Arlington County is set to receive more than $17 million in grant funding from state agencies for various transportation and transit projects.
The Arlington County Board will vote on Saturday (January 27) on whether to accept the funds, totaling $17.8 million, from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
Of that, the county is set to receive $15 million from DPRT, just over $870,000 from NVTC and almost $2 million from VDOT. The money is to fund transit, bridge renovations and other transportation projects.
DPRT funds come from its Smart Scale program, a statewide funding program where jurisdictions apply for a limited amount of grant funding. NVTC’s funding is through its program to administer revenue made from the I-66 tolls. The VDOT funding is from a revenue sharing program the county regularly applies for.
The county was awarded money for the following projects, by the following bodies:
- Ballston Metro station west entrance – $10 million (DPRT)
- Purchase of Mobile Commuter Store – $500,000 (DPRT)
- Purchase of eight 40-foot buses – $4 million (DPRT)
- Installation and accessibility improvements of bus stops along the ART route to Marymount University – $500,000 (DPRT)
- Bus stop consolidation and accessibility improvements – $462,000 (NVTC)
- Multimodal real-time transportation information screens – $250,000 (NVTC)
- ART bus rehabilitation for ART 55 peak service expansion – $160,000 (NVTC)
- Shirlington Road Bridge – $935,000 (VDOT)
- Pershing Drive – $1,050,000 (VDOT)
In a report, county staff recommended the Board accept the funds.
Arlington County is one final step away from controlling sections of Fairfax Drive and 10th Street N. along the Orange Line corridor.
The Arlington County Board will vote on Saturday (January 27) to approve a deal that would give the county control of the road between its intersections with N. Glebe Road and N. Barton Street, from roughly the Ballston to Courthouse neighborhoods. The roadway is currently controlled by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The vote follows after the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the transfer of control of the road, also known as Route 237, in December. The county requested that transfer in July 2017.
Making the portion of the roadway a part of Arlington’s local road system would streamline reviews for development and other changes, and give the county more flexibility to implement multimodal improvements.
In a report, county staff said Route 237’s current ownership under the state makes the county go through an “extensive review process with the Virginia Department of Transportation for all site plan development reviews and county transportation infrastructure projects.”
Staff said there is also a “cumbersome design-exception process” that costs the county more time and money for each project under VDOT supervision. The transfer could also cost the county between $60,000 and $70,000 a year for added road maintenance responsibilities, the cost of which are only partially reimbursed by the state, according to a fiscal impact statement.
Image via Arlington County
Immigrants Afraid to Report Crimes — President Donald Trump’s hawkishness on immigration enforcement has apparently led to a drop in crimes reported in some of the country’s largest immigrant communities, including in Arlington. Per a new report: “In Arlington, Virginia, domestic-assault reports in one Hispanic neighborhood dropped more than eighty-five per cent in the first eight months after Trump’s Inauguration, compared with the same period the previous year.” [New Yorker]
Lawmakers React to Immigration Decision — Local lawmakers are speaking out against a Trump administration decision to end temporary protected status for some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. “Donald Trump’s open hostility to immigrants runs against the values and history of this country,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called the decision “heartless.” [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]
Ramp Near Pentagon Closing at Night — The ramp from eastbound Route 27 to northbound Route 110, near the Pentagon, will be closed each night through Friday for bridge deck work, according to VDOT. “Traffic will be detoured via Route 27, George Washington Memorial Parkway and I-395 back to northbound Route 110,” the agency said. [Twitter]
InsideNova Sold — The parent company of the Arlington Sun Gazette has sold its InsideNova website along with two other local weekly newspapers, while retaining the Sun Gazette papers. Sun Gazette articles will reportedly still be published on InsideNova. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington’s Top 10 Press Releases of 2017 — Arlington County has posted an article ranking the 10 most popular press releases of 2017 on its website. The article concludes that “2017 was a good year in Arlington County, laying the foundation for great years to come.” [Arlington County]
Nearby: Plans for Boozy Taco Bell — A Taco Bell “Cantina” that “mixes the traditional Taco Bell fare with new shareable menu items and alcoholic beverages including twisted freezes, beer and wine” is coming to Old Town Alexandria. [Washington Business Journal]
More Fog Photos — The fog covering parts of the region this morning made for some great photos, particularly among those who trained their lenses on the half-covered Washington monument. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
A shared-use path is now open on eastbound Washington Blvd near the Pentagon, part of a bridge rehabilitation project in Arlington County.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said a 14-foot wide path for bicycles and pedestrians along eastbound Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 opened yesterday (Tuesday).
The path is now 14 feet wide on the bridge and replaces a narrow concrete sidewalk that pedestrians and cyclists used to use. It is 10 feet wide on the approaches to the bridge.
Drivers in the area can expect some delays starting tonight (Wednesday), as eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd will shift onto the newly-constructed portion of the bridge. The traffic shift allows construction crews to demolish the middle portion of the bridge and rebuild it.
Work is expected to last from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes.
VDOT said it still believes the $31.5 million project is on track to wrap up next year. It will replace the existing bridge, built in 1941, with one that is wider, longer and taller.
Photo via VDOT
Light snowflakes fell on Arlington County in the early afternoon, with some sticking to grassy areas.
The snow began around lunchtime, and at 1:30 p.m. the National Weather Service tweeted that the main concern is a “thin slippery layer on untreated roads.” Anyone driving home this afternoon and evening should be careful of any slick conditions.
Snow accumulated mostly around the bases of trees and on places where people were not walking, with many sidewalks slick but not seeing much accumulation.
NWS issued a Special Weather Statement around 11 p.m. yesterday (Thursday) warning of a hazardous commute.
1:30pm – Light snow & snow pellets continue across the region. Traffic cameras in north-central Maryland show light accumulation beginning on road shoulder areas. A thin slippery layer on untreated roads is the main concern this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/lh5e8gO8Br
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) December 15, 2017
The Virginia Department of Transportation pre-treated roads earlier today, and will continue to do so as needed through the evening rush hour, as will local crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services.
In a press release, VDOT urged drivers to:
- Continue to check weather forecasts as storm timing, area, and intensity can change. Temperatures are below freezing now and are only predicted to peak at 33 degrees around 4 p.m. before immediately dropping below freezing again.
- Remember that Friday afternoon rush hour begins much earlier than the rest of the week. Consider making your trips early, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, and if conditions are icy, avoid driving for safety.
- Watch for plow trucks. They are very heavy and drive slower in order to treat roads effectively.
- Do not overdrive conditions. Assume all roads that appear wet are slick.
- Reduce your speed and always use your headlights.
- Take it slow on bridges, ramps, and overpasses, and other known trouble spots.
- Ensure gas tanks and windshield wiper fluid tanks are full.
The Capital Weather Gang reported that snow could continue to fall for another couple of hours in some areas.
Low temps and wet snow/sleet are a good recipe for icy surfaces.
Take it slow and steady, no matter how you're getting around today. https://t.co/JgH9j3lJ5u
— BikeArlington (@BikeArlington) December 15, 2017
Arlington Ready for Possible Snow — The chances of “meaningful accumulation” have since gone down, but Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services crews started applying brine to county roads Monday night in anticipation a “potential snow/ice this Wednesday evening/Thursday.” [Twitter, Washington Post]
VDOT Pleased With I-66 HOT Lane Data — NBC 4’s Adam Tuss tweets: “Doesn’t look like @VaDOTNOVA plans to change anything about the I-66 toll lanes. They say their data shows commutes were faster and more reliable.” [Twitter]
Dems Want Satellite-Voting Centers — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee could again be at loggerheads with the county’s elections office over whether to provide satellite locations for absentee voting in non-presidential-election years.” [InsideNova]
ARLnow T-Shirt Now Available — Need a gift for the ARLnow.com fan in your life? Show your Arlington pride with this long-sleeved t-shirt from the county’s No. 1 local news source. [Amazon]
ACPD Officers Helping in Puerto Rico — The Arlington County Police Department is among the departments nationwide sending officers to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to provide emergency assistance. The third ACPD team to rotate in is working on the island through Dec. 18. Officers who’ve gone say many challenges remain but there are hopeful signs as well. [Arlington Connection]
Westover Townhouse Battle Continues — Arlington County is weighing both a historic district and a “Housing Conservation District” for Westover, to protect aging but affordable garden apartments from being redeveloped into $800,000 townhomes. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The Arlington County Board will consider a resolution at its meeting this week that could help pave the way for HOV or bus-only lanes on Columbia Pike.
The county took over management of the Pike from VDOT in 2010. The Board is considering an amendment to its agreement with VDOT that would provide for “active lane management practices and associated restrictions.”
Whereas the 2010 agreement specified that the county must maintain two through lanes in each direction, the amendment would allow “use by certain specified modes only, e.g., buses, high occupancy cars, and similar high capacity modes, in order to optimize person throughput during specified times of the day.”
Such restrictions may be in place during rush hour or any other peak demand period determined by the county. At least one lane in each direction “will be available for through traffic for all modes at all times.”
The language of the amendment was approved by VDOT’s oversight body, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, on Dec. 5, according to a staff county report. The County Board is now considering a resolution formally requesting the amendment from VDOT.
The overall goal, according to the staff report, is moving more people — but not necessarily more cars — along the constrained Columbia Pike corridor.
County staff has been reviewing options related to the County’s secondary road system for how the County can support the mutual goals of the Department and the County to use the existing public right-of-way to support transportation improvements and enhancements that move more people more efficiently. While the County has demonstrated its effectiveness in increasing mobility along Columbia Pike, the constrained right-of-way limits the extent to which the County can increase the movement of people. Because Columbia Pike has restrictions on how the County can use the public right-of-way, County staff, at the direction of the County Board, has been working with the Department to develop language that would provide the County with greater flexibility now and in the future to manage Columbia Pike in a way that supports the movement of people within and through the corridor.
The change could allow for a version of Bus Rapid Transit, which was often touted as an alternative to the since-cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar. The county said in 2016 that it was “looking at…the possibility of creating locations with dedicated bus lanes, along with other innovations” along the Pike.
The county has not solicited public feedback on the amendment itself, according to the staff report.
“Public outreach is not appropriate for an administrative amendment to the Agreement,” the report states.
The Capital Weather Gang reports that as Friday night wears on, the chances of light snow, or a mix of snow and rain, will increase. A mix of snow and rain is likely to fall during Saturday, with as much as an inch or two expected to accumulate depending on the severity of the storm.
County government has been planning all year for any winter weather, including budgeting $1.4 million for snow removal, stockpiling 9,200 tons of salt and spending 1,950 hours training snow crews. The team is made up of 92 drivers and 46 trucks.
Crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services were out this morning with liquid de-icer to pre-treat some county streets.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) December 8, 2017
Work on snow-affected roads is broken into four phases, per a county press release:
- Phase 1: Snow crews pre-treat main roads before a storm.
- Phase 2: During the storm, the priority is to keep main arteries passable for emergency vehicles and public transportation.
- Phase 3: Plowing of residential streets and trails begins. It’s important to know that these streets may only be passable with one lane and you may not see bare pavement.
- Phase 4: After the storm, cleanup operations begin, which includes treating ice on the roadways.
As well as more than 1,000 lane miles of county streets, crews will also clear nearly 350 bus stops and shelters, 35 miles of sidewalks and 21 pedestrian bridges or overpasses. Ten miles of trails and three miles of protected bike lanes also will be cleared.
And residents can play their part in helping make snow clearing as easy as possible:
- Coordinate with neighbors to park cars on one side of the street, where feasible, or avoid on-street parking so snowplow operators can efficiently clear more of the streets
- Don’t park “head in” on cul-de-sacs so plows have more room to maneuver
- Clear your sidewalks and scoop snow towards your house, not the street, BUT
- Wait for snow plows to come by before clearing snow from the front of driveways, to minimize the amount pushed back by plows
- Stay home, telework or use mass transit to reduce the number of potentially stranded vehicles
- Apply only the recommended amount of chemical de-icers on sidewalks to attain a safe and passable way
- Stay connected through the Snow and Ice Central webpage and DES social media platforms for updates on snow phases, transportation, trash and other important notifications. Follow on Twitter @ArlingtonDES and on Facebook at Arlington County Department of Environmental Services.
Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation will also be pre-treating roads ahead of any snow. VDOT urged drivers to give their trucks room to work.
Crews will be pretreating roads today & tmrw between rush hours ahead of potential winter weather during Friday's PM commute. Pls give tanker & safety trucks room to work. Learn more: https://t.co/2gX5CDGM8i #brinelines pic.twitter.com/T7YP4Hq3cD
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) December 7, 2017
Our latest calculations for the chance of 2" or more of snow highlights the area from central Virginia up the I-95 corridor. For more graphics, visit: https://t.co/FdluCAnbTi. pic.twitter.com/gIDKzkFz8x
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) December 8, 2017
NEW: Snow is coming. Here's CWG's snow accumulation outlook for Saturday, as well as information on storm timing and our impacts analysis. Follow this link, which will be updated throughout today: https://t.co/84HdbBUrOy
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) December 8, 2017
ACPD is monitoring the weather conditions for tomorrow. If there is any change to the performance schedule, we'll post an update on our social media accounts.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) December 8, 2017
Tolls higher than $30 — for the trip from I-495 to D.C. — have been reported since the HOT lanes launched on Monday. The new system replaces the former HOV-only rush hour regime with one that also allows solo drivers to pay, while eliminating exemptions for fuel efficient vehicles and those heading to Dulles airport.
Today, lower tolls — peaking around $23.50 — were reported, though that is still well above the $7-9 tolls originally predicted by VDOT. Meanwhile, traffic on alternative east-west arteries, like Route 50, has increased since the tolls went into effect.
VDOT says Route 50 has seen 8-percent increase in traffic since 66 toll began. Here's what traffic looks like on 50 inside Beltway. pic.twitter.com/ISaenPuolT
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) December 6, 2017
VDOT says the toll prices are demand-based, which presumably means that some drivers are choosing to pay upwards of $30 for a one-way trip to the Roosevelt Bridge.
For those of means, along with bus riders and carpoolers, the change has at least resulted in a breeze of a commute on I-66 — higher average speeds during peak times than before the change. The average speed during Monday and Tuesday’s commutes was 57 miles per hour, according to VDOT.
Should VDOT decide to lower toll prices, it might result in slowdowns and congestion, some fear.
So what would be the price most people would be willing to pay? Let’s find out.
I-66 HOT Lanes Open Dec. 4 — Beginning on Dec. 4, the new toll booths along I-66 will be switched on and solo drivers will be able to use I-66 during rush hour, for a price. Cars with two or more occupants will be able to continue using I-66 for free, as long as they have an E-ZPass Flex transponder. [WAMU]
Transportation Secretary Regrets Streetcar Cancellation — “As he prepares to wrap up a four-year tenure as Virginia’s secretary of transportation, Aubrey Layne said the cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar project ranks as one of the major disappointments of his tenure.” [InsideNova]
Investigation into ANC Cop Photo — “Officials at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall now say they are conducting an internal investigation after a photo surfaced depicting several officers who patrol Arlington National Cemetery smiling and laughing while pretending to beat a fellow co-worker. A source within the base police department shared the photos with FOX 5 and says the officers took the pictures on Thanksgiving Day while on duty at the cemetery.” [Fox 5 DC]
Roaches Run Now Sanctuary for DCA Drivers — The Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary was first established by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930s. What was once intended as a tranquil place to watch waterfowl is currently mostly being used by drivers waiting to pick up passengers at Reagan National Airport. [Falls Church News-Press]
NBC Correspondent is Arlington Resident — NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander lives in Arlington with his wife, ABC 7’s Alison Starling, and their two daughters. He recently shared ten pieces of wisdom he’s learned over the years. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Arlington Store Featured on VOA — Wild Birds Unlimited, the store for bird watching enthusiasts along Lee Highway, was featured in a recent Voice of America report about the “popular American hobby” of bird feeding, which “connects people to nature.” The store and owner Michael Zuiker also publish a biweekly column on ARLnow.com. [Voice of America]
The department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share the reminder: “Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time.”
More from ACPD:
Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes. As we approach the winter holiday season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement from November 20 to December 1, 2017.
According to NHTSA, during the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend, 301 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, and 53 percent were not their wearing seat belts at the time of the fatal crash. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 57 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. That’s why one focus of the campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
To learn more about the campaign, visit the NHTSA website.
In a similar effort, Virginia State Police will be be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and not wearing seatbelts.
State police will have increased enforcement from tomorrow (Wednesday) through Sunday.
“Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, said in a statement. “We’ve seen an 11 percent increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”
And while traffic may be busy along the I-95 corridor, as it has been historically at this time of year, the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to make life a little easier.
During the Thanksgiving travel period, VDOT will suspend most major highway work zones and lift lane closures on Virginia interstates and major streets from Wednesday through noon on Monday, November 27.
VDOT’s Thanksgiving traffic trends map shows that Tuesday evening and midday Wednesday are among the busiest times on Virginia highways for heading out of the D.C. area.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) November 15, 2017
Similarly, Metro has no scheduled track work on Thanksgiving Day, with trains and buses operating on a Sunday schedule. The system opens at 8 a.m., and will close at 11 p.m. On Friday, November 24, the system will be open on a normal weekday schedule.
Drivers in Westover and East Falls Church can expect traffic delays and detours in the coming weeks as the state and county repave and add bike lanes to Washington Blvd.
The project by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the street, is set to begin in the next couple of weeks with repaving between Lee Highway and N. McKinley Road.
After that repaving is complete, staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services will install green bicycle lanes, bollards and way-finding signs for bicyclists. At some points, the lanes will have a buffer as wide as two or three feet from traffic. The county and VDOT coordinated on a design plan for the new striping earlier this year.
(1/2) In the next two weeks, VDOT plans to mill and pave Washington Blvd (from Lee Hwy to N McKinley Rd) b/w 9:30a-3p (subject to change).
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) August 25, 2017
(2/2) Cars can't be parked on the street & traffic detours will be in place. Restriping after paving will include a redesign w/ bike lanes.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) August 25, 2017
At one stage, the plan had been for continuous bike lanes along Washington Blvd. But those plans were nixed earlier this year and revised.
Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to shorter stretches. Westbound the lane will run 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.
Staff said they anticipate between 16 and 19 parking spaces on the street will be lost out of around 150 in total. In turn, Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church (6201 Washington Blvd) is expected to increase its parking capacity to 15 spaces.
DES staff said the project has a number of benefits for those in the area:
- Enhance bicycle infrastructure where it does not currently exist
- Help stitch together the expanding Capital Bikeshare system (a new station was installed at the East Falls Church metro station in 2016 and two new stations will be installed in Westover in 2017 and 2018).
- Connect to existing bicycle lanes on Washington Boulevard between Westover and Lacy Woods Park.
- Create a nearly two-mile stretch of bicycle lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.
- Narrow unnecessarily 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 bicycle lanes.
- Pedestrian safety improvements at key intersections with highly visible markings for crosswalks (pending VDOT approval). Center line “Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk” signs may also be installed.
During the work, DES says parking will be prohibited on Washington Blvd and detours will be in place.
Next year, staff will collect additional usage data to track cars, bicycles, pedestrians and parking.
Fairlington to Trap Raccoons — Following two well-publicized raccoon attacks in the past week, the Fairlington Villages condo association is taking action. In a letter to residents, the association says its Board of Directors has “authorized management to engage a wild animal control contractor to begin a program of trapping raccoons on the property.”
County Moves Forward on Fairfax Drive Ownership — “Arlington County wants to own State Route 237 (Fairfax Drive/10th St. North) from roughly Ballston to Courthouse. The County Board voted at its July 18, 2017 meeting to request that the Commonwealth transfer ownership of the stretch of road to Arlington.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Mulls Lee Highway Ownership — Now that it owns Columbia Pike and is requesting ownership of Fairfax Drive, should Arlington also consider asking VDOT for ownership of Lee Highway? “It’s an intriguing idea,” said one County Board member. [InsideNova]
Darbys Dish on Their Split — Even friends of Real Housewives of Potomac castmates Ashley and Michael Darby might not have suspected that the couple had split up before revealing it on a RHOP reunion show. The pair, who jointly own Oz restaurant in Clarendon, “still spend time together socially” but as of February both have separate apartments in Arlington. [Bravo]
Road Closures for 5K Race in Crystal City — The annual Crystal City Twilighter 5K race will shut down parts of Crystal Drive, Long Bridge Drive and other adjacent roads Saturday night. [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy “ARLnow Reader”
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The county could gain control of a section of Fairfax Drive under a plan before the Arlington County Board.
The Board will vote Saturday on whether to request that the Virginia Department of Transportation and Commonwealth Transportation Board transfer control of the road between its intersections with N. Glebe Road and N. Barton Street. Both bodies would then have to approve the transfer, but VDOT has already tentatively agreed to the deal.
If Arlington gains control of the section of Fairfax Drive and 10th Street N. between Ballston and Courthouse, also known as Route 237, it would limit VDOT’s involvement in construction projects.
Currently, roads under VDOT’s control require extensive review before any construction can be done. Making the portion of the roadway a part of Arlington’s local road system would streamline such reviews and give the county more flexibility to implement multimodal improvements.
“Since many of the County’s projects on Route 237 utilize urban standards that are not typical of VDOT plans, this often requires obtaining design exceptions in order to implement the project,” said a staff report. “This cumbersome design-exception process adds time and expense to each project.”
The report recommends the Board approve the proposal, arguing that added flexibility in managing several streets that run in parallel to Interstate 66, which is being widened under the “Transform 66” project, is worth the extra expense.
The move is expected to cost the county upwards of $60,000 a year, according to a fiscal impact statement.
Unlike many other counties in Virginia, Arlington County staff performs the full range of road maintenance functions on the 1,051 lane miles of road and would accept conveyance and responsibility for the maintenance of the additional 6.61 lane miles constituting this portion of Route 237. Per Section 33.2-366 of the Virginia Code, Arlington County receives a per lane-mile payment each fiscal year for the maintenance of its secondary road system. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 rate, approved by the CTB on June 20, 2017, is $18,515.71 per lane-mile; the rate typically escalates each year. Maintenance responsibilities include landscaping, sidewalk repair, street sweeping, paving, plowing, signage, and pavement markings, which cost the County roughly $28,000 per lane-mile of roadway, based on the County’s most recently reported average maintenance cost per lane-mile.
… This equates to $60,000 – $70,000 in additional net tax support to the County. The precise level of service for this portion of Route 237 and associated costs would be determined during the FY 2019 budget deliberations.
The CTB would likely vote on the transfer in September if it is approved by the County Board.
A plan to revamp Interstate 66 is threatening the character of the Custis Memorial Parkway, the highway’s name inside the Capital Beltway, historic preservation advocates said today (Wednesday).
Preservation Arlington, a nonprofit group that looks to protect Arlington’s architectural heritage, released its annual list of “endangered historic places,” with the parkway named as one.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the midst of an ambitious plan known as “Transform 66” to widen I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston within the existing eastbound right-of-way.
But Preservation Arlington said the plan could undermine “the roadway’s unique parkway design.”
“Plantings are no longer maintained. Corten steel guardrails and sign supports are being replaced with standard, steel interstate highway components,” the group wrote. “The new toll road gantries, and large, new sign supports (and highway signage) on nearby arterial roads have further eroded the parkway’s ability to blend into its surroundings.”
Another piece of history under threat, according to Preservation Arlington, are the Education Center and Planetarium, chosen last week by the Arlington County School Board for an extra 500-600 high school seats and a renovation.
“While some exterior improvements will be necessary it is hoped that this will be minimal and will not alter the appearance of the historic structure,” Preservation Arlington wrote. “Designed as a headquarters building to show the strength and commitment to education, the building is iconic in our community.”
Also under threat, according to Preservation Arlington:
- 1000-series Metro cars, retired this month for safety reasons
- Community buildings like those for churches and service organizations
- Four Mile Run industrial area
- Housing stock from before World War II, with the continued loss of these homes “erasing Arlington’s architectural and community history.”
Image via VDOT presentation