2001 May

The Rock Springer

Rock Spring Civic Association  May 2001

Next Civic Association Meeting—Thursday, May 31, 7:30 p.m.

The Rock Spring Civic Association met on Thursday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m. in room 227 (the music room) at Williamsburg Middle School, 3600 N. Harrison Street.


• Report on this year’s legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly: Del. Bob Brink

• Construction at Williamsburg Middle School: Bowie Gridley Architects

• Proposed changes at Yorktown High School: Dr. Raymond Pasi, Yorktown Principal

• RSCA officer transitions (see article below)

End of an Era: Rock Springers Bid Farewell to the McCrackens

Longtime Rock Springers John and Nancy McCracken will be leaving the neighborhood at the end of June. John has been RSCA’s president since 1982 and held that office briefly in the late 1960s as well, soon after the family moved into their home on Albemarle Street in 1966.

Under his leadership, the RSCA has fought many intrusions and had many successes. Among the most notable: preventing the extension of George Mason Drive and the creation of Rock Spring Park in 1990. He also led efforts to manage traffic on N. Edison St., mitigate the effects of the Country Club’s expansion and save the Babcock House, and install sidewalks on Old Dominion Drive, as well as deal with a myriad of traffic and development issues throughout the neighborhood.

Until recently, John walked from house to house, delivering flyers, talking with neighbors, and hearing their concerns firsthand. "I hate to leave," he said, "but life moves on. It’s important for people to continue participating because the need for the civic association keeps growing."

The McCrackens will be staying in Arlington to be near two of their three children and their grandchildren. We all wish them well in their new home and thank them for their years of service.

A reception to honor John and Nancy will be held on Sunday afternoon, June 10. Please call Gail Baker (534-8948) or Judy Hadden (241-5999) for more information.

County Board Approves Traffic Calming Measures on N. Albemarle Street

On May 19, the County Board unanimously supported the working group’s proposals to ensure and to improve student-pedestrian safety on Albemarle Street adjacent to Jamestown School. The County’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Committee (NTCC) had approved the proposal on April 25. This estimated $93,000 project is expected to be implemented by the time school starts this fall.

In recent months, the working group was extremely busy working to bring the project to fruition. After an intensive flurry of post-Thanksgiving meetings, in February and March the traffic calming proposals were presented to RSCA members, the Jamestown School P.T.A., and residents of the Black Oaks community. Simultaneously, working group members canvassed the community from door-to-door explaining the project in detail to neighbors within one block of the targeted streets. Signatures were obtained on petitions that were then presented to the county. Sixty-one of a possible 69 signatures were obtained, with a resultant 88% approval rate for the proposals.

The focus of the traffic calming measures is the intersection of Delaware and Albemarle streets at the northeast corner of the Jamestown School campus. This busy T-shaped intersection is bombarded with heavy, vehicular, speeding, morning rush-hour cut-through traffic from McLean, as well as turning school buses and Jamestown parents in vans, SUVs, and sedans delivering their children to school. This high traffic volume of turning vehicles makes it virtually impossible for student pedestrians to safely cross the intersection. A traffic study revealed the daily volume of traffic to be 2,000 vehicles, 65% of which were speeding.

The traffic calming measures approved to slow down vehicular traffic and to improve student pedestrian safety on Albemarle St. include: narrowing of Albemarle St. at Delaware by virtue of installation of sidewalks on the north side of Albemarle St. from the existing sidewalks to the McLean border, placement of a speed-hump near the McLean border, construction of two textured crosswalks and one raised crosswalk at the Delaware/Albemarle intersection, construction of a textured crosswalk at 38th St., new street pedestrian lane markings, plus appropriate new signage.

Working group members from the Rock Spring Civic Association are John McCracken (chairman), Karen Kumm Morris, Jack Sawicki, and Lillian Ulmen, plus Black Oaks residents Laila Gore and B.J. Harrick.

The working group greatly appreciates the unequivocal support of the Rock Spring Civic Association, which initiated this project in 1999.

Questions? Call B.J. Harrick, 703 533-9623.

Sidewalks on Old Dominion Drive

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has granted approval for the project. The County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is working on final engineering drawings. Construction is expected to begin in 2002. For more information, call DPW planner Rich Viola at 703/228-3699.

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. The last issue of The Rock Springer reported that they were expected to complete applications in time for an April hearing before the County Board. That did not happen. Since then, however, the Balalaika Society has applied and will be heard at the County Board’s July 28 meeting. The County planning office has urged Petit Ballet and Tai Chi to meet that deadline as well.

To obtain a use permit, the applicant must pay a one-time fee. Last year, 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.

Rock Springers Win Design Award

The Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) have announced the recipients of the third Annual Arlington Preservation Design Awards. The property owners and/or developers of the winning entries, along with their architects and general contractors, were formally recognized at an awards ceremony on May 20, at the Common Grounds Coffee and Tea House at 3211 Wilson Blvd. The Tea House is one of Arlington’s 28 local historic districts and is historically known as the Clarendon Citizens Hall.

The award winners are:

Cole/Ware Residence, 5429 N. Carlin Springs Road

Donahue/Dahlberg Residence, 4844 Rock Spring Road

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 2609 N. Glebe Road

Shreve House (Garage), 2114 N. Pollard St.

Three other nominees received honorable mention:

Common Grounds Coffee and Tea House, 3211 Wilson Blvd.

Cupp Residence, 4034 N. 20th Road

McNair Residence, 4527 Rock Spring Road

The Preservation Design Awards honor recent projects within Arlington demonstrating sensitivity to preservation, design, and craftsmanship that should serve as a community standard. The jurors selected award recipients in three categories: residential restoration or renovation, residential additions and outbuildings, and commercial and institutional.

In addition, Arlington observed the 30th Annual National Historic Preservation Week May 13-19. As part of the celebration, HALRB has a display showcasing historic preservation efforts in Arlington and the winners of the 2001 Preservation Design Awards on the third floor of Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette also signed the official Historic Preservation Week proclamation.

Stone Post Toppled

The old stone post at the intersection of Rock Spring Road and Old Dominion Drive was struck and broken in a motor vehicle accident. The post appears to have been associated with the Washington & Old Dominion Railway that ran along the road from 1906 until about 1934. The County’s Department of Public Works is considering whether to repair the post. If you have information about its history, call Michael Leventhal, County Historic Preservation Coordinator, at 703/228-3813.

RSCA Dues a Bargain!

Annual dues of $10 (due in January) cover the cost of printing and mailing The Rock Springer to all 1,100 households in our civic association. Help us continue to keep everyone informed about neighborhood issues. Send your dues to RSCA Treasurer Dierdre Donahue, 4844 Rock Spring Road, 22207, or pay them at any RSCA meeting. Thanks!