County Board Approves Potomac Yard Park Name, Master Plan

Published on January 27, 2018

  • Creating a green oasis in an urban environment

  • Connecting visitors to the Potomac

  • Improving bicycle and pedestrian connections

The Arlington County Board today named a Potomac Yard park Short Bridge Park, and adopted a Master Plan and Design Guidelines for its phased development.

The 3.5-acre park, created through the Potomac Yard Phased Development Site Plan adopted by the Board in 2000, lies between Route 1 and Potomac Avenue in Crystal City. Almost half of the park is included in the Four Mile Run and Resource Protection Area. It straddles the boundary between Arlington and the City of Alexandria.

"Short Bridge Park will be a welcome addition to the County's park network," Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. "The Master Plan represents a truly thoughtful balance of sensitivity to the environment with amenities for both active and casual use recreation."

The Board voted unanimously to approve the name and the Master Plan and Design Guidelines for Short Bridge Park.

To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 38 on the agenda for the Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 Regular County Board Meeting.

Planned park highlights

The Master Plan is a long-term vision for the park that will be completed in phases. In the first phase, a multi-use, ADA-accessible trail connection will be built from Route 1 to the Four Mile Run Trail. The trail, now being designed, will be funded through a Transportation Enhancement Grant through the Virginia Department of Transportation, with matching County funds, for a total cost of $750,000. The County expects to begin building the trail late in 2018. Two existing playgrounds will remain.

The second phase of development will include the remaining elements of the Master Plan. Funding for this phase is identified in the out-years of the County's Adopted Capital Improvement Plan Fiscal Years 2017-2026 in Fiscal Year 2022.

[caption id="attachment_14835" align="alignright" width="300"]Visitors strolling through Short Bridge Park. Plans for Short Bridge Park include river walks.[/caption]

Amenities to be added include a plaza offering views of Four Mile Run and the City of Alexandria skyline; a riverfront overlook where people can step off the Four Mile Run Trail and get closer to the water; pathways for shared pedestrian and bicycle use throughout the park, and a 4,500-5,000 square foot "dog run" with artificial turf. Public art, still to be designed, will also be added.

Because the paved pathways lie within the Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area, they will be offset by a new, 26,000 square foot riparian meadow that will improve stormwater absorption, help prevent erosion and offer habitat for wildlife. The County also will plant more trees, for a total of about 82 trees across the park.

Planning integrated with City of Alexandria

Short Bridge Park straddles the boundary between Arlington and the City of Alexandria. The County worked closely with the City to seamlessly integrate parkland owned by Alexandria with Arlington's park. Eventually, Short Bridge Park will connect to a larger park system as redevelopment continues in Alexandria, via the City's North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan. That plan calls for a park to be located where there is now surface parking serving the Potomac Yard strip mall. A decommissioned railroad bridge now fenced off to the public will connect Short Bridge Park to Crescent Park. It is envisioned as an "urban deck" similar to New York's High Line Park.

Public engagement

Public engagement for Short Bridge Park's Master Plan launched in February 2017. The plan was developed by staff and a consultant team, based on site analyses and the public feedback. Four public meetings were held, and an online comment form garnered 213 submissions. Staff made presentations to neighboring civic associations and to the adjacent Eclipse Home Owners Association, as well as the County's Park and Recreation, Urban Forestry, Environmental, Pedestrian Advisory, Bicycle Advisory commissions and committees, and to the Alexandria Park and Recreation Commission.