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Acrimony Among Neighbors, County Staff During Traffic Calming Fight

by ARLnow.com — September 14, 2011 at 9:45 am 6,170 171 Comments

Last month, with little fanfare, construction crews arrived in the Chain Bridge Forest neighborhood. By the time they left, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, N. River Street, had two new medians strips, two new speed humps and a trio of intersections enhanced with “nubs” that jut a few feet out into the street.

The changes, designed to slow down drivers on a wide, downhill portion of River Street, can hardly be described as “drastic.” But the two-plus year neighbor vs. neighbor vs. county battle that preceded it can be.

Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by opponents of the traffic calming measures reveal that the fight got so nasty, the acrimony even spread to county staff.

“These people have got to get a life. ‘Inherently unfair.’ Seriously? My 6 year old used the unfair complaint the other night when whining about bedtimes,” a county transportation official said of the opposition’s complaints, in an internal email to a colleague. “I’m sure the residents of extreme North Arlington are routinely disenfranchised. Perhaps they should talk to the Department of Justice about election monitoring and human rights violations.”

But Chain Bridge Forest Homeowners’ Association president Terry Dean, who filed the FOIA request, insists that her group — representing 124 households — had legitimate concerns about being left out of the voting process that cleared the way for the traffic calming. In the end, only the 35 households closest to the River Street changes were asked to vote, instead of the neighborhood at large, Dean said.

“[Arlington County] didn’t believe in participatory democracy… basically, they wanted to do what they wanted to do, and it really didn’t matter what the neighborhood thought,” said Dean, a former congressional staffer. “You see that in banana republics, but it’s not supposed to be happening four miles from the Capitol.”

(Twenty-seven of the 35 households voted in favor of the changes, though Dean says a few votes were miscounted.)

Dean insists that from the outset, nobody was opposed to the idea of speed humps on River Street — the original plan when the neighborhood asked for traffic calming measures. It’s only when the county decided to take the traffic calming further — reconfiguring the entrance to River Street from Glebe Road while adding median strips and curb extensions in an effort to “define the travel lanes, slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety” — did the opposition start to organize.

County staff argued that River Street is too steep between 38th Place and 39th Street to install additional speed humps, and said that the reconfigured entrance off of Glebe Road was necessary to convey to drivers that they were entering a residential neighborhood. Opponents, meanwhile, started to question the necessity and nearly $200,000 cost of the changes, given that the average speed on River Street was clocked at 27 miles per hour. About 15 percent of cars were clocked going more than 32 miles per hour, and attempts at speed enforcement by police yielded only four tickets in five hours on one day, and not a single ticket on another day. One county employee referred to the latter enforcement effort as a “fishing expedition” in an email

Older residents worried that the changes would actually make River Street less safe, Dean said, especially during bad weather when navigation gets trickier.

“They are more concerned about these obstacles in the middle of the street” than they are speeding cars, she said. “I have no doubt someone’s going to hit that median once we have ice and snow on the ground… We hope and pray that nobody will get hurt.”

“From an aesthetic point of view it’s ugly as the dickens… a big, ugly mess,” Dean added.

According to statistics cited by Dean, there have only been three significant accidents on the Arlington County portion of River Street in the past five years. One involved a man who died of a medical emergency while driving; his car ran off the road. Another involved an intoxicated woman whose car ran into a yard on 39th Street. The other involved a woman who was leaning down to pick up a cell phone and drove into the curb, spinning her car. Nobody else was injured in the accidents, Dean said, noting that traffic calming would not have prevented any of the accidents and that traffic calming supporters were “hyperventilating in terms of the danger to their children.”

But another opposition argument seems to have fallen flat. Opponents predicted “compromised accessibility of large vehicles” like school buses. In the FOIA documents, however, the fire department said it would have no problem navigating its big fire engines around the medians and curb extensions. And the hour ARLnow.com spent taking photos revealed no accessibility problems, save a black stretch Ford Excursion limo that tried and failed to navigate around the median at Glebe Road — seemingly the result of a poorly-chosen angle of approach.

Dean said that the medians and curb extensions were actually trimmed back at the Glebe Road entrance due to intervention by VDOT. That, she says, has improved things a bit. Still, she and fellow homeowner’s association members plan to continue fighting. The county now wants to install a street light at River Street and Glebe Road — to allow drivers to  see the newly-installed medians — and Dean says they’re going to fight it on the grounds that some of the necessary equipment needs to be installed on homeowner’s association property.

In the end, though, Dean says she hopes the Chain Bridge Forest community, now divided, put aside their differences and resume neighborly relations.

“The community needs to get past this and come together, but calling people names… is not going to get us there,” she said. “That just needs to stop… you can’t be rude to your neighbors all the time, it will come back to haunt you.”

Dean added that she has been in touch with residents of Arlington Ridge, which recently went through its own acrimonious fight over a traffic calming project.

“Arlington, as a county government, shouldn’t be setting up situations like this,” she said.

  • ClizzleDizzle

    We in Clarendon don’t talk about North-North Arlington. As far as we are concerned the world ends north of the 29.

    Also, South Arlington is anything below Washington Boulevard.

    • KalashniKEV

      I never did before this, but now I want to find these “nubs.”

      They look like they would be awesome to practice my slalom skills- with the heavy hardtop down and stowed, you’d be surprised how my car just sticks to the road…

    • Richard Cranium

      Do you also ignore the “Westies” west of Kirkwood and the “Atlanticos” East of Vietch?

    • Josh S

      Hey, hey, hey! Let’s leave that “the 29″ crap out west where it came from. It’s asinine.

      • Jezebel

        Ain’t that the truth!

      • dk

        +1!

    • Barbara

      What kind of pompous crap is that???

      • Barbara

        I was responding to “ClizzleDizzle” comment—-from Barbara

  • Richard Cranium

    Oh lord, here we go again . . .

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    This will be fun to watch.

    Some comments:

    “was necessary to convey to drivers that they were entering a residential neighborhood. ”

    -A sign could do that.

    “These people have got to get a life…” a county transportation official said

    -You’re fired.

    • drax

      “was necessary to convey to drivers that they were entering a residential neighborhood. ”

      -A sign could do that.

      Who even needs a sign? You can see the houses, yet people speed anyway. The point is not to “convey” but more like “sternly warn.”

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        A radar gun and police officer with a ticket book could do that.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          I’ve seen the police do this at the end of the long hill going northbound on George Mason after passing Wakefield HS. They also do it in the parking lot of the Dominion Hills swimming pool just before going down the big hill going east on Wilson Blvd. Both areas are notorious for speeders. One afternoon when I was driving home from work, I saw them nail three people in a row, so they were serious.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Exactly. Cops have been running radar on George Mason near Wakefield for nearly 40 years. In fact, there used to be a built in service road that was naturally street-calming on George Mason, immediately next to where the construction is now going on. That was removed 30+ years ago to increase traffic throughput right next to the homes on George Mason who used to sit on the traffic-quiet service road. Running radar on George Mason has kept me from EVER speeding on that stretch of road because I know there could be a cop at the bottom of the hill. I apply the brakes coasting downhill to ensure I maintain the proper speed. That’s how it works.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            When I worked at Skyline a few years ago, I used to be sure I kept at or just below the speed limit going down that hill on George Mason near Wakefield. I’d have cars tailgate me, zoom by, and sure enough, the cops would nail them at the bottom of the hill. I saw them nail three drivers in a row one Friday afternoon, all three that tailgated me and then zoomed past me. I do the same thing when I go down eastbound Wilson near the Dominion Hills pool. People zoom past me and bingo, they get nailed by the cops.

          • Lee-n-Glebe

            Same on WB Lee Highway by Overlee pool.

          • G

            Supposedly the residents in those homes going down that hill pay the police to ticket there.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            I think the police just see it as a good revenue collection point while at the same time deterring speed on a much abused portion of road.

          • Take it down an notch

            There’s no need to pay the police to ticket speeders or other traffic scofflaws. You just have to ask them. Periodically we ask them to come to our neighborhood due to frequent stop-sign runners.

        • Veeta

          Because people are speeding in every neighborhood, there are not enough cops to do this. If people would just slow down, the problem would be solved. It is not just people cutting through–it is usually residents.
          I’d gladly take every measure they are complaining about having installed on my street. From my efforts to get traffic calming in my neighborhood, I was informed that they use actual data to decide on these measures. I give the traffic engineers the benefit of the doubt, until someone dies on my street.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Veeta, it is indeed residents as well as cut-throughs. Everyone seems to think their time is more important than everyone else’s time or safety. It is a real problem. I don’t have a problem with these measures. But, it will likely just divert the faster drivers to another pathway. Tickets eventually cost too much money to keep up dangerous driving tactics.

          • UnlimitedCustoms

            There is nothing wrong with cut-through traffic.

            Keeping traffic to certain roads is bad for everyone.

          • Take it down an notch

            I can’t imagine any benefit to cut-through traffic in Chain Bridge Forest. It’s not a short cut to anything.

          • Barbara

            I agree. Since when is driving from point A to point B if it involves going down a PUBLIC street that you yourself don’t live on an intrusion??? The terms “cut-through” drivers or “cut-through” whatever are ridiculous. Public roads are for the public. And all drivers, residents or not, should obey the speed limits, stop signs, etc.—-then there would have been no need for all these expensive traffic-calming measures in recent years. You can always tell when someone is driving down their own street if you’re driving behind them and they’re going really slow—and eventually turn into their own driveway. Surely, they don’t treat other people’s streets/neighborhoods the same way—or we wouldn’t see any speeders in any residential areas ever. The arrogant people expect more of other drivers than they do of themselves.

          • Josh S

            You can’t legislate behavior. Speeding will happen no matter how much scolding, complaining or ticket-writing you do. Changing the built environment is the only way.

          • I can still speed

            ….between the built environment thingys. It is not really that hard.

          • Willis

            Veeta,
            You are correct about lack of police. Special Operations has lots to do in addition to speed control. In addition, no matter the number of tickets written an officer’s time is more expensive than the cost of a ticket. Think salary, benefits and retirement. And the ticket revenue goes to the State. The Arlington tax payer pays for the police.

        • drax

          Sure, a cop could do it, for alot more of your tax money.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            They would have had a few hundred thousand to start up with, and would be able to generate good revenue just on a part-time basis while still offering a deterrent to the drivers of that road.

          • drax

            I seriously doubt you could come out ahead financially with a cop vs. passive traffic calming measures. But who knows?

            The biggest problem I see is that after a while, people would stop speeding because they know a cop is there, so no more revenue.

          • Clarendon

            On Ft Belvoir, they station cop cars with mannequin’s in cop uniforms in the driver seats. It seems to work, but they also regularly enforce the 15 mph speed limit through residential areas using real dismounted MPs in camo gear and radar guns.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Goal achieved. Besides, aren’t we currently trying to create jobs?

        • Burger

          did you read the article. 4 tickets in 5 days after hours of work seems to me like there wasn’t a problem only a solution.

        • Bobbiboi

          You speak of what you do not know.

          Call the police and ask them to come into a residential neighborhood to check for speeders and they will tell you they don’t do that. They don’t have the time. They say they only check for speeders on major thoroughfares like Glebe Rd. I know because I’ve spoken directly with the police about this.

          Nice thought, but in reality it ain’t gonna happen. Next idea….

        • drax

          Cost-prohibitive.

  • 1..2..3…

    Am I the only one who doesnt understand how with only 35 votes, some managed to be miscounted? Cmon, I could count those accurately while speeding down River Street!

    But in all seriousness, people get this upset over a traffic median? I dont get it

    • Josh S

      Yeah – what’s amazing is that I couldn’t see in the photos what all the fuss was over. I’m sure if I lived in the neighborhood, I’d have an opinion. But to me, it just looks like a street. (Well, that one median does need some bushes….or grass, at least….)

      • drax

        You really think you’d be able to see speeding cars going through a neighborhood all day in a photo?

        • Josh S

          I thought all the fuss was over traffic calming measures…..?

  • JimPB

    The speeds at which vehicles travel needs to be assessed against a safe speed — one that would allow the vehicles to slow or stop in order to avoid an accident. A safe speed is not necessarily the posted speed limit. An awareness of this arose concerning vehicular traffic on my residential streets. THe county’s record of the speeds of vehicles showed that few were exceeding the posted 25 mph speed limit. But this was because the curves in the streets and narrowing of the traffic lanes by parked cars to essentially one lane slows down the vehicles, but not to a safe speed so that children and adults would be safe and accidents involving other vehicles could be avoided.

    SImplify the process and empower citizens to identify and solve problems in their area. They know best.

    Accept that there is a need for traffic calming when say 75-80% of the residents agree that there is such a problem, and implement the measures that the same percentage of residents agree on.

    Those “passing through” are not entitled to be involved in the traffic calming process for streets not in front of their residences. The focus is the safety of residents facing the streets at issue.

    • Josh S

      Unless you’re in a parking lot, I can’t imagine a situation where a posted speed limit below 25 would be justified. 99% of the time, a driver going 25 is going to be able to avoid an accident with pedestrians. (assuming they are not driving distracted….)

      • drax

        I can. Drive on any number of narrow streets with parking on both sides in Arlington and see if you can safely go 25, even without worrying about pedestrians.

        • JimPB

          Josh S –

          Expand your imagination to encompass a meaningful bit of the reality of accidents involving cars.

          Parents here see and know the risk and so unduly corral their kids, depriving them of the initiation of easy interactions with other kids who might well, except for the risks presented by “speeding” vehicles, be playing outside in front of homes, too.

  • NPGMBR

    I think the whole thing is hilarious because the neighborhood went to the County and requested traffic calming measures. So, now we see that they come out with statistics showing that there were only three accidents in the area that were not the result of speeding. That makes me wonder why did they make the request of the County in the first place?

    If they hadn’t made the request chances are the County might have used that funding in some other neighborhood. The part that really gets me laughing is that they make it sound like this is all a big waste of taxpayer dollars yet they intend to make sure the County wastes more of those dollars fighting them in court.

    So, lets say they win they’re fight with the County. Do they intend to make the County modify the changes; spending more tax dollars? They might as well just accept it and move on!

    • dk

      This is my question, too. I have to say that I agree with the county employee. Can’t these people find something useful to do with their time?

    • Willis

      The article only describes a small part of the nasty erroneous rhetoric a few neighbors resorted to. Most don’t live in Arlington, but in Fairfax. These few said they knew much more about traffic engineering and traffic safety than the professionals in Arlington County. These few, of which Ms. Dean was a member, had their say at numerous community meetings attended by numerous professional transportation engineers and County Board members, before citizen advisory groups and the County Board. There was a continuing campaign after the County Board approved the project including involving Fairfax elected representatives, elected State representatives from Fairfax and VDOT to try to overturn an Arlington County decision within Arlington County. The Chain Bridge Forest Association apparently does not even represent or include this part of Arlington where the construction occurred.

    • Barbara

      NPGMBR: Amen!

    • CBF resident

      NPGMBR, you raise an excellent question.

      The answer is that a small group within the community went to Arlington to request traffic calming and the rest of us didn’t forcefully oppose it, because we had no idea it would turn into such a big deal. We had, as the man said, “a life to get on with.” While our backs were turned, this small group ran amok and proposed to turn our beautiful street into a pinball machine of nubs, bumps, warts, stripes, humps, medians, and barricades designed to obstruct the smooth flow of traffic in and out of our community.

      When the vast majority of residents opposed the proposal, a smug little minority among us teamed with a group of dedicated county bureaucrats to jam it down the unwilling throats of the community. You never saw such a conniving, dishonest series of tricks and ploys. They looked us in the eye and lied to us, and the County Board rubber stamped everything they did.

      We agree with you, a lawsuit would just result in more wasteful spending so we decided to “move on,” but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t warn future neighborhoods not to give the tiniest opening to the Arlington County traffic calming bureaucrats. You will regret it.

      • The Sane Majority

        Contrary to the delusions of CBF Resident and Terry Dean, the project was not opposed by a “vast majority” of residents. It was opposed by their own little clique. They got together and polled themselves, essentially. Most residents at this point either support the project or don’t feel strongly about it. Many residents have removed themselves from the HOA’s membership, since they don’t support the insanity of the hostile group that has taken it over. The Chain Bridge Forest Association is not a representative group — they are, at this point, a special interest group.

        The small group that is STILL actively fighting this project are like the Birthers of Chain Bridge Forest. They are delusional, paranoid, and no amount of logic or reasonableness will sway them. It’s incredible that Terry Dean says “the community needs to get past this and come together” when she is continuing to lead a crusade to fight and obstruct this project at every turn.

      • Well said

        CBF resident. And I hope you will join the campaign to get some new faces on the County Board in the upcoming years who will be more responsive to a wider range of views within our County.

  • Matter_of_Interpretation

    As far as the ‘who gets to vote’ complaint, it was a matter of interpretation. The policy says something like those on the street and ‘the most affected’ or ‘most impacted’ residents.

    I think the original meaning of this was the ones most negatively impacted by the speeding problem. This was interpreted to be those that live on the street and maybe one or two houses on the side streets.

    The people who are complaining about the voting process thinks it meant those that would be impacted by any potential changes to the street – which would include anyone who drives, walks, or bikes on the street.

    • CBF resident

      Actually, it is not a matter of interpretation. The group opposed to traffic calming just asked the County to follow their written rules for who is “most impacted.” Everyone agrees that the County did NOT follow the rules as they were written at the time.

      But in order to avoid losing the appeal, the County said, “we intended to change those rules 2 years ago but never got around to it, and never mentioned it to anyone. So we are now going to rewrite them and apply them retroactively to justify our decision in Chain Bridge Forest.

      How’s that for honesty in government? Policies written in disappearing ink.

      • drax

        Where or when did the county say that?

        • You need to read

          ….the county emails about who is included in the so-called impact areas of these projects. Then you would not have to ask other people so many questions.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    I wonder if this will generate as many comments and as much vitriol and venom as the recent rhubarb over in Arlington Ridge. Looks like this one could be another bumpy ride, hang on to your hats, here we go again.

  • BrownFlipFlops

    “These people have got to get a life. ‘Inherently unfair.’ Seriously? My 6 year old used the unfair complaint the other night when whining about bedtimes,” a county transportation official said of the opposition’s complaints, in an internal email to a colleague. “I’m sure the residents of extreme North Arlington are routinely disenfranchised. Perhaps they should talk to the Department of Justice about election monitoring and human rights violations.”

    THIS is how county employees talk about the people who employ them? Are they always this disrespectful and snarky when talking about the people paying the taxes that provide their budgets? Do you instantly get written off, if a county employee can’t see that it’s possible for reasonable people to disagree?

    This email is a firing offense. Boom. You’re gone, pal.

    • drax

      “THIS is how county employees talk about the people who employ them? Are they always this disrespectful and snarky when talking about the people paying the taxes that provide their budgets? Do you instantly get written off, if a county employee can’t see that it’s possible for reasonable people to disagree?”

      EVERYBODY in a service function talks down about the jerks they have to deal with when they’re in the back room. This isn’t unusual. I don’t blame them for venting.

      • BrownFlipFlops

        It shows an incredible lack of judgement to do such venting on an official email system that is monitored by your employer, and subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. This email shows this employee does not have the temperament to work in a constituent-facing capacity. The sarcastic generalizations show that the impartiality that is essential to the performance of that job is totally lacking.

        I would NEVER put something like this in writing about a difficult client. If I did, and the email surfaced, I’d fully expect to be fired.

        • Josh S

          They don’t show anything of the sort about his/her temperment. As drax pointed out, venting about the customer just goes with the job. 100% normal.

          Yes, perhaps a lack of judgment in putting it in an email that is subject to publication. But, especially given that his/her supervisor probably shares his/her opinions occasionally about difficult customers, I can’t see how this is automatically grounds for dismissal.

          • BrownFlipFlops

            I think you’d be able to see it, if the county official was generalizing about a group other than North Arlingtonians.

            You’re right in the practical sense, though. The same biases are shared all the way up the chain to the County Board, and they’re not going anywhere. This person is free to generalize about huge groups of Arlington citizens, and can let those prejudices influence her decision-making. She’s safe.

            That doesn’t make it right, though.

          • brif

            no, the email did not show bias, prejudice, or generalization. a county employee was simply expressing his or her opinion to a colleague that the people involved with this issue were being unreasonable. Save your faux outrage for actual misconduct or legal violations.

          • UnlimitedCustoms

            The email calling the people “retarded” certainly does show a generalization.

          • drax

            The email calling people “retarded” was certainly extremely mean (to people with intellectual disabilities as well as those he was targeting).

          • dk

            I wasn’t aware that North Arlingtonians had become a protected class.

          • ZoningVictim

            Let’s frame this in the correct context, though, we are not the government’s customers; we, collectively, are their boss. Send a coworker an email about what a jerk your CEO/CIO/owner is, compare his concerns to a whining six year old that doesn’t want to go to bed, and talk about how he needs to get a life. Then have that coworker forward that email to your CEO/CIO/owner and let’s see how well that works out. Even if we were customers, the same scenario directed at a company’s customer base would very likely get someone fired if the opinion surfaced to the company’s customers unless the person who wrote the comments was so pivotal to the company’s performance that they couldn’t continue without them.

            The issue here isn’t just that someone was venting to a coworker, the issue here is that the government thinks they know better than the people that employ them and at times use some pretty unfair tactics to get their way. This association asked them for a few speed tables, and the government came in and decided they were going to do whatever they wanted and just steamrolled over the associations concerns. This is a government wide problem with Arlington County in my experience and it starts with the board and goes all the way down. Look at all of the stuff on this board over the last few years: signboards stolen and thrown in the trash, thug tactics from the zoning administrator against someone who put up a mural, the board now overruling the wishes to two different neighborhood associations spending about $400,000 for changes that those neighborhood didn’t want and the list goes on. The neighborhoods should get what they want (assuming the county finds it necessary), not what a bunch of people who don’t live there want.

          • I*1/\/\p $l_4q [)/\ l-loh

            This is ridiculous. Every Joe Schmoe thinks that, just because he pays taxes, he is automatically the boss of every government employee. This is a representative democracy. That’s not the way it works. The only boss that these employees need to answer to is their actual boss. Probably a few levels above that are the officials that we collectively elect, but even they don’t work for you. When we elected them, we agreed that they would be empowered to act as our collective proxy, in the interests of not having to vote on every stupid little traffic calming measure. They can and should do whatever they think is best.

          • Josh S

            Victim, your moniker is certainly apt.

            Look, you can choose to view your life as being the victim of outside forces. Paint “the government” as some outside force who comes in and acts upon you, doing evil things, acting with malicious intent, disregarding your wishes. But that’s just one way of viewing the set of facts.

            There is such a thing as administrative law. The rules set up under administrative law are there specifically to prevent the capricious, unreasonable and unfair use of authority by government entities. If there is really a case of unfairness to be made here, then make it. I guess that’s exactly what is being done in this case. If they win, then your point of view will be vindicated in this case. However, it seems from this very short list of the facts that it will be difficult to win. Perhaps in no small part because the civic association (or whoever is suing) will likely have a really hard time showing any harm. How does the existence of these nubs, medians, speed tables HARM anyone? Was anyone’s property confiscated? Was anyone’s ability to earn a living harmed? Was anyone’s right to a peaceful, healthy home violated?

          • The Truth

            ZoningVictim – Unfortunately you are misinformed with respect to the way Arlington County handled the traffic calming process in Chain Bridge Forest (and probably elsewhere). While Ms. Dean claims that the association asked only for a few speed tables, this simply is not the case. In fact, the association asked for nothing. Individual residents of River Street, the street in question, petitioned the County for traffic calming measures all the way back in 1999. Beginning in 2009, once River Street rose to the top of the County’s list (due to the severity of the problem there), individual residents began meeting with the County to formulate a plan. At the very first meeting, the County officials reviewed the various options that were available to be used — at no time was there a plan in place to install only speed cushions that the County then steamrolled over. That is a fallacy that Ms. Dean and other opponents continue to perpetrate, even though they have no knowledge of what was “initially considered” because they never attended any of the meetings at which the plan was discussed and developed (despite the fact that all homeowners in the community — even Fairfax County residents — were invited). In short, Ms. Dean and others who don’t live on the stretch of road where the speeding and other unsafe driving behavior occurs didn’t get involved in the process because they were not affected by the problem — i.e., traffic safety on River Street was not a concern of theirs. That very fact is at the heart of the County’s policy regarding who gets a say in whether traffic calming measures are to be approved — those who are most impacted by the unsafe conditions should, while those who only drive on the street should not. The traffic calming measures themselves, however, will impact Ms. Dean — they will require her to drive more slowly and more safely when she is on River Street or turning onto or off of it.

            Traffic calming will always be controversial because there will always be two competing interests — those who want safe conditions on the streets in front of their homes, and those who believe that it is their God-given right to speed and that their time (including the few seconds they save by speeding through a residential neighborhood with kids playing everywhere) is more important than others’ safety. Unfortunately, traffic calming in Arlington is even more controversial because there are individuals (private citizens) who have made it their life’s mission to defeat traffic calming projects throughout the County (I know, it sounds pathetic). Why? Because the County did not give them a vote a few years back when it developed a traffic calming project at the edge of Country Club Hills, several blocks from where these individuals live (again, just because they sometimes used the street in question to get to and from their homes should not have given them a vote in the process). One of these individuals actually attended every one of the River Street working group meetings (even though he lives nowhere near the street), so was well aware of what was being discussed and what was being developed. Midway through the process, he even sent a letter to the County protesting the “area of impact” (i.e., the voting area) that the County’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Committe (NTCC) had determined. This letter was “signed” by a number of individuals who had no knowledge of the letter or the River Street project, but that’s beside the point. After the plans for the project were finalized and the voting began, this individual then reached out to people in the community outside the area of impact to let them know they had been disenfranchised. He did this under the auspices of caring about them having a say in the project. Ironic that he never reached out to them while the project was still being developed, when they actually could have had some input into the process. In other words, all he was interested in doing was stirring the pot, creating controversy, and attacking the County’s process as unfair. Well, that same individual continues to attend every NTCC meeting and working group meetings for projects that are being developed in other neighborhoods. He continues to send letters to the County (many “signed” by people who don’t know they exist) protesting every aspect of the process and, as a result, wasting County employees’ time and other County resources. Unfortunately, Arlington County’s government is so responsive to its residents that they continue to open his letters, read his emails, and take his calls. Obstructing the government is just something he does to pass the time (which apparently passes as acceptable civic involvement in this day and age of the Tea Party).

            In short (because I realize so far this has not been), don’t believe all of the complaints you read in stories (yes stories, not articles) like these. Until Arlington Now, the Sun Gazette, the Arlington Connection, and even the Washington Post start contacting “the other side” when they choose to publish these stories (and they could easily find out who “the other side” is), they aren’t worth reading. At least Arlington Now isn’t wasting paper.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            When I see a post this long, entitled “The Truth”, it is a sign to scroll down and not read it.

          • CBF resident

            Your name “The Truth” says it all. God protect us from flaming nutballs who are so convinced that they embody the Truth that they feel justified in using any tactics to achieve their goals.

            The Chain Bridge Forest episode only turned ugly when residents
            began to resent being preached to (and lied to) by a smug, sanctimonious little crew who believed no one else was entitled to the right to vote.

        • drax

          Oh, absolutely – putting their words in an email was really really dumb.

          But I don’t blame them for saying it.

    • Steamboat Willie

      A firing offense? Really? That seems like a really harsh overreaction. Paying taxes doesn’t entitle someone to be a royal pain in the neck, which lots of these people seem to be.

      • BrownFlipFlops

        That’s not the point. It’s OK to get frustrated with difficult clients/constituents. It’s NOT OK to have an unprofessional tantrum about it. It’s also very, very important to try to be impartial and apolitical when you’re in a position of public trust.

        • Steamboat Willie

          Maybe. Then again, some of the citizen antics depicted in that email chain would have been more than enough straws to break the camel’s back. A snarky, internal email is rather mild in my opinion, given how much time some of these employees must be forced to waste responding to tantrums by those residents.

          • dk

            Yes, this.

        • SS3345

          As a constituent that isn’t involved in the brouhaha above (thankfully), I support the transportation official’s comments. The folks in Chain Bridge Forest seem to be wasting county employees’ time (and my TAX DOLLARS – insert outrage here) with their silly arguments about the aesthetic value of the improvements (which look perfectly fine to me).

          • dk

            Exactly. Look at these emails–look at the time county employees wasted dealing with this nonsense. And not just that–MORE county employees wasted time dealing with a FOIA request. Seriously? A FOIA request on a few speed bumps? Outrageous. These people deserve every bit of the scorn heaped upon them.

          • Yeah

            …Move along Citizens, government is telling you what is best. Do not question government or publicly express a dissenting opinion.

          • Yeah squared

            No, call them up several times a day so they can’t get any work done.

          • Yeah

            Poor widdle county drones. You sound like Chris Crocker. Is that you, Chris?

          • Willis

            Agree, staff could have been doing much more valuable work for other Arlington residents.

        • drax

          Complaining in an email is hardly a “tantrum.”

          Also, there is nothing political or partial about the email quoted.

        • FedUp

          +100

        • Bob

          You sound like just the type of “difficult client/constituent” the email was referring to. Take your master’s in english lit and your JD and go back to work… Your high-faluttin’ pontificating is getting nauseating.

    • NPGMBR

      How different is this from the low wage service sector employee at Burger King that spits on someones burger? Isn’t it your cash that ultimately pays their salary? How dare they think badly of you!

  • G Clifford Prout

    This is tooooo funny. I watched the neighbor v. neighbor fight play out at the County Board Meeting. The arguments some people were using were out of sight man! I was surprised references to Nazis weren’t bandied about.

  • Lou

    Wow, that transportation official seems to dislike people from extreme North Arlington. I’m glad her name was included in the attached pdf file.

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      I wish that I had time to read through all 715 pages of emails… You’d think for $312.00 they’d at least attempt OCR on the document.

      I didn’t have to go far to hit my first jackpot

      “I got up and left early. Almost everyone in there, over 100 people are just plain retarded,” says Henry Trumble.

      Would that be one of our fine police officers?

      • Lou

        Yes, I believe so. Maybe he has some medical training that allows for that clinical diagnosis. Or maybe he’s just a bigot.

        • Bob

          Or maybe he has functioning ears and eyes. Expensive homes and fancy college degrees do not make Arlingtonians holier-than-thou. This includes you, Lou.

          • Lou

            I can’t tell from your comments, but are you agreeing with the clinical diagnosis part or the bigot part? Because a public servant calling a bunch of people “retarded” is either one or the other.

        • El Duce

          I would not call him a bigot, (a poor use of the english language) he was calling it as he saw it. I for one am not a fan of the police, nor am I a fan of people that feel the power of entitlement becuase they just moved here in the past few years and bring some pre-conceived notion what Arlington is or should be. This place used to be affordable, better yet even pretty cool! Now it is some sort of weird utopia where idiots talk about “west of 29″ or “south of 50″ and “North, North Arlington”. Get a life! If you think like that, move back to where you orginally came from and make that a better place for you to live, don’t bring that senseless diatribe here and F’ this place up. By the way… god for bid County employees have an opinion about some of the lunacy that they have to put up with on a daily basis.

          • Lou

            Well, your pro-County bias is noted. But I would encourage you to look up the definition of bigot in the dictionary before you start giving your opinion about word use.

          • El Duce

            Thanks Lou, for directing towards the Dictionary. I forgot what one looked like!
            Opinions… hmmm we all seem to have them here don’t we, including yours

          • Lou

            Umm, OK.

      • I*1/\/\p $l_4q [)/\ l-loh

        my respect for the police went through the roof when i read that comment. seriously.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Oh. And I forgot to add.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I was waiting to see if someone would add this!

      • drax

        Nobody else was waiting.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Well, maybe you weren’t waiting. I’m sure others in the forum can speak for themselves one way or another.

          • drax

            Okay, I’ll wait. ;)

          • Lou

            One of the emails from staff talks about some pictures of kids they used in one of the meetings. So they were already thinking about the children.

        • CW

          Its ok, mehoo/dynaroo/name du jour didn’t like it, but I appreciated it.

          Cue ad hominem attack on me.

          • drax

            It’s not that I didn’t like it. It’s just getting really really old.

            Sorry to leave you hangin’ on the ad hom, bro. I don’t think I do that much.

          • CW

            I can respect that.

          • drax

            Oh, okay, fine, you pushed me hard enough, here’s your ad hom. You’re funny-looking on alternate Tuesdays and you smell like grape jelly. Happy now? ;)

          • CW

            Yes.

      • NPGMBR

        I never get tired of seeing it!

  • SS3345

    I’m going to agree with the “transportation official” on this one.

    These people seem like a bunch of whiners who have nothing better to do than complain (!) about efforts that are being put in place to protect them and their neighbors. You’d think Arlington County was installing a trash dump on their street or something.

    • Steamboat Willie

      Agree, and some of the objections seemed to have emanated from Fairfax County residents. How goofy is that? And the old woman standing in the street blocking traffic? Come on.

      But the topper was the alleged painting of swastikas at the entrance. That’s a nice touch.

      • El Duce

        Hey swastikas are actually good luck symbols, maybe they were wishing everyone well in this situation!

      • Leaf

        I saw the swastikas. They were not merely “alleged”. The conduct in the neighborhood was absolutely inexcusable.

        The County rules, which limit voting to households in the affected area were very logical. On River Street, there are many cut through drivers, principally from Chesterbrook Woods and other McLean communities who are looking for a fast way to get to Chain Bridge. As someone who has stood at a school bus stop on River Street for many years, the speeding that I saw was scary and very dangerous.

        The traffic calming that has been installed is a great improvement. I expect that after a few months, the reasonableness of the changes will become evident even to the opponents. Unfortunately, the hard feelings will last a long time. Ms. Dean’s actions were over the top. The FOIA request was an unfortunate waste of community funds.

    • Clarendon

      What about the ones that painted swastikas on the street ? This one got a little scary. I was at the NTCC meeting – the opposition was comparing this to Castro’s dictatorship in Cuba, they said that drivers would be so pissed at the changes that they would target pedestrians and the blood would be on the hands of the officials that approved it.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Are you serious? Wow, those folks are way out of control! I’m no fan of the Arlington County Board or government by any stretch of the imagination, but people painting swastikas at the entrance and comparing this to Castro’s bolshie dictatorship in Cuba? They must have some mighty potent weed to smoke up there on N. River St.

        • drax

          Makes you see why county staff would complain about them in emails, huh?

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I could understand why the staff would complain about them, but as a manager told the staff of a project I was working on years ago, never write anything in an email that you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of The Washington Post, never know who might get a hold of it. I was on a project when one of the engineers sent an email that was very uncomplimentary about a client. The client was a real piece of work, but the email got into the hands of the client and the engineer was fired.

          • drax

            Yes, let me rephrase: makes you see why county staff would complain about them, huh?

            You’re right, emailing this stuff is really dumb.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          It does sound a little nuts….

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Must be something in the water up that way. That area is one of the fanciest in Arlington; maybe they’re bored up there or something. Or they got some bad hooch from their dealer.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Bored, or spoiled brats.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Bingo, Overgrown Bush.

  • charlie

    i bet these people are the ones who speed down Glebe Road past my house. No one speeds yet we have a ridiculous speeding problem.

    • NPGMBR

      * * *Best Comment of the Day* * *

      “No one speeds yet we have a ridiculous speeding problem”

    • Barbara

      charlie: that’s right. lots of people think it’s perfectly okay to speed on other people’s streets, in other people’s neighborhoods, but don’t you dare try it on THEIR street. That’s the crux of the entire problem.

      • You never

        …speed? Ever?

      • AVer

        I don’t mind if people go 5-10mph over the speed limit on my street. I do the same when I drive and always look both ways before I walk across so it really doesn’t matter to me. I do not think speeding always equals reckless driving. A driver going 25mph and yapping on the phone is likely a worse driver than one going 10mph over and paying attention. Now add speed bumps and medians to the mix and the possibly of an accident is probably greater for the cell phone talker and the same for the speeder.

  • dallynd

    They did the nubs and a median on my street … Patrick Henry Drive … at our request years ago. It helps a little, esp by the school. I personally don’t think public safety issues are up for debate.

    • Josh S

      Perhaps, but it is all too easy to trot out the “public safety issues” bugaboo. Some people see them where they may not, in fact, exist.

  • CW

    So after reading a couple thousand words what I am taking away is that their only actual complaints about this project is that the improvements are “ugly”, some old people think that they might actually run into the things (which begs the question of why they are still allowed to drive in the first place), and that these ivory-tower types just like complaining for the sake of complaining.

    I also like this gem: “[Arlington County] didn’t believe in participatory democracy… basically, they wanted to do what they wanted to do, and it really didn’t matter what the neighborhood thought,” said Dean, a former congressional staffer. “You see that in banana republics, but it’s not supposed to be happening four miles from the Capitol.”

    Boo hoo, they built some curbs. Personally, I’d like to see the county find some excuse to invoke eminent domain on this guy’s whole property just to see him whine.

    • dk

      LOL, I guess Mr/Ms Dean wishes Arlington County could operate more like that “participatory democracy” we call Congress. I guess those campaign contributions didn’t provide the kind of access he/she was looking for.

      • The Truth

        Yes, LOL, but the opponents of the River Street project actually tried the old quid pro quo campaign contributions. The opponents of the River Street project got State Delegate Comstock (Farfax) to help in opposing the project, and then on May 25th, a wealthy resident of Chain Bridge Forest met with County Board Member (and State Senate candidate) Favola to discuss his opposition to the project. On May 26, that wealthy individual made significant contributions to the campaigns of each. Disappointingly, in the following weeks, Favola supported making changes to the project in order to appease the opposition. The project was still constructed, but with changes that were not supported by residents living on River Street. After all of the mudslinging that went on in that primary race between Favola and Jaime, what I saw leaves me no doubt that Ms. Favola’s decisions can be influenced by a check. It is the biggest problem with government in this country, and the reason why I am intrigued by Buddy Roemer, who recently threw his hat into the ring in the race for the Republican Presidential nod.

      • hmmm

        So nobody votes for members of Congress?

        • dk

          I meant that Ms. Dean, former congressional staffer, has plenty of experience in our *representative* (not participatory) democracy. We vote for our representatives, once in office they do what they want. As she, former staffer, should well know.

  • Burger

    Local transportation official to voters: Let them eat cake.

    • drax

      Poor widdle voters, getting their streets improved.

  • Dick Klass

    Ms. Dean leaves out several essential facts:
    1.

  • Dick Klass

    Ms. Dean leaves out several essential facts:
    1. The home owners association board (HOAB) in charge during development of the project decided not to get involved both due to disagreements and the fact that a neighborhood traffic calming committee had been appointed to handle the issue. It was that committee, working with the county, that decided on the design. The new HOAB, mostly Fairfax residents reversed this sensible position, circulated misleading surveys and opposed the Arlington County long approved process for such projects.
    2. The new HOAB claimed not to oppose the project but to improve it and widen the decision process. The wanted everyone “affected” to vote which would have included the entire Fairfax contingent and the dozens of cars that cut through the neighborhood when commuting.
    I do not know what they intend to do in”keeping fighting” the project. It is a done deal. Their lack of interest in traffic calming is demonstrated by their failure to move forward on the Fairfax portion of River Street.

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    Part of the problem with congestion in N. VA is that everyone is against “cut through” traffic. That is why our roads are so congested because cars are not able to travel in the most efficient route, due to people not wanting “through” traffic or subdivisions being built with dead-end streets, etc.

    • drax

      Well, in Arlington, the reason our roads are inefficient is because they started as rural dirt roads, then little neighborhoods and town sprung up in between them. The concern with cut-through traffic is a result of that, not caused by it. But I don’t blame them one bit for not wanting cut-through. Bet you wouldn’t like it either.

      • ZoningVictim

        Yeah, paving cow-paths is what my dad used to call it. I don’t blame them for not wanting cut-through traffic either; anytime people are commuting, they drive way too fast down whatever road they’re on. It never ceases to amaze me how people think nothing of doing 45 in a 25.

    • Veeta

      No one is stopping anyone from cutting through. The only goal is to make people do the damn speed limit. For example, if you want to drive 50, stay on 50. If you can’t drive 25, stay off 2nd St S.

      • drax

        True, except for many, the fact that you have to go slow on a street will make you avoid it.

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    Is/has the county installed the proper sign on both ends of the medians?

    http://www.stopsignsandmore.com/popup.aspx?src=images/Product/large/1386.gif

    Many other medians in the county that have been installed in recent years do not have them…

    Seems like a simple solution to the problem they caused (installing the median) which now requires a street lamp to light up the median. What if the power is out? What about snow?

    • ZoningVictim

      What about tearing the ugly POS back out since is only going to affect about 5′ worth of people’s driving?

  • John Fontain

    White people problems.

  • April

    Traffic calming is more make-work by and for the bloated transportation bureaucracy at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.

    We are going to have traffic calming installed soon on my street. How do I know? Speed limit and stop signs are obscured by foliage and DES and Transportation won’t do anything about it, despite repeated requests.

    • Michelle

      Document your request. Accident means $$

  • Michelle

    “you can’t be rude to your neighbors all the time, it will come back to haunt you.”

    Haunt you or cause your house to be egged and/or caught on fire? Please clarify. Thanks.

  • Jim

    OMG, did you see the conditions those poor people have to live under in those photos. I’ve never seen such deprivation.

  • Julie

    Look what happened on Pershing Drive a couple years ago. Only a few 30 mph speed limit signs were installed, most of them obscured by foliage. Neighborhood Nannies raised hell about speeding on Pershing Drive. Wanted the speed limit reduced.to 25. Nothing was ever done until the Neighborhood Nannies persuaded the County Board to reduce the speed limit to 25, then of course new signs were installed and the foliage cut back.

  • The Truth

    Good lord, let’s start with Ms. Dean’s comments at the end of the article:

    “In the end, though, Dean says she hopes the Chain Bridge Forest community, now divided, put aside their differences and resume neighborly relations.

    ‘The community needs to get past this and come together, but calling people names… is not going to get us there,’ she said. ‘That just needs to stop… you can’t be rude to your neighbors all the time, it will come back to haunt you.’”

    First, if she really wanted to get past this, she’d stop calling all of these “news” outlets and asking them to run a story about how her panties are in a bunch. Supporters of the project have moved on — she and the other whiners are the only ones who have been unable to “get past this.” And as far as “being rude to your neighbors,” it’s the opponents of the plan who are still laying on their horns as they drive over the speed cushions and past the homes of project supporters, and who have intentionally driven over newly sodded areas and one of the medians (see the sprayed mud in one of the pictures). Then again, these same opponents painted swastikas on the street in protest (yes, it’s true), so their continued childish behavior should be no surprise.

    In addition, Ms. Dean is not even an Arlington County resident — she lives in Fairfax County, on what amounts to a cul-de-sac, several blocks from the street where these traffic calming measures were installed. This is at least the fourth publication that has published an article at her behest, and not one of them sought out a resident of the neighborhood that actually lives in Arlington County, where the project has been constructed, much less someone who lives with the speeding in front of his or her home. Great journalism!!! Is anyone really surprised that individuals who are not impacted by the speeding problem, but will have to change their driving behavior (for the better) as a result of these measures oppose these measures? Ms. Dean’s argument is that the speeders (i.e., the problem) should get to decide whether measures will be put in place to correct the problem (i.e., their speeding). No surprise that she is a former congressional staffer — this is the type of bright thinking that has gotten this country in the mess it’s in. Further, her comments about incorrectly tallied votes are simply not true. The Arlington County residents who live with the unsafe traffic conditions in front of their homes overwhelmingly supported this project. The measures were needed because of the excessive number of inconsiderate drivers in what is a residential neighborhood. Kudos to Arlington County for giving residents an opportunity to make their streets safer.

    As far as aesthetics are concerned, appearance is a secondary concern to safety. Nonetheless, Ms. Dean’s comment that the project is as “ugly as the dickens” stands alone, from what I have heard. The majority of residents who have commented have said how great it looks – even before the County has had the opportunity to landscape the medians (the County has delayed the installation of landscaping because August is not the best time to do so). While “aesthetics” are admittedly subjective, it didn’t take much to improve upon the vast parking lot that existed at the most controversial intersection before the project was constructed.

    To the concern that older residents have that the measures will make driving less safe, the fact is that some of our elderly citizens should not be behind the wheel of a car. Anyone who is unable to navigate the measures simply should not be driving. But in reality, the argument is just a red herring – anyone who lives in Chain Bridge Forest knows that these poor elderly residents who allegedly are going to have trouble driving through openings that are at least 15 feet wide in all instances are, on a daily basis, able to navigate their cars into their garages with sometimes less than a foot of clearance on either side (believe me, none of these people park outside). How are they able to do it? They drive slowly. What a novel idea.

    To Ms. Dean and others who argue that the solution is police enforcement, not traffic calming, that simply is not practical. There are SEVERAL residential streets throughout the County with similar speeding problems, and it is not possible for the police to enforce the speed limit on all of them. Moreover, her “speeding ticket” statistics do not tell the story – Arlington County police officials have confirmed that their officers will not write a ticket unless a vehicle is traveling at least 10 mph over the speed limit (apparently something to do with the chances of a ticket holding up in court). That means you have to be going at least 35 in a 25 in order to pulled over. 34 mph is not a safe speed in a residential neighborhood.

    And when Ms. Dean says that the homeowners’ association (HOA) ”is going to fight [the installation of a traffic light] on the grounds that some of the necessary equipment needs to be installed on homeowner’s association property,” she is again not sharing the truth. You see, Arlington County has to install a free standing meter for the street light. The County asked the HOA if it would grant an easement so that the (admittedly unattractive) meter could be placed on the HOA’s property, out of sight behind some bushes. If not, it would be located in the open on County property, which would be a bit of an eyesore. Surely the HOA wants to do what is in the best interest of the community and not create an eyesore, right? Apparently not. It all doesn’t matter anyway, because the County has already decided not to pursue the easement. You see, the County’s real estate attorney already contacted Ms. Dean (months ago) to let her know that the HOA has no authority to grant an easement because it is not legally recognized by the State of Virginia. The HOA’s corporate status lapsed in 1985 and the association has been defunct ever since, so its Board has no legal authority to do anything with “its” property. Perhaps instead of constantly whining to the press about a few traffic safety measures, Ms. Dean might want to spend some time getting that minor issue straightened out.

    In short, if the way Arlington County runs its traffic calming program makes it a banana republic, then call me Daniel Ortega and fetch me a pina colada — River Street is the safest it has been in years. But now it’s time that we all put aside the acrimony, do our best to unificate, and answer Ms. Dean’s pleas of “can’t we all just get along” (between her spats of rock throwing). That’s just the type of leadership we need on Capitol Hill right now – too bad she retired.

    • John Fontain

      Very well thought out and written. Excellent points all around.

      I feel for the staff who had to deal with the project’s opponents.

      Yours should be the final word.

  • Skeptical

    I don’t give dibs to anyone who is or was a congressional staffer. Because they worked on the hill, somehow they think that makes them smarter than the average person. It’s entitlement, baby. Because the county didn’t do it her way, she got in a snit about the “inherent” unfairness of it all. Well, someone in the neighborhood wanted it done. I wish the county would install traffic calmers and reconfigure an intersection in my neighborhood. However, at this time a majority of the residents don’t want that. So be it. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

    • Skeptical

      This was not posted by me; I have been posting under the handle Skeptical since this newsblog was created, enough that at least a few people seem to recognize me.. I’m not saying I own the name, but since I’m here a lot and use it a lot, whomever used it might want to adopt a different one, especially if they’re prepared to make personal remarks about people involved in news stories, which is something I try NOT to do. Just sayin.

  • Meade

    Who got the free circular driveway?

  • Mildred

    So late some night, grab a few crowbars and go out and pry up the cement curbs. Open the space up again.

  • Annie

    The one thing Arlington never seems to try? Stop signs. I’m sick of traffic circles, traffic abatement and curbs and speed bumps and all sorts of other ridiculous measures that cause REAL problems in the winter. Just put up stop signs on every corner. Voila! No more speeders.

    • Willis

      Annie, multiway stop signs are a great idea, except for one small issue. Yes, Arlington is responsible for its residential streets and some arterial streets unlike most of the Commonwealth including Fairfax. However, the Commonwealth requires Arlington to comply with some specific written transportation guidelines which in part specify where a multiway can be placed. So get the Commonwealth to change and you can have more multiways in Arlington. One problem is when you have towns with maybe one stop sign this is not a significant issue for the legislature. The legislature does not have any understanding of the traffic issues here in NOVA.

    • Josh S

      I don’t know, if they caused problems in the winter, wouldn’t we know about it? I mean, these things have all existed for years in the county and elsewhere. If there was some connection between winter, a traffic circle and I guess accidents is what you are suggesting? wouldn’t that be common knowledge? But I’ve never had an accident in those conditions. I’m not aware of anyone else who has. I’ve never seen one. I don’t know, I think you might be asserting something that has no basis in reality.

      Also, the advantage of a traffic circle over a stop sign (for example) is that the traffic circle allows traffic to continue to flow, while still maintaining safety and orderliness. Operating your vehicle in a slow and steady manner is generally better for maintenance purposes, for gas mileage, etc as opposed to stopping at stop signs. The same goes for speed humps, curbs, and “all sort of other ridiculous measures.”

    • The Truth

      Annie, stop signs are not the answer. If you installed all-way stop signs at these intersections, you’d end up with drivers ignoring the stop signs just like they ignore the speed limit signs. The last thing we need is drivers blowing through every stop sign that is needlessly installed. Especially since all of the needless stop signs would actually encourage drivers to ignore the ones that actually are needed. Studies on using stop signs for traffic calming have been done by national trasportation engineering associations — they simply don’t work.

      • Steamboat Willie

        Truth,

        I agree, based only on my own personal observations. I live on a cut through street and the four-way stop near my house is ignored by a vast majority of drivers. They roll through the signs, or ignore them completely in some cases, so I believe the conclusions of the studies you mention.

      • citizen

        Stop signs work in Old Town Alexandria where the city installed them on every block to slow the cut through traffic.

  • Don

    I got tired of foliage covering the stop sign at the end of my street. Called the County to remove the foliage. No response. Took the hedge shears to it myself.

  • Charlie

    And I have been trying to get a speed bump on my street for 6 years . . . but nothing. It seems to me . . . if you live in North, North Arlington you get traffic calming remedies and the rest of us . . . well . . . how many speed bumps and rotaries do you see in neighborhoods south of Washington Blvd?

    • The Truth

      Charlie – I understand the frustration, but I assure you that the County fairly addresses the most serious problems first, based on their problem severity ranking scores. River Street waited ten years after traffic calming was first requested by a resident. It finally rose to the top of the problem severity ranking list in 2009. The problem is limited resources — money and County employees’ time. If you want to blame North, North Arlington for something, blame its whiny residents who have been keeping County employees from doing their jobs.

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    As much as I hate them, it would seem the most appropriate place to install traffic enforcement cameras is in a neighborhood with a big traffic problem. Speeding in a residential? Camera gets you and you get a big bill in the mail. Roll through a stop sign? Big bill in the mail. That won’t cost as much as a cop, will be there all the time, and will generate revenue. Of course, the spoiled folks of this neighborhood likely would scream bloody murder becasue they’d get caught too. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    • drax

      Nice idea, but it would require automatic radar hooked up to the camera to detect speeders or stop sign rollers. Does that even exist?

      • Josh S

        Well, sure, “automatic radar” exists for speed – automatic speed traps exist in several places in the District, for example. I’m not sure how it would work for stop signs, though.

        But more to the point, calling for greater levels of remote and automated surveillance is not something I could ever get behind, especially for something as relatively minor as failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. And also since traffic calming measures (speed tables, bump outs, traffic circles, etc) work to slow down traffic without bringing Big Brother into the equation.

  • Uncle County

    It is absolutelly unacceptable for the County to behave in the ways it did with this area and Ridge Rd area. The transportation department will cost County many progressive votes. I yet have to find someone in the affected areas who will be voting for these folks anytime soon. This department has caused the the Board members be viewed unfavorably across many areas.

  • Crycity

    Uncle – suggest you move since you hate everything about this county. We will be a much better place if you do.

    • Uncle_County

      Crycity – I love this County. I think it just deserves new leadership. Maybe leadership needs to move out instead of residents? You reminded me of Stalin who once said: “All these people should be (forcibly) removed since they don’t like me”.

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