The projects have been advanced by a county committee via Arlington’s Neighborhood Conservation Program, which encourages neighborhoods to apply for funding for various types of local improvements.
The projects set for approval are:
- A new neighborhood sign for Long Branch Creek ($12,500)
- Street improvements and new streetlights along 31st Street S. in Fairlington, between S. Randolph and Woodrow Streets ($1.7 million)
- New streetlights on S. Oak, Ode and Orme Streets in Foxcroft Heights ($562,704)
- Intersection improvements along 2nd Street S. at S. Wayne, Uhle and Wise Streets in Penrose ($1.6 million)
- Street improvements along N. George Mason Drive between 11th Street N. and I-66 in Waycroft-Woodlawn ($1.4 million)
The County Board is expected to vote on the Neighborhood Conservation projects at its Saturday meeting. The measure also includes an additional $200,000 for the county’s “Missing Link Program,” which funds the construction of small stretches of new sidewalk to connect existing sidewalks.
The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to make a stretch of Williamsburg Blvd a so-called “Green Street” at its meeting Saturday.
The section of Williamsburg Blvd, between 33rd Road N. and 35th Street N., would have new trees added as well as two 1,000-square-foot rain gardens in the median. The project is intended to improve local water quality and address permit requirements as part of the county’s Green Streets project for stormwater management.
County staff estimated that installing the trees and rain gardens will treat runoff from 2.2 acres of impervious surfaces that do not allow rainwater to soak in. That water then runs off into the Little Pimmit Run watershed, which leads to the Chesapeake Bay, with Arlington under instructions along with other jurisdictions to reduce pollution in the bay.
If the County Board approves the plan, a contract worth an initial $1.23 million would be awarded, with $246,000 in contingency.
County staff recommends approval of the project, which is being coordinated with the second phase of improvements to Old Dominion Drive. Construction is set to start in June or July.
The intersection of Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) and N. Irving Street is set to undergo a major safety transformation.
The County Board due to award a contract for the work on Saturday. Upgraded traffic signals, improved sidewalk connectivity, new and more accessible bus stops and marked turn lanes are slated for the intersection.
There will also be better connections to the nearby Arlington Blvd trail, while pedestrians will get new push buttons to help them cross the street, countdown signals and technology to detect vehicles and cyclists in the street.
The project is close to Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Community Center and what will, in two years, be a new elementary school.
The County Board will vote on awarding a contract worth an initial $729,000, with an additional $109,000 as a contingency. A report by county staff on the project notes that it is administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation, with primary funding from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.
Under the current funding model, just over $650,000 will be covered by federal money, with the remaining $180,000 covered by the county’s Transportation Capital Fund, which allocates commercial tax revenues to transportation projects.
In their report, staff did not raise any issues with the project. It has already been presented to the Arlington Heights and Ashton Heights Civic Associations and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees.
If approved by the County Board, construction is set to begin this fall. There are no road closures planned for the project.
Kalina Newman contributed reporting.
Arlington Taking Roadwork Suggestions — “Arlington’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Program is asking residents to nominate neighborhood streets they believe could be made safer and more comfortable for all users for potential improvement projects. If you know a neighborhood street that is missing a section of sidewalk, needs an accessible curb ramp or better street lighting, consider nominating it. The County is accepting submissions through Friday, June 16.” [Arlington County]
Commuting Habits in Arlington — Arlington County’s new “Profile 2017” data packet has a surprising statistic on community habits: more Fairfax County residents commute into Arlington each day than Arlington residents commute into D.C. [Twitter]
Candidates Dither on Exotic Pet Ban — Three out of four of the Democratic candidates for County Board would not give a straight answer to the question of whether they support a proposed ban on wild and exotic pets. [InsideNova]
Metro 29 Named Best Diner in Va. — A new list of the best diner in all 50 states lists Metro 29 diner on Lee Highway as the best in Virginia. [Mental Floss]
Beyer on House Healthcare Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says yesterday’s narrow passage of the GOP healthcare bill is “a dark stain on the history of the House of Representatives.” [Rep. Don Beyer]
Comment Ads Turned Off — To improve the user experience, we’ve turned off those semi-trashy tile ads below the comments. They’re prevalent on lots of websites, especially news websites, and they generate decent revenue, but we could not longer stand having them associated with our site. Replacing the ads are links to previous ARLnow.com articles.
Construction has begun on new, more aesthetically-pleasing road medians in Ballston.
Work kicked off yesterday on the medians along Fairfax Drive, from N. Quincy Street to Glebe Road. The improvements include a decorative fence, solar-powered “gateway signage” and “more plantings of annuals and perennials while maintaining the stately Bald Cypress trees.”
The Ballston Business Improvement District is spearheading the initiative as part of its placemaking efforts.
More from the BID:
A new pedestrian fence inspired by Ballston’s distinctive brand will increase pedestrian safety, solar-powered gateway signs will welcome all to the neighborhood, and an artistic design will be created on the median noses using the iconic Ballston-orange.
Initial work will include some demolition, repair and replacement of existing medians. The pedestrian fence installation will commence mid-May, and the final stages of work including painting, signage and plantings will follow in early June. Work will take place after morning rush and before evening rush hours with a vehicle lane closure on each side of the medians from Glebe Road to Fairfax Drive.
First image via Ballston BID. Second image via Google Maps.
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
Expect additional traffic headaches through the fall on Columbia Pike, now that a project to relocate an underground gas main is underway there.
Crews with Washington Gas started the construction Monday between the Fairfax County line and Four Mile Run, ahead of several streetscape improvements the county has planned for the future.
At least one lane of Columbia Pike in each direction will remain open at all times during construction, and work could be possible on nights and weekends.
Washington Gas crews will store equipment and other materials at four locations along the Pike during construction. Although nearby properties still can be accessed, adjacent bus stops could be temporarily moved or closed.
This is the latest phase of a project approved in 2014 by the County Board that included new bike boulevards on 9th and 12th Streets S., as an alternative route to Columbia Pike, which runs parallel. Once the gas main work is complete, county workers will install wider sidewalks, new street lights, upgraded traffic signals, trees and bus shelters. A piece of public art will also be added at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Jefferson Street.
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
Demolition work related to the rehabilitation of the Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 is set to close some ramps and lanes starting tonight at midnight.
During the closures, which are slated to last up to 30 minutes, workers will deconstruct the original bridge deck that was built there in 1941 and deemed “structurally deficient” a few years ago.
The road closures are scheduled to occur between midnight and 4 a.m. at the following locations and times:
- Feb. 27-March 2: Ramp from eastbound Route 27 to northbound Route 110
- March 3-4, 6-9: Northbound Route 110
- March 10-11, 13-14: Southbound Route 110
- March 15-18: Ramp from westbound Route 27 to the Pentagon, and the ramp from the Pentagon to westbound Route 27
The demolition work is part of a $31.5 million plan to replace the existing bridge, near the Pentagon, with a new structure that will expand the shared-use path to 14-feet wide and add an 8-foot sidewalk. The new bridge will also be longer, wider and taller than the existing bridge.
When complete, the newly rehabilitated bridge will include amenities such as low-level iron fences, LED lighting for pedestrians and four medallions commemorating the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
VDOT expects to put the finishing touches on the bridge next spring.
Wider sidewalks and new bus shelters are coming soon to the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road.
Construction crews broke ground last month on the preliminary stages of a large improvement project that will eventually include the installation of left-turn lanes on N. Glebe Road, bigger sidewalks, four new bus shelters with real-time arrival information, and new streetlights, crosswalk markings and traffic signals. The improvements “will improve traffic flow and pedestrian and bicyclist safety,” Arlington County said.
Workers are currently installing underground equipment in parking lots near the intersection, but the larger improvements aren’t slated to arrive until sometime next year at the earliest.
“Construction began in January on the first phase, utility undergrounding. This is expected to last 18 months,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet. “The second phase, streetscape and transit stop upgrades, is still in design.”
Once the design is finalized, it will take workers about a year to finish the job, Balliet added.
In the months ahead, commuters can expect road work to start at the intersection. Construction hours within the roadway are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some night work will also occur between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays and weekends, the county said.
Workers may close a single lane of traffic in one or both directions along Lee Highway, Glebe Road or both during construction. Vehicles turning left or right might also be detoured as construction moves into the intersection itself.
Additionally, some bus stops in the area will be relocated and some sidewalks will be closed or rerouted to allow for construction, the county said. Off-street parking in the area may also be reduced in the coming months.
Arlington paved 89.4 lane miles of roadway in 2016, keeping up a pace that’s triple the rate seven years ago.
The county has been playing catch-up since anemic paving rates caused roads to deteriorate to an average Pavement Condition Index grade of 68.9 out of 100 in 2012.
In a 2016 year-in-review video, above, Arlington Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Harry Wang says his crews paved 9.2 percent of Arlington’s 974 lane miles of county-maintained roadway. Also last year, crews fixed some 7,300 potholes.
Despite relatively mild weather so far, pothole season is here and Wang said the county is “getting ready to stay on top of what’s being damaged by this winter.”
Coffee With a Cop Today — The Arlington County Police Department’s district teams are holding “Coffee With a Cop” events today. The event “has no agenda or speeches” and “is a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers and neighbors in your district.” [Arlington County]
Washington Blvd Closure Tonight — Expect lane closures and a 30-minute full closure of Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 overnight tonight. VDOT is replacing an aging bridge over Route 110; the project is expected to wrap up in 2018. [Twitter]
Boulevard Woodgrill Staff to Marble and Rye — Marble and Rye on Columbia Pike has hired “the entire executive staff” from the former Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon, a restaurant rep says. The hires include longtime Boulevard executive chef Paul Murad and longtime general manager Kent Lawson. The hires, we’re told, “will provide a significant upgrade in service and menu options” and will help Marble and Rye “compete with other popular destinations in Clarendon, Ballston and Shirlington.”
Neighborhood College Applications Being Accepted — “Learn how to become a neighborhood advocate and effect change through Arlington County’s free Neighborhood College program, which will meet on eight consecutive Thursday evenings beginning March 16, 2017.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Rosslyn is getting a new $1 million, developer-funded public art installation.
The County Board on Saturday awarded a contract $968,000 contract to California artist Cliff Garten to fabricate and install “four stainless steel, LED-lighted Luminous Body sculptures” that will be placed on the four corners of the Lynn Street bridge over I-66, near the entrance to the Key Bridge.
It’s the second phase in a larger public art project to create a “Corridor of Light” down N. Lynn Street.
“This is an exciting project that will help us achieve our vision for Rosslyn,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a press release. “The ‘Corridor of Light’ is a beautiful design that will create a memorable public space for all our residents, commuters and visitors who move through this heavily-travelled corridor.”
“Garten was selected by a panel of specialists and stakeholders and his design was unanimously approved by the Public Art Committee and the Arlington Arts Commission,” noted the press release. “The artwork will create an easily recognized and iconic entrance to the County from Key Bridge, Lee Highway and westbound I-66.”
The project is being paid for developers, via “public art contributions pooled from various site plan projects in Rosslyn,” said Arlington Public Art Marketing Director Jim Byers.
Though the installation approved Saturday is considered the project’s second phase, the first phase — to be built as part of JBG’s Central Place project along Lynn Street — is still under development. Early plans for some 60 light sculptures have since, apparently, been scaled back.
“The middle section of Corridor of Light was reconsidered in response to right-of-way engineering challenges along Lynn Street,” Byers said. “The plans for the Central Place portion of the project are still in development.”
The third phase of the project is to consist of four “Luminous Body sculptures,” like those just approved by the Board, on either corner of the Meade Street Bridge over Route 50. Those will be built as part of a bridge improvement project that’s currently in the design phase.
On Saturday the County Board also approved transferring construction work on its Lynn Street Esplanade Project to the Virginia Dept. of Transportation.
Between large construction projects, utility work and street paving, Rosslyn has had a bumper crop of orange barrels this summer.
Expect more barrels and lane closures starting Sunday, as a new road paving project gets underway. Wilson Blvd between N. Oak Street and N. Quinn Street is scheduled to be repaved from August 14-19.
To minimize traffic disruption, work will be mainly done from 9 p.m-5 a.m. The milling and paving is expected to be completed by 5 a.m. on Friday, August 19.
For two days before and then throughout the paving project, temporary “no parking” signs will be posted along the sides of the street. Cars that remain on the street will be towed.
In the meantime, as part of the continued construction on the Central Place project across from the Rosslyn Metro station, utility work is being conducted at the corner of 19th Street N. and N. Moore Street.
The work is being done by Dominion Power, which is setting up electrical systems for the new development. As a result of the construction activity, vehicles are only able to make right turns at the intersection. That has prompted detours for buses trying to access the Metro station.
The utility work is scheduled to be completed around Saturday, August 27.
Stations for the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway are taking shape now that officials have overcome the unforeseen construction challenges.
“We had complications during construction that caused delays and threatened to push the project over budget,” Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “But we have made changes, including scope modifications, to ensure that we finish this project within budget and get it done by next spring.”
In a presentation to the County Board earlier this week, construction managers outlined changes to the project scope and design to compensate for these issues.
The station roofs will now be made of a less expensive material that’s also easier to produce than what was originally proposed. County crews will also assume the fabrication and installation of signage and pavement markings at all the stations to cut costs.
However, the stations will all still have higher curbs for easier boarding, lighting and real-time arrival information.
The transitway is a joint project between Arlington and Alexandria to complement the Metrorail system. Arlington’s portion of the project includes seven stations, 0.75 miles of new, transit-only roadway, and 1.5 miles of dedicated transit lanes on existing streets.
The transitway runs in a loop around Crystal City, running from Crystal Drive to S. Clark Street and back to Crystal Drive.
Once open, vehicles and other traffic will be restricted from the dedicated transit lanes between 6-9 a.m. and 3:30-7 p.m., three and a half total hours less than first proposed. During these hours, vehicles cannot use the lanes to bypass traffic or to travel through an intersection and cannot obstruct the transitway buses.
Weekly construction updates will be published online throughout the winter. Transitway project managers will also work with Metro representatives to select the initial opening date.