TRAFFIC ALERT: Vehicle Overturns in Crash on Army Navy Drive

At the height of the evening rush hour, only one lane of westbound Army Navy Drive is open at S. Fern Street due to a two-vehicle crash.

The crash happened at the intersection shortly after 6 p.m. An SUV involved in the crash overturned as a result of the impact. Another vehicle suffered heavy front-end damage.

The occupants of the vehicle were able to get out on their own power and no one has been transported to the hospital.

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Lane Conversion and Speed Decrease May Be Coming to Crystal Drive

If approved at tomorrow’s (Saturday) County Board meeting, a portion of one of Crystal City’s thoroughfares will receive a substantial upgrade and a speed limit downgrade.

Crystal Drive is currently a one-way street between 26th and 27th streets, but as part of an ongoing conversion project it will be turned into a two-lane roadway. The project will also add a right turn lane at the northbound intersection of Crystal Drive and 26th Street S., a left turn lane at the westbound intersection of Crystal Drive and 27th Street S., and bike lanes and sidewalk improvements.

The two-lane expansion in other sections of Crystal Drive occurred in 2013. The two-lane conversion between 26th and 27th Streets S. will be the third and final phase of the street’s conversion to an almost entirely two-way road.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the County Board will vote on a contract for the $1.2 million project.

At the same meeting, the Board will also vote on whether to authorize a public hearing on lowering the speed limit along Crystal Drive from 30 to 25 mph.

The county’s Transportation Master Plan recommends 25 mph as the standard speed limit on arterial streets in Arlington’s downtown districts where there are high volumes of pedestrians and high density land development. A study of the local traffic was conducted at the request of the Crystal City Business Improvement District and determined that Crystal Drive qualified for a speed limit reduction.

If approved, the speed limit reduction will be considered at the Board’s Oct. 20 meeting.

Photo and map via Arlington County

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The Right Note: They’re Back

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

The County Board swings back into action this Saturday for its first meeting since July. The agenda is full of interesting items.

Last week I discussed the need to move forward on the Virginia Hospital Center expansion plans. The Board will most certainly approve it eventually, so they should avoid the urge to tinker with the plans for another six months (or longer).

The work on providing a new salt dome for winter road treatment is also on the docket. While area residents were not entirely happy with the process, the structure has been found to be unsafe and beyond repair. A change is necessary.

Also on tap is the elimination of the car tax decal. In the words of an iconic ad campaign, “just do it.”

The Board is also considering a plan to regulate dockless bikes and scooters. There is probably little chance a majority of this Board will resist the urge to regulate. So, let’s hope they take a “less is more” approach to the issue. Also on tap is an expansion of the Capital Bikeshare program, which is the government monopoly program in the region. It would be interesting to know if any of the pushback on the dockless program originated from the vendors who operate Bikeshare.

The other county-wide issue on tap is the cost of implementing Medicaid expansion. Initially, Arlington believes it will cost around $250,000 to add six new county staff to handle implementation for 3,000 Arlingtonians projected to join the program. The Commonwealth of Virginia will add $277,000 as well. Not reflected in those costs is a reduction in funding to Community Service Boards which officials in Richmond believe will not need as much funding as Virginians move onto Medicaid. Over the next two years, Arlington will see a cut of $2.2 million in state funds. While many questions remain about the long term impacts of Medicaid expansion, Arlington has little choice but to make these changes.

A final note on how the Board does business. The Board changed its rules for consideration of the “consent agenda.” Those are the items that pass with a single vote of the Board and without further input from the public. The public used to be able to ask for separate consideration of any item, but the new rules place 30 of the 57 consent agenda items off-limits to Arlington residents. The new consent agenda rules mean that no member of the public can ask for the Board to take testimony on Medicaid expansion or on Bikeshare expansion. You can, however, ask that the Board hear separately on the dockless bike and scooter issue or for the car decals. The hospital and salt dome issues are already scheduled for a public hearing.

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Opioids and Addiction Series at St. George’s Church

Addiction and Opioids Series: 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday Evenings in the Nave

Awareness ~ Personal Perspectives ~ Collective Responses
September 26th ~ October 3rd ~ October 10th

All are invited to gather for a series of evening conversations, focused on the challenges of addiction, as well as the paths forward, for prevention and recovery.

Arlington County officials as well as other experts will share their expertise, with opportunities for Q&A and discussion.

The recovery community has shared so many gifts with wider church: how can the church respond faithfully to today’s addictions? Some of our focus will be on opioid addiction in particular, although persons impacted by or concerned about any form of addiction are invited to participate, learn, and share their perspective.

Our series will also lead into a special worship service and forum at St. George’s on Sunday October 14th. Hosted by Community of Hope at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Arlington.

Progressive Voice: Putting a Human Face on the Immigration Debate

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Cheryl Moore

In August, I travelled to Dilley, Texas, to volunteer for a week with immigrants who are seeking asylum. The South Texas Family Residential Center, 80 miles south of San Antonio, houses 2,400 women and children, most from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, who were apprehended by border patrol agents when trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t speak Spanish very well, but when I heard from an attorney friend about this opportunity, I felt compelled to go. With so many stories in the news about family separation, detention and the cruel treatment of immigrants at the border, this was my chance to “do something,” even if I didn’t know exactly what I would be doing. I wanted to be a witness to what is happening to immigrants coming to the U.S. amidst this unwelcoming political climate.

Along with other volunteers with the Dilley Pro Bono Project, my mission was to help women prepare for their Credible Fear Interview (CFI) with asylum officers. Receiving a “positive” after their interview means they are freed from detention (after paying a bond or submitting to wearing an ankle monitor) and can begin the long process of seeking asylum, as is their legal right under U.S. law.

It was not an easy week. We worked 12-hour days, filled with non-stop activity, noise and, often, tears.

For much of the week, I helped women fill out basic forms. As I showed them where to write their name, date of birth and other details, I learned part of their story. The answers to questions on the forms also offered clues about wrenching decisions some of the women had had to make when deciding to leave their country.

Some mothers asked, “Do I only put the name and birthday of the child who is here with me?” Clearly, many had had to leave another child behind. As a mother myself, I couldn’t imagine making that choice.

Other volunteers spent the week helping women prepare for their CFI by asking them to recount the testimony they would tell the asylum officer. Why did they leave their country? What persecution did they face there? What might happen if they went back home?

The extreme danger and violence our clients described was appalling — gangs, rape, death threats, kidnapping, extortion. We learned more about the culture and government of the countries that these women were fleeing, and about the extreme poverty and inequity that contribute to crime and lawlessness. It was clear that these women were escaping from systems that would never protect them. They were victims, not criminals; yet they were in a detention center.

With many CFI interviews looming toward the end of the week, I was asked to do some CFI preps on my own, working with an interpreter by telephone. Thanks to the in-depth training we received and wise counsel from the Dilley Pro Bono Project legal staff, I was able help two clients. It is not often that I feel I’m holding someone’s fate in my hands, but I did that day.

After I returned home, their faces swam before my eyes as I tried to go to sleep at night. Fortunately, I was able to check on their status and it appears that they both have been released from detention, and presumably are now with family or friends as they proceed through the asylum-seeking process.

While I may have helped some women start a new chapter in their lives, I will never know how their stories unfold. As with all mission work, the difference is in me. The women I met are part of my story now.

Back in Arlington, I will never look at the woman from Central America standing next to me in the supermarket line without contemplating her story. I will wonder what happened to make her leave her birthplace, and I will pray it wasn’t as bad as some of the stories I heard in that Texas detention center.

Above all, my week at the detention center reminded me that immigrant detention and family separation are more than just policy issues. They are human issues.

Cheryl Moore has lived in Arlington for 35 years. She has been a volunteer for Arlington Public Schools, her church, civic association, the Arlington Community Chorus, and many nonprofit organizations serving the Northern Virginia community. She continues to work on her Spanish language skills.

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Family Fall Festival!

Join us for our Annual Family Fall Festival at Saint Ann Church and School! Something for all ages –rides, games, bounces, face-painting and our world famous cakewalk contest for the kids; raffles and silent auction with tons of local services, and a wine walk for adults. Beer garden and live music, plus plenty of food and fun! Rain or Shine, free admission and parking.

Letter to the Editor: Hospital Expansion Would Better Serve Arlington’s Homeless Population

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Michael Garcia, a Columbia Pike insurance agent who serves as the board chair of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, a local nonprofit that works with homeless individuals in Arlington. A-SPAN is weighing in on the proposed Virginia Hospital Center expansion, which the Arlington Planning Commission and some residents who live near the hospital oppose in its current form.

I am writing in support of the Virginia Hospital Center expansion project. It is my hope that the County Board recognizes the enormous value that VHC brings to this community and approves the project, as soon as possible.

As Board Chair of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) and a long-time Arlington resident, I see first-hand the consequences of delayed healthcare visits. The homeless clients at the Homeless Services Center frequently suffer from infections, life threatening reactions to untreated chronic illnesses and other medical conditions. That is why we have the Medical Respite and Nursing Services Program at the Homeless Services Center. For most Arlington County citizens, when a doctor says to go home and recuperate, that’s what they do, but what do you do when you have no home? VHC and A-SPAN through our partnership work together to ensure that these homeless individuals and veterans have a safe, compassionate, high-quality environment in which to recuperate.

VHC staff make every effort to assess and treat patients in a holistic way. When homeless patients are discharged from the Hospital to the Medical Respite Program, A-SPAN is part of the follow-up care plan and clients are referred to VHC outpatient services, as appropriate.

I cannot stress enough the value of a new Behavioral Health Center like the one proposed by VHC. Over 70% of homeless veterans and individuals suffer from some form of mental illness and this condition must be treated. We are fortunate that VHC, an Arlington provider that was recently named one of America’s 100 top Hospitals for the third year in a row, is willing to respond to the community’s need for more outpatient mental health services. Moreover, the VHC has indicated that all patients would be welcome at the new Center, regardless of their ability to pay.

The distinction of VHC being named as one of the 100 Top Hospitals in the nation is an honor benefitting all Arlingtonians by providing excellent care to the community. I am confident that this commitment to excellence will extend to the newly proposed Behavioral Health Center services, as well. VHC is a community partner worthy of support and we hope our elected leaders demonstrate this support.

Sincerely,

Michael Garcia
Board Chair, A-SPAN

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

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Open Houses in Arlington This Weekend

Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

4619 32nd Road N
3 bed/3 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Billy Buck
Listed: $1,399,900
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

408 N Florida Street
5 bed/3 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Kathryn Dwyer
Listed: $955,000
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4624 19th Road N
3 bed/2 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Renee Fisher
Listed: $835,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

6555 28th Street N
3 bed/1 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Jean Benedett-Matich
Listed: $779,500
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

618-B 15th Street S
2 bed/2 bath, 1 half bath condo
Agent: Troy Sponaugle
Listed: $579,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1021 S Garfield Street #348
1 bed/1 half bath condo
Agent: David Moya
Listed: $459,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

5308 8th Road S #110G
1 bed/1 bath condo
Agent: Dalil Ahmed
Listed: $138,900
Open: Saturday 2-4 p.m.

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WWBG: It’s Time Again to Find Your Solace


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Alex Doran of Dominion Wine and Beer.

Solace Brewing Company opened it’s doors just over a year ago in Sterling, VA. You may remember our article from last year about them.

Saying that they had a good first year is an understatement. We knew something special was in the works, and their liquid was proof. Now the proof is in the numbers.

Co-founders Drew Wiles, Jon Humerick and Mike Arms designed their facility in order to easily grow. What was once an annual brewing capacity of 3,000-4,000 barrels is now 5,000-6,000 barrels annually. A brewery that once consisted of four 40 barrel unitanks and one 40 barrel bright tank has now added a 60 barrel unitank and two 80 barrel unitanks.

Solace opened its doors to allowing customers to enjoy their beer to go via growlers. They have since added a crowler machine and are now canning two of their beers.

Distribution was in the business plan from the beginning, starting in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. and now expanding into Maryland this week. I stopped by the brewery to check out their stylish new cans that were fresh off the canning line.

Partly Cloudy is a 7.5% IPA that has become a staple in their line-up, and a great seller for us, the brewery and many others. This week they added it to their can rotation (in addition to Sun’s Out, Hops Out) to make two cans available to-go at the brewery and across their original distribution footprint. We just got our first drop of Partly Cloudy cans and have stacked it up right next to Sun’s Out Hops Out.

If their one year mark is a sign of what is to come then I think we can all agree to buckle up for a great year two. Solace has two more tanks on order. They also plan to can Lucy Juicy Double IPA in the next month or so as well as several other one-offs and experimental brews beyond that.

Grab some Solace this weekend when you come see us or check out the brewery if you haven’t already. You will thank me later.

Partly Cloudy will be open in our Weekly Beer Tasting this Friday, September 21st from 5:00-7:00 p.m.. Our sister store, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer (Gaithersburg, MD) will be tapping their beers for the first time in Maryland this weekend as well. #findyoursolace

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Police: Woman Raped at Columbia Pike Apartment Building

Arlington County Police are looking for a man who raped a woman in a Columbia Pike apartment building.

The police department is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect, who was caught on surveillance video footage released by ACPD this morning.

Police say the crime happened shortly before 4 p.m. Monday — in the Serrano Apartments on the 5500 block of Columbia Pike, ARLnow.com hears — after the suspect responded to an online ad for a service. Police were vague about the exact nature of the advertisement in order to protect the victim’s identity.

More from an ACPD press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department is seeking assistance from the public identifying a rape suspect caught on surveillance video. At approximately 4:02 p.m. on September 17, police responded to the 5500 block of Columbia Pike for the late report of a rape. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim and suspect made contact through an online advertisement. During the arranged service, the suspect physically assaulted and raped the victim. Following the assault, the suspect fled the scene on foot.

The suspect is described as an approximately 60-year-old black male, 5’10” to 6′ tall with a medium build. He has brown eyes and dark short curly hair with some gray. He was wearing a bright blue shirt with a tan collar, khaki pants, tan shoes and carrying an umbrella at the time of the incident.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it is believed that this was a targeted attack. The investigation is ongoing and there is no known threat to the larger community.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective P. Pena of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims’ Unit at (703) 228-4183 or at [email protected]. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Cherrydale Has 15 Complaints About Five Points Intersection

(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The busy “Five Points Intersection” in Cherrydale, which was just overhauled to the tune of $1.7 million, is still not very popular with some people in Cherrydale.

The neighborhood’s civic association has called a meeting with county staffers to discuss “new problems caused by the County’s reconstruction.” The association listed fifteen different issues on its website.

Construction on the project, which was the result of several years of study and discussion, wrapped up this summer, but many residents remain unhappy with the way the intersection is configured.

“Years after Cherydalers offered their input, the County went ahead with its own plans for the intersection,” the civic association’s website says. “While the project offers some improvements, on balance it seems to have created more problems than it has solved. We have asked that County staff who have decision-making authority attend our meeting, but we don’t have confirmation on who exactly from the County will be attending.”

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3, at H-B Woodlawn (4100 Vacation Lane) starting at 7:30 p.m.

In response to the complaints and meeting request, Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services issued the following statement Friday.

County staff received the list of concerns from the Cherrydale Civic Association, and held an on-site meeting with them on Sept. 17. As with any right-of-way project, we intend to conduct an after-action engineering analysis upon project completion to determine whether the design of the intersection is performing as envisioned during the planning process. This analysis involves site observations and collecting traffic data, and we optimize and make tweaks as needed based on those observations. This process will take up to three months.

We will continue to work with the Civic Association. We will need to have the analysis underway in order to make recommendations on all comments for how to move forward.

The full list of 15 community concerns is below.

1. Eastbound traffic on Old Dominion during morning rush hours backs up much more substantially than it ever used to, with the back-up extending beyond Glebe Road. We are requesting that the County prioritize its signal re-timing program for this stretch of Lee Highway/Old Dominion to alleviate this back-up.

2. The County’s signal programming decisions concerning the left turn signals for cars turning left from westbound Lee Highway onto either Quincy Street or Old LeeHighway is confusing and problematic. The left arrow signal turns red after only 7- or 8- seconds after turning green, causing cars to come to a full stop. The left arrow signal then quickly resumes as a blinking yellow left arrow for another 9- or 10-seconds, but drivers must contend with oncoming traffic from Old Lee Highway. This signaling program dramatically reduces the flow of left-turning traffic and causes cars to back-up on westbound Lee Highway, especially during the afternoon rush hours. We are requesting that the County revisit this signal timing.

3. The new left turn patterns for cars turning left from Military Road onto Lee Highway and from Quincy Street onto Old Dominion is also reducing traffic flow through the intersection. The new pattern allows far fewer left-turning cars to clear the intersection before the light turns red, and also causes a queue of left-turning cars that have already entered the intersection from Military Road to remain in the intersection after the left arrow for westbound cars on Lee Highway turns green, further reducing the number of cars that can turn left from westbound Lee Highway onto either Quincy Street or Old Lee Highway. This also poses a hazard to pedestrians in the new crosswalk on Lee Highway. We are requesting that the County restore the long-standing left-turn pattern for Quincy Street and Military Road and place signs to so indicate.

4. The signal visors on the traffic lights for westbound cars proceeding from westbound Lee Highway to Old Dominion are so restrictive that westbound cars cannot even clearly see the signals. This is causing confusion and reducing the flow of westbound traffic through the intersection.

5. Collectively, these signal problems make for angry drivers who tend to speed through the intersection after the signals have changed, which is extremely dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

6. The new pedestrian crosswalk on the east side of the intersection near Browns Honda and Northside Vet is very hard to see for drivers turning left from Military Road onto eastbound Lee Highway and is behind the stop line for westbound Lee Highway. Drivers caught in the short left-turn signal from westbound Lee Highway tend to block the cross walk, and other westbound cars also block the crosswalk. We are requesting that the County modify many aspects of the intersection to make the crosswalk safe, including the left-turn system for cars coming from Military Road.

7. The pedestrian signal across Military Road automatically comes on almost 20 seconds after the light of westbound cars on Lee Highway turns green and only after the signal for eastbound Old Dominion turns green. We are requesting that this be changed to follow the signal timing for westbound Lee Highway.

8. The pedestrian signal across Old Lee Highway only turns on when the light is green for Military Road and Quincy Street. We are requesting that the pedestrian signal come on after the left arrow for cars traveling westbound on Lee Highway turns red but the light is green for cars traveling eastbound on Old Dominion.

9. The pedestrian signal across Quincy Street only turns on when the light is green for Old Dominion. We are requesting that the pedestrian signal also come when the light is green for cars traveling eastbound on Old Lee Highway.

10. One of the new curb ramps for the new crosswalks come up at 90 degrees from the street. This design is challenging for people on wheels (wheelchairs, strollers, bikes, scooters, etc.) and poses an unnecessary risk of falls. We are requesting that the County reinstall the curb with sloped sides, similar to what the County recently installed at Route 50 and Henderson Streets.

11. The stop-for-pedestrians placard in the middle of the street on Military Road near the Vacation Lane crosswalk is no longer on the yellow line, and now sits at least one foot into the southbound traffic lane of Military Road. This is causing cars to swerve into the newly painted bike lanes on this part of Military Road, and presenting a serious hazard to cyclists. We are requesting that the County relocate this placard ASAP.

12. We remain disappointed that the County did not eliminate the slip lane from Military Road to Old Dominion. The slip lane seems unnecessary and is not pedestrian friendly. Cars using the slip lane are stopping in the pedestrian crosswalk before turning onto Old Dominion. We are requesting that the County now eliminate the slip lane or at least ensure that there is adequate signage to ensure that cars actually yield to pedestrians and stop blocking the crosswalk.

13. Cars and work vehicles are parking/puling over in some of the new bike lanes, especially on southbound Quincy Street south of 21stStreet. This causes bikers to reenter the traffic lane. We are requesting that the County install bollards, ensure that it has adequate no-parking signs along this stretch of Quincy Street, and actively ticket & tow violators to ensure the bike lanes are actually usable for bikers.

14. Several cars turning left from southbound Pollard Street onto eastbound Lee Highway are still coming to a full stop in front of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department and waiting for the Lee Highway light to turn green. This also blocks traffic for cars proceeding north on Pollard Street onto Lee Highway. Although the County has added do-not-block intersection signs in this area, the intersection remains confusing for drivers. We are requesting that the County put the same yellow X-pattern striping in front of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department that it has placed in front of County-owned Fire Station No. 3 just up the street on Old Dominion.

15. Now that the County has re-aligned the eastbound lanes in front of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department and the 3800 block of Lee Highway (in front of Gaijin Ramin/Subway/Fit To Be Tan), visibility for drivers turning from Oakland Street is much improved, and the County’s/VDOT’s no parking bollards in front of Subway seem unnecessary. Those businesses have long struggled because of the lack of adequate “teaser” parking along Lee Highway, and we recently lost a much-loved business due to inadequate customer traffic. The County seems to allow parking closer to almost every other intersection. We are requesting that the County/VDOT reduce the no-parking zone to match up with other intersections.​

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