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by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm 2,984 35 Comments

A pedal-powered pub turned heads in Courthouse today as it stopped by for a goodwill tour of Arlington.

The owners of Trolley Pub — a company that operates two open-air, pedal-powered party trolleys in Raleigh, N.C. – brought the vehicle up to Arlington in advance of their planned expansion here next month, to get a lay of the land and to introduce it to local law enforcement.

Police Department brass, County Board staffers, Health Department officials and other county employees stopped by on their lunch break to gawk at the 15-seat contraption and ask questions about its operation, legality and safety record.

The Trolley Pub, it turns out, is perfectly legal on the streets of Arlington, at least according to a preliminary police review. Owner Kai Kaapro said the trolley is classified the same as a party bus or limousine under the law; patrons are allowed to bring their own canned beer or boxed wine (no glass and no liquor) and drink it while pedaling around, since there’s a paid driver steering the vehicle.

The trolley itself does utilize pedal power, but it also has its own electric motor, capable of climbing steep hills and reaching up to 20 miles per hour. Normally, Kaapro said, the trolley will cruise around 5-10 miles per hour. Riders (up to 14, plus the driver) will be required to wear seat belts. So far, he said, there have been no reported accidents involving such vehicles in the United States (the concept originated in Europe).

Kaapro said he’s still scouting out possible routes in Arlington. Asked whether he thinks drivers might be annoyed by the slow-moving vehicle on local streets, he said it’s “really not more of an obstruction than a bus,” except it might move a bit slower.

“The novelty tends to moderate people’s tempers,” he noted.

Another concern he’s hoping to allay is that Trolley Pub patrons will be hardcore, out-of-control partiers. In fact, he said, most of his customers are in their 30s and 40s and not interested in getting sloppy drunk while pedaling across town. Twenty-somethings, Kaapro said, haven’t shown as much interest in his Trolley Pubs in Raleigh.

“Most young people don’t really need an excuse to go out and drink and hand out with friends,” he said. “We try hard to make sure it doesn’t get too rowdy. We like the older crowd.”

Plus, Kaapro said, the $35-40 per person price for a two hour tour might be a bit too high for those recently out of college.

Typical Trolley Pub customers are bachelorette parties, tourists, corporate team building exercises, and groups of friends on a pedal-powered bar crawl. Drivers, hired by the company, are typically bartenders or anybody else who can be fun and control a crowd at the same time.

Kaapro, 28, said he started the Trolley Pub two years ago after graduating from law school.

“For some reason this seemed more appealing to me than working for a law firm,” he said.

The Trolley Pub attracted quite a bit of attention during its stint in Courthouse today. One older woman blocked a lane of traffic, in front of about a half-dozen gathered police officers, to a take a cell phone photo of the trolley. Kaapro said he’s received some 20-30 calls for reservations already, just from people who have read about it online.

A new Trolley Pub (different than the older model pictured) is expected to start roaming the streets of Arlington in mid-April.

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm 1,709 20 Comments

Adam's Corner in Courthouse has closed Adam's Corner in Courthouse has closed

Adam’s Corner, a hookah lounge and bar at 2319 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, closed its doors over this past weekend.

It’s unclear why the local watering hole, which also served as a Red Sox and Patriots bar, closed. One business owner on the block said Adam’s Corner was evicted, though that could not be independently confirmed. The interior of the restaurant appeared to be largely empty this afternoon.

The building in which Adam’s Corner was located is set to be torn down to be replaced with a new 8-story office building, displacing the three remaining restaurants on the block: Listrani’s, Thai at Corner and Taste of Tunisia. The business owner said he does not anticipate moving out to make way for construction until next year. A construction timetable could also not be independently confirmed.

One tipster suggested that Adam’s Corner, which opened in 2010, lacked a core brand identity.

“I guess the Red Sox theme coupled with jazz and hookah didn’t pack them in,” the tipster said.

Earlier last month, before the closure, one customer lauded Adam’s Corner on its Facebook page, calling it “probably the only bar in Arlington that even knows how to chill the hell out and relax.”

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm 1,734 10 Comments

Despite sunny skies and relatively mild temperatures this afternoon, forecasters have issued another reminder that the D.C. area will be blanketed with snow tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, upgrading the previous Winter Storm Watch. Forecasters say we’re likely to get 4-8 inches of snow tomorrow (Wednesday).

… WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS… 4 TO 8 INCHES WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS WEST OF INTERSTATE 95.

* TIMING… RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO WET SNOW FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW MAY BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY. SNOW TAPERS OFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

* TEMPERATURES… IN THE MID 30S.

* WINDS… NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.

* IMPACTS… SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL… KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT… FOOD… AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says travelers should expect delays and cancellations over the next 36 hours or so.

Reagan National and Dulles International Airports are operating normally. An approaching winter storm is affecting flights to and from Chicago today. We anticipate winter weather will affect flight operations here on Wednesday, March 6. Check with directly with your airline to monitor the status of your flight and determine if flight rebooking is necessary.

Our airport snow removal personnel and equipment are prepared for the storm. We will update this page with further information when the winter weather arrives.

by Peter Rousselot — March 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm 892 63 Comments

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column published on Tuesdays. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter Rousselot

In last week’s column, I explained why a new normal has arrived for Arlington’s budget. I concluded that business as usual in setting budget priorities must change. In response, one commenter named “Courthouse Diva” said “[I] love the idea of defining core services — everything does not need to be core.”

Courthouse Diva nailed it.

Arlington needs to develop standards to define core services, and then use those standards to decide which services and programs are core services and those that are at the edge or outside of that core.

How does Arlington handle this now?

For the FY 14 budget now under review, the County Board essentially told the County Manager, “If you think there’s going to be a $50 million shortfall, design a budget that eliminates that shortfall by relying half on spending cuts and half on tax increases.” The manager was then left to recommend a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, using that very general guidance.

How would a core services approach be different?

Under a core services approach, programs and services at the center of the core would have much greater protection from any cuts. The farther out you move from the core, there would be less and less protection. The size of a cut as a percentage of the total expenditures in its category would be greater the farther out from the core.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm 714 8 Comments

Snowy scenes around North Arlington 1/27/11The snow storm alternately known as “Snowquester” or “Winter Storm Saturn” will dump up to 8 inches of the heavy, wet snow on Arlington between this afternoon and early Thursday, according to forecasters.

Arlington County says it’s proceeding with a “full mobilization” of its snow-removal crews.

From Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel:

Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services is preparing today for a full mobilization to deal with the forecasted “[Winter] Storm Saturn.” The County will operate 46 of its trucks, and will secure six contract trucks or more as needed.

Staff are now hooking up equipment to the trucks in preparation for the storm, including plows, spreaders and chains. Starting at midnight, crews will begin working in 12-hour shifts (in compliance with safe practice standards) to treat and clear the streets. These shifts will continue through the storm and and extend into Thursday and Friday if necessary.

There are no current plans to haul or melt snow given the current forecast. This is subject to change depending on the storm.

Residents are encouraged to use the County’s online form to “Report a Snow Issue” 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling.

Stayed tuned to FacebookTwitter, and Snow and Ice Central for updates about snow removal operations.

Earlier this year the county released a video about Arlington’s snow removal process and ordinances governing snow removal requirements for property owners.

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2013 at 11:30 am 1,121 29 Comments

This periodic sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: We are going to be moving from Maryland to Northern Virginia with our 6 and 9 year old.  We are not familiar with Arlington yet and I am wondering if you can point us in the direction of any tools that will help us find the right elementary school district for our future home. 

First of all, welcome to Northern Virginia.  It seems all too rare an occasion that someone makes a move from one side of the Potomac River to the other.

In regards to researching elementary schools in Arlington, you may want to explore GreatSchools.org.  Each school gets a 1-10 rating based on a comparison of test results within the state.  Of course, they also recommend factoring in other information, including the quality of each school’s teachers, the school culture, special programs, etc.. You may want to start that process by reading the reviews on GreatSchools.org.  This is where parents, teachers and students can post reviews.

Since receiving your question, I spent some time creating a list of all the elementary schools in Arlington. I included in the list, the GreatSchool.org rating, median home sales price in the school’s district and a link to listings in that district.  Below is a sample of the list.

Abingdon

Ashlawn

Barcroft

Barrett

If you find this guide helpful, you can click the following link and bookmark the full list of Arlington public elementary schools.  It’s only meant to give you a very high level view of your options, but I think it can be a great place to start.

I’m hoping that some of our readers will provide additional advice, tips and tools in the comments.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2013 at 10:20 am 39 Comments

Future Metro 9X and 9S BRT linesNew Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service will be coming to Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard next year.

Metro is planning to launch a new bus line, the 9X line, to run in dedicated transit lanes between parts of south Arlington and Alexandria. The Alexandria portion — to run from the Braddock Road Metro station to Potomac Yard via Route 1 — is expected to open in spring 2014. The Arlington portion — from the Pentagon City Metro station to the Crystal City Metro station to Potomac Yard — is expected to open in summer or fall 2014, according to Arlington County Senior Transit Engineer Matthew Huston.

At first, the line will travel in mixed traffic on 15th Street Pentagon City and Crystal City. Eventually it will utilize the extended and contiguous 12th Street. The line will travel south in new dedicated bus lanes along S. Clark and S. Bell Street, and north along Crystal Drive.

The bus lanes will take the place of an existing, standard travel lane. They will be reserved for buses and emergency vehicles only during the morning and evening rush hours, but will be open to mixed traffic during all other times. Street parking will not be impacted by the changes.

Future bus service at 12th Street and S. Hayes Street in Pentagon CityAs part of the still-evolving plan for what’s called the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, the existing 9S bus line will be extended to Potomac Yard and will run along the new dedicated lanes. The 9X and 9S will provide frequent service — every 6 minutes — and will serve a consolidated list of stops.

There will be seven new stops built in Arlington between Crystal City and Potomac Yard. Those stops will feature electronic information displays and other enhanced features. The buses will still serve on-street stops between the Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations.

The dedicated bus lanes will eventually be used as the right-of-way for the new Crystal City streetcar, though so far county officials aren’t providing a timeline for its eventual construction.

Rendering of a future BRT MetrobusPlanning, design and construction of Arlington’s portion of the transitway, which will also include the construction of new dedicated lanes between 26th Street and Glebe Road, is expected to cost the county about $17.5 million. Metro will pick up the tab for 13 new BRT-style buses, at a cost of about $650,000 apiece.

Metro is currently conducting an online survey about the design and branding of the buses. Possible names for the bus service include “Metro Beat” and “Metro Way.” It also asks about possible nicknames for the bus line, with options like: Crystal to Brad Line, Power House Corridor, City to the Yard Corridor, Potomac Yard Corridor, Tower Corridor, and Jeff Davis Corridor.

In an introduction, the survey emphasized that this would be Metro’s first BRT service.

Metro, in conjunction with Arlington County and the City of Alexandria will be introducing a new unique bus service to the region. Special stops and bus-only lanes will be introduced that will allow the bus to run on a very tight schedule. This corridor will be the first such service in the Washington region. Below is a map that shows the new route. The new service (sometimes called Bus Rapid Transit) will be different than anything the Washington region has seen before.

by ARLnow.com — March 5, 2013 at 9:00 am 560 8 Comments

Rosslyn, as seen from D.C. (photo by J.D. Moore)

Wakefield Falls in State Semis — The Wakefield Warriors basketball team lost to John Marshall in the semifinal round of the state AAA tournament last night in Richmond. Wakefield fell 66-46, finishing the season with a 25-6 record. [Washington Post]

Lawmakers Name Biggest 2013 Achievement – Asked to name their biggest achievement in this past legislative session, the state lawmakers who represent Arlington cited an expansion of Medicaid, the new transportation funding plan, and affordable housing funding. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Students Win at Science Fair — Two Arlington high school students won the “Best in Fair Grand Prize” at the Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair over the weekend. They will now go on to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in May. [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore

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