Intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road and N. Edison Street (Photo via Walk Arlington)

Pedestrian safety improvements at N. Carlin Springs Road are nearing completion.

The project’s goal is to increase pedestrian safety on busy N. Carlin Springs Road at the intersections of N. Edison Street and N. Wakefield Street. Work first began in November after the County Board approved the project in July.

The project is expected to be completed this month weather permitting, according to the Department of Environmental Services spokesperson Eric Balliet.

Last month, a Rapid Flashing Beacon was installed at the N. Edison Street intersection. Medians were also restored in January.

At the N. Wakefield Street intersection, all the concrete and base asphalt work was completed earlier this year to extend the curbs and shorten crossing distance, making pedestrian crossings safer amid the fast-moving traffic.

Other work finished includes adding high visibility crosswalks at both intersections and improving ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

However, there’s still work that needs to be done.

At the N. Edison Street intersection, a retaining wall is currently under construction. Milling and paving still need to be completed as well as adding pavement markings and signage. Due to this, some sidewalks may be closed to pedestrians until the work is finished.

Funding for the project is being shared between the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Pedestrian safety has long been an issue at these intersections and on Carlin Springs Road in general. The county has recently increased fines for speeding on number of streets, including a different portion of Carlin Springs Road, as a means to protect pedestrians.

Also, this month, Arlington County is piloting a temporary lane closure to help create a buffer for pedestrians and students as they walk and bike to school. This comes just as some students return to in-person learning in nearly a year.

Photo via Walk Arlington

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Morning Notes

Local 911 Dispatchers Can Work Remotely — “On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) became one of the first centers in the nation to implement capabilities that allow fire and emergency medical services (EMS) dispatchers and supervisors to deliver critical emergency communications services no matter where they are. Now, Arlington Fire-EMS dispatchers and supervisors are able work from a remote location, including from home.” [Arlington County]

Grocery Workers Unaware of Vaccine Availability — “Grocery store workers in Arlington can now sign up for Covid vaccine… But Arlington County is apparently not notifying grocery store workers about this option… At our local Arlington grocery store, a staff person in the management office indicated they were not aware of either option, when my wife and I called.” [Blue Virginia]

Apple Stores Temporarily ClosingUpdated at 8:55 a.m. — “Apple is temporarily closing its Washington, D.C. retail stores ahead of the United States presidential inauguration. Five stores in the Washington metro area will close through at least January 21… Stores in Arlington, VA at Pentagon City and Clarendon, as well as in Maryland at Bethesda Row will close from Saturday.” [9to5Mac]

Beyer Wants Cameras for Federal Officers — “Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) announced today that they will reintroduce their Federal Police Camera and Accountability Act, which would require uniformed federal police officers, including U.S. Capitol Police, to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras in police vehicles.” [Press Release]

Attempted Armed Robbery on Columbia Pike — “At approximately 8:18 p.m. on January 13, police were dispatched to the late report of an attempted armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 5:04 p.m., the suspect was inside a business when they approached the front of the store, threatened the victim with a knife and demanded they open the drawer to the cash register. The suspect then fled the business when the victim yelled and another employee ran to the front of the store.” [ACPD]

Water Main Repair on Carlin Springs Road — “Water main break… Tomorrow, Friday Jan. 15, from 7am to 5pm, the two center lanes on S Carlin Springs Rd from 1st St S to 3rd St S will be closed. A traffic detour will be in place.” [Twitter]

Pelosi Endorses McAuliffe — “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is endorsing Terry McAuliffe’s campaign in a very crowded Democratic primary that will winnow the field of those seeking to be the next governor of Virginia.” [Axios]

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m. on 10/30/20) A juvenile suspect is facing a number of potential charges after a reported hit-and-run crash on Columbia Pike overnight.

The crash happened just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday, at the intersection of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that after the suspect vehicle struck the victim’s vehicle, approximately 5-6 juveniles exited the vehicle and fled on foot,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Arriving officers located the subjects in the area and identified the driver of the vehicle at the time of the crash.”

“The two occupants of the victim vehicle sustained minor injuries,” the crime report continues. “During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect vehicle had previously been stolen from Fairfax County earlier in the evening.”

ACPD says the suspect was also “found to be in possession of a controlled substance” and is now facing petitions for Hit and Run, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle with Intent to Procure or Pass Title.

Separately, on Wednesday evening, S. Carlin Springs Road was blocked near Campbell Elementary School due to an incident involving Virginia State Police. Witnesses report seeing police with guns drawn.

https://twitter.com/cdemers80/status/1321582460237471744

The Arlington County Police Department said officers assisted state police with a suspect search, but referred additional questions to VSP. On Friday, state police provided additional information about the incident — which turns out to be the conclusion of a vehicle pursuit that started on I-395 — to ARLnow:

At 4:57 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2020, a Virginia State Police trooper observed a 2007 Honda Civic traveling on I-395 abruptly slow to 35 mph (55 mph posted speed limit). The trooper pulled in behind to see if the vehicle was experiencing a problem or the driver needed assistance. The vehicle took the Shirlington Exit and kept going well under the speed. The trooper also observed that the temporary license plate tag was unsecured and initiated a traffic stop. The vehicle pulled off the right shoulder on North Quaker Street. But, as the trooper walked up to the vehicle to talk to the driver, the Honda pulled away at a high rate of speed and a pursuit was initiated. The Honda finally stopped in the 600 block of Carlin Springs Road and one of the passengers fled the vehicle on foot.

The driver, Prince Jakim I. Maldonado, 21, of Woodbridge, Va., was taken into custody without incident at the scene.  The passenger, Joshean D. Stokes, 20, of Dumfries, Va., was taken into custody without incident at the scene. Both Maldonado and Stokes were charged for felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, felony possession of Schedule I/II controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm while in possession of a Schedule I/II controlled substance, along with several misdemeanor charges. Maldonado was also wanted out on outstanding warrants in Prince William County. Both were transported to Arlington County Jail.

During the course of the short pursuit, the trooper witnessed objects being thrown from the window of the Honda. The trooper returned to that location and recovered a handgun and ammunition.

The search continues to locate the second passenger who fled on foot and left his wallet and ID behind in the vehicle.

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The Virginia Hospital Center’s Carlin Springs Road location is closed for good and demolition is on the way.

The closure has been a long time coming, with Arlington County acquiring 601 S. Carlin Springs Road as part of a land swap with the hospital. VHC, in turn, received land from the county that it’s now using for the expansion of its main campus.

Jessica Baxter, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, said the Carlin Springs center had been leased back to VHC, allowing it to wind down operations there through Dec. 31, 2019. A childcare center closed last summer and VHC’s urgent care clinic recently closed.

“As part of the approval to acquire the Edison property adjacent to the main hospital campus, the Carlin Springs campus was transitioned to Arlington County,” a hospital spokesperson said. “The service closed in December 2019 when our lease ended.”

The Carlin Springs site is now set to be used for county facilities — though the exact plans are yet to be determined.

“The County is currently developing plans to remove the building because it is incompatible with any County use,” Baxter said in an email. “No timing has been set — and is contingent on available funds. Any future uses of the site will involve a public process.”

The lights are off inside the building and a padlock was placed on what was once the front door. A sign on the door — and emails to urgent care patients — encouraged people to instead use VHC’s urgent care clinic that recently opened in Crystal City.

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Arlington County has officially finished replacing the old Carlin Springs Road bridge near Ballston.

Most of the construction on the new bridge over N. George Mason Drive had wrapped up last month, with crews working on paving and re-striping by mid-June. The Department of Environmental Services celebrated the project’s completion in a tweet Tuesday, writing that the project was “ahead of schedule and under budget.”

On the project’s website, officials noted that crews were finishing installing new street lights on the bridge, as well as improving some landscaping along George Mason Drive.

Previously, neighbors had written to ARLnow to complain of the delays caused by the construction and, in particular, drivers illegally u-turning on Carlin Springs to get to George Mason. DES spokesman Eric Balliet said at the time the department as working on adding a turn lane to fix the problem.

On Tuesday, the department thanked people for their patience noting that “any inconveniences during the work are now water under the bridge.”

Demolition of the old bridge started two years ago, after the County Board approved plans dating back to 2011, which aimed to replace the “deteriorated” structure with a new bridge featuring bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and better street lights, among other improvements.

Image via Arlington County

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A new Carlin Springs Road bridge over George Mason Drive has been built and county crews are now preparing for some finishing touches.

Construction started in 2017 and most of the work was completed earlier this year. To the consternation of nearby residents, the paving and restriping work has yet to start — the county told residents it was waiting for the right weather conditions — but that’s about to change.

“Remaining work items include installing new street lights for the bridge and the George Mason Drive interchange and landscaping,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet tells ARLnow. “Crews are scheduled to be on site next week to install the street light conduits.”

“Final paving and marking of the roadway is anticipated to take place by early July, barring any complications and weather permitting,” Balliet continued. “At that time, the permanent traffic pattern will be established and all cones and barrels will be removed.”

Numerous residents have emailed ARLnow with complaints about the project not yet being completed, even though it appears to be on-time based on an Oct. 2017 presentation. One explained that the current traffic pattern has resulted in delays for drivers.

“It’s the left turn on Carlin heading towards Ballston onto George Mason,” a local resident said via email. “It’s causing illegal u-turns so drivers can access George Mason northbound.”

Balliet said the lane striping, when it’s complete, will provide a turn lane for drivers heading from Carlin Springs to George Mason.

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Update at 3 p.m. — Power has been restored to Dominion customers in western Arlington, though more than 1,500 remain without power in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County.

Earlier: Thousands are without power in Arlington Monday afternoon, following a major outage in the western portion of the county.

The outage was first reported around 1 p.m., after a tree fell onto power lines near the intersection of Route 50 and Carlin Springs Road. All told, including an ongoing outage along N. Glebe Road, nearly 2,750 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington.

Traffic signals are reported to be dark along S. Carlin Springs Road, from Route 50 to Columbia Pike. Police are on scene, setting up cones and helping to direct traffic. The ramps from Route 50 to Carlin Springs have been closed.

Arlington Public Schools says Kenmore Middle School and Campbell Elementary are currently without power and unable to receive phone calls.

The large outage is also affecting parts of neighboring Alexandria and Fairfax County. As of 1:15 p.m., Dominion was reporting about 1,000 outages in Alexandria and more than 8,000 outages in Fairfax.

Numerous trees are down around the area as a result of today’s widespread wind storm.

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The Carlin Springs Road Bridge construction has passed the halfway point, and some more road closures are on the way as work wraps up.

The southern half of the replacement bridge is now in use with one lane of traffic open in each direction. Pedestrians are directed to use the walkway on the southern side of the bridge.

Work has begun on rehabilitating the north side of the bridge. Starting tomorrow (Saturday), the contractor is scheduled to install steel beams to allow construction on the remainder of the new bridge deck. During this time, N. George Mason Drive will be closed where it passes under the bridge.

The current traffic pattern will remain in place until the rest of the bridge deck is completed. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2019.

Meanwhile, the new sanitary sewer main at the N. Carlin Springs Road and N. Abington Street intersection has been completed. Street pavement and other restoration work is expected to be completed by late fall 2018.

The original Carlin Springs Road Bridge was demolished in December 2017 after it was found to be substantially deteriorated. The new bridge will feature wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and four vehicle travel lanes.

Photo via Arlington Department of Environmental Services

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After a man was struck by a car in the middle of a Bluemont intersection, some of his neighbors see new urgency for their years-long effort to force the county to improve conditions for pedestrians in the area.

County police say Eric Larsen was crossing N. Carlin Springs Road near its intersection with N. Edison Street early in the morning last Monday (July 16), when a car slammed into him. Larsen was taken to George Washington University hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and neighbors say he’s still recovering from some broken bones caused by the crash.

Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage says “charges are pending” against the driver, but people living in the area see the intersection’s design deficiencies as the real cause of the crash.

Lora Strine, who lives in the Arlington Forest neighborhood nearby, says her citizens’ association has pressed the county for changes in the area going back to at least 2016. She points out that Carlin Springs is a popular option for walkers looking to reach the Ballston Metro, as Larsen was at the time of the accident, or even the Safeway near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

Yet Strine says the area lacks clearly marked crosswalks or traffic calming measures to slow drivers, particularly on such a wide road, and she can’t understand why it’s taken the county so long to address the issue.

“This accident is not really an accident,” Strine told ARLnow. “It’s really been years in the making.”

Arlington officials point out that they’re hardly ignoring the area, however.

County transportation spokesman Eric Balliet says workers plan to install a flashing sign that can be activated by pedestrians crossing Carlin Springs near the road’s intersection with N. Harrison Street, just a few blocks from the Larsen crash. That signal should be in place as soon as next month.

Balliet added that the county is also planning some curb extensions and crosswalk improvements all along Carlin Springs, leading up to Edison Street, with work set to start in the spring of 2019 and wrap up the following year.

But Strine feels that’s far too long for the neighborhood to wait, and managed to secure a meeting with county staff and County Board member John Vihstadt to make that argument.

Vihstadt says “the jury is still out” in terms of how, exactly, the Board might be able to speed up the construction, though he certainly agrees with Strine’s assessment of the intersection. He’s spent the last year or so working with Arlington Forest residents on the issue, and he sees a need for the county to act quickly, as development in Ballston continues to ramp up and bring people to the area.

“That’s an awful long time to wait for these measures,” Vihstadt said. said. “I don’t find that  acceptable at all.”

At the very least, Vihstadt hopes to see the county beef up the webpage displaying details about the road improvements to keep neighbors better informed.

But even if Vihstadt can successfully convince officials to speed up construction, Strine worries that the work won’t actually slow cars speeding along Carlin Springs. She’d much rather see an additional stop light in the area, or even a stop sign, to bring speeds down.

“They’re wasting time and money by making changes that we know aren’t going to work,” Strine said. “These are just incremental changes: another Band-Aid, as one of my neighbors said.”

While county officials are confident that their planned changes will indeed slow passing cars, Vihstadt agreed that he wants to see the county do more to take into account “context-specific considerations” raised by neighbors about local road projects.

Overall, he lamented that this latest community clash is indicative of a pattern he’s seen all around Arlington in recent years, and provides a clear example of how the county still struggles to balance traffic congestion and pedestrian safety.

“While we like to say that our public policies like ‘the car-free diet‘ are having a positive impact on Arlington traffic, and I think they are, a lot of neighborhoods don’t yet feel that way,” Vihstadt said.

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Morning Notes

Flash Flooding Hits Arlington — Yesterday’s rain closed a series of roads around the county. First responders had to pull 40 people from 25 stranded vehicles on the G.W. Parkway, which was closed for several hours due to standing water. [Twitter]

How to Beat the I-66 Tolls Inside the Beltway — A new study suggests the best way to save some cash on I-66 is to leave home early, particularly before 6:30 a.m. [WTOP]

Zoning Problems Bedevil Carlin Springs Daycare — The Bright Horizons Child Care and Education Center, located on the county-owned Carlin Springs Road property, could be bound for demolition, even though the county doesn’t have enough money to pursue long-term plans at the site. [Arlington Connection]

Tree Activists Blast the County Board — Local conservationists took the Board to task on a variety of tree canopy issues Saturday, including the fate of the large dawn redwood tree set to be cut down in Williamsburg. However, Board members lamented there’s not much they can do to meet the activists’ demands. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo via Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Chamber Calls for Pause on Housing Conservation District — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is calling for the Arlington County Board to pump the brakes on a proposed Housing Conservation District policy, set for a vote at tomorrow’s Board meeting. The Chamber says the policy would affect more than 450 privately-owned properties. “The County’s failure to provide any notice to property owners that would be affected by the Framework is inconsistent with Arlington’s established government process and the level of transparency the community has come to depend on,” said Chamber President Kate Bates. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Carlin Springs Bridge Work to ResumeDemolition of the Carlin Springs Road Bridge over George Mason Drive was curtailed by winter weather last weekend, but is set to resume this weekend. Drivers should expect a number of detours in the area. [Twitter]

Fisette Tribute Packs Local Church — “A Dec. 13 tribute to departing Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was about 90 percent heartfelt thanks for his 20 years of service in elected office. And about 10 percent celebrity roast.” The event was so well-attended that the parking lot of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington was filled to capacity by those whom Fisette has not yet convinced to take the Car-Free Diet. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Gossip: Britt McHenry Back on Local Airwaves? — A noted local Twitter user who goes by the name “Clarendon Bros” shared some local TV gossip last night, claiming that Britt McHenry was seen auditioning for a job at Fox 5. McHenry at one point lived in Arlington — it is unclear if she still does — and had a well-publicized run-in with local towing company Advanced Towing. [Twitter]

Fox Leaves Crystal City BID — “After more than a decade running the Crystal City Business Improvement District, Angela Fox is stepping down. The BID’s board of directors announced Fox’s departure Thursday, but has not named a permanent replacement.” [Bisnow]

Local Homebuilder Getting Bigger — “Arlington-based homebuilder CalAtlantic Homes is purchasing Home South Communities, a privately held homebuilder based in the Atlanta area. CalAtlantic itself is in the midst of a $9.3 billion merger with Miami’s Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), expected to close early next year.” [Washington Business Journal]

Realtor Group Extends Clothing and Food Drive — “Despite the weather, the first community wide drop off for the Arlington Realtors Care (ARC) initiative, held on Saturday, Dec. 9 was a great success. ARC is sponsoring a second community wide drop off date scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16 at RGS Title.” [Press Release]

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