School Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy announced the new policy, devised after an independent study of the system last fall, in a letter to parents in July. APS sent parents another letter on Aug. 1 urging them to update their addresses.
From the July letter:
With the start of the school year this fall, we will be moving forward with the plans that the Office of Transportation has outlined. One of the first steps underway includes the implementation of bus-routing software to help us plan routes that are more efficient so we can maximize the capacity of our bus fleet.
The second step that is critical to this plan is to serve students who are eligible to receive bus transportation services. As outlined in School Board policy, elementary school students who live more than one mile from school and secondary school students who live more than 1 1/2 miles from school will receive bus transportation.
In early August, principals will be sending families of students who are eligible for transportation services a letter that will include their child’s bus stop and route. This addresses a critical safety concern for students who ride buses and allows us to better communicate and serve families when we may experience a delay or other changes in service.
The distance rules are not a change to the transportation policy, APS spokesperson Linda Erdos said. Students who live within the mile or 1.5-mile radius who would have to cross large roadways or highways to get to school will still be allowed to take the bus.
The vouchers will be a way for bus drivers to become accustomed to the students on their routes, Erdos said, providing for what APS hopes is a safer, more efficient system with an expected 900 more students and the same amount of buses.
“We have had problems in the past when students who live in the walk zone walk outside the walk zone and get on the bus,” Erdos said. “Our priority is to add classroom teachers to teach children, not more buses. More important, the new system will let us know every student who is on a bus route. If something happened, this will let us know who’s on that bus.”
Students within the “walk zone” are being encouraged to walk or bike to school. Still, one parent thinks the new system will actually increase the number of students from inside the walk zone who drive or who hitch a ride to school, which could cause traffic and safety issues.
“I applaud Dr. Murphy on working to reform the bus system,” wrote Donaldson Run blogger Robert Cannon. “But creating a voucher system, and refusing to transport students who live just less than 1.5 miles from school is only going to make things worse.”
The Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant slated for the former Cafe Parisien space at 4520 Lee Highway in the Lee Heights shopping center is scheduled to open on Oct. 16, according to a company spokesperson.
The franchise owner and a team of contractors were on site today (Monday) to tour the still-empty interior. But a sign on the boarded-up front of the store promised the “Burritofication” of the former French restaurant and long-time Lee Heights fixture, which closed suddenly last summer.
This will be Chipotle’s fifth Arlington location after one opened in June in the Pentagon City Mall food court.
The 2012 Bluemont 5K will start at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Belmont Park South Pavilion (399 N. Manchester Street).
The course is on both the Four Mile Run and Washington & Old Dominion trails and will wind back toward the South Pavilion. Online advance registration is open until 6 p.m. today (Monday) and is free for DC Road Runners members and $5 for non-members. On-site, day-of-race registration is $5 for members, $10 for non-members.
There will be free parking, but Metro riders can take one of the 1-series buses from from the Ballston Metro to Wilson Boulevard and N. Manchester Street.
Check out the race page at DC Road Runners for more information.
August brings the eleventh anniversary of the most notorious stream pollution incident in Arlington County history. In the years since golf course runoff poisoned the Donaldson Run and Gulf Branch streams, residents and county officials alike have stepped up their protection of our region’s waterways.
In August 2001, an herbicide applied to 12 fairways at the Washington Golf and Country Club washed into Donaldson Run and Gulf Branch after a storm. Eight thousand pounds of this herbicide, Basamid G, had been applied to kill all plant and animal life in the top two inches of the fairways’ soil. However, it did a whole lot more than its intention. The runoff killed an estimated 1,000 American eels. No living organisms were found in the streams following the storm.
Jen McDonnell, a Stormwater Outreach Specialist at Arlington’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management, said the incident “brought attention to the impacts that runoff can have on our streams.”
After this event, golf course officials agreed to halt the treatment of the remaining six fairways, which would drain into Gulf Branch. In 2005, facing civil charges, the golf course agreed to a consent decree in which it paid $145,000 to reimburse the costs incurred by the federal government — specifically, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – in responding to the incident.
Arlington County code makes it unlawful for “any person to discharge directly or indirectly into the storm sewer system or state waters, any substance likely, in the opinion of the County Manager, to have an adverse effect.”
McDonnell said that she is “not aware of any other penalty fines which have been paid for stream pollution.” However, she does know that polluters oftentimes have to pay for cleanup activities following a spill.
Despite the threat of financial consequences, pollution still continues, often unknowingly, from residents applying pesticides and fertilizers onto their lawn. The county and some environmental groups have been trying to counter the contamination with various stream-friendly projects.
Earlier this year, the county held a public hearing about designating the tiny 7,100 square foot Calloway Cemetery at 5000 Lee Highway a historic district. The cemetery, which dates back to the 19th century, is part of Calloway United Methodist Church, in the Hall’s Hill area.
A new county-produced video (above) explores the history of the cemetery plot and the process of documenting and preserving its historic features.
Krupicka Wins Dem Caucus — Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has won the Democratic caucus for the 45th District House of Delegrates seat, which represents some parts of South Arlington. Krupicka defeated opponent Karen Gautney by a caucus vote of 1,540 to 891. He will now face Republican Tim McGhee in the Nov. 6 general election. [Patch]
County Gets New Coach Bus for Seniors — The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has invested in a new 41-seat coach-style bus. The bus will be used for the department’s travel programs for adults 55 and over. [Sun Gazette]
History of the Twilight Tattoo — There are just 4 Twilight Tattoo performances left this summer at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. An article about the history of the military tradition notes that its origins date back more than 300 years. The next Twilight Tattoo will take place Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. [U.S. Army]
Photo via @Rosy1280