Arlington, VA

A man was robbed in a bathroom in the Buckingham neighborhood this past Sunday night.

Police say three men told the man he had left some belongings behind after leaving the bathroom of a local business, on N. Glebe Road just north of Route 50.

“When the victim reluctantly returned to the restroom, the suspects followed him, assaulted him and stole his personal belongings and an undisclosed amount of cash,” police said.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

ROBBERY, 2019-04280253, Unit block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 8:42 p.m. on April 28, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside a business and had exited the restroom when he was approached by three male suspects who engaged him in conversation. The suspects convinced the victim that he had dropped something when he was in the restroom. When the victim reluctantly returned to the restroom, the suspects followed him, assaulted him and stole his personal belongings and an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspects fled the business on foot prior to police arrival. Arriving officers canvased the area and a K9 track was initiated, and subsequently the victim’s belongings, with the exception of the cash, were located nearby. The victim suffered minor injuries. Suspect One is described as a black male, 18-25 years old, 5’11”-6’3″ tall, with a thin build, 150-180 lbs., with short, black hair, wearing a black shirt or hooded sweatshirt, and dark jeans. Suspect Two is described as a black male with short dreadlocks, 17-20 years old, 5’11”-6’0″ tall, with a thin build, approximately 150 lbs. and wearing a green hooded sweatshirt. Suspect Three is described as a black male, 17-20 years old, 5’11”-6’0″ tall, with a thin build, approximately 150 lbs. and wearing a red hooded sweatshirt.

The rest of the crime report is below.

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SunTrust Bank will close its branch at 249 N. Glebe Road on Feb. 5.

“The decision to close a branch is made after careful study and analysis,” Hugh Suhr, a spokesman for SunTrust, told ARLnow, adding that market growth, real estate arrangements and transaction volumes are some of the factors considered.

The bank began notifying clients last week, and their accounts will be transferred to either the Arlington Gateway branch at 901 N. Glebe Road or the South Arlington branch at 3108 Columbia Pike, unless clients specify a different location, Suhr said.

“SunTrust, like all banking companies, must constantly refine its branch network to meet the changing needs and transaction patterns of clients, as well as taking into account their increasing usage of newer delivery channels such as internet banking and mobile banking,” Suhr said.

In May, SunTrust, which is based in Atlanta, was hit with a massive data breach that compromised 1.5 million customer accounts.

A Subway sandwich shop next door at 243 N. Glebe Road closed earlier this year. The owner decided to shut it down in April in order to focus on another Subway location nearby that is still open, a spokesperson for the restaurant told ARLnow.

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New research suggests that people living in Arlington’s poorest neighborhoods also have the fewest opportunities to lead healthy lives when compared to other communities throughout the entire D.C. region.

A study commissioned by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University show that many of Arlington’s most diverse neighborhoods with the lowest median incomes, such Columbia Heights, Nauck, Douglas Park and Buckingham, also scored the lowest in their measure of “health opportunities” across metropolitan Washington. The results closely mirror a previous study’s findings that people living in many of the same neighborhoods lack economic opportunities as well.

The researchers developed a “Healthy Places Index,” known as HPI, to evaluate not only health outcomes (like life expectancy) in each community, but also to understand whether people have the opportunity to be healthy based on where they live. That includes evaluations of factors like air quality, access to healthcare, housing affordability, the availability of public transportation and education levels.

The study applies that index to neighborhoods across the D.C. area, examining communities using granular Census tract designations to detect patterns within counties and cities in the region. Though the group found that the overall health of the 4.5 million people living in the District and its suburbs is “excellent” and “well above the national average,” they also uncovered “islands of disadvantage” within even wealthy localities like Arlington.

Even though some of the more affluent, higher educated areas of the county rate quite highly in the study’s measure of health opportunities, others rank among the lowest in all of Northern Virginia. The researchers identified the Columbia Heights neighborhood, just off Columbia Pike, as having one of the “the lowest HPI scores in the region,” noting that about 23 percent of adult residents there live in poverty. Buckingham, located along Route 50, also posted poor HPI scores, and the study noted that its residents have a median income of about $38,125 annually.

“The researchers found stark contrasts in socioeconomic and environmental conditions in Northern Virginia, often between neighborhoods separated by only a few miles or blocks,” the VCU academics wrote. “As was observed elsewhere in the region, people of color were disproportionately exposed to adverse living conditions.”

To illustrate those points, the study compared McLean — one of the wealthiest and whitest communities in the area — to Columbia Heights. The former ranked among the top-scoring neighborhoods in the region on the HPI, a far cry from Columbia Heights’ own performance.

“The population in the McLean tract was predominately white (70 percent) and Asian (19 percent), the population in Columbia Heights was largely Hispanic (51 percent) and black (19 percent),” the researchers wrote. “More than half was foreign-born, and most immigrated during 2000-2009.”

While the researchers identify a whole host of factors that could be contributing to such a split, they also stress that it is impossible to ignore the impact of “institutional racism” in understanding why such a divide exists between the races when it comes to health opportunities. They note that discriminatory housing and economic policies mean that people of color are “more likely to live in racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods that suffer from decades of disinvestment,” which can have a whole host of negative consequences for their health.

“As a result, neighborhoods of color often lack access to affordable high-quality housing, stores that sell healthy foods, green space, clean air and clean water,” the researchers wrote. “These communities are often targets for fast food outlets, tobacco and alcohol marketing and liquor stores. These conditions affect not only the health, economic opportunity, and social mobility of people of color, but they also weaken the health and economy of the entire region.”

Accordingly, the study recommends approaches recognizing that history to officials sitting on the Council of Governments, as they try to craft a response across the region.

“Real solutions require targeted investments in marginalized neighborhoods to improve access to affordable, healthy housing as well as affordable transportation, child care, and health care (e.g., primary care, dental care, behavioral health services),” they wrote. “Everyone benefits from this approach, not only the residents in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, but also the entire regional economy. Economic and racial inequity saps the strength of the economy. Everyone pays a price for inaction: persistent poverty and social isolation fuel discontent, unhealthy behaviors (e.g., drug addiction), crime, and violence.”

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Morning Notes

Lubber Run Project Budget Boosted — “Arlington County Board members on Sept. 22 agreed to add about $1.4 million to the budget for rebuilding Lubber Run Community Center, which will push the construction cost to $41.14 million and the management fees to $4.11 million.” [InsideNova]

Clarendon Circle Construction Begins — “Things will start looking different in Clarendon and not because of too many cosmos at Don Tito’s. The long-awaited Circle intersection improvements project kicks off today.” [Twitter]

Neighborhoods Want in on W-L Name Discussion — “The president of the Buckingham Community Civic Association thinks Arlington school leaders may need some remedial work in geography. Bernie Berne used the Sept. 20 School Board meeting to complain that his community had been shut out of the committee set up to suggest new names for Washington-Lee High School, even though it is closer to the school than another civic association that has been included on the panel.” [InsideNova]

Fire at Columbia Pike Building — On the 5100 block of Columbia Pike: “First arriving units found a fire contained to an appliance. The fire was extinguished. All occupants are safe & accounted for.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Tree Advocates Increase Pressure — “Another month has brought another round in the ongoing dispute between tree activists and the Arlington County Board – and much of the give and take on both sides is beginning to sound familiar to the point of repetitious. Activists in support of expanding the county’s tree canopy were among a number of advocacy groups that descended on the Sept. 22 County Board meeting. Among their chief complaints: The county government hasn’t done anything to prevent the removal of trees during an upcoming expansion project at Upton Hill Regional Park.” [InsideNova, Twitter]

Fox News Highlights Lucky Dog — Arlington’s Lucky Dog Rescue continues to get national attention for its work rescuing dogs from areas flooded by Hurricane Florence. Over the weekend Fox News broadcast from Shirlington to bring attention to the dogs that are now available for adoption. [Yahoo]

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The Arlington County Board has approved a site plan that would bring 97 affordable housing units and two rows of townhouses to Buckingham.

The “100 percent affordable” multi-family building and townhouses will replace the former local Red Cross headquarters.

The approved development comes despite complaints from nearby residents about the proposal. The new development’s density, potentially increased traffic, and “the desecration of the tree canopy” were all cited as dealbreakers for some locals, though supporters asserted that the building was vacant, the affordable housing is “badly needed” and complaints were overblown.

A partial rezoning of the site was approved alongside the site plan at Saturday’s County Board meeting (April 21). There are currently two single family homes on the site, in addition to the former headquarters and an existing playground.

The townhouses will be built in the first phase of the project, with construction on the multi-family building, which is required to “achieve Earthcraft Gold or LEED v4 Homes and Multifamily Midrise Gold certification,” following in a second phase.

The developer, Wesley Housing Development Corporation, agreed to preserve the on-site apartments, known historically as the Windsor Apartments but now called the Whitefield Commons, which the county says were built in 1943. Unit incomes will average 80 percent of the average median income, and the building will average 60 percent of that figure.

Whitefield Commons’ interior will be reconfigured to add five units, bringing the total units inside that complex to 68. The multi-family building will have 97 units, and the townhouses will have 19.

There will be 187 parking spaces between the developments — 45 at Whitefield Commons, 88 at the multi-family building, and 42 for the townhouses. The townhouses have the highest parking ratio per unit, at 2.26 spots per unit plus four visitor spots.

Wesley Housing Development Corporation will be required to “encourage transportation alternatives.”

That will be done via a transportation management plan, which includes a provision to give “each new tenant in the multi-family building… a choice of a SmartTrip card preloaded with a $65 balance or a bikeshare or car share membership,” according to a county project website.

A Google Maps estimate shows that the site is approximately a 22 minute walk to the Ballston Metro station. The 3.95 acre parcel is bordered by N. Thomas and N. Trenton streets, 2nd Road N., and Arlington Boulevard.

Plans estimate that 60 trees will be removed, three of which are dead or dying and another 17 of which are located on top of or near an existing storm pipe.

An estimated 132 tree credits will be granted, according to the site plan. One credit is given for each planted shade tree or large evergreen tree, or for every three deciduous, ornamental, or small evergreen trees.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Petition in Support of Affordable Housing Project — The website Greater Greater Washington is helping to promote a petition that intends to counter resident complaints about a proposed affordable housing project on the former Red Cross site along Route 50. Neighbors are concerned that the project might “defile” the Buckingham neighborhood, with increased traffic and school overcrowding and a loss of green space. [GGW, GGW]

‘A Friend’ Writes Thank You Note to ACPD — From the Arlington County Police Department Twitter account: “To the citizen who left this unexpected note on one of our cruisers, thank you. ACPD is grateful for the support we receive from the community and small gestures like this mean a lot to our officers.” [Twitter]

Arlingtonian Places 23rd at Boston — Among other impressive finishes by Arlington residents at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Graham Tribble finished 23rd with a time of 2:30:06, the fastest among the D.C. area contingent at the prestigious race. [RunWashington, Patch]

High Schools Students Learning How to Spot Fake News — “At Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington, some high school seniors are bent over their laptops, engaged in a digital course called Checkology that helps them figure out what makes news and information real, misleading or just plain false.” [Voice of America]

Elementary Girls Heading to Int’l Problem Solving Competition — “An all-girls engineering team from Glebe Elementary School is heading to the 2018 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals where they will compete with students from nearly 25 countries… The team of fourth graders from Glebe, who are all ages 9 or 10, became state champions last weekend at the Virginia Odyssey of the Mind competition, which was held April 14 in Newport News.” [Arlington Public Schools]

ACPD Forms ‘Restaurant Liaison Unit’ — The Arlington County Police Department has formed a “Restaurant Liaison Unit” to work with local bars to tamp down on drunken and sometimes violent incidents. One Clarendon bar in particular had police responding to it for a call almost every other day in 2017. [Washington City Paper, Twitter]

Glebe Lane Closure Causes Backups — Commuters heading northbound on Glebe Road today faced major backups due to a lane closure near Ballston. Washington Gas has been performing emergency repairs in the roadway since Wednesday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Rex Block

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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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An open air market is coming to Barrett Elementary School in Buckingham, pending an Arlington School Board vote on its license agreement tonight.

The market would be run by Field To Table, Inc., the same nonprofit that operates the Westover Farmers Market, and would pay an annual fee of $200 to use the property.

Proposed operating hours are 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturdays from April to November, with the nonprofit being responsible for premise clean up by 1 p.m. School board document do not list the exact start date of the market.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s office has recommended that the school board approve the license agreement at its monthly meeting tonight (March 22).

The market is expected to be called the Lubber Run Farmers Market which, according to a newsletter for the Arlington Forest neighborhood, will “avoid some of the negatives of other suggested names.”

Additional volunteers are being sought to help out with the market, the newsletter says, adding that it will be “an exciting addition to the neighborhood community bringing together residents from Arlington Forest and neighboring areas to enjoy shopping for fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, bread and so on.”

Vendors for a farmers market at Barrett are not yet listed, but current vendors at the Westover Farmers Market include Baltimore’s Dimitri Olive Farms, Woodbridge’s Gina’s Pacific Jams and Jellies, and Arlington’s Mormor Crepes.

File photo

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The Bethel United Church of Christ’s building in Buckingham is on the market for just over $2.1 million.

Per a real estate listing, the church “is priced at [the] county’s assessed value for a fast sale” and stained glass windows will be removed by the church before the sale. It has been on the market for 18 days as of this article’s publication.

The three level church is located on a .37 acre parcel at 4347 Arlington Boulevard. It is also a location of a multicultural, full-day preschool program known as Children’s International School.

The Bethel UCC congregation is moving to the nearby Arlington Church of the Brethren, in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood, according to a Facebook post from last year.

“After a year of meetings, of wondering, of worrying, and praying, Bethel United Church of Christ yesterday decided that God and Jesus were calling us to change,” the June 26, 2017 post said. “We will leave the building we have occupied for seven decades and begin a covenantal relationship with Arlington Church of the Brethren.”

Messages left for the church and the preschool’s founder were not immediately returned. A preschool employee suggested that it was considering buying the building, but nothing was finalized.

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A nude woman was found wandering around a building lobby on the 4400 block of 4th Street N. in the Buckingham neighborhood this morning.

Arlington County Police declined to comment further than to confirm that the woman was believed to be suffering from mental health issues and has been transferred to an area hospital for treatment.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

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A report has shown that areas of wealth and disadvantage exist very close together in Arlington, sometimes just blocks away from each other.

The report by the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, entitled “Getting Ahead: The Uneven Opportunity Landscape in Northern Virginia,” identifies what it calls 15 “islands of disadvantage,” where people face multiple serious challenges.

Those challenges include the levels of pre-school enrollment, teens out of high school, whether people have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, the level of English spoken in a household, unemployment rate, child poverty rate, health insurance rate and more.

Of those “islands,” three are either wholly or partly in Arlington: one near the county’s border with Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners; another along Columbia Pike in the Douglas Park neighborhood; and another in the area of Buckingham and Fort Myer.

The report also found that neighborhoods separated by one thoroughfare can have very different demographics, housing and poverty levels.

“A striking example was near Ballston Common [Mall, rebranded as Ballston Quarter], where residents in two census tracts on either side of North Glebe Road — tracts 1019 and 1020.01 — faced very different living conditions,” the report reads. “In census tract 1019, east of N. Glebe Road, 85 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree or higher education and the median household income exceeded $160,000 per year.

“Just west of N. Glebe Road, in tract 1020.01, 30 percent of teens ages 15-17 years were not enrolled in school, only 38 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree and 48 percent of the population was uninsured.”

It also found that life expectancy can vary by as much as 10 years across the county, “from 78 years in the Buckingham area to 88 years in parts of Rosslyn and Aurora Highlands.”

To help improve conditions, the report recommended better access to health care, education and affordable housing.

“In today’s knowledge economy, advancement requires better access to education — from preschool through college — and economic development to bring jobs with livable wages to disadvantaged areas,” it reads. “And it requires an investment in the infrastructure of neglected neighborhoods, to make the living environment healthier and safer, to provide transportation, and to improve public safety. What is good for our health is also good for the economy and will make Arlington County a stronger community for all of its residents.”

Courtesy image

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