Arlington No. 1 in Public Transit to D.C. — Among suburban D.C. counties, Arlington has the highest percentage of commuters who travel to the District via public transit. In Arlington, 53 percent of D.C. commuters take public transit, while 36 percent drive alone and 8 percent carpool. Montgomery County was second, with 43 precent of D.C. commuters taking public transit. [WTOP]
Vihstadt Campaign Website Hacked? — County Board member John Vihstadt’s campaign website has apparently been hacked by online porn purveyors and its homepage now displays a profane message. That message is also visible when you search for “John Vihstadt” on Google. Vihstadt was elected to a four year term last November and won’t be up for reelection until 2018. [Twitter – NOT SAFE FOR WORK]
County Ranked Top 50 Event Destination — Arlington County has been ranked No. 36 on a list of the top 50 U.S. localities for meetings and events. The District ranked No. 6 and National Harbor ranked No. 35 on the list, from event software provider Cvent. The ranking “reflects Arlington’s appeal as a vibrant urban destination in the heart of the nation’s capital – one that offers the convenience of downtown D.C. with hotel rates averaging up to 20 percent less,” a county official said. [Arlington County]
Columbia Pike Parking Mishap — A car ran partially over an embankment in a shopping center parking lot at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street on Sunday evening. [Twitter]
Pike Photography Book — “Living Diversity: The Columbia Pike Documentary Project,” has been published by the University of Virginia Press. The book “is the extraordinary result of a team of five insightful and highly skilled photographers and interviewers portraying the contemporary life of people and sites along the exceptionally ethnically-diverse and rapidly-changing Columbia Pike corridor.” The hardcover version is selling for $39.95 on Amazon. [Preservation Arlington]
The crash involved a box truck, a van and a car. Three people were brought to the hospital, two with serious injuries and one with minor injuries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.
Numerous emergency vehicle were on the scene as crews worked to clear the wreck. Traffic on I-395 backed up past Landmark.
At 2:06 a.m. Thursday, the driver of a GMC Yukon sped over the Key Bridge from Georgetown into Rosslyn when he struck the curb at the intersection of Ft. Myer Drive and Lee Highway, Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.
“The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed,” Sternbeck said, “and alcohol may have been a factor.”
When the vehicle hit the curb, Sternbeck said, it flipped over and rolled multiple times. While the car was rolling over, the driver was ejected. A “citizen passerby” saw the crash and gave the driver CPR until the police arrived. At that time, police continued to administer CPR until the man was transported back across the river to GW hospital.
As of yesterday afternoon, the driver was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, Sternbeck said. There was no update on his health today because ACPD detectives are focusing their efforts on the death investigation in Aurora Highlands.
Nancy Tinoza, an immigrant from Zimbabwe, was killed in the collision at about 3:12 a.m. on the 3400 block of Eastern Avenue NE, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. She was pronounced dead after being transported to the Washington Medical Center’s trauma center.
The driver of the car and another passenger were also hospitalized, and after officers interviewed the driver, Momodu Bello, they arrested him and charged him with second-degree murder.
According to the criminal complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court, Bello, a 35-year-old Fort Washington, Md. resident, was intoxicated and speeding on Eastern Avenue, which has a 25 mph speed limit. According to police, Bello said he had two beers and a shot of Hennessy at Club Mango in Bladensburg, Md., before driving, and “thought that the truck was moving.”
Bello was driving a Volkswagen Passat, which “submarined” under the truck during the collision. Tinoza suffered “massive blunt force trauma” to the head and was rendered unconscious.
“[A witness] saw the defendant had dragged [Tinoza] out of the vehicle by her arms and began shaking [her] violently when she did not respond to the defendant’s attempts to speak with her,” the complaint reads. “At one point, the defendant dropped the unconscious decedent, causing her head to strike the asphalt pavement.”
Bello was denied bond at an arraignment hearing yesterday, District of Columbia U.S. Attorney spokesman Bill Miller said in an email. His first preliminary hearing is on Friday.
Tinoza worked as a research assistant with the International Monetary Fund, according to her LinkedIn profile, and graduated from the College of Wooster in 2012 through the U.S. Student Achievers Program (USAP), which places international students in U.S. colleges. The program has set up a fundraising page to support her family in Zimbabwe — as of 1:30 p.m. the page has raised $8,483 of a $20,000 goal.
“We are saddened and devastated by this loss — she will be remembered for her kindness, energy, optimism and brilliance,” the USAP wrote on the fundraising page. “She was a role model to many, and full of promise and potential. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends, and all she has touched.”
Photo via Facebook
Advocates Decry Proposed Bike Cut — An optional budget cut floated by Arlington County Manger Barbara Donnellan in her proposed FY 2015-2016 budget is attracting some push back from cyclists. Donnellan said the County Board should consider a $800,000 cut in funds for the county’s BikeArlington program if it wants to make additional cuts beyond her base budget. Bike advocates say the cut “would be a huge mistake.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Condo Fence Mowed Down — A car ran through the fence of a condominium complex next to Long Branch Elementary School Sunday evening. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Resident Survey to Be Mailed — Arlington County is planning to mail its fourth resident survey to 3,600 randomly selected residents. “This survey will help us find out how we’re doing across many different service areas – and also pinpoint where we need to improve,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Custis Trail Added to Beer Guide — A guide intended to show D.C. area cyclists where they can grab craft brews near local trails has added Arlington’s Custis Trail to its directory. [Bikeable Brews]
A-SPAN To Help Meet Homeless Goals — Arlington County has signed on to a pair of ambitious goals: to house all homeless veterans in the community by the end of 2015 and end chronic homelessness by 2016. The Arlington Street People’s Network, the nonprofit organization that will be running Arlington’s soon-to-open year-round homeless shelter, is preparing to do its part to help achieve those goals. [InsideNova]
“We’ve already responded to several vehicle accidents this morning,” the Arlington County Fire Department said this morning via Twitter. “Please slow down and use caution.”
Among the accidents reported so far this morning are a car that slammed into a tree near the intersection of 14th Street and N. Veitch Street in Courthouse. The driver was “injured and in shock” after the accident, according to a witness. Another accident, in which a car slid and became stuck on the curb, has been reported at 2nd Street and S. Fillmore Street.
Police are considering shutting down the icy, treacherous hilly portion of 14th Street, where the car slid into a tree. N. Courthouse Road has reportedly been shut down at Route 50 due to similar icy conditions, as has 13th Street at N. Troy Street.
“We’re basically coning off the entire Courthouse area,” one police officer was overheard saying. “We’re running low on cones.”
Other reported problem spots include S. Buchanan Street and 9th Street, where several cars have been abandoned, and Wilson Blvd and N. Emerson Street. Even relatively flat portions of main roads are said to be treacherous.
ARLnow.com hears that Arlington is now “out of salt,” after officials said they were running low yesterday evening. We also hear that the county expects a fresh shipment of salt at noon, with the goal of road crews resuming road treatments at 1:00 p.m.
Just after noon, Arlington County confirmed that more salt was on the way.
Arlington County will receive 2,000 additional tons of salt to help in clearing roads of snow and sleet. The first shipment will arrive today. The County previously received a mid-season resupply, but it was not enough due to the severity of this winter and stock supplies from the regional contractor nearing depletion.
Crews have been working around the clock to plow streets and have used salt conservatively, supplementing with sand. The County is currently clearing residential streets and will continue to do so for the remainder of the day and evening.
Residents should continue to expect hazardous travel conditions, particularly on side streets. Stay off the roads if possible. Cyclists should be extra cautious and on the lookout for accumulated sand on the roads.
Those driving aren’t the only ones experiencing travel woes this morning. The Blue, Orange and Silver lines experienced significant delays after an earlier train malfunction that prompted single-tracking between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom.
The single-tracking has ended, Metro said shortly before 9:00, but residual delays remain. Riders say platforms, particularly at Rosslyn, are crowded.
— George (@georgehartmann) March 6, 2015
After the jump, a warning about icy roads today and later tonight from VDOT.
Photo (top) courtesy @aklake34
(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) A state trooper has been hospitalized with serious injuries after being struck by a car on westbound I-66 just outside of Arlington this afternoon.
At about 2:00 p.m., according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller, the trooper was out of his vehicle during a traffic stop just before the exit for I-495 North when a passing car ran off the road. The vehicle struck both stopped cars, Geller said, and the collision sent vehicles into the unprotected trooper.
The trooper and three others were transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital. The trooper suffered serious injuries and “the extent of those injuries are still being assessed,” Geller wrote. The other three have non-life-threatening injuries.
Geller said the crash is still under investigation.
The accident was the second time a state trooper was hit in Northern Virginia in 12 hours; at about 3:30 a.m., an “out-of-control SUV” slammed into Trooper I.J. Dallam Sr. in Prince William County. Dallam has since been treated and released, Geller said.
A man was transported to Virginia Hospital Center after crashing into the fence of the Shirlington dog park this morning.
According to multiple witnesses, the driver of the Dodge sedan revved his engine on S. Oxford Street and sped into the fence of the park, smashing through the chain links, metal poles and a tree. An Arlington County Fire Department source on the scene said he suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver was an employee of Arlington Collision Center, the body shop’s manager confirmed to ARLnow.com, and the Dodge was a car the shop was servicing.
Witnesses said the car barreled through the entrance to the park, but no dogs or owners were hurt in the crash. One witness said the car “wasn’t just parked and he revved his engine. He sped into the fence.”
Another witness said the driver never lost consciousness, but went into shock a couple of minutes after the crash occurred. ACFD’s rescue crew had to use its “jaws of life” device to tear the roof off the vehicle to remove the driver and place him on a stretcher.
The owner of Wag More Dogs daycare and boarding center right next to the park, Kim Houghton, told ARLnow.com employees of the collision center “race these cars” down Oxford Street “all the time.”
“From where the end of the street is to here, they just gun it with the wrecked cars they have,” Houghton said. S. Oxford Street is only a few hundred feet long. “I’ve told them they need to go slow because there are people letting their dogs out and it’s dangerous.”
The collision center’s manager declined further comment. No other injuries were reported.
The entrance to the dog park was severely damaged in the crash, and it’s unclear how functional the dog park will be until the county can repair it.
A driver suffering from an apparent medical emergency drove his car off the road and into a tree this afternoon in Douglas Park.
The driver was attended to by medical personnel and ultimately taken to the hospital. According to police sources, the driver lost control of his car driving northbound on S. George Mason Drive, mere feet from the intersection with Four Mile Run Drive, just before 3:00 p.m.
The road was closed briefly as fire and police personnel responded to the crash, but it has since reopened.
Airbags deployed and the windshield shattered. The car, a Dodge Avenger, is likely totaled, suffering severe front end damage. There’s no word on the severity of the driver’s injuries.
Despite some reader sentiment that Arlington Transit’s ART buses drive dangerously, incident records from Arlington and WMATA appear to debunk any claim that ART bus drivers crash at a significantly higher rate than other urban bus drivers.
According to crash statistics provided by Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, ART buses have had 26 “preventable accidents” this year, a rate of 2.23 accidents per 100,000 miles of revenue service. This number accounts for minor scrapes, including incidents in the ART bus depot.
ART bus drivers came under renewed scrutiny last week when one was charged with reckless driving after causing a seven-car crash on Columbia Pike last week, sending four people to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. That driver, 26-year-old Agere Sileshi, had been driving in “revenue service” for four weeks, and is “currently on administrative leave,” according to DES spokesman Eric Balliet.
Sileshi is an employee of contractor National Express Transit, which declined comment through a spokesperson on Sileshi’s employment status and ART bus’ driving records. Sileshi was driving in the Columbia Pike Plaza parking lot and the bus was out of service when the crash occurred. Balliet said “no ART route goes into that parking lot.”
Balliet said the average crash rate for buses in “an urban environment” is between 1.0 and 2.0, but many jurisdictions do not tally the minor incidents Arlington does. WMATA also counts those incidents, and, according to spokesman Dan Stessel, Metrobus’ rate in 2013 was 2.16 per 100,000 miles — just under ART’s 2.23 accident rate.
“You can rack up a lot of ‘collisions’ during the overnight hours as hundreds of buses are moved around tight spaces in bus depots for service, cleaning and refueling,” Stessel noted.
Balliet pointed out that ART has received high safety marks in recent years, including an American Public Transportation Association’s Gold Safety Award in 2011, an award for the service’s pedestrian safety training in 2012 and had a 90 percent satisfaction rate in a 2013 ridership survey. Baillet also says every ART bus driver must go through 120 hours of operator training.
Despite the statistical evidence, some around Arlington have said it’s only a matter of time before an ART bus causes more serious injuries. Serkan Altan, a Columbia Pike resident, has been contacting Arlington transit officials complaining about their drivers’ behavior.
“ART bus drivers are driving crazy in my area, especially around Dinwiddie Street,” Altan wrote in an email. “ART supervisors… were made aware of the safety issues with its [reckless] drivers, especially in that area where I live. They should be held liable.”
(Updated at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday) Seven vehicles — five cars, an ART bus and a mixing truck — were involved in a collision at about 5:45 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm, the ART bus was in the parking lot of Columbia Pike Plaza when a car turned in front of it. The ART bus, driven by 26-year-old Agere Sileshi, struck the car, at which point Sileshi lost control of the bus, Malcolm said.
The bus pushed the car into a parked vehicle, Sileshi accelerated and pushed all three vehicles over the brick retaining wall and onto S. Dinwiddie Street, Malcolm said. There, the bus hit three cars stopped at a red light, creating another chain reaction in which the seventh vehicle, a parked car, was pushed into benches and a tree on the sidewalk in front of Arlington Mill Community Center.
Sileshi was charged with reckless driving for failure to control her vehicle, Malcolm said. Three motorists were transported from the scene with non-life-threatening injuries, as was one pedestrian “struck by flying debris.”
Westbound Columbia Pike was closed for more than an hour around the scene as emergency crews from Arlington and Fairfax sort out the aftermath, which included cars strewn all over the intersection and a substantial part of the brick wall along Dinwiddie Street destroyed.
In addition to the cars and walls damaged, several bicycles parked in front of Arlington Mill Community Center were damaged in the accident, and at least two benches affixed to the ground were either destroyed or displaced.
An SUV jumped the curb, crashed through a wooden fence, took out a stop sign and came to a stop just before the Bluemont Park sign in a single-vehicle accident this afternoon.
At about 3:30 p.m., a teenage driver was involved in the crash at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Manchester Street and fled the scene down the nearby W&OD trail. The driver returned soon after and was being questioned by police.
Airbags deployed in the vehicle, but there were no injuries reported.
A bicyclist was struck and injured by a car near Memorial Circle last night.
The accident happened between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. on a northbound ramp from the GW Parkway to Memorial Circle and Memorial Bridge.
Initial reports suggest a taxicab rear-ended a car that had stopped to let a group of bicyclists cross the road at a crosswalk. The car then struck at least one of the cyclists.
U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods would only confirm that a cyclist was struck and was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The eastbound lanes of Route 50 were temporarily closed around 1:30 this afternoon due to a three-vehicle accident.
Two people were transported to the hospital as a result of the wreck, which occurred at the intersection with N. Fillmore Street.
The eastbound lanes have since reopened.
Two drivers were involved in a head-on collision this morning on S. Carlin Springs Road, closing down the northbound lanes for about an hour.
A Toyota Corolla and Ford station wagon collided when, according to the driver of the Corolla, the station wagon started to turn left into Long Branch Nature Center, crossing into her lane before she could brake. The crash occurred at about 11:00 a.m.
An ambulance arrived on the scene but both drivers refused medical attention. The Corolla driver, who declined to give her name and was visibly shaken up, suffered only a minor abrasion on her chin. Both airbags in her car deployed.
All lanes of S. Carlin Springs Road have since reopened.