Hot Item for the Holidays: E-ZPass — With tolling set to begin on what are now the I-66 HOT lanes, stores in Arlington and elsewhere in Northern Virginia are having trouble keeping E-ZPass transponders in stock, particularly the E-ZPass Flex devices that will allow carpoolers to continue to use I-66 for free. [WJLA]
W&OD Trail Changes Discussed — Officials are considering options for separating cyclists from those on foot on the W&OD Trail. “I love the potential separation,” Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt is quoted as saying. “I think that will be well-received by both sets of users.” [InsideNova]
Dad Speaks Out After W-L Grad Son ODs — “As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn’t save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction,” writes retired Adm. James Winnefeld, in an Atlantic article entitled “No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic.” Jonathan Winnefeld, a Washington-Lee High School grad, died in Denver this past September “after a long and honorable battle with addiction.” [The Atlantic, Legacy, Denver Post]
More on Accessory Dwelling Vote — A GGW writer argues that while the Arlington County Board is to be commended for allowing the creation of basement apartments that can be rented out, it punted on the issue of backyard cottages at its Tuesday meeting. The Board’s action on so-called Accessory Dwelling Units included instructing the County Manager to study setbacks from the property line for detached accessory structures before any are approved under new rules. [Greater Greater Washington]
New Incentive for Sustainable Buildings — “Arlington County will pioneer Virginia’s first Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program–a public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing for projects to improve the energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings in the county.” [Arlington County]
DCA Tweets at Teigen — Model and social media personality Chrissy Teigen told followers yesterday that she left “a very large mom bra” under her seat on a flight that arrived at a D.C. area airport. Reagan National Airport’s official Twitter account responded by recommending that Teigen stop by the Spanx store in the airport for a replacement. [Twitter]
‘Age in Place’ Tax Deferral Questioned — Mortgage and title companies are reportedly not big fans of Arlington’s Real Estate Tax Relief Program, which allows older residents who meet certain income requirements to defer property tax payments until the home is sold. The system has sometimes sprung large tax bills on unsuspecting heirs, real estate agents and mortgage settlement officers. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
A survey has found that Arlington County residents favor bicycling and support more separate bike lanes.
The survey, conducted by the county’s local transportation research group Mobility Lab and county bicycle education program BikeArlington, found that 89 percent of respondents said they would like to bike more often, and 62 percent said that more separated bikes lanes would help them do that.
More than 1,200 people took the survey at a series of events in August and September, including the Arlington County Fair and Nauck Civic and Community Pride Day. Of those people, 94 percent reported being Arlington residents.
“[The survey] offers yet more evidence that bicycling is becoming a legitimate option for people to get to work in the Arlington and greater Washington, D.C. region,” a Mobility Lab spokesman said. “Mobility Lab recommends that more spending be made available for safer infrastructure – infrastructure that is far easier, faster, and less expensive to get up and running than that for cars and even transit.”
The survey was part of the county’s outreach process for updating the Bike Element of its 2008 Master Transportation Plan.
Staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services have said previously that the time is right for a revamp given the new “technologies, facilities and best practices” around bicycling.
Police were called around 3:45 p.m. for “a report of a male traveling by bicycle with his buttocks exposed in the area of N. Veitch Street at Wilson Boulevard,” according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
An ARLnow.com contractor witnessed the odd sight and said the man rode his bike into the nearby Key Elementary parking lot. Police, however, were unable to locate him.
“A lookout was broadcast and a search of the area by officers was negative,” Savage said.
The influx of app-based alternatives to Capital Bikeshare appears to have reached Arlington County.
A reader sent in the above photo of a Spin Bikeshare bike parked near a Capital Bikeshare station in Arlington. Spin is one of four new alternatives in the D.C. metro area.
Spin requires you to download a smartphone app, and uses your phone’s GPS to locate a nearby bike to use.
They are dockless – unlike Capital Bikeshare, which requires you to leave it at a designated station – but have locks that immobilize the bike until someone checks it out using the app. Spin costs $1 per half hour of riding, and can be parked “anywhere responsible,” according to its website.
Photo via Sean K.
Anyone in the Penrose neighborhood can now pick up a book or fix their bike at a new tiny wooden library.
The “Little Free Library and Bike Repair Station” is at the corner of 8th Street S. and S. Courthouse Road, two blocks from Columbia Pike.
The handcrafted station is open for people to take and donate books at any time. When a reporter stopped by early Wednesday morning, a graphic novel and children’s book joined other paperbacks inside.
It also has a bike pump, metric Allen keys and a crescent wrench for bicyclists to carry out any running repairs on their bikes.
It is not the first Little Free Library to pop up in Arlington, but does appear to be the first to offer bike repairs at the same place.
Transportation Commission member and Penrose resident Chris Slatt was the brains behind the project.
“My friend’s two daughters wanted to build a Little Free Library, but that’s tough for them since they live in an apartment building so they came over and we built it together and installed it at the end of my lawn,” Slatt told ARLnow. “I wanted to add a bike spin to it — the various ‘bike fix stations’ that the County has installed inspired me to add the tools.”
Students and parents throughout Arlington celebrated “Walk and Bike to School Day” this morning, and those at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School especially got into the spirit.
Parents and crossing guards assisted children across the intersection of S. Queen Street and 13th Road S., where they were greeted by a parent helper. “Good morning! Thanks for walking today!” she said to kids approaching school property.
Some of the students seemed hesitant and needed a little prompting about how to safely walk through a crosswalk. The parent helper chuckled, saying, “You have to remember, for some of them this is their first time walking here.”
Once at school, the kids gathered for a Walk and Bike to School Day event in the back field. After participating in some activities, students formed a star and had their picture taken by the Arlington County Fire Department from the top of a ladder truck.
Students were excited about the photo opportunity, but so were the adults. “I’m waiting for the kids’ picture. I want that photo!” said a parent.
(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) The number of Arlington residents commuting via bicycle is on the rise, according to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, contrary to the national trend.
The survey showed that in 2016, 2.4 percent of Arlington commuters cycled to work, up from 1.9 percent in 2015. That number is an average of men and women, but slightly more men commute by bicycle. “We think it’s great, of course, and part of a longer trend,” said BikeArlington program director Henry Dunbar. “The bike mode share has tripled since 2009 (0.8 percent), and will keep climbing as Arlington continues to improve its bike infrastructure and more people learn that biking is often the quickest and cheapest way to get around.”
Arlington’s bike commuting growth is in line with Washington, DC, where 4.6 percent of all commuters now cycle, up from 4.1 percent the previous year. But the region’s commuting habits are not indicative of those in the rest of the country. The Census Bureau shows that last year bike commuting was down nationwide for the second year in a row, falling from 0.59 percent to 0.57 percent of all commuters.
The survey offered data but no possible causation for the numbers. However, a number of factors likely contribute to the nationwide bike commuting slump, including low gas prices and more people working from home. Arlington, however, has been designated a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, due in part to its bike-friendly infrastructure and the volume of cyclists.
Other data revealed by the latest census figures include:
- 26 percent of Arlington commuters take public transit
- 5.7 percent of Arlington’s workforce works from home
- 34 percent of Arlington workers work in Arlington, while another 24.1 percent work elsewhere in Virginia and 41.8 percent work outside the state
(Updated at 6:10 p.m.) The Arlington Chapter of the National Organization for Women will host a charity indoor bike ride later this month to raise money for local nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families.
The 50-minute ride takes place from 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 23 at Cyclebar, an indoor cycling center at 3400 Columbia Pike. Online reservations are required.
For a $25 donation, participants receive a 50-minute spin class accompanied by a “Girl Power” playlist, as well as cycling shoes, a towel and a water bottle. The local NOW chapter is also asking for song suggestions for its ride playlist.
The event will raise money for Doorways, which works to transform the lives of those who are homeless or face abuse in the community.
Since its founding in 1966, NOW looks to take action to “promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.” NOW’s national organization describes itself as a nonprofit that is the “grassroots arm of the women’s movement.”
Arlington County is updating the section on bicycling in its Master Transportation Plan, and is asking residents to help shape how it should now look.
The Bicycle Element of the plan last received an update in 2008, and now staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the time is right for a revamp given the new “technologies, facilities and best practices” around bicycling. Staff said they will get feedback from a wide range of people, including those in civic associations and business organizations.
Currently, the plan looks to increase bicycle usage, make bicycling safer in the county, add to the network of bike trails and paths and integrate biking with other methods of transit.
“The wealth of expertise in our community, and among our County staff, will help us improve mobility, safety, comfort and convenience for bicyclists and make it even more attractive to ride a bicycle as a way of getting around for people of all ages and interests,” staff wrote.
Anyone can have their say at the monthly meetings of the Master Transportation Plan Bicycle Element Working Group, as well as via an online survey through September 22. Included in the survey is a question about what the county can do to encourage more bicycle riding, with the following answers offered as options.
- Offer community bike rides.
- Educate drivers.
- Add more Bikeshare stations.
- Add more bike parking.
- Add more separated bike lanes.
- Improve the condition/maintenance of the existing bike lanes and trails.
- Educate bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Improve the connected bike network.
- Add more wayfinding signs to help people find destinations.
- Add more bicycle or multi-use trails.
County staff and working group members will also hold a series of meet and greet events at various locations, including today (Wednesday) at the Clarendon Metro station farmers market from 3-7 p.m.
There, residents can discuss the plan updates, take the survey and give feedback in person. Other meet and greets beyond tonight’s event are as follows:
- September 13: Lee Harrison Shopping Center
- September 15: Parking Day near Arlington County Courthouse (more details to come)
- September 16: Nauck Community Day
The County Board is likely to carry out an initial review of the update at a work session in late fall. Afterward, county staff will begin community outreach on how to implement the new plan, and finding projects for new or improved bike facilities in the county. An updated plan is expected to be adopted in summer 2018.
A local woman is appealing for witnesses to come forward after a driver struck her daughter while she rode her bicycle last week.
In a post on Facebook, reader Cynthia Hoftiezer said her teenage daughter was cycling near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive between 8:45 and 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 3.
Hoftiezer said a car turning right on a red light from Lee Highway onto N. George Mason Drive then struck her daughter and drove away without stopping. Via Facebook:
Please share: If anyone saw the car turn right on red from Lee Hwy to George Mason Dr. on Thursday morning 8/3 between 8:45 and 9 am, and strike my teenager on a bicycle, please call Arlington County police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222 referencing case no. 2017-08050186. While my daughter is ok, the driver did not stop.
Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed the details of the crash, and said that the victim “reported that the striking vehicle initially slowed following the crash but did not stop and continued south on George Mason Drive.”
Savage said the suspect vehicle is a white, four-door sedan.
Image via Google Maps.
The pair were allegedly spotted in Maywood and near Lyon Village attempting to steal bikes Friday morning. Police were called, searched the area and arrested the men, both in their mid-20s.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
GRAND LARCENY, 2017-08040083, 3200 block of 23rd Street N. At approximately 9:43 a.m. on August 4, police were dispatched to the report of two suspicious males attempting to steal a bicycle from the front porch of a residence. Shortly after, a similar call was received reporting two subjects were attempting to steal a bicycle from a parking garage in the 1900 block of N. Daniel Street. Responding officers canvassed the area and located two subjects matching the descriptions provided by the witnesses. Philip Taylor, 25, of Capitol Hills, MD, was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny (x2) and Grand Larceny with Intent to Sell. Raheem Freeman, 24, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Commit Grand Larceny and Identity Theft. Both were held on no bond.
The fourth annual Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride will take place this Saturday, August 5, starting from local nonprofit Phoenix Bikes in Barcroft Park )4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive).
Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey helps lead the event, alongside Phoenix Bikes. The ride is in honor of Garvey’s late husband, Kennan, who died of a heart attack in 2008.
He was a supporter of Phoenix Bikes, a nonprofit that aims to educate the community about biking and help make it more affordable. Libby Garvey has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2009.
The race will raise money for the Kennan Garvey Memorial Fund, which will help Phoenix Bikes move to a more permanent site. The organization is set to transition to a new facility on the first floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center later this year.
The ride is open to all ages and experience levels with five different trail routes:
- 15-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Bikenetic (Falls Church)
- 40-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Green Lizard Cycling (Herndon)
- 60-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Spokes, etc. (Leesburg)
- 90-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Bicycles & Coffee (Purcellville)
- 100-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Bicycles & Coffee (Purcellville), plus portions of Arlington Loop (Custis, Mount Vernon and Four Mile Run Trails)
“You can ride for as little or as far as you like on a great bike path that Kennan and I loved and rode often. Despite the heat now, it has been fairly cool for the ride for the past three years,” Garvey wrote in an email to constituents.
The entry fee is $25, with a minimum fundraising amount of $100. Each rider is encouraged to set a $500 fundraising goal, while children that are registered with Phoenix Bikes get a complimentary entry.
Pre-registered riders will receive a boxed lunch, and all riders and volunteers will receive a free shirt. All those who meet or exceed the $500 fundraising goal will receive a prize.
The organization kicks off its third annual “Kidically Summer 3.0” series of bike rides with a journey to Carvel in Virginia Square. The ride begins at 4:45 p.m. at Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street), where kids and families can cool off in its sprayground prior to the ride.
From there, cyclists will ride through the Virginia Square, Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods on a course just over three miles long. The ride will end with ice cream at the Carvel store in Virginia Square.
According to the event description, “The route is pretty short, and as flat as they come in Arlington.” There will be stop lights at all of the major intersections and the group will travel back together from Carvel.
KidicalMass describes their bike rides as slow, short and easy with each ride no longer than four miles and going at speeds of typically six miles per hour. The group has previously hosted similar events for Father’s Day, as well as a “Junior Park Ranger Ride” along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The group typically hosts one bike ride a month and all events are posted on its website.
Image via KidicalMass
County Opts to Acquire Hospital Site — Arlington County Board members on Tuesday voted to formally seek a large tract of land along S. Carlin Springs Road in a land swap with Virginia Hospital Center. In exchange, the county is offering to VHC county-owned land next to the hospital, which would allow it to expand. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Bike Thefts Up in Arlington — Bike thefts were up for the first 6 months of 2017, compared to a year prior. No one seems to be safe from the prolific bike thieves, who often target high-end bikes parked in garages and bike lockers; among those reporting recent thefts were Henry Dunbar, the director of BikeArlington and Capital Bikeshare in Arlington, and an ABC 7 employee. [WJLA]
Gondola Project Not Dead — Though Arlington County has moved on from it, D.C. is still budgeting money to advance the proposed Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola project, including $250,000 for an environmental review of a potential gondola site near the C&O canal. One other intriguing factor: should the gondola run north of the Key Bridge, as shown in renderings, it may reach Arlington at the Key Bridge Marriott property, which is in the early stages of a potentially large-scale, mixed-use redevelopment. [Bisnow]
County Buys Office Building — As expected, the Arlington County Board has voted to purchase a low-slung office building at 2920 S. Glebe Road, to house Arlington’s head start program. The program is currently housed in the Edison Center next to Virginia Hospital Center, which is slated to be transferred to VHC in a land swap (see above). Arlington is paying $3.885 million for the Glebe Road property, nearly $1.5 million above its assessed value. [Arlington County]
JBG Has Big Plans for Crystal City — JBG Smith, the newly-formed combination of JBG and the Washington properties of Vornado, says repositioning and enhancing its 7 million square foot portfolio in Crystal City is a “top priority.” Among the changes in the works for the Bethesda-based firm: expanding the vacant office building at 1750 Crystal Drive, converting it to residential, and adding an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and a grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]
County officials say the reduction of a westbound turn lane on Arlington Mill Drive near Shirlington is a pilot program and the backups it’s causing will be resolved by traffic signal adjustments.
Arlington Mill Drive was recently re-striped at the “T” intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive. One of the two left turn lanes from Arlington Mill to Walter Reed was removed and blocked off with bollards, a move intended to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
There is heavy bike and pedestrian traffic at the intersection, which connects two sections of the Four Mile Run Trail.
But the lane removal has caused traffic to back up during peak times, according to several accounts. Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey wrote about the backups last month, proclaiming the lane reduction to be part of the county’s “semi-official ‘drivers must suffer’ policy.”
Last week a Twitter user also reported significant evening rush hour delays.
— HT Gold (@Skywarpgold) July 11, 2017
Also, only half of that line got through the light before it turned red. Before the single line was two, and all cars could get through.
— HT Gold (@Skywarpgold) July 11, 2017
(The backups seem to be short-lived; a brief evening rush hour visit by a reporter last week did not reveal any long lines.)
In a statement released to ARLnow.com, officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services said that the lane re-striping is a “test” that is being evaluated ahead of a larger intersection improvement project, slated for next year.
The test will help traffic engineers determine adjustments to the traffic signal timing, which should alleviate any delays, officials say. Potentially complicating the plan, however: there is already heavy traffic on Walter Reed Drive during the evening rush hour, which could be exacerbated by changes to the traffic light cycle.
The full statement from DES, after the jump.