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by ARLnow.com — May 26, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Virginia Highlands ParkArlington has the fourth-ranked park system in the United States, according to new rankings from the Trust for Public Land.

Arlington ranked just below No. 3 Washington, D.C. and the top two cities for parks: Minneapolis (No. 1) and Saint Paul (No. 2). The county received high marks for having parks within easy waking distance of the vast majority of residents.

“Arlington scored even better for park access, with 98% of residents living with a 10-minute walk of a park,” noted a press release. “However, its overall score was hurt because Arlington reserves only 11.2% of city area for parks. That is still above the national ParkScore average of 8.9%, but considerably behind the Twin Cities and Washington, D.C.”

An excerpt from the press release from the Trust for Public Land, including the top 10 ranked jurisdictions, is below.

Washington, DC, earned 5 “park benches” on The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index, ranking 3rd among the 100 largest U.S. cities. Washington also placed 3rd in 2015. Neighboring Arlington ranked 4th, earning 4.5 park benches and finishing as the highest-ranking debut city in 2016, as the ParkScore index expanded to 100 cities, up from 75 last year.

“Every American deserves to live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and ParkScore helps us measure which cities are meeting that mark,” said Will Rogers, President of the Trust for Public Land.

ParkScores are based on three factors: Park Access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile); Park Size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and Facilities and Investment, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, and recreation & senior centers.

According to ParkScore, 97% of District residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Washington’s score was also helped by high marks for spending per resident ($287) and percentage of city area reserved for parks (21.9%). Arlington scored even better for park access, with 98% of residents living with a 10-minute walk of a park. However, its overall score was hurt because Arlington reserves only 11.2% of city area for parks. That is still above the national ParkScore average of 8.9%, but considerably behind the Twin Cities and Washington, DC.

Atop the ParkScore rankings Minneapolis narrowly edged out Saint Paul for first after the cross-town rivals shared the top spot in 2015. Fresno, California, also marked an important achievement for 2016, climbing out of last position for the first time in ParkScore history. The Central California city was buoyed by the opening of several new playgrounds and a dog park.

Nationally, The Trust for Public Land reported a trend toward increased investment in local park systems. Returning ParkScore cities increased spending on parks by an average of $1 per person in 2016, according to the organization.

“Cities are investing in park systems and that’s showing up on the ParkScore index. It is great news for public health, the environment, and local economies,” said Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land. “Parks provide places for children and adults to get exercise, and they serve as community meeting places where friendships are built and a sense of community is strengthened,” he added.

According to The Trust for Public Land, the 10 highest-ranking park systems in the United States are:

  1. Minneapolis – 5.0 park benches
  2. Saint Paul – 5.0 park benches
  3. Washington, DC – 5.0 park benches
  4. Arlington, VA – 4.5 park benches (DEBUT YEAR)
  5. San Francisco – 4.5 park benches
  6. Portland, OR – 4.5 park benches
  7. New York – 4.5 park benches
  8. Irvine – 4.5 park benches (DEBUT YEAR)
  9. Boston – 4.5 park benches
  10. Cincinnati (tie) – 4.0 park benches
    Madison, WI (tie) – 4.0 park benches (DEBUT YEAR)

File photo

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

James Hunter dog park in Clarendon (photo courtesy Arlington County)Doggone it, we messed up.

That’s what Arlington County is telling dogs and their owners who got stuck inside the James Hunter Community Canine Area (1299 N. Herndon Street) in Clarendon Friday evening.

A faulty latch is being blamed for the stuck gate that prevented dog park users from leaving. The fire department responded and removed the latch, allowing people and their pets to head home. A welder was scheduled to work on the gate today.

Arlington County issued a light-hearted press release about the incident today (see below), with the title, “Ruff Night Ends in Tails of Joy: We now know who let the dogs out.”

The Arlington County Fire Department came to the rescue of some two dozen pups plus their people last Friday after an inner gate froze closed around dinner time at Clarendon’s James Hunter Park’s dog park.

No one was howling to leave, but once firefighters removed the stubborn, industrial-grade latch, almost half the pooches and their biped pals hightailed it home, authorities reported.

“We want to apologize to the dogs and their owners,” said Jane Rudolph, director of the County Department of Parks and Recreation. “That gate had a date with the welder today.”

Park locks and latches are checked regularly and lubricated and adjusted as needed.

All eight of Arlington’s dog parks are open from sunrise until a half-hour after sunset unless otherwise designated.

The James Hunter dog park closes at 9 p.m.

File photo courtesy Arlington County

by ARLnow.com — April 27, 2016 at 8:45 am 0

Glencarlyn forest (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Report: Toddler Left in Car Suffered Burns — The Annandale man charged in the death of his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter was watching TV and drinking beer as the child sat forgotten in his car, NBC 4 reports. He was also driving on a revoked license. The girl had a body temperature of 107 when she was rushed to the hospital and had second-degree burns from the car seat. [NBC Washington]

Park Aides Get Banning Powers — Park ranger aides in Arlington now have the legal authority to ban people from parks. The County Board voted earlier this month to add aides to the list of county personnel with powers of attorney for the “Park Safe” program. Offenders who violate the ban — which is typically levied on those who repeatedly violate park rules — can be charged with criminal trespassing. [InsideNova]

Moon Bounce Opportunity — Arlington County will be holding a “Fitness Day in the Park” at Alcova Heights Park on Saturday. The event will include games, nutrition and fitness demos, an inflatable rock wall and a moon bounce. [Arlington County]

Festival Argentino in Arlington — The 2016 Argentine Festival will be held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater (125 S. Old Glebe Road) on Saturday, May 14. The event will feature traditional food, exhibitions, music and dance. Tickets are $20 in advance. [Festival Argentino USA]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — March 24, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

A newly-released survey on recreational needs in Arlington may help the case for building an aquatics and fitness facility at Long Bridge Park.

Arlington County scrapped plans to build a Long Bridge Aquatics Center in 2014, after construction bids on what was supposed to be a $79 million project came in well over budget. Since then, the county has sought public input on community recreation needs and considered partnering with the City of Alexandria on a facility.

The new survey asked about county-wide parks and recreation needs, as part of the update to the county’s Public Spaces Master Plan.

Survey respondents ranked a swimming pool and fitness equipment as the county’s two top indoor recreation needs. That corresponds to the county’s goals for a new indoor “Aquatic, Health and Fitness Facility” at Long Bridge Park.

Furthermore, the survey asked specifically about potential amenities at such a facility. Seventy percent of respondents said they had an interest in amenities at a Long Bridge Park facility, ranking their three “most important” amenities as:

  1. 50 meter pool,
  2. Health/fitness space with cardio/strength training
  3. Leisure pool with water slide, lazy river

County Board member Jay Fisette said he was “hopeful” the county could move forward on the Long Bridge Park facility.

“This seems to suggest to me that it validates the same or more interest in Long Bridge Park than we thought there was before,” he said. Fisette pointed out that in 2012 nearly two-thirds of Arlington residents approved a bond issue that was intended primarily to pay for the aquatics and fitness facility.

John Vihstadt, the lone non-Democrat on the Board, took a more restrained view.

“It really boils down to what sort of facilities and at what cost,” Vihstadt said. “I look forward to the discussion.”

Other survey findings include:

  • Hiking trails, natural areas and paved multi-use trails are the top outdoor recreation priorities
  • Nature, fitness and wellness programs, as well as special events and festivals, are the top parks and rec programming priorities
  • Most people would support food and beverage — including, potentially, alcohol — options in local parks and public plazas

The full county press release about the survey results, after the jump.
(more…)

by ARLnow.com — February 16, 2016 at 8:00 am 0

Snow, ice and rain on a road and sidewalk in FairlingtonArlington Public Schools are closed today after an ice storm overnight.

APS announced the cancellation decision around 4:30 a.m, as most roads and sidewalks were still icy from freezing rain. Fairfax County Public Schools and many other local school systems made the same call, although D.C. Public Schools are only on a two hour delay.

From APS:

All APS Schools will be closed and offices will open at Noon. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.

As of 7:30 a.m., some streets and sidewalks were still treacherous, even as the freezing rain had changed over to plain rain earlier in the morning. As the temperature quickly warms into the 50s, the slick spots are becoming slushy and then melting completely.

The rain will be heavy at times today and some localized flooding is expected. The National Weather Service has issued.

* THROUGH THIS EVENING

* A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION TODAY. THIS WILL RESULT IN RAIN… WHICH WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE DAY. RAINFALL TOTALS ACROSS THE WATCH AREA ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE BETWEEN 0.50 TO 1.0 INCHES ACROSS SOUTHERN MARYLAND TO THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR TO 1.00 TO 1.50 INCHES WEST OF THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR. THE HEAVIEST RAINS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS AND NORTH CENTRAL AND WESTERN MARYLAND. THIS HEAVY RAINFALL COUPLED WITH SNOW MELT WILL LEAD TO THE POTENTIAL OF SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES IN THE WATCH AREA TO OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS.

* SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES MAY OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS. ADDITIONALLY… URBAN AREAS PRONE TO POOR DRAINAGE WILL BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLOODING. THE TIME FOR THE GREATEST THREAT OF FLOODING WILL BE FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.

The federal government is under a three hour delay today, with an unscheduled telework option for employees, the Office of Personnel Management announced. Arlington County government and courts, however, are opening on time, with unscheduled leave and telework options for employees, with a supervisor’s approval.

The county’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation, meanwhile, announced the following cancellations and delays.

  • Congregate meal programs located at Arlington Mill, Langston and Walter Reed are canceled.
  • All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-ops) are canceled.
  • DPR elementary or teen afterschool programs are canceled.
  • All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips and nature center programs are canceled.
  • Sports league activities in APS standalone buildings are canceled.
  • Sports league activities in County facilities will proceed as scheduled based on weather conditions and the status of snow removal.
  • Gunston Community Center will open at 2 p.m. for normal operating hours.
  • Madison Center will open at 5 p.m. for normal operating hours.
  • Carver and Drew Community Centers will open at 6 p.m. for normal operating hours.
  • All other community centers, including joint use facilities located at Arlington Mill, Carver, Langston and Thomas Jefferson will open at noon.

by Jennifer Currier — December 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm 0

Arlington County Parks and Recreation class catalog winter 2016The Department of Parks and Recreation’s online registration process is getting mixed reviews, as many frustrated parents were unable to sign their children up for their first choice classes.

Winter class registration began yesterday at 7 a.m. for gymnastics and 7:30 a.m. for all other classes. Shortly after, users took to the ARLnow comment section to share their thoughts on the process.

“I finally got to register for the class I wanted for my kid, which now had a wait list as large as the actual class,” one parent said. “I’m glad I spent almost as much time trying to register for a class that was full than my kid would have spent IN the class had I been able to register.”

“I had a fun morning waiting for pages to load, trying to figure out if I actually signed up for a class, and after about forty-five minutes of that, wound up with my son in fourteenth place on a wait list for one of the few weekend classes available,” another wrote. “Tons of weekday classes are available, but my wife and I have this thing called work that we must do in order to live here in Arlington.”

Though it’s the primary way for residents to register for classes, the online system isn’t the only way to do so.

Residents can either mail, deliver, or phone-in their forms to the registration office. Processing for mailed forms also began yesterday morning. However, delivered or phoned-in registrations won’t be accepted or processed until Dec. 16.

According to DPR Deputy Director Jennifer Fioretti, the department upgraded its online registration software in October and moved its hosting to an outside vendor in order to combat such issues. Technological problems have elicited widespread complaints from users in the past.

However, the new system did prove successful for some.

“Just registered for several classes and it was a breeze, on Chrome,” one user said. “Sorry it was tricky for you earlier, but it seems to be working great now. Much improved from the old software.”

In an e-mail, Fioretti apologized to those who experienced problems and explained what happened:

Registration days at the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) are certainly our busiest. This Wednesday, we experienced significant slowdowns that caused frustration to the public. We apologize for this inconvenience. By Wednesday afternoon, we processed more than 5,000 individual class registrations, which is consistent with past years.

DPR is always looking for ways to improve and streamline the customer experience. This October, we upgraded our registration software and moved the hosting services to an outside vendor. Post-upgrade, we had several small online registrations to test the new system (nature center classes, 55+ trips and classes), which were successful. We expected similar positive results for yesterday’s Enjoy Arlington class registration. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

DPR IT staff worked closely with the software vendor to monitor the Enjoy Arlington registration processes. The vendor reported that key performance indicators suggested that the servers could handle the projected volume. Despite this, our registration processing speed was very low. We began seeing issues with the system just as our gymnastic registration (starts as 7:00 a.m.) was slowing down and our online registration (starts at 7:30 a.m.) for all other programs was beginning. By mid-afternoon, the system appeared to be back to normal. We are analyzing yesterday’s entire registration process minute-by-minute to determine what caused these issues. Once we know, we will develop a plan to ensure it won’t happen again.

Although some popular classes and days/times are full, many classes still have availability. We encourage people to add their names to the waitlist, as we do have cancellations. If anyone has any questions or concerns they should contact DPR Registration on the web at registration.arlingtonva.us, via e-mail at [email protected] or call 703-228-4747.

by Heather Mongilio — August 18, 2015 at 11:45 am 1,465 0

Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks(Updated on Sept. 2 at 11:55 a.m.) A new organization of Aurora Highlands neighbors are working to protect the green space in their parks from becoming playgrounds and basketball courts.

The Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks is a group of neighbors who say they’re trying to make parks in the neighborhood enjoyable for all ages. This means that the parks need to have a balance of open fields, athletic courts and playgrounds, said Kari Klaus, the president of the group.

“The perfect park is a balance,” Klaus said.

The two parks in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood are having trouble keeping the balance, Klaus said. Nelly Custis Park (701 S. Grant Street) is may be getting another playground and Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street) is under construction to build more courts.

The group was formed after the Aurora Highlands Civic Association (AHCA) began discussing the additional playground for the Nelly Custis Park and and differences arose between some residents and the association’s majority. The new playground would make three in a little over a block, Klaus said.

Nelly Custis ParkThe park already has a playground and creating another one at the expense of open space went against the wishes of many neighbors, Klaus said. Despite the opposition, the civic association went forward with the plans to ask for the playground as a Neighborhood Conservation project.

“The civic association has not budged on the playground from our parks perspective,” Klaus said.

The Aurora Highlands neighborhood is age diverse, meaning there are families with young children, families with grown children, millennials and senior citizens. Adding a new playground would take away from the open space used by many of the neighbors, Klaus said.

“We still have a very adult-related neighborhood,” she said.

The civic association also had trouble communicating with the neighborhood, according to Klaus. There were notices about the plans in the beginning, but the advertisements stopped and neighbors felt left out of the process, she said.

“There was some effort in the beginning but somehow the notices were dropped,” she said.

Joel Nelson, president of AHCA, said he has yet to hear of the Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks and noted that the Nelly Custis Park playground is still being discussed.

“I’m not familiar with the group, but I know that our community greatly values the park as an important local resource,” Nelson said.

“There were two public meetings (March and April) with county staff to collect feedback from the community for improvements to the Nelly Custis Park via the Arlington County Neighborhood Conservation program,” Nelson said via email. “At our June AHCA meeting, we heard a few complaints (about county process and about as-yet-TBD details in the design phase of the project), so the project was put on hold pending additional community input (scheduled for two additional meetings with county staff in September).”

Virginia Highlands Parks facilities over green spaceThe Friends are also working to protect the open spaces in the Virginia Highlands Park. The Department of Parks and Recreation is adding more courts, which takes away from the green space.

“Even though some neighbors use the recreational facilities it appears that they are primarily used by organized leagues and residents in other parts of Arlington County and even D.C.,” she said.

The group has reached out to the department and are working with the Arlington Parks Coalition to make sure parks stay age-diverse, Klaus said.

The group aims to have more trees added to the park and would like AHCA to help to build a dog park, which is part of the civic association’s master plan for parks, she said.

“Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks will work with the county on acknowledging these valuable park resources and benefits in the hopes of preserving the current limited green and tree covered parkland while working to reverse some of these programmed spaces to fulfill actual neighborhood needs and deficits,” according to the group’s website.

Klaus said the group has heard that Virginia Highlands Park is being considered as a site for a new elementary school, which is concerning because use of the park is only likely to increase with new development planned or under construction on the nearby Riverhouse and Metropolitan Park sites in Pentagon City.

“This area needs more green space to compensate for the density increases and the age-diverse population and we need to make sure that no more facilities or buildings go over our very limited park and green space that we have,” said Klaus.

by ARLnow.com — July 7, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,789 0

Backyard BBQ cookout in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by thekidfromcrumlin)

Kudla Out After Four-Set Loss — Arlington resident Denis Kudla, 22, capped his impressive performance at Wimbledon with a four-set loss to reigning U.S. Open champ Marin Cilic in the Round of 16 yesterday afternoon. Kudla, who turned tennis pro at the age of 16, was the last remaining American man in the tournament. [Fox Sports, Twitter]

Wellington Sells for $167 Million — The Wellington apartment complex on Columbia Pike has sold for $167 million. The 711 unit complex is 97 percent occupied. It was purchased by Washington REIT. [MultifamilyBiz]

Arlington Park Spending Near Top — Arlington County spends $249 per resident on parks, the third highest per capita park spending figure in the country, among the nation’s 100 most populous areas. Washington, D.C. ranked first, spending $346 per resident. Some of Arlington’s park spending is now going toward >$1 million playgrounds. [Washington Post, Trust for Public Land]

Flickr pool photo by thekidfromcrumlin

by Ethan Rothstein — April 21, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,910 0

earth-day-5RsTomorrow is Earth Day, and in honor of the 45th anniversary of the holiday dedicated to the environment, Arlington residents and workers can take part in several events around the county this week.

On the eve of Earth Day, this afternoon at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street), the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting an Earth Day scavenger hunt. From 3:00-5:00 p.m., teams will form to take pictures, find clues and solve puzzles, all with a goal of promoting sustainability. Registration is required for the event, and those interested can email to sign up.

Tomorrow, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District is providing its annual planting clinic. At the Plaza on 19th — the small public space at the corner of N. Moore and 19th Streets — from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the BID’s landscaping contractor will give demonstrations on how to plant your own garden and maintain it. Attendees will be able to take home a potted plant of their own, and one of Rosslyn’s food trucks will be on hand for the hungry planters.

On Saturday, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., George Mason University’s Arlington campus is throwing a “Go Gaga for Green” event. There will be a silent auction for rain barrels decorated by Arlington Public Schools students, a lip-sync battle, green-themed food and drink and a raffle. Tickets are $25 and free for APS families and staff. Proceeds will benefit the Arlington County Council of PTAs’ scholarship fund, GMU’s Early Identification Program, which funds first-generation college students and Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment’s Energy Masters Program.

For more environmentally themed events this week and in the future, you can visit Arlington’s website.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,853 0

(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) The 10-year-old synthetic turf field at Washington-Lee High School is worn beyond repair and needs to be replaced, according to Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

The field has been subject to heavy, year-round use by students, recreational sports leagues and in pickup games for a decade, according to a staff report. This Saturday, the Arlington County Board will vote on a contract to replace the field for $609,000, the final piece of the $1.6 million project.

If the contract is approved, the current synthetic turf field will be torn up starting the week of June 7, and construction would wrap up by the first week of August, just in time for the Generals’ sports teams to begin preseason practice.

The project will consist of tearing up the existing turf, but preserving the drainage system underneath. Staff said the existing turf surface and rubber layer will be recycled “to the greatest extent possible.”

by Ethan Rothstein — March 10, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Summer camp volunteer (photo via Arlington County)If Monday’s weather didn’t tell you that spring and summer are just around the corner, then this will: Arlington County is looking for summer camp volunteers.

The county looks for teenagers every year to help plan and lead activities for the young children who attend the camps. Volunteers must be 13 years or older by May 1 and at least two years older than the campers they supervise.

Arlington is offering more than 100 different camps this summer for kids from ages 3 to 13, in everything from fly fishing to ultimate Frisbee to “fashion boot camp.”

Volunteers work for four, non-consecutive weeks in the program of their choosing, but not everyone is guaranteed a spot in the most popular activities. Teens and parents can download the volunteer application and send it to:

Hadyn Kihm
Department of Parks and Recreation
Volunteer Office
Langston Brown Community Center
2121 N. Culpeper Street
Arlington, VA 22207

Applications received after May 1 may be put on a waiting list, depending on demand. Parents interested in registering a camper for this summer can do so online.

Photo via Arlington Parks and Recreation

by Ethan Rothstein — February 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm 1,503 0

Cherrydale Trees (photo via Google Maps)Residents of the Cherrydale neighborhood say there’s “no excuse” for the county to fall behind as much as it has with maintaining trees.

In a presentation to the Arlington County Board on Tuesday night, Cherrydale Citizens Association representative Maureen Ross went over several issues during her Neighborhood Conservation plan update, including the upkeep of the North Arlington neighborhood’s street trees.

“Our trees are a huge issue in Cherrydale,” R0ss said. “They’re not in good shape.”

Arlington is spending about $1.2 million on tree maintenance, removal and planting this fiscal year, according to county Landscape and Tree Supervisor Jamie Bartalon. Bartalon said the county has regular tree maintenance programs, but most of the funds are spent on safety-related pruning and removal of hazardous trees.

In county staff’s response to Cherrydale’s tree concerns, the Department of Parks and Recreation said it has recently established new practices for planting urban trees, but said funding is simply insufficient to accomplish all of Cherrydale’s requests.

“DPR’s baseline budget for tree planting is barely sufficient to replace the average number of trees that are removed each year,” the staff report reads. “DPR does not recommend reallocating tree planting funding towards tree maintenance when such reallocation may result in fewer trees being planted than removed from County property.”

Bartalon said the budget for tree planting in FY 2015 is $206,388, and the county has added a net total of 175 trees this year, based on an annual projection of 650 trees removed because they have died or were taken down for development. The majority of trees are removed because they are “dead, dying, hazardous or downed/damaged by storms.”

“Arlington loves its trees as do most residents so we always look for options before removing a tree,” Bartalon told ARLnow.com in an email. “If there is a safety issues… can it just be pruned? If it is diseased, can we cure it? Our last option is to remove a tree.”

On the left, a county tree in Cherrydale. On the right, a tree planted by Safeway (photo via Cherrydale Citizens Association)Ross and her neighbors contend that the county could avoid removing many of its trees if it simply kept a regular watering schedule. Ross showed examples of other trees, like the one pictured at right. She said the tree on the left in the image was planted by the Safeway 10 years ago.

“We planted our trees 20 years ago, but replaced them two or three times,” Ross said. “Why is Safeway able to do it and we can’t?”

There are more than 19,000 street trees in Arlington, according to DPR, and the county “cannot begin to cover the cost to implement a Countywide regular pruning cycle.”

When trees are damaged or hazardous, residents can report them to parks staff, which will respond. But Ross said she looks at Falls Church’s Willow Oak trees, planted 20 years ago at the same time of many of Cherrydale’s street trees, and wonders what could have been.

“[Those trees] look magnificent,” she said. “Why doesn’t Cherrydale look like that? No excuses.”

Photo, top, via Google Maps. Image, bottom, via Cherrydale Citizens Association

by ARLnow.com — January 13, 2015 at 9:45 am 1,546 0

Ballston and I-66, as seen from a commercial flight

Unitarian Church Named Historic Place — The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. The church’s modernist building was designed by noted architect Charles M. Goodman. [Arlington County]

Va. Lawmakers Fight Over State Song — Virginia is one of two states currently lacking a state song. The old song was “retired” 18 years ago due to questionable lyrics that drew complaints from African Americans. State lawmakers are against trying to settle on a new state song, but so far there are no clear frontrunners. [Washington Post]

College Game Almost Cost Arlington Man $16K — Arlington resident Patrick Leonard was told by the ticketing website Stub Hub that he was buying four tickets to Monday’s college football championship game in Dallas for $1,600. The next day, however, the bill came back for $16,000. Leonard, a die-hard Oregon Ducks fan, shared his tale of woe on social media and the school arranged four end zone seats for him at face value. [CBS DFW]

Hike to Arlington’s Highest Point — Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation is organizing a family hike to the highest point in Arlington on Saturday, Jan. 24. The highest point in Arlington is Minor’s Hill, which rises 459 feet at the western tip of the county. The hill has a history that includes roles in the War of 1812 and the Civil War. [Arlington County]

by Ethan Rothstein — November 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm 1,760 0

Sand volleyball at Quincy Park (photo via Arlington Parks and Recreation)There are dozens of lighted athletic facilities in Arlington’s parks — like turf fields, basketball courts and volleyball courts — but not a single sand volleyball court is among them.

At least one Arlington resident thinks that should change. Mikael Manoukian, who says he’s an Arlington native, told the County Board on Saturday that the county has 26 lighted rectangular fields, 19 lighted diamond fields and dozens of lighted basketball and tennis courts.

“There are 11 sand volleyball courts and none are lighted,” Manoukian said. He advocated putting lights on the volleyball court at Quincy Park in Virginia Square, which is currently undergoing the design process for a renovation.

“Every other facility at Quincy Park — the basketball court, tennis court, soccer field, diamond field — has lights,” he said. “And there’s good tree coverage if light pollution is an issue. Perhaps money could be found outside the maintenance fund to do that later.”

County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish confirmed that there are no lighted sand volleyball courts owned the county. In fact, she said, sand volleyball lighting hasn’t even been formally proposed, as far as she’s aware.

“I’ve never heard about that before, that would be a new one,” she said. “So many of the other sports have user groups or things that, and volleyball doesn’t necessarily. There’s no one coming forward to say a lot about that.”

There is some good news for Arlington volleyball players, however. There are two privately owned, but publicly accessible, lighted sand volleyball courts at 2451 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.

Photo via Arlington Parks and Recreation

by Ethan Rothstein — November 13, 2014 at 3:45 pm 2,151 0

Snow-covered Custis Trail (photo via @BikeArlington)Starting this winter, Arlington County says it will be the first jurisdiction in the D.C. metro area to have a comprehensive policy of clearing some mixed-use trails during snowstorms.

The county announced today that it will start clearing 10 miles of trails at the same time as priority arterial roads. The Department of Parks and Recreation has cleared trails around the county before, but this will be the first time the highly-used trails will be plowed during and immediately after snowstorms.

The trails that will be cleared are:

  • 5.2 miles of the Custis Trail, from the W&OD Trail to N. Lynn Street
  • 2.25 miles of the Four Mile Run Trail from Reagan National Airport to Shirlington Road
  • 1.25 miles of the Bluemont Junction Trail from Fairfax Drive in Ballston to the W&OD Trail
  • and 0.4 miles of the Route 110 trail from the Iwo Jima Memorial to Arlington National Cemetery

The county does not own two of the most highly-used trails in Arlington — the W&OD Trail and the Mount Vernon Trail. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority owns the W&OD and the National Park Service owns the Mount Vernon Trail. For updates during snow storms on the status of those and other trails around the county, cyclists and walkers should refer to the BikeArlington forums, the county says.

The county’s Dept. of Environmental Services is also starting a pilot program this winter to clear the county’s protected bike lanes of snow using specialized equipment. As more protected bike lanes come to the county — such lanes are in the design phase for S. Eads Street in Crystal City — DES is requesting more funding for the program for future winters.

According to WashCycle, a protected bike lane could be also coming to Wilson Blvd between Rosslyn and Courthouse. The bike advocacy blog says the cycle track is “in design and evaluation right now.”

Residents can monitor the progress of snow removal from roadways around the county by visiting Arlington’s snow and ice website, which has links to view the 83 traffic cameras around the county, and posts updates during snow removal processes.

DES received a $300,000 budget boost from the County Board this past spring, earmarked to allow trail plowing, according to the Washington Post. Cyclists represent about 1 percent of those who commute to or from work in Arlington County, survey data shows.

Arlington County has 92 drivers and 46 trucks among its snow-clearing resources. The drivers received computer-based simulator training to prepare for this winter season and potential safety hazards, the county said in a press release.

This winter, weather forecasters are predicting colder temperatures and more snow than normal.

File photo

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