by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2015 at 5:45 pm 0

Salt truck (file photo)(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) Arlington County has nearly run out of road salt during today’s snow storm.

We hear that county roads crews have been unable to fully treat some treacherous stretches of roadway this afternoon due to the salt shortage, leaving drivers stranded on hills and frustrating police officers trying to reopen roads where there have been accidents.

Jessica Baxter, spokeswoman for the Dept. of Environmental Services, confirmed the salt shortage in an email to ARLnow.com this evening.

It’s been a really rough winter season, not only in our region but across the nation. The County is experiencing end of season low inventory levels of salt. Stock piles from our regional contractor are near depleted. We received mid-season resupply, but it was not enough due to the severity of this winter. We’re doing everything we can to receive additional tons as soon as possible.

Crews are working around the clock and their primary effort will be to plow snow from the streets. We’ll use salt conservatively and supplement with sand.

The problem is apparently impacting some other jurisdictions in the region as well. Additional information from Baxter:

We utilize a regional contract [for salt]. Almost all salt in our region comes from the port of Baltimore. We believe all jurisdictions are working carefully to manage their remaining supply.

Arlington has two salt storage facilities, one north side and one south side. Our maximum capacity is about 8,000 tons. We start the season each year at full capacity and refill during the winter.

About 5-6 inches of snow has fallen on Arlington so far today, with the snowflakes beginning to taper off. The snow has caused numerous accidents, stranded drivers, temporarily blocked roads and even the GW Parkway, and forced businesses to close early.


by Ethan Rothstein — March 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm 0

Battle at Ballston snowball fight(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) As Arlington weathers yet another March snowfall, residents are organizing another March snowball fight.

Today, at 4:30 p.m., at Penrose Square — the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Barton Street — neighbors are being invited to participate in a snowball fight in what could be five or more inches of snow.

Pike resident Chris Slatt put out the call for the fight at just about noon on Twitter as a spur-of-the-moment idea. Over the phone, he told ARLnow.com that it seemed like a good opportunity for the shenanigans, considering schools, the government and many private offices are closed.

“My kids wanted to have a snowball fight, and it’s no fun with just three people,” he said.

Whereas last year’s snowball fight in Virginia Square was set up dodgeball-style and more than 100 people showed up, Slatt has no plans for anything remotely that organized. He said in the seven years he’s lived on the Pike, he’s never heard of another community-organized snowball fight.

“I have no idea what to expect,” he said. “It could be 10 people, it could be 100. No rules, just be neighborly and have fun.”

One thing attendees might expect: the rare opportunity to legally throw an object at a legislator.

Far from the frivolity, roads are getting increasingly dangerous. Route 110 at N. Marshall drive had to be briefly closed to clear an accident, and Glebe Road was closed in multiple locations for accidents, including a jackknifed ART bus.

According to scanner reports, S. Walter Reed Drive at Quincy Street was blocked at about 3:10 p.m. for a single-vehicle accident and multiple vehicles are stuck on the hill at Wilson Blvd and N. Lexington Street. Another ART bus was involved in a wreck at Washington Blvd and 3rd Street N., per the scanner.

Primary roads are being plowed as Arlington remains in Phase 2 of snow-clearing efforts, according to the county website. Residential streets will likely have to wait a while longer before plows begin to arrive.

The snow is expected to continue to fall into the evening, and Arlington will remain under a winter storm warning until 9:00 p.m.

Update at 5:00 p.m. — The snowball fight actually happened.

File photo (top)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm 0

Rental Report header

Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Hopefully the non-stop winter weather will soon come to an end, but the last few months have been wreaking havoc on fitness routines. The constant snow, ice and wind test even the heartiest of winter warriors. Aside from hitting your local gym, what can apartment dwellers do to fight off the winter blues with fitness? Here are a few of our ideas.

Make Use of Building Amenities – Sure your community gym is the obvious choice, but what about organizing a weekly group yoga or strength training class in your community room? This choice comes with the added benefit of meeting your neighbors.

Set up a Home Gym – This is easier than it sounds. You can get in a great workout with little to no equipment. Resistance bands are probably the best option for space saving and portability. There are plenty of body weight exercises that require zero equipment yet still give you a great workout. Just be mindful of your neighbors, and maybe keep the high impact stuff for the outside workouts. Here is a good workout designed just for apartments to keep the noise to a minimum.

Exercise Videos – Long gone are the days of Richard Simmons work out videos, and now we have great options with things like Insanity, P90X and the like. But if exercise videos are only a last resort, there are plenty of options through cable (Comcast has several fitness options On Demand) and Internet for free. Check out Gaiam or Fitness Blender for some great options online if you don’t have cable.

Find a Workout Partner – Nothing says couch potato like cold winter mornings. Find someone to keep you motivated on the days you find it hard to get out of bed. Even if you don’t work out together, find someone who will call or text you to get you moving. Or you could use an app or fitness community to keep you motivated. Gym Pact is a fun way to stay motivated, as you can earn rewards for meeting your goals. Websites like Spark People have a robust community to keep you going.

Not only do these workout options work well on snow days, but they are great for travel, too. Sometimes body weight and a tablet are all you need to get the job done. Just keep up the good work, as spring is right around the corner, and you’ll want all the extra energy to enjoy a D.C. spring.

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to info@urbanigloo.com.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Mark Kelly — March 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark KellyStories abound about the results of the new federal school nutrition standards. Since their implementation, usage of the program is down, food waste is up, and many students simply go home hungry at the end of the day.

It is not that the health of our children is not an important concern. But, the point of the school lunch program at its inception was to feed kids who do not have enough to eat at home.

The larger argument about the wisdom or practicality of these standards is for another time and forum. One issue surrounding them did rise to the surface again recently. Can kids have “bake sales” during school hours to raise money for their various causes?

Yes, the new school nutrition standards have rules about bake sales. Cookies, brownies, donuts and pizza do not meet the standards. Therefore, they are prohibited from being sold at school.

There is an exception. Each state may allow them, but they have to set rules for doing so. Otherwise, students would be left to sell whole grain, sugar-free, and taste-free muffins to raise money for band uniforms and field trips.

For some reason, Virginia’s State Board of Education had not set forward any rules. So, it led to a debate in the Virginia General Assembly on a bill to determine how many each school could have in a given year.

Maybe in Arlington where the median income is over $100,000, most of us are simply OK with writing a check to cover the extras the school budget does not. But, not every school district is so lucky. And, banning the bake sale takes away the opportunity for kids to learn lessons about working for money in order get things they want or need or to be able to donate that money to a charitable cause.

One Republican Senator said her kids gravitated toward unhealthy foods and therefore she would not support any exceptions for fundraisers. Of course her kids do. Unhealthy food tastes good. Many of us like a good slice of pizza, a Saturday morning donut, or a good bowl of ice cream.

But as a parent, it is our responsibility to teach our kids to eat right. The purchase of a giant chocolate chip cookie at school one afternoon will not dramatically alter a child’s eating habits. Neither will prohibiting it.

The bill to allow bake sales passed the Senate with 17 Senators voting “no” and one voting “present.” I am not sure which is worse, that 17 Senators thought bake sales should be prohibited or one who could not seem to make up their mind.

The bill to free the bake sale now awaits Gov. Terey McAuliffe’s signature. His wife is a proponent of the nutrition standards, so it will be interesting to see if he signs it.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

by Harrison Godfrey — March 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Harrison Godfrey(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) “Sorry young feller, but Arlington is an expensive, highly desirable part of the region. You’re just going to have to start farther away, then move up after you’ve saved money, the old fashioned way” – Online commenter “JMosesBrowning”

A month ago, I penned an op-ed for the Washington Post wherein I observed how Arlington is becoming an increasingly unaffordable place for young professionals to live. That is a change from when my mother moved here in the mid-1970s.

That’s bad news for “millennials” like me, but it’s potentially worse news for our County.

“JMosesBrowning” is one of many online critics who might be surprised by how much I agree with their sentiments. Like prior generations, Millenials are happy to start small, build equity, work hard, and climb the ladder. But Arlington seems to be missing a couple of rungs in the ladder.

When you compare median income for young professionals in DC against median rental and mortgage costs, we can barely afford to rent here, let alone buy. And that’s before you take into account student debt and wage stagnation.

The suggestion of critics that we “move farther away” creates more problems than it solves. Even setting aside the issue of regional sprawl, Arlington should want millennials to stay in the county. Young professionals typically pay more in local taxes than they use in services — especially those without school-age children.

Moreover, when millennials move “farther away,” they move much farther, to urban centers with which Arlington must compete.

Rather than migrating to exurbs like Leesburg or Bowie, millennials are moving to urban centers like Baltimore, Cleveland, and St. Louis. Between 2000 and 2010, all three of these cities saw greater percentage growth in the population of people ages 25 to 34 than did the Washington metro area.

Indeed, millennials are eschewing a car-centric suburban/exurban lifestyle. As of 2011, fewer people age 16-24 had driver’s licenses than at any point in the past 50 years. We instead seek out “dense, diverse, interesting places that are walkable, bikeable, and transit served” according to Joe Cortright, an urban economist who heads the City Observatory think-tank.

This shift isn’t a passing fad. Rather, it represents a growing recognition of unaffordable and unsustainable aspects of car-based living. In fundamental ways, this preference is a return to earlier migrations to cities. Over the course of American history, suburbanization was actually an aberration. In many ways, we’re being “old fashioned.”

The importance of this shift to Arlington’s competitiveness cannot be overstated. One need only look to Marriott’s announced relocation from Bethesda of its corporate headquarters. Marriott’s CEO cited the need to attract talent — “as with many other things our younger folks are more inclined to be Metro-accessible and more urban. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will move to downtown Washington, but we will move someplace.”

With its density, educational attainment, schools, diversity and walkability, Arlington is well positioned to attract millennials and companies like Marriott that depend on a diverse workforce. Keeping those companies and workers will, however, require addressing housing affordability.

As federal dollars dwindle, the D.C. economy has actually shrunk. Arlington has felt the pinch, with almost 29 percent of office space in Rosslyn and 23 percent in Crystal City vacant. To counteract federal cuts, we must diversify. (more…)

by Peter Rousselot — March 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm 0

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter RousselotLast month, I wrote a column explaining why Virginia needs effective ethics reform. The Virginia legislature has adjourned without enacting it.

Why is this so hard for them? It’s because too many Republican and Democratic legislators continue to thumb their noses at the need for reform.

Here’s a small sampling of the attitudes they bring to the task:

Contrary to Senator Saslaw, ordinary citizens do believe you can legislate ethics. Saslaw’s variation on the discredited refrain, “you can’t legislate morality”, misses the point. Here’s Princeton University’s Micah Watson in a piece titled “Why we can’t not legislate morality.”

One can no more avoid legislating morality than one can speak without syntax. One cannot sever morality from the law. Even partisans of the most spartan libertarian conception of the state would themselves employ state power to enforce their vision of the common good…The real question is not whether the political community will legislate morality; the question is which vision of morality will be enforced…

Many other states have passed much tougher ethics laws than Virginia. That further undermines what our legislators have just done.

The 49-page ethics bill that the legislature passed at the eleventh hour of the session includes a whole host of loopholes, including:

  • The current ethics law sets a cumulative annual aggregate $250 cap on gifts by a lobbyist to any single legislator. But, unbelievably, the new ethics bill’s $100 cap is not cumulative. That means that a lobbyist can give an unlimited number of $99 contributions to a single legislator during the year, so long as each gift is given at a different point in time. Example: $99 per day for each of 365 days per year = $36,135 of legal gifts to any Virginia legislator (Call it the “buy your own Rolex” provision).
  • A lobbyist can pay the full cost to fly a legislator from any location in Virginia to Richmond — so long as the purpose of the trip is official business. The cost of the trip is not counted against the $100 cap.
  • The bill fails to establish an Ethics Commission with the power to issue subpoenas, assess fines for violations, and make referrals to the Attorney General or other prosecutors.


Those politicians who say they are proud of this latest ethics bill are deluding themselves and the public.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2015 at 12:05 pm 0

Arlington police car driving in the snow on 3/5/15

Most roads in Arlington are snow-covered as of noon today, as flakes continue to fall.

So far, 2-3 inches of snow accumulation have been reported.

The snow may have been responsible for one rollover accident this morning, near the intersection of 16th Street and S. Taylor Street. No injuries were reported but the road was closed for a period of time this morning. Other crashed have been reported in various parts of the county.

Residents are being strongly urged to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Most seem to be heeding the advice, as traffic is light even on busy roads in Ballston.

Many flights in an out of Reagan National Airport have been cancelled. Those with air travel plans are being asked to monitor their flight status.

In addition to schools and governments, the snow is prompting numerous event cancellations.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 5, 2015 at 10:30 am 553 0

Sledding at H-B Woodlawn (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) The snow has started falling and the schools are closed, which means it’s time for winter frolicking.

For some, that means staying in, drinking hot cocoa and catching up on Netflix. For others around Arlington, that means throwing on some snow pants and boots, grabbing a sled and taking to a nearby hill for sledding.

We compiled a list of favorite sledding destinations around Arlington, asking Twitter followers for recommendations and compiling some others from memory and from around the web.

Here is a list of spots around Arlington, both north and south, for everyone who loves sliding down hills on plastic projectiles.

  • H-B Woodlawn — 4100 Vacation Lane, always a popular spot and lends itself to some hangtime in the air (pictured above)
  • Reeves Farmhouse – 400 N. Manchester Street, the hill leading down to Bluemont Park has been popular for years
  • RiverHouse Apartments — Corner of Army Navy Drive and S. Lynn Street, the hill leading down to the pool
  • Jamestown Elementary — 3700 N. Delaware Street, “around back by the tennis courts of Jamestown ES, around front by the staff parking lot for younger ones” (@zippychance)
  • Virginia Hospital Center Urgent Care — 601 S. Carlin Springs Road, in the back (@John_Wallll)
  • Dept. of Human Services headquarters – 2100 Washington Blvd, near Route 50 (@ingrid28)
  • Southgate Road — “By the Air Force Memorial” (@matthewhurtt)
  • U.S. Marine Corps Memorial – Near Rosslyn (Reddit)
  • Tuckahoe Elementary — 6550 26th Street N., the field next to the school (@dmgalvao)
  • Columbia Commons — 5100 8th Road S., “in the back of building 5100″ (Reddit)
  • Lubber Run Community Center — 300 N. Park Drive, “the hill behind the playground … Very steep!” (Reddit)
  • McKinley Elementary School — 1030 N. McKinley Road (@sophiepyle)
  • Reed School1644 N. McKinley Road (All Around Arlington)
  • S. Hayes Street — from Fort Scott Drive to 25th Street S., “if the snow was especially fast — all the way to 24th Street. An absolutely amazing hill without exaggeration.” (Reddit)
  • Nottingham Elementary — 5900 Little Falls Road (Reddit)
  • Ashlawn Elementary — 5980 8th Road N., the park behind the school (All Around Arlington)

Did your favorite spot get left off the list? Any recommendations on the best of the best? Tell us in the comments about your favorite sledding hills in the county.

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2015 at 9:15 am 1,277 0

Snow on a residential area near Ballston (photo courtesy @Norr_Fit)

Nats Player’s Townhouse for Rent — A townhouse owned by Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is available for rent. The three-bedroom home, at the Bromptons at Clarendon development, is listed at $5,750 per month. [Real House Life of Arlington]

Budget Cuts for ‘Complete Streets?’ Updated at 9:25 a.m. — As part of budget discussions, Arlington County is considering cutting $800,000 from its “complete streets” program, which funds pedestrian and bicycle improvements. The cuts would still leave $4 million in the program’s budget, however. The county is also considering eliminating two bicycle planning positions. [WAMU]

Arlington Home Show This Weekend — The annual Arlington Home Show and Garden Expo will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). [Arlington Home Show]

Underground Bike Races in Crystal City — Every Wednesday night this month, Crystal City is hosting a series of bicycle races on the bottom level of a parking garage. The races are being dubbed “Wednesday Night Spins” and feature a course shorter than a kilometer with almost a dozen turns. [WJLA]

‘Honeysuckle Hill’ Property for Sale — A large property next across from Overlee Pool on Lee Highway is for sale for $3.325 million. The property is divided into four lots, one of which includes a 75+ year old Colonial Revival home that’s expected to be preserved. [Preservation Arlington]

Photo courtesy @Norr_Fit


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