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
Car2Go launched in Arlington this past fall as a pilot program, but it only allows trips that start and end in Arlington. The Board is considering taking a first step to allowing cross-jurisdictional service between D.C. and Arlington.
After launching Oct. 22, Car2Go got off to slow start with customers, according to a county staff report. In response, Car2Go reduced its Arlington fleet from 95 cars to only 25 in January.
So far, 2,000 Arlington residents have joined as members, taking 6,600 trips, but the fleet reduction has resulted in “less availability overall and reduced usefulness to members,” said county staff.
The company has also had to contend with complaints about their cars being parked in one place for too long. In residential permit parking areas, the maximum idle time is 24 hours; it’s 36 hours everywhere else.
“Membership and vehicle use in the first couple months of the program was lower than anticipated and several complaints were received from residents reporting car2go vehicles that were idle/parked for longer-than-permitted durations,” said the staff report. “All of these relocation requests were resolved by car2go staff.”
With only 25 vehicles — up to 200 were authorized by the county — “the pilot does not indicate that an Arlington-only system is viable,” say county staff.
By allowing Car2Go to operate across state lines, it can “provide a more useful service to members in Arlington and D.C.,” “operate a fleet size sufficient for proper evaluation
of operational viability in Arlington” and “reduce vehicle idle times and rebalancing costs that have been a barrier thus far.”
Even though county staff says their D.C. counterparts support cross-jurisdictional service, approval by the County Board this weekend would not result in an immediate service change, Car2Go said.
“Approval from the Arlington County Board would be a very positive step toward cross-jurisdictional access, and we’re also working to gain support from DDOT,” said spokesman Brad Ducey. “As soon as we are able to get support from both jurisdictions, we would be able to implement quickly.”
“It has always been our goal to create a seamless regional carsharing solution, similar to what members of Capital Bikeshare experience,” Ducey added. “We know car2go members are eager for access between Washington D.C. and Arlington, and we’re continuing to work hard to make that a reality. We’ll be sure to keep our members informed since we know car2go is an important part of how they get around, and cross-jurisdictional access would make it even more convenient.”
The per-trip car rental service will launch on Thursday, Oct. 22, according to company spokesman Brad Ducey. It had previously been scheduled to launch last month, but that was delayed because of production delays with a new model of Car2Go vehicles.
Arlington was originally supposed to get 200 of Car2Go’s newest vehicles, but the service will instead launch here with its “classic” Smart Fortwo cars.
From a company press release:
car2go will launch in Arlington with its signature car2go smart fortwo vehicles, and plans to roll out updated technology in Arlington at a future date.
car2go offers a flexible and efficient mobility option for Arlington residents. With car2go’s unique oneway approach to carsharing, members can pick up a shared smart fortwo vehicle anywhere within the Arlington Home Area and end their trip anywhere within the Arlington Home Area, without the need to return the car to a specific station.
car2go trips cost just 41 cents a minute, plus a $1 Driver Protection Fee that limits the drivers’ liability in the event of an accident. Gas, insurance and maintenance are all included in this straightforward pricing.
The car-sharing service will now arrive in October, said Car2Go spokesman Brad Ducey.
“We’re committed to bringing one-way car sharing to Arlington as soon as possible, so in the meantime, we’ll launch in Arlington next month with classic Car2Go vehicles,” he said.
To start and end a trip with a “classic” car, users tap their membership cards to the front windshield or unlock it with a smartphone app. Upgraded cars that are managed using a smartphone app, have an upgrade navigation system and phone charging cables are expected to roll out at a later time, Ducey said.
Members can locate or reserve a car online or by using the Car2Go smartphone app.
Once Car2Go arrives in Arlington, members will be able to start and end trips in the Arlington “home area,” which does not include the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery or Reagan National Airport.
Car2Go costs $0.41 plus tax per minute of driving, with maximums of $14.99 plus tax per hour and $84.99 plus tax per day. Trips that start in Arlington must end in the county — cross-jurisdiction trips that end in D.C., which also offers Car2Go service, are not currently supported. To end a trip, users just park the car in any county-metered parking spot or on a residential street.
“Arlington has shown an increasing appetite for more flexible and convenient mobility options, such as bike sharing and the Metro’s new Silver Line, and we’ve heard consistent requests to add Car2Go to the mix,” said Car2Go D.C. General Manager Adam Johnson in a statement last month. “We’re excited to make Car2Go an important part of the evolving transit landscape in Arlington, enhancing existing transit options and offering residents greater choice and flexibility in their day-to-day lives.”
Why Car2Go Can’t Cross the Border — Car2Go car-sharing service is launching in Arlington on Sept. 19, but users won’t be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., or vice versa. The District, which also has Car2Go service, is worried about traffic congestion and a loss of parking spaces to Arlington Car2Go users. Arlington officials have also expressed concern about allowing D.C. users park on Arlington streets, but appear more receptive to opening the Car2Go border. [Washington Post]
Arlington Kid’s Letter Read on Tonight Show — As part of a “Kid Letters” segment last night, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon read a letter from Caroline, who said she lives in Arlington. Caroline had a joke for Jimmy: “Which planet is God’s favorite planet? Saturn, because he put a ring on it.” Caroline also confessed that she has a crush on Fallon. [NBC]
APS Menus Now Online — Arlington Public Schools has put its breakfast and lunch menus online. The menus allow students and parents to review detailed nutritional information and to add funds to a prepaid meal account. Today, at Washington-Lee High School, students will have the choice of a 440 calorie chicken sandwich, a 324 calorie stuffed shell and breadstick meal, or a 304 calorie autumn fruit salad. APS also has a food-focused Twitter account. [Arlington Public Schools, Nutrislice, Twitter]
Nonprofits Moving from D.C. to Crystal City — Property owner Vornado has scored another new lease in Crystal City: the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Thanks to lower office rental rates, and generous concessions, Vornado has been steadily winning nonprofit tenants and reducing its vacancy rate, which soared due to the loss of military agencies following the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan. [Washington Business Journal]
Dems Select Winning Chili — Del. Alfonso Lopez and his legislative assistant, Jason Stanford, were the big winners at Monday’s annual Arlington County Democratic Committee Labor Day Chili Cookoff. Stanford’s “Fighting 49th” chili featured ingredients from the Columbia Pike farmers market and a secret seasoning blend that was inspired by the staffer’s Louisiana roots. The chili cookoff was held this year at the Barcroft Community House, due to construction on the usual venue, the Lyon Park Community Center. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) Car-sharing company Car2Go is coming to Arlington this September with a fleet of 200 cars.
Starting Saturday, Sept. 19, people will be able to rent Car2Go vehicles for trips that start and end Arlington, Car2Go’s latest “home area.” The Arlington area does not include Reagan National Airport, the Pentagon or Arlington National Cemetery.
“Arlington has been at the forefront of expanding and improving transportation options, and our new year-long demonstration study with Car2Go is another opportunity to show residents, workers and visitors how easy it is to travel without owning a car,” Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach said in a statement.
To celebrate the car-sharing service’s arrival in Arlington, Car2Go is offering membership registration for $10 and 30 minutes of free driving time if new customers use the code DRIVE703.
“With access to a network of 200 Smart Fortwo vehicles, Arlington residents, workers and visitors will be able to experience a true complement to existing transportation options as they move throughout the city,” the company said in a statement.
Car2Go costs $0.41 plus tax per minute, with $14.99 plus tax per hour and $84.99 plus tax per day maximums. A $1 “driver protection fee” is also added for each trip. Gas, parking and insurance are free in the “home area.”
To find a Car2Go, Arlington users can use the Car2Go website, app or call the company’s customer service line. Users tap their membership cards to a card reader on the front windshield to start and end a trip.
Once the Arlington users are done, they can park the car at any county metered space or on any residential street in Arlington. While users can drive outside of the county, cars borrowed in Arlington must be returned in Arlington. When parking, users must follow Arlington parking rules.
There are currently 1,200 Arlington Car2Go members, according to the company.
“Arlington has shown an increasing appetite for more flexible and convenient mobility options, such as bikesharing and the Metro’s new Silver Line, and we’ve heard consistent requests to add Car2Go to the mix,” said Car2Go D.C. General Manager Adam Johnson. “We’re excited to make Car2Go an important part of the evolving transit landscape in Arlington, enhancing existing transit options and offering residents greater choice and flexibility in their day-to-day lives.”
Car2Go first came to the Washington area in 2012, when it launched in the District.
“Car2Go gets Arlington going: Arlington is a city rife with energy and innovation, and here’s an innovation that fits the active, always on the go Arlington lifestyle,” says Car2Go’s website.
Car2Go Coming to Arlington — Arlington County is giving the car sharing service Car2Go a try. The county will allow up to 200 Car2Go vehicles on the streets, in metered parking spots, as part of a one year pilot program. Car2Go will pay the county for use of metered spaces. [UrbanTurf, WTOP]
‘Jen’s Kitchen’ Now Open in Va. Square — “Jen’s Kitchen” has reportedly opened in Virginia Square, replacing the former Metro Cafe and Gourmet at 901 N. Nelson Street. [Twitter]
Texas Questioning New Office in Arlington — Senate Republicans and the Texas Attorney General’s office are asking the Obama administration for more information about an immigration services facility that’s bringing hundreds of jobs to Crystal City. The office was originally intended to help with processing related to Obama’s executive action on immigration, which is currently on hold due to legal challenges. [Breitbart]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Crystal City will soon be a “home area” for Washington D.C.’s car2go carsharing service.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District announced today that the carsharing service would be launching in Crystal City in the coming weeks. It allows users to park their borrowed car anywhere in the “home area” and find an available car via a GPS-enabled smartphone app.
The service costs $35 to register and 41 cents per minute, with a $14.99 per hour and $84.99 per day maximum. The car’s insurance, gas and parking fees are free (in the home areas), and car2go says it has hundreds of cars in the D.C. area. They can be driven anywhere as long as the user finishes his or her trip within the “home area.”
Crystal City is the first home area outside of the District for car2go D.C., and will offer at least four car2go spaces at the launch of the program. According to the Crystal City BID, any of the service’s 33,000 members may use the cars. The service will be the second carsharing option in the area, in addition to Zipcar.
Crystal City BID President and CEO Angela Fox boasted about the new service and hopes it spreads to other areas of the county.
“We sought it out but hope and expect they will launch in other nearby neighborhoods ASAP, because that makes the whole system more robust. The more options, the better,” Fox said. “Car2go is very popular, and we wants its users to know that they can get to and from Crystal City with ease.”
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