In September, the county is expected to award a design/build contract for a new elevator that will run directly into the station from the southwestern corner of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street, near the Pentagon City mall.
The elevator will complement an existing elevator on the southeast corner of the intersection.
About 95 percent of the $5 million project will be funded with state and federal funds. The county is hoping that the elevator will be open by Nov. 2014.
Also this year, the county is hoping to award a contract to refurbish and reopen an abandoned pedestrian tunnel that connects the northeast corner of the Hayes/12th intersection to the Metro station’s mezzanine.
The county is hoping to finalize the design of the refurbished tunnel — the design process has been on-going for nearly a decade — and to put the project out for bid by the end of the year.
The tunnel could reopen by the winter of 2014.
Arlington County Transportation Director Dennis Leach suggested that the project has been made more complicated thanks to the tunnel’s proximity to the headquarters of the Transportation Security Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“We’re still working through a few remaining design issues and we have to conclude some property-related negotiations,” he said. “It is a very complicated small project. That tunnel was built as part of a site plan development. We have to work with the adjacent property owner and the adjacent tenants.”
With nearly 35,000 combined entries and exits on an average weekday, the Pentagon City Metro station is the second-busiest Metro station in Arlington — second only to Rosslyn.
Bike to Work Day Tomorrow — More than 12,000 bicyclists around the Washington region are expected to participate in Bike to Work Day tomorrow (Friday). Arlington will host four Bike to Work Day pit stops – in Rosslyn (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Ballston (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Crystal City (7:00 to 9:00 a.m.) and East Falls Church (4:00 to 7:00 p.m.). The annual event is free but attendees are encouraged to register.
Rosslyn Metro Project 85 Percent Complete – The new Rosslyn Metro entrance is over 85 percent complete, Arlington County announced this morning. The $32.6 million project will add a new entrance to the Rosslyn Metro station, featuring three high-speed elevators and an emergency staircase, but no escalators. With the elevator shaft and the emergency stairwell complete, the next step is installing the high-speed elevators.
Tiny Apartments: Solution to Rising Rents? — The average monthly rent for an apartment in Arlington was $1,999 in 2012, a 13 percent jump from one year prior. A recent forum sponsored by the Arlington-based Alliance for Housing Solutions suggested that one solution to rising rents could be smaller apartments. Specifically, the forum focused on sub-400 square foot apartments known as “micro-units.” [Sun Gazette]
Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour on Saturday — The 13th annual Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour will be held on Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m. The line-up this year includes seven new and renovated homes and two gardens. Tickets for the event, which raises money for the Tuckahoe Elementary Discovery Schoolyard, are $20-25. [Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour]
GU May Rent Rosslyn Apartments for Students — Georgetown University is considering renting units in the brand new Slate apartment building in Rosslyn in order to house graduate students. The Slate building, developed by JBG and located on the 1500 block of Clarendon Blvd, has 203 apartment units. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The incident happened at 2:52 p.m., when the man intentionally climbed down to the tracks and stood there, about 15 seconds prior to a train entering the station, according to WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel.
“The train operator saw the man and stopped the train in time,” Stessel told ARLnow.com. “Third rail power was taken down, and the man climbed back onto the platform under the supervision of the train operator and the station manager.”
“The man was not injured,” Stessel continued. “He was transported to the hospital for a psychological evaluation.”
Orange Line delays from the incident have since been cleared, according to WMATA.
Photo via @mikekap3
The county’s BikeArlington program posted the following photo of one of the shelters on Facebook.
“The temporary rack assembly shown here will be replaced this week with 12 permanent racks,” BikeArlington said. “The two bike shelters are designed to accommodate 12 racks each, which together will provide cover for up to 48 bikes.”
“The Clarendon shelters are identical to Arlington’s two existing bike shelters. The first was located at the Shirlington bus station. The second recently opened at the Pentagon City metro station. An air pump and repair stand with basic tools will also be installed at all three bike shelter locations sometime this summer.”
The new bike shelters are part of the larger Clarendon Metro Plaza project, which has resulted in new paving, seating, lighting, landscaping and newspaper racks outside the Metro station. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up this spring and summer.
Photo via Facebook
The stations will close beginning today at 10:00 p.m. and running through closing on Sunday. The closures allow for track circuit replacement, which is a safety measure recommended by the NTSB.
Trains will operate every 15 minutes in two segments: between Vienna and Virginia Square, and between Rosslyn and New Carrollton. There will be free shuttle buses to take passengers between stops from Virginia Square to Rosslyn. Customers using the shuttles should add 15 minutes to their travel time.
To allow for shuttle bus connections, the last train from Vienna to Virginia Square will depart 31 minutes earlier than normal on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The train will leave Vienna at 2:05 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 11:05 p.m. on Sunday.
Riders on the Blue and Yellow lines should also expect delays. Trains will be single tracking between Braddock Road and Pentagon City due to maintenance such as rail tie, fastener and insulator renewal. Blue and Yellow trains will operate every 30 minutes.
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.