1.6. Provide more support services and amenities for public space users.
Public spaces should include the amenities that make them more comfortable, including seating, drinking fountains, shade, and portable or permanent restrooms (see Appendix III, Design Guidelines). Concessions could include permanent or temporary structures that sell food and alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, rent equipment such as bicycles, or offer services such as dog washing.
1.6.1. Explore expanding the offering or permitting of concessions in public spaces in high density corridors, adjacent to sports fields and at locations where special events are regularly held (see 4.6.4.).
Current park rules and regulations allow for some types of concessions at park and recreation facilities, but the practice is currently limited to a few parks. Recognizing that concessions can enhance the user experience, spur additional use of public spaces, and even generate proceeds to reinvest in public spaces, the County should consider revising zoning regulations as needed in order to expand its permitting of concessions.
1.6.2. Explore the revision of Section 17-2 of the Arlington County Code to allow the County to issue permits for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in designated parks.
Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents indicated that they would be supportive of the sale of food and beverages, at least on a temporary basis, in parks and public spaces. This rises to over 60 percent when asked about the sale of food and beverages in the County’s high-density corridors or certain designated parks and plazas. The County currently allows the sale of alcoholic beverages by permit in three parks: Gateway Park, Clarendon Central Park and Fort C. F. Smith Park.
1.6.3. Ensure that as new schools and other public buildings are constructed adjacent to parks, schools and other major public spaces, consideration is given to creating restrooms that can be accessed from the exterior of the building.
Creating restrooms that are accessed from the exterior of a building has the advantages of siting the restrooms closest to the outdoor amenities and having the ability to be open for use during the park or public space hours of operation. Recent examples include exterior restrooms at Fairlington Community Center and Stratford Middle School.
1.6.4. Design and build new permanent restrooms and retrofit existing restrooms to accommodate year-round use.
Permanent restroom facilities should be designed and constructed so that the spaces are heated and the building is insulated.
1.6.5. Consider adding Wi-Fi to provide public internet access in public spaces that are programmed more than half of their time (e.g., community centers, sports fields) as well as in plazas and other public spaces in high-density corridors.
Public internet access could allow public space users to find out more about the spaces they are using, increase safety, and allow visitors to instantly share their experiences via social media.
1.6.6. Reconfigure or add infrastructure to public spaces to support programming such as events and classes (see also 5.6.2.).
Some public spaces may be able to support programming based on community interest, but are not configured or outfitted to accommodate the desired activities. For example, electric outlets could be added to a plaza to support live music, movie night or other entertainment.
1.6.7. Develop and implement consistent signage in public spaces to improve wayfinding, more effectively brand the system, and enhance the appeal of individual spaces as part of a cohesive whole.
Attractive and cohesively designed signage present at all County-owned public spaces and privately-owned public spaces will help brand the system. More creative signage can both improve wayfinding (e.g., making access points to trails and public spaces) and create a brand for Arlington’s public space system that will help elevate it as part of the County’s identity.