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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com December 13, 2011 at 8:30 am 3,361 45 Comments

Rehabbed Bridge to Be More Ped-Friendly — Arlington County is preparing to rehabilitate the Carlin Springs Road bridge over George Mason Drive, and the bridge’s chosen design will make it much more pedestrian-friendly. Currently, the bridge only has a pair of 5 foot sidewalks. The new bridge will have 8 foot sidewalks and 5 foot bike lanes on either side, but with narrower lanes for cars and no center divider. [Greater Greater Washington]

Arlington HQ’d Firm Gets New Name — The security contractor formerly known as Blackwater — now headquartered in Arlington — has a new name. The company’s name was changed to ‘Xe’ about three years ago, amid controversy over Blackwater’s role in civilian deaths in Iraq. On Monday the name was changed again, to ‘Academi.’ [Washington Post]

Wakefield Grad Dies in Crash — Casey Noriega, a 2000 graduate of Wakefield High School, was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Saturday in Fairfax County. Noriega, 29, was the mother of a 7-year-old son. [Kingstowne Patch]

Flickr pool photo by wfyurasko

  • KalashniKEV

    “When Blackwater began calling itself Xe in 2009, a spokesman for the firm said the name had no particular significance.”

    Xe = Xenon = one of the farthest Right elements.

    • drax

      They blew the chance to use the much cooler Krypton.

      • Josh S

        I can only imagine the change to Academi is to further confuse people as to their actual business model and appear as bland as possible.

        • Joe Hoya

          What, you mean Academi is a trigger-happy private security organization and not some sort of ivory tower intellectual writers club? Now I’m confused …

          • KalashniKEV

            You certainly sound confused…

            It’s barely even the same company it was. Erik Prince is out in the UAE training counterrevolutionaries for the House of Saud and their client regimes on his own.

          • drax

            Erik Prince being out of the U.S. is progress.

    • ArlingtonChick

      I still think they should just go back to Blackwater. They have the name recognition with that name. And everybody knows, there’s no such thing as bad press!

  • JamesE

    Did anyone hear that transformer blow up last night? It caused me to lose about 1 hour of Skyrim, lights flickered then I heard a loud bang (and this was from Ballston). Half of my building is still without power, luckily I am on the powered half.

    • wimmer201

      Yup. Sounded a lot like thunder to me but I knew it couldn’t possibly be. Fortunately my power loss only lasted a minute or so.

    • Swag

      I used to blow up transformers…then I took an arrow in the knee.

      • JamesE


      • OX4

        Let me guess, someone stole your transformer.

    • Cherrydale

      Anyone know the location of the transformer? I heard it while walking on Lee Hwy.

    • Ben

      I heard it in Clarendon. My lights flickered just long enough to reset all of my clocks – bastards!

      • CrystalMikey

        Ditto..and cancel my DVR recording!

        • ArlingtonChick

          First world problems.

  • Frivolous

    While working on the G. Mason / N Carlin Spring bridge, could you come and do something to the intersection of Park and Mason.. otherwise known as “The Intersection of Death”

    • Josh S

      Yeah, as much as I don’t want it to (driving on Mason frequently and almost never on Park) I would think that’s getting fairly close to deserving a light. The way cars are starting to behave trying to get off Park, it must be getting very difficult to make a left onto G Mason……(of course Henderson is only a block away and already has a light…..)

    • charlie

      as a driver, that intersection scares me. and i’m usually on George mason.

      • drax

        Get off George, he’s starting to have trouble breathing.

        • charlie

          i know the tv camera adds 20 pounds, but the blog isn’t supposed to. dammit.

    • bobco85

      Call me crazy, but what if they were to close off George Mason Drive at that intersection, esentially chopping Park in half and turning it into 2 T intersections? Cars would then be forced to use Henderson if they wanted to cross George Mason. Would the added safety (no more scary left turns) balance out with increased traffic at the Henderson/George Mason light? I understand that the crosswalk could stay, but traffic would probably drive faster. Just an idea.

      • bobco85


      • charlie

        i don’t think the crosswalk is all that safe now. without a cross intersection it would become a mid-block crossing and even less safe, imho.

        henderson cannot handle anymore traffic safely — it is narrow, long light at Glebe, School crossing.

  • Arlwhenver

    Narrow lanes and no median on an arterial? Sure, why not — those head-on collisions are so safe.

    • Josh S

      Chill out. Route 50 has no median for long stretches and cars are going a lot faster.

      • drax

        And it’s scary as hell.

      • rick in 22201

        Yeah but CS is way more curvy than 50. And you have those curvy uphill/downhill exits right there. Seems like maybe a bad idea to lose the median, though I do like the idea of wider sidewalks. Maybe forget the bike lanes. there are bike paths all along there anyway (BJT, etc), so they dont need to be in the road. Especially a busy road like that one.

        • drax

          No, actually, Carlin Springs Rd. is the best bike route from some places – and you have to link bike routes to trails if people are going to use them.

          • rick in 22201

            4 Mile Run Trail goes from EFC to Columbia Pike, which is where Carlin Springs ends up.

            From Ballston, the Custiss Trail connects to 4MR.

            So I don’t see why there should be a bike lane there. It’s not safe for bikers either to be that close to cars, esp. if the lanes are going to be even narrower. I ride a bike and I wouldn’t do it.

          • drax

            I ride a bike and have taken that road. It was the most direct route. It links Ballston and the Harris Teeter to 4MR, without having to go through the Glebe intersection further west.

          • bobco85

            Going west from Ballston Commons, taking Carlin Springs is very convenient, at least up to a block past the bridge, because you can then access the Bluemont Junction Trail (connects to Four Mile Run and W&OD at Bluemont Park) through the neighborhood (turn at Edison St.) without having to travel on George Mason or Wilson. I bike that fairly often, even during the evening rush hour. The key is to take the middle of the right lane, not the gutter or the sidewalk.

      • Arlwhenver

        Four people killed on Route 50 between Fillmore and Glebe Rd last decade — not a problem.

  • NomNom

    What is with the random death announcement?

  • bobco85

    I wish they could start the bridge construction earlier than late 2012/2013 as the website says. That bridge is pretty sketchy at times.

    I’d rather they keep at least a 2-foot median separating traffic because the curves are too tight for the speeds that people tend to drive around the bridge. The sidewalks would already be getting a buffer from traffic due to the bike lanes, so I don’t think it would be too bad to shave off a foot from each side.

    • Cranky Crankypants

      Actually, they are trying to make people slow down as self-preservation. The median enables people to go faster because they don’t have to worry about flaming death. Of course, once they realize that the bike lane is merely paint, drivers will be all over it and will be back up to their old speeds.

      • Greg

        I know this self-preservation theory is a fad in road planning, but I really question the wisdom. Anyone who drives in the country knows how dangerous those roads can be due to high speeds and very little money spent on road safety (medians,barriers, etc.). I would hazard a guess that rural roads are more dangerous than highways where a lot of money is spent per mile on safety.

        I hope that we aren’t headed down a path that we will regret later.

        • charlie

          i saw the coolest crash/skid on the street yesterday.
          someone coming north on george mason approaching route 50 failed to make the last snake-turn back to the right.
          nice thick skid mark from the right lane, thru the median, and into the bushes at the congregational church. that car was going fast.
          well done.
          median:1 curb: 1 car:0

      • Bender

        **The median enables people to go faster because they don’t have to worry about flaming death.**

        Oh yes, the old, “making it more dangerous will make it safer” argument. Typical backasswards thinking around here.

        • LVGuy

          It’s not dangerous at all. If you have a drivers’ license, you should know how to stay in a lane.

          • drax

            Yet some people still don’t, and end up killing innocent people as well as themselves.

          • Arlwhenver

            Ya, like the school bus driver and trash truck driver (both with special commericial licenses) on the narrow lane, no median section of Columbia PIke that clipped each otherhead-on killing two kids not all that many years back. That’s what happens with the Arlington County narrow lane idiocy.

        • Suburban Not Urban


      • bobco85

        I disagree with the self-preservation theory, at least when the weather is not clear and dry. When that area gets wet/icy, I predict that lacking a median would lead to a few close calls or accidents from people inadvertently crossing the center line. I use the fact that not all people drive slower or give more room on highways when driving in the rain to support my argument (yes, a terrible way to argue, but I know you get my point).

  • Teyo

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper and safer if instead of a new bridge, they raised George Mason and created a stoplight intersection with Carlin Springs?


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