Short Bridge Park (aka South Park) Master Plan


3920 Potomac Ave., Arlington, VA 22202  View Map



About the Project

County Board Adopted Park Design

Short Bridge Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines Report

View County Board Wrap-Up: Short Bridge Park

On January 27, 2018, the Arlington County Board 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 #346 (adopted by the Board in 2000) is located between Route 1 and Potomac Avenue in Crystal City. Almost half of the park is included in the Four Mile Run Resource Protection Area. It straddles the boundary between Arlington and the City of Alexandria. 

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.  Two existing playgrounds will remain. The second phase of development will include the remaining elements of the Master Plan.

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.

Artist Rendering of South Park
This image is from the 2006 Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan (on page 44). It is an artistic rendering of Short Bridge Park and the City of Alexandria bridge, also known as the “urban deck.”

The area owned by Alexandria will be improved as part of the development in North Potomac Yard, Coordinated Development District #19.  Note that Condition #20 of CDD #19 identifies the improvement triggers and Condition #71 identifies the required improvements.  There is no immediate timeline available for the future design process and construction as it is dependent on this development.

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.

About the Process

Public Meeting #4 – July 19, 2017 (view flyer)
The purpose of this meeting is to present 1 draft park concept plan for the public to review and review recommended names.  Based on feedback gathered at this meeting, the staff and consultant team will make revisions and post the final draft park concept online.  This concept will then be presented to various Commissions and to the Arlington County Board for consideration and potential adoption.

Feedback Collected (View Results) – May 15, 2017
The online form featured three draft park concepts for the public to review and included input for the park name. The concepts were presented at public meeting #3 and developed based on community feedback, guidance from the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan and Design Guidelines, careful consideration of the site constraints and sensitive environmental areas, need for improved pedestrian/bicycle circulation, and the projected bridge.

Public Meeting #3 – May 3, 2017 (view flyer)
The purpose of this meeting is to present 3 preliminary park concepts based on input from the previous public meetings.  The 3 concepts will show a mix of park amenities that the public can review and share feedback as to which concept (or combination of park elements) they prefer.  Also, the public will have the opportunity to submit ideas for a park name.

Public Meeting #2 – March 29 (view flyer)
The purpose of this meeting is to conduct a visioning exercise to further determine the preferred mix of park elements and their potential placement.  County staff will also review the park naming process and solicit potential names for “South Park.”

Public Meeting #1 – Feb. 22, 2017 (view flyer)
The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the project and solicit ideas for a park name and potential amenities to include in the park design. Attendees will be asked to write down 3 park amenities they would like in the park.


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The Adopted FY 2023-2032 Capital Improvement Plan shows construction funding in FY 2025.

The multi-use trail connecting Route 1 to the Four Mile Run Trail 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.