2001 March

The Rock Springer

Rock Spring Civic Association March 2001

Next Meeting

The Rock Spring Civic Association will meet on Thursday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. in room 227 (the music room) at Williamsburg Middle School, 3600 N. Harrison Street.


• Traffic calming on N. Albemarle Street

• Real estate tax assessments: Michael Page, Arlington County Real Estate Assessments Office

• Proposed expansion at Yorktown High School: Sandi Berenbaum, Yorktown Civic Association President

• Traffic issues on Little Falls Road, Rock Spring Road, and Williamsburg Blvd.: Mike Zimmerman


Expansion at Yorktown and Adjacent Parks

In response to plans for expanding Yorktown High School and upgrading the playing fields and track at Greenbrier Park (located between 27th and 28th Sts.), the County last spring formed a Core Team composed of staff from the Departments of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources (DPRCR) and Public Works, and representatives from County Schools facility planning and the high school. The goal was to develop a comprehensive plan for the school and parks (both Greenbrier and Chestnut Hill on N. Harrison St.). There was no representation from the Yorktown Civic Association on the Core Team.

Last fall, planners from DPRCR held several public meetings. At the last meetings, in December, four design concept plans were presented. The plans identified up to 12 adjacent houses for acquisition or demolition, and would result in negative effects on a number of others. Because of neighborhood outcry, the process is now on hold. There will be more information presented at this month’s RSCA meeting.


Old Dominion Drive Study Group

The RSCA Old Dominion Drive Study Group was established four years ago to assist the county in considering possible changes to Old Dominion Drive. The group met last October to consider plans developed by the Department of Public Works (DPW) for a comprehensive sidewalk and roadway improvement for Old Dominion Drive from Lee Highway to the Fairfax County line. The study group focused on the portion of Old Dominion from Glebe Road to the Fairfax line. The proposal has five basic components: roadway, sidewalks, curb and gutter, storm sewer, and landscaping.

· Roadway

The proposal calls for approximately a 2-foot widening of the roadway in each lane for most sections of Old Dominion where feasible. It must be emphasized that this is not a third travel lane.

· Sidewalks

Starting at Glebe Road, the sidewalk on the south side will be extended to 29th Street. The sidewalk will continue on the lower access road from 29th Street to the traffic light at Rock Spring Road. From Rock Spring to Williamsburg Blvd., there will be sidewalks on both sides of Old Dominion. From Williamsburg to George Mason Drive, the sidewalk will continue on the south side of Old Dominion. From George Mason to 37th Street, the sidewalk will be on the north side of Old Dominion. This is the end of the sidewalk portion of the project. At Edison Street, there will be small concrete pads on both sides of Old Dominion for bus passengers.

· Curbs and Gutters

There will be standard Arlington County curbs and gutters in most places where the roadway is being widened.

· Storm Sewers

Storm sewers will be installed along part of Old Dominion, most notably between Rock Spring and Little Falls roads.

· Landscaping

Some trees will have to be removed to allow for the roadway widening and sidewalk construction. The county will plant trees in areas where trees are removed.

Most people who attended the study group meeting generally supported the project. Even those who had opposed it in the past indicated acceptance. This project will enable people living on Old Dominion to walk safely and will improve the safety of everyone who uses Old Dominion.

The next step is for Arlington DPW to receive approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the project, because Old Dominion Drive is a state road. VDOT is expected to approve the project, and when it does, construction then can begin. For more information, call DPW planner Rich Viola at 703/228-3699.


This Year’s Dues Past Due

Did you know that the printing and mailing of The Rock Springer is paid for in full by dues collected by our civic association? That’s why we ask for your dues annually. Without your support, the prospect of stopping publication is real. Because not everyone can attend the civic association meetings, the newsletter is the primary means for most households to learn of matters that directly affect them as residents of Rock Spring. Please send your $10 dues to RSCA’s Treasurer:

Dierdre Donahue

4844 Rock Spring Road, 22207


Use Permits at Rock Spring Church

Three groups that use facilities at the Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ are expected to apply for use permits shortly, in time for an April hearing before the County Board. They are Petit Ballet, Tai Chi, and Balalaika Society.

To obtain a use permit, the applicant must pay a one-time fee. Last May, the County fee system for use permits was changed from a flat fee of $700 to a sliding scale, starting at $100 for 100 students or less. The three uses at Rock Spring Church fall into this category.

For more information, call Arlington County planner Marcia Smith, 703/228-3532.


Traffic Watch

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

Little Falls Road. At the request of RSCA, Arlington County has lowered the speed limit on Little Falls from 30 to 25 mph and has installed new speed limit signs. The new speed limit applies to the section of Little Falls from Old Dominion to N. Lexington Street and should help to improve the traffic safety conditions on this increasingly congested road.

N. Albemarle Street. RSCA, working with the County-wide Neighborhood Traffic Calming Committee (NTCC) and a task force of local residents, is helping to develop a proposal for improving pedestrian and traffic safety on N. Albemarle near Jamestown School (see article on p. 4). The street was selected for study and improvement by the NTCC because of its high volume of vehicles (about 2,000 a day, almost two-thirds of which are speeders!) and its location adjacent to the school. The proposal that the task force is circulating to the affected residences for approval includes narrowing the roadway and constructing speed humps, raised crosswalks, and sidewalks. So if a petition comes your way, please sign up for these needed safety improvements.

Williamsburg Blvd. In response to a request by RSCA and in conjunction with the Safe Routes to School Initiative, the County has installed pedestrian crossing signs on Williamsburg Blvd. at 36th Street.

Work continues on addressing pedestrian and other traffic safety issues in our neighborhood. If you’d like to help, call Mike Zimmerman at 703/533-0146.


Construction Update

Falls Court at Reserve Hill

Work continues on this unified residential development project on Little Falls Road, next to the Knights of Columbus. Two of the seven new houses, which range from 4 to 7 bedrooms, are completed and on the market, priced in the mid $800s. The developer, Barry Chamberlin of the Barrett Companies, expects to work with the neighborhood on a landscape plan for the buffer area this spring and summer, with implementation possibly in the fall, depending on the pace of construction and sales.

For more info, call 703/532-1177. For sales, call 703/525-1900.

The County’s Office of Historic Preservation is preparing a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for the old Saegmuller house at 5101 Little Falls Road, built c. 1919.


Traffic Calming on N. Albemarle Street

Traffic calming measures are proposed for N. Albemarle St. between N. Glebe Road and the Fairfax County line. This section of Albemarle borders Jamestown School’s playing fields. Last November, residents in the area were invited to attend a meeting to discuss perceived problems on the street, especially speeding traffic and pedestrian safety. In one 28-day period last spring, police issued speeding citations to 77 drivers.

A working group was formed to discuss possible solutions. The group agreed to propose narrowing the north side of N. Albemarle by 6 feet between 38th Place, N., and 40th St., N., and installing a sidewalk. Also, an asphalt path is proposed for the north side between 40th St., N., and the Fairfax County line to connect the existing sidewalks. The existing crosswalks would be removed, and two raised crosswalks would be installed--one at N. Delaware St. and the other at 38th St., N. In addition, a flat-top speed hump is proposed near the County line. The installation of the raised crosswalks and speed humps would increase pedestrian safety and reduce speed.

For more information, call neighbors Laila Gore (534-6117) or B.J. Harrick (533-9623), or Susan Finotti 703/228-3735, Arlington County Department of Public Works.