Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Reopening Starts Today — Arlington and Northern Virginia is starting Phase 1 of a gradual reopening of the regional economy today. You’ll be able to dine outside, get a haircut, and shop at non-essential businesses, with restrictions. Additionally, starting today, Virginia is requiring people to wear masks in indoor public spaces. Face coverings are also required in ART buses. [Arlington County, Arlington Transit]

Local Leaders Promote Mask Usage — Leaders of Northern Virginia’s local governments, including Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey, star in a new video encouraging the use of masks as the region reopens. [YouTube]

Arlington Orgs Providing Food During Pandemic — “Since May 1, CHFA volunteers have delivered 6,174 meals to homebound COVID-19 positive patients and immunocompromised clients, with plans to provide an additional 14,000 meals over the next two months, in partnership with Jeffrey’s Catering. Since the state of emergency declaration on March 15, referrals to AFAC increased by 36 percent, from 3,606 individuals to 4,902 on May 10.” [Arlington County]

Marymount Holding Graduation Parade — “On Friday afternoon, members of Marymount University’s graduating class will celebrate their accomplishments through a Graduation Parade, with faculty and staff cheering them on along a four-mile route that loops between Main Campus and the Ballston Center.” [Press Release]

Local Snakes Face Sticky Situation — “Our Animal Control officers are always on hand to help animals in need, even the scaly ones! Today we got a call that 2 snakes were stuck to a glue trap. Sgt Ballena and Officer Citrone worked hard to gently un-stick the snakes and release them safely nearby.” [@AWLAArlington/Twitter]

ARLnow Receives Google Grant — ARLnow has received a modest grant from Google’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. The grant will allow ARLnow to host a paid intern this summer. The pandemic has negatively affected ARLnow’s business, and at the same time has also caused a shortage of internships nationwide. We’re grateful for Google helping us to offer an internship to a promising young journalist.

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Morning Notes

Governor Extends Business Closures — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced that he will extend Executive Order Fifty-Three for two weeks, through Friday, May 8, 2020. Executive Order Fifty-Three originally signed on March 24, bans crowds of more than 10 people; closes recreation, entertainment, and personal care businesses; and limits restaurants to offering takeout and delivery services only.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]

Wi-Fi Available in Two Library Parking Lots — “Arlington residents who lack reliable internet service at home during the COVID-19 pandemic can now benefit from two new free County Wi-Fi hotspots. Access to the ArlingtonWireless network is now available at the Central Library and Columbia Pike Library parking lots.” [Arlington County]

Lane Closures on I-66 This Weekend — “Extended lane closures will occur this weekend beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 17, on I-66 East between the Dulles Connector Road and Sycamore Street for bridge work and other construction for the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project.” [Press Release]

Buses to Toot Horns in Unison — “[Today] at 3 p.m., ART buses will join transit agencies around the country in honking their horns to honor transportation and other essential workers. Thank you to the ART bus drivers and staff, and all essential workers, for your work!” [Twitter]

Police Warn of Coronavirus Scams — “FRAUD ALERT: Be aware of COVID-related scams and know how to protect yourself. ACPD reminds you that the IRS will not call, text, email you or contact you via social media to request money or personal information related to economic impact payments.” [Twitter]

Disastrous Debut for Fairfax Distance Learning — While Arlington Public Schools catches flak for deciding not to teach new material until the fall, Fairfax County public schools have cancelled online classes for the rest of the week after the school system’s distance learning technology suffered a series of major failures. [Fairfax County Public Schools, Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

Fire at Columbia Pike Apartment Building — One person was hospitalized and subsequently arrested after a fire at the Serrano Apartments on Columbia Pike Sunday night. [Twitter]

State Funds to Stabilize ART Service — “The Arlington County Board today accepted $420,926 in state grant funds to support Arlington’s local transit operations during the COVID-19 emergency… Arlington Transit (ART) buses, like transit services across the region, have experienced significant declines in ridership and revenue.” [Arlington County]

Arlingtonian Recounts Coronavirus Experience — Roy Schwartz, an Arlington resident and the co-founder of Clarendon-based Axios, tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month. In a brief podcast interview, he recounted the experience, the delays in getting test results, and the contact from Arlington’s health department. [Axios]

Construction Projects ContinueUpdated at 9:10 a.m. — “While shuttering many businesses to try to slow the virus’s spread, officials in the District, Maryland and Virginia have designated construction as ‘essential,’ along with hospitals, grocery stores, banks and a handful of other businesses. All three jurisdictions have also allowed private construction, including home building and commercial developments, to continue.” [Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

APS Expands Grab and Go Meal Locations — “Beginning Wed, March 25, APS will expand the number of sites that provide free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to five locations to better reach families. Meals will be set up outside the building for distribution from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday.” The new locations are Barrett, Campbell and Randolph elementary schools. [Arlington Public Schools]

Massage Therapist Charged with Assault — “At approximately 6:31 p.m. on March 9, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 3:00 p.m. on March 7, the victim was receiving a massage when she was allegedly inappropriately touched by the suspect. Following an investigation by the Special Victims’ Unit, a warrant for Assault and Battery.” [Arlington County]

Rosslyn Launches Restaurant Support Program — “The Rosslyn BID is… launching #RosslynRewards, a program to support Rosslyn restaurants that are still operating during these uncertain times. When you order takeout or delivery from participating Rosslyn restaurants and share on social media with the hashtag #RosslynRewards, the BID will give you a $10 reward for every $20 you spend.” [Press Release]

ART Bus Rides Now Free — “Starting Tuesday, March 24, Arlington Transit bus riders will enter and exit all ART buses using the rear doors only. Customers who require the use of a wheelchair ramp can still enter the bus through the front door. ART will also be suspending fare collection on all ART buses since the farebox is located at the front door.” The ART changes mirror those implemented by Metro today. [Arlington Transit]

Signature Cancels Performances — “In response to guidance from the CDC and state and local authorities, Signature Theatre has made the decision to close its doors to the public through the beginning of June.” [Press Release]

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The number of known coronavirus cases in Arlington has jumped from 17 on Friday to 26 on Sunday.

That’s according to new numbers from the Virginia Dept. of Health, which is now reporting 219 cases statewide and 3,337 people tested. Arlington has the third-highest number of positive COVID-19 tests in the state, after Fairfax County (31) and James City (32).

As of Friday afternoon, 173 people had been tested at Arlington’s new drive-through testing site, which opened on Wednesday on N. Quincy Street near Washington-Liberty High School. Officials from Virginia Hospital Center expected to conduct another 60 tests on Monday, having received a new shipment of tests on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Sunday that a Defense Security Cooperation Agency worker has passed away after contracting COVID-19. As reported on March 9, the worker had spent time at the agency’s offices in Crystal City, leading to tenants in a pair of buildings being notified of the possible coronavirus exposure.

Also today (Sunday), Arlington Transit announced that it would be temporarily increasing service on one of its routes due to an unexpected rise in ridership.

“The ART 41 is seeing an increase in ridership this afternoon,” the local transit agency said. “We encourage social distancing on buses, so there will be an increase in frequency this afternoon to accommodate our passengers and keep everyone safe and healthy.”

Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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At a time when coronavirus concerns are hitting public transportation hard, Arlington’s ART service has announced widespread closures.

Starting today, only the following seven ART bus routes will be operating, out of the usual 16 routes:

  • 41 — Along Columbia Pike
  • 42 — Ballston to Pentagon
  • 45 — Columbia Pike to Rosslyn
  • 51 — Ballston to Virginia Hospital Center
  • 55 — East Falls Church to Lee Highway and Rosslyn
  • 77 — Shirlington to Lyon Park and Courthouse
  • 87 — Pentagon to Army Navy Drive and Shirlington

Each bus line will be operating on its respective Saturday schedules. Most of the routes connect high population areas without direct Metro access to Metrorail stations.

Arlington Transit said that real-time schedule information will not be available for most of those bus lines.

Hand sanitizer will be distributed to each employee with dispensers installed at all facilities, Arlington Transit said on its website.

“Deep clean and sanitize all buses thoroughly at the end of each night by using approved disinfectant to wipe down all stanchions, hand rails, passenger seats, windows and all components in the driver’s area,” the bus service said.

STAR service, which caters to elderly or disabled Arlington residents who have difficulty with traditional public transit, will continue operating.

“Passengers are requested not to schedule medical trips if showing signs of illness,” Arlington Transit said on its website. “Please speak with your medical provider first and make other transportation arrangements for avoiding public transportation.”

File photo

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Morning Notes

W-L Alumni File Suit Over Name Change — “A local alumni group is filing suit in federal court over their high school’s name change. The Washington-Lee High School Alumni Association claims the public did not get the chance to weigh-in on the school board’s decision to change its name to Washington-Liberty High.” [WTOP, DCist]

Wrong-Way Driver Nearly Strikes Officer — “As officers approached the vehicle to investigate, they observed a handgun with extended magazine in plain view. The suspect disobeyed the lawful commands of the officers, placed the vehicle into drive and allegedly accelerated towards an officer. The officer quickly moved out of the way to avoid being struck and the vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed.” [Arlington County]

NPR Highlights W-L Esports Team — NPR’s All Things Considered profiled the Washington-Liberty High School esports club this week. Colleges are offering millions in scholarships for esports players, the segment noted. The W-L team was also profiled by the Washington Post this fall.  [NPR]

New Credit Union Open in Ballston — “Northwest Federal Credit Union recently celebrated the grand opening of a new branch in Ballston… its ninth public branch and first in Arlington County.” [Press Release]

ART Switch Successful Thus Far — “So far, so good, as the Arlington Transit (ART) system has a new contractor settling in. ‘The transition to ART’s new service provider – First Transit – has gone well during the initial weeks,’ County Manager Mark Schwartz told the Sun Gazette.” [InsideNova]

APS Launches Superintendent Survey — “The Arlington School Board is seeking community input through an online survey to help shape search criteria for the next superintendent. The survey is now open.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

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This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Being received at a restaurant with a welcoming smile and a warm meal would seem the basic expectation for any customer. Sadly, well into the 1960s widespread segregation denied such everyday courtesies to African-Americans and other people of color.

In this latest Art on the ART Bus installation, The Desegregation of Arlington Lunch Counters: 60th Anniversary Tribute by Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., the nationally-renowned printmaker has created placards that commemorate the landmark sit-in’s which took place between June 9 and 22, in 1960. Kennedy interviewed local residents, historians and participants in the sit-ins, and the placards contain poignant quotes from several of these individuals.

While the sit-ins at Maryland’s popular Glen Echo Amusement Park are better remembered today, they were in-fact precipitated by the sit-ins at Arlington earlier that same summer. A pivotal tool in the 1960’s civil rights movement, “sit-ins” were strategic, planned protests that challenged widespread segregation policies.

African-American customers would merely sit down at a segregated lunch counter (often at a major national chain such as a Woolworth’s) and wait for service which, either by custom or local law, was routinely denied. Eventually, the pressure of what we would now call ‘the optics’ brought about an end to such corporate policies nationwide.

The posters feature poignant quotes commemorating the 1960 Arlington lunch counter sit-ins

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., creates prints, posters and postcards from handset wood and metal type, oil-based inks, and eco-friendly chipboard. Much of his work is inspired by proverbs, sayings and quotes that are significant to the place he is working.

The decade-old Art on the ART Bus program is a partnership between Arlington Arts and Arlington Transit. Instead of the ads for soap, salsa and soda that riders expect to see in the overhead frames, thousands of Arlington commuters regularly experience original artwork as they head to their jobs. Sometimes there are up to three specially outfitted Art on the ART Bus vehicles in circulation, each scheduled randomly each day, bringing art to a different route through Arlington.

The project is curated by the Arlington Art Truck and Arlington Public Art which are programs of Arlington Arts. It is in collaboration with the County’s Historic Preservation Program, Arlington Public Library, Center for Local History and Arlington Transit’s Art on the ART bus program.

This installation is the first of several commemorative activations based upon printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr’s work that will continue to unfold during the Spring of 2020. For more information about the Art on the ART Bus program, click here.

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Morning Notes

ACPD Gets New Electronic Sign — “Through a @VaDOT Safe Routes to School grant, ACPD has acquired a new variable message signboard with trailer. The message board will be used around @APSVirginia schools to alert drivers of hazards and share important safety information to help keep students safe as they commute.” [Twitter]

Arlington Switches ART Bus Contractor — “The county government on Dec. 29 will switch transit providers, having inked a five-year deal with Ohio-based First Transit to operate the local bus service. The existing transit provider, National Express, has been providing service under contract since 2009. County Manager Mark Schwartz said on-time performance and other factors were among the reasons for making the switch.” [InsideNova]

Police Warn of Delivery Truck Thefts — “Arlington County Police warn delivery truck drivers to not leave trucks open and unattended or running during drop-offs. They also urge the community to report any suspicious activity or behavior in the area. ‘These are instances a lot of times when someone has left a vehicle unattended and that’s how it gets stolen,’ said [ACPD spokeswoman] Kirby Clark.” [Fox 5]

Airport Authority Approves $15 Minimum Wage — “Workers at Reagan National and Dulles International airports celebrated Wednesday after their union said it struck an agreement with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to boost worker pay to $15 an hour.” [DCist]

Thirteen Police Officers Sworn In — “December 16, 2019 marked graduation day for the Arlington County Police Department’s 13 newest officers, as Session 141 graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy.” [Arlington County]

County Urges Census Participation — “All we want for this holiday season is for everyone in Arlington to be counted in the 2020 Census! Census numbers provide all kinds of resources for Arlington. Your Census response helps Arlington to get its fair share of federal funding that supports our schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs throughout the County.” [Arlington County]

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Morning Notes

Home Sale Prices Near HQ2 Drop — “Home prices in the neighborhoods where Amazon.com Inc. is setting up its second headquarters dipped to below pre-HQ2 prices for the first time since the company made the announcement just over a year ago. The median sale price for [the 22202 ZIP code] was $507,500 — a 12% drop from median prices in November 2018.” [Washington Business Journal, Twitter]

HQ2 May Help Balance Local Dating Scene — “For every 100 single, college-educated individuals in the Washington area, women outnumber men 53-47. And single women with college degrees are coming here at a faster clip than men in the same demographic, census data show… could Amazon’s expansion into Arlington import enough men to give some local women a statistically better shot at love?” [WAMU]

Big Emergency Response in Pentagon City — From Arlington County Police, regarding a large emergency response outside the Pentagon City mall around 8 p.m. last night: “Police responded to the report of a fight. One victim suffered minor injuries.” [Twitter, Twitter]

New Art Installation on ART Buses — “The latest Art on the ART Bus exhibit is up! The exhibit features seven letter-pressed placards that honor Arlington’s 60th anniversary of the seven lunch counter sit-ins from June 9 to June 22, 1960. The sit-ins were peaceful protests to challenge widespread segregation policies.” [Arlington Transit]

Nearby: Alexandria Also Ends Glass Recycling — “Alexandria will no longer collect glass curbside for recycling… Starting Jan. 15, if you’re hoping to get your glass recycled rather than just tossed out with the trash, you’ll have to take it down to the purple bins at one of four facilities in southern Alexandria.” [ALXnow]

Photo courtesy Dave Statter

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Update at 4:10 p.m. — The road has reopened, according to scanner traffic.

Earlier: S. Walter Reed Drive is blocked near the Arlington Career Center following a multi-vehicle crash.

An ART bus serving ART Route 77 is among the four vehicles involved in the crash, which happened on a rainy Tuesday afternoon just as the evening rush hour was starting. There’s no word yet on what caused the crash.

One person was injured and brought to a local hospital, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

The southbound lanes of Walter Reed “will continue to be shut down while vehicles can be cleared,” ACFD said. Drivers on Walter Reed should expect heavy traffic and detours between Columbia Pike and Route 50.

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