A streetcar line in Crystal City is essential for keeping the area from becoming clogged with traffic as the population and workforce grows over the next 30 years, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in an opinion piece published in the Arlington Connection on Wednesday.
Making a case for the large investment required to build a streetcar system, Hynes argued that the streetcar is part of Arlington’s “smart growth” philosophy.
“Traffic on many major Arlington streets is less than it was in 1970, even though our population has doubled in that time,” Hynes wrote. “The secret sauce is Arlington’s commitment to ‘smart growth’ planning — our commitment to transit-oriented development that keeps density along our transit corridors, while preserving neighborhoods. In fact, more than half of Arlington’s real property values are on just 11 percent of our land — our Metrorail corridors. It is a philosophy that is the backbone to Arlington’s success, the envy of many in the region and the nation.”
Hynes said that by 2040, Crystal City and Pentagon City are collectively expected to add 8,500 residents to the existing population of 17,400. Through the Crystal City Sector Plan, Hynes also expects the neighborhoods to add 35,500 jobs during that time.
That growth doesn’t necessarily have to result in additional traffic headaches, but it will if investments are not made in transit, according to Hynes.
“The modern streetcar for Crystal City — a line that will initially connect Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — is an important first step,” Hynes wrote.
“Eventually, this ‘Route 1′ line will meet up in Pentagon City with the planned streetcar line on Columbia Pike, providing riders with a one-seat option to travel from Potomac Yard to the Skyline area in our partner jurisdiction, Fairfax County,” Hynes continued. ”Without these strategic investments, our streets could become clogged with traffic, our quality of life could decline, and our robust economy could be at risk — the exact opposite of what we’ve achieved since the 1960s and what we know is possible when a community plans carefully.”
Hynes’ op-ed comes at a time when the county is seeking public comment on the planned Columbia Pike streetcar line. It also comes as Arlington and Alexandria engage in a mini war of words over federal funding for the potential Alexandria portion of the Route 1 streetcar line.
“We hope [the streetcar] may even stretch further south into Alexandria one day,” Hynes wrote.
(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) Two men have been sentenced for the Christmas Day armed robbery of a South Arlington gas station.
Arlington residents Earl Brown, 28, and Liban Jama, 24, were convicted of a brazen daytime hold-up at a gas station convenience store on the 4100 block of Four Mile Run Drive. The crime took place around 12:15 p.m. on December 25, 2011.
According to a police report, Jama entered the store, brandished a handgun, and demanded money and cigarettes from the cashier. With the stolen goods in hand, he then hopped into a getaway car driven by Brown.
The pair started to drive away but were pulled over and arrested three blocks away, thanks to a witness who called police while watching them flee.
“The midday robbery occurred just after noon on Christmas Day and drew numerous police officers to the area with guns drawn in an effort to arrest the two as they tried to flee the scene,” said Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County.
An Arlington jury sentenced Brown to 11 years in the penitentiary on an armed robbery charge and 3 years on a weapons charge. Jama was sentenced to 7 years for armed robbery and 3 years on a weapons charge.
The case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Newton and Assistant Commonwealth’s attorney D. Scott Porter over the course of a three day jury trial. The court is expected to hold a final sentencing hearing for the case on August 24.
It was tough work but we’ve narrowed down the dozens of entries to our Summer Photo Contest to ten finalists who successfully captured a unique, visually-appealing summer scene in Arlington.
Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse (2350 Clarendon Blvd) is sponsoring the contest in celebration of their new outdoor canopy, which will help keep patio diners cooler when the sun’s beating down, warmer on cool evenings, and dry during summer downpours.
You can vote below for up to three of your favorite entries.
Voting will take place through 2:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, May 24). The finalist who receives the most votes will receive a $100 gift card to Fire Works Pizza along with an ARLnow.com tote bag. Second and third place will receive a $50 and $25 Fire Works gift card respectively.
Residents who live along I-395 and Route 1 can expect to hear the roar of motorcycle engines tomorrow, May 25, as the bikers head to hotels in Crystal City — including the rally’s official hotel, the Hyatt Regency at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway — and to a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.
On Sunday, Rolling Thunder will rumble over to the Pentagon parking lot at 6:45 a.m. for an event that will be followed by a convoy into D.C. at noon. In order to safely accommodate the rally, Arlington County Police will close Washington Boulevard from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., according to a press release. During that time, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110.
“Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend,” the police department advised. In the past, Rolling Thunder has drawn criticism for the amount of noise it generates for those who live along major roadways.
A complete list of Rolling Thunder events is available on the rally’s website.
Corporal Steve Troyano had just pulled over a car on the 5300 block of Columbia Pike when a woman ran over and frantically requested the officer’s assistance for her pregnant sister, who was in labor in a nearby SUV. The officer used his radio to request paramedics, but when he arrived at the SUV the baby’s head was crowning and ready for delivery.
Corporal Troyano helped to deliver a healthy, 6 pound, 3 ounce baby girl at 6:41 p.m. He managed to unwrap the child’s umbilical cord from around her neck, then wrapped her in a towel until an ambulance arrived four minutes later.
“The family remains at the hospital at this time and has informed the Arlington County Police Department they will be using the middle name ‘Stephanie’ in honor of Corporal Troyano,” said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Corporal Troyano, an 11-year veteran of the department, said he acted instinctively to handle the situation.
“When I realized I would be delivering the baby in the backseat, my instincts took over,” he said.
As for the car Corporal Troyano pulled over, another officer was called the scene to assist with the traffic stop, Sternbeck said, but ultimately no ticket was issued.
Arlington police are investigating an incident in which goods purchased with a stolen credit card were mailed to the victim of the credit card fraud, then stolen from the victim’s home.
“There were at least ten pairs of women’s shoes and several purses mailed to [the victim's] residence several days after his credit card was stolen,” said Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “A day later the package he received was stolen, along with jewelry from the house.”
BURGLARY/CREDIT CARD FRAUD, 05/18/12, 3000 block of N. Lee Highway. On May 18 at 4:50 pm, a victim reported a burglary at his residence of various items. One day prior, the victim received numerous packages in the mail that were purchased with his stolen credit card, which were stolen during the burglary along with additional items. There is no suspect description.
The rest of this week’s Arlington County crime report, after the jump.
‘SmokeHouse’ Coming to Pentagon City — Two veterans of The Palm restaurant are teaming up to create “Epic SmokeHouse,” described as a cross “between a fine dining steakhouse and a barbecue joint.” The restaurant will reportedly be located inside the Millennium at Metropolitan Park apartment building at 1330 S. Fair Street, near Pentagon City mall. [Washington City Paper]
County Launches ‘Green Streets’ Program — Arlington County has launched a pilot program to build bioretention systems into road medians, in an effort to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay. [Connection Newspapers]
Hundreds Busted in HOV Crackdown — A Capitol Region HOV enforcement crackdown on Tuesday netted nearly 650 traffic summonses and arrests, including nearly 450 HOV violations. In Virginia, the enforcement was conducted by Virginia State Police, Arlington County police and other local law enforcement agencies. [CBS Local]
Expect Heavy Memorial Day Traffic — More motorists are expected to hit the roads in the D.C. area this Memorial Day weekend than at any time since the start of the recession, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. [WJLA]
AIM Offers Video Production Camp — Arlington Independent Media is offering a summer video production camp for youth ages 10 to 13. The two week camp will allow participants to “develop a story idea, write a script, shoot footage, and edit their own short production” with the guidance of media professionals. [Arlington Independent Media]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec