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Morning Notes

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

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Happy Bike Month! Celebrate with a Car-Free Bike Ride

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.

Find us on social media: @dcbikeride on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information visit www.dcbikeride.com.

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.

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Police to Enforce Laws During Traffic Safety Program

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.”

The same campaign in 2016 targeted the Crystal City and Clarendon neighborhoods, and a similar campaign in the fall also took place on Columbia Pike.

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.

File photo

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Your Only Chance to Bike DC Car-Free

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.

Find us on social media: @dcbikeride on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information visit www.dcbikeride.com.

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.

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New Ballston Bike Store Replaces Freshbikes

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.

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Morning Notes

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

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Bicyclist Struck on George Mason Drive

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

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Protected Bike Lane Proposed for N. Veitch Street

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

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Armed Forces Cycling Classic Returning to Arlington

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.

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Make DC Bike Ride Your Favorite Spring Tradition

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.

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Bicyclist Injured, Driver Cited After ‘Dooring’

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

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Custis Trail Safety Improvement Project Underway Near Rosslyn

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.

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County Board Approves Additional Funds for N. Lynn Street Esplanade

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

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Morning Notes

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

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Morning Notes

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

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