CCCA May Newsletter is Out

Once again, filled with lots of information on what’s happening in our area. Don’t forget, you can get this Newsletter and email update in your in box and vote at meetings by becoming a member of the CCCA for $10 annually. Local businesses may become Associate Members without a vote.

President’s Corner
May 18th Meeting and More Issues than Normal

  1. On May 18th at 7:00, we will have a presentation by the County on Transportation. We will also have
    an in-person report from an Amazon representative on their HQ2. Lastly we will have a short
    presentation by Dweck on their new buildings. Join us in person at 251 18th St S or register in
    advance
    for this meeting.
  2. Last week the County Board approved the Helix, three office buildings and the rest of the
    development for Amazon at PenPlace. Besides my comments before the County Board, NBC4
    interviewed me.
  3. The County is developing a new graphics tool for all things construction/development. There will be
    a meeting on Monday May 16th at 7:00. This should be a good tool for all residents.
  4. The bringing down of Route 1 has generated several alternatives for 18th Street. VDOT made a
    presentation on Thursday and we will be having a meeting on the various choices.
  5. The County is proposing to change the way Storm-Water is going to be billed to residents.
    Switching to a Storm-Water Utility will mean Crystal City Property Owners will see net bills will fall and
    single-family owners will see an increase, but the method of payment will change.
  6. The Civic Federation is proposing numerous changes to the County Government Structure. For
    example, one recommendation is to increase the number of County Board Members from 5 to 7.

See more in the Newsletter.

Eric Cassel, CCCA President

WHAT’S TO BECOME OF ROUTE 1?

Many of you are aware of the ongoing VDOT feasibility study on Route 1 which began in October 2020. VDOT and the commercial community have not budged from the position that Route 1 should be brought down to grade, despite intensive efforts by the community and Livability 22202 to propose other options. VDOT’s Phase 2 Virtual Public Information Meeting on April 28 at 6:30 PM is based on this position.

SO WHERE ARE WE?
● Safety of crossing Route 1 for pedestrians and cyclists has been Livabiity22202’s primary goal for the last two years. You can read the background and learn about our efforts on our Livability 22202 website. Lowering Route 1 to grade with a traffic intersection at 18th Street poses the greatest risks; safety crossing Route 1 must be ensured. We do not believe that the current VDOT plan ensures such safety, especially at 18th Street. The VDOT proposal is inconsistent with Arlington County’s Vision Zero initiative.
● Livability 22202 has worked extensively with 2 pro bono urban architects to encourage VDOT to look more at the people side of this project than the car side. We want the best outcome possible for this feasibility study for the entire community: residents as well as commercial interests .
● Therefore, we have set forward 3 main priorities for Phase 2:

1. Ensure safety crossing at 18th Street with one or more proposals:
a. Pedestrianize 18th Street (remove travel lanes on 18th between Eads and Clark/Bell to provide a park-like environment for cyclists and pedestrians and a safe crossing; include a Barnes Dance, where all traffic is stopped and pedestrians can cross in any direction, including diagonally)
b. Feasible bicycle/pedestrian underpass
c. Bicycle/pedestrian overpass

2. Make the Right of Way on Route 1 overall 165’ to make an at-grade Route 1 a true boulevard.

3. Create a new park between 15th St and the multimodal facility and between Route 1 and Clark/Bell to connect the green ribbon open space areas in Crystal City.

You can find the detailed proposals and explanation in the link: 2022-04-25 18th Street Study.pdf (dropbox.com)

Our proposed ideas offer an opportunity to create a “Green Ribbon” by pedestrianizing 18th Street between Eads and Clark/Bell. This element would ideally extend parks from Virginia Highlands park to the Water Park, given plans for the Metro Market park from 18th to Crystal Drive. But the 18th street crossing of Route 1 is critical for any Bike/Pedestrian pathway.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
● Register for the April 28 VDOT Public Information Meeting on Phase 2.
● Talk up the meeting and the proposal to bring Route 1 down to grade with all of your friends and acquaintances so they are informed.
● Express your concerns and share your ideas at the meeting.
● If you agree with Livability 22202’s ideas, support them publicly and say so at the April 28 meeting and to friends and acquaintances. We have worked long and hard to defend community interests and seek the best outcome. This is your best opportunity to weigh in before the plans become ingrained in the system.
● Let the Arlington County Board know where you stand and ask for their support for the Livability 22202 positions

April CCCA Newsletter

Download it here.

1.  Save the Date:  Our next CCCA meeting will be May 18.  With all of the transportation projects in progress or being planned, we may focus the meeting on that topic.

2.  What’s to Become of Route 1? Many of you are aware of the ongoing VDOT feasibility study on the Route 1.  You can read the background on the Livability22202 website for the Route 1 working group, including the February 27, 2022, letter to VDOT.  VDOT has now started Phase 2 of the study and is planning a Public Information Meeting on April 28. Register here.  We don’t know yet what will be covered in that meeting, but we have been disappointed that VDOT discontinued the Task Force meetings with essential stakeholders.  In the meantime, the Livability working group continues to engage with VDOT, the National Landing BID, the People Before Cars coalition, and JBG to develop creative solutions to the problems of bringing Route 1 down to grade.  Safety of crossing Route 1 for pedestrians and bikers is our primary goal and lowering Route 1 to grade with a traffic intersection at 18th Street poses the greatest risks. Working with two pro bono urban architects, the working group has proposed consideration of three ideas:  a) pedestrian/bike-only plazas on both sides of Route 1 at 18th Street; b) passageways under Route 1 at 18th for bikes and pedestrians that would connect to the Metro and c) a “blue sky” option for a bridge over Route 1 similar to Highline in NYC.  We will continue to inform the community as the study progresses as we seek the best options for a safe crossing of Route 1.

3.  Construction to start for Transitway on 12th and Crystal Drive April 4:  A notice went out March 25.  But remember that beginning the week of April 4th, Arlington County contractors will initiate the construction work for the first segment of the Transitway Extension to Pentagon City. The work includes the installation of two new transit stations at Crystal Drive & 15th Street S, and 12th Street S. & Long Bridge Drive, along with street improvements along 12th Street S. between S. Eads St. and S. Clark St., and the intersection of 12th Street S. at Crystal Drive.  See details 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: .

Project Journey Construction

Beginning on or about Monday, January 6, the outer lanes of the Terminal B/C Arrivals (lower) level roadway used for private vehicle and ride app pickup will close from Midnight to 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday for construction.

All passengers arriving at Gates 10-45 and being picked up by a private vehicle or Lyft/Uber/Via must be picked up on the Ticketing/Check-In level (Level 3). The taxi pickup location will remain unchanged, outside Baggage Claim (Level 1).

Terminal B/C serves passengers of the following airlines: Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, United. On Saturday and Sunday, private vehicle and ride app pick-up will be available on the Baggage Claim level. Closing the roadway will provide space for construction crews to lift steel beams overhead for two New Security Checkpoint buildings. The roadway closure will be in effect Monday through Friday mornings for several months.

New Bus Route Dulles to Union Station

The new year will bring new service from Virginia Breeze, the state government’s two-year-old intercity bus service.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation has announced plans for a pair of new routes for the coming year, including twice daily service between Danville and Washington’s Union Station, a 250-mile route that will travel along U.S. Route 29 and Interstate 66, including potential stops in Lynchburg and Charlottesville and at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Learn more at virginiabreeze.org

Metro releases concepts to improve service on Blue, Orange, Silver lines

Metro released several preliminary concepts to improve reliability, meet future ridership demand, and better serve customers on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. The concepts, part of the two-year Blue/Orange/Silver Capacity and Reliability Study, include a range of infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to address both short- and long-term needs.

Beginning next week, Metro is holding a series of open houses – with the first one in Arlington – to provide information about the draft concepts, answer questions and gather community feedback. The public is also invited to provide input and suggest additional ideas for improvements through an online survey.

Input from the public and stakeholders will help Metro evaluate the concepts and recommend a comprehensive strategy with a “locally-preferred alternative” to move forward with federal environmental review, design and funding in late 2020.

Online survey

The public is encouraged to provide feedback on the preliminary concepts and suggest other ideas through an online survey. The survey, available in English and Spanish, will be open through Jan. 6.

Visit Metro’s project page

Ride the ART Bus for FREE

In celebration of Try Transit Week, Sept. 16 – 20, Arlington Transit is planning some fun activities to encourage people to ride the ART bus as well as thank current riders for using the service. Throughout the week, the ART Prize Patrol will be riding various ART routes handing out giveaway items and thanking riders for using ART. Be on the lookout for the Prize Patrol when you board your ART bus!

On Thursday, Sept. 19, everyone will get to ride ART for free! This will be a great opportunity for new riders to try ART and see where the service can take them. Learn more and plan your trip at ArlingtonTransit.com.

Transportation UPDATE: How to Navigate Temporary Protected Walkways at Airport

Beginning on or about Thursday, September 12, pedestrians will use a protected corridor between Terminal B and the Metro station. Around the same time, the pedestrian walkway between Terminal C and the Metro station will close for construction nightly from 11:30 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Passengers will follow detour signage to the Terminal B walkway.
Minimal impacts are expected.

Transportation UPDATE: Blue/Yellow Line Stations Reopening on Schedule

Metro today announced that the six Blue and Yellow line stations south of Reagan National Airport—Braddock Rd, King St-Old Town, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn St and Franconia-Springfield—will reopen as scheduled Monday, September 9, with completely rebuilt platforms and several customer improvements.

On Monday, regular rail service will resume on the Blue and Yellow lines when the system opens at 5 a.m. Residents may notice “test trains” operating in the shutdown area this weekend as Metro makes final preparations for the reopening.

With the resumption of rail service, Metro will no longer run shuttle buses from the stations; however, some shuttles will remain on standby in the event of a disruption. In addition, regular parking fees will resume Monday.

“All stations are reopening on time, and we look forward to welcoming our Northern Virginia customers back to the rails on Monday,” said General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We are incredibly thankful to our customers, residents and nearby businesses for their understanding this summer as we reconstructed six station platforms – at the same time – in the largest and most complex capital project since Metro’s original construction. When the project is complete this fall, customers will benefit not only from safer infrastructure, but a more modern and convenient station experience.”