By now, nonprofit developer AHC has likely started work on the $100 million Berkeley Apartment project located adjacent to the Four Mile Run Trail in Arlington. The main purpose is to "transform a 1960s apartment complex in south Arlington into a much larger mixed-income rental community" but it will also include an upgrade to the section of Four Mile Run Trail that is next to it. That section will be expanded from 8 feet wide to 12 feet wide, though it doesn't look like it in the rendering above, which I believe is old. The fence and landscaping will be different than what you see there, as in the meeting where it was approved it was agreed that:
prior to issuance of the Final Building Permit, [the developer agrees] to submit to the County Manager for review and approval, a final landscape plan with an undulating fence, not to exceed 5’, as shown on the applicant’s attached fence proposal photo, slide #17, dated May 17, 2016. For the area between the Four Mile Run Trail and the fire access lane, the final landscape plan shall include colors and materials consistent with the Four Mile Run Master Plan including materials such as boulders, shrubs, and/or perennials. The developer also agrees that all of the fencing shown ...will be removed no later than December 31, 2036 and that a site plan amendment will be required to retain any fence along the site’s frontage on the Four Mile Run Trail past December 31, 2036, provided that an initial review of the fence by staff will occur no later than December 31, 2026.
The expiration date is a compromise to allow the building security in the short term, but assure that the fence will be removed in the long term. Currently a low, black fence exists on the site, so it's not a step down.
The trail right-of-way is 16 feet wide, so it will be a tight fit either way. The center portion of the fence will be removed which will create an open visual and physical connection to the property. Two gates will provide controlled resident access to the trail. South of this section the trail is 8 feet wide and north of it, it is 10 feet wide.
Below is a view of the building from across Four Mile Run.
Did you know:
While we're talking about the Four Mile Run Trail, did you know that it's the oldest multi-use trail (and oldest bicycle facility) in the region? It was first opened on September 4, 1967, so be gentle on it, it's in its 50's now, at the dawn of the modern trail building movement.
In fact, the trail was THE FIRST bicycle trail in the country built with federal funds. In 1966, Arlington County was one of 11 urban areas (originally 12) in the US that was granted trail funding by the Interior Department to demonstrate what could be done with urban trails. Arlington County was the first to finish their's. Other cities to get funds included New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta and Denver. New York built a hiking trail in Inwood Hill Park. Phoenix improved 140 miles of hiking and bridal paths. Seattle built a plank trail through a "marshy wildlife area." Arlington was the smallest community to get a grant. Secretary Udall hoped it would build momentum for legislation he supported building a nationwide system of trails - which became the National Trails System Act of 1968 (celebrating it's 50th Anniversary this year).
They built the trail adjacent to an existing hiking trail and the still extant W&OD railroad tracks, but this was before I-66 existed.
When it opened it had a crushed limestone surface which ranged in width from 6 to 8 feet and it was only open from 6am to Dark and it only ran from it's current northern end at Roosevelt Street as far south as Columbia Pike (not all the way to Potomac Avenue). It cost $70,000. At the opening ceremony the Navy Band played, there was a demonstration of bicycle riding skills by the Amateur Bicycle League of America, and the Federation of Washington Area Bicycle Clubs was on hand (this being before the founding of WABA). Below is low quality image of kids riding the trail before it opened (I won't tell if you don't).
They also used some of the grant money to build a hiking trail near Windy Run and to buy land for a park there.
So the original Four Mile Run Trail was half as long, half as wide and unpaved. It didn't connect to the W&OD, Custis or the Mt. Vernon Trail (because they didn't exist) and didn't cross to the other side of Four Mile Run. But incrementally, over time, it grew into the trail we have now, one that continues to incrementally get better. They should add a marker to the trail noting it's unique place in trail history.
"Arlington to Get Bicycle Trail", The Evening Star, July 24, 1966, page B1
"Arlington Bike Trail to Open Tomorrow", The Evening Star, September 3, 1967, page C-8