Today Is ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, when students in Arlington and around the region go back to school. As a result of the extra school buses, parents and students on the roads, and the end of summer vacations, it is also dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid-Atlantic. In reality, however, the day after — which now has a name: “Woeful Wednesday” — is worse in terms of commuting times, and next week should be even more woeful. [Washington Post, WTOP]
Chili’s Dying Out in D.C. Area — The Chili’s in Bailey’s Crossroads has closed. The restaurant chain closed its Crystal City location last year and its Reston location the year before that. The nearest Chili’s to Arlington is now along Route 1, outside the Beltway, in Fairfax County. [Twitter]
Roosevelt Profiled by Conservative Media — GOP candidate Adam Roosevelt is getting some attention from conservative media outlets. Roosevelt “is a moderate Republican running for the Virginia House of Delegates against current Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who has never before faced a GOP opponent during his six years in office,” writes the Daily Caller, calling the district he’s running in, which includes part of Arlington, “far left.” The lead sentence in Newsmax’s article about Roosevelt has a different focus: “A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.” [Daily Caller, Newsmax]
Webb Removed from Civ Fed Debate — School Board candidate Mike Webb has had his invitation to tonight’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate — the unofficial kickoff to campaign season in Arlington — rescinded because he reportedly “failed to return required paperwork in time to allow participation.” Allison Dough, the other candidate to challenge Democratic endorsee Monique O’Grady, has said she has other commitments and will be unable to attend the debate. [InsideNova]
Arlington Man Evicted From ‘Big Brother’ House — Arlington resident Matt Clines, 33, has been evicted from the Big Brother house. Clines had advanced about half-way through the CBS reality show before being voted off. [Reality TV World, Parade, Hollywood Reporter]
DeVos to Make Big Announcement in Arlington — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is reportedly planning to make a “major announcement on Title IX, the campus gender equality law,” from George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington on Thursday. [BuzzFeed]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster
Power is out in parts of Seven Corners after a truck brought down power lines behind the Eden Center in Falls Church.
The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. in the rear of the shopping center. Two utility poles were snapped in half as a result of the collision.
At one point, nearly 2,500 Dominion customers were without power in the area, including in parts of Arlington County. As of 3:30 p.m. Dominion was no longer reporting any outages in Arlington.
The Arlington County Fire Department responded to the scene for sparking power lines and a spill of mineral oil from the transformers. ACFD has since turned over the scene to Dominion, which will be cleaning up the spill, according to scanner traffic.
Some traffic signals in Seven Corners may be affected by the outages, according to Fairfax County Police.
— Fairfax Co. Police (@fairfaxpolice) August 24, 2017
The project to extend the Interstate 395 Express Lanes from Fairfax County through Alexandria and Arlington to the D.C. line celebrated its ground-breaking ceremony this morning.
The toll lanes will be extended for eight miles north from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road to the vicinity of Eads Street in Arlington, near the Pentagon.
The Virginia Department of Transportation partnered with toll road manager Transurban and contractors AECOM Engineering Company and Lane Construction to deliver the project. Construction is now underway and scheduled for completion in fall 2019.
The project will add a third reversible HOT lane on I-395, accessible for free by vehicles with three or more occupants and an E-ZPass Flex transponder, or for a toll by all others.
The lanes will generate funding for other transportation options in the region. Using toll money, Transurban will pay $15 million each year to local jurisdictions to help them pay for improvements. Among other projects, the south parking lot at the Pentagon is set for an overhaul, as are several nearby bridges.
The ceremony, atop a Pentagon City parking garage, marked the official start of construction. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) was joined by Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne and elected officials from across the area, including Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette and fellow Board member Libby Garvey.
Layne said such partnerships between state government, local agencies and federal stakeholders have been crucial to move the project along, heralded as the largest in the United States.
“We knew what the construction was going to be, but it took collaboration and trust to get this project underway,” Layne said.
McAuliffe hailed the project for solving a “major headache for so many commuters going into and out of the District, and going to and from our great Pentagon.”
He added that as Virginia’s population continues to grow — with people attracted by its low taxes, strong business environment and other amenities like breweries and wineries, McAuliffe said — projects to improve congestion on the Commonwealth’s roads are vital.
“This is finally going to be solved, and this is going to be a game-changer for residents of Northern Virginia,” McAuliffe said.
For its part, Transurban promised to be good partners throughout construction and beyond.
Jennifer Aument, Transurban’s group general manager for North America, said workers are committed to the safety of all road users during work, and urged drivers in the area to avoid distractions, wear their seatbelt and watch their speed around the construction zone.
Aument also said Transurban would be a “good neighbor” and work with nearby neighborhoods to minimize any other disruptions.
“Now, we’ll get to work,” she said.
Work has already got underway in the existing I-395 high-occupancy toll lanes. On Monday, August 7, VDOT announced full night-time closures of the lanes in both directions from the southbound HOV exit ramp near Boundary Channel Drive to the northbound exit ramp from the 95 Express Lanes near Edsall Road.
And weather-permitting, some southbound regular lanes of I-395 will be closed overnight this week between Duke Street and Edsall Road. VDOT advised drivers to travel safely and pay attention to signs posted on the road.
Arlington County firefighters assisted Fairfax County on a fire at a strip mall near Bailey’s Crossroads Friday afternoon.
The fire broke out in a mattress store on the 5900 block of Leesburg Pike (Route 7) just before 4:30 p.m. A second alarm was sounded shortly thereafter.
Several ACFD units responded to the scene after a Rapid Intervention Team was requested by Fairfax.
— IAFF Local 2800 (@IAFF2800) May 5, 2017
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) May 5, 2017
Arlington Taking Roadwork Suggestions — “Arlington’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Program is asking residents to nominate neighborhood streets they believe could be made safer and more comfortable for all users for potential improvement projects. If you know a neighborhood street that is missing a section of sidewalk, needs an accessible curb ramp or better street lighting, consider nominating it. The County is accepting submissions through Friday, June 16.” [Arlington County]
Commuting Habits in Arlington — Arlington County’s new “Profile 2017” data packet has a surprising statistic on community habits: more Fairfax County residents commute into Arlington each day than Arlington residents commute into D.C. [Twitter]
Candidates Dither on Exotic Pet Ban — Three out of four of the Democratic candidates for County Board would not give a straight answer to the question of whether they support a proposed ban on wild and exotic pets. [InsideNova]
Metro 29 Named Best Diner in Va. — A new list of the best diner in all 50 states lists Metro 29 diner on Lee Highway as the best in Virginia. [Mental Floss]
Beyer on House Healthcare Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says yesterday’s narrow passage of the GOP healthcare bill is “a dark stain on the history of the House of Representatives.” [Rep. Don Beyer]
Comment Ads Turned Off — To improve the user experience, we’ve turned off those semi-trashy tile ads below the comments. They’re prevalent on lots of websites, especially news websites, and they generate decent revenue, but we could not longer stand having them associated with our site. Replacing the ads are links to previous ARLnow.com articles.
From 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Arlington police’s SWAT team will take part in the exercise near George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School at 3301 Fairfax Drive.
Residents can expect to see an increase in public safety vehicles and law enforcement officers in the area, and those traveling nearby may hear noise originating from the training site. All activities will be confined to the training site.
Law enforcement officials and other first-responders will take part in the exercise organized by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The exercise is intended to prepare for a “complex” attack involving multiple target locations and teams of perpetrators.
Arlington is one of six locations for the exercise, along with neighborhoods in Northeast and Southeast D.C., and Prince George’s and Fairfax counties.
MWCOG spokeswoman Jeanne Saddler said the exercise is designed to be as realistic as possible. She said that residents nearby will be notified beforehand and that disruption should be minimal for those in the area.
“To some degree they’re trying to make it a surprise for the participants,” she said. “In order to maintain the exercise for participants and first-responders, we have to avoid making a mention of locations… I don’t think there’ll be disruption for residents or people traveling.”
Hundreds of police, fire, and emergency medical service personnel and volunteer actors will be involved in the exercise. The timing of the exercise is a secret too.
“Law enforcement officials practice and exercise their skills on their own regularly because that’s the best way to ensure we are always ready to respond quickly and professionally,” said Scott Boggs, managing director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at MWCOG, in a statement. “On April 26, we’ll go one step further and stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties. However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.”
Florida Men Arrested for Credit Card Skimming — Three men from Miami, Florida were arrested earlier this month on the 5600 block of Columbia Pike, in Fairfax County. They’re suspected of using Bluetooth-enabled credit card skimming devices to steal credit card numbers from gas station customers. [Falls Church News-Press]
School Board to Consider Wakefield Modifications — The Arlington School Board is expected to approve a $4 million internal modification project at Wakefield High School that will increase its student capacity to 2,300 from 1,900. [InsideNova]
School Board Members Can Now Get Raises — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a state bill that removes a cap of $25,000 on the salaries of Arlington School Board members. Arlington was the only jurisdiction in the state the salary cap applied to; school board members will now have the ability to approve a salary increase in 2021. [InsideNova]
Northern Virginia Restaurant Week Kicks Off — Nineteen Arlington restaurants are participating in Northern Virginia Restaurant Week, which starts today and runs through Monday, March 27. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Top 10 Shirlington Area Restaurants — Eater has compiled a list of the top 10 restaurants to try in and around Shirlington. And yes, the Weenie Beenie is on the list. [Eater]
It’s the First Day of Spring — “While warm spring days will be tough to come by in the short term, the equinox is a reminder that the sounds of chirping birds and humming lawn mowers aren’t too far off.” [Capital Weather Gang]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Struggling Skyline Sold — Vornado has taken its properties in Skyline off of its balance sheet after the 2.6 million-square-foot, half-vacant complex sold at a foreclosure auction last week. The cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar project would have run to Skyline, with Fairfax County set to pay 20 percent of the project’s cost. [Washington Business Journal]
More on ‘Pop-Up’ Hotel — The inauguration will be the big test for WhyHotel, the “pop-up” hotel in the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. Developer Vornado sees this as an experiment that could yield temporary revenue while a building is leased up. Arlington County planning commissioner Erik Gutshall says the county could benefit from additional tax revenue and a more lively streetscape. [Washington Post]
Arlington = NYE Destination? — Travelers coming to the D.C. area for New Year’s Eve should consider staying in Arlington due to its proximity to the District and lower hotel rates, says an article on “last minute deals for New Year’s Eve hotels.” [Travel + Leisure]
Transracial Adoption in Arlington — Arlington is “a fantastic community in which to raise a transracially blended family,” says the father of (now grown) adopted children from Vietnam, Sri Lanka and India. [Arlington Magazine]
Clarendon Post Office Murals — A local man has written a 44-page book on the artist who painted seven New Deal-era murals in the Clarendon post office. [Washington Post]
Reporting Issues to the County — Arlington County is reminding residents that they can report out-of-sync traffic signals, crosswalks with broken buttons and other non-emergency service requests via an online form. [Twitter]
Two men armed with guns tried to rob a jewelry store in Lyon Park last night, according to police, but wound up empty-handed and in jail.
Police say Jorgito Cruz, 37, of Alexandria and Alexander Ruiz, 21, of Puerto Rico tried to rob Sacramento Jewelers on the 2700 block of Washington Blvd just before 5:45 pm.
“Two masked suspects brandishing firearms entered a jewelry store and attempted to restrain one of the employees,” according to an Arlington County Police Department press release. “A struggle ensued between the employee and the suspects, causing the suspects to flee the area by vehicle.”
Police got a quick break in the case when someone noticed a suspicious vehicle stopped along I-395 shortly after the robbery “and provided critical information” that ultimately led investigators to the suspects, who were arrested in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County just before midnight.
Both Cruz and Ruiz are being held in the Arlington County jail without bond.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged two suspects for their role in an armed robbery. Jorgito Cruz, 37, of Alexandria VA and Alexander Serpa Ruiz, 21, of Puerto Rico were arrested and charged with attempted armed robbery, abduction, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and use or display of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. Both suspects are being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.
At approximately 5:44 p.m. on December 7, officers were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery in the 2700 block of Washington Boulevard. The investigation revealed that two masked suspects brandishing firearms entered a jewelry store and attempted to restrain one of the employees. A struggle ensued between the employee and the suspects, causing the suspects to flee the area by vehicle.
During the course of the investigation, a witness driving on I-395 noticed a suspicious vehicle and provided critical information to the Emergency Communication Center. Utilizing the information provided by the witness, evidence located at the scene and information obtained during witness interviews, detectives developed suspect descriptions. Officers from the Arlington County Police Department’s Tactical Unit and the Fairfax County Police Department took the two suspects into custody in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective G. Seibert of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4199 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) The northbound lanes of I-395 are partially blocked just past Glebe Road, approaching the Pentagon, after a police chase ended in the middle of the highway.
Initial reports suggest the car was being chased for an assault on law enforcement, possibly as a result of the car ramming a Fairfax County Police cruiser.
Fairfax County Police and Virginia State Police officers chased the car up I-395 until it reportedly lost control and was boxed in by several police cruisers. The chase ended around 12:25 p.m. Arlington County officers trailed the chase and helped to assist with traffic control, according to scanner traffic.
Three occupants of the car were instructed to come out with their hands up, and were arrested at police gunpoint without further incident. No word yet on what charges they may face.
As of 12:35 p.m., one lane of northbound I-395 had reopened to traffic after being completely blocked for a short time.
Update at 11:30 p.m. — The chase started when officers tried to pull over the car in connection to a theft from a department store in Tysons Corner, according to Fairfax County Police.
Around 11:40 a.m. today (Tuesday, December 6), the Tysons Urban Team (TUT) team was investigating a larceny case at a department store in Tysons Corner Center. The suspects fled in a car. Officers located it nearby and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver did not stop and a pursuit was initiated. The pursuit traveled out of Fairfax County. Virginia State Police and Arlington County Police assisted us.The pursuit ended along I-395 and Washington Street. Initial information determined three people were taken into custody.
The shooting occurred on Dolley Madison Boulevard (Route 123), near the entrance to the GW Parkway, around 4 a.m.
“Preliminary information suggests that this incident stemmed from an altercation between several people at a party somewhere in Arlington County earlier in the night,” Fairfax County Police said in a press release. “One group left the party in a vehicle and when they reached Dolley Madison Boulevard and Kirby Road, another vehicle pulled alongside and fired several shots, striking two occupants in the first vehicle. The unidentified suspect vehicle then fled the scene.”
“Little is known about the two victims at this point, other than they drove themselves to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” the press release continued. “There is no suspect or vehicle description at this time.”
The Fairfax County Police helicopter assisted with the response to the shooting, but was unable to locate the suspects. Police are asking that anyone with information about the shooting call them at 703-691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477
Fairfax Wants Arlington’s Tourism Dollars — Fairfax County wants Arlington’s crown as the biggest tourism center in Virginia. “It’s our goal to beat out Arlington, and we’re going to continue giving it all we’ve got,” said Fairfax’s tourism chief, who is pushing for the county to build a new convention center. [InsideNova]
Free House in South Arlington — Here’s some truly affordable housing: a historic, all-steel Lustron house is being offered for free in south Arlington, to anyone willing to haul it away. [Twitter]
Super Pollo Wins Commuting Competition — Super Pollo in Ballston has won a county-sponsored competition “designed to encourage the Hispanic workforce to use modes of transportation other than driving alone when commuting to work.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Update at 7 p.m. — All roads are back open again.
Update at 6:30 p.m. — Route 50 is closed in both directions again, according to WTOP and Fairfax County Police.
Update at 6 p.m. — Route 50 has reopened to traffic in both directions, WTOP reports.
Meanwhile, Metro commuters also had to deal with delays during this evening’s commute. A disabled train at the Courthouse station prompted single tracking and serious delays on the Orange and Silver lines.
Westbound Route 50 has been closed at N. Manchester Street, near Kenmore Middle School, due to a bank robbery investigation in Seven Corners.
The robbery was reported this afternoon at the TD Bank at 6198 Arlington Blvd. Initial reports suggest that the suspect told bank employees he had a bomb, then left a suspicious package in the bank before fleeing the scene.
Route 50 is closed near the bank, as Fairfax County police and the bomb squad investigate. Arlington County Police have closed westbound Route 50 at N. Manchester Street, not far from the county line, and as of 5:15 p.m. had also shut down access to westbound Route 50 from Glebe Road.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) July 5, 2016
— Jackie Bensen (@jackiebensen) July 5, 2016
Update at 6:05 p.m. — Charges have now been filed in the case.
Fairfax County Police are investigating the death of a two-year-old girl who was found in the back of a car in Pentagon City.
Medics were called to the front of the Pentagon City mall, on the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street, around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday for a report of a child who was unresponsive in the back of a car and was being administered CPR. The girl was later pronounced dead.
An investigation determined that the girl had likely died in Annandale after being left in the back of the car all day by a caretaker.
From the Fairfax County Police Department:
Our initial investigation has determined that a male acquaintance of the child’s mother was supposed to drop three children off at two locations on the morning of April 20. It appears he dropped off two older children, ages 10 and 15, and then returned to the home in Fairfax County, not realizing that the two-year-old remained on the back seat of the car. Sometime later, the acquaintance got back in the car to pick up the children’s mother. When he arrived at her location in Arlington County, he looked in the back seat area of the car and saw the child. When he discovered that she was unresponsive, he immediately called 911.
So far, no charges have been filed in the case. The two older children are staying with a relative pending the results of the investigation.
“As detectives continue their investigation, they will consult with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County for a determination of criminal liability,” said police.
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