A ceremonial swinging of sledgehammers kicked off the demolition of an old bridge over Four Mile Run this morning.
The bridge, located between Potomac Avenue and Route 1 near Potomac Yard, was used by trains until the late 1980s when the railroad was decommissioned. It has since sat out of use, overgrown with vegetation.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and Alexandria Mayor William Euille were at the bridge Monday morning, sledgehammers in hand, to announce the start of demolition, which will get fully underway in two weeks. The demolition is expected to be completed by April.
The bridge is being taken down to create open space above Four Mile Run, which environmental officials from both jurisdictions say will allow the stream to grow vegetation and develop a healthier ecology. Moran recalled a large flood in the 1970s, after which the local governments decided to pour in concrete. The concrete mitigated flood impacts but wound up damaging the stream’s ecosystem, Moran said.
“The vegetation serves its purpose if you allow it to grow,” Moran said, “and this does.”
The Pulte Group, which owns the Potomac Yards development adjacent to Four Mile Run, will fund the $3.5 million demolition and the stabilization of the stream banks. After the demolition, Alexandria and Arlington will jointly fund a new, urban-style park on another unused bridge, adjacent to Potomac Avenue.
The plan to transform the area started in 2006 when both jurisdictions passed the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan, and has been helmed by the Arlington/Alexandria Four Mile Run Redesign Task Force.
“We finally are seeing these plans come to fruition,” Moran said. “We’ve been waiting 25 years for a ribbon cutting here, and now we’ve got a sledgehammer smashing.”
Arlington County Police responded to an accident at the Department of Motor Vehicles (4150 S. Four Mile Run Drive) today, after a car crashed into a fence.
Police say the driver was at the DMV to take a driving test. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., the driver somehow jumped a curb in the parking lot and smashed into the fence.
Police are not able to release many details about what happened because the investigation into the incident is still ongoing. For now, it has not been determined if the driver will be charged.
Nobody was hurt in the incident.
The attack happened around 11:00 a.m. According to new details released by police, a woman was walking down the trail in the area of Glencarlyn Park when a man approached her from behind. He motioned for the woman to get off the trail and walk into the woods, police said, but she refused and screamed for help.
The man then used a knife to stab the victim three times in the neck, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Other trail users heard the woman’s screams but the man fled the scene on foot before help arrived.
The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries. She remained alert and was able to talk to officers before being transported to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Sternbeck said.
“The suspect is described as a white Hispanic male in his 20’s, approximately 4’8” tall and 130 lbs,” according to the police report. “He was wearing a yellow Polo shirt and dark pants.”
Police plan to talk to the victim today in an effort to get a fuller description of the suspect, possibly for the creation of a composite sketch. Sternbeck said the incident “was a very brazen attack on a Saturday morning,” and a reminder that trail users should always remain alert.
“First and foremost, be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “If you are going to go on the trail, invite a friend to go with you. It’s very rare that we see an attack on the trail where the victim is with a companion or a group. The majority of times they’re attacking a woman who’s alone.”
Earlier this year the Arlington County Police Department produced a video that details a number of safety tips for users of local trails.
Woman Attacked on Four Mile Run Trail — A man with a knife attacked a woman who was walking alone on the Four Mile Run Trail on Saturday morning. The woman suffered “minor, non-life threatening” injures. The suspect is still at large. [WJLA, NBC Washington]
Yorktown Falls in Soccer Championship — The Yorktown High School girls’ soccer team lost 2-1 to Chantilly in the Northern Region championship game on Friday. The team, which finished regional play with a 20-2 record, will still continue to the state tournament. The first round game will take place on Tuesday at Battlefield High School. [Sun Gazette]
ACPD Officers Honored for Fighting Car Theft — Three Arlington County Police officers have received state Law Enforcement Officer Awards for their work in helping to fight car theft. “LEO Award winners are selected by judges from the insurance industry, partnering law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles for their exemplary actions related to Intelligence, Prevention, Enforcement and Recoveries in fighting the crime of vehicle theft,” police said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Examiner Skewers Board for Signature Bailout — The Arlington County Board “blindsided” taxpayers by approving a $250,000 bailout for Signature Theatre during a closed session, according to a Washington Examiner editorial. “Other financially struggling artistic venues have to scale back productions, sublease space or launch pledge drives when money gets tight,” the Examiner editorial board wrote. “But Signature Theatre has friends in high places who apparently believe it’s too fabulous to fail, county taxpayers be damned.” [Washington Examiner]
Photo by MJordanRomero
The sewage release was the result of a blocked 12 inch sewage pipe, in the area between the Dominion Plaza Apartments (1200 S. Courthouse Road) and the Arlington Village Condominiums (1400 S. Barton Street), near Columbia Pike.
Crews have successfully cleared the blockage and stopped the flow of raw sewage into Arlington Branch, according to the Arlington Department of Environmental Services.
The county says people and pets should avoid Arlington Branch, Lower Long Branch and Four Mile Run until further notice.
“Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters — including wading or swimming,” the county said in a press release (below). “The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.”
Arlington County today advised residents to avoid water downstream of a sewage release that occurred between the Dominion Plaza Apartments and Arlington Village Condominiums, just above the Army Navy Country Club into Arlington Branch, a tributary to Lower Long Branch. Arlington Branch, Lower Long Branch and Four Mile Run from Columbia Pike downstream to the Potomac River should be avoided. This is a precautionary measure following the discovery of a sewage release resulting from a blocked 12” sewage pipe. Water, Sewer, Streets crews are actively working to remove the blockage from the pipe and stop the release.
Residents are advised to stay away from the affected waters and to keep their pets away until further notice, to eliminate the risk of exposure to untreated sewage. Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters – including wading or swimming – until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.
Recreational areas affected adjacent to the streams include Fraser Park, Troy Park and Four Mile Run Park.
NOTE: Residents are reminded that stream water can contain microorganisms that can make people sick, whether the stream is located in an urban area or in the middle of a forest. Even after the discharge is naturally flushed from the streams, the County’s normal precautions for safe use of streams apply. You can find information and safety tips on Arlington streams, including information on reporting stream pollution incidents, on the Department of Environmental Service website.
World Gym Now ‘Exercise Nation’ — The poorly-reviewed World Gym at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive has changed hands and is now “Exercise Nation,” a small low-cost gym chain with existing locations near Baltimore. Memberships start at $10/month. [Washington Business Journal]
Metro Ramps Up Anti-Harassment Campaign — This month Metro began tracking all forms of sexual harassment, one additional step in the agency’s ongoing anti-harassment campaign. [Greater Greater Washington]
Four Mile Run Watershed Cleanup — Arlington County is organizing a watershed cleanup for Four Mile Run on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will be asked to help clean up at one of several sites along Four Mile Run, Arlington’s largest watershed. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Forum to Feature Streetcar Supporters, Opponents — On April 10, the Arlington Committee of 100 will hold a forum about the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar. A streetcar supporter, Arlington Chamber of Commerce chairman David DeCamp, will face off against a streetcar opponent, “Peter’s Take” columnist and former Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Peter Rousselot. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
An aging county-owned building near Shirlington is being torn down as part of the expansion of Jennie Dean Park.
The LaPorte Building at 3600 S. Four Mile Run Drive was purchased by Arlington County for $3.6 million in 2002, as part of a long-range expansion plan for the 22.4 acre park. It was most recently used as a temporary construction office during the expansion of Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant. The building was vacated by the plant contractor in late 2010.
Now, the county is preparing to finally tear down the run-down structure. The demolition will be conducted in an environmentally-responsible manner, officials say.
“Rather than using traditional means and methods, the County’s contractor will deconstruct the building,” said Dept. of Parks and Recreation Construction Management Specialist Brenda Parker. “This entails taking apart the building in order to reclaim, reuse and/or recycle as much of the materials as possible.”
After the structure is town down, the lot will be turned in to open space.
“Once the building is removed, the area will be graded and seeded, a portion of the fence will be removed, temporary landscaping will be installed around the site perimeter and benches may be added at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and S. Nelson Street,” Parker said. “That work should be completed by early 2013.”
An adjacent, existing parking area will be maintained, however, in order to temporarily store equipment and Arlington Transit buses while a new ART facility is constructed. Use of the temporary storage area is expected to last through the end of 2013, at which time the parking lot will be demolished and converted to open space.
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to approve an agreement with VDOT to design a trail connector from the Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac Avenue in Arlington. Potomac Avenue runs from Crystal City to the shops and new residential developments in the Potomac Yard section of Alexandria.
Currently, the Four Mile Run Trail connects with the west side of Route 1. One would then have to cross the busy thoroughfare to get to Potomac Yard. A steep, informal dirt path that connects directly from the trail to Potomac Avenue also exists, but can be difficult to climb.
County officials say the new trail connection will be accessible to those with disabilities.
“The trail connection will provide an ADA compliant multi-use trail connection between the Potomac Yard development on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County) and the Four Mile Run Trail which is also on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County),” wrote Shannon Whalen McDaniel, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services. “The new trail connection will replace a informal dirt pathway (goat path) that currently exists along the steep embankment between Potomac Yard and the Four Mile Run Trail.”
The design and engineering for the new trail connection is projected to cost $250,000. Of that, $190,000 will come from federal funds and $60,000 will come from Arlington County. The actual construction of the trail connector hasn’t been funded yet, but is expected to be complete no later than 2016. No construction date has been set.
Image via Google Maps
A woman died this morning after jumping from the Columbia Pike bridge over Four Mile Run.
Several witnesses saw the woman jump, around 10:30 a.m. She landed on a paved section of the Four Mile Run Trail and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Arlington County Police are investigating the incident as a suicide. The woman was in her 30s and was known to have mental health problems, said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
Update at 9:20 a.m. — The surfacing below the fitness stations has been installed and the equipment is ready to use.
Arlington County has installed brand new fitness equipment along a stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail near Shirlington.
That stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail, which runs parallel to Arlington Mill Drive, was repaved last month.
The new Energi-branded outdoor fitness equipment utilizes bars and platforms to allow dozens of simple exercises that work out nearly all of the body’s 600 muscles. The equipment replaced older, deteriorating equipment that was once there, in Shirlington Park.
The equipment is still off-limits to the public while a contractor prepared to install surfacing under each station. No word yet on when that work might take place.
The Arlington County Fire Department and the county’s Department of Environmental Services (DES) were called to Four Mile Run near Shirlington this morning for a report of a huge mass of foam accumulating in the creek.
It’s thought that the foam was caused by some sort of soap or detergent. Firefighters tested the foam using a chemical strip and determined that it was not hazardous, according to DES Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management Bureau Chief Jeff Harn. DES is now trying to figure out where the foam came from.
“County staff continue to investigate the issue and are trying to determine the source of the foam,” Harn told ARLnow.com. “However, the discharge that caused the foam is no longer occurring and no source has yet been identified.”
Update at 4:40 p.m. — Chlorinated water leaking from a water main near Shirlington has seeped into Four Mile Run and killed “dozens” of fish, an Arlington County official told ARLnow.com this afternoon.
We first reported the leak near 2400 S. Walter Reed Drive this morning, after Claremont and Fairlington residents reported widespread low water pressure in the area. Now we’re told that the leak — in a 12-inch pipe — has resulted in a significant fish kill.
From Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel:
Residents may notice dead fish in portions of Four Mile Run downstream of the break due to the chlorinated water being released. This water is not harmful to humans or pets, but unfortunately resulted in a fish kill. Residents should follow the County’s normal precautions for safe use of urban streams.
McDaniel said repairs on the water main are expected to continue into tomorrow. Residents may continue to experience low water pressure but “no one is expected to be without water,” she said.
The 2012 Bluemont 5K will start at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Belmont Park South Pavilion (399 N. Manchester Street).
The course is on both the Four Mile Run and Washington & Old Dominion trails and will wind back toward the South Pavilion. Online advance registration is open until 6 p.m. today (Monday) and is free for DC Road Runners members and $5 for non-members. On-site, day-of-race registration is $5 for members, $10 for non-members.
There will be free parking, but Metro riders can take one of the 1-series buses from from the Ballston Metro to Wilson Boulevard and N. Manchester Street.
Check out the race page at DC Road Runners for more information.
The fire was reported at 8:25 a.m. near the intersection of S. Oakland Street and the Four Mile Run access road. Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County responded to the scene and were able to extinguish the fire within 20 minutes.
There was initially reported to be a person trapped in the burning house, but everybody ended up making it out safely. One occupant, described by a relative as a rising freshman at Wakefield High School, was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
No word yet on the cause of the fire, but a fire department spokesman pointed out that there were no working smoke detectors found in the house.
“The fire department would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone to check their smoke detectors,” said Battalion Chief Matt Herbert.
Damage was confined to one occupancy of the duplex, Herbert said.
Despite the call being relatively early in the morning, firefighters still had to deal with hot and humid conditions. To help out, a neighbor set up lawn chairs in her driveway for the sweat-soaked firefighters to relax and hydrate in after the flames were out.
Four Mile Run Rapist Still on the Loose — Arlington County police are still looking for a man who raped a woman on the Four Mile Run Trail two weeks ago. Police are issuing warnings to women who use the trail, in English and in Spanish. Officers are also patrolling the trail on bike and motorcycles. [WJLA]
Marymount, O’Connell Teaming Up for Baseball Field — Marymount University will be adding a varsity baseball team to its athletic program after striking a deal with Bishop O’Connell High School to use the school’s baseball field. Marymount will fund the renovation of the O’Connell’s field to NCAA standards, in exchange for partial use of the field. Marymount hopes to have the baseball team ready for its first season by Spring 2014. [Sun Gazette]
N. Va. Critical to Obama Re-Election — The road to the White House runs through Northern Virginia, according to some political watchers. Experts say President Obama must score a big victory in Northern Virginia in order to capture the Commonwealth, one of three crucial, hotly-contested swing states. As a result, residents can expect a bombardment of political ads this fall. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec