Boat House
<Ken Marcus>

North Rosslyn has been asked to join in the movement to build a boat house in Arlington. Two of the sites under consideration are in Rosslyn. I have pasted below a discussion of boat house options that was provided by a strong boat house supporter. The letter below is addressed to the National Park Service, which is a key player in this debate, but the County Board is also a critical decision-maker. Please use this poll to indicate the position you believe that North Rosslyn should take regarding the proposed Arlington boat house.

The boat house advocate's letter to the park service is as follows:

Dear Superintendent Calhoun--

I offer the following summary views regarding the five options outlined in
the June EIS newsletter distributed to the public.

1. Lower Rosslyn site -- this is an excellent location for an Arlington
boathouse. It has been the site most consistently recommended for the
location of this facility for over a decade by Arlington groups. It allows
for a traditional boathouse of suitable size on the bank of the Potomac in
an area characterized by excellent rowing water. There are ample parking
garages only a short walk away in Rosslyn that can accommodate any number of
users of the facility. There is no evidence to suggest that a significant
number of shoreline boathouse users will utilize the parking lot built to
serve visitors to Theodore Roosevelt Island, and there is normally excess
parking available in that parking lot in any case. That lot is
inconveniently located for most individuals wishing to come to row or paddle
from an Arlington shoreline facility.

2. Upper Rosslyn site -- This is likewise an excellent location for an
Arlington boathouse. Although use of the private piece of property (1101
Lee Highway) or an adjacent piece of apparently excess VDOT right of way has
only surfaced within the past couple of years as a viable site alternative,
that alternative appears to resolve many of the concerns expressed about the
lower Rosslyn site. A boathouse on the upper site would result in even less
impact on the Roosevelt Island parking lot and the parkway in general since
it would be additionally inconvenient for boathouse users to first park
there and then walk back up toward Rosslyn to reach the boathouse. On the
other hand, use of on-street parking and parking garages in Rosslyn would be
that much more attractive to boathouse users. The facility would be
remarkably close to the Rosslyn Metro station--especially when the new N.
Lynn St. entrance is built to the station as part of the upcoming Waterview
project development. Although the need to transport canoes, kayaks and
rowing shells from the boathouse down to the shoreside dock would be a
negative, there is no indication from rowers or coaches that this is a
serious impediment to use of an upper Rosslyn facility. Such a facility at
this location would more clearly integrate this recreational asset into the
fabric of Rosslyn. It would also solve a lingering problem faced by
Arlington County (and the Park Service) of what appropriate use to make of
the .6 acre of privately owned land that constitutes the 1101 Lee Highway
site adjacent to the federal lands of the George Washington Memorial

3. 14th Street Bridge site -- this is a very poor, actually unacceptable,
site for the location of any rowing facility. The unsafe water conditions
are the major impediment to use of this site. Rowing shells do not have
enough freeboard to be safe to use where there are waves. Waves are a
regular occurrence at this location and points downstream due to the natural
winds and the broad expanse of the river at this point. Such turbulent
water can lead to swamping of boats, capsizings, and participant injury and
death. Within the past several months there have been two different
occasions when large crew boats got into trouble in rough water near the
14th Street Bridge (in one instance) and near Daingerfield Island (in the
other instance). The Harbor Police had to be called out to assist in the
rescue of the rowers. An even more tragic event within the past month
resulted in the death of a young Alexandria rowing coach. All of these
events were well covered in The Washington Post. This site also suffers
from bad logistics. It is very difficult for most prospective users to
reach since the existing parking lot can only be access from the northbound
lanes of the Parkway. Most anticipated users live north of that point. A
facility here would add substantial motorized traffic to the Parkway. The
existing parking accommodations at Gravelly Point are inadequate for the
current uses in the area. Thus to accommodate a boathouse, the existing
parking lot would at least need to be doubled in size--thus radically
increasing the hardscape along the shoreline. The lengthy access road
proposed for the boathouse would only increase this excessive pavement.

4. Daingerfield Island site -- this is not an acceptable rowing boathouse
site for all of the reasons cited for the 14th Street Bridges site. In
addition at this location one would have regular conflicts between those
rowing and those sailing, since their travel patterns on the water are quite
different and basically incompatible. The Daingerfield Island sailing
marina is a great success. It would be unfortunate to undercut this success
by overloading the area with an incompatible usage. I also question on
environmental grounds the idea of chopping down and removing the substantial
amount of shoreside vegetation--including many trees--that would be needed
to install an adequately sized rowing facility here. There is also the
final point that this site is outside Arlington County and thus
jurisdictionally unacceptable. The whole point of this decade-long effort
has been to identify an access point to the river within Arlington County
that would permit various forms of rowing and paddling for local residents.

5. The no action alternative -- this is not an acceptable outcome of the
present process. The federal government gave assurances to Arlington County
as far back as 1934 that the County could in the future secure again access
to the river in the Rosslyn area. This has been a long unfulfilled
promise--one that should be an embarrassment to federal officials at this
time. It is simply not right to require citizens living in Arlington to
have to travel to the District of Columbia (or even to Alexandria) in order
to get access to the river in order to row or paddle. The County has over 8
miles of shoreline. Reasonable accommodation of the County's need for
direct access to the river for non-motorized recreation should be provided.
The public outcry for such access has grown stronger over the years. The
several years of study of boathouse sites have identified two locations that
are--from the standpoint of the local citizenry and local
officials--perfectly acceptable for the siting of a water-based recreation
program. It would be unconscionable for the National Park Service to select
a no action alternative in the light of this demand and the existence of
multiple suitable sites.

Thank you. Please place me on your email list for future information on
this EIS study.

Robert Swennes
6101 N. 22nd Street
Arlington, VA 22205

North Rosslyn should support the creation of a boat house in Rosslyn.
North Rosslyn should support the creation of a boat house in Arlington but not express a preference as among the proposed Arlington sites.
North Rosslyn should support the creation of a boat house in Arlington but should urge that a non-Rosslyn site be selected.
North Rosslyn should oppose the creation of a boat house in Rosslyn.
North Rosslyn should take no position on this issue.

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