JBMHH’s Wright Gate, at Marshall Drive and Meade Street, will now close to visitors at 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. (It still opens at 5:00 a.m.) Previously, visitors were allowed to use the gate until 11:00 p.m.
Now, only Department of Defense ID card holders will be able to access the gate through 11:00 p.m.
Additionally, two JBMHH gate are now officially, permanently closed: Henry Gate, at Route 50 and N. Pershing Drive, and the Henderson Hall Annex Gate, on Southgate Road.
Currently, only two gates are open 24/7 to visitors and DoD personnel: the Henderson Hall Main Gate at the intersection of S. Orme Street and Southgate Road, and the Hatfield Gate, at Washington Blvd and 2nd Street S.
The changes are expected to impact bike commuters, who sometimes commute through Wright Gate and JBMHH as a safer, less traffic-filled way to get home at night.
JBMHH personnel say the changes were necessitated by a money-saving congressional mandate, which required the base to use military police or federal civilian security guards at installation gates. Previously, the gates were patrolled by private security guards.
“This action has resulted in fewer personnel to man the gates,” said JBMHH spokeswoman Leah Rubalcaba.
In publishing last week’s Arlington County crime report, we wrote that a man’s effort to recover his stolen bike “backfired” when he was punched in the face and his new bike was stolen.
The victim of that alleged crime wrote us shortly thereafter and said it was actually he who had the last laugh.
The man, who didn’t want his name published but who was able to confirm non-public details about the incident, says he successfully recovered his pricey Gary Fisher mountain bike while the thief only managed to punch him once and take off with his girlfriend’s used $100 bike with pink tires.
Here’s the victim’s side of the story:
My Gary Fisher 29er mountain bike with multiple very distinguishable and colorful upgrades was stolen Sunday [Jan. 13] in downtown DC in front of a Safeway at 3 pm in broad daylight by a guy who broke my lock.
The next Thursday I was biking to Caps practice at Kettler in Ballston on my girlfriend’s pink tired bike (which the perp is pictured with here) when I saw a bus pull up with my stolen Gary Fisher on front. I put the pink tire bike I was riding on the rack with my stolen Gary Fisher and boarded the bus. I rode for a few blocks and got ready to make my move at the Whole Foods. I went to get both bikes and the guy charged off the bus and we wrestled for the Gary Fisher. Eventually I got my lock around the frame and wheel so he couldn’t ride away as he got one good punch in. With the Gary Fisher secure, I knocked him down and he put his hand in his bag and threatened to have a gun. He probably didn’t but l was spooked and let him up and backed off.
He got up and got on the pink tired bike and rode off. I got my nice Gary Fisher back. He rode off on this pink tired bike that I bought for 100 bucks a few years ago heading toward Courthouse and Rosslyn. I assume he dumped it right after he rode out if sight because he stood out on that thing and cops never found him.
I was fine after the fight and didn’t have a mark on me.
If you see the pink tired Specialized Hardrock around Clarendon he stole it. Also by the time I got to Kettler on my Gary Fisher, practice was over. At least I got my bike back.
I’m sure the police don’t encourage confronting thieves like this and maybe that’s why they took the successful part of the report out. But the bike I got back is really valuable to me.
Police say they have not made any arrests in the case so far.
Streetcar Referendum Might Be Necessary — Arlington County might be forced to hold a bond referendum for the Columbia Pike streetcar if it’s unable to sell a certain type of revenue bond to partially fund the $250 million project. For now, the project is awaiting word on whether it will receive up to $75 million in federal funding. [Sun Gazette]
Higher-End Stores at Pentagon City Mall — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City has undergone a transformation that brought higher-end “aspirational luxury” stores to the mall. Recent addition to the malls include Oakley, Sperry, Mezlan and Cole Haan. Among the stores that have recently left is Aeropostale, which was forced out by a Microsoft Store. [Washington Post]
‘Dooring’ Law Proposed in Richmond — A law has been proposed for the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session (which starts tomorrow) that would make a vehicle occupant liable in the event they open their car door in the path of a cyclist, causing an accident. Similar laws are already on the books in Maryland and D.C. [WTOP]
State Dept. Cancels Search for Lease in Rosslyn — The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, based on Lynn Street in Rosslyn, has canceled a search for a new lease. The agency is now looking for a building to buy, raising the prospect that it may be looking to move into the District. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Jkurl11
The Old Bike Shop, located at 2647 N. Pershing Drive, specializes in vintage and refurbished bikes and bike parts. Owner Larry Behery, a former car mechanic and carpenter, says there was an unmet need for a used bike store in Arlington.
“There are a lot of shops in the area, but they serve a higher-end clientele — someone who’s already into bikes, already into racing, someone who’s into spending a couple of thousand dollars on a bike,” he said. “But there was nobody really just being a liaison for the beginner,” for people who “need something inexpensive to ride to the Metro… something solid and something that’s not stolen or broken off of Craigslist. ”
Behery and a business partner have been selling used bikes at the Courthouse flea market on Saturdays and at the Georgetown flea market on Sundays. Behrey, who started out collecting old bikes and bike paraphernalia before deciding to sell them as a side business, said he buys his bikes at auctions and from charities that receive bike donations. Before the shop opened, he fixed them up in a garage outside his Springfield home.
Business was good enough at the flea markets that at one point last year Behery decided to go all-in and open a stand-alone store.
“It ended up kinda snowballing and increasing in demand… and finally it got to the point where there were enough [customers] to justify doing something like this and actually having a shop,” he said. “I couldn’t not take advantage of that opportunity.”
Behery says he still plans to sell bikes at the Courthouse market but is planning to discontinue his visits to the Georgetown market. He says he thinks the quality of the bikes at his small shop will help him compete against nearby higher-end bike stores and the Wal-Marts of the world that sell cheaply-made budget bikes.
“We made a lot of really good stuff back in the day that can’t be produced any more — recognizing that there was a need for good quality bikes that were inexpensive,” he said.
The Old Bike Shop is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. The store is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
In addition to bikes and bike parts like locks and tires, the Old Bike Shop will offer bike repair services.
Walter Tejada, the new Arlington County Board Chair for 2013, says he will use his chairmanship to push for progress in four local policy areas: affordable housing, fitness and health, urban agriculture, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Tejada and other County Board members outlined their vision for the county at the Board’s traditional New Year’s Day meeting on Tuesday. As Chair, Tejada’s priorities will receive the sharpest focus.
In a seven-page speech, Tejada repeatedly called on the county to “move forward together… for all of Arlington.”
Tejada’s first major policy initiative is affordable housing. Tejada repeated a call he and Board member Chris Zimmerman previously made: for new affordable housing investment funded via adoption of Tax Increment Financing for Columbia Pike. The TIF would steer a percentage of taxes gained through increases in property values along Columbia Pike to the creation of new affordable housing, to bolster the county’s existing 6,585 committed affordable units.
“Already on Columbia Pike, market forces are threatening one of the County’s largest supplies of market-rate affordable housing,” Tejada said. ”I have asked [County Manager Barbara Donnellan] to analyze and submit a recommendation by June 2013 for creating a transit oriented affordable housing fund on Columbia Pike through adoption of a TIF.”
“We need to house our healthcare workers and teacher aides, our cashiers and restaurant workers, our cleaning staff and small business employees, and other hard-working people so vital to our County’s economic health,” he continued. “We need to maintain the cultural and economic diversity that is so vital to Arlington’s soul, for all of Arlington.”
Tejada acknowledged that more affordable housing will not come cheap, but quoted former president John F. Kennedy in saying, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”
An affordable housing TIF on the Pike wouldn’t be the county’s first use of the funding vehicle. A TIF is in place to fund infrastructure improvements in Crystal City, including a planned Crystal City streetcar.
After affordable housing, Tejada called for the county to “promote healthy living” through an initiative called FitArlington.
The new focus on fitness and health will include the creation of a “Arlington Healthy Community Action Team” (HCAT) comprised of local health and fitness providers, youth services providers, nutrition educators and urban agriculture enthusiasts. In addition to promoting physical fitness in general, the county will work in partnership with the HCAT and Arlington Public Schools to help reduce the rate of childhood obesity in Arlington.
The childhood obesity initiative will kick off with a community meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).
Tejada also highlighted the work of the county’s Urban Agriculture Task Force, which was announced as an initiative at the 2012 New Year’s Day meeting. Among the issues being considered by the task force is the controversial proposal to allow Arlington residents to raise egg-laying hens in their backyards. Tejada said he expects the task force’s forthcoming recommendations to help promote healthy eating in Arlington.
Board to Hold New Year’s Meeting — The Arlington County Board will hold its traditional New Year’s Day meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. At the meeting, Walter Tejada is expected to be elected County Board chair. Tejada and the other four Board members will then outline their policy goals for 2013. In a press release, Arlington County billed itself as “the only local government that “gets to work” on the New Year’s holiday.” [Arlington County]
Cemetery Expansion Concerns Tree Lovers — A plan to expand Arlington National Cemetery has some tree lovers crying foul. The cemetery is projected to run out of additional burial space in 2025, prompting the need for the expansion. Some Arlington residents, however, have been critical of one particular part of the expansion plan, which calls for the clearing of 890 “old-growth” trees. The cemetery plans to replant 600 trees and to preserve a stand of 220-year-old trees. [Arlington Mercury]
Bike Arlington’s Top 10 List — Staff from Arlington County’s Bike Arlington program has published a list of their “top 10 favorite topics from 2012.” Among the entries in the top 10 list: Capital Bikeshare’s expansion, Bike Friendly Business awards to local shops, and the county’s Predictable, Alert and Lawful (PAL) safety campaign. [Bike Arlington]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Thieves Steal Wheels from Hotel — Two suspects were seen stealing tires and rims from two vehicles parked at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) early Thursday morning. A security guard tried to intervene but the suspects fled. Arlington, particularly south Arlington, has seen an apparent uptick in wheel thefts recently. [NBC Washington]
Santa Coming to Clarendon Saturday — Santa Claus will be coming to Clarendon on Saturday evening. The Jolly Old Elf will arrive at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) on a “big red sleigh,” otherwise known as an Arlington County fire truck, at 4:00 p.m. He will be on hand for photos until 7:00 p.m. There will also be strolling carolers and other family-friendly entertainment. It’s the shopping center’s 12th annual “Winter Wonderland” event. [Market Common Clarendon]
Last Westover Farmers Market of 2012 — The new Westover Farmers Market will hold its last market of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The market, located at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road, will go on a holiday hiatus before returning on Jan. 13, 2013. The market’s winter hours run through April. [Westover Farmers Market]
Brink Commends Funding for Blind Students — Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington) is praising Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for his proposal to add $4.9 million in funding for blind and visually impaired students to the upcoming Virginia budget. The funds will help localities cover the cost of teachers, teacher’s aides and staff for blind and visually impaired students. [Alexandria News]
Bike Advocates Call For Plowed Trails — Bicyclists are calling on Arlington County to start plowing snow from bike and pedestrian trails. “By failing to plow the trails, [Arlington's Department of Environmental Services] puts more people onto the streets in cars,” said one bicycle advocate during yesterday’s county-organized online snow chat. “Is that really what you want, during a snow event?” [Along the Pike]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to approve an agreement with VDOT to design a trail connector from the Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac Avenue in Arlington. Potomac Avenue runs from Crystal City to the shops and new residential developments in the Potomac Yard section of Alexandria.
Currently, the Four Mile Run Trail connects with the west side of Route 1. One would then have to cross the busy thoroughfare to get to Potomac Yard. A steep, informal dirt path that connects directly from the trail to Potomac Avenue also exists, but can be difficult to climb.
County officials say the new trail connection will be accessible to those with disabilities.
“The trail connection will provide an ADA compliant multi-use trail connection between the Potomac Yard development on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County) and the Four Mile Run Trail which is also on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County),” wrote Shannon Whalen McDaniel, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services. “The new trail connection will replace a informal dirt pathway (goat path) that currently exists along the steep embankment between Potomac Yard and the Four Mile Run Trail.”
The design and engineering for the new trail connection is projected to cost $250,000. Of that, $190,000 will come from federal funds and $60,000 will come from Arlington County. The actual construction of the trail connector hasn’t been funded yet, but is expected to be complete no later than 2016. No construction date has been set.
Image via Google Maps
Capital Bikeshare did not experience damage to any of its bicycles or docking stations, we’re told. The system did shut down for about 36 hours to prevent people from biking in dangerous conditions, and to protect the workers who have to travel around the metro area to re-distribute bikes where they’re needed.
The system began running again on Tuesday afternoon, and workers spent some time playing catch up on bike re-distribution.
Although larger obstacles such as fallen trees or downed wires still pose a problem for cyclists, BikeArlington’s Chris Eatough said such hazards are relatively easy to spot and shouldn’t take too many people by surprise. The lingering issue that might catch cyclists off guard is wet ground covered with slick leaves.
“The main thing we’ve heard and that I’ve noticed is slippery conditions. A lot of leaves came down along with everything else. They’ve come down so heavily saturated that in many cases they’re matted to the trails and roads,” Eatough said. “It’s definitely something to watch out for. That could take you off your bike before you even know what’s going on.”
Cyclists are reminded to control their speeds and use extra caution when turning. As always, cyclists should use a light when traveling in the dark. Eatough said the light is particularly important to have as darkness sets in earlier, especially with daylight saving time beginning on Sunday (November 4).
BikeArlington is reminding local cyclists to “light up your bike” as the fall days continue to get darker earlier.
Clocks will “fall back” an hour in less than three weeks, when Daylight Saving Time ends. For safety, and to comply with a state law that requires the use of front white lights on bikes when it’s dark, BikeArlington issued the following reminder.
As the days get shorter, and the nights get longer, we all still have to go about our business. And daylight savings time ends on Sunday, November 4. That means we’ll be walking, biking and driving in the dark more often, so it’s very important to be a PAL [link added] when you’re getting around Arlington after sunset. Being visible is a crucial part of being Predictable, Alert, and Lawful.
For one, you can’t be predictable if no one can see you, so if you plan to bike in the dark, you should wear reflective clothing and use bike lights. Lights also help illuminate your path so you can stay alert while you’re riding, and lastly Virginia law requires all bikers to use front white lights and rear red reflectors when dark (these can be attached to your helmet, bag, or bike) and rear red lights are required on roads 35 mph and up. It’s a good idea to be as visible as possible so we recommend always having rear red lights.
Visit www.BikeArlington.com/PAL for more information on being a visible PAL.
Update at 9:10 a.m. on 10/16/12 — The male victim is recovering from his injuries, while the female victim is still in critical condition in a medically-induced coma, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Police are still awaiting the result of a blood test on the driver before pressing charges. According to Sternbeck, witnesses told police that the driver did a “burn out” at the intersection before losing control of the truck.
The driver of a pick-up truck lost control and plowed into two cyclists on Four Mile Run Drive this afternoon, police said.
According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the driver was heading eastbound on Columbia Pike, made a right-hand turn onto Four Mile Run Drive, lost control of the truck, went over the median and struck the cyclists. The cyclists were biking in the roadway and not on the adjacent trail, Sternbeck said.
The victims, a man and a woman, were both in their 60s, Sternbeck said. The woman suffered “significant head trauma” and a broken pelvis. The man suffered broken ribs and punctured lungs. Both victims were transported to George Washington University Hospital in “serious” condition.
Charges are pending against the driver of the truck, who remained on scene after the accident, Sternbeck said. Four Mile Run Drive was closed between Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive for much of the afternoon while police investigated the accident.
Youth Justice 5K on Sunday – Bluemont Park will be the scene of the first annual 5K Walk/Run for Justice on Sunday. The event will take place at noon and will raise money for Families and Allies of Virginia’s Youth, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to transforming the juvenile justice system in Virginia to one that is fair, effective and age-appropriate.” On-site registration is $25 and includes a free long-sleeved t-shirt. [DC Road Runners]
Arlington Fun Ride on Saturday — Phoenix Bikes is organizing a family-friendly 17-mile bike ride on Saturday. The Arlington Fun Ride will take riders on a leisurely bike tour of Arlington that will include stops in Crystal City, Ballston and Rosslyn. The ride will start at 8:00 a.m. and will begin and end at Phoenix Bikes (4200 S. Four Mile Run). There will also be a short children’s ride. The entry fee — $5 for individuals or $15 for families — will benefit Phoenix, a non-profit bike shop. Editor’s Note: The Arlington Fun Ride is an ARLnow.com advertiser. [Ode Street Tribune]
TNT Bar Launches Happy Hour — TNT Bar (2413 Columbia Pike) has started a happy hour. The bar, located in the back of the new Eamonn’s restaurant at Penrose Square, will offer four drink options — canned beer, a cocktail called “John Fosters punch,” and two varieties of wine — for $4. The happy hour lasts from 5:00 to 6:44 p.m.
Today was “Walk and Bike to School Day” in Arlington and across the country.
The annual event in Arlington, organized by Arlington Public Schools (with the help of local PTAs), encourages students and parents to bike and walk to school more often. At Oakridge Elementary School, this year’s “spotlight school” for Walk and Bike to School Day, hundreds of students and parents walked, biked or even scootered to school.
Arlington County Police kept a close eye on the roads around the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Busy Arlington Ridge Road was temporarily shut down to allow a large convoy of kids and adults on bikes to make their way to the school, safely, from a “rest stop” at the historic Hume School (1805 S. Arlington Ridge Road).
After students arrived they gathered behind the school for a rally, featuring words of encouragement from Oakridge principal Dr. Lynne Wright, County Board member Walter Tejada, and ultramarathon runner (and Arlington resident) Michael Wardian. Wardian, along with some local triathletes and competitive cyclists, led students in a series of light physical activities.
APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy said Walk and Bike to School Day is a fun event that sends an important message about staying physically fit.
“I think the message is [encouraging] a well-balanced lifestyle,” he said. “We want to emphasize many of the things that the community values here. Biking and walking is part of the community, part of our value system, and I also think it’s something we want to encourage kids to do.”
Some parents weren’t fully sold on the message, though. One parent, armed with petition forms, wore signs protesting changes to the school system’s busing policies. Nearby, a minivan also had words of protest scrawled on its back window. The changes have meant that some students now have to either walk, bike or be driven to school since they’re no longer eligible to ride a school bus.
The Crystal City Diamond Derby will take place on Saturday, September 29 from 4:00-10:00 pm. The venue is the underground parking garage at 2345 Crystal Drive, which will be transformed into an urban cycling course.
Riders of all abilities can try out the courses, some casual and others competitive. The Kids’ Derby and D&Q River Ride are free, but there are fees to enter the Open Course Challenge, Team Competition and 4X Comps. Registration for the various events is available online. All participants must have their own bikes and helmets.
Spectators are welcome in the viewing areas, and can check out other activities such as the new cycling inspired fashion shows. There will also be street art, music and food and drinks. The evening will close with the presentation of awards, around 9:40 p.m.
Photo via diamond-derby.com. Disclosure: The Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
So far, five areas feature the green markings including Veitch Street at Clarendon and Wilson Blvds, Military Road at Nelly Custis Drive and S. Joyce Street near Pentagon Row. Two others should be finished soon, and an additional five are expected by the end of the year.
According to Wayne Wentz, Chief of Arlington’s Transportation and Engineering Bureau, the markings draw extra attention to areas where cars may have to cross into bike lanes, particularly to make a right turn.
“The primary intent is safety improvement to help give both drivers and bicyclists more awareness of locations where their paths cross each other,” said Wentz. “In none of these locations is there an easy option to eliminate the right turn or the mixing. The green bike lane has become one of the solutions in the engineers’ toolbox to do this.”
The project has been in the works for years, and was recently approved based on nationwide research. As part of its local research several years ago, Arlington had experimented with blue paint during a test run along Military Road near Nelly Custis Drive. That marking was eventually allowed to fade until a permanent solution was approved.
“We certainly will, as with any traffic control improvement we make, monitor it and see if there’s some confusion caused to motorists and bicyclists. But the research says there shouldn’t be,” said Wentz.
Part of what makes the program effective, according to Chris Eatough of BikeArlington, is that painting only selected bike lanes draws particular attention to them. Eatough said similar plans have been successfully executed in cities throughout Europe.
“It’s not green paint all over the county, it’s where it’s most helpful,” said Eatough. “It’s a very striking visual and quite an innovative and new approach.”
Most of the green markings are expected to last five years, although touch-ups may be necessary on those experiencing particularly heavy traffic.
Wentz said the green lanes are just the latest of several upgrades underway to increase safety for bicyclists. The county is also working on signal improvements, better ramps and re-timing certain traffic lights. But most importantly, Wentz stresses, is the push for additional education for drivers and cyclists alike.
“We are trying to emphasize that both user types need to share the road.”