Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com June 12, 2012 at 8:45 am 6,543 151 Comments

Arlington Funeral Home Demolition — Arlington Funeral Home in Virginia Square has been torn down to make way for a new office building. Arlington funeral home first opened in April 1956. [Arlington Public Library]

Election Day Today — Arlington voters are going to the polls today to cast their ballots in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate and the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives (see candidate essays for Rep. Jim Moran and Bruce Shuttleworth). Arlington has a complete list of polling places here.

Trader Joe’s Asks for Display Cases — Trader Joe’s in Clarendon is asking the Arlington County Board for permission to put display cases in the store’s windows along N. Garfield Street. Currently, the windows — which are legally required to remain transparent, per a site plan — look in on the store’s storage area. [Arlington County]

APS Accepting Applications for Committee — Arlington Public Schools is inviting applications from parents and community members for its Pupil Services Committee. The committee meets once a month during the school year and “reviews the services offered by psychologists, social workers, substance abuse counselors, school counselors, and attendance specialists.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Photo courtesy Bill Colton

  • Mark

    It’s sad to see one of the last remaining buildings of recognizable Arlington fall to the developer’s bootheel.

    • YoBimbo



      Another office building.

    • quigley

      A nondescript brick rectangle is replaced by a nondescript beige office block. Doesn’t seem anything to get worked up over. At least the new generic building might have froyo instead of dead people in it.

      • JamesE

        Soylent Froyo

        • daniel

          Those aren’t pistachio bits!

        • Shalaga

          James, that is funny.

    • Josh S

      I like the “bootheel” touch. That’s sweet!

    • Larry the Table Guy

      No it’s not sad that an old building is being torn down for a new building. Old does not equal historic – sometimes it’s just old.

      I can’t stand the knee-jerk vilification of developers. They’re putting something new and needed there. And your desire to not look at an office building doesn’t mean that it’s not needed.

      Just because you would, for purely nostalgic reasons, “prefer” to have a funeral home remain on that site doesn’t mean it’s that site’s highest and best use. Jeez.

      • Joan Fountain

        They’re putting something new and needed there

        New, yes. Needed? That’s debatable.

        • R

          Wouldn’t the market determine if it is needed? And my guess would be that a developer wouldn’t invest eight figures of cash into a development if it hadn’t already been determined that the market does indeed need this development.

          • Joan Fountain

            You mean like “the market” determined that we needed millions of McMansions that are now sitting empty all over the exurbs?

          • Larry the Table Guy

            No, the Ballston Office market. Not the Exurb McMansion market. That “market.”

          • Joan Fountain

            Which is always infallible. I see now.

    • Corey

      Ah yes, let’s have a moment of silence for the historic Arlington Funeral Home.

    • Mary-Austin

      Agreed. Went by that building all the time growing up and for some reason it was always kind of a landmark.
      Also my dad’s wake was held there when he passed away a few years ago so that was the place we said goodbye to him.
      I think it gave people a sense of community in a way that seems to be disappearing somewhat in Arlington. But I do get the place was not very vibrant so it had to go.

    • jackson

      Does this mean we are officially creating jobs faster than we’re dying?

      That’s good, I guess.

      • Justin Russo

        75 to be exact.

        • WeiQiang


        • drax


    • Prefontaine

      The building was an eyesore. Who cares

  • OldTimer

    Yes, display cases in TJ’s windows would be nice to keep the storage area out of sight. Maybe they can decorate the windows for the holidays… or place some funhouse mirrors to keep the drunks occupied on weekends.

    • YoBimbo

      I would pay money to watch the Clarendon Drunks discovering the funhouse mirrors.

      • OldTimer

        Watch the Crime Report for more “masturbation” entries. You know what those funhouse mirrors can do to the size of the human anatomy.

    • Clarendon

      I like your creative solution ! The picture they have of their proposal is tacky as all get out. Maybe that fits Clarendon these days though ? But, funhouse mirrors, that’s pretty good.

      This should have been addressed at the time they were allowed to use retail space for storage, but everyone was mostly concerned about the parking situation (which, by the way seems to have worked out OK ?). IMO they should have kept the front of the space as some kind of small retail and made the storage area in the back.

    • Not a fan

      So…you want Trader Joe’s to install something that keeps loud, drunken frat boys and their shrill drunken hook-ups lingering and laughing on the sidewalk, which is adjacent to hundreds of residential units units where people are attempting to sleep, rather than have said drunken patrons simply pass by quickly to their cars and leave.

      Yep. I bet that will be really popular with the neighbors.

      • Clarendon

        But it could be a one-way glass funhouse mirror with a camera behind it that records the antics of the drunks for later entertainment value. Clarendon is supposed to be an entertainment district after all…

        The drunks are loud now and don’t always pass quickly anyway. The mirror might mesmerize them into silence. Could always try it and see how it works.

      • OldTimer

        I agree with display cases. The funhouse mirror addition was a joke to maybe get someone to crack a smile for a change instead of always bashing other posters on this site.

        • HighViewPunk

          I actually think it’s a great idea. Why would it just have to be entertaining for drunks?

      • Vicente Fox

        Drunks have no business passing quickly to their cars.

  • Wendy

    Glad it’s an office building, I wouldn’t want to live in an apartment or condo above a former funeral home. Creeepy. The church apartments on “highland”? are weird enough.

    • JamesE

      You only have to worry about condos built on Indian burial grounds.

      • Dan Snyder

        or Football Stadiums

      • CourthouseChris

        Or former cemeteries where the lazy developers only moved the headstones.

        • Craig T Nelson

          Tell me about it.

  • curious george

    Virginia Square used to be a cradle to grave neighborhood. Literally. I will miss the funeral home. AT least it was not a Froyo store.

    • C. Heston

      Froyo is people.

  • SomeGuy

    I enjoy seeing how dumb the people who bashed the cyclist in yesterday’s post look, many of whom jumped to the OBVIOUS conclusion that the cyclist in question had to have been an arrogant Tour de France wannabe in spandex riding on a $6000 full carbon frame who wouldn’t give a second thought to having hurt someone.

    Turns out he’s a guy roughly that lady’s age who was riding a department store bike that retails for $88.00 at Wal-mart.

    Sad situation for that lady and her family, for the guy who probably feels tremendous guilt, and for those who can’t put their prejudices on hold until some facts come out.

    • ArLater


    • JamesE

      If he actually had a $6000 carbon frame bike and full on spandex he would have been going so fast he would have torn a hole in the space-time continuum, be thankful.

    • Patrick

      He should feel guilt as he was responsible for her death.

    • South Awwlington

      Who was bashing anyone? Please don’t project your guilt, probably stemming from your own behavior, on those who merely stated fact.

      Fact: I live on the W&OD and Four Mile Trail at Columbia Pike
      Fact: I observe bicyclists riding entirely too fast on those trails on a daily basis. It is almost impossible to walk your dog or take a leisurely stroll.
      Fact: Someone is dead now and it appears that any from of investigation has concluded. No charges will be files.
      Fact: A portion of the biking population paints the entire population as uncaring, egotistical and entitled.

      Speed controls need to be installed on those trails so they are safe for all users.

      • Andrew

        I use these trails as well, and while I agree that there are cyclists that go much to fast, especially around pedestrians, I do not agree with some of your other points. I walk and run with my dog all the time on W&OD, Custis, and Four Mile Run and feel safe doing so.

        Even if the “speed limit” were 10 or 15 miles per hour, someone stepping in the line of a bicycle at the last second could result in serious injuries. The bottom line is that on the mixed use paths around here, everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings.

      • drax

        Fact: you don’t know if THIS PARTICULAR RIDER was going too fast, even if you observe others going too fast.

        • South Awwlington

          Fact: I never said he was.

          Did I miss something?

          • SomeGuy

            Yeah, South Awwlington, you missed a few things. I’ll start with two examples you missed, prompted by your first paragraph above: “Who was bashing anyone? Please don’t project your guilt, probably stemming from your own behavior, on those who merely stated fact.”

            Well, there’s Mary-Austin suggesting that he was concerned only for his “spandex racing suit” and possible dings in his $88 bike frame:

            And the ever-reliable John Fontain, who was certain that this cyclist was “full of himself and righteous in his biking ways”:

            There are other comments that are a little more subtle, but I’ll let you check those out for yourself.

            Suffice it to say, you missed a few things.

          • John Fontain

            I said “likely” not “certain” and my statement was based on a presumption that this was a yuppie Armstrong wannabe, in which case my view would still stand. In this case, I stand corrected.

          • SomeGuy

            Exactly. Your presumptions and prejudices. I was referring to those, along with your comfort in making disparaging remarks about a person based thereon.

          • speonjosh

            How does one know if someone else is a “yuppie Armstrong wannabe?”

            Or is it a case of – when John Fontain sees one, he knows it?

          • The Arlington Supreme Authority

            I declare John Fontain to be the absolute authority of who qualifies as a yuppie Armstrong wannabe, but only in Arlington.

          • CourthouseChris

            Someguy, you are missing the point. That the negligent biker in question did not have a $6000 bike exonerates no one – neither the biker that cause her death nor the numerous other bikers that continue to ride unsafely with callous disregard for pedestrians.

          • SomeGuy

            No, you miss the point, CourthouseChris. The point was that people let their prejudices get in the way, and thus assume that a cyclist is arrogant, rude, and a jerk in spandex merely because they have encountered such a person. You saw that prejudice at work in yesterday’s comments. Certain folks are changing their tune(s) today now that the cyclist doesn’t fit their stereotype, yet the situation itself hasn’t changed.

            I didn’t say his choice of bike exonerated him. Just like I wouldn’t say that a $6000 bike and spandex indicted him. That’s the point.

          • South Awwlington

            Chris – I hope the County will be taking steps to address the issue of bike/ped safety.

          • South Awwlington

            Please don’t paint me with the same brush as you do the more extremes of this board.

            One any given day, I utilize a way variety of commute modes and am sympathetic to both parties involved here.

            If the majority of readers of this board live in Arlington, I can safely say, we are pedestrians, transit riders, drivers and bicyclists all within one day.

            No one person nor no one commute mode is the “chosen mode” by the supreme being. We all need to learn to co-exist or life is just gonna suck. Simple.

          • SomeGuy

            I didn’t paint you as anything, South Awwlington. You are the one who provocatively wrote, “Please don’t project your guilt, probably stemming from your own behavior, on those who merely stated fact.”

            You painted. Not me.

            I use various modes of transportation too, so I try to respect all. And I was encouraging some other readers/commenters to do the same, which I’m not sure why you tried to challenge. But you did.

          • marie antoinette

            Arlington cyclists…Ugh.

          • drax

            Headless French aristocrats…ugh.

          • drax

            You implied it by mentioning that cyclists speed.

            But if you didn’t mean to imply that, then my fact is still true, so that’s that.

          • South Awwlington

            I said: “I observe bicyclists…”

            I did not say: “I observed THAT bicyclist…”

            I also said that speed controls are needed and I stand by that.

          • drax

            I said: “implied.”

            I did not say : “said.”

          • South Awwlington

            I misinterpreted your use of “that.”

          • drax

            I said that is “that.” Couldn’t be more clear! 😉

          • marie antoinette

            Headless French aristocrats…ugh.


        • ACDC Hack

          This rider was going too fast for this particular situation.

          • drax

            FACT: You have no idea how fast he was going or whether it was too fast.

            She could have suddenly moved right in front of him, for instance.

            It’s possible to have an accident without speed playing a factor. It’s not reasonable to expect anyone to slow to an absolute level of safety – that would be slowing to a stop.

          • ACDC Hack

            1. He was going too fast to avoid her.
            that is too fast.

            End of story.

          • Rosslynite

            That’s what most of the local cycling blogs are saying. Pedestrians are vulnerable to bikes, and bike riders need to recognize that and make it their responsibility to not cause an accident. Unfortunately this rider did not do that.

          • drax

            By that silly standard, every single accident would be the fault of the cyclist, and on the roads, every single accident involving a car and a pedestrian would be the fault of a car driver. After all, there is always a speed by which you could avoid an accident, including a full stop.

          • drax

            We don’t know what the rider did. He may have taken more than reasonable precautions, and STILL hit this lady. He is required to go as slow as reasonably expected to be safe, not to prevent every possible freak accident. If that were true, he’d have to get off his bike and walk past every single pedestrian, just in case.

          • dk

            I agree with Drax.

            I read a comment elsewhere, and the premise makes sense to me: If you are driving 20 mph in zone with a posted 20 mph speed limit, you might kill a pedestrian who suddenly jumped into your path. Does that mean you were going too fast?

            It is true that sometimes people are selfish, arrogant, speeding, spandex-wearing, reckless jerks who hurt others by their flagrant disregard for safety.

            But it also true that people can obey all reasonable rules of safety and still hurt someone. Sometimes, believe it or not, accidents do happen.

            The cyclist really could have been doing everything right. And still the situation could have ended badly for a person who fell and hit her head.

            My condolences to the deceased’s loved ones.

      • brian

        are you calling for some zimmerman type justice on the bike paths?

        be careful were you are treading pal

      • Juanita de Talmas

        Who was bashing anyone?

        Really? I think you need to re-read the posts. Pedestrians were bashing bicyclists, bicyclists were bashing cars, young were bashing old, alive were bashing dead. It was a veritable bash-fest.

      • onjulic

        Since your first “FACT” is somewhat dubious, since I doubt you actually live on either trail, why should I believe the others?

        While it is true that a “portion of the biking population paints the entire population as uncaring, egotistical and entitled,” it is just as true that there is a portion of the non-cycling population that will take any and every opportunity to bash cyclists.

        As for taking a “leisurely stroll,” I’ve been on both of those trails numerous times and never had a problem with it. Do a few cyclists go to fast? Sure. Are they the only problem? No. (Some 30-something runner could have nailed this woman and might not have killed her, but she could have fallen and broken her hip or something.) Admittedly, I normally don’t walk there at the height of rush hour, but that’s only a few hours out of the day. (If you actually live on the trail, this shouldn’t be a problem.) Besides, in my experience, not too many cyclists use the Four Mile Run Trail under Columbia Pike.

        • South Awwlington

          My front door is less than 50 yards from the trails. That might classify as “on the trail,” it is surely close enough to observe the trails and the behaviors of its users on a daily basis.

          I wasn’t bashing anyone. I did state that many cyclists travel too fast on the trails. I am not denying that others will jump all over cyclists (and probably too frequently) but we’re talking about what I said.

          If this were a car that hit this woman, would you be rushing to defend the driver? I doubt it.

          • Mini Driver

            If she ran out into the road, perhaps.

        • dirty biker

          “Some 30-something runner could have nailed this woman and might not have killed her, but she could have fallen and broken her hip or something.”

          If the runner guy called “passing” and she did exactly what she (apparently) did (pivot into the approaching person) and he hit her, she absolutely could have died in exactly the same way- she fell over backwards and hit her head. It wouldn’t take much speed or inertia to cause that with your avg 80 y/o.

    • Andrew

      It is very sad that the woman has died, and hopefully something positive comes out of this.

    • John Fontain

      An elderly woman has died and your response is to write a self-congratulatory post to pat yourself on the back? Sick.

      • drax

        As he wrote: “Sad situation for that lady and her family, for the guy who probably feels tremendous guilt, and for those who can’t put their prejudices on hold until some facts come out.”

        • Andrew

          Drax…I don’t know why you bother…

          • speonjosh

            Nothing’s ever on….

          • drax

            Reruns of “What’s Happening” sometimes divert my attention.

        • John Fontain

          Yes, i noticed that after thought he put on to the end of his self-congratulatory post. Maybe someguy thinks we should take him out for a happy hour to celebrate how ‘right’ he was.

          someguy said: “I enjoy seeing how dumb the people who bashed the cyclist in yesterday’s post look”

          Seriously, that’s your reaction to finding out that an elderly woman has been killed? And the same person posting that reaction to someone’s death has the nerve to criticize others for assuming the biker was a Armstrong wannabe?

          • SomeGuy

            I notice you haven’t expressed regret for the death or for your incorrect prejudice and mischaracterization of the cyclist. But you DID find 3 defensive paragraphs in that big heart of yours. Maybe you deserve the happy hour, John.

          • John Fontain

            “I notice you haven’t expressed regret for the death or for your incorrect prejudice and mischaracterization of the cyclist.”

            First, you must have missed my post above where I said I stand corrected.

            Second, and more importantly, a poster remaining respectfully silent when learning of the woman’s death is comparable in your eyes to writing a boastful post upon hearing of the woman’s death. Seriously? Scott closed the comment thread in the other post for a reason. And yet you just had to trot over hear to boast about how much “enjoyment” you get out of the situation. Sad.

          • John Fontain

            here, not hear.

          • marie antoinette

            SomeGuy, you are the epitome of why I think Arlington cyclists are generally more arrogant and self-righteous than others (save Prius owners!) 🙂

            People were waxing poetic about the funeral home and Froyo. Then out of the blue comes SomeGuy to hijack this comment board (calling people dumb right out of the gate) for no apparent reason. Wait, I know why, because clearly the commentary on the other from yesterday dried up and SomeGuy wasnt finished hearing himself talk.

          • Robespierre

            Plenty of others apparently weren’t finished on the subject, either.

          • marie antoinette

            Robespierre–point taken.

          • Prius Owner

            Cyclists are worse. We’re condescending and self-righteous, but generally quite gracious when actually driving. It’s kind of hard to floor it in a Prius, and if you do, you only get 10mpg!!!

            Anyway, haul the board hijackers to the guillotine!

            Ça ira, ça ira, ça ira!

          • drax

            Everybody stop generalizing. It’s unfair and stupid.

          • dk

            Well, strictly speaking, the commentary did not dry up. Comments were closed, so no additional comments were allowed.

          • SomeGuy

            3 hours had passed since I made a comment on the topic when “out of the blue comes” marie antoinette to chastise and assume people are arrogant “for no apparent reason” and try to revive the discussion. “Wait, I know why, because clearly the commentary” had reached its natural conclusion before marie antoinette had a chance to pitch in her 2 cents… so she chimes in by blaming someone else for rehashing? Got it.

          • Prius Owner

            Oh give it up, SomeGuy. You started this thread, don’t try and weasel out of it. You got called out, eat your crow. Or raven.

          • John Fontain

            The irony here is astounding! Someguy crusades to dispell the notion that Arlington cyclists think they are the center of the universe and then, today, makes a boastful, self-congratulatory post about how right he was upon hearing of an elderly woman’s death. Yup, the center of the universe notion is just a ‘myth’ alright!!


          • Quoth the Raven

            Hey Prius, leave me out of this!

          • SomeGuy

            John F., did I actually say I was right? Or did I just say you were wrong, since it appears you struggle to accept being wrong in your prejudices?

            And I wasn’t “crusading” for anyone, cyclist, pedestrian, old, young, or otherwise.

    • Banksy

      Agreed, SomeGuy. The level of vitriol directed at bikers and the baseless speculation by many commenters in the original post about this tragedy were ridiculous. Any excuse to bash bicyclists! (And I don’t even own a bike.)

      And now of course, JohnFountain tries to save face by chiding you for not expressing condolences in a manner to his liking. Such manufactured outraged — it’s pathetic.

      • John Fontain

        He needn’t express any condolences. It’s the self-congratulatory boasting in response to a death that bothers me.

        • SomeGuy

          Nope. I didn’t congratulate myself, John.

          Your defensiveness, attempts at redirection, and inability to write a simple unequivocal sentence stating that you were wrong is what bothers me. You were wrong, John.

          • RWarren

            Yeah you did.

            You should also really stop this pointless harangue. I wish somebody would step in and moderate your anger out of here. We would all be better off without it.

          • Banksy

            It’s not SomeGuy’s anger that’s the problem…

    • Kate

      I don’t need to know what type of bike or what clothing he had on. He killed her, and that’s all I need to know. Guy on a bike; killed an old woman. That’s the fact.

      • girlFace

        really ? Are YOU the ME ?
        Were YOU at the scene ? Are you an Eye Witness ?

        really rather self assured position for having no credible information

        seems all to ready to assign blame for a tragic accident

        • Not your bro

          “Are YOU the ME ?”

          This may be my favorite comment on the thread. Existential question through tween/twitter-speak.


          • nom de guerre

            ME = Medical Examiner

          • Not your bro


            Well, it seemed much deeper.

          • nom de guerre

            It may have been. I was just making a guess.

      • drax

        “Killing” is a very loaded statement.

      • WeiQiang

        Due to his contributory negligence or hers or both?

      • speonjosh

        I’ll boil the tar – you pluck the chickens.

        • John K.

          Finally, a decent reason to have backyard hens in Arlington.

          • marie antoinette


          • WeiQiang

            … and use the eggs to make the cakes that we must eat.

      • ArLater

        For all you know: The biker slowed to a crawl (5 mph lets say) in order to pass. The lady turned around and into his path at the last second and he nudged her. She being 80 years old did not require much force to be knocked over and unfortunately fell and tragedy occured. If this happened, the biker is at no fault as he did slow to pass her and it was just an unforunate accident.

        The scenario I described above is JUST AS LIKELY to have occured as the one you portray where you claim the guy killed the old lady. However, you default to choosing the scenario where the biker is fully to blame. Why? Unless you were there and saw this first hand, I am curious why you are ready to just tar and feather this biker, who may have done everything he possibly could have correctly short of stopping, getting off his bike and walking it past the lady?

        • YTK

          ” stopping, getting off his bike and walking it past the lady” is what he should have done.

          • ArLater

            Really? So any biker on the trail in order to pass has to do that? If you have anything practical to add feel free, otherwise stop clogging up the comments.

          • ChrisS

            Anybody needs to operate their bike so they do not run into people. Not everybody has the same skill or reactions speeds. If it means discounting because you can not react quickly enough to not run into somebody then so be it.

          • cyclist

            You didn’t answer the question, Chris.

            Should every cyclist stop and walk around every pedestrian?

            Obviously cyclists should do everything in their power to not kill people. I’m sure this guy wishes he hadn’t even ridden his bike that day. He would gladly get off his bike and walk past this lady – IF HE KNEW IT WAS NECESSARY.

            But unless the lady was hobbling down the middle of the trail, it’s absurd to hold him responsible for knowing that he needed to dismount before the fact, or slow down more than he normally would for any pedestrian.

          • WeiQiang

            We operate our cars and bicycles on streets that are completely accessible to pedestrians and other bicycles. We try to exercise sufficient caution and drive or pedal at a speed sufficient to safely negotiate the route to our destination. We generally all operate by rules that are meant to keep cars, bicycles, and pedestrians from coming in contact with each other. But just sometimes, the slowest speed or the greatest caution or the best preparations aren’t sufficient. People do unexpected or uninformed things that immediately put themselves in extremis with respect to someone else who is exercising reasonable caution. Then an accident happens.

          • ChrisS

            There are all kinds of ways to avoid an accident. If somebody is so bad at riding a bike that they need to dismount to avoid hitting somebody, then that is what they need to do. I hope that is simple enough for you.

          • cyclist

            So every time you pass a pedestrian, you should stop and walk your bike past?

            Or just when it’s obvious that the pedestrian is elderly?

            Let us know soon, YTK, because us cyclists who have years of experience in safe operation of a bicycle need to know soon.

          • Karl Rove

            You’re just being ridiculous now. If a cyclist dismounted and walked his/her bike around every pedestrian, they would just be pedestrians pushing a bike around.

          • WeiQiang

            … and getting rear ended like the cars on GW Pkwy/Wash Blvd at the crosswalks.

        • dk

          I don’t necessarily think this is biker-bashing per se. The people who are so quick to tar and feather the cyclist in this tragedy are also the people who tend to be quick to identify a culprit and immediately tar and feather in almost any situation. The notion of assuming good intent until proven otherwise is completely lost on these people. At base, I think it’s a defense mechanism. No one wants to think they could ever be the cause of such a tragedy. So whenever something bad happens, there has to be a villain who behaved badly–who was negligent or ignorant or unskilled or intent upon hurting someone. Then people can think: oh that would never happen to me because I ALWAYS have perfect knowledge, possess top-level skill, obey every law, account for every possible action and reaction of others, and am focused 100% on what I am doing. And because I am perfect, nothing bad could ever happen to me.

          • cyclist

            Excellent post, dk.

          • WeiQiang


  • brian

    Ita Latina lived at the senior nursing home on 610 S Carlin Springs Rd.

    • brian

      how and why was she wondering so far away from her nursing home on the bike path?

      did she take those walks usually?

      is the nursing home culpable?

      • Joan Fountain

        I told you why, but ARLnow deleted the post.

  • Arlington, Northside

    The trail was originally intended to be primarily a bike trail. Sure, it has always had that mixed use component, but that was not its primary purpose. Walkers and runners need to stay aware that faster users will be riding by.

    This story is very sad, but accidents sadly do happen. I would say that the existance of the trail has saved many more cyclist lives keeping them off the car and truck infested streets, then it has cost in walker lives.

    • dirty biker

      +1 The trails keep me off of city streets (and out of your way in traffic) for 24 out of 25 miles each way to work. It would be incredibly dangerous to do what I do in midsummer much less in the dark, in winter on streets. Its an amazing transportation resource that by and large keeps large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists safe and away from traffic.

      No class of users is excused from obligation to use caution:

      Cyclists need to control speed, notify of passing (yes even though this may have contributed to this accident) and observe legal requirements (stop signs).

      Walkers/joggers need to be aware (keep an ear clear!), visible (in winter darkness we commuters call you black-clothing wearing people “ninjas”) control dogs/kids and stay reasonably to the right.

      How this is all the cyclist’s fault is beyond me- she pivoted into HIM. If she was walking along a busy road and then reacted to some noise (maybe a horn) that caused her to pivot into traffic and get hit I suspect that we would not put the same burden on that driver as some are placing on this biker.

    • Arlwhenver

      “orignially intended to be a bike trail”

      You have to be kidding. I first rode the Four Mile Run trail 30 years ago when I66 was still under construction. That first time I saw dozens of pedestrians, approximately 3 other bicyclists and 4 or 5 tricyclists between Shirlington and the I66 big dig.

      On shared use trails, bicyclists are always resonsible for avoiding pedestrians. When I biked I would slow down dramatically if there wasn’t a place to bail when passing a pedestrian. I never yelled at a pedestriation “to the left” which accordingly to the police, is exactly what the speeding bicyclist did. If you well to the left at someone that person is apt to turn to the left, which apparently is what the victime did.

      The bicyclist’s actions were reckless, negligent at least, which is grounds for a manslaughter charge. This is a criminal act that is not being pursued because of the power of the special interest bicycle lobby in the Arlington collective. That’s despicable.

      • Michael H.

        You know all this, how? Sometimes accidents happen and are unavoidable. Many accidents involving cars and pedestrian deaths are not considered crimes. Why would there be a separate procedure for accidents involving a bike?

        Look at overall spending and law enforcement history before claiming that there is some secret and all-powerful special interest bike lobby in Arlington. That sounds paranoid. Do cyclists lobby to enhance bike infrastructure and policy? Of course they do, just like every other group out there, including drivers. Why is the bike lobby so much more nefarious than AAA?

      • drax

        “This is a criminal act that is not being pursued because of the power of the special interest bicycle lobby in the Arlington collective.”

        This is one of the looniest statements ever posted here, and that’s saying alot.

  • Chris

    When I was young, I went to a bike safety course, where they said you must always yield to a slower moving person, runner yields to a walker bike yields to a runner, car yields to a bike.
    Fact of the matter is trails save lives becaue it gets runners, walkers and bikers off roads. But we all need to share the trail. And be courtious. And slow down when you need to. Because you cant predict what a dog, or person will do.
    My question is I don’t know of any major hills on the trail near Columbia Pike….
    My other comment is 80 is not roughly the same age as 61.

    • YTK

      amen Chris.

    • drax


      On the hill thing – there are two parallel trails there, the Four Mile Run trail along with stream on the south side (going under Columbia Pike), and the W&OD that runs flat on the north side, following the old railroad bed. There are several little hills on the Four Mile Run part, including a very steep one, right near where this happened.

    • onjulic

      “My question is I don’t know of any major hills on the trail near Columbia Pike….”

      This did not happen on the W&OD, but on the Four Mile Run Trail, which runs alongside Four Mile Run and passes underneath Columbia Pike. It’s rather steep as you go south and come up on the south side

      • Arlington, Northside

        It is a short but steep hill.

        • cyclist

          Very steep – it tests the limits of your brakes.

          • dirty biker

            OK- clearly I’m generally on the “she turned into HIM” side of this debate but if his equipment/skills weren’t up to the task of descending the hill and THAT were the cause of the accident (but there’s no indication of that so far) then I’d find a heck of a lot more blame to place on the biker.

          • cyclist


          • Mike Hunt

            Okay, now for both you and db. Your approaches seemed to have changed/softened given that it’s a steep hill. How about if instead of an elderly woman it was a man with a dog on a leash? Or a young woman with a toddler? Should the biker slow down extra or give an even wider berth just in case – maybe because he isn’t sure what to expect from those situations with others on the trail?

          • drax

            My approach hasn’t softened.

            Bikes should go as slow as necessary to be reasonably safe.

            Hindsight is 20/20. He may have thought he was slow enough, but wasn’t. He may have been going slow enough to be safe enough to pass 99.999999% of the pedestrians out there, but he happened upon the one that needed more. It’s easy to criticize him from our chairs.

  • dirty biker

    So, assuming that there were a regulatory response to this ped/bike issue, what sort of rules/laws would you propose to regulate trail traffic?

    Check out the existing “rules” for the WO&D:

    They are pretty dang vague (and some I flat out disagree with- have I mentioned how dangerous headphones/earbuds are lately?)

    One way to approach the trail is to better define when it is a transportation corridor (5am-9am / 4pm – 6:30pm) and when it’s a recreation destination (weekends and all other times)- frankly, it should be the expectation that “traffic” will be moving relatively fast during commuting hours and that fast riding would be basically prohibited on weekends. Problem now is that there is no real standard or understanding of the “rules” save that of the constituencies (riders want to ride fast; walkers want to stroll; runners want to travel in packs; dog walkers want to let Fido run on a 30′ leash) If the deliberately vague “be smart” rules of the trail aren’t working- what will?

    • Michael H.

      Regulations will never completely resolve the problem of cyclists and pedestrians being forced to share the same trail. Some accidents are caused by cyclists but some are caused by pedestrians too. (Earphones, blind 180 turns, etc.)

      Ideally, bike traffic would be separated from pedestrian traffic but that solution would be very expensive. Despite the claims of an all-powerful bike lobby on the part of some, the bike lobby is actually relatively weak when it comes to influence on transportation spending. There are proposals for separation of bike and pedestrian traffic on limited sections of local trails (Gravelly Point) but not nearly enough.

      I hope that all trail users use this tragic story to reexamine their own behavior on the trails, and even on the roads. But I don’t understand the rage against all cyclists because of this. These same people do not get outraged when a driver intentionally or negligently kills another driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian, something which happens every day across the country, and very frequently in our region. Some cyclists behave in an unsafe manner (not saying that was the case here) but a large percentage of drivers behave similarly on a daily basis. If there is outrage about unsafe behavior, that outrage certainly should not be limited to one single user group.


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