Flooding Closes Roads, Prompts Warning — Updated at 8:45 a.m. — Many Arlington residents may be bleary-eyed this morning after being woken up twice overnight: once by thunder, and another time by a Flash Flood Warning that sounded on many phones. Heavy rain caused flooding that prompted the temporary closure of I-66 in Arlington and the HOV lanes of I-395 just before the 14th Street Bridge. A Flood Warning remains in effect until 11:45 a.m. as additional rain is expected this morning. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Crystal City ‘Makes Parking Garages Cool Again’ — Some national press for the Crosshairs Garage Races in Crystal City: “Unbeknownst to the few at street level, there’s a crowd gathering in a parking garage below an unremarkable office building. Inside, giant speakers blast rock music. Cow bells ring. There’s whooping and hollering, there’s pie and beer–and there are bikes everywhere.” [Citylab]
County Employee Recognized for Preventing Abuse — “Cheryl Fuentes, who has been working in the Arlington County government for more than a quarter-century changing the lives of parents and children, was honored as Arlington’s 2018 ‘Ally in Prevention’ by Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia.” [InsideNova]
APS Finalists for WaPo Awards — Hoffman-Boston principal Kimberley Graves and Thomas Jefferson Middle School teacher Timothy Wyatt Cotman, Jr. are among the finalists for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year awards. [Washington Post]
ACPD to Hold Award Ceremony — “The Arlington County Police Department will hold its annual Principles of Government Service Awards (PGSA) Ceremony on Monday, May 7, 2018, at Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, at 7 p.m. The ceremony recognizes the achievements of police personnel in service to the community and highlights the Department’s dedicated pledge of duty, honor and commitment.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Kathleen Branch
Fund Bets on Amazon HQ2 Coming to Crystal City — A New York-based asset manager is making a $10 million bet that Crystal City will be the location chosen for Amazon’s HQ2. The company cited a high concentration of millennials and housing in the area, as well as proximity to Metro stations, commuter rail and Reagan National Airport. [Bloomberg, ZeroHedge]
Chamber Wants Extended Parking Meter Hours Paused — “Leadership of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce wants the county government to hit the brakes on a proposal to increase parking-meter fees and extend the hours meters must be fed. In a letter to County Board Chairman Katie Cristol, Arlington Chamber president Kate Bates said the government failed to do proper outreach before proposing the alterations to existing policy.” [InsideNova]
Grumbles About Ballston Construction — “Like many who venture to the kingdom of Ballston, I am impatient for the never-ending renovations to be over. Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, was happy to promise me that the rewards for us patrons of Arlington’s most central community will unfold in September–with staggered openings continuing through May 2019.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Average Single-Family Home Sale: $1 Million — The average sale price of a single-family home in Arlington in March was $1,066,368, up 6.9 percent from a year prior. [InsideNova]
Ribbon Cutting for Abingdon Renovations — A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held at 9:30 this morning to celebrate the recently-completed addition and renovations at Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington. [Twitter]
Photo by Anna Merod
Cafe Italia has been evicted from its Crystal City location, according to notices affixed to the restaurant’s front door and signed by an Arlington County deputy sheriff.
The restaurant opened in 1976, according to its Facebook page.
Cafe Italia, which was located at 519 23rd Street S., served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Out of 185 Yelp reviews, it averaged about three out of five stars.
The restaurant’s website appears to have been deactivated. A call to the listed phone number went straight to voicemail.
Arlington Woman Killed in Freak Accident — Anne Viviani, an Arlington resident and world class triathlete, was killed when the car she was a passenger in struck a deer on I-85 in South Carolina Monday morning. Viviani, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene. [Greenville News]
Arlington Man Killed in Fiery Crash — A 32-year-old Arlington man, Antwuan Barnes, was killed early Sunday in Martinsburg, W. Va. Police say the driver of a car in which he was passenger tried to take a turn too fast and slid into a tree, shearing the vehicle in two and causing it to burst into flames. [Martinsburg Journal, MetroNews]
Fairlington Condo Association Rolls Out Trash Cans — The Fairlington Villages condo association has rolled out dozens of large black trash bins for residents to deposit their garbage. The move follows a series of raccoon attacks in north Fairlington and is intended to discourage the nocturnal critters from taking up residence. Following the roll out, the association suspended its raccoon trapping campaign. [Fairlington Villages]
Crystal City Building Wraps, Explained — Washington Post columnist John Kelly has an explanation for why property owner JBG Smith commissioned a series of four colorful building wraps to spruce up some of its older office buildings in Crystal City. Not mentioned in the article: that the neighborhood is a top contender for Amazon’s HQ2. [Washington Post]
Thousands Ticketed for Driving Slow in Left Lane — “Thousands of people have been fined since Virginia implemented a law setting penalties for driving too slowly in the left lane of a highway… from July 1, 2017, through April 3, more than 16,000 people were cited under various portions of the law.” [NBC Washington]
Late Night Hot Pot — Chinese hot pot restaurant Mala Tang has extended its hours until 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, according to a press release.
ACFD Battles Kitchen Fire — Arlington County firefighters last night extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of N. Calvert Street, just north of Lee Highway and east of Spout Run. No injuries were reported. [Twitter, Twitter]
Taylor P.E. Teacher Pleads to Drug Charge — A second former P.E. teacher at Taylor Elementary School has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a drug bust in December. Michael Diaddigo, 28, will reportedly “serve 1 of a 12-months jail sentence if he follows probation, which includes a $500 fine and substance abuse treatment.” [Twitter]
Central Place Bus Tunnel Still Closed — “A bus tunnel in Rosslyn critical to many commuters — which Metro said more than a year ago would open in days — remains closed due to outstanding construction concerns, WTOP has learned.” [WTOP]
Lanes Closures in Crystal City Tonight — The lanes of certain roads around Crystal City will be closed for about two hours tonight to accommodate the first of the annual Crystal City 5K Friday races. [Arlington County]
Residential Parking Permit Applications — “It is now time to renew your Residential Permit Parking Program permits and passes for the new program fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. Remember enforcement continues throughout the year, so new passes/permits must be displayed by July 1st, 2018.” [Arlington County]
Actor Says No to WJLA Interview — Amy Schumer has turned down an interview with Arlington-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) because it is owned by Sinclair, the broadcast station owner under fire for making its anchors read a script denouncing “biased and false news” from other outlets. [Buzzfeed]
At least two Arlington farmers markets — in Crystal City and Ballston — are kicking off for the season this week.
In Crystal City, the farmers market at 1900 Crystal Drive will kick off tomorrow (April 3). The market, open from 3-7 p.m. every Tuesday, will have over 20 regional farmers, producers, and vendors.
Shoppers can also pick up “conventional and certified organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and pastured poultry and eggs, sweet and savory baked goods, handmade pastas, honey, jams, and jellies, hot sauces and pickles, and delicious prepared foods,” according to FRESHFARM, the nonprofit market organizer behind both Crystal City and Ballston markets.
The farmers market at Ballston’s Welburn Square is set to open on Thursday (April 5). Among other goods, shoppers can find “ice cream, sweet and savory baked goods, Virginia-made wines, cold-pressed juices, handmade soaps and lotions, wood-fired pizza, [and] hot pressed sandwiches” between 3-7 p.m. every Thursday.
On the first Thursday of each month, the Ballston market will host a beer and wine garden, music, and giveaways.
Both the Crystal City and Ballston farmers markets accept SNAP and WIC program benefits and offer matching dollars for what is spent through those programs.
The farmers market outside Clarendon’s Metro station is opening April 11, with listed hours of 3-7 p.m., according to Clarendon Alliance director Matt Hussman.
Other farmers markets in the county, with listed hours, include:
- Fairlington Farmers Market (Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., starting May 6)
- Marymount University’s farmers market (Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., starting May 26)
- Westover Farmers Market (Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in winter, 8 a.m.-noon from May to November)
- Community Foodworks farmers market in Courthouse (Saturdays year-round, current hours: 8 a.m.-noon)
- Columbia Pike farmers market (Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)
- Arlington Mill farmers market (Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., starting May 5)
In addition, a new farmers market has been proposed for Barrett Elementary School.
Photos via Arlington County
Cyclists can now register for the Armed Forces Cycling Classic, which is returning to Arlington in June.
The cycling event, which is taking place the weekend of June 9-10, is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. The event was previously known as the Air Force Association Cycling Classic.
The event is sponsored by Boeing, but companies can join as supporting sponsors or enter the race as part of the “corporate challenge,” raising money for nonprofits like the ALS Association, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Our Military Kids.
There are three main competitions throughout the event. The first is the Clarendon Cup, a pro/am criterium race with 1 km course that begins and ends near the Clarendon Metro station. The event’s website says the race is “one of the most difficult criterium races in the USA” due to technical demands of the course.
The Crystal Cup will feature multiple races starting with the men’s pro race, then the kids races, followed by the women’s pro race and then the men’s amateur race. The 1.3 km course will run down Crystal Drive between 23rd St. S. and 18th St. S., and around S. Clark Street.
The Challenge Ride will take place between 7-10 a.m., allowing riders to take as many laps as they can within the three hour limit. The course is 6.5 miles long and wraps through Pentagon City, Crystal City and Rosslyn.
Each branch of the armed services will have its total laps tracked as a part of the Navy Federal Credit Union Armed Forces Cycling Challenge. The service with the most total laps and the most laps by its top six riders will be awarded on the stage during Sunday’s men’s pro race.
To participate, cyclists will need to indicate which service they are or have been in while registering and must bring a military ID the day of the race. The U.S. Air Force was the top lap accumulator in both 2015 and 2016.
Last year the UnitedHealthCare professional cycling team made a strong showing with a member winning first place in the men’s Clarendon Cup, and two other members winning second place in the men’s and women’s Crystal Cup.
Expect a number of road closures for each course going through the Clarendon, Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City areas.
From The West Wing to The Pelican Brief, Arlington has been home to a number of film scenes over the years.
The county’s tourism promotion agency, StayArlington, listed several notable locations in a recent blog post, and ARLnow hit the pavement to find some of the more famous sites.
Few political junkies have forgotten the famous attempted assassination scene in The West Wing, which was filmed in Rosslyn’s Freedom Park.
Other memorable sites include scenes from Charlie Wilson’s War, which was filmed at Rosslyn’s The Weslie Condominiums, from The Next Karate Kid and Flags of Our Fathers, both of which shot scenes at the Marine Corps War Memorial, according to StayArlington.
The Ballston Common Mall — now Ballston Quarter — parking garage is said to have been the set for a scene in The Pelican Brief. The Russell Crowe thriller State of Play, meanwhile, included scenes at the Rosslyn Metro station and the Americana Hotel in Crystal City.
Any other famous scenes we missed on our tour? Let us know in the comments.
The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. early Friday morning, on the 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1).
More from Arlington County Police:
WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2018-03230014, 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway. At approximately 12:39 a.m. on March 23, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject brandishing a knife. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male subject was being disorderly inside a hotel and had damaged property. When security officers attempted to intervene, the subject allegedly charged at them and made threatening statements while brandishing a knife. Arriving officers took the subject into custody. Ralph Powers, 43, of Newark, Delaware was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Destruction of Property and Drunk in Public.
The County Manager’s fiscal year 2019 proposed budget includes service eliminations to Arlington Transit bus routes 92 and 54.
The reductions would save the county $356,771 in 2019, according to the proposed budget. Public hearings on the budget and tax rate are scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 5, respectively.
The routes “are not meeting minimum service standards,” according to the budget document, and “service delivery can potentially be met by other transit or other modes such as Capital BikeShare.”
ART Route 92 runs weekdays from the Crystal City Metro station to the Pentagon Metro station via Long Bridge Park. Several WMATA routes also run through that area.
According to the ART Route 92 web page, “the route also serves as a shuttle for those working at Boeing and the U.S. Marshals Service.”
ART Route 54 operates weekdays during the morning and afternoon rush hours from Dominion Hills to the East Falls Church Metro station via Madison Manor neighborhood.
Both routes have “experienced low ridership (3 passengers per hour) and [have] performed below the established minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour and a 20 percent cost recovery ratio,” according to budget documents.
The County Board is expected to adopt its final budget on April 21.
The pedestrian tunnel that crosses Route 1 in Crystal City will eventually be removed as part of the 23rd Street alignment project, though a scheduled closing has not been set.
The project, which is several years out, will “accommodate redevelopment on the east and west intersections of 23rd Street S. between Crystal Drive and S. Clark-Bell Street” in two phases. (Clark and Bell streets are also being realigned and merged into one.)
The tunnel may be closed before the project begins, “because it is underutilized” and because of upkeep costs, according to a county spokesperson. The tunnel was intended as a safety improvement, though many locals take their chances at street level due to the tunnel being dark and smelling like urine.
Robert Mandle, Crystal City Business Improvement District’s chief operating officer, cited several reasons for the change, including increased visibility for the row of restaurants along 23rd Street S. and what he called the “surprisingly common misconception that the tunnel will take you to Metro.”
“The interest in closing the tunnel really arises from the fact that most people use the surface crossing because the tunnel is longer, indirect, and uncomfortable,” Mandle wrote in an email to ARLnow. “Recent safety enhancements completed by Arlington County have further improved the existing signalized crossings.”
More on Hit-and-Run Suspect Arrest — A lobbyist known for his promotion of conspiracy theories, particularly theories about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, says he was the victim of an incident that led to the arrest of a man in Fairlington on Saturday. Jack Burkman says the suspect, Kevin Doherty, shot him twice and tried to run him over with an SUV in the parking garage of the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn. [Washington Post]
Isabella Sued for Sexual Harassment — “Celebrity chef Mike Isabella, the head of a $30 million culinary empire based in the nation’s capital, was sued Monday by a former top manager who claims that Isabella and his partners repeatedly sexually harassed her in the workplace… [The plaintiff] told The Post she joined Isabella’s company as a regional manager in 2015, helping to open his three Arlington, Va., properties.” [Washington Post]
Sprynt to Reopen for Season — Local free ride service Sprynt will be reopening for the season “in a few weeks,” according to founder Alex Villanueva. One of the company’s electric vehicles was seen parked in Clarendon last night with a “now hiring” sign on it. [Twitter]
Hotel Company Moving HQ to Crystal City — Interstate Hotels and Resorts is moving its headquarters from Ballston to Crystal City, per a press release. The company is leasing 35,000 square feet at 2011 Crystal Drive. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
(Updated at 8:30 p.m.) An older office building in Crystal City may be converted into apartments, and developer JBG Smith is soliciting public feedback on the project.
JBG Smith is looking to convert a 12-story office building at 1750 Crystal Drive into a 21-story residential building. The building, across from the Crystal City Water Park, would be 257 feet in height.
In the first phase of the “Central District” project, a new 74,000 square foot, street facing retail area would be built, reportedly anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The retail area may also include a smaller-format grocery store, like a Trader Joe’s.
A JBG Smith presentation says the project would include “delivery of nine screen Alamo Drafthouse Theater that shows first run and art house films as well as dining, entertainment, and event space hosting.” According to the feedback website, JBG is hoping to start construction in the fall and to have the theater open by the spring of 2020.
As part of the project, a two story, 16,000 square foot retail building would be built at the corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive — next to a proposed second Crystal City Metro entrance — with renderings showing an sizable outdoor dining area adjacent to it.
Feedback from JBG’s online portal is helping to shape the development, said a representative for the company that created the portal.
“It’s a new approach for the developer, which added online outreach to the traditional process involving community meetings,” said the rep. “Over 1,600 people have interacted with the Central District at Crystal City website… Based on the feedback, JBG Smith has committed to providing seating, plantings, and seasonal events in the plaza.”
“The developer is also recruiting a full-service grocery store, which online voters said was the most important element to make the spot a neighborhood destination,” he added.
School Walkouts Today — Student walkouts are planned at Arlington’s high schools today, part of a national demonstration against gun violence. The walkout is happening at 10 a.m., is expected to last 17 minutes, and is being treated as an excused absence by Arlington Public Schools. Middle schoolers at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, meanwhile, have organized a 2:30 p.m. prayer service to honor the victims.
JBG Talks HQ2 in Quarterly Earnings — Property owner JBG Smith has stayed largely mum about its wooing of Amazon — until now. In its quarterly earnings report, JBG said it believes that its Crystal City properties are well-positioned to win the bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. The D.C. area’s tech prowess “combined with our blend of walkable places, in-place infrastructure and low-cost housing makes Crystal City a compelling location,” the company wrote. “Our holdings alone can accommodate Amazon’s entire long-term space requirement and we have a cost advantage over our competitors given the existing in-place parking and substantial infrastructure.” [Washington Business Journal]
Lobbyist Claims Attack at Local Hotel — Jack Burkman, a “conservative lobbyist known for his controversial positions” who in January told police he was pepper sprayed outside his house near Rosslyn, is alleging another attack. Burkman claims, in a press release, that he was “run down by a large, black SUV” last night while “working with an FBI whistleblower” at the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn. [Twitter]
Two Charged in Murder of Arlington Man — Two suspected gang members from Maryland have been charged in the fatal stabbing of an Arlington resident in Oxon Hill, Md. on Feb. 25. [Town of Morningside]
Arlington House Closing for Rehab Project — Arlington House, the iconic historic mansion at Arlington National Cemetery that was formerly home to Gen. Robert E. Lee, “is closing to the public beginning Monday, March 19, so it can undergo a monthslong rehabilitation project… part of a $12.35 million restoration plan.” [WTOP]
National PTA Meeting in Arlington — The National Parent Teacher Association is holding its annual legislative conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City this week. The conference runs from March 13-15 and kicked off yesterday with a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. [National PTA]
A decade-old Crystal City bar scene stalwart has closed its doors.
Tortoise and Hare Bar and Grill, at 567 23rd Street S., served its last customers on Wednesday, Feb. 28. In a Facebook post, the bar said it had been trying to find a buyer but it was unable to come to an agreement before its lease expired at the end of February.
“It is with great pride and a lot of sadness that we announce that after over 10 and a half years, Tortoise & Hare will be serving its last drinks to the public tonight,” the business wrote. “We can’t express enough how much we appreciate all of our customers over the years making this such a great place to come to every day. And we sincerely thank all of our staff that have worked for us through thick and thin over all these years.”
Tortoise and Hare was a popular destination for sports fans. It was most well-known as a Pittsburgh Steelers bar, but also tuned its TVs to Pittsburgh Pirates and Penguins games, as well as Penn State, Ohio State and Florida State athletics.