The feds join Arlington County government and public schools in closing Monday due to poor road conditions. Many neighborhood streets remain treacherous, covered with snow and ice that plows have yet to remove.
Arlington County trash and recycling collection service has been cancelled Monday and Tuesday.
ART bus service will be running sporadically Monday. The transit service says ART 41, 51, and 55 routes will run every 30 minutes from noon to 5 p.m. Monday. Other routes will remain suspended.
Reagan National and Dulles International airports, meanwhile, are reopening Monday, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Sunday night.
The National Park Service announced Sunday that the northbound GW Parkway would remain closed between Spout Run and the Beltway until at least noon on Monday.
The full Monday closure message, from OPM:
*FEDERAL OFFICES* in the Washington, DC area are *CLOSED*. Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.
/*Non-emergency employees*/ will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work unless they are:
* required to telework,
* on official travel outside of the Washington, DC area,
* on pre-approved leave (including leave without pay), or
* on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off.
/*Telework-Ready Employees*/ who are scheduled to perform telework on the effective day of the announcement or who are required to perform telework on a day when Federal offices are closed must telework the entire workday or request leave, or a combination of both, in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).
/*Emergency Employees*/ are expected to report to their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.
The press release from MWAA:
Reagan National and Dulles International will each have at least one runway open for flight operations beginning Monday morning, January 25.
We expect airlines to operate limited flight schedules at both airports throughout the day on Monday. Passengers should check with their airlines for information about their specific flights.
Snow crews at both Reagan National and Dulles International continue to work around the clock to clear runways, taxiways, roadways and parking lots in anticipation of the resumption of flights on Monday. Our priority is the safety of passengers and employees traveling to and from the airports. Travelers are encouraged to use caution when driving to the airports and plan extra time, as larger than normal crowds are possible.
It’s the calm before the storm.
TSA security lines were short, and passengers moved through in unusually quick fashion.
But the tranquility was temporary, according a friendly TSA officer on break who declined to be identified. “We’re about to get slammed,” he said. “Come back around [3 p.m.] and see the difference.”
Cheap Gas in Arlington — Just in time for your Thanksgiving vacation, there are a number of gas stations in Arlington at which you can fill up for less than $2.00 per gallon. At $1.97 per gallon, the BP station at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Walter Reed Drive, pictured above, isn’t the lowest in the county: that honor belongs to Arlington Auto Service on Columbia Pike, with its $1.87 per gallon gas. [Gas Buddy]
County Warns of Sewer Backup Risk — One thing that could ruin your Thanksgiving feast would be a sewer backup. Arlington County is warning residents that that could happen if they’re not careful about disposing of fats, oils and greases (FOG). The proper ways to dispose of FOG is to empty it into a container, like an empty can, and throw it in the trash — not rinsing it down the drain, where it could cling to and clog pipes. [Arlington County]
Suspicious Package Calls Up Since Paris Attacks — Calls for suspicious packages and suspicious circumstances are up in Arlington since the Paris terror attacks. That’s according to Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr, who spoke to reporter Pete Williams during a segment on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast. The county has set up an online form for reporting possible terrorism-related activity, in addition to receiving such calls via the police non-emergency line: 703-558-2222.
Airport Workers Rally for Higher Wages — As hordes of passengers head to Reagan National Airport for holiday travel, airport workers are going on a hunger strike, pushing for a living wage. Tipped workers at the airport, like baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants, make as little as $3.77 an hour. [WUSA 9]
Lopez Named House Minority Whip — Arlington’s Del. Alfonso Lopez has been named the new Minority Whip of the Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Caucus. In a statement, Lopez said we will continue to work for “our vision of a Commonwealth that prioritizes public education, invests in transit and transportation infrastructure, protects our environment, preserves our social safety net, and grows a new Virginia economy to expand opportunity for all Virginians.” [Patch]
Van Doren Running for Reelection — Arlington School Board member Nancy Van Doren has announced that she will be running for reelection in 2016. Van Doren replaced Noah Simon on the School Board after a special election last year. She will be seeking her first full term. [InsideNova]
Fire Station Relocation May Go to Voters — A controversial plan to relocate Fire Station 8 from Lee Highway and the Hall’s Hill neighborhood to a locale further north, in order to improve response times, could be put to voters. Opponents may push for a stand-alone bond issue for construction of the new fire station, which would put it on the ballot. The idea was floated during a well-attended community meeting on the fire station relocation plan last night. [InsideNova]
North vs. South Swimming Pool Divide? — Swimming has always been a significant part of life in Arlington, but current pool options are tilted toward north Arlington, says Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. Building the stalled Long Bridge Park aquatics center could help alleviate the divide, Clark reasons. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Family Kicked off Flight — An Arlington family was kicked off a JetBlue flight from Boston to Baltimore on Monday, reportedly because of a squirming two year old and FAA regulations. [WUSA 9]
DCA Screeners Find Two Guns in Two Days — Screeners at Reagan National Airport found two guns in carry-on baggage over the course of two days this week. The two men who had the guns in their bags are now facing weapons charges. [WJLA]
I-395 Exit to Close Temporarily — The exit from northbound I-395 to Washington Blvd will close overnight Sunday and Monday for paving and lane striping, VDOT says. [Patch]
Civ Fed Votes Against Tall Buildings — The Arlington County Civic Federation has voted to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt stricter rules regarding skyscrapers around airports. Such a rule, intended as a safety measure in the event a plane suffers an engine failure on takeoff, could impose a moratorium on future tall buildings in Crystal City and Rosslyn. [InsideNova]
Walk and Bike to School Day — Arlington Public Schools participated in International Walk and Bike to School Day this morning. Students and parents across the county ditched their cars and made their way to school on foot. [Arlington Public Schools]
Man Steals Skinny Jeans from Mall — A 33-year-old D.C. man has been charged with stealing numerous pairs of skinny jeans from the Hollister store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. The alleged crime happened Tuesday afternoon. [NBC Washington]
Slow Start for Gay Marriage in Arlington — Only five same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in Arlington in the 24 hours following the Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Virginia and a number of other states. Among Virginia jurisdictions, Arlington grants the third-most marriage licenses per year. [InsideNova]
Fairfax Approves Streetcar Design Funds — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved its $4.2 million share of design and program costs for the Columbia Pike streetcar on Tuesday. The Board voted 7-2. Arlington County already approved its share of design funds. The Pike streetcar will run from Pentagon City to Bailey’s Crossroads in Fairfax County. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Vihstadt Outraising Howze — County Board member John Vihstadt is outraising Democratic challenger Alan Howze ahead of the upcoming November election. Vihstadt, who is running as an independent, has raised $33,773 to Howze’s $6,801. [InsideNova]
‘Revenge of the Understudies’ at Signature — They prepare for roles that they rarely get to actually play, at least in front of a paying audience. On Saturday, however, the understudies at Signature Theatre will take center stage for the annual “Revenge of the Understudies” cabaret. Tickets to either of the show’s two performances — at 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. — are $25. [Washington Post]
Ben’s Chili Bowl Opening at DCA — Ben’s Chili Bowl will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Reagan National Airport location this morning. Bill Cosby won’t be there, but the Chuck Brown Band will be performing. The restaurant is located before the security checkpoints in the B/C terminal.
Some big changes are in store for Terminal A at Reagan National Airport.
The 40+ year old terminal will be getting the airport’s first full-service spa, plus new restaurants and stores, as part of a “comprehensive physical upgrade to the facility,” the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced last night.
The “sweeping” changes also include publicly-accessible iPads and charging stations, plus a renovated lobby and an expansion of the security checkpoints.
“It has long been the Airports Authority’s desire to modernize and optimize the passenger experience in Terminal A at Reagan National,” said Paul Malandrino, airport manager at Reagan National, in a press release.
The Airports Authority plans to have some of the new restaurants and stores open this spring. The rest of the changes are expected by the spring of 2015. Last year Reagan National Airport served a record 20.4 million passengers, which represents a year-over-year increase of nearly 4 percent.
The full press release from the Airports Authority, after the jump.
Nearly 2.4 million people, or about 41 percent of the metro region’s population, are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the time period from this Saturday, December 21, through Wednesday, January 1. That’s a small increase of 0.1 percent over last year. This will be the fifth consecutive year for such an increase, and the highest recorded travel volume for the winter holiday season.
“Unfortunately, a number of Washingtonians sat out three of the first four holiday travel periods of the year as an upshot of all the political drama in the nation’s capital and the economic stress it engendered. But they will not be denied nor deny themselves or their families during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel period,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
Air travel is expected to slightly decline to 129,300 travelers, compared with 130,400 last year. The number of people traveling by train or bus is also down this year, by about two percent. Automobile travel, however, is expected to increase by 0.3 percent, to more than 2.1 million people.
D.C. metro area residents plan on traveling an average of 965 miles for the holidays. That’s up from 805 miles last year.
Air Force Officer Found Not Guilty — Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, accused of groping a woman on a Crystal City sidewalk earlier this year, has been found not guilty by an Arlington County jury. Krusinski was the chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch of the U.S. Air Force, and his arrest sparked a national conversation about sexual assault in the military. The charge against Krusinski was eventually changed to assault and battery, and Thursday afternoon, after a two-day trial, the jury found that prosecutors “did not present evidence to meet the threshold of reasonable doubt.” [NBC Washington, Washington Post]
Arlington Employees Playing Games on the Job? — An “ABC7 Watchdog investigation” found that employees of several Northern Virginia counties, including Arlington, are doing quite a bit of web browsing and gaming on the job. Arlington employees registered 13,106 hits on gaming sites — including 3,813 for the game Candy Crush and 2,593 for Words With Friends — on a single day in August. Arlington employees also visited YouTube about 3,800 times that day. [WJLA]
Wardian to Run Two Marathons in One Day — Prolific local marathon runner Michael Wardian is aiming to run two marathons in two different states in one day this weekend. Wardian plans on running the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio marathon Sunday morning and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon Sunday afternoon. What’s more, his goal is to run each in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. [Competitor]
Fees May Climb for DCA Taxi Pickups — It may cost a bit more to take a taxi from Reagan National Airport next year. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is considering a plan to raise the fees collected from taxi drivers that pick up passengers from DCA. The fee hike would raise about $1 million. If approved, the new rates could be in place by next summer. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Melissa Shoemaker
From 8:30 a.m. until around noon, the simulation will test the airport’s emergency response teams. Airport and airline staff, hospital staff and other emergency personnel will receive hands-on training during the aircraft accident simulation.
Emergency personnel will perform the exercise in the secured airfield operations section of the airport, so normal passenger flights will not be affected.
Staff will respond as if the simulation is a real emergency, including using sirens and firefighting equipment. To add realism to the simulation, a training aircraft will be ignited, boats will deploy, helicopters will respond and nearly 150 volunteers will play patients who need to be rescued from a U.S. Airways aircraft and transported to the hospital.
Some parts of the exercise might be seen or heard from areas near the airport, such as Route 1, George Washington Memorial Parkway, I-395 and along the Potomac River.
Food and retail options at Reagan National Airport will soon take on a new look. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has launched a wide ranging food and retail development program for DCA and Dulles International Airport.
MWAA plans to redevelop about 95 percent of DCA’s concessions over a 30 month period. The revamp will occur in five phases, with construction on the first kicking off in the next few weeks. Customers can expect to see changes both before and after passing through security checkpoints.
“This allows us to take advantage of broader trends and designs in the industry to provide enhanced offerings for our passengers,” said MWAA spokesman Chris Paolino. “This is something that’s been in the works for quite some time.”
During the planning process, Paolino said MWAA researched airports around to the world to determine the best practices in the concessions industry, noting what works well at an airport and what does not. It also took into consideration feedback about what existing concessions customers like and what they would like to see added in the future.
As mentioned yesterday, well-known restaurants and stores such as Ben’s Chili Bowl, Legal Sea Foods, Pinkberry and Spanx will be added. Those phase one additions will be joined by others such as Brighton Collectibles, Lacoste and Vineyard Vines. Some existing restaurants and stores, such as Five Guys and Brooks Brothers, will remodel and/or expand. The 34 phase one offerings at DCA are expected to open sometime in the spring of 2014.
The redevelopment plan released today estimates each restaurant will be under construction for about four months and stores will take a little more than two months. MWAA will do its best to stagger construction so not all of the food and retail will be under construction at the same time.
“We want to maintain as many dining and shopping opportunities as possible for passengers while this is being done,” Paolino said. “We’ll try to limit the inconvenience as much as possible.”
MWAA plans to put out regular updates about which concessions are under construction and which will open soon. Customers can get updates on the Reagan Food and Shops website or via the DCA Twitter feed.
Single Family Home Prices Rise — The average sale price of a single family home in Arlington rose above $850,000 in July, to $853,572, a 5.1 percent increase from one year prior. Townhouse and condominium prices, meanwhile, dropped 0.6 and 3.3 percent respectively. [Sun Gazette]
‘Boot Camp’ for Dogs, Owners — An Arlington-based business, the Thank Dog Bootcamp, was featured on ABC7’s Good Morning Washington program. The bootcamps, which take place in Bluemont and Quincy parks, are for both dogs and their owners, offering “a grueling workout for you… and an obedience lesson for your dog.” [WJLA]
Feds, Va. Sue Over US Airways-American Merger — Virginia has joined a federal lawsuit to block the merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The merger would create the world’s largest airline, and would have implications for those flying out of Reagan National Airport. Together, US Airways and American hold 69 percent of terminal slots at DCA. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo courtesy Anthony Russo
DCA’s passenger traffic increased 4.1 percent to 19.7 million passengers. The growth came during a year when industry-wide airport passenger growth was less than 1 percent. It also comes a year after Reagan National hit a then-record 18.8 million passengers in 2011.
A new construction project this year will help ease some of the crowding at Reagan National, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
“The airport continues to be a popular choice because of its proximity to downtown Washington,” MWAA said in a press release. “A construction project in 2013 will address some of the increased demand at Reagan National, expanding security screening areas in Terminal A to provide improved access for passengers using the terminal’s nine gates.”
While international travel grew by 2 percent at Dulles, MWAA says domestic travel was hurt by competition from DCA.
“Dulles saw domestic service declines mainly resulting from the transfer of some airline routes to Reagan National and reduced capacity on other routes,” the authority said.
Clarendon’s own Remy Munasifi, of Arlington Rap fame, is continuing his comedy campaign against the Transportation Security Administration with a new holiday-themed video.
The video features plenty of suggestive gags at the TSA’s expense, including Remy holding a nutcracker with a sign reading “Only the TSA May Handle Nuts” in the background, and Remy holding a candy cane next to a sign reading “Only TSA may handle kids’ junk (food).” At one point Remy also fondles Jolly Old St. Nick’s groin region.
Reason has been critical of the TSA’s heavy-handed approach to airport security.
Amidst the mad scramble to buy last minute presents or make New Year’s Eve plans, local residents have apparently been making a lot of travel plans. In fact, AAA predicts the region will experience “the greatest exodus from the Washington metro area in the 21st Century.”
More than 41 percent of local residents report travel plans of 50 miles or more during the holiday travel period from Saturday, December 22, 2012 to Tuesday, January 1, 2013. That’s a 2.3 percent increase over last year.
“During Christmas and New Year’s we will experience the highest travel volume this decade, especially by the roadways, the railways, and the waterways,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “The one exception is the airways, and this year, even that is making a comeback.”
90 percent of the travelers, or more than 2 million people, are expected to make their treks via automobile. About 130,000 people will fly out of D.C. area airports, which is about 5 percent higher than last Christmas.
AAA gives some credit for the travel boost to residents’ increased financial stability, along with lower gas and airfare prices.