Arlington, VA

A man is fighting for his life after being struck by a driver on Columbia Pike.

The crash happened Thursday morning at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Carlin Springs Road, just over the Arlington border in Fairfax County.

Police say the victim suffered life-threatening injuries. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and is talking to detectives who are investigating the crash, per Fairfax County Police.

Two westbound lanes of Columbia Pike are blocked as a result of the investigation.

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(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A reported ruptured gas line behind Papillon Cycles prompted evacuations and a road closure near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

As of 2:10 p.m., the gas leak has been stopped and police re-opened Walter Reed Drive, after temporarily closing it between the Pike and 9th Street S.

Some stores in the area, on the 2800 block of Columbia Pike, were evacuated during the incident, according to scanner traffic.

One restaurant owner said that means their business had to close, but told ARLnow, “but that’s fine, it’s a Wednesday so it’s slow anyway.”

A full fire department response has been dispatched to the scene as a precaution, as gas company crews work to stop the leak.

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(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) A man suffered life-threatening injuries after being stabbed near Columbia Pike over the weekend, according to police.

The incident happened just before 3 a.m. Sunday, on the 4600 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive.

Arlington County Police say they were dispatched for a report of a dispute between two acquaintances. Officers arrived on scene, found the victim — who was suffering from multiple stab wounds — and “immediately began performing life saving measures,” according to police.

The victim was rushed to a local hospital and is considered to be in critical but stable condition, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The suspect, 30-year-old Arlington resident Jeffrey Melendez, “was arrested and charged with malicious wounding,” according to a crime report. He is being held without bond.

“The exact nature of the dispute and what directly preceded the incident remains under investigation,” Savage told ARLnow.

Savage noted that ACPD officers are trained to provide emergency aid to trauma victims in situations where they are the first to arrive on scene.

“Officers receive training in TECC (Tactical Emergency Casualty Care) and are issued trauma kits which enables them to initiate stabilizing care and immediate first aid before the arrival of medical assistance,” she said.

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A “block party” style event with a transportation theme is set for later this month along Columbia Pike.

Arlington County is hosting its third annualOur Shared Street Pop-Up” on Thursday, August 22, in the parking lot at the intersection of S. Four Mile Run Drive and the Pike. The event will run from 5-7 p.m. that night, and will feature booths from transportation organizations with activities and answers to transportation questions.

“Our Shared Street is a block party where you can get to know your neighbors and local transportation options,” says the event’s website. “There are also tons of great giveaways happening and fun activities.”‘

The goal of the event is to share information about commuting by bike, rail, bus, car, or feet in the county. The county-run Arlington Transportation Partners is organizing the event along with Capital Bikeshare, BikeArlington, and WalkArlington, and Arlington’s Car-Free Diet.

What’s not yet certain is whether ride-hailing or e-scooter companies like Uber and Lyft will be present during the late August event — as they were for last year’s event. (The county’s e-scooter program was recently extended, but has seen a slight uptick in crashes and injuries.)

Tickets to the pop-up event are free, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance online.

Image via Twitter/Arlington Transportation Partners

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As one fire station faces permanent closure, Arlington County is considering plans to open another one.

Fire Station 7 in Fairlington (3116 S. Abingdon Street) temporarily closed in October due to structural safety concerns. The crews relocated to other stations, with Fire Station 9 and nearby Alexandria and Fairfax stations assigned to cover Fairlington and nearby parts of South Arlington.

The station hasn’t reopened since, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant.

That closure could become permanent. Since at least 2014, the station has been on the chopping block. A report from 2012 noted that the station is beloved by the community, but lacks the efficiency of other stations throughout the county.

According to the report:

Station 7 is located in a residential community that has narrow streets and limited access. It does not provide as wide coverage area as do other fire stations in the County. Well maintained and in excellent condition, Station 7 is considered a ‘neighborhood treasure’ to residents of the community. The Routley study also recommended the elimination of Station 7, or its relocation to South George Mason Drive near Wakefield High School. This study found that Stations 7 and 9 could be merged to a location near the intersection of South Walter Reed Drive and South Four Mile Run Drive.

At an audit meeting last week regarding the overuse of overtime in the Fire Department, County Board Vice Chair Libby Garvey said part of the reasoning behind Fire Station 7’s closure is that 60 percent of the station’s runs are to Alexandria and Fairfax.

The County Manager is close to making a decision on the future of Fire Station 7, according to county spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith, and more information should be forthcoming “soon.”

Meanwhile, the County is in the early days of scouting sites for a new fire station on Columbia Pike. No timeline or site has been identified, but County Manager Mark Schwartz noted that the eastern end of Columbia Pike is a desirable location based on previous studies.

In the audit meeting, County officials also noted that new development planned for the eastern end of Columbia Pike and in the Crystal City/Pentagon City area — notably, Amazon’s HQ2 — will also likely increase demand for fire services in that area over the next few years.

“The current high demand at Fire Station 5 in Aurora Hills, combined with anticipated development and population growth in Crystal City/Pentagon City, may affect priorities in the next Capital Improvement Plan, which will be proposed in May 2020,” Smith said.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) An out-of-control Arlington Transit bus rolled into a number of parked vehicles and into a building along Columbia Pike.

The crash happened around noon today at the intersection of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive.

Around 10 passengers were on the bus, according to a fire department spokesman, when it rolled through a rental truck depot on the southeastern side of the intersection, near a 7-Eleven store. The bus struck several trucks and a car, which was pushed into a small building on the lot.

The bus passengers were evaluated by medics on scene. One person suffered a minor injury and was taken to the hospital, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant.

Three witnesses told ARLnow that the bus started rolling downhill after the driver exited the bus at a bus stop. Two of those witnesses, who were on the bus at the time, said one of the passengers jumped into the driver’s seat and steered the bus off to the side, away from traffic, thus running into the parking lot and the building.

The person who was injured was inside the building at the time of the crash, the witnesses said.

Police were unable to immediately corroborate the witness accounts provided to ARLnow. Officers remain on scene investigating the cause, an ACPD spokeswoman said, and a building inspector has been called to “evaluate structural integrity of the building.”

ART buses have been involved in a series of significant crashes over the past few years, including:

In January of this year ART blamed a shortage of drivers and persistent maintenance issues for a series of service disruptions.

Vernon Miles contributed to this report.

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Two Arlington men were arrested for separate indecent exposure incidents along Columbia Pike over the past week.

The first happened early Friday morning at the intersection of the Pike and S. Glebe Road, when a man allegedly approached a woman in her vehicle and exposed himself, according to this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The second happened Monday morning, when a drunk man was refused service at a business and subsequently exposed himself to an employee, police said.

Both men were charged with Indecent Exposure and Drunk in Public.

More from this week’s crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2019-07190026, S. Glebe Road at Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:22 a.m. on July 19, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was in her vehicle at a traffic light when the unknown male suspect allegedly approached her vehicle and exposed himself. Arriving officers located the suspect nearby and he was taken into custody. David Nichols, 39, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Indecent Exposure, Drunk in Public and Failure to ID. He was held on no bond.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2019-07220261, 4800 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 9:00 p.m. on July 22, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that after the male suspect was refused service at a business due to his level of intoxication, he allegedly exposed his genitals and inappropriately touched himself, before attempting to approach an employee. The employee was able to push the suspect away and leave the business to call police. Arriving officers located the suspect and took him into custody. Josue Sierra Lopez, 31, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Indecent Exposure and Drunk in Public.

The rest of the crime report is below, after the jump.

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Last month, when Jeannie Osborn dropped off her new dress at her usual Arlington dry cleaner, she never thought it could be the last time she would see the garment

Osborn now lives in D.C. but still drives to Arlington to do her dry cleaning at the same spot for years: Family Dry Cleaners on 5021 Columbia Pike. The business offers nearly unbeatable prices — normally charging $2.29 per piece of clothing — which Osborn said made up for inconvenience of having to pay upfront in cash.

But five days after she took her new $128 Banana Republic dress to the dry cleaner on June 25, the business closed.

Now there’s a sign taped to the door reading “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!” and asking customers to pick up any garments by June 30, “otherwise you will not be able to pick up your clothes FOREVER.”

Osborn was on vacation when the business went under, and only learned her dress was locked in the building when she tried to pick it up last week.

“I’ve been going there for six years,” she told ARLnow Monday. “And the fact that they are just closed is shocking.”

The business is located in the Columbia Pike Plaza shopping center, near the Arlington Mill Community Center, between a CVS and a Little Caesars. ARLnow could not reach the strip mall’s property management company, Bethesda-based Rakusin & Becker Management.

After reaching out for comment to the company and the county, Arlington Resident Ombudsman and Director of Constituent Services Ben Aiken said he had good news to share.

Family Dry Cleaners will temporarily re-open on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. so customers can retrieve their belongings, per Rakusin & Becker.

“Anyone with clothing that needs to be picked up should try to go,” said Aiken, who noted afterward the owners may be unavailable to re-open the shuttered shop.

Family Dry Cleaners’ phone number was out of service when called on Monday and a Facebook page for a business with the same name had no posts nor ways to contact the owner.

Aiken previously said he heard from two customers whose clothes are apparently locked in the cleaners, and told ARLnow today (Tuesday) that he “shares their frustration.”

“It’s an unfortunate circumstances,” he said, adding that whenever dry cleaning customers are left out to dry it can be “tricky” to access legal remedies.

When a dry cleaner business closed in Silver Spring two years ago, the Montgomery County Consumer Protection Agency had to step in to return clothing.

Last August, customers in Austin, Texas, taped signs to the locked doors of a dry cleaning business, pleading with the owners to call them and return their clothes after the business unexpectedly shut down.

Last September, a Denver cleaner posted a sign for its customers that read, “if you have clothes, sorry we are closed.” Those customers were out of luck until another cleaning company purchased the inventory and returned the clothes to customers for free, per a press release.

Jeannie Osborn took pictures of the storefront and its sign last week that show a full rack of clothing behind the counter. She says she could see her dress through the glass.

“It’s just hanging there in the front,” Osborn said. “They hadn’t even put it on the conveyor belt yet.”

Map via Google Maps

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The expanded EvolveAll fitness studio near Columbia Pike is now open, after missing the mark on its original goal to open in May.

Owner Emerson Doyle said that the company had problems “trying to line up getting out of our old lease, coordinating the move, finishing the build out, and getting our [certificate of occupancy] with Arlington County.”

“Everything always takes longer then our optimistic minds think,” Doyle said.

The Columbia Pike studio, which is located at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive, has 10,000 square feet of space, separated into four rooms that allow trainers to run simultaneous classes.

EvolveAll has nine instructors who teach a wide gamut of classes including children’s martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, yoga and fitness boot camps. Personal training and massage therapy are also offered.

“We have the same schedule as before but are adding early morning yoga and bootcamp classes, starting with Tuesday and Thursday at 6:15 a.m.,” Doyle said of the new class schedule.

The company’s website notes that the fitness studio aims to serve as a “meeting space for local communities of growth minded people.”

Photos courtesy EvolveAll

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Morning Notes

Listing Prices Around HQ2 Skyrocket — “From June 2018 to June 2019, the median asking price for a single-family home in Zip code 22202, home to Amazon’s planned Northern Virginia headquarters, skyrocketed a whopping 99.9 percent–essentially doubling over that period–according to a new report from listings service Bright MLS.” [Curbed, Bloomberg]

Board OKs Child Care Parking Changes — “The Arlington County Board today voted to reduce the parking requirements for child care centers, in keeping with the County’s Child Care Initiative to promote the expansion of accessible, available, high-quality child care throughout the County.” [Arlington County]

New Pizzeria Open on Lee HighwayChicago’s Pizza With A Twist opened a couple of weeks ago on Lee Highway, next to Maya Bistro. The Indian-Italian fusion restaurant serves unique dishes like a chicken tikka masala pizza. [Instagram]

New Pike Bus Stops Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a $1.6 million contract with Sagres Construction Corporation to build the first four of 23 transit stations planned for Columbia Pike. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by fall 2020.” [Arlington County]

Arlington GOP Sitting Out County Races — “For the most part, Arlington Republicans will be sitting out the November general election – the party did not field candidates for the County Board, School Board and most legislative races on the ballot, although there are several non-Democrats who are running that might attract GOP support.” [InsideNova]

Swanson Middle School Teacher Honored — “Congratulations to @SwansonAdmirals teacher Mary Beth Donnelly who was named the 2019 Virginia History Teacher of the Year.” [Twitter]

Injured D.C. Fire K-9 Stops GW Parkway Traffic Updated at 9 a.m. — “Traffic stopped on the George Washington Parkway near Reagan National Airport Tuesday afternoon so a medevac helicopter could land, but the patient wasn’t human — it was a very special dog. The 6-year-old German shepherd named Kylie works for D.C. Fire and EMS as a cadaver dog… [she] seriously hurt one of her hind legs while helping another law enforcement agency conduct a search.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen

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The Arlington County Board made the unusual move of extending weekend operating hours to 2 a.m. for one Columbia Pike establishment — but it’s not for a bar.

The Board granted permission for the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) to hold community events until 2 a.m. on weekend nights. In exchange, staff from the office building at 901 S. Highland Street will be responsible for keeping the noise down, and ensuring there are two security personnel present in labeled vests.

“It’s outcomes we care about,” said Board Chair Christian Dorsey after a lengthy back-and-forth over the number of security personnel needed to accommodate the event space. The Board voted unanimously to grant ECDC a use permit after Board member Katie Cristol proposed an amendment to keep the current requirement of 2 staff members.

“It’s pretty unusual extending events to 2 a.m., particularly in a space that abuts a more residential area,” said Cristol.

“The reason I’m comfortable taking this unusual step is all of the work all of you have done,” she said, citing sound-proofing and traffic management measures ECDC has taken over the past several years.

“I think it is going to accommodate the needs of our community,” ECDC President and CEO Dr. Tsehaye Teferra told ARLnow today (Tuesday). “In times of death or joy people need a space to gather and we are meeting that need. That’s how we started it.”

The development council has provided language and job training to Ethiopians who have newly immigrated to the United States since 1983 and advocates for the D.C. area’s growing Ethiopian community. ECDC’s office along Columbia Pike also serves as an ad-hoc community center by letting members rent out space for events, from celebrations to memorial services.

County planner Matthew Pfeiffer presented recommendations to the Board that ECDC be granted longer opening hours — as long as they provide three staffers to oversee operations to direct “potential impacts away from N. Highland Street.” Under the county’s proposal, ECDC would be required to provide two staffers to monitor the events and provide security, and the third would be dedicated to managing noise and traffic on N. Highland Street.

Teferra protested the increased staffing requirement, saying it should be up to ECDC to set appropriate staffing levels in order to keep cost of renting the spaces low.

“If we are required to have three staff at all times, financially it is not sustainable,” he said.

The newly-extended hours would only apply to one of ECDC’s buildings: the “front” building on the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Highland Street, which has a 3,762 square-foot ballroom. ECDC’s rear office building also has a 1,437 square-foot space that will stick with the old midnight closing hours for weekend events, Teferra says.

ECDC requested later hours for the ballroom to help serve a community that includes people working late shifts in restaurants and hotels that conflict with the current closing times.

Teferra added that although many of the community members work in hotels, it’s hard for them to afford the activity space in hotels, and not all locations allow them to bring in their own food. Other places, like apartment party rooms, sometimes require guest lists which are difficult to manage for drop-in events like wakes.

“In many cases, most people work until 8 or 9 p.m. and events don’t start right away,” he said. “So in the past we had the limit was until 11:30. By the time the party started then it’s over.”

Teferra told the Board that ECDC usually hosts at least one community event per month, including memorial services, christenings, weddings, graduations, religious ceremonies and birthday parties.

The council also holds other events, like job training events.

He told ARLnow that not every event is a nighttime one — most christenings happen in the morning, for instance — and that ECDC plans to end most weekend nighttime meetings before 1:30 a.m.

Pfeiffer noted that neighbors “fairly clearly” did not support the request for long hours when the county engaged the Arlington Heights neighborhood. Teferra disagreed, saying the ECDC gathered over 100 signatures of support from neighbors.

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