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Author Topic: Alexandria/Arlington local roads  (Read 13667 times)

AlexandriaVA

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Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« on: September 23, 2015, 08:36:06 PM »

Hampton Drive in the West End area of Alexandria is in the process of being resurfaced and repainted on its entire extend between King St and Braddock Road. It will eventually have a single vehicle lane, a bike lane, and permanent parking. It used to have a full-time vehicle lane and a lane which was for parking or driving depending on the time of day.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 02:51:14 PM »

Unlike the majority of the country, Arlington and Alexandria are both effectively built-out, so new roads are rare and are usually built to make a road grid.

95Hoo you'll be interested in the Alexandria update because it concerns your commute.

Arlington: 11th Street South between South Walter Reed and South Edgeewood has now opened. Google Maps does not reflect it yet. https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8616399,-77.0871386,19z

Alexandria: The City has approved a new small area plan (Eisenhower West) which will create several new streets as the area near the Van Dorn Metro gets rebuilt. It will include rezoning. A major new road will be the "Farrington Connector", which will cross Backlick Creek and connect Farrington Avenue to an area west of Van Dorn Street. See Page 7 for a map.
http://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/planning/info/EisenhowerWest/EWSAPFinalReportLoRes120115.pdf
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1995hoo

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 05:20:49 PM »

Thanks. I was only able to glance at it, but that looks interesting enough to spend some time reading tonight on a larger screen.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 07:16:05 PM »

It doesn't look like that access to Van Dorn Metro from points south will be fundamentally affected (besides more people living around there). If you use Van Dorn as a local road to get to retail/dining, then I suppose you can expect more residential volume.

The Farrington Connector could be a game changer though. I'm sure you've dealt with situations where there's something on Van Dorn, and because of the RR tracks, there are no alternative north-south axes. Any added crossings will add redundancy.

One of the real failures of this area, I believe, was the development patterns which necessarily forced everyone onto major arterials (Van Dorn, Franconia, King, Braddock, etc). While I understand that everyone wanted their neighborhood to be free of cut-through traffic, it just put more pressure on the arterial. And if the arterial has a problem, you're doomed. No workarounds. That's one of the saving graces about the urban parts of Arlington and Alexandria...the tight grid means that no one road can be a single point of failure.
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1995hoo

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 09:36:17 PM »

I haven't had time to read the whole thing, but it's interesting. That's a City of Alexandria plan, so they couldn't control anything to the south, but the Beltway acts as a wall there anyway. The best those of us living south of that area could hope for is an improved Van Dorn/Eisenhower intersection and better light timing. (My current commute is on the Metro most days, but we drive to Springfield or Huntington, never Van Dorn.)

The Farrington Connector would be interesting depending on what they connect it to. Right now if you followed that route, you'd either go right on Pickett back to Van Dorn or you could cut through the Smoot Lumber car park to Edsall Road at the light outside Overlook (a lot of people use that route now between Pickett and Edsall to cut off several lights). I think I see the bridge on the other side, which looks to be planned for near where the new fire station is, as being more of a relief route simply because so many people turn off Van Dorn at Pickett to head east to Duke Street.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of all this. The timing is probably right. I believe the TSA plans to move its headquarters to that large vacant office building on the north side of Eisenhower (I think it's Victory Center?). If/when that happens, other commercial development, such as restaurants, will be needed to support the HQ. It'll also be interesting to see how this proposal competes with the plans, currently still in the rezoning process, to finish and redevelop the Kingstowne Town Center and Shopping Center, as well as the plans for more office space and the like around Springfield Mall. That'd be three of those sorts of things in close proximity.

I do note that morning traffic on Van Dorn has been lighter this fall than in past years. Fairfax County Public Schools changed the bell schedules this fall, with the high schools starting 40 to 50 minutes later than in the past (Edison used to start at 7:20 and now starts at either 8:00 or 8:10), and I'm sure that's helped. Obviously it's not the sole factor, but I'm sure it's contributed. Some parents don't like to leave for work until their kids leave for school.

BTW, regarding street layout, the big failure in this immediate vicinity is the lack of ways across the Beltway and the train tracks. Setting aside I-395, you have Van Dorn, Telegraph, Route 1, and the GW Parkway/Washington Street. That's it on this side of I-395, and due to the distance involved, Van Dorn bears a hefty load. Clermont Drive used to connect up to where Eisenhower is today via what is now the Eisenhower Connector, and it was planned to go up to Duke Street at the interchange just west of where Harris Teeter is now. Certainly Clermont south of the Beltway is not suitable for use as an arterial street. It'd be utterly inappropriate. BUT if it were connected to the light at the Eisenhower Connector interchange, it would become an important route, especially if that "multimodal bridge" connecting Eisenhower to Edsall at the BMW dealer were to be built. Oh well, doesn't matter, Clermont will never be reconnected.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 09:40:41 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2015, 10:13:07 PM »

Correct on TSA moving into the "Victory Center" on Eisenhower (although a judge has postponed the move after a complaint by a competitor property for the bid on the lease).

Crossing the Beltway and tracks is plain tough, no? There are so many equities involved (VDOT, CSX/NS, local, etc).

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8076885,-77.1134069,16z

On this google map session, you can see the stub for the Clermont connector on the south side of the creek/tracks, and the ramp leading from Duke into the middle of the Brenman Park. Looking at this article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1990/03/08/clermont-project-advances/9dc98667-35be-462e-be11-af112ec64229/
), it appears that the controversy surrounding a Clermont connector goes back 25 years (if not more).

I agree that the ship has long sailed for any new major connectors such as Clermont. I think the City is doubling down on building out densely that area of the City.

EDIT: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2002/10/24/a-history-of-the-connector-and-development-in-the-eisenhower-valley/172b4f4b-8ff1-4f85-8f36-aca88fbe0cab/ More backstory on the connector (or lack thereof)
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 10:20:48 PM by AlexandriaVA »
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1995hoo

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2015, 10:35:01 PM »

Just to be clear, my reference to connecting Clermont was referring more to the notion of re-establishing a connection that was lost years ago, namely connecting the portion of Clermont between Franconia Road and just south of the Beltway sound wall to what is now the Eisenhower Connector. The sound wall has a gap that's used for a pedestrian/bike connection to the light at the bottom of the ramps between the Outer Loop and the Connector (I have never seen anyone use this gap, though I know cyclists do use that route to avoid the considerably steeper hill on Van Dorn to the west). Once upon a time the street ran through there, and note that north of Eisenhower the stub-end next to the self-storage place is called Clermont. In theory, the sound wall there could be removed and the street reconnected to create an important new route across the Beltway.

That's in theory. In reality, as I noted before, it will never happen, and I think it's fair to say it should never happen because the road is utterly unsuitable for the volume of traffic it might attract. The following is a Street View link showing the view to the north at the last intersection before the sound wall. Put simply, this is not appropriate for a thru route.

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.800413,-77.111583,3a,66.8y,2.81h,84.94t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1su9JQpv0psRT_Z0gqBKX0oQ!2e0


But setting that aside, I've always thought it a bit odd the way Alexandria has done nothing to connect Eisenhower to the rest of the city's street grid. It's so isolated and it doesn't make sense to isolate an area you want to turn into a dense development. Bluestone Road, which is located just west of the WMATA storage yard, is another street that could have provided a connection; if they bridged the tracks, it'd connect to Wheeler Avenue next to the new police facility, and Wheeler in turn connects to Duke Street next to the McDonald's near Quaker Lane (which itself provides a straight shot up to Shirlington Circle). Every time I go through that area I picture the Dukes of Hazzard using Bluestone Road to jump the train tracks in the General Lee. But of course I recognize that Alexandria's concern is that if they connect Eisenhower, it might spur development in the Eisenhower corridor but it will also create a new thru route for commuters from Fairfax County.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 10:44:00 PM »

I think it ultimately comes down to issue that bridging over the railroad tracks is a really costly endeavor. Hence I'll be happy with even just the Farrington Connector.

The next thing I want to see the city do is plan/zone to allow for the breaking up of the superblocks along Van Dorn, Whiting, Reynolds, Yoakum, etc on the West End.
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1995hoo

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2015, 11:02:01 PM »

Breaking up the west side of Yoakum is unlikely both because of the Watergate at Landmark development (my wife lived there before we got married, so I know the complex well) and because said development butts right up against the boundary with Fairfax County. Stulz Road, which serves the WAL back gate, is half in the city and half in the county. Between the Overlook development in the county, the extremely expensive Landmark Mews development, the long-established WAL, and a big hill just west of the county/city line, I doubt you'll see a new street grid there.

The east side of Whiting/west side of Van Dorn would be a fine place for redevelopment provided it doesn't result in more traffic lights on Van Dorn. Higher-density development makes sense in that area and is reasonably proximate to the Metro with a bit of a long walk. It'd be good to get rid of the juvenile detention center that's located behind the Landmark Towers Sunoco. It does not belong in that neighborhood and is a relic from a different time, utterly inappropriate for that area. They ought to move it down to Mill Road where the city jail is near the new Beltway ramp.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2015, 11:29:46 PM »

Higher-density development makes sense in that area and is reasonably proximate to the Metro with a bit of a long walk.

Alexandria is deep into the planning phase of a partially grade-separated BRT system to run from Van Dorn to Shirlington/Pentagon via Van Dorn, Sanger, Beauregard. You can see some of the reserved right-of-way in front of the new development at Van Dorn + Pickett (where smashburger is). https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8046765,-77.1336462,101m/data=!3m1!1e3
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1995hoo

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2015, 07:30:27 AM »

Higher-density development makes sense in that area and is reasonably proximate to the Metro with a bit of a long walk.

Alexandria is deep into the planning phase of a partially grade-separated BRT system to run from Van Dorn to Shirlington/Pentagon via Van Dorn, Sanger, Beauregard. You can see some of the reserved right-of-way in front of the new development at Van Dorn + Pickett (where smashburger is). https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8046765,-77.1336462,101m/data=!3m1!1e3

I had heard a little about that being a tentative idea the last time I talked to Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay. Didn't know the plans had moved along. Thanks for the info.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2015, 09:58:15 AM »

BTW I didn't mean to say "grade-separated", I meant "ROW-separated". The BRT will be at street level at all times.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2015, 10:04:05 AM »

BTW, regarding street layout, the big failure in this immediate vicinity is the lack of ways across the Beltway and the train tracks. Setting aside I-395, you have Van Dorn, Telegraph, Route 1, and the GW Parkway/Washington Street. That's it on this side of I-395, and due to the distance involved, Van Dorn bears a hefty load. Clermont Drive used to connect up to where Eisenhower is today via what is now the Eisenhower Connector, and it was planned to go up to Duke Street at the interchange just west of where Harris Teeter is now. Certainly Clermont south of the Beltway is not suitable for use as an arterial street. It'd be utterly inappropriate. BUT if it were connected to the light at the Eisenhower Connector interchange, it would become an important route, especially if that "multimodal bridge" connecting Eisenhower to Edsall at the BMW dealer were to be built. Oh well, doesn't matter, Clermont will never be reconnected.

Agree that Clermont on the Fairfax County side of the Beltway would be wildly inappropriate, because of grades that are steeper than on South Van Dorn Street at the Beltway. 

But for decades, there was a bridge over the Beltway between the Eisenhower Avenue Connector and South Van Dorn that was intended to provide more N-S highway capacity.  It was never connected to the street system on either side, and VDOT had it demolished five or ten years ago.
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froggie

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2015, 10:10:50 AM »

Hitting a few points from posts earlier back:

Quote from: 1995hoo
Just to be clear, my reference to connecting Clermont was referring more to the notion of re-establishing a connection that was lost years ago, namely connecting the portion of Clermont between Franconia Road and just south of the Beltway sound wall to what is now the Eisenhower Connector.

It should be noted that, prior to construction of Eisenhower Ave in the '70s, this was the only access to/from that corner of Alexandria, as was a similar overpass over the Beltway that existed roughly here.  This is the same overpass CP just commented about while I was writing this post.  The overpass survived into the '90s, but came down before 2002, possibly as part of the project that built the Clermont interchange).

It stands to reason that the Clermont interchange does not connect to the Fairfax County side for another reason besides the lack of road suitability or hills that Hoo and CP mentioned:  that area of "Rose Hill" was already heavily residential, including houses along Clermont, by then.  In fact, that area was already rapidly becoming residential even before the Beltway was finished in 1964.

Quote
The sound wall has a gap that's used for a pedestrian/bike connection to the light at the bottom of the ramps between the Outer Loop and the Connector (I have never seen anyone use this gap, though I know cyclists do use that route to avoid the considerably steeper hill on Van Dorn to the west).

I used it myself on occasion, especially before the bike path across the Beltway at the Telegraph interchange was completed.  The bike ride along Elmwood Dr was always quieter than along Eisenhower, even though Eisenhower had/has a separate bike path.

Quote
But setting that aside, I've always thought it a bit odd the way Alexandria has done nothing to connect Eisenhower to the rest of the city's street grid.

I wouldn't say they've done nothing.  They've actually tried a few times...twice at Clermont (the original proposal, which would've tied into the Brenman Park interchange on Duke St, 2nd proposal would've tied into Wheeler Ave), and another time at Bluestone Rd.  It's possible the Brenman Park connection died due to the park impacts (per aerial imagery, parts of the park date back at least to 1960), but the other connections were heavily opposed by residents north of the railroad.  The chief concern I recall hearing was the traffic and noise/air pollution from trucks that would use the connectors to get to Duke St.  This is in no small part why the latest proposal for a connector near the Van Dorn Metro is for a multi-modal connector:  bikes, peds, and buses.  No other vehicular traffic.  The city probably figures that, by prohibiting non-transit vehicles, they'll get fewer of the types of complaints that shot down previous connector proposals.

Quote from: AlexandriaVA
Alexandria is deep into the planning phase of a partially grade-separated BRT system to run from Van Dorn to Shirlington/Pentagon via Van Dorn, Sanger, Beauregard. You can see some of the reserved right-of-way in front of the new development at Van Dorn + Pickett (where smashburger is). https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8046765,-77.1336462,101m/data=!3m1!1e3

"ROW-separated" in this case = dedicated transit lanes...as much as they can get.  The buffer for the new development is so the city has the width to rebuilt Van Dorn to include the dedicated transit lanes.

I attended many of the city public meetings from a few years ago when they were planning their overall "high-capacity transit corridor" network, of which Van Dorn/Beauregard is one of the three corridors (the other two being Duke St and CCPY extended down to Braddock Rd Metro).  The approved plan at the time was for BRT that could be converted to streetcar when demand warranted.  It also dovetails some into NVTC's Route 7 Transit Study from Tysons into Alexandria.  Two of the Route 7 options would utilize the Beauregard/Van Dorn corridor to connect Tysons with the Van Dorn Metro via either BRT or LRT.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2015, 10:23:09 AM »

I would love to see gradual integration of the various transitways being built/conceived (Potomac Yard, West End, Duke Street, Rt 7).
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1995hoo

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2015, 10:50:58 AM »

A few years ago we had a thread about the overpass froggie and CP have mentioned. I can't search for it just now, but I'll try to find it tonight. The area where it was to the south of the Beltway consists of a fairly new development. I drove back there one day to look for traces of the old road, but it wasn't clear to me who owned what property so I wound up not getting out of the car to explore because I didn't want to trespass on any homeowner's land.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2015, 11:29:47 AM »

From the Fairfax County imagery service (http://fairfaxcountygis.maps.arcgis.com) you can see a bridge present in 1997 and gone by 2007. Looks like it branched off of what's now "La Vista Drive". There's a vacant parcel in 1997 north of where the bridge is, presumably where it would connect to Eisenhower. That vacant parcel is now apartments.





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froggie

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2015, 11:37:15 AM »

Quote from: 1995hoo
A few years ago we had a thread about the overpass froggie and CP have mentioned. I can't search for it just now, but I'll try to find it tonight.

Oddly enough, you had initiated that thread 4 years ago...
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1995hoo

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2015, 11:46:55 AM »

I remembered starting it. I just wasn't able to search when I typed that.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

TheOneKEA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2015, 10:26:44 PM »

I always wondered why the dead end north of Eisenhower Avenu at the connector never went anywhere. This thread has solved a mystery that I had wondered about for some time.

Will this stub end of roadway ever cross the tracks in any fashion to the other side?
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2015, 07:36:28 AM »

I always wondered why the dead end north of Eisenhower Avenu at the connector never went anywhere. This thread has solved a mystery that I had wondered about for some time.

Will this stub end of roadway ever cross the tracks in any fashion to the other side?

Almost certainly not. The park north of the railroad tracks is popular with residents, both because of its proximity to Cameron Station and the trail, and that there are some athletic fields.

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8082483,-77.1128235,17z

Additionally, the Small Area Plan (City guided planning document) for that area doesn't include a new crossing there. These area plans are decades-long blueprints, so it's absolutely off the table for the time being, if not permanently.

https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/planning/info/EisenhowerWest/EWSAPFinalReportLoRes120115.pdf  See page 7.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2015, 03:57:36 PM »

The new Seminary bypass bridge is now open for local traffic, according to my own view from 395 this afternoon. The ramp to/from the 395 HOV lanes is still closed, and the stoplight which will control the intersection is still shrouded.

Remaining is the 395 HOV ramp and the pedestrian bridge.

http://www.vamegaprojects.com/tasks/sites/default/assets/File/pdf/MARK_CENTER/Design%20PH%20Brochure%20-%20395%20HOV%20Ramp%20at%20Seminary%20%20(1).pdf
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2015, 09:05:08 PM »

Projects on 395 at or nearing completion:

1) Tonight I noticed that the retaining wall project on the west side of the southbound 395 carriageway is complete, and the lane closure that had been in place there for several months was gone. A few work vehicles remained on the off-ramp "median", but my guess is they will be gone by week's end.

The project had been in place to perform emergency repairs on the retaining wall (http://www.virginiadot.org/business/resources/const/ForceAcct_I395.pdf)

2) A BGS was erected on 16 December at the base of the new Seminary HOV ramp. It is facing southbound, so northbound motorists will see it. The sign assembly continues over the northbound conventional carriageway. This GSV shows approximately where the BGS is:

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8274336,-77.1184258,3a,75y,70.6h,84.4t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seylV-eN_da97nkDYJiaJFA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The northbound conventional carriageway reads SEMINARY ROAD. I presume that the HOV ramp sign will read the same. I won't be able to get any photos as I do not have a dash cam and it is not safe to snap pictures while driving on 395.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2015, 10:30:34 AM »

Light stands were installed yesterday on the east side of the new Seminary/395 HOV ramp. Not sure if they'll be installed on west side.

A standard HOV electronic information sign was installed on the east side of 395 on Seminary Road. It is shrouded. It will be replaced in a few years, presumably, with an HOT information sign.

The VDOT project page, updated 21 December, indicates that the HOV ramp will open "January 2016".

There was major construction last Friday night which required road closures. When day broke, I saw that there had been a new portion of the span of the pedestrian bridge put in place. They likely had to shut down 395 in order to place on the portion of the span, which goes over 395.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 10:32:56 AM by AlexandriaVA »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Alexandria/Arlington local roads
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2015, 11:16:37 AM »

Light stands were installed yesterday on the east side of the new Seminary/395 HOV ramp. Not sure if they'll be installed on west side.

A standard HOV electronic information sign was installed on the east side of 395 on Seminary Road. It is shrouded. It will be replaced in a few years, presumably, with an HOT information sign.

If the plan is to only allow HOV traffic to use the ramps there, maybe it can stay as an HOV sign?  Or is that only for the new ramp you mention below that allows northbound exit and southbound entry?

The VDOT project page, updated 21 December, indicates that the HOV ramp will open "January 2016".

There was major construction last Friday night which required road closures. When day broke, I saw that there had been a new portion of the span of the pedestrian bridge put in place. They likely had to shut down 395 in order to place on the portion of the span, which goes over 395.

Should take a look at that when I am down that way.
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