County Seeks Federal Funds for Transportation Projects — County officials are expected to apply for three grants for non-vehicular transportation projects. The $1 million in grant money would cover a bicycle and pedestrian connection between Four Mile Run Trail and Potomac Yard, improvements at Ashlawn Elementary School, and street and sidewalk improvements along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. [Sun Gazette]
Man Hospitalized After Fall at Airport — A man has been hospitalized after falling from a roadway at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday. He apparently climbed over the protective barrier near the ticketing level roadway and fell to the arrivals roadway below. [Washington Post]
Study: Arlington Could Cut Back on Parking Spaces – Researchers with the Arlington County Commuter Services’ Mobility Lab conducted a study of residents in 16 high rise towers to monitor their commuting habits. One of the significant findings is that residents are often choosing to walk, bike or use public transportation instead of driving, even if they own cars. A land use expert says the findings suggest that Arlington has more parking spaces than it needs, and can cut back on parking requirements for new developments. [WAMU]
No Anchor Tenant Yet for Ballston Development — All the pieces are in place for constructing a new development at 4040 Wilson Blvd in Ballston, except that there still isn’t an anchor tenant for the building. Developer Shooshan is waiting to sign such a tenant before commencing construction. The final building in the Liberty Center complex will have 20 floors and more than 426,000 square feet of space. [GlobeSt]
In Virginia alone, nearly 72,000 DoD employees are affected by furloughs, which require one unpaid day off per week for 11 weeks. The state is expected to be particularly hard hit by the cuts due to the Pentagon being housed in Arlington.
It’s too early to definitively claim furloughs will ease traffic congestion, but AAA believes fewer people on the road could lead to less gridlock and fewer accidents. In fact, the organization suggests commutes could resemble those of July and August, when the region experiences its lowest traffic volume and rate of accidents.
“For all other workers, the morning and evening commutes to the daily grind could look like it does on any of the ten federal holidays in the Washington metro area or on Fridays, when federal workers use their flex-time schedules or compressed work weeks (AWS) to take time off,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
AAA predicts Metrorail and Metrobus ridership may be affected as well. According to WMATA, nearly half of peak period commuters are federal employees and 35 Metrorail stations serve federal facilities, including the Pentagon in Arlington.
Rep. Jim Moran (D) took to Twitter earlier today to express his displeasure with the furloughs. He also sent the following statement to ARLnow.com:
“Due to sequestration, today marked the first of 11 furlough days for 650,000 DOD civilian employees. This 20 percent pay cut is the unfortunate and shameful result of Congress’ failure to work together to find an appropriate way to reduce the federal debt and deficit. I voted against the Budget Control Act that set up sequestration not only because it focused solely on cutting discretionary spending at the expense of increased revenues, but I feared that the Supercommittee could not find compromise. Congress must make tough choices, but we cannot balance the budget on the backs of our federal workers.”
Highest Percentage of Commuters in U.S. — At 76.6 percent of its total workforce, Arlington County has the highest percentage of commuters in the nation. Arlington is even ahead of D.C. (71 percent) and New York City (69.5 percent). Nearly 150,000 people commute into Arlington on a typical weekday, and most don’t pay any county taxes. [Governing]
Taste of Arlington Road Closures — A number of roads in Ballston, including a stretch of Wilson Blvd, will be closed for most of the day on Sunday for the annual Taste of Arlington festival. As a reminder, the Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations will be closed throughout the weekend and additional shuttle buses will be provided for festival-goers at the East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro stations. [Arlington County]
Rosslyn Outdoor Movies Start Tonight — The annual Rosslyn outdoor summer film festival starts tonight. The theme of this year’s festival is “Summer School” — films that use high school as a backdrop. Tonight’s flick is the 1985 classic The Breakfast Club. This and every other Friday showing through Aug. 30 starts at dusk at Gateway Park. [Rosslyn BID]
Tight Inventory in Home Market — Arlington’s residential housing market is still afflicted by a dearth of inventory. There are more buyers in the market than there are homes to buy. [Sun Gazette]
Photo via @BallstonBID. Disclosure: Ballston BID and Rosslyn BID are ARLnow.com advertisers.
A messy evening commute is possible, with rain and strong storms heading toward Arlington.
The National Weather Service warns that the storms may include heavy rain and hail.
… STRONG THUNDERSTORMS TO AFFECT ARLINGTON… NORTHERN FAUQUIER… SOUTHERN FAUQUIER… PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK… LOUDOUN AND FAIRFAX COUNTIES…
AT 358 PM EDT… STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM AUBURN TO INDEPENDENT HILL TO MASON NECK… MOVING NORTH AT 20 MPH.
LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE GREENWICH… FORT BELVOIR… NEW BALTIMORE… NEWINGTON… WEST SPRINGFIELD… GAINESVILLE… FRANCONIA… BROAD RUN… WEST SPRINGFIELD AND MANASSAS PARK.
HEAVY RAIN WITH THESE STORMS WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO BELOW ONE MILE AND MAY CAUSE PONDING OF WATER ON ROADWAYS.
PENNY-SIZE TO NICKEL-SIZE HAIL CAN BE EXPECTED WITH THESE STORMS.
Arlington Gets Largest Share of Transit Growth — Over the past 11 years, the rate of growth of those who use public transit in Arlington has been higher than any other D.C. area jurisdiction. Chris Hamilton, chief of Arlington Commuter Services, attributes that growth to the county’s transit outreach efforts. [Mobility Lab]
Homebuyer Assistance Available — The Arlington County Board recently approved $500,000 to help qualified first time homebuyers purchase a new home in the county. The funds are available for down payment and closing cost assistance for about 10-15 low- to moderate-income households. Applications will be accepted started Dec. 3. [Arlington County]
Talk: ‘Books that Shaped America’ — Tomorrow, Nov. 28, Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) will host a talk about “88 remarkable books” that “shaped America.” Mark Dimunation, head of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, will talk about how he and a group of historians, scientists and literary experts helped to select the books — from Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” to Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat.” [Arlington Public Library]
Crews are also pre-treating roads with salt and brine this afternoon in preparation for the winter weather, according to the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services.
The Office of Personnel Management announced this morning that federal employees may use unscheduled leave to go home early today, if desired.
Snowy Evening Commute Expected — Forecasters warn that light-to-moderate snowfall may make for a slick evening commute tonight. Still, above-freezing temperatures will mean that we in Arlington will likely see less than an inch of accumulation. [Capital Weather Gang]
County Saves Money Through Bond Issue — Arlington County has taken advantage of very low interest rates, along with its triple-AAA bond rating, to issue $106 million of refunding bonds. The move will save the county more than $9 million over the life of the bonds, officials say. [Arlington County]
Spring Soccer Registration Open — Registration is now open for youth soccer players in Arlington. Arlington Soccer Association’s spring registration started on Jan. 25 and will close on March 13. A late registration fee will be assessed after March 13. [Arlington Soccer Association]
Moran Criticized for TV Appearance — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is facing criticism from Republicans for comments he made on MSNBC last week. Moran said that Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who is black, “is not representative of the African American community.” Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin called that remark and others by Moran during the course of the MSNBC interview “racist.” [Human Events, Breitbart.tv]
The 2011 ACCS WalkArlington Study gathered input from 985 respondents, and found that more than half walk daily throughout the community. 86% report making a trip entirely by walking at least twice a week.
The top reasons for walking include running errands and getting exercise. Commuting is another reason, with 56% of people saying they walk for at least part of their commute at least once a week.
In regards to safety, the county’s walkers aren’t overly concerned about crime, but worry about sharing the roads with vehicles. 54% say aggressive or inattentive drivers pose a safety threat to walkers.
WalkArlington is a county initiative aimed at getting people walking more for health, environmental and commuting benefits. 44% of survey respondents had heard of the initiative, but only 21% have used the organization’s services.
The survey found that two-thirds of respondents participated after seeing the request on ARLnow.com. Full survey results are available here.
The County Board voted unanimously last night to approve a Commuter Store kiosk outside the Ballston Metro Station.
The kiosk will be built next to the entrance to the station, at the corner of N. Stuart Street and N. Fairfax Drive. The store will provide “convenient, one-stop shopping for schedules, fares, and information about the many transportation options available in the Washington Metropolitan Area.”
Arlington has four stationary Commuter Stores and one mobile Commuter Store RV. The Ballston kiosk will replace an existing Commuter Store location inside Ballston Common Mall.
On Saturday, the County Board is expected to approve a sidewalk cafe for Mad Rose Tavern, live entertainment for Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub, and a Commuter Store kiosk outside the Ballston Metro Station.
The three items are all part of the board’s site plan amendment agenda.
County staff is recommending the board approve Samuel Beckett’s request for live entertainment from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and federal holidays. The Shirlington pub, at 2800 S. Randolph Street, has said that it wants to host traditional Irish music.
Staff is also recommending a sidewalk cafe for the struggling Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd). The sidewalk seating would wrap around the restaurant from Washington Boulevard to Clarendon Boulevard, and would operate from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. seven days per week. Staff says the cafe “would serve to activate the streetscape at this major intersection” and is consistent with other sidewalk cafes in the area.
Finally, the board will consider whether to place a county-run Commuter Store kiosk at the Ballston Metro Station. Currently, there are Commuter Stores in the Ballston Common Mall, Crystal City Shops, Rosslyn Metro Center Mall and at the Shirlington Bus Station — in addition to a mobile Commuter Store RV.
New Bar Coming to Columbia Pike — William Jeffrey’s Tavern will be a 6,500 square foot bar and restaurant on the ground floor of the Siena Park apartment complex, across the street from Bob & Edith’s Diner. The tavern, owned by the team behind Ragtime and Rhodeside Grill, is expected to open this fall. [Pike Wire]
Arlington Funds Slugging Web Site — Each year, Arlington allots $10,000 out of its $8 million commuter services budget to fund Slug-Lines.com, a privately-run internet resource for the area’s unique, grassroots carpooling system. [Miller-McCune Magazine]
Recalling Java Shack’s Nazi Past — Of course, nobody at Clarendon’s Java Shack has any Nazi affiliation. But the cafe’s building does. TBD recalls the days when the building was the headquarters of the American Nazi Party. Another reminder of the building’s infamous past: the occasional appearance of nostalgic Nazi fliers. [TBD]
New Wakefield High Will Have Lots of Bike Parking — The new $115 million Wakefield High School will include 304 bike parking spaces, up from the old school’s 45 spaces. The Sun Gazette’s Scott McCaffrey wonders if that’s a bit optimistic of school planners. [Sun Gazette Editor's Blog]
Falls Church (Hearts) Arlington — In an editorial, the Falls Church News-Press addresses redistricting rumors that the 31st State Senate District — which now encompasses Arlington County, Falls Church and a slice of eastern Fairfax County — will be shifted north into McLean and Great Falls, leaving tiny Falls Church to be folded into the Fairfax-centric 32nd State Senate District. That’s frowned upon by the FCNP. “Falls Church is the spiritual sister of Arlington, far more than Fairfax County,” the editorial says. [Falls Church News-Press]
Starting Saturday, paper weekly bus passes will no longer be accepted on ART and all other regional bus systems. Instead, riders will now only be able to use their SmarTrip card as their seven-day bus pass.
The SmarTrip weekly bus pass will cost $15, the same as the paper passes.
Riders will now be able to use their pass during whichever seven-day period they choose. The SmarTrip card will support the purchase of up to two weekly passes at a time.
SmarTrip cards are available for purchase at Metro sales offices. The county’s Mobile Commuter Store will be selling SmarTrip cards near the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive this coming Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
See more information about the change here.
(Updated at 11:30 p.m.) Get ready for the dreaded wintry mix and a challenging morning commute.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory, in effect from 10:00 tonight to 9:00 tomorrow morning. Forecasters are predicting that snow and sleet, beginning around dinner time, will switch over to freezing rain overnight, leaving roads slick and the ground covered with as much as an inch of wet snow.
Luckily, most Arlington Public School students already have the day off tomorrow. Tuesday is a designated teacher work day in every school except Barcroft Elementary, Campbell Elementary and the high school continuation programs at Arlington Mill and Langston. No word yet on whether classes will be canceled or delayed at Barcroft.
Arlington County’s Office of Emergency Management just issued the following alert:
A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued from 10 PM Monday night until 9 AM Tuesday morning for a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Up to one inch snow accumulation expected before changing to freezing rain. Ice accumulations around one tenth of an inch are expected.
South Arlington has about 1.75 inches of snow on the ground as of 10:15 PM. Big, heavy flakes are falling, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon.
Partially due to pre-treating of roads, partially because of higher temperatures, the roads are still somewhat clear.
Update at 1:40 AM – Local plow crews are really starting to get the hang of this. With the snow beginning to taper off, main arteries, for the most part, are clear. Side streets are still largely snow-covered, and may present some challenges. Reports are coming in of some vehicles, including a Metrobus, getting stuck in the snow in the residential neighborhoods, but this morning’s commute may not be too bad… the plows are out and the long and growing list of delays and closures (which, it most be noted, would be laughable to anybody who has lived north of the Mason-Dixon line) should keep plenty of drivers off the road. We’ll be monitoring conditions around rush hour, and we’ll bring you updates as needed.