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An Arlington County-owned pickup truck was driven off the side of a small concrete bridge in Lubber Run Park this afternoon.

The low, narrow bridge over Lubber Run is located just to the north of the park’s amphitheater, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood.

Initially, the incident drew a large rescue response to the park, but arriving firefighters quickly determined that no one was injured nor trapped by the crash. They secured the truck in place ahead of the arrival of tow crews.

Police and county personnel remain on scene as crews work to pull the truck back onto the trail.

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Firefighters from Arlington and surrounding jurisdictions are on scene of a house fire in the Arlington Forest neighborhood.

The blaze broke out shortly before noon, reportedly in the front porch area of a home at the corner of Route 50 and S. Park Drive.

It was quickly brought under control and no people were inside when firefighters arrived, but according to scanner traffic a dog was removed from the home by firefighters. The dog’s condition could not immediately be learned.

Firefighters are currently looking for any remaining hotspots.

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A 24-year-old man is facing several charges after a rollover crash Sunday morning.

The crash happened just before 6 a.m. near the intersection of Route 50 and N. Columbus Street in the Arlington Forest neighborhood.

A man driving a Chevy Camaro ran into a brick wall lining a residential property, flipping the coupe on its roof in the process. A local resident told ARLnow that there was “blood on the airbags” and the “driver apologized to [the] home owner before ambulating away.”

A suspect was later spotted on foot along Route 50 and taken into custody, an Arlington County police spokeswoman told ARLnow.

“Upon arrival, officers located an unoccupied, overturned vehicle which had struck a retaining wall,” ACPD’s Alli Shorb said. “Witnesses reported observing the male driver, who was determined to be the sole occupant of the vehicle, leave the scene on foot following the crash.”

“A lookout was broadcast and responding officers located the driver in the area of S. Carlin Springs Road and Arlington Boulevard and took him into custody,” Shorb continued. “He was transported to an area hospital for treatment of injuries considered non-life threatening.”

The suspect, a Falls Church resident, “was charged with Driving Under the Influence, Hit and Run and Driving Without a License,” Shorb said.

Route 50 intersections bordering the Arlington Forest neighborhood have proven crash-prone over the years, particularly the intersection of Route 50 and Park Drive, where a rollover crash happened in April.

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The intersection of Route 50 and Park Drive was shut down for part of yesterday’s evening rush hour after a serious crash.

The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Scanner traffic suggests that only one vehicle — a gray SUV, which came to rest on the driver’s side — was involved. The driver was trapped in the SUV after the crash.

Firefighters worked to stabilize the vehicle and safely remove the driver, who was initially reported to be unconscious but was alert once rescuers arrived. The driver was then taken via ambulance to a local trauma center.

In addition to shutting down the busy commuter route for an extended period of time, the crash uprooted a road sign at the intersection.

A resident who lives nearby noted that this intersection has seen numerous crashes over the years.

“Lots of accidents at that intersection,” said Michael Thomas, who lives a block or two away. “Lots of inebriated drivers departing from Outback Steakhouse. They (and others) make right turns on red from Park onto Route 50 despite the signed prohibition. And people on Route 50 drive too fast and run red lights.”

Thomas said firefighters cut open the roof the the SUV, a Toyota RAV4, to remove the driver. It was “hard to tell” what caused the crash, he said.

A crowd of local resident gathered as the rescue operation took place. The intersection reopened by 7:45 p.m., according to Arlington Alert.

The intersection of Route 50 and Park Drive was reconfigured several years ago in an attempt to improve safety.

Shortly after the rollover crash, another notable wreck was reported elsewhere in Arlington. A driver rear-ended an ART bus near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Courthouse Road.

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N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive intersection near Lubber Run Community Center (image via Google Maps)

Safety signage and markings are coming this spring to a long-troubled intersection near Lubber Run Community Center.

The intersection of N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive in the Arlington Forest neighborhood will be getting updated signage and street markings reading “SLOW SCHOOL XING” within the next few months, a county official has confirmed to ARLnow.

“Marking should be installed this spring, depending on the weather,” Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) spokesperson Claudia Pors wrote in an email.

The county is also aiming to get a traffic signal installed there, said Pors, but it would have to be funded in the next Capital Improvement Plan. There’s not yet a timeline for when that could happen and when a signal might be installed.

This is all in addition to the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons that were installed there about two years ago.

The N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive intersection has long concerned neighbors due to the high rate of crashes there.

In October, residents told ARLnow that speeding drivers and the four-lane expanse made the intersection particularly dangerous. It’s also tricky for drivers on N. Park Drive — including those going to and coming from the Lubber Run Community Center — trying to cross or turn left on George Mason.

That’s in addition to the presence of Barrett Elementary School and hundreds of students one block away.

In the fall, neighbors provided testimony and photos to ARLnow that showed cars jumping curbs, vehicles ending up in the woods, and a near-miss between a bus and a motorcycle at the intersection.

DES said at the time that since the intersection had not been identified as part of its Vision Zero High-Injury Network corridor or Hot Spot program, it wasn’t eligible for any further safety upgrades beyond the flashing beacons. DES did promise to investigate further the possibility of adding more, though.

Data collected by the county since then has confirmed the concerns of neighbors and led to the addition of these new features at N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive.

“Crash analysis revealed there were four visible injury angle crashes within 18 months (April 2021 – Oct 2022) at this intersection, which escalated the importance of safety improvements,” Pors said.

The intent was always to review “the safety and operations of this intersection post completion of the Lubber Run Community Center,” she also noted.

The news of the updated signage, markings, and, potentially, a traffic signal was included in a recent edition of the Arlington Forest Civic Association newsletter, a reader shared with ARLnow.

“That’s huge for the neighborhood. I was surprised they didn’t put one in when they built the new community center,” the reader said.

Hat tip to Henry Grey

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The new Little Free Library in Arlington Forest (photo courtesy of Sharon Beth Bronheim)

(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) The exploded Little Free Library in Arlington Forest was mysteriously rebuilt last week, much to the delight of the owners.

It was a cold, overcast, slightly snowy Wednesday morning last week when Sharon Beth Bronheim left her Arlington Forest home to do a quick errand. As it had since November when an unknown assailant blew up the Little Free Library that was once there. As a temporary measure, a plastic box filled with books sat on the wood platform in front of the house.

When Sharon Beth returned only about an hour later, at around 11 a.m., she was met with an unexpected sight.

“When I came back, it was sunny and there was a [new] Little Free Library installed,” she told ARLnow.

Neither Sharon Beth nor her husband Jeremy Bronheim were involved in rebuilding the library nor do they know the identity of the person who did it, replacing the plastic box. They did catch a glimpse of the person from their security camera but not enough to “make out who it was.”

The structure is “incredibly well-crafted,” Sharon Beth noted, with wooden shingles, solid wood on the back, and painted a delightful robin egg blue color.

“We have gratitude for whoever did this. If they want to reach out and tell us it was them, we’d love to thank them,” Jeremy said. “If they don’t, that’s okay too.”

That day, the couple added a few books of their own to the new library. By Friday morning, two days later, the library was brimming with books.

It’s a testament to the community and neighborhood that something like this could happen, they said — that a Little Free Library can get destroyed only for it to come back better than it ever was.

“The community has really embraced that location as being a Little Free Library location.”

In November, a still-unknown suspect or suspects blew up the library at the 100 block of N. Columbus Street, near the intersection with the Arlington Blvd service road. It’s believed the same people set off another small explosion that night at the nearby Lubber Run amphitheater as well.

The FBI, ATF, Virginia State Police, and Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) all were involved in the investigation.

However, several months later, no arrests have been made as of yet.

“There are no updates to provide on this,” ACFD spokesperson Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow. “This is still an ongoing investigation. The ATF and FBI are not involved, the Arlington County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office is handling the case.”

Sharon Beth said she’d be “more comfortable” if a suspect had been caught, but understands investigations of this nature can take time. She is thankful there have been no incidents since then and that there’s a new, beautifully bright Little Free Library, anonymously built and donated by an apparently book-loving local.

Additionally, Sharon Beth’s father is currently working on a “children’s book annex” that will sit next to the library and hold picture books.

Sharon Beth and Jeremy expect to hold a “grand re-opening” celebration for the library in the spring, when the weather is warmer and the annex is completed. In the meantime, they’ll admire the handiwork, watch books cycle in and out of it, and allow the mysterious builder the chance to come forward. Or not.

We’re just completely amazed at whoever it was that did this and greatly appreciate it,” Sharon Beth said.

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A new D.C.-based coffee shop is opening a second location in Arlington Forest.

La Coop Coffee is moving into the Arlington Forest Shopping Center on 1st Street N., just off Arlington Blvd. The announcement was first made on the coffee shop’s social media channels earlier this month.

The hope is to open in the first week of February, co-owner Juan Luis Salazar Cano told ARLnow.

It’s filling a space that’s already been built out for a coffee shop by moving into the former home of Sense of Place Cafe, which closed this past summer because of the owner’s health. It’s next to Brick’s Pizza.

La Coop opened its first location in D.C. in July 2020 and has since started selling at regional farmers’ markets, including the Lubber Run Farmers Market. They got such a following, Cano said, that when a space opened at the nearby Arlington Forest Shopping Center, neighbors started messaging La Coop’s owners about the availability.

The owners have considered Arlington locations in the past, including in Rosslyn, but never made the move. But Arlington Forest offers a “community and supportive neighbors” said Cano, leading the coffee shop to open its first store outside of the District.

Cano owns the coffee shop with his wife, Stefanie Fabrico. La Coop is noted for providing “ethically-sourced” coffee from Guatemala that pays growers and framers up to 40% above the market rate.

What makes La Coop different, explained Cano, is that they are part of the process from “plant to cup.” His father in Guatemala is part of the cooperative and is also one of the farmers they work with.

“We are part of a family of farmers,” Cano said. “We are very conscious of the struggles that farmers have all over the world.”

La Coop had some issues with its D.C. landlord in 2020, but those have since been resolved. They are “definitely thinking” about opening more locations in Arlington and across the region but, at the moment, remain focused on opening its newest shop in Arlington Forest, said Cano.

“We are always looking for community,” he said. “[Arlington] has that.”

Image via Instagram/La Coop Coffee

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Federal and state law enforcement have joined the investigation into a series of small explosions in the Arlington Forest neighborhood.

As ARLnow first reported, someone blew up a Little Free Library on the 100 block of N. Columbus Street and caused another small explosion at the nearby Lubber Run amphitheater early Wednesday morning.

The Arlington County Fire Department was joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Virginia State Police in processing evidence from the scene.

“The Fire Prevention Office is asking anyone that lives in the immediate area with home surveillance equipment to please review their video for any information that could assist with the investigation,” ACFD said Thursday evening.

The full ACFD press release is below.

At approximately 12:45 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2022, the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the 100 block of N. Columbus St. for a reported outside fire. When crews arrived, they found a small outside fire, as well as a destroyed privately owned exterior book collection box (or, a “Little Free Library”).

A Fire Marshal was requested to the scene and during the initial investigation, it was determined that the likely source of the fire and damage was caused by a small explosion.

While performing a canvass of the initial crime scene (100 block of N. Columbus St.), the Arlington County Fire Prevention Office located a second possible crime scene at the Lubber Run amphitheater. The scene was processed by the Arlington County Fire Prevention Office with assistance from the Arlington County Fire Department Bomb Squad, Virginia State Police (VSP), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Arlington County Fire Prevention Office will be sending collected evidence to the ATF lab for processing. This location, as well as the initial scene, are believed to be connected and all possible leads are being explored.

The investigation is still ongoing, and we will provide updates as they become available. There is currently no suspect(s) description.

The Fire Prevention Office is asking anyone that lives in the immediate area with home surveillance equipment to please review their video for any information that could assist with the investigation.

Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is encouraged to reach out by emailing [email protected] or by calling the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180.

Blown up Little Free Library in Arlington Forest (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)
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Blown up Little Free Library in Arlington Forest (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)

A Little Free Library was blown up in the Arlington Forest neighborhood overnight.

The explosion happened shortly after midnight on the 100 block of N. Columbus Street, near the intersection with the Arlington Blvd service road.

“When crews arrived, they found a small outside fire as well as a damaged privately owned outdoor book collection box,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner. “A Fire Marshal was requested to the scene to investigate.”

The suspect or suspects remain at large.

“The incident remains an open investigation and anyone with information pertaining to this incident is encouraged to reach out by emailing [email protected] or calling the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180,” Hiner said.

A resident tells ARLnow that at least one person who lived nearby ran to help control the fire.

“A neighbor went out with a fire extinguisher to control the resulting fire,” said Michael Thomas. “The Fire Department arrived shortly after to take over and ensure that the fire did not spread to [Lubber Run Park], which could have easily happened with the forest bed and understudy being so dry.”

“The explosion was followed by several others nearby,” including one that blew up another wooden fixture near the Lubber Run amphitheater, Thomas said.

Wooden fixture destroyed at the Lubber Run amphitheater (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)

Hiner said the fire department was not aware of additional explosions.

A message sent to a neighborhood listserv suggested that the Little Free Library explosion might have been caused by “a modified firework or mortar.”

Update at 4 p.m. — Fire Marshals and Virginia State Police are now on the scene of the apparent explosion at Lubber Run amphitheater, according to Thomas.

Update on 11/10/22 — The FBI and the ATF is also assisting with the investigation, the Arlington County Fire Department said in a press release.

Investigators on scene at the Lubber Run amphitheater (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)
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N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive intersection near Lubber Run Community Center (image via Google Maps)

(Updated, 4:55 p.m.) A recent crash has renewed concerns about an intersection near the year-old Lubber Run Community Center.

For years, the intersection of N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive in the Arlington Forest neighborhood has been a source of worry for neighbors. The mix of speeding, four lanes, and a lack of a traffic signal have resulted in too many vehicle crashes, residents told ARLnow.

There have been 19 crashes at the intersection dating back to 2017, per data provided to ARLnow by the county’s Department of Environmental Services (DES). That includes one pedestrian-involved crash in 2018. None of the crashes resulted “in severe injury,” DES said.

A crash near the intersection of N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive (photo courtesy of David Hartogs)

But since the new Lubber Run Community Center opened in July 2021, the problem has only gotten worse. Nearly half of those crashes have happened in just the past 19 months, statistics from the Arlington County Police Department show.

That includes another crash earlier this week.

The county did add Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at the intersection in late 2020 as part of a transportation study related to the community center project.

“The intersection so far has not been identified as part of the Vision Zero High-Injury Network corridor or Hot Spot program,” DES said.

But this has not alleviated neighbors’ concerns. There’s a considerable worry that with increased pedestrian traffic, plus with Barrett Elementary School also nearby, it’s just a matter of time before a driver hits another pedestrian.

In other parts of the county, preventing pedestrian and bicyclists-involved crashes has been a significant ongoing concern amid a continued series of tragedies.

David Hartogs, who has lived in the townhomes across the street since 2005, told ARLnow he’s witnessed a “handful of crashes” and has heard at least another dozen at the intersection just over the last few years.

He recounted several of the crashes that stick in his mind most to ARLnow, including a car jumping a curb last spring, two accidents that resulted in vehicles ending up in the woods, and even a school bus “brushing” a motorcycle last November.

A school bus “brushing” a motorcycle at the intersection of N. Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive (photo courtesy of David Hartogs)

Earlier this week, Hartogs saw another crash and tweeted about his concern. As he noted on social media, he believes that there needs to be a traffic signal at that intersection and not just an RRFB.

He walks his kids to school and often thinks about their safety crossing that intersection.

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Sense of Place Cafe in Arlington Forest is now closed.

The independent coffee shop and cafe in the Arlington Forest Shopping Center at 4807 1st Street N. closed last week, before the July 4 holiday, ownership confirmed to ARLnow. It was located next to Bricks Pizza.

The reason for closing, as social media posts allude to, is the health of owner Kay Kim.

Sense of Place Cafe is closing (photo via screenshot/Instagram)

“Despite our love for sharing our coffee with the amazing Arlington Forest community, we decided to prioritize Kay’s health over business and close this chapter of our lives,” reads a Facebook and Instagram post. “As a result, we know this may seem sudden to many of you but we are so glad we were able to see many familiar faces during our last weekend and appreciate your understanding!”

The shop will continue to sell its roasted in-house Enzymo coffee beans online, while supplies last. The beans received a bronze medal at the Golden Bean North America Coffee Roasters Competition in 2019, according to the cafe’s website.

The cafe opened in the Arlington Forest Shopping Center in August 2017 and gained popularity as both a seller of flavorful coffee and a neighborhood hangout. In 2018, Sense of Place was a victim of a “strange” burglary where a notebook full of family recipes and notes, detailing how to roast its award-winning beans, was stolen. The expensive espresso machines nor the iPads were touched and only about $150 in petty cash was stolen along with the notebook.

Ownership tells ARLnow that, even four years later, they still don’t know a motive or why those items were stolen and not others. Last year, meanwhile, a number of other shops in the development were vandalized and burglarized twice, including Sense of Place.

Following its closure on June 30, Sense of Place is now thanking its customers for their business over the past few years

“Please deliver our message of appreciation for their support (especially during the Pandemic), love and friendship,” ownership writes in an email. “We truly enjoyed being a part of the Arlington Forest community for the past 5 years. We have so many great memories to last.”

We’re told the owners do not currently have plans to open another business.

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