So far, five areas feature the green markings including Veitch Street at Clarendon and Wilson Blvds, Military Road at Nelly Custis Drive and S. Joyce Street near Pentagon Row. Two others should be finished soon, and an additional five are expected by the end of the year.
According to Wayne Wentz, Chief of Arlington’s Transportation and Engineering Bureau, the markings draw extra attention to areas where cars may have to cross into bike lanes, particularly to make a right turn.
“The primary intent is safety improvement to help give both drivers and bicyclists more awareness of locations where their paths cross each other,” said Wentz. “In none of these locations is there an easy option to eliminate the right turn or the mixing. The green bike lane has become one of the solutions in the engineers’ toolbox to do this.”
The project has been in the works for years, and was recently approved based on nationwide research. As part of its local research several years ago, Arlington had experimented with blue paint during a test run along Military Road near Nelly Custis Drive. That marking was eventually allowed to fade until a permanent solution was approved.
“We certainly will, as with any traffic control improvement we make, monitor it and see if there’s some confusion caused to motorists and bicyclists. But the research says there shouldn’t be,” said Wentz.
Part of what makes the program effective, according to Chris Eatough of BikeArlington, is that painting only selected bike lanes draws particular attention to them. Eatough said similar plans have been successfully executed in cities throughout Europe.
“It’s not green paint all over the county, it’s where it’s most helpful,” said Eatough. “It’s a very striking visual and quite an innovative and new approach.”
Most of the green markings are expected to last five years, although touch-ups may be necessary on those experiencing particularly heavy traffic.
Wentz said the green lanes are just the latest of several upgrades underway to increase safety for bicyclists. The county is also working on signal improvements, better ramps and re-timing certain traffic lights. But most importantly, Wentz stresses, is the push for additional education for drivers and cyclists alike.
“We are trying to emphasize that both user types need to share the road.”
The restaurant went dark more than a week ago and had some ARLnow.com readers writing in to ask if the closure was permanent or perhaps due to a renovation. However, the windows are now covered and the space sports a leasing sign.
A marketing manager with Federal Realty, which owns the Village at Shirlington, tells us they’re not yet ready to announce what will be taking the place of Bistro Bistro. They released the following statement:
“We can confirm that we have possession of the space and our leasing team is actively working to lease the space to another exciting tenant for the Village at Shirlington. We look forward to announcing a new tenant soon.”
The board is being advised by county staff to adopt four provisions in the development proposal for the office building, dubbed 1900 Crystal Drive. That structure’s site proposal is the first in Crystal City to be considered under the Crystal City Sector Plan, which was adopted in 2010.
Part of the proposal involves rezoning about 1.7 acres of the property from “C-O” to the “C-O-Crystal City” zoning district. Another measure requests approval for construction of the new 24-story office building, which would require demolishing the existing 11-story Crystal Mall III structure (1851 S. Bell Street).
The building, designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, would have nearly 720,000 square feet of office space and more than 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. There would also be six levels of parking, with a total of 732 spaces. The parking will be available to the public at a discounted rate after 6:00 p.m.
As part of the agreement with the county, the developer, Vornado, would provide curb, gutter and streetscape improvements around the perimeter of the property. The plan also involves the construction of an approximately 16,000 square foot interim park near the intersection of Crystal Drive and 18th Street South. The park, which is not part of the property included in the current rezoning request, will remain for an undetermined amount of time until a new building is approved and constructed on the site.
In addition to being close to several bus stops, the Crystal City Metro station and the Crystal City VRE station, the site sits just south of a planned 18th Street station for the upcoming Crystal City/Potomac Yard transitway. The proposed transitway would provide service from the Pentagon City Metro station to the Braddock Road Metro station in Alexandria, and would link with the Columbia Pike streetcar.
County staff members say they have not received any written complaints about the site plan from neighboring civic associations, though at least one neighbor told the Washington Examiner that he was concerned that the building would cast a shadow over his condominium and produce additional local traffic.
Staff is recommending the board approve the measures in question. The staff report cites 1900 Crystal Drive as a significant investment that will act as a catalyst for future development, and may create momentum in the market.
The staff report stated, “Considering the impacts of BRAC, it is critical to initiate the redevelopment process, which will be difficult considering market conditions in Crystal City.”
The report asserts that the Crystal City area would not receive the entire scope of listed benefits if the existing building were simply renovated, instead of constructing a completely new structure on the site.
We’re told the accident involved two vehicles. No injuries were reported.
One of the vehicles involved, a dark-colored sedan, wound up on a sidewalk adjacent to the drive-through lane of the Wendy’s restaurant at 2038 Wilson Blvd.
Photo courtesy Lowell Perry
Events will take place throughout the weekend of September 28-30, beginning with a ribbon cutting on Friday (September 28) at 10:00 a.m. A “Family Day” begins at 12:30 p.m. that Saturday. Although people of all ages are welcome to attend, there will be many things aimed at children ages 3-12, including hands-on activities, art and games. Festivities will end with the Sunday Science Program at 1:00 p.m. on September 30, featuring a short talk and a activities like making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Tours of the facility will be available both days.
Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium, the non-profit group founded more than two years ago to launch the fundraising campaign that saved the facility, is co-hosting the events with Arlington Public Schools.
In 2010, in response to an outcry against a plan to shutter the planetarium and use it for classroom space, APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy proposed the challenge of a private group coming up with $402,800 for necessary renovations. That goal was achieved by the Friends just before the deadline last summer, thanks to a flood of last minute donations.
“When the school administration realized that there was tremendous support for the planetarium, they pitched in too,” said Dr. Alice Monet with Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium. “It’s a real joint effort.”
The facility upgrades include a new Spitz SciDome HD projector, a new interior dome, new seats, new floors and new restrooms. Some donators also purchased dedicated nameplates that have been affixed to certain seats.
Construction is still ongoing, but we’re told crews are “working like mad” to ready the facility for the grand re-opening.
Runners and spectators of the 37th Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 28, will notice a course change this year when participants make their way through Crystal City.
The up-and-back loop along Crystal Drive has been eliminated for Miles 22-25. This year, as runners enter Crystal City from the 14th Street Bridge, they will continue along Army Navy Drive and turn onto 12th Street South. Then, the new route will take participants along Clark Street and 23rd Street before reaching Crystal Drive.
The changes were necessary due to construction on Crystal Drive.
Another change involves runners traveling along a stretch of Long Bridge Drive and then turning onto North Boundary Channel Drive. Parallel to the LBJ parking lot, runners will continue along Boundary Channel onto the Route 110 on-ramp on the same stretch of highway where the MCM began. Marathoners will continue to run alongside Arlington National Cemetery to the finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
As in previous years, the race begins on Route 110. However, this year the starting line will be 700 feet closer to the Pentagon.
All of the changes can be viewed online on the course map.
Remembering 9/11 at the Pentagon — President Obama is expected to speak at a private ceremony at the Pentagon today commemorating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A moment of silence will be observed at 9:37 a.m., the exact moment that five hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, killing 59 crew members and passengers and 125 people in the building. The “modest” ceremony, for survivors and family members of the victims, will include a wreath-laying and additional remarks by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. [USA Today]
Pentagon Memorial to Reopen After Ceremony — Public access to the Pentagon Memorial will be restricted during this morning’s ceremony, but the memorial (pictured above) is expected to reopen at noon.
9/11 Day of Service Events in Arlington — There are several 9/11 Day of Service events planned in Arlington this week. Today, Capitals Hall-of-Famer Rod Langway and Bullets alumnus Bob Dandridge will join Arlington first responders and employees from Monumental Sports & Entertainment in helping to prepare the Arlington County Emergency Winter Shelter for its scheduled opening on Nov. 1. On Friday, AmeriCorps and Arlington County will host an invasive plant pull at James W. Haley Park (2400 S. Meade Street) “in honor of 9/11.”
Arlington Businesses Give Back — Several Arlington businesses have announced ways they’re remembering 9/11 today. The Bada Bing food truck is offering free sandwiches to all uniform firefighters and police officers, despite its recent run-ins with ordinance enforcement. Red Top Cab, meanwhile, announced that it will be donating $1 to a 9/11 memorial fund for each cab dispatched today.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Supposedly, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the Tuesday after Labor Day was “Terrible Traffic Tuesday.”
But while traffic last Tuesday was actually fairly manageable, traffic today on this Tuesday seems a bit more terrible, at least on one local highway.
Traffic is heavy — moving slowly but steadily — for most of the stretch of northbound I-95/I-395 all the way from Newington to the 14th Street Bridge, according to traffic cameras.