February 2024 Ashton Heights Newsletter


The February 2024 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Crime, Development and Transportation
by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Issues rise and fall within the Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) over the years, but these crime, development and transportation always appear at the top of the list. 

In planning for the Washington Metro and its corridor development, Washington, DC commuter traffic through Route 50, Langston Blvd-Lee Highway changes, and even Wilson Blvd, we have to address the commensurate crime issues that Metro, commuter traffic, and more densified development naturally bring along.

AHCA has worked with Arlington on bike lanes, more prominent signage and lighting for pedestrian walkways, bump-outs at intersections for shorter crosswalk distances, narrowing Wilson Blvd to reduce its use for rush hour commuters, and more prominent signage along Langston. All of this has had positive impacts, but there will still be more people commuting and housing density will increase, especially now after the County Board’s Expanded Housing Option (EHO) vote.

As mentioned earlier, our AHCA Safety and Security Committee chaired by Christina Schultz, keeps in contact with the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD), as well as our AHCA Transportation Committee chaired by Patrick Lueb on interfacing on traffic calming and data analysis and efforts with the community on North Jackson and North Kenmore Streets. The AHCA working group on bar/restaurant noise chaired by Martha Casey also talks routinely with ACPD. At our upcoming February AHCA monthly meeting, we will have an ACPD representative on security and crime along with a speaker from the local insurance industry on actions homeowners, condo owners and renters can do, to reduce certain types of crime and property loss or damage.

As mentioned in almost every newsletter, our most busy committee is the AHCA Development Committee co-chaired by Jack Spilsbury and Alexander Tuneski, which covers Clarendon redevelopment, a range of high-rise commercial and residential projects about to be built, tracking EHO policies and projects, and coordinating with other civic associations. I also have commandeered long-time AHCA ExCom member Ken Matzkin to work with the other civic associations on these issues.

As an aside, but very relevant, as you can see from our listserv traffic, we have various thought leaders within our community with different perspectives and visions on missing middle housing (MMH) that now has evolved into EHO Development (https://www.arlingtonva.us/Government/Programs/Building/Permits/EHO) allowing duplexes and other multiple housing approaches on residential lots. I do appreciate AHCA ExCom member David Phillips putting out ideas on “common ground” to begin a discussion on some AHCA consensus. I would like these efforts to continue, hopefully in parallel with our Lyon Park Citizens Association partners.

From my own perspective, I moved here as a missing middle single home buyer in 1984, purchasing a Sears kit bungalow before the Metro stops were fully opened, because it was affordable, close-in to Washington, DC where I worked, great tree-canopy and a plethora of local parks – and most importantly great people. As I had my family, the great school quality and amazing neighbors just added to this positive experience. And in my 70’s, all of the above – including access to high-quality health care, local vendors and restaurants just add that extra layer of pleasure.

I believe our conversations are healthy, as we build our common views, share concerns, and hopefully row in the same direction on how we guide the County Board, run with our sister civic associations – all with the same vision and goals, to sustain and evolve Arlington and especially our community into the great place where we all live.

Dialogue is healthy, different viewpoints are expected, but lastly I want to state that respect for diversity of viewpoints is welcome and required. So, let us agree in 2024, not to follow behaviors by the national politicians, and work on common goals, share perspectives, and move forward together with a common vision of attributes our community should encompass.

I am excited about the new year 2024. I appreciate all the work our ExCom, committees, special working groups, and our members put into the civic association and our community. It all matters. So again, Happy New Year, enjoy the snow and winter weather! 

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