Norovirus Outbreak at Nottingham Elementary — Dozens of students at Nottingham Elementary School have been sickened in what is believed to be an outbreak of norovirus. The contagious stomach illness causes serious nausea and vomiting. So far, Arlington Public Schools officials have not responded to a request for more information from ARLnow.com. [WJLA]
County Board Not Interested in Meals Tax Changes — In response to a speaker at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting who was critical of the county’s 4 percent meals tax, County Board members said they’re not inclined to make any changes to the tax. The meals tax is levied on restaurant bills and on the purchase of prepared meals from grocery stores, on top of the state’s 5 percent sales tax. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Org Targeted By IRS — The Clarendon-based Leadership Institute, a conservative training organization, says it was among the conservative groups targeted for audits and extra scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service. [Washington Free Beacon]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Bike to Work Day Tomorrow — More than 12,000 bicyclists around the Washington region are expected to participate in Bike to Work Day tomorrow (Friday). Arlington will host four Bike to Work Day pit stops – in Rosslyn (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Ballston (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Crystal City (7:00 to 9:00 a.m.) and East Falls Church (4:00 to 7:00 p.m.). The annual event is free but attendees are encouraged to register.
Rosslyn Metro Project 85 Percent Complete – The new Rosslyn Metro entrance is over 85 percent complete, Arlington County announced this morning. The $32.6 million project will add a new entrance to the Rosslyn Metro station, featuring three high-speed elevators and an emergency staircase, but no escalators. With the elevator shaft and the emergency stairwell complete, the next step is installing the high-speed elevators.
Tiny Apartments: Solution to Rising Rents? — The average monthly rent for an apartment in Arlington was $1,999 in 2012, a 13 percent jump from one year prior. A recent forum sponsored by the Arlington-based Alliance for Housing Solutions suggested that one solution to rising rents could be smaller apartments. Specifically, the forum focused on sub-400 square foot apartments known as “micro-units.” [Sun Gazette]
Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour on Saturday — The 13th annual Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour will be held on Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m. The line-up this year includes seven new and renovated homes and two gardens. Tickets for the event, which raises money for the Tuckahoe Elementary Discovery Schoolyard, are $20-25. [Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour]
GU May Rent Rosslyn Apartments for Students — Georgetown University is considering renting units in the brand new Slate apartment building in Rosslyn in order to house graduate students. The Slate building, developed by JBG and located on the 1500 block of Clarendon Blvd, has 203 apartment units. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Registration Open for Bike to Work Day — Cyclists interested in participating in Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17, can register online. There are three official pit stops in Arlington — Freshbikes in Ballston (3924 Wilson Blvd), Gateway Park in Rosslyn (1300 Lee Hwy) and Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive). There will also be a stop in East Falls Church along the W&OD Trail near the intersection of Lee Hwy and N. Washington Street. Last year, a record 12,700 people in the D.C. area participated in the event.
Possibility of Another Record Low Year for Tax Delinquencies — If Arlington residents continue paying their taxes as expected, the county could experience another record low for its tax delinquency rate. Treasurer Frank O’Leary says the current delinquency rate is 0.397 percent, which is below the 0.47 percent for Fiscal Year 2012. FY 2012 had the lowest tax delinquency rate in recorded county history. [Sun Gazette]
Amnesty International 5K Run for Rights on Saturday — Amnesty International will be holding its first 5K Run for Rights at 8:00 a.m. this Saturday, March 30. The race begins at Bluemont Park. Online registration closes tonight (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m., but on-site registration will be offered on race day. More details are available on the event’s Facebook page.
Update at 11:05 a.m. — A record 12,700 people in the D.C. area biked to work today, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Hundreds of bicyclists — from the young to the old, bike novice to expert — gathered at Gateway Park in Rosslyn this morning for the D.C. area’s annual Bike to Work Day.
Rosslyn, along with Ballston and Crystal City, hosted “pit stops” for Bike to Work Day participants. Giveaways at the event included bananas, nutrition bars, coffee, water, t-shirts, water bottles and free bike maintenance.
Among those who spoke at the Rosslyn pit stop were Rep. Jim Moran and County Board member Jay Fisette, both of whom rode their bikes there.
“Welcome to one of the most bike-friendly communities in the country,” Fisette said.
Moran asked the gathered crowd to become advocates for new bike projects. The congressman expressed support for widening the Mt. Vernon Trail, which runs along the George Washington Parkway, and for extending the trail from Roosevelt Island up to Chain Bridge and the C&O Canal trail.
Both projects would happen “in a perfect world,” Moran said, but for now federal funding isn’t available for it. Shortly after his speech Moran and a staffer pedaled off to Capitol Hill, where he was expected for a 9:00 vote.
Bike to Work Day was created in 1956 to encourage commuters to try riding their bike to work as a healthy alternative to sitting in traffic. In metro D.C., participation has ballooned from a few hundred riders to 11,000 last year.
Arlington County is hosting three pit stops tomorrow: Rosslyn (Rosslyn Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway), Ballston (FreshBikes Bike Shop, 3924 Wilson Blvd) and Crystal City (Crystal City Water Park, 1750 Crystal Drive).
The Rosslyn and Ballston stops will open at 6:30 a.m. and will feature DJ entertainment and roving unicyclists. The Crystal City stop will open at 7:00 a.m. All three stops will remain open through 9:00 a.m. and will offer free food, beverages, prizes and giveaways.
A fourth pit stop will be held tomorrow afternoon from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. along the W&OD Trail at Washington Blvd & Lee Highway. The stop is sponsored by the new Tri360 bike shop in East Falls Church.
Tomorrow’s weather is predicted to be mostly sunny with a high of 76 degrees.
APS High Schools Ranked in Top One Percent – Arlington’s public high schools each ranked in the top one percent of the Washington Post’s national Challenge Index rankings. H-B Woodlawn ranked the highest at #46, and was #1 among Washington area high schools. Wakefield was at the bottom of the pack at #367 nationally and #50 locally. The Challenge Index measures the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge tests taken by all students at a high school in 2010. [Arlington Public Schools]
Lopez Attracts Local Political Support — House of Delegates 49th District candidate Alfonso Lopez has named County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman and County Sheriff Beth Arthur as co-chairs of his campaign. Lopez will face Stephanie Dix Clifford in the August 23 Democratic primary. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington is going all-out for National Bike to Work Day tomorrow.
From 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., the county will be playing host to three Bike to Work Day “pit stops” — each with music, speakers, bike giveaways, local exhibitors and free food and drinks:
- Gateway Park in Rosslyn (1300 Lee Highway)
- Conte’s Bike Shop in Ballston (3924 Wilson Blvd)
- Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive)
The first 8,500 people who register for the event will be able to pick up a free t-shirt.
The Crystal City pit stop will also serve breakfast and provide bicycle repairs and complementary showers. The Rosslyn pit stop will feature a performance by mountain bike stunt rider Mike Steidley and a Capital Bikeshare drop-off station. In addition, the Rosslyn pit stop is where the county will announce the winner of its Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge, which was the subject of a Washington Post feature earlier this week.
Disclosure: The Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
“Arlington is one of the most bike-friendly communities in the United States,” Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said to kick off this morning’s Bike to Work Day event in Rosslyn. And the county’s efforts seem to be paying off: Fisette said that this was the best-attended Bike to Work Day he has ever been a part of.
Hundreds of bicyclists stopped at Bike to Work Day “pit stops” in Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City before pedaling to work this morning. There was no denying that there were more bikes on the road than usual, as normally car-bound or transit-hopping commuters took advantage of the nice weather and the communal experience of riding into the city en masse.
In Rosslyn, vendors provided snacks, drinks, free tune-ups and assorted schwag (free BikeArlington bell, anyone?) as obligatory pump-up music blared on the speakers (“Bicycle Race” by Queen was only a slightly more obvious choice than the “Rocky” theme).
Two men, Todd and Ross, both gave up driving during the course of the one month competition. Ross went so far as selling his car, a move Todd says he plans to follow. In the end, however, Todd was named the winner.
“[Giving up my car] actually worked perfectly for me,” Todd said after delivering a short victory speech.
At a Bike to Work Day event at Gateway Park in Rosslyn, Fisette called the program “a great system to help us promote cycling and promote health in Arlington.”
Initially launching in Crystal City this fall, the Arlington-DC bike share system will feature 1,100 bikes that will be available for rent at docking stations located primarily around transit centers. Bike usage will cost $5 per day or $80 for a year. Fisette said the county hopes to eventually expand the system to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.
County officials say the program will be similar to successful bike sharing systems in Montreal and Paris. Like Montreal, the Arlington and DC will use bikes with enclosed chains and brake cables, built by Quebec-based BIXI.
The program will be funded by the county and by state and federal grants. Some of the operational funding will be provided by the program’s own revenue.
Local bicyclists are gearing up for two of the biggest bike-related events of the year. Friday is Bike to Work Day and Sunday is the annual Bike DC community ride.
Arlington will host three gathering points, or “pit stops,” for Bike to Work Day, which is an opportunity for regular bike commuters and curious car devotees to get together and ride into D.C. en masse. The pit stops include Rosslyn Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway), the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive) and Conte’s Bike Shop in Ballston (3924 Wilson Boulevard).
Participants are asked to register here.
There will be raffles, prizes, food and drink at each pit stop, from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. And just in case getting free stuff and riding into downtown in a ridiculously large two-wheeled convoy doesn’t sound fun on its own merits, County Board Chairman Jay Fisette has recorded a YouTube public service announcement to promote the event.
Also be sure to look for newly-minted Arlington bike celebrities Ross and Todd, who will be among the Bike to Work Day crowd in Rosslyn.
On Sunday, riders will have another opportunity to get together and pedal around town. The Bike DC community ride will take cyclists on a 19-mile route through Northwest Washington, across the Key Bridge, up and down the George Washington Parkway, and past various landmarks in Arlington.
The ride begins at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW in the District between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.
The finish line will be located at Crystal Drive and 22nd Street. Finish line festivities will take go on through 12:30 p.m.
For those who want a longer ride, Old Town Alexandria will also be sponsoring giveaways for Bike DC riders at the Snack Shak in the Torpedo Factory (5 Cameron Street) — 4.5 miles past Crystal City on the Mt. Vernon Trail — until 1:00 p.m.
Flickr photo by M.V. Jantzen.