8th Rd N & N Lexington St Safe Routes to School Street Project

Location

8th Road North from North Kensington Street to North Lexington Street, and North Lexington Street from 8th Road North to Wilson Boulevard, in the Bluemont neighborhood., Arlington, VA 22205  View Map

Status

Procurement

8th Road N map

This project was identified as a needed improvement to provide a safe, accessible pedestrian route to connect students and Bluemont residents to Wilson Boulevard and Ashlawn Elementary School. The project remains a priority connection due to the lack of an accessible pathway, the 20% of students who walk or bike to Ashlawn Elementary School, and the expanded walk zone for the 2020/2021 school year.

Project Updates

The renovation and expansion of Ashlawn Elementary School identified several enhancements needed in the walk-zone of the school, including the need for a safe, accessible route to connect students from the portions of the Bluemont neighborhood south of Wilson Boulevard to the school.

Final Recommended Concept Plan

The recommended concept plan is a revision of the Advanced Concept Plan that addresses community concerns around parking by retaining some parking on each side of the street. The recommended concept:

  • Provides a safe, accessible pedestrian route by adding sidewalk and accessible curb ramps
  • Retains parking on both sides of 8th Rd S, partially addressing resident concerns, while maintaining necessary roadway widths for emergency vehicle access
  • Retains 18 parking spots (25 existing; 16 retained in the previous concept)
  • Helps lower traffic speeds by creating a less direct travel path for motor vehicles, which helps address resident concerns around speeding

Recommended Concept Plan

Advanced Concept Plan

The advanced concept plan retains the benefits of providing an accessible and safe pedestrian route from the preliminary concept plan. In order to maintain required clearance for emergency vehicles, the advanced concept includes parking restrictions on one side of 8th Road North.

  • 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side of 8th Road North between North Kensington and North Lexington Streets
  • 4-foot-wide utility strip on 8th Road to include street trees (species selection occurs later in the design process)
  • 6-foot-wide sidewalk with no utility strip on North Lexington Street from 8th Road to existing sidewalk currently connecting to Wilson Boulevard, to maintain existing sidewalk and street alignment
  • Limited impacts to existing frontages
  • Parking will be restricted on one side of 8th Street to maintain required clearances for emergency access vehicles.
  • No changes to street lighting
  • Avoiding impacts to utilities, where possible
  • Fewest pedestrian crossings possible
  • All works must be ADA compliant
  • All improvements will be located in the County-owned right of way

Advanced Concept Plan

Preliminary Concept Plans

The initial configuration identified for this project would have paved an existing gravel service road through Bluemont Park, but the project scope was revised to instead connect to Wilson Boulevard. This change in scope was due to changes in state environmental legislation discouraging increases in impervious surfacing, and to connect to existing transit service routes. The route will connect the existing pedestrian infrastructure within the south portion of Bluemont neighborhood for the benefit of all pedestrians.

The preliminary concept plan scope includes:

  • 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side of 8th Road North between North Kensington and North Lexington Streets
  • 4-foot-wide utility strip on 8th Road to include street trees (species selection occurs later in the design process)
  • 6-foot-wide sidewalk with no utility strip on North Lexington Street from 8th Road to existing sidewalk currently connecting to Wilson Boulevard, to maintain existing sidewalk and street alignment
  • Limited impacts to existing frontages
  • Maintaining existing on-street parking on both sides of the street with street width reduced to 28 feet, curb-to-curb
  • No changes to street lighting
  • Avoiding impacts to utilities, where possible
  • Fewest pedestrian crossings possible
  • All works must be ADA compliant
  • All improvements will be located in the County-owned right of way

Additional Design Considerations

As the project undergoes detailed design, County staff are reviewing the existing “yield” sign at the corner of 8th Road North and North Lexington Street. The review of the suitability of the yield sign will be incorporated into the detailed design.

Staff will monitor vehicle speed and volumes through the project area before and after the improvements are implemented.

Detailed design will include consideration of existing drainage and grading, discharge of sump pumps and roof leaders/gutters, replacement of driveway aprons, and grading and site restoration to match conditions on private property. Works performed as part of this project will occur at the expense of Arlington County, and will not be charged to property owners. In some cases, temporary construction easements may be necessary to match to the existing grading.

Public Process

This project was first identified through the process of expanding and renovating Ashlawn Elementary School, completed in 2015. The highest level of engagement planned for the project will be at the “Communicate and Consult” level in the early stages, and “Communicate” once the concept design has been identified.

The following engagement activities have taken place:

  • The final recommended concept plan was mailed to affected property owners and shared with the Bluemont Civic Association in March 2021; A virtual meeting was also held to discuss changes.
  • Staff presented the advanced concept and answered community questions at the December 2020 Bluemont Civic Association Meeting.
  • Community feedback was collected on the advanced concept plan in November and December of 2020 via an online feedback form as well as smaller on-site meetings. Project information was also shared with the Ashlawn Elementary community through meetings with the PTA president and Vice Principal.
  • Staff presented a project update and shared the advanced concept plan at the December 2019 Bluemont Civic Association Meeting.
  • Staff met with affected property owners in November of 2019, at North Lexington Street and 8th Road North, to present a project update and share an advanced concept plan.
  • Staff met with affected property owners in November of 2018, at North Lexington Street and 8th Road North, and at additional site meetings as requested.
  • Staff presented a preliminary concept(JPG, 1MB) for neighborhood discussion at the Nov. 28, 2018, meeting of the Bluemont Civic Association and on Nov. 29, 2018, with the Ashlawn PTA President.
  • County staff met with affected residents in fall 2019 to share updated plans, street improvements and proposed sidewalks on 8th Road North and North Lexington Street.
  • Staff are available for additional input as needed through the planning stages of the project design. Residents and property owners should contact staff.
  • Staff will continue to update this webpage and engage with the Ashlawn PTA and Bluemont Civic Association throughout the project.

Funding

The FY 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) dedicated funding for these improvements through the Safe Routes to School program. A portion of the project will be funded through the Transportation Alternatives Program grant administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation.