Arlington, VA

A Head Start program for the children of low-income families will have a new home in Arlington.

The County Board on Saturday unanimously approved a lease for Northern Virginia Family Service and its Head Start program, which serves more than 200 children. The program will now be based at 2920 S. Glebe Road, an office building purchased by the county and renovated for about $6.6 million.

The Head Start program is moving from 1800 N. George Mason Drive, which was owned by the county but acquired by Virginia Hospital Center in a land swap. It will continue paying about the same rent — around $274,000 per year with 5 percent annual increases.

More from an Arlington County press release:

The Arlington County Board today approved a lease agreement with Northern Virginia Family Service, Inc. (NVFS) to continue operations of the Head Start program at a new location on 2920 S. Glebe Road.

The County acquired the property in 2017 as a new home for the federal program. Head Start promotes school readiness for children ages five and under from low-income families, an important policy goal for the County.

“Ensuring Head Start’s long-term sustainability remains a key priority for the Board. Head Start has achieved remarkable results in readying children to thrive in school,” County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. “This facility will provide an optimal learning environment for children and be conveniently located for most families who participate.”

The property was needed when the program’s home at 1800 N. George Mason Dr. was designated for a land swap between the County and Virginia Hospital Center, which plans to expand its north Arlington campus.

The County budgeted $6.6 million to prepare the South Glebe site for more than 200 children. The build-out is set for completion next month. The County’s lease with NVFS ends in January 2023 with four five-year extension options.

NVFS is to pay the County just under $274,000 a year in rent plus 5 percent annual escalations, essentially the same terms that existed for the prior location on George Mason Drive. The County will provide utilities and janitorial service at no additional charge.

The County Board voted unanimously as part of the consent agenda to approve the lease agreement.

Photo (1) via Arlington County, (2) via Google Maps

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(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) Arlington County is considering a series of transportation improvements, including a fix to the complicated West and South Glebe Road intersection.

At Saturday’s County Board meeting the Board scheduled to vote on the approval of a series of grant requests for up to six projects with a total funding of up to $5.4 million.

The most expensive of the projects would be cleaning up the somewhat crash-prone Glebe Road intersection for $3 million in grant funding. W. Glebe Road, S. Glebe Road and S. Four Mile Run Drive all feed into the same intersection. By adjusting the geometry and the lane configuration, the county hopes to reduce instances of crashes.

Staff also note in the proposal that adjusting traffic signal timing and turn movements on S. Four Mile Run Drive could alleviate congestion on northbound I-395 by reducing backups on the ramp to S. Glebe Road.

The grant requests also include a series of transit improvements. The report notes that motorists frequently violate the Potomac Yard Transitway travel restrictions in Crystal City. The planned fix would add red markings to the lanes to denote the entry points to the transitway.

Other improvements include reliability upgrades for the 22F and 16Y Metrobus lines, serving Pentagon-Shirlingt0n-Fairlington and Columbia Pike-Court House-Farragut Square, respectively.

The 7Y Metrobus route would also gain additional noon-to-midnight bus service starting in December.

Also included among the grant requests is a funding request for $211,962 to extend the Commuter Store operations at the Pentagon for another 12 months. The store sells transit passes and provides commuter assistance, serving approximately 1,800 customers per month according to the staff report. Current funding for operations is set to expire on March 31, 2020.

Photos via Google Maps

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A trash truck dumped a flaming load of garbage in the parking lot of Washington Golf and Country Club this afternoon, leading to lane closures on N. Glebe Road during the evening rush hour.

The incident was first reported shortly before 5 p.m. The contents of a Waste Management truck caught fire, prompting the driver to dump the load in the ritzy private club’s front parking lot.

Firefighters were eventually able to extinguish the slow-burning fire, from which a small plume of smoke was visible on a nearby traffic camera. Now the private trash collection company will have to figure out how to clean up the mountain of soggy, sometimes charred debris from the parking lot, along with the detritus that was washed down nearby N. Glebe Road.

Both northbound lanes of Glebe were temporarily blocked at Old Dominion Drive during the incident. One lane has since reopened.

Similar trash truck fires happened last year just off S. Glebe Road and in the Penrose neighborhood.

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Morning Notes

Couple of Carbeques — Vehicle fires shut down several lanes of northbound I-395 and both lanes of N. Glebe Road near Chain Bridge during yesterday’s evening rush hour. [Twitter, Twitter]

Today: Left Turn No More — “Barring unforeseen circumstances (which we’ve seen before), this left turn from Washington Boulevard to Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon becomes history tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24.” [Twitter]

Caps Significant Others Watch Game in Clarendon — “Hey, isn’t that… the wives and girlfriends of Capitals players, gathered together at Bracket Room during Monday night’s playoffs game against the Carolina Hurricanes?” [Washington Post]

Nearby: Virginia Tech Still Picking Alexandria Site — “When Alexandria and Virginia Tech announced plans for a new Innovation Campus… the university gave every indication it would build the $1 billion project at Stonebridge Associates’ Oakville Triangle property… But the deal is not done yet — and the university has expanded its search to other sites in Alexandria.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Caps Player Abandons Car on Glebe Road — “Monday was media day for the Capitals, their first practice of the postseason. [Lars] Eller was on his way to MedStar Capitals Iceplex when suddenly, his car broke down… in the middle of Glebe Road.” [NBC Sports Washington]

Task Force Ices Snow Proposal — “Thirteen of the 14 voting members of the task force ‘do not believe the county has made the case that snow operations on [the large government parcel at Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street North] must be expanded, especially given the small number of annual major storms.'” [InsideNova]

ACPD Marks Alcohol Awareness Month — “Alcohol Awareness Month, recognized each April, is a public health program designed to increase outreach and education on the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to alcohol. More than 300 establishments in Arlington County hold Virginia ABC licenses permitting the serving and sale of alcohol.” [Arlington County]

Amazon May Pay for Public Transit — “Amazon has actively promoted the use of public transit, such as by paying the full cost of its employees’ fare cards for light rail, buses and ferries — a perk that it is considering extending to new employees in Arlington. The company boasts that only a quarter of its Seattle employees commute to work by driving solo. Nearly 1 in 3 use transit, and more than 1 in 5 walk.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Touts Bike Benefits — “The County continues to build on the bicycle’s unique ability to provide clean short- and medium-range transportation that requires far less infrastructure and resources compared to automobile traffic.” [Arlington County]

Water Main Repairs CompleteUpdated at 8:35 a.m. — Repairs to a burst 12-inch water main in Crystal City have been completed, but several roads in the area remain closed. The water main break cut water service to several buildings in the area, including a hotel. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) Traffic throughout Arlington has reached apocalyptic levels as the closure of the Beltway’s Inner Loop continues well into the night.

Shortly before 2 p.m., a tanker truck overturned as part of a multi-vehicle crash just prior the American Legion Bridge. The cleanup from the crash and the hazmat response from a fuel spill prompted the complete closure of I-495 northbound before the bridge, sending tens of thousands of drivers bound for Maryland and D.C. into Arlington to try to make it across the remaining Potomac bridges.

In Fairfax County, that has meant gridlock on main eastbound arteries like Chain Bridge Road and Georgetown Pike. In Arlington, it has resulted in the following almost unthinkable traffic scenarios as of 9 p.m. on an otherwise clear and calm day:

  • Both directions of I-66 are jammed between Glebe Road and the Roosevelt Bridge.
  • Northbound N. Glebe Road is a virtual parking lot for more than two miles from just past Washington Golf and Country Club to Chain Bridge. The backups have been getting longer as the night goes on.
  • Northbound Military Road is a solid line of traffic from Zachary Taylor Park to the Glebe Road on-ramp. Police have shut down access to the road at Nelly Custis Drive, according to a tipster.
  • Side streets in the Old Glebe neighborhood are filled with cars attempting to find shortcuts.
  • Eastbound Route 50 is “in gridlock from Pershing Drive.”
  • Numerous highway on-ramps throughout Arlington have been closed by police to try to control traffic.
  • Eastbound Lee Highway is backed up to the MOM’s Organic Market.
  • Multiple intersections in Rosslyn are reported to be near-gridlock near Key Bridge, with police on scene directing traffic.
  • Northbound I-395 is crawling past Pentagon City.

The Inner Loop remains completely closed and is expected to remain closed until midnight or later.

The nightmare traffic has led to hours in the car for commuters and some frayed nerves. Police have responded to numerous reports of road rage incidents, as well as crashes on traffic-clogged streets.

More from social media:

Maps via Google Maps

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Closures on a number of major commuter routes snarled traffic in parts of Arlington Monday morning.

Most recently — around 9:15 a.m. — a two-vehicle crash with three reported injuries happened on N. Glebe Road at Cathedral Lane, blocking northbound traffic at Route 50.

Northbound Route 110, meanwhile, was closed between Memorial Circle and Marshall Drive due to a crash involving a vehicle that reportedly ran off the road.

Just north of Ballston, downed trees blocked several roads, including the southbound lanes of N. Glebe Road near 16th Street. Nearly 200 Dominion customers are without power in the area, according to the utility’s outage map, below.

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Arlington County Police are investigating a shooting that happened last night on S. Glebe Road.

A man was shot at the intersection of Glebe and S. Arlington Ridge Road, two blocks away from Gunston Middle School, around 7 p.m., according to police. The victim is expected to survive and police are still seeking the shooter.

More from an ACPD press release, issued just after noon today (Monday):

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place on the evening of December 30, 2018.

At approximately 7:03 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown at the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road. Upon arrival on scene, officers located a male victim suffering from trauma to the upper body and immediately began performing life saving measures. The victim was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Following medical treatment, the victim’s condition has been upgraded to stable and he is expected to survive his wounds.

This incident remains an active criminal investigation. At this time, no suspect(s) have been identified and there are no suspect(s) descriptions. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. Trainer of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4185 or [email protected]

Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

File photo

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Morning Notes

Icy Conditions on N. Glebe Road — The northbound lanes of N. Glebe Road are closed at Military Road “for an unknown amount of time” due to icy conditions. [Twitter]

County Board Member is Pregnant — Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol and her husband Steve are expecting their first child in May. [Twitter]

Long-Time APS Employee Dies — Charles Weber, a World War II veteran who “worked for Arlington County Public Schools for thirty-seven years and served as Principal of Swanson Junior High School and Stratford Junior High School,” has died at the age of 91. [Dignity Memorial]

Scooter Trips > Bikeshare Trips — “In October, when Arlington, Va.’s scooter pilot began, there were 69,189 Bird and Lime scooter trips for 75,425 total miles traveled with Bird and Lime. Meanwhile, Capital Bikeshare – routinely and still considered a success, with lots more potential – had 26,532 total trips in Arlington in October.” [Mobility Labs, Twitter]

Growing Number of $200K+ Earners in Arlington — “If there’s one place in America that doesn’t need a helping hand from Jeff Bezos, it could be [Arlington and the D.C. suburbs]. The Washington commuter area is home to four of the top 10 (Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6) fastest-growing census tracts of high earners.” [Bloomberg]

Conspiracy Theorists Eye Cemetery — “QAnon believers have become convinced the deep-state cabal has a bunker under Arlington Cemetery, connected to a tunnel running straight to Comet Ping Pong.” [Twitter]

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SunTrust Bank will close its branch at 249 N. Glebe Road on Feb. 5.

“The decision to close a branch is made after careful study and analysis,” Hugh Suhr, a spokesman for SunTrust, told ARLnow, adding that market growth, real estate arrangements and transaction volumes are some of the factors considered.

The bank began notifying clients last week, and their accounts will be transferred to either the Arlington Gateway branch at 901 N. Glebe Road or the South Arlington branch at 3108 Columbia Pike, unless clients specify a different location, Suhr said.

“SunTrust, like all banking companies, must constantly refine its branch network to meet the changing needs and transaction patterns of clients, as well as taking into account their increasing usage of newer delivery channels such as internet banking and mobile banking,” Suhr said.

In May, SunTrust, which is based in Atlanta, was hit with a massive data breach that compromised 1.5 million customer accounts.

A Subway sandwich shop next door at 243 N. Glebe Road closed earlier this year. The owner decided to shut it down in April in order to focus on another Subway location nearby that is still open, a spokesperson for the restaurant told ARLnow.

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Plans seem to be taking shape for a full redevelopment of the Harris Teeter and adjacent Mercedes Benz dealership lot in Ballston.

The grocery store’s owners are hoping to team up with a Georgia-based developer to build 700 residential units on the property with 83,600 square feet of retail on the ground floor of two buildings, including a newly renovated Harris Teeter store to replace the existing location.

The plans match the county’s long-term goal of transforming the Glebe Road property into a mixed-use community.

Though the plans are still conceptual at the moment, the developer provided some details to owners at the neighboring Hyde Park Condominiums — an anonymous tipster provided a copy of a presentation sketching out the redevelopment to ARLnow. Helen Duong, a spokeswoman for the county’s planning office, said that there’s a meeting scheduled today (Tuesday) for the developer to submit preliminary plans on the project.

A lawyer working on the development effort declined to comment. But the presentation, dated July 30, shows that the developer is envisioning buildings anywhere from six to eight stories tall, in addition to adding a half-acre park on the site. The plans also call for as many as 974 parking spaces to serve the new buildings.

Back in 2013, the County Board approved some policy changes to allow for more density on the site, in light of Ballston’s rapid development along Wilson Blvd. County staff wrote at the time that redeveloping the area would enhance “the southern gateway of Ballston” and transform N. Glebe Road into “an urban boulevard.”

The Board even approved zoning changes to allow buildings anywhere from 12 to 14 stories tall, so the current proposal, backed by the development firm Southeastern, is less dense than the county envisioned. However, it does call for many of the same transportation improvements the county sketched out at the time, including an extension of N. Tazewell Street from where it meets with N. Carlin Springs Road, running through the property.

Harris Teeter envisions building a new, 70,600-square-foot store on the site, complete with an “improved layout” and “improved customer experience and offerings,” according to the presentation. The old store would remain open as workers built the new one, complete with 390 housing units stacked on top.

Plans are a bit less set in stone for the height of each residential building. One option included in the plan calls for both buildings to be eight stories tall, provided the developer can win some policy changes from the county — another option envisions an eight-story building located on the current pre-owned Mercedes lot, and six-story building where the Harris Teeter is currently, closest to the Hyde Park condos.

Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone declined to comment on the exact details of the plans, but said “we are very pleased and supportive to see community-building development happening here.”

Map via Google Maps

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