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Hills Prove Challenging During Snowfall

by ARLnow.com December 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm 2,358 27 Comments

Out of the more than 15 accidents that have been reported in Arlington since the snow started falling, we haven’t heard of one on any of the major highways that criss-cross the county. Instead, it’s hilly side streets that are proving the biggest challenge so far today

Earlier we reported that North Veitch Street had been shut down near Lee Highway due to slippery conditions on a hill that led to a minor accident.

Now we’re hearing of big problems on at least three other hilly roads.

Five cars are stuck on Army Navy Drive just before South Joyce Street. Police are on the scene awaiting a salt truck.

Washington Boulevard is blocked at Kirkwood Road, according to a tipster, due to a car that can’t get up the hill. (Update at 2:15 p.m. — It’s back open “but still unplowed and slippery,” our tipster says.)

And at North Pollard Street and 30th Street North, near Military Road in the Bellvue Forest neighborhood, police have blocked off a couple of ice-covered roads. The ice reportedly caused a FedEx truck and a Arlington County school bus to slide down a hill. The FedEx truck struck and seriously damaged a car, we hear. No word on damage to the school bus, but crews have been spreading sand in an effort to allow the bus to get back up the hill.

Update at 3:55 p.m. — One or two school buses have been involved in a collision at Kirkwood Road and 14th Street North, according to police radio traffic. No injuries have been reported.

  • SteelWheeledTrolley

    I avoided local roads and took the highway even though it added on an extra 10 miles. RWD Mustang = no hills for me.

  • G

    The cars approach the hills much too slowly here in the DC area. People don’t understand you need momentum to get up the hills, and if one person goes too slow everyone behind them gets stuck too.

    • Rover

      Amen! I was out at lunch and came across someone crawling up hill with a line of cars behind her. All you need is a little bit of momentum people!

    • Take it down a notch

      Kinda tough to have momentum when you have to stop at a red light at the bottom of the hill. I had trouble earlier today in that situation. Roads were much more slippery than I expected at 11:30; I hope they’re better now. Coming down 28th Rd from Fairlington into Shirlington, the uphill lane was clear but the downlill lane was untreated and very slick — I had to drive in the uphill lane to avoid crashing into parked cars on the side of the road. And that hill is usually one of the first roads to be treated in my area, so I was surprised at how bad it was.

  • North Highlands

    South Joyce is a tough one. We slide and crashed on it last year. Make those turns slow going down. A woman on the bus stuck going up tried to get a lift on our tow truck!

  • rft

    how’s the hill on 14th st. by Courthouse rd? That was a popular sledding spot last year.

  • LP

    Apparently even flat surfaces are problems for some drivers. On Fillmore in between Clarendon and Wilson blvds. an Audi managed to rear end a Smart car in the length of the street between Clarendon and Wilson.

    • Rover

      The Audi probably had Quattro AWD. There is a growing number (it seems) of jackasses who drive around and think they are invincible in their 4WD vehicles. Many of them are in trucks and SUVs, but some cars have AWD and there are some there too. These idiots get what they deserve if they slide off the road into a ditch. But, what bothers me, is they are inconsiderate to the safety of everyone else by driving like a maniac and not respecting the conditions because they have four wheel traction with 8 square inches of rubber meeting the icy road. I hope the Smart car fared ok. You may as well be on a motorcycle if you drive one of those.

      • LP

        Completely agree, the Audi did have Quattro but driver seemed to get a bit too confident in it. I actually have the same car and it’s good in the snow, but with any car you need to provide extra space in inclement weather.

        Smart car actually looked like it did better than the Audi. Surprisingly, they do decent in crashes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJHpUO-S0i8

      • Set the controls

        Some people make mistakes.

        • LP

          Yep, it was a mistake. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • Set the controls

        Merry Christmas.

  • JimPB

    A little snow, and activity in the capital of the “exceptional” surviving superpower is badly disrupted.

    Russia, a third world country with nuclear weapons, can show us how to keep Metro’s escalators operating.
    Theyc an probably also show us how to minimize disruption when it snows.

    China is leading the way on Green Energy, really high speed trains and more

    Maybe we’re not becoming a Banana Republic, but have arrived at that low station with a small number of very wealthy while the mass of the population struggles to make ends meet, and public services are dismal.

    • Your street doesn’t get plowed and you blame it on inadequate wealth redistribution? I guess that’s “thinking globally, whining locally.”

    • Wolf_N_Sheep

      They can “probably” show us? So you don’t really know, do you. Hmmm, by that rationale you probably would be happier on a snow-covered escalator in Russia. However, you truly belong here in Arlington, as you have the proper superiority complex.

      “Hey, look a common problem such as snow causing car accidents. It must be some sort of cosmic comment about how the country in which I live is flawed in ways that others are not.”
      “Do you have a real solution or suggestion, or are you just going to be snarky about how your easy life in America is imperfect.”
      “I think, in true Washington Metro area-style, that I will somehow tie this common weather condition to some sort of pronouncement of my sociopolitical beliefs!”
      “Are you a college professor by any chance?”

      Toughen up. Not everything is someone’s fault. Sometimes the careless idiot on the road is you. Just be ready to lend a hand when people do make mistakes. That would be exceptional.

  • Incidentally, the George Washington Parkway has been a disaster all day on the hill northbound as you approach the exit for 123. It looked completely untreated by around noon and cars were stranded half way up, unable to get traction.

    I blame Warren Buffet.

    • Burger

      GWP westbound was closed for a good portion of the day – tried to go home GWP to Spout run and all traffic was being diverted to Spout Run. Glad Arlnow was on top it…oh, wait, they were to worried about some side street.

      • TGEoA


  • Kel

    14th Street North at Kirkwood Road is closed, and the hill on 13th Street North just above Kirkwood is a mess, cars were sliding sideways at 5pm.

  • NorthAdams

    perfect commute home by my sov car. at speed. no problems.

  • Skeptical

    South Quincy was vile when I walked through the hood about an hour back — no sign of any road treatment at all. Cars were trying to get up the inclines and backing away in defeat. When we had already had an inch of fall it didn’t look as if there had been any road treatment on South George Mason, even near Wakefield, where you’d expect the county to make safety a priority. And I have seen exactly one sand truck all day.

    Can’t we do a County manager talent-hunt for someone from *North* of here where they know what to do to keep the roads passable in a teeny tiny snow storm?

    • Rick

      North Quincy aint much better. Between cherrydale and Washington it had not been salted at 230, North Glebe between Walker Chapel and Lee was a mess, I gave up and went another way

  • The county has been forced to divert funds from such luxuries as keeping local roads passable to high priority projects like spray parks for people who don’t live in Arlington County.

    • rft

      and protecting immigrants from ICE

  • el fat kid

    It is slightly amusing to see all the awd’s and suv’s stuck in the snow… especially the x5’s and cayenne’s. A lot of people think 4wd means you can do anything in the snow, they usually end up in a ditch or busting a tire sliding into the curb. The top two 4x4s that i see go off the road are the two most competent, wranglers and range rovers, and it’s simply b/c some of the drivers get this 16 year old mentality and have no respect for the conditions.

    I drive an SUV and have spent years driving in the snow but the second you become over confident you’ll end up in a ditch. 4wd/awd/quattro all help with traction but do little to stop a skid or give you traction on ice, especially on a grade.

    good luck everyone and don’t be an idiot.

  • Sheila

    I had an appointment in Shirlington which ended around 11:45. I got gas, decided to eschew Walter Reed and took the 395 roundabout to get to Glebe Rd North. None of the roads had been adequately treated, but slow starts, smooth shifting (or starting in 2nd gear of my stick), along with steady speed got me back to Westover without incident. I drive an Accord, and consistently pass 4x4s in ditches when it snows. And I’m from DC originally so my driving prowess is not due to time in the snowy north.

    I’d just picked up my car the from the body shop, after someone hit me a month back. I was so afraid some idiot was going to hit me, and many came close.

  • mehoo

    You used “eschew” and “prowess” in the same post. Doesn’t happen every day.


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