Arlington, VA

(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) The reconfiguration of Clarendon’s worst intersection is one step closer to finishing as crews begin paving.

Working began repaving the roads that together form the notoriously dangerous “Clarendon Circle” — a.k.a. the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon, and Washington Blvds — this past weekend.

The paving work will continue for the rest of this week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is expected to close some traffic lanes and cause temporary detours, the county’s Department of Environmental Services warns on its webpage for the project.

“Increased traffic congestion is expected, and drivers are encouraged to seek alternate routes and avoid Clarendon Circle during this work if possible,” DES said on its website.

On Monday, for instance, through traffic on Wilson Blvd was blocked and redirected to Washington Blvd. On Tuesday, steam and a burning rubber smell clouded the intersection as crews directed traffic around a cluster of paving equipment.

Work on the project is expected to wrap up by Veterans Day, this coming Monday.

The county has long aimed to redesign the intersection to be safer for pedestrians and cyclists and less confusing for motorists, with a goal of reducing crashes. The project design selected will realign Wilson and Washington Blvd, shorten crosswalks, and widen sidewalks.

Construction kicked off last year after the Arlington County Board awarded a $2.5 million contract to Ardent Construction Company.

Since then, the county has made several changes to the tricky nexus of roads, including cutting off N. Irving Street and banning left turns onto Wilson from Washington — though many drivers at least initially ignored the ban.

Image 1-5 via Arlington County

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(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) Eastbound Clarendon Blvd was closed between N. Veitch Street and N. Courthouse Road for most of Friday due to a water main break.

Crews started digging up the street near the former Cosi this morning in an effort to fix the 12-inch pipe, and as of 4 p.m. were still working.

A detour was in place for eastbound traffic, though one lane reopened Friday afternoon.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says that a number of water customers in the area, including businesses, are without water.

https://twitter.com/ReadyArlington/status/1136987403313385472

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Photo courtesy anonymous

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A new round of construction is kicking off at one of Clarendon’s trickiest intersections, and that means more lane closures and traffic changes.

Starting today (Wednesday), workers plan to start major sidewalk expansions at the “Clarendon Circle” intersection, or the area where Clarendon, Washington and Wilson boulevards meet.

The county expects the widening work to last through April, with the ultimate goal of having the new sidewalks ready “in time to allow businesses to have outdoor seating during the spring and summer months.” Much of the construction centers on the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Irving Street, the home of both O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub and The Liberty Tavern.

County officials signed off on the $2.5 million Clarendon Circle overhaul this summer, in a bid to make the intersection a bit easier to navigate for pedestrians and cyclists, in particular. In addition to the sidewalk expansions, the project will include the installation of new bike lanes, the widening of Washington Boulevard to four lanes — while nixing the current reversible lanes — and the addition of upgraded traffic signals.

The construction first started prompting major traffic changes in the area early this month, and now the county is warning of additional changes. Those include a prohibition on left turns in the following areas:

  • Northbound Wilson Boulevard to N. Irving Street
  • Northbound Wilson Boulevard to westbound Washington Boulevard
  • Southbound Wilson Boulevard to eastbound Washington Boulevard
  • Westbound Washington Boulevard to southbound Wilson Boulevard

Some portions of the sidewalk will also be closed on both the Washington Blvd and Wilson Blvd sides of N. Irving Street. The left turn from eastbound Washington Boulevard to Clarendon Boulevard also remains off-limits, and will likely be shut down through this summer.

The county is hoping to have all of the work wrapped up by sometime in 2020, weather permitting.

The project is designed to move in conjunction with the county’s plans to do away with the reversible lanes on Washington Boulevard and create a “T” intersection with 13th Street N. That construction is projected to kick off sometime this winter, after the county cleared the way for the redevelopment of the nearby Red Top Cab properties.

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Crews have broken ground on the first phase of the “Clarendon Circle” project, bringing improvements to one of the county’s trickiest intersections for pedestrians and cyclists but creating some temporary traffic changes.

The County Board approved in June the contract for the overhaul of the “Clarendon Circle” — the area where Clarendon, Washington and Wilson boulevards all meet, just past the Metro station.

The first phase of the project involves concrete work along eastbound Washington Blvd — west of Wilson Blvd and Fairfax Drive — along with removal of the existing curb and gutter in the area.

Ardent Construction Company began in September Clarendon Circle’s reconstruction, which is anticipated to last one year, according to the county.

Signs will provide detour directions. Drivers and pedestrians have the following options to Clarendon Blvd from Washington Blvd:

  • Turn right on southbound N. Kirkwood Road, which turns into 10th Street N. Then turn left on Wilson Blvd and continue straight.
  • Stay on Washington Blvd, crossing Wilson and Clarendon boulevards, and then turn left on N. Highland Street. Then turn right.

Additionally, left turns will be restricted on eastbound Washington Blvd along with the left turn from eastbound Washington Blvd to Clarendon Blvd through next summer.

Traffic disruptions with lane and sidewalk closures during the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. work hours on Mondays through Fridays are expected, the county said, adding that no weekend work is scheduled.

The planned improvements address planners’ desired changes to the intersection, like shortening the distances pedestrians have to walk across roads. The work will also include long-anticipated installation of additional bike lanes, the widening of Washington Blvd and the addition of upgraded traffic signals.

The project will also add a “green streets” element to N. Irving Street, next to the Silver Diner, which planners have said will help better manage stormwater.

Additional plans for the project include installing new Carlyle streetlights, adding curb extensions at the Liberty Tavern corner and planting more trees.

Maps via Arlington County

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Work is wrapping up on improvements to one of Courthouse’s trickiest intersections, with some night paving set to close a few streets this week.

The county is putting the finishing touches on some changes to sidewalks and bus stops around the intersection of Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards, near the Courthouse Metro station. Starting last night (Tuesday), workers began paving the area and the county expects the work to last through Friday (Sept. 7).

Arlington officials are advising drivers to avoid the area where Clarendon Blvd meets N. Veitch Street and 15th Street N. during the paving, set to run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through the rest of the week.

Workers permanently closed the lane turning from Clarendon Blvd. to 15th Street N. in March, and have spent the ensuing months widening the sidewalks in the area and adding a new bus stop to accommodate additional Arlington Transit service in the area. The county hopes the project “will improve pedestrian safety, circulation and access in and around Courthouse Plaza,” per its website.

Construction was originally set to wrap up sometime this winter, but the county says it’s now “nearing completion, ahead of schedule.”

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Arlington could soon kick off work on improvements at one of the county’s trickiest intersections for pedestrians and cyclists.

The County Board is set to approve a $2.5 million contract for the overhaul of the “Clarendon Circle” — the area where Clarendon, Washington and Wilson Boulevards all meet, just past the Metro station.

Planners have hoped for years now to add improvements to the intersection, like shortening the distances pedestrians have to walk across roads. The work will also include the installation of additional bike lanes, the widening of Washington Boulevard to four lanes — while nixing the current reversible lanes — and the addition of upgraded traffic signals.

Plans also call for adding a “green streets” element to better manage stormwater on N. Irving Street, next to the Silver Diner.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the construction contract at its Saturday, June 16 meeting as part of its consent agenda, which is typically reserved for non-controversial items. Should Board members approve the deal, the county estimates that work could begin this fall and wrap up in the winter of 2020.

The Clarendon Circle project is designed to move in conjunction with the county’s plans to do away with the reversible lanes on Washington Boulevard and create a “T” intersection with 13th Street N. That construction is projected to kick off in the winter of 2019, after the Board voted on May 22 to let the redevelopment of the nearby Red Top Cab properties move ahead.

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Arlington County could soon embark on a $1.8 million effort to replace four elevators around Courthouse.

The County Board will vote at its meeting this weekend on a plan to fully overhaul two elevators in Arlington’s Court Square West building (1400 N. Uhle Street) and two more that connect to the Courthouse Metro station underground.

All four elevators have “reached the end of their useful lives,” according to a report prepared by county staff.

The elevators in Court Square West, a building that holds some county offices, travel seven stories each. The Metro station elevators travel just two stories, and are located at each end of an underground access tunnel linking to the station — one is at 2200 Clarendon Boulevard, the other at 2111 Wilson Boulevard.

The County Board is set to vote to award a contract for the work on Saturday (May 19), as part of its “consent agenda,” which is generally reserved for noncontroversial items that are approved all at once.

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ABC sign in Courthouse (photo courtesy Andy Bailey)An ABC liquor store is under construction at 1919 Clarendon Blvd, in the ground floor of a new apartment building on the block.

ARLnow.com reported in July that the state Alcoholic Beverage Control department was in lease negotiations for one of the new retail spaces in the building, just a few blocks from the site of its former location in the Colonial Village Shopping Center.

Signs are already up in the windows of the new space, on Clarendon Blvd between N. Rhodes and Troy Streets, for construction. When contacted, an ABC spokesperson could only confirm the store will be opening in the future, but said there is no available information about when the store might be open.

The site of a possible new ABC store in CourthouseWhile the ABC store is undergoing their interior buildout, so, too, is Shawafel, a “quick served” Lebanese restaurant, next door. The location of Shawafel will be the H Street NE business’ second brick-and-mortar shop.

Before the ABC store opens, the closest spot to pick up bottles of liquor for Rosslyn and Courthouse residents is the store at 1001 N. Fillmore Street, at the intersection with Washington Blvd.

Photo, top, courtesy Andy Bailey. Photo (bottom) is a file photo.

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An accident caused a Toyota to flip on its roof at the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and N. Cleveland Street this afternoon.

The crash happened around 1:05 p.m., just down the street from the Clarendon Whole Foods store. Witnesses tell ARLnow.com that the driver of the Toyota crawled out on her own power. She was apparently unharmed but was checked out by paramedics.

According to bystanders, the driver of the Toyota told police that a second vehicle rammed her, causing the accident.

The intersection was closed after the crash but one lane of Clarendon has since reopened. A flatbed tow truck is on scene, about to haul away the overturned vehicle.

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New speed limits on Clarendon BlvdThe County Board unanimously approved lowering the speed limits on key stretches of Wilson Blvd, Clarendon Blvd, N. Sycamore Street and N. Meade Street Tuesday evening.

The Board acted in line with its Master Transportation Plan in lowering the speed limits on the key local arteries.

The speed limit on Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd was lowered from 30 to 25 mph between Rosslyn and Washington Blvd.

Meanwhile, the speed limit on N. Meade Street was lowered from 30 to 25 mph between Arlington Blvd and Marshall Drive., while N. Sycamore Street from Washington Blvd. to 17th Street N. will see its speed limit drop from 35 to 30 mph.

The change in speed limit is effective immediately, and county staff said they expect the signs reflecting the change to be installed Wednesday.

“The county’s actions to lower speed limits on segments of some key roads are in keeping with the Master Transportation plan, and are intended to make these roads safer for everyone — drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” said Board Chair Walter Tejada.

The Board also put a public hearing on the agenda for its Sept. 21 meeting to hear public feedback for lowering the speed limits on N. Lynn and Fort Myer Drive between the Key Bridge and Arlington Blvd. from 30 to 25 mph.

As part of the same resolution, the Board changed the County Code to reflect Virginia Department of Transportation’s imposed speed limits on I-66 and I-395. The speed limits of the roads were not changed but, for instance, the code will now officially reflect that I-66 is a 45 mph road between the Virginia state line and N. Lynn Street and 55 mph between N. Lynn Street and Fairfax County.

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Stretch of Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse (photo via Google Maps)The County Board may decide to decrease speed limits on a number of roads throughout Arlington, including the main thoroughfares from Rosslyn to Clarendon. Board members are scheduled to take up the issue at their meeting on Saturday (July 13).

The Department of Environmental Services conducted studies to examine the viability of changing speed limits on several streets. Information was gathered regarding factors such as vehicle speeds, collisions, traffic volumes, pedestrian and bicyclist activity and development patterns. Studies were performed in the following areas: N. Meade Street from Arlington Blvd to Marshall Drive (formerly Jackson Avenue), Clarendon Blvd from Washington Blvd to N. Oak Street, Wilson Blvd from Route 110 to Washington Blvd, and N. Sycamore Street from Washington Blvd to 17th Street N. and N. Roosevelt Street from 17th Street N. to the county line.

The studies indicated that speed limits along N. Meade Street, Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd could be decreased from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. The N. Sycamore Street/N. Roosevelt Street studies indicated the speed limit could be lowered from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour.

Arlington’s Master Transportation Plan includes a policy to design streets with lower vehicle speeds without impeding or diverting traffic. Part of that involves adopting a 25 mile per hour speed limit in the county’s “downtown” areas where pedestrian traffic is high, such as along Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd.

The Board also has been asked to authorize the correction of speed limit discrepancies along parts of I-395 and I-66. According to VDOT records, the speed in the regular lanes of I-395 from Alexandria to D.C. is 55 miles per hour. The county code, however, was recently discovered to list a portion of the segment as 35 miles per hour, and that the entire segment is 55 miles per hour. There is a similar discrepancy between county code and VDOT records regarding the HOV lanes. Additionally, the county code does not include speed limits for I-66, but VDOT lists the limits at 45 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour, depending on the section in question.

County staff members recommend Board approval for the speed limit discrepancy corrections and for decreasing the speeds along the four stretches of county roads.

The cost of installing new speed limit signs to reflect the changes is estimated to be $5,000. Funds are available in the Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Environmental Services Transportation Engineering and Operations operating budget.

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