County Board Nixes TJ Elementary Plan — The Arlington County Board voted last night to refuse to allow Arlington Public Schools to build a new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, at least for now. Libby Garvey, a former school board member, was the lone dissenting voice on the 4-1 vote. She agreed with the school system that new elementary school seats are urgently needed in South Arlington. The board majority said the school system needs to go back and study alternatives again, since the elementary school could have negative impacts on the surrounding community. “You have to be a little more crowded for awhile,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes told school officials. [Washington Post, Arlington County]
Board Approves Overnight Gas Sales at 7-Eleven — Just down the street from Thomas Jefferson Middle School, on S. Glebe Road, exists a 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station that heretofore has not been allowed to sell gas from midnight to 6:00 a.m. The condition was put in place by the County Board in 1992, due to concern about traffic, noise and other neighborhood impacts. On Saturday the Board approved, with neighborhood support, a use permit change that will allow gas to be pumped 24/7. [InsideNova]
Board Approves Pentagon City Apartment Building — Also on Saturday, the County Board approved a new 20 story, 453 unit apartment building at 400 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City. The developer of the project agreed to a nearly $10 million community benefits package and to building to LEED Gold sustainability certification standards. [InsideNova]
Jury Duty Phone Scam Returns — Once again, someone is calling Arlington residents, claiming to be a law enforcement officer and demanding payment over the phone because the call recipient supposedly failed to appear for jury duty. As it did last March, the police department is reminding residents that this is a scam. [Arlington County Police]
Octogenarian Still in the Marriage Business — Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark has a profile of Gerald Williams, who at age 82 is still performing 25-30 civil marriage ceremonies per week from a basement office in Courthouse. Williams was also profiled in a short documentary called “Arlington is for Lovers?” that was produced in 2010. [Falls Church News-Press]
The Arlington County Police Department is looking for a man suspected of breaking into a Lee Highway gas station over the weekend.
Police say the man entered the gas station Sunday night, stole cash and caused damage to the business before fleeing. He escaped, but was caught in the act on a surveillance camera.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call police. From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a suspect involved in a burglary incident over the weekend at an Exxon Gas Station.
The suspect broke into the gas station, located in the 4700 block of N. Lee Highway, shortly after 8:00 p.m. on January 18, 2015. The lone suspect was captured on surveillance video causing damage to the business before stealing the cash register from behind the counter. He fled with the register and an undisclosed amount of money.
The subject is described as a black male in his 30-40s and was wearing a dark leather jacket, tan pants and black beanie skull cap.
If anyone has information on the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective James Stone of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703.228.4245 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Target Eyes Rosslyn — A vacant storefront at 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn may become home to the D.C. region’s first TargetExpress, a smaller, grocery-oriented version of the big box retailer’s stores. So far, Target has not confirmed the news. The storefront has previously hosted Rosslyn BID-sponsored pop-up market events. [Washington Business Journal]
Key Bridge Rehab Planned — The D.C. Department of Transportation is planning to begin a two-year rehabilitation project on the Key Bridge this spring. Most of the work will focus on the bridge’s substructure so traffic impacts will be limited. Other planned work includes new LED streetlights, stronger barriers between the road and the sidewalk, and a new paint job for the bridge’s fence. [Georgetown Dish]
Sub $2 Gas in Arlington — The average price of a gallon of regular grade gasoline in Virginia fell to $1.99 over the weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. That’s the lowest statewide average price since May 2009. So far in Arlington, only one gas station is reported to have $1.99 gas: the Arlington Auto Service station at 5200 Columbia Pike. [VirginiaGasPrices]
AYD to Hold SOTU Watch Party — Arlington Young Democrats will be holding a watch party for tonight’s State of the Union address. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd). President Obama’s address is scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. For those looking for an ostensibly non-partisan watch party, Busboys and Poets in Shirlington (4251 S. Campbell Ave) is holding a “community watch event” starting at 8:00 p.m. [Arlington Young Democrats]
Blind Woman’s Luggage Returned Thanks to TV Station — WJLA’s “7 On Your Side” segment helped a blind Arlington resident retrieve her lost luggage at Reagan National Airport. The bag, reportedly containing all of Jessica Kyriazis’ winter clothes, was lost for several days by American Airlines due to circumstances arising from “bad weather.” [WJLA]
Taylor Gourmet Now Open at DCA — A Taylor Gourmet is now open at Reagan National Airport. It’s the latest in a line of trendy local restaurants that are opening at the airport this year, including Cava Grill, &pizza, Bracket Room, Lebanese Taverna Grill, Kapnos Taverna, and El Centro D.F. [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
A car ran into the front of a gas station in Bluemont this morning.
The incident happened around 9:30 a.m. The driver of a car somehow lost control and ran into the front of the clerk’s booth at the BP station at the corner of Wilson Blvd and George Mason Drive.
The car only dented the building and no one was injured. Despite the scare, the gas station has remained open to customers.
The incident happened around 7:45 p.m. at a gas station on the 3300 block of Lee Highway, just east of Cherrydale and west of I-66.
Police say a woman was pumping gas when she saw an employee with his pants down, masturbating in one of the garage bays.
Police were called and Arlington resident Bishnu Bahadur, 37, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure.
The cheap gas was organized by the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation, a group that’s in favor of increased domestic energy production in the U.S. and critical of the Obama administration’s energy policies. Among those on hand for the promotion were former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R), who stopped by to lend support, and the “Gas Can Man” a smiling gas can mascot that has been appearing at similar events in Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere.
Organizers say they planned to provide the cheap gas for about 150 motorists between 7:00 and 9:00 this morning. They said drivers started lining up a half hour before the event in order to take advantage of the offer. Some of the drivers, organizers said, asked whether they could still fill up even though they were Obama supporters (yes, they could).
Two Arlington police officers helped direct traffic during the event, preventing drivers on busy Columbia Pike from queuing up for the promotion. Still, traffic on eastbound Columbia Pike was slow as drivers stopped to ask the officers why they weren’t allowed to block the Pike’s right-hand lane in order to wait for one of the pumps to open up.
Signs placed around the station during the event blamed President Obama for higher gas prices.
“No CHANGE to fill my gas tank!” said one.
“Can Obama,” said another.
The $1.84 per gallon price of gas reflects the price just before President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, in the midst of the country’s economic crisis. Organizers said the president’s energy policies have led to an increase in gas prices since he took office.
The price of gas at the Citgo station down the street from the event today was $3.55 per gallon. By comparison, in June 2008 under President George W. Bush, the average price of gas in the U.S. was $4.10 for a gallon of regular unleaded.
Photos by ARLnow.com and courtesy of Scot Crockett, as labeled
Gingrich, a McLean resident, will be appearing at the Pentagon Liberty gas station at 2300 Columbia Pike (next to Bob & Edith’s Diner) from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., when the station will be offering gasoline for $1.84 per gallon. The event is sponsored by the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation, a group that promotes increased energy production in the United States.
The group has been critical of the Obama administration and, in September, connected the “anti-American uprising in the Middle East” to “our nation’s destructive energy policies.”
The $1.84 per gallon price reflects the price of gas in 2008, before President Obama took office and in the midst of the country’s economic crisis.
The New American Energy Opportunity Foundation issued the following press advisory about the event.
Newt Gingrich will appear at a New American Energy Opportunity Foundation “Gas Can Man” event taking place at the Pentagon Liberty Store at 2300 Columbia Pike tomorrow [Nov 2] from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Drivers will be provided with $1.84 a gallon gasoline “to dramatically show voters what life was like before President Obama imposed onerous restrictions on domestic oil and gas exploration that resulted in soaring gas prices,” according to NAEOF spokesman Joe DeSantis.
The “Gas Can Man” promotion has been a “hugely successful effort throughout the state of Ohio this week, attracting immense crowds and media coverage. We expect the turnout in Arlington tomorrow will create quite a stir,” he said. It is part of a massive campaign to educate Americans on how energy independence can be achieved and includes a million dollar national radio ad buy, hundreds of thousands of dollars in newspaper advertising, a major Internet presence, including a video that can be viewed at www.EnergyIsOpportunity.com.
DeSantis explained that the events have been successful in increasing awareness of the fact “that we need to begin tapping America’s enormous energy resources now. We have the resources at hand to produce all the energy we need. Vast amounts of oil and gas are right under our feet. Energy independence is a practical and viable goal.”
The New American Energy Opportunity Foundation is dedicated to empowering citizens and lawmakers to make the changes needed for the United States to reach its full energy production potential, creating more jobs, lower prices, and greater national security.
The plan, from Arlington-based affordable housing developer AHC Inc., would replace the gas station with a six-story, 83-unit apartment building for lower-income tenants.
According to slides from a recent AHC presentation to the Columbia Heights West Civic Association, the building will consist of 15 one-bedroom apartments and 68 two-bedroom apartments. Residency would be reserved for those making below 50 to 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI). The building is also expected to have 6,700 square feet of retail space and a “high-level of energy efficiency.”
The development would be located next to an existing AHC property: the 116-unit Harvey Hall apartment building at 860 S. Greenbrier Street. AHC owns 22 apartment communities in Arlington.
Over the next month or so, AHC will be applying for project funding through Arlington County’s affordable housing investment fund and through federal low income housing tax credits. AHC is pursuing the development via Form Based Code, which does not require County Board approval. Last night the Columbia Pike Form Based Code Advisory Working Group held a meeting to review the project.
By replacing the gas station, AHC says the building will enhance “a site that is underdeveloped and a visual detriment to the neighborhood.” If funding is secured, and if no significant environmental contaminants are found on the site, AHC hopes to begin construction in March 2013 and finish construction in the fall of 2014.
Images via AHC Inc.
Update at 8:00 p.m. — One lane of northbound Glebe Road opened around 6:00 p.m., according to Arlington Alerts.
Update at 5:00 p.m. — The gas leak has been stopped, firefighters are clearing the scene, and the southbound lanes of Glebe Road have been reopened. So far, northbound Glebe Road remains closed.
Update at 4:00 p.m. — Washington Gas has told firefighters that they have located the source of the gas leak and that it will be about another half hour until they can shut off the gas.
All lanes of Glebe Road have been shut down between Route 50 and N. Pershing Drive due to a gas line rupture.
Initial reports suggest that a major gas line was cut by a utility crew, necessitating extended road closures. Crews from Washington Gas are on the scene using digging equipment outside an apartment building at Glebe Road and N. Piedmont Street. The building has been evacuated and a strong odor of natural gas can be smelled a block away.
Police are on the scene directing traffic. Firefighters are monitoring gas levels in nearby storm drains and standing by with fire hoses in hand should something ignite the gas. Pedestrians, including school children walking home from school, aren’t being allowed on a two block portion of Glebe Road.
Drivers should plan for possible significant rush hour traffic impacts as a result of the closure.
Rosslyn Exxon Robbed at Gunpoint — The Exxon at 1824 Wilson Boulevard, in the Rosslyn area, was robbed early Wednesday morning. Police say two men robbed the gas station at gunpoint around 2:50 a.m. “The suspects were both African American men in their 30’s, around 5’10,” Arlington County Police said in the department’s daily crime report. “One subject was wearing a ski mask; the other had a medium complexion and a small mustache.”
Wag More Dogs Case Heading Back to Court — In a newspaper op-ed entitled “Arlington County Scrooges Need Bigger Hearts,” Wag More Dogs owner Kim Houghton says the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear her case early next year. Houghton, with the assistance of the Arlington-based Institute for Justice, is suing Arlington County over a dog mural painted on the side of her Shirlington doggie daycare business. The county has deemed the mural an illegal sign, while Houghton argues that it’s a work of art. [Washington Times]
D.C. Area Cars Are Getting Older — The average age of vehicles on Washington area roadways continues to rise. The average age of a car in the D.C. area is now 9.25 years — a one year increase since 2005. “It is likely that the recession has had a strong influence on people’s interest in and ability to purchase new cars,” according to Arlington’s CommuterPage Blog. The blog also notes that the older car fleet has a “negative impact” on local air quality. [CommuterPage Blog]
Flickr pool photo by mj*laflaca
The Navy Exchange/Quarters K gas station on S. Joyce Street, near the Pentagon, closed for good about a month ago. The Navy Times reports that the station will eventually be demolished as part of the cemetery expansion plan.
The expansion is being made possible by a 2008 land swap deal between Arlington County and the federal government. At some point after 2011, the county will exchange a 4.3 acre parcel of land along Southgate Road — which runs from Henderson Hall to the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street — for 4.3 acres of land on the present Navy Annex site along Columbia Pike.
The county is eying the western portion of the Navy Annex, which will be shuttered and torn down, for a proposed Freedman’s Village heritage center and black history museum. The federal government, meanwhile, plans to eliminate Southgate Road to make way for the aforementioned planned expansion of Arlington National Cemetery.
Another aspect of the expansion plan is playing out in the halls of congress. Arlington’s congressional delegation has been seeking funding for a realignment of Columbia Pike between the Air Force Memorial and S. Joyce Street. The proposed project would eliminate a sharp bend in the road that routes it closer to the cemetery. Instead, the proposed realignment would take the Pike on a more direct path to Joyce Street, through what is now a Defense Department parking lot.
The project promises to “provide additional contiguous expansion space for the Cemetery” while enhancing the streetscape and resulting in “significant improvements in safety, mobility and economic development along the Columbia Pike Corridor.”
Congressman Jim Moran’s office confirmed that the Pike realignment was still in the planning stage but was unable to provide an approximate timeline for the project due to uncertainties regarding funding.
Storm Grazes Arlington — Last night’s storms brought wind and torrential rains to much of the region, but only grazed Arlington. Nonetheless, the storm managed to pack enough of a punch to knock down a large branch in Fairlington, near the intersection of S. Utah Street and 32nd Road.
Arlington Among Fuel ‘Teetotalers’ — Arlington residents spend among the least per month on gasoline, according to an analysis of data from major metropolitan areas by Mint.com. Arlington residents are “teetotalers” at $129 per month spent on fuel. That compares to $112 for D.C. residents and $102 for New York City residents, who spend the least. The biggest “guzzler” was San Jose, Ca. at $216 per month per resident. [CommuterPage Blog]
Sun Gazette Editorial Blasts Feuding Dems — The Sun Gazette has seen enough of the “sad spectacle” of the “uniformly amateurish” primary campaigns of state Senate foes Jaime Areizaga-Soto and Barbara Favola. The paper opines that the feuding Democrats have embarked “on a mission of self-immolation, conspiring for whatever bizarre reason to throw away control of the 31st District.” The war of words in the campaign has opened up an opportunity for Republican Caren Merrick to capture the traditionally Democratic seat, the paper suggests. [Sun Gazette]
Several people have emailed us and asked about the Shell station at 2835 Washington Boulevard in Lyon Park. Fences have been erected around the station and heavy equipment brought in to dig up the concrete around the pumps. That has led some to fear that another area gas station might have fallen victim to development.
Fear not, the station is merely upgrading.
County records show that the station is replacing three underground 10,000 gallon tanks. The construction crew is merely digging to reach the tanks.
Workers we talked to said the station will likely be closed for about a month.
Because of today’s breaking news, we had to push our article on last night’s very, very long discussion of the East Falls Church development plan to tomorrow. As a way of making amends, we bring you a segment from the English-language Russian
propaganda news channel Russia Today, which you may be able to find in a dark corner of your extended digital cable service.
In the clip, a reporter interviews some folks at a Shell station in Arlington about America’s “addiction” to oil (spoiler: people at a gas station are in no hurry to ditch their cars). But the real reason to watch is for the American anchor’s lead-in to the reporter’s story:
And when it comes to the topic of petrol, and America’s appetite for it, we’re like heroin addicts. And as the color of the waters of the Gulf turn from a murky blue to a poop brown, RT’s Lauren Lyster asked Americans, “Can you kick the habit?”
That’s right, comrades, we’re heroin addicts and our water is poop brown. Courtesy of a TV network from the world’s largest oil producer.
As if to make the setup to an otherwise perfectly normal news story more ridiculous, before you press play you’re treated to a photo of a drunk Uncle Sam holding a gas pump.