(Updated at noon) Columbia Pike has a new restaurant serving an authentic and lovingly crafted version of a college dorm staple: ramen.
Customers can choose from five Japanese noodle soup dishes, such as the spicy miso ramen or buta kakuni (braised pork belly) bowls, according to the eatery’s menu. Unlike the ramen you cook on the stovetop for four minutes, the broth at Boru Ramen is simmered for more than eight hours.
“For something we love so much, we could never follow the easy path,” the menu says.
The restaurant also serves rice bowls, edamame, Japanese fried dumplings called gyoza and a sticky rice dessert known as mochi ice cream.
Although Boru Ramen has a bar, no booze is for sale. Diners can have non-alcoholic drinks, including Japanese soda called Ramune and iced green tea made with matcha, instead. The restaurant applied for a wine and beer license on Monday.
Boru Ramen is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Woman Attacked, Robbed in Pentagon City — A 24-year-old woman was punched in the face and robbed of her phone last Friday. The crime happened in broad daylight on S. Joyce Street, near Pentagon Row and the Riverhouse apartments. [WJLA]
No Easy Answers for Biking Along the Pike — Columbia Pike remains perhaps the least bike-friendly commercial corridor in Arlington, but there are few realistic ideas for substantially improving its bike-ability. [Greater Greater Washington]
Baptism Makes History at Local Church — For the first time in its nearly 150 year history, Mount Salvation Baptist Church, in the Halls Hill neighborhood along Lee Highway, conducted baptism ceremonies in which a female minister took part. [InsideNova]
Woopie Pie Truck in Ballston — A food truck specializing in whoopie pies plans to be in Ballston today. The Little Miss Whoopie truck will serve hungry Ballstonites around lunchtime. [Patch]
Photo courtesy Sandra Plaza
The real estate investment trust that owns the Wellington Apartments on Columbia Pike has received the go-ahead to build three new apartment buildings on its parking lot.
The Arlington County Board voted unanimously last night to approve a use permit for the new apartments, to be located on a section of the property that borders Army Navy Country Club and a block of homes in the Arlington View neighborhood.
Each of the three buildings will be six stories high, with a total of 401 new market-rate apartments. The property owner also agreed to convert 105 of the existing apartments in the Wellington to committed affordable units, at no cost to the county.
Other features of the planned development include:
- A nine-level garage (six levels will be above ground) with hundreds of new parking spaces and bike spaces
- Streetscape improvements and new street connections (S. Rhodes Street and 12th Street S.)
- A new public “mini park” on the new 12th Street
- LEED Silver energy efficiency
“Our efforts to revitalize the Pike through innovative approaches to land use and zoning, while striving to preserve its stock of affordable housing, continue to show results,” County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a statement.
The county press release on the approval, after the jump.
The outage was first reported around 2:30 p.m. Numerous traffic signals along Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, including the signal at the busy intersection of the Pike and Glebe, were reported to be dark, though most have since come back online.
The outage also briefly caused some issues at the county’s Water Pollution Control Plant along Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic.
The outage is currently affecting power customers in Fairlington, Shirlington and along portions of the Pike, according to a power outage map and social media reports. More than 100 customers are also said to be without power in Alexandria.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a new 10-year transit plan that provides a vision for “more frequent bus service, more late night and weekend service, better north-south connections, and a new Premium Transit Network along Columbia Pike.”
There’s an asterisk to the Transit Development Plan’s unanimous approval and the subsequent cheery press release, however. Responding to criticism from residents and the county’s own Transportation Commission, the Board directed County Manager Mark Schwartz to report back next year on possible improvements to the post-streetcar transit plan for Columbia Pike.
The Board’s guidance to Schwartz and county staff:
This generally ambitious and robust Transit Development Plan nevertheless falls short of the urgency and innovation needed to create a transformative transit network serving Columbia Pike and to realize its potential as a thriving and dynamic residential and commercial corridor.
Therefore, in adopting the FY 2017 -FY 2026 Transit Development Plan, the County Board also gives the following guidance to the County Manager and staff:
Look and Customization of Vehicles. The current TDP phases in the most modern version of current vehicles, WMATA buses and ART buses, with no unique features beyond re-skinning the buses on WMATA routes. Recognizing the significant logistical, cost and inter-jurisdictional challenges, please provide to the Board for consideration and analysis, during Q2 2017, the details of a possible path to customized and unique vehicles.
Articulated Buses. In consultation with WMATA, provide a plan by Q2 2017 to add articulated buses to the highest-demand routes on Columbia Pike (on either a pilot or permanent basis). Continue to assess effectiveness of articulated bus service and determine sustained levels of service for these routes through FY2026.
Headways. The current TDP identifies 6-minute peak headways and 12-15 minute off-peak headways for the Metrobus Connector “trunk line.” Please provide to the Board, by Q2 2017, a cost/benefit analysis (to consider efficiency, capacity, ridership impacts) of reducing the off-peak headways and ultimately achieving a 6-minute headway for 18 hours/day.
Coordination with Other Agencies. To effectuate this guidance, the County Manager and staff will coordinate as appropriate and necessary with WMATA and other federal, state, regional and local government agencies and transportation bodies.
Most of the public comments at Saturday’s Board meeting were complimentary of the overall plan, save the plan for the so-called Premium Transit Network. That plan seemed in many ways diminished from the “TSM-2” enhanced bus plan the county and supporters originally said was inferior to its since-cancelled streetcar plan for Columbia Pike.
Among the public speakers at the Board meeting was John Snyder, member of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization and a former streetcar booster. Snyder said the plan for Pike transit presented by county staff was inadequate to support growth along the corridor.
We had a debate for several years [about] TSM-2… and the streetcar. TSM-2 won the debate. Now, when I look at the plan, what is written in the plan has disappeared. The whole idea of premium new vehicles that have higher capacity: it’s gone. This wasn’t announced and it wasn’t part of a public process. We found out about it by looking at the Capital Improvement Plan. There’s no money to buy new buses. There’s still money in the plan for the transit stations if they’re maintained at the current level but the buses have disappeared. There’s great things in the Transit Development Plan, what’s in there is great and the consensus is that the county board supports all of it. But the concern is what’s not in there. We don’t see anything that’s going to help businesses with more frequent service on the off-hours. People go out to dinner not during the commuting hour, they go out to dinner after that time and they come back after that time. The idea of six-minute intervals all the time makes it reliable, frequent, easy and simple to use. We have the simplicity, the new 16M line is great in the way that it simplifies many of these different routes but it needs to have that frequency to help our businesses and connect our residents to that so we get out of the car mentality. Seventy percent of the people on the Pike do not use transit even to get to work. The percentage on other sorts of trips is even higher. We need to change that. That’s the whole idea behind the Pike plan and it has been supported by the Board for the last 15 years.
There is no plan to increase capacity. We understand that you’re going to be coordinating with WMATA on how we can get articulated buses. I heard the same thing in 2003 at the first meeting I attended regarding transit on the Pike. WMATA has a lot on its plate. What we need in that regard is a statement that says Arlington will. Arlington will go do this, we will go get the additional buses, we will get the additional facilities needed to maintain them and we’re going to do that by a particular date.
Some were more charitable about the plan as currently conceived.
“These critics failed to appreciate that no amount of service upgrades will defeat car culture,” said perennial County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who’s running as an independent this year. “If state of the art transit technology were the solution, the Silver Line would not be running half-empty in the I-66 median with cars parked on the interstate on either side every day.”
Dennis Leach, Arlington’s Deputy Director of Transportation, said the enhanced transit stations and other amenities included in the Premium Transit Network plan will, in fact, move the needle in terms of making transit a more attractive option along the Pike.
“The premium amenities are proving those high-quality stations with near-level boarding, longer platforms and real-time information,” he said. “These stations are the front door of transit in the corridor. It is shifting this entire corridor to off-vehicle fare collection. We’ve already started work on transit signal priority and we are committed to actually implementing it in the full corridor.”
“We are actively coordinating with Metro to replace the current buses with modern low floor vehicles,” Leach added. “The intent is to implement a unified brand for this premium transit network.”
“I would say this was the most intensive and comprehensive transit update that the county has ever done,” Leach said of the overall transit plan. “I was here for 2011, this effort well exceeded that. We looked at every route and every part of this community to bring these recommendations before you.”
The full press release from Arlington County, after the jump.
After spending the past 86 years in the same location at 3507 Columbia Pike, the Arlington Presbyterian Church has gathered its share of items. This weekend, in advance of the redevelopment of its property, the church is giving many of those items away.
“We can’t take it all with us, so we invite you to come by and see if there is anything you can use or re-purpose,” the church said in an email. “All items are FREE and must be removed that day. We will have filing cabinets, books, desks, chairs, other furniture, kitchen items, and lots more!”
The giveaway event will take place on Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
The congregation is relocating due to the church building being torn down and redeveloped for affordable housing.
The church has temporarily moved to a new worship location, at the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road) in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. Services are taking place Sundays at 11 a.m.
The Pike Presidents’ Group
sent is sending a letter to Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey yesterday, saying that the county is not delivering on its promise to communities along the Pike to “provide services that are equivalent of the abandoned streetcar plan.”
The letter was drafted in advance of a presentation by county staff on Arlington’s 10-year Transit Development Plan and its plan for a “Premium Transit Network” along the Pike and through Pentagon City and Crystal City.
The county’s plan “does not even come close,” to providing transit service similar to the original streetcar plan, wrote the chair of the group, Adam Henderson.
“We ask that you uphold to your prior statements and instruct staff to honor the commitment to Pike… to achieve the Pike transit system we have all worked diligently to achieve,” said Henderson.
The full letter, which we’re now told was a draft and not the final version, is after the jump.
File photo (above) shows rendering of the since-canceled Columbia Pike streetcar.
Firefighters and a couple of extinguisher-wielding workers made quick work of a smoky garage fire along Columbia Pike this morning.
Arlington County firefighters were dispatched to a report of a fire on the 1800 block of Columbia Pike, near Washington Blvd, around 9:45 a.m.
Upon arriving units found a small fire in a screened-in patio area attached to a home’s detached garage. The fire had scorched the roofline of the patio and part of the garage, but had been kept in check by an off-duty Prince George’s County firefighter and a Dominion Power worker who were working on the block and spotted the smoke, according to a fire department spokesman.
The workers used a fire extinguisher to battle the flames. A resident was inside the home at the time and may have been alerted to the fire by a passerby. No injuries were reported.
Deputy Fire Marshal Paul Frank described the damage as minimal, mostly confined to the roof of the structure. He said a preliminary investigation indicates that the fire may have been caused by Christmas lights that were being used as “permanent mood lighting” for the porch. The lights likely ignited some plastic blinds, he said.
Using Christmas lights as permanent lighting is “inadvisable,” said Frank.
County Board Chair Libby Garvey will join other cyclists for the third annual Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride, dedicated to her late husband.
It will take place on Saturday, August 6 from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
The full 100 mile-long ride, described by organizers as a “Sizzling Suburban Century,” begins at the Phoenix Bikes shop on Four Mile Run Drive. It goes out to Purcellville in Loudoun County and back along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.
The ride is open to cyclists of all ages and skill levels with shorter course options available:
- 15-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Falls Church (turnaround at rest stop located at Bikenetic Full Service Bicycle Shop)
- 30-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Reston and back (turnaround at rest stop located at Sunrise Valley Elementary School)
- 60-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Leesburg and back (turnaround at rest stop located at Douglass School)
- 90-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Purcellville and back (turnaround at trail’s end, stopping at rest stop at Veloville USA Bike and Coffee Shop)
- 100-mile/century course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Purcellville and back (as above), starting east on Four Mile Run Trail around Arlington Loop to W&OD trail
The entry fee is $25 and there is also a $500 fundraising goal for each rider. Riders and volunteers will receive a free shirt and boxed lunch and riders who exceed the $500 fundraising goal will receive an incentive prize.
As of today, $1,115 has been raised towards the event’s fundraising goal of $20,000.
Prior to his death, Kennan Garvey, a cycling aficionado, had planned to volunteer for Phoenix Bikes, a non-profit that serves as a community bike shop and an education program. This year, it was named the “Best Nonprofit” by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
“[Phoenix Bikes] is a group which teaches kids how to repair bikes and was one of the organizations Kennan was planning to devote time to in his upcoming retirement,” said Libby Garvey. “As many of you know, Kennan was an avid cyclist and always did most of the maintenance on his bikes himself. He loved working with kids and passing on his knowledge in so many areas. He would have taken great satisfaction in teaching kids to be self-reliant operators of his favorite environmentally-friendly vehicle,”
Photo courtesy Libby Garvey
Steamy Stretch Starting — It’s hot and humid outside today and through the end of the week. Afternoon storms are possible each day. During this hot stretch, authorities are warning people to stay hydrated and to make sure their air conditioners are in good working condition. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]
Ultra-Nationalist Group Based in Arlington — The National Policy Institute, the “institutional center” of the nationalist movement that has come out of the woodwork in the U.S. thanks to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, is based here in Arlington. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the think tank a “white supremacist” group. [Forward]
New Book About Arlington — Local author HK Park has published another book about Arlington. This kid-oriented, 44-page paperback is called “How Your City Works!! Behind The Scenes In Arlington, VA.”
Discussion of Pike Development — Arlington County Board members Libby Garvey and Christian Dorsey discussed the approval of the Rappahannock Coffee site redevelopment in the county’s Board meeting wrap-up video. [YouTube]
Signature Theatre Announces New Cast — The cast for the Signature Theatre production of “Jelly’s Last Jam” includes a Tony Award winner, a Helen Hayes Award winner and a star jazz pianist. The musical begins at the Shirlington theater in August. [Playbill]
Arlington’s Got Talent Winner — Lyfe, a spoken word artist, is the 2016 winner of the Arlington’s Got Talent competition. [InsideNova]
Photo courtesy B. Heather
It’s being billed as Columbia Pike’s first beer garden.
BrickHaus, a new beer-centric watering hole and restaurant, is coming to the former Blanca’s Restaurant space at 2900 Columbia Pike, at the corner of S. Walter Reed Drive.
News of the opening comes a year after ARLnow first reported that the long-vacant Spanish Revival-style building was perhaps getting a renovation to accommodate a restaurant with a rooftop seating area. A look inside the window reveals that some work has been performed, but there’s a long way to go before it will look anything like a beer garden.
The building was once briefly considered for a “southside” version of the popular Clarendon cafe Northside Social. But prospective tenants worried about the poor condition of the interior and other challenges, not the least of which is the age and relatively small size of the building and the challenge of setting up any substantial level of outdoor seating on the small adjacent lot or roof.
The potential downsides were not enough to deter Tony Wagner, the owner of BrickHaus, who’s also the owner of Twisted Vines Bottleshop and Bistro, which is located across the street at 2803 Columbia Pike.
“Columbia Pike is such a thriving and growing community, we want to make sure there are great [dining and drink] options out there,” he said. “We’re going to make BrickHaus a great gathering spot for the community… It’s very exciting, this is going to be a fun one.”
Wagner said BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor — the mezzanine — will be a sit-down steakhouse.
Wagner said extensive renovations will be getting underway on the “beautiful, historic property,” which was once a bank before becoming a restaurant and then, most recently, serving as the construction office for the next-door Halstead apartment building. The interior will be pretty much all new and the exterior will be rehabilitated. Plans for rooftop seating fell through after it failed to receive Arlington County’s approval, he said.
Beer-wise, BrickHaus will offer almost all regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers, Wagner said. Just as Twisted Vines offers wine for sale and a special wine club, BrickHaus plans to offer beer for retail sale and, eventually, a beer club. BrickHaus’ ABC permit application would also allow the business to sell kegs of beer.
Wagner said he got the idea for BrickHaus after listening to feedback from customers at Twisted Vines, who said they wanted an outdoor option on the Pike and were also looking for better beer options. Staring out the front window at the vacant building on the other side of the intersection also sparked his interest.
It’s because of the success of Twisted Vines that Wagner is looking to expand on the Pike. Since taking over ownership last summer, Wagner says Twisted Vines has “had a really fantastic year.” An anniversary celebration is being planned for Aug. 10.
Whereas Twisted Vines has “one of the best wine-by-the-glass and whiskey selections” in Arlington, in Wagner’s estimation, he’s hoping BrickHaus can be its beer counterpart, filling a void in the community.
“We wanted to keep it local,” he said. “We said, let’s give Columbia Pike another great option with great beer.”
BrickHaus is hoping to open by late summer, in time for Oktoberfest.
Talented local entertainers will participate in the fourth annual Arlington’s Got Talent competition tonight.
The event, organized by Leadership Arlington, is being held at the Salsa Room (2619 Columbia Pike) starting at 6:30 p.m. After a social hour, the performers will take the stage starting at 7:30.
“Arlington’s Got Talent offers exciting and fresh performances from some of the most vibrant and dynamic performers from the D.C. metropolitan area,” said Leadership Arlington.
Tonight’s seven scheduled performers are:
- Comedian Dan Nainan
- Singer Emma G
- Comedian Jason Weems
- Poet Lyfe
- Dance troupe Rhythmaya Dance
- Pop, funk and R&B singer Travis Tucker
- Acapella group Word of Mouth
The performers will be judged by Susan Anderson of the Arlington County Treasurer’s Office; MTFA Architecture owner Michael Foster, Nate Robertson of Datapipe and Marymount University President Matt Shank. Audience members will act as the fifth judge by voting for their favorite act.
Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey addressed transportation and affordable housing on Columbia Pike at her State of the County address Tuesday morning.
Garvey said the county needs to “fix the transportation” on the Pike, “not that it’s too bad now.” She referenced the Transit Development Plan for enhanced bus service on Columbia Pike, which the Board is expected to consider at its July meeting.
Garvey noted that there has been continued development along the Columbia Pike corridor. The cancellation of the streetcar project — Garvey led the charge against it — “hasn’t affected people as much as some would suggest,” she said.
Garvey also said the county needs to “slow down a bit” the pace of affordable housing development along Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike, to avoid an over-concentration of affordable housing in one place.
“It’s great what we’re doing, but I think we have to be aware that you don’t want to concentrate it too much,” she said.
That should be welcome news to the Coalition of Arlingtonians for Responsible Development (CARD), a particularly vocal civic group formed last year in opposition to what it views as a clustering of affordable housing on Columbia Pike. The group says it favors a more even geographic distribution of affordable housing throughout Arlington.
(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Arlington has more to do to make the county friendlier to small businesses, particularly those with brick-and-mortar storefronts.
That was one of the messages sent by Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey during her State of the County talk this morning.
Garvey discussed the county’s efforts to compete economically during the talk, which is hosted by the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce. While Garvey lauded the county’s push to attract large employers — particularly tech-related firms — to Arlington, she lamented that small businesses are still encountering regulatory road blocks. As an example, she cited the experience of former Democratic state delegate Rob Krupicka, who opened a Sugar Shack Donuts location along Columbia Pike in February.
Garvey noted that Krupicka — who served in the House of Delegates for four years, representing parts of Arlington and Alexandria — had been expressing frustration on Facebook with the process of opening a shop in Arlington. She later reached out to him, asking that he share his experience with county staff.
“It was a little hard as a Board member to sit there and hear it,” she said. “He had to come in six times to get approval for a sign… And this was a small business, [Rob] is the one doing it all. [He also] had to come in to pay for permits and things because you can’t pay online.”
“We need to be thinking of the big guys, going to China [to attract businesses],” said Garvey, “but we also need to be down on the very granular level and make sure people don’t have to come six times for a sign — and can pay online. We’re working on it, we’re not there yet, but we’re absolutely committed to making it work.”
Asked about his experience, Krupicka said it was “definitely easier” to open his first donut shop in Alexandria than it was to open his second in Arlington.
“Both have their issues. Both have good staff. Alexandria has put a lot of effort into streamlining and it shows,” Krupicka told ARLnow.com. “The Arlington permitting process is in need of streamlining and modernization.”
There were five areas in particular where Arlington County could improve, according to Krupicka.
- “Payments have to be made by mail or in person rather than online and for some things you can’t move forward without payment, so that means waiting in line in the planning office for hours to get your name called so you can hand a check to somebody.”
- “Planning, Zoning, Health, etc. don’t talk to each other and it appears they don’t understand where each other fits in the process. The process actually seems to assume the small business person will force that communication and coordination. That is crazy, as the small business person shouldn’t have to be an expert on government process, the process should be designed to be easy. The big guys just hire lawyers. Small businesses should not have to.”
- “Many permits need to be applied for in person. You can’t just submit them online. You have to sit in the office and wait to be called, wasting hours of time. I have spent days waiting in the county offices. I have overheard a lot of very unhappy individuals and business people. The elected officials should spend some time walking through this process.”
- “In Alexandria you only need one permit to put up a building sign. It takes 20 days or so. In Arlington, you need two permits, zoning and construction, and it takes 60 days plus. In Alexandria you can apply online and never have to go into the office. My Arlington sign had me to to the County Offices at least 5 times wasting a lot of money on parking and more importantly time.”
- “There is an online system for some things, but in my experience, it was very cumbersome and I spent hours working with tech support to get it to work. I’m hoping that is fixed now.”
“All of this could be streamlined without impacting the proper county regulatory role,” Krupicka concluded. “I was impressed the way Libby Garvey reached out to me, tried to help and then made time and organized county staff to listen to my experience in order to try and fix it. She, [County Board member John] Vihstadt and Commissioner [of Revenue] Ingrid Morroy were the three that made a real effort to help me.”
Courthouse, Columbia Pike Developments Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a 90-unit condominium building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse. The Board voted 4-1, with John Vihstadt voting against, after hearing objections from residents of the nearby Odyssey condo tower. Also on Saturday, the Board unanimously approved a 105-unit condo building on the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Plans Filed for New Affordable Complex in Rosslyn — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing has filed preliminary plans to redevelop the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex into a new, 12-story, 250-unit affordable apartment building, with underground parking and a 9,000 square foot public park and playground. The redevelopment was included in 2015’s Western Rosslyn Area Plan, or WRAP. [Washington Business Journal]
Woodlawn Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $616,000 contract for improvements to Woodlawn Park in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. The improvements to the 3.2 acre park includes “replacing the playground equipment, updating the trails and better protecting Lubber Run stream.” [Arlington County]
Couple Gets Engaged at Local Event — A San Antonio, Texas couple got engaged at Friday night’s Wine in the Waterpark event in Crystal City. [Twitter]
Stream Restoration Project OKed — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.5 million contract to restore the lower portion of the Four Mile Run stream. Work on the project, which has been in the works since 2000, is expected to begin later this summer and may result in some trail detours over the course of a year. [Arlington County]
First Day of Summer Today — Today is the first day of astronomical summer, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. [Capital Weather Gang]
Leadership Arlington to Run Volunteer Arlington — The nonprofit group Leadership Arlington will be taking over the administration of Volunteer Arlington from Arlington County. Leadership Arlington won the contract in a competitive bidding process. Volunteer Arlington is “the County’s clearinghouse for volunteerism, matching volunteers with non-profits and government programs that rely on volunteers in carrying out their work.” [Arlington County]