April Newsletter is Out

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1.  Survey:  We are gradually modernizing our CCCA procedures and media.  We will be issuing more frequent emails to keep you up to date on meetings and issues in coming weeks.  In this issue, we are including a survey to ask members what you like, dislike, or would like to see in the Newsletter in the future.  Please help by by filling out the attached survey. 

2.  Construction Coming Up: 

  • 1900 Crystal Drive:  Construction to Close Lane and Sidewalk. The general contractor will begin closures associated with 1900 Crystal Drive construction on March 29th and they will continue progressively over the next two weeks.
  • 2000/2001 S Bell:  Preparation work for demolition of 2001 Richmond Hwy starts April 12 with the Underground passage from 20th to Crystal City Shops closed; when demolition of the tower starts end May, Underground passage will close for about 3 ½ years

3.  Earth Day Clean Up – 17 April 2021 (rain date 24 April):  Join the National Landing BID and Livability 22202 to clean up the wooded area along the GW Parkway south of the Mount Vernon Trailhead at the Crystal City Water Park to the access road on 26th St South.  (And get a look at some what may someday become accessible open space for our 22202 community.)   Sign up now to help keep National Landing green and clean!

4.  National Cherry Blossom Festival in 22202:  See the Newsletter for all of the art work and events from now till April 11.

5.  Meetings, Development, and Other Issues:  See the Newsletter for a detailed list.

Livability22202 Open Space Working Group Meeting, March 2, 7-9 pm,

(Updated March 3)

Open Space: Is it important to you?

COVID has shown us how important it is to have parks, trails, and open spaces. Yet 22202 is very lacking in those amenities, except for Virginia Highlands Park and Long Bridge Park. The Livability22202 working group created an open space report in December 2020, but this is no time to rest on our laurels. There is so much more to be done. This is not a roll up your sleeves and dig the ground working group. We are looking for your ideas and input. Join the working group: email [email protected] for more details.

As demonstrated by three recent meetings, we’re starting to have an impact. See the current status here: https://livability22202.org/open-space/ But it’s soooo important to expand membership of the working group to ensure participation, not only geographically across 22202 but also demographically, with emphasis on renters in high rise multifamily buildings needing access to open space. And not just during the COVID pandemic, but year round. An Arlington County Civic Federation White paper shows residents in multifamily units have some of the least access to open space in the County.) Not a surprise to us, is it?

The March 2 Open Space meeting covered:

See the recording of the meeting on Facebook here and on YouTube here. The PowerPoint presentation for each agenda item can be viewed here.  View the Open Space final report, the Fact Sheet, and the press release.

March CCCA Newsletter is Out

(FYI, this is the first Newsletter going by email only to renewed members for 2021.) Click here to download.


So many issues, so many meetings, so little time!  We need members to become and stay engaged. 


Highlighting Upcoming Meetings:  Please attend the following and lend your ears and voice to ongoing work.  These are our most important activities right now.

March 2 Livability Open Space Working Group Meeting (discussed below)
The meeting will be mostly informational. If afterwards, you’d like to stay engaged, great!  But join us March 2 to learn what’s happening and where you could join in, if you’d like to.  We really want/need to expand the working group membership, to promote diversity (demographics, housing, opinions?).
 
March 3 VDOT Public Meeting on Route 1 Feasibility Study (discussed below)
Is this what we want for Route 1 in National Landing?  Come to the VDOT public meeting on March 3rd and find out! 
 
March 9 Sustainable Mobility for Arlington (SUSMO) meeting at 7:30 (discussed below)
Come learn what is wrong with the proposed Crystal City Bike Network.
 
March 17 CCCA Meeting
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has agreed to provide a video and PowerPoint update on all the work that is being done at National Airport and which is expected to be completed by summer 2021.  Stay tuned for more details.  The Arlington County Police Department will also present on crime statistics and car jackings.

Your President
Carol Fuller

Livability22202 Meeting with VDOT on Route 1 Feasibility Study (Summary)

Good meeting February 22 with VDOT. Although the Livability Working Group on Route 1 provided VDOT with 19 pages of comments and requests for more data on their feasibility study, they responded only to a few comments at this meeting and promised more substantive reply on data later on. We took the opportunity to review the scope of the study, community concerns, and possible alternatives or ideas on how to deal with Route 1. You can view the recorded meeting here and see the Livability slide show and VDOT slides here.

According to the VDOT project website, the study on Route 1, from approximately 12th Street to 23rd Street South, will explore an at-grade urban boulevard, but also review and compare potential improvements to the current elevated condition, and the elevated urban boulevard described in the Crystal City Sector Plan. Ultimately, the study aims to provide sufficient information to make the best decision on a future project on Route 1 in Crystal City. However, from comments at the February 22 meeting, it appears that VDOT is only focusing on whether it is feasible to bring Route 1 down to grade and not on other options. This is disappointing and we will continue to advocate for a variety of alternatives and emphasize safety issues for crossing Route 1 without making it a major highway.

There will be a Task Force meeting February 25 (in which several Livability representatives participate) and a public meeting March 3. Register for the March 3 VDOT meeting here.

  • Agenda (Feb 22)
  • 1. Introduction to Livability22202 and the Route 1 Working Group role in the VDOT study
  • 2. Overview of VDOT Route 1 Multimodal Improvements Study scope and status
  • 3. Issues the Working Group identified through the L22202 survey and workshops
  • 4. Review of suggested alternatives for Route 1
  • 5. VDOT Responses to Livability22202 input
  • 5. Review of Working Group requested data & analysis (Us) (7:40-7:50)
  • 6. Scope and purpose of next VDOT public engagement March 3
  • 7. Q&A and discussion of next steps 

On January 11, 2021, the presidents of the three civic associations in 22202–Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, and Crystal City–forwarded to VDOT the Livability22202 comments on the VDOT feasibility study. These comments provide feedback to the VDOT Public Information Meeting on the Multimodal Improvements Study for Route 1 on 16 December 2020. The covering letter and the four extensive Appendices are linked here.

Livability22202 Meeting on County Planning and Affordable Housing

 Good meeting February 9 of the three 22202 civic associations: Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, and Crystal City.

7:00 pm:  Matt Mattauszek, Arlington County Master Planner, Crystal City/Pentagon City Planning Coordinator, provided a detailed overview of the county planning activities for 2021 in 22202. The year will be very busy as development ramps across our community.

7:30 pm: Kimberly Driggins, Executive Director of the Washington Housing Conservancy, explained what the WHC is, its funding by Amazon to acquire Crystal Houses for $377M, and the affordable housing parameters for Crystal Houses.  The acquisition will lead to the preservation and creation of 1,300 affordable homes.

8:00 pm: The Livability22202 Housing Working Group provided a summary and highlights of the Livability Housing report issued in December, the ongoing county Missing Middle Study and Housing Report, and the Working Group’s meetings with County Board members.

The meeting was recorded and can be viewed here when available. Currently viewable on the CCCA Facebook page.

This information is also posted on livability22202.org

2000/2001 S Bell (Crystal Plaza block) Feedback from CCCA

The County asked for public comment by January 11 on JBG Smith’s site plans for 2000/2001 S Bell Street (the Crystal Plaza Block M). Since this was a public comment period, we focused only on open space and the Underground in our CCCA feedback. We reserved the right to comment on other aspects during the upcoming SPRCs. Read the CCCA letter here. Other comments, along with County staff and JBG responses, will be posted soon on the County project page.

https://www.crystalcitycivic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/CCCA-Online-Feedback-Opportunity-Letter-–-2001-S.-Clark-St.-2001-S.-Bell-St.-Crystal-Plaza-1_F.docx.pdf

Livability22202 Detailed Feedback to VDOT on Feasibility Study (January 11, 2021)

On January 11, 2021, the presidents of the three civic associations in 22202–Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, and Crystal City–forwarded to VDOT the Livability22202 comments on the VDOT feasibility study. These comments provide feedback to the VDOT Public Information Meeting on the Multimodal Improvements Study for Route 1 on 16 December 2020. The covering letter and the four extensive Appendices are linked here.

The Livability22202 community is vitally interested in the outcome of the study and how the principles we have enunciated in our Framework and Action Plan of November 2019 will be addressed in the final VDOT recommendations.  Providing safe, convenient, connected, comfortable east-west Route 1 crossings for people of all ages and abilities and for all modes of transportation is a Livability22202 priority and the most important goal of the Working Group. 

We are pleased that VDOT described that the feasibility study “aims to provide sufficient information to make the best decision on a future project on Route 1 in Crystal City” in the VDOT Public Information Meeting No. 1, December 16, 2020. And we are also pleased that the study will include both an “analysis of existing configuration and analysis of concepts presented in the Crystal City Sector Plan,” along with exploring an at-grade urban boulevard. We are also in agreement that if the study develops an understanding “of potential costs and issues/solutions for constructability and multimodal access,” the Crystal City community and Arlington County will be able to make informed decisions about the future of Route 1.

With these goals in mind, we believe that the formulation of the alternatives for consideration, and the nature of the modeling undertaken to evaluate them will be critical to the outcomes of the study. Issues will include the selection of design concepts for Route 1 as a whole, as well as concepts for individual intersections and cross streets. Assumptions in the study regarding projections for future traffic volumes, peak hour volumes, transit use, and modal splits will also be critical. Because of the importance of the existing conditions data and planning assumptions, it is important that these be shared with the public now, during the early stages of the study formulation, rather than at the end of the study, or worse, not at all. While we are aware that sharing this background information and judgments about the future requires a little more effort from your consultant team up-front, we believe that it will save time overall and build public trust in the results of the study.

The Appendices, which address our concerns and explore some of our ideas, are divided into four broad sections:

  1.  Livability22202 Community Goals and Priorities
  2.  Missing information and Data in the “Existing Conditions” Presentation
  3.  Clarification of VDOT Study Concepts
  4.  Livability22202 Alternative Concepts

Livability22202 Open Space Report Released December 14, 2020

A key priority for livable space is to foster environmental sustainability.    To achieve this, we need to strategically increase the amount of natural open space and improve the tree canopy, with a focus on reducing heat island intensity, improving stormwater management, and increasing urban biodiversity.  Emphasize the incorporation of biophilic design elements into site plans, including private and public space, and the application of biophilic approaches to integration of the built and natural environments.  Needs and opportunities abound for open space and connectivity in 22202. 

Throughout the first half of 2020, neighbors gathered through a series of discussions, including a community-run workshop on February 22, 2020, to develop a comprehensive agenda on open space. The workshop brought together some 65 community members and experts to examine open space issues organized around four topics:

  • Connecting residents to the natural world and enhancing biodiversity throughout 22202
  • Re-envisioning Virginia Highlands Park as the backyard for the Pentagon City community
  • Developing a holistic approach to planning Crystal City Parks
  • Exploring the possibility for a nature trail extending from Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary through the wooded parcel along the George Washington Parkway to the southern end of Crystal City

The final report of the workshop examines the principles for holistic planning needed to strengthen connectivity, natural ecosystems, and community-building in open space in the 22202 zip code area. It provides observations and recommendations for initiating a sustained collaboration with other stakeholders invested in the success of our community, including property developers, owners, county staff, and commission members.  As stated in the Livability22202 Action Plan, November 2019:  “A commitment to livability means a focus on factors that promote ecological sustainability and human health and well-being.”  View the final report, the Fact Sheet, and the press release.

Livability22202 continues to explore how to develop a network of green corridors and parks that will connect residents to nature and natural areas to each other. Subsequent to the workshop, we focused on imagining casual use and event space at Virginia Highlands Park, created a naming map to show the possibilities of community-centric facilities in natural areas, and began a Highlands Urban Agriculture garden (HUG) as a pilot project.  Our recommendations for Crystal City parallel those resulting from the BID and JBG-sponsored Crystal City Parks community engagement.  Overall, our recommendations will feed into the eventual County process for creating and upgrading open space in the 22202 area. 

Breaking News: Housing Workshop Report Released

We are pleased, after a year of work, two well attended workshops and many meetings of a ten person working group, to be able to share the report on housing livability in 22202. This report was previously shared in draft form with participants of Livability workshops as well as presented at meetings for each of the civic associations. This is, of course, part of the greater Livability project and our specific recommendations should be taken into account with the other community needs raised by Livability, such as open space and schools.

The report reviews data and history of the 22202 area, exploring how our unique housing situation came to be. It then makes recommendations for public and private actors in areas around avoiding displacement, diverse housing options (both affordable and market rate) and building community through housing. Please find the full report here and a one page fact sheet here

See the full press report here.

December 2020 Newsletter

Click here to read.

1.   Election of Officers: Welcome to our new (and returning) officers.  The following were elected by acclamation poll for a two-year term:

  • Vice President for Policy and Planning:  Christopher Wimbush
  • Treasurer:  Eric Cassel
  • Membership Liaison:  Emily Norton
  • Communications Director:  Idris Clay

2.  Public Community Meeting on the Water Park:  JBG Smith has submitted a site plan amendment to make changes to the Crystal City Water Park, as we have posted previously. At our request, they are holding a virtual public community meeting December 2 from 6-7 pm to show their revised plans and get feedback from the community. JBG and Equity Realty own the park, but it is also one of the most well-known symbols of Crystal City. So we will want to be informed and let them know what we do and don’t like in their plan.  One of the key issues is the proposal to put 8 back-to-back kiosks at the edge of the park with 2 sidewalks on either side–1 between the kiosks and a tree-lined buffer to the street and a larger one open to the park.  If the kiosks go in what do you think they should sell:  e.g., only food and drink? That’s a JBG decision, but if you have strong feelings or good ideas, be prepared to suggest them. The link to register for the meeting is here:  https://jbgsmith.zoom.us/…/WN_JonbM_GATXi-AJBvZw94IA

3.  CCCA Plans for 2021:  As it looks like we will be staying virtual until at least the summer of 2021, the Executive Committee is starting to plan for bimonthly meetings on a series of topics that could include, among others:  updates on the airport Project Journey, the Aquatic Center, and other development issues; Virginia Tech Alexandria project; Arlington County CERT training; police and fire department issues; etc.  Please send us your ideas about topics you would like to be covered:  [email protected].   

4.  The VDOT Route 1 Multimodal Feasibility Study:  The first Public Engagement Meeting will be held Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 P.M.  See details in Newsletter.

Your President
Carol Fuller