Winners of Underground Challenge Announced

Livability22202 is announcing the winners of its “Underground Challenge” November 11, 2020. The Underground Challenge was organized to spur creative thinking about the Crystal City Underground and its future with the change and new development now happening in Crystal City and National Landing. With over one-half mile of interconnected buildings, corridors, and plazas, the Crystal City Underground has long been a feature of the area and is much loved by local residents.

With a vision to revitalize and improve the Underground, challenge entrants were asked to submit ideas in three categories: creative writing, video, and a “business plan.”  Entrants celebrated their fondness for the underground, pointed out its quirks and features, and proposed new ideas for its future.

These ideas ranged from suggestions of potential businesses, like a hardware store or library, to more creative suggestions, such as using the space for urban agriculture or STEM-related activities for youth. And participants especially emphasized the valuable role that the Underground serves in transportation and commuting, especially during inclement weather. 

Patricia Heath’s “Underground Energy” won first place in the “Write Underground” category, and Ms. Heath wrote compellingly of all the benefits and uses the Underground provides to residents. Ms. Heath summed it up that “There are myriad issues to be addressed, and I don’t have all the answers (and likely don’t know all the challenges). What I do know is this: the Water Park may be the outdoor personification of our Crystal City urban village, but the Underground is its beating heart and circulatory system, literally and figuratively.”

Runners up in the creative writing category also included Neena Gupta’s enlightening “In Search of a Protagonist” and Matthew Mercado’s clever “Dr. Mercado’s Diagnosis.”

Winner of the video category “Tik Tok Underground” was Kari Klaus, who literally envisioned a transformation of the Underground inspired by Las Vegas, with its many interior spaces and fantastical settings. Emma Benson and Eric Cassel were runners up in this category, with creative videos offering both fond – and satirical – commentary on the existing Underground experience.

Entrants in a third category were invited to submit a “business plan” for how to support the Underground through commercial use of the space. Matt McKinstry offered a creative set of ideas for transforming little used Underground spaces, possibly rebranded as the “Under Grange,” to support urban agriculture and agritech startups, with indoor farming able to supply local restaurants. Indoor hydroponic farms could be created and harness efficient LED technology, circulating nutrient-laden water to grow vegetables, greens, and herbs. Mr. McKinstry also provided expertise on how aquaponics, floriculture, mycoculture, and even cheesemaking and beekeeping could be implemented in the Underground!

Runners up in the business plan category included Michael Hong, who made a compelling case for an entertainment district with larger vacant spaces converted into entertainment centers. Mr. Hong noted that Crystal City needs a live music hall, with the desire to hear music performances growing and unsatisfied. And Mr. Hong suggested that a groundbreaking use for the Underground might include The Museum of Science Fiction, which judges noted as a potentially very apt fit in the Underground complex! Another runner up for in the business plan category was John Chapin, who recognized advantages in the Underground’s “unique physical characteristics compared to other publicly-oriented metro-accessible spaces in the DC area,” and proffered use of the space for security related enterprises, with Secure Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) as a potential asset for multiple businesses.

Winners in each category were awarded gift cards to Ted’s Montana Grill, Sweetgreen, and Jaleo, and runners up also received gift certificates. The overall effort (and awards) have been supported by the National Landing Business Improvement District, with additional support from JBG Smith. Judging of the entries was provided by Arlington videographer Eric Courtney, Robert Siegel, former co-host of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and noted authors and Arlington residents Rick Hodges and Kim O’Connell.

Judges noted the breadth of creative thinking across all categories and felt that a combination of many of these ideas might make for a compelling overall plan for the Underground that is robust across many business cycles.

Community leaders plan to continue sharing the ideas generated in the Underground Challenge entries, to foster further discussion about the overall future of the Crystal City Underground with interested parties.

About Livability22202

Livability 22202 is the work of the 3 civic associations of 22202 – Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, and Crystal City. The residents of 22202 have committed to tackling the challenges facing our area with holistic strategies based on shared livability themes to create a better, more livable city.

November 2020 Newsletter

Click here to download

Happy Halloween and Good Dia de Muertos!

1.  Annual Meeting November 11:  Be sure to join us for this important Zoom meeting from 7-9 pm.  
Agenda:
1.  Elections of 4 CCCA officers for 2 years (see bios in Newsletter)
2. Vote on approval of minor ByLaws Amendment (full text on CCCA website)
3.  Updates on Development Projects in Crystal City (JBG’s Andy VanHorn will jointly present)
4.  Updates on Livability 22202 Working Groups

Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

2.  Elections Nov. 3:  If you plan to vote in person on Election Day, November 3, you will need to vote in your own precinct – either Crystal City 006 (251 S. 18th Street, the red Wells Fargo Bank building) or Crystal Plaza 050 (inside the Crystal Plaza apartment building.  Polls are open 6 am to 7  pm.  See details in Newsletteride.

3.  SPRC Process for 101 S. 12th Street:  Following the September 19 Site Plan Review Committee meeting on JBG’s site plan for 101 S 12th Street, the County Planning Commission will consider the final site plan November 4.  It then goes to the County Board for approval Nov 14 or 17.  You can view the full staff report for the meeting here.   County staff reject community concerns about the extension of Ball Street from 12th to 10th Streets.  If residents wish to object to a full street extension of Ball Street, you can find the information on submitting comments, viewing the meeting, and signing up to speak here

4.  AFAC Food Drive:   We have teamed up again with FLARE and the National Landing BID, and the Arlington Ridge and Aurora Highlands Civic Associations for another food drive to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center!  FLARE will be placing donation boxes at 13 locations throughout National Landing from October 31 – November 8. Donations of canned good will be collected and donated on November 9th.

Your President
Carol Fuller

CCCA Annual Meeting November 11

Time for updates!  As you know, there is lots going on in our area and we try to keep you informed by posting regularly on our CCCA Facebook page and as often as possible on our CCCA and Livability22202 websites.  At our Annual Meeting, we will first have Elections for new CCCA Officers (see separate article). We will also vote on a proposed minor amendment to the CCCA ByLaws (see following article).

Next, we will go over Updates  on a) Development (from 101 S 12th Street down to 2525 Crystal Drive) and b) Livability22202 activities and working groups (Route 1 feasibility study; Future of the  Underground; Housing Affordability; Open Space; Schools; Performing Arts).  Each coordinator will give a brief overview and answer your questions.  Andy VanHorn of JBG has agreed to help with the development portion and share JBG’s vision for the future.

Register in advance for this meeting:

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

CCCA Annual Elections 2020

The Other Elections!

Nominations – including self-nominations – are now open for the following four CCCA officer positions!  The principal duties are summarized below.  All members whose dues are paid are eligible to be candidates and to vote in the election at the CCCA Annual General Meeting on the evening of November 11, 2020. 

  •  Vice President for Policy and Planning: Lead officer representing and coordinating CCCA activity dealing with Arlington County and other outside entities on planning, development, and policies
  • Treasurer: Lead Custodian of financial assets and records
  • Communications Director: Lead officer on the communications program, which includes maintenance of the association’s website, producing a periodic newsletter, and other media on behalf of the CCCA
  • Membership Liaison: Lead officer in recruiting new members and facilitating the CCCA activities of current members, ensuring they receive needed information and support

The terms for each position are two years.  

To nominate yourself, or someone else, for one of these offices, please submit general contact information for the nominee (name, address, phone number, email address, and a brief written statement supporting the candidacy) to the Election Committee ([email protected]), specifying which office the nomination is for.  In addition, if you are nominating someone else, please provide your contact information. 

Should there be more than one nomination for a position, eligible nominees who are willing to serve in those positions will have an opportunity to present an oral statement supporting their candidacy before the election at the Annual General Meeting.  

All nominations must be received by October 27, when nominations will be closed.   

More detail on the officer positions and operations of the CCCA is available from the Election Committee, whose members would be glad to provide additional information and answers to any questions of interested civic association members. ([email protected])

In addition, the CCCA’s Bylaws containing descriptions of the open positions are available at the Resources link on the Association’s website. (www.crystalcitycivic.org)

This is an opportunity for Crystal City residents to advance the interests of the Crystal City community.  Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration and response. 

 Respectfully, 

 Aaron Bethencourt

Christopher Wimbush

Harry Edelman

CCCA Election Committee 

Livability22202: Route 1

  1. VDOT Feasibility Study for Route 1: VDOT has been tasked by the State to conduct a feasibility study for Route 1 multimodal connectivity in the vicinity of Crystal City and Pentagon City over the course of the next year, with a report due June 2021. The tasking stems from an MOU between the Commonwealth and Amazon in 2018 to improve safety, accessibility, and the pedestrian experience crossing Route 1.  Two reasons for this study:  1) transportation demand will increase with Amazon and development growth; and 2) the areas to be studied are already heavily developed with limited space for expanding the footprint of the transportation network. 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. The first virtual meeting of the project Task Force took place Monday, September 28, and 22202 residents were well represented.  See the website and sign up for updates.

2. Livability Working Group Response: Obviously the VDOT study will have an impact on residents of 22202.  The working group is concerned that the scope of the study is very narrowly limited to the feasibility of bringing Route 1 down to grade, including at 15th and 18th Streets, and is not considering other alternatives. The 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan envisioned “the transformation of the highway into an urban boulevard with wide landscaped usable sidewalks and real building frontages,” but without specifics.   A Livability22202 working group has been studying the issue and conducted a survey of residents (with almost 300 responses) and two community meetings August 26 and September 30.  The results of the survey as well as the presentations from both meetings, including a study done by the National Landing BID, are posted below.  The live recordings of both meetings are posted to the CCCA Facebook page and linked below.  The major community concern is to preserve safety of the pedestrian/bike crossings at 15th and 18th Streets and avoid another bad situation like 23rd Street.  We will be inviting VDOT to a future 22202 community meeting.

September 30 Livability22202 Meeting: You can view the entire 2 hour meeting here. You can see the Working Group presentation here and the BID study presentation here. The results of the Route 1 survey conducted by the Working Group can be seen here. You can also see the referenced links, comments, and questions from the chat room here.

August 26 Livability 22202 Meeting: You can view the meeting here. The presentation is here.