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by ARLnow.com — June 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm 0

(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.

  1. “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.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “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.”
  4. “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.”
  5. “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.”

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Crystal Car show in Crystal City on Father's Day 2016

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]

by Tim Regan — June 17, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

The Arlington County Board will consider planned residential developments in Courthouse and on Columbia Pike this weekend.

The Board will discuss a new residential tower planned in Courthouse and the redevelopment of the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike during its monthly meeting Saturday.

A developer is seeking the Board’s approval the Bush Construction building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd to build a tower with 14 floors of apartments or condos, a rooftop terrace, ground floor retail and five levels of underground parking and storage.

At the Rappahannock Coffee site, developer B.M. Smith seeks a use permit to tear down a trio of buildings at 2330, 2342 and 2406 Columbia Pike and replace them with a six-story mixed-use building with 105 new residential units, 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and a 140-space parking garage.

County staff is recommending approval of both projects. The Board is scheduled to meet at 2100 Clarendon Blvd tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

by ARLnow.com — June 17, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

View from the rooftop of the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City (photo courtesy @rydaka)

Some Developers Are Pessimistic About the Pike — “The mood is not good,” Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization chairman John Murphy said of developers. “Some of them made big investments, big bets based on the county saying we’re going to do the streetcar. They feel betrayed, they’re not happy at all.” [Bisnow]

Board to Buy Bungalow to Bolster Benjamin Banneker — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve the purchase of a $637,500 property on 17th Street N. in order to expand Benjamin Banneker Park, near the East Falls Church Metro station. [InsideNova]

DCA Flight Path Changes — The Federal Aviation Administration is considering changes to flight paths for planes departing Reagan National Airport, in response to complaints from D.C. residents. Meanwhile, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is organizing a community meeting to discuss “recent changes to departure procedures for aircraft taking off to the south of the airport.” [WTOP, Rep. Don Beyer]

Chaplain at DCA Mourns Son — Rev. Nace Lanier, the chaplain at Reagan National Airport, is mourning the loss of his 10-year-old son to a brain tumor. [Washington Post]

Clarendon Salon Closed Due to Flooding — Casal’s at Clarendon, a salon and day spa, has been closed for a week “due to a water pipe breaking and flooding the salon.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Sehkraft Makes ‘Hottest New Bars’ ListSehkraft Brewing in Clarendon is one of the 10 hottest new bars in the D.C. area, according to Zagat, which writes: “This sprawling, pulsating Arlington brewhouse, gastropub, butcher shop, beer garden and live-music venue is powered by the brilliantly colored art on the walls, robust smoked and grilled American fare and curated craft beers.” [Zagat]

Free Smoothies Today — Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which has a location at 3811 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, is celebrating National Flip Flop Day by raising money for charity and giving out some free smoothies. The store will offer free smoothies to customers wearing flip flops from 2-7 p.m. [Tropical Smoothie Cafe]

Photo courtesy @rydaka

by Adrian Cruz — June 17, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Columbia Pike Blues FestivalThe blues will return to Arlington as the 21st annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will be held on Saturday from 1-8:30 p.m.

The festival will feature a mix of local and nationally recognized blues talent throughout the day. Admission is free.

Here is the list of acts scheduled to perform:

  • Little Bit A Blues @ 1:00 p.m.
  • Bobby Thompson Project ft. Ron Holloway @ 2:00 p.m.
  • Bosley @ 3:30 p.m
  • Davina and the Vagabonds @ 5:00 p.m.
  • Jesse Dee @ 6:30 p.m.

Along with the music, the festival will also have have local food vendors. Some of the cuisines on offer include Moroccan, Nigerian, Mexican, Caribbean.

Here is a list of vendors:

  • Mazagan Restaurant — Modern Moroccan cuisine
  • Cantina Mexicana — Mexican and Tex-Mex
  • Suya To Go — Nigerian
  • BubbleTeaLicious — Bubble teas, shave ice, ice cream
  • Mac’s Donuts — Fresh-made donuts and lemonade
  • Carol’s Concessions — Caribbean and American festival fare
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ — Barbecue and all the sides

Arts and crafts vendors and other local businesses will also represented.

The festival will take place at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive. There will also be street closures for the event.

Here is a the list of street closures according to Arlington County:

  • Walter Reed Drive will be closed from Columbia Pike to 9th Street S. Vehicles can use 7th Street to Highland Street as a detour.
  • 9th Road will be closed from S. Garfield Street to Walter Reed Drive.
  • 9th Street will be closed from S. Highland Street to Walter Reed Drive.

Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation with many ART and Metrobus lines serving the area. The weather forecast for the festival is sunny with a high of 82 degrees.

by ARLnow.com — June 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Police car (file photo)A woman who was staying in a hotel along Columbia Pike woke up early Monday morning to find a burglar in her room.

Police say the man stole items from the woman’s suitcase, in a room at the Sheraton hotel near the Air Force Memorial.

The burglar was reportedly wearing slippers at the time of the crime.

From an Arlington County Police crime report:

LATE BURGLARY, 160615013, 900 block of S. Orme Street. Between 4:10 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on June 15, a female victim awoke to a male suspect entering her hotel room. She observed him steal objects from her suitcase and then flee when she confronted him. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’8″ tall and weighed 160 lbs. He was wearing a gray shirt, orange/khaki shorts, and slippers.

by ARLnow.com — June 15, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

The Washington Monument is seen in the distance, above Arlington County's fire training facility near Shirlington

Shark Tank Casting in Crystal City — ABC’s “Shark Tank” is holding a casting call today at the 1776 incubator in Crystal City. “Applicants will have roughly 90 seconds to make their initial pitches to casting producers, with about three minutes for a Q&A portion.” [Washington Business Journal]

Bill Clinton Visits the Pike — Former President and possible future First Gentleman Bill Clinton met with Virginia Latino leaders at Cafe Sazon on Columbia Pike over the weekend. [Facebook]

Arlington Man Is Suspected Serial Bank Robber — Police have identified a serial bank robbery suspect who was arrested Friday in Falls Church as 42-year-old Arlington resident Amin Huie. Police say Huie is the “Forever Loyal Bandit” who has robbed seven banks since 2014, including a Capital One Bank on Columbia Pike last year. [Fairfax County PD, WJLA]

More on Garvey’s Win — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey’s “unorthodox, controversial” strategy of appealing to non-Democrats in the Democratic primary is “likely to alter future campaigns,” writes Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey, in an analysis of Garvey’s decisive primary win last night. [InsideNova]

Repairs to Westover Branch Library — Work to repair water damage and install new windows at the Westover Branch Library will take place from mid-July to late September. The library will remain open during that time. [Arlington Public Library]

County Touts Increase in Trail Usage — “After a week of single tracking along the Orange/Silver Line between Ballston and East Falls Church, automated counters in the County’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor show an increase of between 70 and 90 percent in bike ridership from the same period last year. Capital BikeShare use in Arlington is up between 20 and 50 percent.” [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — June 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Screen shot of former Miss Universe Alicia MachadoFormer Miss Universe Alicia Machado and former Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada will be among those speaking at an Arlington press conference on “Donald Trump’s Year of Hate” tomorrow.

The press conference is being held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Atlacatl Restaurant (4701 Columbia Pike).

Machado, who won the pageant in 1996 as a contestant from Venezuela, became a U.S. citizen in May, prompting a congratulatory tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Machado is an avowed opponent of Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, accusing him calling her “Miss Piggy” after she gained 50 pounds within months of winning the crown.

The press conference is being organized by advocacy groups People For the American Way and CASA in Virginia. From a press advisory:

On Wednesday, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta will join People For the American Way (PFAW) to mark the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and launch PFAW’s new campaign, ‘Donald Trump’s Year of Hate.’

Since June 16th of last year, when he infamously described Mexican immigrants as “rapists” at his campaign launch, Trump has only increased his attacks against immigrants and Latinos. Starting on Thursday, new Spanish-language ads from PFAW will run for four weeks, highlighting Donald Trump’s campaign of hate thus far.

The press conference on Wednesday, co-hosted by CASA in Action (Virginia), will include more details on the ad launch. At the event, Alicia Machado, former Miss Universe winner, will share her story about why she’s becoming a citizen to vote against Donald Trump. She will discuss her personal interactions with Donald Trump, including how he derogatorily referred to her as “Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Piggy.” Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and is a board member of PFAW, will discuss the importance of the Latino vote and speak out against the hate Donald Trump has displayed over the last year. Virginia leader and former elected official J. Walter Tejada will focus on the Latino vote in Virginia, and leaders from PFAW and CASA in Action will speak about their stand against Trump’s bigotry.

by ARLnow.com — June 13, 2016 at 10:05 am 0

Outdoor concert in Shirlington

W-L Soccer Captures State Title — The Washington-Lee boys soccer team defeated First Colonial 3-1 on Saturday to win the school’s first Virginia 6A boys soccer state title. Despite an injury, Maycol Nunez led the team with two goals. [Washington Post, InsideNova]

Ceremony for W-L Grad Killed in WW2 — A special ceremony will be held today at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the memory of Merrill Walter Hoover, a star athlete at Washington-Lee High School who was killed while serving in the Coast Guard during World War II. Hoover’s body was never found following a ship collision in which he worked selflessly to save his shipmates. [Falls Church News-Press]

Arlington RAMMY Winners — Clarendon’s Northside Social and chef Jonah Kim of Yona in Ballston were big winners during last night’s RAMMY awards, picking up “Favorite Gathering Place of the Year” and “Rising Culinary Star of the Year” awards, respectively. The awards program for Washington’s restaurant industry also honored major Ballston restaurant operator Mike Isabella Concepts. [RAMW]

Worker Rescued in Crystal City — On Saturday, a worker whose lift platform became stuck 30 feet in the air in Crystal City was rescued by Arlington County firefighters. [Twitter]

Cousins Tweets W-L Senior’s Yearbook Quote — “Best of luck at VCU this fall!” Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins told Washington-Lee senior Joseph Langley, in a tweet, after Langley used Cousins’ famous “You like that?!” moment as his yearbook quote. [ESPN]

More on Applebee’s Ballston Plans — Applebees is opening in Ballston with a “new, urban-focused design.” Why Ballston? “There are lot of Millennials in the area, and it’s an area that has a lot of office buildings as well as residential,” a company spokesman said, as quoted in a 1,070 word magazine article about the restaurant’s Ballston plans. [Arlington Magazine]

CPRO Names New Executive Director — The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization has named its interim executive director, former Rosslyn BID honcho Cecilia Cassidy, as its permanent executive director. CPRO’s previous executive director, Takis Karantonis, resigned in January after five years on the job, and is currently working for County Board candidate Erik Gutshall’s campaign. [CPRO]

by Jackie Friedman — June 9, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, County Board members and other elected officials and community leaders broke ground yesterday afternoon on the Columbia Hills Apartments, located at 1010 S. Frederick Street, off of Columbia Pike.

“There is dire need for affordable housing” in Arlington, said APAH President and CEO Nina Janopaul. “We’ve lost 13,500 affordable homes since 2000 so this is an opportunity in a big way to help make up for that.”

Columbia Hills will be APAH’s 15th property. Their 14th property, The Springs Apartments in Buckingham, will be welcoming residents this fall.

The Columbia Hills Apartment property is a $91 million project that includes land donated by APAH and M&T Bank, federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and innovative “hybrid financing.”

“We are proud of the financing and are very appreciative of our partners who have allowed us to take the parking lot out of service and donate it to the new project,” said Janopaul.

Columbia Hills will be built on 1.2 acres of APAH’s land adjacent to the Columbia Grove Apartments. The property includes 10 permanent supportive housing units and 13 accessible units, serving housing needs for senior and disabled residents who cannot live comfortably in the neighboring Columbia Grove walk-up apartments.

The connecting east and west buildings will each be eight stories tall. The buildings will have a total of 229 homes, including 64 studio apartments, 27 one-bedroom units, 110 two-bedroom units, and 28 three-bedroom homes.

The committed affordable apartments are available to lower income households earning 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). There are 10 designated for households below 40% AMI and 39 for households below 50% AMI.

“Columbia Hills is one of the first projects to be developed under the Arlington County’s award-winning Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan and will contribute significantly to meeting the Plan’s goal of preserving 3,000 affordable homes along Columbia Pike,” Janopaul said.

The apartments are expected to be completed in the spring of 2018.

by Adrian Cruz — June 8, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Since 1988, the Funshine Preschool has operated at the same location — the Arlington Presbyterian Church at 3507 Columbia Pike — serving generations of Arlington’s children. Now, with the church slated for demolition, the school is preparing to move and raising money to help with its expenses.

Funshine’s current building is the Arlington Presbyterian Church. The church held its final worship service in the building on Sunday, after the property was sold for $8.5 million to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The building is now slated to be demolished and replaced by a 173-unit apartment complex for low-income residents.

The preschool’s new location will be in a former YMCA building, at 3440 22nd Street S., in the Nauck neighborhood. The building is owned by Macedonia Baptist Church and the move is planned for September or as soon as the renovations are complete. As a backup option, the school has extended their lease in the church until December 2016, just prior to the planned demolition.

To offset the cost of the move, owners Beth McMichael and Paige Neal have launched a GoFundMe page with the goal of keeping tuition at current rates. The school usually enrolls between 60-65 kids, ages 3 months to 5 years, and tuition is between $348 and $418 per week depending on enrollment and teacher-student ratio.

The money gathered via GoFundMe will go towards building renovations and other improvements including building classrooms, making bathrooms child-accessible and the purchase of playground equipment. As of today, it has have raised over $3,000, with the ultimate goal set at $15,000.

Along with education in the classroom, the school participates in a number of activities intended to benefit the community, including diaper drives, Halloween candy donations and knitting scarves for Operation Gratitude, and planting seeds for the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

“We try to teach that giving is more of a lifestyle, not just something you do at Christmas or Thanksgiving,” said Neal.

After spending as much time as they did at the old location, school staff members are emotional about the change but optimistic about the new location.

“There’s a lot of us that have been here for a very long time, we can walk through the halls with our eyes closed. We love it here and we’ll always love this area,” said Neal. “This has been the place where we’ve done most of our serving of the community, we’re going to miss it. We’re also really excited to start something new and fresh.”

by ARLnow.com — June 7, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Roses

W-L Defeats Yorktown for Soccer Title — Washington-Lee captured the 6A North boys soccer title last night with a 3-0 win over Yorktown. Both teams are still in the state soccer tournament: “The Generals face Virginia 6A South runner-up Grassfield in a state semifinal on Friday at Robinson while Yorktown will play First Colonial.” [Washington Post]

SafeTrack and Traffic Latest — I-395 and I-66 were jammed this morning and some local roads were similarly backed up with traffic as Metro’s SafeTrack work on the Orange Line continues. An ARLnow poll yesterday showed that 56 percent of respondents had a slower than usual commute during the first weekday of WMATA’s maintenance surge. Meanwhile, Metro says its was “pretty much at the maximum of what we could move” through the track work zone on Monday. [DCist]

Higher D.C. Minimum Wage Could Benefit Arlington — A conservative group claims in a new report that 1 in 5 D.C. businesses would consider moving to Arlington if the District enacts a $15 minimum wage. There are reports that the D.C. Council is poised to approve a measure today that would raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020. [Washington Free Beacon, Washington Post]

Board to Consider Fire Station No. 8 Plan — The Arlington County Board is set to consider the recommendation of the Fire Station No. 8 task force that the station should remain on Lee Highway rather than moving to public land near Marymount University. The existing fire station would need to be renovated and a temporary fire station constructed for use during the renovation, raising costs compared to the original plan to move the station. [InsideNova]

County Home Building Records Digitized — Arlington County has digitized its printed home building and alteration records, known as “house cards.” The records are now available online, searchable by address. [Arlington County]

Church Celebrates Final Service Before Demolition — About 80 members of the 86-year-old Arlington Presbyterian Church gathered for the final Sunday service before the congregation leaves for a temporary worship space down the block and the church is demolished to make way for affordable housing. [Washington Post]

Photo by Jackie Friedman

by Jackie Friedman — June 3, 2016 at 10:55 am 0

Signs are up for a new pizza restaurant on Columbia Pike.

1000 Degrees, a quickly-expanding New Jersey-based pizza chain, will be opening “soon” on the ground floor of the Pike 3400 apartment complex. Interior construction appears to now be underway.

1000 Degrees has over 100 locations nationwide. The business is based around $7.99 personalized pizzas which are cooked in two minutes.

Customers can build their own personalized pizzas or choose from 15 neapolitan flavors including margherita and tuscan chicken. Breadsticks, wings and build your own salads are also offered.

The restaurant has yet to announce an official opening date. The Arlington location’s Facebook page was last updated on March 31.

by Adrian Cruz — June 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm 0

Columbia Pike outdoor movie (photo via CPRO)Starting Saturday, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) will begin its annual showing of outdoor movies.

From June 4 until September 17, movies will be shown every Saturday in Penrose Square and movies will also be shown on Thursdays from August 11 to September 15 at the Arlington Mill Community Center.

All movies will begin around 8 p.m. or when it gets dark. Seating is limited, with patrons encouraged to bring their own chairs. In the event of inclement weather, updates will be posted on the CPRO website along with its Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Penrose Square schedule is as follows.

  • June 4: Spongebob Squarepants: A Sponge Out of Water
  • June 11: The Martian
  • June 18: Belle
  • June 25: The Fault In Our Stars
  • July 2: Juno
  • July 9: Fantastic Four
  • July 16: The Book Thief
  • July 23: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • July 30: Moulin Rouge
  • August 6: Joy
  • August 13: All That Jazz
  • August 20: The Devil Wears Prada
  • August 27: The Princess Bride
  • September 3: Spotlight
  • September 10: That Sugar Film
  • September 17: Water

The Arlington Mill schedule is as follows.

  • August 11: Kung Fu Panda 3
  • August 18: Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
  • August 25: The Sandlot
  • September 1: The Peanuts Movie
  • September 8: Brooklyn
  • September 15: He Named Me Malala

by ARLnow.com — June 2, 2016 at 11:55 am 0

More frequent and convenient premium bus service may be in place for Columbia Pike by the summer of 2018.

That’s according to a county staff presentation on Tuesday. The presentation was made during a County Board work session on Arlington’s Transit Development Plan,

Arlington County plans to launch its “Premium Transit Network” in 2018, with new transit stations along the Pike and other amenities added in phases through 2021.

From a county press release:

A major feature of the plan is the creation of a Premium Transit Network connecting Columbia Pike, Pentagon City and Crystal City. The premium network would offer bus service that is fast, frequent, reliable and easy to use, with features including simplified bus routes, increased weekday and weekend service, and a new one-seat ride from Skyline to Pentagon City-Crystal City.

In addition to new service, this Premium Transit Network would include new transit stations along Columbia Pike that provide near-level boarding, longer platforms, real-time bus arrival information and off-vehicle fare collection.

Transit for Columbia Pike has been a hot topic for the past few years. There has been the controversy over the $1 million dollar bus stop on the Pike, the debate over the Pike streetcar project, and its cancellation in 2014. The extended planning process for a transit alternative to the streetcar, following its cancellation, has even become a campaign issue in the County Board primary.

(The County Board is scheduled to adopt its new county-wide Transit Development Plan, including the plan for upgraded Pike transit, in July.)

According to the Washington Post, the discussion on Tuesday also focused on the cost of the enhanced transit stations along the Pike.

“Originally budgeted at $12.2 million, the price for the stations has risen to $13.3 million,” the Post reported. “That increase didn’t sit well with board members who remember the public outcry three years ago when the county debuted a $1 million bus stop.”

With 23 stations, the per-station cost is now just north of $575,000.

Other features of the Transit Development Plan, to be in place by the summer of 2020, include:

  • “A new north-south connection between Rosslyn and Shirlington”
  • “More frequent service from Dunn Loring to Ballston, via Arlington Boulevard”
  • “More frequent service along Glebe Road”
  • “A new connection between Crystal City, National Airport and Shirlington”
  • “A new connection between Buckingham and the County’s Department of Human Services facility at Sequoia”

“Transit is critical to Arlington’s economic and environmental sustainability,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “As our population – and that of our entire region – continues to grow – it is essential that we continue to attract more people to transit by offering outstanding service and reliability. We believe this plan will significantly improve transit across the County.”

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