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.

Livability22202 Open Space Updates

1.  2022 Spring Garden Kickoff March 12: 

Registration is now live for the Plot Against Hunger Spring Garden Kickoff, organized by the Friends of Urban Agriculture (FOUA).  Join us at Central Library on March 12th from 10 am until 2 pm for our annual Spring Garden Kickoff event, “Growing Together: Let’s Dig In!” 

Highlights:

* “Growing with Climate Change,” an expert panel discussion

* Garden tours and demonstrations

* Seed and seedling giveaways

* Tool clinic and tool swap

* Opportunities to engage with garden experts on a host of topics

Library staff will distribute garden-themed “take and make” craft projects for visitors of all ages. All workshops are subject to change. Outdoor activities will be weather-dependent.  Register today at arlingtonurbanag.org and click on the event image or banner.

Note:  Our Livability22202 Highlands Urban Garden (HUG) is one of the garden plots.

2.  Highlands Urban Garden (HUG) Season Opening:  Calling all Volunteer Gardeners.  Following on the very productive 2021 year gardening at the HUG next to the tennis courts at Virginia Highlands Park, we’re preparing for spring planting.  Come join us March 13 from 1-3 pm for our first work day of the season.  We will be 1) reinstalling the irrigation system connected to the water tanks; 2) demonstrating seed planting in peat pots for the garden and handing out seeds; 3) cleaning up the area, including leaves and weeds; and 4) adding compost to the rings.  We’ve already assessed what wintered over, fixed fencing, discussed what plants to grow this year.  We have kale and chard that wintered over in covered plots and we want to say “hello” to them.  Bring some seeds to share or suggest for planting.  It’s going to be a good year at the HUG.

The HUG Instagram account has gone live.  highlands.urban.garden  Highlands Urban Garden (HUG) is a collaborative project with Livability22202 sponsored by the @nationallanding, @arlparksrec and the Crystal City Rotary Club to develop a demonstration urban garden. @arlingtonfoua is managing the project and providing design and technical expertise.  The small-scale garden demonstrates modern, sustainable agricultural practices such as modular, low-impact design principles, sustainable water management practices, and incorporates smart technology to collect agriculture metrics. A team of neighborhood volunteers help install, maintain and manage the garden. Follow to see more HUG updates and details on getting involved!  #urbangarden #urbangardening #plotagainsthunger #garden #urbanfarming

3.  Tell Arlington County How to Spend Its Capital Improvement Plan Budget:  Share your thoughts on how Arlington should invest in major infrastructure for the future. Your input will help inform the proposed 10-year Capital Improvement Plan to be presented in May.  Read the information and share your thoughts now through March 15!  FYI, the 3 civic associations in 22202 and the Crystal City Citizens Review Committee have emphasized open space and parks.  Particularly critical, we need construction funding put into two Crystal City Parks:  Center Park (connected to the 1900 Crystal Drive construction) and Metro Park on 18th Street between the existing and proposed Metro entrances.   If not funded in the CIP, we’re going to be looking at mud and holes for a long time.  Please add your support for the parks.

4.  Water Park:  

Deconstruction of the park infrastructure that needs to be removed has started. About 8 trees that needed to be removed, either because they were weak or in the way of major infrastructure, have been cut down in the Water Park; ones that will be saved have tree protection fencing around them.  It may look terrible right now, but the plan requires many more trees to be planted than were there before.  The Mt. Vernon Trail is to remain open.  Construction in that section of the park has not yet started – may happen by late March.  JBG is looking for potential retail tenants for the kiosks – with focus on locally owned, small women and minority business owners. 

5.  PenPlace Park: 

The proposed redevelopment of the PenPlace block in Pentagon City will include a 2.5-acre public space, detached retail pavilions, and underground vehicular access and parking garage.  The proposal includes a variety of inviting public spaces. Some of the proposed components include an amphitheater facing a spacious central green, a forest grove and other amenities to complement the convenience of retail pavilions and restaurants located throughout the site. The proposal also includes room for a dog run, a market promenade, and outdoor seating.  The park plan is part of the overall site plan for PenPlace and will come to the Board for final approval in April.

6.  MetPark Park: 

Despite recent weather, spring is on the horizon and work is progressing across the two-acre park. Crews recently formed concrete footings in the children’s park area in preparation for upcoming installation of playground equipment. Clark Construction is looking forward to seeing the park evolve over the next few months!

7.  Crystal City Metro Plaza: 

Work continues on the Crystal City Metro Plaza enhancements – a collaboration with JBG SMITH and the National Landing BID to improve the plaza. The Harmony Mural was installed last fall with work continuing on the upgrades to the plaza including new seating, lighting, and other upgrades. Completion is anticipated for late April 2022. 

8.  Cherry Blossom Kite Festival: 

Blossom Kite Festival - National Cherry Blossom FestivalSat., March 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Virginia Highlands Park.  The National Cherry Blossom Kite Festival comes to Arlington! This will be a day of fun for the whole family – free and for all-ages – and the event will feature food trucks, live entertainment, games, art projects, inflatables, fitness and more to celebrate spring and our great Arlington outdoors. Free kite kits will be handed out to the first 100 attendees. No registration required. Learn more here.

9.  Roaches Run:  At the May 2021 CCCA meeting, the Superintendent for the National Park Service told us that the two studies of upgrading Roaches Run had essentially been forgotten.  He told us that if we want to do anything with Roaches Run, we must launch a campaign with the County for that purpose. The BID has been approached by George Washington University about the possibility of bringing Roaches Run into National Landing, and a few of us are planning to work with them on this project.  This will be a huge slog.  But stay tuned for more details in the future.

Also check out these two related articles!

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jbg-smith-commences-construction-pair-220000920.html

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: .

February 2022 Newsletter is Out

Download the Newsletter here.

1.  Message from Your President:  A big thank you to everyone who made January’s Meeting a success!  We had a presentation by VDOT on the proposed changes to Route 1. Then a discussion panel with Carol Fuller, Pam Van Hine, and Arthur Fox, led by Brian Harner. Lastly, we had a presentation by the County Mental Health Director- Carol Layer on their resources.  All the presentations are on the CCCA website.  Our next meeting will be in March and we are open to suggestions for topics!

2.  REMINDER:  Annual Dues Payment Now Overdue:  NOTE:  If you have not paid your 2022 annual dues, this is the last Newsletter you will receive by email.  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.   A confirmation email will be sent by February 28 to all those who have paid their 2022 dues.

3.  Seeking a New Newsletter Editor:  Your CCCA Newsletter Editor is retiring.  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.

Update on Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan (Sector Plan)

Arlington County is initiating a new study to help guide future development for Pentagon City, with coordinated planning and transportation components. The study will help define Pentagon City’s capacity for future growth by evaluating alternative redevelopment scenarios and their resulting impacts on the capacity of the existing, committed, and planned transportation system, infrastructure, public spaces and community facilities.  This will result in a Plan Document, which conveys new land use policies, redevelopment principles, and supporting urban design guidelines for future growth within Pentagon City.

With the commitment of Amazon to develop their east coast headquarters in Arlington County, for the first time in its history, the 1976 Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan (PDSP) is anticipated to approach full build out. Future growth will require additional development potential to be allocated by the County Board in order to enable redevelopment and/or major improvements. Since the fall of 2020, Arlington County has been leading a strategic community planning process for Pentagon City to reevaluate long-term goals for this important area with an emphasis on its transportation network. Informed by the community’s recent work on livability, the Planning Study includes broad participation from residents, businesses, community groups, and stakeholders. See the Project Page here for the latest information.

Livability22202 through the three civic associations has actively participated in the 18 month project and succeeded in obtaining a number of improvements to the plan. One of our members Ben Davanzo created a summary of the process from the AHCA perspective and status of responses to community concerns that can serve as an initial guide for those who have not been following the process. As the latest version 4 of the plan heads to the Arlington County Board on February 12, all 3 CAs have submitted comments that can be seen here: Arlington Ridge Civic Association; Aurora Highlands Civic Association; Crystal City Civic Association. You can also see the staff report for the County Board meeting here.

CCCA Meeting January 19 on Route 1

The focus of the meeting was on Route 1. The CCCA slide show is here.

We invited VDOT to provide an update on the study of Route 1 and their recommendation for Option 3 to bring it completely down to grade–an option that Livability22202 and the CCCA believe is inadequate and incomplete. Timewise, we are in Phase 2 (December 2021 to December 2022). VDOT is supposed to conduct a number of studies related to their ongoing study of Route 1.  Many of these studies were urged by the Livability22202 Route 1 working group and others.  Topics include: Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures to reduce traffic 20-30% from the 2019 baseline; a feasibility and analysis design (for a potential passage under or over 18th Street; improvements to the 23rd Street interchange; bus station relocation); and additional transportation data collection on traffic passing through Route 1 to compare to the 2019 traffic baseline. A Public Information Meeting is planned for late March or early April. A draft report is anticipated by December 2022 and a final report by February 2023. See the VDOT presentation here.

We also had a talk on how to cope with the COVID pandemic by Carol Layer, Director of Behavioral Healthcare Division, Arlington County. See her presentation here with the contact information for County services.

The recording of the full meeting can be viewed on Google Drive here.

Melwood and Affordable Housing

Melwood Industries has proposed to the County a Tier 1 review of a proposal to build on its current vacant lot at 750 S 23rd Street.  This would be a state‐of‐the‐art mixed‐use building that:

  • Provides a home for Melwood programming, particularly workforce development programming:
  • Provides affordable housing inclusive of people with disabilities; and
  • Creates a communal space for the 22202 neighborhood and people with
  • disabilities

Livability22202 has advocated for more affordable housing and believes this would be a worthwhile study.  Tier 1 only would give approval for a more indepth review under Tier 2.  The CCCA will invite Melwood to present when/if the study goes to Tier 2.  See the initial Melwood proposal presented to the AHCA meeting January 12.

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.