County Board member Libby Garvey and other cyclists will brave the heat on Saturday, riding up to 100 miles as part of the second Annual Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride.
The cyclists will bike on the W&OD Trail from Arlington to Purcellville and back, a 90-mile trek. For riders wanting to do a true century, they can continue to cycle to Roosevelt Memorial Bridge after returning to Arlington.
Cyclists can also shorten the ride by turning around in Reston at the 15-mile mark to make it a 30-mile ride, or in Leesburg, Virginia, at the 30-mile mark to make it a 60-mile ride.
It’s an easy ride, making it a great ride for a family, Garvey said.
“This ride is the perfect way to remember Kennan and to continue the good influence he had on so many people during his life,” Garvey said.
Garvey, herself, is planning to ride out to Purcellville, but is not planning to turn around and head back to Arlington. She and her husband previously rode to Purcellville on a tandem bike, she said.
The ride is also known as the Sizzling Suburban Century because of August’s heat, Garvey said, while promoting the event at County Board meetings. National Weather Service is predicting a high of 91 degrees on Saturday.
Garvey started the bike ride last year in honor of her husband, Kennan, who died of a heart attack in 2008. He was 56 years old.
“The ride means a lot to me and Kennan’s family and friends,” Garvey said. “Kennan commuted by bike to his job at EPA since the early ’80’s. He loved cycling, loved to help people and loved to get young people interested in bicycles.”
The ride has an entry fee of $25, and participants are encouraged to raise $500 for the Kennan Garvey Memorial Fund. All participants will get a boxed lunch and t-shirt as part of the ride. Those who meet the fundraising goal of $500 will also receive a Phoenix Bikes jersey.
The ride benefits Phoenix Bikes’ Capital Campaign, with proceeds going toward helping the nonprofit fund a new building, now possibly in the area of Columbia Pike. The shop had previously looked at a spot at Walter Reed Drive and W&OD Trail, but that faced some community opposition.
Kennan had wanted to volunteer with Phoenix Bikes after retiring.
“Phoenix Bikes is a wonderful little organization,” Garvey said. ” They just do incredible things. And once they get a building, they’ll be able to take off.”
Photo courtesy of Libby Garvey
(Updated at 5 p.m.) Columbia Pike residents are getting a first look at the development that’s proposed to replace the Food Star grocery store at the the intersection of S. George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike.
Officials will hold an open house to discuss the proposal for a public square that will go next to the planned six-story multi-use building from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, at the county’s Parks and Natural Resources Operations Building (2700 S. Taylor Street).
Under the form based code proposal, submitted by Orr Partners, the new building will have five stories of market-rate apartments, and the first floor will have retail and a grocery store. The “major grocer” filling the space has not been finalized. There will also be a public square at the intersection of S. George Mason and Columbia Pike, but the idea is still in a preliminary planning stage.
Preliminary sketches for the project, dubbed “Columbia Pike Village Center,” show retail on the plaza level and the first level with the grocery store on the plaza level. The apartment complex would have an entrance on the plaza level by the public square and an entrance on the first floor.
The building is planned to have about 250 new market-rate apartments and 607 parking spaces in a three-level below-ground garage, in addition to the more than 80,000 square feet of retail.
Of the 607 parking spots, 366 will be for tenants while 245 will be for customers and visitors. There will also be 28 public parking spots on the streets and 126 bicycle rack spots.
The building plans also call for three residential courtyards, one on the first floor, an open one on the second floor and one that is open from the second floor and up. According to preliminary landscape sketches, the courtyard on the second floor could have a pool.
What do jello, lava, Britney Spears and a bunch of words from Urban Dictionary have in common?
They are all words that audience members may shout out during a Porkchop Volcano improv show at the Arlington Drafthouse. Jon Milstein, Seth Alcorn, Conor O’Rourke and Matt Stephan, the four members of the Arlington-based troupe, then have to take these suggestions and turn each into a scene or character, all in the hopes of a good laugh from the audience.
“My favorite part of improv is the thrill, is the rush of a real audience you’ve never met before, you don’t know them, blowing them away, and having them laugh, a good and hearted, genuine laughter,” Milstein said.
While their group does not perform any single “typical” show, each performance will consist of a combination of guessing or scene improv games. The show starts at 9 p.m. in the Arlington Drafthouse’s Green Room — its side bar — and begins with a game that will interact with the audience.
“It’s usually packed by the end of the first game,” Stephan said.
By the time the game is done, the members will also know what the audience will like, and whether their suggestions will be more along the lines of kittens or sex positions, Alcorn said.
A favorite finale is “Dating Game,” where the troupe pulls an audience member up to play a bachelorette or a bachelor hoping to find his or her perfect match. The catch is that each of three improv members involved in the game are in characters suggested by the audience and the bachelor(ette) has to guess what the character is. O’Rourke plays host.
“It’s a high risk, high reward game,” Stephan said. “If we can hit a home run with that one, that’s been a good day.”
Suggestions can get wild. One of the members once had to play someone missing a chunk of his body after a tragic swordfish accident. Ideas also range from family friendly to adult only and even uncomfortable.
“I had a couple of friends who would basically go on Urban Dictionary and the come to the show,” Alcorn said. “So they would shout out all kinds of very disgusting sex acts that nobody actually performs, and then I would have to then explain to the audience what they meant and then work it into a scene.”
The four guys have a couple tricks up their sleeves, though, as they don’t want to go for the gross out, which gets awkward, Stephan said. Even when audience members suggested something dirty, the performers could take it in a different direction that made it cleaner.
“Being able to take an inappropriate or a cliche suggestion and then do something with it that they weren’t expecting, but still works with the suggestion, is pretty great,” Alcorn said.
One example is “Twilight,” a series that both Alcorn and Milstein despise, Alcorn said. It turned into a scene of Milstein playing a human who wanted to be a vampire and Alcorn playing a very reluctant vampire.
“It was just Jon throwing himself at me saying, ‘I want to feel the night rushing through my veins, bite me,'” Alcorn said.
The group tries to keep the suggestions new and challenging, O’Rourke said. To prevent common suggestions, which can happen when they ask for B-list celebrities, the members will use one of the common ones as an example. Even with common suggestions the group can work together to take a boring suggestion and create a new, fun angle.
“What’s always a lot of fun is taking a suggestion, but not taking it too literally, and jumping off and doing something weird with it. Because just because you get the suggestion vampire does not mean you have to come out as a vampire,” O’Rourke said.
The chemistry the group may be its biggest strength, they said. The four men can create a funny scene even if they are not sure where the other is going right away.
Milstein and Alcorn were doing a scene with tweezers last week. It started out with Alcorn giving Milstein a haircut with tweezers.
“And then he came to me with with a bad tooth and I was going to pull it out with tweezers,” Alcorn said. “And the third time we came around in this game, he didn’t say anything, but I knew I was going to do surgery and he put his hand on his appendix, and that was it.”
Once they formed the group, and spitballed until they randomly came up with the name “Porkchop Volcano,” the troupe needed a place to perform. Milstein was friends with the owner of Arlington Drafthouse who offered them two Saturdays. They now are performing up to four shows a month at the bar.
“The Drafthouse is our place,” O’Rourke said. “It’s our home.
Flora Wallace had a typical problem for a newly married woman who just moved to a new home. She had many items that she didn’t need but were still in good shape.
Wallace then heard about the Buy Nothing Project, a gift-giving economy where neighbors give away items for free, from her cousin. She decided to bring the project to her neighborhood on Columbia Pike.
“I like the idea of being able to get in touch with a neighbor and give a new home to an item I didn’t need,” Wallace said.
Wallace contacted the administrators of the national Buy Nothing Project who helped her set up the Buy Nothing Project Columbia Pike Corridor group on Facebook. The idea behind the project is to create hyperlocal groups where neighbors can post items they want to give away or post requests for items people might have — and form tighter-knit communities.
“Time and again, members of our groups find themselves spending more and more time interacting in our groups, finding new ways to give back to the community that has brought humor, entertainment, and yes, free stuff into their lives,” says the project’s website. “The Buy Nothing Project is about setting the scarcity model of our cash economy aside in favor of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us.”
Each group is hyperlocal for areas with less than 50,000 people, meaning that only people in the specific group’s ZIP code can join. Columbia Pike residents in the 22204 ZIP code can join by requesting to Facebook group. Wallace will then contact them and ask for proof of residence before allowing the person to join, she said.
While the Buy Nothing Project helps people find new homes for their items, the project also allows people to connect with neighbors, something Wallace hopes to achieve, she said.
“The focus of the project is getting neighbors to know each other,” she said.
So far the group is small with eight members, but Wallace said she hopes it will grow as more people hear about it. Her goal is to have about 150 members in the next six months.
She has had requests from people outside of the ZIP code, and while she had to reject them, she said she hopes they start their own groups in their neighborhoods.
Wallace recommends residents of other parts of Arlington contact the national Buy Nothing Project administrators to start a new group. They can help a person start the page and go through all the rules that apply to the project, including how posts should be written, how to approve members, etc.
Wallace said she can see people creating a Buy Nothing Clarendon or Buy Nothing Courthouse, as examples. After all, the project helps people meet each other.
“By re-homing items in your community, you get to know who lives there,” she said.
Wallace posted the first item on the group — a CD tower. While no one has taken her up on the offer, she said she thinks it will happen as more people join the group.
“My goal is to find homes for items I might grow out of in the next years and definitely to meet new people,” Wallace said.
Bailey’s Crossroads Project Canceled — A project that would have redeveloped a vacant office building into an apartment building in Bailey’s Crossroads has been canceled. The project was to take place just over the Arlington County line, on the Fairfax County side of the intersection of Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road. [Washington Business Journal]
W-L Turf Project On Track — A joint Arlington County-Arlington Public Schools project to replace the artificial turf at Washington-Lee High School’s stadium remains on track to wrap up early next month, despite the rainy weather that the area has been experiencing. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Airamangel
Columbia Pike’s first Chipotle Mexican Grill may open in September.
The Chipotle is planned to go into the new 3400 Pike apartment building, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road.
“Coming soon” signs are now up in the windows. While interior construction has not started, Chipotle’s contract for the space says it will open in September, said Brian Jeter, the marketing specialist at 3400 Pike.
“It’s pretty tentative right now, but from what we understand with the contract, it should be open in September,” he said.
The restaurant will be Chipotle’s sixth in Arlington, with existing locations in Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City, the Pentagon City mall and along Lee Highway.
Arlington County has added eight new buses to its fleet in order to provide more frequent bus service along several routes.
Additional bus service will be added to the ART 41 (Columbia Pike, Ballston and Courthouse), 43 (Crystal City, Rosslyn and Courthouse) and 87 (Pentagon Metro, Army Navy Drive and Shirlington) routes starting Monday, July 6, according to press release.
The new bus service on Columbia Pike is just an initial step in improving transit on the Pike, said Eric Balliet, spokesman for the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services.
“This is definitely one of the first steps we can take to show our commitment to the corridor and our commitment to transit,” he said.
The ART 41 route will have more frequent service with the bus coming every 15 minutes during the day and every 23 minutes during weekday and Saturday nights.
The enhanced service is one way Arlington is addressing the transit needs that remained after the streetcar program was cut, Balliet said.
The ART 43 route will have buses run about every 10 minutes with extended service until 10:35 a.m. during morning rush hour and 7:47 p.m. during the evening commute.
The ART 87 will be getting new Sunday service, which will run from 7:14 a.m. to 7:11 p.m. The route will also have extended service until 11:41 p.m. on weekdays and 11:53 p.m. on Saturdays. On the weekends, the service will run to the Pentagon City Metro Station instead of the Pentagon Metro Station.
The county is also adding a new ART 87P line, which will run between the Pentagon and S. Lang Street. During rush hour, service will alternate every 10 minutes between the full ART 87 line and the ART 87P line.
“Anything we can do to make [commuting] more convenient, we think customers will appreciate,” Balliet said.
In order to provide the advance service, the county added eight new 40-foot buses to the ART fleet. The new buses are 5 feet longer than the standard ART buses, which allow for more seats and more standing room, he said.
The new buses are being added to routes with high ridership.
“These bus service improvements are a first step in meeting the current transit needs for Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Pentagon City, as we work to create vibrant, sustainable neighborhoods along these corridors,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “Every day ART helps thousands of Arlingtonians get to work, school and other activities, and the additional service will make ART an even more reliable transportation choice all week long.”
“Dinner and a Movie on the Loop” will take place on four consecutive Thursday evenings at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd), starting this week. The event was started last year as Now Playing at the Loop.
Market Common has added dinner to the mix this year, with a different local restaurant is providing a fixed-price meal before each movie, beginning at 7:45 p.m. In addition, guests can round out their family-friendly cinematic experience with free candy, popcorn and water.
All movies start at 8:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows:
- June 18 — How To Train Your Dragon 2
- June 25 — Grown Ups
- July 2 — The Sandlot
- July 9 — The Wizard of Oz
Summer Movies @Penrose Square, a free outdoor movie series at Penrose Square (2597 Columbia Pike), started last Saturday (June 13).
The event, sponsored by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, will continue into September. The schedule is as follows:
- June 20 — The Hundred Foot Journey (8:45 p.m.)
- June 27 — Now You See Me (8:45 p.m.)
- July 11 — The Imitation Game (8:45 p.m.)
- July 18 — Enough Said (8:45 p.m.)
- July 25 — The Grand Budapest Hotel (8:30 p.m.)
- Aug 1 — Life of Pi (8:30 p.m.)
- Aug 8 — Chef (8:15 p.m.)
- Aug 15 — Birdman (8:15 p.m.)
- Aug 22 — The Second Best Marigold Hotel (8:15 p.m.)
- Aug 29 — How to Train Your Dragon (8:00 p.m.)
- Sept 5 — Big Hero 6 (7:45 p.m.)
- Sept 12 — X-men: Days of Future Past (7:30 p.m.)
- Sept 19 — Interstellar (7:15 p.m.)
Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets to both festivals.
CPRO is also sponsoring another movie festival on the Pike this summer. Starting on August 16, CPRO will screen a movie every Sunday until September 20 at the Arlington Mill Community Center.
The movies at Arlington Mill will start at dusk. A schedule is expected to be announced mid-July.
Arlington County firefighters battled blazes on Columbia Pike and in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood over the weekend.
On Saturday around 2:30 p.m. firefighters extinguished a car fire inside a parking garage on the 26oo block of S. Veitch Street, in Long Branch Creek. No one was hurt.
On Sunday evening firefighters battled flames inside a kitchen hood at the El Rancho Peruvian Chicken restaurant on the 3600 block of Columbia Pike. The fire was extinguished and the county fire marshal stayed on scene to investigate the incident, according to the fire department’s Twitter account.
This was the second fire at the chicken restaurant in about three years.
Photos courtesy @jbester and @Travis_Lane10
Record for Rainfall Set — A record amount of rain fell on Arlington yesterday. Reagan National Airport recorded 2.49 inches of rainfall, overtaking the previous record of 2.20 inches in 1907. [Washington Post]
Sun Gazette Endorses Fallon, Lander — The Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper has endorsed Peter Fallon and James Lander for the Democratic County Board nomination. The paper said Fallon can be “prickly” but has the “strongest community background,” while Lander can sometimes “wing it” on important matters but has “specific and out-of-the-box proposals.” [InsideNova]
Hynes Endorses Lander, Schneider — County Board Chair Mary Hynes has endorsed James Lander and Andrew Schneider ahead of the June 9 Democratic County Board primary. Hynes said Lander, the current chair of the Arlington School Board, is “the best partner on the School Board I’ve ever had.” She said she’s been “impressed with [Schneider’s] diligence and openness to different perspectives, new ideas.” [InsideNova]
New Rooftop Deck for Rosslyn Buildings — Rosslyn’s Twin Towers office building complex is getting a new rooftop deck. Located at 1100 Wilson Blvd, the 5,000 square foot terrace will feature sweeping views of the D.C. skyline, for use by tenants of the 31-story buildings. Tenants of the complex include WJLA and Politico. The terrace is expected to be completed by next spring. [Virginia Business]
Rise in New Catholic Priests — Following a national trend, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington is seeing a rise in the ordination of new priests. Bishop Paul Loverde is scheduled to ordain seven men to the local priesthood on Saturday, bringing the number of new priests ordained since 2012 to 20. [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]
No Big Buses on the Pike, Yet — There’s a reason why there are no articulated buses running down the Columbia Pike corridor, at least not yet. For one, standard bus service is sufficient at this time. Another reason: there’s no local storage space for big articulated buses. [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlington Students to Attend Governor’s School — Twenty Arlington Public Schools students will attend the prestigious Governor’s Schools or Governor’s Foreign Language Academy this summer. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
The store will sell vaporizers and e-liquids, which come in various flavors including traditional tobacco flavors and more exotic flavors like watermelon mojito or peppermint bark. Customers can also create their own flavors at a “juice bar,” said Scott Parker, a managing partner in the business.
The new store is located at 3219 Columbia Pike, across from the Audi dealership. It’s a locally-owned franchise of VaporFi, a Miami-based retail chain and manufacturer.
“We’re very happy to be in South Arlington, with a great location right on Columbia Pike, an area with tons of traffic,” said Parker. “At the same time, we’re also currently shopping locations in North Arlington as well. We hope to open 15 stores in the next 12 months all over Northern Virginia.”
There are three existing VaporFi locations locally, in Alexandria, Georgetown and Potomac Mills, said Parker, who’s also a partner in two notable Arlington businesses: A-Town Bar and Grill and Don Tito.
The new store will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A date and a headliner have been set for this year’s Columbia Pike Blues Festival.
The 20th annual Blues Festival will be held on June 20 from 1-8:30 p.m. near the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike.
This year the festival will be headlined by Grammy-nominated blues musician Sonny Landreth. “Bound by the Blues,” Landreth’s 12th album, will be released on June 8.
The Blue Festival is something the Columbia Pike community looks forward to every year, said Takis Karantonis, executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO), which organizes the event.
“It’s Arlington’s biggest block party,” Karantonis said. “It’s a place where our entire community comes together.”
The Blues Festival features numerous food vendors and a beer station. Visitors can also stop by the tables of local arts and crafts vendors and community organizations. There will be at least seven or eight local food vendors, Karantonis said, adding that showcasing local food providers is a goal of the festival this year.
Karantonis expects at least 10,000 attendees this year.
CPRO has selected a national act for the headliner the past two years, Karantonis said. The other musicians are selected from the most active blues acts locally and regionally.
The 2015 lineup is:
- 1 p.m. — Lenny Burridge, a former DJ turned blues musician
- 2 p.m. — Steve McWilliams and the Spectacles, which will make its return to the Blues Festival after playing there last year
- 3 p.m. — Fat Liver Jenkins, a four-man band from the D.C. area
- 5 p.m. — Clarence “Bluesman” Turner, who uses unusual objects, such as a cellphone, as a guitar pick
- 6:30 p.m. — Sonny Landreth, a national act known for his slide guitar style
The festival will also have a kids area and an artists area. Artists will be painting next to the stage to allow the music to influence their work, Karatonis said. The art will be auctioned off.
Traffic Switch on Columbia Pike — VDOT crews will open a new ramp from Washington Blvd to Columbia Pike tonight. Crews will also activate a new traffic signal on the Pike and remove an old one. The Pike/Washington Blvd bridge replacement project is expected to wrap up this summer. [VDOT]
Rep. Beyer’s First Bill Passes — Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-Va.) Science Prize Competition Act has passed with bipartisan support. The bill “will encourage federal agencies to use prize competitions to incentivize innovative scientific research and development.” It’s Beyer’s first bill to pass the House of Representatives after replacing the retired Rep. Jim Moran. [Twitter, U.S. House of Representatives]
County to Consider Board Reduction — The Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed reduction to the Board of Equalization of Real Estate Appeals. The body hears appeals on real estate assessments, which are down by half from their peak in 2009. The proposal would cut the seven member board to five. [InsideNova]
Petition Against Gun Store Created — Residents have created an online petition against a gun store that’s set to open in Cherrydale. Think of the children, the petition creators say. “It is unconscionable, in an era where our children are forced to practice ‘lock down’ drills designed to train them how to protect themselves from armed intruders, to locate a gun shop anywhere in the vicinity of schools,” the petition states. “The fear of armed intruders permeates their education, and placing a shop that sells guns and/or ammunition within immediate distance of schools is confusing to students at best, and sparks fears of access to them at school at worst.” So far, the petition is more than 2/3rds of the way to its 1,000 signature goal. [Change.org]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The ART bus driver who was involved in a seven-vehicle wreck along Columbia Pike in December has been found not guilty of reckless driving.
The verdict was reached today after a trial held before Arlington County General District Court Judge Richard McCue. Agere Sileshi, 27, was found not guilty of the original charge of reckless driving, but was found guilty of “improper driving.”
Sileshi faces a $250 fine but no jail time on the charge, which “embodies a finding by the Court that the ‘degree of culpability is slight,'” according her attorney, Alexandria attorney Joseph Blaszkow. Sileshi has been on medical leave since the incident, Blaszkow said.
According to court testimony, Sileshi was driving her bus through the parking lot of the Columbia Pike Plaza shopping center when a car suddenly turned in front of her. Sileshi struck the car and then drove her bus through a retaining wall and onto S. Dinwiddie Street, striking several additional vehicles.
Altogether, five passenger vehicle, a mixing truck and several bicycles were damaged in the crash. Three vehicle occupants and a pedestrian were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
NORAD Flyover Exercise Tonight — NORAD will conduct a flyover exercise tonight that may be noticed by Arlington residents. The exercise will take place between midnight and 2:00 a.m. [Twitter]
Bean Kinney Attorney’s Attack Detailed in Court — In court testimony in Fairfax County, attorney Leo Fisher and his wife, Susan Duncan, described the vicious home invasion attack allegedly carried out by the husband of an attorney Fisher fired at the Arlington law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. Fisher said the man “slit my throat” and Duncan described being stabbed repeatedly in the upper body and being nearly shot in the head. [Washington Post]
No ‘Real Solution’ Yet for Pike Transit — An urban design and transportation writer is alleging that Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt has yet to propose an effective alternative to the planned Columbia Pike streetcar system he helped to scuttle. [Greater Greater Washington]
More School Board Endorsements — In the race for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board, candidates have picked up some key endorsements in the past week. Former School Board member and current County Board member Libby Garvey says she’s endorsing Sharon Dorsey, as is former School Board member Frank Wilson. Reid Goldstein, meanwhile, has picked up the endorsements of County Board Chair Mary Hynes and former School Board member Ed Fendley.
Flickr pool photo by Alves Family