Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Slow Drip from the Sewage Flood

The recovery effort during
the sewage backup (ARLnow.com)
ARLnow.com has just teased out a little more information about the hold-up in re-opening of the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter (Board Discusses Harris Teeter ‘Claims’ in Closed Session).

The store shuttered last Spring because of a malfunction in Arlington sewer system has stated that are looking for "re-assurances" before reopening. As of last month no suits had been filed according to Arlington County staff, but at last night's County Board meeting, the governing body adjourned to executive session to review “two matters requiring consultation with the County Attorney and staff concerning pending claims made by Harris Teeter and others, arising from an incident on May 11, 2012.”

There's still no news on when (or if) the Harris Teeter will reopen, but it's also clear that something is happening between the company and the County.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Four Mile Run Park is for the birds!

There's a lot of great wildlife just around the corner. Got a birding shot? Send it and we'll share it.

Here's a Juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron spotted along Four Mile Run:
Juv_BCNH_Four Mile Run Park_JAN 2013
Photo by Jacob Cuomo

The new park in Potomac Yard

Photo of Potomac Yard linear park
from the Del Ray Patch (by Drew Hansen)
Drew Hansen of the Del Ray Patch has an update about the park developing along the eastern edge of Potomac Yard "Potomac Yard Park Playground Taking Shape - Del Ray, VA Patch.

"Connected by a lighted, 1.5-mile multi-use trail from Target to Braddock Road Metro station, the park will house its amenities in several “belvederes” or urban plazas located where the development’s streets dead-end into the rail tracks to the east. Each belvedere will contain a different amenity...
Land Planning and Design Associates, the firm behind the park, has detailed renderings of the park on its website."
Check at Drew's fantastic pictures on the Patch.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wintertime and the fishing is easy.

Dozens of fishermen along the banks of Four Mile Run this afternoon. And the trails are packed for this mid-winter weather break.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Parking Changes Proposed for Schools, Recreational Facilities

ARLnow.com reports on an effort to re-evaluate parking requirement at public facilities in Arlington County (Parking Changes Proposed for Schools, Recreational Facilities):

"County staff members are recommending adding amendments to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance that would affect parking at public pools and at elementary and middle schools."


At issue is how much asphalt should take up park and public space. Arlington County Schools balked at parking-heavy requirements when they sought to renovate and expand over-crowded and out-moded buildings. Now the County Parks department always is wondering how much park space should be devoted to cars.

The answer might be: it depends. The County is looking at whether parking demands and requirements might vary from site to site. And they will be considering whether less lesser parking spaces will be sufficient in some instances where cars won't overwhelm nearby neighborhoods.

That's the question the County will be evaluating over the coming months.

Where does that trail go?

The updated Alexandria bike map is here! The map includes on and off-street bikeways, Capital Bikeshare stations, safety tips, useful phone numbers and resources, and more.

To obtain a printed copy, stop by your local bike shop, the Old Town Transit Shop, City Hall, or any  recreation centers. The map is free!

(Download Map SideDownload Cover Side)


Neighboring Jurisdiction Maps & Resources
Ride the City DC Metro edition (on-line bicycle-route finding website)
District of Columbia Department of Transportation
Fairfax County
Arlington County
Commuter Connections
WashCycle Area Bike Map
Bicycle Trails in Virginia

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yesterday's Sunset

We've been having more than our share of dark gloomy days and this past weekends beautiful weather sure turned to something a lot chillier. But when it did, it granted us a wonderful light show as the holiday came to a close.


Crystal City Plan Wins National Planning Award

A conceptual design of the intersection of
S. Hayes St. and S. 12th St. in Pentagon City, 

When BRAC hit Arlington County, they began a process to evaluate the changes coming to the Crystal City area. A city task force initiated the Crystal City Sector Plan, a long-range vision that will guide development descisions over the next 30 years.

Last week the American Planning Association awarded that plan the 2013 National Planning Achievement Award for Innovation in Economic Planning and Development:

"The Crystal City Sector Plan provides a planning roadmap for transforming Crystal City into a more complete, vibrant, walkable and transit-oriented neighborhood. Among the improvements planned for Crystal City are a streetcar line along the Route 1 corridor that will run from the Pentagon City Metrorail station through Crystal City to Potomac Yard; buildings up to 300 feet tall in strategic areas; 7,500 new homes; the transformation of Jefferson Davis Highway into an urban boulevard linking Crystal City’s east and west neighborhoods; ground floor retail stores and improved design and quality for public open spaces.
The 40-year long-range plan is a pioneer in the use of economic analysis for planning purposes. It also is among the first of its kind to closely study the economics of demolishing and replacing major commercial buildings. Its economic findings led to an infrastructure finance plan addressing costs and estimating increasingly substantial tax yields anticipated in the coming decades."

For more about the Crystal City (and Pentagon City) Plans, check out: http://sites.arlingtonva.us/ccpc/

Or check out this interview with Arlington County Board Member Chris Zimmerman:
Arlington's Crystal City Plan Wins 2013 National Planning Achievement Award - Arlington Economic Development

The Arlandrian Brief: Re-Inaugural Edition

THE ARLANDRIAN brief
A brief summary of recent postings from The Arlandrian:

How will Alexandria's BRT fare?

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 1 hour ago
In a post on Greater, Greater Washington, Dan Malouff discusses what's been called "BRT Creep" (The US has only 5 true BRT systems, and none are "gold" - Greater Greater Washington). That's the term some streetcar enthusiasts use to explain their reasoning for preferring rail over wheels transport. Dan writes: *"The same community leaders who choose BRT over rail, because BRT is cheaper, then make the same choice when faced with other potential cost-cutting measures. They eliminate the most expensive features, until the gold standard that was promised isn't actually what's delivere... more »

Musical Legends, 'Banjo Summit' and Mandolins

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 2 hours ago
NBC4 Washington reviews the Banjo Summit this past Friday at the Birchmere: *Led by the world's leading banjo player, Béla Fleck, musical greats Bill Keith, Eric Weissberg, Noam Pikenly, Richie Stearns and Tony Trishka brought down The Birchmere to a mix of traditional bluegrass, jazz, and even some classical.* Musical Legends Bring their 'Banjo Summit' to The Birchmere | NBC4 Washington: Meanwhile, the Alexandria Times interviews Iris Dement about her upcoming show this Monday: *I love the Birchmere. I’ve been playing there just about every year since 1992. It’s a great enviro... more »

New Bus Maps Show Connections

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 1 day ago
WMATA has introduced the new combined bus maps that have been in the worksfor the past several months. These new maps display not only Metro bus routes, but show connections to other local bus lines, like DASH and ART. Find more on the new WMATA bus maps here: http://wmata.com/bus/maps/

It's WAR at the Birchmere

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 2 days ago
As mentioned today on WaPo's Going Out Guide (Morning links: My kingdom for a dive bar), the Birchmere is hosting WAR tonight. Tickets are still available for tonight's show, but as with all Birchmere performances on the Music Hall stage, it can also be viewed in bar area which is open for dining and drinking. They have a great menu. Here's WAR performing one of their classics:

Restaurant Week Special at Arlandria's RT's

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 2 days ago
*"Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week kicks off Friday...RT’s is offering a $35 three-course prix fixe special...**RT’s three-course menu includes choice of special appetizers, entrees and desserts.*" Restaurant Week Choices in Del Ray and Arlandria - Del Ray, VA Patch:

Community Comments on 4MR Park

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 3 days ago
Over the past three months, Alexandria has heard from 97 individuals about Four Mile Run Park through an online and mail survey, e-mail, phone, or in-person. In total, over 535 residents provided comments on all of our City’s large parks (Including: Four Mile Run Park, Chinquapin Park, Simpson Stadium Park, Holmes Run Park System, Hensley Park, and Ben Brenman and Boothe Parks). The City has compiled your comments on Four Mile Run Park into the summary at the link below. During the next three months, this summary will help guide draft recommendations for park improvements and ul... more »

Regarding our evolving transit structure

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 3 days ago
On Greater, Greater Washington, Agnes Artemal talks about the developing framework of BRT and streetcar systems being implemented immediately around us and the challenges faced by the various jurisdiction to coordinate these lines. *"To get streetcars across boundaries, however, the many local governments must coordinate their plans and deal with differences in their abilities to fund projects."* Arlington County's streetcar plansBright hopes, some obstacles for Northern Virginia streetcars - Greater Greater Washington

New Restaurant Approved (Again) for 3401 Mt Vernon Ave.

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 3 days ago
The original plans that were approved almost 3 years ago just didn't work out. But the Cabero's are back for another shot at a restaurant in the now vacant, shuttered building at 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue. In 2010, there were a lot of discussions about a totally new green building on the lot. The costs turned out to be just too high. A slightly altered menu is also planned for the scaled down renovation. Not just chicken anymore: *"Plans for a Mexican and Peruvian restaurant on Mount Vernon Avenue received approval Saturday from the Alexandria City Council.* *Council unanimously approve... more »

Potomac Yard Harris Teeter remains closed

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 4 days ago
Possible litigation and on-going finger-pointing continue to keep the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter shuttered. View Larger Map *The Harris Teeter grocery store at 3600 S. Glebe Road near Potomac Yard will remain closed for the foreseeable future.**The store closed last May after it was flooded with raw sewage — an incident caused by a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plan. It has yet to reopen.* No Reopening Date Yet for Potomac Yard Harris Teeter | ARLnow.com

Style versus design in Potomac Yard

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 4 days ago
University of Maryland, professor emeritus of Architecture, Roger Lewis applauds the urban design but criticizes the architecture and affordability coming in south of East Glebe Road. We don't think he's looked at what's happening north of East Glebe in Potomac Yard (or north of West Glebe in Arlandria for that matter). * * *"Alexandria gets high planning marks for its efforts to manage and wisely shape dynamic growth in the city’s northeast. But I have one concern as growth continues: that architectural quality may not match urban design quality."* Alexandria’s rapid urbanization ... more »

Neighborhood Leader Rosa Byrd is a 2013 Alexandria Living Legend

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 4 days ago
"For more than 35 years, Byrd and her friends inspected alleyways of Lynhaven for code enforcement violations, sanitation problems and lighting outages. They were lovingly referred to as the “Snoop Sisters” by their neighbors. Byrd developed a working relationship with the Mayor, members of City Council and the City Manager that helped to solve many of the neighborhood’s problems. She and her neighbors were successful in transforming a vacant lot into a playground for their children." AlexandriaNews - 2013 Living Legend Of Alexandria Rosa Byrd

Alexandria City Council Approves Reed Avenue Affordable Housing Project

Kevin Beekman at The Arlandrian - 4 days ago
"The Alexandria City Council approved a new affordable housing project, which will be built on E. Reed Avenue and Jefferson Davis Highway. The city will loan the nonprofit developer, AHC, Inc. $2.5 million and will transfer a city-owned parcel of land on Jefferson Davis Highway to AHC for the project." AlexandriaNews - Alexandria City Council Approves New Affordable Housing Project
With a focus on the long neglected cluster of neighborhoods between Del Ray and Arlington Ridge known as Arlandria, the Arlandrian seeks to inform, motivate, and stand up for the neighborhood that Alexandria almost forgot.  
The Arlandrian is also a strong supporter of the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market and volunteer projects in Arlandria in general. The blog helped launch the Market and continues to provide information and updates about this, to date, successful volunteer supported event. Blog contributors include long-term Arlandria residents Kevin Beekman, Melissa Garcia, and Nick Partee, among others.
Bounded by Glebe & Glebe, Rt 1 & Four Mile Run, Arlandria is where Arlington and Alexandria meet (and try to get acquainted). 

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

How will Alexandria's BRT fare?

In a post on Greater, Greater Washington, Dan Malouff discusses what's been called "BRT Creep" (The US has only 5 true BRT systems, and none are "gold" - Greater Greater Washington). That's the term some streetcar enthusiasts use to explain their reasoning for preferring rail over wheels transport. Dan writes:
"The same community leaders who choose BRT over rail, because BRT is cheaper, then make the same choice when faced with other potential cost-cutting measures. They eliminate the most expensive features, until the gold standard that was promised isn't actually what's delivered."
He points to a study by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP), that reviewed all of the existing BRT projects in the US. Dan points out:
"When new bus rapid transit lines are discussed, proponents often say they hope to make the routes gold standard, meaning so high-quality that they mimic many features of rail. That's a high bar; most BRT projects in the United States don't even qualify as true BRT, and so far not one has actually met the gold standard....So far, only 5 lines in the United States have scored highly enough to qualify as true BRT, and all 5 rank at the bronze level. Not one is even silver, let alone gold."
This begs the question, how well rated is the The Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transit Improvement project currently under construction along Route 1? Or at least the Alexandria portion of it?

We discussed this project before on the Arlandrian: Alexandria Has Some Catching Up To Do. Route 1 Would Be a Good Start. and Alexandria's Update on Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit Plans. And there's a great discussion of it in the City's presentation from last Spring. But we haven't looked at how this project might compare to rail. What level of BRT will we be getting? Gold, Silver or Bronze. Or does the project even meet the ITDP criteria for BRT at all?

Well, ITDP has a handy scoring sheet. Who's up for rating the CCPY BRT?




Musical Legends, 'Banjo Summit' and Mandolins



NBC4 Washington reviews the Banjo Summit this past Friday at the Birchmere:
Led by the world's leading banjo player, Béla Fleck, musical greats Bill Keith, Eric Weissberg, Noam Pikenly, Richie Stearns and Tony Trishka brought down The Birchmere to a mix of traditional bluegrass, jazz, and even some classical.
Musical Legends Bring their 'Banjo Summit' to The Birchmere | NBC4 Washington:

Meanwhile, the Alexandria Times interviews Iris Dement about her upcoming show this Monday:
I love the Birchmere. I’ve been playing there just about every year since 1992. It’s a great environment. It’s a world made for music. The sound is wonderful. The audience is always really warm. It’s a good place to play.
http://alextimes.com/2013/01/iris-dement-returns-to-birchmere-with-new-music-in-tow/

Tickets are still available for Monday's show, but as with all Birchmere performances on the Music Hall stage, it can also be viewed in bar area which is open for dining and drinking. They have a great menu.

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Bus Maps Show Connections

WMATA has introduced the new combined bus maps that have been in the works for the past several months. These new maps display not only Metro bus routes, but show connections to other local bus lines, like DASH and ART. 


Find more on the new WMATA bus maps here: http://wmata.com/bus/maps/

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's WAR at the Birchmere

As mentioned today on WaPo's Going Out Guide (Morning links: My kingdom for a dive bar), the Birchmere is hosting WAR tonight.

Tickets are still available for tonight's show, but as with all Birchmere performances on the Music Hall stage, it can also be viewed in bar area which is open for dining and drinking. They have a great menu.

Here's WAR performing one of their classics:




Restaurant Week Special at Arlandria's RT's

"Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week kicks off Friday...RT’s is offering a $35 three-course prix fixe special...RT’s three-course menu includes choice of special appetizers, entrees and desserts."

Restaurant Week Choices in Del Ray and Arlandria - Del Ray, VA Patch:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Community Comments on 4MR Park



Over the past three months, Alexandria has heard from 97 individuals about Four Mile Run Park through an online and mail survey, e-mail, phone, or in-person. In total, over 535 residents provided comments on all of our City’s large parks (Including: Four Mile Run Park, Chinquapin Park, Simpson Stadium Park, Holmes Run Park System, Hensley Park, and Ben Brenman and Boothe Parks).



The City has compiled your comments on Four Mile Run Park into the summary at the link below. During the next three months, this summary will help guide draft recommendations for park improvements and ultimately be incorporated into a “Citywide Parks Improvement Plan.” In the Spring, Park staff will be returning with draft recommendations and ask for comment, both online and in a second Four Mile Run Park Workshop.

Check out the full summary here:
alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/recreation/parks/FMR_Community Feedback Summary.pdf

Regarding our evolving transit structure

 On Greater, Greater Washington, Agnes Artemal talks about the developing framework of BRT and streetcar systems being implemented immediately around us and the challenges faced by the various jurisdiction to coordinate these lines.
"To get streetcars across boundaries, however, the many local governments must coordinate their plans and deal with differences in their abilities to fund projects."
Arlington County's streetcar plans
Bright hopes, some obstacles for Northern Virginia streetcars - Greater Greater Washington

New Restaurant Approved (Again) for 3401 Mt Vernon Ave.


The original plans that were approved almost 3 years ago just didn't work out. But the Cabero's are back for another shot at a restaurant in the now vacant, shuttered building at 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue. 
In 2010, there were a lot of discussions about a totally new green building on the lot. The costs turned out to be just too high. A slightly altered menu is also planned for the scaled down renovation. Not just chicken anymore:
"Plans for a Mexican and Peruvian restaurant on Mount Vernon Avenue received approval Saturday from the Alexandria City Council.
Council unanimously approved a major renovation of 3401 Mount Vernon Ave., which will become a restaurant seating 28 patrons."

Mexican-Peruvian Restaurant Receives Approval - Del Ray, VA Patch

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Potomac Yard Harris Teeter remains closed

Possible litigation and on-going finger-pointing continue to keep the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter shuttered.

View Larger Map
The Harris Teeter grocery store at 3600 S. Glebe Road near Potomac Yard will remain closed for the foreseeable future.The store closed last May after it was flooded with raw sewage — an incident caused by a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plan. It has yet to reopen.


No Reopening Date Yet for Potomac Yard Harris Teeter | ARLnow.com

Style versus design in Potomac Yard

University of Maryland, professor emeritus of Architecture, Roger Lewis applauds the urban design but criticizes the architecture and affordability coming in south of East Glebe Road. We don't think he's looked at what's happening north of East Glebe in Potomac Yard (or north of West Glebe in Arlandria for that matter).

"Alexandria gets high planning marks for its efforts to manage and wisely shape dynamic growth in the city’s northeast. But I have one concern as growth continues: that architectural quality may not match urban design quality."

Alexandria’s rapid urbanization - The Washington Post

Neighborhood Leader Rosa Byrd is a 2013 Alexandria Living Legend


"For more than 35 years, Byrd and her friends inspected alleyways of Lynhaven for code enforcement violations, sanitation problems and lighting outages. They were lovingly referred to as the “Snoop Sisters” by their neighbors. Byrd developed a working relationship with the Mayor, members of City Council and the City Manager that helped to solve many of the neighborhood’s problems. She and her neighbors were successful in transforming a vacant lot into a playground for their children."

AlexandriaNews - 2013 Living Legend Of Alexandria Rosa Byrd

Alexandria City Council Approves Reed Avenue Affordable Housing Project

"The Alexandria City Council approved a new affordable housing project, which will be built on E. Reed Avenue and Jefferson Davis Highway. The city will loan the nonprofit developer, AHC, Inc. $2.5 million and will transfer a city-owned parcel of land on Jefferson Davis Highway to AHC for the project."
AlexandriaNews - Alexandria City Council Approves New Affordable Housing Project