Three troublesome intersections across Arlington are now set for some improvements, as part of the county’s “Neighborhood Complete Streets” program.
The county revealed yesterday (Wednesday) that it has chosen a trio of intersections for “pilot projects” of the program, which is designed to fund a whole host of local road projects in areas plagued by frequent accidents. In the coming months, workers will start construction at:
- 6th Street S. at S. Adams Street in Penrose
- N. Buchanan Street at 13th Street N. and 14th Street N. in Waycroft-Woodlawn
- 6th Street N. at N. Edison Street and N. Emerson Street in Bluemont
At 6th Street S., officials chose the intersection due to its “extremely wide pedestrian crossing,” according to the county’s website.
“Though there is a center median, it doesn’t provide a refuge for pedestrians crossing 6th Street South, which is both a bicycle and transit route,” staff wrote.
Similarly, county staff note that the “intersection of 6th Street N. and N. Emerson Street has a sharp bend that leads to the intersection of 6th Street N. and N. Edison Street, which is extremely wide.”
“The large width of this neighborhood intersection makes it easy for cars to travel quickly through this area, even while turning, and makes for a longer pedestrian crossing,” staff wrote.
Finally, the county is aiming for improvements at N. Buchanan Street in order to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to gain access to nearby Woodlawn Park.
Officials have yet to decide on the exact details of the construction at these intersections, and will hold a series of public meetings to collect community input:
- 6th Street S.: Trinity Episcopal Church Children’s Center, Tuesday (June 19) at 7:30 p.m.
- N. Buchanan Street: Entrance of Woodlawn Park at N. Buchanan Street and 14th Street N., June 23 from 9:30 to 11:30 am and June 25 from 8:30 to 10:30 am.
- 6th Street N.: Arlington Traditional School, June 27 at 7:30 p.m.
The county is planning to add “tactical/interim improvements” at each intersection this fall, as it works on more extensive plans.
Arlington officials picked these three projects after asking for public submissions of tricky intersections around the county and reviewed 169 potential projects in all. The county is currently studying all of those intersections, and will eventually score and rank each one for potential funding going forward.
However, transportation officials warn that the county’s recent budget squeeze has forced staff to trim funding for the program a bit, though they have not eliminated it entirely.
Arlington At the RAMMYs — Updated at 9:15 a.m. — No individual Arlington restaurant won a RAMMY regional restaurant award Sunday night, though regional chain Moby Dick House of Kabob, which has locations in Shirlington and Clarendon, won in the “Favorite Fast Bite” category, and Cheesetique in Shirlington was nominated under the “Favorite Gathering Place of the Year” category. [Washingtonian]
Clarendon, Crystal City Bike Races — Despite the threat of rain, both the Clarendon Cup and the Crystal Cup of the annual Armed Forces Cycling Classic largely avoided weather woes over the weekend. [Twitter, Twitter, Cycling News]
Photo courtesy @thelastfc
The return of the Armed Forces Cycling Classic to Arlington will prompt a few road closures this weekend, with Clarendon impacted Saturday (June 9) and Crystal City facing closures Sunday (June 10).
Cyclists of all skill levels will compete in the 21st annual “Clarendon Cup” Saturday. The event features professional cyclists competing in what is billed as “one of the most difficult criterium races in the USA, due to technical demands of the course and the quality of the participant.”
Arlington County Police are planning to close the following roads around Clarendon from 4:30 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. that day:
- Wilson Blvd., from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd.
- Clarendon Blvd., from Washington Blvd. to N. Fillmore Street
- Washington Blvd., from Wilson Blvd. to N. Highland Street
- North Highland Street, from Wilson Blvd. to Washington Blvd.
- North Garfield Street / N. Fillmore Street, from Wilson Blvd. to Washington Blvd.
On Sunday, riders will square off in the “Crystal Cup,” and police plan to close more roads from 4:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m.:
- Crystal Drive, from S. 15th Street through S. 23rd Street
- Wilson Blvd., from N. Kent Street to the Route 110 ramp
- Route 110, from Rosslyn to Crystal City
- S. Clark Street, from S. 20th Street to S. 23rd Street
- S. 20th Street, from Crystal Drive to S. Clark Street
- S. 18th Street, from Crystal Drive to S. Bell Street
- S. 23rd Street from Crystal Drive to S. Clark Street
- Crystal Drive (West side), from S. 23rd St to the Central Center Parking Garage
- S. 12th Street and Long Bridge Drive
Police also plan to post “no parking” signs in the vicinity of both races. Anyone with their vehicle towed should call the county’s Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.
Photo via the Armed Forces Cycling Classic
(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Transportation planners have nearly finalized designs for a long-awaited effort to overhaul Virginia’s only railroad connection to D.C.
Officials from Virginia, D.C. and an alphabet soup’s worth of federal agencies have spent years working on plans to replace the Long Bridge — which runs roughly parallel to the 14th Street Bridge — and improve rail capacity over the Potomac River.
Officials say they are almost ready to commit to more concrete plans to guide the redesign. The project still needs millions of dollars in funding to move ahead, and construction wouldn’t start until 2020 at the earliest, yet planners are pushing to have engineering and environmental analyses drawn up by summer 2019.
State rail officials told the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission at a meeting last night (June 7) that they’ve managed to narrow down a long list of alternatives for replacing the bridge, which stretches from near the Pentagon in Arlington to Southwest D.C., to two final possibilities.
Both plans involve building a new, two-track bridge alongside the existing structure, which was first built back in 1904. One alternative calls for the current bridge to stay in place; the other would involve fully replacing it.
Either way, officials believe the project is critical for initiatives like ramping up Virginia Railway Express and Amtrak service between Virginia and the District.
“It is really a bridge of national significance,” Jennifer Mitchell, the director of the state’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation, told the commission. “It carries a tremendous amount of traffic with commuters that would otherwise be on I-66 or 395.”
Doug Allen, the CEO of VRE, stressed that increasing rail capacity across the Potomac will be particularly critical for his trains. Commercial freight trains from the company CSX, which owns the bridge, often have to compete with commuter trains for space on the tracks, and Mitchell suggested that running a second bridge alongside the Long Bridge would help avoid that sort of conflict.
“For us to be able to add more service to our trains, we need to add more tracks there,” Allen said.
But even with so many people invested in seeing the project finished, Mitchell was sure to note that the whole effort is “very complex.” The bridge stretches just past historic resources like the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, not to mention other, “sensitive areas dealing with security” in D.C. itself, Allen said.
The project will also require extensive conversations about how exactly officials can include bike and pedestrian options alongside the new bridge, a key point of concern for Arlington’s representatives on the commission.
Allen noted that officials are considering two options for bike and pedestrian crossings that would not be attached to the Long Bridge, running closer to the bridge for Metro trains nearby, but still included in the overall project. But he said planners could decide to add bike and pedestrian options on the new bridge itself, though he did note that could prompt some “security concerns.”
Whichever option officials choose, Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol urged Allen to keep bicyclists, walkers and runners in mind throughout the planning process, given the unique opportunity this project presents. After all, she noted, the current crossing along the 14th Street Bridge does not offer a connection to the regional trail network on the D.C. side.
Construction work on an access road crossing a portion of Army Navy Country Club could be pushed back by nearly a decade, as Arlington grapples with a funding squeeze impacting transportation projects.
County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan calls for engineering work on the project, which is designed to link the Arlington View neighborhood to Army Navy Drive, to start by fiscal year 2027 with construction kicking off two years later. The county has long expected to start design work for the project by fiscal year 2020, with work to begin in 2022.
Since 2010, county officials have aimed to build the new road, which would be reserved for emergency vehicles looking to more easily cross I-395, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. The 30-foot-wide road would run from S. Queen Street, near Hoffman-Boston Elementary, to the I-395 underpass, where a country club access road meets up with Army Navy Drive.
The process has required a good bit of back-and-forth with the country club — the county only secured an easement on the club’s property as part of a deal to allow Army Navy’s owners to build a larger clubhouse than county zoning rules would ordinarily permit. Some members of the country club even sued the county to block the arrangement, over concerns that cyclists and pedestrians on the proposed trail would be disruptive to golfers.
Yet Arlington leaders have pressed ahead with the project all the same, with the County Board approving two different updates to the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, known as the CIP, including funding for the project.
Schwartz hasn’t gone so far as to ask the Board to abandon the project — his proposed CIP calls for the county to spend $837,000 on engineering work in fiscal years 2027 and 2028 — but the delay does reflect Arlington’s new challenges paying for transportation projects.
As he’s unveiled the new CIP, Schwartz has frequently warned that the deal hammered out by state lawmakers to send the Metro system hundreds of millions of dollars in annual funding has hammered localities like Arlington. Not only does the deal increase the county’s annual contribution to Metro, but it sucks away money from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a regional body that would ordinarily help localities fund transportation projects.
With the county having to shift money around to compensate for those changes, officials say smaller projects like the Army Navy access road will necessarily suffer.
“Overall, the transportation CIP has fewer resources for smaller, neighborhood-scale improvements due to reduced funding resulting from legislation,” Jessica Baxter, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services, told ARLnow via email.
Bike and Walk to School Day — Today was Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. The yearly event encourages families to use their feet — rather than cars — to get to school, at least for a day. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Hospital Expansion Meets Some Resistance — Some neighbors are at odds with Virginia Hospital Center over its plan to expand its campus. Complaints include objections to “height and mass in close proximity to single-family homes” and the large number of proposed parking spaces. [Greater Greater Washington]
Machinery Topples Over, Blocking Road — A piece of heavy machinery toppled over on Little Falls Road at N. Sycamore Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood yesterday. The cleanup temporarily blocked Little Falls Road. [Twitter]
Fourth High School Could Cost >$250 Million — “Redeveloping portions of the Arlington Career Center campus near Columbia Pike to accommodate a fourth general high school in Arlington could end up costing a quarter-billion dollars or more depending on amenities, according to preliminary cost estimates being fleshed out by school officials.” [InsideNova]
Another Farmers Market Opens — Arlington County is now home to ten farmers markets, with another on the way. The Arlington Mill farmers market opened over the weekend and hosted a Latin jazz band and Arlington’s Art Truck, in addition to numerous food vendors. [Arlington County]
More on Controversial Favola Auction Item — “Brian White of Winchester was the winning Democratic bidder. He said in an interview Monday that he thought the offer blurred the line of appropriateness, but had an idea: ‘I was looking at how much it was and I was like, Dominion [Energy] pays a whole lot more for this type of access.’ He said he plans to offer the day in Richmond to Theresa ‘Red’ Terry, the Roanoke County woman who spent 34 days living in a tree stand to protest incursion of a natural gas pipeline through her land.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Want something fun to do in May? How about going on your best bike ride ever?
DC Bike Ride is the regions only closed-road, car-free bike ride! This is your only chance to ever bike DC completely car-free. It’s not a race. It’s not competitive. It’s a recreational bike ride that you can do at your own pace. You can jump on a bike and enjoy the ride even if you haven’t been on two-wheels in years.
Join us on Saturday, May 19 to celebrate life on two wheels. Register now and use the promo code ARLBIKE18 for $10 off standard registration. Kids ages 3 to 7 are always free and youth ages 8 to 17 are always half-price.
DC Bike Ride also has a Finish Festival after the ride along the National Mall with beats, eats and fun for all ages. DC’s famous go-go band Trouble Funk will headline the festival, and attendees can enjoy free yoga by KIND Healthy Snacks, get a bike tune-up by Conte’s, try out a virtual reality bike ride with Events DC or test an electric bike with JUMP Bikes.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is the event’s non-profit beneficiary with funds from DC Bike Ride supporting WABA’s work to make streets safer for all.
Don’t have your own bike? No problem! We partner with Bike and Roll DC to bring you easy bike rentals.
Make DC Bike Ride your favorite spring tradition and join the ride today. Don’t forget to use the promo code ARLBIKE18 for $10 off standard registration. Online registration will be open through Wednesday, May 16.
Arlington County police are gearing up for a new traffic safety enforcement push.
As part of this year’s 2018 Spring Pedestrian & Bicyclist Safety Awareness Program, police officers will be out enforcing traffic laws in Virginia Square and along Columbia Pike this week.
Tomorrow (May 1), officers will be enforcing traffic laws at Fairfax Drive and N. Kenmore Street from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. On Thursday (May 3), officers will conduct the same enforcement at Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street from 1-2:30 p.m.
Anyone spotted violating traffic laws in those areas — motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike — will be ticketed.
The bike safety campaign aims “to change pedestrian, driver and bicyclist behavior while reducing the number of traffic related crashes and injuries.”
More from the press release:
Each year, pedestrians and bicyclists account for a quarter of the traffic fatalities in the region, nearly 90 deaths per year. The Arlington County Police Department participates in numerous enforcement campaigns throughout the year in support of its commitment to improving transportation safety in the County. These campaigns combine public education and high-visibility enforcement to ensure that all travelers share the road safely.
Updated Columbia Pike enforcement timeline at 9:04 a.m. on May 2 due to updated press release sent from the ACPD that morning.
DC Bike Ride is the region’s only car-free, closed-road, recreational bike ride. Register now before the price increases on May 1.
Save even more when you use the promo code ARLBIKE18 for $10 off standard registration. Kids ages 3 to 7 are always free and youth ages 8 to 17 are always half-price
Join us on Saturday, May 19 for a fun, recreational, family-friendly bicycle adventure. DC Bike Ride celebrates bicycling as a form of healthy living, fitness, transportation and fun.
Your registration includes access to the closed-road DC Bike Ride course that starts in West Potomac Park — this is the only time Washington, DC closes roads for bicycles!
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 6-mile course (in case you get tired, are riding with little ones or get hungry for some snacks).
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 limited edition DC Bike Ride water bottle.
The ride raises support for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s work 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.
No bike? No problem! We partner with Bike and Roll DC to bring you easy bike rentals.
Make DC Bike Ride your favorite spring tradition and join the ride today. Don’t forget to use the promo code ARLBIKE18 for $10 off standard registration now through April 30.
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.
Flooding Closes Roads, Prompts Warning — Updated 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
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:
@ARLnowDOTcom well just witnessed a biker get destroyed at George mason and Pershing
— avery (@averyhayden69) April 12, 2018
Photo via Google Maps
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
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.
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.
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.
Make DC Bike Ride your favorite springtime activity and join the ride today.