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.”
Anti-Obama Metro Ad to Stay — A controversial advertisement in the Clarendon Metro station that tells President Obama to “go to hell” will not be taken down early. Metro General Manager Richard Sarles says he’s offended by the ad, but Metro cannot legally remove the ad due to its content. The ad is scheduled to be taken down on Sunday, March 11 following the end of a one month run. [NBC Washington]
Rosslyn as San Francisco — Civic boosters once tried to brand Rosslyn as “Manhattan on the Potomac.” But Arlington’s new planning director has another comparison in mind. He says Rosslyn reminds him of San Francisco. [Ode Street Tribune]
Couric Honored By State — The late John Couric, who died last year, has been honored by the Virginia General Assembly. Couric, an Arlington resident, was recognized in a memorial resolution sponsored by state Sen. Barbara Favola. In addition to being a Navy veteran, journalist and public relations executive, Couric is also well known for being the father of broadcaster Katie Couric. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Man Busted for Illegal Cigs — A 25-year-old Arlington man has been arrested in Delaware and accused of trying to transport 574 cartons of untaxed cigarettes from Virginia to New York City, where he intended to sell them. [WGMD]
A Democratic lawmaker is speaking out against an inflammatory ad in the Clarendon Metro station that tells President Obama to “go to hell.”
The lighted ad, located near the end of one of platforms, promotes a DVD documentary called “Sick and Sicker: When the Government Becomes Your Doctor,” which sharply criticizes President Obama’s health care reform law and compares it to publicly-funded health care in Canada.
“Barack Obama wants politicians and bureaucrats to control America’s entire medical system,” the ad reads. “Go to hell Barack.”
The Democratic blog Blue Virginia first reported the ad this morning. It’s been in place at the Clarendon Metro station since at least last week, based on a search of Twitter posts.
Now, local Virginia congressman Jim Moran (D) is calling for the “offensive advertisement” to be taken down.
“This advertisement is inappropriate, disrespectful of the President, and should be removed immediately,” Moran said in a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. “The families with children and thousands of tourists who take Metro everyday should not be subjected to such garbage. I understand WMATA vets these advertisements before allowing them to go up, but it seems someone wasn’t doing their job when this ad was approved.”
Though barely visible, at least one Metro rider tried to respond to the ad by writing on it in pen. “That’s President Obama to you!!” the anonymous scribbler wrote.
It’s unclear if the ad has been placed in any other Metro stations.
Update at 4:25 p.m. — Metro has issued a statement about the ad:
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.
Update at 5:15 p.m. — Rep. Moran has issued a statement in response to Metro’s statement.
I am disappointed by WMATA’s defense of this inappropriate advertisement. If their current advertising guidelines do not prohibit profane advertisements on taxpayer-funded property, then WMATA should take the initiative and update them. Profanity has no place in the public forum.
The specific language in the WMATA-approved ad that should be removed is not political, it’s profane. It defames the President of the United States in a way that coarsens the public discourse. All Americans have the right to make their voice heard under the First Amendment. But when we are talking about an advertisement on tax-payer funded facilities, as is the case with Metro, it should meet the minimum standards of propriety. I repeat my call on WMATA to exercise appropriate judgment and remove this offensive ad.
If you’ve been fiending for some sweets that only come around once a year, you’re in luck. Girl Scout cookie booth sales start today.
Here’s a list of some of the places you can pick up boxes of the famed cookies today:
- Ballston Metro (901 N. Stuart St) 3:00-7:00 p.m.
- Courthouse Metro (Clarendon Blvd & N. Uhle St) 3:00-7:00 p.m.
- Crystal City Metro (S. Bell St & 18th St) 3:00-7:00 p.m.
- East Falls Church Metro (2000 N. Sycamore St) 3:00-7:00 p.m.
- Pentagon City Metro (1200 S. Hayes St) 3:00-7:00 p.m.
- Giant Food Stores (3115 Lee Hwy, 2501 9th Road S., 2901 S. Glebe Rd) 4:00-8:00 p.m.
- Pentagon Centre (1201 S. Hayes St) 4:00-9:00 p.m.
- Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd) 4:00-8:00 p.m.
A listing of daily locations for local booth sales through end end of March can be found here.
Screen grab via littlebrowniebakers.com
The Clarendon Metro station is the agency’s second fastest-growing station, with 14.4 percent ridership growth, according to the Washington Examiner. The East Falls Church station is the fourth fastest-growing, with 11.2 percent ridership growth.
“The list of fast-growing stations serve as a proxy for where development is growing around the region,” the Examiner noted.
The list looked at ridership between July 2011 and January 2012, compared to the same period one year prior.
This morning, as commuters rushed off to work, ministers from St. George’s stood outside the Virginia Square Metro station placing ashes on the forehead of anyone interested in partaking in the solemn Ash Wednesday tradition, which usually takes place inside a church.
“Ashes to Go,” as the service was called, is an outreach initiative that has spread from churches in San Francisco and St. Louis to other cities across the country.
“‘Ashes to Go’ is about bringing church to the people: bringing spirit, belief, and belonging out from behind church doors, and into the places where we go every day,” the church said in a press release. “It’s a simple event with deep meaning, drawing on centuries of tradition and worship across denominations to provide a contemporary moment of grace.”
St. George’s will be back at the Metro station during tonight’s evening commute, offering the imposition of Ashes prior to the church’s 7:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday service.
Dust at Courthouse Metro Station — We’ve heard from several readers who were concerned about a high concentration of construction dust at the Courthouse Metro station yesterday. Apparently, the dust was left over from track work over the weekend. Not to fear, says WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel. According to Stessel, the dust was “not harmful.”
General Assembly Approves ‘Conscience Clause’ Bill — The state legislature has passed — and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) says he will sign — a bill that would allow private adoptions agencies legally discriminate against gay couples for religious or moral reasons. [Associated Press, Reuters]
McDonnell Reconsidering Abortion Ultrasound Bill? — Gov. Bob McDonnell “is backing off his unconditional support” for a bill that would require women to receive a potentially invasive, medically unnecessary ultrasound before receiving an abortion. The bill drew more than a thousand protesters to Richmond over the weekend, and has attracted national attention. Both Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show have recently taken turns poking fun at it. Lawmakers are said to be working on a compromise version of the bill. [Washington Post]
Lopez Claims Free Clinic Victory — Del. Alfonso Lopez says his budget amendment to restore $1.6 million in funding to Virginia’s free clinics has been approved by the House Appropriations Committee. Gov. Bob McDonnell had called for cuts to free clinics, arguing that the federal health care reform bill will grant health coverage to many of the low income individuals who use the clinics. The cuts would have impacted the local Arlington Free Clinic. [Del. Alfonso Lopez]
Seventeen-Year-Olds to Vote in Board Election? — Civic-minded 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote in the upcoming March 27 County Board special election — provided they turn 18 by this year’s general election date (Nov. 6). [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
A 19-dock Bikeshare station was installed near the Virginia Square metro station (901 N. Monroe St), and another one went up directly in front of the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy St), with 11 docks.
The stations, which appear to take very little time to install on location, have been spreading rapidly throughout Arlington since the fall. In October, we reported that the Central Library had been hoping to have a Bikeshare station by some point in the spring, but it was already installed last week.
There are at least a dozen additional stations approved to be built in Arlington this spring, and another dozen proposed stations awaiting approval from various sources. All are concentrated near the orange line corridor, with locations in the works from Rosslyn to the Bluemont neighborhood.
You can suggest locations where you think stations should be installed on Capital Bikeshare’s website. The interactive map also allows you to see where other people have suggested installing stations.
Girl Scout cookie fans only have to wait another two weeks to get their hands on a box of Thin Mints, Tagalongs or Samoas.
Booth sales of the coveted cookies will begin on Friday, Feb. 24. Among the locations in Arlington where Girl Scout cookies will be sold are:
- Ballston Metro (901 N. Stuart Street)
- Courthouse Metro (Clarendon Blvd and N. Uhle Street)
- Crystal City Metro (18th Street and S. Bell Street)
- East Falls Church Metro (2000 N. Sycamore Street)
- Pentagon City Metro (1200 S. Hayes Street)
- Giant Food Stores (including 3115 Lee Highway, 2501 9th Road S., 2901 S. Glebe Road)
- Safeway (1525 Wilson Blvd and 5101 Wilson Blvd)
- Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd)
- Pentagon Centre Shopping Center (1201 S. Hayes Street)
- Arlington Farmers Market (2200 Clarendon Blvd)
- Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
- Fort Myer (523 Carpenter Road)
- Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road)
- Various apartment buildings (including the Meridian, Windsor Shirlington Village, Io Piazza, Culpepper Gardens, and The Jefferson)
The sales generally run from either 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. or 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on weeknights, and from as early as 8:00 a.m. to as late as 7:00 p.m. on weekends.
See a complete listing of booth sale locations here.
Screen grab via littlebrowniebakers.com
Blasting for the project is now complete, officials say, having resulted in the excavation of more than 11,000 cubic yards of rock over the past 10 months.
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. The project cost includes the construction of new fare collection and vending equipment, as well as a new kiosk and a new entrance mezzanine.
The entrance will be able to serve up to 2,000 riders per hour. Local leaders have said that they hope the entrance will help keep pace with the station’s soaring ridership, which has increased 23 percent in the past decade and is expected to increase even more with new office and residential development in the area.
The project, which is now 53 percent complete, is on time and on budget, according to the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services. Construction is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2013.
As we reported earlier this week, riding Metro will be a challenge for users of the Orange and Blue lines this weekend. Major track work will force the closure of the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations.
The closures will be in place starting at 10:00 tonight and continuing until the system closes on Sunday. WMATA says workers will renew rail fasteners, replace insulators and remove sludge from the tunnel beneath the Potomac River.
Orange Line trains will be split into two segments. One set of trains will run between Vienna and Court House every 20 minutes, and another between Foggy Bottom and New Carrollton at normal weekend service levels.
Blue Line trains will also operate in two segments. One set of trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Mt. Vernon Square via the Yellow Line bridge at normal weekend service levels, and the other between Foggy Bottom and Largo Town Center at normal weekend service levels.
Shuttle buses will be provided at affected stations along both lines. Metro says riders should expect to add 20-30 minutes to regular travel time — or reconsider their use of Metrorail altogether.
“While bus shuttle service is available, customers traveling between the District and Blue/Yellow stations in Virginia may wish to consider alternate travel options,” WMATA said on its web site.
More details about the buses and the service impacts, after the jump.