Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer Kayak Cleanups at Four Mile Run

The Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation will deploy its fleet of kayaks to collect litter along the streambank of Four Mile Run over the Summer of 2018.

The clean-ups will occur on the following dates & times:
  • Saturday, June 16, 9am-Noon
  • Saturday, July 14, 9am-Noon
  • Saturday, August 25, 9am-Noon

Volunteers will have access to a water refill station, snacks, gloves, trash grabbers and bags, and a limited number of kayaks with life-vests, but are asked to bring their own reusable water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray, and water shoes. A limited number of boats may be reserved. Participants can use their own as well.

The events start out at The Conservatory Center at Four Mile Run Park, 4109 Mt Vernon Avenue. Parking details will be provided to those who RSVP at: 4MRKayakCleanup.eventbrite.com




The Summer Kayak Cleanups at Four Mile Run are “4MR Clean Stream Extreme” events made possible through grant funding from Dominion Energy. The cleanups are also a community initiative in PARKnership with the City of Alexandria's Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. The Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation was established with funding by the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market and supported by funds raised by Action Alexandria’s Spring2ACTion and Facebook’s Giving Tuesday.


The Summer Kayak Cleanups at Four Mile Run are a continuation of the work begun over several years by a group of community volunteers in the Arlandria neighborhood who came together to perform various improvement projects in and around Four Mile Run Park to complement the work of the Four Mile Run Restoration Plan and the new Four Mile Run Park Improvement Plan. The projects include: the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market, the Four Mile Run Park Expansion, Commonwealth Park (the rehabilitation of a former electrical substation at 3550 Commonwealth Avenue) and a number of a large tree plantings.

“A group of folks in the community have been engaged with stream mitigation work, park improvements and stream cleanups for a number of years and the farmers market we started was an outgrowth of that,” says organizer Kevin Beekman. “Money we raise at the market from t-shirt sales and market vendor fees typically amounts to around $1,000 a year. We always donate all proceeds to the City for the park, but now we’re leveraging the funds to attract more grants and donations.”

While budgets in municipalities across the United States have tightened in recent years, crowdfunding provides an alternative source for projects that municipalities are unable to provide but that citizens are clearly passionate about. Additional Four Mile Run Park projects are in the planning stages. The Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation “Spring2Action” page remains open for additional contributions: https://www.spring2action.org/organizations/four-mile-run-conservatory-foundation.

For more details, please visit: http://www.fourmilerun.org/.

# # #

About the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation
The Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and volunteer organization formed in 2016 following years of community efforts to foster the preservation, beautification, improvement, maintenance, and enjoyment of Four Mile Run Park.

Their mission is to engage and educate the public, and t maintain the trail system and natural lands around lower Four Mile Run to improve Four Mile Run Park, and to foster respect and stewardship for this unique urban ecosystem and its natural, historic, and recreational resources. Their vision is a Four Mile Run Park that is fully utilized and appreciated by its neighbors and other stakeholders as an important part of community life, a resource for recreation, and a model for natural lands maintenance in an urban setting.

See Overview Map of lower Four Mile Run and the Park.


For more info see:http://www.fourmilerun.org
On Facebook: facebook.com/4MRCoservatory
On Twitter: @4MRConservatory
On Instagram: @4MRConservatory
Contact us at: info@fourmilerun.org






Wednesday, June 06, 2018

A new day for Commonwealth Park

The story of "the little park that could" at the corner of Reed & Commonwealth Avenues continues to unfold.

Park construction will occur from June 12 -October 30, 2018. The parks department will hold a Pre-Construction meeting on June 7th, 7:00pm at the park. City staff will provide information about scope of the project, construction activities, and to respond to any questions. In the event of inclement weather, the meeting will be held at Leonard 'Chick' Armstrong Recreation Center, 25 West Reed Avenue.

The 0.58 acre site had previously been a dormant substation. The City’s purchase of the property in 2009 required that Virginia Electric Power Company demolish and remove the substation and complete all necessary environmental remediation. In October 2011, neighborhood volunteers used donated plants and mulch to install two gardens, a walking path, shade trees and park benches. In 2016, the City completed the Neighborhood Parks Improvement Plan that included a concept for the park, building upon the volunteer efforts, with a plaza and game tables, a tricycle track and picnic area. 

Last September, Rebuilding Together Alexandria hired Landscape Architecture firm Rhodeside and Harwell to develop a design for the site, based on the Neighborhood Parks Improvement Plan. Rhodeside and Harwell, RPCA, and Rebuilding Together Alexandria held a community meeting on October 11, 2017 to present a draft concept for the park, as shown in this presentation. The project team will present the final site design at the Park and Recreation Commission meeting on January 18, 2018.

The former electrical substation before Stormaggedon.
When the City of Alexandria purchased "3550 Commonwealth Avenue" from Dominion Power, they had Open Space funding and a goal of expanding park space, but they didn't really have a plan for it. What happened next though was something really magical.

Neighborhood volunteers teamed with City staff to forge ahead even in the face of economic troubles and budget crises. For just $200 it started to resemble a park, using only cast-off garden plants donated by neighbors and mulch ground up from cut-down, unhealthy, storm-battered trees formerly used to screen the old substation. For regular readers of The Arlandrian this is not news. We documented the progress along the way with our stories: "Where Did THAT Garden Come From?", "New Park Uncovered At Spring for Alexandria"and "How does our garden grow?". The tale of a community coming together is something that we are really amazed by and, frankly, more than a little proud.

And that gamble by citizens, that investment out of pocket and in blood, sweat and tears, didn't go unrewarded. Last year, Dominion Power, already supporters of the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market through their Dominion Green outreach program, stepped up to assist at the Reed Avenue Park as well.

2011's work by Dominion Power crews.
The City also matched the Dominion dollar contribution with additional plantings. All in all, 4 new maples, 3 crepe myrtles, and 12 arborvitae have now made the community gardening project into a bona fide pocket park. 

Work by the Cora Kelly students and City staff continued this in the spirit of community pride that has built this park. In  June 2012, Students from the Cora Kelly School for Math Science & Technology spent a Wednesday morning fixing up the gardens planted over the past several years. Three new trees were added as well.


The park today with new plantings and work by Cora Kelly students
 The results were spectacular.

Still a work in progress, a story that is still unfolding, the Reed Avenue Park at 3550 Commonwealth Avenue is an incredible neighborhood accomplishment that continues to grow.

Thanks to diligent work by City staff and the help of Rebuilding Together Alexandria, the next step in the journey of this little park from substation to open space continues; a community effort on Commonwealth Avenue for the common good. 


Saturday, January 06, 2018

A plan for Commonwealth Park

The story of "the little park that could" at the corner of Reed & Commonwealth Avenues continues to unfold. 

The 0.58 acre site had previously been a dormant substation. The City’s purchase of the property in 2009 required that Virginia Electric Power Company demolish and remove the substation and complete all necessary environmental remediation. In October 2011, neighborhood volunteers used donated plants and mulch to install two gardens, a walking path, shade trees and park benches. In 2016, the City completed the Neighborhood Parks Improvement Plan that included a concept for the park, building upon the volunteer efforts, with a plaza and game tables, a tricycle track and picnic area. 

Last September, Rebuilding Together Alexandria hired Landscape Architecture firm Rhodeside and Harwell to develop a design for the site, based on the Neighborhood Parks Improvement Plan. Rhodeside and Harwell, RPCA, and Rebuilding Together Alexandria held a community meeting on October 11, 2017 to present a draft concept for the park, as shown in this presentation. The project team will present the final site design at the Park and Recreation Commission meeting on January 18, 2018.

The former electrical substation before Stormaggedon.
When the City of Alexandria purchased "3550 Commonwealth Avenue" from Dominion Power, they had Open Space funding and a goal of expanding park space, but they didn't really have a plan for it. What happened next though was something really magical.

Neighborhood volunteers teamed with City staff to forge ahead even in the face of economic troubles and budget crises. For just $200 it started to resemble a park, using only cast-off garden plants donated by neighbors and mulch ground up from cut-down, unhealthy, storm-battered trees formerly used to screen the old substation. For regular readers of The Arlandrian this is not news. We documented the progress along the way with our stories: "Where Did THAT Garden Come From?", "New Park Uncovered At Spring for Alexandria"and "How does our garden grow?". The tale of a community coming together is something that we are really amazed by and, frankly, more than a little proud.

And that gamble by citizens, that investment out of pocket and in blood, sweat and tears, didn't go unrewarded. Last year, Dominion Power, already supporters of the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market through their Dominion Green outreach program, stepped up to assist at the Reed Avenue Park as well.

2011's work by Dominion Power crews.
The City also matched the Dominion dollar contribution with additional plantings. All in all, 4 new maples, 3 crepe myrtles, and 12 arborvitae have now made the community gardening project into a bona fide pocket park. 

Work by the Cora Kelly students and City staff continued this in the spirit of community pride that has built this park. In  June 2012, Students from the Cora Kelly School for Math Science & Technology spent a Wednesday morning fixing up the gardens planted over the past several years. Three new trees were added as well.


The park today with new plantings and work by Cora Kelly students
 The results were spectacular.

Still a work in progress, a story that is still unfolding, the Reed Avenue Park at 3550 Commonwealth Avenue is an incredible neighborhood accomplishment that continues to grow.

Thanks to diligent work by City staff and the help of Rebuilding Together Alexandria, the next step in the journey of this little park from substation to open space continues; a community effort on Commonwealth Avenue for the common good. 



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Take this Survey to Help Improve Safety along the Avenue

Take this Survey to Help Improve Safety along the Avenue

The City of Alexandria is implementing the Mount Vernon Complete Streets project to address recent traffic deaths and serious injuries along the Avenue, as well as safety and accessibility concerns raised by the community through the Arlandria Action Plan, Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan Update, and subsequent discussions with neighborhood residents and businesses.

Help identify key the safety problems and unsafe locations along Mount Vernon Avenue (from Braddock Road to Four Mile Run), as well as solutions to these problems. Please take the survey and be a part of this effort to make your neighborhood safer and more accessible for all modes!

The survey closes on November 28.

https://survey.alexandriava.gov/s3/MtVernonAveCompleteStreetsProjectSurvey


Project Background

Mount Vernon Avenue is the main street of the Arlandria and Del Ray neighborhoods, and is heavily used by pedestrians, bicyclists, transit vehicles, and automobiles. The City is implementing this project to address recent traffic deaths and serious injuries along the Avenue, as well as safety and accessibility concerns raised by the community through the Arlandria Action Plan, Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan Update, and subsequent discussions with neighborhood residents and businesses.

Project Considerations

  • Accessibility of sidewalks, crossings, curb ramps, and transit stops for pedestrians and people in wheelchairs
  • Safe and comfortable north-south connectivity for bicyclists
  • High utilization of parking along Mount Vernon Avenue and side streets
  • Business loading and deliveries
  • Volume and speed of traffic on both streets
  • Highly used transit corridor with Metrobus and DASH service
  • Limited sight-distances at intersections

Implementation

PHASE 1 - SHORT-TERM IMPROVEMENTS (FALL 2017)

The City of Alexandria will conduct a traffic study of intersections along the Mount Vernon Avenue corridor, between Braddock Road and Four Mile Run. The study will:
  • Identify quick, low-cost improvements that can be made to improve traffic and pedestrian signal timing, signage, and sight-distances.
  • Identify improvements that can made as part of future resurfacing and re-striping of Mount Vernon Avenue (Phase 3).
We want to hear from you! Please look at the Mount Vernon Avenue traffic count maps to see traffic and turning counts (Braddock Road to E. Oxford Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue to Four Mile Run) from Spring 2017, and take our survey to provide input on traffic safety challenges along Mount Vernon Avenue as well as possible solutions for the City to consider. The survey closes on November 28, 2017.

PHASE 2 - PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS TO TRANSIT STOPS (MID-2018 - EARLY 2019)

The City of Alexandria conducted a Pedestrian Improvements to Transit Stop Study  along the entire Mount Vernon Avenue corridor that provided recommendations to improve pedestrian access to transit.  More information can be found here: www.alexandriava.gov/93440. The goals of the study were to: 
  • Comply with federal mandate to upgrade all bus stops to current ADA compliant standards
  • Create a ADA transition plan for bus stops Del Ray and Arlandria
  • Minimize parking loss & construction costs
  • Consolidate or relocate bus stops to improve bus travel time and encourage walking and active transportation
The Department of Project Implementation is managing the design and construction of the study's recommendations. Improvements will include:
  • Consolidate bus stops to balance accessibility, pedestrian/driver safety and on-street parking.
  • Upgrade ramps and crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety along the corridor.
  • Ensure construction process minimally impacts residents, businesses, access to parking and planned events.
  • Construct bulbs similar to the existing bus bulbs at Mount Vernon Avenue and Kennedy Street (shown below)
                                                                                bus bulb2

PHASE 3 - REPAVING AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS (SUMMER 2019 OR SOONER)

The City of Alexandria is scheduled to resurface Mount Vernon Avenue corridor, between Braddock Road and Hume Avenue. In conjunction with resurfacing, recommendations from the traffic study (Phase 1) and Arlandria Action Plan (2002) will be implemented. Improvements may include, but are not limited, to the following:
  • Additional high visibility crosswalks
  • Shared lane markings
  • Bicycle wayfinding signage
  • Parking edgelines
  • Flexpost curb extensions at intersections

Project Contact

Please contact Ray Hayhurst, Acting Complete Streets Program Manager, at raymond.hayhurst@alexandriava.gov, if you have any questions or concerns about this project.