Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com January 27, 2011 at 9:15 am 2,926 59 Comments

Power Expected to Be Restored This Afternoon — As of 1:00 a.m., Dominion was reporting that about 16,700 customers in Arlington — nearly 20 percent of all customers in the county — were without power. That number is now down to 13,350. Throughout Northern Virginia, 138,000 Dominion customers lost power after the storm. The company expects to have power restored to most locations in Arlington between 4:00 and 6:00 this afternoon.

Pike Gym Opens at Last — The World Gym at Columbia Pike and South Walter Reed Drive has opened after a three-week delay in construction and permits. [Pike Wire]

Lee Center is No More — The Lee Center shopping center, at Pershing Drive and Route 50, has been torn down. [TBD]

Photo courtesy Steve Buttry

  • Hikin’ the pike

    Here’s the memorial candle for Lee Center (i)

  • CW

    I am going to resume the bitching for the day. When will this county ever understand that the snow removal process is best begun BEFORE and DURING the storm? We had much advance warning and yet nothing was pre-salted to any extent. I spent an hour out last night watching the mayhem on Washington, Clarendon, and Wilson boulevards and did not see a single plow, with the exception of course of the private ones happily driving around with the plows up. The worst is the residential roads – the county saves them until last and thus during this time the snow is compacted down into a layer of glacial ice that will never be able to be removed, as it becomes one with the road.

    I also live right on Wilson Boulevard in VA Square and spent about 4 hours in my living room last night. I can hear the plows coming a mile away and not a single one went by in that time.

    I do not drive anywhere – I take the metro and walk, but this is still inexcusable. The deeply snow-covered roads, jammed with stuck cars, were impeding the progress of emergency vehicles. Even the “snow emergency” routes were not being taken care of to any extent. This just seems oddly negligent in a county with as much money and infrastructure development as ours.

    • Andrew

      Removing snow is not an easy task. Look at what happened in NYC after Christmas. Per an article on this site yesterday, they were out salting yesterday morning, but I assume the rain/sleet mix washed away most of the salt. I’m not sure how plows are supposed to treat/plow roads when the roads have become parking lots.

      That being said, it is important to keep in mind that most people, including the people in charge of these operations, are not rocket scientists.

      • CW

        I spent five years in upstate New York, in a town with nowhere near the money and resources or Arlington. But they knew how to take care of the roads. Here is a little secret that apparently you don’t know either because of your reference to roads that “[had] become parking lots”. The key is to put plows and salt trucks IN TRAFFIC, DURING THE STORM. That way, the roads DON’T BECOME parking lots. No, I assure you the people in upstate NY weren’t “rocket scientists” either, but even they knew that much. I am not the kind of person who comes down on the county for a lot of things, but to not see one plow go down Wilson in 4 hours is just silly to me. Plowing is not the most difficult thing in the world. Plow trucks can drive about 10-15 MPH. How much distance could you cover in 4 hours at 10-15 MPH? (hint: 15*4 = 60)

        • Andrew

          Arlington also only deployed 45 plows. Lot of roads/miles to cover for 45 plows.

          • Westover

            With those 45 plows, they easily should have been able to keep the main roads and snow emergency routes clear. Sorry, but the county which I am generally proud of (except for the Board) let me down last night. 🙁

        • Lalaland

          This isn’t upstate New York. This Arlington f**king Virginia.

          • CW

            How many more times will this happen before that argument becomes invalid?

          • Lalaland

            I’ve lived here for more than two decades. Last year was the winter of a lifetime. Before that, we had had 3 storms in my life (89, 96, 03 – notice a pattern?) that churned out more than a foot of snow. Otherwise, the storm we had last night was the usual once-a-year bad snow storm. If we have to buy 100 ploughs because of the threat of one night of chaos, it’s probably a waste. Similar criticisms were launched against Atlanta and other Southern cities earlier this winter for their inability to handle the storm, but do you really expect Mobile, Alabama to go out and purchase snow supplies on the scale of Rochester, New York because they had a bad winter this year? Yes, I’m a typical “tax and spend” liberal, but even I think that buying additional ploughs is a waste. If we really want to handle the storm better in future years, local employers should learn to adopt strategies that allow employees to leave earlier from work when a storm approaches. Drivers need to be educated how to drive in weather like this and learn that their best bet is to stay home if their job allows it.

            Yes, I’m sure upstate New York can handle this weather just fine. Last year we had more snow than upstate New York. Let’s see how they can handle a tropical storm though.

          • CW

            In my previous statements I was saying that the 45 plows they had out, if properly used, would probably have been more than enough. I was just wondering where they were, that’s all!! I did not see any of them! That’s all I was saying.

          • Lalaland

            No, you said “How many more times will this happen before that argument [it doesn’t snow much in DC] becomes invalid?”

            I was telling you that snow like we’ve experienced in the past 16 months has never happened in recorded history. Anticipating for that to happen again is a tad reactionary, no?

          • CW

            One could call it reactionary or call it “being prepared”. Two sides of the same coin I guess.

          • Lalaland

            No. Reactionary.

          • CW

            Well then, I am glad that we as a country were reactionary after Pearl Harbor, because my Japanese is not too good….

          • Lalaland

            Go back to upstate New York

          • Charlie

            I’ve lived here for four decades. It has snowed before. We’ve never spent the money to care for. Major storm. And only four inches I major. We need more innovation. My street was plowed last night by a police SUV w. Blade on it. Perfect. Why not more?

      • FrenchyB


      • notahoo

        The complainers must remember that this was a very strong storm which dumped a ton of wet heavy snow in a very small window. As you may know, Arlington is located in Virginia – where it generally does not snow like it did last night, therefore, of course, the county is not that great at moving snow…this is not buffalo, ny…if you want great snow removal move to buffalo – the city there is really incredible at removing snow. If you want to live here, listen to the weather, if it looks bad get home and get a six pack and ride it out. I would bet that if we had amazing snow removal capablities everyone would complain about the “wasted” money the county spends on a world class snow removal department.

        • AllenB

          That’s a pretty sensible statement. But you do know that sensible just doesn’t cut it here when people just want to b*tch and moan about everything regardless of the cause, right?

          • Glebe Roader

            Agree. People complain if there aren’t enough plows, if there are too many plows, if they don’t pre-treat, if they do pre-treat, etc. etc. etc. Take control of your own life. Have a plan for snow.

          • Westover

            How does someone “Take control of your own life. Have a plan for snow.” when their employer does not release them to go home until X-o’clock, and once out on the road others are blocking the roads because they can not make it up a hill that the county or VDOT failed to plow? Keeping the roads clear for travel, even in snow, is a basic role of local government, or at least should be.

          • AllenB

            Of course there will always be some d-bag employers who refuse to let people work from home, take leave, etc. And I feel sorry for those folks who work for them. But most employers will let you leave early or take some unplanned leave when there is threatening weather.

        • Kate

          As someone from Buffalo, I found last night/the lack of ability to handle some snow an embarrassment. But while this area doesn’t have the same resources for snow removal – nor, really, would it make sense to – businesses/schools/etc all shutting down early, everyone getting on the roads at the same time before plows is what contributed to the traffic mess. Places should’ve started closing down about noon, and then most people would’ve (hopefully) been home before the snow kicked up.

    • 38B

      Pretreating the roads is almost useless when it rains before it snows, and the plows were hampered by the widespread traffic jams. The real issue here is that everyone should have heeded the advice of VDOT and NWS and been sheltered in place by 4PM so the county could have done its job. This wasn’t our most severe storm, but the timing made it a dangerous one and not everyone took it seriously enough (including OPM and private employers), At least the schools got people home in time.

      • CW

        I actually thought I was presenting a pretty modest line – I wasn’t being one of those people who demands that MY cul-de-sac with MY house on it be plowed before any of the major arterial highways. I was just commenting that the level of ignorance of the entire system seemed striking to me.

        Also, Andrew, again, 45 plows equals roughly 450 plow-miles per hour.

        AllenB, I see from your previous posts yesterday that you think we have become a nation of wussies and should not complain about anything, should just suck it up that one of the wealthiest counties in the universe can’t plow 3 or 4 major roads, etc. Complaining is not allowed, even as a basis for improvement going forward.

        notahoo – considering that this has happened 3 or 4 times in the last 12-14 months, when is the “we live in Virginia; it does not snow in Virginia” argument going to become invalid?

        Personally, again, I was in no way inconvenienced by the storm. I rode metro home, then spent a couple hours walking around pushing cars and laughing at people who got completely screwed. The worswt was in the saddle point formed by the intersection of washington blvd and kirkwood….nowhere to go but up, and the sports cars with summer tires were not having any of it. It literally became a bowl filled with cars.

        I wasn’t being one of those car-centric hardliners who demands perfection. I’d just like to see some visible effort out of the county!!

        • AllenB

          Nice misreading, CW. Never said we shouldn’t complain about everything. We certainly should complain when there is good reason. But most people don’t apply reason, they just sit there and type away whatever stupid thought flies into their mind first. Kinda like your thought on what I was really saying.

        • notahoo

          Vaild point on the arguement on when should we focus more on winter weather. I still think that 3x in 18 months is not *that* bad.

        • Andrew

          “45 plows equals roughly 450 plow miles per hour”. Sure, on a highway or maybe on a road like 50. On Wilson or Clarendon Blvd with all the stoplights, pedestrians, construction, traffic…hardly.

          Yes, we have had several large storms that last couple of years. But historically, it does not snow like that. Besides, how would we pay for dog parks and planetariums?

  • CW

    January 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm
    Sorry, I lack compassion for people who just sit around and complain, especially when they are too lazy to do some checking to see what is really going on.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm
    You sound like such a valuable, productive county employee, Susan – the kind that probably stood around for 5 hours b*tching and complaining about not getting out of work early.


    January 26, 2011 at 10:50 pm
    Not technical or nitpicking. Big difference between a weather advisory and storm warning. You can look it up and then pull the stick out of your *ss.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:17 pm
    Are ya blaming the county for the branches to, Bored?


    I would say that your posts are generally negative, incendiary, and filled with ad hominem attacks that ignore the topic at hand. But maybe that’s just me misreading?

    • AllenB

      It is you misreading again. I’m glad you see it my way, CW. You’ve pulled my comments without also showing what the comments were responding to. But please, you feel the need to take things out of context and defend the indefensible complaining, and yes, b*tching, so have at it. I love it when someone is so concerned with what I wrote that they go back through previous threads to reread them. What an honor.

      And yes, when someone does complain without reason or thought, I will go negative on them. They deserve it. But many of my posts are positive too when people actually say something constructive or thoughtful.

      And when someone tries to hold themselves out as holier than though (supercilious, look it up) I’ll call that out too.

      • CW

        Hey Allen, one way to improve your ad hominem attacks is to actually man up and type the real curse words. There isn’t a text filter on words such as “bitching”.

        And isn’t it somewhat “holier than thou” to think that you can drag any discussion down into the weeds via personal attacks in response to a topic-driven discussion. General sequence of events: 1) person makes comment on an actual topic, 2) you attack the person, ignoring the topic at hand.

        Unfortunately, with regards to you pulling out your SAT I flashcard, the internet has made “impressing people via large lexicons” go the way of pub trivia. Any fool wanting to act supercilious can efficently aggrandize the public perception of his proclamations by augmenting his dissertation with obscure verbiage and expansive use of florid circumlocution.

        • AllenB

          Wow, sounds like I struck a nerve, CW… I love to do that with your type. Mission accomplished. Feel free to read everything I continue to write and comment on it. I’ll attack anyone’s ignorance when they are forcefully putting it on display… even you and yours.

          Since you brought up “manning up”, if your definition of it is typing “bitch” instead of “b*tch”, I think we all have quite a clear picture of your testosterone level.

          If you’re going to be the comment police, and you think my comments are bad, I can’t wait to see you try to monitor all of the people who actually make vile comments about race, gender, etc. Or will you just seek out my comments and say I shouldn’t be so mean… wah, wah, wah.

          • CW

            “Wow, sounds like I struck a nerve, CW… I love to do that with your type. Mission accomplished.”

            Ok, so now that you’ve conceded and confirmed that you have the mentality of an elementary school child, I’ll rise above and avoid further interactions in the future.

            You will note that all the comments in this thread, when viewed chronologically, had at least some relevance to the original topic – snow removal. Until yours, that is, which was completely devoid of topical reference.

            You are a child. Good day to you sir. I hope that this sort of interaction brings you the sort of pleasure and sense of power that you are clearly lacking in your non-virtual life.

          • AllenB

            Really, CW? What relevance did saying I should man up by typing bitch intead of b*tch have to snow removal?

            You’re really just a joke. But if you choose not to interact the only loss will be my amusement at watching you flail. Oh, and my utter joy at annoying people like you too. “Good day to you sir!” LOL

        • AllenB

          Oh, and I just noticed you had nothing to say about taking my comments out of context. I guess you realize you were wrong on that too. You just keep making my day.

          • Andrew

            I love the irony – Ad hominem abuse (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to invalidate his or her argument…(Wikipedia)

            CW says “Ok, so now that you’ve conceded and confirmed that you have the mentality of an elementary school child, I’ll rise above and avoid further interactions in the future.”

          • CW

            I think the differentiation I was trying to make was that of someone who uses ad hominem abuse as their first line of discourse, rather than presenting any facts. Yes, generally most of us who do not have the patience of a saint will, when attacked, try to attack back, so I was certainly guilt of that in my RESPONSE (response being the operative word, as opposed to personal attacks being my hammer to which everyone else’s comments look like a nail).

          • AllenB

            Oh, CW is back to explain his actions again. I guess there still is air in that balloon (if I wanted to make it a personal attack I would have said “there’s still gas in that bag”).

  • Lumiere

    I watched plows pretreat at Washington Blvd/Glebe Rd at 3:15. I then passed back by (heading from where I had just finished house sitting toward my condo) at 4:45 only to find that the area pretreated was just as bad as the rest of the road.

    Why? It was raining very very hard just before the turnover to snow. This means that all the salt and pretreat that was very carefully laid from 8 am to 4pm across the entire area was washed off the roads making them equivalent to untreated.

    RE plow miles above. The plows can only move as fast as the car in front of them. If that car is stuck and not moving (and no car within sight is moving) then the plow is stuck and not moving.

    I promise that if any other city with similar traffic got the same precipitation that DC got yesterday that they would have had very similar problems. The issue was not response by the government to remove snow; it was that the order and timing of the storm prevented any concerted effort to remove the snow.

    • CW

      Very fair regarding pretreating. I was mainly questioning the use of the plows during the storm and their observed absence from the main arterial roads.

  • John Fontain

    cw said: “When will this county ever understand that the snow removal process is best begun BEFORE and DURING the storm?”

    How do you remove snow before it has fallen?

    cw also said: “The worst is the residential roads – the county saves them until last”

    Please explain why it would be logical to plow the neighborhood streets before the main roads, thus allowing/encouraging people to drive from their neighborhoods to the main roads only to get stuck and have no place to go.

    • CW

      I meant salt before, and plow during. Commenters were right, I was wrong – salting before wouldn’t have worked as well yesterday during the rain. The beauty of public discourse! Multiple thought streams can converge! I readily stand corrected on the pre-salting with reference to yesterday.

      With regards to the residential streets, I for one was not saying to do them first. Also, I wasn’t really referring to what most people would think of as a residential street – one with a few houses or a cul-de-sac. What I was talking about was, for example, 9th street N, located parallel to wilson and fairfax and between the two. While it’s a smallish road, probably 500 or more units worth of apartment and condo housing’s garages dump out onto it. So it’s actually a heavily trafficked street. A little salt would have helped the poor folks trying to traverse the glacier this morning (or trying to walk to the VA Square metro!!!)

      • ArlBlueSky

        and think of the property taxes those owners pay?

        500 units — avg lets say 4k a year = 2million a year in property tax alone. Not counting car and income taxes. You would think that in the R-B corridor they could at least plow those roads, isn’t that why they keep talking about high density??? One plow and salt pass down some of these roads would help hundreds of people.

      • Andrew

        You live right near me! Walk to VA SQ metro wasn’t too bad…

        • CW

          No, it wasn’t “too bad”. I didn’t die, and I don’t think anyone else did. But given the aforementioned density, I think that, just like BlueSky said, a couple plow/salt passes could be warranted.

          On a positive note, many of the propert owners were doing a great job of shoveling their walks. Namely the church on oakland and fairfax, which didn’t shovel once all last winter, making this block treacherous for many since the county never clears the analogous walk on the oakland park side.

  • WalkPike

    Let’s have a word about sidewalks.
    Rosenthal cleared their sidewalks. Brown cleared their lots very well and didn’t touch their sidewalk.
    CVS cleared their lot and sidewalk, Rite Aid cared about cars but not people.
    Fortunately there is a new law requiring sidewalks to be cleaned.
    Unfortunately, many business owners don’t care about the pedestrians.
    Please support the responsible business owners along the Pike.

    • Guy with wet shoes

      How about the plowing companies that plowed the parking lot snow ON TO THE SIDEWALK creating walls of snow 3-4 ft high…looking at you 3131 Clarendon Condo and Wachoiva across the street from the Clarendon Metro. Glad y’all could get your cars out while the walkers had to jump into puddles of slush. Seriously, Thanks.

  • AsherYuki

    Yeah, all this complaining about traffic and weather – T-E-L-E-W-O-R-K people. When you know it is going to snow, these ridiculous companies need to wise up and figure out some sort of teleworking plan. There are days that folks can stay home and work, and there are some jobs that only require you be there for meetings. I telework and my company has the tools to make that possible so that you can interact with your coworkers, upload and store files, etc. Believe me, in what they aren’t paying on insurance and office space, they can afford to buy these tools and get more productivity. I’m linked to software that shows if I am working, away, inactive, etc. so you have to produce when you telework. Then you just go into the office for meetings.

    What is the problem here? Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?

  • OX4

    I sure do get tired of this “I’m from [insert another state here] and I expect VA to act just like it.” I personally don’t want my tax dollars spent on snow plows that will be sitting idle for 99% of the calendar year just to be ready for that one 4-hour period where we get an inch of snow on top of frozen slush.

    • Westover

      Last winter showed that we have close to what we need. Maybe a few things could be added, but there is no need for a mass of more plows. What we need is a better plan for using what is there.

    • CW

      There is a difference between saying “let’s have VA act just like” another state, and saying “How can we LEARN from someone who is very good at doing something?” The latter sort of mentality leads to innovation and improvement…

      • AllenB

        More lecturing from CW… you’re starting to sound like the teacher from the Peanuts TV specials.

  • Dan

    Well, I moved here from Hawaii because I heard that the climate was sublime and that the traffic was non-existent.
    Was I misinformed ??

    We never had any problem with the snow storms there either !!

    • ClarenNau_wale_no

      But there’s molten rock to deal with…How do they plow that stuff off the roads ?

      • Dan

        “But there’s molten rock to deal with…How do they plow that stuff off the roads ?”

        Wait till spring when it melts.
        What doesn’t melt fills in all of the pot holes.

        You folks from the mainland sure don’t know much about eruptions !!

  • Lalaland

    I give up. CW is active today because he has the day off from middle school.

  • AllenB

    I’m ready to criticize what I find to be dumb points of view or lazy ass people. You just seem to be sensitive to that for some reason. I wonder why….

    • AllenB

      Sorry, that was meant for Charlie, not everyone in general… well, unless you’re one of those with the dumb point of view or you’re lazy. Then it was meant for you too.

      • charlie

        oh Allen, now you are picking on yourself even. jeez.


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