The Ballston property manager that replaced planters to prevent people from sitting says benches will soon be installed in their place.
Stephen Gilbert, the vice president of marketing for Gates Hudson, the property manager of the building adjacent to the Ballston Metro station, said the company plans to install 15 benches near the station and next to the new planters by mid-August.
Additional “street furniture” is also planned for the busy bus stop.
“This is a cross promotion with the Ballston [Business Improvement District] and we are investing nearly $28,000 to improve the seating area,” Gilbert wrote in an email to ARLnow.com. “The bus shelters currently in place and managed by WMATA and Arlington County are not adequate in our opinion.”
Gates Hudson replaced the planters earlier this month because, as an employee told ARLnow.com, “they’re meant to be planters and that’s it… A lot of people were loitering there, damaging the plants and leaving trash.” Gilbert said that the new planters’ capstones “were only a small part” of Gates Hudson’s master plan for improving the space on N. Stuart Street.
“I ensure you that once you see what we have under construction you will see that we are creating a very convenient and comfortable space for commuters and pedestrians,” Gilbert wrote.
Several planters on the sidewalk of N. Stuart Street in Ballston, just outside the Ballston Metro station were recently rebuilt to stop people from taking a seat.
The planters were replaced by property manager Gates Hudson this month, and while the trees are still there, the flat surface around the soil has been converted into a sharply angled corner designed specifically to prevent people waiting for the buses from sitting down.
“They’re meant to be planters and that’s it,” a Gates Hudson employee told ARLnow.com. “There are many benches outside, and the goal was to have people sit there and not on the planters. A lot of people were loitering there, damaging the plants and leaving trash.”
In a letter to the Arlington County Board, Metrobus rider Jana Lynott said the property owners around the Metro station had “vitriol” for transit riders who are perceived as loiterers.
“As a regular Metrobus 1A rider, I was offended by the insinuation that we riders were viewed as dirty loiterers that bring down commercial property values,” Lynott wrote. “I’m not convinced that my fellow transit riders are a scourge upon society that need to be dealt with through exclusive design… Why in Arlington, VA, a community that invests millions of dollars a year into recruiting new riders to our world-class transit system, would we possibly embrace such a backward notion of transit accessibility? Please. Do not let this exclusive design become standard practice in our community.”
Photos courtesy Jana Lynott
County Official: I-66 Doesn’t Need More Lanes — Arlington County officials have repeatedly expressed opposition to widening I-66 inside the Beltway. Now one county official is even decrying a proposal to add lanes to I-66 outside of the Beltway. Arlington County Commuter Services chief Chris Hamilton says the plans “are not only maddening, but they fly in the face of everything we’ve learned about induced demand… it’s impossible to build ourselves out of congestion because the roads themselves cause traffic.” [Mobility Lab]
ACPD to Hold ‘Chief-for-the-Day’ Contest — The Arlington County Police Department is holding an essay contest for children ages 8-12. The kid who submits the best answer to the question “what does it mean to be a police officer?” will be named “chief-for-the-day.” The winner will be “picked up at his or her house on August 5, 2014 by a patrol car and driven to the ACPD to spend the day involved in fun filled activities.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Beauty Queen Almost Married Dean Martin — Beauty queen and Washington-Lee High School grad Gail Renshaw, who was named Miss USA-World in 1969, nearly married the late Rat Pack crooner Dean Martin. In the end, Renshaw turned down Martin’s marriage proposal, moved to Prince George’s County, worked as a dialysis nurse and married a banker. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Native Goes to China, Voices TV Show — Yorktown High School grad Emily Jeffers wasn’t sure about what exactly she wanted to do for work when she traveled to China on a one-way ticket and a tourist visa. Eventually, she found employment dubbing a state-produced Chinese sitcom into English for syndication on South African TV. [InsideNova]
Potomac Yard Metro Station Progress — Federal transit authorities have narrowed down the list of potential locations for a Potomac Yard Metro station from four to two. The two remaining locations are also the two least expensive options studied — one is relatively close to the existing Potomac Yard shopping center while the other is close to the Potomac Greens neighborhood. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Arlington Man’s Death Ruled a Homicide — The death of Arlington resident Michael Hrizuk in D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood has been ruled a homicide. Hrizuk, 57, died of a “blunt impact head injury” during a reported assault. [Washington Post]
De la Pava Takes Over As Treasurer — After more than 30 years in office, Frank O’Leary stepped down as Arlington County Treasurer Monday. Stepping up to replace him is his chief deputy, Carla de la Pava, who was sworn in to serve as treasurer in a ceremony at county government headquarters. De la Pava is so far unopposed in an upcoming special election that would allow her to continue serving out O’Leary’s term, which runs through Dec. 2015. [InsideNova]
TDM Is the ‘Secret to Arlington’s Success’ — The man who heads Arlington County Commuter Services, the county’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) agency, says TDM is the “secret to Arlington’s success.” Commuter Services Bureau Chief Chris Hamilton says ACCS programs like BikeArlington, WalkArlington, The Commuter Store and the Car-Free Diet campaign have helped to keep cars off the street even as Arlington’s population has grown. [Mobility Lab]
‘Orange Line Disaster’ at Courthouse — The Orange Line was a “disaster” at the Courthouse Metro station this morning, commuters reported via Twitter. According to various reports, delays started when a train with a door problem offloaded at Courthouse. Passengers crowded onto the platform at the station, which was reportedly un-air-conditioned. At some point, a passenger on a train fainted, prompting that train to hold at the station while medical personnel responded.
Photo courtesy James Mahony
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Police and paramedics swarmed the Ballston Metro station after a stabbing Sunday night.
According to WMATA, a man in his late 20s was stabbed on the station platform around 8:50 p.m. He suffered life-threatening stab wounds to his bicep and abdomen and as of Monday morning was listed in critical/stable condition, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.
The station manager helped apply pressure to the man’s wounds, potentially saving his life, Stessel told WJLA.
Two people were taken into custody in connection with the stabbing but so far only one has been charged. According to Stessel, 52-year-old Jeffrey Kenneth Hicks, of no fixed address, has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding.
The circumstances that led to the stabbing are still under investigation, but Stessel said “it appears that it began as a verbal altercation that escalated to physical violence.”
Trains single-tracked past the station Sunday night while police collected evidence. On Twitter, witnesses described seeing “blood all over the platform.”
@unsuckdcmetro Someone was just stabbed on inbound platform at Ballston. Blood all over the platform. MTPD on scene, local PD en route.
— Meredith Peruzzi (@etoile) May 5, 2014
Photo courtesy @firstdownbar
(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) Construction has created a glaring safety hazard in the middle of Rosslyn, and so far no one has done anything about it.
The new, $50 million high-speed elevator bank to the Rosslyn Metro station is now surrounded by construction fences — blocking the sidewalk in both directions — and leaving pedestrians only one way to go: across three lanes of N. Moore Street, a road heavily used by buses and taxis, in a mid-block stretch without so much as a marked crosswalk.
Making matters worse: pedestrians have limited visibility thanks to a large fenced-in equipment paddock in one of the lanes. Also, construction barriers across the street force pedestrians to cross diagonally, into traffic.
At one time, pedestrians could access the skybridge that runs across N. Moore Street. No longer: the skybridge is closed and awaiting demolition next weekend.
In the few minutes ARLnow.com was photographing the area this afternoon, a woman pushing a stroller could be seen craning her neck around the equipment paddock to try to spot oncoming traffic. Unable to see around a stopped bus further down the street, the woman and several people with rolling suitcases started crossing. As they crossed, an approaching taxi had to come to a quick stop to let them pass.
Some relief may be in sight next week.
Mike Reisinger, the project manager with Clark Construction, said on Monday and Tuesday next week, crews will be installing asphalt “within the depression in front of the WMATA elevators and opening the plastic barricades on the other side of Moore. This will allow foot traffic to cross in a perpendicular fashion rather than meander.”
Power Issues at Rosslyn Metro — All elevators and escalators were out of service at the Rosslyn Metro station from around 5:30 to 7:00 this morning. The outage was due to a “power problem.” Metro temporarily provided bus service from the station for those who needed it. [Twitter]
County Board to Buy Douglas Park House — The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to approve the purchase of a house on S. Quincy Street. The house abuts Douglas Park and would be torn down to expand the park. The expansion plan is predicated on the Board also purchasing neighboring houses when they come on the market. [Sun Gazette]
Crowded Congressional Primary – Election officials are expecting a turnout of about 64,000 votes for the upcoming Virginia Eighth District congressional primary. With 11 candidates in the race, it could take as few as 12,000 votes to win. “What we are talking about here is a Democratic nominee, who is almost certainly assured of election given this district, could be elected with about the size of a decent size high-school basketball game fan base,” a political science professor told reporter Michael Lee Pope. [Connection Newspapers]
Arlington Couple’s Wedding Profiled — Washingtonian profiles the wedding of Arlington residents Lynn Chheang and Ryan Hill, whose first date took place in the former Ray’s Hell-Burger. [Washingtonian]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Video: Man Falls from Clarendon Metro Escalator — Newly-released video surveillance footage shows a drunk man falling off the side of the escalator at the Clarendon Metro station. The incident happened just before 2:00 a.m. in late November. The man survived the fall, as did several others captured on video falling at other Metro stations. [NBC Washington]
State Appointment for Former GOP Candidate — Patrick Murray, the two-time unsuccessful Republican challenger to Rep. Jim Moran (D), has received a state appointment from Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). Murray, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was appointed to the Board of Veterans Services. [Commonwealth of Virginia]
Arlington’s Nazi Past Discussed — Earlier this month about 100 residents participated in a discussion about the presence of the American Nazi Party headquarters in Arlington during the 1960s. To some the Nazis were an intolerable symbol of racial and religious hatred. To others they were a nuisance to be ignored. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy Brad G.
Police say 20-year-old D.C. resident John Wiley and an unnamed juvenile male were arrested around 9:40 p.m. after they stole a bike from the station. One of the suspects had a set of wire cutters in a backpack, police said. Together, the suspects were charged with Grand Larceny and Possession of Burglarious Tools.
Arlington County Police have been cracking down on bike thefts recently, after declaring over the summer that such thefts were at an all-time high. Last week, the police department announced that a 42-year-old repeat offender named Michael Cullen had received a whopping 12-year jail sentence for a series of bike thefts.
The north entrance to the station — the side that includes the skybridge escalator — will also be closed while WMATA starts Phase 1 of its renovation of the Rosslyn station.
“The bridges themselves are going to stay open, but the access to the escalator will be closed off,” said WMATA’s site supervisor, who declined to give his name.
One alternate way to reach the skybridges is via a staircase between N. Moore and Lynn Street, next to the new Rosslyn Metro elevator entrance.
The renovations are expected to take until April to complete. During that time the two up-and-down escalators will be replaced with staircase. Also, a connection to the new skyscraper next door, 1812 N. Moore Street, will be built, the official said.
The escalator removal is taking place despite earlier objections from the North Rosslyn Civic Association, which called the escalators “the only assistance provided to residents in negotiating the tremendous change in elevation between the center of Rosslyn and the adjacent community to the West.”
The removal of the escalators is necessary to make way for a new Arlington Commuter Store.
After Phase 1 is finished, the north side of the station will reopen and the south side will close for construction, the supervisor said. Phase 3 will be renovations to the N. Ft. Myer Drive entrance.
This weekend, the sidewalk that runs along the 1812 N. Moore project, north of the station, will reopen, and the temporary pedestrian walkway that juts into the street will close.
The new entrance and elevators to the Rosslyn Metro Station are now open.
Across N. Moore Street from the main entrance, three high-speed, high-capacity elevators are ready to take on passengers. This morning, as a rainstorm rolled in, Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada, County Board member and Metro Board member Mary Hynes, and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) spoke at the project’s unveiling.
“What a wonderful improvement for the people who work here,” Hynes said. “It’s a big safety improvement, and it’s 20 seconds on the elevator compared to two and a half minutes on the escalator.”
Besides the elevators, the construction also includes a new station manager kiosk, new pay stations, an emergency stairwell and a connecting passageway. County officials say the changes will improve passenger flow. The county paid 42.2 percent of the project’s $49.9 million cost; the rest of the funding came from a mix of other governmental and private sources.
“It is a symbol of this community’s and our partners’ hard work, and another amenity for one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business,” Tejada said.
The Rosslyn Metro Station serves almost 30,000 riders per day, according to WMATA, and ridership is expected to only increase when the Silver Line opens.
The project’s completion doesn’t mean the end of the daily construction activity Rosslyn residents and office dwellers have gotten used to. Construction will continue in the area around the Metro station as 1812 N. Moore Street, the new skyscraper being built adjacent to the Metro stop, nears completion.
(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) The long-stalled plan to build a western entrance to the Ballston Metro station is taking a small step forward thanks to new transportation funding.
On Tuesday, the Arlington County Board approved a funding plan for the county’s share of revenue generated by Virginia’s new transportation legislation. The plan, which will be submitted to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), calls for $500,000 to be allocated to planning for the new Metro entrance during the current fiscal year.
The entrance is already partially designed. As proposed, it will be located at the intersection of N. Fairfax and Vermont Streets, allowing easier access to the new developments along Glebe Road in Ballston, the Bluemont neighborhood and other points west. The station will feature two street-level elevators and escalators, connecting to an underground passageway and mezzanine (with an attended kiosk) that will lead to the train platform.
“The County’s goal with the new funding is to advance the design of the West Entrance and proceed to construction,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Laura G. Smith. “In the next few months, the County will assemble [stakeholders] and reexamine the previous preliminary design.”
In another set of funding priorities submitted to NVTA, for fiscal years 2015-2017, the Board requested $56 million over those three years to cover 75 percent of the estimated $75 million cost of constructing the new entrance. Additional funds for the project are expected to come in the form of a $11 million developer contribution — tied to an approved but thus far unbuilt redevelopment project — and from other local and state sources.
The funding request would suggest that the entrance could be built by 2018, but the construction timeline does not appear to be set in stone.
“The Ballston Metro West Entrance Project has a lot of moving parts,” Smith noted.
Also included in the FY 2015-2017 priority list is $10 million for the planned realignment of the eastern end of Columbia Pike, between the Air Force Memorial and the Pentagon. Arlington is hoping to reach an agreement with the military on the realignment plan and a related land exchange “within the next six months,” said Smith.
Four Arlington transportation projects were approved by NVTA this summer. Other transportation funding requests made by the County Board on Tuesday include:
- Clarendon Circle pedestrian safety improvements ($2 million)
- Crystal City street improvements ($2 million)
- New Arlington Transit bus maintenance facility ($2.25 million)
- Streetcar project management ($2.5 million)
- New traffic cameras and signals ($1 million)
- Design of improvements to Glebe Road ($2 million)
(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Work on the Metrorail system this weekend will affect all of the lines that travel through Arlington, including shutting down the Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Disruptions begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13, and continue through closing on Sunday, September 15.
Blue line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals (every 12 minutes during daytime hours, and every 15-20 minutes at other times) in two segments: between Largo Town Center and Pentagon City, and between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road. Yellow Line trains will also operate at normal weekend intervals in two segments: between Mt. Vernon Sauare and Pentagon City, and between Huntington and Braddock Road.
Customers on the Blue and Yellow lines will need to take free shuttle buses between Pentagon City and Braddock Road while the two stations are closed. Express buses will operate non-stop between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Customers should add up to 15 minutes of travel time. Local buses will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City, making intermediate stops at Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Customers should add up to 20 minutes of travel time.
Riders should note that there are also alterations to the times for final trains. The last Yellow Line train from Huntington to Braddock Road will depart 22 minutes earlier than normal to allow for shuttle bus connections. It will depart at 2:12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 11:12 p.m. on Sunday. The last Blue Line train from Franconia-Springfield to Braddock Road will also depart 22 minutes earlier, at 2:07 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and at 11:07 p.m. on Sunday.
WMATA says the closures are due to crews replacing junction boxes and performing various maintenance and rehabilitation tasks.
Due to work in the District, customers riding the Orange Line this weekend should expect trains to come at 20 minute intervals.
More information about all of the work on the Metrorail system this weekend can be found on WMATA’s website.
Police say the man was outside the Metro station around 4:00 a.m. when a male suspect approached him from behind and asked for a cigarette. The suspect then demanded money and when the victim refused to hand over any cash, the suspect took out a knife and slashed him across the right forearm, police said.
“The victim sustained a large laceration and was transported to Virginia Hospital Center,” said police. “The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’7” tall and 180 lbs. He was wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers at the time of the incident.”
The suspect is wanted by police on expected charges of malicious wounding and attempted robbery.
The intoxicated man was sitting on a wall and fell backwards, according to Arlington County Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Fitch. He became wedged between the platform wall and the station wall.
About a dozen firefighters and medics are attempting to render assistance to the man. Due to his large size, however, the man has thus far been unable to get back up to the platform, Fitch said.
So far, no disruptions to Metro service have been reported as a result of the incident.