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AAA Urges Safe Driving in Rainy Weather

by ARLnow.com | October 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm | 461 views | No Comments

Rainy accident on I-395 at Washington Boulevard (file photo)Numerous accidents have been reported around Arlington today as continued rainy weather is making for slick conditions on the roads.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding motorists to drive carefully in wet weather.

The association sent out the following press release this afternoon.

As the coastal storm continues through the Washington metro area today, motorists will face hazardous driving conditions during their evening commute due to rain and standing water, warns AAA Mid-Atlantic.  The auto club is advising motorists to exercise caution when driving.

“Commuters heading home tonight will face the same hazardous weather conditions as this morning’s drive to work,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.  “When driving in wet weather remember to buckle up, slow down, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Also, remember, it’s the law in the District of ColumbiaMaryland and Virginia to turn your headlights on if your windshield wipers are in use.”

To minimize the hazards associated with wet weather driving, AAA Mid-Atlantic recommends the following precautions for navigating in heavy rain, reduced visibility and slick pavement:

  • Slow down and increase following distances. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and braking distances increase. On dry pavement, a safe following distance permits two to three seconds for stopping; that should be increased to eight seconds on slippery roads. Train your eyes farther down the road than normal, so you can anticipate changes and adjust your course gradually.
  • Do not attempt to drive through standing water on the roads that look too deep. Avoid bridges and roads that are known to flood. When driving on pothole-filled roads, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Just a few inches of water can turn your vehicle into a boat, and could put your life, and the lives of those around you, at great risk. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination.
  • Watch out for hydroplaning. No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Just because brakes work under normal conditions doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with far less traction.
  • Alert drivers behind you that you’re slowing with your brake lights. Without anti-lock brakes, squeeze the brakes until they are about to lock up and then release. With anti-lock brakes, use the same move – but don’t pump the brakes, which would work against the operation of the ABS system. Slow down as you approach a pothole. However, do not brake when your vehicle is directly over a pothole.
  • Use the central lanes. When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
  • Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility.
  • Use your defroster with your air conditioning to keep the air dry and prevent windows from fogging.
  • Do not drive around barricades. Many lives have been lost when drivers disregard official orders and find themselves trapped in rising waters.
  • Turn off the cruise control in wet weather driving. The use of cruise control on wet roads can cause hydroplaning.
  • If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit and find a safe location.  Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge where you may feel less anxiety. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
  • Watch for slick spots on the road. Fumes and oil leaks that build up on dry pavement rise to the surface of the road when it rains, making the road far slicker than it may seem.

Reduction in Crashes Near ACPD Sign

by Katie Pyzyk | September 11, 2013 at 11:00 am | 4,755 views | No Comments

Electronic sign at Washington Blvd and Route 50The electronic sign the Arlington County Police Department stationed at Washington Blvd and Route 50 with the seemingly obvious message “don’t hit the car in front of you” may have accomplished its intended goal. ACPD reports a reduction in accidents at the intersection.

The department targeted that particular area with an electronic message due to the high number of crashes there. It was the county’s top area for accidents during the second quarter of 2013. After the sign went up, however, the department saw a change.

“It appears the sign worked because there was a sharp decrease in accidents from July to August,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The sign went up in early July, and from then until today (September 11), police have only responded to two accidents. That’s down from about 15 during the second quarter.

The department believes the simplicity of the sign’s message may be what caused drivers to take notice and heed the warning. Despite the large amount of attention it received, the message did not produce any complaints to police.

The electronic sign is one of four ACPD owns, all of which are mounted on trailers so they can be easily moved around the county. The signs are rotated on a regular basis; messages typically remain for about two months, unless they show a short term alert such as a special event or one-time road closure. This specific sign was changed a few days after ARLnow.com ran the story last month.

Police Encourage Caution As School Begins

by Ethan Rothstein | September 2, 2013 at 8:30 am | 807 views | No Comments

Arlington County school busesWhen school starts on Tuesday, the Arlington County Police will again increase their presence on the roads and in school zones.

Police officers will be a high-visibility presence, directing traffic in school zones, and variable message boards will be placed along county roadways reminded drivers to take extra precaution as students start returning to area schools.

Arlington County issued the following tips for safe driving on the first day of school:

Drivers are reminded to:

  • Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
  • Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
  • Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school.
  • Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers.
  • Have all occupants wear their seatbelts.

Students, bicyclists and pedestrians are reminded to:

  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
  • Look before you cross and follow the direction of the school crossing guards.
  • Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths never along the side of a road.

With a little prevention, all drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner.

Sept. 3 is also being billed by AAA Mid Atlantic as “Terrible Traffic Tuesday,” the day when roads are jammed because school returns and summer vacation season ends.

According to AAA, “the average 20.4 minute daily delay that drivers experienced around [the D.C. area] in July and August will return to an average of 25.8 minutes during September.”

Report: Arlington Has 10th Worst Drivers in U.S.

by ARLnow.com | August 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm | 4,570 views | No Comments

Overturned car in CherrydaleArlington drivers are the 10th worst in the country, according to Allstate Insurance Company.

The company released its annual America’s Best Drivers Report this week and once again, Arlington is near the bottom. The county ranked 10th worst, with drivers going an average of 6.7 years between accidents. That means drivers here are 50 percent more likely to get in an accident than the national average.

Bad driving in the D.C. area isn’t just confined to Arlington, however. Alexandria ranked below Arlington as the 7th worst while Baltimore and the District ranked as No. 2 and 1 worst, respectively.

Arlington’s drivers seem to be getting worse over time, at least according to Allstate’s statistics. Last year, Arlington was ranked as 12th worst, and in 2011 the county was ranked 14th worst. In 2011, Arlington drivers went an average of 6.8 years between accidents.

The safest drivers in the country, meanwhile, reside in Fort Collins, Colo., where motorists go nearly 14 years between accidents on average. The national average is 10 years between accidents, according to Allstate.

Electronic Sign Shows Seemingly Obvious Message

by Katie Pyzyk | August 20, 2013 at 11:00 am | 6,229 views | No Comments

Electronic sign at Washington Blvd and Route 50 (photo courtesy @CruiseInDeCarr)An electronic sign the Arlington County Police Department stationed at Washington Boulevard and Route 50 is raising some eyebrows. Not because the message it displays is risqué, but rather because it seems so obvious.

The sign has been programmed to display the phrase “don’t hit the car in front of you.” The message has drawn national media attention, with the likes of Fox News and The Blaze picking up the story.

Earlier this month, @CruiseInDeCarr tweeted a photo of the sign to ARLnow.com, adding: “You wouldn’t think we’d need a sign for this.” While that may be the logical assumption, it appears drivers haven’t heeded the obvious advice, considering that intersection came in as the top area for motor vehicle accidents in Arlington during the second quarter of 2013. During that time period, police responded to 11 accidents at the site, nearly all of them rear-end collisions.

The ACPD believes the sign has caught drivers’ attention due to the simplicity of the wording.

“The current message was an attempt to simplify the message to reduce the amount of accidents as much as possible,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “It’s intended to have a positive effect in terms of reducing the number of accidents because that site has been identified as a top accident location in Arlington. As long as people are paying attention, it [the sign] may affect their driving behavior.”

The sign is one of four the ACPD purchased from 2004-2006. It cost around $16,000, with about half of the cost being covered by grant money from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. All the messages displayed on the boards rotate and are changed after two months. Previous messages included “high accident area ahead”, “no merge area”, “safety is no accident” and “maintain safe following distance.”

The signs are mounted on trailers that can be moved around the county to warn drivers of construction zones, inform them of traffic safety campaigns or alert them to special events. The ACPD says the signs operate on deep cycle 12 volt batteries and the necessary maintenance is minimal.

Photo courtesy @CruiseInDeCarr

Activities Planned for National Night Out Tonight

by Katie Pyzyk | August 6, 2013 at 9:45 am | 1,096 views | No Comments

2013 National Night Out logo(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) Residents across the county are encouraged to head out tonight to meet their neighbors at the activities planned for National Night Out.

At National Night Out, neighbors take a stand against crime in their communities. They strengthen relationships with each other and the police officers who patrol the neighborhoods. The event is held across the country on the first Tuesday in August and is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Arlington has events planned for the occasion at the following six locations:

  • Arlington Forest Ice Cream Social — 200 block of N. Galveston Street, 7:30 p.m.–TBD
  • Barcroft Community House — 800 S. Buchanan Street, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
  • Fairlington Community Center — 3005 S. Abingdon Street, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Nauck Neighborhood at Drew Model Elementary School — 3500 S. 23rd Street, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
  • Park Glen Condominium Courtyard — 800 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
  • Columbia Knoll Condominiums at Greenbriar Baptist Church — 5401 S. 7th Road, 6:30–8:00 p.m.

Police officers will be on hand at each of the locations to chat with neighbors and to answer questions about current crime trends. They can also answer questions about general safety and offer neighborhood-specific suggestions for staying safe.

Everyone is welcome to attend the family friendly festivities.

County Regulations, Safety Tips for Fireworks

by Katie Pyzyk | July 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm | No Comments

Fireworks trailer on Columbia Pike(Updated at 12:55 p.m.) Independence Day is on Thursday and that means fireworks stands are busy with people stocking up on items to light up the night. But before buying certain types of  fireworks that could lead to an encounter with the law, check out the guidelines from the Arlington County Fire Department.

Although ACFD notes that the safest way for residents to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display by a trained professional, it recognizes that many people will purchase their own. To avoid facing prosecution for illegal fireworks, use the following guidelines listed in the county code:

  • Fireworks must have a hard-coated or slow burning fuse that measures at least one-and-a-half inches long, with a burning rate of at least four seconds.
  • Fireworks that are projectiles or emit flames or sparks in excess of 12 feet are prohibited.
  • Residents must be at least 18 years old to purchase fireworks.
  • Arlington County uses the same guidelines as Fairfax County, which has posted an extensive list online of approved fireworks.

Fireworks booth at the corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road (file photo)Customers should only purchase items from a licensed vendor displaying a current permit. Those with a permit issued by Arlington County can only sell fireworks permissible by the county.

ACFD also refers residents to the following general safety tips for handling fireworks, compiled by FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal “safe” firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never shoot a firework at or near another person.
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
  • Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
  • Observe local laws.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
  • Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.

County Mulling Wilson Blvd Lane Reduction Proposal

by ARLnow.com | June 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm | No Comments

Wilson Blvd lane reduction proposal in Bluemont (photo via BCA)

Arlington County is mulling a proposal to narrow Wilson Boulevard west of George Mason Drive from four lanes to two through lanes and a center turn lane.

The proposal was conceived and endorsed by the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA) last fall, as part a recommendation to widen the sidewalks along Wilson Boulevard in the neighborhood.

The association’s “Task Force on Arterial Road Sidewalks and Pedestrian Safety” came up with the plan after considering various ways to widen the narrow sidewalks to Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

Demonstration of narrow sidewalks along Wilson Blvd in Bluemont (photo via BCA)Two possible options — undergrounding utilities (thus removing utility poles that partially block the sidewalk) and acquiring additional right-of-way from private property owners along Wilson Boulevard — were rejected as too expensive and otherwise infeasible.

The solution endorsed by the task force and the BCA membership instead calls for a two-phase project that, in the first phase, would halve the number of through-lanes west of George Mason Drive while adding a center turn lane and two bike lanes.

The second phase of the proposed project would widen the sidewalks to ADA standards, while relocating the utility poles.

Wilson Boulevard in Bluemont, west of George Mason Drive (via Google Maps)In a PowerPoint presentation, the task force said such changes would not impede the flow of traffic but would improve safety.

“Two through lanes with a center turn lane typically provides a better line of sight and safer transitions for cars entering the traffic lanes,” the presentation said. “Speeding may be reduced while maintaining the same overall travel time. Reduced crash risks for all users are expected.”

The presentation compared the Bluemont stretch of Wilson Boulevard to nearby Washington Boulevard, which has only two lanes and higher peak traffic volumes.

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New Red Light Cameras Delayed but Coming Soon

by Katie Pyzyk | June 13, 2013 at 10:30 am | 1,839 views | No Comments

Old red light camera at Wilson Blvd and N. Lynn StreetDrivers have a little more time before new red light cameras go up at several dangerous intersections around the county.

The seven cameras initially were scheduled to be installed in April. At that time, ARLnow.com inquired about the cameras and learned that there would be a 60 day delay. Now, we’re told the new cameras should be operational by the fall.

“We’ve come across a couple of different hurdles and it’s definitely extending our timelines. The plans the county was supposed to have didn’t come through and a private company had to come in. Some information that was needed was not on the plans provided, so they had to go to survey to get the information,” said Red Light Camera Administrator Officer Caroline Allen with the Arlington County Police Department. “Unfortunately, it’s not as smooth as we hoped it would be to get these cameras out.”

The seven traffic cameras will monitor five intersections shown to have high rates of red light violations. There will be two at Columbia Pike and Glebe Road monitoring eastbound and westbound Columbia Pike, two at Jefferson Davis Highway and S. 23rd Street monitoring northbound and southbound Jefferson Davis Highway, one at Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive monitoring eastbound Columbia Pike, one at Lee Highway and George Mason Drive monitoring westbound Lee Highway and one at Washington Blvd and Glebe Road monitoring northbound Glebe Road.

The first two cameras to be installed — those at Jefferson Davis Highway and S. 23rd — could potentially be in by July if all goes well. The remaining five are estimated to be operational by September.

“We’re still waiting on VDOT approval, then we can go ahead with setting up construction plans,” Officer Allen said.

A study released in January examined the red light cameras installed in Arlington in 2010, and found a decrease in violations at those intersections.

“You can clearly see in the videos that people are running red lights. There are some very close calls,” said Officer Allen. “It’s making an impact just based on the reductions in violations. The number has gone down dramatically.”

Intersections are chosen based on surveys examining the rates of red light violations, the number of accidents, pedestrian safety and the safety of police officers trying to apprehend violators at the intersections.

“It’s defnitely a safety aspect,” said Officer Allen. “Those [intersections] selected are not safe for drivers, not safe for pedestrians, not safe for officers trying to enforce those intersections.”

The standard one month warning period will apply for those caught running red lights at the intersections with the new cameras. After that time, violators will be ticketed.

Once the new cameras are installed, there will be another survey to examine which intersections should potentially receive red light cameras next year.

Video: ACPD Safety Tips for Jogging, Warm Weather

by ARLnow.com | April 26, 2013 at 5:00 pm | 1,351 views | No Comments

The Arlington County Police Department has released two short videos with tips for staying safe while using jogging trails and enjoying warm weather.

“Arlington has safe and beautiful trails for biking, running, and walking,” a narrator says on the jogging trail video. “As the days get longer, people of all ages spend more time outside — and this includes criminals, too.”

Tips listed on the video include:

  • Try to use populated areas in the daylight hours.
  • Wear light, reflective clothing.
  • Try to go out with a friend.
  • Make sure you bring a cell phone.
  • Familiarize yourself with your trails and avoid areas you don’t know.
  • If you listen to music, make sure you leave one ear open.
  • Tell someone where you will be going before you leave.
  • Call 911 for emergencies or, for non-emergencies, call 703-558-2222.

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Study: Cameras Reduce Red Light Running

by Katie Pyzyk | January 24, 2013 at 11:45 am | 1,028 views | 55 Comments

Video camera mounted at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Courthouse Road(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) Red light running decreased in Arlington at intersections with cameras, according to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The study focused on the cameras installed in 2010 at four heavily traveled Arlington intersections — southbound Fort Myer Drive at westbound Lee Highway, northbound N. Lynn Street at eastbound Lee Highway, northbound N. Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive and westbound Washington Blvd at Lee Highway. The public was informed of the camera installation and violators were given warnings for 30 days. After the grace period, violators caught on camera received a $50 citation.

Researchers at the IIHS (which is located in Arlington) taped traffic during the warning period, one month after ticketing began and again one year later. They found that one year after ticketing began there was a marked decrease in drivers running red lights. Violations occurring at least 0.5 seconds after the light turned red were 39 percent less likely, those occurring at least 1 second after were 48 percent less likely and there was an 86 percent drop in violations occurring at least 1.5 seconds after the light changed.

“This study provides fresh evidence that automated enforcement can get drivers to modify their behavior,” says Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at IIHS and the study’s lead author. “What these numbers show is that those violations most likely to lead to a crash are reduced the most. The longer the light has been red when a violator enters an intersection, the more likely the driver is to encounter a vehicle traveling in another direction or a pedestrian.”

Traffic was also taped at four other intersections — westbound Lee Highway at Kirkwood Road, northbound N. Glebe Road at Washington Blvd, westbound Arlington Blvd at Manchester Street and eastbound Columbia Pike at S. George Mason Drive — to see if there was any spillover effect from the cameras. While there were some decreases in violations observed in areas close to cameras, they were not always deemed statistically significant.

In 2011, the first full year the four red light cameras were in operation, they brought in nearly $460,000 in revenue. That number halved in 2012, coming in at about $224,000. The camera at Southbound Fort Myer Drive and Lee Highway brought in the most revenue, with a two year total of nearly $304,000.

In April, the county plans to activate seven additional traffic cameras at five intersections shown to have high rates of violations. There will be two at Columbia Pike and Glebe Road monitoring Eastbound and Westbound Columbia Pike, two at S. 23rd Street and Jefferson Davis Highway monitoring Northbound and Southbound Jefferson Davis Highway, one at Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive monitoring Eastbound Columbia Pike, one at Lee Highway and George Mason Drive monitoring Westbound Lee Highway and one at Washington Blvd and Glebe Road monitoring Northbound Glebe Road. The standard one month warning period will apply, and violators will be ticketed after that time.

Tejada Outlines 2013 Priorities as County Board Chair

by ARLnow.com | January 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm | 3,984 views | 62 Comments

Arlington County Board member Walter TejadaWalter Tejada, the new Arlington County Board Chair for 2013, says he will use his chairmanship to push for progress in four local policy areas: affordable housing, fitness and health, urban agriculture, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Tejada and other County Board members outlined their vision for the county at the Board’s traditional New Year’s Day meeting on Tuesday. As Chair, Tejada’s priorities will receive the sharpest focus.

In a seven-page speech, Tejada repeatedly called on the county to “move forward together… for all of Arlington.”

Tejada’s first major policy initiative is affordable housing. Tejada repeated a call he and Board member Chris Zimmerman previously made: for new affordable housing investment funded via adoption of Tax Increment Financing for Columbia Pike. The TIF would steer a percentage of taxes gained through increases in property values along Columbia Pike to the creation of new affordable housing, to bolster the county’s existing 6,585 committed affordable units.

“Already on Columbia Pike, market forces are threatening one of the County’s largest supplies of market-rate affordable housing,” Tejada said. ”I have asked [County Manager Barbara Donnellan] to analyze and submit a recommendation by June 2013 for creating a transit oriented affordable housing fund on Columbia Pike through adoption of a TIF.”

“We need to house our healthcare workers and teacher aides, our cashiers and restaurant workers, our cleaning staff and small business employees, and other hard-working people so vital to our County’s economic health,” he continued. “We need to maintain the cultural and economic diversity that is so vital to Arlington’s soul, for all of Arlington.”

Tejada acknowledged that more affordable housing will not come cheap, but quoted former president John F. Kennedy in saying, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”

An affordable housing TIF on the Pike wouldn’t be the county’s first use of the funding vehicle. A TIF is in place to fund infrastructure improvements in Crystal City, including a planned Crystal City streetcar.

After affordable housing, Tejada called for the county to “promote healthy living” through an initiative called FitArlington.

The new focus on fitness and health will include the creation of a “Arlington Healthy Community Action Team” (HCAT) comprised of local health and fitness providers, youth services providers, nutrition educators and urban agriculture enthusiasts. In addition to promoting physical fitness in general, the county will work in partnership with the HCAT and Arlington Public Schools to help reduce the rate of childhood obesity in Arlington.

The childhood obesity initiative will kick off with a community meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).

Tejada also highlighted the work of the county’s Urban Agriculture Task Force, which was announced as an initiative at the 2012 New Year’s Day meeting. Among the issues being considered by the task force is the controversial proposal to allow Arlington residents to raise egg-laying hens in their backyards. Tejada said he expects the task force’s forthcoming recommendations to help promote healthy eating in Arlington.

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APS: Schools Prepared For Emergencies

by ARLnow.com | December 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm | 4,075 views | 149 Comments

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) In the wake of a horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Arlington Public Schools officials are assuring parents that teachers, staff and students are well-prepared for emergencies.

Individual schools have been sending emails to parents throughout the day, says Assistant Superintendent for School and Community Relations Linda Erdos. Schools drill regularly for a range of emergencies, Erdos said, adding that several Arlington schools conducted a pre-planned lockdown drill this morning.

“All of our plans and preparations are developed in coordination with Arlington public safety officials,” she said. ”Our schools all throughout the county regularly schedule lockdown drills. We do those all the time, just like tornado drills and fire drills. We do a lot of drills with our students so they know what steps are to be taken in an emergency.”

“We all take it very seriously,” Erdos continued. “We will continue to be vigilant and follow normal procedures.”

In an email to parents, the principal of one Arlington elementary school called the events of this morning a “terrible tragedy.”

“Like many of you, all of us… have been shocked and saddened by the terrible tragedy that took place at an elementary school in Connecticut this morning,” wrote the principal. “Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the Newtown community and all of the families that have been touched by this event.”

“We also want to remind you that we need your emergency contact information updated any time it changes. We need accurate phone numbers and addresses,” the principal wrote, adding: “Please make sure that you come through our front doors and sign in the office so that we know exactly who is in our building at all times.”

Congressman Jim Moran, meanwhile, released a statement about the shooting this afternoon.

As our country struggles to comprehend what occurred today in Newtown, CT, my deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those killed in this mindless tragedy.  As a nation, we are again confronted with an act of terrifying mass gun violence.  While the coming days should be reserved for grieving, as a legislative body, and as a people, we must consider what can be done to improve our laws to prevent the continuation of this horrific trend.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde, of the Diocese of Arlington, also issued a statement about the shooting Friday afternoon:

Today’s horrific news from Newtown, Connecticut, breaks our hearts. In the face of such evil and violence, there are no words adequate to describe the loss. Let us each, today and throughout the coming days, commit to praying for the souls of the departed victims and the families of all those involved.

Bikeshare Fares Well But Cyclists Cautioned of Hazards

by Katie Pyzyk | October 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm | 2,301 views | 19 Comments

Capital Bikeshare is back in business following Superstorm Sandy, but cyclists are warned that hazardous conditions remain on the streets and trails.

Capital Bikeshare did not experience damage to any of its bicycles or docking stations, we’re told. The system did shut down for about 36 hours to prevent people from biking in dangerous conditions, and to protect the workers who have to travel around the metro area to re-distribute bikes where they’re needed.

The system began running again on Tuesday afternoon, and workers spent some time playing catch up on bike re-distribution.

Although larger obstacles such as fallen trees or downed wires still pose a problem for cyclists, BikeArlington’s Chris Eatough said such hazards are relatively easy to spot and shouldn’t take too many people by surprise. The lingering issue that might catch cyclists off guard is wet ground covered with slick leaves.

“The main thing we’ve heard and that I’ve noticed is slippery conditions. A lot of leaves came down along with everything else. They’ve come down so heavily saturated that in many cases they’re matted to the trails and roads,” Eatough said. “It’s definitely something to watch out for. That could take you off your bike before you even know what’s going on.”

Cyclists are reminded to control their speeds and use extra caution when turning. As always, cyclists should use a light when traveling in the dark. Eatough said the light is particularly important to have as darkness sets in earlier, especially with daylight saving time beginning on Sunday (November 4).

Cyclists looking for the latest biking conditions, including those on the trails, can check in online with the Washington Area Bike Forum or follow BikeArlington’s Twitter feed.

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