(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Police and fire crews are on the scene of an overturned vehicle in Pentagon City.
According to police, shortly after noon a woman in an SUV driving northbound on S. Hayes Street attempted to make a left turn onto Army Navy Drive. She allegedly failed to yield to a vehicle coming off of I-395 onto Hayes Street. The SUV flipped onto its roof after hitting the Dodge Challenger.
Firefighters assisted the woman in getting out of her SUV and bystanders helped remove her two young grandchildren, who were in car seats. All three were transported to George Washington hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the Challenger was not injured.
Police closed both directions of Army Navy Drive and are currently in the process of re-opening the road. Traffic exiting from I-395 onto Hayes Street is being re-routed around the accident.
Police say it is likely that the driver of the SUV will be charged with failure to yield the right of way.
The Board approved three measures for Metropolitan Park Phase 4/5 at 1200 S. Eads Street. In addition to approving the overall site plan, Board members voted to amend the Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan from 1976 to increase the allowed building height. They also approved an amendment to the Master Transportation Plan to allow a portion of the planned 12th Road S. to be deleted.
The new building will join two others at the Metropolitan Park site. Developer Vornado decided to combine phases 4 and 5 of the project into one building containing 699 residential units and more than 40,000 square feet of retail space. A Whole Foods grocery store will occupy most of the retail space.
“This is an important milestone for the Metropolitan Park development, because it includes a full-service grocery store that will serve residents of the Pentagon City and Crystal City neighborhoods,” said Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. “We are now halfway to our goal of transforming this industrial part of Pentagon City to a more walkable, transit-oriented area that offers a great mix of homes and places to shop.”
The county lists a number of benefits for the project, including a developer contribution of around $5 million to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund and $150,000 to the county’s public art fund to support art within the Metropolitan Park development. More than $130,000 will be contributed for undergrounding utilities at the development site, and transportation improvements will be added such as expanded sidewalks, street furniture, trees and outdoor cafe seating. The developer has also committed to a design that is expected to earn LEED Silver Certification.
The site plan for a new apartment building in Pentagon City with a Whole Foods grocery store on the first level will go before the County Board for approval on Saturday.
The proposal involves Metropolitan Park Phase 4/5 at 1200 S. Eads Street. Developer Vornado wishes to combine Phases 4 and 5 to make one building, the fourth in the Metropolitan Park development. Phases 1 and 2 of the project focused on building The Gramercy at Metropolitan Park and The Millennium at Metropolitan Park, which are both currently occupied. Phase 3 is for The Acadia at Metropolitan Park, which is under construction. Planning for the overall project has been in the works for about a decade.
The 22-story new building would contain nearly 700 residential units and would have more than 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Almost 37,000 of the retail space would be taken up by a Whole Foods. The plan includes a four level, 885 space underground parking structure that will likely have one floor reserved exclusively for use by the grocery store.
In addition to site plan approval, the Board will consider an amendment to the 1976 Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan to permit the proposed building height. An amendment to the Master Transportation Plan has also been requested to allow the removal of a portion of a previously planned new street — 12th Road S. — from the proposal.
The Planning Commission’s Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) discussed Metropolitan Park Phase 4/5 at six meetings from November 2012 through April of this year. Members discussed numerous aspects of the development that could be cause for concern like building height, building density, streetscape improvements and grocery store operations. No major issues were identified in the final site plan that would prevent approval of the project.
Last week, members of the Planning Commission voted unanimously (11-0) in favor of the proposal. Similarly, the Transportation Commission unanimously (7-0) approved the final site plan proposal and amendment to the Master Transportation Plan at its meeting on June 27.
Staff recommends the County Board follows the lead of the Planning Commission and the Transportation Commission by approving the proposal.
A new pizza chain has opened in Pentagon City.
Extreme Pizza opened at 1419 S. Fern Street, across from Costco, on Sunday. The restaurant offers various types of signature pizzas, with names like “Green With Envy,” “Poultry Geist,” “The Spice Route” and “Wingin’ It.” Customers can also customize their own pizza, or order off a menu that includes calzones, sub sandwiches, salads, sides and desserts.
A gluten-free pizza option is available for those who request it.
The Pentagon City Extreme Pizza has indoor dine-in seating, and also offers delivery and takeout. Its phone number is 703-271-1020.
This is the first Extreme Pizza location inside the Beltway and the fourth in Virginia. The existing Virginia locations are in Vienna, Henrico and Richmond.
It’s been open since this spring, but today county and federal officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the South Joyce Street Shared-Use Sidewalk Project,
The $1.8 million Federal Highway Administration project built new, wider sidewalks on the 1/5 mile stretch between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike. The 10-foot-wide sidewalks can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. The sidewalks “improve safety and access at one of the few places in Arlington where bicycles and pedestrians can cross I-395,” according to a county fact sheet.
“As a result of the FHWA project, which was funded with a Congressional allocation… the once highway-style passage has been transformed into an easy-to-navigate bicycle and pedestrian route that connects the east end of Columbia Pike, the Pentagon reservation and Pentagon City,” the county wrote. “Arlington supported the the project, which aligns with the goals of Arlington County’s ‘Complete Streets’ program, with design guidance and funding for some additional elements.”
County Board Chairman Walter Tejada lauded the project, saying that it’s especially useful for those who commute via bicycle from Columbia Pike. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) joked that the new sidewalk “is not the kind of project you’d see on a postcard,” but said it’s important nonetheless.
“This is basic infrastructure,” he said. “If you don’t invest in it, if you don’t do the right thing, you negatively impact a lot of other infrastructure.”
In addition to wider sidewalks, pedestrian-scale lighting was added to the street and automatic bicycle/pedestrian counters were installed. Meanwhile, highway-style guard rails were removed and fire department standpipes were relocated out of the pedestrian route.
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.
Prince Harry Visits Arlington Nat’l Cemetery – Britain’s Prince Harry is visiting Arlington National Cemetery this morning as part of his two-day visit to the Washington area. The prince is expected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and to visit the burial area for military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. [NBC Washington]
Now Official: Whole Foods to Pentagon City — Whole Foods has made it official and signed a deal with Vornado to open a 37,000 square foot store in on the ground floor of a planned 700-unit apartment building in Pentagon City. The store will be the company’s second in Arlington, and is expected to open in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]
Wieners Added to Testicle Festival – The Fairfax County-based Top Dog food truck has been recruited to serve hot dogs at next weekend’s Montana State Society Testicle Festival in Virginia Square. Jed Link, an organizer of the event, called the combination of Rocky Mountain Oysters and hot dogs “a culinary reunion that’s guaranteed to entertain.”
Flickr pool photo by Martin Humm
The new Modell’s Sporting Goods store in Pentagon City is expected to open for business tomorrow morning.
The store, in the former Borders book store space at the Pentagon Centre shopping center (1201 S. Hayes Street), says it will open its doors at 9:00 a.m. and offer “great prizes,” “exciting giveaways for early bird shoppers,” and “crazy deals.”
As part of a four-day grand opening event, Modell’s will host “meet and greets” with two local professional athletes. Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to be at the store on Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Washington Nationals linebacker Brian Orakpo is scheduled from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
As we reported last month, this will be the first Arlington location for New York City-based Modell’s, which was founded in 1889. The company operates more than 150 stores along the East Coast, including existing locations in Fairfax County, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia.
The package — described as a duffel bag or a backpack — was found on the 600 block of 12th Street S. around 6:15 a.m. The bomb squad carefully inspected the package and set up charges to “disrupt” it.
The “all clear” was given by a bomb technician just past 8:15 a.m. The road is now being reopened, as is the east entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station.
“There’s a lot of construction in the area — a lot of laborers and construction workers bringing their stuff to that area, and with the heightened alert and the TSA headquarters there” authorities are taking every precaution, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “We take every suspicious package call seriously, and it’s our duty and job to go out there and investigate and assume that it’s potentially hazardous.”
Photo courtesy Patrick McNeil
Update at 12:50 a.m. — Police have given the “all clear” and roads are being reopened. The package was disrupted “without incident” and no hazards were found, according to Arlington County Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Fitch.
Earlier: Arlington County police and the county’s bomb squad are investigating a suspicious package in the area of the Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Pentagon City.
Police are shutting down roads within a one block radius of the package, including S. Hayes Street and S. Fern Street between Army Navy Drive and 15th Street S. They have also closed off access to one of the Pentagon City Metro entrances.
According to scanner traffic, a witness told police that the package was dropped off on 12th Street S. by individuals in a white box truck, which then left the scene.
At around 12:35 a.m., the bomb squad conducted a controlled blast to “disrupt” the package. A loud boom could be heard in surrounding neighborhoods. (See video, below)
This was the second suspicious package in the area in the past week.
Update at 3:20 p.m. — The package has been determined to be non-hazardous and the all-clear has been given.
Earlier: Arlington County’s bomb squad is on the scene of a suspicious package outside the Pentagon City Metro station.
Police have established a perimeter around the package, located behind a fence adjacent to a pedestrian sidewalk, near the intersection of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street. A bomb squad member in protective gear has walked over to the package and it is now apparently being inspected or analyzed remotely.
The east entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station, next to the Pentagon Centre shopping center, is closed.
Interior construction is currently underway on the store, which is located in the Pentagon Centre shopping center (1201 S. Hayes Street), next to the CVS Pharmacy that opened last year. No word yet on when Modell’s plans to open.
This will be the first Arlington location for New York City-based Modell’s, which was founded in 1889. The company operates more than 150 stores along the East Coast, including existing locations in Fairfax County, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia.
Hat tip to Desiree Lomer-Clarke
Due to the way the street moves drivers onto, off of and around I-395, it’s considered “inhospitable” for pedestrians and cyclists. A plan has been in the works for years to create a separate track for cyclists and to reconfigure the street to improve travel between the Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City.
According to the county staff report, the project would reconfigure 3,300 feet of Army Navy Drive from S. Joyce Street to 12th Street. It would provide shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, improve pedestrian space and construct a separate two-way bicycle track. The redesign is also intended to make room for the future streetcar line.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2006, Arlington County was granted Public Lands Highway Funds to make trail improvements. In FY 2012, the county was awarded a grant by the Federal Highway Administration to transform Army Navy Drive into a Complete Street. Designing the project is expected use the $706,000 of grants, and the County Board will vote on whether or not to accept and appropriate the funding for the project. It will then require additional funding for construction.
“This project aligns with the goals of Arlington County’s Complete Streets program to expand safe travel options for all modes of transportation along our roadways,” said the county staff report. “The proposed cycle track will be one of the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
County staff did not report any issues with the plan and recommends the County Board approve it on Saturday.
Reporter Verbally Assaulted, Mooned While Investigating Arlington Arrest — A WJLA reporter was met with hostility while looking into the case of two daycare workers arrested near Weenie Beenie for reckless endangerment of children. The two women are accused of driving seven children in a vehicle without securing them in safety restraints. The reporter discovered notices posted on the daycare’s door informing parents that it had been shut down. A woman who said she was a neighbor took down the notices with the cameras rolling, engaged in a verbal assault on the crew and then mooned the camera. [WJLA]
Trash and Hazardous Material Recycling Event on Saturday — The biannual Arlington Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) will take place this Saturday, April 20, at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road) from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Residents are able to bring items such as hazardous materials, metals, bicycles and electronics to be recycled or disposed of. The full list of accepted items is available online.
Man Rescued After Falling onto Metro Tracks — A man fell onto the tracks at the Pentagon City Metro station last week and was rescued by two bystanders. The man reportedly walked right off the train platform while texting on his cell phone as a train was approaching. A bystander in his 70s, along with his daughter, pulled the man to safety before the train arrived. [Washington Post]
Rosslyn ABC Store Closes — The Virginia ABC store at 1731 Wilson Blvd. has closed. A Virginia ABC spokeswoman told ARLnow.com last month that the store would not be renewing its lease, which expires April 30.
Streetcar Critics Keep Watch on Financing — The Arlington County Republican Committee vows to keep watch on county officials to make sure they follow the rules when finalizing the project’s financing package. The group opposes the streetcar plan and contends the County Board will go to any lengths to secure financing in order to avoid a voter referendum on the issue. Last week, the federal government declined the joint funding application from Arlington and Fairfax counties for the project. [Sun Gazette]
Metro is planning to launch a new bus line, the 9X line, to run in dedicated transit lanes between parts of south Arlington and Alexandria. The Alexandria portion — to run from the Braddock Road Metro station to Potomac Yard via Route 1 — is expected to open in spring 2014. The Arlington portion — from the Pentagon City Metro station to the Crystal City Metro station to Potomac Yard — is expected to open in summer or fall 2014, according to Arlington County Senior Transit Engineer Matthew Huston.
At first, the line will travel in mixed traffic on 15th Street Pentagon City and Crystal City. Eventually it will utilize the extended and contiguous 12th Street. The line will travel south in new dedicated bus lanes along S. Clark and S. Bell Street, and north along Crystal Drive.
The bus lanes will take the place of an existing, standard travel lane. They will be reserved for buses and emergency vehicles only during the morning and evening rush hours, but will be open to mixed traffic during all other times. Street parking will not be impacted by the changes.
As part of the still-evolving plan for what’s called the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, the existing 9S bus line will be extended to Potomac Yard and will run along the new dedicated lanes. The 9X and 9S will provide frequent service — every 6 minutes — and will serve a consolidated list of stops.
There will be seven new stops built in Arlington between Crystal City and Potomac Yard. Those stops will feature electronic information displays and other enhanced features. The buses will still serve on-street stops between the Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations.
The dedicated bus lanes will eventually be used as the right-of-way for the new Crystal City streetcar, though so far county officials aren’t providing a timeline for its eventual construction.
Planning, design and construction of Arlington’s portion of the transitway, which will also include the construction of new dedicated lanes between 26th Street and Glebe Road, is expected to cost the county about $17.5 million. Metro will pick up the tab for 13 new BRT-style buses, at a cost of about $650,000 apiece.
Metro is currently conducting an online survey about the design and branding of the buses. Possible names for the bus service include “Metro Beat” and “Metro Way.” It also asks about possible nicknames for the bus line, with options like: Crystal to Brad Line, Power House Corridor, City to the Yard Corridor, Potomac Yard Corridor, Tower Corridor, and Jeff Davis Corridor.
In an introduction, the survey emphasized that this would be Metro’s first BRT service.
Metro, in conjunction with Arlington County and the City of Alexandria will be introducing a new unique bus service to the region. Special stops and bus-only lanes will be introduced that will allow the bus to run on a very tight schedule. This corridor will be the first such service in the Washington region. Below is a map that shows the new route. The new service (sometimes called Bus Rapid Transit) will be different than anything the Washington region has seen before.