A pop-up art store in Tysons is set to showcase art from international artists at a show on Saturday (April 27).
The Dara Global Arts Gallery is planning a reception from 2-6 p.m. in their pop-up store at 7501 Leesburg Pike, which opened in February. The artwork on display ranges from oils and acrylics to ceramic artwork, and the event on Saturday will feature an opera performance.
The gallery is typically open by appointment only, but the event will throw open the doors to the public.
Dara Global Arts Gallery is part of a budding art scene in Tysons. The gallery’s stated objective is “bringing harmony and peace through art,” reflected in the gallery’s emphasis on diversity both in artists and in the type of art displayed.
The artwork will be on display from April 27 through May 13.
The gallery is also planning an event for Mother’s Day on May 5 with special artwork and a jewelry gallery.
Fairfax County officials are hoping a new lane restriping on Pimmit Hills streets can trick speeders into slowing down.
At a meeting at Westgate Elementary last night (Monday), Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) staff said that Lisle Avenue — a main traffic route through Pimmit Hills — and Pimmit Drive are not wide enough to add bike lanes while maintaining street parking.
But staff said adding clear designators of the parking spots could give the street a “narrowing effect” that has been shown to reduce excessive speeding.
The actual size of the lanes doesn’t change, but the narrowing can have a psychological impact on drivers and reduce the feeling of wide-open roads that lulls drivers into the idea that it’s safe to speed.
“We see reductions in outlying speeds of 10-20 miles above the speed limit on traditionally wide roads,” said Chris Wells, bicycle and pedestrian program manager for FCDOT. “These narrower streets benefit in eliminating the fastest speeders.”
Normally, Wells said he would like to see bicycle lanes added, which would also have the narrowing effect, but that the only way to introduce bike lanes would have been to take away street parking.
The lane changes are being planned as part of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s planned repaving of the entire Pimmit Hills Neighborhood.
Allison Richter, liaison for Fairfax and Arlington counties for VDOT, said that Pimmit Hills had been on the schedule for a while, but water line work in the area meant VDOT held off because they didn’t want to put down asphalt only for it to be torn up again.
The timeline of when the repaving and restriping will take place is vague, occurring sometime between April and November. Richter said VDOT lets contractors select their own schedule as a cost-saving measure, but more exact dates will be known closer to when work starts.
At the meeting, a half dozen local residents also urged officials to look at the intersection of Pimmit Drive and Route 7, which they said is terrible for pedestrians and faces frequent backups into the Trader Joe’s parking lot. Wells said staff would look into what could be done to improve the location, but they’re restrained at the moment to the project’s scope.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 8 a.m.) To the casual viewer, Pimmit Hills is a sleepy subdivision just southeast of Tysons quickly being overshadowed by its neighbor. But Pimmit Hills is a neighborhood with a surprising depth of history and one that played a central role in much of the region’s development.
In her new book, “Participation, Community and Public Policy in a Virginia Suburb“, Patricia Donahue, a policy fellow at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, follows the neighborhood across sixty years of history.
On Nov. 10, the book was awarded the Ross Netherton Prize, a $1000 prize awarded for a work covering local history.
Donahue said the book started almost ten years ago when she was researching public policy impacts on small neighborhoods.
“I looked for a community in Northern Virginia that I thought was typical of a middle-income community in the post-war era,” said Donahue. “I thought it would be a simple case study, but it just kept unfolding into one fascinating story after another. It really told the story of suburbia in one community.”
Pimmit Hills was built as a subdivision in the 1950s for veterans of World War II and the Korean War. Though today it is dwarfed by nearby development, when it was first built it was the largest subdivision in Fairfax County by far; four or five times larger than any of the others.
When it was first built, the neighborhood was surrounded by farms and fields, but today it’s completely surrounded by highways and development. Donahue compared it to real estate holdouts in major cities.
Donahue said it was fascinating to follow the same community, and often same families, through the turbulent latter half of the 20th century through today.
“So much happened there,” said Donahue. “They dealt with desegregation, [growing] infrastructure, the baby boom… they were part of Fairfax transforming from a rural community into an urban one.”
Donahue said she stumbled on various extreme viewpoints from people who were essentially neighbors. The topic of segregation was one that had bitterly divided the community.
“There were people who supported massive resistance to desegregation, with residents who were very comfortable using language we find tough,” said Donahue. “But at the same time, in the same community, there were three ministers who made a public statement six months after the Montgomery bus boycott saying they totally rejected segregation and they wouldn’t let their churches support it. In one community, it’s a whole range of views. People risking their careers and people who were like ‘there’s no way we’re going to let this happen.'”
Beyond just segregation, Donahue said there were some horrific crimes throughout the neighborhood’s history as well. During the 1960s, Pimmit Hills was a pseudo-headquarters for The Pagans, a notorious motorcycle gang. In 1970, members of The Pagans kidnapped rival gang members, tortured them in Arlington, then murdered them in the forest near Pimmit Hills.
Pimmit Hills also played a surprising role in regional and national history. Donahue said Charles Lewis, one of the early presidents of the Pimmit Hills Citizens Association, was a researcher on the first American exploration of Antarctica. Frances Lanahan, a journalist and daughter of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, once wrote a profile of the neighborhood.
But one of the most notable moments for Pimmit Hills was in the early 1950s when Fairfax County signed up to be one of the first large-scale tests for Jonas Salk’s new polio vaccine. After gossip columnist Walter Winchell alleged that the polio vaccine would end up killing children, Donahue said many other communities yielded to concerns and pulled out of the tests. But given the high mortality rate of polio in Fairfax, Donahue said the county was the only community to stay in the program.
“Imagine the courage of those families who agreed when no one else would to have their children immunized,” said Donahue. “Second graders in Pimmit Hills were among the first in the nation to get the vaccine.”
Whether the neighborhood can survive with new development pressures all around it remains in question. Donahue says she believes the neighborhood will continue to adapt and continue to survive.
“Like a lot of communities, they struggled with ‘hey, do we want development on our doorstep?'” said Donahue. “That’s still a struggle. Will they survive? I think they’re part of the change. If you drive through Pimmit Hills, every fourth or fifth house is a rebuild. They are changing it. I think they are not going to be bystanders in this change. They are going to be active agents in shaping that change.”
The book, which is intended for an academic audience, is currently listed at $89.98 on Amazon.
Tysons is working towards being a more bike friendly community, but as anyone who’s pedaled through the area could tell you, it’s not quite there yet.
The Fairfax County Bicycle Map ranks streets throughout the county on a “most comfortable” to “use caution” scale. Nearly all of Tysons is colored in the yellow “less comfortable” indicator.
Some of the major thoroughfares, like Westpark Drive, International Drive, and Leesburg Pike are all listed as “use caution,” though many of those streets are categorized as having bikeable sidewalks.
But on the periphery of Tysons proper, Nicole Wynands, Bicycle Program Manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said there are several neighborhoods and trails that are perfect for biking.
“The Pimmit Hills area of Tysons is the most bikeable neighborhood with calm residential streets and good internal connectivity,” said Wynands. “The Jones Branch Connector will open shortly to pedestrians and cyclists, connecting Pimmit Hills and the McLean Metro with downtown Tysons via a shared-use path.”
Whether that bike-ability lasts as the northern edge of the neighborhood faces redevelopment remains to be seen.
Wynands had additional Tysons area cycling suggestions.
“Another great residential cycling area is Tysons Green, west of Route 7, with a good connection to the W&OD Trail and a beautiful stream/valley trail (Foxstone Park & Waverly Park),” said Wynands, via email. “The Vesper Trail is in the final stages of construction and will connect Tysons Green to downtown Tysons.”
Some caution is still urged at the eastern end of Old Courthouse Road in Tysons Green. Earlier this week a man died crossing the street.
For those willing to brave bicycling through downtown Tysons, Wynands said there are a few corridors cyclists can ride on more comfortably.
- Greensboro Drive — The street parallel to Leesburg Pike that runs along The Boro development.
- Park Run — A street that runs from the Tysons Galleria Shopping Center to the Freddie Mac headquarters.
- Westbranch Drive — A street east of Tysons Galleria along the planned The Mile development, right past the Tysons Republik Coffee.