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A temporary roundabout on Military Road (staff photo)

Arlington County has not ruled out the possibility of a permanent roundabout on Military Road despite the confusion a temporary version has caused for the past year.

In October 2021, where there used to be a stop sign for traffic on northbound Military Road, the county added paint lines, bollards and raised temporary curbs, and partially demolished a median. The work was aimed at improving safety where Military Road intersects with Nelly Custis Drive.

While preliminary data from the county found the roundabout did lower speeds, 53% of drivers, 27% of pedestrians and 26% of cyclists said they felt “less safe” or “much less safe” using the new traffic pattern, per a summary of feedback collected this summer.

“The majority of all respondents reported feeling less safe while using the pilot intersection, but the margins were very narrow for those who walked or biked through the intersection,” the report says. “Those who reported feeling less safe highlighted concerns with operational confusion, the size of the pilot roundabout and the perceived lack of sufficient space for a well-designed roundabout in the future condition.”

Drivers said they were confused about proper procedure in the intersection, while cyclists said drivers exhibited inconsistent behavior and would revert to habits they had when the intersection had a stop sign, per the report. Additionally, several users said the temporary materials caused visual challenges that contributed to the confusion.

Responses from a survey regarding a traffic circle on Military Road (via Arlington County)

About 31% of drivers, 26% of pedestrians and 18% of cyclists said they felt “safer” or “much safer” with the traffic circle, the summary says.

Road users in this camp were also concerned about confusion, but “reported better yield rates by vehicles to pedestrians, slower vehicle speeds, and easier operations for traffic flow and left turns from Military to Military,” the report said.

For now, it seems the roundabout is still in play as a permanent change.

The Military Road and Nelly Custis Road intersection roundabout (via Arlington County)

The report says that the project can “take the form of either a signalized intersection or a roundabout” and that a majority of issues locals raised “can be addressed through design in a capital project, where the intersection design will not be limited by existing curb lines.”

A preliminary mock-up of a signal at the Nelly Custis and Military Road intersection (via Arlington County)

Meanwhile, the Old Glebe Civic Association, which previously called the changes “unwanted” and says it has opposed the potential project for four years, says it has sources claiming the roundabout is all but a done deal.

“Two County staff members recently stated that the County will be building a permanent roundabout, which will take about 12 to 15 months, independent of the public feedback,” writes Peter Jaffe in the October edition of OGCA’s newsletter. “They said that the permanent roundabout will be larger than the temporary one and that the increased size will help address confusion by drivers about who is in the roundabout and who has the right of way.”

The report notes that recently, signs in the middle of the roundabout “have been knocked down and later repaired at least twice, suggesting that incidents have occurred at the roundabout.” The Old Glebe neighborhood is about 2 miles west of the roundabout, but Military Road is a popular commuter route for those heading east.

In response to OGCA’s letter, Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors tells ARLnow there is no official recommendation yet.

“The County has not shared any recommendation or decision for the Military Road and Nelly Custis Roundabout Pilot Project at this time,” she said.

As for the signage, she said the team at DES is aware of the issue.

“Throughout the pilot’s duration, signage has been knocked over,” she said. “Staff has repaired or replaced these signs as soon as possible. We do not have information on the exact causes of these incidents or how many times they occurred.”

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Work to rebuild Army Navy Drive through Pentagon City and improve safety and transit along the corridor is officially underway.

This morning, Arlington County and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority ceremonially broke ground on the long-planned Army Navy Drive “Complete Street” Project, which is intended to make the current multi-lane expanse of Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce Street and 12th Street S. more friendly to pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.

The project includes shortened pedestrian crossings, dedicated transit lanes between S. Joyce Street and S. Hayes Street, planted medians, new traffic signals at five intersections, and in some places, narrowed or reduced vehicle travel lanes. There will be a protected, two-way bicycle lane along the south side of Army Navy Drive.

Work kicks off as the number of workers and residents in the area is projected to significantly increase in the coming years. Amazon is preparing to build the second phase of its HQ2 — known as PenPlace, and which includes the iconic “Helix” building — at the corner of Army Navy Drive and S. Eads Street, while continuing to hire toward its goal of 25,000 employees. Meanwhile, JBG Smith has filed plans to add 1,668 residential units to surface parking lots at the nearby RiverHouse complex.

For the next three weeks, road users will see signs of crews setting up for the Army Navy Drive project, like cones and a construction management trailer, says Mark Dennis, project manager for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. In mid-November, people will start to see demolition work.

“Both sides of the corridors will have markings and indicators that the entire area is a working construction zone,” Dennis told ARLnow. “There will be slight changes in traffic patterns to accommodate lane shifts that are needed.”

He said drivers will need to pay extra attention to navigate these changes.

“Complete Streets” project plan for portion of Army Navy Drive (via Arlington County)

Before scooping ceremonial dirt with gold-colored shovels, local and regional dignitaries celebrated the expected benefits of the project.

Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said the project will make Army Navy Drive safer for pedestrians and cyclists and more convenient for bus riders. It will also slow down drivers, improve air quality and reduce stormwater runoff, she said.

“It’s better for all of us because providing safe, accessible and multimodal transportation is a key part of the economic competitiveness of Pentagon City and Arlington overall,” said Cristol.

NVTA CEO Monica Backmon celebrated the project for “getting people out of their single-occupancy vehicles and giving people options.”

https://twitter.com/NVTAuthority/status/1584554450823544832

The transportation authority said in a press release that it has invested more than $227 million into transportation projects located in Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard, known collectively as National Landing.

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Changes coming to Boundary Channel Drive and I-395 interchange (image via VDOT)

Construction is starting next week to make Boundary Channel Drive and the I-395 interchange near Crystal City and the Pentagon safer.

The impact on locals should be “minimal,” Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Mike Murphy told ARLnow. While there could be lane closures, access to surrounding facilities will be kept open.

“Some day and overnight lane closures may be scheduled along I-395, Boundary Channel Drive, and Long Bridge Drive in the project area,” Murphy said. “Access to I-395 via Boundary Channel Drive, as well as access to Pentagon facilities and the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center will be maintained during construction.”

The long-planned $20 million project is set to reduce traffic lanes on Boundary Channel Drive to make room for paths and sidewalks, install roundabouts, reconfigure ramps, and add crosswalks.

The purpose of the renovations is to simplify traffic patterns and to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

“We’ve long sought these improvements,” then-County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said at a Board meeting last year when voting to approve the project. “They will reconfigure the interchange that you see to make it work a lot better and safer for everyone.”

The VDOT-led project is expected to be completed about a year from now, in fall 2023.

Crews will begin with work on Boundary Channel Drive, where both directions will be reduced to one lane to allow for the construction of the new roundabouts, utility work, and pedestrian improvements.

Those improvements include a path along the south side of Boundary Channel Drive, complete with crosswalks, landscaping, and street lighting.

The new shared-use path, varying in width between ten and twelve feet, will start at the Long Bridge Aquatic Center parking lot entrance. It will then follow Long Bridge Drive northbound before connecting with westbound Boundary Channel Drive, per Murphy. The half-mile-long path will pass under I-395 and turn north at the soon-to-be-built western Boundary Channel Drive interchange roundabout.

The new path will ultimately connect with the existing one that parallels the southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway ramp to I-395 southbound.

This project has been in the works since at least 2014 and is estimated to cost $19.6 million. It’s being paid for by a combination of state, federal, regional, and county money.

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The banging metal covers on Wilson Blvd near the intersection of N. Randolph Street (staff photo)

A set of utility covers in the middle of Wilson Blvd that have bothered residents for nearly a decade may finally get a permanent fix.

For Alex Korolkoff, the banging noise from cars and buses driving over the covers is so loud — even on the 10th floor of his Ballston apartment building — he’s resorted to fans and white noise machines to drown it out.

Carlos Moran said the “constant heavy banging” coming from near the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, across from Ballston Quarter mall, “affect our quality of life” and prevent him from sleeping in his home.

Another nearby resident compares the situation to war.

​”It feels as if we are being held hostage, like POWs, in our very own apartments, bound by our leases and forced to live with the continual banging,” they wrote ARLnow. The noise happens day and night given that the metal covers are along one of Ballston’s most highly-trafficked corridors.

The banging is particularly loud when bearing the brunt of buses and trucks, with the noise bouncing off Ballston’s high-rises.

“There’s such disruption that we deal with 24/7, while trying to work from home, we can’t sit on our small balcony without it being even louder, and sleeping is difficult,” one nearby neighbor wrote ARLnow. “The noise is truly endless because traffic never ceases.”

And it’s been a problem for nearly a decade. ARLnow first reported on the loose plates in 2013, when they were deemed a “temporary measure” and would be fixed soon. The covers were also listed as one of Arlington’s most wanted road repairs.

Nine years later, though, they are still there, loose, and driving some neighbors nuts.

The plates are the responsibility of nearby apartment building Ava Ballston, both Arlington County and the building’s parent company AvalonBay — which happens to have its headquarters across the street — confirmed to ARLnow. The flat sheets of metal are protecting Dominion Power equipment that help provides electricity to the building.

Over the years, ARLnow has received periodic emails from Ballston residents complaining about them.

One 2019 note speculated that the surrounding apartment complexes might have a hard time renting out units because of the noise. Another from October 2021 called the plates “steel drums.”

Another annoyed neighbor wrote in November 2021 that they put together a petition with more than 110 signatures of neighbors asking the county to do something to “right the wrong for a longstanding steel plate noise issue… it is distressing for those residents who need to rest, sleep, and work from home.”

ARLnow’s initial 2013 story was also spurred by an email from a reader.

“The noise within the apartments is now incredibly loud,” wrote a resident of the building that was then-called Archstone Ballston Square in March 2013. “This is a project that residents and the county were told would go on a few weeks — it’s [now] nearly 18 months later.”

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GW Parkway between Spout Run and Chain Bridge (photo via Google Maps)

Rolling single-lane closures are coming to a busy portion of George Washington Memorial Parkway starting today (August 1) and continuing through Friday (August 5).

Impacted will be the seven-mile segment of the GW Parkway between Spout Run Parkway in Arlington and the I-495 interchange in McLean.

The closures are needed to complete survey work for the road’s first major rehab project in six decades, the National Park Service announced in a press release late last week.

Northbound lane closures will take place between 7 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. while the southbound closures will run from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

These will be rolling, single-lane closures, meaning the road won’t be shut down completely. However, NPS is still asking drivers to “proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes” over the next five days.

Concurrent closures maximize the number of survey crews and minimize the duration of closures.

“Single lane closures are needed to create a safe work zone for surveyors conducting surveys,” the press release reads. “These surveys are needed to inform the design for the northern parkway rehabilitation project.”

For the first time since it was built in 1962, the northern section of the GW Parkway is getting a major overhaul. This is the busiest section of the parkway, according to NPS, serving 26 million drivers annually.

“The project will retain and revive the historic beauty and significance of the parkway – including opening scenic views to Washington, D.C – while updating aspects of it to improve the driving experience, safety and water drainage,” notes the agency’s website.

The work will include replacing asphalt, redesigning interchanges, reconstructing stone walls and barriers, replacing the drainage system, lengthening some entrance and exit lanes, and rehabbing the parkway’s historic overlooks.

In recent years, the road has had to close at least several times due to sinkholes.

The $161 million infrastructure project is being funded by the Great American Outdoors Act. Earlier this month, a number of federal officials and local lawmakers participated in a ground-breaking ceremony that kicked off the work.

The project’s first step is the design phase, which starts this week with surveying. Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in 2025.

The full press release from the National Park Service about this week’s lane closures is below.

On Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5 there will be single lane, rolling closures in the northbound and southbound right lanes between Spout Run Parkway and the 495 interchange. Drivers should proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes.

  • All northbound closures will take place from 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • All southbound closures will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

All work is weather dependent, and closures are subject to change. Concurrent northbound and southbound closures and maximizing survey crews minimizes the duration of lane closures.

Single lane closures are needed to create a safe work zone for surveyors conducting surveys. These surveys are needed to inform the design for the northern parkway rehabilitation project.

The NPS has closed parking lot C-2 and part of parking lot B at Turkey Run Park as part of the project to rehabilitate the north section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. These parking areas will be closed for the duration of the project.

The rehabilitation of the northern section of the parkway was announced by the Department of the Interior on December 7, 2021. In partnership with the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration awarded a $161 million contract to rehabilitate this section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The project will improve the driving experience, safety and water drainage while retaining and reviving the historic beauty and significance of the parkway – including opening scenic views to Washington, D.C.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) The Arlington County Board has put a project to construct a segment of 12th Street S. on hold indefinitely in its Capital Improvement Plan guidance.

The segment between S. Monroe Street and S. Glebe Road, located near the post office in the Douglas Park neighborhood, is currently a paved sidepath. The path runs in the middle of two sections of 12th Street S., which is designated as one of the Columbia Pike Bike Boulevards, according to the project’s website.

The project to change the path into a two-lane street with curb and gutter was put on hold by the County Board after evaluating the “multiple additional improvements” needed to fulfil Vision Zero, a national initiative to eliminate all serious traffic accidents, and the Columbia Pike Neighborhood Plan, according to the County Board Guidance for CIP.

“This is a particularly challenging project initially identified as an opportunity to improve grid connectivity,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a Board meeting. “I think we have found that it has been very difficult to serve the needs and meet the needs of all users as envisioned in that project.”

Instead, the County Board decided to move the $2.7 million allocated to other “priority projects” within the Columbia Pike Bike Boulevard program, which is intended to provide cyclists with a continuous route parallel to Columbia Pike.

Since the shelving of the project, the county’s Department of Environmental Services is planning to “conduct a corridor analysis” to complete the bicycle route, DES spokesperson Erin Potter said.

The project on 12th Street S. prompted a significant amount of concern from residents, especially on the introduction of cars to what is currently a bike-and-pedestrian-only path. Many commenters wanted “the existing trail and sidewalk configuration to remain as is” with no cars allowed, according to a summary of public feedback done in the beginning of this year.

Moreover, residents who gave feedback were concerned about possible increase in cut-through traffic if a two-lane street were to be constructed, as well as the risk to children since the road segment was near a school bus stop, according to the summary.

This project originally aimed at connecting S. Lincoln Street, now a dead-end street in the middle of the block between Glebe and Monroe, to 12th Street S., as well as to fill the gap in the bike boulevard. Construction was originally supposed to begin in spring next year, according to documents for a public meeting.

Map showing the path between stretches of 12th Street S. (via Google Maps)

More on the decision, from the project web page:

Based on County Board Guidance on the FY 23-32 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), this project is being indefinitely deferred. Funding allocated to this project will be “redirected to support future priority projects within the Columbia Pike Bike Boulevard Program. Staff will conduct additional feasibility and scoping work that would focus on completing the Bike Boulevards throughout the Columbia Pike corridor and specifically addressing areas where gaps exist.”

The project may be revisited in the future, “triggered by changing conditions including development opportunities, multimodal corridor needs, and other County priorities.”

Map via Google Maps

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Members of the public can weigh in on proposed improvements to a stretch of S. George Mason Drive that’s being studied.

The road renovation project from Arlington Blvd to the Fairfax County border is part of the South George Mason Drive Multimodal Transportation Study, which aims to “identify improvements” along this “key corridor,” according to the project’s website.

Residents can provide online feedback on proposed design concepts through Sunday, Aug. 7.

The stretch of the roadway being studied is divided into three segments:

  • between Arlington Blvd and Columbia Pike
  • between Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive
  • between S. Four Mile Run Drive and the Fairfax County border
A plan showing the first design concept for the three road segments (via Arlington County)

Earlier this month, the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services released its preliminary designs for the three road segments. The first option for all three segments would separate cyclists and cars into different lanes on both sides of the road, and widen the sidewalks and the vegetation buffers on both sides to six feet, according to the concept plans.

However, this design would increase the number of lanes pedestrians have to cross, as well as remove sections of on-street parking and require additional right-of-way behind the curb. Buses would also have to enter the bike lane to pick up passengers, instead of pulling up to the curb, according to an online community meeting.

A plan showing the second design concept for the first road segment between Arlington Blvd and Columbia Pike (via Arlington County)

The second option for the segment from Arlington Boulevard to Columbia Pike would widen the west side sidewalk to a 12-foot, multi-use trail and the east sidewalk to six feet. It would also narrow the driving lanes while keeping the parking lane on the east side. The new multi-use trail would connect several county parks, such as Alcova Heights Park and trails like the Arlington Boulevard Trail.

However, this design would remove parking on the west side and require signal phasing changes to reduce conflict with people on the multi-use trail.

A plan showing the second design concept for the second road segment between Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive (via Arlington County)

The second design option for the segment from Columbia Pike to S. Four Mile Run Drive would be largely similar except it would keep the two parking lanes on both sides of the road.

A plan showing the second design concept for the third road segment between S. Four Mile Run Drive and the Fairfax County border (via Arlington County)

The second design plan for the third road segment would narrow all the driving lanes between S. Four Mile Run and the Fairfax County border to 11 feet and the central median to 14 feet, but it would widen the vegetation buffers on both sides and the sidewalk on the west side to a 12-foot, multi-use trail.

However, this plan may result in tree removal due to narrowing the central median, as well as the removal of some parking spots at intersections and driveways. The county would need to consider more design details, such as how the new road would interact with the driveways of houses along the road segment.

The corridor study is set to conclude between October and November this year. The county then plans to apply for grant funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

Photos via Google Maps

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The intersection between S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road (via Google Maps)

Upgraded traffic lights, roads and bus stops are expected at the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road.

The Arlington County Board approved awarding a $1.6 million contract to the D.C. firm Fort Myer Construction Corporation for the project during its meeting on Saturday (July 16).

As part of a larger county program to upgrade “outdated” traffic lights, this project will change the span wire currently holding the traffic signals at the intersection to mast arms.

Other upgrades to be carried out include constructing curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, adding high-visibility crosswalks and renovating bus stops at that location.

Currently, the intersection near the Four Mile Run Trail and the Alexandria border has narrow sidewalks, long pedestrian crossings and outdated bus stops. The project aims to “improve pedestrian safety and accessibility at the intersection,” according to the report.

The contract approved by the Board includes at 15% contingency on top of the construction firm’s $1.4 million bid, which came in lower than the county engineer’s construction cost estimate. Funding for this project was included in the adopted Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2022 to 2024.

The project is expected to be completed by fall of next year, according to the county’s Traffic Signal Upgrade Project website.

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Five “Complete Streets” roadway project designs are ready for community feedback.

As part of Arlington County’s Complete Streets program, the projects aim to improve safety and access on local roads. The changes are usually made in conjunction with repaving projects and mostly involve re-striping the roadway, sometimes at the expense of parking or through lanes.

According to the project website, the five stretches of roadway that are up for improvements this year are:

  • Wilson Boulevard — N. George Mason Drive to N. Vermont Street (Bluemont)
  • Clarendon Boulevard — N. Garfield Street to N. Adams Street (Clarendon / Courthouse)
  • Clarendon Boulevard — Courthouse Road to N. Scott Street (Courthouse / Rosslyn)
  • S. Abingdon Street / 34th Street S. — Bridge over I-395 (Fairlington)
  • N. Ohio Street — 12th Road N. to Washington Boulevard (Madison Manor / Highland Park-Overlee Knolls / Dominion Hills)

Those interested in giving feedback on the designs can fill out an online form on the project website through Wednesday, July 6. The final plans are expected to be released in late summer or fall.

S. Abingdon Street bridge

The design plan for the bridge over I-395 in Fairlington (via Arlington County)

The county’s Department of Environmental Services plans to remove under-utilized parking from the S. Abingdon Street bridge over I-395 in Fairlington.

The project would add buffer zones to the bike lanes to improve access for cyclists and safety for those using the sidewalks, while narrowing the travel lanes for speed control, according to its concept design summary.

Residents previously expressed concern about drivers speeding on the bridge while students walk to and from school.

The bridge is also part of a planned VDOT rehabilitation project, which will include adding concrete protective barriers and replacing bearings.

Wilson Blvd between N. George Mason Drive to N. Vermont Street

A portion of the design plan that adjusts turn lanes on Wilson Blvd (via Arlington County)

The segment of Wilson Blvd in Bluemont between N. George Mason Drive and N. Vermont Street, near Ballston, could see additional high contrast markings at high conflict crosswalks, according to the designs.

The plan is to reduce Wilson Blvd to one travel lane in each direction, with a center turn lane into N. George Mason Drive to better control vehicle speed.

The design plan also includes modifying markings to extend the left turn lane near N. George Mason Drive. The project would also add bike lanes and a continuous center turn lane east of the fire station.

The section of Wilson Blvd between George Mason and the Safeway grocery store saw similar changes last year.

Clarendon Blvd from N. Garfield Street to N. Adams Street

A portion of the design plan of the project on Clarendon Blvd near N. Garfield Street (via Arlington County)

A segment of Clarendon Blvd is set for changes between N. Garfield Street and N. Adams Street, in the Clarendon and Courthouse area, including the removal of nine parking spots.

Apart from reducing parking spaces, the project team also plans to add high contrast markings at high conflict crosswalks. A bike box is set to be added at Clarendon Boulevard’s intersection with N. Garfield Street to make turning easier for cyclists.

The plan will also add parking protection to the bike lane between N. Garfield Street and N. Edgewood Street. A county summary says residents in the area expressed concern about speeding, unsafe pedestrian crossings and double parking in the bike lane.

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Bike lanes on Army Navy Drive are visible in this 2021 rendering of Amazon’s HQ2 Phase 2 campus (via NBBJ/Amazon)

A major project to make Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City more bike- and pedestrian-friendly is expected to kick off later this year.

The Arlington County Board approved a $10.6 million construction contract for the long-plannedComplete Streetsproject at its meeting this past Saturday.

“The project will rebuild Army Navy Drive within the existing right-of-way as a multimodal complete street featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, and pedestrian facilities and street trees,” said a Board report. “The goal of the project is to create a safer, multimodal system of connections between commercial, residential and retail services of the Pentagon City and Crystal City.”

Currently, Army Navy Drive is a 5-6 lane vehicle thoroughfare mostly serving those driving to the Pentagon, the Pentagon City mall, and nearby apartments, offices and hotels. The project seeks a more balanced mix of transportation modes while giving the corridor a more pedestrian-oriented feel.

“The reconstruction will provide a physically separated two-way protected bicycle lane facility along the south side of Army Navy Drive, in addition to shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, and will accommodate future dedicated transit lanes,” says the project website. “Vehicle travel lanes will be reduced in number where appropriate and will be narrowed to dimensions appropriate for a slower urban context.”

Plans show at least two vehicle lanes in each direction, though some intersections may be configured with two turn lanes and only one through lane.

“Complete Streets” project plan for portion of Army Navy Drive (via Arlington County)

The project’s impending kickoff comes amid the continued construction of Amazon’s HQ2, the northern edge of which — including the iconic “Helix” building that’s part of HQ2’s recently-approved second phase — will border Army Navy Drive. It will also help facilitate the planned expansion of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway and will serve a burgeoning residential population in the neighborhood, including a potentially expanded RiverHouse apartment complex.

More from the Board report:

This project will provide a key missing link in the County’s bicycle network by providing an east-west protected bicycle facility that will link up with the Mount Vernon Trail via the existing bike facilities along Long Bridge Drive and the proposed connection to be constructed by the adjacent Boundary Channel Drive/I-395 Interchange project. Furthermore, the project will link to the future two-way bicycle lane facility planned for South Clark Street between 12th Street South and 15th Street South, in addition to the future South Eads Street protected bike lanes.

This project will also complete the extended Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway by adding one dedicated transit lane in each direction along Army Navy Drive between South Joyce Street and South Hayes Street. Finally, the Army Navy Drive Complete Street project supports multimodal connectivity goals of major planned and approved commercial and residential development in Pentagon City, including the Amazon HQ2, Met Park, and River House projects.

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Arlington residents may see improved sidewalks and pedestrian crossings in a few neighborhoods in the near future.

The County Board approved funding for four projects at its meeting on Saturday (June 18).

Among the projects:

  • Constructing one block of missing sidewalk on S. Irving Street between 6th and 7th Streets S.
  • Constructing a section of accessible sidewalk at the service alley entrance of the AT&T building on 9th Street S. between S. Walter Reed Drive and Highland Street, near Columbia Pike.
  • Constructing new transit stops, intersections, mid-block pedestrian crossing and bicycle racks at three pedestrian crossings on 28th Street S. between S. Meade Street and 26th Street S.
  • Constructing pedestrian crossings on N. Fairfax Drive between Arlington Blvd. and N. Barton Street, near Rocky Run Park.

The four projects are projected to cost around $1.7 million in total, according to a board report.

A Google map showing the proposed project area on S. Irving Street (via Arlington County)

The proposed project on S. Irving Street is set to build a continuous accessible sidewalk on one side of the road, between 6th Street S. and 7th Street S., which includes accessible curb ramps, existing streetlamps and on-street parking.

A little over 50% of local survey respondents believed the proposed project would make them feel “much safer” while walking there. Some expressed concern about the distance and visibility of crossing 7th Street S., according to the project’s community engagement summary.

A map showing the proposed project area on 9th Street S. (via Arlington County)

The proposed project on 9th Street S. would modify the driveway to the AT&T building so that its curbs can be in an accessible sidewalk condition compliant with federal law. The county collaborated with the company for the design plan.

“This project will support a safe walking environment adjacent to the AT&T building, where there is high traffic volume and children at play in the area,” AT&T Mid-Atlantic Region Operations Manager Robert Weaver stated in a letter of support.

A map showing the proposed project area on 28th Street S. (via Arlington County)

The proposed project on 28th Street S. aims to reduce speeding and shorten the distance of pedestrian crossing by narrowing the roadway. This location was high on the county’s list of potential reconstruction because it has a history of car crashes and speeding.

Thirty percent of respondents who walked in that area believed the proposed project would make them feel “much safer.” Many respondents also expressed concern for cyclists along that road. However, the county determined that the road is too narrow for a bike lane, according to the project’s community engagement summary.

A map showing the proposed project on N. Fairfax Drive (via Arlington County)

The proposed project on Fairfax Drive, near Rocky Run Park, aims to increase the visibility of pedestrians crossing the street and shorten the crossing distance. It also proposes removing the mid-block crossing closest to the intersection with N. Barton Street.

Many people who gave feedback to the county raised concerns with the crossing removal, however. Almost 20% of survey respondents who walked in the said the proposed changes would make them feel less safe when walking, according to the project’s community engagement summary.

But the county will still remove it because it is less than 100 feet away from a crosswalk controlled by a “All Way Stop” sign.

All four projects were part of the Neighborhood Complete Streets Program, which aims to “make streets safe for all users of all ages and abilities” and “preserve or enhance neighborhood character,” according to its commission’s website.

The Arlington County Transportation Commission earlier voted unanimously to support the projects, but opined that the Irving Street could have been better.

More from a letter sent to the Board by the Transportation Commission, below.

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