Four Mile Run Park Plaza is located in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood where Mt. Vernon Avenue crosses Four Mile Run, a tributary of the Potomac River. The 48-acre park contains a number of outdoor amenities including a soccer field, baseball diamond, futsal court, kayak launch area, and a segment of Four Mile Run Trail. The park is also home to a community center.
The chosen study area within Four Mile Run Park is the 280’ by 120’ plaza bounded to the west by Mt. Vernon Ave, to the south by the community center, to the north by a parking lot, and to the east by the soccer field. This plaza is mostly paved with asphalt, but contains a section of semi-permeable brick pavers and a grassy field. Along the edges of the pavement are grassy areas with trees, bioswales, and on-site composting infrastructure.
A series of benches line the edge of the plaza along Mt. Vernon Ave., while several combined table/bench units dot the pavement and shady areas on the plaza’s eastern edge. Informal seating is available through large boulders installed as part of the landscaping and along the steps of the community center’s stage. At the southwest corner of the plaza is a bus stop serviced by three WMATA lines connecting Alexandria, and the Rosslyn and Ballston neighborhoods of Arlington. A Capital Bikeshare docking station is available at the plaza’s perimeter.
Students recommended several design schemes to improve user enjoyment and comfort within the plaza of Four Mile Run Park. Many of these improvements would address Gehl’s Twelve Quality Criteria, especially “options for play, exercise, and activities.”
Scheme 1: The Plaza