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by Ethan Rothstein — November 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm 3,229 0

Coyote (file photo via Wikipedia)The second-ever confirmed coyote in Arlington County was hit by a car on Route 110 last Friday morning.

According to Animal Welfare League of Arlington Chief Animal Control Officer Alice Burton, the coyote was struck at about 9:30 a.m. on Route 110 near Arlington National Cemetery.

The responding animal control officer — who works for AWLA, the county’s provider of animal control services — removed the coyote from the scene and brought it back to AWLA, where it had to be euthanized, Burton said.

Arlington’s only previous confirmed sighting of a coyote was in April 2012, courtesy of a wildlife camera set up in Potomac Overlook Regional Park. Other sightings reported by residents have either been foxes or dogs mistaken for coyotes, Burton said.

Despite the cemetery’s location in the heart of the county, Burton said it didn’t strike her as shocking that that’s where the animal was found.

“Right by the cemetery you have pretty quick access to D.C., and I know Rock Creek Parkway has had problems with coyotes,” she told ARLnow.com. “I believe they’ve had more confirmations [of coyotes] in D.C. than we have.”

Arlington’s Natural Resource Manager Alonso Abugattas confirmed that the animal found was a coyote. The female was about 27 pounds — the average adult weighs about 30 pounds – but had young teeth, a bushy tails and many other indicators Abugattas used to confirm the species.

“It’s very small for a coyote but is much too big to be a fox,” he said. “It’s very slender, has no microchips or tattoos to indicate it’s a pet.”

Abugattas said although coyotes are rare in Arlington, the second one spotted in two years is no cause for alarm; the animals don’t present a danger to humans.

“The reality is, I don’t think they’re going to be any kind of issue,” he said. “These animals learn to live next to humans and not mess with humans. I don’t believe they would cause any kinds of issues to the public. There have been cases, however, where feral cats and loose dogs, coyotes will occasionally eat a smaller dog, both as a competitor and as prey. Cats are considered prey as well. That’s the only way that they might affect the public.”

File photo via Wikipedia

Ask Adam: Preparing to Sell

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm 427 0

Ask Adam header

This regularly-scheduled 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 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. We are planning to list our Arlington house for sale right after the holidays (early January). What are some things we can do now to get our home ready for the market? 

A. Below are five things you can do now so you hit the ground running in January:

  1. Coming Soon – our local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) just added the ability to advertise your home as a “coming soon” listing. You can also advertise your home on Zillow as “coming soon.” I highly recommend asking your Realtor to list in both of these locations before going live in January. You can also post a coming soon/for sale sign out front. It’s a great way to test the market and generate interest. Be prepared, you may attract someone who wants to see or even buy your home right away. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place for how you want to treat these situation.
  2. Your Network – get the word out to your social network that you plan to sell your home. You never know who may know someone looking for a house like yours. It’s helps to include photos, number bedrooms/baths, square footage, lot size, location and a short list of feature highlights.
  3. Prep The Home Inspection – make sure anything that may come up in a home inspection is addressed now. You may even want to have a home inspector come through for a preliminary inspection to help you identify items that will come up. You can also check out an article I wrote back in May of 2013 about preparing for a home inspection.
  4. De-Clutter – you are going to be packing up everything to move eventually, so get started early on the things that do not need to be out. Do not just shift everything to the garage or basement. You want the house to appear as if there is ample storage space. If needed, you can rent some of those temporary storage pods.
  5. Professional Photos — if you are going to be advertising your home as a “coming soon” listing, you should go ahead and get photos taken as soon as you are done with your home prep. Please don’t skimp on the photos. If you take them with your iPhone, the rooms are going to look small, dark and unattractive. Insist that your Realtor invest in professional photos. Photos are going to help potential buyers determine whether your home is worth seeing so putting your best foot forward is of major importance.

Happy thanksgiving!

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

 

by Ethan Rothstein — November 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm 426 0

Doorways for Women and FamiliesThe Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Doorways for Women and Families are two of this year’s recipients of Arlington County’s annual James B. Hunter Human Rights Awards.

The awards are given each year to individuals and organizations who show a “sustained commitment and/or outstanding accomplishment in the area of human rights made in Arlington,” according to the county’s press release.

The award winners will be honored at a ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 11, in the Arlington County Board room on the third floor of 2100 Clarendon Blvd, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The winners are selected by Arlington’s Human Rights Commission.

“It is a true honor and privilege to recognize these outstanding individuals and organizations,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “They are the true heroes of our community and what makes Arlington such a great place to live. We should all be grateful for having such outstanding individuals and organizations in our community who have dedicate their lives and their work to look after those in need.”

Below is the complete list of winners, from the county’s announcement:

  • Barbara Amaya is a long time Arlington resident who was a victim of violence through human trafficking during her adolescence and early adulthood stages of her life. She has been able to turn her personal pain and suffering into relentless advocacy against human trafficking and violence.
  • Stephen Fowler is the president of the board of directors of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, a non-profit entity committed to provide legal services to those who cannot afford an attorney in civil matters. He has gone beyond his policy commitments as president of the board, and volunteers his time representing victims of domestic violence in court, among others, to obtain protective orders.
  • The Animal Welfare League not only protects animals from violence but the stability of families and the safety of a spouse or a child. Studies have demonstrated that people who abuse pets are at an increased risk of becoming domestic abusers. Other studies have shown that almost half of the victims of domestic abuse — who need to leave their homes — fear for the safety of the pets and delay leaving. Pets play a significant part in the emotional stability and sometimes the physical safety of children and people who owned them.
  • Doorways for Women and Families is a provider of shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence. It provides immediate and lon- term housing for women and families fleeing domestic violence and homelessness. It delivers support services aimed at helping women and families learn how to get back on their feet and live safe and independent lives. It advocates for changes that will help eliminate domestic violence and homelessness.
  • The Reading Connection has been serving Arlington County for more than 25 years. It provides an array of literacy programs aimed at children at-risk and families. Creating a literacy-rich environment helps children succeed and serves as a long-term strategy to escape the cycle of poverty. Last year, The Reading Connection served 218 at-risk children in Arlington County, through its Read-Aloud program, and 118 parents through the Reading Family Workshops. Reading is an important element of education, which is one of the best tools against all kinds of violence.

Image via Doorways

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm 682 0

Washington, D.C. area airports are making big changes to bring first class finds to savvy travelers and just in time for the holiday travel season.

Don’t arrive to your destination empty-handed. You can now jet to the newest stores for your gifts on the go.

Arlington’s “local” airport has plenty of new retail and restaurant options to choose from — and an offer that will reward you for your patronage.

Reagan National Airport has recently added the following to its shopping and dining mix:

  • American Tap Room
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • Brighton
  • Brooks Brothers
  • CNBC Smartshop
  • Five Guys
  • Forbes
  • Hudson News
  • Lacoste
  • Legal Sea Foods
  • NBC4
  • Pinkberry
  • Spanx
  • Starbucks
  • Vineyard Vines
  • Washingtonian

The following eateries are opening at DCA before the end of the year:

  • &pizza
  • Grille District Bar
  • Taylor Gourmet

Looking forward to checking them out? Or visiting an old favorite? Good news: it could get you a gadget that will come in handy while going home for the holidays next month.

If you spend $100 or more (pretax) at any combination of stores and restaurants at the airport in December, you’ll be eligible for a FREE portable USB battery pack charger for your smartphone or other device.

The charger has a retail value of $30. To get it, present your receipts at any of of the following pre-security redemption stores: Brooks Brothers, Fine Leather Works, iRelax-n-Massage or Lacoste. Limit one per customer, while supplies last.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 25, 2014 at 11:00 am 521 0

A decorative Thanksgiving turkeyArlington County government offices, courts and schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Arlington Public Schools close Wednesday and remain closed until Monday, Dec. 1. Arlington’s Circuit Court, General District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court will all close at noon Wednesday and reopen after the holiday break.

Arlington County Police Department won’t enforce parking meters on either day, but Saturday will be treated as a regular weekend day before parkers get another day off from meters on Sunday.

Park grounds will be open, but all parks and recreation classes, programs and indoor facilities, like community centers, will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

Trash, recycling and leaf pickup will continue on a normal schedule, the county says, as will brush, metal and electronics pickup. Leaf pickup is cancelled for Thursday, but if you live in Zone 5, your service will resume on Friday.

Only ART routes 41 and 51 will run on Thanksgiving Day, and they will run on Sunday schedules. On Friday, route 41, 42, 51, 77 and 87 will run on Sunday schedules.

by ARLnow.com — November 25, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,111 0

Snowstorm hits Arlington 1/21/14 (Photo courtesy @albers_eric)An east coast storm could bring some sloppy snow and rain to Arlington and up to a half foot of snow accumulation to the outer northern and western parts of the D.C. region tomorrow.

Forecasters say above-freezing temperatures should preclude more than an inch or so of accumulation locally. Still, the storm has the potential to have a major impact on Thanksgiving travel from Washington to Boston on Wednesday.

If you’re planning to travel for the holiday, is the storm affecting your travel plans?

by ARLnow.com — November 25, 2014 at 9:15 am 2,126 0

Time lapse of an arriving flight above Gravelly Point (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

Bond Chairs: Listen to Concerns — The co-chairs of the 2014 school bond committee warned Arlington School Board members that they should not take continued voter support for granted, despite the approval of a $105.8 million school bond earlier this month. The co-chairs told the Board that they should listen to voter concerns, including concerns about the cost of new school facilities. [InsideNova]

Post Tries ‘Divide’ Storyline Again — The Washington Post has published another article blaming a class and a racial divide between north and south Arlington on the cancellation of the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar system. A letter to the editor writer, in response, asks if the divide is worth the ink. “Where is the problem… is anyone’s goal to make South Arlington as expensive as North Arlington so that only rich people can live there?” [Washington Post]

New eBooks at Library — You can now download “Catch 22″ and “Team of Rivals” from the library. Arlington Public Library has added eBooks from publisher Simon & Schuster to its downloadable books collection. [Arlington Public Library]

Thanksgiving Eve Party in Clarendon — Clarendon Ballroom is hosting “Arlington’s biggest Thanksgiving Eve party” Wednesday night, starting at 8:00 p.m. The event will feature multiple DJs and “plenty of booze and fun to get you through a weekend with the family.” [Clarendon Nights]

Flick pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm 2,042 0

Marijuana and handcuff (photo via Facebook)(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), who represents part of Arlington, has proposed a bill that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use.

Ebbin’s bill, SB686, is similar to the marijuana decriminalization statute that went into effect in the District earlier this year. (D.C. has since voted to legalize marijuana.) SB686 changes simple marijuana possession from a crime punishable by a $500 fine, and/or up to 30 days in jail, to a civil infraction — a ticket — with a maximum $100 penalty, payable to the state’s Literary Fund.

The distribution of marijuana would remain a crime, but would be reduced to a lesser misdemeanor for all marijuana quantities less than a pound. Growing up to up to six marijuana plants would be considered personal use and not an intent to distribute.

Ebbin, who was endorsed by the marijuana advocacy group NORML earlier this year, told Richmond’s CBS 6 that Virginia’s current marijuana laws do more harm than good.

“I don’t think marijuana decriminalization has ever been introduced in the Virginia Senate,” Ebbin told the TV station. “I think criminalizing marijuana, disrupting careers and families, does more harm than the drug itself does.”

The bill has a co-patron in Del. Kaye Kory, the Falls Church Democrat.

“Marijuana decriminalization is trending across the country and this bill will get us talking about it in Virginia,” Kory told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “The conversation will go back and forth over what steps we want to take and when to take them. There’s no telling how long the process will take, but the important thing is that we’re having the conversation.​”

There’s some history of support for marijuana-related reforms among local politicians and politically-active groups. In 2012, then-Del. David Englin (D) proposed studying whether Virginia ABC stores should some day sell marijuana. In April, the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans hosted a forum to discuss marijuana sentencing reform.

Ebbin’s bill will be considered once the Virginia General Assembly convenes in January. With both the House of the Delegates and the state Senate now controlled by Republicans, the bill seemingly faces long odds of passage.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm 1,814 0

Food trucks on N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) For the past two weeks, officers with the Arlington County Police Department spent the lunch hour issuing parking tickets to food trucks and other vehicles along N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn.

The increase in enforcement, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm, came after the police received complaints that the trucks were parking illegally beyond the two hour limit in the metered spots.

“They weren’t just writing parking tickets to the food trucks, they were writing tickets to all vehicles,” Malcolm told ARLnow.com. Officers from the Rosslyn district conducted meetings with the vendors about the parking situation. “Officers spoke with and warned food trucks about all the laws there.”

Malcolm said one food truck owner agreed with the enforcement. The vendor told police “it had to be done, the saving spots in overnight parking was getting out of hand,” Malcolm said. Not all food vendors that frequent Lynn Street — one of the busiest spots in the area for food trucks — think the enforcement is a good idea.

Maireni Melo, who works on Brandon’s Little Truck, strongly objected to the enforcement.

“They’re enforcing the two-hour parking limit, but they’re checking on vendor’s licenses and everything while they do it,” he said.

Brandon’s Little Truck was stopped from selling last week because of licensing issues, but they were back open for business today (Monday) for lunch. Melo sold out by 1:30 p.m., he said, and the line for the truck formed before the window even opened.

“We’ll just keep feeding the meter, even if there’s a limit,” he said. “We can afford a ticket. If you’re going to get a $35 ticket, that’s just a little more than three sandwiches.”

Che Ruddell-Tabisola, the executive director of the DMV Food Truck Association, said there’s been some confusion over whether trucks need to move after the two-hour limit on Lynn Street expires.

“Different enforcement officers have different answers,” he said. As for the enforcement campaign, spurred by complaints, Ruddell-Tabisola said similar situations have popped up around the area about the brick-and-mortar businesses complaining. “We’ve had situations where established brick-and-mortars oppose innovation and variety.”

“In the past complaints prompted enforcement, and if that’s the case here, I think that’s unfortunate, because food trucks  are really good for the community,” he continued. “Food trucks are job creators, we contribute to the tax base, and ultimately we contribute to these vibrant commercial centers. You really want to have a dynamic mix of commercial and retail, different dishes, different price points. You want a mix of everything so everyone can benefit from it.”

The parking issue may soon be a thing of the past, however. As part of the Retail Action Plan the county will consider next year, food trucks may be able to vend from dedicated vending zones, including in Rosslyn.

“With social media and serial followers, vending can help pull customers into different areas,” the proposed Retail Action Plan states. “Establishing vending zones, to allow trucks to vend for longer than two hours or for alternative hours, can help prime an area that is not quite ready for retail or can attract people to other uses — parks, cultural venues or other businesses.”

Ruddell-Tabisola called Arlington “a real leader” in food truck policy. Malcolm said ACPD’s enforcement was for “a two-week evaluation,” but if vehicles continue to flout the law, police may consider another ticketing crackdown.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm 392 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

The Credit Junction team in its ÜberOffices spaceA startup that’s focused on connecting “small and medium industrial supply-chain businesses with private investors” is not going to win a sexy pitch competition, but it’s already growing fast in its new Rosslyn office.

The Credit Junction is based in Rosslyn’s ÜberOffices and has raised $2 million in seed funding to fund its online marketplace. Founded by CEO Michael Finkelstein with Chief Strategy Officer Sergio Rodrigueira, the company is “60 to 90 days” from launching its platform.

The concept is relatively simple: The Credit Junction is an online marketplace. Small manufacturing and industrial companies — the types that supply equipment and materials to large multinationals — who need capital investments sign up. TCJ’s technology platform, as well as its six-person staff, vets the company, assesses its value and potential and can get approval for a loan from its network of lenders also on the platform.

“We thought there was a way to use technology and data to create a better credit model,” Finkelstein, who is based in New York, told ARLnow.com. “The use of data creates a better understanding of a company. We use tech as an enabler, but there are lots of human elements too. This allows you to look at different sources for a company’s opportunities.”

Finkelstein and Rodrigueira met a year ago at a conference in Chicago. Finkelstein isa 15-year veteran of startups, beginning in Silicon Valley just a couple of years before the dot-com bubble burst. Rodrigueira spent four years in Navy active duty before joining the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush in 2004. He worked for Bush before deploying to Afghanistan as a Naval reservist. When he returned, he worked for Rep. Eric Cantor and in cybersecurity and finance policy in the House of Representatives.

The Credit Junction logoRodrigueira also worked on the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, and after leaving the public sector, he thought “there’s got to be a better way to do this” when it came to banks and financing. When he met Finkelstein almost exactly a year ago, and heard his idea, Rodrigueira said “I want to come work for you.”

Although the concept isn’t complicated, the problem The Credit Junction purports to solve is. The companies Finkelstein and Rodrigueira are targeting have relied on local banks for financing “since the beginning of time,” Finkelstein said.

“In 2008, the world changed,” Finkelstein said, referring to the global recession. “Lenders are cutting back and there are fewer options for these companies.”

Not only does Finkelstein say TCJ can give a response to a loan application in two weeks — whereas traditional banks or government agencies can take two months or longer — but he also says the system provides more transparency during the waiting period.

The Credit Junction Founder Michael Finkelstein“We’re able to create transparency and efficiency in the process,” Finkelstein said. “A borrower knows where he or she fits. They know whether they qualify extremely quickly. That’s a big deal.”

GLI Finance led The Credit Junction’s seed funding round, and, for the company’s launch, is also the primary capital investor in the marketplace. Over the next few months, the company will target borrowers in industries, and grow both sides of the marketplace slowly.

Part of The Credit Junction’s challenge is to find companies that want to borrow. Considering the industry’s inherent need for capital, Finkelstein and Rodrigueira are confident the demand is there.

“Holistically, our biggest challenge is education,” Finkelstein said. “But there are plenty of opportunities to help their business.”

“What’s exciting about the space is how broad and diverse the options are,” Rodrigueira said. “There are companies not just building ships or plans, but now they’re building things like drones … To get the word out to businesses, that’s the exciting part. Once companies hear what we can provide, their eyes light up.”

by Ethan Rothstein — November 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm 3,810 0

David Cabrera (photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department)A 20-year-old Maryland resident was arrested in Arlington’s Buckingham neighborhood Saturday night after police say he attempted to rape a 16-year-old girl.

At about 11:00 p.m., Daniel Cabrera, of Hyattsville, Md., was taken into custody after police say he tried to rape the teen on the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. The victim escaped and screamed, and was overheard by neighbors and a police officer. Responding officers apprehended Cabrera at the intersection of N. Piedmont Street and Pershing Drive, after the victim identified him at the scene.

The victim told police Cabrera was “watching” her as she worked in the area on Saturday, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm. As the victim walked home from work later that night, Cabrera approached her from behind, pulled her hair and covered her mouth, police said.

“He pulled his pants down and attempted to pull her pants down,” Malcolm told ARLnow.com. “She bit his hand and was able to secure her escape.”

Cabrera was denied bond at a magistrate’s hearing, and is currently being held at the Arlington County Detention Center. Malcolm say Cabrera has no record of sex crimes, but police are asking anyone with information about the incident or similar incidents involving Cabrera, to contact the Special Victims Unit at 703-228-4244.

Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2014 at 11:30 am 2,818 0

Officials from Simon Property Group on Thursday previewed the big changes coming to the company’s Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

The holiday-themed event featured Santa Claus, taking a break from photos with children to read a renovation “wish list,” and a tile-smashing photo opportunity dubbed “wreck the halls,” complete with candy cane-wrapped sledgehammers.

Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey was among those to ceremonially smash the mall’s surprisingly-difficult-to-break tiles.

The $70+ million renovation and expansion project is already underway and is expected to run through 2016. Among the changes coming to the mall:

  • An additional 52,000 square feet of space for five stores and restaurants, located at what is now the mall’s main entrance off S. Hayes Street (estimated completion: spring 2016)
  • Outdoor seating for the restaurants in the expansion (new retailers and restaurants to be announced spring 2015)
  • Two new glass-enclosed elevators, replacing the existing single elevator (estimated completion: January 2015)
  • Additional escalator banks from the Metro level to the ground level (estimated completion: July 2015)
  • New lighting, tile, handrails, columns and interior details (estimated completion: July 2015)
  • A new valet parking area

The mall’s popular food court — said to be the most successful food court company-wide thanks to its status as an “international tourist destination,” frequented by literal busloads of meal-seeking tourists — will be getting new seating, designed to make it feel less like a “cafeteria.”

The newly-configured food court will seat 750. Its chairs will include padded seats.

Also coming to the mall will be a new burger restaurant and a new chicken restaurant. Simon officials would not reveal the names of the restaurants.

There were, however, two retail announcements made on Thursday. The high-end women’s shoe company Stuart Weitzman is planning to open at the mall this coming spring, and high-end watch retailer Tourneau, which suffered a high-profile robbery last year, is expanding to a 3,000 square foot location on the ground floor in the spring.

The announcements are in keeping with the Fashion Centre’s goal of attracting more higher-end, fashion-forward retailers.

The mall is also adding some technological flare, with a new public WiFi system expected to be switched on around the turn of the new year, and cell phone charging stations planned.

The mall received its last round of major renovations in 1989.

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2014 at 10:15 am 2,047 0

American Tap Room in ClarendonAmerican Tap Room (3101 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon had its live entertainment permit renewed last week, but the establishment’s staying power in Arlington is uncertain.

ATR’s permit renewal request was pulled from the Board’s “consent agenda” for non-controversial items by County Board member Mary Hynes. It was instead heard individually on Tuesday, giving Hynes, a nearby resident, a chance to inquire about a couple of noise complaints she had received from her Lyon Village neighbors.

The Board was assured by an ATR manager that the bar has addressed the noise issue and that it in fact doesn’t host any live entertainment anymore — instead it’s seeking to hang on to the permit “just in case.” That was enough assurance for Board, which took little additional time to approve the routine renewal request.

While it won the battle, it’s unclear if ATR in Clarendon will win the war. Restaurant and commercial real estate industry sources have told ARLnow.com that American Tap Room has been seeking a buyer to take over its lease.

We’re told that the company pays more than $650,000 per year in rent for the Clarendon location, which has not enjoyed the same level of success as its locations in Bethesda and Reston. The latter two locations are “crushing it” and the company may simply be looking to focus on more profitable ventures, a source says.

However, everything seemed business as usual with the ATR manager who spoke at the County Board meeting. He gave no hints of any possible changes to come.

Responding to an inquiry sent to a media representative, an ATR manager contacted ARLnow.com last week. The manager said the Clarendon location is not closing, but declined to speak on the record and sought assurances that an ARLnow.com editor was not recording the call.

American Tap Room opened its Clarendon location in 2011.

by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2014 at 9:30 am 1,449 0

Pizza makers at Pupatella in Bluemont (Flickr pool photo by Chris)

Route 50 Trail Proposed — The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has proposed connecting existing trail infrastructure along Route 50 to create a contiguous trail between the National Mall and Fairfax City. The potential project faces a number of challenges, including its estimated $40 million price tag. [Greater Greater Washington]

‘Arlington Archive’ to Be Studied — Arlington County will assemble a task force that will spend all of 2015 trying to figure out a plan for the county to preserve its history with a digital “Arlington Archive.” [Arlington County]

Wakefield Falls to Tuscarora –Wakefield High School’s story book football season came to an end Friday when the Warriors fell to the top-ranked and undefeated Tuscarora Huskies 42-14. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Chris

by ARLnow.com — November 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm 4,184 0

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Columbia Pike resident Nicholas Evans.

I’m not a pro-streetcar zealot. However, living a few blocks from Columbia Pike, I was generally supportive of the streetcar as the best available option to spur growth and alleviate congestion. There was also an element of needing to keep a promise that had been made to developers and local business owners. Nevertheless, I heard and understood the passionate arguments made by many friends of mine in opposition. There are no perfect answers.

With the decision made, we face some new realities. The Columbia Pike area is now a much less attractive place to buy a home or locate a business. More broadly, Arlington has sent a signal to potential residents, businesses and other local governments that it cannot be counted on to hold up its end of the bargain. Governor McAuliffe has been told, “No thanks. Don’t spend transportation money here.” Those are not political statements, but facts. Major policy decisions have consequences.

I take our County Board members at their word that work will continue to develop new transportation options. However, for people who are celebrating, your work is unfinished. Here are your assignments:

  • County Board Member Vihstadt: Congratulations. You successfully provided a channel within the system to defeat the streetcar. Throughout your campaigns, you opposed the streetcar because you wanted to do more for “core services”–education and affordable housing. There is no more streetcar to fight so let’s see you keep your promises. I expect results and, no, you are not allowed to pass the buck on the school overcrowding issue. Education is as core as it gets. Time to get to work.
  • To County Board Member Garvey: You have repeatedly suggested that “money is money” and that there truly wasn’t dedicated money for the streetcar. This was a very effective argument–should we be building this when we have so many other needs? Although I might be disappointed about the streetcar, I am very excited that we now have more money to spend in other areas requiring investment. I would imagine you have some bold and potentially expensive proposals that are ready to go. I look forward to evaluating them.
  • To Neighbors in South Arlington Opposed to the Streetcar: No whining. If development continues along the Pike, you can’t complain about vehicles parked in front of your house and the Pike itself turning into a parking lot choked with all those new drivers. On the flip side, if development stagnates or regresses, no complaining about the lack of restaurants, unsafe streets or crumbling infrastructure.
  • To Neighbors in North Arlington Opposed to the Streetcar: Same as your South Arlington allies. No whining. I’m assuming that the inflammatory stuff I’ve read about North Arlington taxpayers not wanting to spend money in South Arlington is fiction. I have many good friends north of 50 who have opposed this project and I know that’s not their view. Regardless, North Arlington residents won’t feel the same congestion impact except for periodic trips to Dick’s to buy a new set of cleats for their kids. However, if development along the Pike stalls, the tax base won’t broaden. This will be exacerbated as it becomes harder to lure businesses to any part of Arlington–most people won’t locate in a jurisdiction that can’t be trusted to keep its word. As a result, you all will be on the hook to fund an even greater share of the proposals coming from Board Members Vihstadt and Garvey. No whining about any tax hikes.

Finally, there is one team project for everyone identified above. You will continue to be vigilant about spending countywide. There have been plenty of “vanity projects” in my 13 years here and many of you were silent on all of them. I assume at a minimum that you all strongly oppose the proposal to establish a second Metro line through North Arlington. From your perspective, it would seem to be an enormous expense that we cannot afford. I’ll look forward to seeing strong resistance should that project gain momentum. More broadly, I trust that you will be consistent rather than selective in how high you set the bar for all county spending.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters to the editor about local issues. To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to arlingtonnews@gmail.com. Letters to the editor may be edited for content and brevity.

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