Treasurer Makes Deal for iPark Refills — Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary has struck deals to allow the county to refill iPark devices, while adding more devices to the cache that can be used to replace non-functioning units. The county paid $10,000 to the bankrupt manufacturer of the devices for the codes necessary to add value without additional authorization or payment to the company. The move comes about a month and a half after the company’s bankruptcy suddenly prevented the county from refilling the devices. [Sun Gazette]
Man Gets 10 Year Sentence for Custis Trail Robbery — A 23-year-old D.C. resident has received a 10 year sentence for a robbery on the Custis Trail that left a jogger with a head injury and lingering cognitive effects. The attacker and his 17-year-old brother, who’s expected to receive a 1.5 to 3 year sentence, were both arrested as they fled toward the Ballston Metro Station. The victim, a 55-year-old personal trainer, says he still suffers from headaches, nightmares and memory loss. [Washington Post]
Remembering Allison’s Tea House — From the 1920s to the 1950s, Allison’s Tea House, at 1301 S. Arlington Ridge Road, was “a coveted neighborhood restaurant… that had been visited by dignitaries including Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.” The restaurant’s iconic stone well house was preserved after the restaurant and its grounds were redeveloped into an apartment building in the 1960s. It still stands, and is used as storage for the apartment’s swimming pool. [Preservation Arlington]
ACPD Participating in Drug Take-Back Day — The Arlington County Police Department is participating in National Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at fire stations No. 1, 8 and 9, officers will collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. “The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked,” police say in a press release. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
ARCA is proposing an update to its Neighborhood Conservation Plan, its first since 1973, which the Board could approve during Saturday’s meeting. The civic association said the zoning freeze request is being made in light of the 22202 zip code’s 37.5 percent population increase between 2000 and 2010.
In its request to the county, submitted this spring, ARCA asks the County Board “to ‘freeze’ zoning within and outside the ARCA area until the full impact of present development plans in areas adjacent to us can be fully assessed in order ultimately to conserve the peaceful single-family character of our neighborhood and protect our quality of life and the air we breathe.”
County staff recommends the neighborhood plan be accepted by the Board, but with notes from county staff essentially denying the proposed halt to zoning. Helen Duong, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, said there are no zoning freezes in place in Arlington, “nor have there ever been.”
“A neighborhood’s request for a zoning freeze is not a typical recommendation in Arlington County,” Duong told ARLnow.com. “More often we see communities asking that the County adhere to the General Land Use Plan and zoning plans and to not consider making changes without going through an inclusive neighborhood process.”
The neighborhood plan does not become codified upon its acceptance by the Board. Instead, the plan consists of recommendations which are then to be implemented by county staff, provided they are consistent with county policy.
There were several other recommendations in the plan that county staff expressed concern about, in terms of implementation, including:
- Expansion and improvements to the Aurora Hills Library and Community Center
- Proactive noise monitoring
- Undergrounding of utilities on Arlington Ridge Road
- Use of speed enforcement cameras
- Erection of sound barriers on I-395
The speed cameras would require authorization from the state legislature, and ARCA requests that the county lobby the legislature for that permission.
Other neighborhood priorities identified by ARCA include maintaining its nine public parks, improving sidewalks and streetlights, “proactively limiting and managing traffic,” and designating Aurora Hills Library and Community Center the neighborhood’s “cultural hub,” despite the fact that the facility is in adjacent Aurora Highlands.
The Arlington Ridge neighborhood is located just west of Pentagon City. Many in the neighborhood vehemently opposed the 2 million square foot PenPlace development in Pentagon City, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in September.
Arlington Ridge Road will be closed from 9:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. Southbound traffic coming from I-395 will be re-routed east and west to 20th Street S. in both directions, and around to 23rd Street. Northbound traffic coming from Glebe Road will be re-routed east and west to 23rd Street S., and around to 20th Street.
The emergency water repair is necessary because an irrigation contractor working in the 2100 block of Arlington Ridge Road accidentally caused a leak. Water service needs to be replaced at that location, from the water main in the street to the meter box in the sidewalk.
The incident happened around 8:30 p.m. at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Lang Street. According to police, a young adult male was walking on the sidewalk when a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt approached him and demanded money.
The victim was shot once in the leg and the suspect fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.
Police established a perimeter and brought in K-9 units and the Fairfax County Police helicopter to search for the suspect, but were unable to locate him. Both Gunston Middle School and nearby Oakridge Elementary School were hosting evening activities at the time and were locked down for a period after the incident.
The victim was transported to George Washington University hospital with what is described as a non-life-threatening injury, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Some roads in the area are still blocked off as police continue to investigate the crime.
The last reported non-fatal shooting in Arlington County occurred on May 29, 2012, outside of a hotel in Crystal City. A man suffered two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds during that incident. The murder of
VDOT Needs Residents to Check Trees — VDOT says it doesn’t have the resources to check all the trees along roads it maintains, so it sometimes relies on residents to tell them when a tree needs to be inspected or removed. VDOT-maintained roads in Arlington include Glebe Road, Lee Highway, Old Dominion Drive and parts of Washington Blvd. [Sun Gazette]
Art at Arlington National Cemetery — A new art exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery entitled “The Greatest Generation, A Visual Tribute,” is getting some help from amateur artists. About 500 people have contributed their own visual tributes to those who served in World War II on a “wall of thanks.” [WUSA 9]
Arlington Ridge Starbucks Opens Tomorrow — A new Starbucks Coffee store is opening tomorrow at 2925 S. Glebe Road, in the Arlington Ridge shopping center. [Twitter]
Melody Tavern Hosts Redskins Event — Melody Tavern (3650 S. Glebe Road) is hosting an event tonight to coincide with the season’s first Redskins pre-season game, against the Buffalo Bills. From 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Melody Tavern will host a discussion with former Redskins Frank Grant (WR), Roy Jefferson (WR) and Darryl Grant (DT), according to a press release. There will also be a drawing for free Redskins tickets.
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) Police say a newspaper carrier was carjacked early this morning (Wednesday) in the 2300 block of S. Joyce Street, between the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods.
Around 4:30 a.m., the 73-year-old woman was doing her rounds of paper delivery and had just exited the car to place a paper on a customer’s doorstep. According to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, two men then drove up in a van next to her, and one said “give me the car.”
Police say both of the subjects, one of whom had a gun, pushed the woman to the ground. At that point, one of the men reportedly jumped into the woman’s car and threw her dog out of the vehicle, before driving off. The other suspect got back into the van and drove off.
Sternbeck said the woman yelled “fire” hoping someone would hear and help her. The resident at the house she was in front of came outside to assist, and they called police together.
According to police, the victim said she never leaves her car except at this one residence.
A tipster tells us the woman is a carrier for The Washington Post. The carrier and her dog, named Sparkle, were both shaken up but are otherwise fine, the tipster said. She didn’t report any injuries and denied medical attention.
Sternbeck said the woman describes both suspects as black men, about 5’9″, medium build, wearing dark sweaters and ski masks. The victim’s car was a beige Toyota Corolla, but there was no additional information provided regarding the suspects’ van. Anyone with information about the crime or the suspects is urged to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
A Washington Post spokeswoman declined to comment about the incident.
According to the center’s website, Starbucks will be coming to a 1,650 square foot space next to the Domino’s Pizza restaurant. It’s expected to have an occupant capacity of around 90 people, according to permit applications. The coffee shop is probably at least a couple of months away from opening, since a building permit has yet to be issued.
Also coming to the shopping center is Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt. A froyo shop founded with Christian principles — Frog stands for “Fully Rely on God” — the store will offer all-natural, self-serve frozen yogurt with a variety of flavors and toppings. The store will be about 1,000 square feet and will be located next to Cafe Caturra.
The location is listed simply as “coming soon” on the Sweet Frog website.
The jogger, 37, was knocked to the ground, kicked several times and touched in a sexual manner, police say. She was taken to the hospital to treat her injuries.
The police department issued the following press release about the incident this afternoon.
The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a sexual assault that occurred this morning in the 2000 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 6:35 a.m. on Thursday, September 29, 2011, an unknown male attacked a female jogging down the sidewalk.
A 37 year-old female was running when an unknown male knocked her to the ground. He kicked her several times to immobilize her and touched her in a sexual manner against her will. The victim was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The suspect is described as an African American male approximately 30-40 years old, 5’10” to 6’ tall with a medium build. He had several inches of hair growth on his head and was wearing a button-down light blue shirt, dark pants and dark shoes. This assault does not appear to be connected to any other incidents in the area and the investigation is on-going.
If anyone was in the area during this time and witnessed suspicious behavior, or the assault, they are asked contact Detective James Stone at (703) 228-4245. Det. Stone can also be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com. Witnesses can also call the Arlington Police Tip-Line at (703) 228-4242.
Cafe Caturra, a Richmond-based coffee shop/wine bar/soup-salad-and-sandwich restaurant, is now open in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center. The 3,400 square foot eatery, which features a decor partially made from reclaimed materials, officially opened its doors to customers on Friday.
Located at 2931 S. Glebe Road, Cafe Caturra offers specialty coffees, 24 boutique wines, two draft beers, and 20 bottled beers. The restaurant is offering mimosa specials on Sunday and is planning to eventually offer a weekday happy hour, according to marketing director Melissa Kirkpatrick.
The food menu includes soups, salads, paninis, pizzas, brioche sliders, small plates, cheese, charcuterie and desserts.
The restaurant will be hosting local musicians between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. It also has a local art program that will display works from local artists. Founder Jeff Grant says he hopes Cafe Caturra becomes a neighborhood hangout.
“We’ve built a strong heritage as a gathering spot for people in the communities we serve,” he said.
Cafe Caturra opens at 11:00 a.m. seven days a week. It closes at 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The work has blocked one westbound lane of 23rd Street and one southbound lane of Arlington Ridge Road.
The lane has now been demolished by construction contractors, who are in the process of building a wider sidewalk, additional green space and circular driveways for two houses. Daytime traffic on Arlington Ridge Road has been reduced to one lane near the construction zone, with flaggers directing cars on either side. The sidewalk along the east side of Arlington Ridge Road near the construction has been closed.
In addition to the work in progress — eliminating the Meade Street slip lane and making the intersection a purely 90 degree turn — the $200,000 county project has already turned the bus pull-off lane south of 23rd Street into an expanded sidewalk and has squared up the intersection of Arlington Ridge and Oakcrest Road by extending the permanent curbing to where a temporary curb had been installed.
Save Our Streets, a group that formed to oppose the construction, says the money could have been better spent.
“We all watch with a sense of disbelief. Why would the County waste this much money for fixing a non-issue with Meade Street intersection which has no reported accidents?” the group said on its blog. “We need this money for our schools, our poor, our libraries, our roads… not on projects that go way beyond what people want.”
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Next week, construction is expected to begin on a number of controversial changes to Arlington Ridge Road from 23rd Street to Meade Street.
The four-week, $200,000+ construction project will eliminate a bus pull-off lane, will extend permanent curbing at the intersection of Arlington Ridge and Oakcrest Road, and will include various curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements — all in the name of improving pedestrian safety.
But one change in particular has prompted vocal protests from dozens of residents: the elimination of the slip lane from southbound Arlington Ridge Road to S. Meade Street.
The slip lane is used by residents who live in the neighborhood, and by parents dropping their children off at Oakridge Elementary School. Critics of the project — who are publishing a blog called Save Our Streets — say that eliminating the slip lane will actually make the area less safe by forcing turning traffic to stop on a steep downhill portion of Arlington Ridge Road, risking rear end collisions and making the sharp turn difficult during bad weather.
In response to a letter from the Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA), which said the S. Meade Street portion of the project “is viewed as unneeded and potentially dangerous… with little or no gain for pedestrians,” county staff wrote that the elimination of the slip lane is “a major component of the project plan.”
“The existing slip lane allows vehicles to exit Arlington Ridge and enter S. Meade Street at a higher rate of speed,” staff said. “Requiring vehicles to slow to a safe maneuvering speed at the proposed singular entry site improves the safety for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians… The necessary reduction in speed for turning vehicles under the proposed plan is also supported by the current [25 mph] speed limit on Arlington Ridge, the lowering of which was heavily supported by ARCA.”
Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach reiterated that view in a recent WUSA9 story on the Arlington Ridge changes.
“Slip lanes actually encourage traffic to speed… it creates hazards for pedestrians,” Leach said.
The plan to turn the slip lane into an expanded sidewalk and green space is consistent with other county road projects that have eliminated slip lanes, including at the intersections of N. George Mason Drive and N. Frederick Street and S. Joyce Street and 15th Street. Another slip lane — at the bottom of a steep hill on S. Walter Reed Drive at the Four Mile Run access road — is also slated for removal this summer, and at least two slip lanes at Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive are slated for elimination in the next year or two.
Do you agree with the county’s approach to eliminating most slip lanes due to safety concerns, or do you agree with the ‘Save Our Streets’ citizens who argue that eliminating (at least certain) slip lanes is unnecessary and may actually have the opposite intended effect, safety-wise?
The county has been planning to redesign parts of Arlington Ridge Road from 23rd Street to South Meade Street. Some of the improvements include work on curbs, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes. The county cites pedestrian safety as the reason for the revamping.
Some neighbors launched a campaign called “Save Our Streets” to oppose the approximately $200,000 project. Group members say they’re upset because of wasteful spending, the county isn’t listening to them and there’s a lack of transparency.
The group hopes to encourage other residents to write letters to the county requesting a suspension of the project, which has a construction start date set for August 8. They want more time to give resident input and have it incorporated into the design.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan sent a memo to board members last month saying citizens’ concerns had been evaluated and the plan was adjusted accordingly. The memo concluded that “this project is ready and will move forward with construction.”
The start date was set for August 8 in order to avoid disrupting school children who walk in the area. Once work gets underway, the project is scheduled to take about four weeks.
A Midlothian, Va.-based coffee shop/wine bar/soup-salad-and-sandwich restaurant is coming to the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2901 South Glebe Road).
Interior construction is underway on Cafe Caturra, located in a storefront once occupied by a Blockbuster video store. The store’s arrival coincides with a pedestrian-oriented renovation of the 85,000 square foot shopping center, which is anchored by a Giant supermarket.
Founded in 2005, Cafe Caturra offers specialty coffees and boutique wines to drink, as well as
breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads, paninis, mini pizzas and other fresh fare to eat. The growing chain currently has five locations in Virginia and North Carolina. This will be the company’s first D.C.-area restaurant.
No word yet on an opening date.
Hat tip to John Breyault
If Alice fell down this hole, she would probably reach Wonderland.
A hole that appears to be at least 20 feet deep has opened up in Haley Park, at 2400 S. Meade Street in Arlington Ridge. Police and crews from the county parks department responded to the scene this morning after a neighbor reported the hole, which apparently opened at surface level after this weekend’s heavy rains.
The hole is right smack in the middle of the small park, which used to be the site of an old house owned by the Haley family. The home eventually fell into disrepair about 30 years ago and the family donated the land to Arlington County, according to a neighbor. One possible explanation for the hole is that it used to be some sort of well used by the homeowners.
A man who lives near the park said that the hole has been a problem for about 10 years. Every couple of years since then, he said, the hole would appear and the county would work to fill. Nonetheless, like a bad habit, the hole keeps coming back.