Over The Fence 

News for Neighbors from the Arlington Heights Civic Association
JUNE 1999

Send news articles to Joan Gill (JGILL@EROLS.COM)
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AHCA to Address Traffic Concerns
by Ellen Taylor, AHCA Traffic and Transportation Committee Chair

    Neighbors attending the April AHCA meeting expressed concerns with excess speed of traffic and the apparent increase in cut-through and non-residential traffic in our neighborhood. AHCA President Jay Wind has invited a Richard Best of the Arlington County Department of Public Works to speak at the July 20 meeting. This will be an opportunity for the neighborhood to voice its concerns and to learn about the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program.

    Last November, the Arlington County Ad Hoc Committee on Neighborhood Traffic Calming issued its final report. The report recommended that the County establish a Subcommittee to the Transportation Commission to work with the Department of Public Works staff in administering the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program. After notification of potential problems by individual citizens, neighborhood associations, etc., the Subcommittee will work with citizens to:

    There are three degrees of remedial action that could take place when a problem is defined:     Certain criteria must be met before any of these are implemented. Many require citizen input within the area of impact, and care must be taken to ensure that the defined problem is not simply moved to another residential neighborhood.

    AHCA’s Traffic and Transportation Committee is drafting an initial letter from our civic association to the Subcommittee highlighting the issue of speeding on 2nd, 7th, Fillmore, Highland and Irving Streets, and indicating that we are seeking neighborhood input. Through a survey, we are asking residents to comment on these issues and to identify their traffic concerns. We would like to follow up the initial letter with a more detailed letter representing the results of the survey at the July 20 meeting. Individual residents can also submit requests to the Subcommittee at the following address:

Traffic Calming Subcommittee
Arlington County Department of Public Works
2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 717
Arlington, VA 22201

    Residents concerned about specific violations can call the Special Operations Office of the Arlington Police Department to request that an area be patrolled. The number is 228-4141. 

Arlington Heights Gardens on Display
by Joan Gill

    It’s time again for the annual Arlington Heights Garden Tour! This year, we have several beautiful gardens for you to visit and enjoy. The walking tour, which will begin at 9:30 am and last through the morning hours, will take place on Saturday, June 26. The tour will begin at 121 S. Hudson St., the home of Jim and Joan Gill. The Gills invite their neighbors to come as early as 8:30 to enjoy coffee and breakfast breads, to relax in their back yard and make new friends.

    We still have room for a few more gardens on the tour -- old and new gardens, as well as works in progress. Please call us at 685-1760 if you would like to include your garden on the tour.

Neighborhood Improvements Dominate April Meeting;  July Agenda to Highlight Traffic Concerns
by Joan Gill

    Much of the discussion at the April AHCA meeting focused on neighborhood improvement projects, including the S. 9th and Irving St. park. However, the meeting opened with a review of the problems relating to the property damage and disruptions along S. 7th St. over the past several months due to the underground installation of fiber optic cable. AHCA President Jay Wind introduced Dennis Johnson, Engineering Division Chief at the Arlington County Department of Public Works who announced the contractor and its subcontractors have completed virtually all of the repairs needed along S. 7th St., and also along Glebe Road bordering our neighborhood. He acknowledged that the County erred in granting one single permit for the entire nine miles of cabling installation, and he said permits for similar work in the future would be issued to cover work in smaller stages, to allow better oversight by County staff.

    Johnson also indicated his office would try to provide advance notice to residents affected by subsequent construction. Finally, he cautioned that a permit has been granted to a firm to lay cable in an open trench along S. Walter Reed Dr. He said the presence of the AT&T operations building behind the Columbia Pike Library meant that our neighborhood is at a prime telecommunications node.

    As reported in the December 1998 edition of Over the Fence, AHCA membership voted unanimously at the October meeting to proceed with County-funded landscaping for the park at S. 9th and Irving. The landscape design also was reviewed and supported unanimously at that time. Funding then was secured from the County, and improvements were expected to begin this Spring.

    At the April meeting, several neighbors, either in person or by letter, came forward with objections to certain elements of the approved plan. In a spirit of accommodation, members attending the meeting voted to amend the landscape plan to incorporate the preferences of the residents immediately neighboring the park. The amended plan, to be developed by AHCA Vice President Mary Ellen Finn, was to be posted in the park and on the AHCA web site, with a one-week comment period provided.

    NCAC representative Jim Gill introduced two neighborhood conservation projects for association approval -- 1) street lighting improvement for S. Jackson St. between S. 2nd and S. 5th Streets and 2) street lighting improvement for S. 7th St. between S. Walter Reed Dr. and Glebe Rd. and S. Highland St. between S. 6th and S. 7th Streets. Neighbors unanimously approved these projects and voted to prioritize them in the order listed, which is also the order in which the preparation work was completed by the residents of these streets.

    Jim also noted that work is progressing on two further projects: improvements along Arlington Blvd. between S. Irving and S. Fillmore, and a potential sidewalk project on S. Highland St. between 2nd and 6th Streets. Joan Gill, past NCAC representative, shared photographs of the new Arlington Heights neighborhood signs, which also were acquired through the NCAC process.

    Recent discussions of traffic issues prompted an amendment to the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Conservation Plan. The amendment, approved unanimously, would "support appropriate traffic-calming measures within Arlington Heights that will effectively reduce the hazards" associated with speeding and increased cut-through and commercial traffic in our neighborhood.

    Cathy O’Malley, president of the Patrick Henry Elementary School PTA, announced that the principal has ordered two trailers to house some classes beginning this fall. The trailers, which will help reduce average class size, will be located close to the school, on the east side perpendicular to Walter Reed Dr.

    In other business, members established business member dues at $20 per year.

AHCA to Share Booth at County Fair
by Jay Wind

    The Arlington-Fairfax Jewish Congregation (Arlington Heights’ only house of worship) has invited AHCA to share its booth at the Arlington County Fair, Thursday through Sunday, August 19-22, at no cost to the civic association. AHCA members are requested to be available at the Fair to answer questions about our civic association, promote AHCA membership, demonstrate our website on a laptop or posterboard, and promote civic participation in general. You may sign up for one- or two-hour shifts. Help is especially needed on Friday night and Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

    If you can work an hour or two, please call Jay Wind at 920-5193 and leave your name, phone number, and times you can help. Or send Jay an e-mail message at SOCKSTHECAT@WORLDNET.ATT.NET.

    It’s easy, fun, and indoors!

HOMEOWNERS: Let’s Keep Our Properties Up to Code!
by Jay Wind, with Jennfier Schultz

    On Friday, May 1, County Code Enforcer Janette Purnell toured our neighborhood with AHCA President Jay Wind and member Jennifer Schultz. Ms. Purnell identified a number of housing code violations within our own neighborhood and agreed to follow up with each one. Follow up means a friendly first reminder, a stronger second note if needed, and a violation ticket for a chronic violator. Did you know that the following are code violations?

    It’s not our intention to scare residents. Rather, it is our desire to ask everyone to be a good neighbor and follow County codes. Questions? Call Janette Purnell at 228-3830 or AHCA President Jay Wind at 920-5193. Please join us in an effort to make our neighborhood attractive, safe and legal!

    Note: The County provides paving services, at a cost to the homeowner. If you need a sidewalk or driveway repaved, call the County’s Public Works Department at 228-6485, 7:30 am - 4:30 pm. The County may charge less than private contractors but may take longer.

Park Update
by Joan Gill, with Jay Wind and Mary Ellen Finn

    The neighborhood park at South 9th and Irving Streets is about to undergo a face lift. A new plan includes both landscaping and open play areas, thinning of existing trees and relocation of the benches. While the park currently is un-named, our civic association has contacted the appropriate County entities to request the park be called "Arlington Heights Park." This could happen soon after the Penrose Civic Association (formerly Central Arlington Civic Association) renames the existing Arlington Heights Park (in their neighborhood) "Penrose Park." Stay tuned!

    Our neighborhood’s commitment to the park improvements includes a $300 pledge to match a share of the County’s $9,000 cost. Anyone wishing to make a donation should do so by sending a check, payable to Arlington Heights Civic Association, to Bryan Sieling, AHCA Treasurer, 632 S. Highland St., Arlington VA 22204. 

Wind Requests Governor’s Help with Glebe Rd/Columbia Pike Intersection
by Jay Wind

    Following are excerpts from a letter recently sent by AHCA President Jay Wind to Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore, III concerning the intersection of Glebe Road and Columbia Pike.

"Dear Governor Gilmore:
    At the southwest corner of our neighborhood is the intersection of Glebe Road and Columbia Pike. Left turns are prohibited at that intersection.

    More than a year ago, Virginia’s Department of Transportation committed to changing the intersection to allow left turns. It’s a simple process of taking down the signs. But VDOT has taken more than a year since its commitment, with no implementation. As a result, citizens in my neighborhood and businesses on Columbia Pike suffer unreasonably. My residential street, S. 7th St., has become a thoroughfare for traffic between Glebe Rd. and Walter Reed Dr., making the street unsafe for children who walk to Patrick Henry Elementary School or catch school buses. So has S. 2nd St., where students who walk to Thomas Jefferson Middle School have to wait to cross, sometimes for five minutes, for traffic to whiz by--traffic that should have been allowed to turn left from Glebe Road onto Columbia Pike. Even the alleyway behind Columbia Pike has become a cut-through for traffic. As a further result, businesses along Columbia Pike have suffered. VDOT’s inexplicable delay has angered and frustrated my neighbors and our elected officials.

    Can you get VDOT to expedite the implementation of left turns at Glebe Road and Columbia Pike in Arlington? If not, can you explain why their commitment to the County has never been implemented?

Thank you.
Jay Jacob Wind, President
Arlington Heights Civic Association

Letter to Arlington Heights Neighbors from TJ’s New Principal
by Sharon Monde

    Let me start by saying how excited I am about my appointment as principal of Jefferson Middle School. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to working with the Jefferson community--students, staff, parents and other supportive community members.

    In the way of introduction, as a native Arlingtonian, I attended Langston Elementary School, Swanson Junior High School (currently Swanson Middle School) and Washington-Lee High School. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennett College in Greensboro, NC, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Rochester, and am currently enrolled in a doctoral program with NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I have one daughter, Alexandra, who is a seventh grader at Swanson Middle School.

    I began my career in education twenty-five years ago. Throughout my tenure in Arlington, I have dedicated the major part of my professional career working with young people ages ten through fourteen. My focus has been on academic achievement, community service and helping students in developing and understanding the concept of respect for self and respect toward others.

    During the past two months, I have had the opportunity to participate in several different activities at Jefferson. Whether it was a staff meeting, a PTA Executive Board Meeting or the International Celebration, I have been extremely impressed with the positive climate that permeates each activity and the level of commitment that each participant maintains. My goal is to keep Jefferson moving in the positive direction that it has enjoyed for so many years. This includes keeping the lines of communication open between myself and members of the surrounding community. I know that one of your concerns involves the official completion date for the soccer field. Staff is working diligently in hopes of having the work completed by the end of June.

    I look forward to meeting and working with each of you as I embark upon my journey at Jefferson.

Sharon Monde, Principal
Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Update on Plans for Eckerd Drug Store Site
by Tom Greenfield

    In case you haven’t heard yet...Eckerd Drugs plans to put a store on the current site of America’s Best Diner located at the corner of S. Walter Reed and Columbia Pike. As part of its agreement with the County, the store will be located at the back of what is the current parking lot. At the front of the property (near Columbia Pike) will be a new park, including landscaping, benches and an entrance archway. During the design phase, the County and local neighborhood activists will hold a "Park Naming Contest." So, get your ideas together and look for more details in a future edition of Over the Fence.

Enhancing our Sense of Community
by Helen Bard-Sobola
  "...the decline of the extended family creates the need for a new social shelter, another pool of friendships, another bond with society apart from the family."
    For me as a new mom, this quote by Arlie Hochschild rings so true now. I live far from my family and many close friends, and have found in the three and one-half months since the birth of my daughter how isolated and unsupported stay-at-home mothers (and dads too) are, within the community. Even during my pregnancy, the media, work and corporations emphasized and geared me towards returning to work and bottle-feeding, rather than working at home, raising my daughter and breastfeeding. For example, baby formula companies inundate new moms with coupons and information on how to incorporate feeding and returning to work.

    Today, more than ever, parents need to find "a new social shelter," especially since, in so many households, both parents work outside the home. The people and parents within the Arlington Heights community could create such an opportunity. My husband and I have decided I will work from home and raise our daughter. There must be other moms and dads doing just that within our community (as well as work-outside-home parents) who are looking for support and friendship from their neighborhood community. Co-ops, babysitting groups, and play groups are all networks that could tie our community together and put us in touch with others who share a need for, and a commitment to, community. I would like to start something like that within Arlington Heights. I hope others will join in and rally for our kids and for our community.

    If you would like to respond to Helen’s article or are interested in joining with her to form a broader circle of friendships for adults and children within Arlington Heights, call Helen at 892-1350. 

Receive News About Our Neighborhood as it Happens!
by Jay Wind

    Get up-to-the-minute news about neighborhood events, emergencies, and, yes, even lost pets! Send your e-mail address to SOCKSTHECAT@WORLDNET.ATT.NET and join the AHCA e-mail list. And check out our web site at: http://www/geocities.com/Heartland/Hollow/7939

Mark Your Calendar!
by Joan Gill

    The next quarterly meeting of the Arlington Heights Civic Association is scheduled for: July 20, 7:30 pm, in the Career Center, 816 South Walter Reed Drive, (next to the Columbia Pike Branch Library.

    Guest: Richard Best, Arlington County Traffic Calming Program. Also, results of a neighborhood survey and a report by the AHCA Traffic and Transportation Committee.

    See you there!

Community Calendar
compiled by Joan Gill
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