At a community meeting on Tuesday, VDOT project manager Christiana Briganti-Dunn said land acquisition and construction is expected to begin this spring and will be complete by Aug. 2015. The $51.5 million project is being paid for primarily with federal and state funds, although Arlington is expected to contribute about $1 million for utility relocation and upgrades.
The project will replace the crumbling Washington Boulevard bridge, which dates back to the 1940s, and replace it with a new, wider span that will be dubbed the Freedman’s Village Bridge, in honor of the enclave of freed slaves that was established nearby in 1863 and remained until the 1890s.
The new, wider bridge will allow a turn lane to be placed in between the four existing lanes of Columbia Pike. It will also allow for a 10-foot mixed-use path next to the westbound lanes, and the possible future addition of dedicated bicycle lanes. The design of the bridge was elevated by couple of inches to accommodate the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, Briganti-Dunn added.
Another planned change is the addition of two traffic lights on Columbia Pike, at the intersection with two sets of reconfigured Washington Boulevard ramps. The intersection of S. Quinn Street and Columbia Pike will be reconfigured as a one-way only entrance into the Arlington View neighborhood, and the traffic light there will be moved to the intersection of Columbia Pike and N. Queen Street, where reconfigured ramps onto and off of eastbound Washington Boulevard will converge.
Northern Virginia residents were exposed to “dangerous” levels of smog on 33 days last year, the report said. There were also “3 ‘red-alert’ days, when the air quality was so poor that anyone could experience adverse health effects,” according to a press release.
The report was released locally by Environment America offshoot Environment Virginia. Rep. Jim Moran and Del. Patrick Hope were among the speakers at a press conference yesterday at the Langston-Brown Community Center in Arlington.
Environmental Virginia spokeswoman Sarah Hyman said the report is troubling for local residents — particularly children and the elderly, who are a higher risk of adverse health effects from air pollution.
“Virginians deserve clean air. But on far too many days, people in the D.C. Metro area, including Northern Virginia, are exposed to dangerous smog pollution,” Hyman said. “For the sake of our children, we must make every day a safe day to breathe.”
Hyman went on to criticize the Obama administration’s decision to put off updating the Environmental Protection Agency’s national smog pollution standards until at least 2013.
“We must make every day a safe day to breathe,” Hyman said. “Unfortunately, rather than acting decisively to protect our kids from dangerous air pollution, President Obama chose to kick the can down the road. Virginia’s kids, senior citizens and those suffering from respiratory problems will suffer as a consequence and certainly deserve better.”
An American Lung Association study released in April said the D.C. area has the 14th worst smog levels in the country.
Photo courtesy Anne Hughes/Office of Rep. Jim Moran
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) just released a new video for the It Gets Better Project, an initiative that seeks to give hope to bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
In the video, Moran talks about his own experience with bullying.
“I’ve known an awful lot of bullies through my life,” he said. “It’s interesting that they all grew up to be insecure jerks who only seem to feel good about themselves when they were making other people feel bad about themselves.”
The congressman also talked about being shy as a kid. He recounted that he fainted several times during his first two public speeches.
“I told myself things have got to get better because they can’t get any worse, and they did, eventually,” he said.
Moran joins a long list of celebrities, athletes, public officials and everyday people who have recorded videos for the It Gets Better Project.
With no formal announcement to speak of, save a modest “now open” sign outside the door, restauranteur Michael Landrum opened his latest “Ray’s” restaurant in Rosslyn last night.
“Ray’s to the Third” (1650 Wilson Blvd) is, at first blush, a casual-ified version of Ray’s the Steaks, with a bar. The menu, which is still being worked on, consisted primarily of steak and seafood items from Ray’s the Steaks (2300 Wilson Blvd) at a slightly lower price point. (The familiar Ray’s steak dishes are now all served as steak frites.)
There was a small but relatively inexpensive beer and wine selection. A glass of the house red was only $4, as was a bottle of the Hofbrau Oktoberfest, but it’s not clear if that’s a permanent price. The bar area included two flat screen TVs, a couple of beers on draft, a liquor selection and seating for about eight people. A couple of chairless tables were placed behind the bar.
So far, it appears that Ray’s³ (referred to as “Hell³” at the bar) is an attempt to simplify and, at the same time, add to the existing Ray’s the Steaks formula. The simple brown-and-beige decor and the fact that virtually every entree — including every steak — comes with fries and a salad is part of the “simplify” plan. The bar and the slightly reduced prices can be seen as an attempt to make Ray’s³ into a bit more of an everyday neighborhood hangout — an “add.” What’s not apparent is what exactly will come next.
Staff hinted last night that more changes are coming. There will be additions to the menu including, perhaps, some “bar food.” There will also be milkshakes. The intrepid souls who sat down for a meal (the restaurant still lacks a permanent sign) were treated to a free sample of a very thick, rich banana nut milkshake. Alcoholic milkshakes, like White Russians, were also said to be in the works.
Last night was described as a “very soft opening,” although you wouldn’t know it from the virtually flawless food preparation and attentive service. Landrum and managers wandered the restaurant at times, asking the 15-20 customers who filled up less than half the tables about their meals. A couple of interesting appetizers were on the menu but were not being served. Deviled eggs, a cheese platter and a $10.99 dish simply described as applewood-smoked bacon — nothing more — were all unavailable.
Ray’s³ will no doubt be a welcome addition to the Rosslyn dining scene, although the location is a bit of a no man’s land. Located a block down from the two existing Ray’s Hell Burger locations, and on the same block as BBQ joint Red, Hot and Blue, it’s not clear if the new Ray’s will attract the same kind of crowds as the more Metro-accessible Ray’s the Steaks or the parking lot-equipped Ray’s Hell Burgers. But it should be fun to see what Landrum has up his sleeves in the next couple of weeks.
A swarm of angry bees in an apartment building injured one man and kept police and firefighters at bay last night.
The man was apparently trying to get a bee hive out of a second-story apartment in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood when he was stung multiple times. The man reportedly suffered some sort of allergic reaction, and was attended to by Arlington County paramedics.
Police and firefighters, meanwhile, stood watch over the building, at 1300 N. Rhodes Street, while they waited for a contract exterminator to show up.
In this week’s Arlington County crime report, a suspected burglar was caught after a handyman working on a neighbor’s house saw the crime in progress and called police.
BURGLARY-ARREST, 09/15/11, 3500 block of N. 13th Street. On September 15 at 12:44 pm, a man was seen breaking into a residence. He was located by police and in possession of items from the house. Michael Porter, 53, of no fixed address, was charged with Burglary and Grand Larceny. He was held on a $1,500 bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, including a man charged with assaulting a police officer during a DWI arrest, after the jump.
Call for Entries in Arlington Design Competition — Arlington County is asking for entries for this year’s DESIGNArlington’11 design competition. ” Distinctive architectural, public art, and landscape projects completed within the past five years may be eligible,” the county says. [Arlington County]
Police Seek Missing Man — Arlington County police are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing man. Ricardo De Leon, 57, was last seen leaving Pike Pizza (4111 Columbia Pike) on Sept. 10. He’s described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’6″ tall and 160 pounds with gray and black hair and brown eyes. [ACPD]
Old Jefferson Davis Highway Renamed — Old Jefferson Davis Highway will soon be known as “Long Bridge Drive.” The new street name will go into effect on April 1, 2012. The road connects Crystal City with the still under-construction Long Bridge Park. “Planned upgrades will transform the street into a tree-lined boulevard with sidewalks, bike lanes and transit stops in the next year, creating a welcoming gateway to Long Bridge Park,” the county said in a press release. [Arlington County]