It’s a debate that’s happening in the District and across the country — how can free-wheeling food trucks peacefully co-exist with brick-and-mortar restaurants? That debate is now coming to Arlington.
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is in the process of forming a set of recommendations for the Arlington County Board regarding the regulation of food trucks, according to an internal document obtained by ARLnow.com. The BID, which is funded by the property owners who rent space to the neighborhood’s 59 restaurants, delis and cafes, says in the document that “the number, location and type of operation” of food trucks and carts is “inadequately regulated by Arlington County.”
Even during the “off season” winter months, between 3 and 9 food trucks flock to N. Lynn Street alone to serve hungry Rosslyn lunch-goers, according to the BID. But while residents and workers may appreciate the variety and convenience of food trucks, the restaurants that pay rent in Rosslyn have been complaining.
“Food truck operators… park at the busiest and best locations for retail business without paying rent, investing in the community, or ‘playing by the rules,’” the document suggests. “Existing ‘bricks and mortar retail tenants, who have made large investments, are feeling significant impacts [from food trucks]… Revenue is siphoned from retailers.”
“Business owners who have made investments in Arlington County need to be protected,” the document concludes. “The County needs to create a level playing field for both street level retailers and food carts-food trucks.”
To help do so — and to help cure other ills allegedly brought on by food trucks and carts — the Rosslyn BID has formed a number of preliminary recommendations. Some of the recommendations are new, while some are based on existing regulations. Though the document is described as a “work in progress,” the recommendations so far include:
- “Develop a mechanism to address the number and schedule of food trucks during lunch hours. This would provide a consistent approach for both food truck operators and bricks and mortar retailers.”
- “Dedicate a location for food trucks that is not along the main retail areas.”
- “Limit the number of food trucks-food carts per block to no more than two (2) and ensure adequate sidewalk clearance for safe passage of pedestrians.”
- “Restrict the proximity of food trucks to not less than 65 feet away from the front of restaurants.”
- “Require that food truck/food cart employees must have restroom access within 200 feet of the food truck-food cart.”
- “Enhance inspections and impose serious fines for health/safety violations.”
- “Require food trucks/food carts to provide their own trash cans or take away the garbage that they generate.”
- “Ensure County business registration and tax laws continue to be enforced.”
Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy says that while food trucks can “enhance the streetscape,” the well-being of retailers must be considered.
Update at 3:50 p.m. — The suspect has been safely taken into custody by police.
Earlier: Police and firefighters are on scene at the Ballston public parking garage, where a suicidal suspect is threatening to jump.
The suspect, described as a juvenile black male, is leaning against a railing at the top of the parking structure, near the intersection of Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street. Police have been keeping pedestrians away from the area below where the man is standing, although a small crowd has gathered across the street near the Mercedes-Benz dealership.
Police are now trying to talk to the man, who has been there since around 2:45 p.m. According to scanner traffic, the man threw his phone off the side of the parking structure.
“A negotiator is on scene making verbal contact with the suspect,” said Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Sternbeck said the man had left a behavioral and mental health facility on the 2100 block of Washington Boulevard earlier in the day.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) invited community leaders to be among the dozens to attend a ceremony marking the opening of its new headquarters today.
DARPA headquarters, which used to be at 3701 N. Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, is now in the recently finished building at 675 N. Randolph Street in Ballston. The new development is being touted as more secure and environmentally sound than the previous location.
Congressman Jim Moran (D) and several Arlington County Board members, including Chair Mary Hynes, attended the event. Moran and Hynes spoke of how local officials spent years working to keep the defense contractor in Arlington.
“DARPA is the center of the wonderful knowledge economy that’s become part of our identity,” said Hynes.
Moran, who held a cybersecurity summit last month, noted that one of DARPA’s accomplishments is attracting top workers who can help prevent threats to the United States, particularly cyber threats. He also cited work on stealth technology and prosthetic limbs. He said all of the defense agency’s work helps Arlington’s economy.
“DARPA represents an enormous economic boost,” Moran said. “We’re extraordinarily proud that we have DARPA as part of this community.”
The new 13-story facility is considered one of largest secure conference centers in Northern Virginia, and more than 1,100 people work there. It’s expected to receive a LEED platinum designation for commercial interiors from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The picture on the left is the area formerly known as Rosslyn Circle, taken around 1925. Records indicate the businesses shown were on Agnew Avenue, which is now Lynn Street. They stood at the base of the newly finished Key Bridge, which replaced the Aqueduct Bridge in 1923.
Rosslyn, and this section in particular, used to be considered a rough area. After the Civil War ended, many soldiers stayed behind. They drove out the farmers who previously owned the land in Rosslyn, and set up saloons, gambling houses and houses of prostitution. Thievery and murder were a regular occurrence, and locals knew not to walk there at night, if at all.
By the early 1900s, fed up residents wanted to rejuvenate the area and formed groups such as the “Anti-Saloon League.” They worked to change Rosslyn’s colloquial slogan from “Gateway to Perdition” to “Gateway to Virginia.” It took decades to drive out the unsavory elements.
By the 1950s, big plans were in the works to fully transform Rosslyn Circle and the surrounding area from a slummy, dangerous part of town teeming with pawnbrokers into a business hub sporting high rises. Much of the area was razed, both to accommodate the new buildings, and to make way for the completion of Interstate 66.
By about 1963, nearly all of old Rosslyn was gone, and businesses and industry poured into the area. Adding to the renewal was the promise of a Metro station, which was completed in 1977.
The photo on the right shows what the area near the old Rosslyn Circle looks like today.
Historic photo courtesy Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room.
According to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the man was first seen sitting on the sidewalk in between two cars with a newspaper over his lap, in the 1000 block of N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon, on Saturday, May 19. Staff from a restaurant across the street saw the man masturbating as he watched children playing on the restaurant patio.
Witnesses called the police, and one staff member walked across the street to ask the man to leave. He left without causing trouble. Police have not been able to locate him, and want residents to be aware of the incident.
“We’re putting the word out in light of several recent exposure incidents and sexual assaults,” Sternbeck said.
The children and other customers did not see the man; the act was only witnessed by restaurant staff.
He is described as a white man, around 60 years old, with medium length gray hair. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a black shirt, navy shorts and a dark colored hat.
Anyone who might encounter this man, or any other person, performing an indecent act in public is asked to call the police immediately. Police recommend not confronting the offender, as it’s not known if he might try to inflict harm.
An unusually heartfelt “missed connection” was posted on Craigslist this morning.
I saw you at Willow [restaurant (4301 N. Fairfax Drive)] Monday night, sitting at a table near me. You – tall, blond hair in braids, stylish, natural beauty, and the face of what I imagine angels must look like. You were meeting with someone who seemed to be a lawyer or financial advisor, and you were inconsolable. I don’t know if your meeting involved the death of someone close to you or something similiarly tragic. I had an almost incontrollable urge to attempt to comfort you. I’m sorry for whatever made you so sad. I’ll send good vibes/thoughts/prayers your way. I’m no stranger to hardship and tragedy, so if by some miracle you read this, know that things will get better, and if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, I’m here.
Hat tip to Amy Moore/Bethesdan
Coming up with ideas for things to do throughout the summer isn’t always easy. But the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has hundreds of classes available, and registration opens tomorrow, May 23.
Examples of active kids’ classes are swimming and tennis, creative classes include music and theater, and crafty classes include woodworking and ceramics. A wide range of activities is also available to adults, including knitting, various sports and gardening.
Although registration forms can also be mailed and faxed starting tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., and phoned or carried in starting on May 30, online registration is recommended to expedite the process.
Registration for those who are not residents of Arlington begins on June 6.
Arlington Schools Make Washington Post List — All four Arlington public high schools have been ranked in the top 1 percent of all high schools in the U.S. by the Washington Post. The Post’s “Challenge Index” ranked H-B Woodlawn 48th in the nation and 2nd in the region, the highest ranking among the Arlington schools. [Arlington Public Schools]
Bishop O’Connell Softball Team Wins State Championship — For the 17th time in 19 years, the Bishop O’Connell Knights softball team has captured the Virginia Independent Schools Division I state championship trophy. The team had a 27-1 record this year. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Named Bike-Friendly City — Arlington has been named the 23rd most bike-friendly “city” in the country by Bicycling Magazine. The publication looked at areas with “robust cycling infrastructure and a vibrant bike culture.” [Bicycling]
Zimmerman to Visit France — Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman will be visiting three cities in France next month in order to study ways to make Arlington less car-dependent. [Transportation Nation]