Driving through Clarendon has become messier and is taking longer due to construction on several of the major roads in the neighborhood. It’s the latest area to be worked on as part of the annual paving program.
The affected area in Clarendon covers about five blocks — two along Wilson Blvd, two on N. Highland Street and one on N. Fillmore Street. Crews have been milling — removing the top layer of streets — and adjusting utilities as needed. Paving with two to three inches of hot-mix asphalt follows soon after, as well as line painting.
Because of the busy nature of the Clarendon neighborhood, contractors plan to do the paving portion on Sunday and Monday nights, weather permitting. Crews have been able to do the milling and utility adjustments during the day because those tasks are more flexible in terms of working around vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Clarendon isn’t the only area getting repaved; an online map highlights in red the active paving projects throughout the county. Residents in the affected areas receive letters announcing the road work four to six week before it begins. Temporary “no parking” signs are posted along the roads and cars parked in the work areas during the restricted times will be towed.
The county’s annual paving program typically takes place between March and October because the hot-mix asphalt can only be applied in warm, dry weather. Currently, this year’s paving stands at about 87 percent complete.
By at least one measure, Arlington’s roads — all 376 miles of them – are in better shape than they were last year.
Since Nov. 1, Arlington County crews have filled 1,007 potholes on county-maintained roads, according to Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. Compare that to the 2,184 potholes filled between the start of November and the end of February last year.
McDaniel attributed the big drop in potholes to the mild winter we’ve experienced so far.
Still, a report that came out last summer suggests that Arlington has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to street maintenance. On a scale of 0 to 100, the average Pavement Condition Index for Arlington’s roads was 68.9, down from a PCI in the low 80s about 10 years ago.
In general, how would you grade Arlington’s roads at the moment?
Pentagon City Elevator Contract Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a contract to design a second elevator for the busy Pentagon City Metro station. The estimated $5.1 million elevator construction project has already received $4.5 million in federal funding. [Arlington County]
Arlington’s Roads Rate ‘Poor’ — More than one third of Arlington County’s 974 mile street network is in “poor” condition, based on the county’s own assessment. The reason for the poor road conditions may lie with spending. The county has been spending significantly less on paving than the amount recommended by its top streets official. [Patch]
Board Considers Solar at Supermarkets — County Board members say they’ll consider a Green Party proposal to either force or encourage supermarkets to install solar power arrays on their roof. The solar power could help refrigerate food during power outages. [Sun Gazette]
Maywood Neighborhood Profiled — The historic Maywood neighborhood of Arlington is “endearing and peaceful” and “extremely friendly,” according to a radio profile. [WAMU]
Renovations Revealed at Crystal City Hotel — Last week the 343-room Crystal City Marriott officially unveiled its $7 million redesign, which included new common areas like a new bar/restaurant and a new fitness center. [Marriott]
Flickr pool photo by Lifeinthedistrict
Forecasters say the precipitation will begin around 11:00 tonight, starting off as snow and sleet before transitioning to freezing rain overnight. The weather event is expected to end as plain rain around 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. Locally, snow and sleet accumulation could total up to an inch, with up to 1/10 inch of freezing rain, according to the National Weather Service.
Arlington County crews are preparing for the winter weather by pre-treating main roads with salt brine (see photo) to guard against icy conditions. Still, the county is asking residents to avoid unnecessary car trips during the storm.
“Team members and their equipment will be on standby overnight and will remain so until the weather event turns to full rain,” said Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. “Residents are encouraged to stay off the roads due to the potential for hazardous conditions.”
Photo courtesy Arlington DES
Arlington County’s vacuum leaf collection has ended early.
The leaf season vacuum collection is complete. We are happy to report that the weather cooperated and other factors that allowed us to finish two days ahead of schedule. Thanks for everyone’s cooperation during this leaf season. Please note: the leaf bag collection will continue until January 14.
Leaf bag collection started on Nov. 1 and will run through Jan. 14. Leaf bags — which must be biodegradable, not plastic — are collected in neighborhoods one business day after garbage collection. Free leaf bags are available at a number of community centers around the county.
Arlington will begin its vacuum leaf collection service on Monday. There will be a second round of leaf vacuuming in December, ending on Dec. 24.
See below for the dates when vacuum collection will start for specific neighborhoods.
November 15 — Alcova Heights, Arlington View, Ballston-Virginia Square, Boulevard Manor, Clarendon/Court House, Colonial Village, Columbia Heights, Columbia Heights West, Dominion Hills, Forest Glen, Forest Hills, Foxcroft Heights, Glen Carlyn, Langston Brown, Long Branch Creek, Nauck, North Highlands, North Rosslyn, Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights, Waycroft-Woodlawn
Changes could be coming to Army Navy Drive that will make the intersection-laden and car-clogged stretch of road a lot friendlier to bicyclists.
This weekend, the county board is expected to accept $210,000 in federal grant money to help plan a bike route on the busy Pentagon City thoroughfare. The funds will also help plan a bike route on South Joyce Street that will connect Army Navy Drive, Columbia Pike and an existing pedestrian path.
Both routes are marked in yellow on the maps above.
County engineers currently envision a two-way bike lane on Army Navy Drive, made possible by narrowing the road’s comfortably wide lanes and shifting the median. South Joyce Street will likely only get a single bike lane, since its configuration is set by huge concrete structures that hold up the highways that run over it.
The grant-funded preliminary engineering phase is expected to last 8-9 months, according to Transportation Planning Bureau Chief Thomas Bruccoleri.
So far, no money has been made available for construction. Bruccoleri says the funds would most likely be allocated in the FY 2013 budget, meaning that the bike paths are at least a few years away.
Paving Update — Now that the section of Wilson Blvd near Whitlow’s is paved with smooth blacktop, workers are focusing on Washington Blvd. As of Sunday afternoon, one lane between North Highland Street and Pershing Drive was torn up, awaiting fresh asphalt. TBD reports that the repaving of Washington Blvd will stretch into next week.
Flames Seen From Plane Engine — The Associated Press reports that flames were seen coming from the engine of a US Airways plane landing at Reagan National Airport. The captain of the flight from Charlotte, N.C. declared an emergency but landed without incident. No flames were seen after it landed.
‘Old Guard’ Returns from Iraq — Soldiers from the Fort Myer-based Old Guard arrived back home Saturday night after serving one year in Iraq. More than 120 soldiers from the historic regiment, best known for its ceremonial duties at Arlington National Ceremony and the White House, provided security at an Iraqi prison. More from WUSA9.
Students Return to Marymount U – The familiar sight of parents helping their children move into the dorms returned to Marymount University over the weekend. The school’s incoming class includes a record 440 freshman and a record 335 transfer students. More from the Sun Gazette.
Walter Reed Drive has some new road markings and signs that may seem foreign to most drivers.
The markings, found in the middle of the right-hand travel lanes between South Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, are called “sharrows,” or “shared lane markings.” Together with “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs, they signal to cyclists and drivers that bicycles have the right to travel down the middle of the lane.
Sharrows are already in use in the District and Alexandria. They’re also in use in the bike-friendly cities of Portland, Seattle, San Fancisco and New York City.
Arlington plans to create sharrows in locations that are “popular with bicyclists and where streets form part of the bicycle network promoted on the County’s official bike map.” More sharrows are being created this year in conjunction with the county’s paving projects. The need for the shared lanes will be evaluated by Arlington’s Traffic Engineering and Operations Bureau.
Sharrows were adopted by the federal government after research from the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that the lanes significantly improved the passing space between cars and bikes while also cutting down on bad bike behavior, such as riding on the sidewalk.
Virginia is expected to officially adopt sharrows later this year.
Update at 3:50 p.m. — Arlington County spokesperson Shannon Whalen McDaniel says the the next spots for shallows will be:
- 2nd St S between Court House Rd and S Highland St
- N Sycamore St between 24th St N and 26th St N
Photos courtesy Arlington County.
Arlington’s snow removal crews are heading back into the neighborhoods to finish what they started (and what they did not start) on Monday. From the county’s web site:
Arlington’s snow crews worked overnight following yesterday’s blizzard conditions to clear primary and secondary roadways. Today, trucks are beginning to move into neighborhood streets. The snow operations team will work to prioritize streets that were not plowed or treated following the February 5th storm, but please note crews must pass through and clear some previously plowed streets in order to reach these unplowed streets.
The snow may have stopped falling, but road conditions are still icy and treacherous. We strongly urge drivers to stay off the roads today to ensure that plows and emergency vehicles can get through safely.
Above: A pile of snow nearly reaches to the second floor of an abandoned motel in Crystal City. This was one of the county’s dump sites, described in this post from last night.
With brilliantly clear skies today, and a dry weekend predicted, the roads may actually get fully cleared before Monday, when our next batch of snow is expected to arrive.
In other news, the Arlington County government and courts WILL be open tomorrow. Schools, however, remain closed.
Update at 11:30 AM: Check out some great winter photos taken by the staff at Arlington National Cemetery.
It’s a beautiful, snow-covered morning. Enjoy it before we warm up today and the 3-4 inches of snow we received turns into a dirty,slushy mess.
Currently, most major arteries, including I-395 and I-66, are moving unusually well. Most streets are wet but clear of snow.
The County government is open with liberal leave today, as are libraries, although Arlington schools decided to close for no apparent reason.
More snow pics after the jump.