An on-street parking space in Rosslyn will become one of six pop-up parks in Arlington County tomorrow (Friday) as part of the worldwide PARK(ing) Day event.
The space at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Oak Street will be transformed into a “parklet,” a sidewalk extension installed in parking spaces that acts as a mini-park. A spokeswoman for the Rosslyn Business Improvement District said the site will be the location of the county’s first permanent “parklet” in spring next year.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can stop by and have free bagels and coffee from Allspice Cafe, enjoy the outdoor seating and play games like corn hole and foosball in the afternoon. The Rosslyn BID is also offering free giveaways and discount cards for nearby restaurants.
Other “parklets” in Arlington will be found in the parking lot at 15th Street N. (Courthouse) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at 500 12th Street S. (Pentagon City), 2400 Wilson Blvd (Courthouse), 2900 Clarendon Blvd (Clarendon) and 1000 N. Taylor Street (Ballston) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
More will spring up across the region, with 28 sites set for D.C. and at least seven for Alexandria. PARK(ing) Day began in San Francisco in 2005 when Rebar, an art and design studio in the city, turned a metered parking space into a temporary public park.
Photo No. 1 via Google Maps, photo No. 2 via Arlington County.
Someone keyed the words “black bitch” onto a black man’s car on a block in Arlington’s Barcroft neighborhood, where some residents are up in arms about outsiders parking on their street.
The man, who works as a contractor at the Army National Guard Readiness Center (111 S. George Mason Drive), parked his car near the corner of S. Pershing Drive and 1st Street S. this past Thursday morning. When he arrived back at the car that afternoon, he found the words carved onto his driver’s side door and called police.
Officers photographed the car and dusted it for fingerprints. They also took “elimination prints” from the man and Evie Bernard, who carpools with him.
Bernard says she suspects the vandalism was actually targeted at her. She said some residents on the block have confronted her and other commuters about parking, even though it’s a public street and — unlike other nearby streets — not zoned for resident-only parking.
The prior Sunday, Bernard said, she had just returned from a brief vacation when a resident came out of his house and “started yelling and saying never to park there again.” The man, who was pointing his finger and “being very aggressive,” was soon joined by his wife and one of their children, who were all yelling at Bernard for parking in front of their house, she said.
“How would you feel if I parked in front of your house in Waldorf, Maryland?” one of them asked, according to Bernard’s account. The residents had somehow obtained Bernard’s name and apparently looked her up on Facebook, also referencing where she went on vacation and saying “I know where you work.” After about 5 minutes, Bernard drove away and then decided to call police.
“I was so upset that I got in my car and drove away,” she said. “I could only take so much… I was really upset. It was pretty much a nightmare.
Police took a report, Bernard said, but because her life was not threatened it was determined that no crime had occurred. An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman corroborated that a report of verbal harassment had been filed.
Though Bernard initially suspected the people who confronted her — who are white — might have been responsible for the vandalism, police said today (Tuesday) that the residents have been eliminated as suspects.
Bernard and another Army National Guard contractor who contacted ARLnow.com said the parking issue is not likely to be solved anytime soon. Parking at the George Mason Drive campus is limited and most spots are reserved for employees; contractors are instructed to take transit or park on nearby streets.
While there were plenty of spots available on the 4400 block of 1st Street S. when an ARLnow reporter visited Monday afternoon, a resident said that there are times when the block is filled with cars, including many commuters. He said that residents have tried to apply for zoned parking, but a county parking study did not find enough commuter parking to meet the program threshold.
Earlier this month new zone parking applications were halted indefinitely, pending a review.
Requests to add new residential permit parking zones or change current zones will be on hold for around two years so county staff can study the program’s effectiveness.
The moratorium, approved 3-2 by a divided Arlington County Board, freezes 16 active petition requests and prevents residents from filing more until after staff’s review.
Board member John Vihstadt and vice chair Katie Cristol opposed the moratorium, while chair Jay Fisette and members Christian Dorsey and Libby Garvey supported it.
Of those 16 active petitions, 15 are out in the community collecting signatures while one has been fully filled out and returned to staff at the county’s Department of Environmental Services.
Board member John Vihstadt suggested processing that petition and determining the fate of the proposed parking zone in the interests of fairness. He argued that those residents might feel as though the county has “[pulled] the rug out from under them.”
“It doesn’t seem to me to be very equitable if the petitioners have fulfilled what has been portrayed to them as all the requirements of their application and then you’re going to say, ‘Well, sorry, we’re going to put this on hold for two years,'” Vihstadt said.
“There is an element of unfairness, because you’re drawing a line somewhere,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in response. “There will be someone or some group of people who will feel aggrieved.”
Schwartz said a moratorium is necessary so that staff can devote their time to reviewing the program. Stephen Crim, a parking planner at DES, said staff can spend anywhere between 18 and 46 hours analyzing citizen requests and making a decision.
Cristol said her opposition was rooted in the fact that petitioning neighbors can be hard work, and is the kind of action that Board members routinely praise as community engagement. But Garvey said a moratorium is necessary so staff can look fully at the program and make changes to get it right.
“I know people are going to be upset, and I’m probably going to hear from some of them and I’m sorry, but we need to not cause any more harm,” Garvey said. “I think we’ve been causing a lot of harm.”
Staff last reviewed the residential parking program in 2003, a process that also took two years. And while Board members said it works well in general across the county’s 24 residential parking zones, they discussed some issues with the program and how it can be fixed.
Dorsey said the county’s current “one size fits all” approach to residential parking is not as effective given the differences between neighborhoods near Metro stations and ones with single-family homes. Garvey said it can appear that more parking passes are distributed than there are spaces for cars, while Cristol and others asked about the legality of allowing any Arlington resident to park in any residential zone if they have a county registration sticker.
While residential parking zones are popular with homeowners in Metro corridors and near employment centers, because it prohibits commuters and other non-neighborhood residents from parking in front of their homes during certain hours, it has also faced criticism for making parking more difficult around business districts and advantaging certain Arlington residents over others on taxpayer-funded streets.
Vihstadt, meanwhile, spoke of the apprehension in the community when new apartment and condo buildings are built, as nearby residents worry that those projects will not have enough parking and so be forced to use street parking instead.
Fisette said the program has certainly been effective in its original intent. When it began in 1973 in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, the residential parking permit program was to prevent commuters from outside Arlington parking by people’s houses on their way into Crystal City or D.C. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the program in 1977 in the decision “Arlington County Board vs. Richards.”
Staff proposed a process to gather data, engage the public using “deliberative dialogues” rather than trying to build consensus around an issue that they said will always leave someone upset, before coming to the Board for a work session, refinements and final approval. Crim said that final approval could be around May or June 2019.
Arlington’s residential parking zones image via county presentation
A driver “hit the gas instead of the brakes” and flipped her car in the East Falls Church Metro commuter parking lot this morning, according to a fire department spokesman.
The incident was first reported around 7 a.m.
Rescuers from the Arlington County Fire Department helped to extricate the woman from the overturned vehicle. She was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, the spokesman said.
One patient has been successfully extricated & transported with non life threatening injuries. Incident-East Falls Church Metro parking lot pic.twitter.com/Og9t15wqMP
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 7, 2017
Complaint Begets No Parking Signs Begets Complaints — Residents of a dead-end street in the Woodmont neighborhood are complaining after Arlington took eight street parking spaces away, and WaPo is on it. The no parking signs went up in response to a resident’s complaint about the street being too narrow. [Washington Post]
Driverless Van Update — Who or what is behind the driverless van spotted cruising around Clarendon yesterday evening? We still don’t know for sure, but a Virginia Tech spokeswoman offered “no comment” this morning in response to our inquiry. [ARLnow]
Route 110 Lane Closures — “Route 110 at the Route 27 interchange and local ramps will have nighttime closures from Monday, Aug. 7 to Thursday, Aug. 24 in order to install bridge beams, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]
Yelp Says Nope to Arlington — Online review site Yelp has leased 52,000 square feet of office space near the Verizon Center in D.C. for a new East Coast hub. The company was also considering office space in Rosslyn but, despite its CEO’s Arlington connection, decided against it. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo courtesy Ed S.
Millennials in Arlington appear most concerned about adding more transit options, removing on-street parking and finding new locations for public meetings, at least according to a county-run online forum.
The forum is part of a wider push by the county to get more millennials involved in local government and civic life. Arlington was named the best city for millennials in the U.S. by the website Niche, with the millennial generation making up between 30-40 percent of the county’s population of just over 220,000.
The most popular suggestion on the forum — as determined by a Reddit-style up-voting system — is to expand transit options in North Arlington, which has nine “likes.”
I’d love to embrace “Millennialism” and be car-free, but the inconsistency in transit options in parts of North Arlington is difficult — there is minimal bus service and a lack of bikeshare stations, even near Marymount University. Adding bikeshare locations along the northern portion of Glebe Road from Lee Highway up to Chain Bridge would be helpful in continuing to connect this area with other parts of the County!
Just below that is a proposal to remove on-street parking, to encourage more walking and biking in neighborhoods.
Along the major corridors we should remove subsidized on-street parking, to encourage walk-able and bike-able neighborhoods. Many of these on-street parking spots reduce visibility at cross walks and cause dooring and blocking situations for bike lanes, increasing danger and reducing foot traffic. Remove a few strategic parking spaces along the pike and Roslyn [sic] Ballston corridor and use that space to widen the sidewalks or add bike lanes.
Following that, two suggestions are tied for third with seven likes: requests to change the locations of public meetings to “places millennials frequent,” as opposed to always at community centers or schools, and to find a “transit solution” for Columbia Pike after the canceled streetcar project. (The Pike’s “Premium Transit Network” is set to launch next summer.)
A request to “figure out how to bring reasonably priced housing to Arlington” was among those with six up-votes.
A full list of suggestions and the number of likes they received, in parentheses, is below.
- Expanding transit options (9)
- Remove on-street parking (8)
- Different public meeting locations (7)
- A transit solution for Columbia Pike (7)
- Reasonably priced housing market (6)
- More multi-use properties (6)
- Replacing the parking lot next to Whole Foods in Clarendon with a multi-story parking garage (6)
- Affordable child care options (5)
- More public art along Columbia Pike (5)
- More programs for renters who want to be more energy efficient (4)
- Programming for those aged 20-50 at county buildings (4)
- Dedicated bike lane on Washington Blvd (4)
- Engaging the county’s LGBTQ population (3)
- Better advertisement of the county’s performing arts groups (2)
- Expanding Arlington Alerts to include community news (2)
- More transparent policing (2)
- A dog park for Crystal City (2)
- Bike paths on westbound Arlington Blvd (2)
- A bridge on the Bluemont Trail at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive (1)
- Add sidewalks to encourage more walking (1)
- Reclaim some community centers to use as elementary schools (-1)
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The surface parking lot of the Whole Foods in Clarendon has closed temporarily, and this afternoon it led to tempers flaring in front of the store on Clarendon Blvd.
Crews are currently working to mill and resurface the normally-busy parking lot. Customers, in the meantime, can attempt to find street parking or park in the Market Common Clarendon garage across the street. (Whole Foods validates up to two hours in the garage.)
While the lot is closed, customers have been competing fiercely for the few street parking spaces around the store.
Today, while ARLnow.com was checking out the resurfacing work, several drivers parked along Clarendon Blvd were engaged in a dispute about one vehicle parking too close to (and perhaps striking) two others.
While the parking dispute was going on, a pedestrian in a nearby crosswalk shouted curse words at a stopped driver he thought had honked their horn at him. (In fact, it was the car behind the first stopped vehicle.)
The lot is expected to reopen by Thursday, an employee said.
Arlington County Board members wrestled last night with a plan to substitute car parking spaces for spots for bike and car-sharing at new apartment and condo buildings near Metro stations.
The proposal, put together by county staff as part of a number of changes to parking policy under discussion at a Tuesday work session, is meant to encourage developers to contribute to other transit options.
Staff recommended that a developer providing a Capital Bikeshare station could substitute that for for up to four car parking spaces, depending on its size, or bike parking could be exchanged for two parking spaces. One car-sharing space, provided for a private company like Zipcar, could be in place of five spots.
But Board members questioned why the provision for different transit means is tied to reducing car parking spaces, especially near Metro stations, as adding such amenities is becoming a more standard practice in developments across the region.
“It bothers me that going to suggest that we’re not going to get these things until we go down to the minimum [parking ratio],” said Board chair Jay Fisette. “These are things that should be part of every site plan.”
Among the other recommendations put forward by staff, developers could request fewer parking spaces the closer a property is to a Metro station, with some committed affordable housing units not being required to have any parking spaces if they are within an eighth of a mile of a station.
Board member John Vihstadt argued that orienting the changes in parking policy around Metro, which would allow developers to provide fewer spaces at new buildings if they are close to a station, might be misguided given the drop in ridership due to the system’s ongoing safety concerns and year-long SafeTrack rebuilding program.
Vihstadt said that drop in ridership was “casting a pall” over the discussion, but county transportation director Dennis Leach said it was important to attract residents to such buildings who “build a lifestyle” around Metro. Vihstadt requested further data on the county’s declining ridership, which Leach said has also been hampered by more teleworking and other factors.
A major addition by staff to a report in March, by a residential parking working group on the new parking policy, is a requirement that developers provide for dedicated visitor parking.
Stephen Crim, a parking planner in the county’s Department of Environmental Services, said that change came after concerns from nearby residents that cars would park on their residential streets, especially those of visitors who have few options.
Leach noted that the parking garages in neighborhoods like Crystal City and Pentagon City are under-utilized, especially by visitors, and that DES could do even more to promote use of those spaces alongside the various Business Improvement Districts in the county.
Staff and County Board members agreed that while the policy still needs work before approval, it is aspirational and designed to attract residents who would prefer to have minimal, if any, car use.
“We are all seeking to hasten a future that we are interested in, which is a more multimodal corridor especially with fewer cars and more people taking alternatives to the extent that it suits them and choices that allow them to do so,” said Board vice chair Katie Cristol.
Park Upgrades Approved — At its meeting last night, the Arlington County Board approved contracts that will “upgrade the playgrounds and picnic shelter at Oakgrove Park and add a restroom/picnic pavilion and futsal court at Tyrol Hills Park.” The contracts total around $1.7 million. [Arlington County]
TJ Construction to Take Away Theater Parking — Construction of a new elementary school next to the Thomas Jefferson community center and middle school will mean a loss of parking for the community theater used by a number of local performing arts troupes. Those troupes, including The Arlington Players and Ballet Nova, will now have to decide whether to relocate to another community theater or stay and deal with the lack of parking. [InsideNova]
New Location for Children’s School Approved — Last night the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a site plan amendment allowing the Children’s School, a co-op child care center for Arlington Public School employees, to occupy two floors of a Ballston office building. The center is moving from an APS-owned building in Westover to make way for what’s expected to be a new elementary school. Some Ballston condominium residents expressed concerns about the child care center, primarily related to traffic; County Board member Christian Dorsey pointed out that the space it’s moving into was formerly used by a for-profit college. [Arlington County]
Ballston Profiled by WaPo — “With an array of amenities, it’s easy to see why Ballston is one of the area’s hottest markets,” says a real estate-focused profile of the neighborhood. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
A spokesman for the county’s department of environmental services said that after previously considering a nearly two-mile stretch of bike lanes from N. Sycamore Street to George Mason Drive, staff has revised their plan.
Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to a shorter stretch, westbound between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets; eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.
“The revised plan would still provide bicycling facilities both eastbound and westbound from East Falls Church to Westover Village, albeit with a section along neighborhood streets, while also minimizing the impact to parking in the middle section that was most heavily impacted in the initial proposal, including the preservation of parking in front of and across from the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, which does not have off-street parking,” DES spokesman Eric Balliet said.
The project is part of a wider re-paving plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which controls that section of Washington Blvd.
The initial plan of bicycle lanes in each direction, improved pedestrian crossings and other improvements was shared publicly last March and received more than 400 comments. County staff then broke them down into categories to get a sense of the main areas of support and concern. Staff then integrated those comments into their revisions of the proposal.
Balliet said the revised plan “continues to meet all major goals with fewer impacts on parking in the middle section where impacts were most acute.”
But bicycling advocates vented their frustration at the change. In a blog post published yesterday on the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s website, WABA staff member Garrett Hennigan blasted the changes.
“Following the first meeting, supportive comments poured in from neighborhood residents. 65 percent of comments supported the bike lanes as did 55 percent of comments from neighborhood residents,” Hennigan wrote. “Now, to save some parking spaces and appease a vocal minority, the County has thrown out the public process, abandoned years of planning and determined that putting people on bikes at risk is a fair compromise.”
A community meeting on the project’s latest iteration will be held tonight at 5 p.m. in the Reed-Westover Building at 1644 N. McKinley Road.
Photo via Google Maps
New apartment and condo buildings close to Metro stations in Arlington could have fewer parking spaces, and more spaces for bikes and car-sharing services, under a recommendation by a county working group.
The group is made up of residents and other stakeholders, and came together in 2016 to work on a policy to guide county staff on required parking for new apartment and condo buildings.
Staff is now asking for feedback on those recommendations in an online survey, which is open through April 18.
The group’s first recommendation was to reduce the number of spaces available depending on how close a new building is to a Metro station. According to the final report, members were split evenly on how low that parking ratio of units to spaces should be.
One proposal would have 0.4 parking spaces per unit for a building less than one-eighth of a mile from a Metro station, and up to 0.8 parking spaces per unit for a building less than a mile away. The other would have even fewer spaces per unit.
The working group also recommended that if developers provide parking spaces for bicycles and car-sharing, they should be permitted to reduce vehicle parking spaces. The group said that providing 10 bicycle parking spaces should allow two fewer vehicle spots, while adding a Capital Bikeshare station and paying for its upkeep should mean up to four fewer spaces.
Committed affordable housing units would also see lower parking ratios if close to Metro, due to what the report said is lower demand for parking spaces.
Units priced at 40 percent of area median income would not be required to provide any parking spaces, while affordable homes at 60 percent AMI would be required to provide 0.7 spaces per unit.
Other recommendations include a one-time payment by developers for “excess” parking, expanding shared parking on-site, and permitting developers to provide 100 percent of parking off-site, provided it is no further than 800 feet from the building and is secured for at least 10 years.
What’s it like racing around an expansive Crystal City parking garage on a bike?
Kind of like a videogame, as a video (above) from this week’s edition of Crystal City’s Wednesday Night Spins demonstrates.
The events are taking place on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m., on the G3 and G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S., through the end of March. The races are free for spectators and around $15 for participants.
A community meeting is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) to discuss a road re-striping plan that would add bike lanes but remove some parking on the western portion of Washington Blvd in Arlington.
The meeting is set to take place at the Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) from 5-8 p.m.
“We invite community members to provide ideas and insights on how we achieve the maximum benefits for bicycle access and pedestrian safety, while minimizing potential impacts in the area,” says the meeting’s web page.
Among the changes being proposed:
- “Create nearly a two-mile stretch of bike lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.”
- “Narrow unnecessary wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.”
- “Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.”
- “Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bike lanes.”
The restriping, as proposed, would add bike lanes in both directions to where they don’t already exist on Washington Blvd between Westover and East Falls Church, but at the expense of some on-street parking.
The project is being planned by Arlington County but will be performed and funded by VDOT, which maintains that stretch of Washington Blvd.
Photo via Google Maps
Monday is George Washington Day in Virginia. Others know the holiday, long associated with mattress and appliance sales, as Presidents Day.
Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed Monday. Parking meters will not be enforced.
Trash and recycling collection, however, will go on as normal.
Arlington County brine trucks could be seen pretreating roads around Clarendon earlier this afternoon. VDOT, meanwhile, says it’s preparing for a potentially messy Thursday evening and Friday morning commute.
“Road crews are conducting anti-icing activities today and tomorrow,” VDOT said in a press release. “Please watch for crews as they stage along roads prior to the storm. Crews will treat roads with salt and sand as needed once the storm begins Thursday afternoon, plow in areas where and if snow totals reach two inches, and will remain on duty throughout the course of the storm.”
The snow is not expected to amount to much — maybe just a dusting to an inch. But even a small amount of snow could cause slippery conditions and virtual gridlock.
With snow expected tomorrow afternoon, crews have been pre-treating the roads today and will continue this evening and tomorrow. #ARLwx
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) January 4, 2017
Our first snow is almost here! Expect snow to impact Thurs PM & Fri AM rush. Check wx & modify trip times. https://t.co/nmHVmLCRGN
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 4, 2017
Hmmm, guess what's coming our way! pic.twitter.com/dptq5SHqHy
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) January 4, 2017
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 4, 2017
It might not be necessary with this storm, but Arlington County is urging residents this year to park in a parking lot or on the odd numbered side of local streets when it snows.
The county recently released the following video on the topic.