The annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally will rumble through Arlington starting today.
The Memorial Day weekend event will begin with the expected arrival of thousands of motorcyclists this afternoon, many of whom will be arriving via I-66. Authorities are warning drivers to expect delays on eastbound I-66 between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.
The Hyatt Regency in Crystal City will serve as the hotel headquarters for the event, which according to organizers attracts some 900,000 bikers to the nation’s capital. The expected arrival time at the hotel is 3:00 p.m., according to a weekend schedule.
Arlington residents who live along the Route 1 corridor should, as usual, expect plenty of motorcycle noise throughout the weekend.
Aside from activity around the hotel, no Rolling Thunder events are planned in Arlington on Saturday. On Sunday, starting at 7:00 a.m., participants will gather at the Pentagon north and south parking lots for a large rally, which this year will include food trucks.
From the Pentagon, the bikers will depart for a rally on the National Mall, featuring various speakers and musical tributes, at noon.
To accommodate the large expected crowds, Arlington County and Virginia State Police will close Washington Blvd between I-395 and the Memorial Bridge from about 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.
“In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110,” ACPD said in a press release. “Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend.”
Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray
This year, Taste of Arlington will feature 49 restaurants and a beer and wine garden that’s bigger than ever. Booklets of tickets for tasting and drinking are on sale now.
Stop by the Ballston farmer’s market tomorrow evening, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 901 N. Taylor Street, for a $25 packet of 10 tickets. If you purchase on the Ballston Connect mobile, app, a packet costs $30. Packets purchase online are $35 and packets purchased at the festival will be $40. Tickets to the VIP pavilion, with unlimited beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by SER, cost $100 online, and $110 at the festival.
The festival will close down the streets of Ballston all day: Wilson Blvd from N. Glebe Road to Quincy Street and Stuart and Randolph streets from Wilson to 9th Street N.
In addition to the restaurant booths, beer and wine garden and VIP pavilion, there will be three stages for live music, a Kids Zone with games and face painting and the return of the World Pup Tournament, which costs $10 to enter one’s dog to participate.
The restaurants in attendance will compete for a “Best of the Best” food title in the following categories: Best Appetizer, Best Fast Casual Entrée, Best Fine Dining Entrée and Best Dessert. The judging will be held at 3:00 p.m. in the VIP pavilion and the winners will be announced at 4:00 p.m. on the main stage.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. The restaurants participating and competing are as follows:
- Westover Beer Garden
- Sehkraft Beer Garden
- Thunder Beast
- Tasty 6
- Naan Stop DC
- Pepita Cantina
- Water & Wall
- Rito Loco
- Postmodern Foods
- Curley’s BBQ
- Sweet Fix DC
- Bracket Room
- Orient Bowl
- Don Tito
- Sushi Rock
- Urban Bumpkin BBQ
- Ben’s Chili Bowl
- American Tap Room
- Dolce Sweets
- Pizza Vinoteca
- Koolzone Ice and Treats
- Mac’s Donuts
- Northside Social
- Lyon Hall
- Mussel Bar & Grille
- Liberty Tavern
- Commonwealth Joe
- Epic Smokehouse
- RedRocks Pizzeria
- The Melting Pot
- Which Wich
- The Front Page
- P.F. Chang’s
- Nando’s Peri-Peri
- La Tasca
- Il Forno
- World of Beer
- Fuego Cocina y Tequileria
- Kapnos Taverna
- Big Buns
- A-Town Bar and Grill
- Lebanese Taverna
File photo. Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Update: Tuesday Night Rides are expected to resume in June after organizer Scott McAhren admitted he submitted the special events permit less than two weeks before May 5.
(Earlier) Driver complaints have pushed Arlington County to reconsider the future of Tuesday Night Rides, the weekly mass-cycling event in Ballston Tuesday evenings during the summer, according to the ride’s organizer.
Steve McAhren, the owner of Fresh Bikes on Wilson Blvd between N. Pollard and Quincy Streets, has organized the weekly rides since May 2006. When they started, he said, there were just 15-20 cyclists participating.
By 2010, as many as 500 people would come to ride up and down their route, primarily along Military Road, and McAhren had a weekly permit with the county and paid for the expense of a police escort.
McAhren told ARLnow.com this afternoon that he reached out to the county earlier this year to make sure the permit would be renewed again, and the county staff told him the permit was unlikely to be renewed.
“[Special events staff] said there’s almost a zero percent chance we’re going to approve it every week again,” McAhren said. “In the past, they just kind of rubber-stamped it because the county was so pro-cycling.”
McAhren said he agreed to reduce the rides to once a month, but he said the county was planning to still put the permit’s renewal before the County Board, and asked him if he could move the time to the weekends to reduce traffic impacts.
“It became kind of a critical mass thing,” McAhren said. “Long story short, they got a few complaints last season and I think they got six complaints over the last month from people who remember the ride from last year. It’s the kind of stuff I can’t really believe would affect their decision.”
County staff did not immediately return requests for comment this afternoon.
McAhren sent an email to the Tuesday Night Rides group at about 1:00 p.m. and told them to contact the county and post on this website advocating for the county to approve its permit renewal.
“If we can get 1,000 people saying that they like the ride and want to keep it,” he said, “hopefully that will outweigh the handful of complaints.”
The rides have run at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday from the first Tuesday in May — which would be tonight — to about mid-September. Since they’ve grown, Fresh Bikes has continued to offer them for free and has served burritos and played music outside their shop, where the ride begins and ends.
Once the rides started to get police support — and the police were very supportive of the rides back in 2010, McAhren pointed out — they grew in popularity.
“Word got out around the Beltway and we had people come all the way from Maryland for the ride,” McAhren said.
Two cyclists were sent to the hospital during a ride last May, he said, the only major injury they’ve had since the rides began eight years ago.
Just because the ride has been officially postponed doesn’t mean Ballston drivers have no more cyclists to navigate around this evening — while the police escort and official store support will not be in place tonight, McAhren said he believes hundreds of cyclists will continue the ride on their own.
“The ride’s going to happen anyways, all that’s really going to happen is it’s not going to be sanctioned by me or a police escort,” he said. “Unless lightning strikes right at 6:30 p.m. there are going to be 200 cyclists in Ballston, and it will be even more unsafe.”
Downed Wires Close the Pike — Columbia Pike was closed in both directions between S. Greenbrier Street and S. Dinwiddie Street this morning due to a tree that brought down live wires. The road was expected to remain closed for several hours. [WTOP]
Planning Still Underway for Pike Transit — Columbia Pike residents are becoming impatient for Arlington County to complete the planning of new transit options for the corridor, following the cancellation of the streetcar project. However, a plan is not expected until 2016. County Board member John Vihstadt, who helped to scuttle the streetcar project, told a public forum last week that he wants the county to speed up its processes “but frankly I don’t know if we can.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Mill Project Wins Award — The Arlington Mill Community and Senior Center has won a 2015 Urban Land Institute Washington Trends Award for “Excellence in Housing Development.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool by Brian Allen
(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) One person died after a vehicle ran down an embankment on the GW Parkway early Saturday morning.
A technical rescue team from the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the single-vehicle crash.
The vehicle was located 100 feet down an embankment, with one person dead inside, according to a fire department spokesperson. No other injuries were reported.
The parkway remained closed between Spout Run and Route 123 for much of the morning while U.S. Park Police investigated the crash. Lanes reopened around 10:00 a.m., WTOP reported.
Tomorrow, Campbell Avenue Shirlington will close down while dozens of breweries will open up tents and booths for the second annual Spring Beer Festival.
From 4:30 a.m. to about 8:00 p.m., Campbell Avenue will be shut down between S. Randolph and Quincy Streets, according to the Arlington County Police Department, to allow the more than 35 breweries in attendance to set up their tents.
The actual event begins at noon, when festival-goers can purchase a $30 booklet of 10 tickets for tastings from the breweries, which are largely from the mid-Atlantic region. The taps will turn off at 6:00 p.m.
In addition to vehicular traffic, parking will also be restricted in the area. Residents and visitors should look for “no parking” signs in the area before leaving their car parked overnight.
Arlington Ranks High for Tax Burden — Arlington County has the second highest overall tax burden in the nation, according to stats compiled by the website NerdWallet. Arlington’s high median income and high real estate costs factored heavily in the calculation, which includes federal, state and local taxes. [NerdWallet, Washington Business Journal]
Trevor Noah Performs in Arlington — Comedian Trevor Noah performed his first stand-up comedy show since being named the next host of The Daily Show last night in Arlington. It was the first of seven sold-out shows Noah is performing this weekend at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse. In writing about the performance, the New York Times described the Drafthouse as “about a half-hour drive outside Washington, with drinks far cheaper than most places in the District.” [New York Times]
Amsterdam Falafelshop Offers Pot Pairings — Amsterdam Falafelshop, which has a location in Clarendon, is offering a “pot pairing menu” in time for 4/20. Also on April 20, the restaurant will offer sandwiches for $4.20. [Washington City Paper]
Arlington Resident in Voice Contest — Tara Cannon, an Arlington resident, is among the singers hoping to get a guaranteed audition for The Voice, via an online voting contest on NBC 4’s website. [NBC Washington]
Fairlington 5K Road Closures — Arlington County Police are planning on shutting down a number of roads Saturday morning for the second annual Fairlington 5K race. The roads are expected to be closed between 7:00 and 9:30 a.m. [Arlington County]
Cherry Blossom Race Closures — Police are planning on closing the Memorial Bridge and Memorial Circle to traffic Sunday morning for the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K. The closure is scheduled to be in place from 5:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Starting this week, four 5K races will be held on consecutive Fridays — April 3, 10, 17 and 24. The races kick off from 2121 Crystal Drive at 6:30 p.m. each Friday, with a course that runs up and down Crystal Drive and Long Bridge Drive.
Registration for a single race is $20. Registration for all four races is $60. Runners can register online.
Drivers should expect road closures in the area during the race.
After each race there will be a post-race party at a local watering hole, with special deals for participants.
More information about the race is available on the Pacers website.
Disclosure: The Crystal City Business Improvement District is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The parade is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. on N. Barton Street. About 30 floats and assorted groups are currently expected take part in the roughly half-hour-long event, which will run up Wilson Blvd to N. Irving Street.
Last year the parade was postponed due to a snowstorm, before being cancelled altogether due to another snowstorm. This year the parade was originally scheduled for Feb. 17, but was again postponed due to snow.
Matt Hussmann, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, which organizes the parade, said that he’d rather march in some rain than chance another parade-less year.
“It’s not raining hard,” he said. “What are the odds that if we postpone it again that it’s going to be any better?”
Hussmann said the parade has received a handful of cancellations from scheduled participants, including the beloved Ballou High School Marching Band. Still, Hussmann was optimistic for a good turnout and said the cancellations wouldn’t rain on his parade.
“It’s going to be a good crowd and we’re hoping as many people come out as [possible],” he said. “It should be fun.”
Arlington County Police say they’re planning the following parade-related road closures tonight:
- Wilson Boulevard from Veitch Street to Barton Street will be closed from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Adams Street and Wayne Street, between Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard, will be closed from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Boulevard from Barton Street to Irving Street will be closed from 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Update at 4:50 p.m. — The fire has been extinguished, no one was hurt and roads are reopening.
A reported generator fire in Crystal City is producing a large amount of smoke.
Arlington County Police are shutting down roads in the area around the fire and the plume of smoke, on S. Clark Street between 26th and 27th Streets. Firefighters are on the scene and have brought the fire under control, according to scanner traffic
On today’s clear, sunny day, residents are reporting seeing the smoke from more than a mile away.
— Alex Fleischner (@a_fleisch) February 27, 2015
— Amanda Jean (@YourShaddow2) February 27, 2015
The annual Valentine’s Day-themed 5K in Pentagon City, “Love the Run You’re With,” will return Sunday, six days before the holiday.
The race will start and end on S. Joyce Street at Pentagon Row, and take runners down Army Navy Drive just past 28th Street S. The race also doubles as a matchmaking affair, with bib numbers corresponding to racers’ relationship status.
The course is the same as last year’s race, so the Arlington County Police Department will likely shut down the following roads form 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. for the race, which starts at 9:00 a.m.
- South Joyce Street between South 15th Street and Army Navy Drive
- Army Navy Drive between South Joyce Street and South 25th Street
Street parking in the area will be restricted, so motorists should be careful if they plan on parking on Saturday night.
Registration for the race is $40 and includes a commemorative blanket. After the race, runners are invited to Champps at 1201 S. Joyce Street for drinks, a free photo booth and karaoke. All runners — those registered as single (“Cupid Stupid”), it’s complicated (“Love ’em or Leave ’em”) or in a relationship (Co-dependent) — are invited to the bar after the race for mingling.
Image via Pacers Running
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) George Mason Drive is shut down between N. Henderson Road and Park Drive due to a single-vehicle wreck that knocked over a utility pole.
The crash happened around 1:00 p.m. A driver in a sedan lost control of her car while heading down George Mason, near Barrett Elementary School. The car flipped on its roof and knocked over a utility pole and active power lines.
An Arlington County Fire Department rescue squad helped to pull the woman out of the overturned vehicle while keeping clear of the power lines. She was transported to a local hospital but her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Initial reports suggest that alcohol might have been a factor in the crash.
The road is expected to remain closed while utility crews work to repair the pole and the lines.
Update at 12:10 a.m. — All lanes have reopened.
All lanes of the northbound George Washington Parkway are being temporarily diverted due to an earlier accident, according to D.C. police.
The accident happened this morning just prior to Route 123.
“Recovery operations” related to the accident have prompted the temporary closure. Traffic is being diverted onto the Spout Run Parkway, police said.
(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) A broken water main has filled a section of Four Mile Run Drive with water, causing emergency crews to shut down the road while it is undergoing repair.
The break is near the intersection of Four Mile Run Drive and S. Cleveland Street, near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and W. Glebe Road, I-395 and the Alexandria border.
Arlington County Police Department and fire crews are responding to the area. According to scanner traffic, there may be “multiple” breaks in a “pretty big line,” and it may affect water service in the area.
County Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said the line is 12 inches big and the break has affected about 150 customers in the area.
“Repairs will continue through the late evening and commuters are advised to avoid the area and seek alternate routes,” Baxter said.
Last winter, a 16-inch water main burst on S. Arlington Mill Drive in Shirlington, causing water pressure to be significantly affected in large swaths of the area, and causing Abingdon Elementary School and the Fairlington Community Center to close. Repairs to that line took more than 48 hours to complete.
As of noon, water was continuing to flow out of the break, but traffic on Glebe Road is moving through. The section of Four Mile Run Drive that is closed is not connected to the one that runs from Columbia Pike to the Weenie Beenie near Shirlington.
Update at 3:45 p.m. — The gas line has been shut off and the incident has been cleared. Northbound Crystal Drive remains shut down between Potomac Ave and 27 Street S. as repairs on the gas line continue.
Emergency crews are shutting down the 2600 block of Crystal Drive to repair a gas leak.
According to scanner traffic, multiple units from the Arlington County Fire Department are on scene for a hole in a four-inch gas line running underneath the street. Crystal Drive is under construction in the area and crews appeared to have hit the line while working.
The construction subcontractor that struck the gas line was working on the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway project, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet confirmed to ARLnow.com.
Police are also being dispatched to keep pedestrians away from the leak and to try to keep those in the buildings adjacent to the leak inside. One of those buildings is a large Environmental Protection Agency office at 2777 Crystal Drive.
The street is shut down from Potomac Ave to around 26th Street S. Drivers in the area should seek alternate routes. According to the scanner, police have cleared the buildings in the area and there are no evacuations.
There is no indication yet of when the leak will be repaired and how it may affect the evening rush. Washington Gas repair crews are on scene.
Photo via Google Maps