January 2022 Newsletter

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022!

Download the Newsletter here.

  1. Save the Date for the Next CCCA Meeting:  January 19, 7-9 pm

We plan to devote most of the meeting to updates on Route 1. VDOT’s Senior Project Manager Dan Reinhard will provide an updated timeline for Phase 2 and a Livability22202 panel will respond with neighborhood residential reaction and comments. We will also have Carol Layer, the Director of the DHS Behavioral Healthcare Division on County Mental Health Services. Register here.

2. President’s Corner   (Eric Cassel) 

Thanks to all who participated in our surveys. The results are in a separate article. Next month we will have a new survey, so stay tuned.

We will be having our January 19th meeting at 7:00. Right now we hope to have it hybrid (both at 251 18th St S and on Zoom). But if the number of COVID cases continues at the current pace, we may just be on zoom.

Most of the meeting will be on Route 1. Our first quest is Dan Reinhard from VDOT. He will be presenting information about the Phase 2 planning. To help everyone understand the issues, we will follow that with a discussion by several Livability22202 experts.

Lastly, winter can be a tough time for people. As a result, we will also have a presentation by county on mental health resources.

Bird of the Month: during winter, this White-Throated Sparrow comes and visits us.

(I took this at Huntley Meadows.)

Results of Two Polls

We did two polls in the past month. The first was a general poll about the Civic Association. The main results were

  1. Hybrid was ok, but needed improvement
  2. Facebook and Nextdoor were the two most used social platforms
  3. The top topics were The Underground, JBGS Development, Amazon Development and General Transportation.

We also did a poll about the Bowlero. The results were really evenly mixed, so as an Association, we could not take a stand on the annual license renewal.

Overall, the surveys were really helpful in focusing our attention on some important issues and topics members want to see discussed. Our next meeting will feature Route 1, because it is at an unusual stage and we have an opportunity to hear from VDOT about the process and proposal. In future meeting, the Underground and Development issues will be front and center. Please click here for a link to the results: Results of polls

3. REMINDER:  Pay your annual CCCA dues now:  Annual dues are paid for the calendar year, so payment of $10 will be due no later than February 28 for members to remain on the mailing list as voting members to receive the monthly Newsletter and Updates.  Renew online by PayPal or send a check to our new Treasurer Steve Miller, 1300 Crystal Drive #408S, Arlington VA 22202.

CCCA December Newsletter 2021

Read the Newsletter here.

With apologies for the length of this month’s Newsletter,  here you go.  So much for this being a slow time of year! Check out the meetings and all of the issues.

1.  Survey:  Every month in the President’s report, we will have a survey. The idea is to get some feedback from you and provide a venue for you to impact how we spend our time in meetings. The first survey is:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/M8Y839WThere are only a few questions and they should not take more than a minute or two.   Eric Cassel, CCCA President

2.  Construction Reminders:  

  • 1900 Crystal Drive construction: Saturday December 4, 3 am -9 pm/Sunday December 5, 7 am – 9 pm (backup dates December 11-12 and 18-19), crane on 20th Street
  • Altaire construction:  Saturday –December 11, 4 am-9 pm (backup date Saturday December 18), Crane work at 400 11th Street; CLOSURE at 12th Street (between S Eads St and Army Navy Dr; 550

3.  REMINDER:  Annual Dues Payment coming Up Soon:  Annual dues are paid for the calendar year, so payment of $10 will be due no later than February 28 for members to remain on the mailing list as voting members to receive the monthly Newsletter and Updates.  Renew online by PayPal or send a check to our new Treasurer Steve Miller, 1300 Crystal Drive #408S, Arlington VA 22202.

November 2021 Newsletter

Click here to download the Newsletter

Save the Date: November 17 Annual CCCA General Meeting, 7-9 pm
Our agenda includes: 
1) Election of new officers;
2) Vote on ByLaws Amendment;
3) presentation by Amazon on its operations in 22202 and its plans for PenPlace; and
4) conversation with Virginia Representative (48th district) Rip Sullivan (who covers almost all of Crystal City). 
Register here.  In addition, we are organizing a hybrid meeting as a pilot program, both on Zoom and 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):  Mask required. Note:  Voting will be done by an electronic poll on Zoom.

CCCA Elections:  Nominations for Officers of the Crystal City Civic Association (CCCA):  Nominations — including self-nominations — have been open from October 18 to November 2 for the following four CCCA officer positions!  The principal duties are summarized in the Newsletter.  All members whose dues are paid are eligible to nominate, be candidates and to vote in the election at the CCCA Annual General Meeting on the evening of November 17, 2021.  Terms for each position are two years.  Note:  Voting will be done by an electronic poll on Zoom.

Proposed ByLaws Amendment:  A simplified description of the title and duties for the CCCA Vice President will be proposed as a ByLaws amendment at the November 17 Annual Meeting and voted on by all eligible CCCA voting members:   “The Vice President shall act in the stead of the President in his or her absence and shall perform any additional duties specified elsewhere in this Constitution and Bylaws.”  Note:  Voting will be done by an electronic poll on Zoom.

The “Other” Elections November 2:   Voters can make selections for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, 45th, 47th, 48th, or 49th House of Delegate Districts, County Board, and School Board, plus vote on 4 proposed Arlington County bond referenda.  See all the details here.  All 54 polling places will be open November 2, 2021 from 6am-7pm.   
Heads Up ONLY for Precinct 006Crystal City Voters:  If you vote at 251 S 18th Street, be aware that there is ongoing construction in the plaza areas which has blocked off a number of passageways.  The construction fences change every day.  Best way to arrive is either from the parking lot (temporary parking and curbside voting will be provided) to the Wells Fargo Bank lobby or by the elevators from the Underground to the lobby. Entry to and exit from the voting precinct itself will ONLY be from inside the lobby across from the Wells Fargo Bank, not the glass doors to the conference room which we have been using for the last few years.  JBG will be helping with stanchions, graphics, and signs for COVID precautions. Things will go back to normal in the precinct by next year.

22202 Thanksgiving Food Drive for AFAC:  In the spirit of giving, Livability22202 civic associations, the National Landing BID, and the SustainableScoop have come together to organize a Thanksgiving food drive for AFAC. Join your 22202 neighbors November 1-20 to provide canned food and dry goods to help everyone enjoy a good Thanksgiving. The most needed foods include canned tuna, canned soup, canned vegetables, peanut butter, cooking oil, and low sugar cereal. No glass items please, and low sodium and low sugar items are preferred.
Food boxes will be located at 19 sites around 22202.  See the locations on the National Landing website.  In addition, collection drives will be held at Advent Lutheran Church from 9-12 on Sundays October 31 and November 7, 14, and 21 and from 4-6 on Wednesdays November 3, 10, and 17.  Collection drives will be held at the Melwood parking lot from 9-12 on Saturdays November 6, 13, and 20.
Please help us give back to our community and those in need this Thanksgiving season.

Construction Shut Down of 18th Street:  Once again, a construction crane will be installed for the 1900 Crystal Drive site.  18th Street will be shut down November 6 from 5 am to 9 pm and on November 7 from 7 am to 9 pm.  Backup dates are November 13-14.

CCCA October 2021 Newsletter

Click here to download.https://www.crystalcitycivic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/CCCA_Newsletter-No.-10.pdf

Some Highlights:

1.  Save the Date:  CCCA Annual Meeting, November 17, 7-9 pm. So far, we’ve confirmed that we will have our annual CCCA elections and a presentation by Amazon on its operations in 22202 and its plans for PenPlace.  Stay tuned for details in early November

2.  Construction Alert: On October 9-10, 18th Street between Crystal Drive and Bell Street will be closed to accommodate installation of construction cranes for the 1900 Crystal Drive development project.  Construction will not be very noisy, but will start at 3 am on Saturday and 7 am on Sunday and last until 9  pm.  Traffic engineering services will provide traffic control and ensure pedestrian safety. 

3.  COVID Booster Shots:  Arlington County Public Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccine boosters for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to certain people at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series. Appointments are required at Arlington Public Health Clinics. Visit vaccinate.virginia.gov to find additional locations and appointments near you.  Pharmacies are offering them too.  And don’t forget your flu shot.

4.  Metro Proposals:  Be sure to read about the six multibillion-dollar alternatives to improve the capacity and reliability of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.

CCCA General Meeting September 22, 2021

Another good and informative meeting. You can view the entire meeting on our Facebook page here.

AGENDA:


1. Presentation by JBG on minor changes to the Water Park site plan amendment due to repositioning of trees. See the slideshow here.


2. Presentation by Dweck on its new development strategy and outreach to the community on its 6 buildings in Crystal City. Andy Van Horn, new Senior VP for Development and CEO Nora Dweck shared the family philosophy on community involvement and their recent shift into property management. They introduced their team and reviewed the 7 properties in Crystal City and one in Pentagon City. They are very interested in being good neighbors and looking forward to partnering with the CCCA. See the presentation here.


3. Presentation by Virginia Tech on its plans and operations for the Innovation Campus at Potomac Yard. David Baker, Director of Governmental and Community Affairs shared the university’s locations in NOVA and the focus for the new, primarily graduate, computer science and computer engineering campus. Students are already enrolled in the temporary campus in leased space at Potomac Yard and the new environmentally-advanced building will open in 2024. JBG Smith is developing the property for Virginia Tech. See the presentation here.

NOTE: Save the date of November 17 for the CCCA Annual Meeting. We’ve moved Amazon’s presentation on its operations in 22202 to that meeting, when we will also have officer elections. Email the Board if you are interested in serving in any campus. The more the merrier!

CCCA September Newsletter

Click here to download.

So much for returning to normal.  With Delta looming over us, we’re going to continue meeting on Zoom for the indefinite future, even with the forthcoming booster shots..  Please help inform our decisions on future CCCA meetings by responding to our survey.  We continue to have great topics.  If you have ideas for meeting topics, please send them to [email protected].

We are also looking for volunteers to take over officer positions in the CCCA in November.  With 7 years of experience, we are an active and respected voice for Crystal City residents. Help us continue to support the needs and concerns of our community.  See the Newsletter for details.

Transitway Public Meeting, September 1, 7-8:30 pm:  At the July 20 Board meeting, five activists in our area, including the CCCA president, expressed their concerns about the proposed placement of a new transitway station close to the corner of 12th & Long Bridge Drive.  The posted plans before the Board meeting seemed to indicate that the new bus shelter would conflict with pedestrians and cyclists, as the bus shelter on Crystal Drive by 18th already does.  Community engagement prior to the Board meeting was also very limited. At the Board meeting, the Board approved Item 51, the deed of easement for the transitway station, but recommended that a public meeting be held prior to the September Board meeting to discuss concerns further.  Project staff are holding a public meeting on Wednesday, September 1, at 7PM to discuss plans for the transitway and its stations along 12th Street.  Please plan to attend. Construction on combined projects expected December 2021 for 12 months.

Move the Fair to Long Bridge Park?  Not unless they answer a lot of questions:   Be sure to read about this.  The Arlington County Fair Board, an independent non-profit which manages the fair, has informed the county that it would like to move the fair to Long Bridge Park.  The County has issued a survey asking whether folks prefer to keep the Fair at Thomas Jefferson Community Center and Park where it’s been for 45 years or move it to Long Bridge Park.  We have protested that without background information, folks don’t know why there should be a change and whether it should change.  Think about this before you answer the survey.

CCCA August 2021 Newsletter

click to download

Highlights:
1.  National Night Out August 3:   The three civic associations in 22202–Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, Crystal City–have joined with the National Landing BID to co-sponsor National Night Out in the Summer House and park at 101 S. 12th Street. National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event in the United States, held the first Tuesday of August.  It’s a community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.  We will have fire trucks, police cars, food trucks, games, music, and lots of goings on.  Thank you to Amazon for sponsoring the refreshments!  Although no more vouchers for food are available via the RSVP due to an overwhelming response, you can still visit the park and join the festivities.

2. Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center Opening Soon
Around mid-August the new Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center will open! We’re excited to see everyone return to the water. Once the new center is open, it will become the home for all Arlington County Parks & Recreation aquatics classes and private swim lessons, including the 55+ aquatics programs. There will be an array of aquatics offerings this fall, pending COVID-19 guidelines. Online registration begins at 7 a.m. for gymnastics classes and 7:30 a.m. for all other programs on Aug. 4. View our online registration guide.  Also look for the 55+ Guide eNews in August; fall registration will open for 55+ County residents on August 18. For more information, click here. We anticipate being able to provide more aquatic offerings and look forward to utilizing the amazing new space! There are over 200 parking spaces available when you arrive. If you have questions regarding Parks & Recreation 55+ aquatics programs or the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center, please contact Allison Cheek at [email protected].
 
Tour of Aquatic Center for 22202 residents
We are coordinating with the Facility Manager  a tour of the Aquatic Center on August 18 and 19.  Register on Sign Up Genius as tours are limited to 20 people each.  If the tours fill up, the County might agree to additional tours the next week.

3. Two deadlines for feedback (see newsletter articles):

  • August 15:  CC2DCA Project Needs and Purpose Assessment
  • August 23:  Pentagon City PDSP Study First Draft

CCCA General Meeting July 21, 7-9 pm

The agenda for the meeting on Wednesday, July 21, 7-9 pm was:

1.         Updates by JBG Smith on development:  223 S 23rd Street/2250 Crystal Drive; pocket parks on 18th Street; and construction on 1900 Crystal Drive and 2000/2001 S Bell Street. See the PowerPoint here. The revised JBGS plans will be submitted soon, and the new LRPC and SPRC process for these buildings will start after this summer. The two planned buildings will both be residential. You can find the prior, withdrawn plans here: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/2250-crystal-drive/

2.         Update on VDOT Study on Route 1: Why bring it down to grade?  Why do the three 22202 civic associations say the study is “incomplete”? See the PowerPoint here.

3.         Briefing on Civic Federation study on Arlington County governance

4.         Briefing on Arlington County requirements for building inspections

You can watch the full meeting here.

CCCA General Meeting July 21

Plan to attend the Crystal City Civic Association meeting on Wednesday, July 21, 7PM to learn about the revised JBGS plans for Crystal Plaza 5 (2250 Crystal Drive and 223 23rd) on Block M in Crystal City and to hear an update on plans for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus on Potomac Avenue in Potomac Yards – Alexandria: https://vt.edu/innovationcampus/about.html

Please preregister to attend the virtual CCCA meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87424708622….

The revised JBGS plans will be submitted soon, and the new LRPC and SPRC process for these buildings will start after this summer. The two planned buildings will both be residential. You can find the prior, withdrawn plans here: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/2250-crystal-drive/

Livability22202 Route 1 Working Group Rejects VDOT Study

After 10 months of study and public meetings, VDOT released its feasibility report on Route 1 at the final Public Information Meeting June 16. No surprise: the recommendation is to bring Route 1 down to grade. The Livability Working Group released a press release on June 27. Read the full text below:

The Arlington 22202 Civic Associations united in Livability22202 find VDOT’s Feasibility Study of Route 1 Multimodal Improvements to be incomplete.  It raises further questions, fails to address a number of community concerns, and recommends a traffic pattern that, by VDOT’s own recognition, reduces safety.  If Arlington County and the state proceed without addressing these concerns, our community will be further divided by a dangerous, wide road that puts cars before pedestrians and bikes.  The Associations urge Arlington County Board not to approve the study when submitted unless these larger questions and concerns are addressed.  

Background:

VDOT is finalizing a Feasibility Study of Route 1 in Crystal City, in partial compliance of the HQ2 agreement between Amazon and Virginia.  VDOT recommends an at-grade urban boulevard to replace the current overpasses at 18th and 15th streets.  VDOT estimates that bringing Route 1 to grade will cost $180 million, but that estimate excludes many related costs..  The VDOT project website is at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/route_1_multimodal_improvements_study.asp.  The meeting recording and slide deck from the third public meeting are available through this page: https://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northern_virginia/route_1_multimodal_improvements_study-third_virtual_public_information_meeting.asp

In what respects is the study incomplete?  Why is further study needed?

1.  Safety:  The study does not achieve VDOT’s own number one Project Goal:  safety for all traveling along and across Route 1.  VDOT admitted that there are tradeoffs and safety is one of them.  No safety analysis was done (e.g., the Highway Safety Manual), and the study does not meet Arlington’s Vision Zero or Master Transportation Plan standards.  Safety research generally shows that there will be safety issues for any signalized arterial with more than 5 lanes, with speed above 25 mph, and more than 40,000 vehicles/day. This study recommendation does not meet those standards.  What can make crossing Route 1 safe for parents and students if a new school is built in the area? How will pedestrians who are older, more frail, or with mobility, cognitive, or sensory impairments cross safely?

2.  Traffic:  VDOT admitted that option 3 for bringing Route 1 down to grade will make traffic worse by diverting it onto side streets. If Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures could indeed reduce traffic as they assert, then why aren’t they being implemented now?  There needs to be a true analysis of regional travel through the corridor as well as transit capacity.  How will traffic from Glebe Road via Route 1 to I-395 be managed? How will the County manage traffic diverted onto our local streets to prevent gridlock and keep all of us safe?

3.  Urban Design:  This is an unambitious design that looks only at a small section of Route 1 in isolation rather than taking a holistic approach to the corridor to the Alexandria County line.  It thus disregards significant stretches of Route 1, Glebe Rd., and the proposal for the airport access road in the Crystal City Sector Plan (CCSP). Likewise, the design makes no effort to ratchet down traffic entering the community, instead including 7 lanes on 15th St–the same number on Route 1 itself currently.  Good urban street design would design changes on intersecting streets to change behavior of drivers as they turn off the highway. Why is the focus only on 18th and 15th  Streets, without addressing the 23rd Street intersection and points south?

4.  Impact on community:  The study ignores what is proposed in the approved CCSP for 15th Street, 18th Street, and the airport access road.  There is tremendous value created for developers, by opening up frontages on such lots as 1800 Bell St, but besides future real estate tax revenue, this project does not deliver any sort of improvement to the community. Rather, removing the 18th and 15th Street underpasses without providing adequate safety measures reduces community access across Route 1.  Increasing traffic diversion on neighborhood streets affects quality of life and safety. Will the proceeds from any public land sales be sunk back into the project, rather than be used for a public purpose in the community?

5.  Process:  The study failed to follow a number of project development procedures that would normally be followed for a project of this scale. Normally, we would see alternatives generated, reduced to a number of feasible alternatives, and analysis conducted to create a chosen alternative that best meets the purpose and need for the project. Here, a CCSP alternative, the development community’s preferred alternative, and a no-build were the only options evaluated. Shouldn’t a project of this scale and impact require a full consideration of options and input from the community from the earliest stages of the project through its completion to ensure community priorities are incorporated? 

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to dream big.  Isn’t limiting the project to the current VDOT recommendation an epic fail?  Moreover, VDOT’s estimated cost of $180 million for an at-grade option does not include many related costs, such as relocating the transit stations and bus routes, traffic mitigation measures, and the potential pedestrian bridge/tunnel.

The Livability22202 Civic Associations urge Arlington County to take no action on this proposal until a more holistic study is done that addresses these questions and issues.  If you would like to discuss this, the representatives listed below are from the local civic associations and are engaged in this study.