We reported in November that the DMV was planning to end its lease this spring and move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center in the Falls Church area.
The planned move was not particularly well-received in Arlington nor in Fairfax County, where the new DMV office was to open. Del. Lopez organized a community meeting in Arlington to hear concerns about the plan, while residents of Fairfax County’s Mason District lambasted the plan and the anticipated traffic and parking problems the new DMV would bring.
“The locals really did not like it,” Lopez noted.
In a quick series of deals this month, the DMV was released from its Barcroft Plaza lease and renewed its lease at 4150 S. Four Mile Run Drive, according to Lopez. The state government will even get a reduction on its rent.
“It’s good for the community and it’s good for the state,” Lopez said. “I think everyone wins with this deal — the state government, the property owners and Arlington County. It’s really good news for South Arlington, for all of Arlington in terms of DMV convenience.”
The new DMV office that’s planned for Virginia Square, meanwhile, is still expected to open later this spring. The press release from Del. Lopez’s office is below.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has signed a lease to keep open the Arlington Customer Service Center on Four Mile Run Drive. In addition to continuing convenient service in South Arlington, the DMV will move forward with its plans to open an additional office in the Ballston area to increase service for all Arlington residents.
“I was very happy to work with Commission Holcomb and his team to ensure that DMV service remains in South Arlington. I am also pleased that DMV is adding additional service in the Ballston area of Central Arlington,” said Delegate Lopez (D-Arlington).
In a letter to legislators on Friday afternoon, Commissioner Holcomb commented, “I want to particularly thank Delegate Alfonso Lopez for his able assistance with initiating discussions that resulted in negotiations of an extremely favorable deal for the Commonwealth to remain in South Arlington.”
According to the letter, the new lease includes a substantial rent reduction, money for tenant improvements, a more equitable facility maintenance structure, and a parking lot study/redesign.
Arlington School Administrator Dies — Kathleen Meagher, the director of secondary education for Arlington Public Schools, has died at the age of 53 as a result of a scuba diving accident. Meagher, who joined APS in 2014 after serving as a school administrator in Palo Alto, Calif., was vacationing with her partner in St. Kitts and Nevis, in the Caribbean. [Washington Post, Daily Democrat]
TSA May Stay in Arlington After All — A judge’s ruling has opened up the door to the Transportation Security Administration potentially keeping its headquarters in Arlington. The TSA is currently headquartered in Pentagon City, and was set to move to Alexandria, but may now be able to consider the Stafford Place complex in Ballston, from which the National Science Foundation is moving in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]
Difficult Primary for Poll Workers — Arlington County elections officials are preparing for what might be a challenging primary. With intense interest in the presidential primary, turnout is expected to be heavy. There are 13 Republicans and three Democrats that have qualified for their respective primaries. And a loyalty pledge that’s being mandated by the Republican Party of Virginia may cause confusion and animosity at the polls. [InsideNova]
Va. DMV to Allow Smiling, Sort Of — The Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles is lifting its ban on smiling in driver’s license photos, kind of. New rules will allow smiling, but only without showing teeth. [WJLA]
A Streetcar Named Regret in Fairfax Co. — A Fairfax County official is still lamenting Arlington’s cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar project. Supervisor Penelope Gross said the streetcar “was going to be important to maintain the viability of Skyline.” The streetcar was to run through the Skyline section of Fairfax County, improving prospects for the vacant and partially-vacant office buildings there. Fairfax County is currently trying to figure out what to do about so much vacant office space. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Passenger Thrown from Minivan in Crash — Three people were hurt in an early morning crash on S. Arlington Ridge Road today. Police say a car traveling at 55 mph on the residential street slammed into the back of a minivan near 23rd Street S., causing one passenger in the van to be ejected from the vehicle. [WJLA, NBC Washington]
School Board Approves $100 Million H-B Design — The Arlington School Board has approved a concept design for the Wilson School in Rosslyn, future home of the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. With a 92-space parking garage factored in, the construction cost of the school may exceed $100 million. Also last week, the School Board confirmed that it will again ask the County Board for permission to build a new elementary school on the Thomas Jefferson Middle School campus. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
County Facebook Post Raises Eyebrows — Democratic political operative Ben Tribbett, among others, is calling an Arlington County Facebook post about a local Democratic resolution on the Redskins team name an “inappropriate use of a government Facebook account.” Tribbett was previously hired by the team to defend its name. [Facebook, Blue Virginia]
Nine Arlington Restaurants Make Top 50 List — Nine Arlington establishments have made Northern Virginia Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants list. The highest on the list is new-this-year Kapnos Taverna in Ballston. [Patch]
Fisette on County’s Support for I-66 Plan — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette says the county supports a plan for tolling I-66 because it is a regional compromise that’s cost effective, multimodal and not “the typical knee-jerk reaction [of] just widening roads.” Fisette notes that Arlington “was traumatized by the building of I-66 right through some of our neighborhoods” in the 1970s and 80s. [Washington Post]
Four Mile DMV Moving After Losing Lease — Dozens of angry Fairfax County residents came out to a meeting Thursday night to express opposition to a new DMV office in the Barcroft Plaza shopping center. The meeting also revealed more information on why the DMV is moving from its current location on S. Four Mile Run Drive. The DMV reportedly lost its lease due to a planned redevelopment, which has since fallen through. [Annandale VA]
More Info on Courthouse Redevelopment — We now know a bit more about the planned redevelopment of a low-rise office building in Courthouse. A 15-story, 91-unit condo building with 2,000 square feet of ground floor retail space is planned to replace the office building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
The office will be located at 3434 Washington Blvd, behind George Mason University’s Arlington campus and a few blocks from Clarendon. It’s expected to open in April, said Virginia DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker.
News of the new DMV follows news that Arlington’s current DMV, on S. Four Mile Run Drive, will close this spring and move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center in Fairfax County. That announcement has stirred up some local controversy and prompted lawmakers from both Arlington and Fairfax County to schedule public meetings.
The new Virginia Square DMV will be 6,000 square feet — about half the size of the Four Mile Run office and the future Barcroft Plaza office. It will offer all DMV services with the exception of road tests, Brubaker said. Public parking will be available.
“What we like best about this site is that it is located in a large population center and is about a block and a half from the Virginia Square-GMU Metro station, which will make it convenient for folks who work or live in the area or who use the Metro for travel,” said Brubaker.
Unlike Virginia Square, the new Barcroft Plaza office will offer road tests, according to Brubaker. She noted that “test routes will not travel through residential neighborhoods.”
Photo via Google Maps
News that the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office on S. Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington will be moving to Fairfax County next year has stirred up controversy in both locales.
DMV and elected officials in Fairfax are planning a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the DMV office’s move to a busy shopping center along Columbia Pike, reports the Annandale VA blog. Locals there have expressed concern that the new DMV will cause traffic and parking problems in the area.
In Arlington, meanwhile, some residents are unhappy with the idea of having to trek out to Fairfax County to get a drivers license. In order to address the concerns of Arlington residents, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) will be hosting a town hall meeting with DMV officials this weekend.
From a press release:
Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) is hosting a town hall meeting with Senior DMV Officials to discuss the relocation of the DMV Customer Service Center on Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington. The meeting will take place on Sunday, December 6th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Walter Reed Community Center. The meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and learn more about the decision.
WHO: Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Senior DMV Officials
WHAT: A town hall meeting to discuss relocating the DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive
WHEN: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
WHERE: The Walter Reed Community Center’s multipurpose room (2909 16th St S, Arlington, VA 22204)
The DMV office will move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center, at 6345 Columbia Pike in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County, about four miles away from its current location.
The new DMV is expected to open “by late spring,” at which time the Four Mile Run location will close, said DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker.
Arlington County will retain its DMV Select office at the county government building in Courthouse (2100 Clarendon Blvd). The DMV Select office offers various vehicle titling and registration services, but does not issue driver’s licenses, learners permits or ID cards.
Photo via Commonwealth of Virginia
An existing state law on the books says specialty license plates issued for members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans may not include an emblem, like the Confederate battle flag. An injunction on First Amendment grounds prevented the Commonwealth from enforcing that law, but a Supreme Court ruling in June prompted Attorney General Mark Herring (D) to file a motion to vacate the previous order.
In a press release, the attorney general’s office says that Judge Jackson Kiser will next file an order that will specify whether nearly 1,700 previously-issued Confederate plates may be recalled.
Today in federal district court in Danville, Judge Jackson Kiser ruled from the bench that he will dissolve his 2001 injunction that had allowed the Sons of Confederate Veterans to place the confederate battle flag on certain specialty license plates in Virginia. On June 26, Attorney General Mark R. Herring filed motions (see below) to dissolve the injunction and vacate the order that had required placement of the flag on SCV license plates. The Commonwealth will now be able to enforce its existing law regarding SCV plates which states “No logo or emblem of any description shall be displayed or incorporated into the design of license plates issued under this section.”
“This ruling will allow Virginia to remove a symbol of oppression and injustice from public display on its license plates,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “Virginia state government does not have to and will not endorse such a divisive symbol. I appreciate Governor McAuliffe’s leadership in calling for the removal of the flag and those on my team who moved quickly to get it done.”
Judge Kiser’s ruling will not be official until he enters his order, which will also address whether the decision will apply prospectively to new license plates, or retroactively to include existing ones. Deputy Attorneys General Rhodes B. Ritenour and Jeffrey M. Bourne and Senior Assistant Attorney General Janet Westbrook handled the case on behalf of the Commonwealth.
The DMV asserts that the smartphone-based services, which allow drivers to make money by using their own cars like a dispatched taxicab, are illegal because they have not received the proper authorization from the DMV to operate in Virginia.
In letters to company officials, the DMV says it will “enforce existing laws by companies… and by individual drivers that lack authority to provide passenger transportation.”
Tonight the Arlington County Police Department said it plans to assist in that enforcement, effective immediately.
“We will enforce it, but it will not be a primary focus of our operations,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told ARLnow.com. “We are going to take a soft approach, but we will not turn a blind eye.”
Both Uber and Lyft, meanwhile, told news outlets that they’ll keep operating in Virginia.
Sternbeck did not clarify how, exactly, officers plan to single out Uber and Lyft drivers for enforcement. While Uber drivers typically operate discreetly, with nothing to outwardly distinguish their vehicles, Lyft drivers are supposed to drive around with a large, pink moustache attached to their car’s grille.
Jon Liss, Executive Director of Tenants and Workers United, which has been rallying local cab drivers against Uber and Lyft, applauded the DMV’s action and called on the Arlington County Board to do more to protect cab drivers.
“It is time for Arlington to get in sync with the state DMV and enforce one set of rules for all taxi-like services,” he said. “Drivers in Arlington deserve ‘dispute resolution’ protections and fair and enforced regulations.”
Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans slammed the state’s response to Uber and Lyft, placing blame on Virginia’s Democratic governor.
“The DMV’s decision to crack down on Lyft and Uber is reprehensible,” said AFCYR Chairman Matthew Hurtt. “During his campaign, Governor McAuliffe emphasized the importance of efficient government and transportation in making the Commonwealth the best place for business. Yet, less than six months into his term, he stands idly by while his administration cracks down on a thriving industry that not only brings jobs to the region, but also provides safe and efficient transportation at an affordable price.”
“The DMV should withdraw their cease and desist letter along with their preposterous interpretation of this law,” Hurtt concluded.
Arlington County Police responded to an accident at the Department of Motor Vehicles (4150 S. Four Mile Run Drive) today, after a car crashed into a fence.
Police say the driver was at the DMV to take a driving test. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., the driver somehow jumped a curb in the parking lot and smashed into the fence.
Police are not able to release many details about what happened because the investigation into the incident is still ongoing. For now, it has not been determined if the driver will be charged.
Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Using the long weekend to catch up on errands at the DMV doesn’t look like it will be an option for everyone. In addition to being closed in observance of Columbus Day on Monday, certain services will not be offered on Saturday.
Because the DMV’s Social Security Verification system will be unavailable tomorrow, services like applying for a first-time Virginia driver’s license will not be offered. A small number of renewals will be affected as well.
The system maintenance will affect branches across the country, including the one in Arlington at 4150 South Four Mile Run Drive. The branch will still be open from 8 a.m. to noon for other services.
Here’s more information from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles:
RICHMOND – Certain services provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), including applying for a first-time Virginia driver’s license, will be unavailable on Saturday, October 8, 2011.
Due to system maintenance by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), social security number verification will not be available in DMV customer service centers (CSC) on October 8. DMV verifies social security numbers when processing new driver’s license transactions and some driver’s license renewal transactions.
Customers who need first-time or renewed driver’s licenses are encouraged to visit DMV before October 8; all DMV offices will be closed on Monday, October 10 in observance of the Commonwealth’s Columbus Day holiday.
Customers who are unable to obtain a new or updated driver’s license on October 8 will receive a letter during their visit to the DMV customer service center. Customers may return to any CSC during the week of October 11 through 14 and present the letter at the information desk for expedited service.
If a customer’s driver’s license expires, Virginia law requires the customer to show proof of legal presence to renew at DMV, even if legal presence has been proven in the past. Legal presence means that a person is either a U.S. citizen or is legally authorized to be in the United States. Examples of documents used to prove legal presence include a government-issued birth certificate or a U.S. passport. For more information on acceptable documents, see DMV’s Guide to Obtaining a Driver’s License or Identification Card.
The statewide licensing outage lasted “a couple of hours” and was resolved by noon, according to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Melanie Stokes.
The problem was caused by a faulty server, Stokes said. Licensing systems at some DMV offices may still be experiencing latency issues as a result.
“We’re still having some locations that are experiencing slow transaction times, but that should be worked out fairly quickly,” she said.
This morning’s outage may increase DMV wait times this afternoon, depending on how many of the customers who were turned away this morning decide to return later today. Stokes said that some customers may have been given “return letters” that will allow them to skip the line when they return.
A similar outage occurred on Wednesday, March 9, but only lasted 20 minutes, Stokes said. Both outages were isolated to DMV licensing computers and did not affect other DMV transactions. Stokes said the outages were not related to the extended Virginia DMV outage last summer, which was caused by statewide computer problems.
This is at least the third time in a month that the Four Mile Run DMV office has had to turn away customers. On Feb. 25, a wind storm damaged a large section of the building’s metal roof, forcing it to close for the day.
Man Killed on Key Bridge Was Arlington Resident — Police say 23-year-old Arlington resident Aliester Elizardo Pineda-Medrano was walking his broken-down moped across the Key Bridge when he was struck and killed by an SUV Sunday night. The man who police say struck Pineda-Medrano and kept going has also been identified. [WUSA 9]
DMV Back Open After Roof Blown Off — A large section of the metal roof atop the DMV building on South Four Mile Run Drive blew off during Friday’s fierce winds. Nonetheless, the DMV opened as usual on Monday. [TBD]
Women of Vision Finalists Named — The Arlington Commission on the Status of Women has unveiled the four nominees for its 2011 ‘Women of Vision’ award. The winner of the award will be announced at a reception on March 10. [Sun Gazette]
ArlingtonSenator.com Registered — State political blogger Ben Tribbett has been mentioned as a possible candidate in the race to replace retiring state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple. The 31-year-old is at least considering a run. Domain records show Tribbett has registered ArlingtonSenator.com. [Network Solutions]
High winds have blown off part of the roof of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles building at 4150 South Four Mile Run Drive.
Firefighters report that a large section of the building’s metal roof blew off. The building has been evacuated. No injuries are reported.
A building inspector has been requested at the scene.
On WTOP’s Ask the Governor program this morning, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was asked about the state law that allows vehicles with clean fuel license plates (like hybrids) to travel on HOV lanes without occupancy restrictions.
“Is there any point at which that will formally and permanently be canceled?” a caller asked the governor, adding that single-occupant hybrids “clog up” the HOV lanes during rush hour.
McDonnell, who signed a one-year extension of the law in March, noted that the law was “put in place in previous administrations… to create an incentive for using fuel-efficient cars.”
McDonnell said the exemption, which expires on June 30, 2011, will be examined as part of his administration’s transportation effort.
“The overall idea behind these… high occupancy lanes is to reduce congestion, and one person in a car doesn’t do that,” McDonnell said. “It’s part of one of the overall things that we’re looking at in the Department of Transportation in order to get people moving faster. Being able to have more people in one vehicle, or in rail or other modalities, is part of the solution.”
The company’s drivers will watch over restricted parking spaces and wait for some unfortunate schmo to park there and walk off the owner’s property, at which point they snatch the car and drive off. They do this at the Four Mile Run branch of the Virginia DMV, at the Westmont Shopping Center on Columbia Pike, and elsewhere around Arlington. Needless to say, it has not won them many friends.
They have earned themselves a steady stream of hate on Yelp. They have been the subject of a not-safe-for-work screed by a prominent local blogger. And they’re often involved in disputes that have to be settled by police.
The dispute that led to the photo above happened last week when a driver thought his car was damaged by an Advanced tow truck. Police concluded that it was preexisting damage.
One day later, a man contacted TBD and ARLnow.com after his car was towed from the same private lot adjacent to the DMV. He accused Advanced of using a “decoy” to attract people to the spaces, then threatening him when he tried to warn others. “Aggressive towing, intimidation at Arlington DMV parking lot,” TBD’s headline read.
This all brings up the inevitable question: Is Advanced unethical? Are they preying on unsuspecting drivers without regard to circumstance? Or are they delivering justice to people who ignore no parking signs?