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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

by Katie Pyzyk April 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Police are ready to hand out more tickets as a way to boost awareness of pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

On Friday, police will set up at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Kenmore Street from 3-5 p.m. to enforce traffic laws. They’ll ticket any driver, cyclist or pedestrian who commits a violation. On May 2, they’ll do the same at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street from noon to 2 p.m.

ACPD will conduct the enforcement events as part of a larger D.C.-area safety campaign to reduce injuries and deaths by changing pedestrian, cyclist and driver behaviors. That campaign started yesterday and runs through mid-May.

Police note that cyclists and pedestrians make up nearly a quarter of the region’s traffic fatalities each year. They encourage everyone to safely share the roads and pay attention to one another.

by Chris Teale April 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

It promises to be a busy few months for local nonprofit Phoenix Bikes as it celebrates 10 years since its founding.

The organization — which lists its mission as promoting bicycling, building community and educating young people — marks its 10-year anniversary today.

It will celebrate on Thursday night from 6:30 p.m. with its Makers’ Ball at 1750 Crystal Drive. The evening will include music, food, drink, an auction of art and other hand-made craft, a bicycle showcase and more.

Later this year, Phoenix Bikes will take center stage once again as it hosts this year’s Youth Bike Summit on October 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

The summit is geared toward youth, bikes, education, advocacy and leadership, and it features a number of workshops and seminars as well as keynote speakers and networking.

“By creating a space where voices of all bicyclists can be heard, the Youth Bike Summit fosters an inclusive national dialogue that addresses the issues, rights, and concerns of all bicyclists,” Phoenix Bikes posted on its website.

Phoenix Bikes currently is located in Barcroft Park, where it provides its community bike shop to help recycle, mend and repurpose used bicycles. But before the end of the year, the organization will relocate to the ground floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center. Such a move has supporters very excited.

“It is an exciting step for Phoenix Bikes, the youth they serve and our Arlington community,” County Board member Libby Garvey, also a Phoenix Bikes board member, wrote in an email to supporters.

Photos via Facebook

by Chris Teale April 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Arlington will again be alive with the sound of thousands of pedaling cyclists, as the Armed Forces Cycling Classic returns in June.

Previously known as the Air Force Association Cycling Classic, the event will celebrate its 20th anniversary when it takes place on June 10 and 11.

Presented by The Boeing Company, the event benefits members of the U.S. armed forces.

“For two decades, the Cycling Classic has paid tribute to the men and women in uniform who serve courageously to protect America at home and around the world,” said Boeing chairman, president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg in a statement. “Throughout our 100-year history, Boeing has a proud tradition of partnering with the U.S. military, and we’re honored to support this year’s event, which benefits active-duty and retired veterans and their families.”

The weekend begins with the Clarendon Cup, in the heart of Clarendon. The following day, the Challenge Ride offers a closed course to cycling enthusiasts of all abilities in and around the Pentagon, Crystal City and the Air Force Memorial.

The race for the Crystal Cup follows on Sunday in Crystal City, pitting professional and amateur racers from around the world in a series of races. Free races for children aged 9 and under also will be held both days, in addition to the lifestyle and sponsor expo.

“We’re proud to celebrate our involvement with the Armed Forces Cycling Classic,” said Angela Fox, president and CEO of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, in a statement. “Over the past decade, we’ve watched both the professional races and community Challenge Rides grow while providing an exciting and transformative experience for participants and spectators alike.”

Photo via Armed Forces Cycling Classic

by ARLnow.com March 27, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Arlington County Police will be stepping up its traffic enforcement and public enforcement efforts, starting today, to try to improve bicycle safety.

The Safe Bicycling Initiative will run from Monday, March 27 through Tuesday, April 4. It will “begin by educating motorists and bicyclists on traffic laws that apply to cycling with the goal of reducing crashes.”

More from an ACPD press release:

With the arrival of spring and warm weather comes an increase in bicyclist traffic. The Arlington County Police Department, in partnership with BikeArlington, is conducting the spring Safe Bicycling Initiative (SBI) in an ongoing effort to make Arlington County a safe place to ride a bicycle. The initiative will begin by educating motorists and bicyclists on traffic laws that apply to cycling with the goal of reducing crashes. Once motorists and bicyclists understand the law and their roles and responsibilities, it is easier for each to share our roadways.

From March 27 thru April 4, officers will be paying particular attention to individuals on bikes as well as the way motorists interact with them. By changing the behavior of motorists and bicyclists through education and enforcement of existing traffic laws, our roadways will be safer for everyone.

This initiative is part of Arlington County Police Department’s overall traffic safety program. Throughout the year, officers conduct education and enforcement campaigns to ensure the safety of all travelers.  Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians are reminded to pay attention to one another and always proceed with caution and care for each other’s safety.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 16, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

The second annual DC Bike Ride is your chance to pedal down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, taking in the iconic sights of Washington, D.C., but without dodging traffic!

As a bonus, this year’s DC Bike Ride offers a fun and exciting Mother’s Day opportunity that the entire family (ages 3+) can enjoy. The 20-mile, car-free ride takes place Sunday, May 14, starting in West Potomac Park and finishing, after traversing closed roads in Washington and Arlington, on Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol.

DC Bike Ride begins at 8 a.m. and music and activities at the Finish Festival wrap up at 1 p.m. Registration is now open at this site. Register by March 26 and use the code ARLNOW to save $10.

The course, which will have live music and aid stations, is designed for riders of all fitness and experience levels. The ride is mostly flat, very scenic and noncompetitive. If 20 miles sounds like a lot, there is a 6.5-mile turnoff point, but most riders complete the course and start enjoying the Finish Festival in about 90 minutes.

DC Bike Ride was created in 2016 by Arlington-based Capital Sports Ventures as a way to “celebrate life on two wheels,” said Tassika Rodphotong Fulmer, senior director of business operations. “We wanted to do an event locally for the vibrant bike community, to get new folks onto bikes, and to provide a unique perspective in our nation’s capital.”

Tassika said last year’s inaugural DC Bike Ride raised $38,750 for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, to help support street safety initiatives in the region as part of  Washington’s Vision Zero effort, which works to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by 2024.

New this year is an opportunity to sponsor riders from underserved communities. You can chip in $1, $5, $10 or $48 and sponsor the registration fees for selected participants from organizations like Gearin’ Up Bicycles whose purpose is to create career development opportunities and teach essential workplace skills to teenagers from underserved communities.

Children must be 3 years old or older and those under 7 participate for free but must ride in tandem or pulled in a trailer by an adult. Bike, tandem and trailer rentals from our partner Bike and Roll DC are available at DCBikeRide.com.

by ARLnow.com March 15, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

Police car lightsA would-be bike thief led police on a foot chase outside the East Falls Church Metro yesterday afternoon.

The incident happened just before 2:30 p.m. Police say the man ran when approached by an officer on patrol. The pursuit ended on the 6700 block of 19th Road N. when, according to police, the man struck an officer and was tased.

More from Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

Just prior to 2:30 p.m., an officer on routine patrol observed a male subject attempting to steal a bicycle outside the East Falls Church metro station. The subject attempted to flee the area and a brief foot pursuit was initiated. As the officer was attempting to detain the subject, he became combative and struck the officer. The officer deployed their taser during the incident. The subject was evaluated by medics and no serious injuries were reported. The subject was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police and additional charges are anticipated.

by ARLnow.com March 10, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

What’s it like racing around an expansive Crystal City parking garage on a bike?

Kind of like a videogame, as a video (above) from this week’s edition of Crystal City’s Wednesday Night Spins demonstrates.

The events are taking place on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m., on the G3 and G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S., through the end of March. The races are free for spectators and around $15 for participants.

by Tim Regan March 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Photo via Crystal City BIDA bike race series that lets cyclists pedal through an underground parking garage has started up again in Crystal City.

The “Wednesday Night Spins” indoor race series held its first match of the year on March 1, according to the event’s organizers.

Though last year’s races were held at the complex at 2345 Crystal Drive, this year’s events are taking place on the G3 and G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S.

“Wednesday Night Spins hosts races for elites and amateurs with participants in each category competing for weekly prizes and points in pursuit of the Series Title,” the Crystal City BID said on its website.

According to the BID, the races last approximately 35 minutes and take place every Wednesday in March from 6-9 p.m. Each night’s schedule is as follows:

  • 6:00 p.m. — Onsite Registration/Check-in
  • 6:30 p.m. — Beginner Race
  • 7:25 p.m. — Women’s Open Race
  • 8:25 p.m. — Open Race

On the final evening of the series, organizers will combine the beginner and open races and add three more competitions: the “Anything Goes Race,” “Feds Vs. Contractors,” and the “Fixed-Gear Finale.”

Cyclists who want to participate in any of the scheduled races can sign up online. Registration is generally $15 per race, though some are more or less, depending on the match.

The race is free for spectators, who will have access to a wine and beer garden in the building’s lounge.

Photo via Crystal City BID

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 11:10 am 0

Washington Blvd just west of Westover (Photo via Google Maps)

A community meeting is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) to discuss a road re-striping plan that would add bike lanes but remove some parking on the western portion of Washington Blvd in Arlington.

The meeting is set to take place at the Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) from 5-8 p.m.

“We invite community members to provide ideas and insights on how we achieve the maximum benefits for bicycle access and pedestrian safety, while minimizing potential impacts in the area,” says the meeting’s web page.

Among the changes being proposed:

  • “Create nearly a two-mile stretch of bike lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.”
  • “Narrow unnecessary wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.”
  • “Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.”
  • “Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bike lanes.”

The restriping, as proposed, would add bike lanes in both directions to where they don’t already exist on Washington Blvd between Westover and East Falls Church, but at the expense of some on-street parking.

The project is being planned by Arlington County but will be performed and funded by VDOT, which maintains that stretch of Washington Blvd.

Photo via Google Maps

by Tim Regan January 27, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

(Updated at 10:31 a.m.) A proposal to build a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge in East Falls Church has prompted complaints from some nearby residents.

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.

But the idea deserves more thought, according to the East Falls Church Civic Association. Residents voiced concern in a letter the group sent to local officials last week.

“This VDOT project, if not paused, will create problems for holistic future pedestrian and cyclist transit development in the area, as well as create negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood in a way that a more thoughtful design would not,” the letter reads. “Pause this project so the neighborhood and the surrounding areas can fully consider the problems we are trying to address (both present and future).”

East Falls Church Civic Association president Kelly Alexis said locals first heard of the plan in October. Since then, Alexis said she’s received emails from more than two dozen East Falls Church residents, many opposing the idea.

The problem, Alexis explained, revolves around a lack of input from the community. Though VDOT has held a series of public meetings, she said the agency hasn’t adequately weighed the concerns of the people who live nearby the proposed site of the bridge.

Earlier this month, the association met with VDOT officials to discuss the plan and identified a number of concerns. Among them are questions about whether the bridge would disrupt design aspects of the 2011 East Falls Church Area Plan or “lock-in” the alignment of the W&OD trail, which residents say forces cyclists and pedestrians onto neighborhood streets near the East Falls Church Metro station.

The plan also needs more study regarding improving pedestrian access and safety along Lee Highway on the I-66 overpass and at the Fairfax Drive and Washington Blvd intersections, residents said at the meeting.

The association has suggested several alternatives to building the bridge, such as a trail realignment under Lee Highway or rerouting the trail across Fairfax Drive at the same intersection.

“It’s not a bad plan, it’s just the wrong plan,” Alexis said. “We recognize we’re in a transportation hub, but we want to work together to create a better solution.”

Gillian Burgess, chair of Arlington County’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, said she shares some of the neighborhood’s concerns. Still, a bridge is sorely needed to “allow people on two feet or two wheels to use the trail without worrying whether that red car is really going to stop at the light,” she said.

“The neighborhood does have legitimate concerns about the de facto routing of the trail through their neighborhood,” Burgess added. “But there’s no need to delay building this much-needed improvement to this important piece of our transportation network.”

The Arlington County Board is expected to further discuss the I-66 widening plan and the pedestrian bridge at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday).

by ARLnow.com November 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Street Smart pedestrian safety tips (via ACPD)As part of an ongoing fall pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign, the Arlington County Police Department will be conducting an enforcement detail along Lee Highway later this week.

On Thursday, from 10 a.m. to noon, cops will “ticket motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violate traffic laws” on Lee Highway near N. Edison Street, in the Hall’s Hill/High View Park area.

A second enforcement detail is planned along Columbia Pike next week, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, according to an ACPD press release, below.

During the month of November, the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Operations Section will be out promoting the 2016 Fall Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Awareness Program. The safety campaign will be held in Hall’s Hill and Barcroft areas of Arlington County. This campaign is part of the 2016 Fall Street Smart Pedestrian, Motorist, and Bicyclist Safety Campaign which will run from October 31st through November 27th.

The goals of the campaign are to change motorist and pedestrian behavior, and reduce pedestrian and bicyclist injuries through education and enforcement. Officers will ticket motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violate traffic laws at the following locations:

  • November 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Lee Highway and Edison Street
  • November 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Columbia Pike and Frederick Street

The Street Smart programs are designed to carry out education and enforcement campaigns throughout the year in the Metropolitan area in order to ensure everyone shares the roads safely.  Pedestrians and bicyclists account for a quarter of the traffic fatalities in the region, nearly 90 deaths per year.

Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians are reminded to pay attention to one another and always proceed with caution and care for each other’s safety.

by ARLnow.com November 7, 2016 at 6:15 pm 0

A driver struck and seriously injured a bicyclist this afternoon near Courthouse.

The crash happened shortly before 4 p.m. at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Queen Street, in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood.

A woman in a Nissan sedan struck the adult male cyclist near the entrance to Route 50. The car’s windshield shattered from the force of the impact on the passenger side of the vehicle. Damage was also visible on the side and hood of the car.

The cyclist was transported via ambulance to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Officers remained on scene to investigate the crash, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The driver remained on scene. No word yet on whether any charges will be filed.

by ARLnow.com November 7, 2016 at 9:05 am 0

Medical helicopter lands near Arlington Traditional School, transporting a patient to Virginia Hospital Center

W-L Defeats Yorktown, Heads to Playoffs — The Washington-Lee Generals defeated cross-county rival Yorktown Friday night to advance to the football playoffs. W-L was trailing when senior quarterback Ricardo Mestre passed for a touchdown with just seconds remaining to clinch the win. [Washington Post]

Board Advertises Ballston Historic District — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Saturday to advertise hearings on designating a small family graveyard in Ballston a local historic district, ahead of a planned redevelopment by the Central United Methodist Church. “The Board on Saturday received assurances from the church that it will not seek to remove any remains from the graveyard before the County has an opportunity to consider its historic designation,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]

Students: Adults Should Tone Down Boundary Rhetoric — Some adults have taken their rhetoric over the current Arlington Public Schools high school boundary refinement process too far, according to a pair of high school students who spoke at Thursday’s School Board meeting. “We honestly consider some of the comments made thus far to be an embarrassment,” said a Yorktown student. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Arlington Smartphone App Updated — Arlington County has made a number of new upgrades to its My Arlington App for smartphones. The changes include a new home screen design, transit alerts and, just in time for Election Day, polling locations and a map of voter precincts. [Arlington County]

Cyclebar Now Open on the Pike — Cyclebar, a new indoor cycling studio, has officially opened along Columbia Pike. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Nov. 1. [Cyclebar]

Library Director: Vote on Nov. 8 — From Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh’s blog: “Every election is important and every vote counts. And it’s a privilege that for people in many parts of the world is not enjoyed. On Tuesday, vote as if your life depends on it; it does.” [Arlington Public Library]

Free Home Buying Seminar TonightSponsored — The Orange Line Living Team is hosting a Free Home Buying Seminar with a local lender and all attendees will receive two guarantees just for attending: 1) Buyer satisfaction — if you don’t love your new home they will buy it back or sell it for free for 12 months, and 2) $1,500 home purchase credit. See website for details and conditions. The event is being at 1600 Wilson Blvd #101 in Arlington, from 6-8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 7. [Orange Line Living]

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