Dear Arlington County Board:
The North Rosslyn Civic Association (NRCA) opposes the JBG Rosslyn Gateway site plan #419 and the vacation of 36,493 square feet of open, public-use county land. The NRCA was opposed to this plan when it was originally proposed and approved. The tolling of I-66 from Rosslyn is a new and very important change that should be taken into account in considering an extension of the plan.
The property to be vacated is currently the loop road that is used for “slug” lines for commuters getting onto I-66 and I-395 and for dropping off and picking up Metro riders. This is the only such location in Arlington near these major arterials. The “slug” line is a well used method for reducing the number of cars on Arlington streets and will be increasingly important when the new toll and HOV restriction go into place this year. Eliminating the location goes against the Arlington philosophy of minimizing the number of cars on our streets while keeping Arlington, especially the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, a place to attract commercial development.
Here are some other reasons we object to the extension of the site plan:
The Rosslyn Gateway project will push commercial development up to the edge of Lee Highway, creating a host of new traffic problems. Currently, four bus lines (Circulator, Metro, ART and Georgetown University) use part of the loop road to exit easily off Lee Highway with no need almost to stop to make a sharp right turn onto narrow North Moore Street.
The entrance and exit for vehicles that are dropping off clients for the proposed hotel will directly merge into Lee Highway, adding to congestion in the morning rush hour. The exit also will interfere with the buses that will be entering the right lane to make the turn onto North Moore.
There will be no safe, continuous walking path for pedestrians; they will have to cross the hotel driveways.
The attractive planted strips that soften the appearance of Rosslyn as you enter Arlington will be eliminated; we need all the planting and green space we can get in glass and concrete Rosslyn. The strips, along with beautifying, also provide a buffer for pedestrians when accidents occur on busy Lee Highway.
It does not appear that there will be a significant need for additional commercial space in Rosslyn in the foreseeable future. But, setting aside that crucial observation, the proposed change in scheduling, with Phase 2 preceding Phase 1, could still have negative consequences for the County: The view of Rosslyn from across the river will be chopped-up, unattractive, uninviting. Rosslyn will begin to look like a ghost town and that will drive down the per square foot rents for retail and other businesses, in turn reducing the tax base on which Arlington depends.
Furthermore, the extension of massive buildings up to the edge of Lee Highway will eliminate the view-corridor of residences, rental and owner-occupied, located along North Colonial Terrace. Not only will residents no longer be able to enjoy what is now an attractive view of the river and Georgetown, but it will negatively affect the (taxable) real estate value of the properties.
The North Rosslyn Civic Association appreciates your consideration of our many concerns about the Rosslyn Gateway project and fervently hopes that you will reject this extension the site plan.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Terri Prell,