Press Club

Video: Virginia Square walk signal keeps saying “Jefferson Davis”

If you didn’t know better, you’d think that an unusual walk signal in Virginia Square was trying to signal that the South would rise again.

An audio walk signal at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Nelson Street, one block from the Metro station, keeps chanting the name of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. It attracted the attention of County Board candidate Adam Theo, who posted about it on social media yesterday afternoon.

“I’m sorry… but WTF??!?” he tweeted. “I thought we were getting rid of streets named after Confederates.”

ARLnow checked it out shortly after Theo’s tweet, and the rebel walk signal was indeed hauntingly repeating “Jefferson Davis” over and over again.

Asked about it, Peter Golkin, spokesman for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, suggested that the signal was likely transplanted from along Route 1, formerly known as Jefferson Davis Highway before being renamed Richmond Highway in 2019.

“Likely repurposed technology that unfortunately was not reprogrammed,” Golkin said. “As Mr. Lincoln would say, ‘With malice toward none.'”

It appears that much like the Confederacy, the walk signal’s old programming will not be long for this world. This morning DES tweeted that a repair order had been placed.

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