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SAVE the Ballston Pedestrian Skywalk!
Monday, July 20, 2015
by:

Section: 2014




ATTENTION – Arlington Residents With Disabilities and ANYONE who uses Ballston Metro Station and the covered pedestrian skywalks to get to Ballston Common Mall or nearby offices, shops, and residential buildings.

On Monday, July 20, 2015 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Arlington Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) will meet to begin to consider plans for the renovation and redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall and surrounding area, including a proposal to eliminate the covered pedestrian bridge over Wilson Boulevard.

This covered pedestrian bridge, and one over N. Ninth Street, afford a continuous safe and accessible route to walk or roll between Metro and the Mall regardless of outside weather condition or temperature.  Many people with disabilities and seniors use the covered bridges daily.
YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION CAN HELP SAVE THE BRIDGES!

Please join ECNV, other disability rights advocates and the SAVE THE BRIDGE Coalition by attending the SPRC meeting on Monday, July 20.
When: 6:45 p.m. (meeting is 7-10 p.m.) on Monday, July 20, 2015
Where: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Building
4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington (enter on N. Taylor St.)
First Floor Conference Center, Room CC1
Metro: Ballston (Orange Line) – Underground Parking  Available

To request accommodations, contact the Arlington Planning Division at 703.228.3525 (Voice/Relay).   For more about the action, contact Doris at dorisr@ecnv.org or 703.673.4489 (V/Relay).

YOUR attendance at the July 20 SPRC meeting is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to demonstrate wide community support to Save the Bridge!
MORE DETAILS FOLLOW: 

 
Here is some further information from the Save The Bridges In Ballston Coalition.

The SPRC meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 10 p.m.  The SAVE The Bridge Coalition requests that you arrive early.  When you arrive, you will be met by area residents that are organizers for the Coalition to Save the Covered Pedestrian Bridges in Ballston. They will distribute materials and advise you of how to use them.

A large community presence just prior to the beginning of the meeting, and for the initial hour or so during the meeting is critical.  During that time, the SPRC will see the proposed plans to remodel the mall with the bridge eliminated.  Your presence will make it clear to the SPRC that there is a large amount of community support for keeping the bridge.

You will be asked to hold flyers that call upon the SPRC to save the bridges.  If you can only stay for an hour or two, that will still be very valuable.

Background

The site plan submitted by mall owner, Forest City, to remodel the mall will eliminate the covered pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd. If that bridge is eliminated, eventually a second bridge over 9th Street will also be eliminated.

The two covered pedestrian bridges in Ballston provide a safe, protected transportation link that stretches from Ballston Common Mall to the Ballston Metro stop. Many people with disabilities and seniors, rely on the bridges. With the covered pedestrian bridges, and the two block long mall, they can travel four blocks to obtain transportation and other essential services regardless of weather conditions, which ultimately allows them a measure of independence that they otherwise would not have.

The July 20 meeting is critical; it is the first SPRC meeting in a series of meetings that will consider the owner’s site plan application and make recommendations for changes and modifications based on community input before the application is forwarded to the planning commission and county board for final approval.

Your presence, and that of others, will send a signal that there is strong public support for keeping the covered bridge system. And that support will influence the discussion for the second SPRC meeting on July 30 when they consider options to eliminate or retain a bridge. Both of these meetings are important. Our focus now is on the July 20th meeting in Ballston. The county is expected to make a final decision on the overall project by late Fall.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP 

Sign up for the email list of the Save the Bridge coalition at savebridge@outlook.com. The Coalition will send alerts about meetings where you can speak or participate in planned advocacy actions. You can also send email to them about how the bridges help you or how losing them would hurt you, and they will forward it on to the County board as part of a coordinated effort.

WHY GET INVOLVED?

Without a visible presence by the disability community to show its concerns, plans for the demolition of the pedestrian covered bridges, could proceed unnoticed. NOW is the time to act.  Be there if you care about accessibility in our community!

THANK YOU, and see you on July 20, at 6:45 pm: at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) building in Ballston!
 
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