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by Melanie Pincus June 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Reagan National Airport is offering free parking for up to 60 minutes in terminal garages to help alleviate heavy traffic during a major construction project.

The parking will help accommodate travelers affected by the closure of three lanes outside the already-congested Arrivals section of Terminal B/C — a closure that is scheduled to begin today (June 21).

It will be “several months” before the closures end, and a construction advisory issued Tuesday encourages travelers to use Metrorail service to get to the airport. Police officers will also be present to help ease congestion during peak periods.

The lane closures are a step toward the construction of two new security checkpoints above the roadway, which will add eight new security lanes to the airport and alter the configuration of Terminal B/C to increase passenger access to shopping, dining and seating.

Project Journey, the $1 billion capital improvement project launched by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority last March, aims to make Reagan National better equipped to serve the high volume of passengers it sees each year. Construction is expected to wrap up in 2021.

Photo via Twitter

by ARLnow.com June 21, 2018 at 8:55 am 0

It’s Summer — Today is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in terms of daylight. [Fortune]

Verizon 911 Outage Updated at 11:40 a.m. — From Arlington Alert: “Due to a regional Verizon outage, Verizon mobile phones may not be able to reach 9-1-1 or non-emergency numbers in the area at this time. Please use Text-to-9-1-1 or another phone carrier if the voice call does not go through.” Callers in Alexandria, Fairfax and Prince William are also affected by the outage. Service was restored around 11 a.m. [Twitter, WJLA]

Crash Leads to All-Time Terrible Commute — Yesterday’s evening commute was “atrocious” and the “worst I’ve ever seen” in Northern Virginia, per transportation reporter Adam Tuss. Traffic was especially slow on northbound I-395 and the northbound GW Parkway approaching D.C., after a deadly and fiery truck crash shut down a portion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Capital Beltway. [WTOP, Twitter, Twitter]

New Details in Police Shooting — There are new details in the police shooting of a man near Columbia Pike last month. According to court records, Steven Best and his passenger “were involved in a drug transaction with a man outside a hotel.” Police then boxed in his van to make an arrest, but Best allegedly tried to flee, driving “forwards and backwards, striking multiple police cars,” leading to the shooting. Best’s family, which has questioned the police account of what happened, says they have a video of the shooting. [WJLA]

Housing Costs Still Rising — The average per-square-foot cost of an existing home in Arlington is now $475, an increase of 1.3 percent compared to last year and the highest such figure among Northern Virginia localities. [InsideNova]

New ACPD Officers — Ten new Arlington police officers took the oath of honor to protect and serve the residents of Arlington County earlier this week after graduating from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy. [Twitter]

Bishop Burbidge on World Refugee Day — Catholic Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge released a statement in honor of World Refugee Day yesterday, saying in part: “may we… stand with refugees and commemorate their courage, resilience and perseverance. May we always remember to ‘treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and … love him as yourself, for [we] were strangers in the land of Egypt’ (Leviticus19:34).” [Arlington Catholic Herald, Twitter]

Food Truck Inspections — The Arlington County Fire Department has been performing inspections this week of food trucks that operate in Arlington. Officials have been specifically looking at fire suppression systems and the storage of cooking fuels. [Twitter]

by Alex Koma June 20, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

It might seem odd that the consulting firm Accenture would open a second Arlington office in Rosslyn, just a 10-minute drive from its current location in Ballston and a brief Metro ride away from its office in D.C.

But company executives believe Arlington’s pool of talented tech workers is so deep that such a move makes perfect sense — and state leaders are hoping tech giants from Apple to Amazon are similarly swayed by the strength of the county’s workforce.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) helped Accenture christen its new “cyber fusion center” inside the new CEB Tower at Central Place (1201 Wilson Blvd) today (Wednesday), hailing the company for its plans to create 1,000 high-paying tech jobs in the D.C. region by 2020.

Marty Rodgers, Accenture’s metro D.C. office managing director, says the firm ultimately plans to have 4,500 employees at its Arlington locations alone, and they’ll have plenty of company. As of last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 17,000 people in Arlington work in IT-focused jobs, and Rodgers adds that 185 cybersecurity startups in the area won outside funding in 2017.

Observers have speculated that those numbers are part of why Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook are eyeing Arlington so closely for expansion. Northam hopes they’re right.

“I’ve always been a big believer that if we bring talent to the area, talent will attract other talent,” Northam told reporters Wednesday. “We’ve made that pitch and we’re excited about that opportunity, and we’ve had those discussions with Amazon. But whether it’s Amazon or Apple or any other company, in order for them to grow or come here, we’ve got to be able to train our workforce.”

Northam credits his predecessor, ex-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, for putting a focus on tech training programs at both the higher education level and in K-12 schools. But it also helps that many of those workers have gained experience in the area’s bevy of federal government tech jobs, making them even more attractive to companies like Accenture that do plenty of business in D.C.

“This is where all the talent is,” Rodgers said. “You need people who have that combination of experiences, with for-profits, with nonprofits, with government.”

Rodgers noted that those sorts of employees will be particularly important at the company’s new Rosslyn center. It’s designed as not only a cybersecurity research hub, but also as a meeting space for Accenture to help its clients, from governments to massive corporations, investigate cyberattacks in real time.

Accenture executives demonstrated for the gathered elected officials and journalists how the company might educate an oil and gas company about how to prevent a phishing attack on a refinery. After hackers tried, and failed, to blow up a Saudi Arabian refinery by breaking in to a company’s networks via a fraudulent email, company officials warned that such a scenario isn’t terribly far-fetched.

Rodgers believes the center will even be innovative enough to help the D.C. region become the top global destination for cybersecurity companies.

“This region is fundamental to cybersecurity for the country and the world,” Rodgers said. “This is a mantle we hope this cybersecurity fusion center can claim here, as compared to Silicon Valley.”

by ARLnow.com June 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

A pair of indecent exposure incidents in the Rosslyn area is may be linked to a serial flasher who has been at it since the beginning of the year.

Both incidents, which were reported to police an hour apart, happened Thursday night in the Radnor-Fort Myer heights neighborhood. Both times, a woman witnessed a man exposing himself and masturbating.

The suspect descriptions differ, and are not do not match up precisely with the serial flashing suspect, but the suspect behavior is similar.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-06140250, 1300 block of Fort Myer Drive. At approximately 10:20 p.m. on June 14, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when she observed a male suspect exposing himself and masturbating. The suspect then approached the victim and touched her inappropriately before fleeing the area on foot. The suspect is described as a male, approximately 5’6, in his mid 20’s, with an average build, approximately 120 lbs., wearing dark grey sweatshirt and dark pants, with a hood pulled tightly around his face. The investigation is ongoing.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-06140269, 1300 block of N. Meade Street. At approximately 11:19 p.m. on June 14, police were dispatched to the report of a peeping. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was inside her residence when she noticed movement outside her window and observed an unknown male suspect exposing himself and masturbating outside the window. The suspect is described as a tall white male, with a muscular build, wearing a maroon or dark red short sleeved shirt and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.

(more…)

by Alex Koma June 20, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Arlington officials are pledging to take a fresh look at how they manage local historic districts, after one neighborhood’s design standards is forcing a Maywood family to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a roof repair.

Brendan and Jody Devine have spent more than a year working with county officials to get permission to use asphalt shingles when overhauling the roof of their home along the 3500 block of 21st Avenue N. But the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board, known as the HALRB, blocked that request because the home is located in the Maywood Neighborhood Historic District, and the board feared replacing its current stamped tin shingle roof with a more modern style of roof would leave it out of step with the rest of the neighborhood.

The Devines appealed that decision to the County Board, but members voted unanimously yesterday (Tuesday) to uphold the HALRB’s decision.

Board members, however, expressed a great deal of remorse over that vote, lamenting that the county code obligated them to side against the Devines, even if they agreed with their concerns about the tin roof’s cost.

“We’re ending up on the wrong side of justice if we don’t provide a way to promote the architectural compatibility with the neighborhood, while at the same time accounting for real life circumstances,” said Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey. “I think we can figure out a way to do better.”

Brendan Devine noted at the meeting that the tin shingles would likely cost as much as $30,000, compared to $5,000-6,000 for the asphalt option, and that that is only for a portion of the roof. He argued that the county would be effectively making the neighborhood an “enclave” for the wealthy if the Board forced homeowners to embrace such expensive options.

In general, Board members agreed with that sentiment, though they felt there was little they could do to make a difference in this particular case.

County Attorney Steve MacIsaac cautioned that members had little choice but to side with the HALRB’s ruling unless the Devines could prove that board made some sort of “arbitrary and capricious” decision. The Board took heed of his opinion, but with some communities around the county trying to pursue historic districts in order to protect affordable housing options, several members expressed a willingness to revisit the county’s policies on the matter.

“This is a cautionary tale,” Chair Katie Cristol said. “We’ve had members of our community who have sought to use a historic designation overlay as a tool to protect affordability… but to the extent we’re looking to protect either garden apartments or single family homes, it can sometimes work at cross purposes.”

Board members were particularly interested in finding a way to get the HALRB to consider the cost of a change like this as a central part of their deliberations. Joan Lawrence, the HALRB’s chair, told the Board that her group did indeed take the expense of the tin shingles into account, but ultimately felt making an exception in this case could lead to a slippery slope.

“A defining feature of this historic district is this particular roof,” Lawrence said. “We’re dealing with a situation of death by a thousand cuts… I don’t think being good stewards of a historic neighborhood, a historic house, is making it an enclave.”

(more…)

by Alex Koma June 20, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

County workers now have the green light they need to kick off an overhaul of McCoy Park near Rosslyn and Courthouse.

The Arlington County Board agreed to rezone the park at its meeting Saturday (June 16), allowing work on a series of improvements to the 1.1-acre property at 2121 21st Street N. to move forward. Parks officials have been working on plans for a renovation to McCoy since 2016, after the company behind the mixed-use development that’s home to the nearby MOM’s Organic Market (2145 Lee Highway) agreed to help fund the project.

The county has not made major changes to the park since it opened in 1985.

“Changes to the park will include a re-aligned sidewalk, a seating deck with furnishings, a shade canopy, and interactive chalk art plaza, new landscape vegetation, trash/recycling receptacles, and a new park entry sign,” county staff wrote in a report for the Board.

The county is also hoping to add a dog waste bag dispenser and “Little Free Library” to the park, if it can find sponsors to help build and maintain either amenity.

County staff note in their report that their next step is to submit construction documents for permitting, now that they earned the County Board’s sign off. They’re hoping to complete the improvements by the end of the year.

by Alex Koma June 20, 2018 at 11:00 am 0

Local skeptics of Arlington’s efforts to lure Amazon’s second headquarters to the county are convening a community forum tomorrow (Thursday) for people to air their own concerns about the project.

Our Revolution Arlington, the local chapter of a national group created out of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, is planning a “community town hall” on the issue from 7-9 p.m. at Arlington Central Library. Other activist groups, including the Arlington Green Party and the county’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, are co-hosting the event.

The county’s bid to lure the tech giant to Arlington has attracted concerns ranging from the impact the company might have on rent prices to the wisdom of the county and state offering tax breaks for the massive company. With observers of all stripes hypothesizing that Arlington has an excellent chance of winning HQ2, organizers say they wanted to create a space to get these issues out in the open.

“This whole process has been so secretive and Northern Virginia happens to be one of the most secretive places in the running,” Roshan Abraham, a member of Our Revolution Arlington’s steering committee, told ARLnow. “This is about raising awareness, because I think most people don’t really know what’s at stake, they don’t know what is being offered by the various finalists or what Amazon’s clear record of behavior of is.”

Abraham said the event will primarily be a chance for the County Board to “listen to what we have to say,” rather than the other way around. Abraham even swung by the Board’s meeting Saturday (June 16) to invite members to the gathering — he says both Erik Gutshall and John Vihstadt subsequently told him they’d try to attend, while the others either didn’t respond or had conflicts.

In response to Abraham’s request, County Board Chair Katie Cristol noted Saturday that the Board does not “have any new information to report” on the company’s decision-making. Vice Chair Christian Dorsey also pushed back against any insinuation that the county is somehow holding back a chance for the public to make their voices heard on the issue.

“We don’t know anything about it, there’s been no discussions with this board, there’s been no chance for public engagement that we’ve denied,” Dorsey said.

Those responses struck Abraham as the Board just “spewing off talking points,” underscoring his desire to shine a light on what the public thinks about Amazon.

“Getting that response made it all the more clear to me that the County Board needs to be listening to us,” Abraham said.

The Arlington GOP has also raised persistent concerns about the transparency of the county’s efforts to woo Amazon, bringing them into rare alignment with groups like Our Revolution. Some local Republicans also attended Saturday’s meeting to raise the issue once more.

 

by ARLnow.com June 20, 2018 at 10:15 am 0

The issue of children being separated from parents seeking asylum at the U.S. border has prompted both words and actions from Arlington’s members of Congress.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) yesterday signed on as a cosponsor of the Keep Families Together Act — Democratic-backed legislation that would end the family separation policy that has sparked nationwide and even international outrage.

“Donald Trump’s family separation policy is immoral and Congress must put a stop to it,” said Beyer, in a statement. “Treating legal asylum-seekers, many of whom are fleeing violence which endangers their lives, in such a cruel manner is a violation of our country’s values and internationally-accepted agreements on human rights.”

Beyer yesterday also visited two fathers who were separated from their children at the border and being held at a detention center in Maryland. TV cameras were there as Beyer and his wife Megan described a “very emotional, very difficult” discussion with the men.

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), meanwhile, have written a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, requesting an “immediate response” to a number of questions about the family separations, including:

  • Whether any facilities in Virginia are being used to house children separated from their families
  • The rationale for the “zero tolerance” policy that prompts separations
  • The plan for detention infrastructure to hold asylum seekers
  • Resources for separated children, including medical and mental health services
  • Specific information on the conditions for girls and toddlers
  • Plans for facilitating family reunification

Also yesterday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) recalled four members of the Virginia National Guard from their service on the U.S. border.

There’s more local fallout from the family separation issue. The Methodist church is considering expelling Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a member over his enforcement of the policy and justification of it by citing a Bible verse.

News outlets reported that Sessions is a member of the Clarendon United Methodist Church in Arlington, in addition to a Methodist church in his home state of Alabama.

Photo via @RepDonBeyer

by ARLnow.com June 20, 2018 at 8:50 am 0

FBI Renews Search for Hotel Rapist — A cold case is getting hotter as the FBI steps up the search for a man who raped hotel employees in the D.C. area, including in Arlington, between 1998 and 2006. Authorities still don’t know who the suspect is, but in a first for the region, the man’s DNA profile has been indicted for the crime. [FBI, NBC Washington, WTOP]

‘Unaccompanied Minors’ Housed at Local Facility? — “The feds may use a local juvenile detention center to house some of the nearly 2,000 children they’ve separated from their parents at the Mexican border. Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg said she’s expressed ‘strong concerns’ with the board that runs the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center, which has a contract to hold as many as 30 unaccompanied minors. The detention center is jointly run by Alexandria and Arlington.” [WUSA 9]

ACPD Helps Kid’s Dream Come True — “After over 900 days in foster care, Cameron’s wish came true when he found his forever family. During last week’s @Capitals visit, we were able to help him with his 2nd wish-touching the #StanleyCup! Today he stopped by to thank Officer Rihl for helping make his dream a reality!” [Twitter]

Local Tech Firm Signs Rosslyn Lease — As expected after being selected for a $60,000 Gazelle grant from Arlington County earlier this year, local tech firm Higher logic has signed a lease and is moving employees into a new 31,000 square foot headquarters space at Waterview Tower (1919 N. Lynn Street) in Rosslyn. The company, which makes community engagement software, acquired four companies last year. The new office offers “floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Potomac River, an open, collaborative environment, and much needed room to expand.” [Washington Business Journal]

Firefighters Help Cool Kids Down — Earlier this week, with sweltering temperatures putting a damper on outdoor activities, an Arlington County fire engine helped Patrick Henry Elementary students cool down during their field day. [Twitter]

ACFD Trains for Water Rescues — The Arlington County Fire Department has a water rescue team, and before yesterday’s rains the team was training in the rapids at Great Falls. [Twitter]

by Alex Koma June 19, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Arlington officials are set to move ahead with changes to the county’s real estate tax relief program, a policy designed to help older Arlingtonians stay in their homes amid rising property values.

The program is currently open to homeowners age 65 or older and people with disabilities, with an annual income of up to $99,472 and household assets — excluding the home itself — up to $340,000.

But the County Board could agree to advertise changes today (Tuesday) that would bump up the total asset limit and change how the county awards tax exemptions by income level.

“This is really for folks who tend to be on limited or restricted income, where their homes have appreciated in value to the point where it makes it hard to stay in that home,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol told ARLnow. “This is not a sweeping overhaul of the program… it’s about efficacy, making sure the program reaches the people who qualify for it.”

The proposed policy changes would increase the asset limit to $400,000 to account for rising home values, and allow the county to adjust that amount annually as property values and the area’s median income level changes.

The Board is also considering allowing people apply for an exemption from 75 percent of their total tax bill, based on their income level — previously, the county only offered a full exemption, relief from half of the tax bill or relief from a quarter of the bill.

For the very top earners allowed to apply for tax relief — households making anywhere from $80,000 to $99,472 per year — the policy change would restrict them to only applying for a deferral from the taxes, not a full exemption. Previously, the policy allowed households making that much to apply for 25 percent or 50 percent exemption, but only if at least four people lived in the home in question.

County staff estimate that about 90 of the 915 households who apply for the program could lose their exemptions under that change, but they expect many would still receive a deferral instead.

Cristol notes that this proposal is the result of roughly two years of effort by a working group convened by the Board to study the issue. She doesn’t expect that the changes will result in some sort of major fiscal impact to the county — staff wrote in a Board report that Arlington will lose about $154,000 in annual revenue under these proposed changes — but merely better target the program at reaching people who need it.

“The goal is to tighten it and make it more effective as a program, not lower obstacles for participation,” Cristol said. “This is not a large scale policy change.”

According to a report prepared by county staff for the Board, 76 percent of households who applied for the program last year had an annual income of $60,000 or less, and total assets of $100,000 or less.

Should the Board approve the request to advertise item on its agenda today, the county would hold a public hearing at the Board’s July 14 meeting.

Photo via Arlington County

by ARLnow.com June 19, 2018 at 8:50 am 0

Happy Trails to Barry TrotzArlington resident and Stanley Cup winning coach Barry Trotz is stepping down as head coach of the Washington Capitals. (A number of Caps coaches and players call Arlington home, given that the team’s home base is the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.) [Washington Post, WJLA]

Crash Closes Departures Roadway at DCA — A vehicle crash and the subsequent cleanup effort closed the departure level roadway for an extended period of time yesterday. “A car with three occupants accidentally ended up on a jersey wall and rode along it for approximately 100 yards before coming back down,” an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman told ARLnow.com. “One occupant had minor injuries, but none were transported.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Neighborhood Battles to Save Tree — “Another development-preservation battle is gearing up in Arlington, this one focused on the fate of a dawn redwood on Ohio Street… A petition was recently initiated by Todd Murdock who lives several houses away from the tree. In a day the petition had 500 signatures and by June 10 the number of signatures had grown to more than 700.” [Arlington Connection]

Kaine on Housing Affordability, Amazon — U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) swung by Clarendon on Monday to speak at a forum on housing affordability. He believes localities like Arlington that are dealing with skyrocketing rents need help from the federal government, but he lamented that the Trump administration’s policies could be actively making the problem worse. Afterwards, he told a reporter that rush hour traffic may be a significant detriment to Northern Virginia’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2. [Twitter, Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Wawa Coming to Georgetown — Rosslyn residents and workers may be able to walk — or take a gondola? — to the next D.C. Wawa. The convenience store chain plans to open in the former Restoration Hardware space on Wisconsin Avenue NW. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy @NineTiger

by Alex Koma June 18, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Someday, the Buck property in Ballston could be home to a new school, or for other county-owned facilities or offices — but for now, it’ll merely be used for parking for some school employees.

The County Board voted unanimously Saturday (June 16) to allow the school system to use 48 parking spaces at the site for at least the next two years. The School Board approved a similar initiative on May 30, clearing the way for Arlington Public Schools to park its “white fleet” at the site (1425 N. Quincy Street) and free up some space at the county’s Trades Center.

Arlington Public Schools struck a similar deal with the county last month to let some school bus drivers park their personal vehicles at the garage near Barcroft Park, as APS continues to buy more school buses and fill up its parking lots. This latest change would involve moving vans, SUVs and pickup trucks normally used by the school system’s maintenance workers over to the former Buck property, located just across from Washington-Lee High School.

“This is not a long-term vision,” said Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey. “This is our management of a space that was always acquired with the purpose of being a piece of the puzzle in making sure the county can deal with its facility and infrastructure needs… How do we do something in the interim that’s reflective of using that investment wisely?”

The county agreed to shell out $30 million to buy the six-acre parcel back in 2015, and planners have spent months studying potential uses for the site. While officials have long hoped to use it for additional parking, the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission has considered a litany of other options as well, like building new APS office space, an additional 911 call center or even a new school on the property.

Yet County Manager Mark Schwartz revealed in his latest 10-year plan for construction spending that the county won’t have much money to spend on the Buck site. In all, his proposed Capital Improvement Plan calls for just $3 million in spending to make some minor improvements on the property, rather than moving ahead with any major changes.

Accordingly, that means the site will be open for APS parking, in the short term at least. The new lease agreement between the county and the school system will let APS use the site for the next two years, with the potential for six one-year renewals after that.

The move did meet with some community pushback. Some neighbors spoke at the County Board meeting and two different School Board meetings to express concerns about traffic noise at the site, particularly because workers will likely be arriving at the lot quite early — John Chadwick, the school system’s assistant superintendent for facilities and operations, noted Saturday that some employees will be at the parking lot as early as 3:30 a.m.

But Chadwick pledged to work with the community to mitigate any adverse impacts from this new arrangement. Additionally, School Board members stressed at their May 30 meeting that they hope the move is merely temporary, given the property’s potential to house a new school someday.

“Given the pressure on the school system to build new schools, I think there are many people that are hopeful that we’d begin exploring this site… to at least consider for a school,” said Board member Nancy Van Doren.

County staff noted Saturday that they’re currently conducting a technical and engineering analysis of the site, and that includes the property’s potential to someday serve as a home for new classroom space. They plan to wrap up that work this winter.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com June 18, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

Columbia Pike is getting some new branding, in the form of banners that will be placed on light poles along the Pike.

As expected, the County Board approved the banners — which proclaim the Pike to be “Arlington’s Oldest and Newest Main Street” — at its meeting on Saturday.

The initial 48 banners will cost just over $11,000 to install and will be paid for and maintained by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization.

“The County and our partner, CPRO, continue to make steady progress toward realizing the community’s vision of a Columbia Pike that feels more like a Main Street,” Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a statement. “These colorful banners will enhance the vibrancy we already see along the Pike, where years of community planning and public and private engagement have created a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape and more welcoming public spaces.”

The banners will run the length of the Pike in Arlington — from Foxcroft Heights to the western county line

Arlington County’s press release about the banner approval is below.

The Board voted unanimously to authorize the installation of non-commercial banners in the public right-of-way along the entire length of Columbia Pike, from Foxcroft Heights to the western County line. The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) will place the seasonal banners on street light poles on behalf of the County.

CPRO will fund the phased installation and maintenance of these banners. In the first phase, 48 banners will be installed at key major intersections along the Pike. Subsequent phases will be completed as funding becomes available. Total cost to install the initial 48 banners is $11,280. It will cost $2,000 to maintain the banners the first year (increasing 5 percent annually). […]

Background

In 2017, the Board doubled annual funding for CPRO, bringing its total commitment to $400,000. The Board, at the time, said it wanted to see CPRO use some of those funds to develop new place-making activities – specifically a cleaning program and a banner program. The Washington Forrest Foundation has also contributed $10,000 to CPRO for the program for this purpose. This is the second time the Board has permitted CPRO to install decorative banners within the public right-of-way.

About CPRO

CPRO’s mission is to create a safer, cleaner, more vibrant community from the Pentagon to the County line, a corridor which geographically makes up 17 percent of Arlington, and to champion and connect businesses and community along Columbia Pike. […]

To learn more about the County’s efforts to transform Columbia Pike into a more transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly Main Street with great public spaces and a mix of vibrant retail, restaurants, housing and offices, visit the County website.

by ARLnow.com June 18, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Hot Day Ahead — Anyone spending time outdoors today should hydrate frequently and take proper precautions. The heat index is expected to climb into the 90s or even the low 100s. An air quality alert is also in effect. [Twitter, Twitter, National Weather Service]

Energy Rebate Program Ending — Arlington’s energy rebate program, which provides rebates to homeowners who add high-efficiency HVAC or water heaters, or who perform other energy-saving work, is ending due to county budget cuts. The last day to apply is today, June 18. [Twitter, EcoAction Arlington]

Rosslyn Bus Tunnel to Open — “A long-delayed bus tunnel in Rosslyn that is expected to help ease traffic in the area and significantly speed up bus trips has now been turned over to Metro, and should formally open within weeks. Metrobus and Arlington’s ART routes are expected to begin using the street-level tunnel June 24 through a glitzy new building between N. Moore Street and N. Lynn Street.” [WTOP]

GOP Beyer Challenger Courts LGBT Voters — “Thomas Oh, the Republican candidate embarked on an uphill quest to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), is reaching out to a constituency often left untapped by local Republican candidate. ‘I proudly support the LGBT community. I firmly believe in providing equality for every American,’ Oh said as he marched with the Capital Area Young Republicans in the recent Capital Pride Parade in the District of Columbia.” [InsideNova]

County Board Approves DARPA Changes — “Citing its desire to retain DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency headquartered in Ballston, the Arlington County Board today unanimously approved adding 1,265 square feet to its building for a secure screening and visitor check-in facility.” [Arlington County]

Graduations at Arlington High Schools — Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown high schools help their respective graduation ceremonies last week. Said Wakefield’s class president: “Just because this chapter of our lives is closing, we will prevail and go on to do great. The thing is, don’t think of this as a ‘goodbye,’ but a ‘see you later.'” [InsideNova, InsideNova, InsideNova]

Photo courtesy @TheLastFC

by Alex Koma June 15, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Some new condos could be on the way in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, prompting county officials to weigh a proposal to extend S. Queen Street and make the new development possible.

After branching off from 23rd Street S., the 2400 block of S. Queen Street currently ends in a cul-de-sac and is lined with a series of townhomes as part of the Forest Hills development. But according to a report prepared for the County Board, a developer approached county officials with plans to build 12 additional town homes on some vacant land behind the neighborhood early this year.

To do so, however, the developer needs to build a new road to reach those homes and they’re hoping to construct a 300-foot-long extension of S. Queen Street. The development would sit adjacent to the Club Manor Estates, along S. Pierce Street and 24th Street S., as well as Oak Ridge Elementary School and Haley Park.

Should those plans move forward, the developer would be responsible for constructing the new road, though county staff did note that some Forest Hills homeowners have expressed concerns about the project.

“The street construction will remove landscaped areas in the Forest Hills development that are currently utilized by the residents, and may also include modifications to the existing S. Queen Street roadway in order to accommodate anticipated traffic generated by the new development,” staff wrote in the Board report.

The Board is set to vote at its meeting Saturday (June 16) on whether the road extension can proceed. If Board members give it the green light, the county’s Planning Commission would hold a hearing on the matter July 2, with a County Board hearing set for July 14.

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