Advocates Decry Proposed Bike Cut — An optional budget cut floated by Arlington County Manger Barbara Donnellan in her proposed FY 2015-2016 budget is attracting some push back from cyclists. Donnellan said the County Board should consider a $800,000 cut in funds for the county’s BikeArlington program if it wants to make additional cuts beyond her base budget. Bike advocates say the cut “would be a huge mistake.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Condo Fence Mowed Down — A car ran through the fence of a condominium complex next to Long Branch Elementary School Sunday evening. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Resident Survey to Be Mailed — Arlington County is planning to mail its fourth resident survey to 3,600 randomly selected residents. “This survey will help us find out how we’re doing across many different service areas – and also pinpoint where we need to improve,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Custis Trail Added to Beer Guide — A guide intended to show D.C. area cyclists where they can grab craft brews near local trails has added Arlington’s Custis Trail to its directory. [Bikeable Brews]
A-SPAN To Help Meet Homeless Goals – Arlington County has signed on to a pair of ambitious goals: to house all homeless veterans in the community by the end of 2015 and end chronic homelessness by 2016. The Arlington Street People’s Network, the nonprofit organization that will be running Arlington’s soon-to-open year-round homeless shelter, is preparing to do its part to help achieve those goals. [InsideNova]
The bicycle counter on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn passed 200,000 trips earlier this month, a milestone for the first device of its kind on the East Coast.
As of last night, the counter was up to 204,899 trips since it was unveiled on April 1. There were 706 trips recorded today at 12:43 this afternoon, and 24,907 trips this month. The “Bikeometer” has been getting good reviews from the community, according to county Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel.
“Many people have said that previously they had no idea how many other cyclists bike through Rosslyn,” she said. “County staff did not have a precise understanding of how many bicyclists were using the Custis Trail through the Rosslyn Circle area. With the installation of the Bikeometer counter and display we now know a lot more about the number of bicycle travelers on an average day, and how that number changes over the course of the year and by the day of the week. We’re also learning more about how factors such as weather can impact bicycle travel.”
The data should help the county as it designs safety improvements to the “Intersection of Doom” — where the trail, N. Lynn Street and the I-66 offramp combine in one of the most accident-prone intersections in the county, especially for cyclists and pedestrians. The improvements are in the design and engineering phase after being approved by the Arlington County Board in May, and construction is expected to begin next spring.
“Knowing the number of bicyclists and at what times they cross through the intersection is useful information in evaluating traffic signal timing at the nearby Lee Highway intersections,” McDaniel said. “We are currently evaluating if and how signal changes could be made to reduce bicycle and vehicle conflicts that occur at the trail crossing of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street. Staff will also conduct a study of the feasibility of constructing an underpass or bypass of the Custis Trail at the Rosslyn Circle location.”
Police say a man grabbed a woman as she was either running or walking by, spun her around, and exposed himself to her. The incident happened on the trail between N. Quinn Street and N. Oak Street just after 11:00 a.m. The man then fled west on the trail, possibly running into a nearby apartment complex.
This was not a sexual assault, as earlier reported, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The man is described as a white male in his 30s, 5’10″ with a heavy muscular build and short, partially balding brown hair. He was wearing tennis shoes, a dark jacket, a white t-shirt and dark shorts at the time of the incident.
A police K-9 unit was brought in to try to track the suspect, but that was made impossible by the rain. So far police have not made any arrests, Sternbeck said.
Officers believe the suspect may be responsible for at least one other, similar assault that occurred in the same area, according to scanner traffic.
The bikeometer will be on the trail near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street — known as the “Intersection of Doom” — with electronic displays counting “passing bicyclists in real time and cumulative daily, monthly and year-to-date counts,” according to an Arlington County press release.
The bikeometer is the first of its kind on the East Coast and sixth in the nation, according to BikeArlington. The data will be used in future planning for cyclists in the area in addition to providing “a highly visible, engaging and fun view of the volume of bike usage on the Custis Trail in Arlington.”
Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will be on hand, along with League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke, on Tuesday, April 1 at 10:00 a.m. to unveil the bikeometer.
Photo via BikeArlington
It looks like someone proposed on the Custis Trail yesterday.
A reader sent these photos, taken on the stretch of the trail off Quincy Street, near the pond. A series of signs starts with: “From the day we first met I knew I loved you the best.” It ends with the message: “Which is why I want to ask you this one special question.”
“I didn’t get to see the proposal in action,” says reader Abby Hughey. “But thought you might want to post [it]… cheers to happy stories like this one!”
If you know the backstory, share it with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This isn’t the first time someone has used homemade signs to express affection in public in Arlington. Last March someone posted love letters to utility poles along Lorcom Lane.
Safety Improvements Approved for Custis, W&OD Trails – The County Board on Saturday (December 14) approved funding for safety improvements for the Custis Trail and the W&OD Trail. The approval is the first step toward constructing federally-funded improvements for the Custis Trail along Lee Highway at N. Oak Street, N. Quinn Street and N. Scott Street. Improvements will also happen along the W&OD Trail at S. Four Mile Run Drive where it meets S. George Mason Drive, S. Oakland Street and at the entrance to the Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center. [Arlington County]
Tejada Pens Streetcar Opinion Piece — Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post over the weekend. Titled “A streetcar is the right choice for Arlington,” the piece explains why Tejada believes the streetcar is the best option for “transforming Columbia Pike from merely a thoroughfare into a livable ‘Main Street’ served by a variety of transit options.” [Washington Post]
Vornado’s “Dominant Position” in Arlington — Developer Vornado is seen as having a “dominant position” in Arlington’s economy, with $3.7 billion in total real estate holdings. Its presence is only expected to increase with its work on the county’s largest apartment building and the massive PenPlace office project. [Washington Business Journal]
Historical Society Hosts Ornament-Making Event — Arlington residents will get a chance to make their own Art Deco holiday ornament on Saturday (December 21). The Arlington Historical Society will host the event from 1:00-4:00 p.m. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by christaki
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.