In past years, Arlington has been ranked as having some of the worst drivers in the nation. That doesn’t surprise Brian Meenaghan, who has started a Twitter account to document what he views as a never-ending parade of bad drivers on his block.
Meenaghan, an Arlington Heights resident, started the Twitter account @BadDriversof1stRdS at the end of April. The account focuses on the worst offenders on the 3600 block of 1st Road S., a one-way street located in a high traffic area around S. Glebe Road, Route 50 and the Thomas Jefferson middle school and community center.
“I started this account as a cathartic thing because we’ve had a lot of frustrations on our little block. We’re about 400-450 feet long as a block and we dead end at a middle school,” said Meenaghan. “We have people whipping up this block and people coming the wrong way from the middle school. Because of the oddity of the exit for Route 50 around Glebe Road, we also have a lot of people turning around in driveways and going back up the wrong way, trying to go back to 50.”
Meenaghan’s main concern is drivers going the wrong way on the one-way street (traffic is supposed to only flow from S. Glebe Road to Old Glebe Road). From cars to school buses and even Metrobuses, Meenaghan has caught all types of drivers driving the wrong way or speeding — or both — on the narrow street. Photos and video posted to the Twitter account document the broken traffic laws. (See some of the tweets, below.)
“I work downtown and I’m not here physically during the day all that much and I personally see three or four people turning around every day. I’m probably outside maybe 45 minutes to an hour before dinner with my daughter and I see in just that short amount of time a lot of people going the wrong way,” said Meenaghan.
The Twitter account is a joint venture with his neighbors, who often supply the photos he uploads to the website. Meenaghan said he and his neighbors have been trying for years to convince Arlington County to implement traffic calming measures on the block.
“My neighbors are all very involved in this,” said Meenaghan. “I’m not here that much so I’m not here to take a lot of these pictures. You miss a lot of them because they happen so quickly. Probably six of my neighbors have given me photos over the last couple of weeks. It’s kind of a group-wide effort.”
Part of the impetus for the effort is that the block is now chock full of children.
“We now have 15 kids on this block. There are only 23 houses and there are 15 kids under the age of 10. There have been five kids born in the last six months,” said Meenaghan. (One could perhaps see the block as a microcosm of the challenges with burgeoning enrollment facing Arlington Public Schools.)
Along with the kids living on the block, the presence of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at the end of the block means that there is a constant stream of kids on the block during the school year. It’s only set to become busier, with continued growth at the middle school and the construction of a new elementary school on the middle school’s former parking lot.
Motorcades for groups of Vietnam War veterans will result in rolling highway closures and potential traffic tie-ups Memorial Day weekend.
The Arlington County Police Department announced Monday that there will be temporary closures on I-66 eastbound on Saturday, May 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The closures are in place to allow Vietnam War veterans to travel to Arlington National Cemetery.
Other roads to be affected by the motorcades include Route 110 southbound and Washington Blvd near Columbia Pike, according to police.
Also, traffic in and around Crystal City is expected to experience delays between 12:30 p.m and 1:30 p.m due to police escorts for another veterans group through the area.
Memorial Day weekend will also bring traffic disruptions on Friday and Sunday due to the 29th annual Rolling Thunder ride, which is separate from the Saturday veterans event. Starting Sunday morning a Rolling Thunder rally will be held at the Pentagon parking lot. That will be followed by a noon departure across the Memorial Bridge and into D.C., before another gathering near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Firefighters freed an individual from an overturned car in Rosslyn yesterday morning.
The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. Sunday. A two-car crash on N. Nash Street, in front of the Turnberry Tower condo building, led to one of the vehicles flipping on its roof.
“It appeared to me that the grey car was pulling out of a parking spot on the east side of N. Nash and it and the black car collided,” said David Mitchell, who witnessed the aftermath of the wreck. “The black car appeared to be going north on N. Nash and the impact of the collision caused the black car to roll over. There did not appear to be any damage to the cars parked on the west side of N. Nash.”
“I did speak to one person who arrived on the scene about the same time as Engine 110,” Mitchell continued. “He reported, ‘the firemen dived right into the car to check on the occupants.’ He was impressed with their actions and the speed at which they worked. I would say that the sole occupant of the black car was extricated within 15 minutes after ACFD’s arrival.”
There were no reports that anyone suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash.
Photos courtesy David J. Mitchell
A two-vehicle collision resulted in an SUV overturning on Route 1 (Jefferson Davis) this morning.
The crash happened in rainy weather around 10:15 a.m., at the 27th Street S. intersection in Crystal City. An SUV flipped on its roof and a car suffered heavy front-end damage in the wreck.
Two ambulances have been called to the scene, but none of the injuries are reported to be life-threatening.
Northbound Route 1 is down to one lane as crews continue to clean up the wreckage and spilled fluids.
Hat tip to @SRod17
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) A man has been struck by a car on 10th Street N. in Clarendon.
The crash happened around 6:45 p.m., on 10th Street N. at the N. Garfield Street intersection, just west of Washington Blvd.
Initial reports suggest a driver in an SUV struck the man as he was in the marked crosswalk. The man, said to be in his 20s, was bloodied but conscious and alert when paramedics arrived. He was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A nearby resident said the intersection is dangerous because drivers speed up as they turn onto 10th Street from Washington Blvd.
“This is what I’ve feared for the longest time and why I’ve repeatedly complained to be county,” said Anne McKenna. “It is a notoriously horrible intersection.”
McKenna said she was instrumental in getting Arlington County to install bright crosswalk signs at the crossing two years ago, but they’ve had little impact on driving behaviors.
“No cars ever stop in that crosswalk and… there is no enforcement,” she wrote in an email. “I’ve never seen ONE law enforcement/code enforcement person in that intersection.”
Police are investigating the crash, but McKenna said the driver, who remained on scene after the crash, was allowed to drive off. Police charged the driver with failure to yield, a minor traffic infraction.
“No arrest or any justice for pedestrians,” McKenna said. “Huge blood stain in street.”
This is the second significant pedestrian crash in Arlington in the past two weeks. Last week a teenage girl was struck and seriously injured while walking in a crosswalk on Washington Blvd in Ballston.
Arlington County is conducting a pedestrian and bike safety campaign this week.
Editor’s note: Citing a witness, an earlier version of this article mistakenly identified the victim as female. Police say the victim was a man.
Arlington County firefighters are responding to a brush fire in Crystal City.
The smoky fire broke out in the median along Route 1, near the 23rd Street intersection.
Police and an Alexandria medic unit are on scene, attempting to use a fire extinguisher to control the blaze.
Update at 3:05 p.m. — The fire is reported to be out.
Yes, if you drive through Bluemont via Wilson Blvd during rush hour, your commute has lengthened since Arlington County reconfigured the road. But not by much.
According to a county traffic study, rush hour travel times have increased by only 3 to 15 seconds in each direction. Much of that can be attributed to buses stopping to pick up and drop off passengers, blocking what’s now the only through lane, county staff told residents at a community meeting Thursday night.
Last year, Wilson Blvd was repaved and restriped between the Safeway and Bon Air Park, so that instead of four lanes of traffic, it is now has two lanes of traffic (one in each direction), a turn lane and two bike lanes. Immediately after the changes, some residents said they loved the change, while others complained about a supposed traffic nightmare that they said added 20-40 minutes to their commute.
The lane restriping was largely billed as a safety improvement. Some of the numbers cited by country staff suggest a statistical mixed bag.
The number of vehicle crashes along the reconfigured section of roadway increased slightly, from 3 in the 9 months before the project to 4 in the 9 months after. The number of trips by bicyclists using the stretch of roadway over a 12 hour period increased from 14 to 72, but the number of pedestrians walking along Wilson decreased from 56 to 41 during the same period, according to the presentation given by county staff.
The presentation listed the following “pros” and “cons” of the project.
- Improved bicycle safety
- New buffer for existing sidewalks
- Less potential for speeding
- Less backup due to left turning vehicles
- More delay on side streets accessing Wilson Blvd
- More vehicular delay due to local bus activity
In its assessment, county staff says the project was a success. The county is now considering options for similar work along Wilson Blvd west of Manchester Street, between the Dominion Hills and Boulevard Manor neighborhoods. That and improvements to the narrow sidewalks along Wilson Blvd have been proposed and may be considered during the county’s upcoming Capital Improvement Plan process.
“There is currently no funding for a long-term project, however, we’ll continue to look for opportunities to extend the demonstration study,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “We consider the study to be successful overall and have seen substantial improvements to pedestrian and bicycle safety.”
Old Dominion Drive is being shut down in both directions in the area of N. Wakefield Street and Lee Highway due to downed utility lines.
A truck brought down the lines and damaged at least one utility pole in the process.
An extended closure is possible and may make “a mess” of the evening rush hour, according to police radio traffic.
— Dale E. Brown (@daleebrown) April 11, 2016
It was not a good morning commute if you were driving on Route 50 or riding Metro’s Orange or Silver lines over the last hour or so.
First, a crash on Route 50 at N. Fillmore Street around 8 a.m. left a vehicle on its side and one person trapped, before being extricated by firefighters. The eastbound lanes of Route 50 just reopened after an extended closure. Delays extends back several miles.
On Metro, a number of issues on the Orange and Silver line have produced big delays and crowded station.
Orange Line: Expect delays in both directions due to a signal problem outside West Falls Church.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 5, 2016
Orange/Silver Line passengers, trains single tracking btwn Ballston & Court House. Disabled train at Clarendon, expect delays. 8:39a #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 5, 2016
Disabled Orange Line train at Clarendon moving off the line. Expect delays as trains resume spacing. 8:44a #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 5, 2016
As a bonus, there were also some issues on the Yellow and Blue lines.
Disabled Yellow Line train at King Street moving off the line. Expect residual delays as trains resume spacing. 8:38a #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 5, 2016
Yellow/Blue Line: Normal service has resumed at King Street.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 5, 2016
“Water main work will continue on Arlington Ridge Road through the evening rush hour with detours in place at 23rd Street in both directions,” according to an Arlington Alert. “Please seek alternate routes.”
Arlington Ridge Road is typically busy during rush hours, utilized both by local residents and Alexandria commuters exiting I-395. The road also closed last summer for water line installation work and in Feb. 2014 for a water main break.
The Metrorail system will reopen at 5 a.m. Thursday, following today’s shutdown, but riders should expect possible single-tracking and delays as crews continue to fix damaged power cables along the tracks.
That’s the word from officials at a 6 p.m. press conference, in which Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld showed a video (above) of a damaged “jumper cable” found during today’s inspections. With most of the inspections complete, 26 damaged cables have been found — mostly along the Blue, Orange and Silver lines — and 18 have been repaired so far.
Fears of a traffic nightmare today largely did not materialize, as many workers either telecommuted, took buses or rode bikes to work. The morning commute was a bit slower than usual on some routes, while evening rush hour traffic — at least in Arlington — was lighter than usual.
Bus stops were certainly more crowded than usual today, but some of the biggest queues could be found at Reagan National Airport, as travelers waited for taxis.
The taxi line at Reagan. It literally 20 seconds to wish I was anywhere else but DC. pic.twitter.com/6LckRIMxQZ
— Greg Otto (@gregotto) March 16, 2016
So this whole shutting down wmata thing is working out well at DCA. No ubers, but I'm psyched to wait for a cab. pic.twitter.com/3AGOOPs4Q9
— Alexis Levinson (@alexis_levinson) March 16, 2016
After the jump: the press release from WMATA about the inspections and the planned reopening of the system Thursday.
Looking for evidence of a nightmare commute due to today’s Metrorail shutdown? Look no further than I-395.
I-395 is slow for the entire length of the highway, from the Beltway to the 14th Street Bridge. The good news is that traffic appears to be moving — just slowly.
Route 50 is also jammed, starting around Washington Blvd. The southbound lanes of the GW Parkway are slow from the bridge over Donaldson Run to Key Bridge, while northbound traffic is very heavy from Alexandria to the 14th Street Bridge. Washington Blvd is crawling all the way from I-395 to the Key Bridge.
There’s also heavier-than-usual traffic on some local roads. Clarendon Blvd is slow from Courthouse to Rosslyn. Eastbound Lee Highway jams up starting at N. Rhodes Street to Rosslyn. Pretty much the entire street grid of central Rosslyn is a mess.
There are some surprising bright spots: I-66 is pretty clear for most of the stretch inside the Beltway. Route 1 could be worse. And Columbia Pike traffic doesn’t appear to be out of the ordinary.
Despite the traffic mixed bag, it’s obvious that Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) doesn’t want to make the Metro shutdown a regular occurrence, based on his tweet below.
This morning we get a sad, frustrating vision of what a working day in our nation's capital is like #WithoutMetro
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) March 16, 2016
AAA Mid-Atlantic says losing an hour of sleep Sunday morning could produce more drowsy driving all week.
The organization issued the following press release on Friday.
Wake up sleepyhead. Blame it on old Benjamin Franklin. The sleepiness begins again at 2 a.m. this coming Sunday. The time shift in the wee hours can break the sleep cycle and the “grogginess can persist all day” in a nation that already doesn’t get adequate sleep. Insomnia is deadly behind the wheel. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers (32 percent) confessed they were so tired they drove drowsy during the previous 30 days, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The number of nodding drivers on the road might increase during next Monday’s commute times, the day after the biannual transition to and from Daylight Saving Time.
The “first six days of daylight saving time can prove dangerous for drivers and other highway users,” some research suggests. However, other researchers say their studies demonstrated “that transitions into and out of daylight saving time did not increase the number of traffic road accidents.”
“The shift in time can engender a shift in circadian rhythm. Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk, and it can be just as dangerous, research shows. Too many people drive under the influence of sleep,” said Tom Calcagni, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Director of Public and Government Affairs.
Southbound traffic is being detoured between Patrick Henry Drive and 20th Street, just south of Lee Highway, according to the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services. The closure is due to emergency water main repairs, said an Arlington Alert email.
“Seek alternate routes,” DES said via Twitter.
Separately, Marshall Drive remains closed tonight near the Iwo Jima Memorial due to a sinkhole reported this morning. Repairs to the roadway are still underway, according to scanner traffic.
Crews are working to repair a sinkhole on Marshall Drive next to Iwo Jima Memorial. Road closure in effect. pic.twitter.com/qHwp8rhH2C
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) March 10, 2016
Photo (top) via Google Maps
We’re in the midst of the pothole season — that bumpy time on local roads as the spring thaw starts and asphalt pockmarks form.
Arlington County says its crews have filled 2,440 potholes this season, a relatively low number compared to last year’s record-setting 12,100 potholes following a rough winter.
They’re not here to save the world but the County’s Pothole Busters are out to prevent some haunting damage to tires, rims and maybe even your car’s pricey suspension.
If there’s a growing rut in your neighborhood, pick up the phone and call the Department of Environmental Services’ (DES) customer care center at 703-228-6570 (after hours, use 703-228-6555) to report the offender. Or complete the County’s online “Report a Problem” form.
Issues related to state routes such as Washington Boulevard are forwarded to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
With the arrival of warm weather, DES Pothole Buster crews have ramped up repairs along Arlington’s 974 lane miles of roads. Some 2,440 potholes have been filled so far this season. Last year the County patched a record-setting 12,100 dips and depressions.
In the words of Pothole Buster deputy director of operations Mike Moon, the goal is for all our streets to be “safe, smooth and durable” after a blizzard’s worth of harm.
Motorists can help by staying cautious and alert as additional trucks and crews are out repairing what at times may look like a supernatural asphalt assault.
For updates on Pothole Busters progress, follow @ArlingtonDES on Facebook and Twitter and look for the hashtag #PotholeBusters.