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by Anna Merod April 17, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Less than three months after Freshbikes closed its Ballston location, another bike store has opened its doors in the space.

After 11 years in business, Freshbikes closed its Ballston location  “due to circumstances outside our control,” according to a message on the store’s website.

The bike store closed its two other regional locations as well.

In its place, Spokes Etc. opened this week.

Tyler Flowers, Spokes Etc.’s manager, said he isn’t worried about a lack of demand for bikes in Ballston and thinks Spokes Etc. will do just fine along the Metro corridor. The store faces competition from nearby Conte’s Bike Shop.

Though Freshbikes is gone, its sign is still there due to permitting issues, Flowers said. Once Spokes Etc. puts up its own sign in several weeks, it will hold a grand opening, he added.

Spokes Etc. already has five other locations in Northern Virginia including Alexandria, Belle View, Fairfax, Leesburg and Vienna.

by ARLnow.com April 16, 2018 at 8:15 am 0

Flooding Closes Roads, Prompts WarningUpdated at 8:45 a.m. — Many Arlington residents may be bleary-eyed this morning after being woken up twice overnight: once by thunder, and another time by a Flash Flood Warning that sounded on many phones. Heavy rain caused flooding that prompted the temporary closure of I-66 in Arlington and the HOV lanes of I-395 just before the 14th Street Bridge. A Flood Warning remains in effect until 11:45 a.m. as additional rain is expected this morning. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]

Crystal City ‘Makes Parking Garages Cool Again’ — Some national press for the Crosshairs Garage Races in Crystal City: “Unbeknownst to the few at street level, there’s a crowd gathering in a parking garage below an unremarkable office building. Inside, giant speakers blast rock music. Cow bells ring. There’s whooping and hollering, there’s pie and beer–and there are bikes everywhere.” [Citylab]

County Employee Recognized for Preventing Abuse — “Cheryl Fuentes, who has been working in the Arlington County government for more than a quarter-century changing the lives of parents and children, was honored as Arlington’s 2018 ‘Ally in Prevention’ by Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia.” [InsideNova]

APS Finalists for WaPo Awards — Hoffman-Boston principal Kimberley Graves and Thomas Jefferson Middle School teacher Timothy Wyatt Cotman, Jr. are among the finalists for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year awards. [Washington Post]

ACPD to Hold Award Ceremony — “The Arlington County Police Department will hold its annual Principles of Government Service Awards (PGSA) Ceremony on Monday, May 7, 2018, at Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, at 7 p.m. The ceremony recognizes the achievements of police personnel in service to the community and highlights the Department’s dedicated pledge of duty, honor and commitment.” [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Kathleen Branch

by ARLnow.com April 13, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle and injured yesterday evening in the Buckingham neighborhood.

The crash happened around 5:35 p.m. at the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and N. Pershing Drive. Police tell ARLnow.com that “the driver of the vehicle proceeded through a green light when the bicyclist entered the intersection on a red signal and attempted to turn left.”

Initial reports suggest the cyclist, a man in his 50s or 60s, was woozy and bleeding from the face and head after the crash. Police described his injuries as “minor.”

No citations were issued to either the driver or the cyclists, according to police.

The crash apparently looked more serious than it ultimately was. From a Twitter user who witnessed it:

Photo via Google Maps

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 30, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

A protected bike lane has been proposed as part of a repaving project this summer

The parking on N. Veitch Street between Lee Highway and Wilson Boulevard would be reconfigured to create space for a protected bike lane connecting the Custis Trail and Courthouse.

“This protected bike lane will create a more bike-friendly connection between the Wilson/Clarendon Corridor and the Custis Trail,” says the county’s project page. “This will be considered the second of four phases of construction to create the protected bike lane connection on the Rosslyn-Courthouse corridor.”

The first phase of the “Courthouse-Rosslyn Multimodal Connectivity Improvements” project built protected bike lanes on Wilson Blvd between N. Oak Street and N. Pierce Street in Rosslyn. Additional phases would extend the protected bike lane from Rosslyn to Courthouse.

The second phase of the project this summer would also reconfigure parking on N. Troy Street in Courthouse, between Key and Wilson boulevards, to create additional spaces.

A public design workshop and discussion is planned for Wednesday (April 4) from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Navy League Building (2300 Wilson Blvd).

Photos via Arlington County

by Anna Merod March 28, 2018 at 3:55 pm 0

Cyclists can now register for the Armed Forces Cycling Classic, which is returning to Arlington in June.

The cycling event, which is taking place the weekend of June 9-10, is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. The event was previously known as the Air Force Association Cycling Classic.

The event is sponsored by Boeing, but companies can join as supporting sponsors or enter the race as part of the “corporate challenge,” raising money for nonprofits like the ALS Association, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Our Military Kids.

There are three main competitions throughout the event. The first is the Clarendon Cup, a pro/am criterium race with 1 km course that begins and ends near the Clarendon Metro station. The event’s website says the race is “one of the most difficult criterium races in the USA” due to technical demands of the course.

On June 10 both the Crystal Cup and the Challenge Ride will occur.

The Crystal Cup will feature multiple races starting with the men’s pro race, then the kids races, followed by the women’s pro race and then the men’s amateur race. The 1.3 km course will run down Crystal Drive between 23rd St. S. and 18th St. S., and around S. Clark Street.

The Challenge Ride will take place between 7-10 a.m., allowing riders to take as many laps as they can within the three hour limit. The course is 6.5 miles long and wraps through Pentagon City, Crystal City and Rosslyn.

Each branch of the armed services will have its total laps tracked as a part of the Navy Federal Credit Union Armed Forces Cycling Challenge. The service with the most total laps and the most laps by its top six riders will be awarded on the stage during Sunday’s men’s pro race.

To participate, cyclists will need to indicate which service they are or have been in while registering and must bring a military ID the day of the race. The U.S. Air Force was the top lap accumulator in both 2015 and 2016.

Last year the UnitedHealthCare professional cycling team made a strong showing with a member winning first place in the men’s Clarendon Cup, and two other members winning second place in the men’s and women’s Crystal Cup.

Expect a number of road closures for each course going through the Clarendon, Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City areas.

File photo.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 27, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

DC Bike Ride is the region’s only car-free, closed-road bike event and celebration of life on two wheels. We invite you to join the ride on Saturday, May 19 for a fun, recreational, family-friendly bicycle adventure.

Save $10 off standard registration when you use promo code ARLBIKE18 by April 1 at www.dcbikeride.com/arl.

Registration prices increase on Sunday, April 1. Kids ages 3 to 7 are always free and youth ages 8 to 17 are always half-price.

Watch our 2018 video to learn more about the event.

DC Bike Ride celebrates bicycling as a form of healthy living, fitness, transportation and fun. The event raises support for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s work on Vision Zero, a campaign to make streets safer for all roadway users. The event has committed more than $100,000 in support over three years to WABA for street safety neighborhood programs.

Participants will receive access to the closed-road course that starts in West Potomac Park overlooking the Potomac River and the Washington Monument. The 20-mile ride will feature on-course entertainment, music and rest stops, as well as a short-cut to the finish that offers a 7-mile course (in case you get tired).

The ride ends with a Finish Festival party with beats, eats and activities for all-ages at the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol. DC’s legendary go-go band Trouble Funk and DJ Little Bacon Bear will be performing at the festival. Participants also get a DCBR 2018 water bottle.

No bike? No problem! We partner with Bike and Roll DC to bring you easy bike rentals. Find us on social: @dcbikeride on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Make DC Bike Ride your favorite springtime activity and join the ride today.

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 8, 2018 at 11:00 am 0

A bicyclist was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries on Tuesday (March 6) after being struck by an open car door.

The incident occurred near the relatively busy Virginia Square intersection of N. Fairfax Drive and N. Pollard Street at about 6:40 p.m. The bicyclist was riding in the bike lane when they were “doored,” according to an Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman.

Police were dispatched to the scene, and the driver was cited with opening a door into traffic. The fairly uncommon citation has only been issued one other time in the past twelve months by ACPD.

A Virginia law passed in 2016 requiring “drivers to wait for a reasonable opportunity to open vehicle doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic.” The citation is punishable by a fine of no more than $50.

It’s possible that dooring may eventually be a thing of the past thanks to new technology. Recently developed car tech aims to improve bicyclist safety through an anti-dooring mechanism that would identify incoming bicyclists and lock the doors.

Photos via Google Maps

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 1, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

Safety improvements on three Custis Trail intersections have begun.

The project will reconfigure bike lanes at N. Quinn and N. Scott streets, as well as widen the Custis Trail. Other safety improvements include curb extensions, ADA-compliant curb ramps, trail separation from Lee Highway, and crosswalks with higher visibility.

Construction has temporarily closed a lane of Lee Highway. Jersey barriers have been erected to form a bike detour along the right-hand, westbound lane of Lee Highway between N. Scott Street and N. Oak Street.

At least one Arlington bicyclist took to social media to cheer on the bicycling infrastructure, saying the jersey barriers were “better than 99 percent of bike facilities in the U.S.”

In addition to the Lee Highway lane closure, the north legs of the intersection at both N. Scott Street and N. Oak Street will be restricted to one lane. Northbound traffic will be permitted only at the N. Scott Street intersection, while southbound traffic will be permitted only at N. Oak Street intersection, according to the county.

Detour signs will be present to guide drivers out of the North Highlands neighborhood.

The bus stop for the ART 55 and WMATA 3Y buses will be relocated from the construction zone to the west side of the N. Scott Street and Lee Highway intersection. Part of the construction includes plans for an improved bus stop with a bench.

Project funding comes from a Federal Highway Administration bicycle and pedestrian safety program grant.

Work hours are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday through Thursday, and between  9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. The project web page notes that construction is anticipated to wrap up at all three points in May.

The Custis Trail project is being done in concert with the N. Lynn Street esplanade project, for which the Arlington County approved additional funding this week.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Board approved $1.4 million in additional funding for the N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway esplanade and safety enhancement project.

The Virginia Department of Transportation came to county officials with a cost estimate significantly higher than the initial $7.95 million price tag, which was approved by the Board in December 2016.

The increase is due to lengthened construction time, increased materials and labor costs since the 2016 estimate and design changes relating to traffic plans, according to the county manager’s report. Initially, the call for construction bids in March 2017 only received one bidder, which was rejected “due to previous established restriction on the bidder by VDOT,” according to the manager’s recommendation.

The project will bring pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, such as wider sidewalks and on-street bike lanes, as well as traffic management and street beautification to the N. Lynn Street and Custis Trail area. A public arts project, the long-delayed Corridor of Light project, will also be installed, but only at the four corners of the I-66 bridge.

Safety is a significant component of the project. The intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway, once dubbed the “Intersection of Doom,” has been the scene of numerous vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes over the past few years, though collisions are down since interim safety improvements have been installed

The Board unanimously approved the increase in budget at its Tuesday meeting. Project construction should wrap up by May 2020.

File photos

by ARLnow.com February 27, 2018 at 8:55 am 0

Spokes Etc. to Take Over Freshbikes Store — Northern Virginia bike retailer Spokes Etc. is expected to open in the former Freshbikes location in Ballston by the end of March. “[Spokes Etc. President Jim] Strang said the store will stock his main brands, which are Specialized and Trek, and he plans to pick up one or two boutique bike brands to complement them.” [Bicycle Retailer, Spokes Etc.]

Arlington Near Last for Snowfall on East Coast — Based on a chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Arlington and D.C. ranked 65th among 68 eastern U.S. cities for snowfall this season, with a measly 3.3 inches. Only three deep south cities recorded less snowfall than has been reported at Reagan National Airport. [Patch]

More DCA Construction Impacts — Due to construction, Metro walkway airline kiosks and bag drops for Delta and American Airlines at Reagan National Airport are being relocated to the National Hall in Terminal B/C today. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo Lisa Novak

by ARLnow.com February 26, 2018 at 8:30 am 0

County Board Approves Bike Boulevard Contract — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a half-million dollar contract for safety improvements to the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and 12th Street S. Per a county press release: “The project, one of several designed to make the Columbia Pike bike boulevards safer and more comfortable, will provide traffic calming and pedestrian improvements at the intersection.” [Arlington County]

Wakefield Boys Win Basketball Tourney — “The Wakefield Warriors won the 2018 boys Northern Region 5C Tournament basketball championship on their home court Feb. 23. The region crown was the 10th in program history for the high school team and second since 2014.” [InsideNova]

Hearing on Historic District Fee — The County Board will hold a public hearing in April to discuss an application fee for those seeking a local historic district. The fee, between $250-1,000 per request, would only partially reimburse the county for staff time spent researching each request, but could serve as a deterrent against frivolous requests. [InsideNova]

ICYMI: Weekend Articles — ARLnow published two articles of note over the weekend: first, a recap of the County Board’s decision to not raise the property tax rate this budget season, and second, a developing story about state legislation that could cost the county’s coffers around $2 million while slashing the tax bills of Arlington’s two country clubs.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 22, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Enhanced crosswalks and curb extensions are coming to S. Walter Reed Drive, just south of Columbia Pike, in an effort to calm traffic and improve intersections for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Storm sewer upgrades and raised medians will also be added to the stretch of S. Walter Reed Drive between 11th Street S. and 13th Street S. The current “bike boulevard” will move from 12th Street S. to 11th Street S. between S. Highland Street and S. Cleveland Street.

County Manager Mark Schwartz has recommended awarding the project to Fort Myer Construction, headquartered in Washington. The County Board is scheduled to consider the contract at its Saturday meeting. The contract cost is $444,575.11, with a change order contingency allocation of $88,915.02.

Photo via Google Maps

by Anna Merod February 7, 2018 at 5:15 pm 0

Registration is now open for Crosshairs Garage Races, formerly known as Wednesday Night Spins, in Crystal City.

The underground bike races will begin in March. The course will be set up on the G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S., Designed as a “dry criterium” course, it will feature plenty of turns and no dismounts.

In addition to the new name for the series, there’s also a new competition to see who can rack up the most points over the first four races.

“Crosshairs Garage Races challenges amateur and elite cyclists alike to compete weekly for prizes and points in pursuit of the ‘Petty Cup.’ Named in honor of Joseph Petty, the former Crystal City BID employee and Crosshairs racing team member who conceptualized the event, the Petty Cup is awarded to the racer in each category with the most points earned over the course of the first four weeks of the series (March 7th to 28th),” the Crystal City Business Improvement District said in a press release.

The event is free for spectators and $15 for most bicyclist race registrations. There will also be a pop-up bar.

Here’s the list of upcoming races:

  • March 7
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • March 14
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • March 21
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • March 28
    • Beginners’ Race Series, 6:30 p.m.
    • Women’s Open Series, 7:25 p.m.
    • Open Race Series, 8:25 p.m.
  • April 4
    • Beginner/Intermediate/Junior Open Race, 6:30 p.m.
    • Feds v. Contractors Race, 7:25 p.m.
    • Cargo Bike/Tandem/Bikeshare Showdown, 8 p.m.
    • Fixed Gear Finale, 8:25 p.m.

Crosshairs Garage Races is hosted by the Crystal City BID in partnership with JBG Smith and In The Crosshairs.

Photo courtesy Crystal City/Bruce Buckley Photography

by ARLnow.com January 30, 2018 at 8:35 am 0

Local bicycling retailer and bike ride organizer Freshbikes has closed.

The store’s Ballston location, at 3924 Wilson Blvd, is shuttered. The Freshbikes location in Bethesda has also reportedly closed. Its Mosaic District store in Fairfax County closed last year.

A message on the Freshbikes website thanked customers and said the closing was “due to circumstances outside of our control.”

Thank You For a Great 11 Years!

For the past 11 years, it has been our honor and our pleasure to serve you. Effective immediately, due to circumstances outside of our control, all Freshbikes locations are closing permanently.

A special thanks to Arlington County for supporting our Tuesday Night Ride through the years.

Lastly, we thank our our outstanding staff, as we couldn’t have done any of this without this team of  dedicated professionals.

Scott & The Freshbikes Team

Several years ago Freshbikes was sued by a former employee who alleged sexual harassment. The suit was later settled and the store posted an apology on its website.

File photo

by Chris Teale January 4, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

A local business owner is urging road users on Columbia Pike to be more cautious, after what he said is a recent spike in accidents involving cyclists.

John Harpold, who manages the Papillon Cycles bike store at 2805 Columbia Pike emailed ARLnow.com just before Christmas after one such crash.

The crash took place at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd on December 21 at around 9 a.m. Photos that Harpold took at the scene show a bicycle that had been bent by the impact and an SUV with a damaged windshield.

Harpold said more must be done to make the Columbia Pike corridor safer for all road users.

“These cyclist-involved accidents are bad, and increasing,” Harpold said. “These are my customers and while I waited 10 minutes to get my car free of the resulting jam, 20 cyclists negotiated the mess from this accident and there were ample opportunities for more carnage. This really is a big safety community issue for our part of Arlington, and all road and sidewalk users.”

Columbia Pike was recently the scene of a separate enforcement effort around road safety by the Arlington County Police Department, as officers cited 20 for failing to yield to pedestrians.

Photos by John Harpold

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