2019 NEWS

Latest News (as of 5/21/19) 

NOTICE:  We are working on a new website so have not been updating this one all that frequently. Remember that we post many times daily on Facebook and provide mid-month updates and other information to CCCA paid members on a regular basis. 

"Security, Safety and Mobility in Crystal City"

Our In response to requests from many CCCA members, we have scheduled a meeting on “Security and Safety in Crystal City.”  Our panel of three speakers will be:  1) Captain Wayne Vincent, head of Police Outreach for Arlington County, on Security and crime in Crystal City";  2) Eric Goldstein, Chair of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC) on "Safety Issues for Pedestrians and Bikers"; and 3)  Jim Larsen of the County Transportation Mobility Team and Shared Mobility Devices Pilot Program on  "Scooters and Dockless Bikes." 

May Newsletter Is Out

County Board Approves Transportation Funding for Projects Near Amazon HQ2

On Saturday, County Board members approved using $33,850,000 in state funds for several transportation projects that officials had used to woo Amazon during the tech giant’s search for its second headquarters:

The vote comes after Board members and state legislators pledged millions in transportation upgrades near Amazon’s HQ2 site as long as the company meets certain job creation and space occupancy benchmarks.  Read more here.

Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life

This Atlantic article indicates that Crystal City is moving in the right direction with development.  Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government.

JBG Smith to play role in the DEA's headquarters renovation

The Drug Enforcement Administration has found temporary space in Crystal City for its employees while its Clarion Partners-owned headquarters in adjacent Pentagon City gets a major makeover.  Representatives for the DEA recently applied to Arlington County for interior alteration permits to renovate three floors at 2200 Crystal Drive, or about 72,000 square feet, for the federal agency, according to the county's online permit database. The work is expected to cost about $1.4 million.  Read more here.

Possible Black Box Theatre in Crystal City

Representatives from AHCA, the Crystal City BID and Civic Association, Synetic Theater, JBG, and the new non-profit Embracing Arlington Arts have been meeting about developing performing space in Crystal City. The idea is to submit a concept plan to the County before the site plan gets developed.

We Gave Amazon a Great Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Thanks to so many of you who attended the community meeting the CCCA hosted with the leaders of Amazon in Virginia at our meeting April 3.  About 240 people from the 22202 zip code attended. Holly Sullivan, head of worldwide economic development at Amazon Public Policy, presented a slide show (click here to see it) about what they have done in Seattle and what they plan to do here. She and Brian Moore, Senior Manager for Amazon Public Policy, then answered questions for over an hour. Topics were wide ranging, from local dog parks to Amazon’s interaction with the local schools. Transportation was another major topic along with housing.  We consider the meeting to have been a major success for informing residents of the Amazon HQ2 impacts.  
The meeting was a clear success for several other reasons.
First, it successfully introduced Amazon to the neighborhood and gave residents in our private meeting a chance to show that they welcome Amazon, unlike many of the protesters from other areas, including outside of Arlington, who have showed up to other open meetings.   So we can say that Amazon has now officially been welcomed to "our neighborhood."  We look forward to continuing a good relationship with Amazon through Brian, as our main Amazon contact, in the future.
Second, this was the first collective meeting of the three civic associations.  Although we in the CCCA hosted it, we opened our arms to our sister associations with whom we have only worked at the Board level so far.  This very positive meeting has already prompted suggestions that we hold other joint meetings in the future on matters of common interest.   Moreover, this is the first time a hotel has offered its facilities for such a meeting.  We could not have held such a large meeting in our normal space at Crystal Park Condominium.
Third, the meeting was a wonderful opportunity to welcome some 14-15 new members to the CCCA. It's very hard in a high rise environment for us to get the word out about what a CA is and to encourage folks to join and/or come to meetings.  For those of you who are new, you will get occasional emails from us on updates for issues of common interest and an electronic version of the monthly Newsletter which comes out the first day of each month.  We are always looking for more apartment dwellers to become engaged and provide us with input on matters of importance to you.

County Board to Request Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway Within Arlington’s Borders

Finally - moving away from the Jeff Davis Corridor. Like it or not, National Landing is a much better moniker for our area than the Jeff Davis Corridor.

The Arlington County Board on Thursday, April 25, voted unanimously to approve a resolution asking that the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), rename the 2.56-mile portion of Jefferson Davis Highway that lies within the County’s borders “Richmond Highway.”  The move comes after the City of Alexandria changed the name of the roadway within its borders, effective January 1, 2019.  Read more here.

Amazon announces first official HQ2 jobs

It's a small step, but Amazon.com Inc. just announced the first round of HQ2 jobs in a blog post April 29 and one vice president who will move to the region from Seattle. The five jobs — four in finance and accounting and one in human resources — are the first to be specific to the second headquarters in Crystal City.

County Board Approves Amazon Incentives

After four hours of testimony, the Arlington County Board approved the County’s proposed direct financial incentive to Amazon, an annual pay-for-performance grant valued at approximately $23 million, tied to the company meeting targets of occupying 6 million square feet of office space over the next 15 years.  The incentive will come from a percentage of the new incremental revenue generated by the County’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), which is a tax paid on hotel rooms or other paid lodging.  Read the County’s press release here.

Missed the MWAA South Eads Street lot public meeting? Here's what you need to know

County officials held a meeting on March 18 to update the community on efforts to mitigate traffic congestion at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's (MWAA) Uber/Lyft lot on South Eads Street and to discuss the results of changes to date. The meeting included representatives from MWAA, Uber and Lyft.  Read the meeting presentation (pdf)  Since the lot began operation in April 2018, residents have provided feedback to the County about their experiences traveling in this area. We are looking for input to help prioritize issues that need to be addressed.  Send your comments using our online form by Friday, April 19.   Visit the project page.

JBG Smith seeking approval for Amazon HQ2 building upgrades at 1800 S. Bell Street

The developer submitted plans March 7 to make common area improvements throughout the 12-story, 221,000-square-foot 1800 S. Bell St., to be leased in full by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). JBG Smith has retained Hickok Cole Architects and Hitt Contracting to design and build out the interior alterations. It's only an incremental step, both in terms of required permits Amazon will need to move into the building and HQ2's larger anticipated footprint of around 6 million square feet over time.  Read more here.

Update  on 1770 and 1900 Crystal Drive

The promised new crosswalk from the Waterpark to the 1770 Crystal Drive entrance to Crystal Square will be in place in early May, to resume easy access into 1770 from the south.

Loud, heavy demolition is underway at 1800 S. Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive, two of three buildings near the Crystal City Metro station that Amazon plans to lease from JBG Smith. The aging office buildings are being refurbished prior to Amazon’s arrival.  Lighter construction is underway at 241 18th Street S., which is also part of Amazon’s plans but which has other, existing tenants.  Read more here.

CCCA Meeting February 27

JBG Smith’s VP for Development, Andy VanHorn, and his staff gave very detailed explanations of the ongoing and upcoming construction in Crystal City, and preparations for Amazon’s arrival.  This included:  1550/1770 Crystal Drive/Crystal Square (grocery, park, schedule, etc.); 1900 Crystal Drive (demolition, site plan, construction schedule, etc.); 1800 S. Bell Street (3-year Synetic lease); 2121 Crystal Drive (retail plans); other sites to be prepared for Amazon.  Much of what they talked about is in the articles included in the March Newsletter.  See the JBG Smith Powerpoint presentation here.  A summary will be posted later.

CSX Access Gate near Long Bridge Park

Because of the construction of the Facilities/Aquatics Center in Long Bridge Park, CSX needs a new access point to its tracks for maintenance purposes. The only feasible location is from 12th Street and Crystal Drive at the entrance to Long Bridge Park, as we have reported in the past.  CSX has now received all of the necessary County permits and approvals and construction on the new access point should begin sometime during the week of March 4. The construction team will work most weeks Monday through Friday during business hours. Construction is anticipated to last two months.   If you read our Facebook posts or get our Newsletter as a member of the CCCA (we're quoted in the ArlNow.com article), you already knew what was going to happen at the corner of 12th Street and Crystal Drive. Construction at the Aquatic Center in Long Bridge Park required CSX to move its access temporarily. Once the road is completed, CSX will replant trees and bushes, more than were there before.

Residents will see brush and tree removal and track materials piled during this time. CSX will have a flagman at the gate protecting the public when construction trucks enter the new access point. Because this will be an active work zone, citizens will notice an increase in train bells and horns during this construction period.

CSX states that "while we will do our best to limit sound, visual and other disruption during construction, we wanted to make our neighbors in Arlington aware of these temporary impacts."

Minutes of November 29 CCCA Meeting on Amazon Now Posted Below.

Update on 1770 Crystal Drive (Crystal Square)

On January 28th, JBG SMITH will start the redevelopment of 1770 Crystal Drive, formerly 1750, to make way for an updated office building and begin garage work below the future Central District Retail development. As a result, fencing will be installed along Crystal Drive between 15th and 18th Streets, beginning mid-block in front of Morton’s, running south around the corner of 18th Street. Additional fencing will wrap the remaining perimeter of the 1770 office building. Here’s what to expect in the next few weeks:

• For safety reasons, there will be no pedestrian sidewalk along the west side of Crystal Drive mid-block between 1770 Crystal Drive and 18th Street; access to Crystal Drive through the 1770 retail corridor will be maintained. A temporary pedestrian crosswalk will be installed in front of 1770 by early May. The crosswalk will be finalized with the project in 2020;

• The 1770 retail garage entrance from Crystal Drive will remain open and operational throughout construction. A protective covering will be installed;

• A portion of the surface parking lot on 18th Street will be closed during construction. The surface parking lot will be limited to a single vehicular traffic entrance; and

•  A portion of the retail corridor will be closed for new construction. More information to come on which thoroughfares will be open.

See drawings here.

Our Man in Arlington:  Crystal City is not a city

Read Charlie Clark's blog on Crystal City here.

Friends of Long Bridge Park excited to see proposed expansion of Long Bridge

In a few years, Arlington's Long Bridge, which runs from Crystal City to Long Bridge Park, might be the newest walkable route to D.C.  A proposed extension, from a half mile to a mile, would allow easier access to D.C. for pedestrians and cyclists, who currently use the Mount Vernon Trail.  Friends of Long Bridge Park's president, Eric Cassel, says the Mount Vernon Trail is especially difficult for tourists to navigate. The straight and wide Long Bridge, Cassel says, would be a better alternative.  Read more here.

Kojo Nnamdi town hall on Amazon's HQ2

Depending on whom you asked Monday evening December 3, it seemed Amazon’s plan to establish part of its new headquarters in Crystal City and Pentagon City was either the cause of, or solution to, all of Northern Virginia’s problems.  They had nearly three weeks to digest the news that Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) had chosen sites in Arlington and Alexandria for part of its new HQ2. On Monday evening, residents who stand to be most directly affected finally got the chance to sound off at a town hall held at the Synetic Theater in Crystal City.  Full broadcast here.

They weren’t carrying pitchforks or burning effigies of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during the two-hour event, but neither were they looking through rose-colored glasses at the prospect. The company’s pledge to bring up to 25,000 jobs to the area also stands to exacerbate the region’s affordable housing problem, add more cars to congested roads and put more students into crowded public schools.  Read more here.

CCCA Annual Meeting and Elections:  November 29

What a great meeting!  Some 130 folks turned out November 29 to hear Tracy Gabriel (BID President and Executive Director), Andy Van Horn, JBG Smith VP for Development, and County Board Chair Katie Cristol talk about what the Amazon decision means for our area.  Read Minutes here.

CCCA Elections

 New officers were elected for a two-year term:

Vice President Judy Freshman

Treasurer Eric Cassel

Communications Director Stuart Mize

The position of Membership Liaison remains vacant as there were no candidates and the duties will be assumed by other officers until the position can be filled.  We are particularly looking for young, apartment dwellers to fill this position.  Please email us if you’d like to know more about serving in this position:  [email protected]

Many thanks to CCCA founding member Diane Oksanen-Gooden who served for four years as Treasurer for all her assistance.  Sadly, she is moving out of Arlington, but we won’t forget her.

Amazon IS Coming To Crystal City

And here we go.  Click here for a CCCA editorial and a FAQ sheet on what this all means.

Amazon in National Landing in Arlington, Virginia

“This is a big win for Virginia – I’m proud Amazon recognizes the tremendous assets the Commonwealth has to offer and plans to deepen its roots here,” said Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia. “Virginia put together a proposal for Amazon that we believe represents a new model of economic development for the 21st century, and I’m excited to say that our innovative approach was successful. The majority of Virginia’s partnership proposal consists of investments in our education and transportation infrastructure that will bolster the features that make Virginia so attractive: a strong and talented workforce, a stable and competitive business climate, and a world-class higher education system.”

“We are proud that Amazon has selected National Landing for a major new headquarters. This is, above all, a validation of our community’s commitment to sustainability, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and diversity,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “The strength of our workforce coupled with our proximity to the nation’s capital makes us an attractive business location. But Arlington’s real strength is the decades of planning that have produced one of the most vibrant, civically engaged communities in the world. Those plans have paved the way for this investment, and we look forward to engaging the Arlington community about Amazon’s plans and how we can grow together.”

 https://newsroom.arlingtonva.us/release/amazon/

Demolition/Construction on Clark Street

Using 10 to 15 dump trucks per day, crews continue removing and hauling away soil that supported the elevated Clark Street. To date, the contractor has hauled approximately 12,000 cubic yards of soil material off-site, out of an estimated project total of 22,000 cubic yards.  The contractor has completed demolishing the concrete walls and abutment next to the 15th Street off ramp and the south abutment on 15th Street S eastbound. Crews have advanced their excavation and demolition activities to locations between 12th and 15th Streets. Rough grading activities have begun between 15th and 18th Streets.  Subcontractors continue their work to install a new traffic signal and street light equipment at the intersection of Route 1 and 20th Street South and along the median and northbound right shoulder of Route 1 between 15th and 20th Streets.

Next project detours expected in early 2019.  The next detours for this project will occur during removal of the Clark Street bridge over 18th Street South. This work has not yet been scheduled, but there will be a two-week advance notice before the detour starts.  Visit the project page

Demolition/Construction of 1900 Crystal Drive

On December 3rd, JBG SMITH will start demolition at 1900 Crystal Drive making way for new residential and retail offerings in our neighborhood. It’s exciting and we know that construction can create changes for our everyday routines. Here’s what to expect in the next few months:

•  The garage entrances on 18th and 20th Streets will remain open.

• The west side of the sidewalk on Crystal Drive will remain    open, and will have a covered walkway for your safety.

•  The BID Events will continue, and will be moved to new locations - be sure to check out the BID website for the new spots!

•  The motorcycle parking will be relocated to Crystal Drive and 20th Streets.

•  The games will be relocated to the plaza. 

Construction On Crystal Square and Garage closures

On October 22nd, JBG SMITH started a construction project bringing 130,000 sf of new retail, including a movie theater and a grocery store, to Crystal City.

Here’s what to expect in the next few months:

• The parking garage entrance on 15th Street South closed permanently on October 22nd. Office and retail tenants and visitors can use the entrances on Crystal Drive and 18th Street.
• All currently open retail shops will remain open.
• The south side of the sidewalk on 15th Street will be closed. Pedestrians will need to cross to the north side of 15th to access Crystal Drive or Bell Street destinations.
• The central vehicular entrance for the Crystal Square Apartments on 15th will be closed and drivers will need to use the South Bell Street entrance.

Additionally, JBG plans to have property managers and engineers on the ground with “How Can I Help?” buttons, to help answer questions or direct traffic.

Construction is scheduled to finish in two years – late 2020.

See the map attached.

Crystal Drive speed limit changing from 30 mph to 25 mph

On Oct. 23, the County Board approved decreasing the speed limit on Crystal Drive by five miles per hour, from 30 mph to 25 mph. The new speed limit is expected to be implemented by the end of November.  The change is based on a traffic engineering investigation the County conducted for Crystal Drive from 12th Street South to Route 1. The investigation analyzed speed statistics, collision history, pedestrian activity and roadway characteristics. Based on these factors, the investigation supported a reduced speed limit for this street.  For more information, view the Board Report

See our CCCA Facebook page for the latest information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

May Newsletter Is Out

June 3:  CCCA Meeting on "Security and Safety in Crystal City"

2019 Dues​​ Cut Off February 28, 2019:  

 Dues are for a calendar year, January 1 to December 31.  Fill out the form on our "Join" page and send a check for $10 to the CCCA Treasurer Eric Cassel at 1300 Crystal Drive, #203, Arlington, VA 22202.   

What do you get for your dues?  Your small contribution of $10 funds primarily:  our website, dues in the Arlington County Civic Federation (required); advertising for meetings; snacks for meetings.  All Executive Committee members are volunteers who spend many hours working on behalf of Crystal City residents—and producing this Newsletter!

Reminder:  Train Horn Notice:  It is now CSX policy that trains should not blow horns passing the Crystal City VRE station when the station is closed: i.e., weekends and outside of 5:30 am to 8 pm weekdays. The only exception is for a potentially dangerous situation; e.g., equipment, workers, or intruders on the track. There have been violations of this policy last weekend and this, which we have reported.  Remember that you can report violations of this policy to: [email protected].   List train owner (CSX, Amtrak), direction train is traveling, and the time you heard the horn.

Social Media Resources

CCCA Facebook page – Immediate information on things happening in Crystal City and of interest.

CCCA Website – More extensive articles than Facebook, but not updated as regularly.

Nextdoor.comA community bulletin board to post events, County notifications, and items for sale or of interest to the community. 

Engage ArlingtonCurrent ways to engage with the County on issues of concern to you.

Engage Arlington FlyerContact and resource information.

Inside Arlington – To subscribe to the County’s weekly online newsletter

My Arlington Projects Map - Find projects happening around the County – daily work, transportation, parks, water and utilities, facilities projects, and more.

CIP – Capital Improvement Plan:  Weigh in by May 16 on Arlington’s 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for FY 2019-2028 which is now under development.

Map and Links

ccmap

Directly Related Links

Newsletters (see "Resources" for earlier issues)

Arlington County Links

Non-Profit Related Links

ccmap

Transitway Extension to Pentagon City

    

Arlington County Transportation held an open house Nov. 8 about the project to extend the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway to Pentagon City.  This extension will run from Crystal Drive and Clark Street along 12th Street South to South Hayes Street and Army Navy Drive. It will add 0.75 miles of bus-only lanes to the Transitway corridor, along with 7 new stations serving high-quality, high-capacity, frequent bus service. Staff are currently working to prepare the project’s traffic and operations analysis and complete design for the project’s first segment by summer 2019.  The long-term plan is to extend the Metroway to Columbia Pike.  Visit the project page

Crystal City US Post Office to Move

The USPS held a pubic meeting November 13 to inform residents that the post office must move from what has been a temporary location in the Crystal City Underground at 2180 Crystal Drive pending Crystal Square redevelopment.  They are currently negotiating with JBG Smith to (hopefully) return to Crystal Square.  Most of us are happy with this possibility.  But if you are not, you have 30 days from November 13 to voice opposition to leaving its current location:  [email protected].  We are not/not being asked to vote on where it should go, only whether it should leave its current location or not.

 Phase I of Uber Lyft Lot Started

On October 12 the County activated a temporary traffic signal at the corner of Route 1 and 27th Street South, in response to community requests to the County to mitigate the serious traffic problems.   MWAA coordinated with the County to open the lot's Route 1 gate at the same time. These changes allow traffic from MWAA’s TNC lot to exit to Route 1. This concludes installation of phase 1 of the interim solution.

The County is monitoring this location through traffic cameras installed on site, and will fine-tune the signal timing based on actual operations.  The County continues to encourage MWAA to seek additional strategies dealing with the displacement of its TNC lot due to the construction on its campus. At the same time, County staff is working on congestion mitigation measures to counter, to the maximum extent possible, the significant increase in traffic volume.

This is the first phase to mitigate the traffic problems on S. Eads Street caused by installation of this lot in the spring. Phase II for a more permanent solution is a long way off, but this is a good start. Thank you, Arlington County Traffic Division.  Here's the project website.