2000 March

The Rock Springer

Rock Spring Civic Association

March 2000

Next Civic Association Meeting
Monday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m.

The Rock Spring Civic Association will meet on Monday, March 27, at 7:30 
p.m. in room 227 (the music room) at Williamsburg Middle School, 3600 N. Harrison Street.


• Anthony Collins of Virginians Interested in the Protection of Pedestrians (VIPP) will explain the group’s goals and pending state legislation.

• Charles Denney will discuss the County’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (see article on p. 3) and proposals to widen I-66.

• Capt. Rebecca Hackney, Arlington County Police Department, will talk about her goals for policing and report on recent developments in our District (see p. 4).

• Sandi Berenbaum, President of Yorktown Civic Association, will highlight how our two civic associations have worked cooperatively on recent projects.

• Discussion of neighborhood traffic issues.

• Report on Knights of Columbus Summer Day Camp (see page 3).

It’s RSCA Dues Time. Thanks!

Pimmet Run Watershed Study Under Way

On Dec. 2, the Rock Spring Civic Association Pimmit Run Advisory Committee and Arlington County hosted a meeting at Williamsburg Middle School for residents of the Pimmit Run Watershed. The purpose was to inform residents of the County’s plan for retrofitting Pimmit Run and to solicit input about the process. The area of concern is bordered by Little Falls Road upstream and the Fairfax County line downstream. In this 32-acre area, there are problems with erosion, unstable banks, and frequent flooding. Moreover, the current floodplain is larger than established in FEMA’s 1982 100-year floodplain, meaning that more homes are affected by the stream’s flooding during heavy rains.

Dennis Johnson, chief of the Engineering Division of the Arlington County Department of Public Works, chaired the meeting. Other presenters included a County environmental planner, an arborist, and two representatives of Michael J. Baker, Inc., the firm that the County has selected to study the problems and to design and construct solutions. The County currently has approximately $1.4 million in flood control project funds available to address the Pimmit Run problems.

The contract with Baker will include several phases: field surveys, tree study, alternative design development, an environmental assessment, a new floodplain proposal to FEMA based on current data, a final design for retrofitting the stream, and as-built construction.

The problems with the stream will be a challenge to resolve because the abutting land is so developed. Ideally, the stream’s course should be curvy, with bends and rises and falls, but it now is straight and level or downhill. Another problem is that the culverts at Old Dominion Drive, Little Falls Road, and Williamsburg Blvd. are not large enough to carry the volume of water that flows downstream during heavy rains.

Possible alternatives to the overcapacity and associated flooding problems include enclosing the stream, containing flood overflow in Rock Spring Park by transforming most of the park into a large dry pond bed (although this is not likely, as it would not be popular with area residents), rerouting parts of the stream, and slowing the stream’s flow.

Over the next several months, Baker and County personnel will be conducting a field survey and hydraulic modeling. They will solicit residents for additional information and hope to meet with the RSCA Pimmit Run Advisory Committee and affected residents again this summer.

Baker’s study of Pimmit Run will analyze channel stability, scouring, in-stream and riparian habitats, aesthetics, sediment disposition, building proximity, and water quality. The study team includes engineers from Baker, an arborist and an environmental scientist. The environmental scientist assigned to the project, Jason Papacosma, asks that residents contact him with any information they want to pass on regarding environmental impacts and concerns (phone 228-3613, e-mail jpapac@co.arlington.va.us).

-- Dierdre Donahue, RSCA Pimmit Run Advisory Committee Chair

Traffic Watch

Here’s a status report on several local traffic initiatives:

• N. Albemarle Street. Responding to RSCA concerns about pedestrian safety near Jamestown Elementary School, Arlington County Dept. of Public Works installed new speed limit, crosswalk, and no parking signs. Additional pedestrian safety features under consideration are raising and/or relocating crosswalks, new sidewalk construction, and right-of-way clearing. Also, the Police Dept. stepped up enforcement and issued speeding tickets.

• N. Delaware Street. Traffic congestion at Jamestown, when students are dropped off and picked up, has prompted the Jamestown PTA to form a committee to study the problem and develop solutions. Mike Zimmerman of the RSCA has been invited to participate.

• School pedestrian safety. At the Jamestown PTA’s request, Mike participated in a meeting with County Board member Chris Zimmerman (no relation) and parents from around the County to discuss pedestrian safety issues of children who walk to school. The meeting identified both school-specific and county wide issues and resulted in a letter to the County Manager from Chris asking for immediate action.

• Williamsburg Blvd. The Sheriff’s Dept. and the Police Dept. are conducting regular enforcement, and a number of speeders have been ticketed for going 25 to 30 mph over the speed limit.

• Little Falls Road. RSCA helped prepare a letter to the County Board asking that the posted speed limit on parts of the road be lowered from 30 to 25 mph.

• Work continues on developing a unified approach for addressing speeding and other traffic issues in our neighborhood. If you’d like to help, call Mike at 533-0146.

Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program

The Neighborhood Traffic Calming Committee (NTCC), appointed by the Arlington County Board last March, has completed its initial task of recommending how to implement a Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program in Arlington. The County Board will consider the report on March 11.

The NTCC developed a "problem-oriented" procedure aimed at finding the most appropriate measures for each situation. The group’s philosophy was to use standard measurements to determine the severity of traffic problems. This information would then suggest a range of traffic calming measures, as well as the level of public involvement needed to develop an action plan.

An affected community or neighborhood would work with the NTCC and staff from the Department of Public Works to develop a plan to address the documented traffic problems. The plan will be eligible for funding through a process similar to the Neighborhood Conservation Program.

RSCA member Charles Denney serves as chairman of the NTCC and will give a presentation on the program at the March RSCA meeting.

Knights of Columbus Seeks Summer Camp

The Columbus Club of Arlington at 5115 Little Falls Road has applied for a use permit to operate a summer day camp. The proposal is for an on-site program for approximately 115 children, ages 5-12, that would run in June, July and August every year, operating from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. The County Board hears the application on March 11.

Neighborhood Day 2000 Set for May 13

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 13. Once again, Arlington civic associations, schools, and community groups will celebrate by hosting events throughout the day. A parade in the Clarendon area will start at 2 p.m. For more information, visit the Web site.

Arlingtonians Form New Group in Response to Proposals to Widen I-66

Motivated by proposals to widen Interstate 66 inside the beltway, more than 200 Northern Virginia residents formed the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation (ACST). The group’s mission is to ensure that I-66 is not changed unless the changes are part of a comprehensive regional plan and are made with community consensus. "The people who are most affected by I-66—those who live next to it—ought to be consulted in the decision process," said Carl Hallinan, president of the Bluemont neighborhood civic association and an organizer of ACST.

ACST organizers noted that the idea of adding lanes to I-66 inside the beltway is not part of even the most ambitious regional transportation plans, and it may bring great disruption and cost with little lasting benefit. For more information, visit the web site or contact Miriam Rollin at 703/538-7981 or via email.

New Police Command in Our District

In 1998, the Arlington County Police Department reorganized into four districts designed for community-based, problem-oriented policing (CB-POP) with geographical accountability. CB-POP relies on citizen input to ensure that available resources are properly used to address residents’ concerns. When officers may see issues that are the responsibility of other County agencies, they will notify those agencies to help solve the problem.

RSCA is located in District One. A new command structure consisting of Captain Rebecca Hackney, Lieutenant Gay Hayslett and Lieutenant Mary Gavin was assigned to the district last August. As commander of District One, Capt. Hackney has been invited to make a short presentation at our next RSCA meeting. She will outline her views and goals for policing in District One and will answer our questions.

The liaisons to the RSCA are Lt. Hayslett (228-4092) and Officer Garrett Polowy (228-3600, ext. 9864). Capt. Hackney can be reached at 228-4062. These numbers are only-information contact numbers. In case of an emergency, dial 911. Call 558-2222 for non-emergency reporting.