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Morning Notes

Arlington Police Involved in D.C. Standoff — County police are working with their counterparts in D.C. to arrest a man wanted on rape charges in Arlington. When they attempted to arrest him last night, he barricaded himself inside his home on the 3300 block of Mt. Pleasant Street N.W. [Twitter, PoPville]

ART Route Changes Start This Weekend — Riders on Arlington Transit’s 41, 42, 43 and 75 lines may notice some schedule adjustments starting Saturday. Service will become more frequent on all of the lines, and the northbound stop at the Courthouse Metro Station will become permanent. [Arlington Transit]

Arlington Planners Bring ‘Smart Growth’ Strategies to Md. — At a talk yesterday, the head of Arlington County’s planning division shared some wisdom on “Arlington’s smart growth journey” to planners in Prince George’s County, Md. “As a regional, national and international model of smart growth, Arlington, has demonstrated… how the mistakes and impacts of suburban sprawl can be corrected and avoided through a visionary and continuous commitment to innovative planning,” the event program noted. [Prince George’s County]

Valley Fest Road Closures This Weekend — S. Oakland Street will play host to the second annual Valley Fest, backed by New District Brewing and other local businesses and artists. There will be plenty of beer on tap, but police warn to watch out for some road closures. [Arlington Police]

Leaf Blowers Irk Arlingtonians — Some county residents raised a stink with the County Board over the pervasive drone of leaf blowers, now that fall is nearly here. But local officials say their hands are tied by state law and likely can’t pass any sort of ordinance to limit the noise. [Falls Church News-Press]

Head ‘Back to the Future’ with Rhodeside Grill — The Rosslyn-area restaurant is offering throwback cocktails and dishes from the 1950s and 1980s to commemorate the classic comedy. The event is set for Oct. 12. [Facebook]

Detours on Arlington-McLean Border This Week — Work to replace a culvert will result in the closure Valley Wood Road in McLean, running just near Williamsburg Middle School and Discovery Elementary School. [Tysons Reporter]

Firefighters Extinguish Bellevue Forest Blaze — County firefighters say an attic fan caught fire in a home on the 3100 block of N. Quincy Street around 6 p.m. last night. There were no injuries. [Twitter]

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Section of Custis Trail Along I-66 Closes Today for Repairs

A section of the Custis Trail running alongside I-66 near Rosslyn is set to close for the next month.

Starting today (Monday), workers will start repairing the trail as it runs between N. Adams Street and McCoy Park to make it a bit more hospitable to cyclists. Construction is set to last through Aug. 24.

Specifically, Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation and its contractors will focus on “a series of bumps, or undulations, on the trail surface near the pedestrian flyover bridge over I-66,” according to a blog post by Bike Arlington program manager Erin Potter.

“This part of the Custis Trail is too narrow (between a retaining wall and I-66) to allow repair work to happen while the trail is open,” Potter wrote.

The county plans to post signs for detours for both pedestrians and cyclists near the closed section of the trail. Walkers and runners will be redirected down N. Adams Street and then along Lee Highway to bypass the construction, while bicyclists have their choice of three different options.

Bike Arlington has full details on the detours posted on its website.

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S. Eads Street Construction Set to Snarl Traffic Near Pentagon Parking

Construction around one of the Pentagon’s parking lots kicking off this week could produce some big headaches for drivers and bus riders alike.

Starting this morning (Monday), work will shut down the west side of S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to where it nears the Pentagon’s south parking lot at S. Rotary Road.

That will shift both northbound and southbound traffic to the east side of the street. In the mornings, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., that will cut off access to I-395’s northbound HOV lanes and Army Navy Drive from S. Rotary Road. Crews will post a detour and drivers should follow signs. In the same time period, access to northbound S. Eads Street from the right lane of S. Rotary Road will be reserved for anyone heading for I-395’s southbound HOV lanes.

Construction will include “median reconfiguration, road widening, pavement and drainage work,” according to VDOT, prompting some major traffic snarls.

“As current traffic volume along Eads Street is near capacity during peak periods, we expect significant traffic congestion and delays along Eads Street,” VDOT wrote in an advisory. “Periodic nighttime/weekend closures may also take place to complete the construction activities.”

VDOT is recommending that drivers looking to reach the I-395 HOV lanes during the construction to use the ramps near the Pentagon’s north parking lots at Boundary Channel Drive instead.

Arlington Transit is also warning bus riders looking to reach the Pentagon to expect “significant delays for ART buses entering and exiting” the facility’s lots. ART plans to issue service advisories as needed.

VDOT says work will shift to the east side of S. Eads Street sometime this fall, then last for an additional two months. The construction is included as part of the broader project focused on the I-395 express lanes.

Photo via VDOT

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Morning Notes

Arlington Named Top Digital County Again — “Arlington County is the No. 1 digital county in the nation for a third straight year. The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2018 award recognizes Arlington for its best technology practices in areas of open government, transparency, public engagement, planning, cyber security and operations.” [Arlington County]

Robbery in Courthouse — Two men reportedly robbed the Dunkin’ Donuts on Wilson Blvd in Courthouse yesterday evening. The men demanded money and fled the scene with cash but did not display any weapons during the robbery, according to initial reports. [Twitter]

Kaine to Campaign in Arlington Today — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tonight “will host a ‘Neighbor to Neighbor’ community conversation in Arlington to engage Northern Virginia voters on the critical issues facing our country and take their questions.” The event is taking place at the Barcroft Park Picnic Shelter (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) at 6:30 p.m.

Britney Spears Touches Down in Arlington — Britney Spears arrived at Reagan National Airport ahead of the kick off of her summer tour. Photos and video show her walking through the terminal with a small entourage. [Daily Mail]

Arlington to Pay to Help Retain Federal Tenant — “Arlington taxpayers will be on the hook for nearly $8 million over 10 years to subsidize a lease that will retain the Office of Naval Research in the county. County Board members on July 14 are expected to approve an incentive package that will keep the federal agency in its current 314,000 square feet of office space in Ballston.” [InsideNova]

Suspect Hailed Cab After Pike Burglary — “A burglar made his getaway from a scene in Arlington by hailing a taxi, according to officials. The Arlington County Police Department said the burglar targeted a business in the 3100 block of Columbia Pike near the Westmont neighborhood at about 10:25 a.m. on Sunday.” [Fox 5 DC]

George Mason Drive Detour — A “small detour” will be in place this weekend on N. George Mason Drive “as crews above remove the old half still remaining from the soon-to-be-replaced Carlin Springs Road Bridge.” [Twitter]

White Ford Bronco Profiled — Prolific local 90s cover band White Ford Bronco is the subject of a newspaper profile that dubs it the “undisputed king of D.C. cover bands.” The profile recounts that “at a recent concert at the Clarendon Ballroom, guys in button-down shirts and Birkenstocks pumped their fists to the chorus of ‘Mr. Jones.'” [Washington Post]

Metrobus Delays This Morning — Metrobus passengers reported delays and missed routes this morning, which WMATA says was the result of “bus operators reporting late to work as part of a collective labor action by their union.” [Twitter, WTOP]

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Demolition Set to Start on Overpass in Crystal City Next Week

(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) Demolition work is set to get started next week on the S. Clark Street overpass in Crystal City, and that will prompt a handful of traffic detours through the end of the month.

Workers will begin removing the elevated section of the road over 15th Street S. next Monday (July 16) and the demolition is set to run through July 26. The county doesn’t plan to use any explosives in this process, and will merely remove the overpass in sections.

The work will impact eastbound 15th Street S. from July 16-17, with detours set to help drivers reach Route 1 and 18th Street S. Then, the demolition will cause problems on the westbound section of the road from July 18-26, with similar detours planned.

The demolition work will run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, though detours will continue on weekends. At least one sidewalk under the bridge will remain open at all times as the work progresses.

The county closed the S. Clark Street overpass to traffic in February to kick off work on this project, with the ultimate goal of easing traffic patterns in the area and encouraging more development along Route 1. Ultimately, the county plans to re-align S. Clark Street in the area to open up more green space in the area, projecting to wrap up that effort in 2022.

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Water Main Repairs Close Part of S. Glebe Road

The southbound lanes of S. Glebe Road are detoured between Walter Reed Drive and 20th Street S. due to a water main break.

Repair crews are currently on site, digging up the roadway to access the leaking section of pipe. Repairs on the 8-inch main are expected to stretch into the afternoon.

Northbound traffic on Glebe, meanwhile, is down to one lane.

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Morning Notes

Chamber Calls for Pause on Housing Conservation District — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is calling for the Arlington County Board to pump the brakes on a proposed Housing Conservation District policy, set for a vote at tomorrow’s Board meeting. The Chamber says the policy would affect more than 450 privately-owned properties. “The County’s failure to provide any notice to property owners that would be affected by the Framework is inconsistent with Arlington’s established government process and the level of transparency the community has come to depend on,” said Chamber President Kate Bates. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Carlin Springs Bridge Work to ResumeDemolition of the Carlin Springs Road Bridge over George Mason Drive was curtailed by winter weather last weekend, but is set to resume this weekend. Drivers should expect a number of detours in the area. [Twitter]

Fisette Tribute Packs Local Church — “A Dec. 13 tribute to departing Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was about 90 percent heartfelt thanks for his 20 years of service in elected office. And about 10 percent celebrity roast.” The event was so well-attended that the parking lot of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington was filled to capacity by those whom Fisette has not yet convinced to take the Car-Free Diet. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Gossip: Britt McHenry Back on Local Airwaves? — A noted local Twitter user who goes by the name “Clarendon Bros” shared some local TV gossip last night, claiming that Britt McHenry was seen auditioning for a job at Fox 5. McHenry at one point lived in Arlington — it is unclear if she still does — and had a well-publicized run-in with local towing company Advanced Towing. [Twitter]

Fox Leaves Crystal City BID — “After more than a decade running the Crystal City Business Improvement District, Angela Fox is stepping down. The BID’s board of directors announced Fox’s departure Thursday, but has not named a permanent replacement.” [Bisnow]

Local Homebuilder Getting Bigger — “Arlington-based homebuilder CalAtlantic Homes is purchasing Home South Communities, a privately held homebuilder based in the Atlanta area. CalAtlantic itself is in the midst of a $9.3 billion merger with Miami’s Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), expected to close early next year.” [Washington Business Journal]

Realtor Group Extends Clothing and Food Drive — “Despite the weather, the first community wide drop off for the Arlington Realtors Care (ARC) initiative, held on Saturday, Dec. 9 was a great success. ARC is sponsoring a second community wide drop off date scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16 at RGS Title.” [Press Release]

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Work to Begin Soon on Washington Blvd Bike Lanes, Repaving

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

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Repairs Still Underway on Walter Reed Drive Water Main Break

The southbound lanes of S. Walter Reed Drive are expected to remain closed throughout Wednesday’s evening rush hour as crews work to repair a large water main break.

The 16-inch water main burst this morning on Walter Reed Drive near Pollard Street, causing a messy and slippery commute for some drivers as the water runoff turned to ice. Crews thought they had isolated the leak around 11:00 a.m., but we’re told that the leak reopened this afternoon, meaning the repairs will take longer than first hoped.

Police are on scene helping to control traffic. A detour has been set up for those heading southbound on Walter Reed Drive between S. Glebe Road and Four Mile Run Drive. One northbound lane of Walter Reed Drive remains open.

“At this point, lane closures and detours are expected to stay through rush hour,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher.

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Route 50 Detoured As Crews Demolish Courthouse Road Bridge

Eastbound Route 50 before the now-closed Courthouse Road bridge

VDOT crews have started tearing down the bridge from Courthouse Road to eastbound Route 50, leading to numerous closures, detours and delays in the area.

Today through Sunday night, traffic on westbound Route 50 is being diverted onto 14th Street N., up to Wilson Boulevard, down Barton Street and back to Route 50 via 10th Street. This afternoon, a long line of traffic was observed before the detour, which is in place to allow for the two-day demolition of the bridge.

Through August, when construction of a new bridge is expected to be completed, eastbound Route 50 drivers heading to Courthouse will have to drive past Courthouse and take the Rhodes Street bridge to 14th Street.

Drivers in Courthouse seeking to get on to eastbound Route 50, who used to be able to use the Courthouse Road bridge, will now have to take the Rhodes Street bridge to the Arlington Boulevard service road that leads to the difficult blind merge with Route 50 near the U.S. Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) memorial. Temporary traffic lights have reportedly been placed at the Arlington Boulevard/N. Meade Street intersection, before the entrance ramp, to help with traffic flow.

The bridge demolition is part of the $39 million Route 50/Courthouse Road interchange project. The project is scheduled for completion in October.

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WB Route 50 Ramp to Courthouse Road Closed

The ramp from westbound Route 50 to Courthouse Road is now closed, cutting off a key route for drivers heading from D.C. to the Courthouse area.

VDOT tells us the closure will last about 6-8 weeks while crews construct a new ramp as part of the Route 50/Courthouse Road interchange project.

As a detour, drivers are encouraged to take the Queen Street exit from WB Route 50, about a half mile before Courthouse Road. VDOT says exit signs will then direct drivers up 14th Street, to 15th Street, and finally to Courthouse Road.

Not every driver seems willing to abide the ramp closure, however. Today we spotted a minivan with diplomatic license plates that drove up to the closure, then reversed in traffic on Route 50, and weaved between a pair of orange barrels to get on to Courthouse Road.

 

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Courthouse Road Bridge to Be Closed, Demolished

Drivers coming to and going from Courthouse on eastbound Route 50 will have to find another route later this summer. VDOT is planning to demolish the busy Courthouse Road bridge as part of the ongoing Route 50/Courthouse Road interchange project.

VDOT spokeswoman Jennifer McCord says the agency is currently planning on closing and tearing down the bridge either in late August or early September. She said the exact timing of the demolition is contingent on some other work, including the completion of new ramps to and from westbound Route 50 and Courthouse Road.

Once the closure is in place, eastbound Route 50 drivers will be directed to the next exit — Rhodes Street — and detour signs will point them back to Courthouse Road. McCord said engineers are still working on a detour for those trying to get on eastbound Route 50 from the Courthouse area.

A new Courthouse Road bridge is expected to be complete by Spring 2013, McCord said.

Another interchange project-related closure is planned for Monday. Workers are planning to close Fairfax Drive, which runs parallel to Route 50, from N. Taft Street to N. Scott Street. The closure is expected to remain in place until project completion in fall 2013.

Photo courtesy Keith Hall

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Statue Dedication May Snarl Traffic at DCA on Tuesday

A statue of Ronald Reagan will be unveiled at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday, raising the possibility of some traffic headaches for people driving to the airport.

A ceremony is being held by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation to commemorate the statue unveiling, in front of the airport’s Terminal A.

Drivers should expect heavier-than-usual traffic around the arrivals and departures terminals due to lane closures for the event, airport officials said. Four lanes will merge into one to detour around the event site. There’s also a possibility that traffic will be completely blocked for short periods along the detour route.

Detours will be in place from 11:00 a.m. through 12:00 p.m. Drivers are encouraged to avoid driving up to the terminals, and to instead keep left at the entrance to the airport, following signs toward parking garages. Passengers can be dropped off or picked up in the hourly parking garage closest to their terminal. Using taxis, which have their own boarding area, or Metro is also bring encouraged.

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Morning Notes

Police Search for Suspects Near Shirlington — While you were (probably) sleeping, Arlington police were trying to track down two suspects who fled on foot near Shirlington. Just before 1:30 a.m., an officer spotted a car that had been reported stolen out of Prince George’s County, Md. traveling on I-395. Due to department regulations, they did not pursue the car after it refused to stop. A short time later, the car was found crashed into the Four Mile Run creek bed at Shirlington Road. Police K-9 units and the U.S. Park Police helicopter were brought in to search for the suspects. As of 2:30 a.m., they were still on the loose.

Four Mile Run Trail Detour — The Four Mile Run trail will be detoured near 3rd and Harrison Streets in Glencarlyn Park due to storm/sewer system relining in the area. [Bike Arlington]

Woman Celebrates 30 Years at Retirement Community — Helen Crossley first moved into Arlington’s Culpepper Garden retirement community in 1981. Now at age 102, she’s being honored for her 30 year tenure at the facility. [Sun Gazette]

Forum Changes — We listened to your suggestions and made some changes to our discussion forums overnight. Unfortunately, the changes resulted in the deletion of some posts. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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