Treasurer Makes Deal for iPark Refills — Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary has struck deals to allow the county to refill iPark devices, while adding more devices to the cache that can be used to replace non-functioning units. The county paid $10,000 to the bankrupt manufacturer of the devices for the codes necessary to add value without additional authorization or payment to the company. The move comes about a month and a half after the company’s bankruptcy suddenly prevented the county from refilling the devices. [Sun Gazette]
Man Gets 10 Year Sentence for Custis Trail Robbery — A 23-year-old D.C. resident has received a 10 year sentence for a robbery on the Custis Trail that left a jogger with a head injury and lingering cognitive effects. The attacker and his 17-year-old brother, who’s expected to receive a 1.5 to 3 year sentence, were both arrested as they fled toward the Ballston Metro Station. The victim, a 55-year-old personal trainer, says he still suffers from headaches, nightmares and memory loss. [Washington Post]
Remembering Allison’s Tea House — From the 1920s to the 1950s, Allison’s Tea House, at 1301 S. Arlington Ridge Road, was “a coveted neighborhood restaurant… that had been visited by dignitaries including Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.” The restaurant’s iconic stone well house was preserved after the restaurant and its grounds were redeveloped into an apartment building in the 1960s. It still stands, and is used as storage for the apartment’s swimming pool. [Preservation Arlington]
ACPD Participating in Drug Take-Back Day — The Arlington County Police Department is participating in National Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at fire stations No. 1, 8 and 9, officers will collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. “The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked,” police say in a press release. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The incident happened on the bike trail near Glebe Road around 10:20 p.m.
According to police, two suspects knocked a man off his bike and stole his cell phone while brandishing a handgun. A U.S. Park Police helicopter was called in to search for the suspects, who fled on foot, but police were unable to track them down.
From a police press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating an armed robbery that occurred on the Custis Bike Trail yesterday evening.
At 10:20 p.m., two unknown subjects attempted to block the Nelly Custis bike trail when the first victim was riding by on his bicycle. The victim was able to get away, but noticed one of the subjects brandishing a handgun. Shortly after the first incident, a second victim attempted to pass by, but was knocked off of his bike by both suspects and a firearm was brandished. Both suspects then took the victim’s cell phone and fled eastbound on Custis Trail by foot. The victim was transported to the Virginia Hospital Center with non-life-threatening injuries that he sustained during the attack.
A U.S. Park Police helicopter and the Arlington County Police Department’s K-9 Unit assisted with efforts to locate the subjects, but both subjects remain at-large. The first suspect is described as a white male, around the age of 25 and approximately 5’8” tall and 185 lbs. Suspect one was wearing a dark puffy winter jacket and dark pants. The second suspect is described as a male of an unknown race, approximately 6’0” tall and 200 lbs. Suspect two was wearing a dark jacket and dark pants at the time of the incident.
If anyone has information on the identities and/or whereabouts of these individuals, please contact Detective Christine Everest of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703.228.4180 or at Ceverest@arlingtonva.us. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
A jogger was robbed by the men around 12:30 p.m. on the trail near the Glebe Road bridge over I-66, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The victim struggled and was struck in the head — possibly with a pistol.
The men took a GPS watch and sunglasses and fled down the trail, Sternbeck said. A short time later, another trail user told police that one of the men pointed a silver handgun in his direction when he passed by.
Police notified Arlington Public Schools of the robbery and three nearby schools — Washington-Lee High School, Arlington Traditional School and Glebe Elementary — were placed in a secured state. Based on that initial notification from ACPD, an email alert sent to parents erroneously reported a shooting.
This afternoon, the Arlington County Police notified us of a robbery of a jogger that occurred on a nearby bike path. The report we received said that the incident also involved a shooting. As a precaution, we have secured the school building and all students are being kept inside.
Three men were apprehended outside the Ballston Metro station around 1:30 p.m., Sternbeck said. A handgun was recovered. The men are now being questioned by police.
“It was great police work… getting these individuals off the street,” Sternbeck said.
The robbery victim is currently being evaluated for injuries at Virginia Hospital Center.
A local bike commuter decided to spice up his ride to work by bringing along his favorite plastic robot boxing game.
A YouTube video shows the anonymous cyclist riding down the Custis Trail with the Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots game placed in his bike’s cargo basket. As one point, the cyclist even starts playing the game.
Hat tip to @rcannon100
The markings were removed from the Custis Trail by Arlington’s Transportation Engineering and Operations Administration last week, according to spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. On Friday, ARLnow.com reported that a cyclist struck and injured at the intersection last month said he was issued a warning for failing to stop at the marker.
“The markings were removed because they provided a restriction to bicyclists that conflicted with the traffic signal at this intersection,” Whalen McDaniel said today. “This was recommended as part of a comprehensive trail traffic control study over a year ago. All users of the streets and sidewalks should exercise care at intersections and obey all regulations, signals, and signage.”
Flickr photo by @I_am_Dirt, via @BikeArlington
A cyclist who collided with a vehicle last month at the dangerous intersection of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street was issued a police warning, while still in his hospital bed, for failing to “obey a highway sign.”
The accident happened on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 10. The cyclist said he was heading eastbound on the Custis Trail, crossing Lynn Street in Rosslyn with the green light, when a car quickly turned in front of him as he was traveling across the intersection. He slammed on the brakes but still hit the vehicle’s rear driver’s side quarter panel.
The cyclist, who did not want to be named, said that police followed his ambulance to the hospital, asked him to write a written statement, and then handed him a warning as soon as he had finished the statement. The warning was for failing to “obey a highway sign.”
As explained to the cyclist, he was culpable in the accident because he did not stop at a painted “stop” sign on the sidewalk just before the intersection. Further, he was considered a “cyclist” while on the trail, but became a “vehicle” when he entered the intersection, and thus did not have the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.
“You just can’t tell me that it’s all my fault for being hit,” the cyclist told ARLnow.com. “Naturally, if you’re a cyclist heading into an intersection, you’re not concerned with what’s below you but with what’s in front of you.”
The cyclist says he later found out that the driver who turned in front of him was not issued any sort of citation. As a result, not only will he be financially responsible for his own bills — the hospital bill for his hand, arm and shoulder injuries, plus the replacement cost of the $2,000 carbon fiber bike — but he may be held responsible for damage to the driver’s vehicle.
“That leaves me holding the bag. I have no recourse whatsoever,” he said. “Drivers have carte blanche.”
His situation is not unique in the area. The Falls Church News-Press reported over the weekend that a cyclist who was struck by a car and injured at the intersection of Great Falls Street and the W&OD Trail was charged for “disregarding a stop sign,” despite the fact that there were once signs at the intersections stating that bike trail users had the right-of-way.
As for the cyclist struck in Rosslyn, he says he’s now writing to county officials to try to lobby for some short- and long-term solutions for making the Lee/Lynn intersection safer for trail users.
“I go through it all the time and it is a very dangerous intersection,” he said. “Bicyclists take their lives into their own hands when crossing crosswalks.”
Power Outage Update — There are more than 2,100 Dominion customers still without power in Arlington. That’s down from 16,700 at the height of the storm. Dominion is receiving some favorable comparisons to Pepco from the Washington Post. The Post notes that Dominion called in out of town power crews early, while Pepco did not.
Arlington Delegates Have Bills Killed in House — Bills that would increase Virginia’s cigarette tax, lower the mandatory retirement age for judges and impose a 5-cent tax on plastic bags have all been killed in the House of Delegates, after being proposed by Arlington-based lawmakers. [Sun Gazette]
Library to Get Solar Panels — Thanks to a $300,000 federal grant, the Arlington Central Library will be getting 60-kilowatts worth of solar panels installed on its roof by this summer. [TBD]
Counting of Pedestrians Continues — Arlington is counting pedestrians and cyclists on local trails using an automated, database-driven system. Check out the sneak peak of some of the data that’s being recorded. [Commuter Page Blog]
Photo courtesy Lindsay W.
Last week’s nightly closures of the Custis Trail under I-66 have been extended through Wednesday. Construction is still taking place on a framework, intended to protect bicyclists from work related to the I-66 widening project.
The closures will take place between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Any trail traffic during that time will be detoured. The detoured route will be marked and will take cyclists and joggers farther east to a pedestrian overpass.
The closures are expected to wrap up Wednesday night.
Late night joggers and cyclists beware. From Arlington County spokesperson Susan Kalish:
“[The] Custis Trail under I-66 (between Westover and Bon Air Parks) will be closed from 9pm to 5am from Monday, August 23 to Thursday, August 26 so that a protective framework can be installed to protect users during the upcoming widening of the vehicular bridge.”