‘Blog Comment Sections’ Hurting Arlington Way? — The “Arlington Way,” Arlington’s unique system of civic engagement and participation, needs to be revamped, suggests a contributor to the county’s Mobility Lab blog. The Arlington Way is “falling short,” resulting in “the drumbeat of criticism and opposition to all manner of needed investments,” writes urban planner Lisa Nisenson. She argues that the downfall of the Arlington Way is fueled by, among other factors, “the rise of unfiltered blogs” and “blog comment sections.” [Mobility Lab]
Route 50 Bike Path Now Open — A new bike path along Route 50, between Pershing Drive and Queen Street, is now open. However, riders should be cautious since “the path currently has a fair amount of debris on it.” [Ode Street Tribune]
Arlington Hosts Capital Bikeshare ‘Fiestas’ – In August, Arlington County launched a series of five special events dubbed the Capital Bikeshare Fiesta. The events allowed Capital Bikeshare representatives to reach out to Spanish speakers in Arlington with information and promotional giveaways. [Car-Free Diet Blog]
Photo courtesy Danielle Newcombe Horvath
Two new Capital Bikeshare stations became available for public use yesterday in Arlington, and a new bicycle path shouldn’t be too far behind.
Capital Bikeshare announced on Twitter yesterday that it had installed a 15-dock station at Lee Highway and N. Cleveland Street in Lyon Village and an 11-dock station at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive at the edge of the Buckingham neighborhood. The two stations are the fourth and the fifth to have opened in Arlington this year, according to Paul DeMaio, Arlington’s program manager for Capital Bikeshare.
“This makes 72 stations in Arlington and 323 in the region,” DeMaio told ARLnow.com in an email. “Thirteen stations are in planning with another 17 stations recently funded with the start of fiscal year 2015 this past July.”
DeMaio said Capital Bikeshare is on track to have 133 stations around Arlington by 2020.
In other bicycle-related news, the shared-use path being constructed by the Virginia Department of Transportation as part of the Route 50/N. Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project is projected to open next month, according to David Goodman, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian programs manager.
The trail will run along the highway’s eastbound side from the intersection with N. Pershing Drive, at the Fort Myer gate, to the N. Rolfe Street offramp.
On the other side of Route 50, the shared use path has been realigned and extended under the 10th Street bridge. These paths are expected to open when the construction on the project is complete, projected to be the end of August.
Photos via @bikeshare
Lingering Campaign Signs Annoy Arlington Dems — Uncollected campaign signs from the June 10 Democratic congressional primary are irking local Democratic leadership. Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Kip Malinosky says the party has contacted certain candidates multiple times to let them know their signs were still cluttering up local medians. By Arlington ordinance, signs can only be removed by those who put them up. [InsideNova]
Blue Line Crunch Coming — When the Silver Line opens next month, the average headway for rush hour Blue Line trains will increase from 8.5 minutes to 12 minutes. Metro says Blue Line riders can consider taking buses instead of trains to, in some cases, speed up their trip. [PlanItMetro]
Sietsema Reviews Mazagan — Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema has reviewed Mazagan, the new Moroccan eatery and hookah bar on Columbia Pike, next to the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. Sietsema gave the restaurant 1.5 stars, saying the music was too loud and the dishes hit-or-miss. [Washington Post]
New Iwo Jima Bikeshare Station — A new Capital Bikeshare station near the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima memorial, has been enjoying heavy use. The station can hold nineteen bikes but only three were parked there Wednesday morning. [Ode Street Tribune]
Board Members Spar Over Streetcar PR Funds — Of the $7-8 million contract with Parsons Transportation Group to serve as project manager of Arlington’s streetcar system, up to $650,000 will be spent on “public-education efforts during the first year of the contract.” That isn’t sitting well with Board member and streetcar critic Libby Garvey. “We should not be wasting $650,000 on PR,” she is quoted as saying. [InsideNova]
DJ Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Women — DJ Joey Flash, who counts A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston among his former clients, has pleaded guilty to charges of rape and sexual battery. The nightlife fixture, whose real name is Joseph Rivera, admitted to bringing highly intoxicated women back from bars, having sex with them while they were unconscious, and filming the encounters. [Washington Post]
Capital Bikeshare Runs Out of Membership Keys — Anyone wanting to sign up for Capital Bikeshare will have to wait until the second week of July. CaBi says it has run out of membership keys “due to issues with our supplier, and heavier than anticipated member sign ups.” [DCist]
Animal Hospital Coming to Shirlington — Two veterinarians will be opening a new facility, Shirlington Animal Hospital, this fall at 2770 S. Arlington Mill Drive. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Sinclair Hoping to Close on WJLA Sale Soon — Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is buying Rosslyn-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7), is hoping to close on the sale by July 27. The company is selling TV stations in Harrisburg, Pa. and Charleson, S.C. to facilitate FCC approval of the acquisition of WJLA and six other Allbritton Communications stations. [Arkansas Business]
Flickr pool photo by David Bender
Bikeshare Supplier Files for Bankruptcy — Bixi, the Canadian company that makes the bikes and equipment utilized by the Capital Bikeshare system, has filed for bankruptcy. Alta Bicycle Share, which runs the Capital Bikeshare system says it’s focused on making sure the system continues to operate “without interruption.” [Washington Business Journal, Capital Bikeshare]
Hope to Enter Congressional Race — Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) is planning to run for the retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s congressional seat. He’s expected to make the announcement today. [Washington Post]
Rader Clinic Recovering from Flood Damage — The Rader Clinic at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is back up and running after a “water accident” that caused flood damage yesterday. [Facebook]
Arlington Energy Plan Wins Award — Arlington County’s Community Energy Plan has been recognized by the American Planning Association with a “2014 National Planning Achievement Award in Environmental Planning.” [Arlington County]
ARLnow Reaches 20K Twitter Followers — In the midst of snow coverage this week, ARLnow.com reached its 20,000th Twitter follower. The follower count now stands at 20,085. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Exhibit Looks at Civil War Soldier — The Arlington Historical Society has a new exhibit highlighting the life of “everyman” soldier that was stationed in Arlington during the Civil War. About 10,000 soldiers were stationed in Arlington at any one time, compared to the population of Arlington at the time: 1,400. [Sun Gazette]
Streetcar Supporters Throw Party — About 100 people turned out at the Party for the Pike, an inaugural event organized by the pro-streetcar group Arlington Streetcar Now. The chairman of the group says he’s seeing growing support for the streetcar, especially among younger residents. [Patch]
Arlington Capital Bikeshare Video — Arlington County has produced a video highlighting the expansion of the Capital Bikeshare system in the county and encouraging more residents to use it. Arlington even offers classes for residents who need to learn how to ride a bike. [YouTube]
The two stations, at Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive and at N. George Mason Drive and Pershing Drive, are part of a 33-station expansion of the Capital Bikeshare program Arlington County plans for 2013.
According to Capital Bikeshare’s website, new stations have opened at S. George Mason Drive and Four Mile Run, S. George Mason Drive and 13th Street S., Columbia Pike and S. Orme Street, S. Stafford Street and 34th Street S. and N. Pershing Drive and Wayne Street in just the last 30 days.
As of four days ago, BikeArlington’s map pegs the number of open Bikeshare stations in Arlington at 60, with 19 still in the planning or construction phases.
The Bikeshare station on Columbia Pike will be adjacent to the Rite Aid pharmacy, near the $1 million Super Stop bus stop, and will have 12 docks for bicycles. The station on N. George Mason Drive will be on the property of the Arlington Oaks condominiums — the Board is also voting to acquire a public easement from the Arlington Oaks property owner — and will have 13 docks for bikes.
The item is expected to be passed on the Board’s consent agenda on Saturday.
New Bikeshare Stations in Shirlington – Two new Capital Bikeshare stations have been installed in the Shirlington area. The stations are located at Four Mile Run Drive and S. Shirlington Road, and at S. Arlington Mill Drive and Four Mile Run Drive. [Facebook]
Notable Trees Recognized – The Arlington County Board recognized 19 “notable trees” around the county on Tuesday. The honor is “an initiative of the Arlington Beautification Committee that recognizes residents who maintain and preserve outstanding trees.” There are now 265 trees registered in Arlington as part of the Notable Tree program, which began in 1987. “I am proud to live in a community that places such value on its trees,” said County Board Chair Walter Tejada. [Arlington County]
Lee Arts Center Lauded – The Lee Arts Center, at 5722 Lee Highway, is “one of Arlington County’s best kept secrets,” according to local arts writer James George. The county-run facility hosts a gallery and studios for ceramics and printmaking. [Examiner.com]
Fatshorty’s Now Open for Lunch – Fatshorty’s, the new beer and sausage restaurant in Clarendon, is now open for lunch, according to owner Aaron Gordon. The restaurant will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Monday, and 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Flickr pool photo by m01229
Next Thursday (March 28) will be a big deal for those looking for different ways to get around South Arlington. A ribbon cutting is planned for the first Capital Bikeshare station along the Columbia Pike corridor.
Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada is scheduled cut the ceremonial ribbon at the event and help to launch the 2013 expansion wave, which includes 33 new stations around Columbia Pike and Shirlington. Last year’s expansion focused on the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. The full list of planned stations is available online.
The station also marks another milestone — it’s the 200th in the Capital Bikeshare system.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 9:00 a.m. on March 28, at the Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th Street South).
A Safeway representative attended the Cherrydale Civic Association (CCA) meeting earlier this month to discuss the remodeling plan with residents. According to information presented at the meeting, the building footprint would remain the same and the remodeling would occur within the store.
“We’ve asked them for a better deli, fresh produce, a bakery. A lot of food was too close to expiration,” said CCA President Maureen Ross. “It’s just in need of renovations.”
Ross noted that Safeway has thus far been receptive to the idea of adding a Capital Bikeshare station on the grounds.
”We’re very excited and we’re praising them,” Ross said. “We’ve also asked them to see if they’d be willing to adopt the street trees because Arlington County has not been able to maintain the trees and they look terrible.”
There’s the possibility that the final plan will involve changes to the store facade and landscaping, but that will not be determined until Safeway gives final approval and the design is revealed. Final approval is also necessary in order to name an official start date for the makeover, although the CAA hopes it can begin in March. We’re told the renovation should take around 90 days to complete.
Bill Would Ban Cell Phone Use While Driving in School Zones — Sen. Janet Howell (D) has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving in a school zone or school crossing zone. Violations will be considered a traffic infraction and will be punishable by a fine of up to $250. [Richmond Sunlight]
Brink Supports Two-Term Va. Governor — Del. Bob Brink (D) of Arlington is one of several General Assembly lawmakers to introduce or patron a constitutional amendment that would allow the governor of Virginia to serve a second term. If passed, the amendment will take effect for the governor elected in 2017. [Richmond Sunlight]
USS Arlington Crew Members Get Decal Vote — Crew members of the USS Arlington, set to be commissioned soon, will get a vote on the new Arlington County parking decal. This year, the contest challenged entrants to design a decal incorporating the USS Arlington. Voting is open through Jan. 21. [Sun Gazette]
Civic Federation Supports LEAP — The Arlington County Civic Federation has approved a resolution to promote the non-profit Local Energy Alliance Program, or LEAP, which offers free home energy efficiency assessments to homeowners, along with cash rebates for energy efficiency measures. [Arlington Mercury]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The Washington Post reported yesterday (Monday) that D.C.’s planned 54-station expansion this fall is being pushed back due to delays in getting equipment for the new stations.
“The delay raises new questions about whether Alta Bicycle Share,” the company that designs, deploys and manages the Capital Bikeshare system, “can keep pace with the growing demand from U.S. cities trying to invest in bike-share programs,” the Post reported.
Paul DeMaio, a Capital Bikeshare program manager, says Arlington’s expansion plans shouldn’t be impacted.
“Arlington’s expansion plan is for spring 2013, so the equipment delay will not be affecting us,” he told ARLnow.com.
DeMaio said the new stations will be focused in south Arlington, along the Route 50 and Columbia Pike corridors, and in the Shirlington and Fairlington areas. The station locations were chosen following a public process, he said.
“We’ve been busy this summer and fall in meeting with 13 civic associations to discuss proposed Capital Bikeshare stations within their respective neighborhoods,” said DeMaio. “During the winter we’ll be creating station plans for each location and working with the property owners, where necessary, for their approval of the sites.”
A list of the 30 or so planned 2013 Capital Bikeshare expansion locations is available via Google Maps.
Thanksgiving Closures — Most county offices and facilities will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Arlington courts, meanwhile, close at noon today. Community centers will be closed, except for Barcroft and Walter Reed, which will both be open on Friday. ART and Metro will run on a holiday schedule. Trash collection will operate as normal. [Arlington County]
Streets to Close for Turkey Trot 5K — The Lyon Park neighborhood will host its 7th annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving (Thursday) morning. The race, which has sold out, will result in several street closures in the area. [ACPD]
Library Technical Difficulties Update — Arlington Public Library is still struggling to recover from a system crash on Friday. “The catalog/accounts system and research databases will remain unavailable through Wednesday morning at the earliest,” the library said on its web site last night. All items due between Nov. 10 and Nov. 26 are now due Dec. 1. [Arlington Public Library]
County Plans for Bikeshare — Arlington has created a 6-year “Transit Development Plan” for Capital Bikeshare, the first such plan for a bikesharing system in the United States. The county will now submit the plan to Virginia with the hopes that Capital Bikeshare will be eligible for state transit funding. [Mobility Lab]
Pike Taekwondo Studio Celebrates Anniversary — U.S. Taekwondo College, the martial arts studio in the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse building at 932 S. Walter Reed Drive, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Grandmaster Myung Hak Kang, an immigrant from Seoul, South Korea, established the business in 1972. “I didn’t know how popular Taekwondo would be in a foreign country,” he said in an email. “I wanted to share a passion of mine and hoped the fitness and discipline aspect would catch on.”
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
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).
The two page list shows proposed station locations, broken down by area. Among the areas that might get new Bikeshare stations are Shirlington, Arlington Cemetery and numerous neighborhoods along Columbia Pike.
Each of the 40 entries is accompanied by an aerial and a ground level photo of the location. Public comments about the proposed stations are being accepted via the online map, or by emailing email@example.com.
BikeArlington’s Chris Eatough stresses that the locations listed are still preliminary, but the public feedback will help to devise the final list, which should be released sometime in the fall.
Although some residents have offered suggestions for stations in outlying areas, organizers say that doesn’t work with how the system is set up. The overall plan involves adding more docking stations in areas that already have Bikeshare, then gradually expanding outward. Because users need to dock bikes frequently, new stations wouldn’t be useful if they’re positioned far from existing stations.
“If you don’t have alternatives close by, people can get stranded, basically,” Eatough said. “We have to connect to the existing network.”
Eatough says devising the list is just part of the extensive transportation planning process that’s been ongoing since early this year. While continuously collecting public comments, there have also been numerous meetings and work sessions to come up with a longer term comprehensive plan for Bikeshare in Arlington.
“We do feel like we’ve done our due diligence and outreach, and continue to do it,” said Eatough. “For a bike sharing program, this is pretty groundbreaking stuff. Nobody has a long range plan for bike sharing in the country right now.”
The program has only been around for about two years, but much effort is spent on helping the public to consider it a legitimate mode of public transportation. In becoming more recognized and validated, the hope is to bring in additional funding sources.
Even though expansion of the program has been explosive and the stations are well used, the newness of Capital Bikeshare means there’s still some confusion about how it works. For example, Eatough says some people initially think it might be a good idea to rent a bike for a few hours to get some exercise or see the sights. However, the program is actually intended to be a point-to-point option for short trips and commuting. Regular users quickly learn that keeping trips to 30 minutes or less is the most cost-effective way to do bike sharing, based on the current pricing system.
“If you want exercise or to go on the trails, those kind of longer trips are really not the purpose of Capital Bikeshare. Users can make a series of trips all day long and if each one is 30 minutes or less, then you’ve got several useful trips and that’s of no additional cost. That’s why we put docking stations all over the place,” Eatough said. “It’s kind of a new way of getting around, so there is a learning curve for people.”
The long term plan for Capital Bikeshare is just one of the several biking improvements getting praise in Arlington. Eatough also pointed out the county’s recent widening of certain bike lanes and painting portions of bike lanes green.
“They’re all just a sign that our streets are evolving little bit. Whether you’re driving or biking or walking, everyone has interactions and has their role to play in these interactions,” Eatough said. “We have to help each other. It’s really about people rather than mode.”
Right now, it’s unclear when the dozens of new Bikeshare docking stations will be installed. Once the list of proposed stations is finalized, there’s a permitting process, and the County Board has to give approval. After that, the stations can typically be installed at a rate of three per day, and only take about two hours to get up and running.