About 4-5 inches of snow fell in Arlington Monday night and Tuesday morning.
County crews worked throughout the night and day to clear primary and secondary roads, before starting to tackle neighborhood streets. Compared to past, disruptive snowstorms, they had some things working in their favor:
- The snow fell overnight, not during a rush hour
- It was predicted correctly well in advance
- It was a light, fluffy snow and, because the ground was already cold from the frigid weekend, there was minimal melting and refreezing
- Schools and the federal government closed for the day, limiting vehicle traffic
Regardless of the circumstances, how would you rate the county’s job in clearing the streets Tuesday?
Almost four years ago, we asked who the dating game in Arlington was more difficult for, men or women.
The question came after Bloomberg News declared that single women faced “long odds” in the D.C. area. By a slim majority — 53 percent to 47 percent — ARLnow.com readers said women had a harder time finding a suitable mate in Arlington.
Today, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, we’re posing the question again. But this time, a bit of additional information: while women are overrepresented in the District — 52.6 percent of the population in D.C. compared to the nationwide average of 50.8 percent — in Arlington women actually only comprise 49.9 percent of the population, according to 2013 census data.
So, if you have first-hand knowledge of the local dating scene, who has it worse, men or women?
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
Two weeks ago, the Arlington County Board said “not now” to a planned elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
Opponents of the plan cheered the County Board’s action, saying that plans to build on the TJ site would eliminate land that could later be used as parkland. Arlington Public Schools will now go back and conduct more studies and community engagement in order to figure out how to deal with its capacity crisis in south Arlington.
Supporters of the school plan said delaying the construction of urgently needed school capacity could result in 45 new trailer classrooms next to south Arlington schools by 2018.
While the “Save TJ Park” group that opposed APS’ proposed placement of the school was the most vocal during the lead up to the County Board vote, those who supported the school are now making their voices better heard.
In a letter to the Sun Gazette, Arlington resident Nathan Zee writes that the County Board decision shows that there is “an unquestionable divide” between north and south Arlington.
“The County Board’s direction to APS to keep working with the community until consensus is reached is nothing short of a total absolution of leadership and decision-making responsibility,” Zee writes. “There could always be more planning, but the time to act was now.”
In order to find out (unscientifically) how the community as a whole feels, we’re putting it to a poll: do you support the County Board’s decision?
Robocall in County Board Primary — No candidate has officially announced for Arlington County Board yet, but one likely candidate is already doing some polling. Peter Fallon reportedly sponsored a “robocall” poll last night that asked questions about local issues important to the voter and whether the voter wants experience or a fresh face in this election cycle. [Blue Virginia]
Suspicious Item at Falls Church City Hall — Falls Church City Hall was evacuated yesterday evening due to a suspicious object found in the lobby. The Arlington County bomb squad investigated and determined that the object was “a training aid used by explosive K9 teams.” The building reopened around 8:15 p.m. [City of Falls Church]
Arlington Man Charged with Rape — A 33-year-old Arlington man has been charged with raping a Maryland woman in a Delaware hotel over the weekend. [News Journal]
Photo courtesy Peter Roof
Over on Greater Greater Washington, a mini debate is raging in the comments section about whether this Capital Bikeshare station (pictured, left) in Crystal City is a good idea.
It’s located on S. Eads Street at 23rd Street S, in what was previously a shared bike lane and vehicle travel lane (albeit one with a CaBi station on the side of the road). Now, the lane consists only of a protected bike lane and an in-street Capital Bikeshare station.
In support of the station, some say it has improved safety for cyclists while keeping the station off of the sidewalk. Also, it prevents conflict among drivers when two cars heading straight have to abruptly merge into one lane at the end of the intersection.
Those arguing against the station say it reduces lines of sight, making it harder for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians crossing the intersection. It also is vulnerable to an errant driver and eliminates a lane used by cars turning onto 23rd Street. Finally, those returning and checking out bikes at the station may come into conflict with those using the bike lane.
Do you like or dislike the placement of the station?
(Updated at 9:40 p.m.) Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is recommending that the county close the Artisphere cultural center in Rosslyn after the first half of 2015.
Donnellan said Artisphere “has not lived up to projections” and would likely require substantial taxpayer support to stay open — more than $2 million per year.
Based on subsequent comments from County Board members, it appears that the Board is likely to adopt the manager’s recommendation next year.
Do you agree that Artisphere should close?
Arlington County has been trying to figure out how to better reach out to the hordes of young apartment-dwellers who make up a significant portion of the county’s population, but who are usually nowhere to be found during community meetings.
“It’s not always easy to reach certain parts of the community,” Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh says in a new county-produced video (above). “We’ve tried several methods over the years — community meetings in schools, in community centers — and typically the same people would come out each time. So what we decided we needed to do was try something different.”
To help design events and services tailored to the elusive mid-20s to mid-30s professional set — dubbed “Metro Renters” — county staff is taking an approach called “Design Thinking,” which builds a needs profile through interviews with members of a given group.
“Design Thinking is a system of methods and processes that uses a designer’s sensibility to match people’s needs with what is feasible and viable,” explains Dept. of Environmental Services program manager Joan Kelsch.
Via interviews, the county developed the following profile of “Metro Renters.”
- They want their resources to be quick and convenient and are willing to pay top dollar if it fulfills their needs in a hurry
- They’re tech savvy and they can’t function without their mobile devices
- They’re highly educated with varied reading interests
- They listen to NPR on weekday mornings and track the news online all day
- They work hard and play hard
- Hanging out with friends is important
- They like good food
- Many don’t have cars so location is important
- They enjoy a quiet, relaxing environment for conversation with a friend
- Many are also interested in meeting potential life partners, so activities and places that give them something to do where they can meet new people with common interests are good
- They consider themselves hard working and busy people without a lot of free time, so anything they attend should have an immediate impact on their lives or otherwise be important to them
If you have first-hand familiarity with the “Metro Renter” set, how would you grade the county’s job of producing a broadly accurate profile of the average 25-35 year old Metro corridor renter in Arlington?
ARLnow.com is considering options for building a dedicated mobile app in 2015.
While we believe the experience of visiting ARLnow on a mobile browser is adequate for most users’ needs, there are certain enhancements that a mobile app could bring. For instance, features could include:
- Breaking news alerts
- Event calendar optimized for mobile
- Local-specific weather, traffic and/or transit info
- Instant deals/coupons at local businesses
If we built such an app, would you use it? Also, tell us in the comments if there are any other features you’d like to see.
Forecasters say above-freezing temperatures should preclude more than an inch or so of accumulation locally. Still, the storm has the potential to have a major impact on Thanksgiving travel from Washington to Boston on Wednesday.
If you’re planning to travel for the holiday, is the storm affecting your travel plans?
After years of planning, community meetings and debate, Arlington’s planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar system was scuttled yesterday following a somber press conference and brief vote.
County Board Chair and streetcar supporter Jay Fisette said the voters had spoken in their election of streetcar opponent John Vihstadt, and “political realities” meant that the streetcar project must be derailed.
Do you agree with the decision?
Most explanations seem to center around concern about county spending projects. Among them: the delayed and increasingly expensive streetcar system, the indefinitely delayed $80+ million Long Bridge Park aquatics center, the delayed and occasionally problematic $1.6 million Clarendon dog park, and the delayed and occasionally problematic $1 million bus stop.
If you voted for Vihstadt, which of the following, if any, was foremost in your mind in the voting booth?
Arlington is noted for being home to many male aficionados of brown flip flops.
On Sunday, one observer of local culture might have found the female equivalent of “dudes in brown flip flops” — women in tall brown boots.
At the first annual Arts and Craft Beer Festival in Courthouse over the weekend, Twitter user @SeenInClarendon saw — and photographed — many such pairs of boots, which might seem more appropriate on someone riding a horse than on someone downing a lager and a lobster roll.
Is this a trend that’s especially prevalent in Arlington — a la brown flip flops? Or is it not Arlington-specific? We’ll let you decide.
Photo courtesy @SeenInClarendon
As InsideNova reported, although Vihstadt doesn’t support the streetcar, he thinks the word trolley is derogatory and makes people think of the old Rice-a-Roni commercials.
Do you agree that trolley is a derogatory “loaded word” in the debate over Arlington’s streetcar project?
Within eight hours of our article’s first publication, Gillibrand apologized for the remark (which was buried in the pages of her new book, “Off The Sidelines.”) But that didn’t stop the debate over whether Gillibrand was off-base or on-target in her assessment of Arlington.
Among those weighing in: Ben Adler, a former New Yorker and a writer at the environmental news website Grist.org. Penning a piece for the Washington Post’s online PostEverything op-ed section, Adler said Gillibrand shouldn’t apologize.
Some excerpts from that article:
For one year I worked at an office in Arlington, Virginia. There were virtually no restaurants that were not chains. Everything was crowded at peak lunch hour but completely empty by 3 p.m. and closed by the time I left work.
Kirsten Gillibrand… correctly identified Arlington in her new memoir as a “soulless suburb.” That’s exactly what most of my friends who have lived in D.C. would call it. In fact, when I was recently trying to describe the cultural vacuity of the “Williamsburg Edge,” a new apartment tower in Brooklyn, I called it, “Arlington on the East River.” My friend who lived in Washington laughed knowingly. He required no further explanation.
Arlington… lacks a physical center, a public space like Dupont Circle, where buskers can play music and activists can make speeches. A centrally located, and well-designed park — with facilities for both active and passive recreation such as basketball courts, chess tables, and benches — would go a long way towards giving Arlington a soul. Most important, unlike all of Arlington’s misbegotten little plazas, it has to be designed to draw passersby in and to engage with the streets around it.
That prompted at least one notable D.C. resident to call foul.
Perhaps the best judges of whether Arlington County does or does not lack a soul are those who actually live here. So what do you think?
Flickr pool photo by Alex Erkiletian
It should be a comfortable weather week, with high temperatures in the mid-to-lower 80s through Friday.
With July, usually the hottest month of the year, coming to close this week, it appears that the D.C. region has dodged the usual 100+ degree heat waves of summers past.
In fact, the area seems to have had an inordinate number of relatively mild days this summer.