A three-vehicle accident shut down 23rd Street between Fern and Grants Streets just after 4:00 this afternoon.
The collision appeared to involve two occupied vehicles and one parked vehicle. Two people were evaluated by paramedics for minor injuries.
The accident re-routed the Metro buses that usually go up and down 23rd Street. Despite the excitement, happy hour patrons of the nearby strip of bars and restaurants seemed utterly disinterested in the police and fire activity up the street.
As of 4:40, a tow truck had cleared the banged-up vehicles from the middle of the road and 23rd Street was reopened.
Update at 5:10 p.m. — Dominion reports that 3,583 customers in Arlington are still without power.
Power in the hard-hit Fairlington neighborhood could be out until Sunday, Arlington County warned today. With temperatures reaching into the 90′s on Sunday, this could present a dangerous situation for residents who try to wait out the power outage in their homes.
Arlington advises that residents could use Central Library as a cooling shelter. Central Library is open until 5:00 today, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sautrday, and from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Other cool places to kill time include the Pentagon City mall, Ballston mall and the Crystal City underground. Click here for more heat safety tips from the county.
Food safety is another concern. A refridgerator can only keep food at a safe temperature for four hours during a power outage, assuming the door is not opened. One way to keep food from spoiling is to bring in blocks of ice or dry ice.
Freezers can stay cooler longer, but only 24-48 hours. Again, bringing in some sort of ice could prevent your frozen food from thawing.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a guide for which foods to throw out and which ones to keep when the power goes out for an extended period.
You may not realize it, but there’s a building in Courthouse that’s home to about 600 prisoners of Arlington’s criminal justice system. The Arlington County Detention Facility is the first urban high-rise jail in Virginia and “one of the most technically advanced direct supervision facilities in the county,” according to the county Sheriff’s Office, which is responsible for running the lock-up.
The current facility, built in 1994, is unimposing inside and out. Forget your tour of Alcatraz, this facility looks more like an office building than a prison to the average passerby. Inside, groups of prisoners are held in residential units that combine the functionality of a jail cell, prison yard and dining hall.
But make no mistake: behind the non-threatening interior — which somewhat resembles a public high school with a whole lot of doors — this is a facility built for security. Since it was built, not a single prisoner has escaped.
“Secure” is also a feeling you get while walking through the jail. The Hollywood image of mean-looking, hardened criminals who leer at guards and outsiders and are constantly looking for a fresh fish to shank (apologies for mixing movie metaphors) does not seem to apply here.
In fact, people were pretty friendly. One inmate, when told that his cell was going to be photographed, darted in and cleaned things up a bit, just to be polite. Another struck up a conversation about his artwork and a recent play he wrote.
Fights, jail administrators say, are extremely rare. Six months ago, a deputy was jumped by two inmates in the mental health ward. The scuffle ended when two “workforce inmates” pulled the culprits off of him. (The workforce inmates — who prepare food, pick up garbage around the County in orange jumpsuits, etc. — are generally seen as the best-behaved of the bunch.)
The biggest challenge for the housing unit guards who work most closely with the inmates isn’t fights, riots, contraband or escape attempts. Instead, like a teacher at a middle school, one guard said the challenge is “dealing with all the personalities.”
Here’s a glimpse of the Arlington County Detention Facility by the numbers:
- 1,900 — Meal trays served, per day. Meals are prepared by inmates through a program run by food service giant Aramark. Excess meals are donated to local charities.
- 515 — Current jail population (it’s down a bit from the normal average, we’re told, because crime is down)
- 260 — Total jail staff (including civilians)
- 205 — Sworn sheriff’s deputies
- 165 — Sheriff’s deputies who work in the jail
- $158 — Cost of housing one inmate per day. This is considered higher than most jails generally, but lower than some other urban facilities.
- 136 — Number of security cameras
- 80 — Number of female inmates
- 65 — Number of inmates per housing unit
- 33% — Approximate percentage of inmates who are on psychotropic medications
- 32 — Average inmate stay, in days (most are either released to transferred to a state penitentiary following sentencing)
- 23 — Number of hours per day that the higher-security “special” inmates spend in their cells
- 12 — Length of housing unit guard shift, in hours. Guards work a six month rotation. Except for the higher-security areas, there is only one guard per housing unit at any given time.
- 5 — Number of inmates on a house arrest program managed by the Sheriff’s Office.
- 2 — Number of 20-minute visits prisoners are allowed per week
- 0 — Number of guns and nightsticks guards are allowed to carry in the housing units.
More photos, after the jump.
Virginia’s back-to-school sales tax holiday is in effect this weekend.
Starting today, there will be no sales tax on:
- School supplies selling for $20 or less per item
- Clothes and shoes selling for $100 or less per item
The tax holiday will end after Sunday. Click here to see a list of qualifying and exempt items.
Walter Reed Drive has some new road markings and signs that may seem foreign to most drivers.
The markings, found in the middle of the right-hand travel lanes between South Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, are called “sharrows,” or “shared lane markings.” Together with “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs, they signal to cyclists and drivers that bicycles have the right to travel down the middle of the lane.
Sharrows are already in use in the District and Alexandria. They’re also in use in the bike-friendly cities of Portland, Seattle, San Fancisco and New York City.
Arlington plans to create sharrows in locations that are “popular with bicyclists and where streets form part of the bicycle network promoted on the County’s official bike map.” More sharrows are being created this year in conjunction with the county’s paving projects. The need for the shared lanes will be evaluated by Arlington’s Traffic Engineering and Operations Bureau.
Sharrows were adopted by the federal government after research from the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that the lanes significantly improved the passing space between cars and bikes while also cutting down on bad bike behavior, such as riding on the sidewalk.
Virginia is expected to officially adopt sharrows later this year.
Update at 3:50 p.m. — Arlington County spokesperson Shannon Whalen McDaniel says the the next spots for shallows will be:
- 2nd St S between Court House Rd and S Highland St
- N Sycamore St between 24th St N and 26th St N
Photos courtesy Arlington County.
As of 10:45 a.m., 3,087 Dominion customers were without power in Arlington.
Most of those outages appeared to be in the hard-Shirlington and Fairlington. Dominion expects power to be restored to most customers by 10:00 tonight.
At least a half dozen cars had windows shattered in the parking lot of the Shirlington Bus Station Thursday afternoon. It’s unclear whether the breakage was the result of a brazen daytime vandalism or whether it was caused by the strong storms that split trees in half just blocks away from the station.
In some cases the glass appeared to have exploded outward in small pieces, which does not seem like a likely pattern for vandalism. On the other hand, some cars seemed to escape the damage and the large glass panes in the bus station appeared intact.
The bus station is at the bottom of a long hill that leads up to Fairlington, the Arlington neighborhood hardest hit by the storms.
A police spokesperson did not have any information about the shattered glass.
One theory is that the storm brought with it a sudden, violent change in air pressure that caused the windows to “explode.” If you have any other theories as to what happened, we’re all ears.