Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Arlandrian News Round-up: "Random Acts of Greeness" Edition

Stream Cleanups. By the time the kids from Earthforce got done their clean-up of Four Mile Run Park last summer as part of their community service project, the results were astounding. In little over an hour, there lay in one big pile, a clump of 30 gallon trash bags, all mostly full. The thing was: it didn't look that bad when they started. Other groups had been through the park all summer and it had never looked better....well, at least not in the last decade. And yet, just a few weeks later, another clean-up organized by Clark Mercer turned up piles of more trash. It's a constant struggle.

I asked the Earthforce kids what they thought was needed to keep some folks from having to continuously clean up after other folks. I suggested more trash cans. They suggested more police patrols and security cameras. All I know is that the winter hasn't been kind to the Four Mile Run. Without nice weather to bring volunteers out, the trash and debris is depressingly back. In the long-run, the restoration of the stream will help make the stream clean-up easier, but until then...without some intervening force to keep the litter out of the stream...only Earthforce and their army of helpers can keep the stream alive.

Dirty Roads? Meanwhile, the Alexandria Gazette Packet reports (Trashy Citizens) that Councilwoman Del Pepper "has a few words for the Virginia Department of Transportation: Clean up your mess." Ms. Pepper is upset that VDOT, the party responsible for the I-395 is being lax at keeping it clean.

 "Cigarette butts are everywhere. Empty soda bottles dot the side of the road. Fast food wrappers can be seen here and there....The councilwoman said she heard from one constituent who went out there to do VDOT’s dirty work by picking up trash — 'every dead animal,' said Pepper, praising workers who have begun addressing trash on property they are not responsible for maintaining."

Just a question: who's responsible for the parks and streets and streams? There's quite a bit of litter there. Let's find out and get them to help us keep our neighborhood clean, too. Someone should ask.

Report a Problem. The City has been quietly rolling out a new issue reporting system on their website: alexandriava.gov. If you go to their main page and click "Report a Problem" on the upper right, you'll find a nifty new GIS-based system that not only allows you to help locate the problem on a map, it also offers you the ability to upload supporting documents or pictures and retains the request for you under you account so you can check back later to see the results.  I tried it out last week when I reported some broken street lights and I captured what the screen looks like when you're done.

State Your Priorities. The Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria is collaborating wtih ACT for Alexandria and Virginia Tech to develop a better way to inform key decisions in Alexandria – through “quality of life indicators.” Quality of life indicators are the answers to the question, “What matters most to the people who live in Alexandria?”

To vote for the indicators in this category, you must register on ACTion Alexandria and then you'll have a total of 10 votes to assign in each indicator category, while assigning those votes to as many or as few indicators in each category as you like. Your votes will be collected and combined with feedback from two Speak Up! Take ACTion! townhall meetings and summarized on ACTion Alexandria by the sponsoring organizations on April 18th. For more information on how the Quality of Life Indicators project, visit Community Health Assessment of MAPP.

Go Green Alexandria. Check out the website for the new non-proift: Go Green Alexandria. Their mission is to educate residents about their impact on the environment, to advocate for the conservation of Alexandria's environmental resources and a clean and sustainable community and to encourage green living practices wherever possible.

Climate Change.  The City of Alexandria's Environmental Policy Commissionand Office of Environmental Quality invite members of the public to attend two upcoming meetings about climate change. Take part in the City's Eco-City Alexandria initiative, learn more about the science of climate change and its impacts on the City, and give feedback on the City’s draft Energy and Climate Change Action Plan.
  • Tuesday, March 15th, 7:30 pm-9:30 pm – Alexandria City Hall, Room 2000, Climate Change Science: The Basics, and Latest Research Findings
  • Saturday, March 26h, 9:30 am-12:30 pm – Polk Elementary School, Multi-purpose Room, 5000 Polk Avenue, Alexandria, VA, Open House: Alexandria’s Draft Energy and Climate Change Action Plan
For more information on Eco-City Alexandria, visit http://www.alexandriava.gov/eco-city

Alexandria Spring Clean-up. Spring Clean Up is available to City curbside solid waste and refuse customers. All businesses and residential customers who receive private refuse collection will not receive Spring Clean Up services. Place materials at the curb (no alley pick up) before 7am on your assigned collection day (March 26th for east of Mt Vernon Avenue, April 2nd for west of Mt Vernon Ave. Separate items into four piles: Reusable items, Metal items, Electronics, and Refuse. Unacceptable items include concrete, hazardous waste, unbundled brush, loose yard waste, and building materials. For additional information and updates regarding Spring Clean Up, donation, or reuse opportunities, visit: alexandriava.gov/SolidWaste or call 703.746.4410. And consider donating or reusing items before setting them out on the curb.  A local reuse directory is available at alexandriava.gov/Recycling

GreenMail.  The local Post Office is trying out electric vehicles over the next year. Two different models have been spotted on our neighborhood streets. Carriers say that they mostly work well, but there are some ups and downs. Some of the hills are hard and one of the trucks can only go 25MPH. 

Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway Public Meeting. Arlington County is planning transit improvements in the Crystal City Potomac Yard (CCPY) Corridor, including a bus-only transitway, station stops, frequent bus service, and passenger amenities. The goal of the project is to provide high-capacity and high-quality transit service to residents, businesses, and visitors in this fast developing corridor. A public meeting will be held Wednesday, March 16, to provide an update on the Crystal City Potomac Yard bus transitway project. We are particularly seeking community input on the prototypical design of transitway stations in Crystal City. Feel free to stop by the session at any time. Wednesday, March 16, 4:30-8:00 p.m., Aurora Hills Community Center, 735 18th Street South, Arlington, VA 22202

PY Metro Update. The Del Ray Patch has an update on the progress of the Environmental Impact Study on Potomac Yard Metro Station (Metro Station Concerns Center on the Environment - Del Ray, VA Patch)
For those interested in learning more about the project, see www.potomacyardmetro.com. The site will be updated as the project moves along. People can e-mail comments on the project to:  comments@potomacyardmetro.com. The deadline to submit comments is Mar. 15. 

Arlandria in Song. Alexandrian Dave Grohl and his band Foo Fighters have gone from mentioning Arlandria in a song ("Headwires") to writing a song entitled "Arlandria" on their forthcoming album in April (here in this YouTube video is an early performance).  While not entirely sure what Dave is singing about, he seems pretty mad about that litter in Four Mile Run, too. 

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