From this Thursday, Nov. 6, to Nov. 24, officers will be assigned to special safety details at the intersections of Wilson Blvd and Lee Highway with N. Lynn Street.
The Wilson-Lynn intersection has been a source of major headaches during rush hours thanks to the ongoing construction along N. Lynn Street with the Central Place project. The backups have led to some drivers not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, and the ACPD is responding with the new enforcement campaign.
The Lynn Street and Lee Highway intersection, nicknamed the “Intersection of Doom,” has for years been a dangerous place for pedestrians and bicyclists because of vehicles exiting from I-66 to the Key Bridge intermingling with users of the Custis and Mount Vernon trails.
Police say they plan to ticket pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers who violate traffic and jaywalking laws.
“Officers will ticket motorists who violate traffic laws or do not yield for pedestrians in crosswalks,” according to a police press release. “In addition, pedestrians will be cited for jaywalking. Public Service Aides will hand out safety information to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who commute through these busy intersections.”
The enforcement campaign will begin from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and noon to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday and continue on weekdays until the Nov. 24, the Monday before Thanksgiving. The pedestrian safety campaign, part of the region’s Street Smart campaign, is designed to inform motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians that 25 percent of traffic deaths in the D.C. region are bikers and walkers, nearly 90 deaths per year.
(Updated at 1:10 p.m.) Bistro 360 quietly opened its doors two weeks ago for a soft opening, but word already has spread quickly.
Customers have trickled in to check out the new restaurant at 1800 Wilson Blvd, in the former Cafe Assorti space, while staff work to get operations running smoothly. The grand opening will be next Wednesday, November 5.
Long time Arlingtonian Art Hauptman owns the new restaurant, as well as Cassatt’s Kiwi Cafe on Lee Highway. He noted the Bistro 360 space combines three different settings: a gourmet market, a bistro for more elegant dining and a wine bar for casual drinks and snacks.
“We’re trying to build on the success of Cassatt’s, but in a different format,” Hauptman said. “We want to bring some of the best items from many of the world’s cuisines to Arlington, just as we brought the idea of a New Zealand style cafe 12 years ago. One of the basic ideas is that travel affects food and we want to show that as well.”
Art’s brother, Bob Hauptman, said the diverse menu emphasizes Art’s world travel and includes something for everyone, at a good value.
“We like to say we’re ‘world’s fare at your door.’ You have stuff from around the world right here,” Bob said. “We know it’s different and we think it will work.”
French-born chef Jacques Imperato is an Arlington resident and helped develop the seasonal menus. The bistro menu includes items like Asian glazed duck, tuna tempura, Turkish pide and a lemongrass pork chop. The wine bar serves nibbles like tomato and cheese croquettes, bay scallops ceviche and Georgian cheese bread with egg. Cheese and charcuterie are available in both the bistro and wine bar, as well as the market. The market also will sell some of Bistro 360′s freshly baked breads and small dishes that can be taken home.
The restaurant should add lunch and brunch soon, but right now will focus on dinner. There will be outdoor seating in the spring. Bob noted management also is interested in the possibility of delivery down the road — both for food and wine.
“Come in and give us a try,” Bob said. “Come and enjoy!”
Gov. Terry McAuliffe met with founders and executives from the Tandem NSI initiative in Rosslyn on Friday, discussing ideas for how the state government can help startups grow.
Six companies from Tandem NSI — a public-private partnership between Arlington Economic Development and investment firm Amplifier Ventures focusing on turning national security innovations into private sector businesses– were on hand to demonstrate their products for McAuliffe.
“There are 31,000 tech jobs open in Northern Virginia that we cannot fill,” McAuliffe told the crowd of a few dozen entrepreneurs and staffers from the county. “We have 840,000 veterans in Virginia. Let’s get them credentialed and trained so they can join the workforce.”
McAuliffe seemed receptive to some new ideas the entrepreneurs had. One said that the Center for Innovative Technology Gap Funding that the state provides to Virginia-based startups isn’t enough.
“CIT gives $50,000 to cybersecurity firms,” said Steven Chen, a board member with Blue Venture Investors. “That doesn’t really move the needle. A company can move to Maryland and get $2 million.”
Another member of the audience said they had a product in testing, but the step from testing to the first client is a source of anxiety. She recommended the state become an early adopter of some startup technologies, both to help the state innovate and give credibility to Virginia startups.
“I think some of the startups that may have applications for us should come to us first,” McAuliffe said, telling his secretary of technology, Karen Jackson, to explore the possibility. “If we could be the first customer for a startup, that would be a great idea.”
McAuliffe pointed out that Virginia will continue to see its jobs from the Department of Defense cut due to sequestration over the next two years, and that the “Virginia economy of old where we relied on the federal government is over.”
Traffic is a nightmarish in Rosslyn tonight (Friday) — at least for those heading through the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Lynn Street.
Due to lane closures from utility work and the on-going Central Place construction project, Lynn Street — which is often traffic-clogged even without construction – is down to one lane just before 19th Street. That led to major backups on Lynn Street, which led to backups on Wilson Blvd due to cars repeatedly “blocking the bock” in the intersection.
There was at least one minor accident at the intersection, reports of drivers getting in fights and frequent sounds of horns blaring.
At one point, a Arlington County police officer showed up and parked in the intersection, stopping traffic from blocking the box. However, the officer left after less than 15 minutes, allowing the bad driver behavior to continue unabated. Police were dispatched again to the intersection a half hour later, after receiving “multiple calls” from citizens.
Though especially bad tonight, the traffic problems in the intersection are frequent. Central Place construction has had Lynn Street traffic down to two lanes during most rush hours the past couple of weeks, leading to frequent backups and flared tempers.
The 5th annual Afghan Arts and Culture Festival will take over Gateway Park in Rosslyn all day this Sunday.
Running from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., the festival features live music from Afghan artists, traditional Afghan food and a bazaar featuring vendors plying wares that you might find in one of the street markets in Afghanistan.
The festival is hosted by Afghan Education for a Better Tomorrow (AEBT), a California-based nonprofit focused on promoting Afghan culture in the U.S. and raising awareness of the rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan.
“It is an opportunity for the Afghan diaspora to share their rich culture and history that is not often portrayed in the western media,” Maryam Rashid of AEBT said in a press release. “As the largest Afghan-American event in the D.C. region, this festival provides an opportunity for positive cultural exchange, and embracement of ethnic and cultural diversity.”
The event includes kite-making workshops for children, a “nomad tent” where visitors can try on Afghan clothing and jewelry, a fashion show and a Mr. and Miss Afghan contest open to boys and girls in two age groups: age 2-4 and 5-7. There will also be several Afghan artists displaying their paintings and sculptures.
According to the event website, there will also be an eating contest, but not of hot dogs: contestants will wolf down some mantu, which are dumplings filled with beef and onions.
There will also be live music throughout the day with performances by Afghani artists Mahroof, Abdul Faqiri, the Nawaz Brothers, Larmal Wasiq, Nived Sultan, Ebadullah Ebadi, Zia Beghoman, Nomad Dancers, an Afghan dance troupe, with hosts Qias Omar and Harris Khattak, according to the press release.
Photos via Afghan Festival
Workers and residents in Rosslyn will be able to sip some suds at a pop-up beer garden in a new public plaza this month.
On Friday, Oct. 24, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Continental Pool Lounge will be hosting the beer garden in the new Plaza on 19th, a public space at the corner of 19th Street N. and Moore Street, behind the bus stop. The new plaza has tables, seating and a charging stations with plugs for iPhones, Androids and other devices.
The beer garden is Oktoberfest-themed, and the Continental will be pouring a selection of fall beers and serving up bratwursts. The event itself will be free to attend, but beer and brats will be available for purchase. There will also be live music to entertain those willing to brave the late-October chill.
Next weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 18, will be another booze-themed event: the Washington Wine Academy is partnering with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District to offer an event where guests can sample from 26 different wines and 26 different beers. The event, called “the A-Z of Wine and Beer,” will be offered in two time slots: 3:30-6:30 p.m. and 7:30-10:30 p.m. There will be beer and wine offered for every letter of the alphabet, such as a lambic, a Unibroue and a doppelbock, or an Orvieto, a Viognier and a Hondurrabi.
The event will be held at 1500 Wilson Blvd. Participants can purchase $36.50 tickets online for either the beer samplings or the wine samplings. The price may increase as the event draws closer. Hors d’oeuvres from some local restaurants will be served. Washington Wine Academy expects more than 1,000 people to attend.
Disclosure: Rosslyn BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Buses to Use I-66 Shoulder – Buses will be allowed to use the shoulder lane on I-66 inside the Beltway during heavy traffic, starting next month. VDOT is launching the program as a way to relieve some congestion and improve the on-time performance of bus routes that utilize the traffic-choked corridor. [Washington Post]
Parkmobile Now Available in Courthouse, Rosslyn — Arlington County has completed the implementation of the Parkmobile parking payment system for the Courthouse and Rosslyn neighborhoods, ahead of schedule. [Twitter]
KickStarter Launches for ‘Wearable’ Project — A Kickstarter fundraising campaign has started for a local startup company featured on ARLnow.com last month. OnYou is planning to produce a wearable compression sleeve and carbon case for smartphones. Worn primarily during workouts, the product uses powerful magnets to attach the phone and case to the sleeve. The product was designed by a former professional poker player and prototyped here in Arlington. [Kickstarter]
Elliot in the Morning Halloween Bash Returns — DC 101′s Elliot in the Morning will be back in Arlington for the show’s annual Halloween bash. The costume party will be held starting at 8:00 p.m. on Halloween — Friday, Oct. 31 — at Clarendon Ballroom. A $3,000 grand prize is being offered for best costume. [Clarendon Nights]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Becca Premo is likely Arlington’s only clothing maker who specializes exclusively in baby shoes.
Premo, 25, runs The Bashful Elephant, an online baby moccasin seller through the website Etsy. Premo has been selling “baby mocs,” as she calls them, on Etsy since March.
Premo moved to Arlington when her husband got a job in the D.C. area, but she had already set the wheels in motion for her new career path, designing patterns and styles in the Windy City. She had been studying psychology at Roosevelt University when the artistic side of her started to get restless.
“My parents encouraged me to pick a practical career path, so I picked psychology and stifled my creative self,” she told ARLnow.com over coffee at Cosi in Rosslyn. “I felt like I was in a box.”
Premo started to look for ways to express herself and turn it into a business. Sewing and crafts “have always been in my family,” the Chicago area native said, so she decided to make shoes. Baby shoes were a natural choice, since less material makes it cheaper to get started.
“It’s easier to make baby sizes,” she said, “and you can be more creative. You can make a bright pink shoe with bows and people love it.”
It took her months to get an array of patterns and designs she was happy with, she said. Even though making the shoes is “super user-friendly,” she admitted she was nervous to actually hit the market.
“I was scared to start for a long time,” she said. “I felt I needed to present it as a serious business, but I found out people want a personal touch. They want to know your story.”
Once Premo launched the store, she got immediate interest and drew a following on Instagram, where she says she attracts a majority of her customers.
More than six months in, she offers shoes for newborns up to size 7, which she says is approximately for toddlers 2-and-a-half years old. Because her customer base is constantly growing, she said she’s considering growing along with it; she is looking into purchasing rubber soles and making bigger shoes.
“There’s a huge market for people who are willing to spend,” she said. “Lots of people have a lot of money, and they would rather spend it on their children than on themselves.”
While she was making her point, a male stranger walked by and asked about the dozen or so shoes laid out on the table. He was a new father, and just like that, Premo’s point was made, and she had another customer.
“I’ve never gotten any negative feedback, thank goodness,” she said. “When you put yourself out there, people see you’re just a girl trying to do something, and they really latch onto that.”
Ben’s Chili Bowl, less than a year after opening in Rosslyn (1725 Wilson Blvd), is hosting a a day of children’s activities and charity fundraisers for its new neighbors this weekend.
The community day will take place on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the parking lot of the Colonial Village Shopping Center. Ben’s is hosting face painting and balloon animals for children, and the Arlington County Fire Department will bring a fire engine for kids to tour while learning about fire prevention and safety. There will also be games with “various prizes.”
Ben’s will also be hosting a canned food drive to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Anyone who brings in cans will get 10 percent off their next meal at the restaurant.
“Ben’s truly appreciates the excellent work that AFAC does,” Ben’s co-owner Vida Ali said in a press release, “so for this Community Day and beyond we choose to support their efforts as much as possible.”
There will also be two raffles Ben’s is hosting: anyone who pledges to “stand up against bullying,” in honor of October being National Bullying Prevention Month, will be entered into a raffle for a free lunch for two; anyone who brings in a 300 words or less story about how they gave back to the community will also be entered into a raffle for a free lunch for two people.
“Ben’s is first and foremost about family and community,” the release said. “Now, a new chapter has begun in Arlington and Ben’s is happy to invite everyone in the community to come out and enjoy a wonderful day of giving and celebrating life.”
Planners Consider Rosslyn Skyline — The Realize Rosslyn plan is primarily intended to make Rosslyn a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly place. However, it will also have an impact on Rosslyn’s skyline. Arlington County planners will be working with the community this fall to come up with recommendations related to the skyline. [Greater Greater Washington]
Fmr. NAACP President Dies — Dr. Talmadge Williams, a former president of the Arlington NAACP, died on Saturday. He was 79. Williams was also a champion for the proposed Arlington Black Heritage Museum, which is still searching for a permanent home. [InsideNova]
County Board Candidates Debate, Again — The two candidates for Arlington County Board again debated the merits of the county’s planned streetcar system. Incumbent John Vihstadt and Democratic challenger Alan Howze debated before an audience of 125 at George Mason University’s Arlington campus Monday night. [Washington Post]
It’s October — Today is Oct. 1, the first day of the last quarter of the year. If you’re looking to take advantage of October’s crisp fall weather, there’s a full slate of activities and events in around Arlington on our event calendar.
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The Rosslyn intersection where cyclists and pedestrians face drivers exiting I-66 has received safety modifications in the past two weeks and more changes are on the way, county officials said on a tour of the site Tuesday morning.
In advance of a $5 million overhaul slated to be complete in summer 2016, Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation changed the timing of the traffic lights and walk signals at Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street last week, said Larry Marcus, the county’s head of transportation engineering.
“Pedestrians and cyclists are the priority at this location, period,” Marcus said as county officials and police watched people navigate the corner some locals call the “Intersection of Doom.”
One change is minor in cost but should be significant in impact: A no-turn-on-red sign is being installed at N. Lynn Street for those exiting I-66. That’s being done “as soon as possible,” Marcus said.
Additionally, cyclists and pedestrians crossing N. Lynn Street using the Custis Trail previously had a walk signal when all traffic lights were red — known as a “leading interval” — for just 2 seconds; the length of that signal was increased last week to 5 seconds, Marcus said. The county plans to increase the leading interval time to 15 to 20 seconds in the next six months, once new signal technology is installed.
“We’re giving more time for pedestrians and bikes to go first,” Marcus said, adding that new caution signs for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists will be added to the intersection.
Drivers headed west on Lee Highway, meanwhile, now have an additional 10 seconds of biker- and pedestrian-free time to clear the intersection.
To pair with engineering changes, the Arlington County Police Department has ramped up traffic enforcement and educational efforts at the corner where numerous car-on-bike accidents have occurred, Capt. James Wasem said.
“People can expect to see uniformed police officers out here flagging cars over, directing traffic, handing out some brochures and citing violations,” he said about the measures enacted about two weeks ago.
Police issued 228 citations at the intersection from Sept. 15, 2013 through the same date this year: 133 for failure to obey traffic signals, 32 for improper turning and 1 for failure to yield to a pedestrian. Fifteen car crashes occurred at the intersection within that period, police said; just two crashes on record involved pedestrians.
The ACPD assigns an officer to direct traffic at the intersection on weekdays from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. but must spread officers between that corner, schools and other frequent crash sites. The department began sending an officer to the location “as often as possible” following recommendations from a traffic analyst the county hired this year, Wasem said.
ACPD is seeking funding to assign two officers to Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street every weekday morning, plus an additional two officers at Lynn Street and Wilson Boulevard, Wasem said. The latter intersection has been facing a chronic problem of drivers “blocking the box” during rush hour since construction began on the Central Place project, blocking lanes of Lynn Street.
The additional staffing would cost $180,000 through next year.
The FAA announced in April that it was considering changing the regulations around airports to accommodate “one engine inoperative” planes — aircrafts that have an engine fail on takeoff and can’t ascend into the air as fast. The new rule, if passed, would restrict the heights of buildings in the area surrounding airports, which could impact redevelopment in Rosslyn and Crystal City.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan sent a letter in July to the FAA stating the county’s opposition to the rule change. In the letter, she wrote “we share the FAA’s interest in ensuring that air navigation in and around airports is safe, with appropriate plans and procedures in place to account for emergency situations.”
“At the same time, Arlington is committed to our long-established smart growth and transit-oriented development policies, which includes creating mixed-use, high-density neighborhoods around investments in transit,” Donnellan continued. “Therefore, we share the view of other potentially-affected communities that the impacts be thoroughly evaluated through the formal rule-making process before any change is made.”
The Civic Federation, a county-wide organization made up of delegates from more than 80 civic and resident associations, could vote on a motion at its meeting Oct. 7 to oppose Donnellan’s letter, made by retired U.S. Navy Pilot Jim Pebley, a Civic Federation delegate. Pebley said Donnellan made only a cursory “head-nod” to safety, instead prioritizing economic development.
“If the FAA delays adopting the proposed rule, buildings in Rosslyn could soon grow past 450 feet,” Pebley said to the County Board this week. “That gives pilots flying a disabled plane two bad choices: try to clear the buildings or turn early and cross over central Arlington… Madam Manager, your letter’s head-nod towards safety and argument about the rule change’s economic impact on smart growth is not the responseI’d hoped my County would make. You know, having a ‘downtown’ airport comes with economic benefits and safety responsibilities. You can’t have an urban airport and unlimited development crowding airliners.”
Pebley’s resolution would “urge” Arlington County government to work with the FAA on building height safety regulations instead of trying to fight such regulations.
The FAA introduced the change as a “proposed policy,” which, according to Rep. Jim Moran, meant the administration could circumvent the typical rule-making procedures, including a cost-benefit analysis by the federal Office of Management and Budget. Moran said the proposed policy was written to allow airlines to overload plans with cargo and passengers, because a plane hitting a building with one engine out of commission “never happens.”
“The airlines and the airports authority are acting out of greed,” Moran said in May. “It’s self-centered on their part. It’s disappointing and it should be stopped in my view. I’m just asking that they go through the normal, standard rule-making procedure where you look at the real-world impact, but they don’t want to consider what the economic impact would be in surrounding communities because their stovepipe attitude is they exist for the benefit of the airlines.”
The Civic Federation meets Tuesday, Oct. 7. If the FAA policy were passed, buildings already built would not be affected — about 170 in Arlington, Moran said — but, if they were to be redeveloped, they would have to be built shorter than they are now.
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
The pedestrian was crossing Lee Highway at a corner locals have called the “Intersection of Doom” about 8:20 a.m. when the driver of a black SUV plowed into her, officers and a witness said. The driver was headed north on N. Lynn Street and was making a left turn onto Lee Highway when she hit a northbound pedestrian who was using the crosswalk and had the walk signal, according to officers and witness David Clark.
Clark, a 56-year-old Rosslyn resident, was doing his daily exercise routine in Arlington Gateway Park near the intersection when he heard a yell.
“I was coming up from my pushup when I saw a lady crossing the street, and then I heard her holler,” he said. “The lady was in the crosswalk when she got hit.”
An ACPD officer was directing traffic when the crash occurred but momentarily had his back turned to that corner, officers said. An officer is posted weekday mornings from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at the intersection packed with drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, an officer said.
The pedestrian was taken to a hospital and thought to have a broken ankle, according to police scanner traffic. Officers on the scene said the driver could be ticketed, pending an investigation.
In May, the Arlington County Board approved spending an additional $75,000 on safety improvements to the intersection where cyclists have been hit by drivers several times. The upgrades will extend curbs at the intersection’s corners, modify traffic signals, add on-street bike lanes and remove a travel lane from Lee Highway. Construction was set to start in the spring and be complete in summer 2016.
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) CEB Tower will be the tallest building in Arlington when it’s finished. Local and state officials gathered at the site of the future tower across from the Rosslyn Metro station this morning to break ground on the latest feather in the cap of Rosslyn’s redevelopment.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Rep. Jim Moran and Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette spoke before hundreds of Corporate Executive Board Company employees.
Standing 31 stories, CEB Tower will be the office component to developer JBG Companies’ Central Place development, which will include a 390-foot residential building under construction now.
For anchoring JBG Companies’ Central Place office tower, the management advisory company received a $4.5 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, $5 million from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant and matching infrastructure improvements from Arlington County.
“We are all in,” McAuliffe told the crowd. “This corporate partnership is of the utmost importance to the Commonwealth. We have been on a roll since I’ve been governor, with 68,000 new jobs since I took office.”
CEB plans to occupy 15 floors and 350,00 square feet of the 390-foot-tall office tower, moving from its headquarters since 2008 in the Waterview building at 1919 N. Lynn St. The move, according to the company, will allow CEB to add 800 new jobs at an average annual salary of $120,000, on top of their roughly 1,200 employees already working in the area.
“We look forward to seeing CEB Tower rise above the Rosslyn skyline for years to come,” CEB Chairman and CEO Tom Monahan said. “We look forward to a strong partnership in Rosslyn, Arlington and Virginia to make this a global center of commerce.”
Fisette remarked that the building was another signifier of Rosslyn’s burgeoning redevelopment, and boasted of the recent influx of rankings Arlington has received in terms of its livability and its millennial population.
“Nothing is stagnant about Arlington,” Fisette said. “If you don’t know what’s going on in Arlington, you don’t know the future of our nation.”
Moran repeated a comment he made earlier this year, at the groundbreaking of Central Place’s residential skyscraper, about how Rosslyn was “just pawn shops and prostitutes” when he first visited 50 years ago. And he ruefully quoted polarizing comments about the county that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) made in her new memoir.
“Some might even say that Rosslyn was ‘soulless,’” Moran said. “Arlington is anything but soulless, and Rosslyn is developing in a way that would make anyone proud.”
The residential building is expected to open in 2017 and CEB Tower is slated to be complete in 2018. Construction has already ensnared rush hour traffic in the area and closed the CentralPlaza outdoor eating space.
One of the three high-speed elevators on N. Moore Street — which are less than a year old — broke down about 8:15 a.m., according to scanner traffic.
A commuter who was rushing to work after being freed from the elevator said the group remained calm as they waited for help.
The entrapment was caused by a power surge that is under investigation, WMATA spokeswoman Caroline Laurin said.
The elevators went out of service in December 2013 because of an electricity-related glitch.
All three of the elevators on N. Moore Street were taken out of service after the incident and had resumed operation by 11:15 a.m., the WMATA representative said.
DES spokesman Eric Balliet said authority over the Rosslyn station elevators was transferred from the county to WMATA about a month ago.