An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Major Makeover Planned for Former Bob Peck Site

One of the least pedestrian-friendly locations remaining in Ballston is about to get a makeover:

ARLINGTON, Va.– The Arlington County Board today approved a mixed-use project for the last unplanned redevelopment site in the Ballston Metro station area. The project will replace the former Bob Peck car dealership with office buildings, affordable apartments, townhouses and retail space.

Located at Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard, the project will include two office buildings, incorporating more than 400,000 square feet of office space and 36,000 square feet of retail space; 90 units of affordable housing, and 28 town homes.

Not only that, the development will be environmentally friendly:

The two office buildings are proposed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The 10-story office building at the corner of Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard (Office Building A) will include 282,989 square feet of office space and 26,292 square feet of ground floor retail space. It is proposed to achieve Gold LEED certification. The seven-story office building, mid-block along Glebe Road (Office Building B) will include 132,827 square feet of office space and 9,949 square feet of ground floor retail. It is proposed to achieve silver LEED certification. A 6,600 square foot public plaza will be built south of this building.
While the former Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership was a good neighbor, there's no reason to waste prime street space near a Metro station on a car lot. The adjacent Staples is also a relic of Ballston's pre-walkable days. Ever notice how it doesn't even have a path from the sidewalk to the door? Or have windows that face the street?

So can I put in a request now for the new building? Can it have a smoke-free bar that serves organic beer? Is that so much to ask?

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Best Stops Not on Metro: Westover

It always bugs me that so many young professionals in Arlington are completely ignorant to what's outside the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and Crystal City/Pentagon City. It's like anything not on the Orange and Blue Lines must be a post-apocalyptic wasteland patrolled by Mad Max.

But if I'd never ventured off Metrorail, I'd never have found Potomac Overlook Regional Park or Carlyle or Arlington Cinema 'n' Drafthouse. So I'm starting a new series today called Best Stops Not on Metro.

We'll start the series with the one neighborhood The Green Miles would pick to live in that's not on Metrorail. Yes, over Shirlington. Yes, over Columbia Pike.

It's Westover, in west Arlington centered on Washington Boulevard. Some of its key features:Westover may not have its own Metro station, but it's a 20 minute walk from East Falls Church on the Orange Line. In addition, the ART 52 or 53 bus lines run into Ballston. has a great overview of the neighborhood as well as a slideshow, plus an interactive map.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pedestrian Upgrade on Wilson Boulevard

Almost a year ago, The Green Miles blogged about the danger of crossing Wilson Boulevard at Oakland Street:
There's a crosswalk at Wilson & Oakland, but in a bizarre sequence of events, the county, drivers, and pedestrians all ignore it:
  • The county hasn't fixed the broken flashing yellow pedestrian warning in at least a year, and rarely does any kind of pedestrian or traffic enforcement there

  • Because of that, drivers may or may not stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk (usually not)

  • Because of that, pedestrians rarely bother to use the crosswalk -- if you're just standing there waiting for all traffic to go by so you can run across, then the crosswalk is no safer than any other spot in the road
All that means I have two options for crossing Wilson Boulevard on the way home:
  • Walk up to the corner of Wilson & N. Monroe, which has a traffic light but adds a minute or two to the walk

  • Try to cross at the dreaded Wilson & Oakland crosswalk, where cars fly by at 30-40mph
But recently, a new light went up:

It's not a perfect solution (what is?). Now cars never stop for pedestrians unless the light is red, so you can either wait a minute for the light to change or take your chances beating traffic.

But from an overall safety perspective, it's a major upgrade. Less-nimble pedestrians don't have to take their chances in a crosswalk. And cars can't fly from Monroe to Quincy without having to at least keep an eye on a light.

Nice job, Arlington County!

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Women's Soccer Looking for Players

Just got this and I know there are a lot of soccer players out there, so I thought I'd pass it along ...

The Arlington Women’s Soccer League is looking for Arlington resident players for the spring season. The Open Division (age 18+) plays on Sunday mornings, the Masters Division (age 30+) plays on Monday evenings.
There are three divisions of play based on team ability.
Novices are welcome.
For more information or to sign up, contact league president Diann Vaughan at 703-534-4213, email, or check out the league’s website at