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by Chris Teale December 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

The East Falls Church Metro station could get more bus stops in the future, if the Virginia Department of Transportation agrees to an Arlington County plan.

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Saturday (December 16) to ask VDOT to redraw a limited access line for I-66 next to the Metro station’s park and ride lot, and make it parallel to the highway.

The highway’s limited access lines restrict uses on some of the land that surrounds it, which is intended to make the highway safer and easier to maintain. The land in question bounded by the line is currently used as a park and ride bus loop.

The redrawn lines on VDOT-owned land could free up space at the Metro station for more bus stations.

Metrobus and Fairfax Connector are planning more bus service connecting the station to Seven Corners, while Alexandria is exploring a bus rapid transit service to Tysons Corner, with a stop at the East Falls Church Metro station. Staff said the growth of bus service means this change is necessary.

“It is because of these myriad transit pressures, as well as ongoing coordination with VDOT related to moving more people more efficiently, that the County is requesting a change in the limited access line to allow for more land that can be used for purposes other than highway needs at the East Falls Church Metrorail Station,” staff wrote in a report. “By enacting this shift now, the County can feasibly plan, with its partners, for future bus-to-rail transfer capacity at the East Falls Church Metrorail station on land that is now used as a park and ride facility, and that will be used as a park and ride facility for the foreseeable future.”

Because VDOT owns the land, it has the final say on any line shifts.

Photo (top) via Arlington County, (bottom) courtesy Elvert Barnes

by Chris Teale December 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Anyone looking to get online at some of Arlington County’s Metro stations can now do so using free Wi-Fi provided by Metro.

As part of an expansion to 24 more stations, users at Rosslyn, Clarendon, Courthouse, Crystal City will now be able to access the free wireless internet. Free Wi-Fi is now offered at 30 underground Metro stations throughout the system.

Metro said it expects that all other underground Metro stations — which includes the likes of Ballston, Virginia Square and Pentagon City — to have free Wi-Fi by mid-2018.

And for those riding Metrorail on New Year’s Eve, special late-night service will run until 2 a.m. for those returning from festivities. And in addition, track work will be suspended from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve through closing New Year’s Day.

“We are pleased to offer extended hours on Metrorail during New Year’s Eve as a service to our customers who will be ringing in the New Year,” Metro general manager/CEO Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement. “I also want to thank our employees who will be working to provide the public with a safe and responsible option to get around.”

by Chris Teale November 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Reagan National Airport is preparing for one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Between Friday, November 17, and Tuesday, November 28, more than 28.5 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 3 percent from 2016, according to industry estimates.

Trade association Airlines for America said it expects the busiest travel days to be Sunday, November 26 and Wednesday, November 22, while the lightest is expected to be Thanksgiving Day.

Anyone travelling to and from the region’s airports can expect more congestion on the roads and inside the terminals, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

MWAA had the following tips for travelers, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale October 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

Shuttle buses will replace trains this weekend on a section of Metro’s Yellow and Blue Lines in Arlington County.

Buses will run between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro stations from 7 a.m. Saturday through closing Sunday as crews install communication cables and rehabilitate platforms.

The Reagan National Airport and Crystal City Metro stations will be closed.

From a Metro announcement on the weekend work:

Blue Line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals between Pentagon City & Largo Town Center and every 15 minutes between Franconia-Springfield & Braddock Road. 

Yellow Line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals between Pentagon City & Mt Vernon Square and every 15 minutes between Huntington & Braddock Road. Customers traveling to/from stations north of Mt Vernon Sq should use the Green Line to complete their trip.

Free shuttle buses will operate between Pentagon City, Crystal City, National Airport and Braddock Road. Please allow 15 minutes of travel time for each station stop.

Stations closed: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Crystal City.

To allow for shuttle bus connections, the last train will depart Franconia-Springfield at 11:56 p.m. Saturday and 9:56 p.m. Sunday, 30 minutes earlier than normal.

Work performed: Communication cable installation and platform rehabilitation.

For those not wanting to get on the free shuttle buses, ART’s 43 bus between Courthouse and Crystal City offers an alternative, as well as the Transitway along U.S. Route 1 between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro stations via Potomac Yard and Crystal City.

by ARLnow.com October 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Numerous Arlington County Fire Department units are arriving at the Courthouse Metro station to investigate a report of smoke in the station.

The fire department says there is an arcing insulator near the station and firefighters are gathering on the platform level. There is a “slight haze” in the station, according to scanner traffic.

Drivers should expect road closures in the area due to the emergency response and Metro riders should expect delays on the Orange and Silver lines. A Metro emergency response team is en route to the station.

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) The number of Arlington residents commuting via bicycle is on the rise, according to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, contrary to the national trend.

The survey showed that in 2016, 2.4 percent of Arlington commuters cycled to work, up from 1.9 percent in 2015. That number is an average of men and women, but slightly more men commute by bicycle. “We think it’s great, of course, and part of a longer trend,” said BikeArlington program director Henry Dunbar. “The bike mode share has tripled since 2009 (0.8 percent), and will keep climbing as Arlington continues to improve its bike infrastructure and more people learn that biking is often the quickest and cheapest way to get around.”

Arlington’s bike commuting growth is in line with Washington, DC, where 4.6 percent of all commuters now cycle, up from 4.1 percent the previous year. But the region’s commuting habits are not indicative of those in the rest of the country. The Census Bureau shows that last year bike commuting was down nationwide for the second year in a row, falling from 0.59 percent to 0.57 percent of all commuters.

The survey offered data but no possible causation for the numbers. However, a number of factors likely contribute to the nationwide bike commuting slump, including low gas prices and more people working from home. Arlington, however, has been designated a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, due in part to its bike-friendly infrastructure and the volume of cyclists.

Other data revealed by the latest census figures include:

  • 26 percent of Arlington commuters take public transit
  • 5.7 percent of Arlington’s workforce works from home
  • 34 percent of Arlington workers work in Arlington, while another 24.1 percent work elsewhere in Virginia and 41.8 percent work outside the state

by Katie Pyzyk September 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Starting in October, a construction project will close the Van Buren Bridge near the East Falls Church Metro until next spring.

The bridge expansion and replacement project is scheduled to begin the week of October 16, and all bridge access will end at that time. In a letter to residents, the City of Falls Church indicated that construction is expected to continue at least through March 2018.

During construction, Van Buren Street will be closed between 19th Street North in Arlington and East Columbia Street in Falls Church. Northbound vehicles will be rerouted from Columbia Street to Roosevelt Street and 19th Street North. Southbound vehicles will be rerouted from 19th Street North to Sycamore Street and 16th Street North. Cyclists and pedestrians will detour on an existing bridge along the W&OD trail in Benjamin Banneker Park.

Construction is expected to take place most weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and some weekend work may also be necessary. Residents in the affected area will still have access to their driveways and homes when the closure is in effect.

The project to remove and rebuild the existing Van Buren Bridge will repair structural deficiencies and add pedestrian access along the corridor to the East Falls Church Metro. The new bridge will have two lanes for vehicle traffic and cyclists in addition to a 12-foot wide pedestrian walkway.

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

A malfunctioning elevator at the Ballston Metro station made for an unpleasant morning commute for a woman at the Ballston Metro station Thursday.

The woman was trapped inside the station’s elevator at ground level after the doors would not open.

The Arlington County Fire Department was called and firefighters used the “jaws of life,” a heavy-duty hydraulic tool, to pry open the elevator doors. The started passenger was then able to squeeze out of the gap between the doors, where she was evaluated by paramedics.

ACFD posted a video of the incident on its Twitter account.

by ARLnow.com September 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm 0

For at least the second time this week, a large contingent of Arlington County Fire Department vehicles has descended on the Rosslyn Metro station for a report of a track fire.

Initial reports suggest there is an arcing insulator somewhere in the tunnel between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom stations — a seemingly persistent problem that has not been resolved by Metro’s extensive SafeTrack maintenance catch-up program.

Since a woman died on a Yellow Line train that filled with smoke near the L’enfant Metro station in 2015, ACFD sends the cavalry — a full “transportation incident” response — every time there is a report of smoke in a tunnel or fire on the tracks.

Shortly after arriving on scene, firefighters determined that there was no smoke in the Rosslyn station and that Metro’s emergency maintenance team would be taking the lead in resolving what was described as a minor track fire. Most fire department units are going back to their stations.

N. Moore Street is closed in front of the Metro station as a result of the emergency response. Metro riders should expect delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.

by ARLnow.com September 13, 2017 at 3:40 pm 0

Update at 4:40 p.m. — Most fire department units are picking up and returning to their stations as Metro crews work to resolve the track issue.

Earlier: A platoon of Arlington County Fire Department units are on scene at the Rosslyn Metro station for a report of a fire on the tracks.

Initial reports suggest that the fire is an arcing insulator somewhere between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom, and that trains are turning around to avoid it. No smoke has been reported in the Rosslyn station.

Metro riders should expect delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. Police are closing N. Moore Street to traffic due to the fire response.

by Chris Teale September 8, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Metro is seeking feedback on proposed changes to numerous bus lines, including the plans for new Columbia Pike service as well as other services that run through Arlington County.

Under a series of proposed changes put forward for Metrobus in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, Metro has put forward a plan to “restructure” service on Columbia Pike, in keeping with Arlington’s transit plan for the Pike.

A so-called “Premium Transit Network” is planned for the Pike and is set to open next summer instead of the cancelled streetcar. It will offer limited-stop service and “new or enhanced connections between Crystal City, Pentagon City and Skyline City.”

The buses are set to have a unique look, have additional service in Arlington to keep up with demand and consolidate all current Metrobus routes — the 16A, 16B, 16G, 16H, 16J, 16K and 16P — under the new network.

Other proposed changes to bus lines that run through Arlington are:

  • 4A, 4B (Pershing Drive to Arlington Blvd)

Provide additional 4B trips in response to ridership, with the 4A operating only during weekday rush hours, with weekday midday and evening service eliminated. The county has proposed the 4A become a local ART bus route in FY 2020.

  • 7A, 7F (Lincolnia to North Fairlington)

Modify service to operate via Pentagon City between the Pentagon and Shirlington to serve Pentagon City. New timetables will reflect an increase in the time between buses of approximately five minutes to accommodate additional travel time between the Pentagon and Pentagon City.

  • 10E (Hunting Point to the Pentagon)

Eliminate 10E service to Rosslyn, and have the route operate between Pentagon and Hunting Point in Alexandria only.

  • 22A, 22B (Barcroft to South Fairlington)

Modify Route 22A to operate via Pentagon City between the Pentagon and Shirlington to serve Pentagon City.  New timetables would reflect an increase in the time between buses of approximately five minutes to accommodate additional travel time between the Pentagon and Pentagon City. Route 22B would be eliminated, with alternate service on Metrobus 22A and 22C.

  • Metroway

Service would be every eight minutes during rush hour between Pentagon City and the Braddock Road Metro station on all trips to better match Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines.

Per a Metro press release, there are several ways community members can have their say:

  • Complete an online survey.
  • Fill out a paper survey and drop it in collection boxes located near the fare gates at Metrorail stations closest to the impacted routes. There is no need to take multiple surveys.
  • Provide feedback to outreach staff September 6 – September 21, at designated times and locations on-board buses or at Metrorail stations.
  • Attend an open house Tuesday, September 26, 2017, beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by a public hearing from 6 – 7 p.m. Speaker registration is onsite only. Venue: Metro Headquarters Building (600 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001)

The deadline for providing feedback is 9 a.m. on Monday, October 2.

by Chris Teale August 10, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Arlington County Board vice chair Katie Cristol said the plan to make a stretch of a Rosslyn street pedestrian-only could attract more people to the neighborhood.

The county’s long-term plan for Rosslyn includes a multi-block, pedestrian-only stretch of 18th Street N. to replace the skywalk system that extends east to N. Arlington Ridge Road.

The Board laid the foundations for that plan last year when it approved adding pedestrian-only streets and low-speed “shared streets” for bicycles, pedestrians and other transit options to its transportation repertoire.

And in a conversation with WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi this afternoon (Thursday) about a proposal to make a street in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood pedestrian only, Cristol said pedestrian-only streets could help Rosslyn draw more non-residents to the area.

“It would foster and facilitate the conversion of this urban core from an area that people travel through to an area that people travel to, and participate in commerce and can live and work and recreate and shop and patronize businesses in a safe and lively environment to do that,” Cristol said of the pedestrian-centric plan.

She added that such pedestrian-only streets are influenced by wanting to see a “European or pre-1920s U.S. vision of city uses other than vehicular.”

The plan has already had an impact on future development in that area. In July, the Board deferred a plan to reconfigure the nearby Rosslyn Metro Center shopping mall after staff found it would “hinder achievement” of the so-called 18th Street Corridor.

Cristol said that while it is important to think about making streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, the county is not looking to punish those who would prefer to drive.

“This conversation for us in Arlington is a little bit less about how do we restrict people’s ability to use their cars, and how do we expand travel options and safety for everyone using our streets,” she said.

Cristol said the county’s use of shared streets, which encourage more pedestrians, bicyclists and transit as well as cars traveling at lower speeds, is something it will continue to explore. Shared streets have features like different paving materials, larger sidewalks and improved crosswalks, and already exist in places like Penrose Square off Columbia Pike.

Almost every project approved in the county has elements of that in its streetscape, and Cristol said there are “definitely a lot of opportunities for this kind of shared street category” in areas like Courthouse. Sections of 14th and 15th Streets N. in the neighborhood are slated to become shared streets.

by ARLnow.com July 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

(Updated at 7:10 p.m.) More than 8,000 Dominion customers in Arlington lost electricity after a powerful storm blew through the area.

As of 5:30 p.m. Dominion was reporting 8,089 without power in Arlington, including in the Fairlington neighborhood and along Lee Highway. Some traffic lights were said to be dark on Lee Highway, including at the busy intersection of Lee Highway and Fairfax Drive.

As of 7 p.m., the number of outages had fallen to 6,039.

Several instances of downed trees, downed power lines and people stuck in elevators were reported around the county.

Meanwhile, major delays were reported on Metro’s Orange, Silver and Blue lines due to a tree that struck a train near the Dunn Loring station during the storm.

by ARLnow.com July 14, 2017 at 11:25 am 0

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Arlington County firefighters are on scene at the Rosslyn Metro station, investigating a reported track fire between Rosslyn and Courthouse.

No smoke or fire has so far been found in any of the tunnels. However, Metro is warning of delays on the Orange and Silver lines as a result of single-tracking through Rosslyn.

Traffic impacts are likely outside of the Rosslyn station due to a large number of fire department vehicles. As of 11:30 a.m., most fire personnel were starting to clear the scene, reporting that the problem is a Metro maintenance issue and not an active fire.

by ARLnow.com July 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm 0

(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) A person was struck by a train at the Virginia Square Metro station Thursday night.

The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. Initial reports suggest the person who was struck is still on the tracks and has died.

Police and firefighters are on the scene. Metro Transit Police say an adult male was on the tracks “intentionally” and was struck and killed. One witness said the deceased individual “jumped in front of… a Silver Line train headed into the city.”

Metro’s Orange and Silver lines are suspended between East Falls Church and Clarendon. Shuttles are being dispatched to the stations. Metro riders should expect delays on both lines.

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