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

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

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

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

Photo via Google Maps

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the list of upcoming races:

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

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

Photo courtesy Crystal City/Bruce Buckley Photography

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

Local bicycling retailer and bike ride organizer Freshbikes has closed.

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

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

Thank You For a Great 11 Years!

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

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

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

Scott & The Freshbikes Team

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

File photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by John Harpold

by Chris Teale January 3, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

The county’s Bicycle Advisory Committee has been revamped for the new year by County Manager Mark Schwartz, who has installed a new member as chair.

In a letter dated December 27, 2017, Schwartz told the group he wanted to make the group “more fully representative” of the biking community, and have more civic and citizen associations represented on the 18-person committee. Currently, Schwartz said, less than five of those groups are represented.

And he said that starting this month, the eight members that have “rarely or never attended” meetings would be removed from the committee. The BAC provides advice on issues that affect cycling in Arlington.

Schwartz also appointed Edgar Gil Rico, a member of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association and the county’s Master Transportation Planning Bicycle Element Working Group and an instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, as chair.

“I would like to begin 2018 with a renewed spirit by re-establishing the [Bicycle Advisory Committee] into a committee that is more fully representative of the current Arlington cyclist community; to accomplish this we need to engage citizens from our collective populations who have not been previously represented,” Schwartz wrote.

But Schwartz’s decision appears to be unpopular in some quarters. One anonymous tipster wrote that it caught the current members by surprise.

“The group was blindsided by the letter, and one long-standing member has resigned, apparently in protest,” the tipster wrote.

Former BAC chair Gillian Burgess confirmed the letter, and said she was “as surprised by the County Manager’s email as the rest of the BAC.” Burgess declined to comment further, but confirmed that one “longstanding member did resign and his expertise and experience will be missed.”

Chris Slatt, chair of the county’s Transportation Commission, said Randy Swart was the member to resign. Swartz was described in a 2007 article as a “bike safety crusader.”

Slatt criticized the decision, saying that committee members have been “left in limbo” as to whether they are still members, or when the next meeting will be. Burgess and Slatt said they had not been consulted on the decision.

“Expanding the diversity and representation of the BAC is a worthy goal, but this seems like an ill-considered and rude way to do it — especially right in the middle of the process to update the bike plan,” Slatt said. “As chair of the Transportation Commission I have worked with my board liaison over the years to to try ensure a diverse set of viewpoints on [the commission] — geographically, demographically and even trying to get a mix of homeowners and renters.”

“It could be done, over time, as a partnership between the chair and the Manager through new appointments without having to tell existing members that their service is no longer wanted.”

Schwartz’s full letter to the group is after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com December 29, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Arlington Adding Winter Shelter Beds — In response to the frigid temperatures, Arlington County says it is expanding the number of hypothermia slots at the Courthouse area winter shelter for singles operated by A-SPAN, “adding 10 more to the current 25.” [Twitter]

Bicycle Beltway Proposal — “A new bicycle beltway is set to be endorsed by the region’s Transportation Planning Board in January. The full Outer Loop would be 45 miles long. The beltway would also have additional connections in the middle, through the heart of downtown D.C. along the National Mall.” [WTOP]

Father of Rep. Don Beyer Dies — “Donald S. Beyer, Sr., the patriarch of the storied Beyer family dynasty in Falls Church, died last Saturday two weeks before his 94th birthday.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Local NYE Bar Options — Looking for a place to ring in the new year in Arlington? Last month we published a sponsored list of five options along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that are still applicable. [ARLnow]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Chris Teale December 27, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

A shared-use path is now open on eastbound Washington Blvd near the Pentagon, part of a bridge rehabilitation project in Arlington County.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said a 14-foot wide path for bicycles and pedestrians along eastbound Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 opened yesterday (Tuesday).

The path is now 14 feet wide on the bridge and replaces a narrow concrete sidewalk that pedestrians and cyclists used to use. It is 10 feet wide on the approaches to the bridge.

Drivers in the area can expect some delays starting tonight (Wednesday), as eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd will shift onto the newly-constructed portion of the bridge. The traffic shift allows construction crews to demolish the middle portion of the bridge and rebuild it.

Work is expected to last from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes.

VDOT said it still believes the $31.5 million project is on track to wrap up next year. It will replace the existing bridge, built in 1941, with one that is wider, longer and taller.

Photo via VDOT

by ARLnow.com December 18, 2017 at 8:55 am 0

Board Votes for Housing Conservation District — The Arlington County Board on Saturday voted 4-1 in favor of the creation of Housing Conservations Districts, which will make it more difficult for property owners to convert multifamily buildings into single-family homes. The Board says there is an urgent need to preserve market-rate affordable apartments, though critics charged that the Board rushed a decision that will restrict the rights of private property owners. [Washington Post]

Volunteers Place 245K Wreaths at ANC — “The weather was chilly but that didn’t stop huge crowds from heading to Arlington National Cemetery to help out with the annual wreath laying Saturday. Traffic was jammed and sidewalks were packed with long lines of volunteers.” [WTOP, Twitter]

New Fire Station 8 Moving Forward — The County Board approved a zoning change that will allow the creation of a new Fire Station #8 on Lee Highway to move forward. [InsideNova]

Doctor Charged With Spiking Drink with Abortion Pill — A doctor who had recently moved to Arlington was arrested in May and charged with spiking his pregnant girlfriend’s drink with an abortion pill, which then caused her to lose the baby. He’s currently being held at the Arlington County jail, awaiting trial. [Fox News]

Bridging the Biking Gender Gap in Arlington — “Despite overall growth in the number of people biking to work, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed by cities, organizations, and employers for more women to bike more often.” [BikeArlington]

Children Visit Incarcerated Parents — Children of inmates at the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse were able to visit and play with their incarcerated parents during the jail’s annual holiday party. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Phil

by ARLnow.com November 30, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Hot Item for the Holidays: E-ZPass — With tolling set to begin on what are now the I-66 HOT lanes, stores in Arlington and elsewhere in Northern Virginia are having trouble keeping E-ZPass transponders in stock, particularly the E-ZPass Flex devices that will allow carpoolers to continue to use I-66 for free. [WJLA]

W&OD Trail Changes Discussed — Officials are considering options for separating cyclists from those on foot on the W&OD Trail. “I love the potential separation,” Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt is quoted as saying. “I think that will be well-received by both sets of users.” [InsideNova]

Dad Speaks Out After W-L Grad Son ODs — “As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn’t save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction,” writes retired Adm. James Winnefeld, in an Atlantic article entitled “No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic.” Jonathan Winnefeld, a Washington-Lee High School grad, died in Denver this past September “after a long and honorable battle with addiction.” [The Atlantic, Legacy, Denver Post]

More on Accessory Dwelling Vote — A GGW writer argues that while the Arlington County Board is to be commended for allowing the creation of basement apartments that can be rented out, it punted on the issue of backyard cottages at its Tuesday meeting. The Board’s action on so-called Accessory Dwelling Units included instructing the County Manager to study setbacks from the property line for detached accessory structures before any are approved under new rules.  [Greater Greater Washington]

New Incentive for Sustainable Buildings — “Arlington County will pioneer Virginia’s first Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program–a public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing for projects to improve the energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings in the county.” [Arlington County]

DCA Tweets at Teigen — Model and social media personality Chrissy Teigen told followers yesterday that she left “a very large mom bra” under her seat on a flight that arrived at a D.C. area airport. Reagan National Airport’s official Twitter account responded by recommending that Teigen stop by the Spanx store in the airport for a replacement. [Twitter]

‘Age in Place’ Tax Deferral Questioned — Mortgage and title companies are reportedly not big fans of Arlington’s Real Estate Tax Relief Program, which allows older residents who meet certain income requirements to defer property tax payments until the home is sold. The system has sometimes sprung large tax bills on unsuspecting heirs, real estate agents and mortgage settlement officers. [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

by Chris Teale November 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A survey has found that Arlington County residents favor bicycling and support more separate bike lanes.

The survey, conducted by the county’s local transportation research group Mobility Lab and county bicycle education program BikeArlington, found that 89 percent of respondents said they would like to bike more often, and 62 percent said that more separated bikes lanes would help them do that.

More than 1,200 people took the survey at a series of events in August and September, including the Arlington County Fair and Nauck Civic and Community Pride Day. Of those people, 94 percent reported being Arlington residents.

“[The survey] offers yet more evidence that bicycling is becoming a legitimate option for people to get to work in the Arlington and greater Washington, D.C. region,” a Mobility Lab spokesman said. “Mobility Lab recommends that more spending be made available for safer infrastructure – infrastructure that is far easier, faster, and less expensive to get up and running than that for cars and even transit.”

The survey was part of the county’s outreach process for updating the Bike Element of its 2008 Master Transportation Plan.

Staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services have said previously that the time is right for a revamp given the new “technologies, facilities and best practices” around bicycling.

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com November 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

A cyclist was seen riding down the street in Courthouse yesterday, mooning every driver and pedestrian in his path.

Police were called around 3:45 p.m. for “a report of a male traveling by bicycle with his buttocks exposed in the area of N. Veitch Street at Wilson Boulevard,” according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

An ARLnow.com contractor witnessed the odd sight and said the man rode his bike into the nearby Key Elementary parking lot. Police, however, were unable to locate him.

“A lookout was broadcast and a search of the area by officers was negative,” Savage said.

by Chris Teale November 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

The influx of app-based alternatives to Capital Bikeshare appears to have reached Arlington County.

A reader sent in the above photo of a Spin Bikeshare bike parked near a Capital Bikeshare station in Arlington. Spin is one of four new alternatives in the D.C. metro area.

Spin requires you to download a smartphone app, and uses your phone’s GPS to locate a nearby bike to use.

They are dockless – unlike Capital Bikeshare, which requires you to leave it at a designated station – but have locks that immobilize the bike until someone checks it out using the app. Spin costs $1 per half hour of riding, and can be parked “anywhere responsible,” according to its website.

Photo via Sean K.

by Chris Teale October 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Anyone in the Penrose neighborhood can now pick up a book or fix their bike at a new tiny wooden library.

The “Little Free Library and Bike Repair Station” is at the corner of 8th Street S. and S. Courthouse Road, two blocks from Columbia Pike.

The handcrafted station is open for people to take and donate books at any time. When a reporter stopped by early Wednesday morning, a graphic novel and children’s book joined other paperbacks inside.

It also has a bike pump, metric Allen keys and a crescent wrench for bicyclists to carry out any running repairs on their bikes.

It is not the first Little Free Library to pop up in Arlington, but does appear to be the first to offer bike repairs at the same place.

Transportation Commission member and Penrose resident Chris Slatt was the brains behind the project.

“My friend’s two daughters wanted to build a Little Free Library, but that’s tough for them since they live in an apartment building so they came over and we built it together and installed it at the end of my lawn,” Slatt told ARLnow. “I wanted to add a bike spin to it — the various ‘bike fix stations’ that the County has installed inspired me to add the tools.”

by Katie Pyzyk October 4, 2017 at 10:35 am 0

Students and parents throughout Arlington celebrated “Walk and Bike to School Day” this morning, and those at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School especially got into the spirit.

Parents and crossing guards assisted children across the intersection of S. Queen Street and 13th Road S., where they were greeted by a parent helper. “Good morning! Thanks for walking today!” she said to kids approaching school property.

Some of the students seemed hesitant and needed a little prompting about how to safely walk through a crosswalk. The parent helper chuckled, saying, “You have to remember, for some of them this is their first time walking here.”

Once at school, the kids gathered for a Walk and Bike to School Day event in the back field. After participating in some activities, students formed a star and had their picture taken by the Arlington County Fire Department from the top of a ladder truck.

Students were excited about the photo opportunity, but so were the adults. “I’m waiting for the kids’ picture. I want that photo!” said a parent.

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) The number of Arlington residents commuting via bicycle is on the rise, according to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, contrary to the national trend.

The survey showed that in 2016, 2.4 percent of Arlington commuters cycled to work, up from 1.9 percent in 2015. That number is an average of men and women, but slightly more men commute by bicycle. “We think it’s great, of course, and part of a longer trend,” said BikeArlington program director Henry Dunbar. “The bike mode share has tripled since 2009 (0.8 percent), and will keep climbing as Arlington continues to improve its bike infrastructure and more people learn that biking is often the quickest and cheapest way to get around.”

Arlington’s bike commuting growth is in line with Washington, DC, where 4.6 percent of all commuters now cycle, up from 4.1 percent the previous year. But the region’s commuting habits are not indicative of those in the rest of the country. The Census Bureau shows that last year bike commuting was down nationwide for the second year in a row, falling from 0.59 percent to 0.57 percent of all commuters.

The survey offered data but no possible causation for the numbers. However, a number of factors likely contribute to the nationwide bike commuting slump, including low gas prices and more people working from home. Arlington, however, has been designated a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, due in part to its bike-friendly infrastructure and the volume of cyclists.

Other data revealed by the latest census figures include:

  • 26 percent of Arlington commuters take public transit
  • 5.7 percent of Arlington’s workforce works from home
  • 34 percent of Arlington workers work in Arlington, while another 24.1 percent work elsewhere in Virginia and 41.8 percent work outside the state
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