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Density, Development Debates Take Center Stage as Lee Highway Planning Nears

In many ways, the Lee Highway corridor is the last part of Arlington that looks like the rest of the Northern Virginia suburbs.

With high rises coming to define both the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and Crystal City, and neighborhoods along Columbia Pike becoming ever more dense, Lee Highway has remained persistently suburban in character with its procession of low-slung shopping centers and vast parking lots.

But should it stay that way as the county keeps growing? And if not, how should it change?

Those are the questions the community and county planners will try to answer as they embark on a years-long planning process for Lee Highway in the coming months.

With land-use policies last updated in 1955, Arlington officials have long seen the corridor as ripe for a new round of planning. Now, after years of back-and-forth, the county is set to hire a consulting firm and kick off the process in earnest this fall.

“The next big planning frontier is Lee Highway, from Rosslyn all the way out to East Falls Church,” said County Board member John Vihstadt. “The brewing consensus is that it’s appropriate for some increased density. We’re an urbanizing county, but we also have to be sensitive to the neighborhoods that flank Lee Highway.”

Certainly, the question of density along the highway will be among the most contentious issues to be resolved in the planning process. As Vihstadt puts it, “nobody wants to see the Clarendon-ization of Lee Highway,” considering that so many single-family homes sit directly behind the roadway.

Michelle Winters, the executive director of the Alliance for Housing Solutions and a board member for the Lee Highway Alliance, isn’t so sure about that.

The LHA, a coalition of civic associations and community groups along the corridor, helped spur the start of this new round of planning in the first place, largely out of concern that development was likely coming to the highway and needed to be managed appropriately. Winters reasons that there is room for dense, mixed-use developments along some sections of the highway — she feels it was only the “bad math” guiding the area’s current zoning that prevented the right mix of residential and commercial properties from moving to the corridor in the first place.

“Would the community want another Ballston? Maybe not,” Winters said. “But another Clarendon, especially if it looks like the less dense parts of Clarendon? Maybe.”

Natasha Alfonso-Ahmed, a principal planner on the county’s comprehensive planning team, allows that the county won’t know the best way to proceed until the process wraps up, noting that planners are “going to test every possible scenario” for the corridor.

But, as Winters suggested, Alfonso-Ahmed expects that certain “nodes” on the highway could be rezoned to allow for more density, perhaps creating more walkable communities on the otherwise car-heavy corridor.

In an initial “visioning study” in 2016, the community identified five such areas that could become home to taller buildings and mixed-use spaces — East Falls Church near the Metro station, the intersection with N. Harrison Street and N. George Mason Drive, the intersection with N. Glebe Road, the Cherrydale neighborhood near N. Quincy Street and Lyon Village near Spout Run. Alfonso-Ahmed believes the county could approach each of those “nodes” differently, allowing more density only where it makes the most sense.

“A lot of the communities in that area…want to be able to walk or bike to places like a restaurant or a coffee shop,” Alfonso-Ahmed said. “At the same time, they want to be able to get in a car and go to the supermarket or the cleaners. They’re not totally independent of the car yet, like in other parts of Arlington…The goal is to balance both.”

But what will become of the existing shopping centers on the highway? As Alfonso-Ahmed points out “it’s not like it’s a blighted corridor,” and is filled with plenty of successful small businesses that the county doesn’t want to lose.

That means Arlington officials will need to think critically about what “sort of incentives or tools will be needed for business owners to even entertain” moving, she added. Or perhaps the county could allow for the expansion of those existing commercial areas, which would then bump up into residential neighborhoods.

“Are they comfortable with the encroachment of the commercial properties?” Alfonso-Ahmed said. “If they are, how much of it are they comfortable with?”

Another possibility that intrigues Vihstadt is the expansion of affordable housing options in the area. County Board Chair Katie Cristol agrees, and suggested one “illustrative example” of a change the county might make is rezoning some areas meant for single-family homes to allow for “by-right duplex development” on the edges of neighborhoods.

But, once more, such a change would surely require extensive community engagement to allay concerns about the corridor’s changing character.

To that end, Alfonso-Ahmed expects the whole process will take three years in total, with both a large “community forum” and a smaller working group constantly weighing in on the effort and lots of chances for the community to see the county’s work.

It should all start “before the end of the year,” she said, once the county can pick a consultant to help guide the effort. Though the Board had to scale back some of the process’s funding, thanks to the county’s constrained finances, Alfonso-Ahmed says planners have everything they need to move forward, and are plenty anxious to do so.

“We really want to get it started,” she said. “We know it’s been too long.”

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Van Buren Bridge Reopens, Complete with New Walkway

The Van Buren Bridge near the East Falls Church Metro station is back open after months of renovation work, complete with a new walkway for cyclists and pedestrians.

The city of Falls Church had been working since last fall to repair and widen the bridge, located near where N. Van Buren Street intersects with 18th Street N. and running over Benjamin Banneker Park.

The bridge previously lacked a sidewalk of any kind, forcing pedestrians into the roadway. Accordingly, the $300,000 construction project won some regional transportation funding for its potential to provide a smoother connection for people looking to reach the nearby Metro station with the new 12-f00t walkway.

With the W&OD Trail close by as well, planners also envision the bridge improving conditions for cyclists in the area.

The project’s conclusion also marks the end to detours on N. Van Buren Street, which previously routed drivers onto nearby roads like 19th Street N. and N. Sycamore Street.

File photo

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KKK Recruitment Fliers Found in East Falls Church Neighborhood

Some residents of an East Falls Church neighborhood say they discovered Ku Klux Klan recruitment fliers full of racist and anti-Semitic language this past weekend.

Eliza Thompson says she discovered a flier sitting at the foot of her driveway on Saturday morning (July 21), placed in a small bag and weighed down with birdseed. She says she quickly learned that several of her neighbors along N. Roosevelt Street also received the fliers, which advertise membership in a group dubbed the “Loyal White Knights.”

“I’m a talker, and I couldn’t even talk after we saw those,” Thompson told ARLnow. “Why did they choose our street, our neighborhood? It just doesn’t make much sense.”

The fliers don’t list where the group is based, with most of the space dedicated to screeds about how Jews control the media or how immigrants are destroying the country, but they do list phone numbers with North Carolina area codes. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Loyal White Knights are active in two different parts of that state, as well as in Maryland and Richmond.

Thompson’s discovery comes less than a month after some Lyon Village residents discovered anti-Semitic fliers in their neighborhood, and other KKK fliers, similarly placed in bags and weighed down with birdseed, turned up in Gainesville and Bristow. A flier for a white supremacist group was also found in Clarendon in late May.

“You wouldn’t expect it in Arlington,” Thompson said. “It’s just not the area you’d think the KKK would be recruiting out of.”

Thompson says some of her neighbors reported the incident to county police, but the neighborhood is also planning a larger response to the fliers’ arrival.

Not only has she ordered 10 signs proclaiming “hate has no home here” that she hopes to distribute, but she’s working with some of her neighbors to hand out baggies of their own, filled with candy and messages about diversity and inclusion.

“Simply being outraged isn’t enough,” Thompson said. “This is real, and I think a lot of white people need to realize the racism non-white Americans face on a regular basis in our country. It’s easy if you live in North Arlington not to pay attention to racism. But it’s there all the time.”

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Second Entrance at East Falls Church Metro Station May Be On Hold For a Decade Or More

Arlington likely won’t be able to add a second entrance at the East Falls Church Metro station until sometime in the 2030s, as county officials re-examine their funding priorities for the next decade.

The county has hoped for years to build a western entrance to improve pedestrian access to the station, particularly with plans to someday re-develop the parking lot and properties surrounding the station.

But the project’s roughly $96 million price tag makes it difficult to afford as officials grapple with a tight revenue picture. County Manager Mark Schwartz is proposing delaying any funding for the second entrance until at least fiscal year 2028 in his new ten-year Capital Improvement Plan.

“Given the pipeline of existing, high-priority stations, it really made sense to move this out,” county transportation director Dennis Leach told the County Board during a work session last Tuesday (June 26).

Schwartz is calling for the county to dedicate $8.8 million in state and regional transportation dollars for design work at the station starting in 2028, pushing back any construction spending indefinitely. The Board’s last CIP, approved in 2016, called for the planning process to start in fiscal year 2022, and construction to start in 2024.

As Leach mentioned, the county is eyeing second entrances at both the Crystal City and Ballston Metro stations as well, and officials are also struggling to fund those efforts as the county copes with increased Metro spending to provide the service with dedicated annual funding.

Complicating matters further is that the county was hoping the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a group that hands out money for transportation improvements around the region, would be able to fund the bulk of the construction of all three projects. But the same dedicated funding deal for Metro involved pulling away about $80 million from the NVTA each year, meaning the group is scaling back how much money it can offer all but the most large-scale projects.

“We can’t do them alone,” Leach said.

For the East Falls Church Metro entrance, the county was hoping to earn about $57.2 million from the NVTA. But with the group barely able to find any money for the Crystal City project, and no money for the Ballston second entrance, the county doesn’t have any clear sense for where to find funding for East Falls Church if its fiscal situation doesn’t improve.

That’s not to say that the county is abandoning the project, however.

Sarah Crawford, the county’s assistant director of transportation, told the Board that she fully expects the East Falls Church entrance “would score well” and earn money generated by the tolls on I-66 inside the Beltway. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission hands out some of that revenue as part of its “Commuter Choice” program for local transportation improvements, and Crawford said the county plans to submit the East Falls Church project for consideration in the coming months.

Karen Finucan Clarkson, a spokeswoman for the NVTC, says the group finished its most recent round of funding through the program last month, but will solicit a new round of projects “this fall, most likely in October.” The NVTC would then select its preferred projects sometime next spring, and the county is hoping to win roughly $6.6 million in funding for the effort.

Meanwhile, Leach also noted that the county will probably apply for more state funding through the “SmartScale” program for the Crystal City entrance project — applications are due by Aug. 1.

The County Board is set to vote on its final CIP by July 14.

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BREAKING: Man Jumps in Front of Train at East Falls Church Metro

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A man is now in critical condition after first responders say he jumped in front of a train at the East Falls Church Metro station.

Metro Transit Police believe the person was struck by a train after jumping on the track intentionally. Rescuers have since rushed him to a local hospital after removing him from under the train.

Orange and Silver line trains are single-tracking between the East Falls Church station and Ballston, and Metro is warning riders to expect delays in both directions.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-228-5160. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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House Fire in East Falls Church

Firefighters extinguished a house fire in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood tonight.

“Heavy fire” was reported in the rear of a home in the 2300 block of N. Quantico Street. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before the blaze could could spread to the interior of the house.

No injuries were reported.

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Service Restored Between East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro Stations

Service was restored between East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro stations after grinding to a halt Thursday morning (April 5) for several hours.

Service was restored at about 8 a.m., but delays are expected to last at least throughout the morning. Metro referred to the incident as both a track problem and fire department activity at the Virginia Square Metro station.

The Arlington Fire Department tweeted that the Virginia Square Metro station was evacuated at about 6:20 a.m. due to smoke in the tunnel.

At about 6:58 a.m., the department tweeted that fire department units were going back in service, that much of the smoke was clear, and that commuters should expect “residual delays.”

The suspended service affects the Orange and Silver lines directly, though Metro tweeted that blue line delays were possible considering the congestion built up from the other lines.

On the highways, drivers reported heavier than usual traffic.

“We all suffer when the Metro fudges up,” one driver told ARLnow, who was stuck on I-66 in what she said was unusually heavy traffic for that part of her commute.

Several would-be riders took to Twitter to report long lines for WMATA buses and shuttles, as well as a general sense of “chaos” and “meltdown” at certain stations.

File photo

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Proposed County Budget Would Eliminate Two ART Bus Routes

The County Manager’s fiscal year 2019 proposed budget includes service eliminations to Arlington Transit bus routes 92 and 54.

The reductions would save the county $356,771 in 2019, according to the proposed budget. Public hearings on the budget and tax rate are scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 5, respectively.

The routes “are not meeting minimum service standards,” according to the budget document, and “service delivery can potentially be met by other transit or other modes such as Capital BikeShare.”

ART Route 92 runs weekdays from the Crystal City Metro station to the Pentagon Metro station via Long Bridge Park. Several WMATA routes also run through that area.

According to the ART Route 92 web page, “the route also serves as a shuttle for those working at Boeing and the U.S. Marshals Service.”

ART Route 54 operates weekdays during the morning and afternoon rush hours from Dominion Hills to the East Falls Church Metro station via Madison Manor neighborhood.

Both routes have “experienced low ridership (3 passengers per hour) and [have] performed below the established minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour and a 20 percent cost recovery ratio,” according to budget documents.

The County Board is expected to adopt its final budget on April 21.

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Sushi Restaurant Coming to East Falls Church

A new sushi restaurant is coming to East Falls Church.

Yume Sushi is coming to 2121 N. Westmoreland Street, a building that is also home to a South Block “micro juicery” location.

There’s no word on an opening date, though the restaurant was hoping to have opened this past fall. Permit records show that Yume’s two attempts to obtain a building permit thus far have been rejected by county examiners.

Renderings on Yume’s Facebook page show an Instagram-worthy interior design. The page describes Yume as a “sushi Sake bar [with] Japanese food and Omakase fresh ingredients and seasonal fish from Japan and around the world.”

The restaurant is expected to have 100 seats or fewer and will serve beer and wine, according to a Virginia ABC permit application.

Photo via Google Maps

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Here’s Where You Can Buy Girl Scout Cookies in Arlington in March

About a month ago, Girl Scouts began selling their famous — dieters might call them infamous — cookies in Arlington.

The net revenue raised from Girl Scout cookies funds the organization’s local council and troops, which in turn is used for trips or donated to community projects or causes.

This month Girl Scouts will again be posting up at Metro stations, grocery stores and other high-foot-traffic locales, offering a fix of their seemingly addictive mass-produced baked goods.

Below, after the jump, are some of the times and places places you can grab some Girl Scout cookies in March.

  • Crystal City Metro station
    • March 6 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 7 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 8 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 9 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 10 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • March 12 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 13 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 14 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 15 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 16 — 3-7 p.m.
    • March 17 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Pentagon City Metro station 
    • March 6 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 8 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 9 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 10 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • March 12 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 13 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 14 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 15 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 16 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 17 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Ballston Metro station 
    • March 6 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 7 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 8 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 9 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 10 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • March 12 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 13 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 14 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 15 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 16 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 17 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Court House Metro station
    • March 6 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 7 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 8 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 9 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 10 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • March 12 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 13 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 14 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 15 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 16 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 17 — 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • East Falls Church Metro station
    • March 6 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 7 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 8 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 9 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 12 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 13 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 14 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 15 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
    • March 16 — 3:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn St.)
    • March 8 — 4-7:30 p.m.
    • March 9 — 4-7:30 p.m.
    • March 15 — 4-7:30 p.m.
    • March 16 — 4-7:30 p.m.
  • Virginia Square Metro station
    • March 9 — 4-7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2901 S. Glebe Road)
    • March 9 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • March 16 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (2501 9th Road S.)
    • March 9 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • March 16 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3450 Washington Blvd.)
    • March 9 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • March 16 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Giant Food (3115 Lee Highway)
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd.)
    • March 9 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • March 16 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Safeway (2500 N. Harrison St.)
    • March 9 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • March 16 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Safeway (3717 Lee Highway)
    • March 9 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • March 16 — 4-8 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Safeway (1525 Wilson Blvd.)
    • March 11 — 1-6 p.m.
    • March 18 — 1-6 p.m.
  • Central Library  (1015 N. Quincy St.)
    • March 10 — 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 11 — 12:45-5 p.m.
    • March 17 — 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 18 — 12:45-5 p.m.
  • Market Common (3801 Clarendon Blvd.)
    • March 10 — 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd.)
    • March 10 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • March 17 — 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Mt. Zion Baptist Church (3500 19th St. S.)
    • March 11 — 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Photo via Girl Scouts of the United States of America

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Morning Notes

ACPD Cameo on ‘Homeland’ — The Arlington County Police Department made a brief appearance last week on the TV show “Homeland.” [Twitter]

High Wind Watch Upgraded to Warning — The threat of a damaging wind storm Friday has become more likely. The National Weather Service has upgraded the previous High Wind Watch to a warning. [Twitter]

EFC Development Stalled — “Seven years ago, the county blessed a vision of new ‘transitown’ development of stores, greenery and new pedestrian access around the East Falls Church Metro. But that utilitarian commuter site is largely unchanged.” [Falls Church News-Press]

New Logo, Website for AAC — Thanks to a philanthropic grant, the Arlington Arts Center has new branding and a “new, mobile-friendly site reflecting our enduring commitment to excellent contemporary art, quality educational programs, and our artist residency program.” [Arlington Arts Center]

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Castle Carved Out of Tree Trunk Outside East Falls Church Home

A tree set for removal outside an East Falls Church home has instead been turned into a castle.

The home, at the intersection of N. Underwood Street and 26th Street N. is near Bishop O’Connell High School and Tuckahoe Elementary School.

The homeowners did not respond to requests for comment, but a neighbor said the castle was carved by a local artist out of a tree that needed to be taken down.

It is approximately 7-8 feet tall, and the “detail involved is truly unbelievable,” the neighbor said. At first glance, it looks like the kind of castles found in Germany, where many castles sit among mountains.

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East Falls Church Metro Station Could Get More Bus Space Under County Plan

The East Falls Church Metro station could get more bus stops in the future, if the Virginia Department of Transportation agrees to an Arlington County plan.

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Saturday (December 16) to ask VDOT to redraw a limited access line for I-66 next to the Metro station’s park and ride lot, and make it parallel to the highway.

The highway’s limited access lines restrict uses on some of the land that surrounds it, which is intended to make the highway safer and easier to maintain. The land in question bounded by the line is currently used as a park and ride bus loop.

The redrawn lines on VDOT-owned land could free up space at the Metro station for more bus stations.

Metrobus and Fairfax Connector are planning more bus service connecting the station to Seven Corners, while Alexandria is exploring a bus rapid transit service to Tysons Corner, with a stop at the East Falls Church Metro station. Staff said the growth of bus service means this change is necessary.

“It is because of these myriad transit pressures, as well as ongoing coordination with VDOT related to moving more people more efficiently, that the County is requesting a change in the limited access line to allow for more land that can be used for purposes other than highway needs at the East Falls Church Metrorail Station,” staff wrote in a report. “By enacting this shift now, the County can feasibly plan, with its partners, for future bus-to-rail transfer capacity at the East Falls Church Metrorail station on land that is now used as a park and ride facility, and that will be used as a park and ride facility for the foreseeable future.”

Because VDOT owns the land, it has the final say on any line shifts.

Photo (top) via Arlington County, (bottom) courtesy Elvert Barnes

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Crime Report: Resident Finds Sunglasses-Wearing Man Hiding in Closet

An East Falls Church resident returned home early this past Tuesday morning, only to be surprised to find a burglar hiding in the closet.

Upon being discovered, the man — who was wearing sunglasses and a mask — jumped out of the closet and fled on foot.

The resident did not report the incident to police until the afternoon. More from this week’s ACPD crime report:

BURGLARY (late), 2017-11140143, 6300 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 1:13 p.m. on November 14, police were dispatched to the late report of a breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that upon returning to the residence at approximately 4:00 a.m., the victim located an unknown suspect hiding inside a closet. Upon being located, the suspect fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with light brown skin, approximately 5’5, wearing black sunglasses, a black mask, a black jacket, blue jeans, gloves, and socks. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

BURGLARY, 2017-11080225, 2700 block of S. Uhle Street. At approximately 5:06 p.m. on November 8, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a residence. Items were moved around, but nothing was reported missing. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2017-11080234, 2300 block of N. Pershing Drive. At approximately 5:11p.m. on November 8, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:00 p.m. on November 7 and 4:30 p.m. on November 8 an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a business and items of value were stolen. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-11090246, 300 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:47 p.m. on November 9, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim arrived at his residence and observed that an unknown male suspect had gained entry to the residence and was sleeping in a bedroom. Arriving officers established a perimeter and made verbal commands but the suspect refused to comply and would not exit the residence. Following the deployment of a police K9, the suspect was taken into custody. Earl Chaptman, 64, was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry.

ROBBERY, 2017-11110100, 3300 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 7:13 a.m. on November 11, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male suspect entered a business, brandished a firearm and demanded that an employee give him money. The suspect stole cash, forced the employee outside of the business and fled on foot before departing the area in a vehicle. The suspect is described as a thin, black male, approximately 6’0, wearing dark colored clothing. The vehicle is described as a light tan or cream colored late-model sedan. The investigation is ongoing.

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Van Buren Bridge to Close for Several Months

Starting in October, a construction project will close the Van Buren Bridge near the East Falls Church Metro until next spring.

The bridge expansion and replacement project is scheduled to begin the week of October 16, and all bridge access will end at that time. In a letter to residents, the City of Falls Church indicated that construction is expected to continue at least through March 2018.

During construction, Van Buren Street will be closed between 19th Street North in Arlington and East Columbia Street in Falls Church. Northbound vehicles will be rerouted from Columbia Street to Roosevelt Street and 19th Street North. Southbound vehicles will be rerouted from 19th Street North to Sycamore Street and 16th Street North. Cyclists and pedestrians will detour on an existing bridge along the W&OD trail in Benjamin Banneker Park.

Construction is expected to take place most weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and some weekend work may also be necessary. Residents in the affected area will still have access to their driveways and homes when the closure is in effect.

The project to remove and rebuild the existing Van Buren Bridge will repair structural deficiencies and add pedestrian access along the corridor to the East Falls Church Metro. The new bridge will have two lanes for vehicle traffic and cyclists in addition to a 12-foot wide pedestrian walkway.

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