It’s time again for our annual list of most-read stories of the year.
Readers gravitated toward stories comical and serious, from signs that look like genitals to car crashes and elections. The year turned out to be an historic one, with unprecedented election results and massive policy shifts. It also proved that Arlington readers care just as much about local politics as they do about drunken shenanigans.
Without further ado, the first 10 stories on our countdown:
20. ART Bus Driver Charged After Seven-Vehicle Wreck (12,868 views) — An ART bus hit multiple cars, both moving and parked, on Columbia Pike, sending four people to the hospital. The bus driver had been driving in revenue service for only a month. During the accident, the bus took out several bricks from a retaining wall and destroyed trees and benches. The wreck left a trail of destruction highly uncommon, even in multiple-vehicle accidents. The accident drew dozens of spectators to the scene, who stayed for hours while police and fire crews cleaned up.
19. Fatal Crash Suspect’s Friend Died in Wreck One Block Away (12,947 views) — After another fatal car accident at the heavily trafficked Lee Highway intersections near the Key Bridge, a little digging on social media into the suspect revealed a surprising connection. The driver, who allegedly drove drunk struck a car and killed a 24-year-old man, was friends with Sami Ullah. A year earlier almost to the day, Ullah died in a car accident a block away after driving 90 mph over the Key Bridge. The connection between the two crashes was both chilling and sad.
18. Restaurant Lashes Out at County Board Over Revoked Permit (12,976 views) — A routine County Board meeting over the Pines of Italy’s live entertainment permit became a minor national story. A woman there in support of the restaurant called the County Board “c–ksuckers,” and sports gossip website Deadspin deemed it worthy of a story all its own.
17. Man Arrested After Pepper Spraying GMU Law Prof (14,149 views) — A man tried to place a law professor under citizen’s arrest, but, when the professor resisted, he received a face full of pepper spray. No students came to his aid, according to Forbes, which may have been because the professor was teaching a class on vigilantism, “so many students in the class may have believed that the assault was part of the planned lesson.”
16. Despite Ridicule from Yelp Reviewers, Ballston Cafe Keeps Phallic Sign (14,176 views) — A friend of ARLnow.com, visiting from out of town and staying at the Holiday Inn in Ballston, got the hat tip for this story. While walking back from the Metro, he spotted Market Place & Café’s phallic sign. The sign has been up for more than half a decade and had already been the subject of online mockery. Unfazed, the owner — who declined to speak to ARLnow.com for the story — has kept the sign up and stayed in business.
15. Vihstadt Wins Historic Victory (14,426 views) — After a runaway victory in April’s special election, John Vihstadt won just as decisively in the general, sending political shockwaves throughout the county and directly leading to the Columbia Pike streetcar’s cancellation. Vihstadt hosted an election night party in his home, and the mood from dozens of supporters, family and friends was jubilant. Vihstadt, in fact, was pressing those in attendance not to count the chickens before they hatched, settling them after each precinct made it clearer and clearer that he would emerge victorious.
14. New Apartments, Town Center Planned for ‘Revamped’ Ballston Mall (14,435 views) — Ballston’s big announcement of the plans for the much-maligned Ballston Common Mall came at the same time as the snafu that ended the Restaurant Challenge. The plans for the mall are still under review and have yet to be approved by the County Board.
13. ACPD to Enforce Virginia Uber, Lyft Cease and Desist (15,237 views) — After lengthy disputes between taxi companies, taxi drivers and ridesharing companies, Virginia issued a “cease and desist” order to Uber and Lyft. ACPD said it would enforce it. The order became moot soon after, when Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced he was repealing the order after reaching a regulatory agreement with the companies. Uber and Lyft continued to operate in the state all the while.
12. Senator: Arlington is a ‘Soulless Suburb’ (15,461 views) — A friend of the site spotted Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s description of her time living in Arlington in her memoirs before it was published, giving ARLnow.com the exclusive. The story quickly spread across the Internet, becoming a part of the Arlington lexicon, spawned a T-shirt and prompted Sen. Mark Warner to pay Gillibrand a visit, resulting in a mea culpa.
11. Alexander Ovechkin’s Arlington House For Rent (15,598 views) — The Washington Capitals star hadn’t lived in his Arlington home for years, but he had decided to put it on the rental market. It was listed in all the major real estate services, and several tipsters let us know it was available to rent. The story was later picked up by sites like BroBible and Reddit, contributing to its readership.