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

February 2021 Newsletter

Click here to download

Don’t forget to renew your membership here and stay involved.  After February 1, you may not get your Newsletter or email updates if not paid.  This is the last Newsletter for those paid only in 2020.

1.  January 27 CCCA Meeting:  Read the summary of the meeting on COVID and Development and click on the links to see the full meeting and the slide presentations.

2.  Development:  Each month, a listing of all upcoming development and other major issues will be included i the Newsletter.

3. Upcoming Meetings:
February 2:  JBG Pre-Construction Meeting on 1900 Crystal Drive
February 9 Livability22202 Meeting on County Planning and Affordable Housing
February 15 virtual workshop on the Pentagon City Planning Study
February Livability22202 Meeting with VDOT on Route 1 Feasibility Study, Date TBD
March 17 CCCA Meeting with MWAA on Project Journey at the airport

Your President
Carol Fuller

CCCA Meeting January 27 Summary

During the first hour, Arlington County Health Director, Dr. Reuben Varghese, and Assistant Director of Public Health, Robert Sharpe, briefed on 1) their COVID vaccination plan (this is the updated slide presentation); 2) what they are doing to help disadvantaged during the crisis (e.g., food/evictions); and 3) the impact COVID has had on the County budget. See the slide presentation on #2 and #3 here.

During the second hour, JBG Senior VP for Development Andy VanHorn provided development updates on: 1) the recent purchase of Crystal Houses by the Washington Housing Conservancy and JBG Smith plans to manage it; 2) the ongoing public engagement about their site plan
for 2000/2001 Clark/Bell; and 3) upcoming construction at 1900 Crystal Drive. This segment ended with a review of the timeline for development and other issues over the next few years. See the slide presentations here.

You can watch the entire meeting here. Apologies for those who wanted to watch on Facebook Live since a technical glitch prevented this from happening.

CCCA Bimonthly Meeting January 27

During the first hour, Arlington County Health Director, Dr. Reuben Varghese, and other public health officials will brief on 1) their COVID vaccination plan, 2) what they are doing to help disadvantaged during the crisis (e.g., food/evictions), and 3)the impact COVID has had on the County budget.

During the second hour, JBG Senior VP for Development Andy VanHorn will return to give brief development updates on: 1) the recent purchase of Crystal Houses by the Washington Housing Conservancy and JBG Smith plans to manage it; 2) the ongoing public engagement about their site plan for 2000/2001 Clark/Bell; and 3) upcoming construction at 1900 Crystal Drive.

You can interact on Zoom or by phone, or watch on Facebook Live.https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84657595914…
Meeting ID: 846 5759 5914
Passcode: 323824
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,84657595914#,,,,*323824# US (Washington D.C)

JBG Plans for the Water Park

Crystal City Parks

Did you miss it? JBG Smith held a virtual open house meeting on December 2nd on their plans to upgrade the Water Park. There was lots of feedback and interest (as well as some concerns) for this new project feature. For those who were unable to make it, the presentation from the meeting is posted for reference as well as the answers to the questions JBG received during the presentation; see the new tab titled ‘Water Park’. https://courbanize.com/projects/crystalparks/survey

Full community workshop presentation

Workshop Q & A

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.

The link to register for the meeting is below:
https://jbgsmith.zoom.us/…/regist…/WN_JonbM_GATXi-AJBvZw94IA

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

CCCA Annual Meeting Highlights

The November 11, 2020, Annual Meeting was live streamed on our CCCA Facebook page and can be viewed there.

  1. Election of 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. Amendment to ByLaws: The following proposed amendment was approved by vote and will be added to Section 2.1 Members:

Further, residents of Potomac Yards/Arlington, an area that is outside the CCCA boundaries established in Section 1.3 but currently not covered by any civic association, may be considered as non-voting Associate Members, provided that they are not active members of another civic association. 

3. Updates on Development in Crystal City (from 12th Street to 2525 Crystal Drive): You can see the PowerPoint slides here.

4. Updates on Livability22202 Working Groups and Issues: You can see the PowerPoint slides here.

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.