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Cherrydale Has 15 Complaints About Five Points Intersection

(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The busy “Five Points Intersection” in Cherrydale, which was just overhauled to the tune of $1.7 million, is still not very popular with some people in Cherrydale.

The neighborhood’s civic association has called a meeting with county staffers to discuss “new problems caused by the County’s reconstruction.” The association listed fifteen different issues on its website.

Construction on the project, which was the result of several years of study and discussion, wrapped up this summer, but many residents remain unhappy with the way the intersection is configured.

“Years after Cherydalers offered their input, the County went ahead with its own plans for the intersection,” the civic association’s website says. “While the project offers some improvements, on balance it seems to have created more problems than it has solved. We have asked that County staff who have decision-making authority attend our meeting, but we don’t have confirmation on who exactly from the County will be attending.”

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3, at H-B Woodlawn (4100 Vacation Lane) starting at 7:30 p.m.

In response to the complaints and meeting request, Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services issued the following statement Friday.

County staff received the list of concerns from the Cherrydale Civic Association, and held an on-site meeting with them on Sept. 17. As with any right-of-way project, we intend to conduct an after-action engineering analysis upon project completion to determine whether the design of the intersection is performing as envisioned during the planning process. This analysis involves site observations and collecting traffic data, and we optimize and make tweaks as needed based on those observations. This process will take up to three months.

We will continue to work with the Civic Association. We will need to have the analysis underway in order to make recommendations on all comments for how to move forward.

The full list of 15 community concerns is below.

1. Eastbound traffic on Old Dominion during morning rush hours backs up much more substantially than it ever used to, with the back-up extending beyond Glebe Road. We are requesting that the County prioritize its signal re-timing program for this stretch of Lee Highway/Old Dominion to alleviate this back-up.

2. The County’s signal programming decisions concerning the left turn signals for cars turning left from westbound Lee Highway onto either Quincy Street or Old LeeHighway is confusing and problematic. The left arrow signal turns red after only 7- or 8- seconds after turning green, causing cars to come to a full stop. The left arrow signal then quickly resumes as a blinking yellow left arrow for another 9- or 10-seconds, but drivers must contend with oncoming traffic from Old Lee Highway. This signaling program dramatically reduces the flow of left-turning traffic and causes cars to back-up on westbound Lee Highway, especially during the afternoon rush hours. We are requesting that the County revisit this signal timing.

3. The new left turn patterns for cars turning left from Military Road onto Lee Highway and from Quincy Street onto Old Dominion is also reducing traffic flow through the intersection. The new pattern allows far fewer left-turning cars to clear the intersection before the light turns red, and also causes a queue of left-turning cars that have already entered the intersection from Military Road to remain in the intersection after the left arrow for westbound cars on Lee Highway turns green, further reducing the number of cars that can turn left from westbound Lee Highway onto either Quincy Street or Old Lee Highway. This also poses a hazard to pedestrians in the new crosswalk on Lee Highway. We are requesting that the County restore the long-standing left-turn pattern for Quincy Street and Military Road and place signs to so indicate.

4. The signal visors on the traffic lights for westbound cars proceeding from westbound Lee Highway to Old Dominion are so restrictive that westbound cars cannot even clearly see the signals. This is causing confusion and reducing the flow of westbound traffic through the intersection.

5. Collectively, these signal problems make for angry drivers who tend to speed through the intersection after the signals have changed, which is extremely dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

6. The new pedestrian crosswalk on the east side of the intersection near Browns Honda and Northside Vet is very hard to see for drivers turning left from Military Road onto eastbound Lee Highway and is behind the stop line for westbound Lee Highway. Drivers caught in the short left-turn signal from westbound Lee Highway tend to block the cross walk, and other westbound cars also block the crosswalk. We are requesting that the County modify many aspects of the intersection to make the crosswalk safe, including the left-turn system for cars coming from Military Road.

7. The pedestrian signal across Military Road automatically comes on almost 20 seconds after the light of westbound cars on Lee Highway turns green and only after the signal for eastbound Old Dominion turns green. We are requesting that this be changed to follow the signal timing for westbound Lee Highway.

8. The pedestrian signal across Old Lee Highway only turns on when the light is green for Military Road and Quincy Street. We are requesting that the pedestrian signal come on after the left arrow for cars traveling westbound on Lee Highway turns red but the light is green for cars traveling eastbound on Old Dominion.

9. The pedestrian signal across Quincy Street only turns on when the light is green for Old Dominion. We are requesting that the pedestrian signal also come when the light is green for cars traveling eastbound on Old Lee Highway.

10. One of the new curb ramps for the new crosswalks come up at 90 degrees from the street. This design is challenging for people on wheels (wheelchairs, strollers, bikes, scooters, etc.) and poses an unnecessary risk of falls. We are requesting that the County reinstall the curb with sloped sides, similar to what the County recently installed at Route 50 and Henderson Streets.

11. The stop-for-pedestrians placard in the middle of the street on Military Road near the Vacation Lane crosswalk is no longer on the yellow line, and now sits at least one foot into the southbound traffic lane of Military Road. This is causing cars to swerve into the newly painted bike lanes on this part of Military Road, and presenting a serious hazard to cyclists. We are requesting that the County relocate this placard ASAP.

12. We remain disappointed that the County did not eliminate the slip lane from Military Road to Old Dominion. The slip lane seems unnecessary and is not pedestrian friendly. Cars using the slip lane are stopping in the pedestrian crosswalk before turning onto Old Dominion. We are requesting that the County now eliminate the slip lane or at least ensure that there is adequate signage to ensure that cars actually yield to pedestrians and stop blocking the crosswalk.

13. Cars and work vehicles are parking/puling over in some of the new bike lanes, especially on southbound Quincy Street south of 21stStreet. This causes bikers to reenter the traffic lane. We are requesting that the County install bollards, ensure that it has adequate no-parking signs along this stretch of Quincy Street, and actively ticket & tow violators to ensure the bike lanes are actually usable for bikers.

14. Several cars turning left from southbound Pollard Street onto eastbound Lee Highway are still coming to a full stop in front of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department and waiting for the Lee Highway light to turn green. This also blocks traffic for cars proceeding north on Pollard Street onto Lee Highway. Although the County has added do-not-block intersection signs in this area, the intersection remains confusing for drivers. We are requesting that the County put the same yellow X-pattern striping in front of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department that it has placed in front of County-owned Fire Station No. 3 just up the street on Old Dominion.

15. Now that the County has re-aligned the eastbound lanes in front of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department and the 3800 block of Lee Highway (in front of Gaijin Ramin/Subway/Fit To Be Tan), visibility for drivers turning from Oakland Street is much improved, and the County’s/VDOT’s no parking bollards in front of Subway seem unnecessary. Those businesses have long struggled because of the lack of adequate “teaser” parking along Lee Highway, and we recently lost a much-loved business due to inadequate customer traffic. The County seems to allow parking closer to almost every other intersection. We are requesting that the County/VDOT reduce the no-parking zone to match up with other intersections.​

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Morning Notes

Arlington Names New Resident Ombudsman — “Ben Aiken has been named as Arlington’s Resident Ombudsman and Director of Constituent Services in the County Manager’s Office, effective October 8, 2018. Arlington’s Resident Ombudsman is part of the Constituent Services Team helping to ensure Arlington’s government works effectively and maintains a high degree of transparency.” [Arlington County]

Senior Alert for Man Last Seen in Arlington — “The Virginia State Police Department has issued a Senior Alert for 78-year-old James Oliver… Oliver was last seen in Arlington around 3 p.m. Sept. 19, walking near the intersection of North Wakefield [Street] and 24th Street. He was reportedly wearing a blue blazer, silver shirt, pink neck tie and blue jeans.” [WDBJ7]

It is PARK(ing) Day — Today is PARK(ing) Day, ” an annual international event where the public collaborates to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into small parks to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space.” There are five PARK(ing) day sites in Arlington: AECOM (2940 Clarendon Blvd), “The Bird Nest” – Communal Space (555 23rd St. S.), Bike Arlington et al (2040 15th St. N.), Solid Waste Bureau (4115 Campbell Ave.), Little Diversified Architectural Consulting (1061 N. Taylor St.). [Arlington County]

Log Cabin For Sale Near Marymount — The log cabin on 26th Street N. near Marymount University is listed for sale. Built in 1836, the home was later a favorite destination for Theodore Roosevelt, who would ride horses and eat ice cream there. [Washington Post]

Video Tour of New ART Buses — The new buses in the Arlington Transit fleet are more comfortable and feature-rich than older models, according to a video tour posted online. The 13 buses will allow ART to add new service. [YouTube]

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Just Listed in Arlington

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

The fall real estate market is starting to show some trends already. Sellers are actively listing their homes, with 95 fresh listings this week. But buyers are lagging, ratifying only 65 contracts. This slow pace of buyer activity is showing up nationwide.

The canary in the coal mine is San Francisco, the hottest market in the US. Higher end homes are lingering on the market and price drops have started. It’s the same case with upper end prices in other markets as well. Abundant supply and record prices are causing buyers to pause. Many markets are seeing a shift from seller’s market to buyer’s market.

The low price market is just the opposite. There’s still a shortage of homes and buyers are snatching up what’s available.

The issue is affordability. Prices have hit record highs, while mortgage rates keep creeping up, and only in the last few weeks have workers started to see a small increase in average household income.

Mortgage rates jumped this week to their highest levels in seven years with the predominant rate for 30-yr fixed at 4.875% and some major lenders are at 5%. Next week it’s expected to get worse.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Duffy Law, LLC

New Haven Criminal Defense Attorney Felice Duffy and her team zealously use every resource and explore every option to defend your rights and your reputation.

They fight with tenacity, commitment, creativity and a deep understanding of the judicial process to get every one of their clients the very best possible outcome.

School Board Warns of More Budget Challenges Ahead

The School Board is warning of more tough budget times ahead for the county’s school system.

In a memo to Superintendent Patrick Murphy to be discussed at the group’s meeting tonight (Thursday), the Board urges Murphy to be wary of the fact that the county’s planned revenue transfer to Arlington Public Schools “is not sufficient to meet our critical needs” as “cost pressures” for the system only continue to increase.

The school system only narrowly avoided class-size increases as it set its last budget, thanks to the County Board finding some additional money to keep classes at their current levels. But as APS gears up to start the budget process for fiscal year 2020, the Board expects that, as the school system opens five new schools and programs over the next two years, the change will “increase baseline operating costs significantly.”

“We anticipate that, as budget deliberations continue, additional funding for APS’s critical needs will be a top funding priority,” members wrote.

As Murphy works up his new budget, the Board is also directing him to “if possible” avoid additional class size increases, and find funding for other cuts the school system was prepared to make if the county hadn’t come through with the additional revenue last year.

“No new, major initiatives should be presented,” the Board wrote.

The Board expects that its decision this year to cut back on devices offered to second graders will save some money, and it’s also directing Murphy to “explore longer-term strategies for efficiencies, such as collaboration with the county on swimming pools reimbursement and Transportation Demand Management funding.”

County Board members have frequently spoken about their commitment to finding more money for schools, yet the county’s own tight budget picture, brought about by complications stemming from the Metro funding deal and persistently high office vacancy rates, will likely complicate the debate. County Manager Mark Schwartz has repeatedly warned that more tax hikes will likely be on the table in 2020 and beyond.

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JBG Smith Changes Course on Crystal City Property, Flips From Residential to Office

Despite continued high office vacancy rates, developer JBG Smith has abruptly reversed course on a plan to convert an aging Crystal City office building to apartments.

At an Arlington County Site Plan Review Committee meeting on Monday, the company presented an updated plan to renovate the 12-floor, 242,000 square foot building at 1750 Crystal Drive and modernize the building facade. The change comes less than a year after JBG Smith filed a plan to convert the office building into a 21-story residential tower, which in turn was a change in course from an approved circa-2015 plan to modernize the building and keep it as office space.

The new-new plan changes the building’s address to 1770 Crystal Drive and better integrates it into planned pedestrian improvements and the “Central District” retail cluster, which is to include an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, restaurants with outdoor seating and a possible small-format grocery store.

The flip back to office will undoubtedly pique the interest of those trying to read the Amazon HQ2 tea leaves.

Betting markets and industry observers think the D.C. area is the most likely destination for the company’s second headquarters, and sources tell ARLnow.com that Crystal City is by far the most likely D.C. area location for it. Meanwhile, office vacancy in Crystal City remains high — it was just below 20 percent as of a year ago, according to county data — and the neighborhood’s largest and most influential landowner has scrapped an ambitious residential conversion plan in favor of sprucing up currently-vacant office space.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said last week that an HQ2 decision will be announced by the end of the year. The company’s request for proposals specifies that HQ2 will require a large amount of office space — 500,000+ square feet — in a relatively short period of time after the announcement.

A spokesman for JBG Smith was not immediately available to comment, according to a PR rep for the company.

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BREAKING: Police, Medics On Scene of Reported Shooting in Nauck

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a reported shooting in the Nauck neighborhood.

The shooting happened along S. Kenmore Street, less than a block from a preschool, an elementary school and a church. Initial reports suggest at least one person was either shot, grazed by a bullet or injured by shrapnel. A police helicopter has been assisting with the search for suspects as K9 units and heavily-armed officers comb the area.

“At 2:00 three gunshots were heard in the vicinity of S. Kenmore and S. Shirlington Road,” a tipster told ARLnow.com via email. “Children from Drew Elementary School were urgently ushered inside by a running staff member from their playing outside on the school basketball court.”

The victim’s injuries are reported to be minor and he was treated and released on scene, according to police.

The incident started as a verbal dispute among three people at a nearby 7-Eleven store, according to ACPD spokesman Ashley Savage. That dispute escalated and shots were fired near the intersection of S. Kenmore Street and 22nd Street S. One person was injured and two fled the scene, Savage said.

A traffic stop on southbound I-395, not far from the shooting scene, did not turn up either of the shooting suspects, according to Savage.

Drew Elementary had been placed in “secure the building” mode as a result of the shooting, according to an Arlington Public Schools spokesman. The school eventually dismissed on time, according to an email sent to parents by principal Kim Graves.

Dear Drew Families:

We just received the “all clear” from the Arlington County Police Department.

We will proceed with dismissal as scheduled. Due to the ongoing police investigation, buses are just arriving at the school. As a result, students who ride the bus will be delayed in leaving school.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. Please feel free to call if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Kim Graves,
​​​​​​​Principal

Photo via Google Maps

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Original Bob and Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike Listed for Sale

The building that’s been home to the original Bob and Edith’s Diner for the last 50 years is now listed for sale.

The real estate and development firm BM Smith is advertising the diner, located at 2310 Columbia Pike, for sale with an asking price of $2.5 million. Yet what that means for the restaurant chain, which operates four locations around Northern Virginia, remains unclear.

An attorney for Greg Bolton, the owner of Bob and Edith’s, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the listing agent for the property at BM Smith.

The Bolton family opened the chain at the Columbia Pike location back in 1969, though county records show that a company controlled by BM Smith — the owner of a variety of other South Arlington properties — took over ownership of the location in 2015.

The chain opened two new locations that same year, and even acquired Linda’s Cafe along Lee Highway this year with plans to eventually expand there as well.

Jonathan Reed, a local realtor, first drew attention to the Bob and Edith’s listing when he shared BM Smith’s posting on his own website this week. As a longtime Arlington resident, he told ARLnow he was “shocked” to see the space listed on an internal database for realtors, and has even since directed two potential buyers to BM Smith since sharing the post.

Based on Reed’s examination of the listing, he believes Bob and Edith’s has a “four-year term” left on its current lease, and could opt to renew the lease for another term. Accordingly, he isn’t so sure that the building being listed for sale necessarily means the restaurant is on the move, though it certainly could be.

“It doesn’t seem like they’re closing or leaving, it could be that they opted not to buy the place,” Reed said. “Of course, there could be someone that buys it that doesn’t want to continue their lease… but whoever buys it will have to contend with the lease that’s already there.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Virginia Tech Helps Working Professionals Advance Their Careers in Tech

No matter what industry you work in, technology is constantly changing. Companies are searching for candidates with new skillsets and experience with emerging technologies.

At Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center, adjacent to the West Falls Church Metro station, an administrative team manages more than 600 online graduate students looking to develop new skills and fill gaps on their resume.

Virginia Tech developed its #2 nationally-ranked Master of Information Technology program (VT-MIT) in 1999 in response to a request by the Commonwealth of Virginia to help meet the growing demand for employees in the information technology field.

Since then, the 100% online program has kept pace with changes in technology, in both course delivery and course options.

Working professionals from across the country are taking the online courses at their own pace and designing a degree that works for their individual goals, whether they are a seasoned IT professional or looking to shift into a tech career.

VT-MIT currently offers 11 areas of specialization, including Analytics and Business Intelligence, Big Data, Cybersecurity, Health Information Technology and Software Development.

The program also offers six Graduate Certificate options for professionals that are not looking to pursue a full degree.

VT-MIT plans to continue adding new courses and Graduate Certificates that keep up with current trends in tech, particularly as the wider university takes on a central role in the cybersecurity ecosystem.

In 2010, Virginia Tech launched the Hume Center to lead the university’s research and experiential learning programs in national security. The center now has a research facility in Ballston.

Just this past summer, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that Virginia Tech will lead its $25 million Commonwealth Cyber Initiative.

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit www.vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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Healthy Paws: Safe Disposal of Medicines and Preventing Environmental Contamination

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

While research continues, it is becoming clear that chemical pollutants are impacting animal health, human health and the environment.

Human-made chemicals flow into streams and waterways where it comes into contact with wildlife. Wildlife interacts with these products in unpredictable ways. Pharmaceuticals are in the mix of contaminants arriving from various places like wastewater treatment plants, drains of manure fertilized fields, washed off livestock farms, landfills and septic systems.

Any household or farm product has the potential to become an environmental contaminant. One of the largest concerns is also the easiest to source and reduce, unused drugs that are flushed down the drain.

The pollutants are dangerous to fish, insects and other life with the potential to kill, prevent reproduction, change behavior or alter appearances.

Potential human health concerns are unknown because the pharmaceutical dosage in waterways is low. However, research shows that antimicrobial concentrations in wastewater may be high enough to create selection pressure and harm beneficial microbes.

Antibiotic resistance is also a big concern. Thousands of pharmaceutical compounds, including animal-use drugs, are used in the U.S.

Along with current research and studying the ability of wastewater treatment plants to remove pharmaceuticals, we as veterinarians and clients of veterinarians have a role and responsibility to dispose of unused drugs properly to reduce the risk of environmental contamination as much as possible.

The AVMA and FDA have developed guidance on how to get rid of unwanted drugs. The best choices for disposal of unused or expired medications are the following:

  • Medicine take-back options
  • Disposal in the household trash
  • Flushing certain potentially dangerous medicines in the toilet

For more information on these options, what is available in your area, and the potential environmental impact of flushing medicines please visit this FDA web-site.

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