Arlington, VA

The latest “Art on the ART bus” installations features public icons with ties to Arlington.

A partnership between Arlington Arts and Arlington Transit, the program enlivens commutes with artwork highlighting three different Arlington-based artists at a time. This December, Art on the ART Bus celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

“It’s my job to make sure there’s art on a bus called ART,” Arlington Arts Curator Cynthia Connolly said. “It’s so fun.”

The newest installation, which went up earlier this month, includes depictions of famous Arlingtonians, including:

  • Actress and dancer Shirley MacLaine
  • Singer-songwriter Roberta Flack
  • Actress Sandra Bullock
  • Actor Warren Beatty
  • Journalist Katie Couric
  • Singer-songwriter and local punk rock icon Ian MacKaye

All six were born or raised here, put down roots in the area, or otherwise became famous while living in Arlington.

MacLaine and her younger brother Beatty grew up in the Dominion Hills neighborhood of Arlington. During her upbringing in Arlington, Flack accompanied her church’s choir on the piano. Bullock, who graduated from what is now Washington-Liberty High School, and Couric, who attended Yorktown High School, were cheerleaders. Beatty played football for W-L.

Connolly and her team drafted a list of famous Arlingtonians and picked those who enjoy the most name recognition.

“There is so much hidden history in Arlington,” she said. “I hope people research this more.”

So does the artist behind the installation, dubbed “Pop Arlington:” Ryan Carroll Nelson, who has a studio in Arlington.

Commuters may notice a punk edge to the art. Both Connolly and Nelson were active in D.C.’s punk scene in the 1980s and 1990s, and their connection to Ian MacKaye is personal.

The heart of the scene was MacKaye’s internationally-known indie record label, headquartered in an Arlington bungalow dubbed the Dischord House.

“People are fanatic about the record label, but everyone thinks it’s in D.C.,” Connolly said. “It’s my duty to remind people it’s in Arlington.”

Punk rockers moved to Arlington for the detached houses they could practice in without disturbing the neighbors, Connolly said. Rent was cheaper and they did not have to worry about their instruments being stolen.

She worked at the Dischord House, which became the subject of her book about the scene. During those years that she got to know Nelson, who earned a reputation for his illustrations by drawing concert flyers, T-shirts and album covers for Dischord.

He also illustrated for Teen Beat Records, also based in Arlington, and founded by schoolmates at Wakefield High School.

“His comic-style approach and hand-drawn text is immediately recognizable, and his flyers are coveted collectables among music aficionados,” notes a press release about the project.

“I’ve known Ryan for a long time,” Connolly said. “It seemed the right fit.”

For this series, Nelson underpainted the panels in black and layered white and color on top — a style reminiscent of the underground comic scene of the 80s and 90s, which often featured comics printed in two rather than four colors.

Connolly also called on the DIY attitude of indie punk rockers and comic creators for the ART bus project, which had a tight budget and had to make due with a number of limitations.

“How do you make it happen? You do original artwork and throw it to the wind,” she said.  “That’s all based on my experience in punk rock.”

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Morning Notes

Big Jump in Local Home Sales — “The red-hot summer real-estate market that evolved out of the springtime COVID crisis showed no signs of abating in September across Arlington. If anything, the market last month doubled down – literally. Home sales across the county totaled 274, up 44.2 percent from the 190 transactions recorded in September 2019.” [InsideNova]

Dems Protest Outside Trump HQ — Democrats protested outside of Trump reelection HQ in Rosslyn yesterday morning, criticizing the president for not agreeing to a virtual debate with Joe Biden. They came with signs and a large “Baby Trump” balloon. [Twitter]

Photos: Outdoor Coworking Space in Rosslyn — “Like dining out and birthday parties, coworking is now an outdoor activity thanks to the pandemic. At least it is in Rosslyn. Today, the new O2 pop-up (short for Outdoor Office) opens in Gateway Park by the Key Bridge.” [Washingtonian]

Amazon Employees to Keep Teleworking — “Amazon.com Inc.’s corporate offices may not return to pre-pandemic staffing levels until the middle of next year, with some managers telling their teams that they can continue to work from home until summer 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]

Tonight: Town Hall with APS Superintendent — “Dr. Durán will be hosting a community virtual Town Hall on Friday, October 16, from 5-6 p.m., to address the Return to School Plan. The Superintendent will address questions already received and take questions during the live event using Microsoft Teams or Facebook Live.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Ballston Private School Tackles Racism — “The Sycamore School (TSS), an independent nonprofit school serving 5th-12th grades, has invested in a year-long contract with nationally regarded educator and trainer Dr. Deborah Stroman as part of their continuing commitment to address issues of systemic racism.” [Press Release]

ART Bus Ridership Down — “For the fiscal year ending June 30, the ART system – funded by the Arlington government but operated by a private contractor – reported an average daily bus boarding total of 8,224, down 12.8 percent from the 9,434 reported for the previous fiscal year.” [InsideNova]

ABC Stores Are Doing Just Fine — “From March to September, [liquor sales in Northern Virginia] were up almost 17 percent over the year before: an average of nearly $37 million per month. March remains the month with the highest dollar amount of liquor sales in NoVa, at $39.3 million. July wasn’t far behind, with $38.5 million.” [Washingtonian]

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) The Arlington County Board has approved a nearly $4 million contract to plan, design and manage the construction of a new bus facility in the Green Valley neighborhood.

The Board unanimously approved the contract for a new Arlington Transit (ART) operations and maintenance facility at its Tuesday night meeting. The new facility will be built on a property along the 2600 block of Shirlington Road that the county bought for $24 million in 2018.

At the Board’s Saturday meeting, a resident expressed concern about temporary bus parking at nearby Jennie Dean Park.

“I think we can safely say that we’re not going to park buses on Jennie Dean Park again,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey, in response, noting that the new facility is part of the reason why.

The imminent expansion of Jennie Dean Park and another recently-built ART facility in Crystal City are, presumably, the other reasons why there will be no additional temporary bus parking at the park.

As for the difference between ART’s $17.6 million Crystal City facility, and the planned Green Valley facility, with its $81.2 million project budget, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet said the two have different functions.

“The ART bus facility at South Eads and 32nd Streets, completed in summer 2017, is a smaller facility that includes a light-duty maintenance bay, a bus wash bay, compressed natural gas fueling station and parking,” Balliet told ARLnow. “The ART facility planned for Shirlington Road will include the permanent operations, administration, bus and operator parking and maintenance facilities necessary to support ART’s current and future needs.”

More on the contract approval, from a county press release:

The Board also voted unanimously to approve a $3.9 million contract with Stantec Architecture, Inc., for planning, design, and construction administration services for a new Arlington Rapid Transit (ART) Operations and Maintenance Facility at 2631 and 2635 Shirlington Road. The project, meant to meet ART’s current and future needs, will be built under a Construction Manager at Risk process to control costs.

ART, the County’s local bus service, currently operates out of four facilities. The new facility will improve transit efficiency and reduce operating costs by centralizing ART’s operational and administrative tasks and making it easier to perform preventative maintenance and unscheduled repairs. The facility will include permanent operations, administration, parking, and maintenance facilities to support ART’s growing fleet now and in the future.

The project will achieve at least Silver LEED Building Design + Construct Certification and will include sustainable materials and systems.  Community feedback will be sought this fall and winter during the concept design and advanced design phases. The project will also be reviewed by the County’s Public Facilities Review Committee. Staff plans a socially distant walking tour, online open house materials, and an online feedback form to help gather feedback. The facility is expected to be completed in 2023.

The total project budget is $81.2 million, which includes the 2018 land purchase, construction, equipment, and soft costs. Funding is mainly from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), with a combination of funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT)  and local sources. The project was originally approved in the Fiscal Year 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

County Board to Consider Bridge Pact — “The Arlington and Alexandria governments are planning to formalize their long-shared responsibilities for maintenance of five bridges that span Four Mile Run between the two communities. The new agreement sets out the share of funding for future short-term and long-term rehabilitation of the five bridges – at West Glebe Road, Arlington Ridge Road, Shirlington Road, Route 1 and Potomac Avenue – as well as maintenance costs.” [InsideNova]

Meal Donation to Hospital — Per a spokeswoman: “At 12:45 p.m., roughly 1,500 meals from local restaurants will be delivered to Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington as part of a 9/11 Day and World Central Kitchen initiative to support first responders and frontline healthcare workers on the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The local restaurants participating in the delivery to Virginia Hospital Center are Arepa Zone, La Ceiba and Bistro Bis.”

Board to Vote on ART Facility Contract — “The Arlington County government is moving forward with planning for reconstruction of its Arlington Transit (ART) operations and maintenance facility, located on Shirlington Road in the Four Mile Run/Green Valley area. County Board members have been asked to approve a contract of roughly $3.9 million for planning, design and construction-administration services for the $81 million project. Stantec Architecture is receiving the contract.” [InsideNova]

Local Bars Welcome NFL Season — “‘We’re delighted to have live sports back,’ said Dave Cahill, general manager of Ireland’s Four Courts in Arlington, Virginia. ‘We’re fortunate here at the Four Courts; we have three different rooms, and we have a large outdoor area. So we have 18 televisions inside and three TVs outside. Having three rooms, it’s going to allow us to spread people out all over the rooms, 6 feet apart and still enjoy the football,’ he said.” [WTOP]

GOP Senate Candidate Addresses Civ Fed — “His longshot candidacy notwithstanding, Daniel Gade received a polite reception from delegates to the Arlington County Civic Federation. ‘I’m the sort of person who will always tell you the truth,’ the Republican U.S. Senate nominee said at the Sept. 8 event. His opponent, incumbent Democrat Mark Warner, was invited but did not attend the forum, convened online due to the public-health pandemic.” [InsideNova]

County Encourages Local Hotel Bookings — “For most of us with out-of-town family and friends, it’s been far too long since we’ve been able to get together. And with safety being everyone’s top priority, you may not be comfortable yet hosting guests in your Arlington house, condo or apartment. With plenty of space, great fall deals and packages, and an array of enhanced health and safety programs, Arlington’s 44 hotels can offer the ‘spare bedroom’ for your visitors this fall.” [Arlington County]

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Morning Notes

One Rescued After Key Bridge Plunge — “DC water rescue Potomac River at Francis Scott Key bridge, 1 in water who may have jumped. Removed from water by Good Samaritan in Private vessel. #DCsBravest on scene and will be transporting a conscious patient.” [Twitter]

ART Bus Service to Increase — “Starting on Sunday, August 23, Arlington Transit will increase bus service. The majority of service will be restored to pre-Covid levels while Arlington Transit continues to take precautions to keep passengers and operators safe.” [Arlington Transit]

I-66 Ramp Closures Starting Tonight — “Overnight ramp closures are scheduled to occur this week on I-66 East in Arlington for asphalt paving as part of the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project. Detours will be posted to direct traffic.” [VDOT]

Yet Another Hot Day — “It’s a hot one! We haven’t been below 70 degrees at Reagan National since June 27th.” [Twitter]

Today: ACPD’s ‘Fill the Cruiser’ Drive — “The Community Resources Section will be collecting donations at drive-thru donation stations on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  at three locations.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Deadly Crash Sunday — “Two people are dead following a crash in Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia, early Sunday. Fairfax County police said a single vehicle was involved in the crash, which happened on Carlin Springs Road near Columbia Pike around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.” [WTOP]

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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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