Morning Notes

by March 24, 2011 at 9:18 am 2,553 29 Comments

DCA Tower AWOL as Planes Land — Two airline pilots landing at Reagan National Airport were unable to make contact with the lone air traffic controller on duty in the tower early Wednesday. The FAA is now investigating what caused the tower to go silent for nearly half an hour. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has ordered a second air traffic controller to start working the overnight shift at DCA. [Washington Post]

School Board Opposed Strict Misconduct Guidelines — Should teachers be forbidden from sending text messages to students? What about becoming Facebook friends? Those are two questions the Arlington County School Board may have to answer if the Virginia School Board approves a set of sexual misconduct guidelines today. Last month School Board Chair Libby Garvey wrote the Virginia Dept. of Eduction to oppose a stricter, more prescriptive set of guidelines. [Arlington Connection]

Meade Street Bridge Redesign Options Discussed — Earlier this week Arlington County staff members sat down with residents to discuss options for improving safety on the Meade Street Bridge, which connects the area near the Iwo Jima memorial to Lynn Street and Rosslyn. Among the options being considered are narrowing vehicle lanes, widening the pedestrian sidewalk and adding decorative “luminous bodies” to the side of the bridge. [Ode Street Tribune]

  • LyonSteve

    Narrowing the bridge will only make things worse.

    The interchange with US50 is a cluster-f just like every other US50 interchange in Arlington. Let’s narrow the bridge and create backups on the mainline.

    Excellent idea. I guess its not racist because its in N. Arlington and there are less “protected” people there.

    • Thes

      It sounds like they are not proposing to “narrow the bridge” or even reduce the number of lanes of traffic on the bridge (although that’s possible). It sounds like they are merely shifting some of the width of the vehicle lanes to make more room on the sidewalk. Given the volumes and uses of the Meade Street bridge, I don’t really see how that would have any impact on traffic backups.

      • South Arlington

        It especially won’t have an impact on traffic on 50. There’s not even that much vehicle traffic that crosses that bridge. The real backup is the ramp onto the 50 bridge that dumps out on Constitution Ave. The sidewalk across that bridge is horrible and has a lot of foot traffic due to the high rises in the area and the Iwo Jima Memorial/Netherlands Carrilon.

  • local

    Awesome, some more strict rules that we can have a zero tolerance policy for and expel students and fire teachers over.

  • Easton

    Those “luminous bodies” have got to be the silliest things in the world. I looked at the pdf from the Ode St. Tribune website, and it seems like County staff have officially lost their minds.

    • borf

      I found this about them. They look cool. (link is to a pdf)

      • AllenB

        They look cool to me too.

      • JamesE

        That does look nice

      • Jim

        Agreed. A lot of public art and the recent years’ design improvement from the old Stalinist architecture and planning in Rosslyn is a good example of getting lemons and making lemonade. More power to the county staff on this one.

      • CW

        Is this (the art in your link above) actually happening? Or is it just someone’s plan/proposal?

        One issue that I have with these sorts of development/improvement sorts of things is that I never seem to be able to figure out if and when something is actually happening, or if it’s just a proposal that somebody paid for which won’t ever be put into place.

    • Clarendude

      If I had the choice to live in classical-styled place like a Tuscan hill town or a shimmering modernist place, I’d choose the Tuscan town every time. But, that’s not where we are and as modern lighting elements go, these are pretty cool and perhaps even functional. If they are built to last with decent maintenance costs then I’d say go for it. They certainly will fit in with and help Rossyln be an interesting place.

  • Jim

    Why are planes allowed to land at DCA between midnight and 6am anyway? When I lived in Rosslyn many years ago I thought there was a takeoff and landing restriction that began before midnight.

    • charlie

      regularly scheduled planes that pass a late-night sound requirements can land if they are late/delayed. There are some regularly scheduled planes that are super quiet and they can land 24/7. Yeah, it isn’t how I remember the deal either.

    • CW

      Official noise abatement policies. In short, Charlie is right.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      My thoughts exactly.

  • kc

    When I checked the airport website last night there were 18 flights due in after midnight, presumably because of the bad weather earlier. Hopefully there was a controller(s) on duty.

  • Bender

    Yes, let’s raise taxes (or limit further library hours) so that we can pay for changes to a perfectly fine bridge.

    How about we NOT spend the money here and use it for things that take much greater priority?

    • Overgrown Bush

      Ah, were you part of the team who performed the study?

    • borf

      After actually looking (unlike you) at some of the documents, I’d say this isn’t a “perfectly fine” bridge:

      • Josh S

        I don’t know – the documents seem to indicate only ten reported accidents in a two year period within the study area. That seems awfully low to justify any significant expenditures in the name of increased safety.
        Perhaps I misunderstood the document or it contains misleading or incomplete information….

        • borf

          “Only” ten? That comes to one accident every 10 weeks. I don’t know what the normal rate should be, but that sounds excessive.

          • Josh S

            If every accident involved a fatality or serious injury, I’m with you. But what if 5 of those 10 were simple fender-benders?
            I don’t know what “normal” is either, but I suspect the traffic engineers have a standard…..

          • borf

            Yep, the traffic engineers know better than you or me – or Bender.

  • Max

    One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Rosslyn is the multitude of unique structures. While I like the luminous bodies, I hope that they stay true to Rosslyn’s past.

  • R0bespierre

    Why was there ever just one controller on duty to begin with? What if that guy has health issues?

    • Yeesh

      And why isn’t there a contingency plan to give a maintenance crew supervisor the ability to get into the tower and check on a non-responding controller? Seems like basic backup plans just aren’t in place.

      • ChrisG

        There was a back-up plan and it worked just fine.

  • NArl

    Its shocking that teachers and the school board don’t want stricter misconduct guidelines. Not really, they would have to do there job and be held responsible for the dumb stuff they do.


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