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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 20, 2011 at 8:09 am | 1,822 views | 45 Comments

Candlelight Vigil for Hit and Run Victim — Friends of Zorigoo Munkhbayar gathered on the Rhodes Street Bridge Sunday night to mourn the 23-year-old’s tragic death. Munkhbayar was hit by a car — which then fled the scene — as he was walking down Route 50 early Friday morning. [Ode Street Tribune]

Residents Still Waiting for Promised Traffic Lights — Some residents are asking: Why haven’t traffic lights been installed at the intersections of N. Qunicy Street and 9th Street and Wilson Blvd and N. Pollard Street? After all, Arlington County has already collected tens of thousands of dollars from developers with the express purpose of installing traffic lights at the intersections. [Sun Gazette]

Clarendon Urgent Care Center Opens — Mid Atlantic Urgent Care opens today at 3301 Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon. The seven-day-a-week medical office encourages walk-in visits from patients with non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries. [Mid Atlantic Urgent Care]

Disclosure: Mid Atlantic Urgent Care is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA

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  • brendan

    glad to have another urgent care/walk-in clinic in the area. the one in mclean has really gone downhill.

  • Thes

    With respect to those traffic lights, I wonder if there is a person who would be willing to call Arlington’s transportation division during business hours to get an explanation? What would we call such a person? Begins with r… rep… repor… REPORTER! Yes, that would be a person who is interested in facts and answers instead of just gossiping about controversy.

    • Clarendon

      I can’t fault staff for not having an answer to every question when asked about it at the board meeting, but it seems to me that less questions are getting answered at the board meetings than they had in the past (under Carlee for example). Either the staff (Manager) is less on top of things or they are being more cautious. But, either way, when and how do the answers get made public ?

    • CW

      How dare you suggest that the publisher of this fine weblog take actions that could be construed as investigative journalism!

      • Thes

        My comments were not directed at ArlNow, which was merely linking to the “story” in another “newspaper”. Although, certainly I wouldn’t mind if ArlNow — by using that fancy telephone thingie — found the answer that eluded other “reporters.”

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      Thes, why don’t you try calling.

      It’s nearly impossible to get through to a person. And, to even try, you have to call the Department of the Environment Services (no joke.) There is no DOT in Arlington Country.

      I called a few times over the years, and either it rings and rings, goes to voicemail, or someone picks up, doesn’t help, and puts me in to someone’s voicemail, who never calls back.

      • CW

        Right, which is where investigative journalism comes in.

      • Thes

        @UnlimitedCustoms: It is a shame when citizens can’t get through to their government officials. Sometimes when I call I get answer within minutes, but other times my experience is like yours and I fall into a black hole.

        However, Arlington County gives credentialed *reporters* (which, sadly, includes the posers at the Sun-Gazette) help in getting through to the right County officials. But that won’t happen when the reporter just watches the tape of the County Board meeting and doesn’t bother picking up the phone.

        For the record, I also think it would be great if Arlington County government officials monitored the major blogs and volunteered information. Plenty of other government agencies, like WMATA, do this.

        ADOT is the Arlington *Division* of Transportation (part of the Department of Environmental Services).

    • Baja

      Also missing thus far is a promised and paid for stoplight at Wakefield and Wilson in Ballston as part of the 800 and 900 N. Glebe and AHC’s ‘The Jordan’ developments.

  • Lou

    We need an IG position to find out where all these developer contributions are going. If Zimmerman and the County Manager do not even know, then someone needs to be responsible for bird dogging it and telling them so they do know.

    • CW

      Is “bird dogging it” similar to “prairie dogging it”?

      • Richard Cranium

        They’re exactly the same, only a little bit different.

      • Rick

        +1

    • Thes

      Do you think an IG would be better able than Zimmerman or the County Manager to know the answer if asked at 9 a.m. on a random Saturday morning?

      • Lou

        That’s what I implied, isn’t it?

        • Thes

          Good luck with that. The IG would be another human being who needs to look some things up from time to time and not an all-seeing and all-knowing god-head capable of answering any question with perfect knowledge without prior notice. The Oracle of Delphi will not be available for the job.

          • Lou

            It is not a very complicated question. Are you implying that everybody at the County needs to be some sort of all-knowing god-head to have a simple answer like that?

            Anything better than “I don’t know”. That’s what my interns say.

          • Thes

            I think with 10 minutes on a weekend to give an answer to “what happened to the $75,000 someone said they would give you for a traffic light at this intersection 5 years ago?” that “I don’t know.” is a perfectly reasonable answer. It’s not a reasonable answer after one and a half business days have elapsed and a reporter calls to follow up on the issue. I don’t expect the County Manager, County Board or IG to know, in their heads, *literally* where every dollar of public money is at any given time. It’s a $1 billion annual budget.

          • Lou

            If Zimmerman told you the sky was green you would think that was a perfectly reasonable answer. We get it, nothing new from you.

          • Thes

            A cogent rebuttal, indeed.

          • Lou

            There’s nothing to rebut. You haven’t made a case other than your opinion that “I don’t know” was an OK answer to the question. You’ve attacked the journalism behind the article, and refuted the value of an IG by turning a simple piece of information into the Gordian Knot of all County knowledge. I really can’t reubt a Hyperbole Master such as yourself. Enjoy your internet victory, Pyrrhus.

      • charlie

        um yes. several times yes.

  • OddNumber

    I think it is great that the county is looking to improve pedestrian safety at these intersections, but traffic lights are overkill. There is minimal traffic on 9th and Pollard so the expense just doesn’t seem justified. Why not save some money by directly addressing the need and install pedestrian triggered flashing yellow lights like those used on Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs? Glad to hear the nearby developers are paying for part of the expense at least.

    • SimplyDusty

      If they could just improve the entrance to Gold’s Gym, it would probably make Pollard and Wilson a lot safer for both cars and pedestrians and reduce the need for a traffic light.

      • CW

        I agree with you at the highest level of abstraction regarding Golds, but when I tried to think of an actual way to do such improvement, I came up more or less blank. Maybe require everyone to use a back entrance off of quincy, lengthen the green left arrown from wilson onto quincy, and add a left from quincy onto wilson?

        I disagree with OddNumber about 9th@Quincy. I had to use that intersection a lot for many months. All of the big buildings’ garages dump out onto 9th. That is a dangerous blind intersection with two pedestrian crosswalks, street parking right up to the corners, a bit of a rise to the north, and cars flying down Quincy trying to beat the light at Fairfax. A light is warranted in my opinion. Although whether the pedestrian walk signals and resulting foot traffic blocking turning cars will negate the flow and just cause a backup remains to be seen (e.g. Garfield @ Clarendon).

        • Vik

          I think 9th and Quincy probably could go without a traffic light, but it does get tough at times, not just for pedestrians but for cars on 9th trying to cross or access Quincy as well.

          For Pollard and Wilson, the Gold’s Gym entrance on Wilson is an issue, but another issue is that cars are flying down Wilson and seem not to care that there is a crosswalk at that intersection. I wish we didn’t need a light there, perhaps some traffic calming features are better, but it is a dangerous intersection for pedestrians. Just think, there weren’t even lights on that strip of Wilson between Pollard and Oakland not long ago.

        • Anon

          The other Gold’s Entrance/Exit is on Pollard. Hence putting in the light at Pollard and mandating its use. Then people can easily make all the left and right handed turns they need to when leaving Gold’s without trying to squeeze into the small breaks in traffic on Wilson.

          • CW

            Yes, but Pollard is a pretty darn small road at that point (next to Wiinky’s it’s honestly more like an alley) and doesn’t lead to Glebe. I was saying that maybe relocating the main entrance/exit to Quincy would make it more accessible from more directions and could utilize and existing light (quincy) rather than installing a new one (pollard). Although Wilson/Pollard needs a pedestrian light either way because crossing the 4 lanes of Wilson with cars flying around the blind curves from both directions is suicide, especially once it starts getting dark early.

    • Anon

      The pedestrian safety at Wilson and Pollard is not great – but mostly because of the Gold’s gym traffic. People whip in and out; gumming up traffic and nearly hitting pedestrians constantly. A light there AND cooperation from Gold’s gym instructing people to use the Pollard entrance instead would be a huge improvement for the traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

      • Vinh An Nguyen

        I disagree that its mostly about the Golds traffic. Cars travelling on Wilson almost all refuse to stop for pedestrians in that crosswalk, regardless of where those cars have been or where they’re going.

        But I do agree a traffic light may be overkill.

      • Andrew

        I cross there almost daily to go to the gym and people turning in and out of Gold’s Gym has never been a problem. People driving WAY too fast on Wilson is the issue.

        • Vik

          I agree. It’s the speed of traffic and utter disregard of the crosswalk that is the problem. Just the other day, a cop was going probably 60 mph through that intersection and almost hit a person walking their dog.

          • Andrew

            Advanced towing also drives all around that area at ridiculous speeds and blows through stop signs. Then again, everyone ignores the stop signs around there along 9th street.

        • Anon

          You must not walk along Wilson in front of Gold’s during rush hour everyday. I’m usually almost mowed down by someone entering or leaving Gold’s once a week, even though I’m actively paying attention.

          • Vicente Fox

            But the entrance to Golds on Wilson isn’t at the intersection of Pollard, so your statement makes no sense.

          • Vicente Fox

            Except the entrance to Golds isn’t at the intersection of Pollard, so your statement makes no sense.

          • Anon

            With a light at Pollard making it easier to turn onto and from Pollard people would be less inclined to use the Wilson entrance, which is a clusterf*ck during rush traffic when most people also work out. So my statement does make sense.

            Additionally the Wilson/Quincy rush hour traffic will theoretically get worse when the two new nearby office buildings open.

      • Garden City

        I disagree about the problem being traffic from Golds. On Saturday mornings I use the aerobics equipment in the front room which gives me a great view of that intersection for about an hour, and yes, cars traveling on Wilson pay no mind to pedestrians in that crosswalk. This past Saturday a young mother and a toddler were stranded on the yellow line as cars went in front of and behind them. On another day, I was surprised to see the 42 ART bus not stop for a pedestrian coming from the other side of the road in the crosswalk. I think one of those signals like what is on Columbia Pike near S. Frederick Street is a good solution.

  • Josh S

    Yeah, even the Sun Gazette can only “presume” that the payments were made. Uh, that isn’t good enough. Were they made and into what pot were they put? Did they have strings attached that required them to be spent on these particular traffic lights? Later in the SG article, Jay Fisette is quoted speculating that these intersections don’t meet state requirements for traffic lights. Uh, then why was the money collected to build them? Which raises the possibility that the agreements with the developers don’t actually specify these particular intersections but rather just say for “traffic lights as needed” or something like that. I would reserve judgement on the whole thing until seeing the actual agreements.

    Leaving all of that aside, I, for one, hope that the lights aren’t installed any time soon. It’s already hard enough driving through that section of Quincy. If anything, I see cars going out of their way to stop for pedestrians. Maybe you could put stop signs there, but there doesn’t seem to be enough cross traffic to justify a traffic light.

    The same with the intersection at Wilson and Pollard. How many cars want to stay on Pollard and cross Wilson? And there is a light at Quincy, one block away. This ain’t Manhattan folks. We don’t need lights on every intersection. Maybe one of those pedestrian activitated flashing lights while crossing in the crosswalk. Add a median so peds have a refuge halfway across the street.

  • CW

    More importantly, why does the actually-needed and currently-installed light at Washington and Garfield still have bags over it? TURN THE THING ON!

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      and remove those nubs just installed. plus repaint the double yellow.. nearly impossible to make the turn from NB washington blvd onto NB garfield street the way they have re-painted the lines

  • Andrew

    What about pedestrian triggered crossing lights like the ones on Columbia Pike between George Mason and Four Mile Run?

  • Rick

    If you ask Jaime, Barbara Favola has Shooshan’s 25,000 and even more from Dittmar and Equity. And he’s probably right

  • BallstonDweller

    Interesting story. I hope to see this followed up somewhere soon and that ARLnow keeps us informed!
    Did they ever think $25,000 would pay for a light at 9th?? What was the delay? Where is the money now?
    That is a horribly intersection to cross–I avoid driving down 9th for that reason and I usually try not to cross there

  • a little research

    The site plans requiring both signals can be found at the below addresses. I think information within answers many questions posed by posters here. A little bit of research can go a long way . . .

    http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/CountyBoard/meetings/2004/apr/0424/42.pdf

    http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/countyboard/meetings/2002/jan/12A_B.PDF

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