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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 27, 2012 at 9:14 am | 3,888 views | 78 Comments

New School Budget Approved — The Arlington School Board approved a new $499.98 million budget last night. The budget includes a 2.84 percent cost of living increase for school employees, but no seniority-based “step” increases. The per-student cost at Arlington Public Schools will increase to $18,615, up from $18,400 in Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s FY 2013 proposed budget and $18,110 in this past year’s budget. [Sun Gazette]

Extra I-66 Lane Studied — Adding an extra lane in each direction on I-66 would improve travel times for drivers by only about 2 percent, while costing some $310 to $685 million, according to a preliminary study. [Greater Greater Washington]

Human Error in Rosslyn Derailment — Human error is suspected in Tuesday night’s derailment at the Rosslyn Metro station. Two Metro employees were placed on paid leave following the incident. [Washington Post]

Randy Johnson Visits W-L – Future Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson came to Arlington to watch a Washington-Lee High School baseball game last Friday. The Big Unit spent time in the dugout and posed for photos with players. [Patch]

Last 5K Friday Tonight — The last Crystal City 5K Friday of the season will take place starting at 6:30 tonight. Registration for the race is $20. [Pacers Events]

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  • Westover

    $500 billion dollars and they still need trailers!

    • Hikin’ the pike

      Trailers are still a way better deal then trying to build all of those classrooms in a hurry.

      • Westover

        For that money they should be having class on the moon.

        • Hikin’ the pike

          But would be a really long ride on the cheese wagon.

      • Elmer

        “Trailers”? Excuse me.
        They are to be referred to as “learning cottages”.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      I think you meant $500 Million. Not Billion…

    • Josh S

      Yeah, million not billion and trailers vs classrooms is a capital budget expense, not an operating budget expense. Two different things.

      • SouthPikeGuy

        The new budget includes $1.8 million for new trailers.

        • Josh S

          OK, I stand corrected. Trailers are an operating expense. I guess because they are rented?

          But back to OP’s point (well, what seems to be the implied point, anyway) $500 million is the operating budget and so doesn’t address overcrowding, which is why you have trailers. So complaining about the size of the operating budget and overcrowding in the same sentence doesn’t make any sense. You can’t solve overcrowding by manipulating the operating budget.

  • Hikin’ the pike

    I know I’m going to get burned for saying anything, but its not really a 2.84% raise for Arlington school staff. Due to the session in Richmond that shifted retirement costs around, 0.84% is to cover FICA changes. The net is 2%.

    • Numbers Sense

      Thank you for the clarification. And there is no step increase for staff included so it is a flat increase. And increase, but not much when considering there has been no increase of worth for a while….

      • Anon

        A “flat increase”?? Numbers Sense, that makes no, uh, numbers sense.

        • Numbers Sense

          Across the board increase …. without regard to where a teacher falls in the system…
          Take a look at the pay plan structure on the website… it is a flat rate of 2% rather than one that also includes a step increase (change in the amount a more experienced teacher would receive versus a teacher that is a new hire or still on probation teacher).

          Makes sense to those that have followed the budget and how it is explained as part of the budget over the years.

          • Josh S

            You’re splitting hairs. Or mixing apples and oranges. Or something like that.

            Sure, no step increase, but that’s a separate issue from whether or not there is even a raise at all.

  • Oh Yay!

    Moran voted in favor of the controversial CISPA legislation last night — basically another Bill written by people who know nothing about the interwebs trying to take over the interwebs.

    http://gizmodo.com/5905360/what-is-cispa

  • asdf322323

    Please correct the article: it is $499.98 million, not billion (see original article)

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      Fixed, thank you.

    • nom de guerre

      Considering the County budget is only $1.052 million, the $499.98 billion budget for the schools seems just a little excessive.

      • Westover

        Uh…….

        • Elmer

          Whoa. Cost per pupil to go to $18615.00?
          Good grief. Has the cost of McGruffy Readers gone up that much over the years?

          • Zoning Victim

            Couldn’t we save money by dismantling APS and sending all of the children to private school? The average cost of a private school is several thousand dollars less than that.

          • drax

            Private schools don’t have to take the kids that are harder to educate.

          • Zoning Victim

            Yeah, very true. I’m sure it’s a lot easier when you can be selective in that way. It might still be an interesting way to solve short-term overcrowding issues.

          • drax

            True, but how do you choose who goes to the private schools though?

  • novasteve

    How many of us get to derail a train and still get paid? Paid vacation for making a mistake. Nice, government jobs rule!

    • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

      srsly

  • DarkHeart

    Luckily, no birds were killed during Randy Johnson’s appearance.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Awesome reference!

  • CW

    Anybody got any idea what went on in the general vicinity of Spout Run at about 10 PM last night? Largest fire dept response I’ve ever heard. Sirens down Lee Hwy for about 30 min straight; sounded like the end of the world.

    • b

      coyote spotting.

      • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

        *howls*

    • novasteve

      Someone was smoking in a park.

    • WeiQiang

      Bocce

    • OldTimer

      Meriweather DWI

  • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

    $310 to $685 million for a 2% decrease in travel times. wonder how much the study itself cost. what a massive waste of taxpayer dollars, nice.

    • drax

      The study is money well spent – it prevents a much larger waste of money.

      • Zoning Victim

        Yeah, no kidding. Why would a study like this be a waste of taxpayer dollars? Widening roads for no gain would be the real waste. The bus lane on 50 sounds like great idea.

        With 50/29 mirroring 66 the whole way out to Gainesville, I wonder why they don’t explore the option of making 66 all one way during the rush-hours, using the “wrong way” side as an outbound expressway so they don’t have to build many new ramps for the outbound traffic.

        • drax

          Good idea. Like HOV on 395 works.

        • Maria

          Well 50/29 might run the same route, but have you driven on them? Lights, lights, lights. There are a few wider portions that run pretty smoothly, but it takes me 40 minutes to get from Arlington to Vienna on 50 and/or 29 after 5pm. Also, have you seen traffic going “against” rush hour on 66? Half the time it’s almost as backed up as those going “with” rush hour traffic. Can you imagine ALL the traffic from 66 trying to use those roads? It would take hours for people to get home.

          • Zoning Victim

            66 usually only stacks up between the Glebe Road exit and DC, but it certainly gets pretty busy there at night. I’ve never understood why 66 going against rush hour traffic in the evenings stacks up in that area but 50 never does. It would certainly have to be studied for impact to other roads to make sure the net effect isn’t worse overall.

          • Maria

            “66 usually only stacks up between the Glebe Road exit and DC”
            Are you talking 66E? Because it backs up from Falls Church (rte. 7) to Glebe every day, usually starting around 4/4:30 until at least 7. I don’t generally go past Ballston, so I couldn’t speak to that. As it gets later, it also backs up around 495.

            Also, I’ve driven on 50 eastbound at that time of night too, and it tends to get pretty backed up near Annandale Dr., though I’ve never driven it (at that time) east of the Falls Church/Arlington border.

            I can’t possibly imagine that the net effect wouldn’t be worse for 50/29, but I’m not a traffic engineer, so what do I know?

  • WeiQiang

    Addtional lanes on I-66 = low velocity parking lot. There will never be an appreciable amount of additional garage/street parking in DC or ArlCo and there won’t be any significant improvement to the arteries at the end of the i-66 funnel. The only the thing the outer burbs are looking for is a sensation that they are at least getting out of Fairfax County before they have to hit the brakes.

    It’s a short-, mid-, and long-term losing proposition to look for the solution in additional road capacity. There is simply never going to be a car solution for the problem.

  • Bandersnatch

    If you are interested in the transportation issue I’d recommend reading the discussion following the linked article- lots of articulate folks politely battling it out (with only a few trolls tossed in for spice)

  • spaghetti

    If a lane was added in each direction, what would happen to the W&OD and Custis trails?

    • drax

      I think VDOT is saying it could fit new lanes in without touching the trail. Don’t know if that would take away shoulders though.

  • Elmer

    As a senior, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of those putting out those colorful sidewalk wooden rockers in the pix but I don’t know how much practical use they’ll get rocking on those uneven pavers and banging up against the stone wall.
    However, it does create a restful ambiance-as they say in the artsy crowd-in that urban location.

    • nom de guerre

      Sam’s Corner is offering a 20% discount to seniors today on their daily special. Since the Clarendon definition of a senior is anybody over 40, try to get there early to enjoy the seared free range duck breast topped with a confit of sweet and tart Cipollini caramelized onions seasoned with herbs and balsamic vinegar and artisanal Manchego cheese on an artisan sourdough baguette with a faro and watercress pesto.

      • Elmer

        Appreciate the senior discount, However, my dentures are bad. I need someone to chew my food for me. Can Sam’s Corner accommodate me on that?
        Thanks.

        • drax

          Only from 4:36 to 4:49 pm.

          • WeiQiang

            Blue Plate from 3:22 to 3:27 pm.

        • JBalls

          Rudely, you did not specify when you would like the Sam’s staff to help you masticate your food. This is an affront to the community.

          • JamesE

            Public mastication is getting out of hand.

          • drax

            WIENERMOBILE

      • Maria

        nom de guerre: You are so committed to this I’m not sure whether to find it impressive or pathetic. I’ll go with impressive for now ;-)

  • Westover

    Overlooked by all the anti-car comments about I-66 is that extra lanes would alleviate traffic on the minor arterials and secondary roads. This is a problem in Arlington (especially my neighborhood) during rush hour, and adding capacity to 66 would help. I am glad VDOT continues to address road capacity.

    • CW

      Looks like somebody is a grumpyface who wants Washington Blvd all to himself! No cutting off the parking lot that is 66 from Sycamore to Lee! Mine!!!

      • Westover

        Also, they are doing some half-baked repaving project on Washington Blvd right now. It’s a cycle of repairs that occurs every 4 years or so. Less traffic on Washington would mean less maintenance costs on Washington for Arlington. That’s another win.

        • CW

          I swear they’ve repaved that block east of kirkwood 4 times in the last 2 months.

          • JamesE

            They need to repave 10th between washington and wilson, drove on that yesterday and felt like my car was going to shake apart.

          • CW

            STEEL PLATES AHEAD

    • WeiQiang

      The extra lanes will give you a 15-30 delay in the arterial crowding. If you can’t improve flow through the entire system, making the holding tank (66) larger doesn’t help. Who knows … with more cars and more texting/emailing drivers, it may slow 66 down even more.

      • CW

        Yep….”Buy our brand new townhouses in the brand new Former Fairfax Swampland Subdivision! Only a quick 30 minute commute to Downtown D.C.!”

      • Smitty

        Can you provide a link to that analysis?

        • WeiQiang

          Analyst’s Note: the time estimate was a SWAG, simply illustraing the point that, at the destinations, no additional capacity is added. As a proxy, please take the existing analysis as a baseline [I'm sure you have a link]. Add “0″ to additional capacity to the interfaces at the destination. It’s like a funnel; making the hopper larger means only that you take longer to fill the hopper [maybe even 15-30 mins longer ... maybe not]. You’re still not going to dump cars any more quickly into DC or ArlCo, you don’t have a meaningful increase in capacity at the destinations, you don’t have increased capacity in the arterials to get the cars to fill the capacity, and you’re not going to speed things up if you throw more cars in to the additional capacity. They’re flailing away over the funnel.

          • Smitty

            I think the term you are painfully wordsmithing around is “induced demand”, which holds that people will fill extra lanes when they are added. My point being that takes trips off of the side roads.

          • drax

            Induced demand doesn’t take trips off side roads, it creates entirely new trips.

    • drax

      That’s not likely if the savings is only 2 minutes.

  • Dood

    Must be nice to work for metro. In any other job you screw up, you get canned. At metro you screw up and get paid to have some time off!!

    • drax

      Yes, and at other jobs sometimes you get canned even if you don’t screw up. You get blamed for someone else’s screwup.

    • Elmer

      If you want to learn about the mess that Metro has become, check this link to the three part investigative series in the Washington Times “Inept get promoted…capable get buried”.
      The WaPo doesn’t have the guts to take this on…

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/26/metro-derailed-by-culture-of-complacence-incompete/

      • Bandersnatch

        Interesting article if a wee bit obsessed with the under-representation of whites. It should have focused more on the “pen whipping” and cronyism.

        Washington Times is still nuts- nice side bar editorials:

        Research says ‘God spot’ does not exist
        EDITORIAL: Obama embraces Islam
        LAMBRO: What Obama won’t say as he campaigns
        Report: High taxpayer tab for first lady’s Spain trip

        At least the WaPo almost pretends to be non-partisan

        • Elmer

          Unlike the close minded “progressives” in my neighborhood, I subscribe to and read both the Wash Times and the Wash Post. You know: Its called being fair and balanced.

        • drax

          “Obama embraces Islam” is far beyond partisan – it’s lunacy

  • Jane Adams

    Can you please let us know where your morning picture was taken, today and in the future? Thank you.

    • jackson

      And if this picture was taken in the future, can you please tell us how you accomplished this?

    • sunflower

      if you click on the picture there should be caption under it

    • Rosslyner

      Looks like Lynne St and N 19th between the crepe cart spot and McDonald’s, across the street from Cosi.

  • Dan

    Did Pup have a “paw” in selecting the colors for those chairs ??

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