(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Track work will close Metro stations along the Orange Line this weekend, for the third time in the past month. This time the Ballston and Virginia Square stations will be out of service.
The closures begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, and run through closing on Sunday, May 19. Trains are expected to operate at normal weekend intervals even though service will be split into two segments — between Vienna and East Falls Church and between Clarendon and New Carrollton.
Free shuttle buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and Clarendon. Customers using shuttle bus service should add up to 25 minutes to their travel time.
The last trains of the night from Vienna to East Falls Church will depart 28 minutes earlier than normal — at 1:57 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 10:57 p.m. on Sunday.
The Orange Line closures are to allow for track circuit module replacement. There will also be work on the Red and Green lines this weekend. Information regarding those closures can be found on WMATA’s website.
The Ballston Business Improvement District expressed concern about the timing of the Ballston Metro station closure, considering the Taste of Arlington festival is expected to bring around 20,000 people to that area on Sunday.
Members of the BID have worked out a deal with WMATA. The station closures will remain in effect and passengers will still need to take shuttles between East Falls Church and Clarendon. However, starting around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, additional shuttles will be put into service to accommodate the heavier flow of passengers expected to travel to Taste of Arlington, which begins at noon.
“They will add a whole crew of buses to the schedule for Sunday so they can ensure that nobody is waiting too long and can get to their destination in a timely fashion,” said Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone. “We’re not the first group this has happened to. They’ve assured us they will monitor the buses in making sure they’re arriving and leaving at a rapid rate. We’re just thrilled they were so responsive and so accommodating.”
Leone added that the bus trip is only about 10 minutes, so hopefully festival attendees won’t experience too many delays. Those who prefer to drive to the event should note that the cost is only one dollar for three hours to park at the Ballston garage.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Arraignment for Air Force Officer — Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the airman who was removed from his post as head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program after being accused of sexual battery in Crystal City, is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in an Arlington County courtroom. While the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney office is prosecuting the case, the Air Force has the option of bringing its own case against Krusinski. [Associated Press]
CivFed Opposes Tree Removal at Cemetery — The Arlington County Civic Federation voted Tuesday to oppose a plan to remove 800 trees at Arlington National Cemetery in order to make way for about 30,000 in-ground burial spots and niche spaces. The resolution asks Arlington’s congressional delegation to sponsor legislation to stop the plan and asks the County Board to officially support the legislation. [Sun Gazette]
Four Students Earn Nat’l Merit Scholarships — Four Arlington students have been awarded National Merit Scholarships. The students receiving the $2,500 scholarships are: Ariel Bobbett and Elizabeth Roy of Washington-Lee High School, Nicole Orttung of Yorktown High School, and Robert C. Wharton of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. [Arlington Public Schools]
Day One of School Board Caucus — The first day of the Arlington County Democratic Committee endorsement caucus for School Board will take place tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Drew Model Elementary School (3500 23rd Street S.). The second day of party voting will take place on Saturday. Incumbent James Lander is facing off against challenger Barbara Kanninen for the Democratic endorsement. [Arlington Democrats]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The event’s 2013 moniker: “A Royal Ball.”
Now in its 9th year, the Testicle Festival will again be held at the Arlington American Legion Post in Virginia Square (3445 N. Washington Blvd), from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Tickets are $25 online or $30 at the door. Attendees must be at least 21 year of age.
The price of admission will buy you “all the Rocky Mountain Oysters, beer and Crown Royal you can handle,” organizers say. Entertainment will be provided by the Will Gravatt Band, while the testicles will be fried by Frank McGraw, who’s billed as “Montana’s most famous ball chef.”
“Coming to us straight from the original Rocky Mountain Testy Fest at Rock Creek Lodge outside of Missoula, Frank’s tasty recipe has an authentic zest that helped set a record last year for most pounds consumed,” according to the Montana State Society website.
After more than two years of construction, Z-Burger has finally opened its new restaurant in Virginia Square.
The D.C.-based local burger chain opened its first Arlington location, at 3325 Wilson Blvd, to the public over the weekend.
Inside, the restaurant features a bright interior with high ceilings, plenty of floor-to-ceiling glass, and lots of red design accents, from the seating to the multiple Coca-Cola Freestyle drink machines. Outside, there’s free parking for customers — through several spots require drivers to exit by reversing onto busy Wilson Blvd.
No store hours are posted, but an employee tells us the restaurant will be open very late on Fridays and Saturdays — from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. On all other days, Z-Burger will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., we’re told.
Z-Burger offers hamburgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteak sandwiches, a large selection of toppings and sauces, 75 milkshake varieties, and freshly cut fries and onion rings.
Arlington Funeral Home at 3901 N. Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square was demolished last June in anticipation of the construction of a new mixed use development. For now, the site instead serves as a temporary surface parking lot.
The County Board approved the development’s site plan at its meeting on January 21, 2012. The idea is to build a 10-story building with three levels of underground parking. The development would contain office space, ground floor retail and a black box theater.
Per the site plan, the developer may use the land as a surface parking lot for a period of three years, which would end in January 2015. After that, the developer does have the option to ask the county for an extension on the site plan if a building permit has not yet been applied for and approved. That would keep the parking lot there for an amount of time agreed upon in the extension.
The site sat empty for months, but in the past couple of weeks workers from Mercedes-Benz of Arlington (585 N. Glebe Road) have been spotted dropping off dozens of vehicles in the 85 space Virginia Square parking lot. An employee at the dealership confirmed that the business is leasing parking space from the developer.
This location is reportedly one of several lots Mercedes-Benz of Arlington uses for such purposes. Apparently, strong sales have prompted an increase in the volume of cars the dealership keeps on hand, and it doesn’t have enough space to keep all the vehicles on its own lot. The employee said leasing parking space is not an ideal situation in the long-term and Mercedes continues to be on the lookout for spaces suitable for permanent expansion.
As part of the agreement for a parking lot, the developer is required to abide by a number of conditions laid out in the approved site plan. For example, the property must be kept in good condition, hedges must be installed as screening from headlights and no new driveways may be added.
So far there’s no definite word on how long the parking lot will remain before construction begins on the new development. County staff confirms, however, that the developer has applied for two permits — one for shoring and sheeting, and one for building.
Va. Sq. Giant Celebrates Changes – The Virginia Square Giant grocery store (3450 Washington Blvd) is celebrating its “grand reopening” following recent renovations. A representative for Giant says new features include a redesigned produce department with a better fruit and vegetable assortment, a new gourmet cheese case, a new bakery and an expanded natural foods section. Customers at that location will have the opportunity to take part in tastings, raffles and prize giveaways over the next four weekends.
Event Examines Seniors’ Transportation Needs — A Mobility Lab regional symposium held at George Mason University yesterday focused on the transportation needs of residents aged 65 and older. Speakers voiced the need for better coordination of senior transportation programs that would keep seniors mobile in their communities. Suggestions for improvement included better marketing and promotion, using volunteers and issuing performance surveys. [Mobility Lab]
Streetcar Debate Focuses on Types of Riders — At the Arlington Committee of 100 streetcar forum on Wednesday, speakers addressed which riders prefer different modes of transit. Speakers debated whether the Columbia Pike streetcar or a bus rapid transit system would better draw in “choice riders” — those who have access to a car but could be persuaded to take transit under the right circumstances. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia Square (3811 Fairfax Drive) only has been open for about seven months, but owner Marcus Barnett is already expanding. He will soon open a new location in the Ballston Common Mall.
“We wanted to branch off and we were tipped off about the upcoming mall renovations,” said Barnett. “An opportunity presented itself and we wanted to be a part of that.”
The mall location will be in the food court and won’t yet feature the full menu offered at the Virginia Square location. The focus will be on smoothies, salads, breakfast and energy bars, but wraps and sandwiches will not yet be offered. Barnett said the plan is to eventually expand to a full menu, probably after the mall renovations are completed.
Although the two locations will be close in proximity, Barnett anticipates a totally different clientele.
“All those businesses in the area [Ballston], they don’t really come down to us. Even though it’s so close, just five minutes away, they don’t really come over here,” he said. “There’s a lot of new people and businesses in that area and we want to give them a healthier option.”
Tropical Smoothie Cafe should open sometime in May in the space previously occupied by Crêpe Paris.
(Updated at 10:25 p.m.) A new restaurant is coming to 3811 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, but details about it are sparse.
The restaurant will be run by Tim Ma and Joey Hernandez, of Maple Avenue Restaurant in Vienna. This month Ma was named “DC’s Hottest Chef” by the food website Eater. No word yet on what type of food the restaurant will serve, but Maple Avenue Restaurant serves “eclectic American Cuisine… blending Asian, Latin American and French flavors.”
Reached by phone, Ma declined to comment except to confirm that plans were in the works. A state permit application describes the restaurant generally as having a seating capacity of 100 or less and serving wine, beer and mixed drinks. So far, we’ve been unable to find any building permit applications associated with the restaurant.
Local restaurant chronicler Don Rockwell reports that the restaurant will be called “Water & Wall” and will replace the current Pines of Florence restaurant.
Suspicious Package Shuts Down Va. Square Metro — A suspicious package shut down the Virginia Square Metro station yesterday for part of the evening rush hour. The package was determined to be non-hazardous, according to police.
Traffic Calming Coming to Two Streets — Two Arlington streets — S. Hudson Street between Arlington Blvd and 2nd Street, and 7th Road S. between Carlin Springs Road and Greenbrier Street — will be receiving traffic calming measures. The measures include a narrowing of an intersection, a radar speed display, bike lane markings and additional signage, but no speed bumps. [Sun Gazette]
Support Website for Arlingtonian Accused of Murder — A support website has been set up for Chris Deedy, an Arlington resident and State Department security agent who is accused of second degree murder in the 2011 shooting of a man in McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii. Deedy’s lawyer says his client was protecting others when he fatally shot the 23-year-old Hawaiian. “Law enforcement officers shouldn’t be treated like murderers when they protect the public,” says the website. [DeedySupport.com]
Interview with Kanninen — The Democratic website Blue Virginia interviewed Barbara Kanninen, who’s running for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board against incumbent James Lander. Asked why she’s running, Kanninen said: “If we don’t have competition, we don’t have anyone even trying to prove that they’re going to be a good School Board member.” [Blue Virginia]
The Arlington County Fire Department battled at least three fires over the long holiday weekend.
On Saturday, firefighters extinguished a fire in a detached shed behind a home on the 2900 block of 7th Street N. in Lyon Park. The smoky fire spread to an adjacent fence and caused minor damage to adjacent sheds, but otherwise did not damage any houses, according to ACFD spokesman Gregg Karl.
On Monday, Arlington firefighters battled a two-alarm fire at a house on Shadow Walk in Falls Church, just off Little Falls Road near the Arlington border. Karl was unable to provide additional information about that blaze. ACFD was also called to a small fire on an apartment balcony at 901 N. Monroe Street in Virginia Square. The fire was contained to the balcony, Karl said.
Photo (left) courtesy @CAPT258. Photo (right) courtesy Peter Roof.
There have been some delays in opening, but the finishing touches are now being worked on at the new Z-Burger at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Kenmore Street, between the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations.
After nearly two years of construction, owner Peter Tabibian hopes to open the restaurant in the next two to three weeks. He said an inspector asked for a few more fixes before the final occupancy permit is granted. Tabibian thinks the timing should be better with a March opening anyway, considering it may not be as cold outside.
“I think it’s better to open when it’s a little bit warmer,” he said. “When you open, you want to open with a big bang. It’s not as good when it’s winter.”
Although there are a number of Z-Burger locations throughout the D.C. metro area, this will be the first in Virginia.
“Arlington is a very good place for businesses because it has the right demographics and what we were looking for,” said Tabibian. “They’re building a lot of stuff here and I think this will be a good place for our first Virginia location.”
Z-Burger touts homemade custard in its 75 varieties of milkshakes, freshly cut fries and onion rings, fresh bread that’s delivered twice daily and even cheesesteak sandwiches. Tabibian said the burgers are different than at other restaurants due in a large part to the special spice blend, which he says “is very addicting.” He believes another aspect that sets Z-Burger apart from competitors is the service.
“We are very quick. We have a system that as soon as people come in, the patties are already dropped down on the grill,” said Tabibian. “Everything is cooked to order so people don’t have to wait a long, long time. By the time you order, our goal is to get your food in six to eight minutes.”
Once it opens, the restaurant will celebrate its grand opening with several days of burger giveaways. Until an opening date is set, crews will continue construction work and Tabibian will continue hiring staff. Anyone interested in applying for a position at the new Z-Burger should email email@example.com.
Gas Tax Hike Passes State Senate Committee — On Tuesday, a state Senate committee backed a five cent increase on the gas tax, which is expected to generate $4.5 billion for road work over the next five years. The measure is an alternative to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan, which would eliminate the gas tax and increase the state sales tax. The gas tax increase is expected to pass in the full Senate today. [Washington Examiner]
Same Sex Marriage Demonstration — On Valentine’s Day (Thursday), same sex marriage supporters will gather in front of the Arlington County Courthouse where two same sex couples will request marriage licenses. A similar demonstration occurred last month, when Paul Ferguson, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, had to deny licenses to more than a dozen couples because gay marriage is not legal in Virginia. The group will gather around 10:00 a.m. and includes supporters from five Arlington churches.
Ray’s Hell Burger Officially for Rent — “For Rent” signs have been posted on the spaces previously occupied by Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger Too in Rosslyn. As ARLnow.com first reported last month, the restaurants closed due to a landlord-tenant dispute. At first, the closing appeared to be temporary, based on a sign posted in the window that read: “Please visit us at Ray’s to the Third while we take a quick break.” [Washingtonian]
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Begins Delivery Service — The Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurant (3811 N. Fairfax Drive) in Virginia Square has started offering delivery of its food and drinks. Owner Marcus Barnett says this is the first Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the country to offer the service. Orders must be at least $15 and there is a $2 delivery fee.
(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) A man in a Virginia Tech sweatshirt broke into the lobby of a Virginia Square condominium and passed out on the lobby couch, according to Arlington County Police.
The alleged incident happened early Monday morning, on the 3600 block of 10th Street N. The visibly intoxicated man reportedly damaged the door to the building and “ruined” the couch — although a police spokesman was unable to specify the nature of the damage.
According to Arlington’s daily crime report, the man left before police arrived.
Between 2 am and 7:40 am on February 10, an unknown subject forced entry into the lobby of a condominium. The subject then walked through the lobby and passed out on the lobby couch. The lobby door and couch both sustained damage. The subject is described as a white male in his 20’s, approximately 6’0” tall and 180 lbs. He has brown hair and a light complexion. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a blue and red Nationals hat and an orange VT sweatshirt.
On Monday (February 4) just before 8:00 p.m., police say the woman left her home and was walking in the 3800 block of N. 9th Street in Virginia Square when a man approached her. He allegedly grabbed her and held a box cutter to her throat while demanding money and a cell phone.
Police say the woman told the man she didn’t have any money, and the attacker then led her about half a block away where a second man was standing. The men then reportedly took the victim’s cell phone and fled on foot.
The first subject is described as a black male, 6’0” tall and 160 pounds. At the time of the crime, the subject was described as wearing a ski mask, grey winter jacket, light jeans and was brandishing a grey box cutter. The second subject is described as a black male, 5’10” tall and 200 pounds. He was said to have a round face and beard, and was wearing a white hat, royal blue jacket with an orange bottom, dark jeans and white shoes.
Anyone with information about the suspects or this crime is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
Update at 4:35 p.m. — One westbound lane is now slowly getting by the scene of the water main break.
A water main break in Virginia Square is snarling traffic on Washington Blvd, and will continue to do so through the evening rush hour.
Westbound lanes of Washington Blvd have been closed between N. Kirkwood Road and N. Lincoln Street. Traffic heading eastbound has been reduced to one lane.
There’s no word when the road will re-open, but a crew will remain on the scene making repairs at least through rush hour.