Livability 22202 Working Group on Route 1Meeting June 15, 2022

The CCCA sponsored a meeting of Livability22202 and the 3 civic associations on June 15 to prepare residents for the upcoming VDOT Public Information meeting on June 21. It was a good overview of why VDOT is conducting a feasibility study on bringing Route 1 down to grade, what we see as the problems with the VDOT plan, and suggestions that Livabiity22202 has for the intersection at 18th Street and the Right of Way (width of the road). A summary of the meeting is in the following pdf:

If you missed the meeting, you can see it here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ygr5cgm7ou3zx9j/june15route1.mov?dl=0

The main presentation powerpoint is here:

Also plan to attend the VDOT PIM (Public Information Meeting) #2 on June 21st at 6:30 pm.  In case you cannot attend, you will be able to review the meeting recording and presentation through the VDOT meeting website.  Send your ideas and comments to VDOT by July 15.

Two Route 1 Meetings: June 15th 7:00 pm and June 21 6:30 pm!

Learn all about Route 1 Proposed Changes!

VDOT is studying REMOVING the bridges over 15th and 18th Streets. Both intersections are proposed to be ‘at grade’.

  • What would make an at-grade Route 1 intersection with 18th Street South safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders?
  • How much space is really needed to create a beautiful, inviting urban boulevard?
  • How can we safely reduce traffic on Route 1 without increasing traffic diversion onto our local streets?

Come to the June 15, 2022 Livability 22202 Route 1 Workshop to learn about the Livability 22202 Route 1 Working Group and VDOT proposals to address these issues and to share your ideas and concerns.   Register in advance for this virtual meeting:  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.    Can’t attend the meeting?  The meeting recording and presentation will be posted to the Livability 22202 Working Group page for your review.

Also plan to attend the VDOT PIM (Public Information Meeting) #2 on June 21st at 6:30 pm.  In case you cannot attend, you will be able to review the meeting recording and presentation through the VDOT meeting website.  Send your ideas and comments to VDOT by July 15.

CCCA June Newsletter is Out

Click here to download.

Message from CCCA’s President

Thanks to everyone who joined us virtually and in person for our May meeting on transportation.  Our next regular meeting will be in September, but we will have a special meeting on June 15 to cover Route 1. This meeting will be for all three civic associations. We will cover all the different alternatives for 18th street and Route 1!

 Register here.

The County 10-year investment plan was recently released and 3 Crystal City Parks were included. We have a significant number of new parks in the planning stages, but funding has been uncertain.

With summer approaching, please maintain personal awareness, as crime will increase. While our area does not have high crime rates, it does happen. A purse was recently stolen just outside of Long Bridge Park on Crystal Drive. A violent attack with weapon took place outside Bowlero on 23rd St on May 23.

Finally, be sure to visit our website (https://crystalcitycivic.org) or our Facebook page. (We always need people to help with social media!)

Eric Cassel, CCCA President

CCCA Meeting May 18, 2022, 7-9 pm

Join us for the next CCCA Meeting:

CCCA Hybrid Meeting May 18, 7-9 pm

Transportation and Development

NOTE: This is a hybrid meeting. Participants may choose to either:

  • View on Zoom or
  • Attend in-person. Anyone wishing to attend in person may come to the conference room at 251 S 18th Street (Wells Fargo Building where Precinct 006 Crystal City voters vote.  We’ll be there!

Meeting agenda:

  1. Presentation by the County on transportation projects in Crystal City and the surrounding area.  You will be amazed at all that is planned or in progress and will want to be informed.
  2. Brief update by Amazon on their HQ2 (MetPark and PenPlace)
  3. Brief presentation by Dweck on their new site plans for Crystal Towers construction at 1600 S Eads Street

You can join us in person at 251 18th St S or please register in advance for online at:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsd-yrrzkqEtdSnKdmvtTiuvDdOidF3hUr

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting by Zoom or phone. 

We will try to live stream on Facebook but haven’t been having much luck with that for recent meetings.  Facebook/Live streaming page: https://www.facebook.com/crystalcitycivic/live.     

The meeting is open to all 22202 residents by Zoom registration or visible on the CCCA Facebook page.

CCCA May Newsletter is Out

Once again, filled with lots of information on what’s happening in our area. Don’t forget, you can get this Newsletter and email update in your in box and vote at meetings by becoming a member of the CCCA for $10 annually. Local businesses may become Associate Members without a vote.

President’s Corner
May 18th Meeting and More Issues than Normal

  1. On May 18th at 7:00, we will have a presentation by the County on Transportation. We will also have
    an in-person report from an Amazon representative on their HQ2. Lastly we will have a short
    presentation by Dweck on their new buildings. Join us in person at 251 18th St S or register in
    advance
    for this meeting.
  2. Last week the County Board approved the Helix, three office buildings and the rest of the
    development for Amazon at PenPlace. Besides my comments before the County Board, NBC4
    interviewed me.
  3. The County is developing a new graphics tool for all things construction/development. There will be
    a meeting on Monday May 16th at 7:00. This should be a good tool for all residents.
  4. The bringing down of Route 1 has generated several alternatives for 18th Street. VDOT made a
    presentation on Thursday and we will be having a meeting on the various choices.
  5. The County is proposing to change the way Storm-Water is going to be billed to residents.
    Switching to a Storm-Water Utility will mean Crystal City Property Owners will see net bills will fall and
    single-family owners will see an increase, but the method of payment will change.
  6. The Civic Federation is proposing numerous changes to the County Government Structure. For
    example, one recommendation is to increase the number of County Board Members from 5 to 7.

See more in the Newsletter.

Eric Cassel, CCCA President

WHAT’S TO BECOME OF ROUTE 1?

Many of you are aware of the ongoing VDOT feasibility study on Route 1 which began in October 2020. VDOT and the commercial community have not budged from the position that Route 1 should be brought down to grade, despite intensive efforts by the community and Livability 22202 to propose other options. VDOT’s Phase 2 Virtual Public Information Meeting on April 28 at 6:30 PM is based on this position.

SO WHERE ARE WE?
● Safety of crossing Route 1 for pedestrians and cyclists has been Livabiity22202’s primary goal for the last two years. You can read the background and learn about our efforts on our Livability 22202 website. Lowering Route 1 to grade with a traffic intersection at 18th Street poses the greatest risks; safety crossing Route 1 must be ensured. We do not believe that the current VDOT plan ensures such safety, especially at 18th Street. The VDOT proposal is inconsistent with Arlington County’s Vision Zero initiative.
● Livability 22202 has worked extensively with 2 pro bono urban architects to encourage VDOT to look more at the people side of this project than the car side. We want the best outcome possible for this feasibility study for the entire community: residents as well as commercial interests .
● Therefore, we have set forward 3 main priorities for Phase 2:

1. Ensure safety crossing at 18th Street with one or more proposals:
a. Pedestrianize 18th Street (remove travel lanes on 18th between Eads and Clark/Bell to provide a park-like environment for cyclists and pedestrians and a safe crossing; include a Barnes Dance, where all traffic is stopped and pedestrians can cross in any direction, including diagonally)
b. Feasible bicycle/pedestrian underpass
c. Bicycle/pedestrian overpass

2. Make the Right of Way on Route 1 overall 165’ to make an at-grade Route 1 a true boulevard.

3. Create a new park between 15th St and the multimodal facility and between Route 1 and Clark/Bell to connect the green ribbon open space areas in Crystal City.

You can find the detailed proposals and explanation in the link: 2022-04-25 18th Street Study.pdf (dropbox.com)

Our proposed ideas offer an opportunity to create a “Green Ribbon” by pedestrianizing 18th Street between Eads and Clark/Bell. This element would ideally extend parks from Virginia Highlands park to the Water Park, given plans for the Metro Market park from 18th to Crystal Drive. But the 18th street crossing of Route 1 is critical for any Bike/Pedestrian pathway.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
● Register for the April 28 VDOT Public Information Meeting on Phase 2.
● Talk up the meeting and the proposal to bring Route 1 down to grade with all of your friends and acquaintances so they are informed.
● Express your concerns and share your ideas at the meeting.
● If you agree with Livability 22202’s ideas, support them publicly and say so at the April 28 meeting and to friends and acquaintances. We have worked long and hard to defend community interests and seek the best outcome. This is your best opportunity to weigh in before the plans become ingrained in the system.
● Let the Arlington County Board know where you stand and ask for their support for the Livability 22202 positions

April CCCA Newsletter

Download it here.

1.  Save the Date:  Our next CCCA meeting will be May 18.  With all of the transportation projects in progress or being planned, we may focus the meeting on that topic.

2.  What’s to Become of Route 1? Many of you are aware of the ongoing VDOT feasibility study on the Route 1.  You can read the background on the Livability22202 website for the Route 1 working group, including the February 27, 2022, letter to VDOT.  VDOT has now started Phase 2 of the study and is planning a Public Information Meeting on April 28. Register here.  We don’t know yet what will be covered in that meeting, but we have been disappointed that VDOT discontinued the Task Force meetings with essential stakeholders.  In the meantime, the Livability working group continues to engage with VDOT, the National Landing BID, the People Before Cars coalition, and JBG to develop creative solutions to the problems of bringing Route 1 down to grade.  Safety of crossing Route 1 for pedestrians and bikers is our primary goal and lowering Route 1 to grade with a traffic intersection at 18th Street poses the greatest risks. Working with two pro bono urban architects, the working group has proposed consideration of three ideas:  a) pedestrian/bike-only plazas on both sides of Route 1 at 18th Street; b) passageways under Route 1 at 18th for bikes and pedestrians that would connect to the Metro and c) a “blue sky” option for a bridge over Route 1 similar to Highline in NYC.  We will continue to inform the community as the study progresses as we seek the best options for a safe crossing of Route 1.

3.  Construction to start for Transitway on 12th and Crystal Drive April 4:  A notice went out March 25.  But remember that beginning the week of April 4th, Arlington County contractors will initiate the construction work for the first segment of the Transitway Extension to Pentagon City. The work includes the installation of two new transit stations at Crystal Drive & 15th Street S, and 12th Street S. & Long Bridge Drive, along with street improvements along 12th Street S. between S. Eads St. and S. Clark St., and the intersection of 12th Street S. at Crystal Drive.  See details in the Newsletter.  

Response from VDOT on Route 1

On April 8 VDOT replied point by point to the Livability22202 February 27 letter on our concerns and questions about the Feasibiity Study for Route 1, but does not appear to have been moved by any of our arguments beyond what they have already agreed to.  See the letter here.  However, one positive step was a meeting that took place between VDOT and Livability22202 representatives on April 11 to hear the proposals from urban architects Brian Harner and Gus Ardura for passageways across Route 1 at 18th street.  See the proposals here.  Be sure to register for VDOT’s April 28 Public Information Meeting here.

March Newsletter is Out

click here to download

Next CCCA Meeting:  On Wednesday March 16, 2022 we will be holding CCCA meeting. The presentations are from JBGS on:
The Underground, Riverhouse Plans, New Residential plans at the old Americana Hotel Site.  You can join us in person at 251 18th St S or please register in advance for online at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwsdO-vrzsvEtBwmdZ_OGDlgN1dAStJ-6sO

Seeking a New Newsletter Editor
Your CCCA Newsletter Editor is trying hard to retire. Time for new blood, ideas, and innovative format.  If you’re interested in writing the monthly Newsletter, let us know at board@crystalcitycivic.org.  Glad to provide training and all the necessary contacts.
 

In Memoriam:  Many of you may not be aware that the widow of Robert H Smith, who built Crystal City, lived here in the north part of Crystal City until her death December 9, 2021.  Clarice Smith was an artist and DC philanthropist who donated to many causes.  Her husband died in 2009.  We say goodbye in the Newsletter.
 

Update on VDOT Feasibility Study on Route 1

The VDOT team studying ways to “improve safety, accessibility, and the pedestrian experience crossing Route 1” presented to the CCCA on January 19 (see website).  Phase 2 will cover a number of new studies and probably continue until February 2023.  The next Public Information Meeting is planned for late March or early April, but we were told that VDOT will not restart the Task Force meetings in Phase 2.  As follow up, on February 27, the Livability22202 Working Group on Route 1 forwarded a letter to VDOT with comments and requests for the Phase 2 process.  We have specifically asked VDOT to 1) restart the Task Force in which the Working Group participated during Phase 1; 2) reconsider the Livability 22202 hybrid proposal for Route 1 – with Route 1 at grade at 15th and remaining elevated from 18th; and 3) collaborate with Livability22202 on Exploring a bike-ped passageway under an at-grade Route 1 at 18th Street: .