Since last fall, residents in the 22204 zip code, which includes a large swath of south Arlington around Columbia Pike, say they’ve been getting their mail two to three times a week or not at all.
“Our mail delivery in 22204 had been irregular, sporadic or often non existent for past 5 or so years,” writes resident Nancy Miller. “Frustration abounds! Meanwhile in other Zip Codes in Arlington, mail delivery has not been a problem.”
While this wave of complaints started last fall, Douglas Park neighborhood in particular has had a history of spotty service. Problems back in 2015 are the same problems the neighborhood has today: staffing and topography. Many of the residents who spoke with ARLnow for this story live in that area.
There have been reports of “perennially” bad service in the Ballston and Virginia Square neighborhoods as well, supposedly because it is considered a training route.
“U.S. Mail delivery is in crisis in Douglas Park, after many years of inconsistent service,” resident Rebecca Kraft says.
The issue can, in part, be chalked up to staffing, says Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who has been engaging with residents about the mail issue for a number of years.
“The main issues leadership at Arlington branches have raised to us recently are hiring and retention,” he said. “They specifically point to losing workforce to private competitors because of differences in pay and benefits. Rep. Beyer cosponsored legislation to boost recruitment and retention for this reason.”
Recruitment and retention might be expected to be a more widespread problem, resulting in mail delivery issues in other neighborhoods, but the complaints ARLnow has seen online were mainly concentrated in certain neighborhoods within the 22204 zip code and at the post office at 1210 S. Glebe Road.
The intractable problem has to do with topography, according to Douglas Park resident Thomas Schaad. The last house on a hilly, residential route with few businesses and apartment buildings, he said when they did receive mail, it was late in the evening.
“The postmaster basically told us the routes are antiquated in terms of how they’re laid out, but they can’t be changed,” Schaad said. “As a result there are some routes that are good, and others that are considered ‘bad,’ the ones nobody wants.”
Another neighbor, who just wanted to be referred to as Molly, said “we’re pretty much chopped liver.”
Mail carriers bid for their routes based on seniority, and the more difficult routes, with more houses or hills or walking, are typically assigned last. Improving the routes requires a study with recommendations, which may happen but likely not until the end of this year, depending on funding. A study was planned for 2020 but got axed due to Covid.
“Until the last two weeks, when it improved to daily delivery, we were getting someone who had completed their route and had come back and been told to finish this route,” Schaad said. “During the Christmas holiday season, they couldn’t hire anyone… the employment pool was being absorbed for the holiday rush by private entities, and the post office suffered in terms of hiring.”
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
Zero waste delivery service The Rounds is continuing to expand its reach into Arlington with another zip code eligible for direct-to-door deliveries.
This week, the startup announced delivery will serve residents in the 22202 zip code, which covers Pentagon City, Crystal City, Aurora Hills and Arlington Ridge.
The expansion comes after the company tested this market with two pick-up locations it opened last year Movement Crystal City (1235 S. Clark Street) and Alexandria’s Sportrock Climbing Centers (5308 Eisenhower Ave). It also offers pick-up from Compass Coffee in Rosslyn (1201 Wilson Blvd).
In addition to the 22202 zip code, The Rounds delivers to the 22201, 22207 and 22203 zip codes.
Following a $38 million fundraising round last fall, The Rounds announces it is adding produce to its offerings for residents in the D.C. area. Customers can now buy seasonal fruits and vegetables from 4P Foods, a community-shared agriculture company that sources produce directly from local farmers and serves the D.C. area.
After launching in Philadelphia in 2019, the zero-waste delivery service launched in D.C. in late 2021, offering residents “an easy, simple way to live more sustainably” when they purchase staples for their kitchens and cleaning closets, per the press release.
“Based on the traditional ‘milkman’ model, the company delivers all your household essentials — groceries, pantry, household, personal care, pet, and baby products — directly to your door, with no packaging waste,” the company said in a release. “They do this by putting everything in reusable containers and then picking up and reusing your empty containers on a weekly basis.”
Memberships cost $10 per month, plus the price of the products. The brand advertises no delivery fees or other “hidden” fees. People who sign up can customize products and receive their first delivery as soon as next week.
Feeling the pressure to respond to its soaring office vacancy rate, Arlington County is looking to fill empty buildings quickly.
One option for adding tenants and knocking down the 20.8% vacancy rate would be to permit companies to set up small warehouses, or micro-fulfillment centers, inside of office buildings that are struggling to attract new tenants — especially as remote work appears here to stay.
The proposed solution is part of a new initiative to modernize and add flexibility to the county’s zoning approval process. In addition to micro-fulfillment centers, this plan suggests a few other non-traditional uses for office buildings, from breweries to urban farms. It also provides an expedited public process with shallower community engagement so that the Arlington County Board can sign off more quickly.
“The goal of this different approach for new or amended uses is to have them ready for board consideration more quickly than other typical zoning studies,” said Jill Hunger from the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD). “This is the first application of the county manager’s strategy to ensure commercial market resiliency.”
After a discussion that called out county staff for not engaging enough with the community, all but one member of the Planning Commission voted to send the amendment to the Arlington County Board for approval on Monday. Commissioner Stephen Hughes abstained.
The proposed zoning change limits each micro-fulfillment center to 10,000 square feet, reflecting industry best practices and staff discussions with center operators, Hunger said. If the center is in a ground-floor space and opens onto an active street, it must provide a walk-in customer sales area.
Staff recommend that no fewer than 10% of deliveries should be made by a delivery worker on foot or on a bicycle.
“It’s anticipated that quite truthfully after the initial startup, and if more than one micro-fulfillment center operates in Arlington, this modal split may actually increase,” Hunger said.
While Planning Commission members ultimately voted in favor of permitting micro-fulfillment centers, a number criticized the plan for not talking to the civic associations that could be impacted.
According to a draft county document, the county placed public notice ads with the Washington Times for the Planning Commission and County Board meetings, updated its webpages for zoning studies and its response to office vacancies, and briefed the Planning Commission and the Economic Development Commission.
“We feel we have done the outreach that’s consistent with many zoning text amendments,” Hunger said.
But without asking residents for their input, Commissioner James Schroll said he has a hard time believing the County Board can approve the change without additional public hearings. The Board is expected to take up the matter at its Saturday, Oct. 15 meeting.
“How we do what we do matters,” he said. “I get that you want to move quickly and I support that and I also want staff to be engaging with broad stakeholders as you do that.”
He said he’ll be reticent to support future amendments to consider permitting breweries and urban farms in office spaces, for instance, if there isn’t more stakeholder outreach.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) A new pizza place is opening on the Pike, in the shopping center at the intersection with S. Randolph Street.
Papa Deeno’s Pizza at 4109 Columbia Pike is expected to open in mid-December, in the space formerly occupied by Columbia Pike Cleaners, according to its co-owner and a county staff report.
On Saturday, the Arlington County Board granted the restaurant a permit to allow for food delivery. It passed in the “content agenda” with other items considered non-controversial.
Papa Deeno’s will have 12 indoor dining seats, along with restrooms, but it’s expected that about 30% to 40% of sales will come from delivery, according to the report.
Overall, it’s thought that the restaurant will make about 100 deliveries on weekdays and about 125 deliveries on weekends.
The website, which looks to be about half-completed, describes the pizza parlor as “family-owned” and the dream of the family’s youngest daughter. Additionally, the entire menu is halal “so that everyone can enjoy our delicious creations.”
The menu consists of pizzas, salads, pastas, sandwiches, and chicken wings. The website also lists a second location in Chantilly that’s coming soon.
The shopping center at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Randolph Street takes up nearly 34,000 square feet and was constructed in 1962, the county report notes.
It’s unclear when Columbia Pike Cleaners closed, but local dry cleaning businesses have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic as many customers have avoided going to the office or dressing up for formal occasions.
Photo via Google Maps. Screenshot via Papa Deeno’s
You may have noticed it while going by: a seemingly random blue trailer in the middle of a decaying parking lot between the Clarendon Whole Foods and the PNC Bank.
What you might not have realized at the time is that your next meal might be coming from there.
The trailer belongs to REEF Kitchens, which is part of a company focused on turning thousands of underutilized, urban parking lots around the country into food and logistics hubs. It serves as a “ghost kitchen,” producing meals for a number of virtual “restaurants” available on food delivery platforms like Uber Eats, Doordash, Postmates and Grubhub.
A full kitchen crew works out of the trailer, which is positioned to be close to a large, dense population and convenient for delivery drivers, who don’t need to double park or dodge dine-in customers while picking up meals.
REEF currently has only one location in Arlington, but is scouting out more here and around the D.C. area.
“Our Neighborhood Kitchen on Wilson Blvd is REEF’s first, and currently only, Neighborhood Kitchen in the Arlington area,” said a PR rep for the company, in response to inquiries from ARLnow. “REEF currently operates two parking facilities in the Arlington area and close to 80 locations in the greater DMV… I think it’s fair to say we’re growing quickly and are adding new locations all the time.”
Each kitchen cooks for 5-6 restaurant brands, serving up to 80-100 delivery orders per day and offering 20-35 minute delivery times. The trailers — along with waste bins and portable bathrooms — require 6-8 parking spaces apiece, in addition to utility connections, according to a slide deck obtained by ARLnow. The company sometimes groups multiple trailers together in the same parking lot.
REEF currently employs 10 people in Arlington, the rep said, though that is significantly fewer than would be required to run five separate bricks-and-mortar restaurants. Fewer employees, close proximity to a critical mass of potential customers, and the lack of a physical building means more sales and lower costs, something that’s hard for restaurants struggling through the pandemic to compete with — particularly given the fees collected by the delivery apps.
But REEF says it is looking to unlock opportunities for restaurants and local entrepreneurs through its model.
“REEF Neighborhood Kitchens leverage the power of proximity through the company’s network of parking lots to allow food entrepreneurs, local restaurants, and national restaurant brands to open and quickly expand their delivery businesses,” said the rep. “Neighborhood Kitchens help to reduce the barriers and costs associated with traditional brick and mortar restaurants either by helping to expand an existing restaurant’s delivery radius, or by allowing food entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground without the barriers to entry of the traditional restaurant industry. ”
He added that the kitchens follow stringent food handling, cleaning and COVID-19 safety protocols, and that customers “benefit from the added convenience of expanded delivery areas and quicker delivery.”
REEF, which released a video (below) that shows its holistic vision for turning parking lots into bustling neighborhood logistics hubs, says its model represents the future — a reimagined melding of technology and the physical world.
“We believe a parking lot can be more than a place to store a car,” the company said in a presentation. “A parking lot can be a hub for the community, connecting people to the businesses, services, and experiences that make a neighborhood thrive.”
The group behind Chasin’ Tails in East Falls Church and Happy Endings Eatery, a new Asian food hall in Rosslyn, has launched a new delivery service.
The company, Happy Endings Hospitality (HEH), says it launched “a virtual eatery featuring Vietnamese and Cajun comfort food,” calling the new service “Operation Deliver Happiness.”
“The new integrated menu features the most popular dishes from all eight [HEH] concepts since 2012,” the company said in a press release, noting that “they have greatly expanded their delivery areas to cover the majority of the metropolitan area.”
HEH says it was forced to lay off 208 employees and close all six of its restaurants in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. The new initiative allows them to re-hire some of the staff back, while helping those that were laid off.
“Sensing that food delivery and take out would soon become the norm, the team quickly mobilized and constructed a new menu with the help of volunteers from their staff,” said the press release. “They devised a plan which they named Operation Deliver Happiness whose mission is to safely deliver delicious food to guests while saving staff jobs and providing financial and food relief for their staff and the DMV community… Profits from Operation Deliver Happiness are used to support their recently laid off staff and those facing food insecurity in the DMV community.”
David Dang, a member of the family that owns the burgeoning restaurant group, said in an email to ARLnow they’ve been giving free meals to laid off staff members and donating to local food banks, all while launching the new “virtual eatery,” expanding its delivery area and trying to stay afloat.
The menu features “Boil in a Bag: Snow Crab Legs and the Sriracha Honey Jumbo Shrimp from Chasin’ Tails, 18-Hour Pho and Eggs Rated Banh Mi from Roll Play and Pistachio Milk Tea from Teas’n You and Classic Shoyu Tuna Poke Nachos from Lei’d,” among other popular items, along with a new Caramelized Pork Belly Mac & Cheese.
Orders for pickup and delivery can be placed online. Locally, the deliveries — free for orders over $50 — will originate from HEH’s locations in Rosslyn and Tysons.
El Pollo Rico, the oldest Peruvian rotisserie joint in the country located in Arlington Virginia is now offering delivery!
Delivery is within a five mile radius — one dollar delivery fee per mile — and costs less than Postmates or Grubhub.
Starting today, March 23, orders in D.C. must meet $15.00 order minimum.
Delivery hours for D.C.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Delivery hours for Arlington: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Call (703)-522-3220 for more information! Follow along on Instagram @elpolloricoarl.
El Pollo Rico is located at 932 N. Kenmore Street Arlington, VA.
A food delivery service that’s popular in New York City is coming to Arlington and some other D.C. area locales.
FreshDirect, a well-funded online food retailer that delivers “farm-fresh produce, high-quality meat, seafood, dairy, prepared meals and grocery staples,” is launching in Arlington, Bethesda, McLean and parts of the District next week on Wednesday, April 5.
FreshDirect will offer next-day delivery to just about every Arlington ZIP code: 22201, 22202, 22203, 22204, 22205, 22206, 22207, 22209, 22211, and 22213.
“The service will offer 12,000 high-quality products and give residents the chance to try popular specialty foods such as Roberta’s pizza from Brooklyn, Wandering Bear Cold Brew Coffee, dairy-free yogurt from Anita’s, premium deli meats from Boar’s Head and JUST FreshDirect Wild Caught Albacore Tuna,” a PR rep said.
More from a press release:
FreshDirect sources from farms in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
No-subscription meal kits will also be part of the offering, giving D.C. consumers more options for dinner tonight. In addition to home delivery, FreshDirect also feeds D.C.’s busy workforce with an ‘At The Office’ service, which includes chef-prepared breakfasts, luncheon platters perfect for business meetings, catering services for events, and popular brands of snacks, beverages and pantry items…
FreshDirect customers can order next day delivery in the two hour window of their choice via web or mobile app as early as 6:30 a.m. through 11:00 p.m.. Customers can either pay per order for the service cost of $7.99 with a $40 minimum spend per order or pay an annual fee of $129.00 for unlimited free delivery through DeliveryPass. DeliveryPass members enjoy unlimited free deliveries and exclusive special offers and savings. First timers can get a 2-month trial for 1 cent.
FreshDirect opened its new D.C. facility in Prince George’s County and has hired more than 50 local employees as part of the expansion. For more information, visit www.freshdirect.com or download the iPhone, Android and iPad mobile apps.
(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) Starting today, Arlingtonians can order a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream from Amazon.com and get it while it’s still frozen.
Amazon announced this morning that it has launched its Prime Now service for parts of Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Springfield and all of Arlington. (Users can check to see if the service is available by typing in their ZIP code.)
Prime Now allows Amazon Prime members (link goes to a 30-day free Prime trial offer) to order tens of thousands of everyday items, from groceries to household essentials to electronics to pet supplies, and get it delivered in 1-2 hours. One hour delivery costs $7.99, while two hour delivery is free.
“This is the latest benefit of being a Prime member,” Amazon spokeswoman Amanda Ip told ARLnow.com. She said the company plans to extend Prime Now service to the District of Columbia in October.
The service is available via a dedicated Prime Now website and smartphone app for Android and iPhone.
More from a press release:
Amazon announced today that its Prime Now one-hour delivery service is expanding to Northern Virginia from Springfield to Arlington to Alexandria. The ultra-fast service, offered exclusively as a benefit to Prime members, provides one-hour delivery on tens of thousands of daily essentials from staples like paper towels, milk or ice cream, to electronics such as laptops and Kindle devices.
In Virginia, Prime Now is also available in Richmond and Virginia Beach. Since launching in these areas, top items purchased for superfast delivery through the service include Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, bananas, Haribo gummy bears and eggs.
Prime members can shop on www.primenow.com and can also download the Prime Now app, available on iOS and Android devices.
In Northern Virginia, Prime Now is available from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. Two-hour delivery is free and one-hour delivery is available for $7.99.
A delivery driver was arrested in the Ballston area Saturday morning and charged with assaulting police and a local residents.
The incident started around 6:45 a.m., when a resident on the 700 block of N. Tazewell Street started filming the driver and called police with a noise complaint, all as part of “an ongoing dispute [regarding] the time of deliveries.”
A verbal dispute between the resident and the driver ensued, leading the driver to punch the resident in the face, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
When police arrived, the driver was confrontational and struck at least one officer, Savage said. From and ACPD crime report:
ASSAULT ON POLICE, 160423017, 700 block of N. Tazewell Street. At approximately 6:48 a.m. on April 23, officers were dispatched to a noise complaint regarding an ongoing dispute between the time of deliveries. The victim was recording the incident when they were struck in the face by the subject. The subject became combative when officers arrived on scene but subsequently was taken into custody. Roderick Watt, 41, of Wilkes Barre Pa, was charged with assault on police (2 counts), obstruction of justice, and assault and battery. He was held on a secured bond.
A second incident of an assault on police happened later that night, in the Nauck neighborhood, according to the crime report.
ASSAULT ON POLICE, 160423049, 2400 block of S. 24th Road. At approximately 10:42 p.m. on April 23, officers conducted a traffic stop in regards to a suspended license. During the stop, the passenger became combative, pushed an officer to the ground, and fled on foot. Officers were able to apprehend Justin Murray, 31, of Alexandria VA. He was charged with assault on police, obstruction of justice, possession of marijuana(second offense), and failure to identify to law enforcement. He is being held without bond.
Also Saturday night, according to police, two drunk men were arrested after they both grabbed the buttocks of a woman and then started fighting. The incident started as all three were leaving an establishment near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive.
The men were both charged with sexual battery and being drunk in public, according to the crime report.
SEXUAL BATTERY, 160423043, 4800 block of S. Columbia Pike. At approximately 9:40 p.m. on April 23, officers responded to the area for reports of two males fighting. When officers arrived on scene a female advised that her buttocks was grabbed by both suspects. . Carlos Rivas Martinez, 22, of Arlington VA, was charged with sexual battery and drunk in public. He was held on an unsecured bond. Lorenzo Rivas Martinez, 20, of Arlington VA, was charged with sexual battery and drunk in public. He was held on a secured bond.
A UPS driver was pelted by BBs apparently fired from a Rosslyn apartment building this afternoon.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. near the corner of N. Oak Street and Key Blvd.
The driver told police that a teenage male — 18 years of age or so — was firing a BB gun at him from the top balcony of the 1800 N. Oak Street apartments. At least one of the BBs struck the man in the torso, but he was not otherwise injured.
The driver yelled at the teen to stop. By the time police showed up, he had apparently gone back inside.
No word yet on whether there are any suspects in the case.