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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.

by Alex Koma June 15, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

The developer behind the renovated Ballston Quarter mall is pushing back its plans to open a new pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd, as part of a host of proposed changes to the project.

Forest City had originally hoped to open the overhauled bridge connecting the mall to 4201 Wilson Blvd and the Metro station in time for stores to begin opening this fall. Yet work on the bridge is “currently behind schedule and is now expected to be completed in the winter or early spring of 2019,” according to a report prepared for the County Board.

Accordingly, Forest City is asking the Board to tweak some of the planning documents governing the project to account for the delay, which county staff believe will allow for “additional time for public engagement” around changes to the bridge’s renovation. Staff are recommending that the Board push off any consideration of that request until next month, though Board members won’t get a chance to vote on that recommendation until Saturday (June 16).

County staff also suggest that the Board wait until its July 14 meeting to consider a request from Forest City to add “large media screens” to the development. The big TV screens would face Wilson Blvd as part of Ballston Quarter’s west plaza. A spokeswoman for Forest City said “nothing is yet confirmed” when it comes to the purpose of the screens.

The Board could take some action related to the development on Saturday, however. Forest City is hoping to open six “outdoor cafes” as the mall welcomes back patrons in September, though construction plans originally called for some additional landscaping and construction work to be completed before those restaurants could open.

Staff noted that Forest City’s plans are “not ideal,” but they also didn’t see any “public safety risk” in letting the cafes open first. They’re recommending that the Board approve the request, then consider individual permits for each restaurant over the course of the next month.

The developer has already unveiled a variety of restaurants and retailers that will open at the mall, with plans to release more information in the coming months.

by ARLnow.com June 15, 2018 at 8:45 am 0

Free Admission at New Observation Deck — The new observation deck in Rosslyn is holding “Arlington County residents day” this weekend. Arlington County residents with valid ID can present it at the Observation Deck at CEB Tower box office for free admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. [Observation Deck at CEB Tower]

Stanley Cup to Visit ACPD Today — The Arlington County Police Department is set for a visit from the Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and the Stanley Cup today. [WUSA 9]

Pike May Get New ‘Showplace’ Library — “The current two-story community library in the corridor is tucked away on the Arlington Career Center campus, which is slated for a massive, if currently undefined, redevelopment effort in coming years. A library space is expected to be part of the redevelopment package, but county officials are looking at other options, including a full-frontal signature space facing Columbia Pike itself.” [InsideNova]

Road Closures for 5K Race — Several roads will be closed in and around Pentagon City Saturday morning for the 2018 ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk/Dash for Dads 5K Race. [Arlington County, ZERO]

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

by Alex Koma June 14, 2018 at 4:15 pm 0

Three troublesome intersections across Arlington are now set for some improvements, as part of the county’s “Neighborhood Complete Streets” program.

The county revealed yesterday (Wednesday) that it has chosen a trio of intersections for “pilot projects” of the program, which is designed to fund a whole host of local road projects in areas plagued by frequent accidents. In the coming months, workers will start construction at:

  • 6th Street S. at S. Adams Street in Penrose
  • N. Buchanan Street at 13th Street N. and 14th Street N. in Waycroft-Woodlawn
  • 6th Street N. at N. Edison Street and N. Emerson Street in Bluemont

At 6th Street S., officials chose the intersection due to its “extremely wide pedestrian crossing,” according to the county’s website.

“Though there is a center median, it doesn’t provide a refuge for pedestrians crossing 6th Street South, which is both a bicycle and transit route,” staff wrote.

Similarly, county staff note that the “intersection of 6th Street N. and N. Emerson Street has a sharp bend that leads to the intersection of 6th Street N. and N. Edison Street, which is extremely wide.”

“The large width of this neighborhood intersection makes it easy for cars to travel quickly through this area, even while turning, and makes for a longer pedestrian crossing,” staff wrote.

Finally, the county is aiming for improvements at N. Buchanan Street in order to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to gain access to nearby Woodlawn Park.

Officials have yet to decide on the exact details of the construction at these intersections, and will hold a series of public meetings to collect community input:

  • 6th Street S.: Trinity Episcopal Church Children’s Center, Tuesday (June 19) at 7:30 p.m.
  • N. Buchanan Street: Entrance of Woodlawn Park at N. Buchanan Street and 14th Street N., June 23 from 9:30 to 11:30 am and June 25 from 8:30 to 10:30 am.
  • 6th Street N.: Arlington Traditional School, June 27 at 7:30 p.m.

The county is planning to add “tactical/interim improvements” at each intersection this fall, as it works on more extensive plans.

Arlington officials picked these three projects after asking for public submissions of tricky intersections around the county and reviewed 169 potential projects in all. The county is currently studying all of those intersections, and will eventually score and rank each one for potential funding going forward.

However, transportation officials warn that the county’s recent budget squeeze has forced staff to trim funding for the program a bit, though they have not eliminated it entirely.

by ARLnow.com June 14, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

What Arlington Residents Think About Arlington — “Arlington residents of all ages are concerned about housing costs. Many like new urban amenities and denser development but are worried about displacing lower-income neighbors. Others point to the county’s affluence and pockets of racially homogenous communities and wonder what that says about their progressive values.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Salt Storage Facility to Be Torn Down — Arlington County is planning to dismantle the rusted-out road salt storage tank on Old Dominion Drive near 25th Road N. later this year, deeming it unsafe for use during the upcoming winter season. In its place, the county hopes to build a temporary facility that could remain functional for several years. [InsideNova]

New Restaurant Kiosks Planned in Crystal City — “Two new funky restaurant spaces could be coming to Crystal City in 2019… JBG Smith wants to build two unusual standalone restaurant buildings, one that resembles a green house and one that calls to mind a tree house, in green space that sits in front of 2121 Crystal Drive. The green is currently a mix of walking paths, open seating, trees and lawn.” [Washington Business Journal]

How Critics Could Fight W-L Name Change — Those opposed to changing the name of Washington-Lee High School have floated the idea of a community-wide referendum, though state law does not currently allow Arlington to hold an advisory referendum. One more fruitful path may be convincing the Republican-controlled state legislature to block the name change, though any such action would likely not survive Gov. Ralph Northam (D)’s veto pen. [InsideNova]

Employer Moving Out of Rosslyn — Amid a series of economic wins for Rosslyn and Arlington, there are also some losses. Among them, The Carlyle Group is planning to consolidate its Rosslyn office — with some 300 employees — into its larger D.C. office on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, after striking a deal to expand its lease and modernize its space. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy StardogCZ

by ARLnow.com June 13, 2018 at 3:50 pm 0

A man was arrested this past Friday morning and charged with assault and battery on police and a litany of other charges.

The incident happened in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood. It reportedly started when officers located a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Prince George’s County.

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

ASSAULT AND BATTERY ON POLICE, 2018-06080065, 2000 block of S. Langley Street. At approximately 7:07 a.m. on June 8, a lookout was broadcast for a vehicle stolen out of Prince George’s County. Officers located the vehicle and activated their emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop. As the officers approached the vehicle on foot, the suspect fled the scene and struck an occupied police cruiser. The suspect turned onto a dead end roadway and attempted to flee the scene on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was taken into custody. Nehemais Mejia, 22, of Riverdale, MD was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police, Felony Hit and Run, Felony Eluding, Felony Destruction of Property, Grand Larceny Auto, Driving Under the Influence and No Operator’s License. He was held on no bond.

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

(more…)

by ARLnow.com June 13, 2018 at 2:50 pm 0

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A man is now in critical condition after first responders say he jumped in front of a train at the East Falls Church Metro station.

Metro Transit Police believe the person was struck by a train after jumping on the track intentionally. Rescuers have since rushed him to a local hospital after removing him from under the train.

Orange and Silver line trains are single-tracking between the East Falls Church station and Ballston, and Metro is warning riders to expect delays in both directions.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-228-5160. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

by Alex Koma June 13, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

Arlington could soon kick off work on improvements at one of the county’s trickiest intersections for pedestrians and cyclists.

The County Board is set to approve a $2.5 million contract for the overhaul of the “Clarendon Circle” — the area where Clarendon, Washington and Wilson Boulevards all meet, just past the Metro station.

Planners have hoped for years now to add improvements to the intersection, like shortening the distances pedestrians have to walk across roads. The work will also include the installation of additional bike lanes, the widening of Washington Boulevard to four lanes — while nixing the current reversible lanes — and the addition of upgraded traffic signals.

Plans also call for adding a “green streets” element to better manage stormwater on N. Irving Street, next to the Silver Diner.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the construction contract at its Saturday, June 16 meeting as part of its consent agenda, which is typically reserved for non-controversial items. Should Board members approve the deal, the county estimates that work could begin this fall and wrap up in the winter of 2020.

The Clarendon Circle project is designed to move in conjunction with the county’s plans to do away with the reversible lanes on Washington Boulevard and create a “T” intersection with 13th Street N. That construction is projected to kick off in the winter of 2019, after the Board voted on May 22 to let the redevelopment of the nearby Red Top Cab properties move ahead.

by ARLnow.com June 13, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

A motorcyclist died in a crash last night on I-66, near Arlington’s western border.

The crash happened just before 10 p.m.

“According to witnesses, two motorcycles were westbound on I-66 and traveling at a high rate of speed,” Virginia State Police said in a brief press release. “One of the motorcycles rear-ended a car traveling west on I-66. The impact of the crash caused the motorcycle to run off the interstate and strike the guardrail.”

“The motorcyclist died at the scene,” the press release continued. “The driver of the car was not injured in the crash.”

State police are investigating the crash. The name of the deceased has not yet been released.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com June 13, 2018 at 9:15 am 0

Construction Kicks Off at The Berkeley — Work is underway on The Berkeley, and “obsolete” apartment building at 2900-2910 S. Glebe Road that is doing a significant redevelopment. The $100 million project will turn the 137 units currently on the site into 256 apartments. [Multi-Housing News]

Remains May Be Linked to Missing Person Case — Remains found in Stafford County are reportedly those of a woman who went missing in Arlington in 1989. The missing woman’s husband — Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, who’s currently in jail for another woman’s murder — told police at the time that his wife left and was living in the Miami area. Later D.C. police learned that it was his second wife’s sister, who had assumed the identity of Rodriguez-Cruz’s first wife. [Fox 5]

Vida Fitness Eyeing Rosslyn Location — “[Vida Fitness] has a letter of intent for space in western Rosslyn, owner David von Storch told the Business Journal… The location — which will include SweatBox, a boutique studio within a gym that offers high-intensity interval training in a fast-paced, heart-monitored workout — would open in the fourth quarter of 2020. Von Storch already has a deal to open a Vida in Ballston.” [Washington Business Journal]

ACPD Motor Squad Escorts the Caps — Members of the Arlington County Police Department’s motorcycle squad helped escort the Washington Capitals and the Stanley Cup in yesterday’s victory parade in D.C. Other regional police agencies, including Montgomery County Police, also participated. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Alex Koma June 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

A pop-up library in Crystal City could stay open through the end of 2019, should Arlington officials give the project the green light to continue this weekend.

The County Board is set to vote Saturday (June 16) on a lease extension for “The Connection,” a one-room library located at 2100 Crystal Drive. The county’s public library system opened the small space in the Crystal City Shops in 2016 as a way to expand access to books and select tech equipment, particularly for people who feel cut off by Route 1 from accessing the Aurora Hills library near Pentagon City.

But the library’s lease at the shopping center is currently set to expire at the end of the month, and the county’s budget squeeze means that Arlington Public Library will lose some of the funding it previously set aside to run the pop-up location.

Nevertheless, County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending that the Board approve an extended lease with the Crystal City Shops, through Dec. 31, 2019, and county staff note in a report that the public library system fully expects to continue funding the pop-up library through its own budget.

The matter is set for review as part of the Board’s consent agenda on Saturday, a slate of items typically approved without much debate.

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