The old Transportation Security Administration buildings in Pentagon City, vacant and awaiting redevelopment, could get put to a new, temporary use.
Avis Car Rental is looking to add rental operations to the pair of offices and their underground garages at 601 and 701 12th Street S. The business, which currently has a location at 2600 Richmond Hwy, has filed two applications, one for each building, with the county.
The TSA announced in 2015 that it would be leaving its headquarters for offices in Alexandria after the expiration of the five-year lease it signed in 2013. That stalled and amid the pandemic, the agency switched course and instead moved to Springfield, opening its headquarters in 2021.
At the time of the announcement, Arlington was coping with relatively high office vacancy rates driven in part by the departure of major tenants — including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Science Foundation — in search of cheaper leases.
Avis proposes an alternative use until the owner of the office buildings, Brookfield Properties, razes these towers and builds four new towers with a mix of residential, office and retail uses. Brookfield’s redevelopment plans, first filed in 2019, are currently on hold.
“The proposed Vehicle Rental Use will further Arlington County’s goals and aims for a resilient commercial market,” attorney Matthew Weinstein, representing the car rental company, wrote in an application. “The Property is currently operating as a vacant office building until future redevelopment. The Vehicle Rental Use will improve existing conditions by activating space that would otherwise remain vacant for the short to mid-term. Moreover, the Vehicle Rental use will benefit the National Landing area by allowing customers arriving at National Airport to have a reliable and efficient option for renting vehicles during their visit to the Washington, D.C. area.”
Avis plans plans on using 50-250 spaces daily per garage, but is leasing some 922 parking spaces between the two TSA buildings to have extra space “depending on the operational needs,” such as handling overflow from other facilities, Weinstein writes.
Customers will access the facility from the lobbies of both buildings, where there will also be service counters. Avis plans to serve customers and rideshare drivers and rent an estimated 40-50 vehicles per day. The proposed hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
“The Applicant’s vehicle rental facility network works cohesively to ensure each rental facility is meeting customer demands and the Applicant’s operational needs. This means that at certain times each vehicle rental facility in the Applicant’s network will back up and supplement each other depending on demand and operational requirements.”
Meanwhile, plans to redevelop the TSA buildings have been on hold since 2020, at the request of Arlington County planners, Brookfield previously told the Washington Business Journal. At the time, they were working on a new sector plan to guide future development in Pentagon City.
The plan that was in place when Brookfield filed preliminary redevelopment plans reached the end of its useful life in light of Amazon’s second headquarters. Despite some vocal opposition, the Arlington County Board approved a new plan that focuses on residential infill development and “ribbons” of tree- and plant-lined walking paths.
Brookfield did not return a request for comment about an updated timeline for redevelopment.
One minute after midnight this morning, car-sharing company Free2Move ended its services in Arlington over issues with parking in the county.
Free2Move, which offers free residential and metered parking to members, says its attempts to renew this parking arrangement were unsuccessful. As a result, users can no longer start or end their trip in Arlington, although they can drive through the county.
“Over the past few months we have been working with the City of Arlington to renew our permits to operate in Arlington,” the company told members in an email, mistaking the county for a city. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to renew the permit and we were notified today by the City of Arlington to cease our operations in the area.”
The service said it’s not pleased with the result of the negotiations.
“We understand for many of you this will come as difficult news and it’s not one Free2Move is happy about,” the email said. “We have enjoyed being part of the community and supporting our members with their transportation needs.”
The county department that’s responsible for car-sharing programs has a different account.
“Carsharing provider Free2Move notified the County on Sept. 17 that the company would be unable to commit to obtaining the required insurance to operate within Arlington County this year,” a Department of Environmental Services spokesman said. “Although Transportation staff worked with Free2Move representatives during the last several months to help them meet the requirements for their permit, the company instead decided to no longer provide services in Arlington.”
A number of users reached out to ARLnow to share the word of the service ending. Darsh Suresh, a three-year resident of the Rosslyn area, said he’s saddened by the news, as he relied on these cars for short trips he can’t make by transit.
“I usually take Metro or the Bus to commute or get around, but having Free2Move has made it easier for trips to other areas, such as driving to visit family in Loudoun County,” he said. “It’s one of the primary reasons I haven’t gotten my own car. I’m very disappointed at this surprise announcement, and hope that the county government and Free2Move can come to an agreement to keep service operational in Arlington.”
I worked w/Arlington County on the free-floating carshare permits and am proud car2go was the first company to use them. Arlington County became one of the best partners in North America and did carshare permitting right. I strongly doubt Free2Move is telling the full story here. https://t.co/1z5WHl8kMs
— Aaron Landry (@s4xton) September 29, 2021
The full email from Free2Move is below.
To our community,
As you are aware, as part of our Car Sharing service Free2Move offers all members both residential parking and metered parking at no cost to you. Over the past few months we have been working with the City of Arlington to renew our permits to operate in Arlington. Unfortunately, we have not been able to renew the permit and we were notified today by the City of Arlington to cease our operations in the area.
What does this mean for our members? Starting at 12:01am on September 30th you will no longer see vehicles listed on our app in Arlington for rent. Trips can continue to be started in DC and drive through Arlington but you will no longer be able to end your trip in Arlington.
Additionally it will be the members responsibility to adhere to all parking regulations and costs in Arlington. We understand for many of you this will come as difficult news and it’s not one Free2Move is happy about. We have enjoyed being part of the community and supporting our members with their transportation needs.
If you have any questions please reach out to our customer support team.
After quietly launching in October, car-sharing service Penske Dash is quietly closing down in Arlington and D.C.
In an email to customers, the company said the coronavirus outbreak has affects its ability to serve its customers. It will be ceasing local operations effective Friday, April 10.
The full email is below.
As you all know, we are living through an unprecedented time in history. The ripple effects of the current situation extend far and wide and have affected many businesses’ ability to serve and support their customers. Unfortunately, Penske Dash is no exception. It is with great regret that we must cease our operations in Washington DC and Arlington, including the cancellation of your membership. Our last day of service will be Friday, April 10, 2020.
Please know, this was not an easy decision for us to make, and we apologize for any inconvenience we may cause by ceasing our operations.
Please note the following information regarding your membership:
- Vehicles are available to rent through April 10, 2020, but all rentals must end inside the Dash Zone by 11:59 pm EST on April 10, 2020.
- Fewer cars will be available for rent during the next two weeks.
- Your member account will remain active through April 10, 2020.
We want to express our gratitude to our many members for your loyalty; it is a privilege to have served you. Our thanks also extend to the District Department of Transportation and Arlington County for their collaboration and support since our launch.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our member support team at 833-9-GO-DASH (833-946-3274) or email us at [email protected]
Again, thank you for being a member of Penske Dash, and we wish you safe journeys in the future.
The Penske Dash Team
Hat tip to Patricia H.
Beyer on Impeachment Vote — “Voting for these articles of impeachment is the only moral course of action, the only way to honor our oath of office. I have no doubt that the votes I cast today will stand the test of time.” [Press Release]
Car2go Bye Bye — “Share Now, the German company that manages the car rental company until recently known as Car2Go, has announced it will exit the North American market effective February 29, 2020… There are currently 150,694 users in D.C., according to a company official who isn’t authorized to speak on the record.” [DCist, Share Now]
Volunteers Read to Babies in NICU — “Studies show private neonatal intensive care unit rooms can be too quiet, with premature babies not getting enough sound and stimulation, so Virginia Hospital Center uses trained volunteers to read popular children’s books to its tiniest patients when their parents can’t be there.” [NBC 4]
Free Lyft Rides Starting Tomorrow — Updated at 9 a.m. — “A regional nonprofit is again planning to offer free rides through Lyft to help keep drunk drivers off Alexandria streets during the holidays. Starting on Dec. 20, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will offer its annual Holiday SoberRide program nightly from 10 p.m.-4 a.m., until Jan. 1.” [ALXnow]
Water Main Break in Bluemont — Updated at 9 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a leaking 6-inch valve at 5650 4th St N. Some 100 water customers could be affected. Traffic is diverted around the work site. Estimated time of completion: no later than 7pm.” [Twitter]
A new car-sharing company for quick trips or all-day rentals has quietly rolled out vehicles in Arlington and D.C.
The sedan ARLnow spotted in the Bluemont neighborhood was discreet, with a sticker reading “dash” on the driver’s side door. It is part of the “Penske Dash” car-sharing venture recently launched by Michigan automotive services company Penske Corp.
However, the service’s debut is “awkward” timing considering Car2Go has been cutting service, and General Motors, Lime and BMW have also pulled out from their car-sharing programs, as TechCrunch reported.
The former CEO of Car2Go, Paul Delong, is leading local operations for Dash, per TechCrunch.
Dash’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Montri told ARLnow today (Thursday) that the company was choosing to invest anyway because Penske’s focus on slow growth for the program, experience in automotive, and partnership with Colonial Parking would help it succeed where others had failed.
“As the automobile industry undergoes rapid change, alternative transportation models are becoming more common place, particularly in densely populated urban areas,” he said. “Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provides a hassle-free and environmentally friendly alternative to private car ownership.”
Montri added that Arlington and D.C. were “great” spots to pilot Dash because “residents of these communities have shown an interest in, and comfort with, new mobility models,” and the local governments were willing to work with companies offering new transit programs.
Penske joins French company Groupe PSA, which also launched its own car-sharing program “Free2Move” in the D.C. area in June. Groupe PSA’s program now operates around 600 vehicles in D.C. and Arlington, according to industry news site Automotive News.
Montri did not answer how many Dash cars Penske planned to roll out in the county when asked by ARLnow.
Dash works in a similar way to competitors like Free2Move and Car2go: users download an app to create an account, locate an available Volkswagen Jetta, and unlock it with the app to get behind the wheel.
Users can then “return” the cars by parking anywhere it is street legal in Arlington or D.C. However, the service’s warns people to avoid underground garages where apps can struggle for signal.
Dash credits up to $25 to fuel up the cars, but users pay the rest, along with a 45 cent charge per minute spent driving the car. The difference between Dash and its competitors, Montri said, was better vehicle upkeep and customer service.
Montri’s full statement about Dash is below.
As the automobile industry undergoes rapid change, alternative transportation models are becoming more common place, particularly in densely populated urban areas. Mobility as a Service (Maas) provides a hassle-free and environmentally friendly alternative to private car ownership.
Penske has a legacy in transportation solutions, spanning automobiles, services and trucks. We bring our expertise to the marketplace, and alongside our partners, Penske Dash offers best-in-class quality and operational excellence.
Our entry into any market will be methodical as we grow in partnership with local communities, pursuing customer satisfaction and repeat business as primary metrics rather than number of users or vehicles. Additionally, both the A-to-B and rent-by-minute models provide added flexibility for those who may not wish to return their rental to the same starting point, or return, by a specific time.
In Washington DC, Penske Dash’s partnership with Colonial Parking gives members a guaranteed free parking solution in dense, city center areas so they can avoid struggling to find street space.
Only minor injuries were reported after a rollover crash in Ballston Friday morning.
The crash happened around 6:30 a.m. at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive. Photos from the scene show a small Car2Go vehicle on its side in the middle of the intersection, with airbags deployed.
Several lanes were closed during the crash response and cleanup.
INCIDENT: Lane Closures
LOCATION: Glebe Rd/Fairfax Dr
IMPACT: One lane EB and one lane WB of Fairfax drive is currently closed. Expect delays. pic.twitter.com/WyHxX97NCP
— Arlington Alert (@arlingtonalert) October 26, 2018
Photo via @ArlingtonVaFD
(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Car rental company car2go is reducing its Arlington service area.
The northernmost six square miles of the county will not longer be serviced by the company as of May 1, according to an email the company sent to customers.
Car2go users will still be able to drive in that area, but won’t be able to begin or end a trip in the uncovered zone. According to Kendell Kelton, car2go’s North America communications manager, the removed area begins just north of Lee Highway and Interstate 66.
The section of the county that is losing service, the company wrote, is “a mostly suburban area with high car ownership rates and low free-float carshare usage.”
Car2go notified customers Thursday morning, saying that the change was, in part, “due to member and resident feedback,” but also from the company’s data analytics. Car2go representatives declined to comment on the exact figures.
“It should be noted that car2go continually analyzes usage data and member feedback and makes adjustments to our Home Area boundaries on that basis,” said Kendell Kelton, a car2go spokesperson. “If we ever see that this information indicates that expansion back into this area is warranted, we would certainly consider doing so.”
Staff at car2go wrote in the email to consumers that the company believes the service change “will allow [them] to improve car2go availability for the majority of county residents who rely on our service the most.”
New LED Crossing Guard Signs — VDOT is giving Arlington County a $880 grant that will allow it to purchase four new LED-illuminated paddle signs for crossing guards. The new signs will show “‘slow’ on one side and ‘stop’ on the other… when illuminated, they are visible up to one mile away.” The County Board is expected to accept the grant at its Saturday meeting. [Arlington County]
County Board to Make Car-Sharing Permanent — On Saturday the Arlington County Board is expected to vote to make car-sharing systems permanent in county code. Earlier this year the Board authorized trips between Arlington and D.C. for car-share provider Car2Go. The move has significantly boosted Car2Go’s usage in Arlington. [UrbanTurf]
Discovery Elementary’s Net Zero Goal — Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy recently toured Arlington’s new Discovery Elementary school. The school was built to be a Net Zero Energy building, meaning that it produces more energy than it uses. The school’s solar panel array cost $1.5 million but is expected to pay for itself in about 10 years. [WJLA]
Man Sentenced for Sneaking Into U.S., Again — A Guatemalan man who has a colorful history of sneaking into the U.S., being deported, and trying to come back again, has been sentenced to jail time. Juan Abel Belteton-Barrios, 46, was sentenced to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release. [Patch]
Why East Falls Church? — GGW has a primer on his history and geography of the various Northern Virginia locales with “Falls Church” in the name or postal address, including Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood. [Greater Greater Washington]
SafeTrack, combined with the recently-added ability to travel between Arlington and D.C., has resulted in a “a 540 percent increase in the average number of trips beginning or ending in Arlington, a 22 percent jump in overall Car2Go trips in the region, and a 63 percent increase in average weekly memberships,” according to Car2Go.
“Car2Go membership in Arlington and D.C. has passed the 57,000 member mark, making it one of the largest in North America,” the company added.
That’s a reversal from earlier this year, when Car2Go said it was struggling to gain traction in Arlington.
Car2Go is rolling out upgraded versions of its cars in the area through the end of the year. The new cars are still the same Smart Fortwo model, but with faster unlocking, Bluetooth access for wireless calls and music, seat warmers, roomier interiors, a bigger trunk, improved safety features and a faster motor.
Arlington is no longer an island unto itself for Car2Go members.
The car-sharing service announced yesterday that it had received the go-ahead from the District Dept. of Transportation to allow one-way trips between Arlington and D.C. Starting Thursday, May 26, Car2Go members will be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., and vice versa.
The Arlington County Board approved cross-jurisdictional trips at its meeting last month. A county staff report noted that Car2Go was struggling to gain traction as an Arlington-only service, and had reduced the number of cars in the county from 95 to 25.
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) May 11, 2016
Starting May 26, you'll be able to end trips in DC or Arlington no matter which one you start in! pic.twitter.com/ETMUrSEVTh
— car2go D.C. (@car2goDC) May 11, 2016
Arcing Insulator Causes Metro Delays — An arcing insulator in the tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom caused some Metrorail delays this morning. Arlington County firefighters responded to the track fire, which occurred around 6 a.m. [WUSA 9]
New Bus Lanes Open in Crystal City — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Sunday for Arlington’s portion of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, the region’s first bus rapid transit system. The system’s 1.5 miles of bus-only lanes that run through Crystal City are now open and serving riders. Cars that use the lanes during rush hour face a $200 ticket. [WTOP]
Gutshall Out-Raises Garvey, Speaks at Board Meeting — Erik Gutshall, who’s challenging incumbent Libby Garvey for the Democratic Arlington County Board nomination, raised almost $52,000 during the most recent quarter, while Garvey raised about $34,600. Garvey still maintains a cash on hand advantage, however. Gutshall, meanwhile, spoke at Saturday’s County Board meeting and called for the Board to do more to oppose the gun store in Lyon Park. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Wardian Running Boston Marathon Today — Elite runner Michael Wardian is among the many Arlington residents competing in the Boston Marathon today. The 42-year-old, known for his prolific pace of race running, has been particularly prolific as of late — so much so that his international adventures recently prompted him to get his passport expanded. [Competitor]
Board Approves Car2Go, Google Proposals — The County Board on Saturday approved a proposal to allow the Car2Go car sharing program to operate seamlessly between Arlington and D.C. (approval is still needed from the District). The Board also voted to join Google’s Connected Citizens Program, which facilitates the sharing of traffic and road condition data. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Van Doren, Talento Endorsed By Education Association — The political action committee of the Arlington Education Association, which represents local teachers, has endorsed incumbent Nancy Van Doren and newcomer Tannia Talento in the race for the Democratic School Board endorsement. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick