by ARLnow.com March 9, 2018 at 10:10 am 0

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

by Anna Merod March 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

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.


by ARLnow.com March 1, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

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]

by Chris Teale January 23, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

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.

by Chris Teale December 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

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

by ARLnow.com November 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

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.


by Katie Pyzyk September 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

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.

by Chris Teale August 29, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

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

by ARLnow.com August 7, 2017 at 8:20 am 0

A driver “hit the gas instead of the brakes” and flipped her car in the East Falls Church Metro commuter parking lot this morning, according to a fire department spokesman.

The incident was first reported around 7 a.m.

Rescuers from the Arlington County Fire Department helped to extricate the woman from the overturned vehicle. She was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, the spokesman said.

by ARLnow.com July 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Updated at 9:40 p.m. — Police say the deaths of two people found deceased in an East Falls Church home were the result of an “apparent murder suicide.” More from an ACPD press release:

Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating an apparent murder-suicide in the East Falls Church neighborhood.

At approximately 2:42 p.m. on July 24, police responded to a check on the welfare call in the 2400 block of N. Quantico Street. Inside the residence, arriving officers located two adults deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim, Terry Lynn Matsumoto, 82, of Arlington, VA was pronounced deceased at the scene along with the subject, Masao Matsumoto, 81, of Arlington, VA. The victim and subject were married.

This appears to be an isolated incident and there is no indication of a larger threat to the community. Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances that [preceded] the incident. Final determination of cause of death will be made by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating the deaths of two people in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood.

The investigation is taking place on the 2400 block of N. Quantico Street, two blocks north of Lee Highway. Police found the bodies of two people in a house Monday afternoon.

“Two adults were located deceased inside a residence,” confirmed ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Police do not believe there’s a threat to the community. The investigation is ongoing and police will remain in the area.

So far police have not released the names of the deceased individuals nor have they said whether either of the deaths is considered suspicious, only calling it an “active death investigation” at this stage.

“It’s very strange,” one local resident told ARLnow.com. “We’re kind of a quiet neighborhood.”

by Chris Teale July 7, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

(Updated 2 p.m.) Some changes are coming to several Metrobus routes through Arlington County next year, as the county prepares for the Columbia Pike “Premium Transit Network.”

At a work session with the Arlington County Board on Thursday, county staff put forward a plan that would end seven lines that run through Arlington in FY 2019, which begins on July 1, 2018, and save the county $5.8 million:

  • The 4A between Seven Corners and Rosslyn
  • The 16B, E and P along Columbia Pike
  • The 16G, H, K along Columbia Pike

A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the changes along the Pike would help make way for the so-called “Premium Transit Network,” which is projected to cost $6.9 million and launch next summer after delays. The various routes would be consolidated under that network, which the spokesman said would “result in more bus service in the county, not less.”

The new bus system was put together after the Columbia Pike Streetcar project was cancelled in 2014, with Board members at the time promising a system that would be just as good, if not better.

To try and lessen the impact of the service cuts, staff proposed improving the frequency and hours of the 4B that largely overlaps the 4A, and similar efforts for the 16A on Columbia Pike. Those improvements would cost just under $850,000.

The 4B would then be discontinued as a Metrobus route in FY 2020, saving the county $1.7 million, and made an ART route.

The 16X service from Columbia Pike to Federal Triangle in D.C. via the Pentagon would have its hours improved, at a cost of $3.2 million to county coffers. The 15K and 15L routes between the East Falls Church and Rosslyn Metro stations would also be realigned.

All told, the various service reductions and increases will cost the county just over $2.6 million more in its Metrobus subsidy, bringing that figure to $40.5 million in FY 2019.

The possibility also exists that the 22A, B and C routes through Barcroft and South Fairlington could be converted into locally-run ART routes. That would save $2.4 million in the county’s Metrobus subsidy, but would require funds to be made available through ART instead.

Cuts had been planned for FY 2018 under the county’s Transit Development Plan approved last year, but were pushed off to FY 2019. The county did not cut any Metrobus routes for FY 2018, and improved the frequency of the 2A route between the Ballston and Dunn Loring Metro stations.

That came in part due to funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s “Transform 66” project to widen I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston.

Metro staff will analyze the actual costs and savings from the various changes, and bring forward a proposal to the agency’s board of directors. The board would then take public comment on any proposed changes region-wide before making a decision next year.

Image via county staff presentation

by ARLnow.com July 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

County Seeking Cash for EFC Upgrades — Arlington County is seeking $30 million in congestion relief funds from the future I-66 toll lanes to help fund some upgrades at the East Falls Church Metro station. Among the hoped-f0r changes: a second entrance to the station, from Washington Boulevard, and the addition of two new bus bays. [InsideNova]

New School Board Leadership — Barbara Kanninen has been elected by her colleagues as chair of the Arlington School Board for the 2017-2018 school year. Reid Goldstein was selected as vice chair. [Twitter]

Arlington Man Arrested for Murder — A 24-year-old Arlington man was arrested in Arlington last week and charged in connection with a 2016 homicide in Waldorf, Maryland. Authorities say Bryan Aquice was the second shooter in the case; he is one of four in custody for the crime. [NBC WashingtonSouthern Maryland News Net]

High School Football Schedules — Fall high school football schedules for Wakefield, Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Bishop O’Connell have been released. [InsideNova]

Straddling Bus Was a Scam — That traffic-straddling bus that some locals were fascinated by last year as a possible futuristic transit solution? It was apparently an investment scam. [BBC]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by Kalina Newman June 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) Nostalgia is the most dangerous emotion for Andrew Gifford, the grandson of John Gifford, founder of beloved former area ice cream chain Gifford’s Ice Cream.

Last month Gifford released his first book, “We All Scream: The Rise and Fall of the Gifford’s Ice Cream Empire. The book depicts Gifford’s abusive relationship with his parents growing up, the deaths of his grandparents and how his father ruined Washington’s largest ice cream empire.

When Robert Gifford, one of John Gifford’s other sons, took over the company, things quickly went downhill. Gifford described his father’s actions during the reading, explaining how he would never pay his taxes, cheated his customers and didn’t pay employees, ultimately leaving the company in financial ruin.

Despite the collapse, many local residents still remember Gifford’s fondly. And that means the brand is still valuable.

“It doesn’t matter what’s in the cup,” a person trying to reboot the company said last year, according to Gifford. “As long as I say it’s Gifford’s Swiss Chocolate, people will pay me anything I ask.”

“It’s these people who are so focused on this fantasy and nostalgia that frustrate me,” said Gifford. “I want the lesson to be nostalgia is dangerous, don’t give into it. Don’t buy $6 ice cream from someone who said they once bought machines from the people who once supplied Gifford’s 50 years ago.”

Gifford was at One More Page Books in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood earlier this week, where he read two excerpts from his book, held a Q&A session and signed copies.

In the excerpt Gifford read during the event, he described how his mother decided to sit him down at the age of 6 and tell him that his grandmother was murdered by his grandfather. This was a lie: his grandmother had passed several years beforehand, but Gifford had been told she was still alive during his entire childhood.

“We All Scream” made an impression on members of the audience, most of whom grew up in the area and had warm memories of Gifford’s Ice Cream.

During the Q&A session, many questions were about what happened to the old Gifford’s ice cream flavors and recipes people adored, and if anyone could find any remaining Gifford’s products. Instead of focusing on the horror and abuse around the Gifford story, the questions were full of yearning and nostalgia.

“This was a beautiful thing that people loved but it needs to die,” said Gifford after the event. “It needs to end. There’s this obsession with the Gifford’s of old, when really it wasn’t that fairytale.”

by ARLnow.com May 11, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

Someone tried to light a door on fire at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the East Falls Church neighborhood of Arlington this morning.

The fire was set using a flammable substance just before 10 a.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jason Hart. The fire damaged the door — an entrance to the church sanctuary — and some surrounding bushes but did not spread beyond that.

Investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office are still on scene this afternoon, gathering evidence.

This is the second such arson case currently being investigated in Northern Virginia, Hart said; a similar fire was recently set at a Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County.

Arlington authorities are coordinating the investigation with their Fairfax County counterparts, according to Hart.

by Chris Teale May 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Refinements are being made to a plan to build a pedestrian and cyclist bridge in East Falls Church, which has undergone big changes in the past few months.

A previous version came under fire earlier this year for what critics viewed as a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood and a perceived lack of community input, as well as design concerns. In previous renderings, the bridge had a trussed roof and was dark red.

The Virginia Dept. of Transportation has proposed building a new bridge over Lee Highway near the W&OD trail as part of its “Transform 66” interstate widening and tolling project.

If built, VDOT says the bridge would improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The trail currently crosses Lee Highway at the busy intersection with Fairfax Drive.

Now, the bridge has no trusses along its top and is instead what Amanda Baxter, special projects development manager at VDOT, described at a meeting Tuesday as an “earth tone gray.” Baxter said other refinements include shaped fencing and renderings showing nearby landscaping, as well as locations for relocated trail shelters to provide a rest area for all users.

She added that the lighting on the bridge is still up for discussion. Currently, the bridge has acorn-style lights in its center that would be maintained by Dominion Virginia Power. VDOT and local residents agree the lights could be better, but they are limited to lights in Dominion’s inventory.

Baxter said the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority, which owns land nearby, is instead willing to help out with maintaining different lights.

“I think they’ve heard you too and are willing to step up and look to other options they can maintain,” she said.

Also still up for discussion are the installation of noise walls at certain areas along I-66, which VDOT is required to offer to provide under federal law if the noise level goes higher than 66 decibels.

Neighbors who would directly benefit from the walls would be balloted on whether they should be installed, Baxter said, although some attendees raised concerns about the walls appearing to enclose the neighborhood behind them and block light.

And local resident Sandy Chesrown, representing the Lee Highway Alliance, said the group would continue to push for public art to be installed nearby.

“We see this as a gateway statement to Falls Church and Arlington County, and we will continue to lobby for some sort of public art,” she said.

VDOT plans to award a design/build contract for the entire “Transform 66” project, including constructing the bridge, at the end of this year. Building work is projected to take from mid-2018 until 2021.


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