Latest News (as of 1/17/2017)
Save that Date: Feb 23rd.
Our next General Meeting will be February 23rd at 7pm. The major topic will be Alexandria's plans for Potomac Yard. To see the plans and the huge impact on Crystal City, the following pdf shows the plans: https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/NPYAGMeetingDeveloperExhibits091916.pdf
Airplane Routes Unchanged
The FAA issued a statement today saying it “has decided to discontinue its work on the departure procedure from Washington Reagan National Airport known as Lazir B and to cancel its implementation. The decision follows a review of public input, including comments gathered at community meetings, inquiries from political leaders and the public, and discussions in citizens’ advisory forums. The FAA will continue to support the efforts of the DCA Community Noise Working Group.” See Arlington County's Reponse.
The January 2017 Newsletter No. 1 is out.
Read it here for all the latest news. There will be no February Newsletter. "Like" and follow our CCCA Facebook page for the latest information.
REMINDER: 2017 CCCA MEMBERSHIP DUES OF $10 ARE DUE BY JANUARY 1, 2017.
DC2RVA Draft EIS Recommendations
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) presented its recommendations for the Washington, D.C. to Richmond, VA Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor project (DC2RVA) to the Commonwealth Transportation Board during its December meeting. DRPT's recommendations are available for review on the project website, including three options depending on outcome of Long Bridge study. Three options are being considered to align the DC2RVA corridor with the new Long Bridge options currently being studied by DDOT: adding 2-tracks to the east, adding 2 tracks to the west, or adding a single track on each side approaching Long Bridge. Improvements would occur within the existing right of way. See the recommendations and interactive map here.
Arlington County to Allow and Regulate Short-Term Rentals
On December 10, the County Board approved new Zoning Ordinance regulations that define a short-term residential rental as a new home occupation called “accessory homestay,” and creates standards for this use. The regulations affect short-term rentals through online services such as Airbnb, Craigslist, VRBO and others. The use of private homes for short-term residential rental was not previously permitted by the Zoning... Ordinance. The new regulations include limitations to protect the character of residential neighborhoods; ensure health and safety measures are in place; and regulate and limit the use in a manner consistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan. The amendment was developed based on a review of practices in other jurisdictions in Virginia and throughout the country, and with input from the community. Read more here.
Arlington Schools Rated Best in Virginia
The 2017 Best School Districts ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more. Read the article and ratings here.
Arlington County to Allow and Regulate Short-Term Rentals
On December 10, the County Board approved new Zoning Ordinance regulations that define a short-term residential rental as a new home occupation called “accessory homestay,” and creates standards for this use. The regulations affect short-term rentals through online services such as Airbnb, Craigslist, VRBO and others. The use of private homes for short-term residential rental was not previously permitted by the Zoning... Ordinance. The new regulations include limitations to protect the character of residential neighborhoods; ensure health and safety measures are in place; and regulate and limit the use in a manner consistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan. The amendment was developed based on a review of practices in other jurisdictions in Virginia and throughout the country, and with input from the community. Read more here:
Civic engagement is at the heart of Arlington. Find a way to make a difference in your community — share feedback today, or find ways to get more deeply involved. See the opportunities on the Arlington County Website.
FY 2018 Budget Priorities Public Input Form
Interested in the County Budget? Be sure to comment. Go to the Public Input Form here:
County Notice: As we begin the FY 2018 budget process, we'd like you to share what priorities should be considered. The following documents may be helpful to review prior to submitting your feedback:
Defense Department Expected to Study Helicopter Noise
Reagan National will be getting a major facelift in the next few months, part of $1-billion modernization of the 75-year-old airport. Plans include a new terminal to house short-hop flights on the north side of Terminal C, currently home to the airport’s executive offices. The project also includes space for new security checkpoints. On Wednesday, members of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’ board of directors, got a preview of what the new National will look like when work is completed in 2021. See the Washington Post article of October 19 here.
VDOT Project Update: I-395 HOV Tolling
The Arlington County Board received an update October 18 from state transportation officials regarding the potential traffic, environmental and fiscal effects to Arlington resulting from the I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension. The state project to add a third high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane and convert the three HOV lanes to managed HOV/toll lanes is currently under environmental review. County staff have been working closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to ensure the I-395 project’s environmental review includes a thorough analysis of impacts to Arlington. VDOT has indicated the additional express lane will be constructed completely within its right of way. County staff will provide a detailed analysis for the County Board in December regarding traffic impacts to Arlington, impacts from possible noise mitigation, and sufficient transit funding. The next Public Hearing is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a presentation at 7 p.m. at Wakefield High School, 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street. See full information here.
The Arlington County Library opened its innovative, new pop up library—The Connection—in Crystal City September 28, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The library is located across from the Tech Shop and facing Au Bon Pain. In addition to a lot of newly arrived books, check out the computers; tools, games and jig saw puzzles for loan, tech exhibit, the kids’ Launchpad and exhibit corner, and comfortable couch seating.
Library hours, starting Sept. 29, 2016:
Tuesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday - Monday: CLOSED
CCCA MEETING ON DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORTATION IN CRYSTAL CITY: September 21, 2016
I-395 Express Lanes Project: Representing VDOT and its partners, Project Manager Michael Snare presented an update of the plans for the proposed Express Lanes Extension to be constructed on I-395 as part of the Atlantic Gateway Project. Virginia was selected to receive a $165 million dollar federal grant to improve more than 50 miles of the I-95/I-395 Corridor from Fredericksburg to the Pentagon, extending I-95/I-395 Express Lanes North to the Pentagon (~ 7 miles) and South to Fredericksburg (~ 10 miles). See the summary and full presentation here.
Vornado/Charles E. Smith Development Plans in Crystal City: Mitch Bonanno, Vice President for Development, presented a power point briefing on his company's plans for 2 site developments in Crystal City: 1) "Crystal Drive Retail Adaptive Reuse" (AKA 1750 Crystal Drive, plus a market square on 18th Street off Crystal Drive) and 2) a new public plaza and retail buildings located in front of 2121 Crystal Drive. He emphasized that the market is still tight for business in Crystal City, and that his organization is focusing more on "placemaking"--i.e., focusing on how to use existing space. Their development plans will therefore be more retail-led and pedestrian-based for Crystal Drive. There is more focus on flexible programming with better connections to transit and parking. See the full presentation here.
Vornado/Charles E. Smith Colorful Light Display in the Water Park: Stefanie Echeveste, Placemaker for the company, explained briefly how the new light display will work in the park and then led a tour to the Water Park to demonstrate and get feedback from residents. Drop by in the evenings to see it.
RIBBON CUTTING FOR THE CONNECTION: CRYSTAL CITY LIBRARY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
Join us for the official first day at The Connection, your new pop-up Library in Crystal City.
When: Wednesday, Sept. 28
Ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.
Stop by for celebratory activities until 8 p.m.
The Connection: Crystal City is a temporary project (Fall 2016 - Summer 2017) designed to integrate the Library into the daily lives of Arlington residents.
Hours, starting Sept. 29, 2016:
- Tuesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Wednesday: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
- Thursday: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Sunday - Monday: CLOSED
See invitation on Arlington VA Public Library Facebook: page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1779005522380716/
CRYSTAL CITY LIBRARY COMING IN SEPTEMBER
If you missed the informational meeting August 16, watch the space in the Underground across from the Tech Shop and facing Au Bon Pain: "The Connection." The Arlington County library hopes to open its temporary pop-up library by the end of September.
The library is increasingly looking for greater outreach to connect with communities and to embed its libraries inside the community. There will be library tablets available preloaded... with magazines and reference material. There will be daily delivery of books Monday to Friday, but can be open on Saturdays. The online survey showed three key areas of interest: 1) best sellers; 2) DIY materials; and, surprisingly, 3) DVDs. Library staff are also considering the borrowing of “things”; e.g., tools, games. There can be events, under room usage guidelines published on the library’s website; e.g., authors, topics, CCCA meetings, NGO meetings, game night. Some participants asked for a children’s nook and after school (5-7 pm) and Saturday morning activities for children, noting that there are indeed quite a few school children in the apartment buildings. There was some discussion of workshops for younger kids, perhaps in partnership with the Tech Shop, which cannot host the workshops due to liability concerns.
You can follow updates on the library's website: http://library.arlingtonva.us/locations/connection-crystal-city/
Exciting News: The Connection Library
Crystal City has been chosen as the prototype for Arlington County's innovative pop-up library format: designed to appeal to our community dwellers. Technology, DIY information, tool lending library, events, meetings, etc.
The CCCA is co-sponsoring an informational presentation August 18 from 7-9 in the Tech Shop, right next to the library under construction in the underground. Be sure to join us to add your input on what we need in this new temporary library. The space will open in mid-September, and this is a chance for us to make the library the "beacon" for Crystal City.
The online survey has now closed, but see the announcement of the August 16 meeting here.
Breaking News: Innovative Pop Up Library for Crystal City
At our Annual General Meeting last November, Guest speaker Diane Kresh, Arlington County Director of Libraries, presented her general/countywide topics and visions for high-density areas in Arlington, like Crystal City. She then applied that to Crystal City, where we have no library, and discussed with us what might be possible to do to improve our situation. Our local library is the small Aurora Hills Library, which has only one small room serving as a "community center" for three areas: Aurora Highlands, Arlington Ridge, and Crystal City. See the summary for a full description of the meeting.
During a lively question and answer period, many speakers supported the innovative idea of a “pop up” library—a temporary space in one of the vacant areas in the Crystal City underground. It's going to happen! The CCCA has been following up on the issue and is pleased that negotiations between Vornado and the County have led to a positive outcome.
Ms. Kresh announced July 19 that a temporary “pop-up” library will open this September in Crystal City next to the Tech Shop in the former Mens Wearhouse space at 2100 Crystal Drive: "Connection: Crystal City." Library Director Diane Kresh sees the pop-up facility as a low-cost way to push library services into more neighborhoods and introduce people of all ages to the wide scope of what the County’s public library system has to offer. In addition, the Crystal City pop-up branch is expected to help enliven the Crystal City Shops. “We chose Crystal City as the first neighborhood to experiment with a pop-up library both because we have found that Route 1, which runs through Crystal City, poses a physical barrier to access for many people to the nearest community library, and because people in the neighborhood expressed interest in the approach,” Kresh said.
Watch this space, our Facebook page, and emails for notice of an informational meeting the CCCA plans to co-host in August with the Public Library for Crystal City residents so we can provide input to help make the pop-up library a "beacon" for Crystal City: lots of electronic access; books geared to DYI; book groups and author presentations; etc...
How do humans benefit from being close to nature? How can we foster connections with nature as Arlington County becomes more urbanized? How will these connections improve livability and quality of life?
Join us to learn about the benefits of a Biophilic City and how Arlington can participate in this movement on Thurs. Sept. 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Navy League Building, 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington. Learn from Timothy Beatley, Professor of Sustainable Communities at University of Virginia School of Architecture and Stella Tarnay, an advisor at George Mason University’s Sustainable Landscape Design Program and Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy.
Registration and networking are from 5:30-6 p.m. with light refreshments.
Sponsored by Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Environmental Services.
Atlantic Gateway Project and Crystal City
-- Extend 95 Express Lanes seven miles north to the Potomac River and improve access to the Pentagon at the Eads Street interchange.
-- Build 14 miles of new track to ease the movement of VRE and Amtrak trains as well as freight. This rail part of Atlantic Gateway will include initial steps to rebuild the Long Bridge, the span that takes rail traffic across the Potomac River, as well as the widening of track segments in Northern Virginia.
The CCCA is planning to invite speakers to upcoming meetings in September and November to brief us and seek community feedback. Stay tuned for more information in coming weeks.
Read the Washington Post article July 25 on how the Arlington County Board and school officials will spell out in unprecedented detail this fall how they plan to spend borrowed money for long-term capital projects — a response to several years’ demands from residents for more transparency.
Voters will be asked in November, as they are every two years, whether to allow the county to borrow money by issuing general obligation bonds to pay for new schools, facilities, transportation and parks projects.
But while in 2014 a typical ballot question sought $105.8 million in bonds to “fund the design and construction of various school facility projects including new elementary schools, building additions for additional classroom space and maintenance capital projects,” a question on the ballot this fall for $138.8 million in school construction will spell out five specific schools or projects, with costs attached to each one.
Metro Provides Real-Time Train Information
Fulfilling a commitment made earlier this year, Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld announced July 19 that Metro is making available the real-time location of trains, allowing developers to create more accurate and advanced mobile apps that will enhance the rider experience. To help riders easily discover and download helpful transit apps, Metro plans to create an “App Gallery” on wmata.com in the coming weeks. The App Gallery will direct customers to validated apps that have been submitted by developers using this form.
The Arlington County Board approved July 16 the Phase 6 site plan for the Metropolitan Park development in Pentagon City. Developer Vornado plans a new apartment building with of 577 units and 9,665 square feet of ground floor retail space. The building will incorporate multiple rooflines with a maximum height of 22 stories. The community will gain three new open space areas, including the completion of the Metropolitan Park Central Park, a public courtyard open space and an enhanced streetscape treatment along S. Eads Street.
CIP Meeting Highlights, July 1, 2016
On June 22, the County Board held a public meeting to hear input from Arlington residents on the proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) which is to be voted on July 19, 2016. Four work sessions have been scheduled on individual agenda items, with the last one July 12 before the final vote. In the meantime, you can read the CIP survey comments or visit Engage Arlington for more opportunities to give online feedback on other topics.
There were approximately 44 interventions, about half of them urging the Board to approve Phase 2 of the Long Bridge Park plan, in order to meet core community needs. The facility would include two bodies of water (a 50-meter X 25 yard pool and a combined teaching pool/family pool), health and fitness space, and support of the core program elements with two (2) wet classrooms, a community room, spectator seating, facility administration and locker facilities. The building will be approximately 73,000 SF in size, which is a reduction of approximately 37% from the previous design and has associated reductions to capital and operating costs. The project also includes 10.5 acres of park development including parking, continuation of the esplanade, public art, event lawns, rain gardens, and environmental remediation. The revised project will be designed and built within existing funds.
Speakers on the LBP plan came from Crystal City residents; soccer, swimming, and diving associations; and the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID). All were positive. Several supported Board efforts to seek partners in order to add the more expensive elements not included in the existing budget for Phase 2: the 10 meter diving pool and a therapy pool.
Other Crystal City residents urged the Board to consider an alternate route for the Transitway in northern Crystal City, to circle around 15th Street and S. Clark Streets--the western, commercial side of the megablock between 15th and 12th Streets--instead of the residential side on Crystal Drive. The Crystal Gateway Condo Board Vice President presented a petition with over 300 signatures from residents and workers/visitors to Crystal City and Long Bridge Park supporting the alternate route. County Board member Christian Dorsey had suggested at the last CCCA general meeting that such a petition might help Board consideration of the alternate route.
One speaker noted that Crystal City residents will be interested in seeing the proposed design for the development of the 15th Street mini park and the Gateway park entrance to LBP, which local residents hope will remain a passive park, not a noisy, active one.
Other interventions dealt with non-Crystal City issues. The meeting was videotaped and can be viewed on the County’s website: http://arlington.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3154
It seems that Arlington County has a lot going for it. A solid public-school system, a healthy population, ample nightlife venues and accessible public transit. All of this makes the Northern Virginia county the best place to live in America, according to a new report.
The ranking from Niche, a website that says it helps people find which neighborhoods and cities are the best fit, looked at 227 cities, counties and jurisdictions, then ranked them based on the area’s amenities, crime rates, school options and more.
Arlington got an A+ for its schools, family life, nightlife, and health and fitness, which looks at obesity rates and access to health resources. The county received a B+ in the jobs category, which accounted for factors such as the unemployment rate and the ratio of the median monthly housing cost for homeowners to the median monthly household income.
The newest County Board members, Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey, met with residents to provide their take on Arlington and Crystal City issues. Residents asked many questions, including:
What can be done about bikes feeling safe on Crystal Drive in the bike lane?
What is the status of Long Bridge Park Fitness and Aquatics Center?
What can be done about the intersection of ArmyNavy and Fern?
How can the police better help traffic?What can be done about homeless people?
On April 12 Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz presented the County Board with options for moving forward with both the replacement of the Lubber Run Community Center and development of 10.5 more acres of open space and a reduced aquatics, health and fitness facility at Long Bridge Park. The correct estimated construction costs of the aquatics health and fitness facility and development of 10.5 more acres of parkland is between $46 million and $50.5 million.
The Board’s work session on the two projects helped frame the community’s upcoming discussion on updating the Capital Improvement Program, the County’s 10-year blueprint for funding major facilities and infrastructure. The work session, Chair Libby Garvey noted, “is the beginning of the process” of engaging the community on both projects.
The revised plan for Long Bridge Park reduces the size of the facility by 37 percent, to about 73,000 square feet. The reductions are achieved by reducing the number of pools from the three proposed in 2012 to two, reducing the number of lobbies, circulation areas and storage space. The smaller building, fewer pools, and a less expensive HVAC system all contribute to lower construction and operating costs. The family pool and teaching pool would be combined into a single pool under the new proposal, and the therapy pool and three dive towers eliminated. Space for a health and fitness center would be retained. See press release.
The chair of the Long Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee and former Chair of the Arlington Park and Recreation Committee Tobin Smith supports the design and construction of a new aquatics, health, and Fitness Center at Long Bridge Park. See his Op Ed in ArlNow.Com.
MetPark 6 Open House
With the Metropolitan Park Phase 6 Site Plan, the last section of the “Central Open Space” will be built. The community is welcome to come to an open house on April 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to provide input on the future open space! At this meeting there will also be information about future improvements to the section of S Eads Street along Metropolitan Park. For more information about the Metropolitan Park Project go to the Arlington County Website and search Metropolitan Park. Please contact me if you have questions.
Did you miss this? What a fun evening about Arts, Crafts, Food and Entertainment in Crystal City. See the write up in the April Newsletter.
We Need a New School in 22202
Representatives of the CCCA have been participating in the South Arlington Working Group on Arlington County Schools, emphasizing the need for a school in our area to meet the growing population. (The Newsletter has provided regular updates on this pro9ess.) Attached is the letter sent electronically to the Arlington County School Board (with a cc to the Arlington County Board) request that the Arlington Public Schools budget for a new elementary school with in zip code 22202. Four civic associations, including the CCCA, were signatories to the letter.
Understanding Transit Lanes
Check out the latest Fact Sheet with Qs and As on the Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transitway. The FAQ provides clear/reassuring answers beyond what the flyer explains. For example:
· If I am exiting a driveway next to the bus lane, can I use the bus lane to merge into general traffic?
· Yes. Drivers may exit the driveway into the bus lane and then safely merge into the general traffic lane.
If you have a question about or suggestion for our FAQs, send it to [email protected]. The County is not however speculating about the precise implementation date.
Long Bridge Drive and I-395 Interchange Update
The county is working to complete Long Bridge Drive and redesign the entire interchange. Work on some of the utilities and preliminary street work should begin later this year. The interchange design continues and progress is being made. The current schedule is for reconstruction of the interchange to occur in 2018.
For more information about the different alternatives, please check the county’s webpage for the project:
Arlington County’s Transit Development Plan (TDP)
Arlington is developing its 10-year plan for bus service. This Transit Development Plan is analyzing service throughout the County and will recommend future improvements. The plan is also studying how to enhance bus service along Columbia Pike and in Crystal City-Pentagon City.
36 bus routes across Arlington are recommended for improvements during the next 10 years. Route-by-route details of the proposed improvements are listed below. Learn how to comment on this proposal in the next section.
- Overview of Recommendations – County-wide recommendations and changes proposed for Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Pentagon City
- ART Proposed Improvements – Route-by-route details for ART bus service
- Metrobus Proposed Improvements – Route-by-route details for Metrobus service
- Arlington System Map 2026 – What Arlington’s transit system would look like in 2026 with the proposed changes
I’d like to have a say in this plan. What can I do?
Fill out the online comment form – After reviewing the draft recommendations above, use our comment form to provide feedback on proposed route changes. The comment form will close March 11. [Also available in Spanish]
In-person feedback – Staff will be at six locations to discuss the draft recommendations and collect feedback. Please stop by anytime during the hours shown to share your thoughts with a staff member.
A copy of the event flyer is attached to this email (English and Spanish).
- Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 4 to 7 pm: Commuter Store in the Crystal City Shops (251 18th St. S., Arlington, VA 22202)