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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com April 14, 2011 at 5:00 am 2,086 40 Comments

Route 50 Interchange Project Nears — In March, we were told that the lane closure on westbound Route 50 would finally be lifted by around this time. That’s still yet to be seen, but some new closures are just around the corner. Dr. Gridlock reports that VDOT plans to start construction on a new Route 50/Courthouse Road/Fairfax Drive interchange next month, with nightly traffic disruptions. The $39 million project is expected to wrap up in Fall 2013. [Dr. Gridlock]

Arlington’s Fuel Bill Going Up — Arlington County could spend hundreds of thousands of additional dollars on gasoline this year, thanks to rising gas prices. The county’s vehicle fleet — which includes fuel-sipping Toyota Priuses — consumes about a million gallons of gas every year. [Washington Examiner]

Emergency Personnel Honored for Valor — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce held its 29th annual Valor Awards ceremony on Tuesday. The event honored police, sheriff, fire and EMS personnel whose selfless work has saved lives. Among those honored was Jason Hart and Mark Jaquays, who managed to save the life of a young man who was painting a house last summer when his ladder touched a power line. [Sun Gazette]

Real Estate Prices Up, Inventory Down –– The sale price of Arlington residential real estate surged last month. Condos and townhouses in particular were both up by double digit percentages. Also, real estate inventory was down significantly compared to 2010. [Arlington Real Estate News]

Flickr pool photo by Aaron Webb

  • Tabby

    Yes, I love my taxes going toward filling the tanks of the parking enforcement guys who drive around and around and around the blocks of Wilson/Clarendon Blvds.

    • Ann of Tan Gables

      I guess they should raise the fines so the income from tickets offsets the expense of giving them, huh?

      • Tabby

        Car-Free Diet, Arlington County! Don’t your parking enforcement “officers” (cough) need more exercise? I think they do!

        • CW

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – industrial tricycles for the parking enforcement people.

    • The Pikester

      But they are doing it in a “fuel sipping Toyota Prius”, a car that also carries a premium at purchase to eat up some more of your tax money. You have to wonder if the life-cyle cost of a Honda Civic, Ford Focus, VW Golf, or other small gasoline vehicle wouldn’t be cheaper while still achieving good fuel economy.

      Better yet, put them on foot if they are only covering a 10 block area.

      • John Fontain

        Unfortunately, the fuel savings from a Prius don’t make up for the higher purchase price paid for them.

        • The Pikester

          And when you take into account maintenance costs over a 10-year life span of an average car, the Prius is the big financial loser. I’m all for saving fuel and energy, but it needs to come economically. Eventually, the free market will dictate that. Not just now.

          • Take it down a notch

            What is your evidence for this?

      • RosRes

        At least they’re not driving around in huge expensive gas guzzling SUV’s like they are on the other side of the river…

      • Bob

        many of them are on foot in the urban corridors… those that are in vehicles are frequently also responsible for handling routine enforcement of and response to parking complaints in the many outer neighborhoods both with and without zones..

  • The Pikester

    As a government agency, I don’t believe Arlington pays any tax on gasoline so they are not paying as much per gallon as we are.

    http://www.gaspricewatch.com/usgastaxes.asp

  • Southeast Ben

    I think the Arlington Ticketeers should be using Bikeshare. Taxpayers can’t get better value than that right there. Arlington Co will never give up their cars…

    • Burger

      In DC, they use Segways which I thought was good compromise and efficient use.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    I’m glad to see the County’s police, fire fighters, and EMS personnel recognized and honored. They help save lives. Thanks for your selfless service to the community.

    • LVaristocrat

      +1

  • Lacy Forest

    Put the parking officers on those three-wheel bikes the county bought a few years ago. There are a few gathering dust in the Central Library garage.

    • CW

      Wait, the county actually has tricycles??! I thought I was kidding!!!

      • me

        They bought “Adult Tricycles” for the staff a few years back. No one uses them (wonder why). Total waste of money.

  • Evil

    I’m not sure why, but I’ve always loved the building in the photo… I’ll be sad when it’s torn down 🙁

  • John Goilios

    That building is at Wilson near Monroe. Does anyone know what it is? It was a cafe for a year or two, but has never had any luck keeping a business due to the low foot traffic in those blocks.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      John,

      If I recall correctly, it was a coin collector’s shop for a while back when and then it was a small computer sales/computer repair store. After that, I think it was a cafe.

    • CW

      I am wondering too if anyone knows what it is/was. It took me a good 9 months of walking by almost daily before I realized that the sign said “Haze”. It’s never been an operating business in the time I’ve been here.

  • charlie

    all parking enforcement vehicles should be LEAFS — none go more than 50 miles.

  • Curious George

    So how much gas do the arlington rentacops parked in front of DARPA burn? I know they are moonlighting but they are still in ACPD cruisers and the engines are always on. Does DARPA rent the cruisers and pay for the fuel also?

    • CW

      This gets brought up all the time and the answer is always “Yes, DARPA pays for everything. No, the cops are not on their regular ACPD shifts. It in no way hinders ACPD’s operations. Etc.”

      But just driving by and seeing them there, even knowing all that, it still kinda leaves a bad taste in the mouth from a public perception standpoint, doesn’t it?

      • Burger

        The other option would be for DARPA to move out of the county to a more secure location. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with cops outside of DARPA if they are going to pay for everything.

        • Curious George

          Arlington police dozing in front of DARPA has nothing to do with security. I walk by there all the time and they usually seem oblivious to what is going on around them.

          At least when DARPA moves to the new location by Ballston mall I won’t have to see them anymore. Out of sight out of mind.

          • CW

            I think part of the whole issue of the perception of this situation is that there are two possible scenarios regarding the function of ACPD at DARPA, and both are equally ridiculous. If the DARPA building is so poorly secured that ACPD is capable of providing better protection to it, then that’s ridiculous. If the DARPA building is as secure as a building of its nature and importance should be, then it’s ridiculous to think that ACPD being there could do anything to add to that security (which would ostensibly be leaps and bounds beyond what a county PD could provide).

          • Curious George

            Exactly and very well put.

            My original beef was with the gas usage. If DARPA is paying all the expenses then that issue at least is, well, not an issue.

            And you would think DARPA could be more clever about security. I mane they are in the clever business.

  • Abe Froman

    Perhaps Arlington Co could save some money if they made their morbidly obese meter maids walk their beats, like in other cities, rather than drive around in gas guzzling pickups and vans.

    • NOVApologist

      Yeah. I was also going to point out that the large woman in Rosslyn drives a big honking pickup truck and not a Prius. To her credit, she appears to nail each and every parking scofflaw. And she does it with great zeal.

      • Tabby

        Yea, when I brought this up already in the first comment, I was thinking of the trucks the meter guys and gals drive around in.

    • AllenB

      Wow, totally uncalled for.

    • Bob

      the rationale behind the utility type vehicles is that the staff whom you live to denigrate for doing a necessary but thankless task are also frequently tasked with transporting large quantities of cones to and from various locations for various reasons… further, they also use them to transport the rather large and heavy boot devices… the truth is, they don’t have nearly as many trucks as you like to assume they do… rather, they drive mostly compact cars (the make and model of which are determined by other county staff, and fluctuate from year to year) including toyotas and fords.

      • 4Arl

        The Prius(or other hybrid) is perfect for this application from a fuel and environmental perspective- no fuel used during frequent idling, and there is a lot of stop and go low speed operation. Unless they have a hybrid pickup, maybe someone else should be moving cones and just leave the parking enforcement staff to write tickets (which are generating needed revenue for the county) in the Priuses.

        • The Pikester

          Better yet, on foot or bicycle.

  • Steve

    What is that place in the picture? Has it been closed down forever? It’s never ever open whenever I walk by it. is it a tatoo place or something?

  • Arlwhenever

    The Arlington Real Estate News link claims “[t]he only thing that was down last month was inventory” which struck me as an odd and likely inaccurate statement since last March we were getting into the tail end of the income tax home purchase credit program. Sure enough, according to our friend Scott McCaffrey “Home sales across the county totaled 194 in March, down 17.8 percent from the 236 transactions that took place a year before.”

    http://www.sungazette.net/articles/2011/04/14/arlington/news/nw81f1.txt

    I would be wary of linking to anything Ms. Laura J. Rubinchuk (the broker/originator of Arlington Real Estate) puts out again.

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