Arlington Trail Counters — Arlington has “the region’s most extensive bike and pedestrian tracking system,” with nearly 30 sensors on trails and sidewalks. According to sensor data, two thirds of trail users are bicyclists. [Washington Post]
Ebbin Prostitution Bill in Limbo — A bill sponsored by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), that would allow a prostitution conviction to be expunged if it’s proven the dependent was forced to work as a prostitute, got a cool reception from the Virginia State Crime Commission. The commission took no action on the bill, which was held over from the 2013 General Assembly session for possible consideration next year. [Associated Press]
Amazon Now Charging Sales Tax in Va. — Amazon.com is now collecting the 5.3 percent state sales tax from customers in Virginia. The change went in effect on Sunday. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
The event, called Zen Around the City, will be held at Mind Your Body Oasis yoga studio (1750 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City, on Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. It will feature experts in cycling and yoga, a dinner and gift bags with $25 worth of memorabilia.
Zen Around the City is for women only, and includes an optional 30-minute yoga class before it starts. Once the yoga is over, attendees can expect “women-specific advice on getting around on a bike,” and a lesson on the health benefits of cycling.
Billed as an event for the “bike-curious,” tickets are $5 and, as of Thursday, there were only 45 remaining.
Image via Arlington Transportation Partners
Howard Montgomery, 47, of no fixed address, was spotted just before 3:00 a.m. last Thursday riding a bicycle and carrying another alongside him, Arlington County Police said. When an officer questioned Montgomery, he tried to flee but was taken into custody “after a brief struggle,” according to the police report.
Montgomery, who was also in possession of “a power grinder with numerous blades,” admitted to stealing the Cannondale and Drossinger bikes, police said. He was arrested and charged with grand larceny, larceny with intent to sell, possession of burglarious tools and obstruction of justice.
The arrest comes after ACPD announced that bike thefts in Arlington had hit an all-time high.
The two bikes stolen were not registered with the the police department, making it more difficult to return them to their owners, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sternbeck said the area where Montgomery was arrested, around the 1600 block of S. Eads Street, is one of the “hot spots” for bicycle thefts around the county. Bicycle thefts tend to happen more frequently at commuter locations with lots of bike racks, he said.
While Montgomery confessed to stealing the two bikes, he did not admit to any prior crimes, said Sternbeck.
The area’s first electric bicycle store will open near Clarendon on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Hybrid Pedals, at 925 N. Jackson Street, specializes in selling electric bikes that can travel 20-30 miles on a single charge, giving riders the option to pedal when they want, extending the bikes’ range. Hybrid Pedals founder Alan Levine also founded Mario’s Pizza House — just around the corner from Hybrid Pedals at 3322 Wilson Blvd — and the food delivery service Doctor Delivery.
Levine said in a press release that his is the first electric bike store in the Washington, D.C., area, but the shops are already popular in California and Florida, as wells as overseas. Hybrid Pedals will carry bikes from seven manufacturers, including Pedego, Stealth, Thrust, and VeloMini.
“There’s literally nowhere you can’t go on an e-bike,” Ray Carrier, Hybrid Pedals operations manager, said. “The range can be extended to any length if the rider pedals… If you know how to ride a regular bike, you can ride an e-bike within moments of ﬁrst trying one out. There’s no steep learning curve as with a Segway, which has limited range and is stymied by ‘rough’ terrain such as grass and gravel.”
Hybrid Pedals also has a license to sell to police and emergency responders, offering bicycles that can go as fast as 60 mph. The bicycles available for public use by law can’t go faster than 20 mph. Levine’s store will also sell solar-powered e-bikes, which he said are useful for extended power outages when a wall charger can’t be used.
The showroom’s grand opening ceremony on Sept. 7 starts at 11:00 a.m. and goes until 7:00 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 3:00 p.m. There will be live music, project demonstration and test drives as part of the event.
A total of 67 bikes were stolen in July, but police say they’ve been working “aggressively” to reduce the number of thefts. At least six suspects were recently arrested in connection with bicycle thefts, and one pleaded guilty to nine felony counts.
According to police department statistics, from June 1 to Aug. 5, a total of 126 bikes were stolen for a total property loss of nearly $100,000.
The most common time for bike thefts was between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. Trek was the most commonly-stolen bike brand, while the Clarendon area was the “hottest area for stolen bikes.”
Police are asking residents to take steps to make sure their bike is safe. From an ACPD press release:
Recent data shows that bicycle thefts are at an all-time high in Arlington County and the Police Department is asking the public to join in the efforts to reduce this trend.
Sixty-seven bicycles were reported stolen in July 2013 and police have been aggressively working to reduce the number of incidents. Residents can do their part too by following a few simple steps:
- Register your bicycle with the Arlington County Police Department at http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/police/citizens/forms/bicycle_registration.asp. You will receive a decal that may be a visible deterrent to theft. Your bicycle information will also be on file should become a victim
- Take a photo of your bike and record the serial number. Also, list distinguishing features and save the file to your computer or email account
- Always lock your bike’s frame and wheels with a high quality modern U-Lock
- Remove all detachable items such as lights and bags
- If you are a victim of bicycle theft, post the theft as stolen online in an attempt to locate it
- Always file a police report with ACPD
Citizens should be reminded to call the non-emergency line [703-558-2222] if they observe suspicious behavior around bike racks. A police officer will respond to the area and determine if a crime is being committed.
ACPD has recently been able to identify and arrest at least six subjects in connection to bicycle thefts across the County. One of the subjects, Michael Cullen, 42, of no fixed address, pled guilty this past week to nine felony counts related to bicycle thefts.
County Mulls Streetlight Changes — Arlington County is considering changing the type of LED streetlights it uses after complaints from residents. One possible change is using lights with a color temperature that more closely matches traditional sodium-vapor lighting. [Sun Gazette]
Cyclist Sets Up Stolen Bike Sting — A cyclist whose bikes were stolen from a Fairfax County parking garage managed to set up a sting operation in Arlington to try to catch the thief. The cyclist found one of the bikes for sale on Craigslist, arranged for the seller to come to an Arlington parking lot, and flagged down a police officer to lend assistance. After agreeing to a sale, listened to by police via a cell phone in the cyclist’s pocket, the seller was arrested. [Gripped Racing]
Transgender Fashion Show to Benefit Arlington Org — A transgender fashion show will be held this Saturday in Falls Church to benefit NovaSalud, a Courthouse-based HIV/AIDS nonprofit. The show’s Honorary Mistress of Ceremonies is Kristen Beck, a retired Navy SEAL who was formerly known as Chris Beck. [Falls Church News-Press]
This Day in Arlington History — On this day in Arlington history, 1937, it was reported that the County Board was debating whether movie theaters should be allowed to open on Sundays. Also, it was reported that a majority of the $176 million the IRS collected in Virginia in 1936 came from taxes on tobacco. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy James Mahony
Local History Being Digitized at Library — The Center for Local History, the new name for the Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library, is making a push to digitize historic photos and documents submitted by residents. The library’s own collection of historic documents is also being digitized. [Washington Post]
Arlington Dems Decamp for Competitive Races — Arlington Democrats, secure in the near-certainty that local races will go their way, are planning to help out in other, more competitive races around Northern Virginia. Among the help being offered by local Democrats is on-the-ground support and phone banking. [Sun Gazette]
Tour de France Viewing for a Good Cause — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) will host a viewing party for the critical Stage 15 of the Tour de France on Sunday. The cyclists’ mountainous climb will be projected on the big screen starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the event is free, but attendees are encouraged to donate to Companions for Heroes, which provides companion dogs that were rescued from shelters to military veterans. [Rouleurville]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
It’s been open since this spring, but today county and federal officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the South Joyce Street Shared-Use Sidewalk Project,
The $1.8 million Federal Highway Administration project built new, wider sidewalks on the 1/5 mile stretch between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike. The 10-foot-wide sidewalks can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. The sidewalks “improve safety and access at one of the few places in Arlington where bicycles and pedestrians can cross I-395,” according to a county fact sheet.
“As a result of the FHWA project, which was funded with a Congressional allocation… the once highway-style passage has been transformed into an easy-to-navigate bicycle and pedestrian route that connects the east end of Columbia Pike, the Pentagon reservation and Pentagon City,” the county wrote. “Arlington supported the the project, which aligns with the goals of Arlington County’s ‘Complete Streets’ program, with design guidance and funding for some additional elements.”
County Board Chairman Walter Tejada lauded the project, saying that it’s especially useful for those who commute via bicycle from Columbia Pike. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) joked that the new sidewalk “is not the kind of project you’d see on a postcard,” but said it’s important nonetheless.
“This is basic infrastructure,” he said. “If you don’t invest in it, if you don’t do the right thing, you negatively impact a lot of other infrastructure.”
In addition to wider sidewalks, pedestrian-scale lighting was added to the street and automatic bicycle/pedestrian counters were installed. Meanwhile, highway-style guard rails were removed and fire department standpipes were relocated out of the pedestrian route.
A race marshal for Sunday’s Crystal Cup bike race was hurt when one of the competitors slammed into her, knocking her to the ground.
The moments before and the immediate aftermath of the crash, which happened near the VRE station on Crystal Drive, were caught on video (above).
The collision sent the cyclist tumbling into the path of a race vehicle, the driver of which managed to stop in time and render aid. Arlington County sheriff’s deputies and police motorcycle officers also responded to the crash.
About 30 seconds after the initial crash, a group of racing cyclists approach the scene. Unable to get out of the way in time, one ran over the race official, who was still on the ground, and himself fell hard to the pavement.
The race marshal was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. She was one of four race participants who required transport to the hospital on Sunday.
The cyclist who ran over the official, identified by the website Bike Hugger as Timothy Rugg, wrote in a blog post that he didn’t suffer any injuries aside from “tons of road rash and a deep gash in my elbow.” He complained that the course for the Crystal Cup race and Saturday’s Clarendon Cup race, both part of the Air Force Association Cycling Classic, contained too many “obstacles and potholes.”
Aldo Imo Ilesic of Slovenia was the first place male finisher in the Clarendon Cup, according to CyclingNews.com. American Amanda Miller topped the field among elite women.
Argeninian Juan Jose Haedo placed first among elite men in the Crystal Cup, VeloNews.com reported. Lauren Stephens captured first place in the elite female race.
Photo (bottom) courtesy eschweik
Cyclists will fill the streets of Arlington this weekend for the annual Air Force Association Cycling Classic.
Activities begin at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, with various amateur races. The big event, however, is the Clarendon Cup which begins around noon. It is part of USA Cycling’s National Criterium Calendar and has been the Washington DC region’s premier Pro/Am race since 1998. According to the event website, the 100km Clarendon Cup (100 laps on a 1km course) is known as one of the most difficult criterium races in the U.S. due to technical demands of the course and the quality of the participants.
Cyclists of all abilities are welcome to participate in the Challenge Ride on Sunday, June 9, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Sunday’s featured event is the Crystal Cup men’s pro race.
Closures for the events are as follows:
Saturday, June 8, from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
- Wilson Blvd from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd
- Clarendon Blvd from Washington Blvd to N. Fillmore Street
- Washington Blvd from Wilson Blvd to N. Highland Street
- Highland Street from Wilson Boulevard to Washington Blvd
- Garfield Street and Fillmore Street from Wilson Blvd to Washington Blvd
Street parking in the affected areas also will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed.
Sunday, June 9, from 5:00 a.m. to noon:
- Crystal Drive between 23rd Street and 15th Street
- 20th Street between Crystal Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway. Single lane provided westbound from S. Bell Street to Jefferson Davis Highway
- Clark Street between 20th Street and 23rd Street. Vehicles will be able to enter/exit from the northern most garage entrance/exit when deemed safe.
- Westbound lanes of 23rd Street between Crystal Drive and S. Clark Street will be closed and eastbound lanes will be converted to westbound traffic. All traffic from Route 1 bound for the Crystal Drive parking garage will be diverted to S. Clark Street• 18th Street between Crystal Drive and S. Bell Street –- Only local traffic destined for garage parking permitted east of S. Bell Street
- Westbound lanes of 15th Street between Crystal Drive and S. Eads Street
- Eastbound lanes of 15th Street between Crystal Drive and the southbound entry ramp for Route 1/Jefferson Davis Highway – east bound lanes between S. Eads and the south bound entry ramp will remain open.
- Southbound Route 110 between Rosslyn and Route 1/Jefferson Davis Highway
- Southbound Route 1/Jefferson Davis Highway between Route 110 and 15th Street
- Washington Blvd eastbound at I-395
- Washington Blvd westbound from Memorial Bridge
- Columbia Pike from S. Washington Blvd to S. Oak St.
- S. Joyce Street from S. Washington Blvd to Columbia Pike
- Boundary Channel Drive from Connector Road to S. Washington Blvd
- South Gate Road no access to Columbia Pike
Sunday, June 9, from noon to 4:00 p.m:
- Crystal Drive between 23rd Street and 15th Street
- Eastbound lanes of 15th Street between Crystal Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway
- 20th Street between Crystal Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway. Single lane provided westbound from S. Bell Street to Jefferson Davis Highway
- Clark Street between 15th Street and 18th Street
- Clark Street between 20th Street and 23rd Street. A single lane will be provided at the exit to the parking garage for Plaza Apartments to allow vehicles to exit upon ACPD direction
- Westbound lanes of 23rd Street between Crystal Drive and S. Clark Street. Eastbound lanes will be converted to westbound traffic. All traffic bound for the Crystal Drive parking garage will be diverted to S. Clark Street
- 18th Street between Crystal Drive and S. Bell Street –- Only local traffic destined for garage parking permitted east of S. Bell Street
Disclosure: Air Force Association Cycling Classic is an ARLnow.com advertiser
‘Virginia Room’ Reopens With New Name — The former Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) has reopened following renovations. Meanwhile, the room has been renamed the “Center for Local History.” [Arlington Public Library]
Phoenix Bikes Plans Move — The nonprofit Phoenix bike shop has been raising money for a planned move. The new location will be larger than the current classroom-sized shop. Like the current shop, it will be located on public property — at S. Walter Reed Drive and Four Mile Run Drive, next to the W&OD Trail. [Arlington Mercury]
Haute Fabrics Now Open Near Ballston — Marshall, Va.-based fabric shop Haute Fabrics has opened a second location, near Ballston. The new location is located at 730 N. Glebe Road and offers two floors worth of fabrics. [My Notting Hill]
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
Rosslyn to Lose ‘Tallest Building’ Crown — Rosslyn may eventually lose its distinction as the home of the tallest building in the D.C. region. The under-construction 1812 N. Moore Street office building in Rosslyn will soon claim the ‘tallest building’ crown, but a planned tower in Alexandria and a proposed skyscraper in Tysons will be taller. [Greater Greater Washington]
Bicycle ‘Hibernation’ is Over — The number of bicyclists on local trails is spiking as the weather becomes warmer. Bike Arlington says of the seasonal ridership spike: “Winter hibernation for Arlingtonian riders is over.” [Bike Arlington]
Books for ‘Mummy’ — Just in time for Mother’s Day, Arlington Public Library is out with some suggested reading and viewing on the topic of “mummies.” [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
Not to be confused with Walk and Bike to School Day in October, which has a similar name and a similar mission, Bike and Walk to School Day “encourages students to bike or walk to school while teaching them about the health and environmental benefits of biking and walking.”
“Bike and Walk to School Day also helps to raise community awareness about the importance of bicycle and pedestrian safety education, safe routes to schools, well-maintained walkways, and traffic calming in our neighborhoods and around our schools,” says Bike Arlington, on its website.
The event, held in conjunction with National Bike and Walk to School Day, is a partnership between Arlington Public Schools, Bike Arlington and Walk Arlington.
“APS encourages all families and staff to participate in this event,” said a school system press release. “This energizing event reminds parents and students alike of the simple joy of biking and walking to school while focusing attention on the importance of physical activity, air quality, safety, and bike-able, walkable communities.”
The event will be held in the morning. Students and parents will be greeted at their elementary, middle and high schools by county and school officials and staff. At the schools, giveaways will conducted and “healthy refreshments” will be distributed, according to Bike Arlington.
Update at 3:50 p.m. — “Based on weather forecasts, some schools have opted to postpone their celebrations until Friday, May 10,” according to APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
The county’s BikeArlington program posted the following photo of one of the shelters on Facebook.
“The temporary rack assembly shown here will be replaced this week with 12 permanent racks,” BikeArlington said. “The two bike shelters are designed to accommodate 12 racks each, which together will provide cover for up to 48 bikes.”
“The Clarendon shelters are identical to Arlington’s two existing bike shelters. The first was located at the Shirlington bus station. The second recently opened at the Pentagon City metro station. An air pump and repair stand with basic tools will also be installed at all three bike shelter locations sometime this summer.”
The new bike shelters are part of the larger Clarendon Metro Plaza project, which has resulted in new paving, seating, lighting, landscaping and newspaper racks outside the Metro station. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up this spring and summer.
Photo via Facebook
Bomb Squad to Receive Protective Vest Donation – The Arlington County Fire Department’s bomb squad will receive a donation of two tactical protective vests next Tuesday. The vests will protect bomb squad personnel in explosive-related situations. Worth nearly $20,000, the vests are being donated by Firehouse Subs.
Lander Defends His Record — School Board member James Lander, who’s running for re-election and facing a challenge for the Democratic endorsement, is defending his record when it comes to school redistricting, student transportation and his support of Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. Lander says he “will continue to press for ways to improve student achievement and address the needs of a growing school population without breaking the bank.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Garners Third AAA Rating — Ratings agency Fitch has reaffirmed its AAA rating for Arlington’s debt. All three bond rating agencies have now given Arlington their top ratings for the year. [Arlington County]
‘Two Wheel Tuesday’ Event Tonight — The county’s BikeArlington program is holding its fourth “Two Wheel Tuesday” educational event of the year. Tonight’s event is “Savvy Cycling Tips,” which lets interested riders “learn the best tips on safe biking so you can ride in traffic comfortably.” The event will be held from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Westover Library (1644 North McKinley Road). [BikeArlington]
Photo by Wolfkann