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Metroway buses for the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway (Photo via Arlington County)

A decade ago, when Arlington County was in the midst of planning the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway for the future Metroway bus rapid transit line, the Route 1 corridor looked a lot different.

Development was still ongoing in the corridor, which encompasses Pentagon City and Crystal City, and Amazon was still years away from selecting the area for its HQ2.

There were just over 17,000 residents in the corridor and nearly three quarters of them lived in rental units, according to 2010 county census data. By 2020, that number had risen by about 15% to 20,000 residents. Renters now occupy 91% of the housing stock, according to county data.

Arlington’s section of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway opened in 2016 with the Pentagon City extension aiming for a 2023 opening.

A station for the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway in 2018 (via Arlington County)

While there have been plenty of bumps along the road, including the continued delay of the Potomac Yard Metro station and low ridership during the pandemic, at least one transportation advocate praises the county for looking ahead.

“To do this later, after the development happens, would have been 20 times harder. 100 times harder,” Chris Slatt, Arlington Transportation Commission chair and founder of Sustainable Mobility for Arlington, told ARLnow. “I really give Arlington a lot of credit.”

In terms of Potomac Yard, Slatt made the point that this was an extremely rare opportunity where urban and transportation planners had the ability to start anew and could try out their best laid plans without dealing with already existing infrastructure.

“Potomac Yard was this kind of special opportunity that we don’t have very often,” said Slatt. “I’m sure there are a lot of other places in Northern Virginia where we can say we’re basically a new neighborhood from scratch.”

Local officials agree, which is why the Metroway is such an exciting project for them.

“For mass transit planners… it is a lot easier to design the infrastructure when you’re starting from scratch rather than trying to retrofit it into a pre-existing system, particularly if you want dedicated [transit] lanes,” said Eric Randall, principal transportation engineer with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG).

Plus, he noted, it’s easier for residents to get in the “frame of mind” to use the mass transit option if it is there initially, as opposed to needing to break their previous habits.

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Even as officials and advocates continue to hail the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway as forward-thinking, there’ve been literal instances of backwards driving.

ARLnow has received reports of cars entering the Transitway’s bus lanes, often even driving the wrong direction in the lanes, which parallel Crystal Drive for about a mile. It seems to mostly stem from confusion over the roadway configuration.

Mark Stack lives in the Concord Crystal City apartments, directly across from a Transitway bus station at 27th Street S. and Crystal Drive. From the high-rise building he can see cars in the lanes that are intended only for Metroway buses.

Just today, [there was] one car on the wrong side of the road and two other vehicles traveling down the bus lane,” he told ARLnow. “It’s a daily, hourly occurrence. It’s not like once or twice. It happens pretty often.”

Walking in his neighborhood, Stack has also seen cars entering the lanes near the bus stops located 33rd Street S. and 26th Street S. along Crystal Drive. He’s fearful that drivers going the wrong direction will hit buses head-on or kids bicycling, which he also sees often in the lanes (which, technically, is also not allowed).

“I’m just surprised there’s never been any accidents,” Stack said. “It’s a miracle.”

ARLnow also checked out several of the intersections and Transitway bus stops that Stack spoke about. While no unauthorized vehicles were observed in the lanes at the time, it’s evident confusion could be possible, particularly at night.

There are right and left turn lanes leading directly into the bus lanes, as well as dark red markings that may not be clearly visible at night. There are, however, “do not enter” signs and medians that do prevent mingling of traffic.

Darren Buck, a member of Arlington County’s Transportation Commission, also has seen unauthorized cars going into the dedicated bus lanes. While the danger does concern him, he additionally worries that drivers are intentionally entering them to bypass traffic

“If that’s the case, the success of the Transitway is at risk,” he says, since one of the major selling points of rapid bus transit is that it removes buses from car traffic. “[There] probably needs to be a broader conversation about enforcement in bus-exclusive facilities.”

The county acknowledges that unauthorized vehicles using the bus lanes, intentionally or not, is an ongoing issue that dates back to the Transitway’s opening.

“[Arlington Department of Environmental Services] staff have been made aware of issues with operations on the Crystal City – Potomac Yard Transitway, specifically regarding private vehicles using and misusing the dedicated transit lanes in 2016,” DES spokesperson Nathan Graham wrote in an email to ARLnow. He  noted that they have received reports of this happening recently.

In response, transportation staff earlier this year applied red pavement markings to highlight the bus-only lanes at several of the Transitway segments, Graham said, including at 27th Street S. and Potomac Avenue, 33rd Street S. and Crystal Drive, and 26th Street S. and Crystal Drive.

“Moving forward, we will enhance this practice of clearly denoting entry points for bus-only lanes and at areas where there are reports of driver confusion with additional paint and signage, as appropriate,” wrote Graham. “We will also reach out to our colleagues at ACPD to review options for enforcement at these locations.”

All of these are issues that the county will keep in mind as the build-out for the extension to Pentagon City begins next year.

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Morning Notes

Construction cranes for Amazon HQ2 tower over Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Initial Plan Filed for Americana Site — “JBG Smith has filed a conceptual site plan application with Arlington County for 1400 Richmond Highway [the Americana hotel site in Crystal City], proposing a by-right 19-story building with 650 residential units above retail. There will also be 325 parking spaces across two below-grade parking levels.” [UrbanTurf]

Apartment Fire in Ballston — A fire broke out in the kitchen of a fourth floor apartment at the View at Liberty Center building in Ballston yesterday evening. The fire was extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system, but water damage was reported in the apartments and ground floor retail space below. The incident prompted a large fire department response and closed lanes on Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street. [Twitter]

Vax Rate Lags Among Younger Adults — “Pleading, cajoling, finger-wagging and threatening still don’t seem to be doing the trick in getting the 24-to-34-year-old age group in Arlington on board with COVID vaccinations. Data last week show that while 71 percent of county residents in that age group have received at least one jab of the vaccine… Countywide, just under 79 percent of 223,000 Arlington residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose.” [Sun Gazette]

Thanksgiving 5K Along N. Pershing Drive — “The Arlington Turkey Trot 16th Annual 5k Fun Run will take place on Thursday, November 25, 2021. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.” [ACPD]

Arlington Gets Perfect LGBT Equality ScoreUpdated at 8 a.m. — “Arlington garnered a 100-percent rate in the 10th annual Municipal Equality Index, reported by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The average score for 11 major localities in Virginia was 88 on a zero-to-100 scale, compared to a national average of 67. Arlington was among 110 communities earning a perfect rating, up from 11… when the survey debuted.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Woes Extend to 2022 — “Metro customers can expect to see current (reduced) rail service levels through December 31, Metro announced today.  With no timeline established to return the 7000-series fleet in the interest of safety, and 6000-series railcars awaiting parts due to global supply chain challenges, incremental service improvements will be made during December as parts arrive for older model railcars.” [WMATA]

Snow Possibility in Forecast — From the Capital Weather Gang: “DC first flakes? Watching possibility of disturbance/clipper passing thru cold air Sun-Mon timeframe. It could shift or fizzle and probably not a big deal even if it hits, but first feature this season we’re watching with some curiosity.” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Sunny today, with a high near 43. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Sunrise at 7 a.m. and sunset at 4:49 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 47. [Weather.gov]

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A new Korean street food restaurant is coming to Arlington, and plans to set up shop in two different neighborhoods.

The fast casual eatery Oh K-Dog and Egg Toast is set to open two locations, in Crystal City and Ballston, likely within the next few months, the company tells ARLnow.

It’s part of a country-wide expansion to bring the “best Korean street food” stateside.

Korean rice dogs, essentially a fancier, souped up version of a corn dog, are popular in South Korea. They are now becoming widely sought-after in the United States.

“Unlike a typical hot dog, we specialize in using a stick to deep fry our signature item until it crips golden brown,” says the Oh K-Dog’s website. “It’s the perfect snack filled with your choice of mozzarella cheese, squid-ink, rice cake, potato, and more.”

The Crystal City location will be on restaurant row, at 509 23rd Street S. It’s set to move into the space formerly occupied by Taj of India, which appears to have closed earlier this year.

That one is planning to open prior to Christmas, we’re told.

The other location is moving into Ballston Quarter at 4238 Wilson Blvd, appearing to take over the lower level stall that was once Mi & Yu Noodle Bar, which closed in February.

Ballston’s Oh K-Dog and Egg Toast is looking at a December or January 2022 opening, the company said in response to an inquiry from ARLnow.

Each location is owned by separate owners. We reached out to both for more details, but have yet to hear back.

In addition to the Korean rice dogs, Oh K-Dog and Egg Toast serves — as its name suggests — egg toast, another Korean speciality. Also on the menu are croffles, a croissant/waffle mash-up that’s being described as the new “cronut.”

Photos via Instagram (as marked)

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Restaurants in Crystal City (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated on 12/7/21 at 2:30 p.m.) With a bevy of development looming, a band of residents, restaurateurs, landowners and business leaders are trying to preserve the “soul” of Crystal City: “Restaurant Row.”

For many years, a collection of small, independently owned restaurants have operated along 23rd Street S., between S. Eads and S. Fern streets, including the locally famous LGBT nightlife spot Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant.

But the people who frequent and run these business wonder where the long-term viability of this corridor fits into the flurry of development nearby: Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City, JBG Smith’s extensive development pipeline in Crystal City, and Arlington County’s Crystal House Apartments affordable housing project, among others.

As all these projects take shape, the group has reprised a rallying cry from two years ago, reiterating that Restaurant Row needs some attention — but not the kind that stamps out its unique character.

“With all this stuff happening, what about 23rd Street, the sole soul for Crystal City for decades?” said Rob Mandle, the National Landing Business Improvement District Deputy Executive Director, in a recent Crystal City Citizen Review Council meeting. “What are we going to do over the course of the next five years while the rest of National Landing transforms?”

Those are still open questions for members of the CCCRC, who earlier this month met with restaurant owners and landowners to discuss ideas for investing in Restaurant Row, which was identified in the Crystal City Sector Plan as a “major community asset with local businesses that should be preserved or protected.”

This line has puzzled county planner Matt Mattauszek for two years.

“What does that mean, ‘preserve and protect?’ What are the exact mechanics of that?” Mattauszek said. “I don’t think anyone on our side wants to lose any opportunities in terms of that protection element while maintaining it as a destination.”

Ultimately, he said the community needs to develop a clear set of priorities before the county can help.

Members of the CCCRC and local landowners have long- and short-term ideas for preserving and updating Restaurant Row.

Aurora Highlands resident Michael Dowell says he wants conditions that facilitate updates to the aging buildings that preserve their feel. Otherwise, worsening infrastructure will force out tenants and make the buildings ripe for redevelopment.

“The thing we want to preserve is that community feel of 23rd Street restaurants,” he said. “They’re human scale, they have a lot of local ownership, and there is a huge variety there.”

Some said the area needs more street parking, a long-time concern for residents that has resurfaced as the county embarks on its Crystal House development project. As part of the project, a parking lot between 22nd and 23rd Street S. will be turned into townhomes known as “Crystal House 5.”

An aerial view of existing Crystal House Apartments and renderings (via Arlington County)

Speeding is also a problem, said Darren Buck, an Aurora Highlands resident and Transportation Commission member. He suggested a comprehensive rezoning effort from S. Ives Street to Route 1 that would bring in a traffic signal and better lighting and create a streetscape that establishes Restaurant Row as a destination.

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Virginia State Police vehicle (photo by John Calhoun/JC Photography)

As its police force shrinks, the Arlington County Police Department is leaning on state police when extra officers are needed to maintain its nightlife detail.

Virginia State Police troopers will be helping Arlington fill staffing holes in the local nightlife team that works with bars and restaurants in Clarendon and Crystal City to keep establishments and patrons safe and to help keep order when things get out of hand.

The number of acting police officers available to staff ACPD’s various divisions has dropped amid retirements, reports of low morale, and attrition to more lucrative and less demanding private-industry jobs. In response, ACPD has turned to VSP troopers who are willing to help out with the nightlife detail, according to the county.

This past weekend the County Board approved a mutual aid agreement between the two forces that codifies compensation for troopers.

The agreement will help keep staffing for the detail steady, not add to it, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.

“The overall staffing for the Nightlife detail is remaining the same,” she said via email, adding that ACPD does not disclose the specific number of officers. “The MOU with [VSP] provides ACPD the option of utilizing troopers to fill vacancies in the Nightlife detail, when necessary. The department began exploring additional staffing resources for the Nightlife detail in September 2021 due to a reduction in ACPD’s functional staffing.”

As part of the memorandum, troopers will be reimbursed at an overtime rate for their hours worked as well as for vehicle mileage. The county will also pay a 10% fee to VSP for “administrative and accounting costs associated with the provided services,” the report said.

The detail patrols spots in Clarendon and Crystal City as part of the Arlington Restaurant Initiative (ARI), which was founded in 2016 to tackle alcohol-related crimes in Clarendon and has since expanded to Crystal City.

Through ARI — in which police patrol area bars, train employees and meet with businesses — Clarendon’s crime rates have dropped, according to the county. The detail also looks out for misbehaving bar patrons, who can be banned from all establishments that participate in Arlington’s Bar Safe program as a result of public drunkenness or more serious crimes.

Between January and September, there have been 32 Bar Safe violations, according to Arlington police data. Rates peaked in the summer, when bars fully reopened, as did the number of fake IDs. The detail confiscated 572 fake IDs during the same time period.

While many alcohol-related crimes dropped from 2019 to 2020 due to COVID-related business closures, the detail has noticed the nightlife crowd increasing every month since the state reopened, according to a monthly police report.

With that, new safety problems have arisen: last month, there were six reports of spiked drink in Clarendon and Crystal City bars.

The collaboration between ACPD and VSP was not the only agreement that received County Board approval. On Saturday, the Board approved a mutual aid agreement with U.S. Capitol Police after 50 Arlington officers helped secure the U.S. Capitol building during the “Justice for J6” rally this fall.

The rally on Sept. 18. was held in support of those charged after the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol by a large pro-Trump mob. It was widely reported as a flop that did not draw the expected crowds while still costing government agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The county says both of these mutual aid agreements exemplify ACPD’s commitment to regional partnerships.

“The Police Department is an active member, throughout the region, in providing mutual aid assistance,” a county staff report said. “This effort allows for the appropriate utilization of resources both within and outside of the County. Our commitment to regional partnerships greatly enhances the safety and well-being of the citizenry.”

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(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) After roughly two months of delays, New York City-based taqueria chain Tacombi could open in Crystal City in December.

The taco spot is moving into a 3,000 square-foot space inside the revamped Central District Retail shopping plaza, also known as “Crystal Square.”

“We will be (happily!) swinging open our taqueria doors early next month,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

A Twitter user snapped a photo a few days ago outside the the taqueria’s new location, where Tacombi’s menu and job listings are posted. The restaurant will be serving up tacos — including fish tacos proclaimed as Manhattan’s best by New York Magazine — as well as quesadillas and burritos.

https://twitter.com/ddimolfetta/status/1459982984598142978

Tacombi’s opening is a few months behind schedule as work to complete the restaurant’s interior continues. This summer, the spokeswoman said the restaurant was expected to open in September.

Twice this fall, the taqueria has requested the county defer approving its permit request to establish outdoor seating on the Crystal Drive streetscape while construction and inspections progress inside.

“The applicant requests additional time to complete construction, inspections, and the Certificate of Occupancy for the indoor portion of the Tacombi restaurant,” according to staff reports that went before the County Board in October and November. “Once the primary use is established, the applicant will pursue approval of the subject use permit for an outdoor café.”

Plans for outdoor seating in front of Tacombi at 1550 Crystal Drive (via Arlington County)

Last weekend, Arlington County Board members approved a request to defer approving Tacombi’s outdoor seating permit until they meet again on Dec. 11.

Tacombi got its start on the beaches of Yucatan, Mexico. The owner sold tacos from a Volkswagen Bus and eventually opened his first taqueria in the mid-2000s in New York City. Nine other locations have since opened in NYC.

The chain set its sights on Crystal City — in the same retail plaza as a CVS, NYC bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr and a Solidcore gym location — because of the rapid growth it’s experiencing, the spokeswoman previously told ARLnow.

“While National Landing is part of a cosmopolitan world capital, it also maintains the neighborhood quality that best allows us to share authentic Mexican culture,” the spokeswoman said.

Another outpost in the D.C. area — a Bethesda location — was also set to open in September but was delayed.

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Morning Notes

Fundraiser for Man Killed in Crash — An online fundraiser for Stevan Zikic, the 26-year-old Alexandria man killed when he collided with a school bus while riding a motorcycle in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood, has raised nearly $35,000 for “overseas transportation and funeral costs.” [GoFundMe]

County Board Approved Pike Plan — “The County Board voted 5 to 0 to approve zoning updates that will help realize the vision of Columbia Pike as a walkable ‘Main Street’ by providing greater flexibility for commercial, office, light industrial, and agricultural uses–including animal boarding and craft beverage production — on ground floors along the Pike.” [Arlington County]

Public Art Plan OKed — “The Arlington County Board voted 5 to 0 today” — despite some last-minute opposition — “to approve an update to the Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) that will better serve placemaking efforts and improve the quality of public spaces around the County. The update, which is part of the County’s overall Comprehensive Plan, details the vision and guiding principles of public art in Arlington and sets priorities and themes centered around goals to integrate, expand, connect and engage through public art installations around the County.” [Arlington County]

Unhoused Taking Up Residence Under Bridge — “Eight months after the W&OD bicycle-pedestrian bridge opened at the Arlington-Falls Church border, members of our homeless population have gravitated there… I’m told by Kurt Larrick, assistant director of the Human Services Department. ‘Our outreach teams,’ which include PathForward volunteers, ‘are making regular visits.’ On Oct. 15, they spoke to two men sleeping at the base of a footing for the bridge. They didn’t seem interested in services now but agreed to discuss the possibility when reminded of the location’s vulnerabilities.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Beyer ‘Falling Short’ in Fundraising — “Let’s say you’re independently wealthy, well-regarded by most constituents (even from the opposition party) and occupy a district so reliably Democratic that the only way an incumbent could possibly lose the seat is via a scandal… What would you be doing? If you were U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), you’d still be asking supporters to send you money.” [Sun Gazette]

Two Men Beaten in Crystal City Area — “Victim One was inside the business in line at the register behind the suspect, when the suspect allegedly turned around, struck him in the face, exited the business and verbally threatened him from outside. A short while later, Victim Two attempted to enter the business when the suspect, who was still standing outside, allegedly struck the victim in the back of the head with a blunt object before fleeing the scene on foot. Arriving officers located Victim Two outside of the business with a large laceration on the back of his head and administered aid until medics arrived on scene.” [ACPD]

Here Comes the Flu — From Virginia Hospital Center ER chief Mike Silverman’s latest social media post: “Our COVID isolation numbers in the ED have been pretty stable over the last 3 weeks. We’re better than a month ago but we continue to have a steady number of patients who require our COVID isolation protocol. Hospital wide, our inpatient census is up a touch from last week and our overall percent positive rate for the hospital is also up a bit. We are starting to see just a sprinkling of flu cases over the last month. It’s not too late to get your flu shot.” [Facebook]

It’s Monday — Today will be breezy and mostly sunny, with a high near 51. West wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Sunrise at 6:51 a.m. and sunset at 4:54 p.m. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny, with a high near 53.

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Peruvian Brothers co-owner Giuseppe Lanzone with alpacas (Photo courtesy of Peruvian Brothers)

The Peruvian Brothers’ stand at the Crystal City Water Park has closed due to coming renovations at the park.

The last day for the fast casual stand known for their empanadas and peruvian coffee was Sunday, co-owner Giuseppe Lanzone tells ARLnow.

But the brothers went out in style, hosting a party on Sunday. There were Halloween costumes, free cookies, music, dancers, and alpacas.

“In Virginia, it’s much easier to bring alpacas,” says Lanzone, about the animal that’s native to the Andes and part of Peruvian culture. “Fewer regulations than D.C.”

Giuseppe and his brother Mario Lanzone are originally from Peru, but moved with their family to McLean in 1997. Before going into the food business together, Giuseppe was a two-time Olympic rower for Team USA.

The two started their first food truck in 2013. Soon, that one truck became two, then three. Next, the brothers started working with the Peruvian Embassy in D.C.

This got them enough attention to open their first outpost inside of the Latin market La Cosecha in Northeast D.C., next to Union Market. Soon, they were getting accolades from a number of local media outlets.

But then the pandemic hit.

It was at this time that Lanzone was living on Crystal Drive in Crystal City. He would often go for runs and walks “since there wasn’t much else to do” and passed the unoccupied stand (which was previously a rotating cast of pop-up eateries) at the privately-owned park.

“It was just an empty space. I kept think ‘what would be better than being able to stop outside and grab a coffee and an empanada,'” he says. “I didn’t want the space to go to waste.”

In April 2020, he and his brother partnered with National Landing Business Improvement District and made a deal with park owner JBG Smith to bring their Peruvian cuisine to Crystal City.

For the last 18 months, they’ve been serving out of the stand. But their contract is now up as renovations near.

“It was an incredible experience being part of the community,” Lanzone says. “National Landing BID and JBG were great partners to us.”

The 1.5-acre park at 1601 Crystal Drive is scheduled to undergo renovations during the winter, a spokesperson for JBG Smith confirms to ARLnow. It will reopen in the spring of 2023.

New vendor kiosks, an updated performance platform, a bar with a terrace, and restrooms will all be added. There will also be updates to the water feature, a widening of sidewalks, and improved walking and cycling connections.

What it won’t include, though, is the Peruvian Brothers — but that doesn’t mean they are disappearing from Arlington.

Lanzone said they are in discussions for opening a small brick and mortar in the neighborhood. While nothing is finalized and ready to be announced, there have been “talks” about opening up a new outpost that would be accessible to those who work at Amazon’s nearby HQ2.

“We are big fans of National Landing and Amazon and want to be part of the new development,” Lanzone says. In terms of the neighborhood, the feeling seems to be mutual.

“We have greatly enjoyed and appreciated our collaboration with Peruvian Brothers in National Landing,” said Amy Rice, Senior Vice President of Retail Leasing at JBG Smith. “We were thrilled to be able to offer them a temporary outdoor location during the height of the pandemic, and that setting proved to be a hit for National Landing residents.”

“As the transformation of National Landing continues, we are actively working with Peruvian Brothers to find a more permanent home with us in the neighborhood,” Rice added.

https://twitter.com/NationalLanding/status/1455964250996977674

Meanwhile, Peruvian Brothers fans can find them at La Cosecha in D.C. and at their catering headquarters in Alexandria headquarters. The brothers are also now offering an empanada subscription service, with frozen empanadas dropped off at doorsteps twice a month.

The brothers say they’re confident they’ll be back in Arlington soon.

“We love it here,” Lanzone said.

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A cocktail (via Georg Pirrung/Wikimedia Commons)

There’s been a rash of reported drink spiking incidents in Clarendon and Crystal City, according to Arlington police.

The Arlington County Police Department says that it received six reports last month from women who believed their drinks were spiked.

“In each case, the female victims reported experiencing loss of consciousness and memory loss after visiting various nightlife establishments in Clarendon and Crystal City on weekend evenings and believe their drinks may have been tampered with,” the department said in a press release this morning (Friday).

Drink spiking, when someone puts alcohol or drugs into someone else’s drink without their knowledge or permission, is illegal in Virginia.

“These incidents remain active criminal investigations and the preliminary investigations have not identified a link between the reported cases,” ACPD said.

Police shared the following nightlife safety tips in response to the spate of spiking.

Safety Tips

ACPD wants you to have a safe and enjoyable night out and is sharing these tips to help safeguard your drink:

  • Never leave your drink unattended
  • Avoid sharing drinks with others
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers
  • If someone you do not know offers you a drink and you accept, go to the bar with them and have the drink served directly to you
  • If you did not see your drink poured, do not drink it
  • Keep an eye on your friends and their drinks

If you think your drink may be spiked or observe an individual spiking a drink, take action right away by calling 9-1-1.

Available Resources

If you suspect drink spiking or drug-assisted sexual assault, help is always available. Crisis response resources are available 24/7:

  • Arlington County Police, 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency
  • Doorways Dating/Domestic/Sexual Violence Hotline, 703-237-0881
  • Inova Forensic Assessment and Consultation Team (Forensic Exams), 703-776-4001 (ask to page a FACT Nurse)

Nightlife Safety

ACPD has partnered with County agencies to establish the Arlington Restaurant Initiative (ARI) to raise the standards of restaurants that serve alcohol, streamline processes within the County Government and maintain Arlington County as a safe destination for nightlife and entertainment. ARI provides training on various topics, including drink spiking, to improve patron safety. Restaurants can email the Restaurant Liaison for information on future training opportunities.

Photo via Georg Pirrung/Wikimedia Commons

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Changes are coming to the plaza outside the Crystal City Metro station.

Developer JBG Smith and the National Landing Business Improvement District are funding a number of enhancements to the plaza and the streetscape, including a new mural, expanded seating options, additional landscaping, festive lighting, and new trees.

It’s part of a plan to make the area collectively known as National Landing more inviting as more people return to their offices and the pandemic (hopefully) winds down.

“The improvements are intended to welcome residents, workers, and visitors ‘back to transit’ as offices and businesses throughout National Landing safely reopen their doors,” the BID said in a press release, which referred to the office district around the Metro station as “downtown National Landing.”

The BID says that it has selected a winning design for the mural that will adorn a concrete wall next to the plaza, after soliciting design ideas earlier this year.

More from the press release:

To kick off the enhancement project, the National Landing BID has welcomed an iconic new mural by DC-based artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer called “Harmony” that adorns the metro plaza’s expansive west wall. The artwork, which measures approximately 115 feet in length and 20 feet in height, will act as a vibrant new front door to the Crystal City Metro entrance. Featuring the artist’s signature usage of the harmonious color spectrum, the design was selected unanimously through a competitive process that was sponsored by the BID.

JBG SMITH, with the National Landing BID as its funding partner, is carrying out a concurrent public space improvement project intended to refresh the plaza outside the Crystal City Metro to create a more inviting arrival experience. The planned updates will include a more open layout, expanded seating options, additional landscaping, festive lighting, new trees and a biophilic design. JBG SMITH is also improving other open spaces and amenities along 18th Street. Completion is anticipated for winter 2022.

“At JBG SMITH, placemaking is core to our DNA, and this project serves as a golden opportunity to convert mobility infrastructure into truly compelling public spaces that contribute significantly to the quality of life for the whole community,” said Jay Corbalis, Vice President of Public Affairs for JBG SMITH.

The revamped public space is just one of a number of things rapidly changing the face of Crystal City and Pentagon City. Other projects in the works include a number of redevelopments, the ongoing construction and design of the two phases of Amazon’s HQ2, and a second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station.

“The additional entrance, which is anticipated to open by the end of 2023, is intended to alleviate platform congestion and deliver riders directly to Crystal City’s retail main street, Crystal Drive,” the BID’s press release also notes. “Combined with the myriad private development projects that are helping reshape the neighborhood streetscape, National Landing has an incredible opportunity to enhance walkability and deliver human-scale mobility.”

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