Wandering the West PikeOctober 20th, 2018
Western Gateway / Neighborhood Center
Saturday October 13th, artist Graham Coreil-Allen from Walk Arlington led us along the Pike from Arlington Mill Plaza to the West End county line. Coreil-Allen's presented all kinds of information about the Pike but his main emphasis was on Public Spaces. County Board members Christian Dorsey and John Vihstadt were there for the begining of the walk. I have only included a very limited version of what was covered during the walk .
We met in the Plaza of Arlington Mill Community Center where Coreil-Allen asked us to list benefits of the Public Space of the Plaza and the Center. Some named were the Playground, the Stage, Bike Station, Gym, Games, Computers, Community & Senior Center, Park, Affordable Housing (which is at the back of the Center), Farmers Market, Movie Night. He went into more detail of the benefits of the Center and Plaza and the Affordable housing along with many of the other activities that use this space.
Next we walked to Phoenix Bikes which is also located in the Center, their main door faces Columbia Pike. We were met by a representative of Phoenix Bikes who introduced us to their Youth Program.
Graham (we are now on a first name basis) talked about the architecture of the buildings which he said was Colonial many many times removed. He discussed all the open spaces here and their benfits. A resident of Frederick Courts gave a brief history that included the change from appartments to condominiums. She also told us they were just begining new landscaping around all of the buildings.
The wall in front of the Palazzo Condominiums is considered by many to be one of the major eyesores on the Pike. Graham with tongue in cheek discussed the tempory large concrete art strutures which were in front of the wall. He went on to discuss the area which is being made ready for one of the new Transit Stations. This area will become more people friendly with a much larger sidwalk, medium strip for trees, decorative flower containers etc. There was some discussion about the million dollar transit station located futher down the Pike next to S. Walter Reed which led to the cancelation of the Streetcar. More information about the Transit Stations and the Art that will be associated with them was given by Angela Adams Director of Arlington Public Art. Brendan Adams gave information about the wall, which belongs to Arlington County along with possiblities on how to enhance it and how that might be financed. One of the main ideas for the wall is street art, which has quite a lot of support but at the moment no money.
Our next stop was at the Shell Building (a Shell Station used to be here) which is one of the newer buildings on the Pike and already has wider sidewalks. Graham covered some of the Form Based Code requirements. One of the requirements of the code is that new appartment buildings are required to have commerical businesses on the first floor. The appartments in this case are afforderable housing and the Full Circle Montessori School takes up all of the ground floor.
Passing a lot of road construction we reached the end of the walk in a parking lot overlooking S. Jefferson where a major public art piece will be installed.
Graham went into detail about the new sculpture which is being created by Donald Lipski and its significance for the Pike.
The sculpture is created from the blade of a wind turbine. The base will be studded with thousands of coins from hundreds of countries. The coins will represent the diverse population of Columbia Pike. The sculpture will be installed at the south west corner of S. Jefferson & Columbia Pike.