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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com June 26, 2012 at 8:29 am 5,280 117 Comments

Arlington Assists With Falls Church Barricade — The Arlington County Police Department’s SWAT team relieved the Fairfax County SWAT team overnight at the scene of a barricade situation on Hillwood Avenue in Falls Church. Despite efforts to coax him out, an armed man remains in a Hillwood Avenue house, in a standoff with police. Alexandria’s SWAT team is now relieving Arlington’s team, ARLnow.com is told. Paramedics from the Arlington County Fire Department are also on the scene. [WTOP]

Survey: More Residents Will Ride Streetcar — According to a survey cited by Arlington County officials, 60 percent of area residents say they will never take the bus, while 60 percent of residents say they’re willing to try a streetcar. In an ARLnow.com survey on Friday, just over 50 percent of respondents said they would prefer a streetcar on Columbia Pike, versus bus options. [Washington Post]

Citizen Seating at Bus Stops — A local resident has added plastic chairs to 10 bus stops along major thoroughfares in Arlington and Falls Church. The chairs demonstrate “a latent need for dignified seating at the region’s bus stops,” according to writer Matt Caywood. [Greater Greater Washington]

Leonsis on Kettler Iceplex — At the inaugural annual meeting of the new Ballston Business Improvement District, Washington Capitals owner and former top AOL executive Ted Leonsis said Ballston’s Kettler Capitals Iceplex is essential to the team. “I’m not sure if we [the Washington Capitals] would be able to keep MVP-caliber players, like [Alex] Ovechkin, without a facility like the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston,” Leonsis said.

  • novasteve

    Will even one of those seats remain unstolen after 24 hours?

    • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

      I hear they’ll have Barcaloungers at the new streetcar stops.

  • novasteve

    Odds on the county government telling county employees to vote in this survey for the street cars?

    • Plumber

      Another conspiracy theory?

      • John K.

        I blame George Bush

        • drax

          I blame the homeless.

          • Narlington

            I blame FroYo stores

          • WeiQiang

            Sexist!

  • Enough already

    They will be hidden in the bushes surrounded by empty corona bottles in less than 2 days

    • CW

      Tecate cans.

      • South Awwlington

        Not funny when it happens in your neighborhood.

        • John K.

          In my neighborhood it’s empty cans of Modelo thankyouverymuch!

          • malaka

            In our neighborhood it is always rare microbrews

          • South Awwlington

            On our Condo property, they are typically left behind by folks who don’t live there or pay dues. They do use the park benches to socialize, conduct hour long cell phone calls and then leave their trash behind as they finish their cut-thru to the Four Mile Trail. You know, for the owners to clean up.

          • Joe Hoya

            Dos Equis.

            “I don’t always steal chairs from bus stops, but when I do, I scatter Dos Equis bottles around where I leave them.”

          • EFC Observer

            “Stay funded, my friend.”

          • WeiQiang

            + XX

          • Clarendon

            Why am I always finding McDonalds wrappers ? I don’t know where the nearest McDonalds is.

            Also, BIG cans of beer, like 24 or 32oz Bud cans. Also, didn’t know Bud came in cans that big.

          • CW

            Your loss.

          • Clarendon

            Ha, your talking to a guy with a mini-keg of Newcastle Brown in the fridge.

    • Hank

      In my neighborhood it would be Pabst cans and American Spirit butts. And perhaps some shrink wrapping from a Yo La Tengo vinyl.

  • John Fontain

    I’m sure the authorities will have those seats promptly removed out of concern for some unspecified safety hazard or liability issue.

    • drax

      And when they don’t?

      • Becoming indifferent

        Oh Drax, always with the sense of humor.

        • drax

          So you laughed out loud?

        • Espiro

          Like a little ball of hate.

  • daniel

    Plastic Adirondak chairs are dignified? I love starting the day with an oxymoron.

  • DarkHeart

    Forget Trolley/Streetcar. Give up MegaBus!
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/megabus-update.html

  • Aaron

    Why do we need to blow $200+ million to cater to the alleged 60% that will never ever ride a dirty smelly stinky bus full of poor people? When they find out that the streetcar is the same thing as a bus, they’re going to be part of the 60% that tried a streetcar once and found that it wasn’t as nice as driving their hybrid to wherever they want, whenever they want.

    • drax

      So you’re claiming that 60% of people tried a streetcar and gave up to go back to driving a car.

      Based on what poll?

      • malaka

        I miss Van Diagram guy

      • Virginia Squared

        I assume that Aaron is aware that there really isn’t any way to determine exactly how many people who try the streetcar will continue to ride it. But is there any reason to not discuss plausible contingencies?

        The linked article says that “60 percent of residents in the area say they never take the bus and prefer to drive”, and that “when THOSE drivers were asked if they would try using a streetcar, 60 percent of them said yes” (emphasis mine). So my interpretation is that our starting point is at 36% of residents in the area who would try the streetcar.

        Yes, because those people don’t ride buses but would try the streetcar, we could infer that there is something intrinsically more appealing in riding the streetcar. I would emphasize, though, that TRYING could simply mean, “I’ll see how different it really is from riding the bus.”

        I haven’t done enough reading about it, and am curious about how the actual riding experience will differ. Can you point me to any resources that highlight the differences/advantages?

        • Noonan

          Good post

        • ridership majik

          Existing buses are crowded as hell and predominantly used by commuters, such that debates about relative ridership are largely spurious – particularly when both streetcar and articulated buses can carry similar amounts of folks in similar amounts of time. No need to pay 5x for a streetcar that will take a decade longer to implement, will be more disruptive to construct, and will be more expensive to operate (according to the county) while offering less flexibility.

    • D’oh

      Someone please answer this.

      • JohnB

        It’s really futile to respond to someone who begs the question.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

        • D’oh

          It’s not begging the question.
          Premise: The 60% don’t like the bus.
          Premise: The streetcar is basically a bus.
          Conclusion: Therefore, the 60% won’t like the streetcar either.
          Nowhere does the premise include the claim that the conclusion is true.

          • drax

            “Premise: The streetcar is basically a bus.”

            False.

            There’s your problem.

          • Becoming indifferent

            How is it not like a bus?

            There’s your problem.

          • drax

            I don’t know. Ask the people who say they would ride a streetcar but not a bus. They are the ones who think they are different, and they are the ones who matter.

    • 5555624

      +10

      • Becoming indifferent

        I’m replying here because I couldn’t reply to Drax’s response to my post on his. You know why some people won’t ride a bus but will ride a streetcar–it’s all about appearances! Duh! Both modes of transit do the same thing, but for some reason “streetcar” has a hip factor to it. These are same people who wouldn’t be caught dead driving a Toyota Corolla or some other unsexy, but reliable, car. Does the same thing an expensive car does but for a lot less money.

        • 5555624

          As I (and others) have pointed out, there are people who think the bus is for poor people. The appearance factor also explains why people who will never ride it want it — because they can point to it as a sign of how “progressive” Arlington is.

    • Espiro

      Wait until they get stuck on a streetcar that has to be taken out of service because of a door or brake issue. And of course the A/C system will be just as reliable as the buses, which is terrible. Sitting in the middle of Columbia Pike sweltering in the sun while they wait to be safely offloaded. Suckers.

      • drax

        This is the latest wild complaint?

        • jackson

          “And what about the asteroids? A bus can swerve and avoid an asteroid, but a streetcar can’t! Suckers!”

        • Espiro

          Just a rip on public transportation in general. And to make people think about the hypocrisy of people who think a streetcar would be any different from a bus. Maybe hypocrisy is too strong a word. Call it lack of foresight or lack of critical thinking.

        • South Awwlington

          I think at this point, it is safe to say some people will never support the streetcar. The same people, while reading the AA/EA and beating the drum of the accordion buses (accordian – so 19th Century!) have not bothered to read the Columbia Pike Multimodal Study or they would know half the issues they raise on the site regarding turning lanes, travel lanes, facilities measurements, etc are all addressed.

          http://www.pikemultimodal.com/

          Instead, they run whatever issue they can find up the flagpole to see if it flies. The next argument against the streetcar will be it’s the wrong color or has too many catholic school kids riding it. Go on, dream up what you will. You only continue to make bigger fools of yourselves for your failure to perform due diligence before engaging mouth/keyboard.

          One final note. Streetcar or not, gas prices are falling. This means more people will be inclined to drive alone. This means more cars on the Pike and on all roads BEFORE the additional density comes. If gas continues to go down and people are less inclined towards transit to save money, which transit option has the greatest hope of attracting riders and taking cars off the road? It’s NOT the bus.

    • KalashniKEV

      The streetcar is not the same thing as a bus. Imagine a bus that can only operate on specially prepped roads, is stuck to the road, has a high cost of maintenance, is not flexible in time or route, can not operate in bad weather…

      • D’oh

        Absoultely agree. But in this case we’re talking about similarities in terms of rider experience: same passengers, same random crazies, same routes, same piss smell, all in a dirty metal mobile enclosure. People who think the streetcar will be any different in that sense are delusional.

        • KalashniKEV

          OK… so if you want to limit it simply to the butt-in-seat experience, you’d be correct, *except* that all of those factors listed will make it even worse.

          This whole streetcar thing is like a shiny bauble to so many people… no one is actually thinking about the increased costs, decreased flexibility, and what a generally terrible idea this is. They just want to see one and go, “Ouuuuuh…”

          • D'oh!

            Dude, we agree.

          • KalashniKEV

            No one on ARLnow is allowed to agree with me!!!!1!

      • Tabby_TwoTone

        Weather is a biggie.

      • R. Griffon

        “The streetcar is not the same thing as a bus. Imagine a bus that yuppies don’t mind being seen on because it’s so ridiculously expensive that only wealthy communities can afford one.”

        FTFY

    • Mary-Austin

      I think one of the unstated goals of the streetcar is that it will push out many of the folks that make buses undesirable to that 60%.

      It will be interesting to see how it plays out. If that does not end up happening I predict those people will not want to ride the streetcar either. But at least their studio will be near it.

  • CW

    Good lord. The cops were called for a “domestic disturbance” and now three shifts and three jurisdictions worth of SWAT have been chilling out there? Either overkill on the part of the police or not very good reporting on what makes him so dangerous. Do they have reason to believe that he’s going to come out in a hail of automatic weapon fire?

    And how many arms does he have, anyhow?

    • drax

      Comfy in your armchair?

      • CW

        Oh hi kettle, haven’t seen you in a while. Been tanning lately?

        • drax

          Uh, no, I’m actually well-known here for refusing to make assumptions of facts I don’t know. I’m the last person here you can call a kettle on this one.

          • SomeGuy

            drax making the assumption/implication that white male Republicans have no capability of qualifying as “diverse,” even on an all Democrat county board:
            http://www.arlnow.com/2012/05/17/gop-candidate-explains-why-hes-running-for-county-board/#comment-163311

          • drax

            Uh, no, that was drax noting the humorous irony that a white male Republican would constitute diversity. Duh.

          • SomeGuy

            Actually, I’ll give you that, drax. I was just trying to have some fun since it’s been a while for us. But in this case, I think you’re correct. And I think you sometimes even back me up when I, too, refuse to make assumptive leaps that others here make.

            You’re right. I’m wrong. On this one. 🙂

          • drax

            Let’s not jump to conclusions, SomeGuy. We should get all the facts before we decide you’re wrong.

          • John K.

            Except when they comport with the proper view of the world according to kettle…

    • WeiQiang

      Barricade situations have a special place in SWAT ethos.

      I have no direct knowledge, but I’m guessing he has only two arms.

    • FrenchyB

      Well, he’s already fired shots. I’d say that’s a good reason for this level of police response.

      • CW

        Meh, set up a webcam then hit him with a tranquilizer dart when he comes out.

        • WeiQiang

          slackers! this is PRECISELY a mission for Arl Co ONE.

          • Richard Cranium

            You mean the masturbating drone?

          • Drone’s Can’t

            Drones can’t masturbate……they have been fixed if you know what I mean……..

          • WeiQiang

            ArlCo has UNIQUE drones, not EUNUCH drones. Of course ArlCo drones can polish a bollard. Keep up.

          • Polishing A Bollard

            Polishing a bollard doesn’t mean that the bollard can….well whatever the culmination of bollard polishing is.

          • Polishing A Bollard

            “Keep up.”

            Seriously……….

          • WeiQiang
          • Polishing A Bollard

            Only for younger bollards……but I hear that there is a BD drug in the final final phases of testing (bollard dysfunction…….. in case that wasn’t obvious).

      • marie antoinette

        Just take a flame thrower to the house and be done with it. The cost to fix the house will be less than what taxpayers have already paid for SWAT teams.

    • USA

      I guess if the police think it is necessary to utilize 3 teams worth of SWAT then it must be a legitimate situation. Maybe you know more about this type of thing, you know, since you post on internet message boards and such. But I would prefer to leave it to the authorities who actually know about this type of stuff.

      • CW

        If you would read my post instead of getting all up in your patriotic and paramilitary fervor, you would clearly see that one option I explicitly presented was that the reporting on the situation was inadequate and I would like to know more facts.

        • drax

          The story says he has already shot out his window. That’s a reported fact.

          What else should they do?

          • CourthouseChris

            Chemical solutions. How about that stuff the Russians used to clear out that theatre a few years back.

          • Marc

            You mean the gas that killed 114 hostages. Good call. If you did a little reading, you’d see that he has fired shots, is alone, and has made contact with a negotiator. This is a wait it out situation. They want to make it uncomfortable for him, but not so much that he does something rash.

          • CourthouseChris

            wooosh.

            Everyone knows that the russian plan was a really bad one. I’m agreeing with drax.

          • drax

            They’ve also already shot some chemicals into the house.

            Here’s a crazy idea, people – actually read the friggin’ news item before you make comments about it.

          • sunflower

            PFTL strikes again!

      • SomeGuy

        Police never make mistakes or errors in judgment. They are infallible. So it “must be a legitimate situation” if the police said so. Just shut up and trust them.

        • USA

          I trust them more so than some guy who posts on an internet site and thinks he is clever.

        • jackson

          If a neighbor of yours fires shots out of his window, will you question why there are police outside? How does this situation call for a discussion on police tactics?

          • SomeGuy

            No to your first question. And I didn’t question police tactics on this situation, so the 2nd question doesn’t appear to be directed at me.

      • Amerika

        If only it were that easy – your trust in SWAT and those who employ it is sorely misplaced. It was only a few years ago that Fairfax called out the SWAT team in order to serve a warrant on a guy who was suspected of placing small bets on sports games (the horror!), who had NO criminal record, NO history of violence, and was NOT suspected to be armed. He gave up no resistance, but they gunned him down in the street because they’re apparently incompetent with firearms and the safe handling thereof.

        The response? “Whoopsie. Sorry ’bout that.” Nobody went to jail. Nobody even lost their job.

        There MAY be probable cause in this particular instance, but departments are generally quick to field their SWAT teams for mundane and otherwise non-threatening cases in order to justify their budgets. And Fairfax specifically has a history of it.

    • Scott

      You really don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s common police procedure to use SWAT when you have a barricaded subject. Reason: SWAT trains for these scenarios, patrol officers do not. SWAT has the necessary equipment (body armor, non-lethal weapons) + negotiators, etc. to handle this.

      As for the multiple SWAT units, guys get tired and need a break to stay sharp. FC doesn’t have its own SWAT time, so it relies on mutual aid from surrounding jurisdictions. According to the news I’ve read, Fairfax covered the house for about 12 hours, then was relieved by Arlington.

      What makes the man dangerous? He fired a gun multiple times in his house and has refused to surrender himself for almost 24 hours. Do you want to go in an ask him nicely to join you outside?

  • courthound

    Nothing shady looking about that photo.

  • Elmer

    That pix of the shipping container at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Glebe Rd. with the sign Fireworks:

    I’m not buying that for a minute. There’s a streetcar in that box.
    PS, That’s a joke son!

    • WeiQiang

      wrong … it IS the street car. high-capacity access front and rear. it is ret-to-go.

      • Smellmer

        And already broken down and impeding traffic along with its broken air conditioner.

        • KalashniKEV

          LOL.

        • drax

          Whereas cars or buses never break down and their AC systems always work great.

  • Different guy

    What about this incident would make you think the police made a mistake or error in judgment? You can distrust the police all you want, but they are in fact just human beings. They make the same mistakes that doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, etc. make every day. Nobody ever said they were perfect. But in this particular case, what mistake was made? Using a SWAT team on an armed subject that refuses to cooperate? Should they just walk up to the door and politely ask him to give up? And when they storm the place, you will be the first to complain that they should have stayed outside and waited him out. As has been said before, watching old reruns of NYPD Blue, CSI and other police shows does not make you an expert on police.

  • Rick

    That fireworks stand is the nicest front-facing business after the Halstead when you’re heading westbound

    • thelevyisdry

      Burn!

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)
    • KalashniKEV

      He heard they got Rocks on the Pike… and Pizza!

  • novasteve

    Given how incompetent the drivers are around here, would you rather be run over by a bus or a street car? Streetcars are much heavier, and the people who won’t be able to handle it will be much more likely to die when they get plowed by a street car.

    • Mary-Austin

      Not to mention the collisions with cars weaving in and out of traffic.
      I see near misses all the time with people trying to get around cars turning. Can’t imagine a Corolla would hold up too well against a streetcar.

      • Sam Walton

        Well – thanks. I was firmly anti-streetcar mostly because of the cost, but you just convinced me that my thoughts were perhaps misguided. There are about 250,000 crappy-driving Prius owners in Arlington – I can’t help but smile when I think of all the smugness that will evaporate when the streetcar absolutely crushes a couple dozen of those.

        • WeiQiang

          Bad Prius experience in your past? Let it out, brah.

        • marie antoinette

          Amen Sam. Though I’d say there are about 250,000 holier-than-thou Prius Owners in Arlington.

          • WeiQiang

            wow … you are SO bad at estimating. there are at least a gatrillion. now i have to worry about them, also? i was barely keeping up with the holier-than-thou holy people.

          • drax

            Considering that this exceeds the entire population of Arlington, that’s a stretch, Marie.

          • Bill

            No, that’s “hyperbole”, drax.

        • Justin Russo

          I don’t know why people say the Prius is the quintessential Arlington car. I see a hell of a lot more BMWs than I do hybrids.

          • WeiQiang

            Yes, but the mythology here is suggesting that Prius owners are particularly smug.

  • YTK

    “60 percent of area residents say they will never take the bus” THANK GOD– because the 40% who DO take the bus are filling them to capacity during rush hour.

    • Arlingtonian

      More people will take streetcars than buses in Arlington. They will sneak without paying through the rear doors of streetcars, which will have fare machines, but no attendants. It’s more difficult to sneak onto buses through the rear doors, because rear bus doors close when people are not exiting.

      You can see this in San Francisco. Most trolley riders are freeloaders who enter through rear doors. This doesn’t happen on Frisco’s buses.

      • CourthouseChris

        Portland’s entire light rail system, not just their Streetcar, but their Metro-equivalent MAX trains operate on this honor system – the marginal cost of catching freeloaders is just too high for such a system. Fare inspection officers will issue steep tickets for someone without a valid fare. The threat of this keeps freeloading down, and economically the system comes out ahead over what would be necessary for 100% enforcement. Granted, no one likes the perception that there exists a group of people freeloading, but really the economic cost is low.

  • YTK

    “the chairs demonstrate “a latent need for dignified seating at the region’s bus stops,” YES YOUR feet would start kililng you if you JUST missed 4 Metro buses in a row going down Columbia Pike within 5 minutes of one another on a Sunday, and had to stand and wait for the next God-knows-when-it’ll-come Metro Bus. But then, God knows how long those dignified chairs will remain in place

  • The Bible

    If God had meant for us to ride in Streetcars, he would have created them.

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