Supermarket at Mazda Site a Bad Idea

750 N. Glebe is a 12 story mid-rise mixed use development project consisting of 491 luxury apartments, 733 park spaces and 62,000 square feet of retail space including a supermarket.

The fact that virtually none of the units except 22 CAFs designated as “affordable” will be affordable to most Arlington residents is cause for concern. The impact of adding almost 500 additional units in the immediate vicinity of Ballston Mall, which has already absorbed 1,500 newly constructed or soon to be constructed units is cause for even greater concern. But inclusion in this project of a grocery store that will generate 4,800 car trips on week days and 7,700 trips on Saturdays gives pause.

Such intensive development is imprudent because the intersection of Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd. is dangerous now. The traffic generated by the grocery store will not only add to the hazard of walking in the vicinity, it will also add to the gridlock of traffic dumped by a soon to be constructed lane on I-66 just one block away at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and Glebe Road.

Construction of a supermarket at this location is also unnecessary, because there’s a Harris Teeter within two short blocks of the site and a Safeway within a half mile. If more grocery shopping is needed, plans to renovate the Safeway within the height limitations preferred by Bluemont neighbors ought to be revisited.

Page 3 of the Staff Report says:

The proposed project meets GLUP goals for form, use, and transition, and is consistent with development in the Ballston Metro Station Area. The addition of a new full-service grocery store is a major benefit to the community. The project implements principles of good architecture and urban design, is compatible with and complementary to surrounding development . . .

How can a development that exceeds permitted FAR by 20 percent and endangers pedestrian traffic benefit the community? How can the addition of 7,700 car trips on surrounding streets contribute to the walkable communities envisioned in Arlington planning documents?

750 N. Glebe is a runaway train that will permanently derail plans to make Ballston a livable neighborhood. It is time for the County Board to flex its muscle and just say No to Tysons Corner style development. Tell B.F. Saul to move the supermarket somewhere—anywhere but the intersection of Wilson and Glebe Road.

If County Board cannot bring itself to constrain this development, then please tell B.F. Saul to pony up for construction of the long overdue west entrance to the Ballston Metro.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *