This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to approve an agreement with VDOT to design a trail connector from the Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac Avenue in Arlington. Potomac Avenue runs from Crystal City to the shops and new residential developments in the Potomac Yard section of Alexandria.
Currently, the Four Mile Run Trail connects with the west side of Route 1. One would then have to cross the busy thoroughfare to get to Potomac Yard. A steep, informal dirt path that connects directly from the trail to Potomac Avenue also exists, but can be difficult to climb.
County officials say the new trail connection will be accessible to those with disabilities.
“The trail connection will provide an ADA compliant multi-use trail connection between the Potomac Yard development on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County) and the Four Mile Run Trail which is also on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County),” wrote Shannon Whalen McDaniel, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services. “The new trail connection will replace a informal dirt pathway (goat path) that currently exists along the steep embankment between Potomac Yard and the Four Mile Run Trail.”
The design and engineering for the new trail connection is projected to cost $250,000. Of that, $190,000 will come from federal funds and $60,000 will come from Arlington County. The actual construction of the trail connector hasn’t been funded yet, but is expected to be complete no later than 2016. No construction date has been set.
Image via Google Maps
A woman died this morning after jumping from the Columbia Pike bridge over Four Mile Run.
Several witnesses saw the woman jump, around 10:30 a.m. She landed on a paved section of the Four Mile Run Trail and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Arlington County Police are investigating the incident as a suicide. The woman was in her 30s and was known to have mental health problems, said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
Update at 9:20 a.m. — The surfacing below the fitness stations has been installed and the equipment is ready to use.
Arlington County has installed brand new fitness equipment along a stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail near Shirlington.
That stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail, which runs parallel to Arlington Mill Drive, was repaved last month.
The new Energi-branded outdoor fitness equipment utilizes bars and platforms to allow dozens of simple exercises that work out nearly all of the body’s 600 muscles. The equipment replaced older, deteriorating equipment that was once there, in Shirlington Park.
The equipment is still off-limits to the public while a contractor prepared to install surfacing under each station. No word yet on when that work might take place.
The Arlington County Fire Department and the county’s Department of Environmental Services (DES) were called to Four Mile Run near Shirlington this morning for a report of a huge mass of foam accumulating in the creek.
It’s thought that the foam was caused by some sort of soap or detergent. Firefighters tested the foam using a chemical strip and determined that it was not hazardous, according to DES Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management Bureau Chief Jeff Harn. DES is now trying to figure out where the foam came from.
“County staff continue to investigate the issue and are trying to determine the source of the foam,” Harn told ARLnow.com. “However, the discharge that caused the foam is no longer occurring and no source has yet been identified.”
Update at 4:40 p.m. — Chlorinated water leaking from a water main near Shirlington has seeped into Four Mile Run and killed “dozens” of fish, an Arlington County official told ARLnow.com this afternoon.
We first reported the leak near 2400 S. Walter Reed Drive this morning, after Claremont and Fairlington residents reported widespread low water pressure in the area. Now we’re told that the leak — in a 12-inch pipe — has resulted in a significant fish kill.
From Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel:
Residents may notice dead fish in portions of Four Mile Run downstream of the break due to the chlorinated water being released. This water is not harmful to humans or pets, but unfortunately resulted in a fish kill. Residents should follow the County’s normal precautions for safe use of urban streams.
McDaniel said repairs on the water main are expected to continue into tomorrow. Residents may continue to experience low water pressure but “no one is expected to be without water,” she said.
The 2012 Bluemont 5K will start at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Belmont Park South Pavilion (399 N. Manchester Street).
The course is on both the Four Mile Run and Washington & Old Dominion trails and will wind back toward the South Pavilion. Online advance registration is open until 6 p.m. today (Monday) and is free for DC Road Runners members and $5 for non-members. On-site, day-of-race registration is $5 for members, $10 for non-members.
There will be free parking, but Metro riders can take one of the 1-series buses from from the Ballston Metro to Wilson Boulevard and N. Manchester Street.
Check out the race page at DC Road Runners for more information.
The fire was reported at 8:25 a.m. near the intersection of S. Oakland Street and the Four Mile Run access road. Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County responded to the scene and were able to extinguish the fire within 20 minutes.
There was initially reported to be a person trapped in the burning house, but everybody ended up making it out safely. One occupant, described by a relative as a rising freshman at Wakefield High School, was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
No word yet on the cause of the fire, but a fire department spokesman pointed out that there were no working smoke detectors found in the house.
“The fire department would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone to check their smoke detectors,” said Battalion Chief Matt Herbert.
Damage was confined to one occupancy of the duplex, Herbert said.
Despite the call being relatively early in the morning, firefighters still had to deal with hot and humid conditions. To help out, a neighbor set up lawn chairs in her driveway for the sweat-soaked firefighters to relax and hydrate in after the flames were out.
Four Mile Run Rapist Still on the Loose — Arlington County police are still looking for a man who raped a woman on the Four Mile Run Trail two weeks ago. Police are issuing warnings to women who use the trail, in English and in Spanish. Officers are also patrolling the trail on bike and motorcycles. [WJLA]
Marymount, O’Connell Teaming Up for Baseball Field — Marymount University will be adding a varsity baseball team to its athletic program after striking a deal with Bishop O’Connell High School to use the school’s baseball field. Marymount will fund the renovation of the O’Connell’s field to NCAA standards, in exchange for partial use of the field. Marymount hopes to have the baseball team ready for its first season by Spring 2014. [Sun Gazette]
N. Va. Critical to Obama Re-Election — The road to the White House runs through Northern Virginia, according to some political watchers. Experts say President Obama must score a big victory in Northern Virginia in order to capture the Commonwealth, one of three crucial, hotly-contested swing states. As a result, residents can expect a bombardment of political ads this fall. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
Investigators say the incident happened along the trail while it was still light outside — between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. The woman, 23, was jogging by trail mile marker 44, near Glencarlyn park, when a man, whom she had seen along the trail earlier, stopped her. He took out a 6-inch kitchen knife, dragged her into some tall vegetation, and took off her clothes and underwear, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
At one point the woman tried to run away but the attacker restrained her and threatened her with the knife, Sternbeck said. After the man was done sexually assaulting the victim, she ran home and drove herself to the hospital. Hospital staff called police at 8:49 p.m. In addition to the injuries from the sexual assault, the woman also sustained scratches to her wrists, Sternbeck said.
The man is described as a clean-shaven Hispanic male, between 5’5″ and 5’6″, 140 pounds, about 30 years of age. He had short black hair and brown eyes. The victim said he had a small head, a high-pitched voice, spoke limited English, and was wearing a green shirt that might have said George Mason University on it.
The victim has been an Arlington resident for 6 months, Sternbeck said.
Anyone with information about the suspect or the crime is encouraged to contact Detective Greg Sloan at 703-228-4198 or [email protected].
The incident happened around 7:15 this morning (Monday) on the trail near the intersection of Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run Drive. According to police, an adult male cyclist was coming down a hill when he called out “on your left, on your left,” to the victim, who was walking on trail.
The victim turned around, moving into the path of the cyclist, and said “what? — at which time she and the cyclist collided, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The woman fell backwards and her head hit the pavement, causing significant trauma.
The woman was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries, Sternbeck said. She was pronounced dead in the hospital later in the day. Police originally reported the woman’s age as 70, then as 81, but later said it was actually 80.
The cyclist, a 62-year-old man, suffered only minor injuries and did not require transport to the hospital. He was riding a NEXT Power Climber mountain bike at the time of the accident, according to Sternbeck. No charges have been filed against the cyclist, he said.
The trail is eight feet wide at the point of the collision, Sternbeck noted. Arlington does not have speed limits on its bike trails, according to county officials.
On Tuesday morning, police issued the following press release about the incident.
A 80 year old Arlington resident was pronounced dead late yesterday afternoon at Fairfax Hospital after being struck by a bicyclist.
The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center received the initial 9-1-1 report at 7:11 a.m. on June 11, 2012, regarding a collision between a bicyclist and pedestrian on the Four Mile Run Bike Path in the area of the 4900 block of Columbia Pike. The victim sustained significant head trauma after falling backwards, striking the back of her head on the pavement. The 62 year old bicyclist remained on scene and received treatment for a minor knee injury. He did not require transport to a hospital.
According to a witness and the bicyclist, the 62 year old man was heading downhill on his Next Powerclimber bike when he saw the victim ahead of him and attempted to warn her by yelling “to your left” and ringing a bell. This is when the 80 year old woman stepped to her left and turned around to be struck head-on, causing her to fall backwards to the ground.
Ita Lapina, 80, of Arlington, VA, succumbed to the injuries she sustained during the June 11 incident. She was pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:20 p.m.
For information related to bicycle and pedestrian safety, please visit the Prevention and Safety section on the Arlington County Police Department homepage at http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/Police/PoliceMain.aspx
Arlington County has lifted an advisory for Four Mile Run, three days after several thousand gallons of raw sewage reportedly spilled into the stream.
The advisory, issued on Tuesday, called for people and pets to avoid contact with Four Mile Run from Columbia Pike to the Potomac River. From a county press release:
Arlington County has lifted the advisory it issued on Tuesday April 3, 2012 to avoid the water in Four Mile Run, near S. Dinwiddie St. and Columbia Pike. The advisory was issued following the discovery of a sewage release resulting from a blocked sewage pipe. The precaution was meant to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by the natural flushing of the streams.
Following several days of stream flow Arlington County is lifting the advisory. Residents may resume adherence to the normal precautions for safe use of its urban streams.
Update on 4/6/12 — The advisory for Four Mile Run has been lifted.
Arlington County is reporting a sewage spill near Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street, next to Four Mile Run.
The spill came from an overflowing sewage pipe and was not the result of construction activity, according to Arlington County Department of Environmental Services (DES) spokeswoman Myllisa Kennedy. Workers from the nearby Arlington Mill Community Center construction site spotted an overflowing manhole cover and helped to contain the spill, Kennedy said.
DES estimates that about 6,000 gallons of sewage spilled from the manhole over the course of an hour. The spill was first spotted at 11:00 a.m. and was largely contained by noon, we’re told.
Officials are advising residents to avoid contact with Four Mile Run from Columbia Pike to the Potomac River until further notice. From an Arlington County press release:
Residents are advised to stay away from the affected waters and to keep their pets away until further notice, to eliminate the risk of exposure to untreated sewage. Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters – including wading or swimming – until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams. The recreational areas affected include the following parks adjacent to the streams: Barcroft, Shirlington, Jennie Dean, Allie Freed and Bicentennial Gardens.
The County has posted flyers along the affected areas of Four Mile Run.
It will take about a week for the sewage to work its way out of the stream to the point where the county will declare it safe for humans and pets, Kennedy said. That process would be sped up by any rain the area receives over the next week.
Virginia Department of Transportation officials say they’re waiting for the results of a state police investigation into the death of Alexandria paramedic Joshua Weissman before deciding what to do about the gaps. As of today the investigation is “still ongoing,” according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
Weissman fell through one of the gaps while trying to reach a burning vehicle in the HOV lanes of I-395 on Feb. 8. He fell some 20 to 30 feet into the creek and was knocked unconscious, authorities said at the time. Weissman later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
From below, the two gaps are clearly visible between the mainline of northbound I-395, an HOV ramp, and the HOV lanes themselves. Beneath the gaps are the Four Mile Run bike trail, a rocky berm littered with debris from the homeless individuals who sleep under the bike trail, and a shallow section of Four Mile Run with a jagged concrete structure in the middle.
The gaps pose the biggest danger to police and firefighters, who often will reach an incident in the HOV lanes via the mainline of I-395. If the incident happens to be on the bridge, as it was in the case of the Feb. 8 car fire, those public safety personnel will have to either hurdle over the gap or walk around it, in order to reach the scene and come to the aid of the victims.
One police official tells ARLnow.com said the gaps are “really not a problem in daylight” but can be especially dangerous at night. There are other gaps between lanes along I-395, including in the area of S. Joyce Street in Pentagon City, the official said, adding that he’s personally aware of at least two close calls involving officers nearly falling through the gaps.
Arlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz says that placing a grate between the spans may help eliminate the danger.
“It seemed to me that something like a grating… might be a cheap and adequate solution to that problem,” Schwartz said. He added, though, that it “makes sense” for state police to conclude the investigation before “rushing out to do something that in the end might not be a complete solution.”
Joshua Weissman, 33, was on the scene of a vehicle fire on I-395 near Shirlington when he fell through a small gap between the northbound and HOV lanes, on the bridges over Four Mile Run. The Bristow resident, a seven-year veteran of the Alexandria Fire Department, fell into the creek below and was knocked unconscious.
Weissman was extricated from the water by rescuers from Arlington and Alexandria, and was rushed via ambulance to Washington Hospital Center. In the end, however, Weissman’s severe head injury was proved to be fatal.
The Alexandria Fire Department is providing counseling for its personnel and for the Weissman family, including his wife. The couple did not have children. Weissman was based out of Alexandria’s Seminary Road fire station.
The county’s big event is on Sunday at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford St) from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The tribute includes a variety of performances, including a keynote address from Howard University’s Dr. Wilmer Leon, gospel music from Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir, and a dance tribute by Urban Artistry. The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) will be accepting non-perishable food donations at the program.
Monday is a nationwide Day of Service to honor Dr. King’s call to serve. AFAC is looking for volunteers to help with food drives at the Giant grocery stores on Columbia Pike (2501 9th Rd S.), at Virginia Square (3450 Washington Blvd), at Lyon Village (3115 Lee Hwy) and at Bailey’s Crossroads in Falls Church (3480 S. Jefferson St). Anyone interested can sign up on the AFAC website.
Volunteer Emergency Support Team (VEST) members will host an event on Monday outside the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run) from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. to distribute emergency preparedness information. Volunteers can sign up on the VEST website.
Also as part of the Day of Service, volunteers are invited to spend Monday afternoon at Long Branch Nature Center to remove invasive plant species. Participants must be at least 10 years old and are encouraged to wear rugged clothes and work gloves. For more information, contact Steve Young at 703-578-4419.
Individuals and families are invited to help in the neighborhood and stream clean-up near Barcroft Park on Monday from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Volunteers will clean up portions of Four Mile Run Road and stream. Due to the popularity of this event, volunteers must register.
Arlington government offices, schools and libraries will be closed on Monday. Metro and ART will be running on a holiday schedule. Metro will also be doing major work on the Orange and Blue lines during the long weekend, starting at 10:00 p.m. on Friday.