VDOT Awards I-66 Contracts — VDOT has awarded $61.3 million in contracts to build tolling infrastructure on I-66 inside the Beltway. “The work is expected to begin by late summer with all construction completed no later than mid October 2017.” [WTOP]
Stop Arm Camera Enforcement Resuming — After having to pause enforcement and seek a legislative fix in order to issue tickets to violators, Arlington’s school bus stop arm enforcement program will resume July 1. Drivers who drive by a stop sign on a school bus will face an automatic $250 fine. [Arlington County, Arlington Public Schools]
Clinton Opening Arlington Office — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is reportedly opening a new office at 6035 Wilson Blvd, in the Dominion Hills shopping center. That’s the same shopping center in which American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was shot and killed in 1967. [Patch]
Local Latino Leaders Talk Trump — At a press conference on Columbia Pike yesterday, former County Board member Walter Tejada said presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may regret his rhetoric on immigration come November. “In a tight election, the Latino community can decide who wins,” Tejada said. “To Mr. Trump, we want to declare a message that hate will not win.” [Washington Post]
Hernick Calls on Trump to Tone Down Muslim Remarks — Republican congressional candidate Charles Hernick, who’s challenging incumbent Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), wants Donald Trump to tone down his “divisive rhetoric” on Muslims, saying it “won’t help us unite with peace-loving Muslims against our common enemy.” He continued: “We need to stand together against hatred, violence and terrorism.” [InsideNova]
Local Startup Expanding — Fast-growing Arlington-based startup ByteCubed, a government tech consulting firm, is expanding with a new office in Crystal City for its now 150 employees. [Technical.ly DC]
Tired of waiting for county plows to show up in their no-outlet residential street, a group of neighbors in Dominion Hills took matters into their own hands.
We’re told that neighbors banded together to shovel off N. Arlington Mill Drive, near Bon Air Park, all the way to Wilson Blvd.
As of early Tuesday morning, county snow crews had plowed 30 percent of residential streets, with a focus on especially hilly roads and streets near schools.
The incident happened around 9 a.m., at the intersection of N. Madison Street and 9th Road N., in the Dominion Hills neighborhood.
Police say the garbage truck was turning right onto N. Madison Street, but was waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street. A driver in the high-end electric sports sedan apparently became impatient and attempted to go around the truck, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
With the Tesla in the truck’s blindspot, the truck driver proceeded forward and ran into the car, Sternbeck said.
A county worker on the garbage truck was transported to the hospital for “precautionary reasons.” The woman driving the Tesla was determined to be at fault for improper passing but did not receive a traffic citation, according to Sternbeck.
File photo via Twitter
(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Ashlawn Elementary School is facing a lack of faculty parking after its parking contract with the Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association was not renewed this year.
The contract between Dominion Hills and Ashlawn allowed the school to lease parking spaces in the pool’s parking lot.
Without the renewed contract, Ashlawn Elementary School is facing a shortage of parking with 30 spots for 130 faculty members, according to a PTA statement from Ashlawn PTA President Carlin Schwartz. Currently, teachers are being told to park at the Powhatan Springs Park (6020 Wilson Blvd) and walk over to the school.
“As you can imagine, this will be burdensome to our staff,” Schwartz said.
The decision to not renew the contract was a “difficult” decision, according to a statement from the Board of Directors at Dominion Hills. Trash in the parking lot, delays in payment, increased traffic in the parking lot and “an inordinate amount of time spent by our Resident Manager attempting to enforce the terms of the agreement,” were among the Board’s reasons for not renewing the contract.
The pool also needed the parking lot spaces for the last four weeks of the pool season, which overlap with the beginning of the school year. The frequent use of the lot was also causing wear and tear damage, and the pool was using funds to resurface the lot instead of using them for maintenance of the pool, according to the statement.
“A large part of our decision came down to the fact that we are in the swim club business, not the parking lot business. As such, we need to focus our energies on safety issues, grounds maintenance and infrastructure related to that — a huge year-round task,” the Board of Directors said.
Arlington Public Schools and Ashlawn President Judy Apostolico-Buck asked Dominion Hills to reconsider, but the Board of Directors did not overturn its decision, according to the PTA statement.
“It is unfortunate that APS did not plan for sufficient parking for Ashlawn Elementary School. We strive to be good neighbors with Ashlawn, and have been, particularly through its construction period,” the Board of Directors said. “However, a renewal of the prior parking agreement is not in the best interests of DHARA.”
Schwartz and the PTA parents are encouraging Ashlawn families to call or email the school board with any concerns or questions. Suggestions for parking can be emailed to Schwartz or Apostolico-Buck.
“Ashlawn families, staff and neighbors have been incredibly patient, gracious and supportive through the many challenges that the construction process has created and it is greatly appreciated. I hope we can face this newest challenge with the same with mindset,” Schwartz said.
Ashlawn Elementary was not notified about trash issues in the parking lot, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said.
The incident happened just after 5:00 p.m., at the private Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association pool at 6000 Wilson Blvd.
An 8 or 9 year old boy accidentally swallowed water while swimming and began struggling in the water, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. A lifeguard spotted the boy in distress and he was underwater by the time lifeguards reached him.
When the boy was pulled from the water, he had a pulse but was unconscious and not breathing, the spokesman said. Lifeguards performed rescue breathing and were eventually able to revive the boy, we’re told.
Paramedics arrived and transported the boy to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation.
John Aldonis, the pool’s manager, declined to identify the lifeguards who saved the boy’s life but said they are local high school and college students.
“They did a great job,” Aldonis said. “They did everything correctly and followed the Red Cross protocols.”
Aldonis said this was the first time in recent memory that paramedics had to be called to the Dominion Hills pool for a life-threatening emergency.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Another big battle is brewing in Bluemont and this one is not about bocce.
Wilson Blvd was recently repaved and restriped between the Safeway and Bon Air Park, so that instead of four lanes of traffic, it is now has two lanes of traffic, a turn lane and two bike lanes. The change seems to have brought about two separate realities.
To hear one group of residents tell it, traffic is flowing as normal but families can finally walk down the narrow sidewalks along Wilson Blvd without the fear of imminent vehicle-induced death.
To hear the other group tell it, the loss of a lane in each direction is causing a traffic nightmare that’s adding 20-40 minutes to Wilson Blvd commutes during the morning and evening rush hours. Their tales of woe are relatively consistent.
“I had the displeasure of commuting westbound on Wilson Blvd Thursday [May 28] at 6 p.m.,” driver Alexi Bustillo told ARLnow.com via email. “It took me 20 minutes from Glebe and Wilson to Manchester and Wilson (1 mile distance).”
“Morning traffic backs up from the light by Bon Air Park up the hill… with dangerous merging,” said Josh Laughner, via Twitter. It’s “dangerous [because you can’t] see traffic stopped at bottom of [the] hill. At night it’s pretty bad where the merging starts by Pupatella. I never had any backups morning/night when it was two lanes all the way through.”
“The message boards of [the Boulevard Manor and Dominion Hills neighborhoods, to the west of the restriping] are full of the comments,” a tipster said. “Many complaints about trip times during morning and evening rush hours taking 20-40 minutes on the stretch between George Mason and Manchester.”
ARLnow.com visited the stretch during a morning and evening rush hour this week and didn’t observe any abnormally heavy traffic. Supporters of the restriping say, essentially, that it’s the answer to their pedestrian prayers and they don’t know what the critics are talking about.
“We are so grateful to Arlington County for these improvements!” said Ed Fendley, co-chair of the Bluemont Civic Association Sidewalk Safety Task Force. “The restriped roadway is working great. Traffic is flowing really well. Fewer drivers are speeding. When I’m driving, it is now easier for me to turn left onto Wilson because I can use the center turn lane to stage my turn.”
“It feels so much safer to walk and bicycle,” Fendley continued. “For the time ever, my kids and I bicycled on Wilson Boulevard to go to La Union restaurant. The road is now safer and more accessible for everyone — just as we had hoped.”
“I just want to say that for the first time in the 23 years I’ve lived on Kensington Street, my family and I have been able to comfortably walk down Wilson Boulevard,” said Chris Healey, Fendley’s co-chair. “I can’t express how great it is to be able to walk to Safeway and the many great neighborhood restaurants and shops without worrying about being clipped by a passing car or bus. This is a giant step toward Bluemont becoming a true community. We look forward to phase two and we are confident that the momentum from the success of this project will take us there sooner rather than later.”
(Phase II of the project, which will take place should the county be satisfied with the flow of traffic and pedestrians on the reconfigured roadway, will include wider sidewalks and other improvements.)
“For the first time in two decades, kids can walk or bike safely to Ashlawn school and the pools on Wilson Blvd,” said Tom Carter, a 21-year Dominion Hills resident. “The walkable, bikeable stretch of Wilson should be extended from Seven Corners to Clarendon. Families should be able to walk and bike through the heart of Arlington.”
Three people were hurt when a staircase collapsed, sending them plummeting into a 10 foot hole.
The incident happened around 6:45 p.m., outside a home on the 900 block of N. Madison Street, in the Dominion Hills neighborhood.
Three people — two adults and one child — suffered non-life-threatening injuries when the concrete staircase in front of the home collapsed under their feet and they fell into the hole. The Arlington County Fire Department technical rescue team extricated the victims and the two adults were transported to a local hospital.
Fox 5 has additional photos of the incident. The station reported that the victims were carrying groceries at the time of the collapse.
A 24-year-old Arlington native has opened a new kind of food shop in the Dominion Hills neighborhood.
Taste by Katie opened yesterday at 6017 Wilson Blvd, in the Dominion Hills Centre. The store focuses on reheatable meals to bring home to the family.
Chef Katie Gilman, who has operated Taste as a home-based catering and personal chef business since February 2013, has also worked as a banquet chef at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View hotel.
Taste will specialize in “seasonal ingredients and global flavors,” and will offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. Gilman is also offering catering for parties and business events, and offers “happy hour to go,” with selections of appetizers.
“Taste is meeting the needs of busy people who don’t have time to cook but appreciate sitting down to a gourmet meal once they get home,” Gilman said in a press release. “I’ll also work with customers to provide specialized meals that meet their needs.”
Taste offers 10 percent off meals that are pre-ordered online by 5:00 p.m. Fridays for the next week (Tuesday-Sunday). Meals can also be picked up at Taste’s storefront, which is open Tuesday-Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Police have released photos of a man accused of carrying out a burglary at a local food mart with the hope that the public can help them find the suspect.
Surveillance cameras caught the suspect breaking into the Dominion Hills Food Mart (6035 N. Wilson Blvd) around 1:15 a.m. on June 14. The suspect apparently used rocks to break the glass out of the front door to get inside the store. Once inside, he allegedly took merchandise including Newport cigarettes and cash from a collection jar intended for charity.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with a stocky build and black curly hair. He was wearing a dark blue “Old Navy 94” hooded sweatshirt at the time of the incident.
Anyone with information about the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective James Stone of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703-228-4245 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
The fire was reported around 10:30 p.m. at a house on the 1000 block of N. Livingston Street in the Dominion Hills neighborhood. The fire was quickly extinguished once firefighters arrived on scene.
One occupant of the home was found unresponsive by firefighters and was transported via ambulance to MedStar, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
A fire in the attic of a home on the 900 block of Patrick Henry Drive, in the Dominion Hills neighborhood near Seven Corners, caused significant damage late Saturday night. Two residents were displaced by the fire and the Red Cross responded to the scene to assist them, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
Another house fire was reported around the same time on the 2500 block of Walter Reed Drive, at the Windgate townhouse community. The fire was on the first floor of the home and was quickly extinguished.
Both fires are under investigation, Karl said.
A power outage is affecting the northwestern section of Arlington County this morning.
Dominion is reporting that 1,673 customers in Arlington are currently without power. The company’s power outage map says the outage is a result of a circuit problem, and estimates that power will be restored between 10:00 a.m. and noon.
Impacted neighborhoods reportedly include Dominion Hills, Madison Manor and East Falls Church. Among the intersections where traffic lights are dark are Wilson Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive, and Wilson Boulevard and N. McKinley Road.
The fire broke out just before 5:00 p.m., in the basement of a house on the 900 block of N. Patrick Henry Drive. The flames then spread from the basement to the upper floors of the two-story dwelling, according to fire department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
It took firefighters about 20-30 minutes to extinguish the flames. The Red Cross was called to assist two displaced residents from the home.
No injuries were reported.
Photo courtesy Capt. Gregg Karl
Gingrich Doesn’t Make Cut for Va. GOP Ballot — Despite a last-minute push for signatures, Republican presidential candidate Next Gingrich failed to get enough valid signatures to make it on the Republican primary ballot in Virginia. Texas Governor Rick Perry also fell short of making it on the ballot. [Bloomberg]
Cheesetique Now Open — The new Shirlington location of Alexandria-based wine and cheese store Cheesetique is now open. The store opened its doors to the public for the first time on Monday. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Flickr pool photo by Michael T. Ruhl