The Rosslyn-Ballston high-rise development corridor is scheduled to get $1.5 million in capital improvements in the coming year as part of the Arlington County Board's plan to make the corridor more attractive to residents and office workers.
"This is the clearest, most tangible evidence of the board's commitment . . . to improve Arlington's livability," said Board Chairman John G. Milliken of recently approved plans for 10 projects in the corridor.
Most of the money will be used to install utility lines underground and to make street and sidewalk improvements, including landscaping, tree-plantings and sidewalk widening.
The projects, said board member Albert C. Eisenberg, represent "the first step in a process . . . [that will] show the county's willingness to put some dollars behind humane, people-oriented" improvements aimed at sprucing up the areas around Metro stops in the corridor.
Most of those Metro stop areas, with the exception of Virginia Square, currently are undergoing large-scale redevelopment, which has disrupted pedestrian and vehicular traffic flow in some cases.
The projects, approved by the County Board last week, were selected after the board solicited suggestions from civic and business groups.
The largest project, estimated to cost $350,000, would allow the underground installation of overhead utility lines along Wilson Boulevard from N. Uhle Street to N. Barton Street. The area is a block from the county courthouse, where massive redevelopment is under way. About $50,000 of that will also go to street landscaping improvements near existing restaurants and the post office.
The second-largest project, totaling $290,000, calls for street improvements on N. Moore Street, from Interstate 66 to Wilson Boulevard. The improvements are considered particularly important there because the Rosslyn Metro stop, a gateway to Arlington, is on N. Moore Street.
As such, Pete Eckel of the county's financial office wrote in a report, the area has a "high volume of pedestrian traffic and forms much of the visual impression that Rosslyn leaves on its workers and visitors."
The third-largest project, costing $275,000, is designed to provide street and landscaping improvements in the Clarendon area in conjunction with improvements planned by private developers there. Most of the improvements would be made along a two-block area along N. Highland Street, between Wilson and Washington boulevards, where the high-rise Olmsted Building is under construction.
Improvements along the north side of Wilson Boulevard are not expected to be made until about 1987. But board member Mary Margaret Whipple said the county staff is being encouraged to persuade businesses there to begin improvements that would "capitalize on the international flavor" of the area, which is now dominated by Southeast Asian businesses.
Among the other projects, the board approved $50,000 in matching funds for the Ballston Partnership. Larry Burrows of the Oliver T. Carr Co., a development firm with projects in the Ballston area, described the 64-member partnership as a group consisting of civic associations, businesses and individuals interested in promoting Ballston.
Its purpose, Burrows said, "is, hopefully, to provide the glue, tie all the projects together for the public's benefit." He said the group will try to help coordinate urban design and street projects in the area, which has several new developments under way.
The partnership has already raised about $85,000, of which $60,000 is in cash, and the remainder from free services offered "in kind" by businesses, architects and attorneys. In addition to the $50,000 the board aproved last week, another $50,000 may be appropriated from the contingency fund of the county's economic development commission, and another undetermined amount of in-kind county services.
The board also expressed interest in setting aside about $40,000 in matching funds to improve Rosslyn's small park plazas. Anna Lee Berman, director of the county's department of management and finance, said the money could come from a $44,000 contingency fund established for the 10 projects.
The appropriation of the county funds, however, will depend on whether the board can reach an agreement with the private developers of the parks on the projects the county may want to undertake, she said.
Even then, she said, the specifics of the projects will have to be refined because the county cannot use public funds for improvements to private property.
Other projects included in the list are: street landscape improvements to N. Oak Street, from N. 17th Street to Key Boulevard ($110,000); curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements on N. Stafford Street, between Fairfax Drive and N. 11th Street ($30,000); and intersection improvements at Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street, including new crosswalks, landscaping on the median strip and traffic signal improvements ($110,000).
Other projects include street and landscape improvements on the north side of Fairfax Drive between N. Stafford and N. Taylor streets ($71,000); curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements on N. Stuart Street between Fairfax Drive and N. 11th Street ($85,000), and street improvements on the northwest corner of Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive.