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Be on the Lookout for These July 4 Road Closures

The Fourth of July is nearly upon us, and that means a slew of office and road closings are on the way tomorrow (Wednesday).

All county government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed for Independence Day, and the county won’t enforce parking meter limits.

Arlington Transit will run buses along a few of its routes on Sunday schedules, but otherwise, bus service won’t be available around the county.

County police are also gearing up to close a variety of roads around Arlington to cope with crowds and Fourth of July events, and they also plan to restrict parking at popular fireworks viewing spots including the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, Long Bridge Park and the Air Force Memorial.

Full details on the road closures, from a county press release:

6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Memorial Bridge/Memorial Circle

1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Marshall Drive from Route 110 to N. Meade Street
  • N. Meade St. from 14th St. N. to Marshall Dr.

3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Route 50 (access to the Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood will be from the Rhodes Street bridge)
  • Exit ramp from westbound Route 50 to N. Lynn Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Exit ramp from eastbound Route 50 to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Long Bridge Drive from Boundary Channel Drive to 10th Street S.

8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Eastbound Route 50 at Washington Blvd. All traffic diverted from Rt. 50 on ramps to East and West Washington Blvd.
  • Eastbound N. 10th ramp to eastbound Rt. 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Rt. 50
  • Courthouse Road ramp to eastbound Rt. 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Rt. 50 or 10th Street N.
  • Pershing Drive at Rt. 50 will only be allowed westbound
  • Eastbound N. Fairfax Drive from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive
  • Columbia Pike between S. Orme Street and S. Joyce St.
  • Joyce Street between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike

Arlington parks will remain open for the holiday, though the county won’t be holding its annual Fourth of July celebration at Long Bridge Park this year due to budget constraints. Pools at Arlington Public Schools will also be open as usual, as will county spraygrounds, for anyone looking to cool off.

Trash and recycling collection will also proceed as normal.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Dimick

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With Long Bridge Park Event Called Off, Here’s Where to Watch July 4 Fireworks in Arlington

Arlington won’t be hosting its official Fourth of July celebration at Long Bridge Park this year, but there are still plenty of places around the county to watch the fireworks.

The County Board decided to end the event at Long Bridge, which Arlington had put on since 2012, in order to save about $50,000 amid a budget squeeze. However, the park will remain open for anyone looking to view the fireworks on the National Mall.

Those are set to start at 9:09 p.m. and last for 18 minutes.

The county recommends several other locations around Arlington to catch the D.C. fireworks:

  • Air Force Memorial (The Air Force’s Honor Guard Drill team will also hold a performance at 7:30 p.m., followed by an 8 p.m. show by the Concert Band and Singing Sergeants.)
  • Gateway Park in Rosslyn
  • Gravelly Point
  • Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (Whipple Field will open at 5:05 p.m. to Department of Defense ID card holders, their families and guests.)
  • Key Bridge sidewalks
  • U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

The Washington Golf and Country Club recently announced that it will still be open for anyone looking to watch the club’s fireworks, but renovation work means seating will not be available for members of the public

Flickr photo via Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation

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Police Roll Out Pink BMW to Fight Drunk Driving in Arlington

The Arlington County Police Department revealed a new tool today (Monday) to discourage drunk driving as the region gears up to celebrate the Fourth of July: a bright pink BMW.

The “SoberRide Vehicle,” developed in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program and ride-hailing service Lyft, is a redesigned 2004 BMW 330ci, seized following a drug conviction. Wrapped partially in eye-catching pink, courtesy of Lyft, the vehicle will be on display at community events and areas with nightlife to remind Arlington residents not to drive under the influence.

The vehicle complements the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide campaign, which will offer up to 1,500 free Lyft rides on Independence Day.

Riders will be able to request a free ride home worth up to $15 from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. by using a Lyft promo code that will be posted to the SoberRide website 5 p.m. Wednesday.

WRAP’s SoberRide program has previously provided free rides home to area residents on holidays like St. Patrick’s DayCinco de Mayo and Halloween. Last year, 513 people in the Washington metropolitan area used the Independence Day SoberRide promotion, according to WRAP president Kurt Erickson.

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Changes to Washington Golf and Country Club Fireworks This Year

Members of the public who want to watch the Washington Golf and Country Club fireworks display will have to stand this year.

Due to renovations, the golf course is an “active work area” and seating is not available, as it has been in previous years.

“The fireworks are still happening but unfortunately the general public will need to stand outside the clubhouse to view the fireworks,” said Member Services Coordinator Jordan Marks.

Marks said the club is trying to make sure residents are notified in advance of the change. The club also issued a statement about the situation.

The golf course at Washington Golf & Country Club is currently undergoing a renovation. During the renovation there is no access to the golf course because it is an active work area.

As a result of this ongoing work, there will unfortunately be no seating available on the course to view the fireworks display. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you have a wonderful 4th of July.

Washington Golf and Country Club, along with Army Navy Country Club, recently settled a tax dispute with Arlington County.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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PETA Urges Arlington Residents Not to Set Off July 4 Fireworks, Avoid Scaring Local Pets

July 4 is just around the corner, and PETA is urging people looking to celebrate Independence Day in Arlington to abandon any plans to set off fireworks and avoid frightening local pets.

The animals rights group announced in a news release Monday (June 11) that its workers will start handing out leaflets across the D.C. area to spread the word about the lesser-known impact of fireworks on our four-legged friends. PETA notes in the release that animal shelters often become flooded with lost pets in the immediate aftermath of the holiday, after being startled by the sudden explosion of fireworks.

“Fireworks sound exactly like ‘bombs bursting in air’ to animals who end up fleeing in terror — some never to be found again,” PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien wrote in a statement. “PETA is urging everyone to protect animals and other vulnerable members of the community by never setting off fireworks, which can carry a penalty of fines or even jail time.”

PETA is also recommending that pet owners keep their animals inside on July 4, and even close the blinds or turn on the TV or a fan to drown out the noise of fireworks.

The group also points out that local laws prohibit people from setting off many types of fireworks across the region. In Arlington, the county has a ban on projectile fireworks, as well as ones with sparks that reach higher than 12 feet in the air.

A full list of approved fireworks is available on the county’s website. The full press release from PETA, after the jump.

With the Fourth of July on its way, PETA is handing out leaflets to residents in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area urging them not to set off fireworks–most of which are illegal in the metropolitan area–and to keep their animal companions indoors during the holiday.

PETA’s leaflets note that fireworks can terrify animals: Dogs have jumped fences, broken chains, torn through screens, and even leaped through glass doors in panicked attempts to escape the blasts. Animal shelters become flooded with lost animals, some of whom never make it back to their guardians. Fireworks can also be deeply disturbing to the elderly and people living with post-traumatic stress disorder and can aggravate the symptoms of those suffering from respiratory problems.

“Fireworks sound exactly like ‘bombs bursting in air’ to animals who end up fleeing in terror–some never to be found again,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is urging everyone to protect animals and other vulnerable members of the community by never setting off fireworks, which can carry a penalty of fines or even jail time.”

PETA–whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”–encourages families to protect their animal companions by keeping them indoors (and, if possible, staying with them), never leaving them tethered outside, closing the blinds, and turning on a loud fan or the television to help drown out the frightening noises. Guardians should also ensure that animal companions are wearing collars with current identification tags and that they’re microchipped.

Fireworks are illegal or severely restricted in Washington, D.C.; in Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; in the Virginia cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park; and in Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties in Virginia.

File photo

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Morning Poll: Are You Planning on Watching Fireworks Tomorrow Night?

In 2013 we polled readers on your favorite fireworks-viewing spots.

The top 3, from first to third, excluding “other:” the Iwo Jima memorial, an apartment or house rooftop, and the Air Force Memorial.

This year we have another question: are you watching the fireworks? And if so, how do you plan on watching?

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Virginia State Police to Heighten Presence Over Holiday Weekend

Drivers should expect to see more Virginia State Police troopers on patrol this Independence Day weekend.

State police are urging motorists to be safe on the Commonwealth’s roads and highways, after 15 people were killed in crashes throughout the state this past weekend.

State police expect a record breaking number of travelers this weekend and are stepping up patrols with the goal of reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failure to wear a seat belt.

More from a Virginia State Police press release:

RICHMOND – With a “record-breaking” number of travelers forecasted for the 2017 Independence Day weekend and the recent rash of fatal crashes in Virginia since the official start of summer, the Virginia State Police is urging all motorists to put traffic safety at the top of their list of holiday priorities. This past weekend, 15 people were killed in traffic crashes across the Commonwealth. Those who lost their lives in traffic crashes June 23-25, 2017, included drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians ranging from 4 months to 74 years of age.

To ensure the Fourth of July holiday is as safe as possible, Virginia State Police will increase patrols during the long holiday weekend. Beginning Saturday, July 1, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. The 2017 July Fourth statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2017, and continues through midnight Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

“Halfway through 2017, there have already been 20 more traffic deaths compared to this date in 2016,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Let’s try to turn this year around and work towards saving lives, beginning with this July Fourth weekend. Traffic crashes and deaths are prevented when drivers and passengers simply follow the rules of the road – this includes never driving impaired, avoiding distractions while driving and always wearing a seatbelt.”

During the 2016 July Fourth weekend, Virginia troopers arrested 106 drunk drivers and cited 9,487 speeders and 2,590 reckless drivers. They also cited 821 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt and 360 motorists for child safety seat violations during the four-day statistical counting period.

With increased patrols, state police also remind drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

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County Government, Road Closures Planned for July 4

Arlington County government offices will be closed on July 4 for the Independence Day holiday, as well as libraries and other facilities.

Metered parking will not be enforced July 4, but street parking near the Iwo Jima Memorial, Long Bridge Park and the Air Force Memorial will be restricted.

County courts and the DMV offices, including DMV Select, will be closed July 3-4.

With large crowds expected for the fireworks on the National Mall, as well as Arlington’s own celebration at Long Bridge Park, police will close the following roads:

6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

  • Memorial Bridge/Memorial Circle

1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Marshall Drive from Route 110 to N. Meade Street
  • N. Meade Street from 14th Street N. to Marshall Drive

3 p.m. to 11. p.m.

  • Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Route 50 (access to the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood will be from the Rhodes Street bridge)
  • Exit ramp from westbound Route 50 to N. Lynn Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Exit ramp from eastbound Route 50 to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Long Bridge Drive from Boundary Channel Drive to 10th Street S.

8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

  • Eastbound Route 50 at Washington Blvd. All traffic diverted from Route 50 on ramps to East and West Washington Blvd
  • Eastbound 10th Street N. ramp to eastbound Route 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Route 50
  • N. Courthouse Road ramp to eastbound Route 50 will be closed, all traffic diverted to westbound Route 50 or 10th Street N.
  • Traffic on Pershing Drive at Route 50 will only be allowed westbound
  • Eastbound Fairfax Drive from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive
  • Columbia Pike between S. Orme Street and S. Joyce Street
  • S. Joyce Street between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

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Long Bridge Park To Hold Annual July 4th Celebration

For the sixth year, Long Bridge Park near Crystal City will host Arlington’s official Fourth of July celebration.

The free event will run for 5 to 10 p.m. and features games, activities, music and fireworks watching.

From 5-8:30 p.m., the Department of Parks and Recreation will host free moonbounces, face painting and balloon art.

The department will host family games from 5-7:45 p.m. D.C. Fray, formerly United Social Sports, will provide free games like giant Jenga and giant Connect Four.

Live music will play throughout the night, including Steve Lauri of the Hollies, DJ Baronhawk Poitier and Jeff From Accounting.

Food vendors will sell food during the celebration. Food trucks from Basic Burger, Mac’s Donuts, KimchiBBQ Taco, The Big Cheese are scheduled for the event among others.

The fireworks on the National Mall are scheduled to start at 9:09 p.m. and last for 17 minutes.

On-site parking will not be available for attendees. Free shuttles are available from 4:30-10:30 p.m. between the park and the Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro stations.

In addition to Long Bridge, several communities in the county will have their own celebrations that day, including:

  • Albemarle parade and celebration
  • Barcroft parade
  • Bell ringing in the Bluemont neighborhood
  • Douglas Park parade and picnic
  • Fairlington Villages parade
  • Lee Heights parade and celebration
  • Lyon Village parade and celebration

Other places to watch the fireworks in Arlington include:

  • Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
  • U.S. Air Force Memorial
  • Gateway Park in Rosslyn
  • Gravelly Point
  • Iwo Jima Memorial
  • Key Bridge
  • Pentagon Reservation
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Fireworks Stands Now Open in Arlington

For those who want to ring in Independence Day with some backyard pyrotechnics, at least two fireworks stands are now open in Arlington.

With the Fourth of July a week away, stands along Columbia Pike and Lee Highway are offering various types of sparklers, whirligigs and other fireworks that are legal in Virginia.

The first stand is located in a parking lot near the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. The other is also in a parking lot, near the corner of Lee Highway and N. Harrison Street. Both have been offering fireworks at their respective locations, around the Fourth of July holiday, for years.

For those planning a year ahead, such fireworks stands will often offer deep discounts after the holiday.

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Morning Notes

NRECA Tree Planting Ceremony — In honor of its 75th anniversary, yesterday the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association planted a tree next to its Ballston headquarters using soil collected from hundreds of its 900 electric co-op members. [Facebook]

SoberRide Active for July 4 — The regional SoberRide program will be offering free Lyft rides up to $15 each on the Fourth of July, to help get impaired drivers off the road. Between 7 p.m. on July 4 and 2 a.m. on July 5, Lyft users can use the promo code “SOBERJULY4” to get a free ride up to $15 or a $15 discount on a more expensive ride. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]

Work on DCA Project Starting Soon — A $1 billion improvement project for Reagan National Airport is set to kick off soon, with construction of new security checkpoints for terminals B and C. That construction is expected to wrap up in 2020, while construction of a new commuter concourse is expected to conclude in 2021. [Washington Business JournalWashington Business Journal]

Arlington Ridge Mansion to Be Auctioned — A 6 bedroom, 7 bath home in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, built in 2015 and valued at $3.7 million, is being auctioned next month. [Patch]

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‘All American Bar Crawl’ Returning to Clarendon

(Updated on 6/2/17) Arlington’s first major bar crawl of the year is scheduled for the weekend before the Fourth of July.

The All American Bar Crawl is set to take place Saturday, July 1 from 1-9 p.m. in Clarendon. It offers revelers access to local bars, food and drink specials, party favors, a raffle and a “signature patriotic mug.”

Among the participating restaurants listed on the event’s website are Mister Days, Bracket Room, Whitlow’s, Clarendon Grill, Oz and Whitlow’s Rooftop.

Early bird online registration is $15.

“The All American Bar Crawl celebrates America’s birthday a few days early!” says the website. “Rock your red, white and blue and get ready for a day full of Star Spangled shenanigans and bar-hopping in Clarendon with thousands of your closest friends.”

The last major bar crawl in Arlington happened this past Halloween. Organizers skipped the usual St. Patrick’s Day crawl this year.

In June 2014 a naked man led police on a chase through Clarendon during that year’s All American Bar Crawl. A month later the Arlington County Board passed new regulations that required crawl organizers to pay for a stepped-up police presence at the events. Both attendance and arrests dropped at subsequent bar crawls.

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Locals Hang Self-Proclaimed ‘Biggest Residential American Flag’ in Arlington

"Biggest residential American flag in Arlington" near Columbia Pike

There were plenty of flags to be seen around Arlington this past week, in celebration of Independence Day. One household in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, near Columbia Pike, took their patriotism to another level.

The residents of a home on the 800 block of S. Ivy Street draped an enormous, 20’x30′ American flag across the side of their house.

“We hung it up on Sunday and we’ve had a lot of positive reactions from neighbors and people just driving by,” resident Chelsie Bain told ARLnow.com, via email. “Over the weekend we saw several people get out of their cars/walk by and take pictures, people would honk as they drove by and neighbors stopped by to thank us for showing our patriotism.”

Bain said the flag appears to be the biggest residential American flag in Arlington, at least as far as she is aware. She added that the flag is still up but it will probably be taken down later this week.

Photo by Jackie Friedman

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Morning Notes

Bald eagle spotted on N. Park Drive on July 4, 2016 (photo courtesy Paul Fiorino)

Bald Eagle Spotted on Fourth of July — A bald eagle was spotted in the area of N. Park Drive, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood, yesterday on the Fourth of July (see above). The eagle “finally flew away after half an hour of harassment from a bunch of crows,” noted a neighborhood listserv email, but not before delighting adults and children in the neighborhood who gathered to see the patriotic sight.

Vietnam Vet Survives Stroke Thanks to Medics — Quick-acting Arlington County paramedics, a Good Samaritan who helped direct traffic at an intersection to let the ambulance through and skilled emergency room doctors helped to save the life of a Vietnam veteran who suffered a stroke while visiting his son in Arlington. [Fox 5]

School Board Chair Focused on Achievement — The Arlington School Board’s new chairman, Nancy Van Doren, says her focus is on individual student achievement, even in the midst of ongoing school growth and capacity challenges. “Our litmus test must be: Does each and every child receive the support he or she needs?” Van Doren said. [InsideNova]

Faked Fireworks Included Arlington Angle — The internet is abuzz about PBS’ use of “rerun” fireworks footage intermixed with live footage during its Capitol Fourth broadcast last night. One of the camera angles used showed an impossibly clear view of the fireworks and of the Capitol building from Arlington. In actuality, rain and low clouds made for a dreary, hazy view of the fireworks display. [WTOP]

Photo courtesy of Paul Fiorino

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ARLnow Weekend Discussion

American Flag at Iwo JimaThe long holiday weekend has finally arrived, not a minute too soon.

It’s Independence Day weekend and Arlington is offering plenty of activities to celebrate the holiday, from community parades to firework viewings.

There will be multiple road closures on Monday as a result of Fourth of July festivities, including Route 50 ramps and the Memorial Bridge.

Feel free to discuss the Fourth or any other local topic of interest. Have a great holiday weekend!

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