Civ Fed: Start Over on ‘Public Land’ Process — The Arlington Civic Federation voted last night for a resolution calling on Arlington County to restart its “Public Land for Public Good” affordable housing initiative. The compromise measure called for a more robust community process to discuss the idea of using publicly-owned land to build affordable housing facilities. The county’s Long Range Planning Committee has made a similar recommendation, as we reported yesterday. [InsideNova]
Stagnant Assessments Poses Challenge — Stagnant real estate assessments are causing problems for local governments around the D.C. region. In Fairfax County, it’s contributing to a $173 million budget gap. Arlington has fared better, thanks to its location adjacent to the District and the higher proportion of commercial real estate in the county (commercial property owners pay about half of all county taxes). Still, the poor state of the regional office market means that localities can’t rely on a rise in commercial property taxes to bail out homeowners. The choice for local governments, says a George Mason University study, is now to raise taxes on homeowners, cut spending or both. [Washington Post]
GW Parkway Reopens After Sinkhole Repairs — The southbound lanes of the GW Parkway reopened early this morning after repairs were made to a large sinkhole that formed between Spout Run and Route 123.
(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) The southbound lanes of the GW Parkway are closed between Route 123 and Spout Run due to a large sinkhole.
The Federal Highway Administration was called to the scene to inspect what’s being described as “washout damage” and a “large depression in the roadway.” According to U.S. Park Police, the sinkhole is 10 feet wide and 5 feet in length.
The parkway remained closed throughout the Tuesday morning rush hour, causing delays for commutes. Repairs are expected to begin later today.
Southbound traffic is being diverted onto Route 123. Northbound lanes of the parkway will remain open.
This morning, Park Police issued the following statement.
On December 1, 2014 at approximately 6:51 pm United States Park Police officers came upon a crash involving 4 vehicles and discovered a large sinkhole on the Parkway the vehicles avoided.
As a result SB George Washington Memorial Parkway is closed between Route 123 and Spout Run Parkway. Determination was made to close both southbound lanes until Federal Highway Administration responds to repair. The National Park Service will be meeting with Federal Highway Administration for engineers to assess the damage and determine next steps.
Southbound traffic has been diverted onto Route 123, and the ramp from 123 onto SB GW Parkway will remain closed until further notice. Parkway is open SB south of Spout Run. NB lanes are open.
The public can use the Clara Barton, 50, Glebe Rd as alternate routes. It is not yet determined how long the roadway will remain closed.
Update at 4:10 p.m. — The southbound lanes are now expected to reopen early Wednesday morning.
A bicyclist was struck and injured by a car near Memorial Circle last night.
The accident happened between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. on a northbound ramp from the GW Parkway to Memorial Circle and Memorial Bridge.
Initial reports suggest a taxicab rear-ended a car that had stopped to let a group of bicyclists cross the road at a crosswalk. The car then struck at least one of the cyclists.
U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods would only confirm that a cyclist was struck and was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Tree Predicts Cold Winter — Local folklore holds that the seeds of the American Persimmon tree can predict how harsh the coming winter will be. According to Arlington County naturalist Alonso Abugattas, the seeds are predicting an especially cold winter. [Arlington County]
‘Purple Out Day’ in Arlington — Today is Arlington’s second annual Purple Out Day, which encourages residents to wear purple to promote domestic violence awareness. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. [Arlington County]
Security Stepped Up at Tomb — The military increased security at the Tomb of the Unknowns yesterday following the fatal shooting at the Canadian war memorial in Ottawa. [WJLA]
Lane Closures on GW Parkway — Between 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. today, a northbound and a southbound lane of the GW Parkway will be closed in the area of the Yellow Line Metro bridge, for underside inspection of the bridge.
Donnellan Wins Leadership Award — Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has been recognized with a Visionary Leadership Award. The award, from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, “recognizes top government officials for their outstanding contributions to metropolitan Washington and their home jurisdictions.” [MWCOG]
Arlington Arby’s Sells Smaller Smalls — The Arby’s restaurant at Ballston Common Mall — and elsewhere, apparently — sells small fountain beverages that are labeled on the outside as “22 oz.” but which actually hold only 21 ounces of liquid. [Consumerist]
The collision happened around 8:30 Sunday night. A driver vehicle heading northbound struck a pedestrian just before the exit to Spout Run. The striking vehicle then drove off, continuing on northbound, according to U.S. Park Police.
The pedestrian, who has not been identified, is “currently being treated at a local hospital and remains in critical condition,” police said Monday night. It’s unclear why he or she was on foot in or along the roadway.
Investigators don’t have a description of the vehicle, and are asking witnesses to come forward.
“Commuters traveling north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway that may have witnessed this crash or may have information is asked to contact the United States Park Police Tip Line at 202-610-8737,” Park Police said.
NPS is preparing a new transportation plan and environmental assessment for the heavily-trafficked zone, Park Service Superintendent Alexcy Romero announced Thursday.
“The purpose of the [environmental assessment] is to reduce conflicts between trail, walkway and roadway users and to increase overall visitor safety around the memorial area,” Romero said in a statement.
The Park Service installed temporary flashing lights last winter at a crosswalk on the northbound GW Parkway, prior to the circle, to urge drivers to slow down for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer 2012, various other safety improvements – pedestrian warning signs, rumble strips for drivers and directional pavement markings – were installed.
The changes were made in response to a series of accidents and near-misses.
Comments on new safety improvements can be submitted through September 30 on the Park Service’s planning website.
The Park Service asks that commenters include their addresses, phone numbers and email addresses in their remarks, warning that “personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time.”
Additionally, park staff will set up information booths at Alexandria farmers markets and near Memorial Circle.
The public will have opportunities to review the transportation plan following its release this fall, according to NPS. The Park Service is expected to make a final decision on the plan by the summer of 2016.
Photo (top) via Google Maps
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters and paramedics responded to a serious multi-vehicle accident on the GW Parkway this afternoon.
The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. near the Windy Run overpass, northwest of Spout Run. Three vehicles collided in the northbound lanes, sending one of the cars off the roadway and down an embankment, nearly to the Potomac below.
Two people were in that car; at least one was trapped following the accident and had to be extricated by a rescue team.
One of the victims was flown to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, via a U.S. Park Police helicopter, with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Sean O’Connell. The other victim in the car was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
A third person was injured in one of the other cars involved in the accident. That individual was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with moderate, non-life-threatening injuries, O’Connell said.
All lanes of the GW Parkway were closed between Spout Run and Route 123 following the accident, according to WTOP. Closures remain in place as police investigate the wreck.
Photo courtesy @CAPT258
One Found Dead in Submerged Car — A person was found dead in a submerged car near the GW Parkway’s Humpback Bridge Sunday afternoon. D.C. and Arlington firefighters were called to the scene after a Duck Tours boat operator saw the submerged car. The car reportedly plunged into the Potomac while traveling northbound on the Parkway. [WTOP, WJLA]
BRT Debuts in Arlington — Metroway, Metro’s first bus rapid transit system, made its debut over the weekend. The service runs from Crystal City to the Braddock Road Metro station in Alexandria, utilizing dedicated lanes along Route 1. [Washington Post]
CAIR Banquet Coming to Arlington — The Council on American-Islamic Relations will hold its 20th annual fundraising banquet in Crystal City next month. The event will take place Sept. 27 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Announced participants include retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who’s scheduled to be the keynote speaker. [CAIR]
Fewer than Half of Area Residents are Native-Born — Fewer than half of the residents of D.C., Maryland and Virginia were born there. The number of native-born residents of the District, Maryland and Virginia has been falling since at least 1970. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by erkiletian
(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) U.S. Park Police are on the scene of a multiple vehicle accident that’s snarling traffic in the southbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway, near I-395.
Traffic is being diverted around the accident but the entire area is congested. Park Police recommend avoiding the area.
Rescue crews attended to one injured person who sustained non-life threatening injuries. The Arlington County Fire Department confirms the injured person was an off duty Park Police officer.
ACFD confirms a Park Police helicopter landed at the scene to assist and transported the injured officer to Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. From Twitter:
– BADGE-258 (@CAPT258) August 12, 2014
Investigators are hoping to learn more about a fatal wreck on the George Washington Parkway earlier this month.
The crash happened just before 4:45 p.m. on July 2. A black BMW traveling southbound near the first overlook crossed over the center median and collided head-on with a Hyundai SUV, according to U.S. Park Police.
The driver of the SUV, identified as Michael Poling of Vienna, Va., was flown to the trauma center at Medstar, where he succumbed to his injuries. The driver of the BMW was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
So far there’s no word of charges being filed. Police are asking witnesses and those with information about the crash to come forward to assist with their investigation.
U.S. Park Police issued the following press release about the crash this afternoon.
Detectives from the United States Park Police (USPP), Criminal Investigations Branch, are investigating a three car vehicle crash which occurred N/B George Washington Memorial Parkway in the area of the 1st Overlook.
On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, at approximately 4:43 pm units from USPP District Two responded for the report of a motor vehicle crash with one victim trapped. Fireboard and EMS personnel arrived on scene and extricated the trapped operator identified as Michael Alan Poling of Vienna, Virginia from the vehicle. Mr. Poling was transported by USPP Eagle 1 to Medstar where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Preliminary investigation reveals that a black BMW traveling in the left lane S/B on the GW Parkway in the area of the 1st Overlook crossed over the grass median into oncoming traffic of the N/B GW Parkway lanes. The BMW entered the travel lane of a Hyundai SUV Mr. Poling was operating striking it head on and additionally struck a Honda traveling in the left lane of N/B GW Parkway.
The operator of the BMW was transported to GW Hospital by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries but was held for observation.
The Criminal Investigations Branch is asking for the assistance of commuters that were traveling S/B on the GW Parkway that witnessed the crash or that may have information. Anyone with information is asked to call the United States Park Police Tip Line at 202-610-8737.
Photo courtesy @CAPT258
(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) The northbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway were shut down during Wednesday’s evening rush hour due to a fatal crash.
A three vehicle accident near the second overlook left one driver entrapped in his car and gravely injured. A second driver was also injured, while the third was unhurt. There were no passengers in the vehicles, according to U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods.
The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter landed just north of the accident and flew the first victim to the trauma center at Medstar, where he was later pronounced dead. The second victim was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.
Northbound and southbound GW Parkway traffic was closed following the accident and the helicopter’s landing. The Parkway remained closed until just before 10:00 p.m. while police investigated the crash, Woods said.
One driver stuck near the accident scene said via Twitter that the northbound lanes were “a parking lot.” Northbound traffic was diverted onto the Spout Run Parkway during the closures.
The flashing lights will be installed at the crosswalk on the northbound GW Parkway, just prior to Memorial Circle.
“The purpose is to improve safety and increase awareness by slowing down traffic when pedestrians and bicyclists intend to cross the Parkway,” the Park Service said in a press release, adding: “Trail users need to be aware that the flashing beacon is a warning, not a stop sign.”
The lights will be temporary — in place for about a month. Park officials will consider the effectiveness of the installation during an upcoming evaluation of long-term safety and traffic improvements on the parkway.
The installation of the flashing beacon is expected to take place at some point next week.
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) A Ferrari crashed and caught fire on the GW Parkway this morning, prompting an emergency response that then led to an accident involving a fire department vehicle.
The first wreck happened around 9:30 a.m., in the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway under I-66, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.
The Ferrari lost control on the rain-slicked road and struck the bridge, coming to rest on the side of the parkway. The Ferrari then caught fire, quickly becoming fully engulfed before the flames were extinguished by firefighters. The driver was uninjured, according to Marchegiani.
Just past 10:30 a.m., a pickup truck rear-ended an Arlington County Fire Marshal’s truck that was stopped in the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway, adjacent to the first wreck. A third vehicle was also hit but no injuries were reported, Marchegiani said.
The dual wrecks shut down lanes and caused major backups for GW Parkway commuters. Two trucks are currently on scene to haul away the vehicles involved.
Video (above) courtesy David Johnson. Photos (below) courtesy @Chief288.
The incident happened around 3:00 on Sunday afternoon. It’s unclear where exactly the woman fell, though there is a trail near the overlook.
The woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the fall, according to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, but the terrain made it difficult to get her to an ambulance. Instead, a technical rescue team was called to the scene and managed to lower her to a waiting D.C. fire boat.
The woman was transported to George Washington University Hospital. No additional information was available about the incident.
Photo via Google Maps
The car flipped around 3:00 p.m. as a result of an accident with at least one other vehicle. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police re-opened the parkway to traffic at 4:20 p.m.
The car is the second to overturn in Arlington Wednesday, following an SUV that flipped after a collision in Cherrydale Wednesday morning.
Photo via MWAA