Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com September 4, 2012 at 8:45 am 4,109 48 Comments

Students Head Back to School — Today is the first day of school for nearly 23,000 Arlington Public School students. School start times vary in Arlington, from 7:50 a.m. for middle schools to 9:24 a.m. for the H-B Woodlawn Secondary program. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy has created a back-to-school video for students and parents. Arlington County, meanwhile, is urging drivers to be especially cautious on the roads this morning.

AAA Warns of ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning of “the mother of all gridlock” today, a day the organization has dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday.” With students heading back to school and workers back from summer vacations, AAA expects traffic congestion to spike 26 percent compared to mid-summer. Adding to the congestion in Arlington will be the 146 yellow APS school buses on the roads. [AAA Mid-Atlantic, Bethesda Now]

Special Election Today — Voters in Virginia’s 45th House of Delegates District will head to the polls today in the special election to replace Del. David Englin, who resigned following the admission that he had an extramarital affair. The three candidates in the race are Tim McGhee (R), Rob Krupicka (D) and Justin Malkin (L). Only five electoral precincts in Arlington are included in the 45th District: Aurora Hills, Fairlington, Abingdon, Oakridge, and Shirlington. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Maryva2

  • geri

    As was noted in Arlnow, cars must stop if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. However, that does not mean that pedestrians can walk out in front of ongoing traffic. They must wait until it is reasonably safe for a car to stop. This summer, some parents seemed to have taught their children to walk with them into traffic (or to allow the children to lead them) and yell at drivers to stop. It would be good if the law about crosswalks was explained to all of us.

    • CW

      It’s a very gray area, which is why it always comes up. The issue is, what is that magic distance at which, for the purposes of the law, the pedestrian is considered to not be jumping into traffic? If a pedestrian jumps in front of a car that is 10 feet away, it is obviously unreasonable for the pedestrian to claim protection by the law. If a pedestrian steps out when a car is still 200 feet away, it is unreasonable for a driver to claim the pedestrian jumped out in front of him. But where is the transition line? Should there be some mathematical formula based on distance and speed, and the pedestrian should use a rangefinder? This is why this is a law that sounds good on the books but is untenable in practice.

      • malaka

        It’s not a gray area at all. You still try and stop even if the pedestrian jumps right out in front of you. Under no circumstances do you ever not attempt to stop.
        If you can’t stop in time it’s either a) you were going to fast / not paying attention or b) the ped was at fault.
        It doesn’t give you the right to ignore the crosswalk and just plough through it as drivers here seem to think.

        • jan

          A driver always has the obligation to be able to stop in time. This also holds true in rear end accidents. If the car in front of you stops suddenly and you rear end it, you get the ticket. Same principle applies for pedestrians.

          Drive carefully!

        • CW

          You’re not understanding. When did I ever say a driver shouldn’t TRY to stop? Yes, in practice a driver should always try to stop, of course! What I was discussing was the contradictory provisions of the law as to who is compelled to do what and who is protected in what instance.

          You admit that a ped can be at fault – see your point b. This aligns well with my third sentence. What I am trying to show is that, per the wording of the law, it is nearly impossible to make a judgment as to when that ped is, in your words, “at fault”.

          Look, here it is at VA Code § 46.2-924:

          A. The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such highway:

          1. At any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block;

          2. At any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block;

          3. At any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway or street where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 miles per hour.

          BUT, here is the constradictory part:

          No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

          This is the crux of my original point – as the language is worded today, there is no quantitative way to discern when the line from a driver not yielding right of way to a pedestrian stepping out in disregard of traffic is crossed.

        • JamesE

          If a pedestrian jumps out in traffic they deserve to get hit.

          • And if there in the middle of a crosswalk

            And the car is a football field’s length away, the car needs to stop. Yet, on Quincy Street near W-L, we’re constantly getting cursed at and flipped off by drivers who are not even to the other side of the bridge over I-66 when I enter the crosswalk, and still don’t think they need to stop. (The bridge is several hundred feet wide.)

    • DarkHeart

      Peds need to verify the driver acknowledges them by eye contact and/or slowing of vehicle speed. Being in the right is less important than being injured or dead.

    • it’s common sense to think that a car will win over a body any day. Pedestrians should walk across streets with that point of reference. I have seen some pedestrians walk like they are entitled to the road and not the car. It’s all well and good until they run across the senior citizen with a sneezing fit. they could argue in their mind well I have right of way, and they do legally but not according to the laws of physics. walk defensively

    • NoVapologist

      How about instances where a ped enters a crosswalk against the “don’t walk” signal? Do they still have the right-of-way?

    • househoor

      Walking into the crosswalk when the sign turns to the ‘walking man’ is not parents jumping out with their kids in front of traffic.

      I have taught my kids that drivers are careless a**holes in this area and even when the light turns and we get the right of way—we must still look–right, left, forward and back and make eye contact–because these f*king idiots still blow through the crosswalk without looking.

  • CW

    I am pleased to report that traffic on the bike paths and through downtown was normal to light at approximately 8:00-8:20 this morning.

    • I wish I could bike to Chantilly.

      • CW

        I wish I could have west Fairfax County housing prices and live close to work! Hmm…

        • 2 income household. One of us works in DC. Not driving is not always an option.

          • CW

            Sure it is. You’ve just determined that the benefits of your current situation outweigh the costs.

  • DarkHeart

    There was a TV truck by Campbell Elementary for the obligatory first day of school shot, but there were no logos on the side. There was a blonde woman with a microphone, but she didn’t look familiar.

    • SoArl

      It was FOX5 – they stopped us for an interview. They were looking for comments on the bussing situation.

      • DarkHeart

        That explains why I didn’t recognize the reporter.

        • Resident

          Wish she had been at my daughter’s bus stop… the one where the bus actually did not arrive. Ever.

          Okay with passes.. Just would like bus to actually appear for those that have them.

          • There’s a shock

            The “not ready for prime time” APS Transportation Plan forgets to stop at a stop. Epic fail.

      • m

        The “bussing” situation – are they are doing a report on kissing at school? Were you tempted to buss the blonde?

        • SoArl

          Oh, good lord. Sorry for the typo.

  • See and be seen, that’s the first rule for drivers and pedestrians alike. Too many people are distracted.

    • bobco85

      Having gotten it from the WalkArlington website, I always tell people to “be a PAL: Predictable, Alert, and Lawful.” It’s easy to remember, and is universal for all modes of travel.

  • WTF

    I understand you want to send your child off to school but if traffic isn’t moving then you may want to drop little johnny off a few blocks away. It took me 20 mins to drive down Harrison street near Williamsburg Middle.

    • yequalsy

      The Williamsburg logistics are nutty and I can’t imagine how things will fly once the new elementary school starts going up. Kids are supposed to be in their desks by 7:40. The school discourages kids getting there before 7:20 (though some of us disregard this). So you have this massive convergence of cars, buses, pedestrians, and bikers all at about 7:30.

    • jackson

      Or perhaps you should alter your route to avoid such lines, knowing they will be there.

      • Even better

        Reinstate the buses and get the cars off the road.

      • Lizzie

        Jackson, that’s the problem at Williamsburg. There isn’t much in the way of alternate routes. It’s in a corner of Arlington that backs up into an area with a lot of no-through-streets, so you are limited to a few roads to get close to it.

  • Arlington cat

    If you have an affair with a playboy model, who happens to be a red-head, you really should get a pass from your wife and the voters.

    • that’s what she said

      Was it really confirmed that she was the one he had the affair with? Or is this speculation just because she was in the news prior?

  • SomeGuy

    Any gridlock today will pale in comparison to that of the snowstorm 2 years ago or the time that dude protested by parking his tractor in one the reflecting pool area back in 2003 (?). Calling today the “mother of all gridlock” sounds a little absurd.

  • John Fontain

    The bus change was a complete disaster today. Because my bus stop was taken away from me, I now have to drive my kids a mile to school. Because there were so many other parents forced to drive today (I’d estimate it was in the thousands just for my kids’ elementary school), the roads were backed up like you wouldn’t beleive. It took me six hours to drive just under a mile to school. Actually, I haven’t even arrived yet because I’ve only been on the road for 2 hours. I hope to arrive before school lets out.

    Also, as I’ve been driving in this horrible traffic, I’ve witnessed walker after walker succumb to the ironman-like distance they are being forced to walk. Children are literally passed out on the side of the road like roadkill. It’s quite sad, actually. One kid was laying on the side of the road with a 75 pound backpack on his back and a huge sousaphone tuba around his neck.

    • Quoth the Raven

      The tuba was a nice touch.

    • nom de guerre

      Was it a brass sousaphone or a lightweight fiberglass sousaphone? Did it have a faux corporate logo?

      • curious george

        Yeah if it was a plastic sousaphone then they were wimps.

        Note I was very happy for a plastic sousaphone vs a brass one in high school. The plastic ones sound like a whale farting though.

      • John Fontain

        Actually, he had one of each. And they both had faux corporate logos!

      • Ralph

        Corporate logo? In Arlington?!

    • SomeGuy

      John F., I share your concerns about the dear children, many of whom are going to have to cross a street on their own!! I can’t believe the county isn’t chauffeuring each and every one of those little darlings from door to door.

    • NiceOne

      +1 Well done!

    • You had it better

      Than the Glebe kids’ bus that was lost for more than an hour. Went from N Harrison Street- directly to Glebe (with a minor detour through Pentagon City).

  • Chicken Little

    Please keep an eye out for my kid. 5 years old; walking alone; uphill; 70 pound backpack. I kicked him out the door this morning without any guidance. Apparently he did not make it to school yet.

    • CW

      Probably got stopped by an Army recruiter.

  • mms

    Let’s spend the money and get another bus and driver. It will only be for a few years until the student population plateaus and drifts downwards. Arlington blows money all the time on things like the ill-conceived IB program at Thomas Jefferson. Now they are hiring an IB coordinator (at $77,000/yr) to “clearly communicate the vision and goals of the IB program” (thought the principal did that), “delivering professional development and pedagogical leader” (which sounds like asst principal work to me). At the end of the day, after something like 7 years, the teachers still don’t know what a middle school IB curriculum looks like. Sounds like the IB is a failure. Who needs an IB program at the Middle School level? These students are not guaranteed admission to the Wash-Lee curriculum. Talk about frivolous.
    We need to get rid of Patrick Murphy and that huge increase they lobbed onto his salary.

  • kj

    Anyone know what’s planned for the Bistro Bistro space in Shirlington?

  • Oops

    A bus got lost this morning– destined for Glebe with a bus full of Glebe kids– ended up in Pentagon City somehow and didn’t arrive back at Glebe until almost an hour late.

  • Yorktown

    The only video I want to see featuring Murphy is the one announcing his resignation. How much money is going into these smug expositions of his? The guy is just so smarmy. And John F — seek treatment.


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