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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Last Chance to Comment on Bikeshare Plan — Today is the last day to comment on Arlington’s Capital Bikeshare Expansion Plan. Comments on the six year strategic growth plan can be submitted online through the end of the day today. [Arlington Transportation Partners]
Republicans Pounce on Garvey’s Streetcar Abstention — Hoping to capture a seat on the County Board this November, Republicans are planning on hammering away at the current all-Democrat Board for approving the Columbia Pike streetcar. The GOP is also planning to pounce on their Democratic opponent, Libby Garvey, for abstaining from the streetcar vote while expressing skepticism about the plan. Republican Matt Wavro will face Garvey and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement on the Nov. 6 ballot. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Officials Puzzled by Estate Gift — Arlington officials can’t fathom why a late resident left the county five percent of his estate in his will. The County Board had to vote to refund some of the money after whoever is in charge of executing the will made an error and sent the county $51,000 more than it was actually owed. [Patch]
Paisano’s Named Best Pizza by WTOP — Paisano’s has been named the best pizza in the D.C. area by WTOP listeners and website visitors. The local chain has a location near Crystal City at 3650 South Glebe Road. Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, which has a location in Clarendon, placed #4 in the voting. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
New Bikeshare Stations Coming to Pike, Trails — A new “Transit Development Plan” for Capital Bikeshare calls for new stations to be installed along Columbia Pike, in Shirlington, at the Pentagon, at Arlington National Cemetery and along the W&OD and Four Mile Run trails. Installation of most of the planned stations is expected to take place in 2013. [The Wash Cycle]
Southwest Comes to DCA — Southwest Airlines will begin operating its first scheduled service from Reagan National Airport on Sunday (July 8). The airline will be flying between DCA and Austin, Texas. [Sun Gazette]
Media Inquiries Prompt Storm Clean-up Work — In at least two instances, calls from media outlets apparently prompted Dominion and Arlington County to send crews to areas of Arlington where trees and wires had been down for days and residents were growing restless. [Washington Post, WJLA]
Resident Uses Girl Scout Skills to Brave Outages — Arlington resident Mary Bielefield says living in a home without power is sort of like camping. The former Girl Scout has been relying on matches, bags of ice, flashlights and a battery-powered radio. [WUSA 9]
A developer, Open Plans, is working with Arlington and Washington, D.C. to devise the free bike map web and smartphone app. When finished, it will provide point-to-point directions like other trip planning apps do, but will be specifically catered to bike routes instead of motor vehicle routes. The map will also include locations of Capital Bikeshare stations, along with real time availability of bikes at each station.
Right now, developers have a preliminary version running, but it’s not yet available to the public. On Thursday, June 21, representatives from all the involved groups will gather for a work session to further tweak the app. They’re trying to ensure the map shows all bike restrictions and hazards, to help users plan safe, legal trips.
One main goal for the work session is to fill in some of the bike-centric missing links. For example, developers want to add any special cut-throughs or one-way streets that bikers should know about.
“When you have a map that’s already designed, it often doesn’t capture all the little intricacies of getting around by bike,” said Chris Eatough of BikeArlington. “So to know those intricacies, it’s good to contact people who bike a lot.”
Once the app goes public, there will be a section for users to add their own suggestions for corrections or additions to the map.
BikeArlington has been instrumental in providing input for the bike route mapping project, due in large part to all the information it has gathered over the years for its paper maps. Eatough believes the new app will provide a convenient supplement to the paper maps, which are sent out twice per year. He noted that despite the convenience of being able to pull up the app while actually out biking, riders need to remember basic safety.
“Obviously, checking the app will be recommended when not actually rolling on a bike,” Eatough said. “To check a route, do pull over and then check.”
Another item that should be cleared up at the work session is what the final name for the site will be. There’s been talk about whether it should be cibi.me, like the version Open Plans developed for New York, or if this area should get its own name.
If all goes well at Thursday’s work session, developers believe the app could be operational as early as next week.
The station will have 19 docks, and will be set up on N. Stuart Street at 9th Street, in front of Welburn Square. The station is scheduled to be installed from noon to 2:00 p.m. next Monday, with a ribbon cutting event to follow.
“Ballston already has a number of transit options, and this is a great addition to that,” said Ballston BID Executive Director Tina Leone. “We see this as a great asset for Ballston, and for Arlington.”
CaBi stations have been popping up quickly throughout Arlington, particularly along the Orange and Blue Line corridors. The most recent additions came yesterday, when stations were installed along Key Blvd at N. Veitch Street in Courthouse, and N. Quinn Street in Rosslyn.
Earlier this year, Arlington announced plans to create a six-year plan for the growth and utilization of Capital Bikeshare in the county. Now, the public is being asked to weigh in and give suggestions on the plan.
An online forum has been set up for gathering feedback about the plan, which will cover fiscal years 2013-2018. Four scenarios were created and posted on the BikeArlington website as a general guide for expansion. Users are asked to comment about the favorable and unfavorable aspects of each scenario. Designers expect that none of the existing scenarios will be strictly adopted, but rather that elements of each will contribute to the final proposal.
One of the goals of the plan is to project costs and adjust budgets accordingly. All transit agencies in Virginia are required to complete a transit development plan every six years.
Comments can be posted at the online forum until April 13. There will also be a public meeting to address expansion on March 29, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus (3351 N. Fairfax Dr). The public is encouraged to attend and provide input.
Check your pile of mail for last week’s edition of The Citizen, which contained a BikeArlington pamphlet. It offers a plethora of information, including a large map highlighting local biking routes, tips for safe cycling and information about Capital Bikeshare.
Attached to the front is a coupon for a free helmet and reflective clip-on light. There’s also a coupon for one free 24-hour membership to Capital Bikeshare. The Bikeshare membership can be redeemed online using the individual code on each coupon. The bike helmet coupon can be redeemed at any Commuter Store around Arlington, while supplies last.
Right now, there are 550 helmets and 1,100 lights available. If there is a high demand, the county says it plans to purchase additional helmets.
DUI Checkpoint on Columbia Pike — As promised, Arlington County Police (and the Sheriff’s Office) conducted a DUI checkpoint on Friday night. The checkpoint was set up near the intersection of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive. Some 400 vehicles passed through and one DUI arrest was made, according to police.
Arlington’s Bikeshare Strategy — Arlington is currently in the process of creating a six-year strategic plan for the continued growth and utilization of Capital Bikeshare in the county. The plan is expected to be presented to the public in June. An initial draft of the plan includes some data from 2011: the county’s cost per Bikeshare trip ($8.18), average Bikeshare trips per day in Arlington (166 — though Bikeshare didn’t expand into North Arlington until April), and percentage of female Bikeshare members (42 percent). [TBD]
Urban Agriculture in Arlington — County officials plan to establish and appoint members to a new “Arlington Urban Agriculture Task Force” next month. Among other assignments, the task force is expected to focus on a proposal to allow residents to keep egg-laying hens in their backyards. Hen advocates from the Arlington Egg Project recently gave a presentation to the Arlington County Republican Committee and were reportedly well-received by supporters of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White