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by Chris Teale August 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

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.

by ARLnow.com August 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm 0

Two men have been arrested and charged with trying to steal bikes from a front porch and a parking garage.

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.

https://twitter.com/ArlingtonVaPD/status/894633418612461568

by Brooke Giles August 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

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.

Courtesy photo

by Kalina Newman July 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The local chapter of KidicalMass, a national organization centered around casual community bike rides for families, will take a trip to Carvel Ice Cream this Sunday (July 30).

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

by ARLnow.com July 19, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

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]

by ARLnow.com July 17, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

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.

(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.

(more…)

by Chris Teale June 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

The UnitedHealthCare professional cycling team made a strong showing at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic this past weekend throughout Arlington.

The team took home two second-placed finishes and one first-place finish in the showpiece Clarendon and Crystal Cups for men and women.

Carlos Alzate Escobar took first in the men’s Clarendon Cup on Saturday for UHC, ahead of John Murphy of Holowesko Citadel in second and Adam Myerson of Team Skyline in third.

In the women’s Clarendon Cup, Cuban Olympic cyclist Marlies Mejias Garcia took first for Weber Shimano, beating Kendall Ryan of TIBCO-SVB into second and Lizzie Williams of Hagens Berman-Supermint into third.

The following day, UnitedHealthCare finished second in both the men’s and women’s Crystal Cups in Crystal City. Laura Van Gilder took first in the women’s race for Mellow Mushroom Cycling, ahead of UHC’s Laurette Hanson in second and Ingrid Drexel Clouthier of TIBCO-SVB in third.

Tyler Magner took victory in the men’s Crystal Cup for Holowesko Citadel, ahead of UHC’s Sebastian Haedo in second and Brandon Feheery of The Crit Life in third.

In addition to the competitive races, the Challenge Ride offered a closed course to cycling enthusiasts of all abilities in and around the Pentagon, Crystal City and the Air Force Memorial, while young riders could also test themselves in a kid’s race. The races closed roads across various neighborhoods throughout the weekend.

Below are the top 10 in each of the four main races, with teams indicated in parentheses:

Women’s Clarendon Cup

  1. Marlies Mejias Garcia (Weber Shimano)
  2. Kendall Ryan (TIBCO-SVB)
  3. Lizzie Williams (Hagens Bergman Supermint)
  4. Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthCare)
  5. Ingrid Drexel Clouthier (TIBCO-SVB)
  6. Laura Jorgenson (Mellow Mushroom Cycling)
  7. Janelle Cole (United HealthCare)
  8. Laura Stephens (TIBCO-SVB)
  9. Diana Penuela (United HealthCare)
  10. Colleen Gulick (Pickle Juice Pro Cycling Team)

Men’s Clarendon Cup

  1. Carlos Alzate Escobar (UnitedHealthCare)
  2. John Murphy (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
  3. Adam Myerson (Team Skyline)
  4. Rafael Meran (Dave Jordan Racing)
  5. Sean McElroy (Chainheart)
  6. Carlos Brenes Mata (Team Somerville Bicycle Shop)
  7. Brandon Feheery (The Crit Life)
  8. Jake Keough (Team Skyline)
  9. Sam Rosenholtz (CCB Velotooler Cycling Team)
  10. Ben Renkema (Palmetto State Medical)

Women’s Crystal Cup

  1. Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Cycling)
  2. Laurette Hanson (UnitedHealthCare)
  3. Ingrid Drexel Clouthier (TIBCO-SVB)
  4. Marlies,Mejias Garcia (Weber Shimano)
  5. Lizzie Williams (Hagens Bergman Supermint)
  6. Colleen Gulick (Pickle Juice Pro Cycling Team)
  7. Diana Penuela (UnitedHealthCare)
  8. Tina Pic (Papa Johns)
  9. Brianna Walle (TIBCO-SVB)
  10. Kyrstin Bluhm (Fearless Femme Racing)

Men’s Crystal Cup

  1. Ty Magner (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
  2. Sebastian Haedo (UnitedHealthCare)
  3. Brandon Feheery (The Crit Life)
  4. Thomas Humphreys (Battley Harley-Davidson / Local)
  5. Jake Keough (Team Skyline)
  6. Brendan Rhim (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
  7. Patrick Raines (Hearts Racing Club)
  8. Matt McLoone (Battley Harley-Davidson / Local)
  9. Scottie Weiss (SeaSucker)
  10. Adrian Hegyvary (United HealthCare)

Flickr pool photos by users Eric Schweik and Michael Coffman. Additional photos courtesy Rena Schild and via Facebook.

by Chris Teale June 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The streets of Arlington are being readied ahead of this weekend’s Armed Forces Cycling Classic, the arrival of thousands of competing bicyclists, support teams and spectators.

Races will take place Saturday and Sunday for amateurs and professionals alike, with police set to close roads across various neighborhoods to accommodate the festivities.

And in preparation, as of Friday afternoon crews have begun putting out traffic cones, tents and barriers for the competition, which begins early Saturday morning.

Saturday is the Clarendon Cup, which brings with it numerous road closures in Clarendon, while Sunday is the Crystal Cup in Crystal City, again with more closures in that neighborhood.

The Capital Weather Gang anticipates heat and humidity will descend on the area this weekend, so riders and spectators should be careful and stay hydrated.

by ARLnow.com June 9, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

Road Closures for Bike Races — As a reminders, there will be significant road closures in Clarendon and Crystal City on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, for the Armed Forces Cycling Classic.

Arlington Woman Invented ‘Monopoly’ Precursor — An Arlington woman may have been the “real” inventor of the board game Monopoly. Lizzie Magie, who died in Arlington in 1948, created a board game very similar to Monopoly. Three decades later, Charles Darrow, taking inspiration from Magie’s game, created Monopoly and sold it to Parker Brothers. [Arlington Magazine]

I-66 Tolls Expected to Start in December — New tolls on single-occupancy vehicles on I-66 are now expected to take effect in December. Electronic toll signs have started going up near I-66 on-ramps. [Twitter, NBC Washington]

Krupicka Having Fun Running Donut Stores — Former member of the Virginia House of Delegates Rob Krupicka is enjoying his second act: owning Sugar Shack donut stores in Arlington, Alexandria and now D.C. [Washington City Paper]

Wages Drop in Arlington — Mirroring regional and national trends, average weekly wages in Arlington dropped 1.4 percent, to $1,677, in the last three months of 2016. Arlington ranked as the seventh-highest average weekly wage in the country. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by Katherine Berko June 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The 20th Armed Forces Cycling Classic will take place in Arlington this weekend, and one of its former champions is set to get back in the saddle.

Jake Keough, a three-time winner of the Crystal Cup race, will be cycling in it for the first time since he was forced into retirement three years ago due to an irregular heartbeat.

“After being a professional for 10-plus years, I began to have heart arrhythmias…I had major complications,” Keough wrote in an email.

Keough will be cycling with Team Skyline, run by the acclaimed bicyclist Ryan DeWald. DeWald, like Keough, suffers from another chronic medical condition: Type 1 diabetes. Both were diagnosed in 2014 and took time away.

“I got thin. I got sick. I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” DeWald said. “I missed one weekend of racing then I got back on my bike, I got on insulin, I re-sorted out how to race my bike on insulin. I worked with some of the best doctors in the world.”

When DeWald re-entered the cycling realm after his brief hiatus, he made an immediate impact. In 2015, he was ranked third nationally as a Category One rider, out of 1,475 cyclists.

Despite that impressive statistic, DeWald remembers when everybody told him to stop biking. He refused to take their advice.

“I had nothing to lose so I just kept racing the bike. Now, I’m turning more into an inspirational athlete with dynamic speaking skills,” DeWald said.

He hopes to eventually transfer out of bike racing and take on more leadership roles.

DeWald started the foundation, Winning the Race with Diabetes, to help people manage Type 1 diabetes while also engaging in athletic lifestyles. In addition to running Team Skyline, he runs a team bike shop in Reading, Penn.

While DeWald was getting back on his bike, Keough underwent cardiac ablation surgery. The procedure caused him to go into cardiac arrest.

“I was told by the best sports cardiologists in the world that I could never be an athlete again and that I should live a sedentary life,” Keough wrote.

Yet, Keough persisted. He takes medication to keep his heart rate low and has a sprinter plate on his chest.

“I’m back racing on my own terms and trying not to let my health issues dictate how I live my life,” Keough wrote.

“I think he’s taking his life into his own hands every time he sprints…I think he’s a few steps away from winning a big one,” DeWald said of his teammate. And after years apart, the men rekindled their friendship via social media this past winter.

“He was telling me about what happened to him, he asked me about my condition and we started comparing notes,” DeWald said.

Shortly thereafter, Keough joined DeWald’s team. Team Skyline rides about 15,000 miles per year and races 50-60 events annually.

This weekend’s race will not be Keough’s first since leaving retirement. However, he remains surprised by his recent success.

“I didn’t really plan on making a comeback. But, after racing Speed Week this spring and finishing fifth at Athens Twilight and fourth overall, I realized I could still be a factor at the top level of the sport I love,” Keough wrote.

Skyline is hopeful for this weekend. Keough’s youngest brother, Luke Keough, will also be participating this weekend, on a different team.

“Obviously, as a former winner, the goal is to get back to the top step. But, more importantly, it’s to have a blast,” Keough wrote.

“We’re going to try to win,” DeWald said. “Jake has just got to beat his brother [in the race]. How hard can it be to beat your younger brother?”

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic consists of two days of races: the Clarendon Cup on Saturday, in Clarendon, and the Crystal Cup and non-competitive Challenge Ride on Sunday, in Crystal City. The pro-am races, along with corresponding kids races and the Challenge Ride, are open to spectators.

by ARLnow.com June 1, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

FBI Seeking Man Who Touched Girl at Cemetery — The FBI’s Washington Field Office is searching for a man who “inappropriately touched a girl as the two stood in a crowd during a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.” [NBC Washington]

Task Force Recommends ‘Fleet Elementary’ — The task force charged with recommending a name for the new elementary school being built next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School has settled its choice: “Alice West Fleet Elementary.” Fleet was the first African-American reading teacher in Arlington’s public school system. The task force did not recommend transferring the name of Patrick Henry, a slave owner, from the current school, which will be transferring its students to new new school when it is complete. [InsideNova]

Bicyclist Group Calls Out Biking Bullies — In a blog post, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is calling out aggressive male riders who yelled insults at a female bike commuter on two separate occasions on the Mt. Vernon Trail. “This sort of behavior is totally unacceptable,” the group said. [WABA]

Mt. Vernon Trail Upgrade Complete — The National Park Service has completed an upgrade to a portion of the Mt. Vernon Trail that runs through the Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot. The upgrade includes a new crossing and speed table across the parking lot and the widening of the trail. [Greater Greater Washington]

Arlington Sells Bonds at Low Interest Rate — Arlington County solds $185 million in bonds at a relatively low 2.5 percent interest rate. “The interest rate we received today is one of the lowest we’ve ever received,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a press release. “However, it is slightly higher than the rate we received last year.” [Arlington County]

Tight Race in Va. Gov. Primary — The two candidates battling it out in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary are in the midst of a tight race. The race between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello is being portrayed as a contest between an establishment figure (Northam) and a progressive darling (Perriello). Primary voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, June 13. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Chris Teale May 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Next Friday, thousands of area commuters will celebrate Bike to Work Day, including at sites across Arlington.

The free event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region and ride bicycles to work in a commuter convoy.

In Arlington, seven sites will provide food and drink, as well as nearby Capital Bikeshare stations for the easy docking of bikes. In the mornings, the pit stops will be open from 6:30-9 a.m., while those open in the afternoons will last from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Rosslyn’s morning pit stop will be hosted at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway), while in the afternoon it will be at the Heavy Seas Alehouse (1501 Wilson Blvd). Shirlington will also hold pit stops in the morning at the Shirlington Library (4200 Campbell Ave) and in the afternoon at New District Brewing (2709 S. Oakland Street).

Pit stops can also be found in the mornings at FreshBikes Bike Shop (3924 Wilson Blvd) in Ballston, Penrose Square at 2503 Columbia Pike, the East Falls Church Metro station (2001 N. Sycamore Street) and the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive).

Registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a free Bike To Work Day T-shirt.

The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.

“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”

by ARLnow.com May 10, 2017 at 8:55 am 0

It’s Bike and Walk to School Day — Expect additional pedestrians on local roads this morning as parents, students and teachers participate in Bike and Walk to School Day. [Twitter, Twitter]

Sun Gazette’s County Board Endorsement — The Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the Democratic County Board caucuses, which are happening this week. At the same time, the paper urged readers to also consider Kim Klingler, thanks in part to her background on public safety issues. [InsideNova]

SoberRide Triples Cinco de Mayo Usage — Having switched from offering free taxi rides to free Lyft rides, the regional SoberRide anti-DUI program reported that its ridership on Cinco de Mayo tripled this year: 676 riders compared to 225 last year. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]

Hurricane Hunters at DCA — Government officials and members of the public were on hand at Reagan National Airport yesterday to tour the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane hunter aircraft. Among those on hand were acting FEMA director Bob Fenton and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The director of the National Hurricane Center called it “the biggest, baddest hurricane awareness tour stop we have ever had.” [Roll Call, Capital Weather Gang]

TV Station Visits Local School — WJLA (ABC 7) and meteorologist Brian van de Graaff broadcast live from Hoffman-Boston Elementary School, near Columbia Pike and I-395, yesterday as part of the station’s “lunchbox weather” program. [WJLA]

Activists Target FCC Chair’s Arlington Neighbors — In their fight to retain net neutrality policies, activists have been leaving advocacy materials for and knocking on the doors of FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s neighbors in Arlington. Pai has suggested such policies should be rolled back. [Silicon Beat, DSL Reports, Popular Resistance]

Arlington Water Quality Report Posted — The results of Arlington County’s annual water quality testing have been published online. Per a press release: “Based on sampling data taken throughout the year at our treatment plant and distribution system, the report confirms that Arlington’s high-quality drinking water meets and exceeds all federal and state requirements.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Chris Teale May 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Refinements are being made to a plan to build a pedestrian and cyclist bridge in East Falls Church, which has undergone big changes in the past few months.

A previous version came under fire earlier this year for what critics viewed as a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood and a perceived lack of community input, as well as design concerns. In previous renderings, the bridge had a trussed roof and was dark red.

The Virginia Dept. of Transportation has proposed building a new bridge over Lee Highway near the W&OD trail as part of its “Transform 66” interstate widening and tolling project.

If built, VDOT says the bridge would improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The trail currently crosses Lee Highway at the busy intersection with Fairfax Drive.

Now, the bridge has no trusses along its top and is instead what Amanda Baxter, special projects development manager at VDOT, described at a meeting Tuesday as an “earth tone gray.” Baxter said other refinements include shaped fencing and renderings showing nearby landscaping, as well as locations for relocated trail shelters to provide a rest area for all users.

She added that the lighting on the bridge is still up for discussion. Currently, the bridge has acorn-style lights in its center that would be maintained by Dominion Virginia Power. VDOT and local residents agree the lights could be better, but they are limited to lights in Dominion’s inventory.

Baxter said the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority, which owns land nearby, is instead willing to help out with maintaining different lights.

“I think they’ve heard you too and are willing to step up and look to other options they can maintain,” she said.

Also still up for discussion are the installation of noise walls at certain areas along I-66, which VDOT is required to offer to provide under federal law if the noise level goes higher than 66 decibels.

Neighbors who would directly benefit from the walls would be balloted on whether they should be installed, Baxter said, although some attendees raised concerns about the walls appearing to enclose the neighborhood behind them and block light.

And local resident Sandy Chesrown, representing the Lee Highway Alliance, said the group would continue to push for public art to be installed nearby.

“We see this as a gateway statement to Falls Church and Arlington County, and we will continue to lobby for some sort of public art,” she said.

VDOT plans to award a design/build contract for the entire “Transform 66” project, including constructing the bridge, at the end of this year. Building work is projected to take from mid-2018 until 2021.

by Chris Teale April 19, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A proposal to add bike lanes to a western portion of Washington Blvd has been shelved after neighbors raised concerns at losing on-street parking spaces.

A spokesman for the county’s department of environmental services said that after previously considering a nearly two-mile stretch of bike lanes from N. Sycamore Street to George Mason Drive, staff has revised their plan.

Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to a shorter stretch, westbound between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets; eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.

“The revised plan would still provide bicycling facilities both eastbound and westbound from East Falls Church to Westover Village, albeit with a section along neighborhood streets, while also minimizing the impact to parking in the middle section that was most heavily impacted in the initial proposal, including the preservation of parking in front of and across from the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, which does not have off-street parking,” DES spokesman Eric Balliet said.

The project is part of a wider re-paving plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which controls that section of Washington Blvd.

The initial plan of bicycle lanes in each direction, improved pedestrian crossings and other improvements was shared publicly last March and received more than 400 comments. County staff then broke them down into categories to get a sense of the main areas of support and concern. Staff then integrated those comments into their revisions of the proposal.

Balliet said the revised plan “continues to meet all major goals with fewer impacts on parking in the middle section where impacts were most acute.”

But bicycling advocates vented their frustration at the change. In a blog post published yesterday on the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s website, WABA staff member Garrett Hennigan blasted the changes.

“Following the first meeting, supportive comments poured in from neighborhood residents. 65 percent of comments supported the bike lanes as did 55 percent of comments from neighborhood residents,” Hennigan wrote. “Now, to save some parking spaces and appease a vocal minority, the County has thrown out the public process, abandoned years of planning and determined that putting people on bikes at risk is a fair compromise.”

A community meeting on the project’s latest iteration will be held tonight at 5 p.m. in the Reed-Westover Building at 1644 N. McKinley Road.

Photo via Google Maps

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