'Public comment invited.'
The kind of plan one should expect of a project which turned parkland into high-rises: timeframes and closures which serve only the developer.
Today is demo day for Rosslyn Highlands Park and Fire Station 10. The battle to keep our park space vibrant is not yet over. I know it seems like time has passed and the beast will do what the beast will do, but looking at these nearly final plans is very disappointing. More NEEDS to be expected given the scope of this project. The entire county stands to gain from seeing this project through to the finish as an example of cutting-edge, high density urban planning.
I've pasted below my rough draft comments to the updated survey below, but do leave your thoughts as well!
Current park plans: https://arlingtonva.s3.amazona...d-Concept-Images.pdf
Current survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RHP_Playground
Park program update website: https://projects.arlingtonva.u...nds-park-playground/
And don't get me started on the "find a park to play at" map (more info below).
Anna Duran (Colonial Terrace)
My thoughts submitted on survey today:
1. Share your thoughts on the playground design.
The kids who can comment (ages 9, 7, and 4) like that you picked the former option A, which had a lot more actual play equipment than the other two options, and because they love climbing equipment and swings.
As a parent, I cannot underscore enough how much a local KIDS PLAYGROUND (not more passive space!!) is needed. RHP is the ONLY walkable park for many small children in the area. Robust children up to age 4 can make it walking to Dawson Terrace * (further comments on Dawson Terrace below), but otherwise, kids need transport and that limits both the use of THAT park and playtime by local kids who need the outdoor stimulation in our high-density urban area!
2. Share your thoughts on the proposed equipment.
Re equipment, my kids and I noticed that the "small kid" area is basically what is currently at Rocky Run. This is actually not the best/most interactive equipment for such a small and what is going to be MUCH USED area. The marbles are neat but kids look at the for 10 seconds. That stationary climbing swing thing is kind of a waste of space. For all the space that the little kid area takes up, they last about 5 min there and then want to go to the "big" kid area. And the big kid are is often not appropriate! Also, while the new "net swings" for big kids are fun and loved, an old style set of swings goes a long way to extend playground use without taking up too much space. I am grateful that you put two baby swings, but I see a lot of space around the edges where you could put some normal "swings" for big kids. Also, that climbing tower is going to get a LOT of use. Do you see "flow issues" going up and coming down? Shouldn't there be a "quick exit" like a slide or something? Or a climbing exit away and down? Monkey bars or something else to climb down? Also the climbing wall and hill are cookie-cuttered from Quincy Park. The hill slope ENDS at the "small kid" playground. What this will do is beckon the small kids, from crawling to toddler ages, to climb up to the top ... where they will fall over the edge of the climbing wall....! This is a problem at the mixed age Quincy Park -- you have to be on constant alert and constantly your kids who want to follow the natural "flow" of the park .... that ends in a "cliff drop." Didn’t we learn from that space, county? Then, there is a HUGE dead space between the older kid "net swings" and the small kids vertical swings.
EVERY inch in this area counts.
On that note, there was a LOT of discussion about keeping past park space square footage transaction that resulted in the county's trade of park space for the new fire station 10 as part of the public-private mixed-use development (912 new units in two mixed-use towers, one 27 stories tall and the other 23 stories tall! And don't forget the Queen's Court redevelopment that will result in a 12-story apartment building that will deliver 249 affordable units). Don't you think those "new units" will result in an increase of children in the neighborhood--not to mention the current kids? Given the scope and cost of this public and private project, this should be the best-planned, most cutting edge park EVER!
This is a great opportunity for those interested in cutting edge urban planning to step it up and produce a BOLD PLAN that will best accommodate the sacrifices that neighborhood is "paying" for the park in unmeasurable costs. There has been about one year since the Western Rosslyn Area Plan received a thumbs up. One year later, and right up against the finished design deadline, it looks like the near final plan is basically a hodgepodge of designs from other parks. BTW, we did not stand idle...the kids and I have engaged in the process since we first heard in early spring of 2015, have commented on the design through the process and have hoped for a better final outcome.
I hope the county steps back and, if their staff can't come up with something better, would consider shopping around the "final" design to some urban architecture students via a contest that would hopefully give them a chance to work on a "real life" opportunity and give the chance of a better outcome for the community. This should be the best planned 9,000 foot park that exists, and people should come back to it in the future saying, "Wow! Look what they did with that small space!! Amazing!" This is a chance to think outside the box and DO BETTER than has been done in the past. Considering the $ and community angst spent over project, I don't think it is fair to consider anything less for our neighborhood and its current and future children.
3. Share any other thoughts or suggestions
While were talking about parks, can we also talk about the delivery date of this shared space park and the crossover with closing other area parks? RHP isn’t deliverable (if on time!) till 4th quarter 2021! That's 3 full years probably! My current 4 year old will be nearly 8! My 6 month old will be 4! My 9 year old be almost be ready for junior high school! Can we have a "big picture view" when planning these things? *Dawson Terrace is closed NOW and won't be opened till end of '18 IF it is finished in time. RHP going down today (8/20/18). The next closest park after those two is across Highway 50! Wow, that is an example of great community planning (*sarcasm intended*) and one of the questions the community has been asking this project was proposed.
Perhaps the county can find a quick, cookie-cutter solution to airdropping some preexisting equipment on some free spaces around Rosslyn to help fix this NEW problem that is being created in the process of the current expensive upgrades.
Finally, look at the map that you’ve provided the community to “find a park” to replace playing at RHP in your recent park closure email blast. There is no ACTUAL PLAYGROUND from RHP on the map unless you cross major area highway or walk one mile from RHP to Rocky Run Park or Dawson Terrace, a .6 - .8 mile distance depending on which route you take (Google map walking estimates). And Dawson Terrace is not marked as closed!
The map shared shows ALL “greenspace” parks (even counting George Washington Memorial Parkway!). What does this mean if you translate it to common language? “Hey kids, your current park is blown up, trek on over and check out GWMP at rush hour!” Lest you think this is a mistake, the doc is titled “RHPP nearby parks map” (screenshot below)—classic example of bureaucratic nonsense tallying up “greenspace” and not even thinking what that MEANS to a kid or family looking for an actual PLAYGROUND to play at and blow off steam!