The incident happened just before 9:00 a.m. Police responded to the station for a report of suspicious activity — a man seen walking around on the track bed. Power was briefly taken down to the station’s “third rail” as a precaution. The man eventually climbed back up to the platform.
Police questioned the man and it turned out that that he had hopped down to the tracks to retrieve a farecard he accidentally dropped, according to WMATA spokesman Dan Stesssel. The man was not injured and there was no malicious intent. Power was restored and trains were not delayed.
Stessel said the man’s actions were “incredibly ill advised.” If you drop something on the tracks, he said, don’t take matters into your own hands — contact a station manager.
“If you drop something on the tracks, the station manager can help you,” said Stessel. “The station managers have special equipment that can be used to safely retrieve an item without leaving the platform. Entering the track bed puts you at risk of electrocution (you don’t even have to touch the third rail for power to transfer) or getting struck by a train.”
Flickr photo by John Pastor
Victoria Kong, 83, was found deceased around 2:00 p.m. just south of Gravelly Point, about 30 feet from the Mt. Vernon Trail, according to U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Brooks. Her body was found by a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority search and rescue team, Brooks said, in a wooded area north of the airport.
Brooks was unable to release any other information about what might have happened.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” he said.
Elderly Woman Missing from Airport — An 83-year-old woman with memory problems went missing from Reagan National Airport on Friday. Victoria Kong was last seen by a surveillance camera walking north on the Mt. Vernon Trail. [NBC Washington]
African-American Students Honored – Ninety-one African and African-American students from Arlington have been honored for academic achievement. The awards were issued by the Civic Coalition for Minority Affairs at its 21st annual ceremony. [Sun Gazette]
Concealed Carry Permits Spike in Arlington — The number of applications for concealed-carry permits in Arlington has quadrupled in the past 8 years, and continued to spike. Last year the Circuit Court received 1,042 applications from whose who want to carry concealed weapons. This year the office is expecting nearly 1,600. [Sun Gazette]
Whipple Pens Pro-Streetcar Op-Ed — In an op-ed, former state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple compares the heated debate over the planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar systems to the debate over the construction of Metrorail through Arlington in the 1970s. “A small but vocal faction of our community claimed that the proposed Orange, Blue and Yellow lines were too expensive and risky and argued that we should just use buses instead,” Whipple writes. “After much deliberation, Arlington invested in rail.” [Washington Post]
New Gym for George Mason? — George Mason University’s Arlington campus currently lacks a fitness center for students. A plan to build a new gym, put in place after a student petition in 2011, has not moved forward because it was determined that the project would go over budget. The university is currently exploring options for either constructing a new fitness center or partnering with a nearby office building to use its gym. [Connect2Mason]
DCA Fight Attendants Protest Knife Decision — Flight attendants have been handing out flyers to passengers at Reagan National Airport, encouraging them to sign an online petition against a recent TSA decision that will allow small knives to be carried on to planes. [WAMU]
(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) Arlington commuters woke up to something of a surprise this morning: accumulated snowfall.
Arlington County says local roads are “slushy,” and its snow removal crews are in the “Phase 2” of snow removal — working to treat heavily-travelled roads.
“Commuters will encounter slushy conditions on area roads,” the county said in an Arlington Alert. “Use caution when approaching intersections and on/off ramps.”
Arlington Public Schools are not impacted by the snowfall; students are currently on spring break. But snow-covered roads perhaps played a factor led in a number of accidents in and around Arlington this morning.
Accidents have been reported on the northbound GW Parkway near Spout Run and Route 123. The second accident involved an overturned car and northbound traffic is reportedly blocked.
Meanwhile, a rollover accident happened earlier at Reagan National Airport.
A vehicle flipped over on the departures roadway, beyond Terminals B and C on the “return to the airport” ramp.
“[The] driver of the vehicle was transported to a local hospital,” said airport spokesman Robert Yingling. “No other occupants [and] no other vehicles [were] involved.”
The vehicle has since been removed and the road reopened.
Despite sunny skies and relatively mild temperatures this afternoon, forecasters have issued another reminder that the D.C. area will be blanketed with snow tomorrow.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, upgrading the previous Winter Storm Watch. Forecasters say we’re likely to get 4-8 inches of snow tomorrow (Wednesday).
… WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… 4 TO 8 INCHES WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS WEST OF INTERSTATE 95.
* TIMING… RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO WET SNOW FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW MAY BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY. SNOW TAPERS OFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE MID 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
* IMPACTS… SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL… KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT… FOOD… AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says travelers should expect delays and cancellations over the next 36 hours or so.
Reagan National and Dulles International Airports are operating normally. An approaching winter storm is affecting flights to and from Chicago today. We anticipate winter weather will affect flight operations here on Wednesday, March 6. Check with directly with your airline to monitor the status of your flight and determine if flight rebooking is necessary.
Our airport snow removal personnel and equipment are prepared for the storm. We will update this page with further information when the winter weather arrives.
WMATA reports the closure is for NTSB-recommended track circuit module replacement, rail joint elimination, tie renewal and other various track improvements.
Both Blue and Yellow Line trains will operate in two segments. Blue Line trains will run between Crystal City and Largo Town Center, and between Braddock Road and Franconia-Springfield every 16 minutes from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., and every 20 minutes from 9:00 p.m. until system closing. Yellow Line trains will run between Crystal City and Mount Vernon Square, and between Braddock Road and Huntington every 16 minutes from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., and every 20 minutes from 9:00 p.m. until system closing.
There will be two routes of free shuttle buses replacing train service between Crystal City and Braddock Road. Express buses will operate between Crystal City and Braddock Road only. Local buses running between Crystal City and Braddock Road will serve Reagan National Airport. Customers using the shuttles should allow about 15 minutes of extra travel time.
The track work and closures will begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and will continue through closing on Sunday, March 3. More information about track work throughout the system this weekend can be found on WMATA’s website.
DCA’s passenger traffic increased 4.1 percent to 19.7 million passengers. The growth came during a year when industry-wide airport passenger growth was less than 1 percent. It also comes a year after Reagan National hit a then-record 18.8 million passengers in 2011.
A new construction project this year will help ease some of the crowding at Reagan National, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
“The airport continues to be a popular choice because of its proximity to downtown Washington,” MWAA said in a press release. “A construction project in 2013 will address some of the increased demand at Reagan National, expanding security screening areas in Terminal A to provide improved access for passengers using the terminal’s nine gates.”
While international travel grew by 2 percent at Dulles, MWAA says domestic travel was hurt by competition from DCA.
“Dulles saw domestic service declines mainly resulting from the transfer of some airline routes to Reagan National and reduced capacity on other routes,” the authority said.
Arrivals at DCA are currently delayed an average of two and a half hours due to a low cloud ceiling, according to the FAA. The agency’s website says a “traffic management program (ground stop) is in effect for [air] traffic arriving” at the airport.
One tipster who was scheduled to return to DCA from Orlando today on Jet Blue says he and his fellow passengers were just asked to get off the plane and wait for the flight to be rescheduled.
Update at 1:25 p.m. — Via Twitter, readers are reporting delays and cancellations for departing flights as well.
In honor of Black History Month, Baltimore-based artist/historian Morgan Monceaux will work on a new original painting for his Negro Baseball League series. Art students from Howard University will be on hand to watch and talk with the artist.
“While working on his new art series, Monceaux will explain his creative process in choosing subjects, developing materials, art media and finalizing the portrait for display,” according to a press release. “He also will answer questions from the audience.”
The art event is taking place on Wednesday (Feb. 6), at DCA’s baggage claim area, near door #4. Travelers will be able to witness the art creation as they retrieve their luggage.
The event is being sponsored by the Airports Authority Arts Program, which underwrites art and performances at Reagan National and Dulles International airpots.
Paintings from Monceaux’s “Hail to the Chiefs” series is currently on display at Reagan National. The series, which is on display through Feb. 28, features portraits of U.S. presidents and their wives.
Photo via Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
Javon Martin Trial Underway — The trial for Javon Martin, one of the men accused of killing Arlington resident Carl Diener in 2009, began on Monday. Attorneys for the Commonwealth spent much of Tuesday (January 29) presenting evidence against Martin. The other man accused of the crime, Martin’s cousin Roger Clark III, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last year and is awaiting sentencing. [Washington Post]
Man Arrested for Attempted Rental Car Theft — Police arrested a man who caused a scene at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday morning. He was spotted running around the grounds of DCA and along the George Washington Parkway after allegedly trying to steal a rental car. Airport Police found 28-year-old Robert Cooper of Washington, DC in Crystal City a short time later and arrested him. Cooper has been charged with Attempted Grand Larceny.
Green Valley Pharmacy Receives Historic Designation — The Green Valley Pharmacy in the Nauck neighborhood has been approved by the County Board for designation as the 33rd Arlington Historic District. It is the first historically African American commercial building to be honored as an Arlington Historic District. The designation was granted not for the site’s architectural significance, but for the historical and cultural significance, as well as recognition for Dr. Leonard Muse’s lifetime of contributions to his community. [Arlington County]
New Recruits Sought for Civic Leadership Program — Arlington County is looking new recruits for its Neighborhood College program, which is a free, eight-session course to encourage civic engagement and help residents build leadership skills. Participants will learn how to become neighborhood advocates and how to bring about change for issues affecting the community. The sessions will be held each Thursday evening from April 4 to May 23. Applications for the 2013 Civic Leadership Development Program are due March 4, 2013. [Arlington County]
Flight Makes Emergency Landing at DCA — A US Airways Express flight had to make an emergency landing at Reagan National Airport this morning (Wednesday) due to a cracked windshield. The plane was minutes into its flight from DCA to Raleigh/Durham International Airport when it had to turn around. Nobody was injured. [WJLA]
Plastic Bag Tax Defeated — Sen. Adam Ebbin’s proposal to tax single-use plastic bags in grocery and convenience stores has been defeated in the state Senate. Had the bill passed, it would have imposed a five cent tax on every plastic bag distributed by retail establishments. [Sun Gazette]
Potomac CrossFit to Re-open in Courthouse — After closing last year to make way for a new development in Clarendon, Potomac Crossfit has found a new home. The new 9,000 square foot location will be located at 1320 N. Courthouse Road, Suite 100. It is expected to open in May. [Potomac CrossFit]
Reagan National Airport has “canceled operations until further notice due to Hurricane Sandy,” according to a media alert from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
The MWAA says the last flight out of DCA departed for Atlanta, Ga. at 9:00 this morning.
All airlines serving Reagan National and Dulles International Airports have canceled operations until further notice due to Hurricane Sandy. However, the airports will remain open throughout this significant weather event.
The Airports Authority strongly encourages passengers not to travel to the airports. Many food and retail concessions are closed and staffing is limited. Passengers should contact their airline directly to confirm or rebook travel.
The last flight departed Reagan National for Atlanta, Ga. today around 9:00 a.m. The last flight at Dulles International departed at 1:15 p.m. for Tokyo, Japan.
In addition to closely monitoring the changing weather conditions, the Airports Authority is coordinating with airlines, airport tenants and other stakeholders to resume normal operations as quickly as possible after the storm passes.
The Airports Authority will continue updating the official Twitter feed @dcairports with airport-related storm information.
Gun Confiscated at DCA — TSA agents confiscated a 9mm handgun from a 59-year-old Fairfax man who tried to bring it with him on his trip to Dallas. The TSA said the man, who was charged with a misdemeanor weapons offense, was “just a forgetful passenger” and not a terrorist. [Washington Post]
WAMU Offers Voter Guide — WAMU has built an interactive voter guide for D.C. area elections. Among the races where voters can compare and contrast positions are the Virginia Eighth District congressional race, the Arlington County Board race, and the non-competitive Arlington School Board race.
W-L Students Collect “Cleats for Bare Feets” — Three brothers, all students at Washington-Lee High School, have been collecting hundreds of pairs of old athletic cleats for shipment and donation to disadvantaged individuals in countries like India, Mozambique, Haiti, Macedonia and Nigeria. [Arlington Mercury]
The Washington Post reports that Reagan National Airport, which has recently been adding new flights, is becoming more crowded and less convenient.
In July, there were 75,465 more passengers passing through the airport than the same month one year prior — an increase that has led to longer security lines, according to the Post.
But from a passenger perspective, is the airport really “strained” by the increase, as the article suggests?