A reader, Christine, wrote in to ask about a parking ticket she recently received in Courthouse. Here’s her story:
I’m writing because I’d like to find out if any of your other readers have had the same issue I ran into last week. I received a $50 parking ticket for pulling front-end first into an angled parking space in Courthouse. These are the spots right next to the big AMC lot (cannot remember what street). Apparently the parking spaces were “Back-in Only”, which I failed to notice (admittedly this is my own fault). What I don’t understand is why Arlington is charging me $50 for pulling into a spot facing the wrong direction?! It’s not as if I was parking in a zone I didn’t have a permit for, or parked over a line taking up two spaces. It also seems like a pretty easy mistake to make, considering the street is 2-way and there is only parking on one side.
I’m not saying I don’t deserve a ticket (though I believe a warning would have been more appropriate considering this whole “back-in only” idea is not exactly prevalent), but $50 just seems insane.
We reached out to Arlington County Department of Environmental Services spokesperson Shannon Whalen McDaniel for the answer to why the spaces are back-in only. Here’s her response:
It is a safety issue. Back-in spaces are generally safer because of improved visibility when leaving the space. On 14th Street, which has a slope to it, safety is further enhanced because the cars would roll into the curb if the brakes failed.
Is a $50 fine too much, or does safety take precedence?
Update on 1/13/11 — WUSA 9 did a follow-up story to this article. Check it out here.
It was an especially busy week for thieves in Arlington County. At least 32 cars were broken into in the past seven days, according to the latest Arlington County crime report.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 01/06/11, 3200 block of Wilson Boulevard. On January 6 between 8 pm an 9 pm, an unknown subject broke into at least four vehicles in the same area. Various items were stolen. There are no known suspects.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 01/08/11, 1000 block of Arlington Boulevard. Between 8 pm on January 7, and 6 am on January 8, an unknown subject broke into at least seven vehicles in the same area. Various items were stolen. There are no known suspects.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 01/08/11, 800 block of N. McKinley Street. Between 11 pm on January 7, and noon on January 8, an unknown subject broke into at least three vehicles on the block. Various tools were stolen. There is no suspect description.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 01/08/11, 200 block of N. Granada Street and the 300 block of N. Edison Street. Between 10:30 pm on January 7, and 10 am on January 8, an unknown subject entered at least four unlocked vehicles in the same area. Various items were stolen. There are no known suspects.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 01/10/11, 5200 blocks of S. 10th Place and S. 11th Street, and the 1000 block of S. Edison Street. On January 10 between midnight and 7 am, an unknown subject broke into at least ten vehicles in the same area. Various items were stolen. There are no known suspects.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 01/11/11, 4900 block of Chesterfield Road. On January 11 between 3 pm and 5:30 pm, an unknown subject broke into at least two vehicles in the same parking lot. Various items were stolen. There are no known suspects.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES) 01/11/11, 1400 block of N. Quincy Street. On January 11 between 8 pm and 10 pm, an unknown subject broke into at least two vehicles in the same area. Various items were stolen. There is no suspect description.
The rest of the report, including a man who’s accused of pulling a gun on a tow truck driver because he “thought” his car was being towed, after the jump.
(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Every ten years, following the U.S. Census, the Virginia legislature gathers in Richmond to redraw the state’s legislative boundaries. And every ten years, the party that’s in power at the time attempts to draw the borders in a way that favors their electoral chances.
It’s called ‘gerrymandering,’ and it’s practiced in state houses across the country.
But the Virginia chapter of the League of Women Voters has seen enough. Together with the national LWV organization, they’ve been pushing for the past seven years to take redistricting responsibility away from state legislators and put it into the hands of some sort of nonpartisan commission or process.
“We believe that although we have some great state legislators, them drawing their own lines is like having the foxes guarding the hen house,” said Olga Hernandez, president of the LVW of Virginia, at a forum in Ballston last week. “We just think there should be a fairer way of representing people and the interests of the community”
It may be too late for this go-round; the redistricting process is set to get underway in April. Since the forum, Gov. Bob McDonnell has created a bipartisan commission to help oversee this year’s redistricting process. But Hernandez is hopeful that lawmakers may finally be on the verge of passing more permanent reform that would promote transparency instead of the past preponderance of backroom deals.
Redistricting reform has made for some strange but powerful political bedfellows. Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D), Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds (D) and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) have all been supportive of the League’s efforts, Hernandez said.
“It’s not just one side” of the political spectrum, she said.
Hernandez points to California as a state that was heavily gerrymandered after the last census, but which has since reformed its system thanks to a voter referendum and support from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. While she believes Virginia could be on the same path, she acknowledged that it’s still an uphill battle.
“It’s hard to get people to give up power,” Hernandez noted.
This year, as far as Arlington’s state legislators and congressman are concerned, redistricting is not expected to have much of an effect. While rapidly-growing Northern Virginia counties like Prince William and Stafford are likely to add districts and radically change district boundaries, Arlington has grown at a more modest pace and will likely only see minor changes and contractions in district borders.
Arlington County will release its 2011 real estate assessments this Friday at 5:00 p.m. Property owners will be able to search for their new assessments on the county’s tax assessment web page (appropriately, the word “DREAD” is prominently featured in the web address).
Assessments are expected to rise this year as the real estate market improves. The Sun Gazette reports that the average home sale price rose 4.6 percent in 2010.
Property owners who want to challenge their assessments should be able to do so via an online form any time before March 1, although the form does not appear to be online at the moment. More information on real estate assessment appeals is available here.
As it turns out, we’re pretty talkative.
This site has been around for less than a year, and yesterday we reached our 20,000th comment. When we launched, some people questioned whether Arlington was “interesting” enough for the site to succeed. Why not write about D.C., or Alexandria, or national politics, some asked.
About 2.2 million page views later, I think we have our answer.
Thanks for the support, Arlington!
Arlington is holding its 42nd annual tribute to Dr. King at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center auditorium (3501 Second St. S.). The event will feature keynote speaker Rev. Walter Fauntroy, a local civil rights leader who worked with Dr. King, as well as performance by the World Children’s Choir and the Washington-Lee High School Jazz Band.
ABC 7 reporter Horace Holmes will emcee the event, which is taking place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16.
On Monday, Arlington’s AmeriCorps team will hold a Martin Luther King Day of Service. From 10:00 a.m. to noon, volunteers will meet at the Arlington Mill Community Center (4975 Columbia Pike) then go forth to help clean up a section of the Pike and the nearby Four Mile Run stream. Anyone interested in participating is asked to register by emailing volunteer[at]arlingtonenvironment.org.
There will also be a “Save a Tree on MLK Day” event from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Gulf Branch Nature Center (3608 Military Road). Volunteers will help save trees by pulling invasive species from the ground. Call 703-228-3403 for more information.
Arlington government offices, schools and libraries will be closed on Monday. The Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center will be open, but every other community center will be closed. Parking won’t be enforced, but trash will be collected.
Metro and ART will be running on a holiday schedule, but Blue and Orange Line work will make commuting into the District tricky.
Despite the weather and the fact it was Tuesday, a decent-sized crowd jammed into Clarendon’s Iota Club last night to see Sean Lennon perform with girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl.
Together, Lennon and Kemp Muhl comprise The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. Under low lights, the band performed their dreamy, acoustic folk rock as snowflakes fell outside — a fitting backdrop.
The stage was as bare and humble as the music. Lennon and Kemp Muhl vocalized while playing a variety of instruments, with the occasional commentary in between. The melodies were hard to memorize and the tempo decidedly slow, but the duo’s passion for their craft was evident.
If the audience was as into the music as the musicians were, count it a successful outing.
Freezing Rain and Snow Hits After Dark — It might not have been the monster storm that’s now hitting New York City and southern New England, but a relatively short period of freezing rain and snow made for some slippery conditions during rush hour last night. Most of the inch or so of snow we received is expected to melt today. If, however, unshoveled snow in front of someone else’s property is causing problems, you can report it via the county’s snow reporting form. Meanwhile, if you’re flying out of Reagan National today, you can check flight status here. Numerous flights have been canceled.
Dyszel Doc to be Screened at Artisphere Tonight — Dick Dyszel is a local television legend. During the ’70s and ’80s he played popular characters like Bozo the Clown and Count Gore de Vol on the Washington airwaves. “Every Other Night Is Halloween,” a documentary about Dyszel’s improbable career, will be playing at Artisphere. The film also examines the “de-evolution of local television” and the rise of the internet. The screening starts at 8:00 in Artisphere’s Dome Theater. Tickets are $6.
Shooshan Secures Financing for Founders Square Building – The Shooshan Company has successfully secured $100 million in financing to build the future headquarters of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Ballston, part of the Founders Square development. (It’s worth noting that two workers were injured from a fall at the construction site yesterday.) A company representative says the financing allows them to concentrate on the construction of the building, which will be the first in Arlington to meet the DoD’s Minimum Anti-Terrorism Standards for Buildings. [GlobeSt.com]