(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) Last week, a pro-gun activist cancelled his planned open carry march from Arlington National Cemetery to the District of Columbia. The planned protest has prompted U.S. Park Police to remind the public that D.C. gun laws apply to certain portions of parkland adjacent the the Potomac River.
March organizer Adam Kokesh encouraged supporters to join him on July 4 in publicly carrying loaded rifles during the march, which he dubbed a “non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.” It was scheduled to begin at Arlington National Cemetery, and then continue over the Memorial Bridge into various parts of the District before returning to Arlington.
As widely reported, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier promised to enforce the District’s strict stringent laws, which ban the carrying of loaded weapons. Lanier suggested police might even meet the marchers at the District line. Last week organizers cancelled the march.
Yesterday, U.S. Park Police sent out a reminder that certain parcels of land along the George Washington Memorial Parkway that appear to be in Virginia — such as Theodore Roosevelt Island and Columbia Island, which includes LBJ Memorial Grove, Lady Bird Johnson Park and the Columbia Island marina — are actually in the District. Therefore, D.C. gun laws apply there.
As seen on the USPP-provided map (above), Columbia Island extends from just below the Roosevelt Bridge to the Humpback Bridge. From the press release:
The proposed “Open Carry March on Washington” that was being organized by Adam Kokesh to occur on July 4, 2013, has been cancelled by him.
The United States Park Police… want[s] to make sure the public is aware that portions of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) is located in the District of Columbia, and that their firearm laws applies there.
Theodore Roosevelt and Columbia Islands are located in the District of Columbia. While most of the GWMP is located in Virginia, both the Theodore Roosevelt Island and Columbia Island is actually located in the District of Columbia. A good rule of thumb for Columbia Island, which includes the LBJ Memorial Grove, Lady Bird Johnson Park and Columbia Island marina, is that it surrounded by the Potomac River to the east and Boundary Channel to the west. The following are various access points that lead to Theodore Roosevelt and Columbia Islands in the District of Columbia:
- The foot bridge leading on to Theodore Roosevelt Island from the parking lot off of the GWMP southbound.
- Northbound GWMP and the Mt. Vernon Trail in the area of Humpback Bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island.
- Ramp to Rt. 50 from northbound GWMP to Columbia Island.
- Memorial Avenue to Columbia Island.
- Southbound GWMP south of Theodore Roosevelt Island to Humpback Bridge.
- Boundary Channel Dr. @ Rt. 27 to Columbia Island.
- LBJ Memorial Grove footbridge (leading from the Pentagon parking lot) to Columbia Island.
District of Columbia firearms laws apply on Theodore Roosevelt and Columbia Islands. Before entering Theodore Roosevelt and Columbia Islands, people need to know that they are located in the District of Columbia. This is important because since February 22, 2010, 16 USC 1a-7b generally provides that people can legally possess firearms if they are in compliance with the law of the State in which the park area is located.
It remains the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws. For example, D.C. Code 22-4504(a-1) provides that “[e]xcept as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall carry within the District of Columbia a rifle or shotgun.” While there are a number of public sources to locate the firearms laws, the GWMP’s website at www.nps.gov/gwmp/parkmgmt/firearms.htm has hyperlinks to the firearm laws of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Parkland located in Arlington, meanwhile, is subject to the following Virginia gun laws.
(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) Arlington commuters woke up to something of a surprise this morning: accumulated snowfall.
Arlington County says local roads are “slushy,” and its snow removal crews are in the “Phase 2” of snow removal — working to treat heavily-travelled roads.
“Commuters will encounter slushy conditions on area roads,” the county said in an Arlington Alert. “Use caution when approaching intersections and on/off ramps.”
Arlington Public Schools are not impacted by the snowfall; students are currently on spring break. But snow-covered roads perhaps played a factor led in a number of accidents in and around Arlington this morning.
Accidents have been reported on the northbound GW Parkway near Spout Run and Route 123. The second accident involved an overturned car and northbound traffic is reportedly blocked.
Meanwhile, a rollover accident happened earlier at Reagan National Airport.
A vehicle flipped over on the departures roadway, beyond Terminals B and C on the “return to the airport” ramp.
“[The] driver of the vehicle was transported to a local hospital,” said airport spokesman Robert Yingling. “No other occupants [and] no other vehicles [were] involved.”
The vehicle has since been removed and the road reopened.
Commuters are experiencing major backups on the GW Parkway due to a serious accident in Fairfax County.
The crash occurred on the GW Parkway near Route 123. According to an Arlington Alert email, traffic was shut down in both directions to allow a Medevac helicopter to land.
Backups on the northbound lanes of the Parkway reportedly extend down to the Memorial Bridge
Accident Shuts Down GW Parkway — The northbound GW Parkway was closed this morning before Route 123 due to a reported multi-vehicle accident. Northbound traffic was being diverted onto Spout Run Parkway. [WTOP Traffic]
The Origins of Broyhill Forest — In 1952, homes in Broyhill Forest, a planned community adjacent to the Washington Golf and Country Club, went on sale for $19,000 to $27,000. Falls Church News-Press columnist Charlie Clark, a resident of Broyhill Forest, recalls the Broyhill family and their impact on Arlington. [Falls Church News-Press]
Pistol Certification Class at Arlington Church — A local firearms instruction company is offering NRA First Steps Pistol Orientation courses at Bloss Memorial Church in Lyon Park. The course completion certificate can be used to obtain concealed carry permit in Virginia. While classroom instruction is conducted at the church, live fire portions of the class are conducted at the NRA headquarters range in Fairfax. [Liberty Firearms Instruction]
Energy Journey Game on Saturday — Arlington County is organizing an “interactive life-size board game” that offers residents a chance to “challenge yourself on everyday actions that have an energy impact.” The “Energy Journey Game” starts at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 2). [Fresh AIRE]
‘Georgetown Cuddler’ Conviction Overturned — An appeals court has overturned the conviction of Arlington resident Todd M. Thomas, 26, the accused “Georgetown Cuddler.” [Washington Post]
The accident happened near Lorcom Lane, possibly at the turn-around between Lorcom Lane and the GW Parkway.
Two vehicles were reportedly involved in the wreck and one vehicle flipped on its roof. An individual was stuck in the overturned vehicle but seemed to to be okay, according to scanner traffic.
Drivers should expect significant traffic impacts in the area. It’s currently unclear whether the Parkway is blocked or if there are only lane closures in place.
Photo courtesy @StormPins
A cyclist was struck by a vehicle at the dangerous intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway around 8:15 this morning. The cyclist was treated for a reported knee injury and transported to the hospital.
Although emergency activity from the accident blocked a right-hand lane of Lynn Street, the bigger traffic problem was the ramp to the northbound GW Parkway. According to scanner traffic, ongoing rock stabilization work on the parkway — which has blocked a left-hand lane — is causing traffic on the parkway to slow and, in turn, is causing major delays for traffic merging on to the parkway from Rosslyn.
As of 8:30 a.m., cars heading to the parkway were backed up all the way to Wilson Blvd on Lynn Street.
(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A large stretch of the northbound George Washington Parkway will be shut down this weekend due to rock stabilization work.
All northbound lanes of the parkway will be closed from Spout Run to Chain Bridge. The closure is scheduled to be in place from 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, to 5:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 8, according to the National Park Service.
“Detours will be posted, variable message boards have been placed, but alternate routes are strongly advised,” NPS said.
One possible way around the closure for GW Parkway drivers is to take the northbound Spout Run Parkway to Lee Highway, Lee Highway north to Military Road, Military Road north to Glebe Road, Glebe Road northeast to Chain Bridge Road, and Chain Bridge Road north to back to the GW Parkway. Another alternative route, for drivers heading to the Beltway, is to take Spout Run to Lee Highway to westbound I-66.
The rock stabilization project is being performed through Dec. 19 by the Federal Highway Administration. The goal is to stabilize the “rock slopes” of two sites near Spout Run that experienced recent “rock fall events.” The second site, just north of Spout Run, had a boulder fall onto the parkway as a result of the Aug. 23, 2011 earthquake, according to FHA.
In addition to the closure this coming weekend, one of the three northbound lanes of the parkway near Spout Run is closed through the end of the project, and a second (middle) lane is closed during non-rush hours. On top of that, two additional full weekend closures are also planned this month.
“A second and third full weekend closure at the north slide is tentatively scheduled for the weekends of October 13th and 14th and October 20th and 21st,” according to the Park Service.
Photo via the Federal Highway Administration
(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) The Alexandria Fire Department and U.S. Park Police were on the scene of a car that flipped on the George Washington Parkway this afternoon.
The Honda landed on its roof in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes, in the area between Reagan National Airport and Daingerfield Island. There’s no word on injuries, but we hear that the driver was not trapped and did not need to be extricated by rescue personnel.
As of 2:35 p.m. the scene had been largely cleared, though residual delays remained in the southbound lanes of the parkway.
The first of several planned safety improvements along the GW Parkway will be made today (Friday).
This morning, the National Park Service is expected to starting installing the first of 46 signs (including 9 pedestrian warning signs and numerous trail and route guidance signs) that will be placed near five crosswalks around Memorial Circle. The signs, along with planned directional pavement markings, rumble strips and a trail crossing relocation, are all steps being taken in response to numerous accidents between cars, pedestrians and bicyclists near Memorial Circle.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, officials said the changes, though simple and relatively inexpensive, will help improve the safety of all parkway users.
“We believe these improvements will increase the awareness of the dangers of crossing a very busy parkway for all travelers, whether it be on foot, bicycle or motor vehicle,” said Capt. Scott Fear of the U.S. Park Police. “Our officers have handled many, many crashes related to this area, and we continue to look for ways to improve the safety of the park’s visitors and travelers. The steps being taken should held decrease the crashes and educate the public of the surroundings and challenges they may face as they visit the park.”
“We’re going to see a major reduction in accidents,” promised Rep. Jim Moran, at the press conference. “This is going to affect thousands of people on a daily basis. It’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t interfere with anyone, and it makes everyone feel more safe and secure.”
The changes are all expected to be complete by the end of October. The Park Service, meanwhile, says it will explore more dramatic, long-term changes that could be made to improve safety, including creating a traffic island in the middle of the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway.
Fear said Park Police are considering stepping up speed enforcement along the parkway, but no final decision has been reached yet.
See the full National Park Service press release, after the jump.
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) The National Park Service will be installing a series of safety improvements along the George Washington Parkway, intended to make Memorial Circle and several Mt. Vernon Trail crossings across the parkway less dangerous.
The improvements were announced this morning by Rep. Jim Moran (D). Work on the improvements will start next week and will wrap up by the fall. Among the planned changes, according to Moran’s office:
- “Replacing many of the directional and regulatory signs in the Circle and on Memorial Bridge”
- “Installing rumble strips bumps to alert drivers before each of several specific crosswalk areas”
- “Painting directional arrows, information, and symbols directly onto the pavement to help drivers select proper lanes early”
- “Moving one crosswalk area from where there are two lanes to where it is only one lane wide”
The announcement comes just three days after a cyclist was struck by a car and injured at a trail crossing just south of Memorial Circle. Several other accidents and close calls have been reported at GW Parkway trail crossings over the past two years.
“It’s a confusing area and unfortunately we have a lot of accidents involving bicyclists and motorists and joggers,” U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Brooks acknowledged earlier this week.
Moran says the changes should help make things safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.
“The health and safety of those commuting to work or simply exercising along the Potomac River should never be threatened due to poor infrastructure planning,” the congressman said in a statement. “I am pleased the National Park Service has agreed to put needed fixes into the trails and roads surrounding Memorial Circle. With the scheduled improvements, tourists, commuters, pedestrians, and cyclists will be able to truly share the road.”
According to U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Brooks, the cyclist was conscious and breathing after being struck by the vehicle, and was transported to a local hospital via ambulance. No charges have been filed against the driver, Brooks said.
According to Brooks, cyclists and pedestrians are “required to stop and make sure the roadway is clear before crossing” the section of parkway where today’s accident occurred.
“It’s a confusing area and unfortunately we have a lot of accidents involving bicyclists and motorists and joggers,” he said.
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) The National Park Service is seeking public input on a series of changes proposed for Gravelly Point and the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, which are located along the George Washington Parkway near Crystal City.
The proposed changes, which have been in the works since 2008, are intended primarily to improve access to Roaches Run and reduce trail use conflicts along the Mount Vernon Trail at Gravelly Point. Other changes will “enhance the visitor experience… and enhance the safety of pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists.”
The proposal includes:
- The addition of a boardwalk/pedestrian trail from the Crystal City pedestrian underpass to Roaches Run
- A removable, floating boat launch at Roaches Run
- Either widening the congested trail area at Gravelly Point or building two separate trails — a “through route” and a “pedestrian route”
- A permanent “waterless restroom” located in the southwest corner of Gravelly Point
- Converting the dusty, over-used field at Gravelly Point into two rotating fields or one permanent field with either reduced use or more intensive turf management
- “Interpretive sites” at Gravelly Point that will include “signage detailing cultural and natural histories of the area”
- Improved landscaping at Gravelly Point that will remove invasive species and “frame parkway views across the Potomac to Washington, D.C. based on historic planting plan”
- Additional safety features along the Mount Vernon Trail where it parallels the GW Parkway near Reagan National Airport. Safety features may include reflective lines, protective barriers, or protective plantings.
The National Park Service will be holding a public meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5 to gather input on the options for the Gravelly Point field and the Mount Vernon Trail safety improvements. The meeting will be held at the Indigo Landing Restaurant on Daingerfield Island, located off of the GW Parkway near Alexandria.
Interested parties can also submit comments via the project website. Comments will be gathered through June 22. There will be another opportunity to comment on the options later this year, after an environmental assessment is released for the project.
Once the environmental assessment is released and final project decisions are made, park planner Thomas Sheffer says it could “take a number of years” until the entire project is complete. The timeline is still very much up in the air, and depends on the project’s ability to receive federal funding. Some work, however, may be completed sooner.
“Smaller actions would be considered for more immediate completion by Parkway work crews,” Sheffer told ARLnow.com.
The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway are closed between the Airport Access Road and Slaters Lane in Alexandria following a serious crash.
Around 10:30 a.m., a vehicle somehow lost control and entered the median strip between the southbound and northbound lanes, near Daingerfield Island. The lone occupant, an adult male, was ejected from the vehicle, according to U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser. The victim was flown by Park Police to a local trauma center with what are being described as “serious injuries.”
An accident reconstruction team is on the scene documenting the crash. The southbound lanes just reopened, but the northbound lanes are expected to remain closed for “a couple of hours,” according to Schlosser.
Traffic heading to Reagan National Airport from Alexandria is encouraged to use Route 1 as an alternate route.
Police and firefighters are on the scene of a taxi cab that somehow flipped on its side on the GW Parkway.
The accident reportedly occurred just after the ramp from eastbound Route 50 to the Parkway’s southbound lanes.
The cab driver was able to get out of the cab and is uninjured, according to police radio traffic. At least one lane is getting by the accident scene.
September Sunset — As warm temperatures gave way to fall-like temperatures yesterday, mother nature compensated by providing the D.C. area with an exceptionally beautiful sunset.
Gunfire on the GW Parkway — An SUV was struck by a bullet while driving on the GW Parkway near the Chain Bridge early Thursday morning. [NBC Washington]
Chain Bridge Closure — The Chain Bridge will be closed to all traffic and pedestrians this weekend, from 8:00 p.m. on Friday to 5:00 a.m. on Monday. The closure is one of a series of weekend closures planned through the end of the year. [DDOT]
Pike Outdoor Movie on Saturday — It was supposed to have taken place on Aug. 27, but thanks to Hurricane Irene the outdoor screening of The Blind Side at Penrose Square (Columbia Pike and S. Barton Street) is now being held on Saturday night. The free family-friendly flick will get underway around 8:00 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring friends, a blanket or lawn chair, and (unofficially) a jacket — since the temperature could get down to the low-to-mid 50s on Saturday night. [Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization]
Vintage Crystal Wine and Jazz Fest on Sunday — Crystal City will be holding its annual Vintage Crystal wine and jazz festival from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Latin-themed event will feature tastings of 30 wines and food from more than 20 local restaurants. Latin jazz group Trio Caliente and Latin dancers will perform. Tickets are $10 for food only or $20 for wine and food. [Crystal City BID]
Disclosure: Crystal City BID and CPRO are both ARLnow.com advertisers.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA