Ex-Marine Convicted in Murder Case — Former Marine Jorge Torrez has been convicted of first degree murder in the killing of fellow Navy petty officer Amanda Jean Snell at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The trial will now enter the sentencing phase, with federal prosecutors seeking the death penalty. In a separate case, Torrez was previously convicted of rape in Arlington County and sentenced to life in prison. [Washington Post]
Dems Now Regretting Special Election Schedule? — Arlington Democrats may now be regretting the timing of yesterday’s County Board special election. Because departed County Board member Chris Zimmerman pushed back his last day in office, the special election was held after the filing deadline for nominations in the general election. That leaves Alan Howze as the sole Democrat on the ticket, despite the large margin of his loss Tuesday. [InsideNoVa]
Wardian Wins North Pole Marathon — Prolific Arlington marathon runner Michael Wardian has won the 2014 North Pole Marathon. Wardian finished the marathon, held in sub-zero temperatures, with a time of 4:07:40. He “described it as the toughest race he’s ever run.” [Facebook]
Major Delays on Orange Line This AM — Orange Line riders faced significant delays this morning due to a signal problem outside Stadium-Armory. One rider told ARLnow.com via email that the line was “seriously f–ked,” with “delays and overflowing platforms.” [Twitter]
East Arlington Remembered — East Arlington, a long-standing African-American community that was razed to make way for construction of the Pentagon and its road network in the 1940s, were remembered in a program hosted by the Arlington Historical Society. [Falls Church News-Press, YouTube]
Arlington will play a pivotal role in the regional economy with the coming of the Silver Line, suggests Metro planning director Shyam Kannan.
Speaking at GMU’s Va. Square campus last week, Kannan said that the Silver Line and development around Tysons Corner will make the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor the economic “fulcrum” of the D.C. area. Development pressure — particularly demand for new apartments and condos — “only becomes more pronounced” with the Silver Line, he said, thanks to our central location between the “downtowns” of the District and Tysons Corner.
That should come as a welcome bit of prognostication for Arlington County, which has been fretting about economic competition with a newly Metro-accessible Tysons Corner.
The Silver Line, however, will hasten the necessity to build a second Potomac River crossing between Rosslyn and the District. Already, service adjustments are putting a squeeze on the Blue Line through Rosslyn, reducing train frequency and increasing crowding. Metro envisions building a second Rosslyn Metro station, which will connect with a new Metro line through Georgetown via a second Potomac River tunnel. That will help alleviate the increasingly problematic “bottleneck” between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom.
Kannan acknowledged that overcrowding and frequent equipment breakdowns are a problem, but said Metro is working to solve both.
“For those of you who have experienced the service disruptions… you’ve seen that there are impacts to our daily lives,” he said. “Metro needs to continuously invest in its resources.”
Another “long, long range plan” is to build an express line on the Orange Line which will bypass the R-B corridor, Kannan said. And South Arlington was not left out of Metro’s plans: a second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station is being proposed.
All of this will come at a cost. Kannan made sure to emphasize, for the Arlington officials in the audience, that Arlington and other local jurisdictions will either need to increase their contributions to Metro in order to fund its long-range capital plans, or help the agency obtain a dedicated funding stream — i.e. some sort of a regional tax.
“The question as a region we have to ask ourselves is, ‘are we okay going into the middle of the 21st century with a transit system that functions the same way it functioned in 1976?” he asked. “I don’t think that really spells economic strength or prosperity or livability.”
“Arlington has been a great partner,” Kannan said. “Metro is hitching its wagon to Arlington County. What bet are you willing to make now?”
The plans discussed by Kannan are a long way off, likely a decade or much longer. In the meantime, Kannan says Metro hopes to increase the capacity of its increasingly crowded rail system — which is “busting at the seams” — by switching from a combination of 6- and 8-car trains to all 8-car trains. But even that seemingly simple solution is proving to be an expensive uphill battle.
“We’re fighting hand to hand combat right now to make sure we just have the funding to keep the system going and to get to 8-car trains,” he said.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared in ARLbiz, our weekly local business e-newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
WMATA says trains were single-tracking between Ballston and Clarendon due to a disabled train at Virginia Square. As of 9:35 a.m., WMATA says normal service has been restored.
Riders reported crowded station platforms and having to wait more than half an hour for an inbound train.
(Updated at 5:50 p.m.) The three two-month old elevators at the Rosslyn Metro Station were all out of service this morning, leaving commuters to use the long escalators on the other side of N. Moore Street.
The problem, according to Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet, was caused after Metro workers turned off power to the station after closing Thursday night. The new elevators failed to restart this morning when the power was turned back on.
“We apologize to Rosslyn Metro riders,” Balliet said in an email. “We’re working with [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority] and our contractor to address unforeseen issues like this in the future.”
The elevators were designed and constructed by DES and opened Oct. 6. Friday morning was not the first time there have been problems with the high-speed elevators, which are designed to carry thousands of passengers a day. WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel said that the elevators are under a yearlong warranty with the manufacturer, meaning Metro is not responsible for maintaining and repairing the elevators.
Two of the elevators returned to normal operations around 10:30 a.m., Metro spokeswoman Morgan Dye said in an email. The third elevator has been out of service — and continues to be out of service — due to an unrelated issue.
“It is not uncommon for there to be a need for fine tuning during the initial ‘break-in period’ on any new machinery — whether it be elevators, escalators, railcars, buses, etc.,” Dye said. ”Working through the fine-tuning of this kind of equipment is routine and expected.”
Balliet echoed Dye’s words about the break-in period.
“Many of the problems experienced since opening are typical for an elevator break-in period,” he said. “In fact, the number of disruptions had been decreasing week by week until this power outage for track work. We’ll continue working with our contractors to ensure higher levels of reliability.”
Veterans Day Ceremony in Clarendon — Members of local American Legion posts gathered at the Clarendon War Memorial on Monday to dedicate a temporary plaque bearing the name of six fallen servicemembers who hailed from Arlington. [Patch]
Fewer Trains Makes for Crowded Commute — Metro commuters who had to work on Veterans Days experienced delays and crowding due to Metro running on a reduced holiday service schedule. [Washington Post]
Parents Keep Pushing for FLES — Parents whose children are in elementary schools that don’t yet have the Foreign Language in Elementary School program are keeping up the pressure on school and county officials. “Despite paying the same tax rate… we are not receiving the same education,” said one Taylor Elementary parent. FLES provides elementary students with just over two hours of Spanish language education a week. [Sun Gazette]
Solar Lab at Va. Tech Ballston Building — In addition to helping to lower energy costs for the building, a solar panel array on the top of the Virginia Tech Research Center in Ballston is serving as a laboratory for graduate students. [Virginia Tech]
Krusinski Case Goes to Trial — The case against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the former chief of the U.S. Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch who was accused of grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman in Crystal City, goes to trial today. A jury is expected to start hearing arguments in the case this morning.
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
The Metrorail Twitter account suggests several problems are plaguing the Orange Line this morning, including a switch problem at West Falls Church and disabled trains at Dunn Lorning and Metro Center. Inbound Orange Line trains were also offloaded at Clarendon and East Falls Church to return to Vienna for service, Metro said.
On Twitter, passengers have been reporting long waits on both the Orange and Blue lines.
Update at 9:50 p.m. — WMATA has issued a statement apologizing for the “significant delays.” The disabled train was rendered inoperable by a brake malfunction, which also made it impossible to tow, WMATA said.
A train that became stuck just outside the Clarendon Metro station caused major delays on the Orange and Blue lines tonight.
The Vienna-bound train stopped outside the station between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. due to a mechanical problem. Immediately, commuters heading from D.C. to Virginia on the Orange and Blue lines started experiencing delays as Metro began single-tracking around the crippled train.
On Twitter, passengers reported overcrowded platforms, delays in excess of an hour, and a mad rush for buses, taxis and Uber cars outside stations. A compilation of some of the tweets can be found below, after the jump.
The disabled train was finally moved around 7:30 p.m. Riders were stranded on it for about 90 minutes.
“Passengers were transferred to a second train that was brought to the disabled train,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told ARLnow.com. “They walked from the front car of the disabled train through the last door of the rescue train. Their total delay was quite significant due to train’s location on a grade.”
“Metro Transit Police boarded the train in the tunnel to make sure everyone was okay,” Stessel added. “Car maintenance techs also boarded while it was disabled.”
No medical issues were reported among the passengers.
Photo courtesy @afranz409
There are significant delays on the Blue and Yellow lines due to a track problem near Reagan National Airport.
The delays are impacting both inbound and outbound trains on both lines. From WMATA:
Metrorail customers on the Blue and Yellow lines will experience delays of approximately
2030-35 minutes this morning as trains share a single track between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Shortly before 5 a.m., an accidental leak of hydraulic fluid on the outbound track created a slippery condition for trains. Personnel are on the scene working to clear the fluid to allow two-track train operations to resume. The clean up effort is expected to last through rush hour.
Route 1 Streetcar Compromise? – Arlington and Alexandria officials are considering a compromise that could end their reported impasse over the planned Route 1 streetcar project. Under the compromise, the streetcar line that starts in Crystal City would end at the new Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria, instead of at the Braddock Road Metro station, as originally proposed. [Connection Newspapers]
Cocaine Trafficking Ring Busted — Twenty-eight individuals have been arrested and charged with operating a cocaine trafficking ring in Northern Virginia. Five of those arrested are said to be Arlington residents. The Arlington County Police Department and other local agencies assisted the FBI in the investigation. [U.S. Attorney's Office]
The incident was first reported by WMATA as a “track problem” around 7:15 p.m. Minutes later the agency announced that Blue and Orange Line service was temporarily suspended in between D.C. and Arlington due to a “minor” derailment. No injuries have been reported and WMATA says passengers on the train were “safely moved to platform.”
Trains started single tracking around 7:30 p.m. and are now running with a 20 minute headway, according to Metro. The agency is advising Blue Line passengers to use the Yellow Line between D.C. and Virginia, if possible.
Update at 3:10 p.m. – WMATA reports the Foggy Bottom station has reopened.
Earlier: Metro riders should expect to experience delays on the Orange and Blue lines due to a person struck by a train at Foggy Bottom.
The Foggy Bottom station is currently closed. Orange lines are single tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom. Blue lines are single tracking between Arlington Cemetery and Foggy Bottom.
Delays are expected to continue during the police investigation into the incident.
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 1:00 p.m. — Metro says via Twitter that crews have completed repair work on the cracked rail.
Blue and Orange Line Metro trains are single-tracking through parts of Arlington due to a cracked rail at Rosslyn. As of 11:55 a.m., Metro crews were reported to have repaired 50 percent of the crack.
Blue and Orange line trains are experiencing delays due to a cracked rail at Rosslyn. At this time, Orange Line trains are single tracking between Ballston and Foggy Bottom, and Blue Line trains are single tracking between Arlington Cemetery and Foggy Bottom.
An estimated time of repair will be provided when known.
Customers traveling on the Blue or Orange line during today’s midday hours should allow 15 minutes of additional travel time.
WMATA also said via the agency’s Twitter account that every other Orange Line train heading toward Arlington from D.C. will “turn at Foggy Bottom back to New Carrollton.”
This is the third cracked rail that Metro has reported in as many weeks.
Metro Apologizes for Thursday Night Delays — WMATA has apologized for leaving riders stranded for up to an hour on Thursday night. A power failure at Metro’s command center in Landover, Md. caused a communications breakdown that disrupted service between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. late Thursday night/early Friday morning. [TBD]
Arlington Student Honored for Essay — An Arlington high school student has won an essay contest sponsored by Dominion. Sam Bosley, of the Langston High School Continuation Program, wrote an essay for Dominion’s Strong Men Strong Women program — which seeks “essays about African American leaders who make an impact on students today.” Bosley’s essay on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was named the winner for Northern Virginia. As a winner, Bosley will receive a laptop computer from Dominion and Langston will receive a grant for $1,000. [Dominion]
W-L Gymnastics Champs Chow Down on Donuts — After winning a third straight National District championship, the Washington-Lee High School girls gymnastics team indulged in a bit of a tradition for Arlington’s gymnastics squads: stopping for donuts at a Krispy Kreme store on Route 1 south of Alexandria. [Sun Gazette]
Just before 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, a man was struck by an outbound train at the Clarendon Metro station, throwing the evening commute into chaos.
As rescuers worked to free the man from underneath the train, power was shut off to the third rail and trains were stopped around the station. With almost nowhere else to go, Orange Line trains started offloading passengers at Rosslyn. Soon, the Rosslyn station started filling up with people — so many people that the escalators were shut down so they wouldn’t become overloaded.
Shortly after that, police were called in to help with crowd control. Via police radio, officers expressed concern that the crowds were so heavy on the platforms that people might start falling onto the tracks. Later, a mass casualty medical response was dispatched to the station as people started getting ill while trying to walk up the long escalators.
Many riders that night expressed complaints about a lack of communication and direction from Metro personnel at the Rosslyn station. After a two-week review, however, Metro has concluded that while some mistakes were made, the shutdown was, in fact, handled well.
How would you grade Metro’s overall response on Oct. 11?
Update at 9:40 a.m. — Normal service has been restored between Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport. That will likely result in a couple of crowded trains running through Arlington stations, as residual crowds of stranded riders at Braddock Road clear out.
Thanks to flooding near Potomac Yard, the Blue and Yellow Lines have been split in two between Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport this morning.
But while riders were treated to disaster movie-like scenes at the Braddock Road Metro station, where a crush of humanity lined up for shuttle buses to Reagan National, Yellow and Blue Line riders in Arlington said the morning commute was pretty average.
“Pentagon City crowded but not terrible,” Twitter user @smmccue told us. “No trains listed on arrivals board.”
“Not too bad. Slightly crowded, but nothing out of the ordinary,” said @nemesisgal. “Yellow Line train seemed a bit empty, but I just thought it was the August Effect.”
WMATA says it is pumping water in the flooded area.
“Service will be restored as quickly and safely as possible,” the transit agency said.