Armed with some federal funding, Arlington County plans to stem stormwater runoff with native plantings and fix leaky sewer pipes that serve thousands of people.
On Saturday, the Arlington County Board accepted a $2.25 million federal grant to be split evenly among three planned projects. These projects, expected to cost some $6 million in total, are intended to reduce runoff into streets and streams, filter pollutants from local streams, and rehabilitate sewer pipes needing serious repairs.
(Sewer pipes experience infiltration and inflow when excess water flows in from sources such as stormwater drains and leaky pipes.)
A $750,000 portion of the grant will fund plans to add more native plantings along part of the Gulf Branch stream, near Gulf Branch Nature Center, and to build rain gardens where S. Walter Reed Drive intersects with 6th and 9th Streets S. The projects, aimed at reducing runoff and filtering pollutants from streams and streets, are expected to cost $1 million overall.
The rain gardens on S. Walter Reed Drive will be planted when Arlington makes transportation upgrades on the major road, including upgraded bike lanes and pedestrian crossings.
Another $1.5 million will be split between two sewer rehabilitation projects, expected to cost $5 million overall.
First up is a $2.8 million project to rehabilitate a 5,876-foot section of a 30-inch sanitary sewer between Arlington Blvd and Columbia Pike, serving all of East Falls Church and parts of Falls Church and Fairfax County.
Three years ago, inspectors found many leaking joints in the now-48-year-old sewer, which runs through the Four Mile Run stream valley. These leaks cause groundwater and stormwater to seep into the pipe, contributing to high bacteria levels in Four Mile Run, according to the report.
That also generates wastewater and increases chemical and energy costs at the Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plant downstream, the report said.
The county also proposes to rehabilitate a 2,906-foot section of a large pipe in Rosslyn that the report says “zig-zag[s] between high-rise buildings and through underground parking garages” between N. Lynn Street and the interchange at Arlington Blvd and Richmond Hwy.
“The sewer was inspected in 2016 and many sections were deemed to require immediate rehabilitation due to structural deficiencies which allow for significant infiltration and inflow and could lead to structural failure,” it says, noting this would also generate more wastewater and higher chemical and energy costs at the wastewater facility.
For both sewers, the county first proposes cleaning the pipes. Then, to prevent leaks, a resin liner would be forced against the walls of the pipes, effectively creating a “new pipe encased within the old sanitary sewer,” per the report.
“Impacts such as travel lane closures, trail and sidewalk detours, bus stop relocations, etc. will be communicated in advance to the public following award of the construction contract, as equipment staging and sewer bypass layouts won’t be determined until then,” it continues.
The grants come from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development at the request of Rep. Don Beyer, as part of a 2023 spending bill Congress approved last December. The funding applies to expenses through Aug. 31, 2031 and no local match is required.
Arlington has ranked among the 15 most “eco-forward cities and towns” in the nation.
Specifically, Arlington is No. 5, behind No. 1 Somerville, Mass. and No. 3 Jersey City, N.J. (The latter being, arguably, Arlington’s New York metro area doppelgänger and long-time rival in various rankings.)
The list was compiled by Opendoor, the online home-buying company that you might receive frequent solicitous letters from if you own a house in Arlington. The company’s methodology looked at factors like bicycle parking, bicycle rentals, bicycle shops, electric vehicle charging, recycling, transit, second hand shops and the local government’s sustainability efforts.
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) April 11, 2023
“The cities and towns on our list, like Arlington, are putting a concerted effort into making eco-minded practices and solutions the norm, and specifically, Arlington is the first LEED Platinum certified community and is recognized as a leader in creating a sustainable environment,” Jennifer Patchen, a real estate broker for Opendoor, said in a statement. “Arlington has a long-proven success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and home buyers looking to plant roots in a ‘green’ community should consider Arlington.”
An Opendoor PR rep also noted: “78% of U.S. consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them and that they’re prioritizing eco-conscious details and design in their home.”
The full list is below.
Jersey City, NJ
West Hempstead, NY
Salt Lake City, UT
Santa Monica, CA
Temple Terrace, FL
Fort Collins, CO
San Diego, CA
In addition to homeowners, Arlington’s eco bonafides have been a draw for employers.
In 2018, prior to Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, we famously reported that an internal Amazon webpage was sending thousands of views to an ARLnow article headlined “County Wins Top Environmental Award from U.S. Green Building Council.”
A county program has led to a large increase in solar panels being installed on homes over the last year.
The Arlington 2022 Solar and EV Charger Co-op is a seven-year-old partnership between the county and the non-profit Solar United Neighbors to purchase solar systems in bulk. The co-op, in turn, sells the systems to the customers at about a 20% discount, the program coordinator and a planner with the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) Helen Reinecke-Wilt explained to ARLnow.
The annual deadline to become a member is today (Aug. 31).
While the co-op is open to residents in Arlington, the City of Falls Church, and other surrounding Virginia localities, Arlingtonians comprise the majority of the membership.
And, since 2021, that has led to a substantial increase in solar panel systems being installed on Arlington homes.
Last year, 90 solar systems were installed in the county through the co-op. Add 17 from other localities, that’s 107 in total. That nearly doubled previous years’ numbers, Reinecke-Wilt said.
Last year’s record-breaking number will likely be exceeded in 2022 as well, the data suggests.
Reinecke-Wilt believes the reason for the uptick is that locals are looking to become more environmentally friendly as the county continues to tout its plan to be carbon neutral by 2050.
“I think it’s just a bigger awareness about climate action and the need to take action with more people thinking that they should be involved,” she said.
Locals are also recognizing the potential future savings due to being less dependent on the electrical grid. It’s estimated that households with solar panels save $600 to $1,100 a year on electrical costs, per the table on the co-op’s website.
While there are solar power systems being installed outside of the co-op, most installations in Arlington are through the co-op, we’re told. There are about 620 solar home systems in Arlington with 388 installed through the co-op, per data provided to ARLnow by the county’s Department of Environmental Services.
With nearly 120,000 residences in the county, that remains a small percentage. But the hope is that number will continue to increase due to the program’s growing popularity and the 30% tax credit now available thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act being signed earlier this month.
“The bump from 26% to 30% is [a big deal]. We are seeing a lot more members sign up in the past month and, certainly, I think it’s a reaction to that increase,” Reinecke-Wilt said.
There are reasons why most Arlington homes haven’t gone solar, including upfront costs — sometimes as much as $16,000 even with the tax credits. A roof’s lifespan is also a factor, with most vendors advising homeowners not to install solar panels on a roof older than seven years.
There’s also the still-vibrant (if slowly thinning) Arlington tree canopy, which shades many homes and can prevent sunshine from poking through to generate power. But that’s a good thing, Reinecke-Wilt said, since “it’s always better to have shade than solar because it provides natural cooling and helps the planet in other ways.”
Some residents also may not like the aesthetics of solar panels or hold the misguided belief that they bring down the value of the home.
But the sun seems to be rising on solar panels in Arlington.
At least by the metric of how many have signed up for the co-op, Arlington is outpacing nearly every other neighboring locality including those in D.C. and Maryland in terms of interest, Reinecke-Wilt said. She fully expects that more houses in Arlington will opt to go solar, prompted by the need to help with the climate crisis, federal incentives, and neighbor envy.
“I think it’s just getting to the point where people are starting to really notice it on a lot of homes and are asking their neighbors, ‘Why did you go solar? How did you do?'” said Reinecke-Wilt. “I think it will just continue to grow.”
Dems to Discuss School Board Caucus — “Unsurprisingly, perhaps, into this climate of culture war skirmishes surrounding public education comes opposition to the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s long-standing caucus process and even opposition to Democratic endorsement of candidates for school boards seats… At its February meeting, Arlington Democrats will debate the issues raised by its critics and vote on whether and how to change its caucus and endorsement process.” [Blue Virginia]
Winter Outdoor Dining Guide — “Before the pandemic, we never imagined that al fresco dining season in Northern Virginia would stretch into the teeth of winter. And while the wave of the latest Omicron cases seems to have peaked (fingers crossed!), those who are cautious about Covid but still want to support local businesses might choose to eat outside in the fresh air. Here are 11 restaurants cranking up the heat on outdoor dining spaces, and adding fun elements like fire pits or tented igloos.” [Arlington Magazine]
Steep HQ2 Energy Offset Costs — “The cost for Amazon.com Inc. to offset carbon emissions at its PenPlace development and meet Arlington County’s energy expectations will run upward of $5 million, according to a study by the company’s Seattle consultant.” [Washington Business Journal]
Beyer Calls for Long Covid Data — “A pair of Democratic House members asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a letter Tuesday to release data on the number of Americans who suffer lingering symptoms of coronavirus infection, including breakdowns along race, gender and age… Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who has sponsored legislation to fund studies of long covid, co-signed the letter with Pressley.” [Washington Post, U.S. House of Representatives]
More on Pentagon City Apartment Upgrades — “An existing 12-year-old apartment high-rise adjacent to what will be Amazon’s massive HQ2 campus, Metropolitan Park, in Arlington County, Virginia, has been acquired… and the investors plan a multimillion makeover fitting for HQ2’s panache. ‘We are going to make these apartments the coolest and most desirable homes on the park,’ said Steve Schwat, UIP founding principal.” [WTOP]
Two Crystal City Hotels Sold — “An Atlanta real estate investment manager has acquired a pair of Crystal City hotels a little more than a month after their former owner primed them for future redevelopment. Affiliates of Noble Investment Group paid a combined $64.3 million in mid-December for the 162-room Hampton Inn & Suites Reagan National Airport and the 248-room Hilton Garden Inn, according to Arlington County land records… There do not appear to be immediate changes planned for the hotels themselves, except for their names.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s Wednesday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 30. Sunrise at 7:18 a.m. and sunset at 5:23 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 33. [Weather.gov]
(Updated 4:40 p.m.) County commissioners welcome Amazon’s latest revisions to plans for the second phase of its HQ2 in Pentagon City — but are pushing for more greenery and accessibility.
Phase 2 will be anchored by a lush, futuristic building, dubbed “The Helix,” and feature three, 22-story office buildings, three retail pavilions, a childcare center, a permanent home for Arlington Community High School, 2.5 acres of public green space, multi-modal pathways and underground parking.
Amazon is massaging out the details with county staff, commissioners and community representatives to ready the plans for Planning Commission and County Board review, possibly in the spring. The tech giant has already updated the three office buildings, pathways and green spaces in response to requests for more architectural diversity and plantings.
“The team has been careful reviewing all comments and believe together, we are making PenPlace a better project for the entire community,” said Joe Chapman, Amazon’s Director of Global Real Estate and Facilities, during a meeting last night. “We are committed to the process and to the community.”
Project designers presented their changes during a Site Plan Review Committee meeting last night (Monday). County staff, commissioners and community members asked for better accessibility for people with disabilities, more pedestrian safety features, increased tree canopy and even more plants.
“In general, everyone really likes the presentation and appreciates the refinements to the design from the [Long Range Planning Committee] to now, and from the comments raised in the online period,” Planning Commission member Elizabeth Gearin said. “There’s very strong and widespread appreciation for changes to the design, for the early incorporation of sustainability, biophilia and art.”
Still, commissioners recommended leveling the entrances to underground parking garages so drivers have clearer views of pedestrians. They and county staff asked Amazon to revisit a set of stairs leading from Army-Navy Drive to an “elevated forest walk” on the northern end of the site.
“We’d really like to see the stairs removed and replaced with ramp that everyone can use equally,” Gearin said.
Those suggestions follow up on changes Amazon made this summer to the Army-Navy frontage, “to greatly improve what was seen as a foreboding frontage,” county planner Peter Schulz said.
Others called for more and taller trees throughout the site — not just in the “elevated forest.”
“Anything less than towering oak will look out of place next to 22-story buildings,” said Arlington Tree Action Group member Anne Bodine.
Running Store Coming to Pentagon City — “Federal Realty Investment Trust has leased the last bit of vacant retail space at Westpost, the 14-acre mixed-use development a short walk from where Amazon.com Inc.’s new headquarters buildings will stand. The leases put the roughly 297,000-square-foot retail center on course to be fully occupied in the first half of 2022 after a handful of notable vacancies, including the nearly 34,000-square-foot former Bed, Bath & Beyond to be replaced by a Target store, and the roughly 4,500-square-foot space where Road Runner Sports will replace a shuttered Unleashed by Petco.” [Washington Business Journal]
Library Seeking Latino History Donations — “Over the last three decades, Arlington’s Latino community has rapidly grown and stockpiled a wealth of history. And this week, librarians and historians at the Center for Local History at Arlington Public Library are asking for donations of documents to archive the county’s Hispanic history. The project is called Re-Encuentro de Arlington Latinos.” [WTOP]
Rock Climbing Gym Goes Green — “Earth Treks Crystal City prides itself as a rock climbing outlet for people living in a metropolitan area and the business in northern Virginia hopes its roots in rock climbing can bring forward better environmental practices… Earth Treks announced recently its partnership with a Virginia company that allows its climbers to bring in old and rundown equipment — shoes, water bottles and harnesses — which will be reused in a variety of ways, including to make dog harnesses.” [WUSA 9]
Synetic Returns to Theater — “Last night night found me in Crystal City, where Synetic Theater was back in its performance venue for the first time since the pandemic, staging a production of ‘The Madness of Poe…’ Performers were not masked, a nice change after recent experiences with a number of troupes who use Arlington Public Schools facilities and are not allowed to let their actors, though all vaccinated, go without masks.” [Sun Gazette]
New Commuter Bus Service Funded — “The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission plans to fund a new express bus service, part of efforts aimed at reducing congestion connected with Interstate 66 and the Beltway. The commission approved a plan yesterday to fund the bus service with over $5.1 million for two years. Routes would run from the Reston South Park and Ride lot to key destinations in Arlington County that include the Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City.” [Reston Now]
More Studies for Route 7 Bus Route — “A regional study of the proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) route from Tysons to Alexandria is moving into a new phase that will assess options through the Seven Corners area. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission voted last night (Thursday) to approve a contract for the fourth phase of its Envision Route 7 mobility analysis study.” The bus might also make a stop at the East Falls Church Metro station in Arlington. [Tysons Reporter]
Green Building Update — “The County Board today adopted an update to the Green Building Incentive Policy for site plan projects that strengthens Arlington’s commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality… ‘By raising the bar on green building incentives for site plan developments, Arlington is reaffirming our commitment to our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050,’ Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said.” [Arlington County]
Big Storm Expected Mid-Week — “A major winter storm is set to wallop the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday, with many areas from western Virginia to southern New England expected to see heavy snowfall. But for the immediate Washington area, a messy mix of precipitation is more likely than a major snowstorm.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]
Arlington Officer Honored — “Arlington County Police Officer Anthony Gatto was among 18 law-enforcement personnel from across the region who were cited Dec. 11 with the area’s 23rd annual ‘Law Enforcement Awards of Excellence for Impaired Driving Prevention.'” [InsideNova]
Arlington is looking for public input on a plan to use energy more efficiently.
Tonight (June 4) from 7-9 p.m. at the Central Library Auditorium (1015 N Quincy Street), county staff plan to host an open house during which the community can ask questions or offer feedback on an update to the county’s Community Energy Plan (CEP).
Goals for the project include:
- Increase the energy and operational efficiency of all buildings: By 2050, the plan aims to have total building energy usage in Arlington be 38 percent lower than in 2007. In the report, staff says both code-required reductions for buildings and incentives for voluntary efficiencies — a carrot and stick approach — will be required.
- Ensure Arlington’s energy resilience: The report notes — and anyone in Ballston two weeks ago can confirm — Arlington’s energy infrastructure is vulnerable to extreme weather and other factors. The report says Arlington will need to use new technologies to rely on more local sources of energy and potentially establish “microgrids” to make critical pieces of infrastructure like Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and the Virginia Hospital Center more independent from blackouts across the county.
- Increase locally generated energy supply: The plan aims to have Arlington County follow the example of Discovery Elementary, which won accolades for using all its energy generated on-site, and establish more solar energy collectors and other green energy sites across Arlington.
- Move more people with fewer greenhouse gas emissions: The goal here is fairly self-explanatory, but the general idea is to get more Arlingtonians using buses, bicycles, and other non-car means of transportation, while encouraging those who are required to use cars to shift toward hybrid and energy-efficient vehicles.
- Integrate energy goals into all county government activities: The report says Arlington should aim at having government facilities reduce CO2 emissions to 71 percent below their 2007 levels by 2040. The approach would involve a mix of smaller efficiencies in energy and water usage and larger shifts in making new government facilities more energy efficient from a design standpoint.
- Support residents and businesses that reduce energy usage: The final goal of the report involves using county staff and resources to help encourage locals — from individuals to business owners — find ways to rethink energy usage in their own lives.
“We invite the community to drop in and spend as much time as needed to learn about the draft CEP update, CEP implementation details, and provide feedback on the proposed changes to the 2013 CEP,” Rich Dooley, Arlington’s community energy coordinator, said in an email.
A new report says some levels of pollution are down in the Potomac River, but cautioned that the once-troubled waterway isn’t out the woods yet.
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments analyzed data collected between 1985 and 2016 and found that “water quality improvements have reduced pollution significantly.”
Both are common nutrients for soil and water, but runoff from farms and waste treatment facilities can lead to excess amounts flowing into waterways. When too much nitrogen enters a river it can cause plants to overgrow and choke the oxygen from the water, killing fish and in some cases making the water toxic to young children.
Too much phosphorus causes algae blooms that are deadly to fish. Blooms have been spotted north of Chain Bridge, according to the report.
MWCOG’s report released on Wednesday said its pollution analysis found that:
The amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus — which, in excess, contribute to water quality problems — contained in the discharge from wastewater plants in metropolitan Washington has declined dramatically since the 1980s and is on track for further reductions. The number and extent of harmful algal blooms in the upper Potomac estuary has declined significantly. Populations of aquatic plants and animals that live in this portion of the river, such as submerged aquatic vegetation, some fish, and some waterfowl have grown closer to their historical abundances.
“Scientists are still interpreting how much time elapses between various nutrient reduction efforts and when their impact shows up in the Potomac estuary and the [Chesapeake] Bay,” the report notes. “What is certain is that additional efforts to reduce nutrients and sediment from agriculture and urban runoff will be needed to achieve the river’s long-term water quality goals.”
The report says local governments are working to reduce other contaminants like mercury, prescription drugs, and chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Potomac Conservancy noted that with less pollution people are increasingly using the river “as a place to hangout, recreate and live.”
In the future, citizen scientists are likely to be a part of making these reports happen. Last month, people volunteered to start collecting weekly water samples of the Potomac and the Anacostia so scientists can track E. coli levels in both rivers.
Local governments have spent billions over the last three decades to clean up the rivers, mainly by redirecting sewage flows, and managing stormwater runoff better.
In Arlington, volunteers have cleaned up trash along streams and riverbanks for three decades.
Image (top) via Flickr pool user Wolfkann, chart (middle) via MWCOG
Ride Hailing ‘Strike’ Today — “Getting an Uber or a Lyft may be impossible — or take longer and cost more — Wednesday when drivers for both companies plan to strike in major U.S. cities to protest what they say are unfair wages and poor working conditions.” [Washington Post]
APS Poaching Fairfax Teachers — From a candidate for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors: “Today I met a veteran teacher who is leaving FCPS because Arlington County will pay her $12,000 more annually. Meanwhile, all I hear about is how we are fully funding our schools. We still have some catching up to do Fairfax County.” [Twitter]
County Employees Getting Reusable Straws — Updated at 10:10 a.m. — “This week is [Public Service Recognition Week], and Arlington County employees will be celebrating with their new, reusable steel straws, distributed… as a thank you for their hard work.” [WDVM]
Another Traffic Enforcement Push in Clarendon — Yesterday Arlington County Police conducted “high-visibility traffic enforcement” at Clarendon Boulevard and N. Danville Street,” reminding drivers to “be [street smart] and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.” [Twitter]
No State GOP Candidates in Arlington Yet — “Thus far, there have been no nibbles on the line among potential Republican candidates for state legislative seats. The party’s filing deadlines passed on May 2 and 5 for GOP prospects for the 47th and 49th House of Delegates districts and 31st state Senate district without any candidates formally expressing interest.” [InsideNova]
Arlington’s sometimes controversial Public Spaces Master Plan was approved in a unanimous vote by the County Board on Thursday (April 25).
The idea of the update is to provide a framework for the county’s plans to preserve natural resources and public activities as part of the broader comprehensive plan. However, the meeting launched discussions over whether the county relies too much on paved public spaces, and how sports fields and mountain biking fits in.
Michael Hanna, a member of the Environment and Energy Conservation Commission, noted that while the plan would add to public spaces, more needed to be done to differentiate green space from other uses. County Board Member Katie Cristol agreed with Hanna later in the meeting, saying moving forward the county would need to do more to separate those uses.
“For a long time in our site plans, we’ve let concrete be public spaces,” Cristol said. “Plazas have a role, but in recent years [we] have tried to recognize the nature of biophilia.”
During the years-long public engagement process about the plan, which was last updated in 2005, arguments emerged over what shape Arlington’s public space should take. County staff said there were several issues raised by the public in the final stretch of the approval process that would require future assessment after the plan’s approval.
One source of public consternation throughout the planning process was what critics said was inflated estimates of demand for sports fields. Peter Rousselot, an ARLnow columnist and leader of the Parks4Everyone advocacy group, argued that athletics fields were being over-reserved rather than over-used, an inefficiency leading to an artificial appearance of demand.
County Manager Mark Schwartz noted that the county is reviewing its scheduling process. The plan includes analyzing field utilization to improve data on current and projected uses as a priority for the plan.
The final version of the plan also swapped the earlier estimates of future need with a more general arrow indicating whether demand is expected to increase or decrease. The language concerning the need for two additional diamond fields by 2035 was changed from “Arlington will need…” to “Arlington could need…”
Still, Justin Wilt, a member of the county’s Sports Commission, stood by the earlier projected needs and said his commission urged the construction of at least one multi-use athletic center in Arlington, citing a lack of indoor recreation activities in the county.
Another group advocating for a space in the plan were mountain biking enthusiasts. Several mountain biking advocates attended the meeting, including a parent who said he had to take his children out to Reston to access mountain biking trails.
“I’m here to support off-road cycling facilities in Public Spaces Master Plan,” said Grant Mandsager, a public speaker at the hearing. “These facilities are in high demand and can be a great benefit to Arlington residents.”
While staff said there was a demand to add mountain biking-specific paths to the plan, the potential impact on natural resources in areas those paths would cut through would require further study.
“The advisory committee felt this issue raised too late in the process,” said Hanna. “To proceed with mountain biking… all ramifications need to be examined, particularly the threat to natural resources.”
In the end, the approved version of the plan settled on:
“Interest was also expressed in mountain biking, however, prior to exploring potential locations for mountain biking, the community would need to have a more robust and broad conversation.”
Parks4Everyone said in a statement this weekend that it was pleased with the final Public Spaces Master Plan, which “has the potential to address community needs, maintenance, and field priorities through data-driven transparency and prioritization of financial resources and land being appropriately allocated.”
“Only after residents pushing, Commissions digging in, and a decisive January 8th Civic Federation vote… did the PSMP become more reflective of the core issues affecting our parks,” the group said. “The PSMP needed to convey the priorities and needs of the vast majority of Arlingtonians including more trails, green open space parks, and natural areas.”
The final version of the plan also included several recommendations highlighted as actions critical to the success of Arlington’s public space system:
- Add at least 30 acres of new public space over the next 10 years.
- Secure or expand the public spaces envisioned by sector, corridor and other plans adopted by the County Board – including the Clarendon Sector Plan, Virginia Square Sector Plan, Courthouse Sector Plan, Rosslyn Sector Plan, Crystal City Sector Plan, and Columbia Pike Form Based Codes – and ensure they provide amenities that meet the county’s needs.
- Utilize level of service as a planning tool to manage public space assets efficiently.
- Analyze athletic field utilization to improve data on the current use and assess future athletic field needs.
- Ensure access to spaces that are intentionally designed to support casual, impromptu use and connection with nature.
- Complete the implementation of adopted park master plans.
- Develop park master plans for all new parks or when renovation of an existing park requires a major rearrangement of park amenities.
- Ensure and enhance access to the Potomac River, Four Mile Run and their tributaries while improving the tree canopy, native vegetation, and other natural resources along waterways.
- Expand Arlington’s network of connected multi-use trails.
- Update the Urban Forest Master Plan and Natural Resources Management Plan through a combined process.
- Protect, restore, and expand natural resources and trees
Prior to the County Board’s 5-0 approval of the plan, Chair Christian Dorsey noted that few parties would be fully pleased with the compromises made in the plan.
“It’s an exceptional document that reflects an extraordinary effort,” said Dorsey. “I realize there are people engaged in this project who aren’t thrilled with everything that they see, but again, if we take that non-specific, line by line lenses and look at it comprehensively, we have to recognize that this is a tremendous step forward.”
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick