.
“For me, it’s a sick psychopath or something like that,” Natascha Weber told Fox 5’s Lauren DeMarco. “I have no idea why somebody would do something like that.”
AWLA is testing the meatballs, the organization’s COO, Susan Sherman, told ARLnow.com Friday.
“We received a call [Thursday] afternoon from a resident who thinks her dog may have ingested poisoned meat while they were walking in Bluemont Park at the intersection of Four Mile Run trail, near the stream,” Sherman said. “The dog owner gathered some of the meat and kept it refrigerated. We are picking up the sample now and will send it to a lab for testing.”
As of Tuesday morning, Sherman said the testing was still in progress and it will likely be a week before we know what exactly was in the meat.
The original listserv email is below.
My daughter and I were walking our dogs today at Four Mile Run/Bluemont Park in Arlington, because we like the paths next to the stream. On our way back to the car, the dogs were wading in the water and when they got out, Yoko found something to eat. I wasn’t able to pull her away fast enough so she ate a good amount. I took a closer look and discovered more than 10 poison baits right next to the stream on and between the rocks (raw ground beef meatballs, mixed with all kind of pills, pellets and grain). Obviously we got her back to our car as fast as possible and went to the animal hospital straight away.
The vet made her vomit and since it was only 15-20 minutes between eating the stuff and the treatment in the hospital, she was confident, that she got everything out of Yoko’s stomach. The vet is 99% sure that it’s rat poison. We reported everything to Animal Control/Animal Welfare in Arlington, got back to Bluemont Park and collected the rest of the toxic baits…
I am absolutely shocked about this incident and hope that Yoko will recover completely. And of course I hope that no other dog was harmed by this crime of a maniac. So please (!!!) watch out when you are walking your dog(s) in that area but I guess, that can happen everywhere.
If you have an idea what else we could do (besides reporting it to Animal Control), I’d appreciate any advice. I know it’s unlikely to find this criminal but I am ready to do everything to increase the chances.
Volunteers with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) will help pick up trash from the stream during the organization’s annual cleanup at Barcroft Park on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Those who sign up for the event will be tasked with removing debris from Barcroft Park and along the banks of Four Mile Run.
The cleanup is being held in conjunction with Clean Virginia Waterways Day and the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. As part of its collaborative efforts, ACE will collect data on the garbage its volunteers remove from the stream.
“We will submit the data to both groups to contribute to an understanding of how litter is impacting our waterways and the wildlife that depends on our waterways,” said Elenor Hodges, executive director at ACE.
Those interested in helping out should bring along sturdy shoes they don’t mind getting wet, work gloves and a water bottle and wear long pants and sleeves to protect against poison ivy, Hodges said.
Courthouse, Columbia Pike Developments Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a 90-unit condominium building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse. The Board voted 4-1, with John Vihstadt voting against, after hearing objections from residents of the nearby Odyssey condo tower. Also on Saturday, the Board unanimously approved a 105-unit condo building on the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Plans Filed for New Affordable Complex in Rosslyn — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing has filed preliminary plans to redevelop the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex into a new, 12-story, 250-unit affordable apartment building, with underground parking and a 9,000 square foot public park and playground. The redevelopment was included in 2015’s Western Rosslyn Area Plan, or WRAP. [Washington Business Journal]
Woodlawn Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $616,000 contract for improvements to Woodlawn Park in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. The improvements to the 3.2 acre park includes “replacing the playground equipment, updating the trails and better protecting Lubber Run stream.” [Arlington County]
Couple Gets Engaged at Local Event — A San Antonio, Texas couple got engaged at Friday night’s Wine in the Waterpark event in Crystal City. [Twitter]
Stream Restoration Project OKed — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.5 million contract to restore the lower portion of the Four Mile Run stream. Work on the project, which has been in the works since 2000, is expected to begin later this summer and may result in some trail detours over the course of a year. [Arlington County]
First Day of Summer Today — Today is the first day of astronomical summer, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. [Capital Weather Gang]
Leadership Arlington to Run Volunteer Arlington — The nonprofit group Leadership Arlington will be taking over the administration of Volunteer Arlington from Arlington County. Leadership Arlington won the contract in a competitive bidding process. Volunteer Arlington is “the County’s clearinghouse for volunteerism, matching volunteers with non-profits and government programs that rely on volunteers in carrying out their work.” [Arlington County]
The Arlington County Board has approved the redevelopment of the Berkeley Apartments near Four Mile Run.
The Berkeley, located at 2910 S. Glebe Road near the Arlington-Alexandria border, currently contains 137 apartments in two four-story buildings. Of those, 110 are committed affordable.
The redevelopment will replace them with two five-story buildings containing 257 apartments, 155 of which are committed affordable. One hundred forty units will be family sized, containing two or more bedrooms.
“This project will add high-quality housing — both market rate and committed affordable — to Four Mile Run,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey, in a press release. “Two older apartment buildings will be replaced, and we will gain a total of 45 affordable units — most of them big enough for families.”
The project’s developer, AHC Inc., will file an application with the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund to help finance the redevelopment. During the financial underwriting process, AHC is hoping to increase the number of committed affordable units from 70 percent to 80 percent.
AHC also committed to achieving Earthcraft Gold green building certification, ensuring that the buildings meet Energy Star requirements. Community benefits of the project include a widening of the Four Mile Run trail from 8 to 12 feet and a $75,000 public art contribution.
The project was met with resistance from the Arlington Ridge Civic Association, which expressed concerns about the size of the new buildings.
Some building residents also expressed concerns a condition imposed by county staff that the property’s fence that runs along the Four Mile Mile Run trail be removed. The fence helps to improve the building’s security, residents said. County staff and others said the fence does not comply with the Four Mile Run Master Plan.
“The proposed fence would completely undercut that effort, and send a message to both Berkeley residents and others that Four Mile Run is a scary place to be avoided,” said Liz Birnbaum of the Four Mile Run Joint Task Force. “Just as we are beginning to achieve the Master Plan vision of an inviting, accessible Four Mile Run, the fence proposal denies that possibility.”
Ultimately, staff softened the language of the condition, instead requiring that the fence be removed no later than Dec. 31, 2026.
“The proposed change ensures that there will not be a continuous fence along the entire frontage of the Four Mile Run Trail and provides a date certain for removing the fence, while addressing the the applicant’s concerns related to safety and security in the near term,” staff wrote, noting that AHC preferred to keep the fence in place.
Times Lauds Crystal City’s ‘Reboot’ — Arlington’s Crystal City community is “is quietly and persistently reinventing itself,” with tech startups and co-working spaces moving in and taking advantage of office space left vacant by departed federal and military tenants. Crystal City stakeholders are positioning it as a less expensive but still amenity-filled alternative to the District. “Think Brooklyn and Manhattan,” said Mitchell Schear, president of property owner Vornado/Charles E. Smith. [New York Times]
Ballston Named One of the Area’s ‘Hottest Neighborhoods’ — Ballston is among the top 5 “hottest neighborhoods in Washington,” according to Washingtonian. The magazine notes that Ballston’s median home price rose by nearby 10 percent last year, and that the forthcoming renovation of Ballston Common Mall will convert it into “an airy, downtown-like destination, akin to Fairfax’s Mosaic district.” The other four hot neighborhoods are Mount Pleasant, Trinidad, Shaw and Hyattsville. [Washingtonian]
Archaeological Dig Unearths History — An Arlington County-supervised archaeological dig at Dawson Terrace, near Rosslyn, has unearthed “243 ceramic objects, 1,603 glass objects, 74 metal objects and 13 others.” Most of the objects are believed to be from the 18th and 19th centuries. Dawson Terrace is Arlington’s oldest stone house, dating back to around the Revolutionary War. [Falls Church News-Press]
County Recognizes ‘Notable Trees’ — At yesterday’s Arlington County Board meeting, the county recognized this year’s batch of “notable trees.” Among the record 23 trees bestowed the honor for “their importance to our community, our environment and our sense of identity” was a Southern magnolia in Clarendon, planted in 1965 in honor of a fallen firefighter. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Four Mile Run Initiative Advances — The County Board yesterday appointed a working group, charged with “providing advice, guidance and feedback to the Board and County staff on developing a comprehensive vision for Four Mile Run Valley.” The 95 acre area between Shirlington and Nauck, also known as Shirlington Crescent, is currently home to various light industrial businesses but may be ripe for redevelopment. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
The incident happened around 11 p.m., on the trail between Shirlington and Glebe Road.
A man was reported to have been stabbed in the thigh but only suffered “minor injuries,” according to police. He was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital, according to a fire department spokeswoman.
One person has been taken into custody in connection to the apparent stabbing, said Arlington County Police spokesman Ashley Savage.
The incident stemmed “from an argument between two subjects who appear to be highly intoxicated,” said Savage.
Update at 11 a.m. Wednesday — Pumpkin Pie was found last night after authorities were able to act on a tip quickly enough to catch her near an apartment building in south Arlington.
Harry Puente-Duany thanked the ARLnow.com readers for their support and help in finding Pumpkin Pie so quickly after this article was published. He said except for some scrapes and her being a bit underweight, Pumpkin Pie is healthy and safe at home.
Earlier: An Arlington resident is asking the community to keep their eyes out for his dog, which went missing more than a week ago.
Pumpkin Pie is a seven-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix who ran away from her home near Virginia Square last Sunday evening, Dec. 6. She has a white and light brown coat and is described as very timid.
According to her owner, Harry Puente-Duany, Pumpkin Pie was first spotted north of his home toward Lee Highway and Old Dominion Drive on the night she ran away. Since then, sightings have been reported in parts of South Arlington.
Most recently, Pumpkin Pie was seen on Sunday afternoon in Claremont near the Four Mile Run Trail.
“We’re kind of stuck right now praying for another lead,” Puente-Duany said. “She’s on the move, but we don’t know where she’s headed.”
Puente-Duany rescued Pumpkin Pie about five years ago from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington shelter. He added she can be finicky and very afraid of people because her previous owner treated her poorly.
Despite his dog being missing for several days, Puente-Duany is staying optimistic.
“The fact that we’ve continued to have sightings has helped me to remain hopeful,” he said. “It makes be believe she’s still out there, on the move and safe, for the most part. She could be going anywhere next, but I’m trying to continue to keep the faith.”
Puente-Duany said all the sightings so far have been reports of Pumpkin Pie running down a street or through wooded areas, suggesting she’s scared and spending most of her time running away or hiding out of sight.
He asks that anyone who sees Pumpkin Pie doesn’t chase her or call after her, or risk scaring her more or encouraging to run further away.
“If possible, give us a call and try to keep an eye on her,” he added. “People have been very active doing that so far, but it’s been hard to keep track of her. I’m still amazed by the amount of support from people in Arlington, giving me suggestions and letting me know they’re on the lookout. It’s been so encouraging.”
If anyone sees Pumpkin Pie, they can call Puente-Duany at 301-467-0433 or Animal Control at 703-931-9241.
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A man has been badly injured after jumping off a bridge while running from Arlington County police.
The incident happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday on Shirlington Road, between the Shirlington and Nauck neighborhoods
The man was pulled over after being spotted driving recklessly on I-395, weaving in and out of traffic and driving on the shoulder at an excess rate of speed, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. He exited the highway at Shirlington and pulled into an Exxon parking lot.
After stopping the car, the man got out and started running, shouting that officers would have to shoot him to stop him, Sternbeck said. While fleeing he jumped from the Shirlington Road bridge over Four Mile Run and fell onto rocks some 20 feet below.
The man was still breathing but was bleeding profusely from a “severe head injury” in which brain matter could be seen, according to scanner reports. He was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University hospital.
The car the man was driving was reported to be a rental car. Police say he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
No word yet on the man’s identity, but police said he is 37 years old and from Fort Washington, Maryland. He’s currently listed in critical condition, clinging to life but unresponsive, we hear.
The Shirlington Road bridge was closed in both directions for a period of time while investigators documented the scene.
More nighttime road work is coming to portions of South Arlington, starting Sunday.
The county will be milling and paving part of Columbia Pike, between Washington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive, and S. Four Mile Run Drive, between S. George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike. Both roads were on the county’s paving schedule this year.
For the most part, paving on Columbia Pike will take place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. in order to minimize traffic disruptions, according to the county’s notice. Road work is expected to start Sunday, Oct. 25 and is planned to last about a week, depending on the weather, said county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.
The paving on S. Four Mile Run will take place during the day depending on the weather. Milling on the road started yesterday, and work is expected to last a week, Baxter said.
Drivers will not be allowed to park their cars on the street while the roads are being milled and paved, mostly affecting residents living in the apartment complexes on S. Four Mile Run Drive.
Some Crystal City apartment dwellers complained of loud noises from road work in the area earlier this month, saying the ruckus made it hard to sleep.
An assortment of pipes, wrenches, wheels and pink balls have been attached to the fence separating the Four Mile Run trail from the county’s sewage plant.
These items are part of an art installation by Dutch artist Tejo Remy and his design partner Rene Veenhuizen, who are known for their use of everyday objects to create works of art. The installation, which runs along the fence of the Water Pollution Control Plant on the 3400 block of S. Glebe Road, was completed in the middle of September, said Jim Byers, a spokesman for Arlington Cultural Affairs.
The display runs the length of the sewage plant, transitioning from a sea of pink balls and flat, blue objects to orange wheels and then a series of neon green wrenches and baby blue pipes. The piece starts with a lone pink ball.
“Remy and Veenhuizen’s design ethos stems from a strong industrial design background and building awareness about our connection to the environment,” Arlington Public Arts said in a press release. “Their innovative concept consists of more than 800 linear feet of brightly colored ‘widgets’ that reference the importance of microorganisms in the plant’s treatment processes and shaped fence panels overlaid on the existing fence to create a moiré effect reflecting the movement of water.”
The artwork is part of series of restorations and enhancements being made to the Four Mile Run area, which include work on bike trails and a new pedestrian-cyclist bridge. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held once all projects are complete, Byers said.
The County Board approved the project in 2012, and $350,000 was allotted for the fence display, which included a $30,000 contingency fund. The project has stayed within that budget, Byers said
“Funding for this Contract is included in the approved $568 million budget for the Master Plan 2001 upgrade and expansion project at the Department of Environmental Services Water Pollution Control Plant,” he said. “The total cost of the fence enhancement project is 0.061 percent of the total of the upgrade and expansion project at the Department of Environmental Services Water Pollution Control Plant.”
The temporary housing of buses is one of the topics on the agenda for a Sept. 1 community meeting, said county spokeswoman Catherine Matthews. The meeting will also discuss street parking, the upcoming Shirlington Crescent-Four Mile Run planning study and Jennie Dean Park.
“The meeting on September 1 (with residents from Nauck, Shirlington and Fairlington) will really just be to communicate about and implement some community planning efforts and address some outstanding neighborhood concerns,” Matthews said in an email.
County officials will attend the meeting to answer questions about any of the agenda items, Matthews said.
Buses will be housed at LaPorte property until 2017, when the new facility at the corner of S. Eads and 32nd Streets is expected to be finished, she said.
“In terms of parking buses here, the County does not foresee any major changes or delays to existing traffic patterns. All of our ART buses are CNG (compressed natural gas) powered and run on natural gas, making these buses cleaner and quieter in operation,” Matthews said.
Construction to build the new ART facility begins Sept. 9 and is expected to last 18 months, according to the project’s website. The new two-story facility will have spaces for bus maintenance, bus washing, a gas station and parking.
The meeting will also discuss planning efforts for the Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Crescent-Four Mile Run area. Both projects are in preplanning phases, Matthews said.
The Shirlington Crescent-Four Mile Run Planning Study is planned for 2015, according to the project’s website, and will look at the land use in the area.
“The goal will be to develop a vision and long-term planning guidance for the area, which includes primary industrially zoned properties,” Matthews said in an email. “We will be examining potential land use changes, transportation improvements; and environmental issues, given the proximity of the Four Mile stream.”
At the same time, the county will also be creating a master plan for Jennie Dean Park, but the project is still in the early stages, she said.
County Board member Libby Garvey and other cyclists will brave the heat on Saturday, riding up to 100 miles as part of the second Annual Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride.
The cyclists will bike on the W&OD Trail from Arlington to Purcellville and back, a 90-mile trek. For riders wanting to do a true century, they can continue to cycle to Roosevelt Memorial Bridge after returning to Arlington.
Cyclists can also shorten the ride by turning around in Reston at the 15-mile mark to make it a 30-mile ride, or in Leesburg, Virginia, at the 30-mile mark to make it a 60-mile ride.
It’s an easy ride, making it a great ride for a family, Garvey said.
“This ride is the perfect way to remember Kennan and to continue the good influence he had on so many people during his life,” Garvey said.
Garvey, herself, is planning to ride out to Purcellville, but is not planning to turn around and head back to Arlington. She and her husband previously rode to Purcellville on a tandem bike, she said.
The ride is also known as the Sizzling Suburban Century because of August’s heat, Garvey said, while promoting the event at County Board meetings. National Weather Service is predicting a high of 91 degrees on Saturday.
Garvey started the bike ride last year in honor of her husband, Kennan, who died of a heart attack in 2008. He was 56 years old.
“The ride means a lot to me and Kennan’s family and friends,” Garvey said. “Kennan commuted by bike to his job at EPA since the early ’80’s. He loved cycling, loved to help people and loved to get young people interested in bicycles.”
The ride has an entry fee of $25, and participants are encouraged to raise $500 for the Kennan Garvey Memorial Fund. All participants will get a boxed lunch and t-shirt as part of the ride. Those who meet the fundraising goal of $500 will also receive a Phoenix Bikes jersey.
The ride benefits Phoenix Bikes’ Capital Campaign, with proceeds going toward helping the nonprofit fund a new building, now possibly in the area of Columbia Pike. The shop had previously looked at a spot at Walter Reed Drive and W&OD Trail, but that faced some community opposition.
Kennan had wanted to volunteer with Phoenix Bikes after retiring.
“Phoenix Bikes is a wonderful little organization,” Garvey said. ” They just do incredible things. And once they get a building, they’ll be able to take off.”
Photo courtesy of Libby Garvey
Advisory Board Considering Vacant Rosslyn Tower — The D.C.-based Advisory Board Company is considering a move to Arlington — specifically, to the vacant 1812 N. Moore Street office tower in Rosslyn. The tower is the tallest building in Arlington and has remained without a tenant since it was completed two years ago. Arlington and Virginia officials are facing off with D.C. officials in an effort to woo the $2.4 billion company. [Washington Post]
Sewage Spills in Arlington — Two separate sewage spills were reported in Arlington this weekend. On Saturday, the county alerted residents that a broken sewage pipe had released sewage into Donaldson Run. On Sunday, the county warned of a raw sewage release in Four Mile Run, near the 700 block of Arlington Mill Drive. Residents should avoid Four Mile Run from the site of the spill to the Potomac, the county said. [WTOP]
GGW: County Must Seek Transit Consensus — As Arlington begins to chart a course for its next generation of smart growth, one pro-transit writer says the county should do a better job of seeking support for its future transit investments. “As we recently learned from the fallout over the streetcar, broad-based support has to be a top priority for any project,” writes Dennis Jaffe. “If it’s not there, sustainable transportation projects won’t be so sustainable.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman