Arlington, VA

A tree has reportedly fallen, blocking the ramp from westbound Lee Highway to I-66, near Rosslyn.

Both lanes of the ramp are currently blocked. Drivers, including the driver of a commuter bus, could be seen heading back up the ramp in reverse. An Arlington County Police officer and VDOT sign truck are now on scene and blocking off the ramp.

Those on Lee Highway hoping to reach I-66 should continue heading westbound to the entrance near Spout Run.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the tree falling.

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A portion of N. Quincy Street is slated for a makeover this summer with new pavement and a bike lane.

Officials aim to repave the stretch of N. Quincy Street between the I-66 overpass and Fairfax Drive, near Washington-Liberty High School, and potentially approve one of three designs for a new bike lane that could eliminate parking spaces.

Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services polled residents about the three bike lane designs in a recent survey. The department will host an open house about the project on Tuesday, July 9, from 6-7:30 p.m., at Washington-Liberty (1301 N. Stafford Street).

The three bike lane configurations the department is considering are:

  • Concept A: A buffered bike lane along both sides of N. Quincy Street in the northern section close to I-66. Adding the lane would eliminate 22 parking spaces along Quincy near the Buck site entrance where several single family homes sit.
  • Concept B: A buffered bike lane that runs in the middle of N. Quincy Street, which removes only 10 parking spaces in the northern section close to I-66.
  • Concept C: A buffered bike lane along the entire street, which would remove 42 parking spaces on the northern section of the street and 31 spaces on the south section.

“It’s almost like a mix and match,” DES Project Planner Christine Sherman told ARLnow. “Concept A shows parking on a block [of N. Quincy Street], concept B shows parking on a different block. Concept C shows the highest level of bike protection.”

All three concepts also add a crosswalk at the intersection of Quincy and 11th Street N. and at the entrance of the Buck property.

Sherman said DES will weigh the survey responses against engineering recommendations about safety and hopes to start the paving work later this summer.

DES tweeted about the (now closed) project survey last week, along with a reference to presidential candidate and meme-machine Marianne Williamson.

The  recently-updated bike element portion of the county’s master transportation plan proposes N. Quincy Street become part of a north-south bike corridor.

The bike element proposes several miles of bike lanes “wherever feasible” on N. Quincy Street to provide safer passage through Ballston and Virginia Square, and to connect the Arlington Forest and Chain Bridge areas.

“We have buffered and expanded bike lanes to the north of this segment and have protected bike lanes to the south,” said Sherman. “It’s an opportunity we see to create the north-south connection in the county.”

The work is also part of a larger streetscape project along Quincy Street, with repaving already completed in the sections between the I-66 overpass and Lee Highway, and between George Mason Drive and Fairfax Drive.

In August, the county finished a new bike lane on N. Quincy Street connecting the Quincy corridor to the Custis Trail. Two months before that, the county also converted parking on 5th Road N. between Quincy and N. Pollard Street to back-in, angle style parking.

Image 1, 3-5 via Arlington County, image 2 via Google Maps

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(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A portion of Shirlington Road in the Nauck neighborhood is closed due to a reported water main break.

The closure appears to be in place between S. Four Mile Run Drive and 25th Street S. Of the two Arlington County traffic cameras closest to the reported break, however, one is out of service and the other is pointed away from the closure.

“Repairs are in progress,” Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said in a tweet Monday afternoon. “Expected completion time is 10 p.m. Approximately 50 customers may be impacted. The street is closed in the area and traffic is being detoured.”

Via Twitter, Arlington Transit said ART buses are detouring around the closures.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) The westbound lanes of I-66 are blocked approaching the Spout Run Parkway in Arlington due to a vehicle fire.

The fire is now reported to be out, but the lanes are temporarily closed due to emergency activity. Traffic slows just past Rosslyn.

Police are in the process of opening up one lane of traffic to squeeze by the scene of the fire.

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A set of traffic lights near Columbia Pike isn’t working for bicycles, officials say.

The Department of Environmental Services (DES) confirmed that traffic signal at the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and 11th Street S. is not detecting bicycles.

DES crews discovered this week that an underground conduit collapsed, effectively disabling the sensors that detect bicycles waiting to cross Walter Reed Drive and trigger a green light.

“There’s currently no bike lane detection because we weren’t able to get the cable from the controller to this side of the intersection due to the collapsed conduit,” DES spokesman Eric Balliet tells ARLnow.

“Staff are working on how to address the issue, but we don’t have an estimate at this time for when a fix can be implemented,” he said.

In the meantime, the department reconfigured the intersection to give a green light to the contraflow bike lane on 11th Street during each light cycle. In a contraflow bike lane, bicyclists ride against the flow of traffic.

The department found the problem after cyclists — including Arlington County official Henry Dunbar — noted on social media earlier this month that some intersections hadn’t turned green for them.

Balliet said crews inspected N. Veitch Street and Lee Highway on Wednesday after the online complaints and found no issues.

No other intersections have known issues either, but Bailliet said in an emailed statement that some intersections use a new vehicle detection technology and it can be finicky:

The newer detection cameras the County uses for vehicular detection can also detect bicycles, but the system requires the bicycle to approach the intersection in a vehicular or bicycle lane in order to be detected. If the bicycle doesn’t adhere to the stop bar area or rides in an atypical pattern, the cameras will likely not detect the bicycle as the zones are set up with the stop bar as a reference and can only be triggered from travel in a single general direction.

He added that cameras will also fail to detect bicycles on sidewalks and riders need to continue pushing walk buttons to cross safety.

DES asks travelers to report intersection problems to the county’s online system so crews can investigate.

Images via Google Maps

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(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Police and firefighters are on scene of a potentially serious motorcycle crash at the busy intersection of Route 1 and S. Glebe Road, near Crystal City.

The driver of a car struck a motorcycle shortly before 11 a.m. Images from the scene show medics treating the injured motorcycle rider and preparing to place him or her on a stretcher, while a car with a shattered windshield and significant front-end damage sits nearby.

Drivers should expect delays near the intersection due to blocked lanes. As of around 11:30 a.m., southbound Route 1 is currently blocked and eastbound S. Glebe Road is being diverted onto S. Eads Street, according to scanner traffic. A traffic camera at the intersection that initially showed the crash scene appears to have been turned off.

The rider’s injuries “are considered critical but non-life threatening,” according to Arlington County Police. Detectives are in the process of documenting the scene and investigating the cause of the crash.

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Arlington ranks high for lots of things — parks, fitness, bike friendliness, livability — but not so much when it comes to safe driving.

Allstate’s just-released 15th annual America’s Best Drivers Report ranks Arlington No. 168 out of 200 cities studied.

According to the insurance company, drivers in the county go an average of 7.4 years between car insurance claims (compared to a national average of 10.57 years) and have an average of 25.3 “hard-braking events” per 1,000 miles (compared to the national average of 19).

The good news: Arlington drivers are getting safer. The county’s 2019 ranking is an improvement over 2013, when it was ranked 10th worst in the country.

Arlington also ranks better than other nearby cities. Washington, D.C. ranks No. 199 and Baltimore is dead last at No. 200. Alexandria, meanwhile, slots in at No. 192.

In Alexandria, Route 1 (Richmond Highway) was said to be the most “risky road” to drive on. In D.C., I-295 was the riskiest road, according to Allstate’s data.

Top on the list this year: drivers in Brownsville, Texas ranked No. 1, going 14.9 years between crashes on average.

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Proposed changes could help transform a major street in the Pentagon City and Crystal City area into a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly corridor, though it might make traffic a little more congested.

The Army Navy Drive Complete Street project would provide a physically-separated, two-way protected bicycle lane along the south side of Army Navy Drive from S. Joyce Street to 12th Street S. Changes would also make pedestrian crossings shorter and safer, with options to build dedicated transit lanes in the future.

According to the project website:

The project will rebuild Army Navy Drive within the existing right-of-way as a multimodal complete street featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, environmental and pedestrian facilities. The goal of the project is to improve the local connections between the Pentagon and the commercial, residential and retail services in Pentagon City and Crystal City.

The tradeoff for keeping all of this within the right of way is reduced motor vehicle lanes, with slowing traffic through the area billed as a feature rather than a detriment. For most of the route, traffic in each direction is at least two lanes wide, though east of S. Eads Street the plans call for it to narrow from two lanes to one in each direction.

At an open house yesterday (Tuesday) at the Aurora Hills Branch Library (735 18th Street S.), most of those in attendance were local cyclists expressing enthusiasm for the project.

“This is an unspeakably huge improvement for cycling,” said Chris Slatt, chair of the Transportation Commission. “This is a critical piece for connecting bicycle infrastructure.”

Cyclists at the meeting also took the opportunity to note that the improvements planned here were still a stark contrast to plans to realign Columbia Pike near the Air Force Memorial. Cycling advocates at the open house said the Pike plans would turn the nearby intersection of S. Joyce Street and Columbia Pike, which feeds into Army Navy Drive and is already not ideal for bicycling, into a “death trap.”

Photo (3) via Google Maps, project map via Arlington County Department of Environmental Services

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A crash has closed lanes of busy S. Glebe Road during the morning rush hour.

At least two vehicles were involved in the crash. One lane in each direction was blocked at 2nd Street S. as of around 9 a.m., according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

Drivers should expect minor delays in the area while crews work to clean up the crash scene and tow away the vehicles.

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Updated at 2:35 p.m. — “The roadway remains closed through the evening commute due to water main repairs,” per an Arlington Alert. “Expect delays and seek alternate routes.”

Earlier: An early morning water main break has prompted a major road closure in Courthouse.

Officials say a 12-inch water main burst under Clarendon Blvd, near the Courthouse Metro station, and repairs are expected to last into the afternoon.

Clarendon Blvd is currently detoured between N. Veitch Street and Courthouse Road.

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Arlington County is holding an open house Thursday night to discuss a road safety project in North Arlington.

The project is set to re-stripe portions of residential Lorcom Lane and Military Road as “complete streets” with the goal of “reducing conflicts between people driving and people biking through enhanced pavement marking and signage designs.”

Per the county:

Help us improve safety on N Lorcom Lane and N Military Road!

This repaving and remarking project is located on N Lorcom Lane (from Lee Highway to Military Road) and on N Military Road (from Vacation Lane to Lorcom Lane).

Join us anytime between 6:00-7:30 pm to learn about the project and share feedback on design concepts.

The open house is being held at Cherrydale Branch Library (2190 N. Military Road).

Map and image via Google Maps

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