Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

New Hotel for DCA? — “A hotel might be in the works for Reagan National Airport, according to Jack Potter, CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority… A spokeswoman for MWAA said they are still in the ideas phase and nothing is concrete.” [Washington Business Journal]

Parents Fight Proposed Key Changes — “Parents are battling for the school’s future after Arlington Public Schools surprised them with a plan to relocate Key [Elementary], an announcement that animated larger questions about race, class and the purpose of bilingual education.” [Washington Post]

APS Friday Closure Questioned — “Most schools in the DC region decided to stay open despite the wintry mix Friday morning, but Arlington County Public Schools decided to close leaving parents in disbelief.” [WJLA]

Kindergarteners Learn About Transgender — “Dozens of kindergarten students sat cross-legged in his classroom at Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington, listening as an advocate for transgender rights paged through a children’s picture book about a transgender girl,” as part of an event with the National Education Association and the Human Rights Campaign. [Washington Post]

Chamber Partners with APS — “The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce a partnership with Arlington Public Schools Career Center for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program. The Chamber is in its fifth year of offering the YEA! Program, but this is its first class of students for the program as part of their Arlington Public Schools learning.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Dog With Dementia Falls into Storm Drain — “A small dog with dementia is missing after falling into a storm drain in Arlington, Virginia. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington tweeted out an alert Thursday and said the cute pup disappeared after falling into the sewer about 8 p.m.” [NBC Washington, Twitter]

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Update at 12:30 p.m. — The National Weather Service reports 3.3 inches of snow accumulation in Ballston as of about 12:20 p.m.

Earlier: It’s a winter wonderland out there, but most roads remain passable.

Traffic is light around Arlington, with schools, the federal government and all county facilities like community centers closed. But with 2 inches of snow on the ground as of 8:30 a.m., no major crashes or problems have been reported on the county’s mostly snow-covered roads.

Residential trash and recycling collection has been cancelled for the day and will resume Thursday, delayed by a day for the rest of the week.

Metro is operating under its severe snow service plan for buses, and as is Arlington Transit. Metro trains are running every 12 minutes.

VDOT is still urging drivers to stay inside today, with snow changing to sleet, freezing rain and then just rain this afternoon.

“Drivers are asked to avoid travel for safety today as a winter storm moves through the region with a range of precipitation,” VDOT said. “Pockets of heavier snow may limit visibility and stick to the pavement, and a mix of freezing rain may quickly make roads slick.”

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(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools will be closed Wednesday due to expected snow and ice.

The school system made the call at 5 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after a similar announcement from Fairfax County Public Schools.

Arlington’s Marymount University will also be closed.

Arlington and the region is under a Winter Storm Warning for Wednesday, with 3-6 inches of snow expected. From the National Weather Service:

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 7 PM EST WEDNESDAY… * WHAT…HEAVY MIXED PRECIPITATION EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND AND CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 1 AM TO 7 PM EST WEDNESDAY. SNOW WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING AND MIX WITH AND CHANGE TO SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN DURING THE LATE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON HOURS WEDNESDAY. PRECIPITATION WILL CHANGE TO PLAIN RAIN WEDNESDAY EVENING. THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS LIKELY WEDNESDAY MORNING. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING OR EVENING COMMUTE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW, SLEET AND ICE WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL AND INJURY. &&

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says it has been pretreating roads and expects to have its “full response team” on the road shortly after midnight, before the first of the flakes starts falling.

The wintry weather is expected to prompt delays and cancellations at local airports, including Reagan National Airport, which is advising flyers to “check with their airline to confirm the status of their flight prior to coming to the airport.”

VDOT’s Northern Virginia office, meanwhile, is encouraging drivers to stay off the roads if at all possible.

VDOT asks that drivers plan travel around a winter storm bringing accumulating snow and a mix of frozen precipitation to the region throughout the day Wednesday. Avoid travel during the storm for safety, as well as after until road conditions improve.

Crews pretreated interstates and major routes throughout northern Virginia yesterday and today.

Tonight, trucks will stage along roadways, ready to plow and treat roads as needed when the storm begins.

VDOT Asks Drivers and Residents To:

  • Plan now to avoid driving through the day Wednesday and after the storm until conditions have improved. Give crews time to plow and treat roads.
  • Park in driveways or on the same side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
  • Continue to closely monitor weather, as forecasts can improve or worsen quickly.
  • If you absolutely must drive, know the conditions, drive for the conditions and give plows plenty of room. Ensure enough gas, wiper fluid, proper tires, medication, and an emergency car kit. Check road conditions along your route at www.511virginia.org, on the free mobile app, or call 511 from any phone in Virginia.
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Update at 10 p.m. — Arlington Public Schools will be closed Tuesday.

“Because we anticipate hazardous driving and walking conditions on some neighborhood sidewalks and bus stops throughout the County due to freezing tonight, all APS Schools will be closed,” the school system said. School offices will open at 10 a.m.

Arlington County government is currently planning to open on time. The federal government is opening on a two hour delay.

Earlier: Arlington Public Schools will likely open on a two-hour delay tomorrow (Tuesday), as forecasters warn of a re-freeze of melting snow on county roads.

The school system announced that it will open schools and offices two hours late “based on the current forecast and conditions for tomorrow morning,” but officials plan to release a final update at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.

That means any “essential personnel” and food service workers should still report to work on time. However, APS says it will watch for “deteriorating weather and road conditions” overnight and early tomorrow.

County workers are already warning of below-freezing temperatures making roads a bit icy overnight, and forecasters fully expect that to cause more problems tomorrow. County offices, courts, and facilities are set to open as normal tomorrow, however.

Arlington officials also plan to shift trash collection dates back by one day for the rest of the week, as snow removal continues.

Flickr pool photo by Jenn Vogel

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(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) The snowflakes have finally stopped falling, and now Arlingtonians are starting to dig out from the first big snow storm of the new year.

With county schools and offices all closed (to say nothing of the federal government), traffic is light on area roads and highways. All Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation facilities have also since been closed, and all programs cancelled.

But if you do need to venture out today (Monday), highways and even most highly trafficked roads around the county look pretty clear.

However, crews are still working to reach many neighborhood streets, and county police are urging people to stay off the road, if possible.

Metrorail service is running as normal, but many Metrobus routes are delayed due to icy conditions. WMATA says the 16C, 16E, 16G, 23B and 28A routes could all be affected.

Arlington Transit buses are running on reduced schedules on the 41, 51, 55 and 87 lines, while service on the 77 line is currently suspended. Virginia Railway Express won’t run any trains today.

Be sure to check with the organizers of any events you might’ve planned on attending tonight, as many have already been cancelled. For instance, the county has called off its open house on longe-range planning for new cycling infrastructure, originally set to be held at Phoenix Bikes.

If you are at home today, you might want to break out the snow shovel — a county ordinance calls for all residents and businesses to clear off adjacent sidewalks by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Lands Trump HQ2 — President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign will be opening a satellite office to its Trump Tower headquarters at a Rosslyn office building. Arlington has previously been home to a number of presidential campaign headquarters. [Politico]

Popular Popcorn Purveyor Opens at DCA — Chicago’s Garrett Popcorn Shops now has a second location in Arlington. Garrett’s new shop is now open in the pre-security section of Reagan National Airport near Terminal C. [Twitter]

New APS Weather Plan — “Superintendent Patrick Murphy on Dec. 6 announced a new plan for dealing with tricky-to-forecast winter storms, after the school system kept schools open for an unexpectedly potent November snowfall, a decision that sent many parents into spasms of outrage… If inclement weather threatens for the following day, Arlington school officials will announce a two-hour delay by 6 p.m. the previous evening.” [InsideNova]

Jamestown No. 1 on Best Teacher List — Arlington’s Jamestown Elementary School is No. 1 on a new list of “Greater Washington’s best public school teachers.” [Washington Business Journals]

APS Fails to Get Easement for Construction Crane — “Arlington School Board members on Dec. 20 are slated to approve an increase in the construction contract for the new elementary school being built adjacent to Thomas Jefferson Middle School totaling just over $292,000. The project initially assumed that the contractor would be able to use a tower crane on the site, but the school system was unable to come to terms with nearby property owners for the necessary easements.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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(Updated at 8:05 a.m.) Those waking up expecting a winter wonderland were instead greeted by icy but mostly snowless roads and sidewalks this morning.

Still, local governments, agencies and schools are taking no chances as snow starts to ramp up in the metro area.

Arlington County government offices, courts, community centers and other facilities are closed today and the county is urging residents to “stay off the roads as the snowstorm enters the area.”

Schools are also closed and all parks and rec programs and activities are cancelled. Trash and recycling collection has been bumped back a day.

Trash & Recycling collection for today, March 21, 2018, has been cancelled. Service will resume tomorrow with the collection schedule shifting by 24 hours. Wednesday collection will occur Thursday, Thursday collection will occur Friday, Friday collection will occur Saturday.

The federal government is closed today, the Office of Personnel Management announced. Along with federal agencies, Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall is also closed. Emergency and telework-ready employees must follow their agency’s procedures, OPM said.

VRE and MARC service is cancelled, most Amtrak service is cancelled, and Metrobus and Metrorail is operating on a modified service schedule. Arlington Transit buses, meanwhile, are also operating on a reduced schedule.

“Expect snow today 8AM-8PM. Metrobus avoiding hills & narrow streets. ART will provide limited service as conditions permit,” ART said via email.

VDOT is urging drivers to “avoid being caught in hazardous conditions such as limited visibility and slick or snow-covered roads, as well as to allow crews plenty of room to work safely.”

For those who must drive, HOV restrictions have been lifted on local highways.

High occupancy vehicle (HOV) restrictions are lifted on I-66 (inside and outside the Beltway) and on I-395 (from Edsall Road to D.C.) for the morning and afternoon rush hours today. Because HOV restrictions are lifted, tolls on the 66 Express Lanes inside the Beltway will also be suspended today. Please also be aware that shoulder lanes on I-66 and I-495 may be closed through the day to allow crews room to treat.

Even before the bulk of the snow arrives, issues are being reported on the roads. As of 7:10 a.m., firefighters were responding to a report of two vehicles that spun out and off the road along the GW Parkway near Roosevelt Bridge.

More weather updates via Twitter:

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Morning Notes

Dem Support for Country Club Bill Slips — A procedural vote in the Virginia House of Delegates to send the Arlington country club bill to the governor’s desk passed, but without a veto-proof margin. Some Democratic lawmakers who supported the bill the first time around voted no instead. If signed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D), the legislation would greatly lower the property taxes of Army Navy Country Club and Washington Golf and Country Club. [InsideNova]

Four Courts Four Miler Closures — The annual Four Courts Four Miler race will close roads parts of Wilson Blvd and Route 110 in Courthouse and Rosslyn this coming Saturday morning. [Arlington County]

Food Trucks Grumble About Festival Fees — “To participate in May’s Taste of Arlington festival… food trucks must pay a flat fee of between $400 and $500. Festival attendees purchase tickets worth $5 each that can be redeemed at food trucks for a few bites. When the gates close, event organizers reimburse the food truck between 25 and 75 cents per ticket… Would you sign this contract?” [Washington City Paper]

‘Women of Vision’ Awards — Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Arlington Women of Vision Awards. The nomination deadline is April 20. [Arlington County]

How to Do Business With Arlington — Arlington is hosting an event next week that will show small businesses “the nuances of successfully doing business with Arlington County.” Per the event website: “Experts will be speaking on topics such as obtaining opportunities to work with the County and understanding the procurement process.” [Arlington Economic Development]

Nearby: Alexandria Tops Tourism List — Alexandria is No. 1 on Money magazine’s “The 20 Best Places to Go in 2018” list, topping Anaheim, Calif., the home of Disneyland, among other destinations. Harper’s Ferry, W. Va. was ranked No. 2. [Washington Post]

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Most Arlington County facilities and services are slated to close or operate on altered schedules on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed next Monday, Jan. 15, the county said. Though metered parking will not be enforced on those days, recycling and trash pickup is scheduled to go ahead per normal. The call center will also be closed.

ART buses will operate on a Saturday schedule on routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87. Park grounds will remain open, although administrative offices, classes and centers will be closed.

Arlington will hold its annual tribute to Dr. King, titled “Martin Luther King, Jr: The Man and the Mission,” on Sunday at Wakefield High School from 5-6:30 p.m. The program features musical and dance performances from Duke Ellington School of Arts, spoken word artist Kim Miller and students from local schools.

On Monday, Volunteer Arlington is organizing a community-wide day of service at the Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive). Interested participants can register to take part in community service activities from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The inaugural event encourages people from all walks of life to work together to find solutions to pressing problems of the day.

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Christmas and the New Year are right around the corner, and Arlington County government will take some time off to observe the holidays.

Government offices, courts and libraries will be closed on Monday, December 25 and Tuesday, December 26 for Christmas and on Monday, January 1, 2018 for New Year’s Day.

Courts closed today (Friday) at noon, and will also be closed on Tuesday, January 2. Libraries will be closed December 24-26 and on December 31 and January 1.

Community centers will be closed on December 25, 31 and January 1. The following community centers are open on December 26:

  • Langston-Brown: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Madison: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Carver: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Thomas Jefferson: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Arlington Mill: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Metered parking will not be enforced on December 25, 26 or January 1, and there will be no trash and recycling services on December 25 or January 1. Weekly services shift to the next day of the week, Tuesday through Saturday.

And for those riding Metrorail, most lines will run on a regular weekend schedule, except the Red Line, where Metro’s leak-mitigation project continues.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Metrorail system will open at 8 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. Trains will operate on a Sunday schedule both days. There is no scheduled track work.

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Arlington County government will close on Friday, November 10 to observe the Veterans Day holiday.

County courts, libraries, community centers, public schools and other government offices and facilities will be closed on Friday also.

Libraries and community centers will be open on Saturday, November 11 on a normal Saturday schedule, while trash and recycling services will continue to operate on a normal schedule on both days.

Parking meters in the county will not be enforced on Friday, but will be on Saturday.

And anyone looking to catch an ART bus over the long weekend will encounter limited service. The 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87 routes will operate on Saturday schedules on both days, while all other ART routes will not operate. The STAR call center will be closed on both days.

Flickr pool photo via thekidfromcumlin

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