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Morning Notes

Equinox Gym Coming to Clarendon — “Clarendon is getting an Equinox health club — just the third standalone location of the gym in the D.C. area. The high-end fitness facility will be part of the Market Common development in the Arlington neighborhood, according to two real estate broker sources familiar with the deal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Seniors Have Millennial Transit Traits — “Arlington seniors are fairly tech savvy. They are generally comfortable with transportation tasks such as searching options online to using apps on their smartphones. They generally have a young frame of mind and are open to considering new ways of doing things (including trying various modes of transportation) and the latest technology.” [Mobility Lab]

History of Local Newspapers — Arlington, Alexandria and D.C. have a rich history of local newspapers, with one currently-published paper tracing its roots back to 1800. [Falls Church News-Press]

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Arlington Diner Shuttered After 32 Years

A long-time diner closed its doors today after 32 years in business.

Arlington Diner, at 2921 S. Glebe Road in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, will now no longer serve its all-day breakfast — nor lunch or dinner. On Thursday morning, workers were in the building removing various appliances and other fixtures and fittings.

A sign on the door of the eatery announced the closure.

To our beloved customers,

The crew of Arlington Diner wants to thank you for 32 years of friendship and great memories.

We regret to inform you that we will be closing our doors on May 25, 2017.

We will miss you but we will remember you fondly.

It has been a pleasure serving you! Thank you very much.

In an interview with the Arlington Connection earlier this year, owner Louie Alpos said he was not able to negotiate a financially feasible lease renewal with his landlord.

The diner, a fixture of a shopping plaza that also includes a Domino’s Pizza and a Giant grocery store, was open every day except Christmas Day.

Hat tips to Thomas N. and Christina R.

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Morning Notes

Arlington sign inside a Ballston office building

Low House Rental Profits in Arlington — Of 448 U.S. counties with a population over 100,000, Arlington County has the lowest annual gross yield on rentals of single family homes. Those renting their homes can expect a low return on their investment: only 3.3 percent in Arlington. [RealtyTrac]

Women of Vision Nominations Begin — The Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women is accepting nominations for its 2016 Women of Vision Awards. The nomination deadline is April 15. [ARLnow]

Mrs. Arlington Spotlights Child Sex Abuse — Former TV anchor and current Capitol Hill comms director Jen “Elizabeth” Peace is using her title as the reigning Mrs. Arlington to bring attention to the issue of child sexual abuse. Peace will compete for the title of Mrs. Virginia the weekend of April 22. [Arlington Connection]

Historical Society’s Washington Walk — The Arlington Historical Society will be hosting a “Washington Forest History Walk” next weekend. The free event will retrace the footsteps of George Washington as he surveyed his land in what is now Arlington. [InsideNova]

Creeping Easter Bunny on Newspaper Cover — This week’s cover of the Arlington Connection newspaper features an Easter bunny that’s trying to sneak up on kids in the woods, with the headline “Easter Surprise.” Is this the “creepiest Easter bunny ever,” as one emailer suggested? [Arlington Connection]

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Mary Hynes Pens Op-Ed Supporting Streetcars

A streetcar line in Crystal City is essential for keeping the area from becoming clogged with traffic as the population and workforce grows over the next 30 years, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in an opinion piece published in the Arlington Connection on Wednesday.

Making a case for the large investment required to build a streetcar system, Hynes argued that the streetcar is part of Arlington’s “smart growth” philosophy.

“Traffic on many major Arlington streets is less than it was in 1970, even though our population has doubled in that time,” Hynes wrote. “The secret sauce is Arlington’s commitment to ‘smart growth’ planning — our commitment to transit-oriented development that keeps density along our transit corridors, while preserving neighborhoods. In fact, more than half of Arlington’s real property values are on just 11 percent of our land — our Metrorail corridors. It is a philosophy that is the backbone to Arlington’s success, the envy of many in the region and the nation.”

Hynes said that by 2040, Crystal City and Pentagon City are collectively expected to add 8,500 residents to the existing population of 17,400. Through the Crystal City Sector Plan, Hynes also expects the neighborhoods to add 35,500 jobs during that time.

That growth doesn’t necessarily have to result in additional traffic headaches, but it will if investments are not made in transit, according to Hynes.

“The modern streetcar for Crystal City — a line that will initially connect Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — is an important first step,” Hynes wrote.

“Eventually, this ‘Route 1’ line will meet up in Pentagon City with the planned streetcar line on Columbia Pike, providing riders with a one-seat option to travel from Potomac Yard to the Skyline area in our partner jurisdiction, Fairfax County,” Hynes continued. “Without these strategic investments, our streets could become clogged with traffic, our quality of life could decline, and our robust economy could be at risk — the exact opposite of what we’ve achieved since the 1960s and what we know is possible when a community plans carefully.”

Hynes’ op-ed comes at a time when the county is seeking public comment on the planned Columbia Pike streetcar line. It also comes as Arlington and Alexandria engage in a mini war of words over federal funding for the potential Alexandria portion of the Route 1 streetcar line.

“We hope [the streetcar] may even stretch further south into Alexandria one day,” Hynes wrote.

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Arlington Responds to Route 1 Transit Controversy

A report that Arlington backed out of an agreement with Alexandria to conduct an environmental assessment for the Route 1 transit corridor project is incorrect, according to a county government spokeswoman.

The two jurisdictions have been cooperating on a transit project that will bring bus rapid transit and, ultimately, a streetcar to the Route 1 corridor of Crystal City and Potomac Yard. But today Connection Newspapers reported that Alexandria officials were upset because Arlington supposedly withdrew from an agreement to pay $2.4 million of the $3.4 million cost of an environmental analysis.

In reality, says Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius, the environmental analysis is currently underway and Arlington County is paying its $1.78 million share of the $3.56 million cost. The Arlington county manager and the Alexandria city manager signed an agreement to split the cost of the analysis in 2010, she said.

At issue, according to Curtius, is an “Alternatives Analysis” that was optional under the agreement.

“Arlington recently informed Alexandria that we do not intend to do an Alternatives Analysis,” Curtius told ARLnow.com. “Such an analysis is required in order to apply for federal small/new starts funding. Arlington does not intend to apply for such funding for Route 1. We are continuing to work with Alexandria on how to proceed in a way that enables Alexandria to apply for federal funding for its part of the transit project, should it choose to do so.”

In an apparent effort to dispute the report about rising tensions between the two jurisdictions, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes and Alexandria Mayor William Euille have issued a joint statement regarding their transit partnership.

Arlington County and the City of Alexandria have been transit partners for more than 35 years. Together, we’ve ensured safe, efficient transit options for hundreds of thousands of people … every day.

Throughout our region’s history, federal and state transportation funding has been the backbone of supporting transit projects. Unfortunately, that landscape has changed dramatically in just the last few years, greatly impacting local transit planning across the country. All of us have to reassess transportation projects, determine how we can fund them, and make some tough strategic decisions.

The City of Alexandria has decided to focus its attention and its funding on the planned infill Metrorail station; this investment will benefit not only the City, but the entire region.

Arlington needs a streetcar system in Crystal City to support development there — and has funding available through a special tax district.

We are both committed to providing more transit options for people who live and work in the Route 1 corridor. Our strategies are not exactly the same at this point in time. We look forward to working together collaboratively as we continue to move people efficiently through our communities and the region.

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Morning Poll: The Arlington Connection

You may see it in newspaper boxes near Metro stations. Or you may see it next to the stack of freebie On Tap magazines at your favorite bar. Or you may not even know it exists.

The weekly Arlington Connection newspaper is the light, feature-y yin to the yang of its more newsy competitor, the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper. Normally a bit thin during other times of the year, the Arlington Connection — published by the local Connection Newspapers chain — beefed up its coverage this summer thanks to an influx of interns.

The culmination of the summer came this week with the publication of the paper’s annual “Insiders Edition,” which seeks to give people who just moved to the area a crash course in everything Arlington. Given that the Arlington Connection has a barely-functional web site, however — the top “News” story is a one-sentence article from March — we were wondering how many people actually read it, either in print or online.

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Morning Notes

Noise Monitoring at DCA — A company has been hired to measure noise levels around Reagan National Airport. The information gathered will be used to figure out “ways to control or reduce noise pollution.” [NBC Washington]

Bus Stop Decorated — A local ART bus stop has been “yarn bombed.” [Facebook]

Local Newspaper CEO Pleads Guilty — The president and CEO of Connection Newspapers, which publishes the Arlington Connection weekly, has pleaded guilty to failing to pay more than $940,000 in federal payroll taxes. [Washington Examiner]

Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White

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Small Shirlington Magazine Forced to Change Name

Adrian Urias’ biggest mistake probably was sending an email to promote his small monthly magazine, “Your Shirlington Connection,” to the offices of Alexandria-based Connection Newspapers, publishers of the Arlington Connection. To be fair, Urias, who has lived in Shirlington for two and a half years, to this day has never seen a printed copy of the newspaper being distributed in the neighborhood.

“I personally have never seen one,” said Urias, who launched Your Shirlington Connection six months ago. Alas, Urias says he eventually received a note back from Connection Newspapers, asserting the company’s legal right to exclusively use the “Connection” name in Virginia.

“I thought I did enough to find out it was okay,” Urias said. “When I registered our company name in [Virgina], the name wasn’t flagged as a potential issue.”

Urias quickly agreed to change the name, and this past weekend asked readers to suggest a new name. He’s also looking for someone to come up with a new logo, once the new name is chosen. He has not sought the advice of a lawyer.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Urias said, but “they have been very understanding and cooperative.”

The soon-to-be-renamed magazine, which Urias says he started to build a greater sense of community in Shirlington, claims a circulation of 1,750.

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