76°Mostly Cloudy

by ARLnow.com — August 27, 2014 at 11:10 am 1,625 0

Tide LRT system (photo by Xshadow via Wikipedia)To try to reverse falling ridership, some are suggesting that the three-year-old Tide light rail line in Norfolk eliminate its $1.50 one-way fare.

Making the seven-mile Tide line free, say advocates, would help boost ridership and achieve the system’s true goal: encouraging more transit-oriented development around its 11 stops. The line simply isn’t long enough to attract ridership sufficient to offset its $8 million in annual operating costs, they say.

(As pointed out by the Sun Gazette, Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey has held up the Tide as an example of why the county shouldn’t build the Columbia Pike streetcar system.)

Economic models presented by Arlington County suggest that the Columbia Pike streetcar’s estimated $287 million cost will be offset in the long run by new development and increased real estate values. Given that development is such an important component of the Pike streetcar’s return on investment, should rides on it be free?
 

Photo by Xshadow via Wikipedia

by ARLnow.com — August 21, 2014 at 11:15 am 1,361 0

Terry McAuliffe campaigns at Washington-Lee High SchoolVirginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) will sign a bill into law in Arlington next Wednesday.

The bill addresses “the growing problem of notaries who practice law without a license” in immigrant communities. It does so by prohibiting notaries who are not attorneys or otherwise accredited from offering legal and immigration advice.

“In many Latin American countries ‘notario publicos’ (notary publics) provide legal advice, but U.S. notaries who are not also attorneys are not authorized to share this role,” explains a media advisory about the bill signing. “In Virginia, there have been cases of notaries fraudulently charging thousands of dollars for misleading advice.”

Two of the chief sponsors of the legislation, State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) are expected to join McAuliffe at the bill signing ceremony, to be held Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the new Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street).

by ARLnow.com — August 15, 2014 at 9:40 am 2,755 0

(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department responded to an apartment fire on Columbia Pike this morning.

The fire was reported around 9:30 a.m. in the rear mechanical room of an apartment building at 2008 Columbia Pike. Firefighters were able to quickly bring the fire under control and douse the flames.

No injuries were reported. It’s unclear if any residents will be displaced as a result of the fire.

by ARLnow.com — August 5, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,848 0

The Netherlands Carillon at dusk (Flickr pool photo by thekidfromcrumlin)

County Quietly Chooses Auditor — The Arlington County government hired an internal auditor to improve transparency in finances and operations. County officials say specifics about the hire will be released in September. [InsideNova]

CEB Deal Questioned – Last month, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) announced it would anchor The JBG Cos.’ planned Central Place office tower in Rosslyn. But the head of Boston Properties believes that’s not a win. He says Rosslyn’s vacancy rate will grow because of the huge space CEB will leave behind at 1919 N. Lynn Street. [Washington Business Journal]

Pike Lane Closures — VDOT will keep the right lane of eastbound Columbia Pike near S. Quinn Street closed, except from 6:00-9:00 a.m., through this Friday for construction. Additionally, VDOT is closing the entrance to S. Quinn Street from Columbia Pike for two days for the installation of a new Arlington County sanitary sewer manhole and pipe. Wednesday, August 6, and Thursday, August 7, no traffic can enter or exit S. Quinn Street from the Pike.

Second Copperwood Tavern to Open — Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington hasn’t even been open a year, but already its owner is looking to expand into Loudoun County. Reese Gardner has signed a lease for a 6,500 square foot space in Ashburn, which he says is closer to some of the farmers contributing to the restaurant’s farm-to-table menu. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by thekidfromcrumlin

by ARLnow.com — July 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm 3,185 0

Illustration of future land exchange between Arlington County and the U.S. Army

Arlington County has hired a lobbying firm to help facilitate a planned land swap between the county, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Department of Defense.

As outlined in a memorandum of understanding last year, the county is planning to hand over the right-of-way for Southgate Road, near the Air Force Memorial, to the DoD, which plans to use the land — along with the former Navy Annex grounds and part of the state’s current Columbia Pike right-of-way — for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery’s burial grounds.

As revealed in a recent public disclosure, the county has hired Alexandria-based lobbying firm Congressional Strategies LLC to help move the transaction along. The land swap has already passed the House of Representatives and is now included in the under-consideration U.S. Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, according to Brian Stout, the county’s federal liaison.

The county’s contract with Congressional Strategies calls for a $5,000 monthly retainer for all services and runs through October, with an option to be extended through June 2015, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius.

“The purpose of the lobbying contract is to facilitate and bring to closure the Navy Annex Land Exchange project,” Curtius said. “This involves advocacy in both the legislative and executive branches to supplement the efforts of County staff.”

The land swap will benefit the county in several ways.

Google Map shows the former Navy Annex and the current alignment of Columbia PikeArlington will receive a sizable parcel of land south of Columbia Pike, on which the county hopes to build an Arlington County and Freedman’s Village history museum, additional parking and facilities for the Air Force Memorial, and other amenities that do not detract from “the dignity, honor, and solemnity of Arlington National Cemetery.”

Also, the exchange will facilitate a realignment of Columbia Pike and its intersection with S. Joyce Street. The realigned Pike will take a more direct path to S. Joyce Street, through the former Navy Annex parking lot, and will provide a better alignment for the future Columbia Pike streetcar.

In addition to an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery, the DoD plans to use some of the land in the swap, near the Pike/Joyce intersection for a future visitor center for the Pentagon Memorial. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA later this year.

by Ethan Rothstein — July 14, 2014 at 4:45 pm 2,228 0

Site of the proposed bike park on the W&OD Trail (Photo via Google Maps)A new “bike park” with a “learner’s loop” is likely headed for the intersection of Columbia Pike and the W&OD Trail.

On Saturday, the Arlington County Board is scheduled to vote on an agreement with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to construct a bike park on the northern side of Columbia Pike near Arlington Mill Community Center. Dominion Power, which has an easement for its power lines, is also party to the agreement.

“The focus of the project is to install a bike park with a learning loop for beginning riders,” the county’s staff report states. “The park improvements will include site furnishings, sand play area, water bottle filler, bike repair station, plaza space and a paved bicycle path.”

The park was approved back in 2009 as part of the Neighborhood Conservation program. The project has “been on hold” as the county’s Department of Environmental Services realigned the trail to improve pedestrian safety and to accommodate streetscape improvements.

Staff has already solicited bids for the project. Once the County Board approves the licensing agreement, a separate proposal with the chosen bid is expected to go before the Board in the fall.

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — July 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm 1,145 0

Arlington Mill Community Center pre-opening Flickr photo(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The western portion of Columbia Pike in Arlington is likely going to be home to the county’s newest farmers market.

The Arlington County Board is expected to approve a proposal to create an open air market in the plaza of the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) at its meeting this Saturday.

The market, if approved, would take place from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and be run by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. The Arlington Mill plaza, in the middle of its first summer since the community center opened last fall, is already hosting half of CPRO’s outdoor summer movies, including showing several Spanish-language films.

CPRO already operates one farmers market on the east end of the Pike, next to the Rite Aid parking lot (2820 Columbia Pike), but CPRO Executive Director Takis Karantonis has spoken about expanding the use of public spaces all along the Pike to engage the community.

“We try to think of how to activate as much public space as possible,” Karantonis told ARLnow.com last month. “We want to do many small events that strengthen the idea of Columbia Pike as one corridor.”

Karantonis said the market will focus on “fresh vegetables and produce” and will start small. If approved as expected, Karantonis expects the first market to be held on July 30.

“The western end of the Pike has had less than favored access to fresh food and choices in general,” he said. “We want to remediate that. We want to have a farmer’s market that caters to a large population that needs more affordable choices, so we will try our best to make it as affordable as possible.”

The proposal is on the County Board’s consent agenda, meaning it will be approved without discussion unless a Board member has an issue. CPRO anticipates seven or eight vendors per week this summer, but applied for permission for up to 10 vendor tents. The land is owned by Arlington County, so the Board must also approving licensing it to CPRO for use during the market.

The market is proposed to operate until the end of November during its first year, and to operate year-round after that. The Board is voting on a one-year open-air permit, with the option to review and renew after the year is over.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — July 11, 2014 at 11:45 am 3,508 0

Columbia Pike streetcar rendering(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) The Commonwealth of Virginia is increasing its funding of the Columbia Pike streetcar system by up to $65 million, Arlington County announced today.

The county says the new funding will enable to Arlington and Fairfax to proceed with the streetcar project more rapidly — accelerating the construction timetable by at least a year — partially thanks to eliminating the need to obtain federal funding.

“The Commonwealth is committed to supporting the Columbia Pike project as a funding partner,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said, in a letter to Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova.

The new funding will also help save $25 million in project costs, according to an Arlington County press release. The Columbia Pike streetcar is now estimated to cost $333 million, about half of which will be funded by the state. The other half of the cost will come from regional transportation funds and local commercial property taxes dedicated to transportation projects.

“No Arlington County homeowner-funded General Obligation bonds will be used to finance design and construction of the streetcar,” the county said.

County Board member Libby Garvey, who along with recently-elected Board member John Vihstadt oppose the streetcar, slammed the state’s decision. Garvey issued the following statement, in which she expresses hope that “the wise voters of Arlington” will vote out Board members who support the streetcar.

I could not be more disappointed in the quick decision by Secretary Layne to devote much needed and scarce transportation dollars to a project as foolish and wasteful as the Columbia Pike streetcar. This project will not improve transit on the Pike. In fact, it will make traffic worse as slow streetcars clog up an already congested thoroughfare. Fortunately, I am pretty sure that within 2 years the wise voters of Arlington will have voted out board members who support the streetcar. That will end the project and allow the Commonwealth, despite this ill advised decision by the Secretary, to spend its money on much more worthwhile and needed projects. I hope that will include a modern and cost effective bus rapid transit system on the Pike in Arlington. That’s what both Arlington and the region need.

Vihstadt also issued a statement, in which has charged that the Commonwealth “rushed to judgment and failed to perform the independent due diligence expected of a state agency to fully analyze this ill-advised local government request.”

“Many valuable transportation projects for which there is a broad public consensus, ranging from improved Metro and bus service to road and pedestrian safety enhancements, will be sacrificed for this controversial project that has deeply divided Arlington County and contributed heavily to my election on April 8 as the first non-Democrat to the County Board since 1999,” Vihstadt said.

The county’s press release, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — July 11, 2014 at 10:55 am 1,241 0

Rendering of a streetcar along Columbia PikeArlington County’s PR campaign to inform residents of the benefit of the streetcar continues.

This week we reported — followed by other local TV, print and online outlets — that the county had produced more television spots that try to explain “why streetcar.”

Among the expected benefits along Columbia Pike are more development, increased county tax revenue, increased transit ridership, and the preservation of affordable housing.

If you could look into a crystal ball to 2030, and see a revitalized Columbia Pike where all of those things came true thanks to streetcar, would you support the project now?
 

by ARLnow.com — June 26, 2014 at 10:45 am 7,736 0

Pedro and Vinny's closed on Columbia Pike Pedro and Vinny's closed on Columbia Pike

Pedro and Vinny’s, the popular burrito stand in the CVS parking lot at 2599 Columbia Pike, is closed indefinitely after having its health license revoked.

The restaurant opened in 2011 in what was once an Ollie’s Trolley. It has since served hungry Pike residents, Pentagon employees, and even members of Congress. Earlier this month it was included in the prestigious Five Thirty Eight Burrito Bracket.

Arlington County Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick says the health department placed Pedro and Vinny’s on a one-year probation in February due to repeated food safety violations that “significantly increased the risk of foodborne illness.”

The violations were mostly centered around improper food holding temperatures: the cheese and sour cream were too warm in the refrigerator and the chicken and beef were not hot enough in the countertop well, according to health inspection records. As part of the probation, the restaurant was informed that its food service license would be revoked if they were found not in compliance again, according to Larrick.

Yesterday (Wednesday), an inspector again found “improper hot and cold holding temperatures,” Larrick said. The license was immediately revoked and Pedro and Vinny’s was closed.

Last night, handwritten signs posted on the restaurant’s doors stated that it was “closed for a few days due [to] a kitchen problem.” Larrick said that Pedro and Vinny’s may submit an application for a new license, but will “need to meet all applicable requirements of… Arlington County Code” in order to receive it.

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm 1,692 0

Columbia Pike outdoor movie (photo via CPRO)(Updated at 1:00 p.m.) Starting tonight, neighborhoods along Columbia Pike are getting in on the summer outdoor movie scene.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) is bringing back outdoor movies in Penrose Square every Saturday from this week (June 21) through August 30. This year, CPRO also will offer movies every other Thursday in the plaza of the new Arlington Mill Community Center, starting tonight and running through September 11.

CPRO is trying out something different at Arlington Mill by offering a couple of Spanish movies subtitled in English, and vice versa. The push for diversity in the movie selection isn’t just for Spanish-speaking cultures. CPRO Executive Director Takis Karantonis notes the movie “The Visitor” deals with issue of immigrating to the United States from Africa and the Middle East.

“We really are very interested in bringing movies from the many cultures we have along Columbia Pike,” said Karantonis. “We will test to see how it works. We realize not everybody is happy with subtitles all of the time, so we will collect feedback and adapt according. Our goal is to make the movies as linguistically accessible as possible.”

Movies begin around 8:30 p.m., or when it becomes dark enough. In case of inclement weather, event changes will be posted on the CPRO websiteFacebook page and Twitter feed.

The Arlington Mill movie schedule follows:

  • June 19 — La Misma Luna (Spanish subtitles)
  • July 3 — Life of Pi
  • July 17 —  No se Aceptan Devoluciones (English subtitles)
  • July 31 — The Visitor
  • August 14 — Sofia y el Terco (Spanish subtitles)
  • August 28 — El Estudiante (English subtitles)
  • September 11 — Avatar

Below is the schedule for movies at Penrose Square:

  • June 21 — Mama Mia!
  • June 28 — The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • July 5 — Sideways
  • July 12 — Inception
  • July 19 — Notting Hill
  • July 26 — Little Miss Sunshine
  • August 2 — Slumdog Millionaire
  • August 9 — Before Sunset
  • August 23 — The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • August 30 — Gravity

by ARLnow.com — June 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm 1,891 0

Manee Thai restaurant on Columbia PikeManee Thai may be closing in the near future, and an Irish bar may take its place.

A restaurant called “The Celtic House,” from a company called “Green Brigade LLC,” has applied for a permit to serve wine, beer and mixed beverages at 2500 Columbia Pike, in the Arlington Village Shopping Center. That’s the current home of Manee Thai restaurant, which has been open for 13-14 years.

“Mo,” a man identifying himself as the owner of Manee Thai, told ARLnow.com today that he is in talks to sell the restaurant and retire. But he said nothing has been finalized.

“We have nothing going on yet,” he said. “We are still talking.”

No company phone number was listed for The Celtic House or Green Brigade LLC. The Virginia State Corporation Commission and Arlington County have no record of an LLC by the name of “Green Brigade.”

Another Irish-themed watering hole, P. Brennan’s Irish Pub (2910 Columbia Pike), has been open just down the street since 2010.

by ARLnow.com — June 16, 2014 at 11:10 am 1,444 0

The 19th annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival was held Saturday afternoon.

The festival benefited from warm and sunny weather that seemed mild compared to the sweltering heat of past years.

On one end of the closed-off portion of Walter Reed Drive, community organizations, local restaurants and a variety of vendors were set up in booths, offering attendees meals, beers and various wares. On the other end, the festival stage hosted blues acts like Duffy Kane, Memphis Gold and the headliner, Ana Popovic.

Aside from the music, there was another type of public performance at the festival: live art creation on canvases that were then auctioned off.

by ARLnow.com — June 13, 2014 at 9:00 am 904 0

Plane above the runway at DCA, Reagan National Airport (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Another Flash Flood Watch — It’s Friday the 13th and Arlington is under another Flash Flood Watch today. The watch is in effect from noon through 10:00 p.m. Forecasters say an approaching cold front will spawn scattered showers and thunderstorms, some of which will be strong and result in very heavy rain. [National Weather Service]

Library to Launch Tool Lending – Arlington residents will soon be able to use their library cards to borrow garden tools from Arlington Central Library. The library is currently looking for volunteers to run and maintain its new “tool library,” which was established after being set as a priority by the county’s Urban Agriculture Task Force last year. [Arlington Public Library]

Va. Lawmakers Pass Budget After Impasse — Republicans in the Virginia Senate passed a budget Thursday night that thwarts an expansion of Medicaid, which had been sought by Democrats. Republicans were able to pass the budget after a Democratic lawmaker resigned and shifted the balance of power in the Senate to the GOP. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

‘KidicalMass’ Bike Ride Sunday — For Father’s Day, a group of parents and their kids will be taking part in a “KidicalMass” bike ride from Hayes Park to Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream in Clarendon Sunday evening. [Blogspot]

Blues Fest Road Closures — The annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will be held Saturday and several road closures, including the closure of Walter Reed Drive north of Columbia Pike, are planned as a result. The road closures will be in effect from about 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — June 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm 931 0

Police are looking for a man who allegedly used his iPhone to photograph a woman using the bathroom.

The incident happened Tuesday night on the 4200 block of Columbia Pike. Police say the woman looked out the window, saw a hand holding an iPhone and screamed, scaring off the suspect.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

PEEPING TOM, 140610056, 4200 block of S. Columbia Pike. At 10:18 pm on June 10, an unknown male subject was seen taking a photo of a female as she used the restroom. The victim stated that she glanced out the bathroom window and viewed a hand holding an iphone taking a picture or video of her. The suspect then fled after the victim screamed. There is no suspect(s) description.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

×

Subscribe to our mailing list