It’s the First Day of Spring — At 7:02 this morning, astronomical winter ended and spring officially began. Spring also means longer days. Currently, we’re gaining about two and a half minutes of daylight per day. [Capital Weather Gang]
EFC Has Fullest Metro Parking Lot — East Falls Church has the fullest parking lot in the Metro system, with a 120 percent usage rate. Demand for the lot is only expected to increase when the Silver Line opens. [Washington Examiner]
Playground Coming to Long Bridge Park — The Arlington County Board yesterday approved $186,000 in funding for a new playground at Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City. [Sun Gazette]
La Tagliatella to Open in Shirlington — La Tagliatella, which is starting to wrap up work on its new restaurant in Clarendon, will be opening a second Arlington restaurant in the former Extra Virgin space in Shirlington. La Tagliatella is a global, European-based Italian restaurant chain. The Arlington restaurants will be the company’s third and fourth locations in the U.S. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Board Approves Neighborhood Projects — As expected, the County Board yesterday approved $2.5 million in funding for five Neighborhood Conservation projects. The funds will come from bonds approved by Arlington voters. [Arlington County]
Suspicious Package Shuts Down Va. Square Metro — A suspicious package shut down the Virginia Square Metro station yesterday for part of the evening rush hour. The package was determined to be non-hazardous, according to police.
Traffic Calming Coming to Two Streets — Two Arlington streets — S. Hudson Street between Arlington Blvd and 2nd Street, and 7th Road S. between Carlin Springs Road and Greenbrier Street — will be receiving traffic calming measures. The measures include a narrowing of an intersection, a radar speed display, bike lane markings and additional signage, but no speed bumps. [Sun Gazette]
Support Website for Arlingtonian Accused of Murder — A support website has been set up for Chris Deedy, an Arlington resident and State Department security agent who is accused of second degree murder in the 2011 shooting of a man in McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii. Deedy’s lawyer says his client was protecting others when he fatally shot the 23-year-old Hawaiian. “Law enforcement officers shouldn’t be treated like murderers when they protect the public,” says the website. [DeedySupport.com]
Interview with Kanninen — The Democratic website Blue Virginia interviewed Barbara Kanninen, who’s running for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board against incumbent James Lander. Asked why she’s running, Kanninen said: “If we don’t have competition, we don’t have anyone even trying to prove that they’re going to be a good School Board member.” [Blue Virginia]
Update at 10:55 a.m. — Metro reports the Yellow Line is no longer single tracking, but there may be residual delays in both directions. The crowding issue at the Pentagon City and Pentagon stations has ended.
(Updated at 9:45 a.m.) Metro riders reported severe crowding at the Pentagon City and Pentagon stations this morning. It’s a trickle down effect of a person being struck and killed on a Yellow/Green Line track at Gallery Place in the District.
Twitter has been abuzz with customers reporting potentially dangerous crowding conditions and sending photos like those above. Passengers report train drivers saying that due to back-ups and delays from the situation, trains are skipping certain stations or turning around. Other passengers reported not being allowed to enter the crowded Pentagon City station.
WMATA released the following information on its website:
Green and Yellow line trains are single tracking between Mt Vernon Sq and Archives with delays in both directions due to a person struck by train at Gallery Place.
The incident occurred at approximately 8:00 a.m. when an adult male placed himself in the path of an arriving northbound train. The incident appears to be intentional.
Customers should expect delays in both directions on Green & Yellow Line. Yellow Line customers in Virginia should consider using Blue Line as alternate.
Photos via @dingramdc and @ferresej
(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) A man was arrested early this morning after allegedly fleeing from police and crashing his car next to the Arlington National Cemetery Metro entrance.
Around 12:20 a.m., a car took off when an Arlington County police officer attempted a traffic stop on Route 110, near the Pentagon. Following protocol, the officer did not attempt to chase the car. A short time later, however, another officer reported via radio that a car had run off Memorial Drive and crashed through some bushes next to the Arlington National Cemetery Metro station. The car, a Saturn sedan, was later confirmed to be the same one that did not stop for the first officer.
The alleged driver of the car was found about an hour later during a search of the surrounding area, parts of which are heavily wooded. The search involved police dogs, and the U.S. Park Police Eagle helicopter. In addition to Arlington County and U.S. Park police, Metro Transit police assisted at the scene.
A row of bushes between the escalators and elevator to the Metro station suffered noticeable damage as a result of the wreck. The car came to rest about 10 yards away from fencing around the station. We’re told it would have been visible from the station platforms.
It’s unclear whether there were any passengers in the car, but as of 2:30 a.m. no other arrests had been made.
The driver is being held on a $6,000 bond, and was charged with misdemeanor hit and run, felony eluding and driving while revoked, according to police.
Police and firefighters are again on the scene at the Pentagon City Metro station for a hazardous materials situation.
Eight bottles filled with a cloudy, yellow liquid were found on both platforms at the station, according to scanner traffic. The situation mirrors an incident on Friday when 10 bottles filled with a yellow liquid were found on the platforms.
No word yet on what the substance might be. Citing an “ongoing investigation,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel declined to divulge details.
“I can say that the substance in the previous incident was not harmful,” he said.
So far, the station has remained open during this morning’s investigation.
Update at 10:05 a.m. — The incident has been cleared and emergency responders are leaving the scene.
Update at 11:15 a.m. — The all-clear has been given and emergency responders are leaving the scene.
Earlier: Arlington County firefighters and Metro Transit Police are on the scene of a hazardous materials investigation at the Pentagon City Metro station.
Initial reports suggest a series of nearly a dozen soda bottles filled with a yellow-ish liquid were found on the platform. Authorities are trying to determine whether the liquid is hazardous.
The station is still open during the investigation, with only a portion of the platform closed to foot traffic.
“The station is open,” WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel tells ARLnow.com. “They’ve just cordoned off a portion of the platform. Trains continue to service the station normally.”
Stessel said authorities are “investigating unattended items.”
Metro Transit Police officers with bomb sniffing dogs could also be seen searching the area around the station entrance,
Earlier this year, an anti-Obama advertisement in the Clarendon Metro station containing the words “Go to hell, Barack” sparked controversy. Now, the same group behind that ad has another incendiary advertisement in the station.
“Obama: Socialist or Fascist?” the ad reads. “Just listen to the dead before you vote.”
The ad is from the maker of a DVD documentary called “Sick and Sicker: When the Government Becomes Your Doctor,” which — as we reported in February — sharply criticizes President Obama’s health care reform law and compares it to publicly-funded health care in Canada.
In a statement previously issued to ARLnow.com, a Metro spokesman said the agency cannot legally refuse ads based on political content.
WMATA advertising has been ruled by the courts as a public forum protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and we may not decline ads based on their political content. WMATA does not endorse the advertising on our system, and ads do not reflect the position of the Authority.
Photo courtesy Frank G.
A small fire broke out underneath an escalator at the Ballston Metro station this afternoon as a result of welding work.
“An escalator contractor was welding at the time on the unit, and that a spark from the welding work was the likely cause” of the fire, WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel told ARLnow.com. There were no injuries, smoke has been fully ventilated from the station, and “all protective systems worked as intended,” Stessel said.
Workers managed to extinguish the flames before firefighters arrived, according to ACFD spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
The escalator, one of three between the station and an upper bank of escalators, remains out of service.
Pentagon City Elevator Contract Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a contract to design a second elevator for the busy Pentagon City Metro station. The estimated $5.1 million elevator construction project has already received $4.5 million in federal funding. [Arlington County]
Arlington’s Roads Rate ‘Poor’ — More than one third of Arlington County’s 974 mile street network is in “poor” condition, based on the county’s own assessment. The reason for the poor road conditions may lie with spending. The county has been spending significantly less on paving than the amount recommended by its top streets official. [Patch]
Board Considers Solar at Supermarkets — County Board members say they’ll consider a Green Party proposal to either force or encourage supermarkets to install solar power arrays on their roof. The solar power could help refrigerate food during power outages. [Sun Gazette]
Maywood Neighborhood Profiled — The historic Maywood neighborhood of Arlington is “endearing and peaceful” and “extremely friendly,” according to a radio profile. [WAMU]
Renovations Revealed at Crystal City Hotel — Last week the 343-room Crystal City Marriott officially unveiled its $7 million redesign, which included new common areas like a new bar/restaurant and a new fitness center. [Marriott]
Flickr pool photo by Lifeinthedistrict
With about 36,000 combined entries and exits per weekday, the Pentagon City station is the second busiest station in Northern Virginia — second only to Rosslyn — and the 10th busiest in the entire Metro system.
A study conducted by WMATA in 2010, at the request of Arlington County, concluded that a new elevator should be built on the west side of S. Hayes Street, near the Pentagon City mall, and across from an existing elevator on the east side of Hayes.
In a report, county staff says a second elevator will help improve access to the station for those with disabilities and for those with strollers and luggage, by eliminating the need to cross S. Hayes Street in order to use an elevator.
“Additionally, it will provide redundancy, in accordance with current WMATA design criteria, when one of the elevators is out of service for any reason,” staff added.
The contract for the initial engineering is worth $358,359, and is scheduled to be voted upon by the Board on Saturday. Once the preliminary engineering is completed, the county plans to proceed with a design-build construction process in order to save time and money.
The budget for the entire project includes $4.5 million in federal funds, $400,000 in state funds and $200,000 county bond funds.
Rosslyn Outdoor Movies Start Tonight — The season of weekly, political-themed outdoor movies in Rosslyn starts tonight with the 1999 Matthew Broderick/Reese Witherspoon flick “Election.” The movie is scheduled to start at dusk.
Anti-Harassment Ads at Metro Stations — WMATA has placed anti-sexual harassment public service announcements in 28 Metro stations. In Arlington, the ads can be found in the Ballston and Clarendon Metro stations. [Stop Street Harassment]
Opening of Refurbished Affordable Apartments — Community members, local elected officials and affordable housing advocates gathered Wednesday to celebrate the preservation and renovation of Buckingham Village 3 — now renamed “Buckingham Gardens” — as committed affordable rental housing. Ninety-two apartments have been renovated and a new community center has been built as part of the project. [Arlington Mercury]
Margot MacDonald to Play Encore -- Arlington’s own singer/songwriter Margot MacDonald will be performing at Encore Stage, a local youth-oriented theater. The performance will take place this Saturday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre (125 S. Old Glebe Road). “Join us for an evening of Margot’s own eclectic rock and favorite covers,” Encore says on its website. “Recommended for ages 10 and up.” [Encore Stage & Studio]
Court Rules Against Doggie Daycare Mural — A federal appeals court has determined that Arlington County did not violate a business owner’s free speech by forcing her to cover up a mural that county code interpreted as a commercial sign. Wag More Dogs owner Kim Houghton had argued — unsuccessfully — that the mural was artwork and the county’s action violated her First Amendment rights. [Associated Press]
‘Leek American Bistro’ Coming to Ballston — A new American-style bistro is coming to Ballston. “Leek American Bistro” will feature “upscale” dishes in a casual atmosphere. Chef/owner Nathan Spittal says the new eatery, located in the former Thai Terrace space at 801 N. Quincy Street, will focus on locally-sourced ingredients and locally-sourced beer and wine. Spittal is the former owner of the BBQ Banditos food truck. [Washington Business Journal]
Board Approved Clarendon Metro Improvements — The Arlington County Board last night approved a $765,000 contract to transform the small park area around the Clarendon Metro station into a “more active, accessible, multi-use plaza.” Planned improvements include landscaping, paving, covered bike parking, seating walls and movable tables and chairs. [Arlington County]
Arlington Business Hall of Fame Inductees — Three men were inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame during a ceremony yesterday morning, May 22. The ceremony also included the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s annual ABBIEs business award presentation. [Sun Gazette, Arlington Mercury]
Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil
The North Rosslyn Civic Association (NRCA) opposes the decision to replace the existing escalators to the plaza level with a granite staircase. The county says the change is necessary to accommodate a Commuter Store that will be built on the ticketing level. The store essentially will be built under the current escalator area, which will not provide adequate access for performing maintenance on the escalators.
According to Lisa Maher, Development Plan Review Supervisor in the county’s Department of Environmental Services, staff pored over the plans for months trying to find a different place to put the store, but couldn’t locate an area that had the necessary amount of space.
In a letter to the county, NRCA said the two escalators — one up and one down — are “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 escalators are especially useful for Metro riders who have already made the excruciating climb up from the underground station and need a bit of a breather, residents said.
Maher says there’s been an ongoing conversation with residents in the area and attempts have been made to address concerns. However, the Commuter Store is still slated to go in, and the escalators are still slated be removed.
“The community said, let’s put it somewhere else in neighborhood,” Maher said. “But there’s just nowhere else to put it, and it’s most valuable when near the station.”
The Commuter Store is just one of the improvements that will be coming to the Rosslyn station. Since 2007, the county has been working with the developer constructing an office building adjacent to the Metro. As part of the permit approval, the developer agreed to provide renovations to the Metro entrance.
Some of the other improvements include providing an ADA accessible entrance on Ft. Myer Drive, adding more lighting to the station mezzanine, installing new tile flooring and renovating the existing skybridge.
On Saturday, portions of the agreement will come up for approval at the County Board meeting. The Board is expected to approve the measures, allowing the county manager to alter the number of public improvements the developer must provide.
Staff also recommends the Board approve the provision permitting the county to pay for a portion of the improvements if the cost exceeds the developer’s budget. The cost would be determined after the list of improvements is negotiated and finalized.
A woman had a double whammy of a bad day this past Friday night/early Saturday morning. Not only was her bike stolen from outside the Ballston Metro station, but a man tried to rob her at knifepoint while she was walking home after finding out that her bike was stolen.
ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 04/14/12, 1400 block of N. Glebe Road. On April 14 at 12:20 am, after returning to Arlington from DC to find her bike stolen from the Ballston Metro stop, a female walking home alone was approached by an unknown subject with a knife. The suspect demanded the victims purse, causing the victim to begin screaming for help. The suspect fled the scene on foot without the purse and is described as a white male, early-mid thirties in age, approximately 5’6” to 5’8” tall, with a semi-muscular build and a chipped or missing front tooth. He was wearing a Phillies jersey and jeans at the time of the attempted robbery.
The rest of this week’s Arlington County crime report, after the jump.
Two weeks after the brouhaha over an ad in the Clarendon Metro station that told President Obama to “go to hell,” the County Board went into its closed executive session with a curious objective: to discuss ”the county’s authority to regulate the content of advertising on Metro property.”
All we know about the discussion is that quote, read by County Board Chair Mary Hynes before adjourning the Board’s Tuesday afternoon meeting. The executive session is legally considered private and, reached for comment, a county spokesperson said they’ve been advised by the County Attorney to not discuss any details.
Even if the county can find the authority to regulate ads in Arlington Metro stations, though, there remains the question of whether removing political ads would be Constitutional. In explaining why it allowed the inflammatory “go to hell” ad, Metro issued the following statement: “WMATA advertising has been ruled by the courts as a public forum protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and we may not decline ads based on their political content.”