Around 4:30 p.m. on Friday (January 18), police say a woman was riding the ART bus when a man got on at the Ballston Metro station and sat across the aisle from her. He allegedly began speaking to the woman in a vulgar manner and she asked him to stop. The woman became nervous and also asked the man to move away from her.
Around the area of Washington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive the suspect allegedly leaned over and grabbed the victim’s breast. The victim yelled and told the man to stop, to which he reportedly responded, “F— you.” The bus driver pulled over and called police upon hearing the commotion, and the suspect took off on foot.
Police quickly found a man in the area meeting the suspect description, and the woman was able to identify him. Police arrested 28-year-old Aaron Darnell Alexander, of no fixed address.
Alexander was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for a laceration on his hand, which he said he received when he was robbed and stabbed the previous evening. Alexander has been charged with sexual battery and is being held on a $3,500 bond.
Legislators Holding Public Meeting Tonight — Arlington County’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly will hold their annual public legislative hearing tonight (Friday). The public is invited to address the delegation at the meeting, which starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Arlington County Board room on the third floor of 2100 Clarendon Blvd. The delegation includes three state Senators and four members of the House of Delegates. [Arlington County]
Changes to ART 42 Schedule — Minor schedule changes to the ART 42 bus route will take effect starting Monday, Jan. 7. The changes in scheduled arrival times are designed to “improve on-time performance.” [Arlington Transit]
Camel to Visit Arlington Church — A live camel will be visiting an Arlington church this weekend in celebration of Epiphany. Chewy the Camel is scheduled to show up at the Church of the Covenant (2666 Military Road) around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6, and the public is invited to the event. “Join everyone that morning at 10:45 a.m. for a celebration and parade, as well as the Spanish and English telling of the Wise Men’s visit, accompanied by goodies and crafts for children in Fellowship Hall,” the church said on its website. [Church of the Covenant]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Individual residents or groups can sign up to adopt and perform light maintenance at one of the ART bus stops. At first, the program will focus on stops along the ART 51, 52, 53 and 61 routes. Additional routes and stops will be added soon.
Participants enter into a one year agreement, during which time they will maintain the stop at least once a week. They’ll perform duties such as picking up trash, reporting vandalism or safety hazards, clearing the area of snow and reporting items left at the stop.
The county will perform necessary heavier maintenance once it’s requested by the participant. Those tasks include removing graffiti, cutting tall grass and repairing bus stops. Should the participant request it, the county will also install a trash receptacle at the bus stop.
Transit Bureau Chief Stephen Del Giudice said although Arlington fared well in the recent recession, there was a reduction in the ability to commit resources to these types of maintenance projects. The county’s efforts mainly have focused on heavily used commercial corridors.
“We’re not always able to get to some of the residential areas. We see this as filling a need as far as our ability to commit resources to residential areas,” said Del Giudice. “We thought it would be a good idea to get community involvement in our transit program.”
Since the program began on May 16, three individuals each adopted a stop, and one group adopted two stops. Those who take part will get a certificate of participation, a mention on Arlington Transit’s website and a sign of recognition at the designated stop.
Sign up can be done online. Participants must be at least 18 years old, unless they are part of a group led by a person at least 18 years old.
Arlington Mill Student Gets Scholarship — Arlington Mill High School Continuation Program student Marleny Giron has been awarded a $10,000 “Founders Scholarship” from Comcast. The scholarship is intended to recognize students for their leadership, academic achievement and community service. It was created in honor of Comcast founder Ralph Roberts.
New Art on the ART Bus — A new “Art on the ART Bus” exhibit is up. The exhibit, by local artist Jenny Sidhu Mullins, explores the idea of national identity. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by Alex
The building, at 2900 S. Eads Street near Crystal City, was originally purchased by the county for use as storage space for the adjacent water treatment plant. It will now house the Arlington Transit (ART) operation center, which will contain administrative and management offices, dispatch and other operating functions, a break room for bus drivers and a classroom for training.
D&A Contractors won the contract, which is valued at a little more than $1 million. The board approved the measure at its meeting on April 21.
Interior renovations will be made to about 5,000 square feet of office space, and will involve HVAC upgrades and work to achieve Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. An emergency generator will also be installed, to keep bus dispatch services running during power outages.
The Department of Environmental Services Transit Bureau requested the upgrades for its ART bus operations staff, which has been operating out of a temporary office across the street at 2910 Jefferson Davis Highway.
Once the renovations are complete, the temporary office will be removed and a vehicle fueling and wash station installed. There will also be extra parking for buses.
Generally speaking, the changes to ART 42, 52, 75 and 77 will be to add additional hours of service or to tweak existing schedules by a few minutes. However, one stop is being removed in Clarendon for two of the routes.
For more information and for full ART bus schedules, log on to the Arlington Transit website. Details for the changes starting on Monday are as follows:
- ART 42 — Additional times are added on weekdays so buses run more frequently during the morning and evening rush hours. Saturday schedules do not change. Buses will no longer travel down N. Highland St in Clarendon, but will instead use N. Garfield St. The stop at N. Highland St and Clarendon Blvd will no longer be in service.
- ART 52 — Slight time adjustments will be made to help the buses run more efficiently. The schedule will help buses better coincide with the Yorktown High School bell schedule. Students should be able to use the bus to get to and from school more easily.
- ART 75 — Additional midday and evening service will be added. Buses will now run weekdays until after 10:00 p.m. The changes will also help buses better coincide with the Wakefield High School bell schedule.
- ART 77 — Saturday service will be added, starting at 7:00 a.m. and going until 11:54 p.m. The change should make it more convenient for riders to visit Shirlington on the weekends. Slight changes will also be made to the weekday schedule to make buses run more efficiently. Buses will no longer travel down N. Highland St in Clarendon, but will instead use N. Garfield St. The stop at N. Highland St and Clarendon Blvd will no longer be in service.
The incident happened at 11:00 a.m., near the intersection of Washington Boulevard and S. Uhle Street in the Penrose neighborhood.
“There were no injuries reported and ACPD remain on scene conducting an investigation,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Although the area is not a main thoroughfare, police are re-routing traffic as necessary.
Courts, DMV facilities, human services offices, libraries, public schools and administrative offices will be closed.
No recreational classes are scheduled and all community centers will be closed, with the exception of the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center, which will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
ART 41, 42, 51, and 87 bus routes will run on a Saturday schedule. All other routes will not operate. Parking meters, meanwhile, will not be enforced.
Trash and recycling collections will continue normal operations, but the county trash call center will be closed.
According to statistics quoted by Hynes, ART is on track to serve 2.5 million riders for the 12 month period ending this June. That’s a marked increase from just seven years ago, when ART bus ridership was just under 800,000 during financial year 2005.
Hynes said 1.2 million passengers rode ART from July to the end of December 2011 — a 14.5 percent increase over the same time period in 2010. ART now serves more than 9,000 passengers every weekday, versus 8,000 a year ago.
The transit service is planning to add additional service to the ART 42, 75 and 77 routes, according to Hynes.
The county’s big event is on Sunday at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford St) from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The tribute includes a variety of performances, including a keynote address from Howard University’s Dr. Wilmer Leon, gospel music from Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir, and a dance tribute by Urban Artistry. The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) will be accepting non-perishable food donations at the program.
Monday is a nationwide Day of Service to honor Dr. King’s call to serve. AFAC is looking for volunteers to help with food drives at the Giant grocery stores on Columbia Pike (2501 9th Rd S.), at Virginia Square (3450 Washington Blvd), at Lyon Village (3115 Lee Hwy) and at Bailey’s Crossroads in Falls Church (3480 S. Jefferson St). Anyone interested can sign up on the AFAC website.
Volunteer Emergency Support Team (VEST) members will host an event on Monday outside the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run) from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. to distribute emergency preparedness information. Volunteers can sign up on the VEST website.
Also as part of the Day of Service, volunteers are invited to spend Monday afternoon at Long Branch Nature Center to remove invasive plant species. Participants must be at least 10 years old and are encouraged to wear rugged clothes and work gloves. For more information, contact Steve Young at 703-578-4419.
Individuals and families are invited to help in the neighborhood and stream clean-up near Barcroft Park on Monday from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Volunteers will clean up portions of Four Mile Run Road and stream. Due to the popularity of this event, volunteers must register.
Arlington government offices, schools and libraries will be closed on Monday. Metro and ART will be running on a holiday schedule. Metro will also be doing major work on the Orange and Blue lines during the long weekend, starting at 10:00 p.m. on Friday.
Visitors to Java Shack (2507 Franklin Rd.) in Courthouse can now pick up more than just a coffee and bakery item. A transit screen fixed near the register lets them pick up a better idea of what transit options are available in the neighborhood.
The pilot project came about when Arlington County Commuter Services offered to put up funding for creating systems that help people better understand their transit options. They collaborated with Mobility Lab to come up with some ideas, and the transit screens were born.
David Alpert is Mobility Lab’s Project Manager for the Transit Tech Initiative, and was a bit surprised by the request. He says it’s fairly unusual for a local government to push for this kind of research and development.
“We wanted to push the envelope with this technology,” Alpert says. “It’s really great that Arlington is able to provide that.”
The screens display constantly updated times and availability for a variety of transit options, including Metrobus, Metrorail, ART Bus and Capital Bikeshare. Alpert believes more people would use public transit if they realized how many options are readily available in real time. He said public transit not only helps people get around, but improves the quality of their lives.
“Arlington has had so much growth in the Rosslyn to Ballston corridor, but not a ton of traffic growth, because so many options are out there,” Alpert said. “Buses, metro, biking. It improves, of course, the environment but people’s happiness as well.”
So far the only other location to be included in the pilot program is The Red Palace in Washington, DC. Java Shack owner Dale Roberts was approached due to his previous work with ACCS. Roberts says the screen, which hangs unobtrusively from the ceiling near the cash register, doesn’t interfere with his business at all. In fact, customers are asking about it and have given a lot of positive feedback.
“The idea is to get people to be aware that there are lots of options besides just using their own car,” Roberts said. “Seeing that screen lets me know how many options are right there at the corner of the coffee shop.”
Mobility Lab is still working out how it will fund the project in order to expand it. The equipment costs about $400, and businesses will likely have to foot the bill. Alpert says the pricing structure hasn’t been formulated yet and many different ideas have been floated.
County Board Debate Scheduled — The six Democratic candidates for County Board, along with Green Party hopeful Audrey Clement, have been invited to participate in a candidate’s night debate on Tuesday, Jan. 10. The debate, which is sponsored by a number of civic associations as well as the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, will take place at McKinley Elementary (1050 McKinley Road) at 7:30 p.m. The Arlington County Democratic Committee has also scheduled its own candidate forum.
Petraeus Spotted in Shirlington — CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus was reportedly spotted eating and drinking with his wife at Guapo’s in Shirlington Village over the weekend. Petraeus isn’t the only powerful Guapo’s fan: House Speaker John Boehner has also been spotted there several times. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Changes to ART 62 Route — Several significant changes to the ART 62 bus route start today. [CommuterPage Blog]
Neighborhood College Registration Open — Arlington County’s ‘Neighborhood College’ is accepting applications for its 2012 Civic Leadership Development Program. The free, eight-week course is open to all residents. It seeks to give students “the inside scoop on how County government works… helping you hone your civic leadership skills.” Applications for the 25 available slots are due Jan. 30. [Arlington County]
Shirlington, Pentagon Row to Get Electric Car Chargers — Federal Realty Investment Trust is installing electric vehicle charging stations at five of its D.C. area shopping centers, including The Village at Shirlington and Pentagon Row. [Washington Business Journal]
Daggers Found in Book at DCA — Two throwing daggers were found in a hollowed-out book in a passenger’s carry-on baggage at Reagan National Airport on Monday. The knives and the book were confiscated by authorities. [NBC Washington]
ART Canned Food Drive Ends — ART bus passengers donated a total of 376 canned food items from Nov. 14 to Dec. 16, during the transit service’s food drive. The canned items are being donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. [CommuterPage Blog]
Arlington Transit teamed up with the Arlington Food Assistance Center for a food drive that allows riders to leave donations directly on buses. Each ART bus has a box for collecting non-perishable food items. Boxes have also been put in place at Commuter Stores.
All food collected will be sent to the Arlington Food Assistance Center to be distributed to local residents in need. During an average week, AFAC serves about 2,000 adults and 1,000 children.
As of November 29, Arlington Transit reported 160 items had been donated. The food drive runs through Friday, December 16. If you’d like to donate but aren’t sure what to give, there’s a list of suggested items on the Arlington Transit website.
Water Main Break in Fairlington — A large water main break shut down the intersection of 31st and S. Abingdon Streets in Fairlington last night. [WUSA 9]
Joe Paterno Hires Clarendon Firm — Before he was fired by university trustees last night, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno hired Clarendon-based TMG Strategies to handle media inquiries. TMG specializes in crisis communications. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Green Party’s Fortunes Tied to GOP — Green Party candidates in Arlington seem to do significantly better on election day when there’s no Republican in the race. [Sun Gazette]
New Art on ART Buses — There are a few new whimsical illustrations on the county’s ART buses. The art was created by Nigerian-born and Alexandria, Va.-based artist Victor Ekpuk, as a joint venture between Arlington Transit and the Artisphere. [CommuterPage Blog]
Deal on Romeo and Juliet Tix — The Washington Post is offering $55 tickets to Synetic Theater’s Crystal City performance of Romeo and Juliet for $25. Synetic, which only recently established its home base in Crystal City, is a physical theater company — its shows substitute intense physical acting for dialogue. The deal expires at midnight tonight. Romeo and Juliet opens on Nov. 25. [The Capitol Deal]