Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.
Can I catch that from my pet? This is a common question we hear as veterinarians.
So, we’re going to make this a recurring topic. This week, we’ll cover some intestinal parasites.
Intestinal parasites are the most common infectious diseases that we diagnose and several have the potential to be transmitted to humans. Most of these parasites are transmitted through the feces of an infected animal.
So, whenever handling animal feces or touching potentially contaminated areas such as soil, outdoor sandbox or a litter box, thorough hand-washing and good personal hygiene are recommended.
Keeping your pet on a year-round parasite preventative that protects against some of these parasites, as well as yearly fecal screening for asymptomatic gastrointestinal parasite infections, are important to reduce infection risk.
Giardia is the most common gastrointestinal parasite we diagnose and we diagnose it on a daily basis. If you’ve ever heard of a human with “Hikers Diarrhea”… welp, that was Giardia.
In general, this parasite is quite species specific, however there are some strains that can be transmitted to humans so it is best to handle all Giardia cases like they may be.
Roundworms can be transmitted in utero and via mom’s milk, as well as via fecal/oral transmission.
Humans are not the ideal host for this parasite, but when presented with a human the larval stages will make the most of it and attempt to migrate to the gastrointestinal tract. Instead , they end up in weird places and are a cause of partial blindness in children (as they are notorious about not washing their hands well and playing in sandboxes or dirt) as they like to migrate to the retina (back of the eye) instead.
Hookworm larvae can penetrate intact skin and then migrate to the gastrointestinal tract of dogs and cats; and while humans are not their primary host, they will attempt their life cycle.
This can lead to a very itchy skin reaction in humans called cutaneous larval migrans, which result from an intense immune reaction to the larvae as they try to migrate and then die under the skin.
Whipworms and Coccidia are not considered zoonotic parasites, meaning we really don’t see transmission to humans (well, there are rare reported cases). However, they are important parasites in dogs and cats (coccidia) and can often cause diarrhea.
There are several types of tapeworms that we seen in our pets. By far the most common one we see in this area has a life cycle that requires the flea as an intermediate host; other strains of tapeworms require small rodents and herbivores as an intermediate host.
The vast majority of dog and cat tapeworms are of low risk for transmission to humans. That said there is a tapeworm called Echinococcus which is rarely seen in North America and is actually a reportable disease here.
The Echinococcus tapeworm rarely causes disease in dogs and cats, but it is easily transmitted to humans and can lead to large cysts within our internal organs that can lead to anaphylactic shock and death if ruptured!
For more information on these individual parasites and how they may affect you or your family, please visit: http://www.petsandparasites.org
Amid persistent concerns that Amazon’s army of new workers will displace low-income Arlingtonians, county leaders plan to redirect their existing investments in affordable housing to better serve the areas impacted by the new headquarters — but the county won’t be upping its financial commitment to spurring the construction of reasonably priced homes.
While critics of Arlington’s decision to court Amazon’s HQ2 have focused on everything from the headquarters’ potential impact on county schools to its transportation systems, the tech giant’s impact on housing prices has perhaps drawn the most scrutiny of all.
The D.C. region has already seen a housing crunch in recent years, and all manner of experts have theorized that the arrival of Amazon’s thousands of highly paid workers will only worsen the county’s challenges. Accordingly, Virginia’s offer to Amazon includes a frequent emphasis on the region’s commitment to addressing local housing woes, and it touts a $150 million investment in affordable housing by Arlington and Alexandria over the next decade. The state has also pledged massive investments in existing programs through its Virginia Housing Development Authority.
But the details of the proposal contain a bit more nuance. The county won’t achieve that affordable housing investment by increasing its annual contributions to various housing-focused programs; rather, it will earmark about a third of those funds for projects creating affordable homes in Crystal City, Pentagon City and along Columbia Pike.
“We’re hoping that will help us create 1,000 new committed affordable units in that area,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol told ARLnow. “And that’s joined by the new commitment from the state, so we’re clearly making this a priority.”
The county currently sends about $21 million to affordable housing efforts each year, county economic development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell said. That includes just over $14 million to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, a loan program designed to encourage affordable developments, and contributions to other loan repayment programs for low-income renters.
That means about $7 million each year will be dedicated to housing affordability programs impacting the neighborhoods surrounding Amazon’s new headquarters. Cristol also hopes to increase that amount as new tax revenues from the company flow into county coffers, though Arlington will need a few years to truly feels those revenue impacts.
Michelle Winters, executive director of the Arlington-based Alliance for Housing Solutions, was hoping to see the county step up its total commitment to affordable housing funds immediately, not simply move money around. She points out that, even with the county’s existing efforts, Arlington has seen dramatic declines in the amount of both “committed affordable” homes, where housing prices are controlled, and “market rate” affordable homes, which are designed with prices to match the current housing environment.
“It’s going take additional analysis to determine if this will actually be enough to meet the needs arising from Amazon and other growth in the region,” Winters said.
More intense Amazon skeptics, however, believe that anything short of a full-court press from the communities surrounding the new headquarters will spell disaster for renters in the area. State Del. Lee Carter (D-50th District) fully expects that Arlingtonians priced out of the county will soon flock to outer suburbs like his Manassas-area district, causing a ripple effect throughout the Northern Virginia region.
“I live in a one bedroom apartment in Manassas; my rent’s going to go up, and I’m going to get priced out of my own district,” Carter said. “It speaks to the flawed conventional wisdom around economic development. It says that more jobs are always good: but at what cost?”
County officials don’t see the situation as being quite so dire, however. They note that up to 20 percent of the workers Amazon plans to hire likely already live in the area, and that employees will arrive gradually in Arlington over the next few years, not simply show up all at once and disrupt the housing market overnight.
Arlington leaders also believe they’ll have more tools at their disposal to address housing affordability by the time Amazon starts truly ramping up its hiring.
One key way the county earns money for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) is by forcing developers to make contributions to it as they win local approvals for massive new projects. Amazon won’t be building much in Arlington right away, choosing to move into some existing space in Crystal City to start — that’s an outcome affordable housing advocates feared, as the company won’t be required to chip into the AHIF until it starts sketching out construction plans.
But County Board member Erik Gutshall points out that Amazon has big plans for future construction in the area, which will eventually result in “straight contributions” to the AHIF. Amazon has already purchased large tracts of land in Pentagon City from developer JBG Smith, and could opt to fully re-develop some of the existing buildings it’s leasing someday.
“Over time, everything is going to be new,” said Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey. “They’re not just going to stay in existing 1960s buildings. Permanently, they’re building new stuff.”
Yet Winters argues that programs like the AHIF can only do so much to create new affordable housing in the county. She credits the county for some of its work to preserve some older, moderately priced homes, but urged officials to do more, with greater urgency.
“While additional subsidy and investment is absolutely needed, it’s not the only thing that it’s needed,” Winters said. “We absolutely need to ramp up the pace housing is added to the county.”
Other urbanists are willing to call for even more transformative changes to make that happen, now that Amazon has arrived.
Or, independent of Amazon's decision, all localities in DC metro need to build more housing, *esp* in wealthy nhoods w/ good schools, transit, and jobs. That means North Arlington, Ward 3, Bethesda, etc. https://t.co/I3rg9A8egE
— Jenny Schuetz (@jenny_schuetz) November 13, 2018
Cristol acknowledged that “the one thing we can’t address through public policy is speculation in the market,” and early estimates suggest that speculation will be no laughing matter — McEarney Associates, a group of Northern Virginia realtors, released a report estimating that overall home prices will rise anywhere from 20 to 30 percent in the wake of Amazon’s announcement, with appreciation rates “north of 15 percent” in the immediate vicinity of the new headquarters.
Accordingly, Cristol does see a need to “meet the supply challenge,” but she’d prefer to double down on some of the county’s existing efforts to loosen zoning rules for “accessory dwelling units” or allow more renovations to older duplexes, rather than pursue more dramatic changes.
“We need to increase our urgency in expanding housing options among that ‘missing middle’ housing stock,” Cristol said.
Drybar, a national hair salon chain that specializes in blowouts, is set to start styling today (Nov. 15) in Ballston Quarter.
Located at 4238 Wilson Blvd, the salon is behind the CVS on the first floor of the mall. It neighbors DC Lash Bar.
“No cuts. No color. Just blowouts,” reads a framed menu with a listing of cocktail-inspired blowouts hanging in the storefront window. Styling available includes the “Manhattan” for sleek and smooth hair, the “Mai Tai” for a messy and beachy look, “Cosmopolitan” for loose curls and “Dirty Martini” for tousled and textured hair, along with three more, the sign says.
This is Drybar’s second location in Virginia, after its Tysons Corner debut in March 2016. The new Ballston Quarter spot is just one of half of a dozen upcoming locations across the country, including North Carolina, Arizona, California and Hawaii.
Drybar announced Jan. 1 on Facebook nearly two dozen locations are set to open in 2018, including the Arlington one and another in Alexandria, which does not have an announced location yet.
The store’s opening makes it among the first new businesses to open up shop in Ballston Quarter following its redevelopment, following a series of delays. A variety of other stores on its first two floors are set to open as soon as today.
The South Arlington Lions Club will be hosting its annual Christmas Tree Sale and Christmas Tree 5K on Columbia Pike this holiday season!
Benefits from the Christmas Tree 5K and Lions Club Christmas Tree Sale will provide resources for sight preservation, disaster relief, Arlington Youth activities, the Arlington Free Clinic and the Arlington Food Assistance Center. The Club will be providing Christmas trees to low-income families as well to provide joy during holiday celebrations.
The Lions Club will hold its 55th annual Christmas Tree Sale starting Friday, November 23rd through Monday, December 24th this holiday season. The Christmas Tree Sale returns to Columbia Pike for its 27th year on the Pike.
The Christmas Tree Sale will take place at the corner of Columbia Pike and South Four Mile Run Drive between 12pm-8pm (Monday-Friday) and 9am-7pm (Sat-Sun).
The William A. Wildhack Christmas Tree 5K will take place on the W&OD Trail from Columbia Pike to Bluemont Park and back on Saturday, December 1st at 11:00am. Participants can register for the 5K at www.safetyandhealthfoundation.org/christmastree.
Please join the South Arlington Lions Club in celebrating the holiday season by joining us for our events this year!
Restaurant Owners Eye Crystal City — “Andrew Dana, owner of Parkview bagel sensation Call Your Mother and lauded Petworth pizza spot Timber Pizza Co., texted his business partner Jeff Zients on Tuesday night with one question: ‘How do we get into Amazon HQ2?’ It’s a question many restaurant and bar owners will likely be asking in the coming months as Crystal City and Pentagon City prepare to host parts of Amazon.com Inc.’s HQ2 and its eventual 25,000 employees.” [Washington Business Journal]
Last Vehicle Decal Deadline is Tomorrow — “Nov. 16 is the deadline for owners of vehicles garaged in Arlington to display the 2018-19 county vehicle decal. Decals, which signify payment of vehicle taxes, should be placed adjacent to the state-inspection sticker on the driver’s side of the windshield.” [InsideNova]
Columnist: Ban Cars in National Landing — “It seems pretty obvious what Arlington, Amazon, and JBG Smith (Amazon’s future landlord) absolutely need to do: Take the dramatic but wholly necessary step of banning cars and closing all the parking lots throughout National Landing.” [Washington City Paper]
Home Sales Down, Prices Up — “The arrival of Amazon may change things over the long haul, but for now, the Arlington real estate market seems to be moving through a dormant period, sales-wise – with few signs of improvement on the near horizon. But while sales were down, the average sales price was up slightly and prices of single-family properties averaged more than $1 million during the month, according to new figures.” [InsideNova]
First Word of HQ2 Win Received in Wendy’s Parking Lot — “Virginia learned it had won the biggest economic development contest in U.S. history when a low-profile state official got a phone call in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant in the Shenandoah Valley at 2 p.m. Monday.” [Washington Post]
Tips for Thanksgiving Travel at DCA — “Construction delays and big holiday crowds mean you’ll have to add extra time to fly in or out of the D.C. region’s airports for much of the next month and a half.” [WTOP, MWAA]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
Quinns will opening at Noon on Thanksgiving day November, 22nd 2018! Our full regular menu will be available and we will be featuring GIANT Turkey Legs with all the fixings! Traditional deep fried, house-seasoned turkey breast, cranberry sauce, and stuffing! Watch all scheduled football games on our multiple big screen TVs.
(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) While Fairfax County cancelled school today, Arlington Public Schools opened on time despite the snow.
About an inch of wet snow has fallen, covering roads and sidewalks. A number of crashes have been reported around the county, per scanner traffic, and at least one school bus has gotten stuck on a snow-covered street. Another crash involving a bus has been reported on S. George Mason Drive in front of the National Guard center.
Several streets have been closed due to slick conditions, including N. Harrison Street at Little Falls Road, near Yorktown High School, the large S. Walter Reed Drive hill north of S. Four Mile Run Drive, N. George Mason Drive at Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive at Wilson Blvd.
ART buses, meanwhile, have been delayed due to the winter precipitation. Per ART:
ART Routes 41,45,62,75,77,and 84 are experiencing delays/operating issues due to icy/slippery road conditions. Road Supervisors, Safety and Maintenance Technicians are assisting Operators. We apologize for the inconvenience.
The federal government is also open on time today, with the option for some employees to telework.
Arlington County Police and other agencies are urging drivers to be careful on the road.
More from social media:
Slop starting to stick in places. Go slower because you never know. pic.twitter.com/xSfgRdETZT
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) November 15, 2018
The snow may not accumulate enough to require shoveling but it does require you to completely clear your windshields before heading out. Slow down, plan extra travel time and drive for the conditions. ❄️ #ArlWx pic.twitter.com/kpVBQzwxQK
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) November 15, 2018
— Kevin (@surrrewhynot) November 15, 2018
Location:Arlington County Roadways
Impact: Numerous county roadways are impacted by weather. Use caution and follow police direction. pic.twitter.com/7k4rlbASNP
— Arlington Alert (@arlingtonalert) November 15, 2018
@ARLnowDOTcom @APSVirginia Nice job Arlington. I just spent 30 minutes trying to go 3 blocks to get out of my neighborhood. Cars sliding up and down hills and buses crashing on Walter Reed. pic.twitter.com/pKrsWEhL7k
— Janet Smith (@Planet_of_Janet) November 15, 2018
Yorktown Blvd on the way to Discovery. Stalled trucks and buses pic.twitter.com/YijrVKjt4J
— Jay Kennedy (@jakennedy00) November 15, 2018
— Alison Dye (@alisonedye) November 15, 2018
Sleet is continuing to fall in North Arlington. We’ve been hearing fewer reports of problems on the roads over the past 30 minutes or so, but motorists should continue driving cautiously.
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) November 15, 2018
George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School is excited to announce the launch of its Juris Master (JM) degree program!
The JM degree is designed for professionals who interact with lawyers and legal issues regularly in the course of their careers. This type of program is in high demand and now offered by almost half of all tier one law schools.
“We are proud to offer the Juris Master degree program at Scalia Law School,” said Dean Henry N. Butler. “This is an opportunity for professionals to learn the law, so they will be better equipped to provide leadership in their respective fields.”
Scalia Law’s two-year part-time program will be offered at the Arlington campus, with classes starting in January.
As listed on the JM degree website, in addition to general legal research, writing and introductory law courses, JM students can select law school courses from six concentration areas:
- Criminal Justice
- Employment & Labor Relations
- Financial & Commercial Services
- Government Contracts & Regulations
- Intellectual Property & Technology
- National Security, Cybersecurity & Information Privacy
JM students can maintain employment schedules, while benefiting from the opportunities afforded by a tier-one law school.
There is a tuition discount for students who enroll in the JM degree program’s first year class, which will start January 14.
There is a growing base of legal services and legal knowledge required by employers and the JM degree is designed to educate students with the legal knowledge necessary for them to succeed in their chosen professions.
Applications are being accepted now. For more information about the JM degree program, please visit our website or contact Jessica L. Sartorius, Director of Juris Master (JM) degree program, at [email protected] or 703-993-8418.
Now that Amazon has formalized their plans to launch a new headquarters at National Landing, the greater D.C. region is gearing up for expansive changes.
At Compass, our agents stand poised to put their local expertise to the ultimate test as they empower both new and current residents to navigate the complexities of the changing market in the wake of this historic announcement.
Are you looking to buy or sell, or simply seeking insight into what this news means for you? Now that Amazon has found their newest place in the world, let Compass guide you to yours.
Below, Compass agents weigh in on the impact that Amazon’s HQ2 will have on the real estate market in the Virginia area.
“Arlington is America’s only boutique county and Amazon picking Arlington was no accident. Arlington is the most educated community in the U.S. and coupled with quality housing, public transportation, the region’s best school district and exceptional lifestyle offerings in culture, fitness, shopping and restaurants, Arlington was the region’s best pick for the new headquarters.”– John Eric, Compass Agent
“Single family home stock in the Crystal City area has always been notoriously low. Families brought to the area by Amazon will likely be drawn to the established neighborhoods of North Arlington, while the adjacent neighborhoods such as Potomac Yards, Del Ray and the further south Old Town may see an increase in housing activity as well. Across the bridge in D.C., current Amazon employee clients are looking to remain on the blue and yellow line, focusing on the West End and Foggy Bottom area.”
— Marian Marsten Rosaaen, Compass Agent
“The news of Amazon coming to Crystal city should make home sellers in the entire D.C. metro area feel confident in making the decision to sell and achieve top dollar due to enhanced demand thanks to the thousands of Amazon employees flooding into our market.
Buyers who have been on the fence should also feel the same confidence knowing that they will be purchasing in a thriving area that is about to flourish and appreciate to new levels due to the same demand that will occur over the next few years.”
— Nick Dorcon, Compass Agent
“Once Amazon relocates their headquarters to Northern VA, all property values from Loudoun County to D.C. proper will be positively impacted. Period. No one city or town will be significantly better off.
Some people prefer to live close to the action and are okay with a smaller bungalow house or condo in Arlington while others want space, land and the sense of community Reston offers. Not everyone needs or wants to live right next to their place of employment, and HQ2 won’t change that. Don’t underestimate options to move people such as Metro, commuter share lines, telework, etc.”
— Jonathan Fox, Compass Agent
Police say the man was spotted with his pants down, masturbating near the N. Ohio Street bridge over I-66 around 2:40 p.m. last Saturday (Nov. 10).
However, by the time officers made to the area, they weren’t able to find him. They’re describing him as “a white male, 20-30 years old, wearing a red or orange hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.”
Full details from a county crime report:
INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-11100143, 6200 block of 12th Road N. At approximately 2:40 p.m. on November 10, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims were walking on the W&OD trail when they observed an unknown male suspect near the Ohio Street Bridge with his pants down allegedly masturbating. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a white male, 20-30 years old, wearing a red or orange hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.
And here are other notable incidents from the past week of crime reports:
ROBBERY, 2018-11120026, 1300 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 2:58 a.m. on November 12, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that earlier in the night, the victim was inside his residence when he heard a knock at the door. The victim went to investigate and, upon opening the door, was sprayed with an unknown substance and assaulted by an unknown suspect, causing him to lose consciousness. The suspect(s) stole cash and items of value and fled the scene prior to police arrival. The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
ROBBERY, 2018-11130247, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 9:15 p.m. on November 13, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that two male suspects entered a business and began selecting large quantities of merchandise. When confronted by an employee, one suspect took the employee’s cell phone and assaulted him. The suspects fled the scene with the cell phone and merchandise prior to police arrival. A canvas of the area yielded negative results. Suspect One is described as a black male, approximately 20-30 years old, 5’9″, average build, with medium length braided black hair with highlights at the eneds, wearing a gray or black jacket with the hood up and blue jeans. Suspect Two is described as a black male, approximately 5’9″, average build, bald, wearing glasses, a black jacket and black jeans. The investigation is ongoing.
BURGLARY, 2018-11120043, 3500 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 7:25 a.m. on November 12, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 4:30 p.m. on November 10 and 5:30 a.m. on November 12, an unknown suspect gained entry to a construction site and stole items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
ATTEMPTED GRAND LARCENY, 2018-11110279, 3000 block of S. Randolph Street. At approximately 11:50 p.m. on November 11, police were dispatched to the report of an in-progress tampering with auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims heard noise and screams outside. When they looked outside, they allegedly observed an unknown male suspect inside their vehicle with the lights on. A passerby arriving home in the area made contact with the suspect and told the suspect to exit the vehicle, which he complied with. The suspect fled into a nearby building prior to police arrival. Arriving officers established a perimeter, located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. Jherson Cuadra, 21, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Attempted Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle Theft and Tampering with Vehicle.
UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2018-11090099, 1700 block of N. Edgewood Street. At approximately 9:56 a.m. on November 9, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 1:00 p.m. on November 8 and 8:45 p.m. on November 9, an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a vacant residence. Nothing was reported missing. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
BURGLARY, 2018-11090326, 1900 block of N. Van Buren Street. At approximately 10:37 p.m. on November 9, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., an unknown suspect(s) forced entry to a residence and stole items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION, 2018-11080251, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 7:07 p.m. on November 8, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted abduction. Upon arrival, it was determined that a verbal dispute between the victim and known suspect escalated and became physical. The victim attempted to use her phone to call for help, however, the suspect allegedly took it from her and began forcing her into his vehicle. Two witnesses came to the aid of the victim and challenged the suspect, who released the victim and left the scene in his vehicle. The suspect then returned and a verbal dispute took place over the victim’s cell phone as she retrieved it from the suspect. The suspect then fled in his vehicle prior to police arrival. Warrants for the suspect were obtained for Attempted Abduction, Assault & Battery, and Preventing and Emergency Call.
RECOVERED STOLEN VEHICLE, 2018-11080180, I-66 WB at N. Sycamore Street. At approximately 2:42 p.m. on November 8, an officer on routine patrol was alerted to a License Plate Reader hit on a stolen vehicle. With the assistance of Virginia State Police, a traffic stop was conducted and the driver was taken into custody without incident. Demetrius Callaham, 29, of Washington, D.C. was arrested and charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.
ROBBERY (late), 2018-11070119, 800 block of S. Dinwiddie Street. At approximately 11:43 a.m. on November 7, police responded to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. on November 2, the victim was walking in the area when he was approached by an unknown suspect, who attempted to engage him in conversation. The victim was then grabbed by his hood by a second suspect and assaulted before the suspects stole his personal belongings and fled on foot. The victim suffered non life-threatening injuries that required medical treatment. Suspect One is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’11”, with a skinny build and short, curly hair, wearing a black hoodie, a black or white shirt and black jeans. Suspect Two is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’8″-5’10”, heavy set, with short, curly hair, wearing a black hoodie, black or white shirt and black jeans. The investigation is ongoing.
BURGLARY (late), 2018-11070081, 200 block of N. Wayne Street. At approximately 10:00 a.m. on November 7, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 12:50 p.m. on November 5 and 8:00 p.m. on November 6, an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
For pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike, Crystal City has never been the easiest neighborhood to navigate — and Amazon’s looming arrival in the neighborhood has stoked fears that things could get worse in the area long before they get better.
But now that the tech giant has officially picked Arlington for its new headquarters, county officials are free to unveil their grand plans for allaying those concerns and fundamentally transforming transportation options along the Crystal City-Pentagon City-Potomac Yard corridor.
Virginia’s proposed deal with Amazon calls for the pairing of state dollars with money from both Arlington and Alexandria to make a variety of projects long envisioned for the area a reality — so long as the tech giant holds up its end of the bargain and creates targeted numbers of new jobs, of course.
It adds up to a complex mix of funding sources that defies easy explanation, but would be in service of a massive shift in the transportation network surrounding the newly christened “National Landing.” And, as last week’s nightmarish traffic conditions created by the shutdown of the Crystal City and National Airport Metro stations helped prove, the county is in desperate need of an upgrade in the area.
“All of these plans which been long gestating without a path to realization, they’re all going to come together,” County Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey told ARLnow. “All the great things we’ve diagrammed on paper now have a path to reality.”
The main transportation projects included in the pitch to Amazon are:
- A second, eastern entrance to the Crystal City Metro station
- A second, southwestern entrance to the proposed Potomac Yard Metro station
- A new pedestrian bridge connecting Crystal City to Reagan National Airport
- An expansion of the Crystal City-Potomac Yard bus rapid transit system
- Improvements to Route 1 through Crystal City and Pentagon City
“Many of these we’ve already included in our prior commitments, whether it was our [10-year Capital Improvement Plan] or other long-range planning documents,” said County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “But we pulled these together as a way of saying, ‘This is our overarching vision for the area.'”
Certainly, the aforementioned projects were all on various county wish lists over the years — the Crystal City Transitway expansion to Pentagon City is perhaps the most developed of any of the proposals, with the county convening a public meeting on the matter just last week.
The difference is that many of the projects have largely lacked the necessary funding to move forward. The county still needs another $15 million to fund the Transitway project, which is now set to come from the state, and the other efforts need substantially more money than that.
The second entrance at the Crystal City Metro station has been a particularly challenging project for the county.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a regional body doling out funding for transportation projects, recently awarded Arlington only a small shred of the funding it was looking for to move the station forward. The county’s gloomy revenue picture previously forced Arlington to push the project off into the long-term future, and it remained a very open question whether the second entrance would score highly enough on state metrics to win outside funding.
Those concerns vanish virtually all at once for the county, and that could be quite good news for both Crystal City residents and Amazon’s future workers. Though the exact details need to be worked out, the new entrance would be located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Crystal Drive and 18th Street S., with $82.5 million of the project’s $90 million price tag coming from the state through the Amazon deal.
Cristol hopes the project will “transform the beating heart of Crystal City” and encourage its new residents to rely on Metro. She notes that the Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations have seen a combined 29 percent drop in ridership since 2010, as the military and federal agencies moved out of the area, and hopes thoughtful transit strategies around Amazon’s arrival will reverse that trend.
Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the transit advocacy-focused Coalition for Smarter Growth, added that a second entrance will help the area manage demand as thousands of employees flock to one of Metro’s sleepier stations.
“By having entrances at each end of the platform, you’re reducing the people congestion at escalators and gates, which is huge,” Schwartz said. “And we know that walking distance makes a big difference in how many people use transit. So to the degree we can shorten it, we should do it.”
Schwartz also hopes the new entrance will provide better accessibility to the area’s Virginia Railway Express station (located a few minutes’ walk up Crystal Drive) for anyone looking to reach the more distant sections of D.C., or Northern Virginia’s outer suburbs. The VRE is even weighing an expansion of the station in the coming years, which would put an entrance directly across from the second Metro access point.
County Board member Erik Gutshall points out that the proposed bridge to DCA would land in just about the same spot. A feasibility study backed by the Crystal City Business Improvement District suggested that an office building at 2011 Crystal Drive would make the most sense for the pedestrian connection, which Gutshall notes also matches up with an entrance to the Mt. Vernon Trail.
All of that could someday add up to a promising transit hub in the area, which developer (and future Amazon landlord) JBG Smith has already begun advertising in its marketing materials.
“You can bike, walk, ride VRE and ride Metro, all together,” Gutshall said.
The project will need about $36 million to become a reality, with $9.5 million chipped in from the state and the rest coming from Arlington and the NVTA.
The county will need even more cash for the Route 1 improvements: about $250 million in all, with $138.7 million coming from the state’s Amazon deal. The proposal doesn’t include a funding stream for the rest, but the changes could be quite substantial indeed.
The documents don’t lay out details beyond a goal of improving the “pedestrian improvements” on the road, but officials say a guide could be the changes detailed in the county’s Crystal City sector plan. Those plans involve bringing the highway to the same grade as other local roads, eliminating the soaring overpasses that currently block off large sections of the neighborhood.
“This may, in fact, lead to the total reimagining of Route 1,” Dorsey said.
In all, the county expects to spend about $360 million — about $222 million in already committed funding and $137 million in future grants — to fund transportation improvements in the area. The state’s total could one day go as high as $295 million, depending how many workers Amazon ends up hiring for the area.
The county’s commitment is large enough to give some local budget minders heartburn.
“Where will Arlington get $360+ million in transportation bond capacity — since we are bumping up against our credit limit for the next decade or more, without meeting all school needs?” local activist Suzanne Sundberg wrote in an email. “Raising the tax rate would be my first guess. We can probably expect to see our real estate taxes double over the next 15 years.”
County Manager Mark Schwartz has often warned about the strain on the county’s debt limit precipitated by recent fiscal pressures, and taxes may well go up on residents in the coming years, even with the Amazon revenue windfall.
But Dorsey waived those concerns away, noting that the county has long planned for the spending associated with many of these projects, and will have hefty state dollars to rely on for the rest.
“Our investments are already planned,” Dorsey said. “We’re not bringing anything new to the table.”