Plans for the redevelopment of a seven-acre site in Virginia Square — which include a new apartment building, YMCA facility and affordable housing — are slated to come before the Arlington Planning Commission this fall.
The plans, for several properties around the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, could result in a new six-story apartment building; a rebuilt, 100,000 square foot YMCA building; and a 161-home affordable housing project. The plans call for retaining American Legion Post 139 on the property.
On its property — the largest parcel on the site — the YMCA says it “intends to redevelop its site to allow for an expanded, world class, modern athletic and community YMCA facility as part of a mixed use project which would also allow for new residential uses on, or adjacent to, the Property.”
Within the site is the Ball family burial ground, designated as a local historic district in 1978 and the resting place of several family members. Given the desire to study the site, individual site plans and construction are still years away from coming to fruition.
The county and its Long Range Planning Committee has spent several months discussing land use planning for the parcel and the area as a whole, in advance of a site plan process.
The committee met on July 25 to discuss the latest round of suggestions for land use. Anthony Fusarelli, principal planner in the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, said in an email “it was suggested” that be the final meeting on the topic, and that the study be advanced to the full Planning Commission.
Ahead of that Planning Commission meeting, which could be as early as September, Fusarelli said an updated study document will be released for community review, incorporating the feedback of LRPC members and the public.
At the meeting of the LRPC last month, county staff presented various options for the site’s land use, while taking into account how buildings’ heights decrease as they get further from a Metro station.
Among those options, staff presented two that would create a so-called “Special District,” which would help coordinate development in the area and set clear guidelines for projects. The area would be designated as the Washington/Kirkwood Coordinated Mixed-Use Development District.
And in terms of density, staff has several options left on the table, including several that would allow for varying types of housing, which they said reflected local residents’ desire to have a transition between the dense Metro corridor and the neighborhood.
Staff also provided an option that would not change any land uses on the site, which they said would allow some development, including a hotel by right that would not require Arlington County Board approval. But they said only “limited improvements” could be made to the YMCA under that plan.
A local YouTube personality waited at a red light near Virginia Hospital Center for 20 minutes earlier this week, and posted his experience to his channel.
Angelo, who describes himself as the creative director of the FlyingOverTr0ut channel, says he makes “sketches, commercial parodies, music videos, short films, drama, 9 hour videos of me sleeping, unauthorized T-Mobile commercials, and videos about my easily confused Greek mom.”
But a video posted July 18 shows him having a more troubling experience. It shows Angelo waiting at a red light at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive in Waycroft-Woodlawn for more than 20 minutes.
A timer in the bottom-right corner shows he waited 20 minutes and 30 seconds for the light to change at approximately 2:30 a.m.
The full video is below, although be warned there is strong language and it may not be suitable for viewing at work.
— Mike Lewan (@mlewan3) July 21, 2017
And for those with slightly less time to spare, Angelo posted an edited version of what he describes as his “expose of this intersection,” edited by fellow YouTube user gr18vidz14kidz.
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said they responded to his inquiry on Twitter, and that crews “improved the signal timing this week and will continue to monitor the timing at the intersection.”
Photo via Google Maps.
Lanes will close on Route 110 near the Pentagon next week for up to two months as part of a state construction project.
The right lane of northbound Route 110 at Washington Blvd will close Wednesday night and the right lane of southbound Route 110 will close Thursday night at the same interchange.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said the closures are to remove and rebuild the bridge piers on the shoulders. Message signs alerting motorists to the lane closures are in place.
The left lane of northbound Route 110 and the left lane of southbound Route 110, which have been closed since early April to reconstruct the bridge pier in the median, will reopen Tuesday night.
The work is part of the Route 27 over Route 110 project, which is scheduled for completion next spring. The project will modify and repair the Washington Blvd bridge, including widening it and making it longer, wider and taller than the existing bridge.
Update at 10:40 a.m. — The westbound lanes have reopened.
Washington Blvd is currently blocked in the area of 2nd Street S. due to a large fallen tree, according to scanner traffic.
Police are setting up roadblocks at Columbia Pike and Route 50 to divert traffic.
According to initial reports, the tree — located along the eastbound lanes — fell across all lanes of traffic around 10 a.m. One car was possibly struck by the tree but no injuries were reported.
Police and VDOT crews are working to reopen the westbound lanes; the eastbound lanes are likely to remain closed for an extended period of time.
Image via Google Maps
A spokesman for the county’s department of environmental services said that after previously considering a nearly two-mile stretch of bike lanes from N. Sycamore Street to George Mason Drive, staff has revised their plan.
Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to a shorter stretch, westbound between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets; eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.
“The revised plan would still provide bicycling facilities both eastbound and westbound from East Falls Church to Westover Village, albeit with a section along neighborhood streets, while also minimizing the impact to parking in the middle section that was most heavily impacted in the initial proposal, including the preservation of parking in front of and across from the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, which does not have off-street parking,” DES spokesman Eric Balliet said.
The project is part of a wider re-paving plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which controls that section of Washington Blvd.
The initial plan of bicycle lanes in each direction, improved pedestrian crossings and other improvements was shared publicly last March and received more than 400 comments. County staff then broke them down into categories to get a sense of the main areas of support and concern. Staff then integrated those comments into their revisions of the proposal.
Balliet said the revised plan “continues to meet all major goals with fewer impacts on parking in the middle section where impacts were most acute.”
But bicycling advocates vented their frustration at the change. In a blog post published yesterday on the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s website, WABA staff member Garrett Hennigan blasted the changes.
“Following the first meeting, supportive comments poured in from neighborhood residents. 65 percent of comments supported the bike lanes as did 55 percent of comments from neighborhood residents,” Hennigan wrote. “Now, to save some parking spaces and appease a vocal minority, the County has thrown out the public process, abandoned years of planning and determined that putting people on bikes at risk is a fair compromise.”
A community meeting on the project’s latest iteration will be held tonight at 5 p.m. in the Reed-Westover Building at 1644 N. McKinley Road.
Photo via Google Maps
Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.
By Gillian Burgess
As Arlington grows, more people will travel around our County. Realistically, we don’t have space for more pavement, so we must find a way to allow more people to make more trips without clogging up our roads and parking lots.
Over the past few decades, Arlington County has steadily increased transportation choices, by making it safer and easier to walk, bike, and take transit to get around. Despite our growth, traffic congestion has stayed steady. This year, Arlington has the opportunity to make another such improvement on Washington Boulevard.
Arlington County is planning to expand the transportation network between East Falls Church and Westover by adding bike lanes on Washington Boulevard between North Sycamore Street and North McKinley Street. Best of all, the Virginia Department Of Transportation will contribute by painting the travel markings to incorporate bike lanes after the street is repaved later this year.
These lanes, which are called for in both the East Falls Church Area Plan and the Master Transportation Plan, will make biking west from the Metro and east to Westover (both of which will have Capital Bikeshare stations by the end of this year) much easier.
The route between the Metro and Westover shops via Washington Boulevard is shorter, flatter and easier to follow than via the trails. The lanes will connect to the current bike lanes on Washington Boulevard stretching east to George Mason Drive.
In order to fit in the bike lanes, VDOT will reallocate space that is currently used for parking cars in front of 21 houses, mostly on the south side of the road. This reallocation of space will allow for bike lanes in both directions.
The County has studied parking along Washington Boulevard and has observed parking patterns that support reallocating this space. People will generally have to go only one block farther away to find a free parking space and, in most places, people will only need to cross the street. Additionally, County staff believes that there will be significant available parking on side streets (which were not in the study, but should have been).
Bike lanes on Washington Boulevard will improve the transportation network for everyone in this area.
By allowing space on the road for people on bikes, people biking on Washington Boulevard will be safer, and cars won’t get stuck behind slower moving cyclists.
By making biking more comfortable, less hilly, and easier to follow, more people will choose to bike, improving traffic and parking availability. Moreover, by diverting some bike traffic off of the W&OD and Custis Trails, these bikes lanes will improve the experience for people on our trails.
Putting in bike lanes now is also fiscally responsible. Because the lanes are being installed with repaving, the costs above what would already be spent for repaving are negligible.
By building out a transportation network that gives people options beyond the car, the County stands to save significant money in the future.
Arlington is building more schools, parks, and community centers, and car parking is a significant cost to these projects. By making it easy and attractive to get to County locations by foot, by bike and via transit, we can reduce the amount of parking needed — with significant savings to the County.
Reallocating this space from parking to bike lanes is a good deal for the County and for the neighborhood. Change, of course, is difficult, especially for those immediately impacted. The County should look for creative solutions to ease the transition.
For example, Arlington could look at options for allowing Sunday-only parking on some of the neighborhood streets around Resurrection Lutheran Church. Arlington should also work with the schools and preschools in the area to ensure there are safe places for children to be dropped off and picked up by car or bike or on foot.
Westover and East Falls Church are becoming interesting, dynamic activities centers. With the opportunity to add an elementary school at the Reed School beside the Westover Library, delicious restaurants at the Westover shops, and expected development near the East Falls Church Metro stop, we can expect activity — and travel — through this area to increase.
Adding bike lanes on Washington Boulevard is an important step in improving our transportation network to address the increased needs in this area.
More information about this project can be found on the County’s project site. The County is accepting public comment on the project until Friday, March 17.
Gillian Burgess is the current chair of Arlington County’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, the founder of Kidical Mass Arlington, and a member of the County’s Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission and APS’s Advisory Committee on Transportation Choices. She lives in Cherrydale with her husband and three children.
(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) A new pedestrian walk light at a dangerous intersection could help ease safety concerns for those on foot.
A teen was struck by a car last year at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and N. Utah Street near Washington-Lee High School and suffered a serious head injury.
In the aftermath, Arlington County police conducted a pedestrian safety detail at the intersection to enforce traffic laws on scofflaw drivers. Still, reports of drivers ignoring pedestrians in the crosswalk continued.
As of last week, however, the county has installed new high-visibility walk signs and lights at the crossing to help pedestrians and bicyclists cross Washington Boulevard.
After pressing a button, the lights flash for approximately 10 seconds to warn drivers that people are crossing. An audio message tells crossers that the lights are flashing too.
And while the signals do not include stoplights for drivers, several did stop as required on Monday afternoon to let pedestrians cross while an ARLnow.com reporter was taking photos.
A community meeting is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) to discuss a road re-striping plan that would add bike lanes but remove some parking on the western portion of Washington Blvd in Arlington.
The meeting is set to take place at the Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) from 5-8 p.m.
“We invite community members to provide ideas and insights on how we achieve the maximum benefits for bicycle access and pedestrian safety, while minimizing potential impacts in the area,” says the meeting’s web page.
Among the changes being proposed:
- “Create nearly a two-mile stretch of bike lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.”
- “Narrow unnecessary wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.”
- “Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.”
- “Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bike lanes.”
The restriping, as proposed, would add bike lanes in both directions to where they don’t already exist on Washington Blvd between Westover and East Falls Church, but at the expense of some on-street parking.
The project is being planned by Arlington County but will be performed and funded by VDOT, which maintains that stretch of Washington Blvd.
Photo via Google Maps
Demolition work related to the rehabilitation of the Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 is set to close some ramps and lanes starting tonight at midnight.
During the closures, which are slated to last up to 30 minutes, workers will deconstruct the original bridge deck that was built there in 1941 and deemed “structurally deficient” a few years ago.
The road closures are scheduled to occur between midnight and 4 a.m. at the following locations and times:
- Feb. 27-March 2: Ramp from eastbound Route 27 to northbound Route 110
- March 3-4, 6-9: Northbound Route 110
- March 10-11, 13-14: Southbound Route 110
- March 15-18: Ramp from westbound Route 27 to the Pentagon, and the ramp from the Pentagon to westbound Route 27
The demolition work is part of a $31.5 million plan to replace the existing bridge, near the Pentagon, with a new structure that will expand the shared-use path to 14-feet wide and add an 8-foot sidewalk. The new bridge will also be longer, wider and taller than the existing bridge.
When complete, the newly rehabilitated bridge will include amenities such as low-level iron fences, LED lighting for pedestrians and four medallions commemorating the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
VDOT expects to put the finishing touches on the bridge next spring.
The Arlington County Board is considering giving its blessing to several easements needed for a long-awaited plan to revamp a tricky intersection in Clarendon.
If approved, the county will pay the Catholic Diocese of Arlington nearly $25,000 for permanent and temporary easements on a portion of church property along Washington Blvd, to be used for sidewalk, curb, gutter, utilities and drainage purposes.
The overall plan calls for improvements to “access and safety for those who walk, bike and drive.” The project’s goals include upgrades such as improved traffic signals and streetlights, wider center medians, shorter pedestrian crossings, bike lanes and curb extensions.
“Current travel across the intersection can be difficult due to its extreme width and the skewed alignment of its roadways,” according to a County webpage. “North Irving Street also enters the circle area in two offset locations, further complicating the traffic pattern.”
This wasn’t the only idea that Arlington County considered. Roundabouts, one-way street couplets and other alternative designs all were analyzed, but the County found those elements “would have negative impacts on all modes of transportation, especially for pedestrians.”
If all goes according to plan, the engineering design will be completed this spring, clearing the way for construction to begin next summer. Project completion is pegged for the summer of 2019.
Coffee With a Cop Today — The Arlington County Police Department’s district teams are holding “Coffee With a Cop” events today. The event “has no agenda or speeches” and “is a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers and neighbors in your district.” [Arlington County]
Washington Blvd Closure Tonight — Expect lane closures and a 30-minute full closure of Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 overnight tonight. VDOT is replacing an aging bridge over Route 110; the project is expected to wrap up in 2018. [Twitter]
Boulevard Woodgrill Staff to Marble and Rye — Marble and Rye on Columbia Pike has hired “the entire executive staff” from the former Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon, a restaurant rep says. The hires include longtime Boulevard executive chef Paul Murad and longtime general manager Kent Lawson. The hires, we’re told, “will provide a significant upgrade in service and menu options” and will help Marble and Rye “compete with other popular destinations in Clarendon, Ballston and Shirlington.”
Neighborhood College Applications Being Accepted — “Learn how to become a neighborhood advocate and effect change through Arlington County’s free Neighborhood College program, which will meet on eight consecutive Thursday evenings beginning March 16, 2017.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The driver of a car ran up onto an embankment in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood this morning.
The crash happened around 9:15 a.m. at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Evergreen Street, just west of Ballston. No significant injuries were reported.
Shortly after the crash, a nearby resident emailed ARLnow.com to argue that Arlington County should be doing more to make the intersection safer.
“Residents at the northeast corner of N.Evergreen Street have yet again had a car land in their yard,” wrote Sharon Dorsey. “This is an incredibly dangerous area [with] daily horns blaring when drivers play chicken in the merge lane.”
“Neighbors in and around this area have engaged with a number of agencies within Arlington County over the years to make this safer,” she continued. “Currently, a Neighborhood Conservation project to narrow the mouth Evergreen Street and connect sidewalks is on the books but will not be completed for a number of years… The issue will not be resolved until Arlington County and VDOT work together to restructure the entire intersection, add in turn lanes north and south and remove (or restrict to buses) the eastbound merge lane on Washington Blvd.”
Separately, a crash involving a car and an elderly pedestrian was reported this morning at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street. The pedestrian’s injuries were not reported to be life-threatening.
Photos by Samantha Moore
(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) A 17-year-old girl was struck by an SUV on Washington Blvd in front of Washington-Lee High School this morning.
The incident was first reported to 911 around 9:30 a.m. as a pedestrian lying in the middle of the street, mid-block, near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Stafford Street. It was soon learned that the girl had been struck by a vehicle while crossing the street.
The girl suffered leg and facial injuries that were considered serious but not life-threatening, according to scanner traffic. She was covered in a thermal bag to keep her warm before she was loaded into an ambulance and transported to a local hospital.
Washington Blvd was blocked in both directions between N. Stafford and Randolph streets as a result of the emergency response.
No word yet on the exact circumstances of the crash nor whether any charges will be filed against the driver.
The stretch of Washington Blvd between N. Quincy Street and Glebe Road in Ballston has been a focus of pedestrian safety enforcement by Arlington County Police this year after a serious pedestrian collision involving a teen and a driver in April. Some pedestrians have said cars often do not stop for them along the four-lane road, even in crosswalks.
Demolition has started on a century-old home along Washington Blvd in the Ballston area.
Known as the “flag house,” for the giant American flag that was often draped across it, the home was said to be in disrepair and was reportedly lacking in historic significance, following multiple additions and exterior changes.
“It is literally just an old house,” Arlington county Preservation Planner Rebeccah Ballo told us last year. “Nothing particularly noteworthy about it.”
The redevelopment plan, which was first proposed in 2013, calls for the house to be replaced by a fancy, four-story duplex. Homebuilder Wormald Homes says the new residences, at 4210 and 4214 Washington Blvd, will feature:
- Four bedrooms, four full baths and one powder room
- About 2,860 finished square feet of space
- Two car garage with two additional parking spaces
- Rear deck
- Covered front entry
- “Loft level terrace with sweeping views”
- “Classic urban design”
No word yet on when demolition is expected to wrap up or when the new building is expected to be built.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) This is at least the second morning in a row that people have called Arlington County Police to report gridlock at the intersection of Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
Officers did not respond to the intersection today, saying that little could be done to ease the traffic. A traffic detail that was assigned to the intersection last year was discontinued, the department said, because it did not receive funding for it.
@fraziecb We did not receive funding to continue that detail in 2016.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said that officers will be dispatched to the intersection as needed, but will not be assigned there on a regular basis.
Arlington offers were posted at a different intersection today — Washington Blvd and N. Utah Street, in the Ballston area — for high-visibility pedestrian and traffic enforcement. Despite a painted crosswalk, the intersection has been deemed a particularly dangerous one due to past crashes as well as fast-moving traffic and a high volume of pedestrians crossing the street.
Keep pedestrians safe by yielding to those in crosswalks! Officers conducting enforcement at Washington Blvd/Utah. pic.twitter.com/N7E8VnbefQ
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
Common failure to yield excuse: didn't see the pedestrian. Slow down and be alert for those walking and biking. pic.twitter.com/9SK2hyyKXD
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016