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The Custis Trail (via Google Maps)

Better signage and wider lanes may be on their way for the Custis Trail.

The four-mile paved trail between the Key Bridge and the W&OD Trail is “a very useful short cut for area cyclists” getting to downtown D.C., but has some missing signage and limited sight lines, says local bicycling guide BikeWashington.org.

This winter, Arlington’s Environmental Services and Parks and Recreation departments began reviewing the trail to determine what kinds of improvements should be made.

The county says it intends to widen the trail to 12 feet in width where possible, enhance trail markings and wayfinding and improve existing lighting.

“This review will document the existing conditions of the trail and its access points, identify maintenance and improvement opportunities, and look for opportunities for future investment in the trail that delivers on county goals for park access, recreation, and multimodal transportation,” a project overview says.

Through Sunday, Feb. 18, people can submit feedback on how they use the trail, what their current experiences are and what changes they would like to see.

So far, resident feedback has raised concerns about poor and inconsistent lighting and paving, hazards from culverts and tree roots, poor visibility and a troublesome intersection near the Key Bridge that commenters say could benefit from a redesign.

The county is due to release preliminary infrastructure recommendations and a draft report in the spring, followed by a final report in the summer.

Photo via Google Maps

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Moments before a collision between a cyclist and a person on a scooter or skateboard on the Custis Trail (via Dave Statter/Twitter)

Medics treated two people after a violent collision on a local trail Friday evening.

The crash on the Custis Trail, at the intersection of eastbound Langston Blvd and Ft. Myer Drive in Rosslyn, was caught on camera.

In the video, posted by local public safety watcher Dave Statter, a cyclist can be seen crossing Ft. Myer Drive at the intersection. The cyclist then collides with a person on a motorized scooter or skateboard who turned in front of them.

Both people remained nearly motionless on the ground as a pair of cyclists pulled up and started providing aid. Firefighters can then be seen arriving on scene, ahead of the arrival of two ambulances.

The incident happened around 5:15 p.m. Friday, according to scanner traffic. The extent of the injuries are unclear and an Arlington County police spokeswoman had no further information about the incident.

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Tesla driving down bike path in the Rosslyn area (photo via @rsaydlowski/Twitter)

A driver in a Tesla was caught on camera driving down the Custis Trail bike and pedestrian path in the Rosslyn area.

The incident happened yesterday (Thursday) evening, according to a user of X, formerly known as Twitter. The red Tesla can be seen driving down the middle of the trail and past a concerned pedestrian before exiting the trail and getting on the adjacent Langston Blvd.

No further information about the incident was immediately available.

It’s unclear whether this was a case of driver error or an issue with Tesla’s scrutinized “autopilot” mode.

Last week ARLnow reported on a Tesla driver who drove down a hill and smashed into a playground while “attempting to park,” according to police. The exact cause of that crash is also unclear.

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(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) The herculean effort to clean up from Saturday’s storms and restore power to tens of thousands is continuing Monday morning.

The GW Parkway remains closed to most traffic between Spout Run Parkway and the Beltway — and is expected to remain closed until later this week, as crews work to clear a large number of downed trees and branches.

The southbound lanes of Spout Run Parkway, where at least one car was damaged by a fallen tree Saturday, also remain closed.

From a press release issued Monday afternoon:

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is currently experiencing closures due to the aftermath of Saturday’s storm. Crews are diligently working to clear fallen trees from the roadway, and these closures are expected to last for the next few days.

To enhance and expedite the restoration process, George Washington Memorial Parkway has deployed a total of five crews, including its own team, assistance from the National Capital Parks-East (NACE), and three additional emergency contracting crews.

The North Parkway, from Spout Run Parkway to I-495, remains closed, except for the northbound lanes from Route 123 to I-495. Additionally, the southbound lanes of the Spout Run Parkway are also closed.

These closures are necessary to ensure the removal of hazardous trees, including those that have fallen across the roadway and broken limbs that pose a risk to travel lanes. The recovery work is estimated to be completed within three to four days.

Round-the-clock power restoration work whittled down the peak of more than 34,000 without electricity in Arlington — half that of the 2012 derecho — to 3,154 as of 11:15 a.m. Monday, according to Dominion’s website.

The remaining small outages are scattered throughout the county, though most are concentrated in north-central Arlington — between Route 50 and Langston Blvd — including the Orange Line corridor, which was particularly hard hit.

Throughout Northern Virginia, 4,732 Dominion customers remained in the dark this morning, according to the power company. Crews have been working long shifts and overnight to restore power, with much of that effort happening in Arlington.

As of 4 p.m., the outages were down to 2,029 in Arlington and 2,338 throughout Northern Virginia.

More storm stories are emerging as the cleanup continues.

In Courthouse, a heavy metal table was blown off a condo patio during the storm’s intense winds and is now stuck high in a tree, above a sidewalk.

“The tree is right across the street from the entrance of the Palatine apartment building,” a tipster told ARLnow on Sunday. By Monday morning, however, the table had been removed by a tree maintenance crew, the tipster said.

Trees came down throughout Arlington, taking down utility lines, blocking roads, and in at least eight known cases falling onto houses. One unlucky family was on their way to Walt Disney World in Orlando when a huge tree smashed into their stately brick house near Lacey Woods Park, we’re told.

For those on the go, it’s not just drivers who have to deal with fallen trees and other debris. A trail cleanup is planned for 5:30 p.m. today on the Mount Vernon Trail near Rosslyn, which “got hit particularly hard,” according to a social media post.

Additionally, numerous trees are reported to be down on the Custis Trail and at least one park is closed due to storm damage.

“Rocky Run Park is closed for maintenance due to damages caused by the July 29 storms,” said Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation. “Please do not go onto the park grounds.”

Arlington National Cemetery, meanwhile, is also closed today except for funerals amid widespread tree damage at the nation’s most hallowed ground.

More storm damage photos from social media, below.

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Morning Notes

Local Unemployment Rate Improves — “Arlington’s jobless rate continued to improve in October… the county’s unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in October represented a decline from 4.5 percent in September, according to data reported Dec. 3 by the Virginia Employment Commission. Despite the improvement, the county’s jobless picture has significant more room for recovery. A year ago, the jobless rate stood at a rock-bottom 1.7 percent.” [InsideNova]

Custis Trail Roundabout ‘Fully Open’ — “The Custis Trail has reopened under I-66 near Arlington’s Bon Air Park as overhead work on I-66 progresses for VDOT’s Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening Project. With the underpass re-opened, the new trail roundabout is fully open and the detour is no longer needed… Lighting is planned to be installed in early 2021.” [VDOT]

New Pedestrian Beacons in Bluemont — “Happy to see this safety improvement in the Bluemont neighborhood… rectangular rapid flash beacons have been added on Wilson near Safeway. So, a light now flashes when you’re trying to cross. Makes a big difference!” [Twitter]

Tiny Glass Houses at Ambar — At Ambar (2901 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon, “guests can now reserve one of the 10 fully enclosed new glass tiny houses, that can seat up to six people for dining in warmth, safety, and privacy. They are totally self-contained, with heat, lighting elements and music selections for each host’s personal preference while dining at Ambar.” [Press Release]

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(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) A 23-year-old from Stafford, Virginia is behind bars after police say he followed and groped a woman on a trail and stalked two others in Clarendon and Courthouse.

The first incident happened around 10 a.m. on a Tuesday in September. A woman was walking on the Custis Trail when she noticed a man following her. The man then caught up to her and groped her, before fleeing, according to Arlington County police.

Then, on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 9, the man followed two different women in Clarendon and Courthouse, even following them into businesses, prompting calls to police, according to ACPD.

Police announced this morning that they had arrested Lamar McCarthy of Stafford and charged him with sexual battery and two counts of felony stalking. He is currently being held in the county jail.

This is not the first time the 23-year-old has been accused of such crimes. From the Falls Church News-Press in May:

Falls Church police said they arrested the man responsible for a string of incidents over the past few weeks where he either followed or chased after women on both the W&OD Trail and through residential neighborhoods.

Lamar Dontae McCarthy, a 23- year-old from Stafford, was charged with assault for his latest instance on Saturday, authorities said.

McCarthy is facing an assault and battery charge in connection to the May incident, one of three such incidents in Falls Church this spring, according to the paper. He appears to have been released on bond after his May arrest.

Arlington police are now asking any other potential victims of McCarthy to step forward.

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is announcing the arrest of a suspect charged after following three women walking in Arlington County. Lamar Dontae McCarthy, 23, of Stafford, VA was arrested and charged with sexual battery and two counts of felony stalking. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

At approximately 9:58 a.m. on September 8, police were dispatched to the 3100 block of Lee Highway for the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking on the trail when she observed the suspect walking towards her from a distance. She subsequently turned around and began walking away from the suspect, who increased his pace, closing the distance between them. The suspect caught up to the victim, grabbed her hip, and touched her inappropriately. The victim yelled, prompting the suspect to flee on foot prior to police arrival.

At approximately 1:27 p.m. on October 9, police were dispatched to the 3000 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was walking in the area when the suspect followed her into a business. The victim recognized the suspect from a previous encounter in April and contacted police.

At approximately 3:37 p.m. on October 9, police were dispatched to the 2300 block of Clarendon Boulevard for the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined the female victim was on a walk when she noticed the suspect following her. The victim attempted to evade the suspect by taking various routes, sitting in a park and entering a business. The suspect continued to follow, prompting her to contact police.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with past inappropriate encounters with the suspect or who has additional information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective P. Peña at 703-228-4183 or [email protected]. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

A man groped a woman on a trail near Ballston Monday afternoon, according to Arlington County Police.

The incident happened on the Custis Trail around 12:30 p.m. Police say the woman was jogging when the man, who had just jogged past her, turned around and grabbed her buttocks.

More from an ACPD crime report:

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2020-10050088, N. Glebe Road at 15th Street N. At approximately 12:37 p.m. on October 5, police were dispatched to the report of a sexual assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was jogging in the area on the Custis Trail when she observed the male suspect jogging towards her. After they passed each other, the suspect turned around, approached the victim from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The suspect fled on foot prior to police arrival. The victim was not injured. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, pudgy, 5’6″-5’8″, with brown eyes, wearing a tan baseball cap, a white shirt, cargo shorts and white tennis shoes.

Morning Notes

Amazon Buys Hotel Next to HQ2 Site — “Amazon.com Inc. has purchased the Residence Inn by Marriott in Pentagon City with plans to demolish it and expand its second headquarters, the company tells the Washington Business Journal. Acorn Development LLC, an Amazon subsidiary, paid $148.5 million for the building and its 1.5-acre site at 550 Army Navy Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Trail Roundabout Now In Use — A new roundabout along the Custis Trail is now in use, improving safety at a formerly hazardous T-intersection in Bon Air Park. [Twitter]

Changes for Missing Middle Housing Study — “Staff from the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) presented to the County Board a revised Missing Middle Housing Study Scope and Charge, which was shaped by community feedback and informed by research.” [Arlington County]

Optimists Now Meeting in Person — “While many other service organizations across Northern Virginia have curtailed operations or moved to an online-only presence due to the public-health situation, the Optimist Club of Arlington is back with in-person meetings. The local club… resumed its twice-monthly meetings in July at Washington Golf & Country Club, with appropriate precautions.” [InsideNova]

Robo Mower Snatched, But Then Returned — “Though not a tale of high crimes and misdemeanors, the brief disappearance Tuesday morning of ‘Shultzy’ the robotic AutoMower caused a degree of excitement for one Maywood family.” [Patch]

ACFD Touts First ‘Whole Blood’ Use — “Crews responded for a person that suffered serious injuries after a long fall on Monday. Medics quickly administered whole blood, helping to stabilize the patient’s vital signs. This was the first use of our innovative whole blood program implemented earlier this month.” [Twitter]

Today: Virtual Pike Progress Luncheon — “Support our community with this year’s virtual ‘luncheon’ benefit! While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Columbia Pike, the region and indeed the world, our community is still strong.” [ARLnow Events, CPRO]

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Police are looking for a man they say ran up to a woman on a local trail and touched her inappropriately.

The incident happened around 10 a.m. Saturday, on the Custis Trail near Lee Highway and the Spout Run Parkway.

Police searched the trail and the surrounding area for the suspect, but he was able to get away. He’s now being sought on a potential charge of sexual battery.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2020-09080051, 3100 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 9:58 a.m. on September 8, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 9:50 a.m., the victim was walking on the trail when she observed the suspect walking towards her from a distance. She subsequently turned around and began walking away from the suspect, who increased his pace, closing the distance between them. The suspect caught up to the victim, grabbed her hip, and touched her inappropriately. The victim yelled, prompting the suspect to flee on foot prior to police arrival. The victim was not injured. The suspect is described as a Black male, 35-40 years old, with an afro, wearing a long sleeve red flannel shirt with a white shirt underneath, shorts, and a blue surgical mask. The investigation is ongoing.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. on 9/7/20 — A suspect has been arrested in the case.

Arlington County police are looking for a middle-aged man with a penchant for bicycling, yelling, mooning, and hitting people.

Police say the man has been involved in at least five separate incidents since the morning of August 11, as described in the press release below. Most involve the cyclist approaching on a trail and becoming enraged at pedestrians who get in his way or tell him to slow down.

There may be even more “trail rage” incidents, like this August 13 confrontation on the Mt. Vernon Trail that’s being investigated by U.S. Park Police.

“I can confirm we’re working with our regional partners to determine if this series is linked to other cases in the area,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.

The police department released the photo of a man they say is the suspect, above, taken during an incident on Aug. 29. Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

More from the press release:

The Arlington County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance identifying a suspect involved in a series of incidents along Arlington trails. In the month of August, police received five reports of an aggressive cyclist involved in confrontations with pedestrians walking along trails. Based on witness interviews and evidence collected, detectives are investigating this as a series involving the same individual.

  • At 7:25 a.m. on August 11, police were dispatched to an assault that just occurred in the area of S. Glebe Road and S. Four Mile Run Drive on the Four Mile Run Trail. Upon arrival, it was determined the male and female victims were walking along the trail when a cyclist approached them yelling to stay on the right side of the yellow line. When the male victim yelled back, the cyclist approached and circled the victims on his bicycle before pulling down his shorts and exposing his buttocks. The cyclist then allegedly struck the male victim on the arm and unsuccessfully attempted to take the female victim’s phone from her hand.
  • At 5:03 p.m. on August 15, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault on the W&OD trail between Sparrow Pond and Columbia Pike. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 10:06 a.m., the male and female victims were walking on the trail when they were approached from behind by a cyclist traveling at a high rate of speed. When the male victim took out his cell phone, the cyclist allegedly attempted to strike the him twice, making contact on the second attempt. The suspect then pulled down his shorts and exposed his buttocks before riding away.
  • At 3:35 p.m. on August 16, the reporting party and male victim were walking on the W&OD Trail in the area of Columbia Pike at S. Four Mile Run Drive when they were approached from behind by a cyclist. The cyclist allegedly yelled for the pedestrians to get off the trail and passed closely by at a high rate of speed while yelling obscenities. When the male victim yelled back, the cyclist allegedly pulled down his shorts and exposed his buttocks. The cyclist then rode back towards the reporting party and victim, continuing to yell obscenities before making a U-turn and leaving the area.
  • At 11:39 a.m. on August 21, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault which occurred on the Custis Trail at approximately 10:30 a.m. Upon arrival, it was determined the female victim was running on the trail in the area of N. Frederick Street when she was approached from behind by a cyclist. As the victim attempted to move over, the cyclist passed her at a high rate of speed and allegedly struck her in the back of the head and neck with an open hand and yelled for her to move over.
  • At 7:24 p.m. on August 29, police were dispatched to the area of S. Park Drive and S. Columbus Street on the W&OD trail for the report of an assault and battery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male and female victims were walking along the trail when they were approached from behind by a cyclist traveling at a high rate of speed. When the male victim yelled for the cyclist to slow down, the suspect dismounted, confronted the victim and allegedly struck him in the face.

The suspect is described as a White male with the appearance of someone in his 50’s, approximately 5’8″ to 5’11” with an athletic build and gray hair. He was riding a black bicycle and wearing sunglasses, a white helmet, black shorts, white shirt with red and black trim, red socks and white shoes at the time of the incidents.

Anyone who has information regarding the identity of the cyclist or details surrounding these incidents, is asked to contact the Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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A portion of the Custis Trail will be detoured next week for construction of a roundabout.

The roundabout is being installed on the south side of the pedestrian underpass beneath I-66, which is currently a somewhat dangerous T-intersection. The project is part of VDOT’s larger I-66 widening project.

For two weeks, from Monday, Aug. 24 to Sunday, Sept. 6, those heading to and from the W&OD Trail on the Custis Trail will be detoured around Bon Air Park, via Wilson Boulevard and N. Lexington Street.

More from VDOT:

The Custis Trail will close in Arlington’s Bon Air Park between the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail and the I-66 underpass for up to two weeks for construction to create a roundabout to enhance safety for trail users. The closure is planned from Monday, August 24, through Sunday, September 6. Detour signs will be posted to direct pedestrians, cyclists, and other trail users around the closure. This work is being done as a component of the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening Project.

A posted detour will route users around the closure using the W&OD Trail, Wilson Boulevard, N. Lexington Street, and N. 9th Road to reach the bike/pedestrian bridge over I-66. Delineators will be placed temporarily on a short span of Wilson Boulevard to separate cyclists from vehicle traffic and provide a wider bike lane to allow cyclists to travel in both directions for about 500 feet. The sidewalk on the north side of Wilson Boulevard will also be available for trail users.

A roundabout is being constructed on the south side of the Custis Trail I-66 underpass to improve safety and sightlines for pedestrians, cyclists, and other users of the Custis Trail and Bon Air Park. The Custis Trail remains closed under I-66 for safety reasons while an additional travel lane is added overhead. The trail is expected to fully reopen in late October 2020.

The I-66 Eastbound Widening Project will add a travel lane along four miles of eastbound I-66 and install approximately 12,000 linear feet of new and replacement noise barriers. The project also includes constructing a new direct access ramp from eastbound I-66 to the West Falls Church Metro Station at the Route 7 interchange, and a new W&OD Trail bridge over Lee Highway (Route 29).

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