Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Petition for Intersection Improvements — “Last Friday, our life turned upside down when a car traveling upward of 40-50 mph mowed down our 10-year old daughter and puppy… We would like to see three simple measures put in place at each of these intersections – (1) stop signs, (2) crosswalk stripes on the asphalt and (3) curb extensions or mini-circles if deemed appropriate/necessary by County traffic experts.” [Change.org]

County: Support Civil Rights By Taking Census — “Census data on both race and origin are used to ensure civil rights protections including voting rights and fair housing. The data are also used to address employment discrimination, provide language services and fund schools, as well as many other programs and services.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Foot Chase in Falls Church — “Police received two separate calls about two women who felt threatened by a man while they were walking near the 400 block of W. Broad Street. Police located the man and pursued him as he fled on foot. Officers attempted to communicate with the man, but he became aggressive. Officers gave warning, then used capsaicin or “pepper” spray… After officers consulted with one of the victims, no arrest was made and no charges were pressed at this time.” [City of Falls Church]

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A teenager was allegedly behind the wheel of a car that struck a 10-year-old girl and killed her dog in Arlington’s Donaldson Run neighborhood.

Police confirmed this morning that “the suspected driver has been located.”

Photos sent to ARLnow on Monday show police behind a black Chrysler 200 sedan, with temporary Virginia tags, matching the description of the vehicle involved in the Friday afternoon crash. The photo was taken near Yorktown High School, at the intersection of Yorktown Blvd and Little Falls Road.

“The investigation is ongoing and charges are anticipated at a later date,” Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “In accordance with Virginia law, the suspect’s identity is not releasable due to age.”

Video sent to us by the victim’s family (below) shows the car quickly driving up N. Upshur Street around the time of the incident. The victim’s mother posted publicly on Facebook about how “our world was split open” as a result of the crash.

“Some reckless and selfish person in a black sedan racing down a quiet Donaldson Run residential street hit my 10-yr old daughter and our puppy at the corner of N. Upshur St. and N. Vermont St.,” she posted on Friday. “She did what she always does. Look left and right conscientiously.”

“The car hit our little Peanut leaving him in a pool of blood while she was luckily able to leap out of the way,” the mother continued. “In that moment, he could’ve ripped apart our world even further and killed her. It’s gut-wrenching enough that the sweetest puppy we’ve ever had was simply murdered. Gone in an instant. The driver didn’t blink an eye. Didn’t stop.”

Though the girl’s injuries were considered minor at the time, she was subsequently hospitalized over the weekend after an onset of lower body pain, ARLnow has learned.

Photos courtesy anonymous

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Morning Notes

Dorsey on Death of George Floyd — Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey posted the following on Facebook Sunday afternoon: “Why is it when we are bird watching, retrieving mail, swimming in a pool, walking down the street, or living in our own homes that you view us as a threat? Why do these routine activities see us being reported to police and losing our lives? It is a question my daughters ask, as do the children of every black person in America. Yet that question needs to be seriously be pondered non-Blacks. We then need you to transform episodic outrage into all-the-time anti-racism.” [Facebook, Blue Virginia]

Apple Store Boarded Up in Clarendon — Workers placed plywood over the entrance to the Apple Store in Clarendon Sunday, as a precaution, after the weekend’s clashes in D.C. [Twitter]

House Fire in Hall’s Hill — “1800 block of N. Cameron St — crews encountered fire in attic. Fire was quickly controlled, 6 occupants escaped without injury and one dog was rescued in good condition. @RedCross called in to assist occupants.” [Twitter]

County Creates Badges for Mask-Requiring Businesses — “In response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order that face coverings must be worn inside public places, the County created the ‘We Are Covered’ program. This gives Arlington businesses, multi-family residences, and houses of worship a way to show they have pledged to protect the people who come through their doors.” [Arlington County]

Tables, Tents in CC Sports Pub Parking Lot — “With outdoor seating now permitted as part of Phase One, Finlay and his staff worked to turn the restaurant’s parking lot into a patio. Outdoor tables are all set up six feet apart. ‘We’re lucky and blessed to have a parking lot that’s big enough to accommodate that type of spacing and still have the social distancing and be able to abide by all the rules and regulations we have to go by,’ he said.” [WJLA]

ACPD Releases Photo of Car That Struck Girl, Dog — On Sunday, Arlington County Police released photos of the dark-colored sedan that struck a girl and killed her dog Friday in the Donaldson Run neighborhood. ARLnow also obtained video of the car. [ARLnow]

Bayou Bakery Donates Thousands of Meals — “Back in 2005, [Bayou Bakery owner David] Guas saw first hand how Hurricane Katrina impacted his hometown and the importance of rapid response in rebuilding the community. In March 2020, when COVID-19 closed school doors, he knew he needed to provide the same fast-acting relief to area children and families left underserved.” [Washington Life]

Discussion with AED’s Telly Tucker — “We talked with Telly Tucker, the new head of Arlington Economic Development, about Friday’s reopening, what’s going on with the local economy, the plight of small businesses during the pandemic, and the growth of tech companies in Northern Virginia.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]

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(Updated on 5/31/20) Arlington County Police are investigating an apparent hit and run that claimed the life of a dog Friday.

Around 1:45 p.m. police were dispatched to the area of N. Upshur Street and N. Vermont Street, in the Donaldson Run neighborhood, for a report of a girl and a dog struck by a driver.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that the juvenile victim was crossing the street while walking her dog when they were struck by a vehicle,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The juvenile suffered minor injuries and did not require transport to the hospital. The dog died on scene.”

The deceased dog was covered in a white sheet, in the middle of the intersection, while police documented the scene and interviewed the girl, her father, and witnesses.

The driver kept going after the crash and is currently being sought by police, Savage said.

The father of the girl who was struck emailed ARLnow to share the description of the vehicle and ask for the public’s help in locating it and identifying the occupants.

“The car was a black sedan possibly with a green pinstripe, with a male driver and a female passenger, both in their 20s,” he wrote. “It had temporary tags and was in the neighborhood between 1:15 and 2 p.m. We are asking that if you live in Donaldson Run and know of anyone who drives a car with that description to contact the police.”

A video of the car, as seen on a Ring doorbell camera, was sent to ARLnow.

On Sunday, ACPD released several photos of the car via social media.

Map via Google Maps. Photo (4) via Facebook.

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A man wearing shorts that apparently did not fully cover his genitals prompted calls to police Wednesday in the Donaldson Run neighborhood.

Arlington County Police were dispatched to the area of Zachary Taylor Park, on the 2900 block of Military Road, around 11:30 a.m. and again shortly after 1 p.m. Callers described a tall man who was exposing himself, in sight of children.

On Nextdoor, one poster said her daughters encountered a tall man “with very short athletic shorts and tattoos on his legs.”

“He had short hair and an athletic build and was listening to headphones,” she wrote in a post sent to ARLnow. “The shorts did not cover much if you get my drift! I reported it to the police.”

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said officers located the man but were unable to find evidence of a crime.

“At approximately 1:18 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an exposure involving a subject with a similar description to the earlier call for service in the same area,” Savage said. “Officers located an individual matching the description and made contact with him, however, he denied having exposed himself. The reporting party was no longer on scene and did not wish to respond to the Magistrate’s Office to swear out warrants. The incident was documented by responding officers.”

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The arrival of cold temperatures was preceded by a line of rain showers packing gusty winds that knocked out power to part of Arlington.

Portions of residential North Arlington along Lee Highway — including the Cherrydale, Waverly Hills and Donaldson Run neighborhoods — are without power as of 8:30 p.m. In all, Dominion is reporting 1,641 customers in the dark.

Video posted to social media shows dark clouds and rain arriving, as flashes from transformers can be seen in the background.

Traffic backups are being reported at the now-dark “five points” intersection on Lee Highway in Cherrydale. Police have also been dispatched to assist with traffic control on N. Quincy Street at 20th Street N., where downed utility lines have been reported.

Mother Nature, meanwhile, is not done with us yet. High winds and near-freezing temperatures are expected Saturday. From the National Weather Service:

STRONG WINDS ARE EXPECTED SATURDAY. A WIND ADVISORY MAY BE NECESSARY AS WINDS COULD GUST TO 50 MPH.

A FREEZE WATCH IS IN EFFECT SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY MORNING FOR PORTIONS OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

More on the storm and the power outages via social media:

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Arlington County has promised to build a sidewalk for every street, but when it comes to some residential neighborhoods progress is slow.

The main way sidewalks are built in residential areas is via the Neighborhood Conservation (NC) Program, which was created in 1964 and allows neighbors to weigh in on proposed sidewalk designs, among other small local projects that are proposed for county funding.

Officials told ARLnow the program is meant to give weight to resident feedback, which means concerns over parking and frontage sometimes trump pedestrian considerations.

Now the Arlington County Board is reviewing the NC program, and asking questions like, “Do NC Projects contribute to an appropriate balance between neighborhood and Countywide infrastructure goals and objectives?” according to a draft presentation with a working group meeting last week.

NC Program Manager Tim McIntosh told ARLnow during an interview last month that it’s a “lofty goal” to build a sidewalk on at least one side of every street, and it’s also hard to evaluate how much progress has been made.

“I don’t know that there are any statistics on how many sidewalks have been built since that plan has been put in place,” he said.

“There are several challenges to building sidewalks on every street,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet said. “In addition to the availability of eligible funding sources for improvements in neighborhoods, there are competing interests for the right of way on every street.”

“In some cases, adding a full sidewalk with curb and gutter would come at the expense of on-street parking, or it could impact private properties in the form of tree removal, yard regrading and retaining walls,” he added. “There also may be differences among residents on a street about providing needed easements. Our job is to balance these interests, as well as costs, as we implement projects.”

McIntosh said the public is generally supportive and wants to see sidewalks installed, “But once you start to get into the weeds and talk about where it’s going to be, people get a little more reserved about, ‘Well, geez, how is this going to affect my frontage? Or the parking on my street?'”

Bob Cannon, a Lee Heights resident, has long wanted a sidewalk on a particular stretch of the 2300-2400 blocks of N. Vernon Street, in the Donaldson Run neighborhood.

The street is unmarked and cars regularly speed around curves, he said. In May, one car drove over the curb near Cannon’s house, blew out a tire, and hit his neighbor’s car. He says crashes like this are common and pose a danger to pedestrians who have nowhere to walk but on the road. He’s frequently asked the county to build a sidewalk, or add speed bumps, bollards, or lane paint to improve safety, according to emails reviewed by ARLnow.

“I do not understand what the problem is,” said Cannon. “The solution is simple.”

Thus far, the county has not revealed plans to add a sidewalk to portion of the road in question.

“Can it improve? Absolutely,” said WalkArlington Program Director Henry T. Dunbar of the sidewalk building process. “That’s why we really push people to get involved.”

Dunbar said WalkArlington is training residents about pedestrian safety and how they can work with organizations like the Pedestrian Advisory Committee to push for safety improvements like sidewalks on their streets. One way he said WalkArlington helps is by conducting “walk audits” of neighborhoods with residents and identify danger spots.

The pedestrian element for the county’s Master Transportation Plan was last updated in 2008. At the time, the document noted that:

Arlington currently lacks a complete sidewalk on almost 20 percent of its local streets. While work is under way to construct missing sidewalks, at the current pace of funding and construction, the sidewalk network is not likely to be complete for another 25 to 30 years.

Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet said the department is currently reviewing the pedestrian element and deciding when DES can begin updates, as it recently did with the plan’s bicycle element.

Photo courtesy Bob Cannon

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Some downed wires have closed both lanes of Military Road in Donaldson Run.

County police say the wires are down along the 3000 block of the road, not far from Zachary Taylor Park and Taylor Elementary School.

A county traffic alert warns that the road will be closed for “an unknown amount of time,” and urges drivers to seek other routes.

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(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A tree fell on a car in the Donaldson Run neighborhood Friday afternoon, amid the ongoing wind storm.

The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. on the 4200 block of Vacation Lane, not far from the Stratford building that houses the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program.

Initial reports suggest that a tree fell on a car, trapping the driver inside and sending live power lines down across the street. Firefighters were able to extricate the driver, who was reportedly not injured, within about 15 minutes.

Vacation Lane is expected to remain closed for an extended period of time, awaiting the power and tree removal crews.

Photo via Google Maps

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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.”

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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

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