Paul Kiendl doesn’t even remember what happened.
It was early August and he was on his bike, making his way to work via his regular route on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn. He recalls being stopped at a traffic light near the intersection of Langston Blvd and Fort Myer Drive.
Then, memories come in bits and pieces for Kiendl. Lying in a patch of poison ivy, in the back of the ambulance, and then being in the hospital.
It’s been about a month since the bike accident, which left Bluemont resident Kiendl with a severe spinal injury and nerve damage. He’s begun to piece together what exactly happened, believing he clipped another cyclist when it sped ahead of him at the traffic light.
“I think that was just a bicyclist that was trying to run a red light on Fort Myer Drive,” Kiendl tells ARLnow. “And I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Scanner: Two cyclists collided near the intersection of Langston Blvd and Fort Myer Drive in Rosslyn. One is being taken to the hospital with minor injuries. pic.twitter.com/Ov483I4GKA
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) August 9, 2022
But knowing exactly the cause of the accident has proven to be very difficult. That’s because Arlington County Police Department didn’t prepare a crash report, as it would when a driver of a car hits a bike or pedestrian.
So, there’s no account of what happened, no identifying details, no interviews with witnesses, and no diagram of the crash.
The information about Kiendl’s crash was so sparse that a family member reached out to ARLnow, after seeing our brief post on Twitter, above. We did not have any information beyond what was in the tweet, however, and at the time the injuries involved were reported to be minor so no reporter was sent to the scene.
The lack of a crash report in keeping with police protocol, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage notes. The county police department does not put together crash reports for bike-on-bike or bike-on-pedestrian incidents.
“ACPD follows Virginia law and guidance by the DMV for reporting crashes,” Savage said in a written response to ARLnow. “In Virginia, a crash report involving a bicycle is required only when the bicycle is involved with a motor vehicle in transport.”
Bruce Deming, the “bike lawyer,” thinks this is a very bad policy. He’s been practicing law in Arlington for more than 30 years, exclusively representing injured cyclists and pedestrians.
Deming notes that by not taking a crash report, there’s no information or official documents one could use to pursue any sort of civil compensation or insurance claims for help with medical bills.
“Why should the Arlington County police treat injured cyclists that are involved in a bike-on-bike collision as second-class citizens?” Deming rhetorically asks. “They’re badly injured and they need the information to pursue their own civil claims just as much as a motorist would need it.”
Per Savage, a crash report is taken in accordance with Virginia Code § 46.2-373 which says one must be prepared when a “motor vehicle accident” results in injury, death, or property damage of $1,500 or more.
As defined by Virginia Code § 46.2-100, the term “motor vehicle” does not include bicycles, scooters, e-bikes, mopeds, electric personal mobility devices, or motorized skateboards.
Deming recounts another situation back in 2015 when a client of his was severely hurt colliding with another bike in the Rosslyn/Courthouse neighborhood. Deming says the police showed up, but wouldn’t take any witness contact information or interview the other cyclist.
“Bike-on-bike crashes often result in terrible injuries. You’ve got two bodies and quite often [it’s] a head-on type of situation,” says Deming. “It doesn’t take a physics professor to understand the type of force that happens when you have two bodies collide at any kind of speed. It’s a terrible policy.”
The Wild West of e-bikes and e-scooter parking is being tamed.
Last month, Arlington County began installing 100 special street parking spaces for shared and private micro-mobility devices. And shared transportation providers such as Bird, LINK and new arrival Veo are footing the bill.
Some locals have long complained that scooter parking blocks pedestrian and, at times, vehicle traffic. These “corrals” are intended to address this problem, now that Arlington permits the operation of up to 350 e-bikes and 2,000 e-scooters.
Each hitching post consists of three bike rack half-loops, which provide six parking spaces, surrounded by flex-posts that make the installation more visible to drivers.
“Scooter and bike corrals are designated parking spots in public areas for people to start and end rides safely,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors. “They are important to keep sidewalks clear for people walking, and aim to cutdown on tripping hazards and other risks for people sharing public spaces.”
About 20 existed in the county as of this past December. Planning and scouting for this new batch of corrals began last year, with the county on track to install 100 corrals by the end of this year and another 100 per year for the next three fiscal years, Pors said.
From start to finish, the process to choose a location and install a corral takes four months and costs about $1,000. The county is funding it with the $80 fee per device per year that micro-mobility companies pay to operate in Arlington.
These stations are being placed where cars are already restricted, such as curbs near intersections, to improve visibility.
“This particular example of placement also helps maintain visibility, so everyone traveling can keep a clear line of sight around high-traffic areas regardless of their mode of transportation,” she said.
As a bonus, drivers don’t lose street parking.
Of the corrals in place, most are located along the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 (Crystal City/Pentagon City) corridors, where the bulk of rides have started since e-scooters and bikes arrived in 2018.
“The team is selecting corral locations throughout the county based on data showing where micro-mobility trips are being made,” Pors said.
The county, meanwhile, is taking suggestions for more locations — and maybe a different name, too.
Want to suggest new Arlington locations for "micro-mobility device corrals" or maybe just a better name for such things? https://t.co/EwWcRybbW4
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) September 6, 2022
Cycling advocate Gillian Burgess said in a tweet that she would like to see additional corrals in Arlington’s more suburban neighborhoods, where sidewalks are narrow and are easily blocked by bikes and e-scooters.
“They should put a corral by every crosswalk, to increase visibility,” she said. “They could start at [N. Nelson Street] at the crosswalk for the Custis Trail, which is also a hub stop.”
Although the corrals are placed where cars cannot park, one Twitter user observed that some drivers will just stop somewhere else — like a bike lane.
Members of the U.S. Air Force Cycling Team will end a grueling, 330-mile bicycle ride at the U.S. Air Force Memorial later this month.
Cyclists will kick into gear on Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. They plan to coast into Arlington on Sunday, Sept. 18 — the day of the 75th anniversary.
The team will hit the home stretch along the Mount Vernon Trail and arrive at the memorial around 1:15 p.m., according to the event’s website.
Military members and civilians are encouraged to ride alongside the team for any of the four days. Those who participate will have to provide their own food and lodging.
Local cyclists looking to join the ride into Arlington can start at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Quantico Stafford (2784 Richmond Highway) at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Registration is free, but there is a suggested donation of $20 to benefit the Wounded Airman Program. The program has provided more than $625,000 to seriously wounded, ill and injured airmen and their families since its founding in 2011, according to its website.
The U.S. Air Force Cycling Team is made up of more than 140 active and retired members of the Air Force, as well as family members.
Hundreds of additional e-bikes are arriving in Arlington.
The Chicago-based Veo is in the process of deploying 400 new e-bikes across the county. It’s the latest e-bike company to move into Arlington, joining Lime. Next month, Veo will also launch 300 e-bikes in Alexandria.
“Arlington and Alexandria have long been at the forefront of urban mobility as adopters of the region’s bikeshare system over a decade ago,” Veo CEO Candice Xie said in a press release. “We’re working closely with local leaders to increase the use of shared mobility in the region and bring new riders into the fold with our class 2 e-bike.”
While the bikes are dockless, there are a number of hubs in the county. Most of them are centered in Metro-accessible locations, per a map provided by the company to ARLnow.
The bikes themselves are class 2 throttle-assisted, making them the only shared e-bikes in the county with a throttle. Most e-bikes are pedal-assisted, so they act like regular bikes but with an electric motor. Throttle-assisted allows the user to accelerate up to 20 miles per hour without pedaling.
While some states require a license to operate a throttle-assisted bike, Virginia is not one of those states. The Commonwealth does require “protective headgear,” though.
“Our class-II e-bikes were inspected in person by both [Arlington and Alexandria]. After approval, we applied for the unallocated e-bike permits and were granted permission to operate,” a Veo spokesperson wrote ARLnow.
The company is currently in more than 40 markets, but Arlington is only the second locality in the area. The University of Maryland and College Park, Maryland was the first launch location in the D.C. area, introducing Veo e-bikes in 2019.
“Veo has been securing sustainable, long-term partnerships with universities and cities across the country since 2017,” wrote a company spokesperson. “We currently provide service to over 40 markets — ranging from the university markets like UMD, to the country’s largest urban areas like New York City and Los Angeles. Arlington and Alexandria are great markets for micromobility, and Veo is excited to see how our class II e-bikes can improve mobility for residents, workers, and visitors.”
Currently, a total of up to 1,000 e-bikes are allowed to operate in the county.
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is looking to expand the W&OD Trail in Arlington, potentially by 2027.
The organization, also known as NOVA Parks, released its five-year strategic plan on Tuesday. The plan includes proposed upgrades to Arlington’s section of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, including the addition of a dual-use trail.
Sometimes called “the skinniest park in Virginia,” the old railroad-turned-trail actually starts in Arlington, with mile marker zero in Green Valley near the intersection of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Shirlington Road. It extends about five miles running northwest through the county to Benjamin Banneker Park, continuing into Falls Church, and beyond.
About 2 to 3 million people use the trail each year.
NOVA Parks says it is aiming to “design and expand the capacity of the W&OD Trail in congested urban areas” including the Arlington section of the trail. That could mean a widening of the trail.
The design work for this expansion is expected to be completed within the next two years, per the plan. The work will be done in collaboration with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
Plans will also be developed for sections of dual trail along the W&OD in Arlington, like what was completed in Falls Church last fall. Dual trails allow for separate pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians.
There was some opposition to expanding the trail, however, including from current County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who decried a “massive uprooting of vegetation” and runoff from additional paved surfaces.
NOVA Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert told ARLnow in an email that there’s grant money available to design something in Arlington that is similar to what’s now in Falls Church.
“The goal would be to do like we did in Falls Church and, where possible separate cyclists from walkers with parallel paths,” Gilbert said. “There may be areas where we just have room to make the single existing trail a little wider and other areas where users can have separate paths.”
In terms of when this might be built, that’s not clear with design work still needing to be completed. The hope is to bring those designs back to the community for feedback by 2024 and begin construction “when permits are approved.”
Overall, NOVA Parks is pledging to spend more than $6 million on creating and improving trails across the region over the next 5 years.
As the only regional park authority in Virginia, NOVA Parks encompasses 34 parks and manages 12,335 acres of land in six Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Alexandria, the City of Fairfax, Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun, and Arlington.
The strategic plan also promises a number of improvements, big-ticket projects, and expansion of Northern Virginia parkland over the next half-decade.
NOVA Parks is committing to planting 50,000 more trees, restoring native plantings to at least ten new areas, reducing parks’ carbon footprint by 2%, and expanding solar energy to three additional parks, all by 2027. The plan is also to start introducing electrical vehicles and mowers into its fleet by 2024.
Additionally, there are several big money items on the agenda. NOVA Parks is looking to acquire at least five new properties by 2027, as well as build a W&OD Trail Visitors Center.
The center is likely to be built in Loudoun County, Gilbert told ARLnow, near where a trail maintenance facility is currently located.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) The Arlington County Board has put a project to construct a segment of 12th Street S. on hold indefinitely in its Capital Improvement Plan guidance.
The segment between S. Monroe Street and S. Glebe Road, located near the post office in the Douglas Park neighborhood, is currently a paved sidepath. The path runs in the middle of two sections of 12th Street S., which is designated as one of the Columbia Pike Bike Boulevards, according to the project’s website.
The project to change the path into a two-lane street with curb and gutter was put on hold by the County Board after evaluating the “multiple additional improvements” needed to fulfil Vision Zero, a national initiative to eliminate all serious traffic accidents, and the Columbia Pike Neighborhood Plan, according to the County Board Guidance for CIP.
“This is a particularly challenging project initially identified as an opportunity to improve grid connectivity,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a Board meeting. “I think we have found that it has been very difficult to serve the needs and meet the needs of all users as envisioned in that project.”
Instead, the County Board decided to move the $2.7 million allocated to other “priority projects” within the Columbia Pike Bike Boulevard program, which is intended to provide cyclists with a continuous route parallel to Columbia Pike.
Since the shelving of the project, the county’s Department of Environmental Services is planning to “conduct a corridor analysis” to complete the bicycle route, DES spokesperson Erin Potter said.
The project on 12th Street S. prompted a significant amount of concern from residents, especially on the introduction of cars to what is currently a bike-and-pedestrian-only path. Many commenters wanted “the existing trail and sidewalk configuration to remain as is” with no cars allowed, according to a summary of public feedback done in the beginning of this year.
Moreover, residents who gave feedback were concerned about possible increase in cut-through traffic if a two-lane street were to be constructed, as well as the risk to children since the road segment was near a school bus stop, according to the summary.
Arlington has thankfully shelved its bizarre “12th St S Complete Streets” project that would have converted a bike path into a 2-lane road for cars. https://t.co/ggqTfBLNtV
— &rew (@orang55) July 26, 2022
This project originally aimed at connecting S. Lincoln Street, now a dead-end street in the middle of the block between Glebe and Monroe, to 12th Street S., as well as to fill the gap in the bike boulevard. Construction was originally supposed to begin in spring next year, according to documents for a public meeting.
More on the decision, from the project web page:
Based on County Board Guidance on the FY 23-32 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), this project is being indefinitely deferred. Funding allocated to this project will be “redirected to support future priority projects within the Columbia Pike Bike Boulevard Program. Staff will conduct additional feasibility and scoping work that would focus on completing the Bike Boulevards throughout the Columbia Pike corridor and specifically addressing areas where gaps exist.”
The project may be revisited in the future, “triggered by changing conditions including development opportunities, multimodal corridor needs, and other County priorities.”
Map via Google Maps
Capital Plan, Bond Referenda Approved — “The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.9 billion ten-year Capital Improvement Plan that focuses on stormwater management and flood response, climate and environmental programs, parks, transportation, and community infrastructure over the next decade… [as well as] bond referenda totaling $510.5 million to be put before Arlington voters on the November ballot.” [Arlington County]
GOP Group Wants Fewer Vote Drops — “A Republican group seeking to have Arlington election officials reduce the number of 24-hour voting dropboxes in the county got something of a cold shoulder at the July 14 Electoral Board meeting… Representatives of a national Republican voter-integrity effort asked that the number of dropboxes be reduced from nine to as few as three, citing both cost and ballot-integrity issues.” [Sun Gazette]
Primary Voting Stats — “About 57 percent of the just over 25,000 voters who cast ballots in the primary did so on Election Day at polling precincts, according to data reported to Arlington Electoral Board members on July 14. About 30 percent cast ballots by mail, and the remaining 13 percent cast ballots in advance at one of three early-voting sites.” [Sun Gazette]
Car Show This Weekend — The Green Valley antique and classic car show is happening this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Drew Elementary School. The 8th annual event will also feature a parade. [Twitter]
Family Bike Ride Planned — From Kidical Mass ARL: “Tour de Spraygrounds! This Saturday 7/23 meet at 11am at Mosaic Park in @Ballston (come early to play in the water!) We’ll bike on neighborhood streets down to the sprayground at @PenroseSquare. All are welcome. Tell your friends.” [Twitter]
Car Crash PSA — From Dave Statter: “Video of the crash with 1 hurt this afternoon on I-395N at Boundary Channel provides a good reminder. Before getting out of your vehicle after a collision make sure it’s safe to do so & your vehicle is secure & won’t continue to roll.” [Twitter]
Arlington-Born Gym Expanding — “A boutique gym is bringing its boxing-inspired workouts to Fairfax County. Introduced to Rosslyn in 2018, BASH Boxing will soon extend its reach beyond Arlington County for the first time with a new studio at the Mosaic District in Merrifield.” [FFXnow]
It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 92 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]
New Rail Bridge Design Revealed — “The new rail bridge will be built with many of the features in the existing span, including its structure, material and form, with steel girders and similar pier spacing, according to preliminary site plans approved this month by the National Capital Planning Commission. The plans also call for the use of Ashlar stone cladding for the bridge piers, and abutments and walls near the George Washington Memorial Parkway.” [Washington Post]
County Board Approves ‘Heights’ Parking — From School Board member Barbara Kanninen: “‘APS did us a solid.’ Thx @kcristol for that comment regarding our hosting the County’s temp fire station for several years! Glad to see the use permit for Phase 2 [of The Heights building in Rosslyn] approved this morning, providing important universal access improvements for all students, esp @APS_Shriver.” [Twitter]
APS Hiring Hundreds of Teachers — “Officials in Arlington Public Schools will also spend the summer working to fill an atypically large number of empty positions. Arlington, which enrolls 27,045 students, according to state data, saw 284 teachers resign between August 2021 and mid-May 2022. The district usually employs about 3,000 teachers, per spokesman Frank Bellavia. That is 96 percent higher than the average number of resignations between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021: 145.” [Washington Post]
Free Chicken Today — “July 18th is Nelson Mandela’s birthday. His birthday is recognized and celebrated world wide as Mandela day; a day for us all to inspire change and make a difference in our communities. At Nando’s we are proud of our South African heritage. We will join in celebrating his birthday on July 18th by following his example and giving back to our communities.” [Nando’s Peri Peri]
Cyclist Struck on Busy Ramp — “Police, fire on scene of cyclist struck by driver on the WB Route 50 / Washington Blvd ramp. Cyclist was thrown from bike and is being treated by medics, per scanner.” [Twitter]
Treasurer Honored, Again — “Arlington County Treasurer Carla de la Pava received the President’s Award for her service and leadership to the Treasurers’ Association of Virginia (TAV). The award was presented during the association’s annual conference in June. It is the second time de la Pava has be recognized with the President’s Award.” [Arlington County]
More Bad Driving on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “You’ll want to see this one. Driver goes bowling with the barrels & almost takes one along for the ride. @VaDOTNOVA time for clean-up again on aisle 8C.” [Twitter]
It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy, with rain and possible storms in the evening. High of 88 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:59 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. [Weather.gov]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Student Organizes Concert for Ukraine — “The granddaughter of a refugee from Ukraine who was forced to leave her home due to World War II, Sofia Parfomak knows all too well what millions of present-day Ukrainians are going through since the Russian invasion began in February. Parfomak, a dual enrollment student at Marymount University and Bishop O’Connell High School, has taken the crisis to heart.” [Marymount University]
Synetic Prepares for New Season — “Arlington-based Synetic Theater has announced plans for its 2022-23 season, which will explore ‘otherness’ and relationships to those who are different. ‘When I first came to this country as a refugee, I did not speak the language; it was disorienting but also magical,’ said Paata Tsikurishvili, cofounder and artistic director of the troupe.” [Sun Gazette]
Video: Drivers Blocking Bike Lanes — “Photo came out in ARLnow that police put a lighted sign to stay out of bike lanes so pulled a few clips from yesterday’s ride, which could be from any day I ride. I don’t even use the bikes lanes much then drivers get mad at me. Am sure drivers will give the sign all the attention it deserves.” [YouTube]
Nearby: Falls Church Transforming — “Under the guidance of the Falls Church City Council, the recent developments have increased City property tax receipts to fund such civic projects as constructing the new Meridian High School, renovating and expanding the Mary Riley Styles Library and updating and expanding City Hall, all while reducing the city’s property tax rate by roughly nine cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation.” [Northern Virginia Association of Realtors]
It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 85 and low of 70. Sunrise at 5:57 am and sunset at 8:34 pm. [Weather.gov]
‘Missing Middle’ Fight Heats Up — “The topic of housing wasn’t even on the agenda for lawmakers in Arlington County, but residents streamed into one recent meeting with a sea of posters to express their dueling views on the issue… That raucous meeting offered a taste of what promises to be one of the most contentious political battles in recent memory in Arlington: a proposal to legalize ‘missing middle’ housing — from townhouses to duplexes to eight-unit buildings — that many are treating as an existential debate over the future of this affluent, deep-blue Northern Virginia suburb.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Has Priciest Local Rent — New data shows that the average rent for one-bedroom apartments in Arlington is the highest in the region, after rising 5% month over month to $2,310/mo. [Zumper]
Video: A Ride in the Rain — Updated at 9:20 a.m. — “Was just past the White House on Constitution Ave heading… towards Arlington when I got pummeled by rain.” [YouTube]
It’s Wednesday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]
A major project to make Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City more bike- and pedestrian-friendly is expected to kick off later this year.
“The project will rebuild Army Navy Drive within the existing right-of-way as a multimodal complete street featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, and pedestrian facilities and street trees,” said a Board report. “The goal of the project is to create a safer, multimodal system of connections between commercial, residential and retail services of the Pentagon City and Crystal City.”
Currently, Army Navy Drive is a 5-6 lane vehicle thoroughfare mostly serving those driving to the Pentagon, the Pentagon City mall, and nearby apartments, offices and hotels. The project seeks a more balanced mix of transportation modes while giving the corridor a more pedestrian-oriented feel.
“The reconstruction will provide a physically separated two-way protected bicycle lane facility along the south side of Army Navy Drive, in addition to shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, and will accommodate future dedicated transit lanes,” says the project website. “Vehicle travel lanes will be reduced in number where appropriate and will be narrowed to dimensions appropriate for a slower urban context.”
Plans show at least two vehicle lanes in each direction, though some intersections may be configured with two turn lanes and only one through lane.
The project’s impending kickoff comes amid the continued construction of Amazon’s HQ2, the northern edge of which — including the iconic “Helix” building that’s part of HQ2’s recently-approved second phase — will border Army Navy Drive. It will also help facilitate the planned expansion of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway and will serve a burgeoning residential population in the neighborhood, including a potentially expanded RiverHouse apartment complex.
More from the Board report:
This project will provide a key missing link in the County’s bicycle network by providing an east-west protected bicycle facility that will link up with the Mount Vernon Trail via the existing bike facilities along Long Bridge Drive and the proposed connection to be constructed by the adjacent Boundary Channel Drive/I-395 Interchange project. Furthermore, the project will link to the future two-way bicycle lane facility planned for South Clark Street between 12th Street South and 15th Street South, in addition to the future South Eads Street protected bike lanes.
This project will also complete the extended Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway by adding one dedicated transit lane in each direction along Army Navy Drive between South Joyce Street and South Hayes Street. Finally, the Army Navy Drive Complete Street project supports multimodal connectivity goals of major planned and approved commercial and residential development in Pentagon City, including the Amazon HQ2, Met Park, and River House projects.