Friday, September 9, 2011

Zimmerman Tells DES, Planning, to Ignore Flooding Potential From Pike Redevelopment

Hi Yupette,

As you may have heard, there was significant flash flooding in the area along the Falls Church-Arlington border last night and also flooding along Four Mile Run and on streets and roads throughout Arlington.

You may not have heard that County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman told DES and Planning to ignore concerns expressed by DES and Planning employees about the potential for major flooding resulting from Columbia Pike redevelopment.

At this point Mr. Zimmerman just wants to get his trolley through the planning process and any concerns expressed by anyone on County Staff about massive flooding on the Pike resulting from massive in-fill redevelopment are simply not allowed. It's reached the point where several members of the DES engineering staff are considering finding other employment rather than sign off on the Dover, Kohl in-fill plans.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

County Board to Build $45 million Multipurpose Activity Center Next to Aquatic Center

Hello, Yupette,

Talk here at PRCR is that the County Board gave Parks and Recreation the go-ahead to build a 90,000 square foot (2 acres of floorspace) multipurpose activity center next to the Aquatic Center.

As presently planned, the building would contain basketball courts, squash courts, racquetball courts, a free weight room, a Nautilus room, exercise rooms, yoga rooms, saunas, and so on. Plans are still being discussed with the County Board. Mr. Tejada wants the building to be considerably larger to allow indoor soccer, and he's making promises to the Latino community that they will be able to play soccer year-around if he's re-elected.

The projected cost of a 90,000 square foot activity center is about $45 million. The Aquatic Center will cost another $50-55 million. About $35 million from the 2004 bond issue has already been spent on Longbridge Park. So figure $130 million or so for everything. And add another $20 million if Mr. Tejada gets his way.

This will be discussed with the County Board at a CIP meeting after November 8th, so nothing is final.

Parks and Rec Dude

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Civic Federation's Grade for Candidates' Forum: D

Hi Yupette,

Nice to see the Sun Gazette stopped awarding letter grades to candidates at the CivFed debates based upon elocution and started reporting what the candidates actually said.

But how well did the Civic Federation perform at last night's debate? Not very.

This year the CivFed debates are relocated to Washington and Lee High School Auditorium due to renovation of the Hazel Auditorium at the Virginia Hospital Center.

Candidates who appear at CivFed debates are expected to be prepared and follow the rules. But the Civic Federation was NOT prepared to host debates at W-L High School. There was insufficient parking, directions to the W-L Auditorium were not posted inside and outside the school, the debate's moderator was often confused, audio quality was poor, only a handful of CivFed delegates were allowed to ask questions. Many of the questions asked by delegates were parochial and did not reflect well on the delegates or the Civic Federation. Two Arlington police officers were stationed outside the auditorium, allegedly to intimidate minorities from attending - the Civic Federation is almost entirely white, upscale, middle aged and elderly.

With all that's expected of candidates at these debates there's no excuse for the Civic Federation's leadership to mess up the basics. I'm not holding my breath expecting the October 4th debates to go any better.

Former Delegate

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cost of Pike Streetcar System, Street Improvements to Exceed $260 Million

Hello Yupette,

I hope you've been following developments in the Pike streetcar system planning process.

As things stand now, the cost of the Pike's street improvements will approximately equal the cost of the streetcar system. That is, the streetcar system will cost $130 million for 10-14 streetcars. Improvements to the Pike to support the streetcar system will cost $70 million and the Washington Blvd. bridge will cost $60 million.

Only a few months ago, we were told that the total cost of the Pike streetcar system would be $160 million.

Apparently the County Board will pay for all this from the surtax on business real estate, which provides the County Board with about $40 million annually to be used for new transportation projects.

Whether other pressing transportation needs are addressed remains to be seen. The County Board has committed to building another streetcar system in Crystal City.

Mark, 22204

Monday, September 5, 2011

Irene + Isabel = Stop Paving Over Arlington County

Hello, Yupette,

We were indeed fortunate that Hurricane Irene tracked away from the Potomac River last week. Instead, Irene tracked up the Hudson River and caused severe damage from 8 to 13 inches of rain in the Hudson Valley and in Vermont.

Hurricane Isabel tracked up the James River in 2003 and dumped 8 to 12 inches of rain onto Richmond, which also caused severe flood damage.

Question has to be asked: What would happen if 8-12 inches of rain fell on Arlington in 24 hours? Next question: Why is the County Board so fired up about paving over Arlington without any comprehensive analysis of what would happen here if a hurricane like Irene and Isabel tracked up the Potomac?

Terri, 22204