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by Chris Teale — May 23, 2017 at 4:35 pm 0

Space for police, fire and emergency management, swing space for government offices or Arlington Public Schools, bus storage or parkland might be coming to two sites the county is considering acquiring.

The Buck property off N. Quincy Street near Washington-Lee High School and the Virginia Hospital Center site at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road could both be acquired by the county, which has options to buy or swap for the land and has been going through a review process to determine best future uses for it.

Through that process, there are now five possible scenarios for each on how the county might make use of these sites. Staff outlined those scenarios in a presentation to the commission last week, and the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) will host an interactive public forum on the plans tomorrow (Wednesday).

Both sites are being tapped to potentially include space for the county’s Office of Emergency Management and police and fire departments. Some scenarios would include parking for ART or Arlington Public Schools buses on the site, with varying levels of open space for recreation and community gardens.

One scenario for VHC (Scenario C) would reserve a 130,000 square foot site as temporary swing space for either APS or the county during construction elsewhere. No plan would place permanent school space at the Buck property, something that had been called for by neighbors in the past.

Other neighbors, meanwhile, previously raised opposition to the county buying the Buck site, and accused the county of “barreling ahead” with the acquisition without listening to community feedback.

“JFAC, working with county and schools staff and with the community, has developed five scenarios for how the county might use each of these possible land acquisitions to meet some of our many pressing facility needs,” said JFAC chair Ginger Brown in a statement. “This forum is meant to put those scenarios before all Arlingtonians, to gather their feedback before JFAC makes recommendations to the County Board.”

The forum will be held in the Wakefield High School cafeteria (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street) from 7-10 p.m.

RSVPs are required for those planning to attend the forum. JFAC will also host an open house on Tuesday, May 30 to discuss the potential uses.

An online form will be available on the JFAC website for public feedback on specific use scenarios for the properties, starting on Thursday, May 25, according to a county press release.

by Chris Teale — May 22, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The much-loved Shirlington Dog Park could get smaller under plans being discussed by the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.

Three alternatives have been put forward for the park along Four Mile Run, including one that would reduce it to approximately 27,000 square feet, known as Alternative 1. The park would be cut in half at the current S. Oxford Street entrance, with the area west of Oxford Street reforested and the park running between S. Oxford and Oakland Streets.

The other two proposals would have the park at around 55,000 square feet (Alternative 2A) or 47,000 square feet (Alternative 2B). Both incorporate a proposed, expanded portion of parkland along S. Oakland Street.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation said that new plans are being explored for the dog park due to concerns around stormwater management. Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Park are also being planned as part of the working group’s wider look at Four Mile Run’s future and a parks master planning process.

The possible reduction in size of the dog park is not quite as drastic a change as earlier rumors — that the county was planning to “move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it” — had suggested. It has, however, sparked loud opposition from supporters of the dog park on social media, including on the park’s unofficial Facebook page.

“Just out of curiosity, what happened to the chorus of reassurances we got from the board reps just a couple of weeks or months ago about them not touching the park?” wrote one supporter. “I don’t know what bothers me more; the fact they continue to push initiatives that put the park at risk or that they misled supporters to believe the park was safe as-is.”

An online petition against the proposal has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

“4 Mile Run Shirlington Dog Park is the best dog park in Northern Virginia,” wrote one signee. “One of the biggest reasons is its current layout. The small dog area, the water access, and the lengthy, open run area, as well as the seating, provide the best experience. Please do not alter this dog park!”

“It is an all too rare NOVA stress reliever that should be protected, not changed or reduced in size,” wrote another.

A separate Facebook group has also been started dedicated to saving the dog park and energizing supporters.

Parks department spokeswoman Martha Holland said there are no “short term” plans to change the park, but didn’t rule out longer-term changes due to state water runoff rules.

“Currently there is no immediate funding or intention on changing the configuration of the Shirlington Dog Park in the short term, however as capital renovations happen in the future or significant maintenance is needed in the parks, state mandated stormwater management standards will need to addressed,” she said. “County staff is working with the County-Board appointed Four Mile Run Valley Working Group on developing a plan for the park to meet state requirements and community interests.”

The County Board is set to have a work session on Four Mile Run Valley planning on May 30. Holland said that at no stage has removal of the park been on the table.

“The county recognizes that the Shirlington Dog Park, one of eight Arlington County dog parks that residents and their pets enjoy, is a tremendous and much-beloved resource for the county and there has never been any intention to remove it from the area,” she said.

The County Board is set to adopt the parks master plan for the three parks early next year. Public input on the draft concepts will be taken in July.

by ARLnow.com — April 27, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

McAuliffe Visits New District Brewing — Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) made a “quick stop” at New District Brewing near Shirlington yesterday, touring the brewery and posing for photos. [Twitter, Twitter]

Caps Continue Playoff Fan Activities — For their Round 2 playoff matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals are continuing a series of fan activities, including free yoga classes and viewings of team practices, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [Washington Capitals]

County Gets Planning Award — Arlington County is one of a dozen recipients of the American Planning Association’s Gold 2017 National Planning Achievement Award. “County government and the community have together built Arlington into one of the nation’s best places to live, work or play,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. [Arlington County]

APS Pushes Solar Power — “Clearing a legal hurdle that may affect other Virginia school systems, Arlington Public Schools has created a new type of purchasing authority so it may enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs) for solar power.” [Blue Virginia]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2017 at 9:55 am 0

Claude Williamson (photo courtesy Arlington County)Following the departure of Steven Cover, Arlington County has named an Acting Director for Community Housing, Planning and Development.

Claude Williamson, who has been with the department for 20 years, will lead it on an interim basis as the acting planning director. Last week County Manager Mark Schwartz said that a search would be starting soon for a permanent replacement for Cover.

Williamson’s long tenure at CPHD contrasts with Cover’s attempts to shake up the department and streamline its processes, which have been the subject of grumbles from the business community. Cover was named CPHD director in 2015.

More on the appointment from a county press release:

Claude Williamson has been named Arlington County’s Acting Director for Community Housing, Planning and Development (CPHD).

Williamson joined CPHD in 1997 and has served as the Comprehensive Planning Supervisor for more than 11 years. His broad experience in planning, management and civic engagement has influenced a multitude of major planning initiatives and projects. He has been instrumental in the development and implementation of both sector and area plans across Arlington, and has provided significant leadership during zoning ordinance reviews and updates, inter-jurisdictional planning efforts and other key planning activities.

“Claude brings a wealth of experience and tremendous professionalism to the Acting Directorship of this critical County department,” said Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz. “He has a deep understanding of our community and of the planning principles that have successfully guided Arlington for decades.”

In his new role, Williamson will lead all the department’s efforts, including the development review process; comprehensive planning; neighborhood services; zoning administration; inspections and code enforcement and data analysis. The department is responsible for planning both in Arlington’s neighborhoods and in the densely developed, transit oriented Metro corridors. CPHD is the lead department in implementing the County’s Smart Growth planning vision.

Prior to joining Arlington County in 1997, Williamson worked for the New Orleans City Planning Commission on a variety of planning projects and initiatives. He holds a Master of Community Planning from the University of Maryland School of Architecture.  He also holds a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science from Suffolk University in Boston.  Williamson is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.  He lives in the Palisades neighborhood of Washington D.C. with his husband Michael and 11-year old son Evan.

by Chris Teale — March 9, 2017 at 3:35 pm 0

Rumors of the Shirlington dog park’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

The latest round of drafts released by the county for the Four Mile Run Valley initiative include the park in the plans for Jennie Dean Park. Three alternatives put forward for a meeting of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group held Tuesday night all include the dog park in some form.

The first option keeps the park as it is, while the second option proposed reconfiguring the dog park but keeping it the same size. The third alternative would also keep the dog park in place, but renovate it.

Notably, the second alternative would divide the dog park into two sections: one for larger animals and another for smaller.

The alternatives also make suggestions for programming to the west of South Nelson Street, which could include more arts and recreation space. It also suggests a number of amenities for the park in the site’s northeast corner, like sport courts, baseball fields, a playground and a trail. All three alternatives also propose adding to the site’s 136 existing parking spaces.

The park’s future had been the cause of some concern earlier this year on social media.

The unofficial Facebook page for the park said the county had a plan “to move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it.”

The Shirlington Dog Park Page cited a presentation of early land use proposals generated in January as part of the Four Mile Run Valley planning process. However, the presentation appeared to show that the area of the dog park is being considered generally for “outdoor parks/rec/cultural” uses — which could include a dog park.

“The County recognizes the popularity and importance of the Shirlington Dog Park and does not plan to move it from the park or the park plan,” division chief Chikwe Njoku wrote in an email to a dog park page subscriber last month.

“As part of any planning effort we have to do our due diligence and evaluate the existing site in addition to making recommendations on potential alternatives that are based on a variety of factors such as environmental regulations, overall design/impact, usage, and other County standards, then make recommendations that are discussed with the 4MRV Working Group who also takes input from the community.”

The Four Mile Run Valley Working Group will meet again March 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Park and Natural Resources Operations Building at 2700 S. Taylor St.

by ARLnow.com — February 10, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Arlington Public Schools administration buildingArlington County will be getting a new public high school within the next five-and-a-half years.

That’s according to the Arlington Public Schools website, which details a planning process that will soon be kicking off for the new school.

A four-month process is planned to determine the instructional focus of the school, concluding in June with a staff recommendation to the School Board. Via APS:

By September 2022, APS will open the doors to a new high school.

Beginning in February 2017, we will launch a community engagement process to determine the instructional focus for the new high school.  The process will include:

  • February 15: Joint ACI and FAC meeting to share options considered for location and instruction
  • February-March: Community Survey
  • March 30 and April 4: Community Meetings
  • May: School Board work session to review options
  • June: Staff recommendation to the School Board

It has not yet been determined whether the new high school will be a specialized choice school, like Arlington Tech or H-B Woodlawn, or a comprehensive, community high school like Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown.

“That’s what we’re working to decide — it will be decided in the coming months with feedback from the community process and looking at available options, budget, etc.,” Assistant Superintendent Linda Erdos tells ARLnow.com.

Also this month, APS will begin the design and construction planning process, which will determine the location of the school, the architect, the design and the construction firm. The location and architect is expected to be selected later this year, while the design will be finalized in 2019. Construction is expected to start in 2020 and wrap up by August 2022.

The new high school is being built as part of the school system’s latest Capital Improvement Plan, which was approved last year and calls for 1,300 new high school seats by the fall of 2022.

“The 2017-26 Capital Improvement Plan, which the School Board adopted on June 16, 2016, included $146.71 million funding for 1,300 new high school seats to be completed in time for the start of school in 2022,” notes the APS website.

A petition launched last year called on APS to build a new high school rather than just staggering schedules and adding seats to Arlington’s existing high schools, as was under consideration.

APS is encouraging those with questions or suggestions about the new high school to email them at  [email protected].

by ARLnow.com — February 7, 2017 at 6:15 pm 0

(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) About 24 hours ago, the unofficial Facebook page for the popular and heavily-used Shirlington dog park posted something that could barely be believed.

Arlington County, the page said, has a plan “to move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it.” It’s unclear who exactly posted that on behalf of the page — there is no contact information on the page’s “About” section — but the reaction from its more than 2,500 fans was swift.

“Whaaaattt??? Noooo!!!!” and “This is bullshit. (Sorry for the language, but it’s that serious)” were typical responses.

“That’s insane,” said another person. “The dog park is one of the biggest draws of the area for people when considering places to live; plus, people come from all over to use it = lots of money into [Shirlington]!”

In all, there have been some 200 responses and comments on the post and another 175 shares, so far. It has been re-posted, separately, by concerned residents on a Fairlington neighborhood Facebook page and elsewhere around the social network.

The Shirlington Dog Park Page cites a source for its alarming assertion: a presentation of early land use proposals generated last month as part of the Four Mile Run Valley planning process. However, the presentation appears to show that the area of the dog park is being considered generally for “outdoor parks/rec/cultural” uses — which could well include a dog park.

Only one of seven alternative scenarios presented shows the dog park apparently replaced — by a “riparian zone” and a promenade.

Virginia Farris, a member of the Four Mile Run Valley working group who’s also active in the Shirlington Civic Association, offered one of the 75 comments on the Facebook post.

“There is no proposal from the County yet, nor will there be for awhile yet,” she wrote. “The Working Group meets twice a month and the planning process still has a long way to go. The Dog Park has solid supporters among Working Group members — it’s definitely not going to be closed!”

Her post received seven likes as more than a dozen additional comments from people upset about the possibility of the park closing followed. Dog park supporters, in the meantime, are being encouraged to write emails to all five County Board members, with some pledging to do so every day until they get a favorable response.

The page, and Farris, are also encouraging dog park supporters to attend a meeting of the working group Tuesday night. The meeting, scheduled from 7-10 p.m. on the second floor of 2700 S. Taylor Street, will include a discussion of the land use plans and a 15 minute public comment period at the end.

“If you come… you can expect to hear a lot of questions and push-back from the Working Group members on many aspects (including the dog park) of the second set of conceptual drawings,” Farris said.

County officials have struggled to respond to the rumors as they spread like wildfire, with thousands of Facebook users likely seeing the original dog park post.

(Facebook has recently been making headlines as it combats so-called “fake news” on the network, with much of the focus coming in the wake of the recent presidential election.)

The Dept. of Parks and Recreation did respond to the post, just an hour after it was first published (see gallery above), but the response was buried since it was made to a comment on the post rather than the post itself.

At 5:35 p.m. Tuesday evening, six hours after our first enquiry about plans for the dog park, a county spokesperson responded to ARLnow.com but did not directly address what was being considered.

“There will be four ideas proposed at tonight’s 4MRV meeting,” said Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “This is just a first step to get feedback. There will be another meeting solely on getting input on the dog park on March 18 from 9-11 a.m. at the Park Operations Building.”

A county webpage for the March meeting says it will “discuss opportunities for improvements to the Shirlington Dog Park as part of the overall 4MRV Parks Master Plan.”

“This is an opportunity to share your ideas for the dog park with DPR staff and learn more about the 4MRV park planning process,” the page said.

“To look at the bright side,” concluded Kalish, “there is obviously a lot of support for the dog park and we should be able to get lots of great input to make it better through the Parks Master Planning process.”

by ARLnow.com — November 28, 2016 at 11:55 am 0

Big changes are on the horizon for Arlington’s Lee Highway corridor, but not before an extensive public planning process.

After at least two years of public outreach and planning, which led to a final “visioning study” report earlier this year, Arlington County is planning to kick off another year of discussion with a pair of open houses tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 29).

The daytime open house is scheduled from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Lyon Village Community House (1920 N. Highland Street) while the evening open house is set from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Lee Community and Senior Center (5722 Lee Highway).

“The County is preparing to kick-off a community planning process for Lee Highway in 2017,” says a county-produced flyer. “Drop in at one of the upcoming Open House events to learn more about the project scope and share your thoughts on expectations, participation opportunities, boundaries and more. The same information will be shared at both events.”

The 2017 planning process will be “building on recent visioning work by the Lee Highway community” and will take “a closer look at the long-term goals for this important corridor and its surrounding areas.”

From the county’s Lee Highway Planning website:

The vision, a culmination of a seven-month study, illustrates the best of the community’s ideas and proposes key ingredients for the future of this important east-west corridor. This vision calls for Lee Highway to become a walkable, urban main street with a string of neighborhood activity centers between Rosslyn and East Falls Church, along with new transportation options, better public spaces and more.

The visioning document is not an adopted plan, but rather a compilation of ideas that provide a framework for the formal County planning process that will kick off in 2017.

As reported by ARLnow earlier this year:

[The visioning document] outlines a sweeping vision for the corridor, which currently is a primarily car-oriented mish-mash of strip malls, aging apartment buildings and other assorted low-density businesses and infrastructure.

The plan envisions a tree-lined Lee Highway that’s more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, with mid-rise development concentrated in “mixed-use activity nodes.”

New apartment buildings, townhouses and retail hubs would be encouraged to spring up. New parks and bus service would be added. Building heights up to 12 stories are discussed, though 3-6 stories would be more common; the taller buildings would be along Lee Highway itself and “sensitive transitions to single family neighborhoods” would be emphasized.

In an online poll, 57 percent of nearly 1,200 respondents said they “like the plan” and would like to see “more businesses, parks, housing and amenities” along Lee Highway.

by ARLnow.com — August 1, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Climbing at The Bartlett in Pentagon City

Visitors Gathering at Khan Grave — The grave of an Army Captain who died in Iraq in 2004 has become something of a destination for visitors at Arlington National Cemetery. Flowers and American flags are being left on the grave of Capt. Humayun Khan, whose parents spoke out at the Democratic National Convention against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stance on Muslim immigration. [WJLA]

What’s Next for County Parcel Near Marymount? — Officials are beginning the process of deciding the future of a county-owned parcel of land near Marymount University, after the County Board nixed a plan to permanently move Fire Station 8 there. Possibilities for the seven-acre parcel at Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street include a small park, a new salt dome, a large mulch pile, a fueling station and a temporary home for the fire station. [InsideNova]

Richard Thompson Dies — Longtime Arlington resident and “Cul de Sac” comic strip creator Richard Thompson has died at the age of 58 after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease. [Washington Post]

Body of Missing Maryland Man Found — The GW Parkway was shut down for a period of time after a body was found in the area of Donaldson Run. Police say the body was that of a missing Maryland man. [WJLA]

Charles Hernick AMA — The Republican challenging Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) in November’s congressional race recently conducted an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Charles Hernick sparked a vigorous debate among users after saying he supports a cap and trade system to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and “clean coal” regulations. [Reddit]

What Is Old Is New Again — A 1965 issue of the Northern Virginia Sun newspaper included two hot topics of the day that should sound familiar to anyone following local news over the past couple of years: a “crisis in low-cost housing” in Arlington and complaints about aircraft noise from National Airport. [InsideNova]

It’s August — Today is the first day of August. Summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 22, but get ready for plenty of indicators that fall is around the corner: back to school sales, Oktoberfest beers on store shelves and pre-season NFL games.

by ARLnow.com — March 31, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Image from the draft Lee Highway Visioning Plan (via Arlington County)Today is the final day for online comments on the current draft of the Lee Highway Community Vision.

The draft plan envisions a tree-lined Lee Highway that’s more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, with mid-rise development concentrated in “mixed-use activity nodes.”

The rationale behind the plan, and the community process that helped inform it, is to set an aspirational vision for future development and transportation improvements along the Lee Highway corridor. The community can thus have more of a voice than if it were to just let piecemeal development take place along the corridor without a unified plan.

So, what do you think of the plan?

by ARLnow.com — March 30, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) The public comment period on a draft plan for the Lee Highway corridor is ending after Thursday.

The draft, first published online last month after a public “charrette” planning process in 2015, outlines a sweeping vision for the corridor, which currently is a primarily car-oriented mish-mash of strip malls, aging apartment buildings and other assorted low-density businesses and infrastructure.

The plan envisions a tree-lined Lee Highway that’s more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, with mid-rise development concentrated in “mixed-use activity nodes.”

New apartment buildings, townhouses and retail hubs would be encouraged to spring up. New parks and bus service would be added. Building heights up to 12 stories are discussed, though 3-6 stories would be more common; the taller buildings would be along Lee Highway itself and “sensitive transitions to single family neighborhoods” would be emphasized.

The activity nodes along Lee Highway, which would be the focus of pedestrian-oriented development and placemaking, include:

  • Rosslyn
  • North Highlands / Spout Run / Lyon Village
  • Cherrydale / Maywood
  • Glebe Road / Lee Heights / Waverly Hills
  • Harrison / George Mason
  • East Falls Church

Changes are expected to be made to the plan based on feedback received online, before the County Board reviews it in May. Greater Greater Washington has more details about the Lee Highway plan and process.

Other notes and quotes from the draft plan, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

Arlington County has released seven potential design concepts for a new pedestrian bridge across Wilson Blvd in Ballston.

The renderings, from architecture firm studioTECHNE|architects, include a number of exotic and modern-looking designs.

“The concepts were shaped by community input received at the first public meeting and through online polling,” the county notes. “While the following images appear formal and complete, they are conceptual illustrations intended to capture the spirit of the guiding principles.”

The existing pedestrian bridge is slated to be torn down and a new one built as part of the redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall.

The county has set up a stand-alone website for the pedestrian bridge project. The site includes a description of each concept design.

by Jennifer Currier — January 7, 2016 at 12:05 pm 0

Shirlington Crescent- Four Mile Run Study area (Via Arlington County)

Arlington County has pledged to start an extensive community planning effort in 2016 for the area known as Shirlington Crescent, a process with the goal of bringing major economic, environmental and cultural changes to the area.

Plans for revitalizing and possibly redeveloping parts of Nauck and the Four Mile Run corridor began with a study conducted in 2014. This study outlined approximately 95 acres along Four Mile Run Drive and Shirlington Road for the community planning process to focus on.

The goal for this planning effort is to “develop a vision and area plan which could re-evaluate land use goals and objectives.” To do this, the County will consider various aspects of the existing Crescent and how to improve or change them, including:

  • economic development
  • environmental sustainability
  • relationships to neighboring areas
  • open space
  • transportation
  • affordable housing
  • connectivity
  • urban design
  • previous planning work
  • cultural resources
  • historic preservation

In a letter sent to ARLnow over the summer — which also appeared on InsideNoVa — Nauck resident Robin Stombler shared her thoughts on the need for change.

“A swath of South Four Mile Run and Shirlington Road has been neglected for too long,” she wrote. “Our Nauck neighborhood is often the location for industrial activities and unused vehicle storage. While much of the industry is welcomed, the Shirlington Crescent could be so much more.”

Stombler and her fellow Crescent residents will be a part of the planning process this year, starting with a gathering on the subject this weekend.

This neighborhood revitalization meeting starts this Sunday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. According to a public notice, members of the Arlington County Board will also be in attendance.

During the meeting, small groups will depart from the children’s playground at Jennie Dean Park at 3630 27th Street S. for a walking tour of the Crescent, lead by neighborhood guides.

Tours will end at the Arlington Food Assistance Center at 2708 S. Nelson Street around 1:45 p.m. Hot chocolate will be served as some residents and community members — and possibly County Board members, who will be attending the meeting — will give remarks about the neighborhood and their thoughts on which issues should be a priority.

Stombler is also responsible for organizing the walking meeting. In her letter, she expressed her neighborhood’s excitement and dedication to the start of the planning process.

“Shirlington Crescent is uniquely positioned to become an industry and arts cluster for Arlington,” she said. “[My neighbors and I] recognize that there is a long process of deliberation ahead, but we want to jumpstart the conversation. Input to our plan from the public is welcomed and encouraged.”

by Heather Mongilio — October 28, 2015 at 8:00 pm 0

Lee Highway Streetlight (via Google Maps)Arlington County is looking for participants for a four-day workshop focusing on the future of the Lee Highway corridor.

A consulting team will run the workshop, which is meant to help the county shape its vision for the Lee Highway corridor.

“Lee Highway isn’t going to plan itself,” Arlington County Planner Justin Falango said in a statement. “The people who live or work there, own businesses or land, or just visit, need to be integrally involved in this effort — and that begins with crafting a vision for the corridor’s future.”

The four-day workshop will take place at the Langston-Brown Community and Senior Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street) and starts on Friday, Nov. 6, with an introduction to the design team from 6-8 p.m.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, participants will draw their vision for the corridor as part of a community hands-on design session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will then have the opportunity to take a tour of a temporary design studio to watch designers work on the plans for Lee Highway on Sunday from 3-5 p.m.

The workshop will end on Monday, Nov. 8, with a wrap-up open house from 7-9 p.m., where participants will hear the first draft of recommendations for the Lee Highway corridor.

While picturing the vision for Lee Highway, participants and county staff will discuss:

  • pedestrian accommodation
  • cyclists and vehicles
  • issues for commuters
  • opportunities for housing
  • appropriate development
  • transitions from commercial zones to single family homes
  • streetscape design
  • the preservation of cultural resources

Planning for a redeveloped Lee Highway Corridor is an partnership effort between the county government and multiple civic associations that are affected by the road. The county is currently in a planning phase for the development project, and has been conducting multiple walks and hearing to gather information about the state of the corridor.

by Heather Mongilio — August 13, 2015 at 11:30 am 1,885 0

Arlington County wants residents to help it design the new Columbia Pike Village Center public square.

The new public square is part of a development that is replacing the current Food Star grocery store at the intersection of S. George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike. A developer is planning to build a five story building with market-rate apartments, retail and a major grocer.

The county-owned public square would go next to the development, where part of the Food Star parking lot is currently located. Arlington residents can take an online survey and answer questions about the type of benches, location of a water feature and how the new square should look overall.

The square is meant to be a “green oasis,” according to the county, and will have several “opportunities to sit, relax and enjoy the new square and garden.” It is also meant to work with the new retail area that is part of the development. The county’s current plans for the square show wide sidewalks that could be used for outdoor seating at restaurants.

“Success of the public square goes hand-in-hand with the success of retail,” the survey says.

The county is currently deciding between a central garden and a central open lawn. Residents are asked to choose which one they would prefer, with the option to choose a combination of both.

Preliminary sketches show seating around a central garden or lawn area, with open green spaces and paths throughout it. Residents who take the survey are asked to choose the type of benches they would like to see in the garden, as well as the kind of open spaces and paths.

The county also asks residents to rank water features, like fountains or small stone waterfalls, and weigh in on where one should be located in the square.

The new square will be somewhat similar to the public squares at Penrose Square and Pentagon Row, where there’s a combination of retail and open spaces, or the public space outside the Arlington Mill Community Center. However, the county said it is hoping that the Village Center public square offers more greenery.

“Penrose Square and Arlington Mill offer outdoor event spaces that are largely paved,” the county said. “Perhaps Village Center square could offer something different… ‘green oasis.'”

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