The Armed Forces Cycling Classic, a series of races around Clarendon and Crystal City, is set to take place the first weekend of June.
The Cycling Classic will be held Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5. The in-person event resumed last year following the 2020 cancellation due to the pandemic. (The 2020 event featured virtual rides instead.)
“Cyclists with USA Cycling licenses are invited to race in Arlington on both days,” the event website says. “Racing will feature the Nation’s top Pro men and women. Amateurs of all abilities will also be able to participate on Saturday morning’s Armed Forces Cycling Classic Challenge Ride!”
The Challenge Ride, the area’s largest non-competitive ride, will kick off the weekend on Saturday at 7 a.m., with a closed course route set to take riders through Crystal City, the Pentagon, Rosslyn and back. All who finish the ride will a receive a medal, according to the event’s website.
“Gold, silver and bronze medals are earned for those who can complete 9, 6 or 3 laps within the 3 hour time limit,” the website says. The additional laps will be required compared to previous years to accommodate the current road construction.
The courses will prompt a mix of road closures and lane closures, with speed restrictions.
For the 2021 cycling series, several roads in Crystal City and Clarendon were closed for most of the race days, including parts of Crystal Drive, Wilson Blvd, and Route 110, as well as N. Highland, N. Garfield and N. Fillmore streets.
The 24th Clarendon Cup’s 5-turn course for professional and amateur cyclists is set to begin on Wilson Blvd then leads cyclists to Washington Blvd, N. Highland Street, to Clarendon Blvd and Fillmore, according to a route map.
“The famous 1km course will test the athletes skill and stamina, as it carries a reputation as one of the most difficult criterium races in the U.S. due to technical demands of the course and the quality of the participants,” the website says.
The day of the Clarendon Cup starts at 8 a.m. with various amateur races, followed by the women’s professional and amateurs race at 10 a.m., according to the website.
Beginning at approximately 11:30 a.m., free races for children 9 and under are held before the last race of the day — the Clarendon Cup Pro/1 Men’s Invitational, which is set to start just after noon.
Registration for amateur riders is open online, according to the event’s website. Interested participants can join individually or as a member of a team.
The event — which is sponsored by brands like Boeing, Amazon and United Airlines — has partnered with the Clarendon-based Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting people who lost a loved one in the military. Participants in the challenges are encouraged to join as a fundraiser for the organization.
Crystal City’s Amazon Fresh is looking at a summer opening, a company spokesperson confirms.
Back in February, a mystery was solved when it was confirmed that an Amazon Fresh grocery store was moving into the large retail space at 1550 Crystal Drive. Now, the company says that residents likely won’t have to wait too long for Crystal City’s only grocery store to open.
“We haven’t confirmed an exact opening date yet but we can confirm it will open this summer,” a company spokesperson said in an email.
In addition to traditional checkouts, the store will also have what the company calls “Just Walk Out technology,” meaning customers can exit the store without physically going to any check-out.
“Amazon’s Just Walk Out system uses ceiling-mounted cameras and artificial intelligence to track shoppers’ selections as they walk around the store and automatically charges them when they exit,” as described by Grocery Dive.
The new store will also have anti-graffiti window film, according to building permits.
Technically, Crystal City has been grocery-store-less for close to two decades, though there’s a Harris Teeter and Amazon-owned Whole Foods in Pentagon City, as well as another Harris Teeter in the Potomac Yard area of Arlington.
This will be the first Amazon Fresh in Arlington, but another location is planned less than two miles away, in the Potomac Yard shopping center in Alexandria.
There could also be a second Arlington Amazon Fresh, rumors suggest.
The Fillmore Garden Shopping Centers on Columbia Pike is set to be demolished in the coming months to make way for “The Elliott.” That new development will have 50,000 square feet of ground floor retail, a revamped CVS, and a grocery store. There is some suggestion that this grocery store will also be an Amazon Fresh.
So far, though, company officials are remaining mum.
“We don’t comment on our future store roadmap,” said the spokesperson.
Welcome to Our Summer Interns — Two interns have joined ARLnow for the summer. Mavis Chan of the University of Missouri will focus on local news reporting while Pia Kramer, graduate of Virginia Tech and Arlington’s Washington-Liberty High School, will focus on audience engagement.
Passengers Spend Hours on Planes at DCA — “Thais Austin wanted to get home to the District after a weekend visit with family in Jacksonville, Fla. Instead, she said, she and other passengers were stuck on the Reagan National Airport taxiway for three hours Sunday night, unable to exit their plane… Hundreds of passengers on at least a half-dozen other flights reported similar delays after thunderstorms downed trees, flooded roads and left thousands without power in the Washington region.” [Washington Post]
Armed Robbery in Crystal City — “At approximately 10:02 p.m. on May 23, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined the three victims were walking on the sidewalk when they were approached from behind by the unknown suspects. Suspect One brandished a firearm and demanded the victim’s property, including their clothing. During the incident, Suspect One struck the victims with the firearm, causing injury. The suspects then fled into a parking garage with the stolen property which included cash, clothing and electronics.” [ACPD]
Signature Season Salutes Sondheim — “Signature Theatre announces its 33rd season today, which highlights the organization’s long-time relationship with the legendary Stephen Sondheim. Signature has produced 31 Sondheim productions in its 32 season history – more than any other theater in North America. The 33rd season will feature three more.” [Signature Theatre]
Michigan Election Fraud Has Arlington Link — A man at the center of a scandal over allegedly fraudulent petition signatures in the Michigan governor’s race was previously convicted of a similar crime in Arlington following an unsuccessful attempt to change the county’s form of government. [TPM]
Student Killed in Fight Near Fairlington — “A teenager from Alexandria City High School was killed during a ‘large fight’ at the Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s, police say. According to scanner traffic, the incident started around 12:21 p.m. with a call about a brawl happening at the McDonald’s at 3646 King Street. Police said one person was stabbed and critically injured, then pronounced dead at the hospital.” [ALXnow]
It’s Wednesday — Overcast throughout the day. High of 65 and low of 57. Sunrise at 5:50 am and sunset at 8:24 pm. [Weather.gov]
Arlington is in the midst of a rash of vehicle-related crimes.
In just the past three weeks or so, 28 cars have been stolen and 35 airbags have been stolen, according to the Arlington County Police Department. That’s in addition to numerous break-ins and other auto crimes during that same time period.
Earlier this month, we reported on a series of 20 airbag thefts near Gunston Middle School, all involving Hondas. Thieves — unclear whether it’s the same thief or thieves — struck again early Wednesday.
Nearly a dozen Honda vehicles had airbags stolen from the 2000 blocks of Columbia Pike and S. Eads Street, in the Crystal City area. A tipster tells us the thefts on the Pike happened at the Dorchester Towers apartment parking lot.
“I just went around and every single Honda Civic has their windows broken and airbags stolen,” the tipster said.
More from today’s ACPD crime report:
LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2022-05180016, 2000 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 1:28 a.m. on May 18, police were dispatched to the report of a tampering in progress. Upon arrival, officers located six vehicles that had windows smashed and airbags stolen. All vehicles involved were Honda models. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2022-05180045, 2000 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 6:00 a.m. on May 18, police were dispatched to a report of a late larceny from auto. Upon arrival, officers located five vehicles that had windows smashed and airbags stolen. All vehicles involved were Honda models. This investigation is ongoing.
“Since April 27, there have been 35 individual airbags reported stolen,” police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.
The department, meanwhile, revealed that at least 28 vehicles have been stolen in May. Most had keys or key fobs inside when they were taken.
“Police Warn Against Leaving Keys Inside Vehicles,” was the headline of the press release issued by the department this morning.
More from ACPD, below.
Overflowing trash cans are becoming a more common sight in Pentagon City and Crystal City, but the county is pledging to clean up the mess.
In recent days, several local residents posted photos on social media of neighborhood trash cans and recycling bins filled beyond the brim with soda cans, food wrappers, pizza boxes, coffee cups, and doggie bags. The problem, as noted, seemed to happen more on weekends.
County officials tell ARLnow that increased seasonal tourism and more weekend events are to blame, as both in the region are ramping back up after 2+ years of pandemic-related drop-offs.
“We are seeing a definite increase in use of public trash cans in parts of Arlington like Pentagon City, frequented by a lot of folks from out-of-town,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) spokesperson Peter Golkin tells ARLnow. “After the first two years of the pandemic, there’s a noticeable rise in tourism and this is the traditional high point for any year thanks to school trips. When a group pulls up, it’s natural to want to get rid of junk like food wrappers and soda cans, especially on big buses that drivers have to keep clean.”
Golkin says that there are more workers back in offices as well, grabbing lunch and coffee while disposing of the remains in public trash cans. Plus, the increasing number of events both in Arlington and in D.C. has resulted in more “water bottles and wrappers naturally [making] their way beyond the event site.”
There’s also the notion of not wanting to walk the extra block to find a less-filled trash can.
“The messy problem comes when a trash or recycling can is full and the urge is to just keep piling rather than look for something with room maybe a block or two down the street,” he says.
To help solve the issue, Golkin says that DES is shifting schedules to include specific weekend checks at trouble trash spots in addition to the regular weekday rounds. However, “tight staffing” does not make it “easy to re-allocate limited resources like staff time.”
Despite requests from some residents, there’s no current plan to add more trash and recycling receptacles to those areas most impacted.
“The Solid Waste Bureau will see if the increased servicing takes care of the issue or if additional steps are necessary,” Golkin notes.
Not all of the trash cans in those neighborhoods are serviced by the county, however.
DES monitors and manages four pairs of trash and recycling receptacles on each side of S. Hayes Street near the Pentagon City mall. But there are also a number of trash cans in the area that belong to privately-owned buildings and are required to be serviced by those property owners.
Additionally, another county department — the Department of Parks and Recreation — handles the waste around Virginia Highlands Park, which is up a few blocks from the mall on S. Hayes Street.
As County Board chair Katie Cristol noted on Twitter, residents can request service or report problems with trash or any other street issue 24/7 through the county’s “Report A Problem” portal. More broadly, the county is currently updating its nearly-two-decade-old solid waste management plan and is asking for public input.
Golkin is optimistic that shifting more service to the weekends will help alleviate the trash problem in Pentagon City and Crystal City. But he does have a simple request.
“If a receptacle is already full, try to hold on [to trash] until there’s a nearby can with room.”
Demolition of the former Jaleo restaurant building in Crystal City began this week, as the site plan review process for a redevelopment on the block kicked off earlier this month.
The proposal by JBG Smith is making its way through the county approval process to turn the 2250 Crystal Drive and 223 23rd Street S. buildings into two apartment towers with ground floor retail and an underground parking garage.
The two 30-story apartment towers replacing the former restaurant space and the aging 11-story “Crystal Plaza 5” office building would include:
- A “West Tower” at 223 23rd Street S. that would be 309 feet tall and have 613 dwelling units, 4,379 square feet of retail and 184 parking spaces
- An “East Tower” at 2250 Crystal Drive that would be 304 feet tall, and have 827 dwelling units, 13,059 square feet of retail and 249 total parking spaces
An underground garage structure would serve both buildings, averaging 0.3 spaces per unit, and connect to the existing parking structure on the block, county planner Michael Cullen said in a presentation earlier this month.
For years Jaleo has fed Crystal City. Now the construction dinosaurs get to eat pic.twitter.com/6H49NiFcDN
— Mikala Jamison (@notjameson) May 17, 2022
JBG Smith also proposes moving the plaza and pedestrian access to a collection of underground shops and corridors to the northwest corner of the east tower.
Once approved and constructed, the buildings would make the block, called “Block M” in the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan, 80% residential. Most of the buildings on Block M are owned by JBG Smith.
There was one adjustment in JBG’s most recent presentation to the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC).
Along the east-west connection, JBG Smith added a park option based on community feedback at the Long Range Planning Committee, said Madhvi Shukla with JBG Smith. In both options, the whole east-west connection, which links Crystal Drive and another path to 23rd Street S., would be publicly accessible.
“The section that isn’t chosen for the park would have a public access easement to ensure whichever park space is chosen has public access to both Crystal Drive and to the underground entry,” she said.
Three park spaces are incorporated in the plan, which ultimately will total 26,000 square feet, but one of the spaces will be phased into its final size over time, Shukla said.
The 13,000-square-foot park envisioned in the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan would not be fully finished unless JBG Smith redevelops the Crystal Plaza 6 apartments at 2221 S. Clark Street. In the interim, the park will total about 8,000 square feet on the site’s southwest corner, and an alley between the two towers will be a dead end.
The north-south connection between 23rd Street and the east-west connection would be designed to prioritize pedestrians, with 8 and 9-foot sidewalks, elevated planters for protection and string lights to signal it’s a pedestrian-first zone, Shukla said.
On 23rd Street, there will be protected bike lanes going in both directions, Shukla said, as well as a protected bike lane on Crystal Drive. While the 23rd Street realignment will narrow the roadway, it will have the same number of lanes without a median.
On June 13 and July 21, there will be virtual SPRC meetings to discuss the project. Planning Commission meetings and a County Board vote are expected this fall.
Decal Fee Officially Dead — “Arlington County Board members on May 14 followed through on a promise made last month and eliminated the ‘decal fee’ that has been imposed for decades as part of residents’ car-tax bills. And while the action will save residents a collective $6 million this year, it’s something of a rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul situation, as higher assessments on used vehicles in these inflationary times likely will eat up all the savings for some vehicle owners.” [Sun Gazette]
Wild Rosslyn Press Conference in the Works — “WHAT: Jack Burkman to give press conference from wheelchair, after losing more than 65 ibs, and all his hair. WHEN: Monday May 23, 2022 High Noon. WHERE… N Colonial Terrace, Arlington VA 22209.” [Twitter]
Free Fitness Class Tonight — “Join HUSTLE at Long Bridge Park in National Landing for a weekly sweaty and fun outdoor HIIT class. Arlington, VA has been named one of the fittest cities in the country, so get your heart pumping at an outdoor HIIT class with local fitness instructors.” [Twitter, National Landing BID]
Historical Marker for Eden Center — “The Virginia Historical Commission (VHC) has recognized Vietnamese Immigrants in Northern Virginia as a significant part of Virginia history by awarding it an Official Virginia Historical Marker… A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on May 24, 2022 at Eden Center at 3:30PM.” [City of Falls Church]
It’s Wednesday — Sunny during the day, with rain possible at night. High of 74 and low of 54. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]
A new cafe and lounge is hoping to open in Crystal City within the next couple of months, the owner tells ARLnow.
Crush Cafe at 546 23rd Street S. comes from Yoseph Abegaz, who owns Flirt Lounge next door. It’s filling a space that was once occupied by a dry cleaners and shoe repair shop. The location was first rented last June and a building permit to alter the interior was first applied for in September.
The new cafe is set to serve coffee, Abegaz tells ARLnow, as well as beer, wine, and mixed alcoholic beverages.
Abegaz described the new cafe as essentially an “expansion” of Flirt Lounge, a hookah bar and lounge that opened in 2016. He declined to give an exact timeframe about when his newest venture may open, only that they are still in the midst of licensing and permits.
It will be at least a “couple of months” before Crush Cafe can open, Abegaz said.
That strip of 23rd Street S. is known as “restaurant row.” With Amazon HQ2 moving in down the road and extensive development happening in the neighborhood, there remains some questions of the aging, low-slung retail strip’s long term viability.
Nonetheless, much like Crush Cafe, new eateries continue to set their sights there.
Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique just started serving bubbly earlier this month at the corner of 23rd Street S. and Fern Street. A halal restaurant franchise is hoping to open a new concept by the end of the year on S. Eads Street, just around the corner from Crush Cafe’s new home. A half block down, a Korean rice dog eatery was planning for an early 2022 opening but that appears to be delayed, with the restaurant’s website still not accepting orders.
Ground was officially broken yesterday morning on the first phase of the $29 million extension of the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway.
At a brief ceremony on Monday (May 9) near the site of a future Crystal City bus station, at the intersection of 12th Street S. and Long Bridge Drive, local officials gathered for remarks and photos with golden shovels to christen the first phase of the long-planned transit project.
“The transit way extension is really important because it is going to support the increase in regional travel demand in Pentagon City, Crystal City, and our partners in Potomac Yard,” said County Board Chair Katie Cristol during the ceremony. “As they continue to boom with the arrival of new businesses.”
Just last week, aerospace company Boeing announced it was moving its corporate headquarters to its existing Crystal City office — a short distance from where the groundbreaking was taking place.
The planned Pentagon City extension will add just over a mile to the 4.5-mile rapid bus transit corridor, eventually to connecting Amazon HQ2 and the Pentagon City Metro station. The Transitway will include center-running transit-only lanes cutting through 12th Street.
The first phase is expected to take about a year to finish, with an estimated April 2023 completion date. The work over the next 12 months will include the installation of two new transit stations at Crystal Drive and 15th Street S. and at 12th Street S. and Long Bridge Drive.
Locals will also see streetscape improvements along 12th Street S. between S. Eads Street and S. Clark Street, as well as the intersection of 12th Street S. and Crystal Drive. Some existing street parking along the route will become part of the dedicated bus lane.
Surveying work started last month with actual construction expected to start in June, a county spokesperson told ARLnow. Street parking will be limited in some of those areas when construction begins, but residents will be notified prior.
The Transitway is dedicated infrastructure for the Metroway rapid bus transit line. It first debuted in 2014 and was hailed for being the first of its kind in the region. While it has achieved some of its initial goals, a lack of ridership, planned features not yet implemented, and confused motorists sometimes driving the wrong way in bus-only lanes have been ongoing challenges.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) is contributing most of the funds needed for the extension, including $19 million to the first phase alone.
“I believe in the scope and I believe in the extension,” said Randall, who is also the Loudoun County Board Chair. “We know that people are going to keep moving to Northern Virginia… for jobs, for schools, for so many reasons. We need these transit options because people are coming here. I don’t think the need is diminished at all.”
Boeing’s increased presence in the neighborhood was noted several times in the ceremony as further proof that this extension is needed.
While it may not result in many new jobs, Cristol said the corporate giant’s decision shows that the county’s efforts in becoming more business-friendly are working.
“Arlington has spent a lot of time during my tenure on the [County] Board to reoriented ourselves to be more business friendly, to be more creative, to be more flexible, and to build better relationships with our commercial tenants. So, it feels like validation,” she told ARLnow.
Firefighters Rescue Cat from Tree — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “We are so grateful for @ArlingtonVaFD! Yesterday, Charlie the cat snuck out of his house and got spooked, climbing 2.5 stories up a nearby tree on a very stormy day. ACFD came to the rescue and brought Charlie back down to the ground and to safety.” [Twitter]
Suspicious Package at Pentagon Metro — From Pentagon police: “At 9:46am, @PFPAOfficial was alerted to a suspicious package at the Pentagon Metro Visitors Screening Center. Explosive Ordnance Detection Unit is… investigating. Bus and rail service is bypassing the Pentagon. Personnel are asked to please avoid the area. […] At 1251 @PFPAOfficial gave the all clear. Bus and rail service have resumed. The incident is currently under investigation.” [Twitter]
New Apartment Building Proposed in Crystal City — “Add another new mixed-used building to the growing National Landing pipeline. An affiliate of Dweck Properties filed plans this week with Arlington county for two new buildings that would become a part of the Crystal Towers development at 1600 South Eads Street.” [UrbanTurf]
Boeing Bringing Few Jobs — “Paul Lewis, a Boeing spokesman, said the company employs 400 people in the Washington area and has space to add more, but ‘there are no immediate plans to expand the facility here in Arlington.’ The company also won’t reduce its roughly 400 employees at Boeing’s outgoing headquarters in Chicago. Nonetheless, Lewis said in an email the move to Virginia was important for the company: ‘It’s significant in that this will be the base of operations for the CEO and CFO.'” [Washington Post]
More Local Reaction to Boeing HQ — “From the Greater Washington Board of Trade: “Congrats to @NationalLanding
. Our region provides such a compelling strategic advantage to businesses that want to relocate here because of its’ proximity to the government, business, non-profits and academia. It’s a win for everyone in our region!” [Twitter, LinkedIn]
Local Cemetery Getting Historic Marker — “It became a county historic landmark last year, and soon the Mount Salvation Baptist Church cemetery will have a marker denoting its status… The cemetery, located adjacent to the church in the historically African-American North Arlington community of Halls Hill/High View Park, is the final resting spot of at least 89 people. Burials at the cemetery were recorded from 1916 (although some likely occurred a decade or two earlier) to 1974.” [Sun Gazette]
Reminder: West Glebe Road Bridge Closed to Cars — “The West Glebe Road bridge over Four Mile Run will be completely closed to vehicles [on Monday, May 9], and will remain closed for nearly a year.” [ARLnow]
It’s Monday — Mostly sunny, with a northeast wind around 11 mph and gusts as high as 18 mph. High of 64 and low of 44. Sunrise at 6:03 am and sunset at 8:10 pm. [Weather.gov]
Dozens of people, including a County Board member, are expected to rappel down the side of a tall building in Crystal City this week.
More than 70 volunteers associated with the non-profit New Hope Housing will be rappelling down the 14-story Hilton Crystal City at 2399 Richmond Highway on Thursday and Friday to raise funds and awareness for the organization.
That includes Arlington County Board member Matt de Ferranti, who is expected to rappel down on Thursday night at the VIP reception.
The public will be welcome to watch “14 Stories of New Hope” on Friday, though, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the “Landing Zone,” an all-day festival with food, music, and booths.
If you are feeling the urge to safely rappel down a 140-foot-tall building, there could be an opportunity.
“All are welcome to attend and there may be opportunities for people to walk up and rappel,” says a press release.
Those that are rappelling will be doing it safely with the help of “Over the Edge,” a company that helps non-profits with events of this nature.
This isn’t the first time the company has worked with a local organization for this type of event. Back in 2012, the Special Olympics of Virginia held a similar event when folks rappelled down the Hilton Crystal City to raise funds.
First established in 1977, New Hope Housing is a non-profit with a mission of ending of homelessness in Northern Virginia. It operates a number of facilities and shelters in the region, including a 44-bed shelter on Columbia Pike that it runs in partnership with the county and a facility in Bailey’s Crossroads. The organization also runs shelters in the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County.
Those rappelling down the side of the hotel come from a variety of backgrounds, New Hope’s Director of Development Jan-Michael Sacharko tells ARLnow.
Some are newbies, some are ex-military, and at least one is a Hollywood producer. Greg Garcia, Northern Virginia native and the creator of television shows including “My Name is Earl,” is among the expected participants.
My wife is going to push me off of a building.https://t.co/UTKwZCQLdw
— Greg Garcia (@whoisgreggarcia) April 4, 2022
As of last week, the event has raised over $200,000 for New Hope Housing programs, according to Sacharko.