Letters to the Editor: November 29 – December 5, 2018
There Are More ‘Sidewalks To Nowhere’ in City of F.C.
Thanks so much for your article on the “Sidewalk to Nowhere” on Park Ave. I’m glad that neighbors are now speaking up and the City is taking the issue on. Great work!
There is a larger issue here, though: there are multiple “sidewalks to nowhere” on the north side of Park Ave. stretching from N. West St. to the 400 block (the subject of your article). There are both long and short stretches without sidewalks where pedestrians are forced to either walk in the street or cross to find a sidewalk.
I remember Park Ave. from the 70s, 80s and 90s. It was a different world: occasional big, empty lots filled with tall grass, modest, slow traffic through an entirely residential neighborhood, and parking spots everywhere. Everything has changed now and new development, particularly at the west end of Park, will create an exponential increase in the volume of traffic and pedestrians, the scarcity of parking, and the danger to children (and adults) who now step right out of their front yards and directly into the street and traffic.
This is not just about residents. Imagine dozens, maybe hundreds, of pedestrians departing the movies and restaurants at the west end of Park and finding themselves walking in the street to locate their parked cars a few blocks away.
I think a “Great Street” is wonderful, but to make it truly great, it is time to look at the issue more holistically. Times have changed.
Crystal City Height Restrictions Are Because of Airport
In response to “Leonsis Calls for ‘Rethinking Rules on Verticality,’” please remember that proximity to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was a chief selling point for Amazon. Safe, continued operation of the airport is key to retaining Amazon in the years ahead. Though building up rather than out has several advantages, it must be done thoughtfully and with proper planning.
National Airport has among the nation’s shortest runways, and its proximity to the Pentagon and White House severely restricts its usable airspace (for security reasons). Tall buildings built in a way that may further encroach on the airport’s usable airspace could easily compromise safe airport operations. This is particularly true when a plane suffers a mechanical problem — particularly an engine outage — which happens a lot more frequently than one might think. [Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary sits just north of an airport runway.]
Planes with mechanical difficulty cannot land at National Airport and must divert to Dulles. If what’s called the “river route” is obstructed by tall buildings, then planes must fly a different route over populated areas, including the Little City, to reach Dulles. The Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) studied this issue back in 2014 and approved a resolution supporting FAA building height restrictions that would keep critical flight paths open, making it safer for all of us on the ground.
For more information, visit the ACCF’s website at www.civfed.org/committees/public-services/ and scroll down to “Background on FAA Navigation Hazard Evaluation Rulemaking Change [Oct 2014].”
Suzanne Smith Sundburg
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