There will be six “pit stops” in Arlington tomorrow — five during the morning commute and one in the afternoon — that have music, free food and beverages, giveaways and bicycle vendors. According to BikeArlington, more than 10,000 people participated in the event last year.
“Arlington County celebrates biking every day,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a press release. “The County is a great place to get around by bike with more than one hundred miles of multi-use trails, on-street bike lanes and designated bike routes. Even if you don’t own a bike, Capital Bikeshare is a convenient option with 69 stations in Arlington and more throughout the region.”
The event will be held rain or shine, but those biking might want to pack a poncho just in case: the National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for this afternoon into tomorrow morning, and forecasts are calling for a 100 percent chance of rain.
Below are the times and locations for Arlington’s pit stops tomorrow. You can register to participate online:
- Rosslyn (Rosslyn Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway — 6:30-9:00 a.m.)
- Ballston (FreshBikes Bike Shop, 3924 Wilson Blvd — 6:30-9:00 a.m.)
- Crystal City (Crystal City Water Park, 1750 Crystal Drive — 7:00-9:00 a.m.)
- Columbia Pike Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike — 6:30-9:00 a.m.)
- East Falls Church Metro Station – Morning (2001 N. Sycamore Street — 6:30-9:30 a.m.)
- East Falls Church – Afternoon (Tri360 Bike Shop: W&OD Trail at Washington Blvd and Lee Highway — 4:00- 7:00 p.m.)
Bike to Work Day is a part of National Bike Month, and, in honor of the month, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is offering free classes this weekend, hoping to educate those less confident in their cycling abilities so they become bike commuters. The classes will be held at the Arlington Central Library parking deck (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Also announced this month: Capital Bikeshare is now selling daily, monthly and annual memberships at Arlington Commuter Stores, and those buying memberships can use their keys the same day.
(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) Arlington will be rolling out a pilot program for S. Eads Street this fall that will give residents an idea of what the future of the Pentagon City/Crystal City corridor will look like for years to come.
The county has decided that the four-lane road, which runs parallel to Jefferson Davis Highway from Army Navy Drive to Four Mile Run, is unnecessarily wide, and should be changed to a three-lane road — the center lane for left turns — with increased pedestrian and bicycle amenities.
The county’s Department of Environmental Services recently released a survey asking residents which plan for S. Eads Street they prefer: a regular bike lane with a buffer and a larger parking lane, a street-level “cycle” track with a physical buffer, or a “raised cycle track” with a larger barrier less space for both parked and driving cars. The survey will be open until June 18.
“The reallocation of the available street space allows for other uses such as widened sidewalks, bicycle facilities, pedestrian median refuges, and on-street parking, all to meet the existing and future needs of S. Eads Street,” the county writes at the beginning of the survey. “This pilot program will include many elements that may be included in the final design of S. Eads Street. During the pilot, various aspects of roadway operations will be monitored, including travel times and vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic counts.”
The pilot program this fall will reduce the traffic to three lanes and institute a “protected bike facility,” as well as increased pedestrian crossings and reconfigured parking. The program will be installed between 15th Street and 23rd Street S., according to DES spokesman Eric Balliet, and most closely resemble “Option 2,” which includes the street-level cycle track. Balliet said the dimensions of the program will differ from those presented as the long-term Option 2 changes.
The Crystal City Sector Plan calls for increased density along parts of S. Eads Street closer to Army Navy Drive, which is also a part of the alignment for the Crystal City streetcar. There will be a meeting for residents to discuss their thoughts and concerns over the future of S. Eads Street on Wednesday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the Aurora Highlands Community Center (735 18th Street S.).
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) A week after another cyclist was hit at the intersection of Lee Highway, N. Lynn Street at the Custis Trail, the Arlington County Board approved adding $75,000 to a contract to engineer improvements to the intersection.
The planned improvements to the area, which includes the trail’s intersection with Fort Myer Drive, include removing a travel lane from Lee Highway and extending the curb at the intersection’s corners. It also calls for upgraded traffic signals, on-street bike lanes, signs and landscape areas and a “Corridor of Light” public art feature.
The most troublesome part of the intersection. where numerous car-on-bike accidents have occurred, has been where two lanes of traffic from I-66 turn right on N. Lynn Street toward the Key Bridge. That traffic comes in conflict with pedestrians and cyclists on the trail, who get the green light at about the same time.
The improvements are designed to give cyclists less time in traffic as a result of the extended curbs, as well as greater visibility and a safer “queueing” area. In addition, the start of the Custis Trail would be widened to allow for greater cyclist and pedestrian flow.
The Board voted yesterday to amend its contract with Toole Design Group, which is designing the updates to the intersection, to include additional design of underground features and water main relocation. The project is expected to be 90 percent complete with design by this summer with construction beginning next spring and completing by summer 2016.
Once the project reaches 90 percent design, Arlington Department of Environmental Services says it will schedule a public meeting to present the intersection’s final design to the community.
According to DES, the design of the improvements were funded by a federal grant, and the construction is being paid for by the JBG Companies, which is developing the Central Place office and residential skyscrapers two blocks away. If approved, the contract amendment will bring the total cost of the design to almost $1.2 million. The construction is currently estimated to cost $5 million.
The intersection was cited as needing a redesign in the Realize Rosslyn public outreach process, and some have suggested a pedestrian tunnel or flyover. According to DES, there are no other plans for improvements to this intersection, but the construction doesn’t preclude any changes in the future.
“There’s been a lot of attention at ways we can improve this intersection,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said at yesterday’s meeting. “The Realize Rosslyn process is underway, and we did [talk about] incorporating some focus into potentially systemic changes to the intersection.”
In addition to the trail improvements, Arlington announced yesterday it purchased a plot of land adjacent to the intersection, at 1101 Lee Highway, to preserve green and recreational space for the area. The land might also some day be used for a realignment of the bike trail, to improve safety.
The county paid $2.4 million to a private landowner and is considering constructing an “ancillary boathouse” to pair with a proposed boathouse along the Potomac River that the National Parks Service is considering.
“Over the years, community members have voiced strong support for a boathouse in the County along the Potomac River,” the county wrote in its press release, “to create public access, establish a home for high school rowing programs and to offer educational opportunities related to life along the Potomac.”
Two Drop Out of Congressional Race — Del. Charniele Herring and entrepreneur Satish Korpe have dropped out of the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in Congress. There are now eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the June 10 primary. [Washington Post]
Bike ‘Fix-It’ Stands Being Installed in Arlington — Arlington County has been installing stations where bicyclists can change a flat tire, add air, or adjust brakes and derailleurs free of charge. The stands have been installed in Clarendon and Ballston and one is coming soon to Pentagon City. [Greater Greater Washington]
School Officials Worry About Debt Ceiling — Arlington’s student body is growing by 700 students per year, but Arlington Public Schools is in danger of hitting its legal debt ceiling as it continues to build more schools and school additions to keep up with rising enrollment. Going forward, at least one School Board member is publicly hoping for more money from the county government. [InsideNova]
GMU Students Make Transportation Recommendations – In an 80 page report, graduate students from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy say that Arlington County should continue investing in transportation in order to “stay ahead of the curve.” Arlington, the students say, should “follow more of the international urban-planning trends rather than just those that are happening in other U.S. cities.” [Mobility Lab]
Fourth Grader Makes Case for Libraries — In a hand-written letter to Arlington library staff, an Arlington Traditional School fourth grader by the name of Lillian said she loves books and libraries. Despite talk of younger generations only being interested in iPads, smartphones and other electronics — instead of old-fashioned print — Lillian says she “can’t even list” all the reasons why she likes Arlington Central Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Garvey suffered a broken collarbone after falling while biking on a downhill route in Fairlington Friday afternoon, she said. It happened “near the end of S. Buchanan Street,” where Buchanan turns into 27th Road S.
“I hit a hole in the road (not a pothole, just an odd hole),” Garvey told ARLnow.com via email Monday morning. “I know to avoid it and have managed before to not fall when I’ve hit it, but it’s hard to see. I’m a little battered and bruised, but fine.”
Garvey said she will also be absent from Tuesday’s County Board meeting, but will be watching on TV. She was able to watch some of Saturday’s meeting when not meeting with doctors.
“Moving hurts,” Garvey said. “[I] will be resting for a few more days, but staying in touch by email and phone… It will be a few months before I’m on my bike again.”
Garvey, who was first elected to the County Board in March 2012 after spending 15 years on the Arlington School Board, said there’s a lesson to be learned from her accident.
“Always wear a helmet when biking,” she wrote. “[I] have a goose egg on my forehead, but [it] would have been a much different story without the helmet.”
(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) Rosslyn’s “Intersection of Doom” lived up to its name for a local cyclist Monday night. She says she was hit by a car in the crosswalk and then ticketed while in her hospital room.
Lindsey Kelley was cycling home from work at 8:00 p.m. and said she entered the crosswalk at Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street on a “go” signal, when she was struck by a four-door sedan coming off I-66 and turning right toward the Key Bridge.
By her account, the collision was the driver’s fault.
At the Virginia Hospital Center, however, Kelley was visited by the responding U.S. Park Police officer and issued a ticket for “disregarding traffic signs or road markings,” which may cost her $70, not including U.S. District Court fees. According to the police report, obtained by ARLnow.com, the officer said Kelley was not in the crosswalk. Kelley said the picture she took at the scene (above) was taken without her moving the bike from where it came to rest after the crash.
Kelley was diagnosed with a sprained wrist, some sprained fingers and a mild concussion. She said the officer didn’t take her statement at the scene, and instead relied on the word of the driver and a witness who she said “berated” her as soon as she was struck.
“It was a guy in a Black SUV with Maryland plates,” Kelley told ARLnow.com. “He stopped and got out and basically was very rude and said ‘you don’t deserve to be riding your bike here.’ He gave [the police] a different story than what happened. I never spoke to the officer again until he issued me a citation at the hospital. He took my ID, but he never asked me what happened or where I was coming from.”
Kelley also said that since the lane she was crossing was a turning lane, the officer “told me I should have seen it coming.” He had already written the ticket by the time he entered her hospital room.
Kelley lives near the Park Georgetown apartments and said she had just biked across the Key Bridge and was getting on the Custis Trail, coming home from her job at a nonprofit in the District. She said she just started the job, and has only biked there a few times since she started cycling recreationally more than a year ago.
“I guess it sucks because I got hit next to the new bike counter, but despite my boyfriend’s protests, I will probably still bike in the future,” she said. “I really like it, it’s fun, it’s way faster than the Metro.”
The intersection of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street has been the scene of numerous car-on-bike accidents, in large part because it puts which puts vehicle traffic from I-66 and heavy pedestrian traffic from the Mt. Vernon and Custis trails in conflict during the same green light cycle.
Advocates have been calling for changes to the intersection — perhaps even a pedestrian bridge or tunnel — for years. So far there are no definitive plans for significant safety improvement at the intersection.
Photo courtesy Lindsey Kelley
The collision happened around 7:40 p.m. near the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Old Glebe Road. Though the circumstances of the accident are unclear, both cyclists involved were injured and transported to the hospital, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.
Both cyclists were described as adult males. One was transported to Virginia Hospital Center in “stable” condition.
The other suffered what was initially described as a “serious head injury.” Marchegiani would only say that he suffered a “serious traumatic injury” and was transported to a local trauma center.
Though a connection could not be immediately confirmed, the intersection is on the route for the popular Freshbikes Tuesday Night Ride Series, which kicked off for the season last night at 7:00 p.m.
Photo via Google Maps
Free People to Open Next Week — The “bohemian” women’s clothing store Free People will open next Friday (May 16) at the Pentagon City mall. The 3,200 square foot boutique is the company’s 94th retail store and the fourth in the D.C. area. [PRWeb]
Bike and Walk to School Day — Today is Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. Children and parents were encouraged to seek people-powered transportation to school to teach students “about the health and environmental benefits of biking and walking.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Make-A-Wish Star’s Video Released – Addy, the 5-year-old who shot part of a music video in Rosslyn after her wish to become a pop star was granted by Make-A-Wish, has had her video released on YouTube. The video is a cover of the Katy Perry song “Roar.” Addy is suffering from a Wilms Tumor, a form of kidney cancer. [YouTube]
Entrepreneurial Author to Speak at Library – U.S. News & World Report senior money editor Kimberly Palmer will discuss her book “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life” tonight at 7:00 at Arlington Central Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Najarian Tries to Get on Ballot — Democratic candidate for Congress Nancy Najarian is trying to get on the ballot after authorities said she did not submit enough valid signatures to qualify. [Blue Virginia]
Winter Shelter Closes for the Season — Arlington’s emergency winter homeless shelter has closed for the season. More than 450 individuals stayed at least one night at the shelter over the past five months. The emergency winter shelter will reopen on Nov. 1. The county’s new year-round homeless shelter is not expected to open until some point next winter. [InsideNoVa]
Library Plans Bicycle Tour — Arlington Public Library’s seventh annual Tour des Bibliothèques is scheduled from the morning of Saturday, April 19. The event brings library staff and community members on a bicycle tour of seven Arlington library locations. [Arlington Public Library]
Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment – Arlington makes a significant investment in affordable housing compared to some of its neighbors. Arlington County devotes 5.2 percent of its budget to affordable housing, compared to 0.9 percent for Alexandria and 1.3 percent for Fairfax County. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The bikeometer will be on the trail near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street — known as the “Intersection of Doom” — with electronic displays counting “passing bicyclists in real time and cumulative daily, monthly and year-to-date counts,” according to an Arlington County press release.
The bikeometer is the first of its kind on the East Coast and sixth in the nation, according to BikeArlington. The data will be used in future planning for cyclists in the area in addition to providing “a highly visible, engaging and fun view of the volume of bike usage on the Custis Trail in Arlington.”
Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will be on hand, along with League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke, on Tuesday, April 1 at 10:00 a.m. to unveil the bikeometer.
Photo via BikeArlington
Walter Reed Drive Water Main Break — Drivers should expect traffic impacts and slippery conditions when driving on Walter Reed Drive in the area of S. Pollard Street, between S. Glebe Road and Four Mile Run Drive. The water from a 16-inch water main break has frozen and the southbound lanes of Walter Reed Drive are reportedly blocked. [Twitter]
School Board Candidates Critical of Budget Proposal — The three candidates running for the Democratic endorsement in the Arlington School Board race have qualms with Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s proposed $539.4 million budget. Specifically, the candidates were concerned about Murphy’s proposed cuts to diploma programs for students over the age of 22. [Sun Gazette]
Opower Prepares for IPO — Courthouse-based energy efficiency tech firm Opower is preparing for a $100 million Initial Public Offering. The company, which has been losing millions every year as it focuses on growth, will go public under the New York Stock Exchange OPWR. [InTheCapital]
Registration Open for Phoenix Derby — Registration is now open for the inaugural Phoenix Derby. The urban cyclocross bicycle race will be held on May 17 in a Crystal City parking garage. The event will benefit local bike education nonprofit Phoenix Bikes, which is in the process of raising funds for construction of a new headquarters along the W&OD Trail. [Crystal City]
Peak Bloom Date Predicted – The National Park Service revealed its cherry blossom peak bloom prediction yesterday. The famous blossoms are expected to be at their peak from April 8-12. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Arlington County is in the midst of creating “Bike Boulevards” on 9th and 12th Streets S., parallel to Columbia Pike, to divert bicycle traffic away from the Pike in advance of the streetcar line.
Signs were installed in late 2013 on the two roads, and Arlington County is in the process of designing infrastructure to make cycling on the boulevards safer.
“The Bike Boulevards will include several types of improvements, including signage, pavement markings, hardscape improvements such as curb extensions and intersection reconfiguration, and traffic control devices,” county Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher tells ARLnow.com.
So far, just the signs and pavement markings have been installed — of the $1 million budget for the project, Mincher said the county has spent $101,000. The major improvements will be at the intersections of 12th Street S. and Quincy Street; 9th Street S. between Highland and Wayne Street; 13th Street S. and George Mason Drive; and at 9th Street S. and Walter Reed Drive, which is included in a different project’s budget.
Studies for HAWK signals — like the one recently installed on Crystal Drive — are “90 percent complete,” Mincher said, at each road’s intersections with S. Glebe Road and S. Walter Reed Drive. The various components of the project “will be implemented as soon as possible to make incremental improvements to the Bike Boulevards in the next several years.”
Although the county’s aim is to make cycling safer along the corridor, local cyclists have been concerned about perceived flaws in the plans. One, who declined to be identified, said in meetings about the project in 2011, the county saw pushback from the community, resulting in changes to the project.
After the meeting, “that was the last that the community heard until the fall of 2013,” the tipster said. “At that point the county painted the bike markers on the street and installed the street signs, but no more.”
“There were significant concerns about the safety of the bicyclists on both streets,” he continued, “but predominantly on 12th as there is significant vehicle traffic from the post office and the Rosenthal development [at the Glebe Road and Columbia Pike intersection] coming in, plus with no sidewalks the cars, bikes and pedestrians have to share the same bit of road.”
Arlington transportation planner Dan Malouff wrote about the Bike Boulevards on Greater Greater Washington earlier this month, noting that the project is the first of its kind in the D.C. region, but many skeptics emerged in the comment section questioning the boulevards.
“The bike boulevards thus far have been executed so badly as to be comical,” said one commenter, named Pikecycle. “Still today most of the minor cross-streets lack stop signs for crossing car traffic, which makes cyclists stop every block in places (in many cases with poor visibility for cross traffic). The major cross-streets (Walter Reed, Glebe) have neither signage nor lights nor street-level painting (the lone exception is an awkward existing regular cross walk/light).”
“Classic modern Arlington ‘smart growth’: winning headlines with expensive, long-delayed projects that are so NIMBY compromised as to be virtually useless,” the commenter continued. “In sum, riding on Columbia Pike (as long as the streetcar remains a pipe dream) is faster, safer and a much better option.”
Date Set for County Board Special Election – Circuit Court Chief Judge William Newman officially has declared that the Arlington County Board special election will be held on April 8. The special election is being held to replace now-former County Board member Chris Zimmerman. [Sun Gazette]
End of the Road for Seoul Food Truck – The Seoul Food truck, which makes stops in Rosslyn, Courthouse, Ballston and other lunch spots in Arlington, will be retired at the end of this month. The owners say they want to spend more time focusing on their brick-and-mortar store in Silver Spring, Md., next to the Wheaton Metro station. [Food Truck Fiesta]
Bike Boulevard Signs Installed — Arlington has installed signs and sharrows designating 9th Street S. and 12th Street S., which run along either side of Columbia Pike, as “bike boulevards.” The county has not yet, however, installed improved intersection crossings or trail links, leading some to say that the bike boulevards so far do little to improve safety for Pike cyclists. [Greater Greater Washington]
Preservation Arlington Mourns Loss of Homes — The group Preservation Arlington says a total of 14 demolition permits were applied for in January. “In review of the Arlington County tax records, eight of the eleven houses are owned by builders and are speculative redevelopments, and two are being redeveloped by individuals who bought the property within the last year,” the group writes. “The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy, and materials.” [Preservation Arlington]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
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.
From the Tour de France to the Clarendon Cup, from the Marine Corps Marathon to a local 5K, there’s one thing all races have in common, and one thing Jason Berry wants to replace.
Berry has spent the past 10 years in Arlington making films about cycling — he directed BikeArlington’s documentary BikeSwell, as well as several award-winning documentaries — and has been a competitive cyclist for even longer. He’s poked countless holes in his expensive gear and suffered hundreds of pinpricks when this spring he just snapped.
“I had just gotten a brand new jersey with my team for race season, and the night before the race, I just couldn’t bring myself to poke a hole in it,” he said. “My sister had just gotten me these cat magnets for Christmas, so I decided to see if they’d work instead.”
The next day, he raced with cat magnets on his back. Rather than draw insults and mockery, Berry’s impromptu idea was the subject of praise and jealousy.
“I wouldn’t have given it much thought,” he said, “but when I heard someone say, ‘can I buy these?’ It was like ‘ding, ding, ding!’ I was off and running.”
On Nov. 18, Berry officially launched his new venture, Race Dots. The dots are rare-earth magnets, the strongest permanent magnets available, and have an interlocking design — patent pending — to stay in place on a cyclist or runner’s shirt. The metals required to make the magnets are only available in China, so that’s where they come from; a disappointment to Berry, but worth it.
“I really wanted it to all be made in America,” he said. “But the only mine in the country is controlled by the military.”
The first time he affixed a racing bib to his shirt with a magnet was just a few months ago, this spring. In June, he started buying magnets from Home Depot, seeing which worked best. None of them did. Some were too small or too weak. Others were strong enough but would break when they snapped together.
Berry went through about 15 different prototypes, designing new systems of interlocking sides, new designs for their tops and sending his orders to a manufacturer he found in China.
“I’m a filmmaker, not an industrial designer,” the 44 year old said with a laugh over coffee. “I’m in very new, uncomfortable territory, but it’s exciting. My life might be totally different now.” (more…)
A plan to build a new headquarters for Phoenix Bikes has picked up some neighborhood opposition.
Phoenix Bikes is a nonprofit focused on empowering youths by teaching them bicycle repair and entrepreneurship. The organization wants to move from its present cinder block building in Barcroft Park to a new location on county-owned land adjacent to the W&OD Trail, near the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and Four Mile Run Drive.
The new facility will feature education space, public restrooms, a drinking fountain, a water bottle refill station and an air pump.
A second public hearing on the proposal will be held tomorrow, Dec. 4, at the Park Operations conference room (2700 S. Taylor Street). Fliers sent to condo associations around the neighborhood suggest that some residents will be attending to voice opposition to the plan.
“Arlington County plans to remove trees… to build a replacement facility in what is now a wooded area for the nonprofit Phoenix Bikes, which will be used for training teens in bicycle repair,” the flier says. “The facility will provide only 3 parking places and thus its visitors will be parking on streets near your homes. The facility will be lighted until 9:00 p.m. and may provide public bathrooms attractive to drunks.”
Susan Kalish, spokeswoman for the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, says it’s too early to determine how many trees would have to be cut down to make way for the facility. She said any trees that are removed will be replaced per county policy.
“It’s way too preliminary to know how many trees are impacted because the exact location of the building, its size or the size of an associated parking lot have not been determined,” she said. “That said, when the building plans are finalized the County will use its standard tree replacement formula.”
The flier makes reference to County Board member Libby Garvey, who sits on the board of Phoenix Bikes. It also accuses Arlington County of not giving enough notice to residents about the first public meeting.
Phoenix Bikes is currently raising money for the new headquarters, which is projected to cost $1 million. As announced today, proceeds from next year’s Crystal City Diamond Derby will be used to help fund the headquarters.
The text of the full opposition flyer, after the jump.