59°Overcast

by Chris Teale January 17, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Trash pick-up is suspended for the rest of today (Wednesday) due to road conditions from the overnight snow, with all collections pushed back by one day.

In a tweet this morning after about an inch of snow fell on Arlington County last night, staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services said roads were particularly difficult in hilly sections.

A DES spokesman noted in an email that “Wednesday routes tend to be in the hilly part of north Arlington.”

Instead, all collection routes will take place a day later than planned. Those who would normally have trash collected today will have it collected tomorrow (Thursday); Thursday collections will be handled on Friday (January 19); and Friday’s will be done on Saturday (January 20).

That decision followed what could have been a weather-related crash by a garbage truck this morning. According to scanner traffic, the truck hit a utility pole on the 4600 block of 27th Street N., near Marymount University and brought down some power lines. There were no injuries.

Photo via Department of Environmental Services

by ARLnow.com January 16, 2018 at 9:50 am 0

APS Named Best School System in Va. — Arlington Public Schools is the best public school system in Virginia, according to a new set of state-by-state rankings. APS received an A+ rating for academics, diversity and teachers, and an A rating for health and safety. [Business Insider]

DES Scrambles to Deal With Water Main Breaks — Staff from Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services had their hands full again over the holiday weekend, dealing with numerous water main breaks in various parts of the county. “A number of Arlington residents experienced low pressure/no water issues” as a result of the breaks, DES said. At least one significant break, along Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont neighborhood, is still being repaired as of Tuesday morning. [Facebook, Twitter]

Marymount Grad Helps Save Family — A Marymount University graduate, now a law enforcement officer in North Carolina, helped to rescue a family from a house fire last month. [The Pilot]

Bill Could Allow Instant Runoff Elections — A bill proposed by Del. Patrick Hope, currently under consideration in the Virginia General Assembly, would allow the Arlington County Board to mandate instant-runoff voting in local races. [InsideNova]

Nearby: Old Town Church Now a Basilica — “The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship declared St. Mary Church in Alexandria a minor basilica, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge announced to parishioners during Mass [on] Jan. 14.” [Arlington Catholic Herald, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com January 8, 2018 at 4:30 pm 0

Arlington County crews have been working through holidays and frigid wind chill temperatures to repair dozens of water main breaks over the past three weeks.

Since Dec. 17, there have been 38 water main breaks, which have affected the water service of up to 1,500 residents, according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien. Five water main breaks happened New Year’s weekend, prompting crews to work through what is a holiday for many.

The county was especially swamped with water main repair calls this past weekend, the last hurrah of the recent Arctic cold snap. Of the 38 water main breaks over three weeks, 12 have occurred since Jan. 6. Of those, all but three have been successfully repaired, O’Brien said. (Three were still being repaired as of 3 p.m.)

DES officials say freezing temperatures create stress on water and sewer infrastructure, increasing the chance of leaks.

“When ground temperatures drop to the water main depth, the pipe material gets cold, but the water temp drops at a slower rate due to its movement,” explained Arlington Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Harry Wang. “Then the temperature difference of the pipe and water cause the contraction and expansion in the cast iron pipe because part of the metal was contracting due to cold soil and part was in water above freezing. Exceeding the tolerance results the cracks.”

Arlington has five repair crews — each with 5-6 members — available around the clock to repair water main breaks, O’Brien said, and they’ve been busy. However, they also have the gear and training to do their work in all conditions.

“Our crews work through all types of weather to repair water main breaks and ensure that residents have access to water regardless of the weather,” she said. “This means crews work through freezing temperatures, snow, rain and high winds. Crews have protective gear to stay warm and dry, take frequent breaks to warm up and follow other protocols to ensure their safety.”

Here are just a couple of the water main repairs taking place today:

by Chris Teale December 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Light snowflakes fell on Arlington County in the early afternoon, with some sticking to grassy areas.

The snow began around lunchtime, and at 1:30 p.m. the National Weather Service tweeted that the main concern is a “thin slippery layer on untreated roads.” Anyone driving home this afternoon and evening should be careful of any slick conditions.

Snow accumulated mostly around the bases of trees and on places where people were not walking, with many sidewalks slick but not seeing much accumulation.

NWS issued a Special Weather Statement around 11 p.m. yesterday (Thursday) warning of a hazardous commute.

The Virginia Department of Transportation pre-treated roads earlier today, and will continue to do so as needed through the evening rush hour, as will local crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services.

In a press release, VDOT urged drivers to:

  • Continue to check weather forecasts as storm timing, area, and intensity can change. Temperatures are below freezing now and are only predicted to peak at 33 degrees around 4 p.m. before immediately dropping below freezing again.
  • Remember that Friday afternoon rush hour begins much earlier than the rest of the week. Consider making your trips early, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, and if conditions are icy, avoid driving for safety.
  • Watch for plow trucks. They are very heavy and drive slower in order to treat roads effectively.
  • Do not overdrive conditions. Assume all roads that appear wet are slick.
  • Reduce your speed and always use your headlights.
  • Take it slow on bridges, ramps, and overpasses, and other known trouble spots.
  • Ensure gas tanks and windshield wiper fluid tanks are full.

The Capital Weather Gang reported that snow could continue to fall for another couple of hours in some areas.

by Chris Teale December 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Some residents in Waverly Hills could experience water outages and traffic delays while crews carry out emergency water main repairs.

Crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services are out on N. Glebe Road between 18th Street N. and 19th Street N. making the emergency repairs, near Glebe Elementary School.

In a tweet, DES staff said water service for 50-100 customers in the area will be affected, and that N. Glebe Road will be partially closed. Repairs are expected to be completed by 8 p.m. tonight (Tuesday).

Image via Google Maps.

by Chris Teale December 8, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Arlington County and the wider D.C. region could receive its first dusting of snow this winter, as early as tonight.

The Capital Weather Gang reports that as Friday night wears on, the chances of light snow, or a mix of snow and rain, will increase. A mix of snow and rain is likely to fall during Saturday, with as much as an inch or two expected to accumulate depending on the severity of the storm.

County government has been planning all year for any winter weather, including budgeting $1.4 million for snow removal, stockpiling 9,200 tons of salt and spending 1,950 hours training snow crews. The team is made up of 92 drivers and 46 trucks.

Crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services were out this morning with liquid de-icer to pre-treat some county streets.

Work on snow-affected roads is broken into four phases, per a county press release:

  • Phase 1: Snow crews pre-treat main roads before a storm.
  • Phase 2: During the storm, the priority is to keep main arteries passable for emergency vehicles and public transportation.
  • Phase 3: Plowing of residential streets and trails begins. It’s important to know that these streets may only be passable with one lane and you may not see bare pavement.
  • Phase 4: After the storm, cleanup operations begin, which includes treating ice on the roadways.

As well as more than 1,000 lane miles of county streets, crews will also clear nearly 350 bus stops and shelters, 35 miles of sidewalks and 21 pedestrian bridges or overpasses. Ten miles of trails and three miles of protected bike lanes also will be cleared.

And residents can play their part in helping make snow clearing as easy as possible:

  • Coordinate with neighbors to park cars on one side of the street, where feasible, or avoid on-street parking so snowplow operators can efficiently clear more of the streets
  • Don’t park “head in” on cul-de-sacs so plows have more room to maneuver
  • Clear your sidewalks and scoop snow towards your house, not the street, BUT
  • Wait for snow plows to come by before clearing snow from the front of driveways, to minimize the amount pushed back by plows
  • Stay home, telework or use mass transit to reduce the number of potentially stranded vehicles
  • Apply only the recommended amount of chemical de-icers on sidewalks to attain a safe and passable way
  • Stay connected through the Snow and Ice Central webpage and DES social media platforms for updates on snow phases, transportation, trash and other important notifications. Follow on Twitter @ArlingtonDES and on Facebook at Arlington County Department of Environmental Services.

Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation will also be pre-treating roads ahead of any snow. VDOT urged drivers to give their trucks room to work.

by Chris Teale November 14, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Workers from the county’s Department of Environmental Services stopped a sewage leak into the Donaldson Run stream overnight.

According to a tweet from DES, crews installed a bypass overnight into a sewage pipe, which broke due to its age, damage from tree roots and the recent cold temperatures.

Repairs to the pipe, which is in a remote location next to Zachary Taylor Park (2900 Military Road), are ongoing.

A DES spokesman said that the remote location made the leak hard to find, but that staff had been aware since last weekend.

“[S]taff did log the leak report over the weekend and the search began soon thereafter,” the spokesman said. “It just took a while for crews to find the leak because of the remote location — which you can see on the tweet photo.”

The spokesman reiterated that the “discharge that entered Donaldson Run will be diminished by natural flushing of the stream over time.”

by Chris Teale November 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A broken sewer pipe caused a sewage leak into the Donaldson Run stream, affecting the water in two parks in Arlington County.

A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said a resident reported discharge of sewage into the stream in Zachary Taylor Park (2900 Military Road) this morning.

On further inspection, the spokesman said, DES crews found that a sewage pipe had broken due to its age, damage from tree roots and the recent cold temperatures. Crews plan to repair it tomorrow (Tuesday), the spokesman added.

Those in the area should avoid contact with the water in the stream in Zachary Taylor Park downstream from N. Upshur Street, and also in the nearby Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 Marcey Road).

“The discharge that entered Donaldson Run will be diminished by natural flushing of the stream over time,” the spokesman said.

Both parks will remain open to the public.

Image via Google Maps

by Chris Teale November 1, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

With the candy collected, the monsters mashed and the ghouls gone, Arlingtonians are anticipating trash day so that Halloween haunts us no longer.

This year, however, there is an option for getting rid of one Halloween staple in a decidedly un-scary, eco-friendly way: Arlington residents can drop off their pumpkins for composting on Saturday.

Arlington County’s Solid Waste Bureau will be accepting pumpkins for composting as part of its free monthly services on Saturday, November 4 at the Earth Products Recycling Yard (4300 29th Street S.) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The service is for county residents only, not businesses or other commercial establishments. Anyone wanting to drop off their pumpkin must remove any decorations, candles or paint beforehand.

Residents can also have up to two boxes of paper shredded, including checks and checkbooks, and can drop off the following inert materials:

  • Asphalt
  • Ceramic tile
  • Concrete
  • Earth
  • Masonry block
  • Rock
  • Sand

Only a small pickup truck load or three cubic yards of material can be accepted. Brush material is not accepted.

by Chris Teale October 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A section of N. Cleveland Street off Lee Highway will be closed until this afternoon as crews make emergency repairs to a water main.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the repairs on the 1900 block of N. Cleveland Street in the North Highlands neighborhood are being made to a six-inch water main. The spokeswoman said the water for between 50 and 100 customers will be affected.

Repairs are expected to be completed by 3 p.m. The street is closed in the area, with a detour in place.

Photo via John B.

by Chris Teale October 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A major road construction project in Leeway-Overlee has drawn the ire of some nearby residents, who say there appears to be “no end in sight.”

The project by the county’s Department of Environmental Services involves adding a new sidewalk, curb and gutter to 24th Street N. between N. Illinois and N. Kensington streets, as well as new pipes to help with stormwater management. At the same time, similar work is being done on N. Illinois Street from 22nd Street N. to Lee Highway.

According to a preliminary construction schedule, completion had been scheduled for Friday, July 28.

But when an ARLnow reporter dropped by this morning (Wednesday), the new sidewalk was only partially installed, with numerous sections of pipe standing nearby waiting to be added. And the 5500 block of 24th Street N. was still closed to all traffic except residents.

One anonymous tipster said the work has been “going on for four months with no end in sight.” Another tipster who lives on the street said even worse things have been happening during construction.

“There has been flooding in neighbors’ yards,” the tipster wrote. “Toilets blown up and sewer drains put on people’s property without even giving them a courtesy heads up… Damaged cars. Houses full of mud. Flat tires and the list goes on.”

A DES spokeswoman disputed the claim that construction caused the flooding issues. Instead, she blamed a “high-intensity storm” on August 15 that “overwhelmed the drainage system in the neighborhood.”

“This is a low-lying area that has experienced flooding issues in the past,” the spokeswoman said. “The benefit of this Neighborhood Conservation Project is that we are improving the drainage system and providing additional capacity, which will reduce the likelihood of flooding in the future.”

Residents claimed the project has been put on hold in part due to budget overruns and in part because the project manager recently passed away. But the DES spokeswoman said the hold up stems from crews coming across underground utility lines.

“The county’s project manager did pass away recently, but this has not stopped construction,” she said. “We have encountered unexpected underground utility lines, which is a very common construction risk in urban environments such as Arlington, as most utility lines were installed more than 50 years ago (and some are privately-owned), so records are not always accurate.”

Neighbors said they are looking at retaining legal counsel to try and force some reimbursement from the county for the inconvenience.

The DES spokeswoman said county staff will meet with neighbors on Friday to discuss progress, and that work should be done “by the end of the year.”

by Chris Teale September 26, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Water damage from a March winter storm has prompted the replacement of the gym floor at the Arlington Mill Community Center.

Staff first noticed water damage to the wooden gym floor in late spring. They investigated, and found that water leaked into the building after the snow on March 14, according to a spokeswoman for the Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services.

“Given the heavy gym use for the Department of Parks and Recreation Summer Camps, the decision was made to replace and repair beginning September 2017,” the spokeswoman said. “The work is expected to be completed by October 31 with the gym reopening November 1. The damage is being paid for through the facilities maintenance fund, but we are in the process of reporting it to the County’s insurer.”

A number of programs at the gym will be impacted while the work is completed. Per a county flyer:

  • “Pickleball players are encouraged to use Walter Reed Community Center (2909 S. 16th Street, Arl. VA 22204) while the gym floor is being replaced.”
  • “Family Nights @ The Mill will be relocated to the Carver Community Center (1415 S. Queen St., Arl. VA 22204) and Teen Nights will return to Arlington Mill in November.”
  • “Pint-Sized Indoor Playtime, basketball, futsal and volleyball participants are encouraged to check-out our county-wide Community Center Drop-in Activities Schedule.”

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Arlington County is set to add a new section of bicycle and pedestrian trail along Washington Blvd.

The Arlington County Board is scheduled this weekend to consider a plan for the second phase of the trail, running north along Washington Blvd from Towers Park — near Columbia Pike — to 2nd Street S. It will then link with the first phase of the trail along Washington Blvd, between Arlington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive.

The project proposes to construct a 10-foot wide paved trail on the western side of Washington Blvd. The trail will be mostly located in the road’s existing right-of-way, but also runs through the U.S. Navy Supply Facility (701 S. Courthouse Road) and Towers Park.

County staff moved the northern section of the trail onto the shoulder of Washington Blvd to reduce the need to build retaining walls and reduce the number of trees to be cut down. Under the current plan, about 84 trees would be removed and as many as 160 replanted after the project is complete.

“The project will serve as a valuable link in the overall trail network as it provides a north-south trail between the Columbia Pike (Towers Park) area and the Arlington Blvd Trail,” county staff wrote in a report endorsing the plan. “Recent improvements to the trails along Arlington Blvd will now be more accessible via this new Washington Blvd trail.”

In a letter to the County Board on September 6, Penrose Neighborhood Association president Maria “Pete” Durgan said members “wholeheartedly support” the project.

The county budgeted just over $2.1 million for the project, with just over $420,000 as contingent in case of change orders. Construction is expected to begin this winter and wrap up late next year.

by Chris Teale August 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Arlington County is updating the section on bicycling in its Master Transportation Plan, and is asking residents to help shape how it should now look.

The Bicycle Element of the plan last received an update in 2008, and now staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the time is right for a revamp given the new “technologies, facilities and best practices” around bicycling. Staff said they will get feedback from a wide range of people, including those in civic associations and business organizations.

Currently, the plan looks to increase bicycle usage, make bicycling safer in the county, add to the network of bike trails and paths and integrate biking with other methods of transit.

“The wealth of expertise in our community, and among our County staff, will help us improve mobility, safety, comfort and convenience for bicyclists and make it even more attractive to ride a bicycle as a way of getting around for people of all ages and interests,” staff wrote.

Anyone can have their say at the monthly meetings of the Master Transportation Plan Bicycle Element Working Group, as well as via an online survey through September 22. Included in the survey is a question about what the county can do to encourage more bicycle riding, with the following answers offered as options.

  • Offer community bike rides.
  • Educate drivers.
  • Add more Bikeshare stations.
  • Add more bike parking.
  • Add more separated bike lanes.
  • Improve the condition/maintenance of the existing bike lanes and trails.
  • Educate bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Improve the connected bike network.
  • Add more wayfinding signs to help people find destinations.
  • Add more bicycle or multi-use trails.

County staff and working group members will also hold a series of meet and greet events at various locations, including today (Wednesday) at the Clarendon Metro station farmers market from 3-7 p.m.

There, residents can discuss the plan updates, take the survey and give feedback in person. Other meet and greets beyond tonight’s event are as follows:

The County Board is likely to carry out an initial review of the update at a work session in late fall. Afterward, county staff will begin community outreach on how to implement the new plan, and finding projects for new or improved bike facilities in the county. An updated plan is expected to be adopted in summer 2018.

by Chris Teale August 29, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Drivers in Westover and East Falls Church can expect traffic delays and detours in the coming weeks as the state and county repave and add bike lanes to Washington Blvd.

The project by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the street, is set to begin in the next couple of weeks with repaving between Lee Highway and N. McKinley Road.

After that repaving is complete, staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services will install green bicycle lanes, bollards and way-finding signs for bicyclists. At some points, the lanes will have a buffer as wide as two or three feet from traffic. The county and VDOT coordinated on a design plan for the new striping earlier this year.

At one stage, the plan had been for continuous bike lanes along Washington Blvd. But those plans were nixed earlier this year and revised.

Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to shorter stretches. Westbound the lane will run between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets. Eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.

Staff said they anticipate between 16 and 19 parking spaces on the street will be lost out of around 150 in total. In turn, Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church (6201 Washington Blvd) is expected to increase its parking capacity to 15 spaces.

DES staff said the project has a number of benefits for those in the area:

  • Enhance bicycle infrastructure where it does not currently exist
    • Help stitch together the expanding Capital Bikeshare system (a new station was installed at the East Falls Church metro station in 2016 and two new stations will be installed in Westover in 2017 and 2018).
    • Connect to existing bicycle lanes on Washington Boulevard between Westover and Lacy Woods Park.
    • Create a nearly two-mile stretch of bicycle lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.
  • Narrow unnecessarily wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.
  • Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.
  • Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bicycle lanes.
  • Pedestrian safety improvements at key intersections with highly visible markings for crosswalks (pending VDOT approval). Center line “Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk” signs may also be installed.

During the work, DES says parking will be prohibited on Washington Blvd and detours will be in place.

Next year, staff will collect additional usage data to track cars, bicycles, pedestrians and parking.

Image (top) via VDOT, (middle) via Google Maps

×

Subscribe to our mailing list