Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com March 14, 2013 at 8:50 am 1,296 50 Comments

Building demolition on Glebe Road (photo courtesy "Westover Leftover")

Pi Day in Arlington — Today is March 14, or 3/14, the day that celebrates the mathematical constant Pi (3.14159). In honor of Pi Day, the business review website Yelp is holding a “pie” event at Bakeshop (1025 N. Fillmore Street) in Clarendon, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. [Yelp]

Red Light Cameras Play ‘Pivotal Role’ — Red light cameras play a “pivotal role” in improving traffic and pedestrian safety. Arlington County says. The county’s red light cameras — currently active at four intersections — resulted in a 50 percent decrease in red light violations at those intersections, the county said. [Arlington County]

State Awards for APS Schools — Eight Arlington public elementary schools have earned a distinction as 2013 Virginia Index of Performance award winners. The schools honored are Arlington Science Focus, Arlington Traditional, Ashlawn, McKinley, Nottingham, Taylor, Henry and Jamestown. [Arlington Public Schools]

Arlington’s All-Male Book Club — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark explores “one of those rare literary phenomena — an all-male book club.” The group of 10 professional men has been meeting to discuss books in the East Falls Church/Westover neighborhood for 13 years. [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo courtesy “Westover Leftover”

  • Alicia

    one of those rare literary phenomena — an all-male book club.

    Man cards must be surrendered upon joining.

    • G Clifford Prout

      As our dear friend Oscar Wilde said: A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.

      • Nigel

        Quoting Oscar Wilde as an authority on loving women is a bit misguided, considering he was gay.

        • Ballstonian

          Quoting Oscar Wilde on almost anything is a great idea, considering he was hilarious.
          (Yes, he was gay, but nobody quotes him as an “authority” on women or anything else – he was a master of the bon mot.)

    • ARL

      An all-male thing makes you not a man?

      Oh, wait – reading makes you not a man. Right?

      But you’re probably one of those women who always complain about all the men being stupid boors who don’t ever read books.

      • NotIronJohn

        Real men read books alone, not in book clubs. If they MUST read in a book club, they want a co-ed book club, where there is a chance of picking up a woman.

        • Josh S

          I think you meant a chance of picking up a chick. Or a hot babe.

  • hmmmmmmm

    That picture is the best thing that’s ever been posted here.

    • SomeGuy

      Perhaps you’ve never read my comments.

  • novasteve

    While I personally think people who run red lights should get executed, you can just tell that Arlington will go the route of stop sign cameras too. Sorry, but even though it’s illegal, rolling through a stop sign or not coming to a complete stop doesn’t endanger lives, but they will still be able to make a lot of revenues off of it.

    • happycyclist


      • Josh S


        No, not really.)

        • happycyclist

          sh-t, I thought we had another on the Idaho Stop bandwagon

  • squidgod

    “The county’s red light cameras — currently active at four intersections — resulted in a 50 percent decrease in red light violations at those intersections, the county said.”

    How would they know? Did they have an exact record of every single violation before the cameras went up? Or are they just saying “Well, cops ticketed 100 people, so there were probably like 10,000 that they didn’t catch.”

    Bullshit statement to keep the money flowing.

    • flux

      I think what they did was activate them but not issue violations for a certain period of time. So they are probably counting the violations from that probationary period and comparing them to after they started sending tickets for a while.

      • squidgod

        But wouldn’t the mere presence of the cameras–issuing citations or not–have a direct effect on the number of violations?

        Or were the vast majority of the violators repeat offenders who obeyed the rules once they started getting tickets?

    • ARL

      You are so typical – you don’t know how some information was found, so you assume it’s a lie rather than going to find out. That’s not a way to live your life, son.

      They probably put the cameras up and counted the violations in one period, then counted them in the next one. Duh. And the study was done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, not the county.

      • I am

        Ever notice how every one of ARL’s posts, in this thread and others, contains the following construction directed at other posters? “You are [insert name calling here: “typical, boor, etc.]”

        • ARL

          “typical” is not name-calling, it’s just an observation. It’s typical of posters here to assume the worst about what they don’t know and haven’t bothered to find out.

          “Boor” was not an insult, it was a question about whether someone else would use that insult.

          • I am

            Ah, of course! It was an OBSERVATION, not name-calling! Allow me to “observe” that you are an argumentative troll.

          • ARL

            If you think typical is an insult in this context, you need help with your oversensitive nature.

        • guest

          Are you saying that he frequently has advertisements for hominem?

        • snarl

          and he sounds eerily similar to another poster…evil twin perhaps?

      • squidgod

        Sorry, mom. I’ll try to be less of a realist in the future.

        • Josh S

          OMG that’s hilarious.

  • SomeGuy

    From the article, the stated goal was “reducing red-light running violations, collisions and injuries.” Looks like this study only considered one of those goals.

    Anyone know of a link to a study that examine the collision and injury numbers at these particular intersections? I.e. increased rear-end collisions by people slamming their brakes maybe?

    Those number might not support the increased use of cameras… cameras which have the convenient side effect of generating lots of revenue.

    • confused

      we should legalize runing through red lights, so folks don’t slam on their brakes so much. Maybe be who get rear ended because they were trying to speed through a yellow and then had to slam on their brakes at a red need to be held responsible?

      • SomeGuy

        I wouldn’t recommend legalizing the running of red lights. But I WOULD recommend that you brush up on your understanding of unintended consequences and how sometimes well-intentioned actions can create situations worse than the problems they attempt to solve.

        • confused

          reducing running of red lights will is likely to reduce fatal collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists – IF theres an increase in rear ending, the victims are less likely to be seriously hurt, and are much more likely to be people who themselves engaged in reckless and illegal behavior. YOU need to brush up on your understanding of what a ‘worse’ problem is, and how some people may not share your weighting of particular outcomes.
          basically what you are saying is that causing people to stop at reds, as they are legally required to do, is dangerous. Since many people will slam on the brakes at reds despite there not being a red light cam (there might be police nearby, for example) the logical end of your point is that running red lights should be legal. Red lights themselves are a danger.

          • SomeGuy

            Nope. That’s not the “logical end” of my point. That’s an extrapolation to the extreme and a straw man. I won’t bother playing this game with you. Reread what I originally wrote about the study being incomplete, and if you still think I’m off-base for acknowledging that the study lacks completeness, then I’m content agreeing to disagree.

    • drax

      That’s what yellow lights are for.

      • Abe Froman

        Running a yellow is still a ticket-able offence. Don’t speed and don’t run yellows and there;s a high likelihood that you will not have issues getting rear ended stopping for a yellow or red light.

        The redlight cam a Glebe and Fairfax is a joke. I live a block away, it goes off all the time for no reason.

  • Red Light District

    Of course the County is giddy about the red light cameras. They bring in easy revenue in the name of safety. Having said that, I may be all for tapping the wallets of idiots who run red lights if it reduces my tax burden in return.

    • ARL

      Or maybe they are giddy about safety.

    • DCBuff

      This is ArlCo, so don’t count on having your tax burden reduced.

      • drax

        Lucky duckies!

        • DCBuff

          We have to keep paying your salary, don’t we drax.

  • billj

    I don’t see how they are catching anybody at the Glebe/Fairfax red light camera.. It always fires on the wrong side of traffic.

    • flyover_country

      Can’t speak to that, but I would say that having driven south on Glebe thru Ballston on many occasions, it was a regular occurrence to have cars block the intersection with N. Fairfax Drive as it backed up getting onto I-66 West. That almost never happens anymore. I’d argue that the red light camera there has stopped folks from running the light and blocking Glebe to push their way onto N. Fairfax and head west I-66. That is a significant improvement in my opinion.

      • SquattyBody

        I think the new lane on 66 westbound has helped too. Face it, cars got stuck in the Glebe intersection because of the backup on the ramp to 66.

        • Neighbor

          Cars got stuck in the Glebe intersection because they pulled into an intersection that was not clear of traffic. This is my biggest pet peeve in this area, and I have noticed that it stops occurring in intersections that have red light cameras so they’re worth it for that alone.

          • Jeff

            Red light cameras may deter that activity, but they will not generate a ticket for blocking the intersection. In Virginia, it is not a *red light* violation to be IN the intersection when it turns red, as long as you entered it before the signal turned red. The red light camera must take a picture of you showing the light red and your vehicle still outside of the intersection, then another with the light red and in the intersection. There may be laws against blocking the intersection, but it is not a red light violation.

          • flyover_country

            It was not uncommon before they put in the camera to have 3-4 cars not in the intersection continue into the intersection after the light had changed to red just not to have to sit thru another red light. It is a result of the ramp metering onto I-66 West. While I don’t like sitting thru multiple lights at an intersection either, that doesn’t excuse running the light only to block the intersection and create frustration for other folks. It only creates cascading frustration and entitlement (they did it, so can I) and it just gets worse and worse until the inevitable fender bender and/or road rage incident.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Here’s the study.

    This seems a bit less than definitive than AC and the IIHS would have you believe.

    1) The study basis was 11hr periods on 2 days for each study period(before, just after and well after) – that’s not much data.

    2) We all know how seasonal/calenderal traffic is in AC, the study periods were early july, late august and late august + 1 year.

    3) The study has no discussion of error sources/maginitude, if you look at the actual occurance rates(which takes a bit of analysis because of the way the study reports the data).

    For the long violations we are talking about reducing violations by 6, 0, 5 and 2 after a year. While the change at one intersection was an increase of 11 in the short violations after a month. That seems like drawing conclusions on statistics when there is an awful lot of scatter in the data.

    Even if you do take it as definitive, AC fails to mention that the number of red light violations at adjacent intersections appears to go up by 20+% – seems to me like people try to avoid these intersections.

    • Zim


    • ARL

      1. True.
      2. Not sure how that matters. Do people run lights more often in less, or more, traffic? And is it really that seasonal? Besides, they compared similar seasons.
      3. Fair enough.

      Your last paragraph is where you do your own bit of speculation beyond the data, but that’s okay. Yeah, people who don’t want to follow traffic laws sometimes avoid it. That calls for more enforcement.

      • Josh S

        No, it’s not seasonal. It’s calenderal.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        2. At least in my opinion red light runs have to do with traffic volumes. Very few folks run red lights when they aren’t in a hurry and it’s taking a reasonable amount of time to get from point A to point B.

  • Albert Einstein

    Seriously people? It’s Pi(e) Day and you’re talking about red light cameras? Grab some happiness while you can! It’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday, so kiss your favorite physicist!


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