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As part of a larger county program to upgrade “outdated” traffic lights, this project will change the span wire currently holding the traffic signals at the intersection to mast arms.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intersection near the Four Mile Run Trail and the Alexandria border has narrow sidewalks, long pedestrian crossings and outdated bus stops.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.
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 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
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 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.
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-planned “Complete Streets” project 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(Updated on 6/2) Wider sidewalks may be coming to a major Potomac River crossing.
The long-awaited rehabbing of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, one of the main thoroughfares connecting Arlington to D.C., will result in a new paint job, updated overhead lights, and significant widening of sidewalks, a new D.C. Department of Transportation report says.
Later this week, the National Capital Planning Commission will meet to approve a new report that focuses on much-needed repairs and rehabilitation of 58-year-old bridge that carries I-66 traffic over the river.
The report calls for the bridge to be repainted to its original white color, as well as for updating the overhead lighting and doubling the sidewalk width for pedestrians on both sides of the bridge. It notes that the current sidewalk widths, varying between four and six feet, “do not meet safety standards.”
Neither do the current barriers separating pedestrians from traffic, which are steel columns that are only a few feet high.
“The existing traffic barriers between the sidewalk and traffic lanes provide minimal protection from pedestrians and do not meet current safety standards,” says the report.
While the bridge is owned, operated, and maintained by DDOT, Arlington County has a significant stake in this rehab project considering that it’s one of the main connectors to D.C.
“TR Bridge has been a subject of discussion between our staff and DDOT for over a decade. Arlington has always strongly advocated for improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities on the TR Bridge,” Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach told ARLnow. “The existing conditions, both on the north side and south side, are pretty meager and really not up to current standards.”
There are also “long term goals” to further connect the sidewalks to more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares.
On the north side, the walkway connects the Mount Vernon trail in Rosslyn to the Kennedy Center Reach ramp. However, on the south side, the sidewalk currently does not connect to any trail or pedestrian-accessible walkway. Leach acknowledges that taking the south side walkway from D.C. to Rosslyn the entire way currently ends in a dangerous place.
“You end up in the middle of the ramp system between Arlington Boulevard, Route 50, 110, and the Parkway,” he says.
The National Park Service, Arlington County, and the Virginia Department of Transportation are working together to look into the possibility of connecting the south side of the Roosevelt Bridge sidewalk to the Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn, Leach notes.
He also brought up that beyond day-to-day traffic, the Roosevelt Bridge is a particularly important connection between Rosslyn and the National Mall, be it for emergency response or for special events like the Fourth of July. The entire bridge length is about 3,200 feet or about .7 miles, so it is short enough to walk and bike across.
“Currently, the sidewalk infrastructure is insufficient to provide good, safe connections between the National Mall and Rosslyn,” Leach says.
Despite it being unsafe, DDOT tells ARLnow that they are “not aware”of any pedestrian-related incidents or accidents within the bridge sidewalk.
In terms of repainting work that also will be done, that has more to do with “a cohesive aesthetic” than safety.
“Staff recommends that the Commission note that DDOT would repaint all structural steel on the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to match its original white color designed to create a cohesive aesthetic between the bridge and nearby monuments and the Arlington Memorial Bridge,” reads the report.
Work isn’t expected to start for awhile, though. The project’s final design phase won’t completed for another year, a DDOT spokesperson writes to ARLnow in an email, until early summer 2023. At this point, it’s anticipated that construction will begin at the end of 2023 or early 2024 and will take four to five years to complete, the spokesperson said.
However, the sidewalk widening will be among the first elements of the project to be completed and could happen by the end of 2024.
Currently, DDOT is in the midst of “emergency repairs” that has shut down three lanes of traffic through at least June.
Nonetheless, Leach is confident that when the project does happen, the widening of sidewalks and adding better barriers separating pedestrians from traffic on the Roosevelt Bridge will make Arlington a more pedestrian-friendly place.
“We’ve talked about this project for over a decade,” he says. “These long term collaborations actually yield results. And I think this bridge rehab will bring a really good result for the District, Arlington and the region.”
A rehabilitation project and a potential lane reconfiguration are both in the works for the S. Abingdon Street bridge in Fairlington.
The bridge, which carries local vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the neighborhood over I-395, was built in 1970 and last rehabilitated in 1994. It’s due for more work to improve safety and extend the bridge’s life, VDOT says.
A VDOT presentation noted that inspectors found crumbling concrete below the bridge span.
The state transportation department is conducting a virtual public engagement process about the upcoming $10.5 million rehab project, for which it anticipates starting construction in the summer of 2023. At least one lane of vehicle and bike traffic will be maintained in each direction during construction, VDOT says.
More from VDOT’s website, below.
The project includes:
- Resurfacing the concrete bridge deck and closing deck joints
- Repairing concrete piers and abutments
- Adding protective concrete barriers adjacent to piers
- Extending and adding concrete in-fill walls between piers
- Replacing bearings and reconstructing bearing seats
The existing sidewalks on both sides of the bridge will remain and the bridge bicycle lanes will be restriped as part of the project.
The bridge averages 8,300 vehicles a day based on 2019 data.
The project is financed with federal and state funding.
In lieu of an in-person meeting, VDOT invites residents and travelers to learn more, watch the virtual presentation and give feedback in the following ways through Wednesday, June 1:
- Watch the virtual presentation (also available in Chinese and Spanish) at virginiadot.org/Abingdon395.
- Provide comments via the online survey or by email to [email protected].
- Mail comments to Mr. Sharif Ramsis, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.
In addition to VDOT’s construction project, Arlington County is gearing up for a “Complete Streets” repaving and re-striping project on the bridge — from Fire Station 7 to 34th Street S. — this summer.
The project may involve removing the sparsely-used street parking on either side of the bridge, in favor of more robust and protected bike and pedestrian facilities, based on public comments and past history with the program.
Several comments note concerns about vehicles speeding on the bridge and the presence of students going to and from school.
An exact plan for the county’s Complete Streets project has yet to be published.
Photo via Google Maps
Road Improvement Project Discussion — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Tomorrow night: Virtual gabfest on the latest design for THE Ohio Street Safety Project at 12th Road North and 14th Street North.” [Twitter, Arlington County]
Indecent Exposure in Shirlington — “4000 block of Campbell Avenue. At approximately 7:29 p.m. on March 17, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. The investigation determined that approximately 20 minutes prior, the male suspect entered into the establishment and allegedly exposed himself to the female victims.” [ACPD]
Nearby: New Signs in F.C. — “Forty-two vehicular wayfinding signs have been installed to identify City boundaries for visitors driving into the City, and guide visitors driving to visitor-oriented destinations (City Hall, Downtown, Eden Center, State Theatre, etc.) and public parking. The City also plans to remove older signs that would conflict with the new signs within the next two weeks.” [City of Falls Church]
It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 62 and low of 46. Sunrise at 7:10 am and sunset at 7:23 pm. [Weather.gov]
Arlington County is applying for $15 million in federal funding to improve cycling and walking connections around Arlington National Cemetery.
The money would partially fund the construction of a long-proposed Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) Wall Trail along Washington Blvd, which would connect Columbia Pike and the Pentagon City area with Memorial Avenue and the Arlington Memorial Bridge into D.C.
The Arlington County Board is scheduled to review the application on Saturday.
“The ANC Wall Trail will provide a missing link in the County and regional non-motorized network that will complete a bicycle and pedestrian connection between all three of the County’s major development corridors,” the county says in a report.
Right now, the cemetery is an “effective barrier to demand for non-motorized travel to and across Memorial Bridge,” according to the county, as security concerns after 9/11 led the Department of Defense to prohibit travel through the burial grounds.
The trail would run along the western side of Washington Blvd from Columbia Pike to Memorial Drive. Currently, there is a trail on the other side of Washington Blvd, a highway also known as State Route 27, but it gets dicey near Memorial Circle for pedestrians and cyclists looking to access the nearby Mt. Vernon Trail or cross into D.C.
The Columbia Pike interchange with Washington Blvd is set to be modified as part of the ANC Defense Access Roads Project, which will also move Columbia Pike closer to I-395, realign S. Joyce Street, build a new S. Nash Street connector road, and remove part of Southgate Road.
This work, funded by the federal government and managed by the Federal Highway Administration, will facilitate the addition of 70 acres to the southern portion of the cemetery, making room for 60,000 burial sites and space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.
Road work is underway, and early next year, road users can expect to be redirected from the Pike to side streets near Pentagon City. The new burial ground could open in late 2025.
New cycling and pedestrian facilities and grading for the connection to the future ANC Wall Trail are also included in the project. Part of its scope includes designing the trail, for which Arlington County agreed to pay $500,000.
The county expects final designs to be developed over the next year or so. The overall cost of the trail is estimated at $25 million.
Once the wall trail is built, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to connect to Pentagon City via S. Joyce Street at the southern end of the ANC Wall Trail. It will allow safer bike and pedestrian travel between Pentagon City and Columbia Pike to D.C. and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.
North of Memorial Avenue, cyclists and pedestrians would be able to link up to the existing trail alongside Route 110, which provides a connection to the Iwo Jima Memorial, to Rosslyn, and to the larger network of bicycle and pedestrian trails along the R-B corridor, the county says.
The $15 million, if awarded, would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” (RAISE) program, which has $1.5 billion earmarked to reimburse localities for surface transportation projects.
The Transportation Department caps awards at $25 million, and one state can receive no more than $225 million. Awards must be split evenly between urban and rural areas.
There is a “low likelihood of a funding award compared with other external transportation capital funding programs,” the county report notes.
Arlington applied last year and was denied funding — along with every other application from Virginia, according to the report. Staff will be meeting with federal transportation staff to understand why and plan to use that information for the new application.
A portion of Columbia Pike near Pentagon City is set to be closed and re-routed to side streets early next year due to work to expand Arlington National Cemetery.
The work, which will add 60,000 burial sites and space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center, will also involve moving Columbia Pike closer to I-395, so that gravesites can be placed where it currently curves around the Air Force Memorial.
Grading work along the new planned path of the Pike has already started, as have some occasional lane closures.
“Crews have implemented various, intermittent lane closures on the project to begin work,” Amber Vincent, Public Affairs Specialist at Arlington National Cemetery, told ARLnow. “In the next six months, long–term lanes closures/shifts will be implemented to access work areas within the project.”
Lane closures are planned on Southgate Road, which runs alongside the Pike next to the current cemetery border, the spokeswoman said. That will be followed by the construction of a new road connecting the Pike and Southgate, west of the Air Force Memorial, and then the closure of the Pike itself.
“Long term lane closures are roughly 1-2 months out and will take place on Southgate Road and Joyce Street in order to begin preparations for what will ultimately be a full closure of Columbia Pike,” said Vincent. “While these closures are in place, a new roadway (South Nash Street) will be constructed between Columbia Pike and Southgate Road one block east of Oak Street.”
“We anticipate South Nash Street to be complete and open late 2022 or early 2023,” she continued. “At that time, Columbia Pike will be closed and traffic will utilize the newly constructed South Nash Street and Southgate Road to bypass the closed section of Columbia Pike to Joyce Street.”
Known as the Arlington National Cemetery Defense Access Roads (DAR) Project, the work is being funded by the federal government and managed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as is part of the 70-acre southern expansion of the cemetery.
The detours will maintain pedestrian access, we’re told, while the project will add a new sidewalk and a shared-use trail, add street lighting, and put utility lines underground.
“Access to existing facilities, as well as pedestrian and vehicle will be maintained throughout construction,” Vincent said. “Arlington National Cemetery and our partners… recognize that pedestrian infrastructure is important to those living in the D.C.-Maryland-Northern Virginia area and we have made appropriate plans to incorporate adequate pedestrian access to and around the Southern Expansion area.”
In the fall, parking was permanently prohibited on Southgate Road between S. Oak Street and Columbia Pike. After its use as a detour, that portion of Southgate Road will eventually become part of the cemetery.
Officials are still eyeing a late 2025 opening for the new burial ground, Vincent said.
Sign Replacement Complete — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Update: Crews have now completed street sign replacement across the Arlington segments of the former (Old) Lee Highway.” [Twitter]
Crystal City Road Project Underway — “18th St S project ([protected bike lanes], realigning a bad intersection, shortening crossings) has broken ground. No eastbound bike lane during work I guess.” [Twitter]
It’s Friday — Rain and windy in the morning. High of 66 in the early morning hours and low of 33 tonight. Sunny this afternoon. Sunrise at 6:57 am and sunset at 5:51 pm. [Weather.gov]
For the first time since it was built in the early 1960s, the northern section of the GW Parkway will be getting a major overhaul.
The National Park Service announced yesterday that it had awarded a $161 million contract to rehabilitate the Parkway from Spout Run in Arlington to the Capital Beltway in McLean. After a design process in 2022, construction is expected to take place between 2023 and 2025.
Drivers are being cautioned that there will be traffic impacts during construction.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) touted the project in a statement, saying such work is overdue. This stretch of the Parkway has had to close at least three times over the past seven years due to sinkholes.
“The contract to repair G.W. Parkway’s northern section is a huge infrastructure win for our region,” Beyer said. “Northern Virginians have been pleading for major repairs to this section of the G.W. Parkway for years, as potholes and other damage accumulated over the past six decades put the parkway in ever-worsening shape. Thanks to legislation we passed in Congress and the Department of the Interior under Secretary Haaland’s leadership, we are finally going to get that fixed.”
“I also deeply appreciate the ongoing efforts of the National Park Service to improve safety on G.W. Parkway’s southern stretch,” Beyer added. “Together these projects deliver a top transportation objective for my constituents: making the historic G.W. Parkway as safe as it is scenic. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will lead to so many projects that will benefit Virginia and the rest of the country as we deliver on the promise to rebuild America’s infrastructure.”
The full press release from the National Park Service about the coming rehab project is below.