Lots of New State Laws May Be Coming — “In the 35 days since the 2020 legislative session began, Democratic lawmakers in Virginia advanced laws to restrict access to guns, raise the minimum wage, decriminalize marijuana and ease restrictions on abortion. They sprinted to pass hundreds of bills before a deadline: February 11th, ‘crossover day,’ when all bills must be passed by at least one chamber or be scrapped.” [WAMU]
Plastic Bag Tax Among Bills Under Consideration — “The Senate passed a version of the bag fee bill shortly before midnight that would impose the five cent tax in Northern Virginia but allow localities elsewhere in the state to decide for themselves whether to have the fee… The House also voted to ban foam takeout containers starting in a few years.” [WTOP]
Tomorrow: Winter Bike to Work Day — “It’s cold outside but that doesn’t mean you have to give up riding your bike. In fact, we want to encourage you to warm up to cold- weather biking on International Winter Bike to Work Day. This year we will have our pit stop at Gravelly Point on the Mount Vernon Trail.” [Eventbrite]
Per-Square-Foot Home Prices — “The city of Falls Church zoomed past the District of Columbia to be the local jurisdiction where home-buyers spent more, per square foot, than anywhere else in January. The median per-square-foot cost of $453 for Falls Church property for the month was up 13 percent from a year before, while the $449 recorded in Washington was down 7.2 percent… Arlington placed third, up 9 percent to $399 per square foot.” [InsideNova]
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) It was clear skies for commuters this morning (Friday) celebrating Bike to Work Day.
The annual tradition encourages commuters to ditch their cars and ride their bikes to and from work. In Arlington, 10 pit stops and themed celebrations were sprinkled across the county.
The Bike to Work event at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park filled the park with spandex-clad cyclists mingling and expressing exuberance at the perfect weather. In the tight-knit community of cyclists, there were frequent reunions between riders throughout the park.
“It was a great ride today,” said Henry Dunbar, director of active transportation for Bike Arlington and a coordinator of the event. “This is about as ideal as it gets.”
Dunbar said the event caters to the one-third of riders who are first-time bicycle commuters. Dunbar said the goal is to teach them about bicycle safety and encourage them to make bicycle commuting a daily habit.
For new riders, Dunbar said the best thing to do is find a more experienced rider and tag along with them.
“Ride with experienced cyclists,” Dunbar said. “All the brochures in the world aren’t as good as someone guiding you through that one tricky intersection on your way into work.”
Dunbar nodded over to the N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway intersection — a crossing regularly packed with cyclists, pedestrians and cars. The crowding is exacerbated by construction around the intersection that’s part of the Custis Trail improvements — construction Dunbar said is likely to continue for another full year.
Several bicycling-focused organizations had stands set up in Rosslyn to help encourage a car-free lifestyle. Robert Santana attended on behalf of the Arlington Car-Free Diet campaign and distributed information about the impending Metro closures.
“I was worried we’d be talking mostly to people who were already car-free,” Santana said, “but people have seemed really interested.”
Tents were set up around the park, with businesses like Nando’s Peri-Peri offering free meals or other local organizations offering bicycle-specific services.
“Today has been fantastic,” said Bruce Deming, a “bike lawyer” who specializes in representing injured cyclists. “There’s a huge crowd, just tremendous turnout. I’m proud to be a part of this event.”
W-L Crew Team Wins State Championship — “The Washington-Lee High School girls varsity eight won its first state championship in 30 years at the recent regatta at Sandy Run Regional Park in Occoquan.” [InsideNova]
‘Click It or Ticket’ Returning — “As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, Arlington County Police are reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from May 20 to June 2, 2019.” [Arlington County]
Millionth MAGA Hat Stored in Arlington — “The one-millionth official Make America Great Again hat ever made is currently locked away at President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.” [Breitbart]
Flood Watch Continues Today — The National Weather Service has continued the Flood Watch until Saturday morning. Today’s weather is expected to be cool temperatures and near constant drizzle with bouts of heavy rain. [WTOP, National Weather Service, Capital Weather Gang]
Soggy Bike to Work Day — Despite the rain, today’s Bike to Work Day is proceeding as planned, with multiple stops throughout Arlington. Attendance is down but as a result those who are braving the elements have shorter lines and more opportunities for grabbing free food, t-shirts and other swag. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
March of Dimes Moving to Crystal City — “The March of Dimes has reached a deal to shift its headquarters from New York to Arlington County, where it plans to move to new space in Crystal City come January 2019…. [The nonprofit] has signed a lease with JBG Smith Properties for about 28,000 square feet at 1550 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]
Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani
Public Hearings Set for Sign, Rosslyn Streetscape Changes — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board set public hearings for changes to the county sign ordinance related to mixed-use retail centers and industrial districts, which would allow for more blade signs in certain places. The Board also set hearings for a plan that “would establish a cohesive set of streetscape furnishings to strengthen Rosslyn’s character, and encourage more pedestrian use and vibrancy in Rosslyn’s core.” [Arlington County]
Washingtonian Spends Day in Crystal City — The staff from Washingtonian magazine spent Friday — Bike to Work Day — in Crystal City, filing stories about everything from quirky neighborhood fixtures like a reasonably-priced strip club and a long-time puppet store to WeLive, TechShop and other places driving Crystal City’s innovation economy. The goal was to report “stories of a place that’s creating a new future for itself in the ashes of one that didn’t quite work out the way everyone thought.” [Washingtonian]
Bike to Work Day Record — This year’s Bike to Work Day set a regional record, with 18,700 registrants at 85 D.C. area pit stops. [Twitter]
Beyer Calls for Expulsion of Turkish Ambassador — On Friday Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) urged the Trump administration to kick the ambassador of Turkey out of the country in response to a violent confrontation between protesters and bodyguards for the visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey, meanwhile, today summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain about police treatment of the bodyguards who were seen beating up protesters. [Rep. Don Beyer]
D.C. Man Is Big Arlington Thrive Donor — A retired ophthalmologist who lives in D.C. has donated more than $750,000 to the nonprofit Arlington Thrive over the past few years, after reading about it in a Washingtonian magazine article. Arlington Thrive, formerly known as Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs, “delivers same-day emergency funds to our neighbors in crisis, so they can be secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive in a caring community.” [Washington Post]
Board Approves Intersection, Stormwater Projects — The Arlington County Board has approved more than $2.3 million in contracts to improve safety at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. Irving Street and construct a “green streets” stormwater management system along Williamsburg Blvd. [Arlington County]
Arlington Represented on Route 1 Renaming Group — The former president of the Arlington NAACP and former president of the Arlington Historical Society have been appointed to an “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway” formed by the City of Alexandria. The city is moving forward with its effort to strip Route 1 of its confederate monicker, but wants to coordinate with Arlington in case the county decides to lobby Richmond to allow it to rename the road. [WTOP]
Columnist Blasts Website Comments — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark says that reader comments about the candidates in the recent Democratic Arlington County Board caucus were “inflammatory” and “pea-brained.” He singled out ARLnow’s comment section and “the slightly-more-civil commenters in the Sun-Gazette.” Caucus winner Erik Gutshall, meanwhile, said he seldom reads the comments, opining that “some are thoughtful, but it’s like opening a horror show.” [Falls Church News-Press]
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.”
McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]
Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]
The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]
Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]
Flickr pool photo by James L.
Today is Bike to Work Day around the D.C. area. More than 1,500 people were expected to participate in Arlington alone.
This year Arlington County hosted seven “pit stops” for the event — in Ballston, Crystal City, East Falls Church, Rosslyn, Shirlington and at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike. Six were morning pit stops; the seventh, also in (or, at least, near) Shirlington, is an “afternoon party” at New District Brewing, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
The two biggest stops were Ballston and Rosslyn, where bicyclists gathered en masse, enjoying the nice weather and offerings from various vendors in a festival-like atmosphere. At the stop in Rosslyn, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) pedaled in and gave a brief speech.
“Let’s make Arlington and D.C. a better place to live,” he said.
Tim Kelley, marketing manager for BikeArlington, said that Bike to Work Day started in 2002 and has become a fun annual tradition for bike commuters and occasional cyclists alike. BikeArlington was expecting 500 people to stop by the Ballston pit stop and more than 1,000 at the Rosslyn location.
‘Hula Girl’ to Open Shirlington Restaurant — The founder of the Hula Girl food truck, which specializes in Hawaiian style food, will be opening a new brick-and-mortar restaurant in the former Aladdin’s Eatery space in Shirlington. Mikala Brennan says Shirlington is “a very friendly place for families and dogs and everyone, and I always thought it’d be a great fit for what I do.” [Eater]
Bike to Work Day is Today — Hundreds of people stopped by the half-dozen Arlington pit stops for Bike to Work Day this morning. Among them were Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and a guy on an old-timey penny farthing.
Candidates Want Manager to Live in Arlington — The candidates for Arlington County Board said they would like Arlington’s next county manager to live in Arlington. Retiring county manager Barbara Donnellan lives in Clifton, Va. [InsideNova]
The announcement is timed to coincide with Bike to Work Day and will be made at a Bike to Work Day pit stop in D.C.
“To encourage bicycle commuting, which is growing exponentially across the region, AAA Mid-Atlantic will debut the addition of its new roadside assistance service for bicyclists,” the organization said in a media advisory Thursday.
“Starting on Bike To Work Day, the AAA bicycle service will be immediately available to nearly four million AAA Mid-Atlantic members within the club’s Mid-Atlantic footprint, which includes the entire Washington Metro Area, and it applies to all bicycles and bicycle rentals.”
The service is already being advertised on the organization’s website.
A number of other regional AAA branches across the country, including in the Pacific Northwest and New England, already offer the service.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association says there are 79 pit stops for cyclists around the region, including six in Arlington. Arlington’s pit stops will be, rain or shine, at:
- Crystal City: Crystal City Water Park, 1750 Crystal Drive, 7:00-9:00 a.m.
- Shirlington: Village at Shirlington, 4200 Campbell Ave., 6:30-9:00 a.m.
- Columbia Pike: Penrose Square, 2503 Columbia Pike, 6:30-9:00 a.m.
- East Falls Church: East Falls Church Metro, 2001 N. Sycamore Street, 6:30-9:30 a.m.
- Ballston: FreshBikes, 3924 Wilson Blvd, 6:30-9:00 a.m.
- Rosslyn: Rosslyn Gateway Park, Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street, 6:30-9:00 a.m.
At each pit stop, there will be free food, beverages and giveaways. Those who want to be entered in raffles for a free bicycle — or be one of 14,000 people to receive a T-shirt — can do so at the official event website. If you’re one of the first 14,000 people registered, your T-shirt will be waiting at the pit stop you choose.
At the Ballston and Rosslyn locations, bike specialists will be on hand to give tuneups. Those who haven’t biked to work before are encouraged to check out BikeArlington’s route map and practice the route before the trails are mobbed with event participants. Arlington’s Car-Free Diet organization put together an intro video to commemorate the day.