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by Bridget Reed Morawski April 6, 2018 at 10:00 am 0

If you live near I-66, between the East Falls Church and Ballston Metro stations, the rumbling of Metro trains is a noise you’re probably used to.

But at least one person who lives in that area has taken to social media to comment on what she says is a recent escalation in noise: the constant, loud honking by trains as they roll by.

Video uploaded to Twitter indeed seems to show jarringly loud honking for a residential neighborhood.

The resident posted that she has lived at that location for 13 years and that this is a new neighborhood problem.

The social media complaints go as far back as January 22, and regular Twitter posts indicate that the honking hasn’t ceased or abated, and occurs after rush hour as well as on the weekends.

Though WMATA officials haven’t yet answered an ARLnow request for comment, Metro replied to the resident on Wednesday via Twitter and said that the honking is a safety measure.

“Thank you for contacting us about the frequent honking near your home,” the transit agency wrote. “At times trains may come across animals or unauthorized people near or on the tracks resulting in the operator to blow the train horn. Your tweet was shared with the Rail Division for review.”

That explanation, the resident replied, seems unlikely given the frequency of the honking.

“Thank you for responding, however this is a constant occurrence… All day every single day,” she said. “This is new and extremely intrusive to anyone who has a home nearby.”

Update at 2:15 p.m. — The resident who first contacted ARLnow.com about the honking says it has stopped since the publication of this article. Also via Twitter, some say that the honks may have to do with workers on or near the tracks.

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 5, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

Real-time arrival information for ART buses is suffering another outage today (April 5).

The outage comes less than a day after the service was restored from a separate, five-day outage.

Eric Balliet, an Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman, said that today’s outage was due to “intermittent connectivity issues.” He added that there is not an estimated restoration time at the moment.

An ART service alert was issued at around 1 p.m. today regarding the outage, though commuters were tweeting about the outage as early as 10:37 a.m. this morning.

The repeat outage comes the same day that commuters faced a major WMATA service disruption between the East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro stations. WMATA supplements the ART’s bus service, but is separately operated.

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 5, 2018 at 8:15 am 0

Service was restored between East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro stations after grinding to a halt Thursday morning (April 5) for several hours.

Service was restored at about 8 a.m., but delays are expected to last at least throughout the morning. Metro referred to the incident as both a track problem and fire department activity at the Virginia Square Metro station.

The Arlington Fire Department tweeted that the Virginia Square Metro station was evacuated at about 6:20 a.m. due to smoke in the tunnel.

At about 6:58 a.m., the department tweeted that fire department units were going back in service, that much of the smoke was clear, and that commuters should expect “residual delays.”

The suspended service affects the Orange and Silver lines directly, though Metro tweeted that blue line delays were possible considering the congestion built up from the other lines.

On the highways, drivers reported heavier than usual traffic.

“We all suffer when the Metro fudges up,” one driver told ARLnow, who was stuck on I-66 in what she said was unusually heavy traffic for that part of her commute.

Several would-be riders took to Twitter to report long lines for WMATA buses and shuttles, as well as a general sense of “chaos” and “meltdown” at certain stations.

File photo

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 4, 2018 at 3:55 pm 0

Arlington Transit’s real-time bus arrival information has been restored after being out of service for at least five days.

Arlington County said via Twitter that the ART arrival info was “temporarily unavailable due to technical problems.”

A request for more information relating to the cause of the outage was not immediately responded to by an Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesperson.

Without the arrival times, some riders said they were left waiting for buses that never came.

File photo

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 23, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

The County Manager’s fiscal year 2019 proposed budget includes service eliminations to Arlington Transit bus routes 92 and 54.

The reductions would save the county $356,771 in 2019, according to the proposed budget. Public hearings on the budget and tax rate are scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 5, respectively.

The routes “are not meeting minimum service standards,” according to the budget document, and “service delivery can potentially be met by other transit or other modes such as Capital BikeShare.”

ART Route 92 runs weekdays from the Crystal City Metro station to the Pentagon Metro station via Long Bridge Park. Several WMATA routes also run through that area.

According to the ART Route 92 web page, “the route also serves as a shuttle for those working at Boeing and the U.S. Marshals Service.”

ART Route 54 operates weekdays during the morning and afternoon rush hours from Dominion Hills to the East Falls Church Metro station via Madison Manor neighborhood.

Both routes have “experienced low ridership (3 passengers per hour) and [have] performed below the established minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour and a 20 percent cost recovery ratio,” according to budget documents.

The County Board is expected to adopt its final budget on April 21.

by ARLnow.com March 21, 2018 at 11:00 am 0

Most roads in Arlington have become snow-covered throughout the course of the morning as the D.C. area’s first — and likely last — big snowstorm of the season continues.

A look at traffic cameras in various parts of the county shows light traffic and — for the most part — snowy but still drivable roads. Drivers are, however, having difficulty getting up and down some hilly streets.

Authorities have been urging those who do not absolutely have to get somewhere to keep their cars parked today.

Mass transit is still running, but at reduced service levels. WMATA made the following announcement around 10:30 a.m.

Due to deteriorating weather conditions, Metro is announcing the following service changes, effective as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday:

Metrobus service is transitioning to a Severe Snow Plan, which will further limit service to major roadways only. Due to current road conditions, buses are subject to significant delays systemwide, and customers should travel only if absolutely necessary. For details about the Severe Snow Plan, visit: https://www.wmata.com/rider-guide/weather/bus/severe.cfm

MetroAccess service is no longer accepting “outbound” trips due to current weather conditions. Service will continue to be provided only for customers who need to be transported back to their residences.

Metrorail continues to operate on a modified schedule. Trains are operating about every 12-15 minutes on each line. There are no issues to report on the rail system at this time.

Arlington Transit buses, meanwhile, are also operating at “severe service” levels.

More via social media:

UPDATE: Traffic is light and most roads around Arlington appear to be snow-covered, though major arteries are being treated

Posted by Arlington Now on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Video (above) by Dwayne Stewart

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 1, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

Safety improvements on three Custis Trail intersections have begun.

The project will reconfigure bike lanes at N. Quinn and N. Scott streets, as well as widen the Custis Trail. Other safety improvements include curb extensions, ADA-compliant curb ramps, trail separation from Lee Highway, and crosswalks with higher visibility.

Construction has temporarily closed a lane of Lee Highway. Jersey barriers have been erected to form a bike detour along the right-hand, westbound lane of Lee Highway between N. Scott Street and N. Oak Street.

At least one Arlington bicyclist took to social media to cheer on the bicycling infrastructure, saying the jersey barriers were “better than 99 percent of bike facilities in the U.S.”

In addition to the Lee Highway lane closure, the north legs of the intersection at both N. Scott Street and N. Oak Street will be restricted to one lane. Northbound traffic will be permitted only at the N. Scott Street intersection, while southbound traffic will be permitted only at N. Oak Street intersection, according to the county.

Detour signs will be present to guide drivers out of the North Highlands neighborhood.

The bus stop for the ART 55 and WMATA 3Y buses will be relocated from the construction zone to the west side of the N. Scott Street and Lee Highway intersection. Part of the construction includes plans for an improved bus stop with a bench.

Project funding comes from a Federal Highway Administration bicycle and pedestrian safety program grant.

Work hours are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday through Thursday, and between  9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. The project web page notes that construction is anticipated to wrap up at all three points in May.

The Custis Trail project is being done in concert with the N. Lynn Street esplanade project, for which the Arlington County approved additional funding this week.

by ARLnow.com January 22, 2018 at 9:15 am 0

Update at 1:15 p.m. — Repairs were completed and normal service resumed before noon, Metro says.

Update at 9:45 a.m. — All Blue and Yellow line service between National Airport and the Pentagon has been suspended due to “unscheduled track repairs.” The Pentagon City and Crystal City stations are being evacuated, Blue and Yellow line service is being run in two separate segments, and a shuttle is being established.

A large fire department response is on scene at the Pentagon City Metro station due to a track fire.

The apparent insulator fire is on one of the track at the station, producing light smoke. As of 9:15 a.m., the station was not being evacuated, but trains were being offloaded.

The Arlington County Police Department is helping to direct traffic in the area.

Trains are currently halted but Metro is preparing to single-track through the station, according to scanner traffic.

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.

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