MedStar is looking to open its first urgent care facility in Arlington at the base of a building in Ballston owned by Marymount University.
The Maryland-based healthcare nonprofit proposes locating the facility in a retail bay near the corner of N. Fairfax Drive and N. Wakefield Street, per an application filed with Arlington County.
In addition to being its first Arlington location, this facility at 1000 N. Glebe Road would be the second MedStar urgent care facility in Virginia, according to Matthew Roberts, a land-use attorney for the hospital.
Along N. Fairfax Drive, MedStar proposes to build a separate lobby entrance for patients and guests, a manager’s office and at least six exam rooms.
“MedStar intends to develop this space with its signature MedStar Health Urgent Care facility,” Roberts wrote. “MedStar will provide illness and injury treatment, as well as preventative care services, at the facility. In addition to use by the adjacent neighborhoods, MedStar anticipates that its facility will (complement) Marymount University’s operations and will be used by its students.”
The facility will be open to the public, including walk-in patients, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days per week, he said.
It is asking Arlington County for permission to increase the opacity of the windows into the exam rooms so it can protect patient privacy.
“Patient privacy is of great concern to MedStar,” Roberts said. “In addition to exam tables and related furniture, MedStar will install blinds or other window treatments to ensure patient privacy is maintained during examinations.”
The manager’s office and lobby will meet the transparency requirements for retail in Ballston, per the application. Roberts emphasizes that the transparency is not expected to dull activity along the street front.
“MedStar anticipates its urgent care facility will generate foot traffic to the space from students and walk-in patients, and it will maintain a separate lobby entrance to its facility,” he said. “This will serve to generate needed ground floor activation at the Property and in this area of Ballston more generally.”
A pair of remarkably similar incidents has landed two Arlington men in jail.
The incidents occurred within an hour of one another early Sunday morning. In each, a drunk man allegedly got in a dispute, brandished or claimed to have a gun, and was subsequently arrested and found to be armed after police were called, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.
Both happened in or in proximity to bars — one in Ballston, shortly after midnight, and another in Clarendon, around 1 a.m.
RECKLESS HANDLING OF A FIREARM, 2023-05210005, 4100 block of Fairfax Drive. At approximately 12:12 a.m. on May 21, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun inside a business. Upon arrival, it was determined the suspect became engaged in a verbal dispute with the victims, during which he allegedly brandished a firearm. The suspect left the scene on foot, was located by responding officers and taken into custody without incident. A search of his person incident to arrest yielded a firearm. The victims did not remain on scene and no injuries were reported. [The suspect], 32, of Arlington, Va. was arrested and charged with Reckless Handling of a Firearm, Public Intoxication and Carrying a Concealed Weapon While Intoxicated.
RECKLESS HANDLING OF A FIREARM, 2023-05210013, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on May 21, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined the male suspect became involved in a verbal dispute with the victim, during which he allegedly knocked the suspect’s hat off of his head and implied he had a weapon. As responding officers attempted to detain the suspect, he ran from the area and discarded what appeared to be a firearm before being taken into custody. A search of the area yielded a loaded firearm. No injuries were reported. [The suspect], 21, of Arlington, Va. was arrested and charged with Reckless Handling of a Firearm, Assault and Battery, Drunk in Public and Obstruction of Justice.
Also in the crime report, three teens allegedly fired gel pellets at someone inside a business on the 2000 block of Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. That’s the same block as the new Taco Bell Cantina, though the identity business was not revealed by police.
From the crime report:
MISSILE INTO AN OCCUPIED DWELLING, 2023-05210169, 2000 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:13 p.m. on May 21, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined three unknown juvenile suspects discharged gel pellets inside a business, striking one victim. No injuries were reported. The suspects fled the scene on foot and responding officers canvassed the area for the suspects yielding negative results.
Arlington County has converted two intersections near Nottingham Elementary to four-way stops, in the wake of last year’s fatal crash on Little Falls Road.
In October, a driver struck and killed a woman at the intersection of Little Falls and John Marshall Drive. She was the third pedestrian killed along a two-block stretch of Little Falls Road near the school over the past eight years.
In the aftermath, the county began investigating the appropriateness of an all-way stop at the intersection.
Two such traffic patterns were installed along Little Falls Road in mid-March, Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien says: one at the intersection with John Marshall Drive and the other with N. Ohio Street.
“The two new all-way stop locations are located on both sides of the Nottingham Elementary School and help facilitate crossing opportunities for pedestrians and traffic control on this section of roadway,” O’Brien said. “Additional pavement markings and tactical improvements were made at the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Nottingham Street.”
Last winter, as part of a traffic safety campaign, the county temporarily ramped up traffic enforcement on Little Falls Road, which saw two previous fatal crashes in 2014 and 2019.
Then, with the urging of the County Board to make safety improvements faster, it made some other short-term updates to the two intersections, says O’Brien.
The all-way stops were deemed necessary after multiple observations and on-site reviews to “assess the operations and effectiveness of the recent short-term improvements,” the spokeswoman said.
In another step to increase safety, last week the county reduced speeds near Nottingham. It made the area around the school a “School Slow Zone,” where there is a permanent 20 mile-per-hour speed limit on a neighborhood street within 600 feet of a key access point to a school.
Earlier this week, meanwhile, at the intersection of N. Quincy Street and 9th Street N. in Ballston, an all-way stop was added in response to an extensive study and data collection effort. Pavement markings will follow soon, says O’Brien.
Safety concerns at this intersection date back more than a decade. The county has added upgrades incrementally to the originally sign-free intersection, Google Maps shows.
By 2010, ARLnow previously reported, a crosswalk and “yield to pedestrians” flags were added. Then, the county added neon yellow pedestrian signs and a repainted crosswalk.
O’Brien says the county studied whether to add stop signs given the limited impact of previous upgrades and repeated safety concerns from residents who cited the high volume of traffic at the intersection.
“This most recent study’s conclusion at this location reflects further consideration of the travel volumes and crash history at this location,” O’Brien said. “It also is part of our Vision Zero approach to safety intervention that calls for a progressive method on implementing safety measures when past efforts do not result in the desired outcomes.”
The Quarterfest Crawl is coming back to Ballston early next month.
The now-annual free event is set for Saturday, June 3 this year with a full lineup of music, food, drinks, street performers and family-friendly activities. This will mark the event’s fourth year, which replaced “Taste of Arlington” in 2019. It’s organized by the Ballston Business Improvement District (Ballston BID).
The Quarterfest will follow the same crawl format that’s been the case the previous two years. Organizers told ARLnow that this was originally a “pandemic solution,” but it’s been deemed so successful that they are sticking with the format “for the foreseeable future.”
The event will again be centered along Wilson Blvd, though a number of businesses off the main drag will also be participating. The line-up includes:
- Noon-7 p.m. –DJ Ricky at Ballston Quarter
- Noon-2 p.m. — Family Activations at Ballston Quarter
- 1-2:30 p.m. — Scott Kurt at the Filling Station
- 1:30-3 p.m. — Melissa Quinn at Bronson Bierhall
- 2-3:30 p.m. — David Thong Band at Ballston Local
- 2:15-3:30 p.m. — Rook Richards at Ballston Quarter
- 3-4:30 p.m. — The Crista Trio at SER
- 5:15-6:45 p.m — Keeton at Ballston Quarter
- 7-11 p.m. — Quarterfest Afterparty at WHINO
Several other bands and performances will be announced closer to the event date. A full list of participating restaurants will also be released as the event creeps closer.
As was the case last year, there are no planned Quarterfest-related road closures. Some 7,500 people attended the event in 2022 and organizers told ARLnow they expect similar attendance again this year.
Quarterfest debuted in 2019 as a replacement for the “Taste of Arlington” festival, which organizers said at the time didn’t adequately spotlight the then-new Ballston Quarter development.
It may not be regulation hockey rink size, but off-ice hockey drills could easily take place inside the rec room of a Ballston home that is now up for sale, with a notable seller.
After working up a sweat, you could grab a drink from the wet bar in the room or make a post-workout snack in the kitchen, outfitted with high-end appliances.
Such uses would be a fitting tribute to former Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette, the soon-to-be former owner. He agreed to part ways with the team this summer and is selling his 7-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom home in walking distance of the Ballston Metro station.
The home at 608 N. Vermont Street hit the market today (Thursday) with a price tag of nearly $2.7 million. The listing on Redfin says the house is already “popular,” garnering north of 1,100 views this morning.
Realtor Danielle Johnson tells ARLnow she has a public open house scheduled for Saturday from 1-3 p.m.
“Obviously, the property in general is so special,” she says. “When they moved in, everything was almost complete. It was a custom built home and then, they came in and they added some amazing features.”
The Laviolettes extended out their paved driveway and added an interior and exterior security system, with an electric security gate, she said. They added custom closets, electric blinds and updated the landscaping, among other changes.
“So even though the house was unbelievable when they bought it, they put a lot of their own money into it with upgrades,” she said. “The Laviolettes left before they were really ready or hoping to, but that’s hockey.”
Laviolette and his wife, Kristen, bought the custom house in the fall of 2020, when it was almost complete and added those finishing touches. Johnson says it was their first “empty-nester” home, with few signs of wear and tear that come with kids.
“It is the first home they lived in while coaching with all the kids out of the house,” she said. “They were excited to live closer to the city and out of the suburbs. They wanted to be able to walk to restaurants and shops.”
And, a year in, they told NBC Sports it felt like they were finally settling into the 28th home the family had lived in throughout Peter’s career. Before the Capitals, he coached the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers.
The real estate adage “location, location, location” was never more true than for the couple. From their Ballston digs, the head coach walked or took a bike to work every day, says Johnson.
“It’s steps away from Ballston Quarter,” she said. “It’s such an awesome location because you still get the feel of a neighborhood with all the beautiful homes around you but then you are literally a one-minute walk to Ballston Quarter and then to the Metro.”
Three years after opening its doors in Ballston in the middle of a global pandemic, VIDA Fitness is holding a grand opening this Saturday.
“It sounds odd, off the cuff, close to three years after the grand opening to do a party, but this was the first time in the timeline to do it,” VIDA Fitness Director of Operations Aaron Moore tells ARLnow.
The D.C.-native fitness club was waiting for nice weather and a strong enough membership base to throw a party people would attend at 4040 Wilson Blvd. The event is scheduled for May 6 from 3-6 p.m.
Moore credits its fastest-growing program, nutritional counseling, for growing its roster of members. Launched in 2019, it aims to address the health issues Americans are facing — and represents another claim staked on a booming wellness industry some project will be worth $7 billion in 2025.
“The biggest trending term is ‘wellness,’ and that’s a function of being cooped up during the pandemic and leading a sedentary lifestyle,” Moore said. “The average life expectancy has gone down for the first time in decades.”
While the program predates Covid, interest in nutritional counseling jumped after the lockdowns and as people began thinking about health less in silos like “working out” and “eating right” and started viewing these as components of overall wellness. The in-person and virtual 12-week workshop, with group and individual sessions, also demonstrates how better nutrition improves exercise results, work productivity and sleep habits.
“It’s pretty comprehensive and we’ve seen some amazing health outcomes,” he said, even for an area “where people are more in tune with their bodies and taking care of themselves.”
And the benefit sweetening the deal? It is free through many types of health insurance as preventative care, he says. VIDA offers the program directly to individuals and to businesses that want to purchase the benefit for their employees.
Initially, the fitness center focused on generating buzz about the gym’s Covid-era health and safety protocols. Moore said that helped coax customers who were already the 10-15% of people who habitually go to the gym, despite Covid, along with others who were more safety-conscious and planned to return when the pandemic was “over, over.”
“That’s where the communication plan was helpful and productive to talk about our cleaning protocols, our air changeover rate, our check-in and contact tracing system, all that good stuff,” he said.
VIDA Fitness cultivated “the credibility of doing what we said we were going to do” while, at the same time, people got more comfortable living with Covid, Moore continued. Membership rates turned a corner in 2022 because people liked the variety of amenities, services and distinct workout environments provided there.
“That’s when it really started to take off,” Moore said. “We’re thriving now.”
Buoyed by “a great first quarter” and more members, the Ballston location completed a large-scale renovation that included the addition of more strength and squat racks and three Peloton bikes.
“We are now a fixture in the Ballston neighborhood and the Arlington community,” Moore said. “We’ve got a great relationship with the Ballston Business Improvement District, which is an amazing resource, and the Chamber of Commerce is a great partner to us.”
Saturday’s celebration will include tours, opportunities to mingle with trainers and neighbors and free giveaways, per an event page. Food and drinks will be provided by Rosslyn taqueria Taco Rock, Ballston-based True Food Kitchen, Clarendon restaurant Buena Vida, D.C.-area chain Nando’s and Northern Virginia winery Fabbioli Cellars.
Meanwhile, the gym is already building its seventh location, in Reston, which is set to open in the summer of 2024. A would-be Rosslyn location was scrapped last year, the Washington Business Journal reported.
(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Bruegger’s Bagels has closed up shop in Ballston.
The long-time breakfast and lunch spot at 818 N. Quincy Street just closed, posting a sign on the door directing bagel fans to a location of corporate sibling Einstein Bagels, in Bailey’s Crossroads.
“Thank you for allowing us to make your mornings brighter & more delicious since 1986,” the sign says. “We look forward to continuing to provide you with freshly baked, kettle-boiled bagels at one of our nearby locations, 15 minutes away: 3556D S Jefferson St, Falls Church, VA 22041.”
The closure was not announced in advance, but there were signs that this Bruegger’s was not long for the sizable ground floor space that it occupied along Wilson Blvd.
The restaurant appears to have struggled in the wake of the pandemic, as fewer people populated local offices, thus requiring fewer catered bagel platters. The dining room, once filled with local residents and office workers sipping coffee and noshing on schmear-filled bagels, never reopened.
Bagel aficionados who don’t want to go all the way to Bailey’s Crossroads will now have Brooklyn Bagel in Courthouse as arguably the closest equivalent eatery.
A 96-year-old water main along N. Glebe Road near Ballston is set to be replaced, starting later this year.
The pipe segment runs about a third of a mile from N. Randolph Street to N. Pershing Drive, between the Buckingham and Ashton Heights neighborhoods.
Arlington County says that this work is needed to improve the flow of water to area fire hydrants, dubbed “fire flow,” and support demand in the neighborhood. Over the weekend, the Arlington County Board approved a contract for $2.1 million with A&M Construction Corporation to execute the project.
The county included some $424,400 in contingency funding in case the contractor finds “unsuitable soils or unknown existing underground utilities,” among other risks, according to a county report.
This project is “part of [the] county’s effort to replace old unlined cast iron pipes which are subjected to internal and external corrosions that reduce the fire flow capacity,” the document said. “In the past few years, the main had an excessive number of breaks that prompted the need for replacement.”
Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin tells ARLnow that there is currently no construction schedule, “as it takes some time for [the purchasing department] to execute such a contract.”
“But based on previous comparable projects, this one won’t begin until this summer and more likely in the fall,” he said.
Golkin says the county expects the work will take 1.5 years to complete and will affect 26 properties: 19 residential and seven commercial.
“Water interruptions will be coordinated in advance with those impacted,” he said.
The replacement work will require single-lane closures on Glebe from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.
Crews will likely work overnight once they reach an intersection. More information on these traffic impacts will be relayed to residents via the project website, which will launch closer to the start of construction, and through the Buckingham and Ashton Heights civic associations, per the county.
This past Friday the social media account Eat DC had a hot take: Ballston is nice. But also, it’s not.
The reasoning came down to Ballston’s stores and restaurants being predominantly chains (of various sizes) and the neighborhood — home to the densest census tract in the D.C. area — giving off “sterile” vibes.
Ballston is weird. Like…it's nice… but it's not?
— Eat DC (@eat_dc) April 21, 2023
Not just that. I think every single place has more than one location, streets are wide with big setbacks, lots of concrete and steel without much beautification – flowers, murals, etc. Very sterile. Age is part of it but not the whole story. More about lack of texture.
— Eat DC (@eat_dc) April 21, 2023
Any place that seems like a convenient stop for eighth grade bus trips is probably going to struggle with sense of place.
— Eat DC (@eat_dc) April 21, 2023
The implication here seems to be that Ballston is a contrast from some D.C. neighborhoods which have, for instance, more homegrown restaurants and less of a sense that someone is actively trying to make a once not-so-nice place nice. Of course, those homegrown restaurants that help to give a neighborhood its organic character often don’t last forever.
So what do you think? Is Ballston a nice place without caveats, or is Eat DC onto something?
In Ballston’s battle of the beer bars, Crafthouse has emerged as the survivor.
World of Beer, in the Ballston Point building at 4300 Wilson Blvd, closed up shop earlier this week.
“We’re ceasing our business operations in Arlington, Virginia starting April 17,” a sign on the door says. “Thank you, Arlington, for allowing us to be a part of this community for the last 3 years.”
The watering hole opened in October 2020 in the former Ted’s Montana Grill space. It was a return to the neighborhood for the suds-centric national chain, after a World of Beer franchise up the road rebranded as Crafthouse.
From our article on the opening:
The restaurant is not far from Crafthouse (901 N. Glebe Road), which was Virginia’s first World of Beer location from 2012 until 2017, when the owner parted ways and rebranded locations in Ballston, Reston and Fairfax. […]
The split between then-owner Evan Matz and World of Beer took a bitter turn later in 2017, when the chain sued Matz for violating the terms of the franchise agreement. In October 2018, Matz sued back.
All three Crafthouse locations, including in Ballston, remain open. World of Beer has D.C. area locations in Bethesda and Rockville.
While you’ll no longer be able to get an obscure beer from halfway around the world at World of Beer, a new beverage option recently opened in the same building: D.C.-based coffee shop Slipstream opened within the past month or so.
A driver struck a mother pushing her baby in a stroller in Ballston yesterday morning, police and a witness say.
The crash happened around 9:15 a.m. Wednesday at the intersection of N. Park Drive and N. Carlin Springs Road.
The driver remained on scene while the baby was taken via ambulance to a local hospital “for injuries considered non-life threatening,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
“The investigation determined the pedestrian, who was pushing a child in a stroller, was crossing the street when a motorist turned and struck the stroller,” said Savage.
The driver was cited for “failure to yield the right of way,” she added.
In a Twitter thread, resident Mark Blacknell said he was on his way to chaperone a field trip for one of his kids when he saw the aftermath of the crash.
“When I saw that people in cars were still driving within inches of this mother on the street, impatient to get on their way, I stepped in to direct some traffic to down a side street, away from her,” he said. “I wasn’t the first to do that. A much older woman had, but drivers were simply rolling at her until she got out of the way. Not with me.”
He left after police arrived and onlookers helped the mother onto the sidewalk but said “her cries, those I won’t forget for a long long time.”
He told ARLnow that yesterday afternoon he saw signs of an investigation, including spray paint marks on the road where the stroller stopped. The front grill emblem from the Toyota that hit them was still in the street.
In his series of tweets, he called on Arlington County Board members to put more pressure on County Manager Mark Schwartz to prioritize pedestrian safety.
“The fix, thus far? Two little yellow signs that say ‘Cross traffic does not stop,'” he wrote. “If a mother cannot push her baby across the street in safety, all of the arts funding, tourism development, stormwater mitigation and that the rest of that is meaningless.”
“This particular intersection isn’t Arlington’s first or last transportation safety challenge,” he said. “But it’s pretty emblematic of where we are.”
The second year of Vision Zero — Arlington County’s plan to to reach its goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030 — is coming to a close this month. As a result, the county is asking for anonymous feedback on how Vision Zero is changing transportation safety.
Over the last two years, the county has analyzed data, installed quick safety treatments, embarked on pilots and investigated serious crashes.
“We track and investigate all critical (fatal or severe) crashes throughout the year — which lead to immediate engineering response where possible,” Arlington County says.