(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A local civic association says a lawsuit may be imminent over the infamous pickleball pop.
In a recent community newsletter, Old Glebe Civic Association leaders detailed their displeasure with the county ending a pilot program that closed a popular standalone pickleball court at Glebe Road Park earlier this year.
The program was initially enacted as a means to mitigate the noise of the loud pop sound produced by a pickleball hitting a paddle that was bothering some close-by neighbors, primarily those who live on a dead-end block near the courts.
The OGCA called that pilot program a “compromise” since it also looked to appease players by restriping a nearby tennis court for pickleball so there were now four courts, as opposed to the previous three. But with the program now being “abandoned,” the newsletter says, “the noise issue has become more contentious.”
The county has since proposed another pilot program that would reopen the standalone pickleball court but with limited hours and surrounded by a “noise reducing fence,” a spokesperson with the Department of Parks and Recreation tells ARLnow.
However, the OGCA opposes any reopening of the pickleball court and wrote that if the county doesn’t find a better way to mitigate the noise, legal action might be taken.
“We hope that a new compromise can be reached before affected parties turn to law courts for resolution of the issue, as has happened repeatedly in other cities throughout the country,” the newsletter reads.
Pickleball has exploded in popularity over the last several years in Arlington. It has prompted players to ask the county for more courts — which the county is now expected to deliver after a bond referendum including $2 million for pickleball has passed.
The impact of the sport’s rise has not sat well with everyone, though. The crowds and noise — particularly the loud pickleball pop — at certain local courts have bothered some surrounding neighbors. This includes those who live near Glebe Road Park.
“The noise from pickleball has become a major problem for residents of nearby houses — particularly those living on the section of Tazewell Street off of 38th Street,” reads the OGCA newsletter. “Some of the houses are only 135 feet from a ‘stand alone’ pickleball court; the noise from the court reverberates across the amphitheater-like terrain downhill to Tazewell Street and can be heard distinctly (and constantly) inside the houses.”
These concerns are not unique to Arlington, with the county looking to other jurisdictions to figure out how best to broker a pickleball peace. The initial pilot program, which ran from April to early September, closed down the pickleball court closest to the houses, but also added two more courts to the park by restriping a tennis court.
While the county “learned a lot” from the pilot, it didn’t paint a “full picture” about the best way forward, a county official told ARLnow.
“Over the last several months tennis and pickleball players, despite some inherent conflicts, have adjusted to sharing the two multi-use courts at Glebe Park. The courts have been very busy,” DPR spokesperson Martha Holland said. “Throughout the duration of this pilot, we have heard from park users and neighbors alike about the need to reopen the stand-alone court and to allow for pickleball plus other recreational options (soccer, fitness workouts, etc.).”
So, in response, the county is instituting a “Phase 2” pilot program that will keep the striping on the park’s tennis courts and install a “noise reducing fence” on three sides of the standalone court.
“The side of the court that touches the basketball court will not be wrapped, for safety reasons. Once the fence is up, DPR will reopen the court and monitor its use,” said Holland.
In addition, the court will be available via a reservation system and the court lights will be turned off at 10 p.m.
All lanes of N. Glebe Road are closed just south of Quincy Street due to a crash involving an overturned vehicle.
The single-vehicle crash took down power lines, according to scanner traffic, and the southbound lanes of Glebe are expected to be shut down for an extended period of time as a result.
One person was reportedly taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Police are on scene and investigating the cause of the crash and whether the driver might have been intoxicated.
Dominion, meanwhile, is reporting via its outage map that nearly 2,750 homes and businesses are without power in the area of the crash. The utility company expects power to be restored between 3-6 a.m.
LOCATION: N. Glebe Rd. at Henderson Rd.
INCIDENT: Traffic Collision
IMPACT: Southbound N. Glebe Rd. between Henderson Rd. and 4th St. N. will be shut down for an extended period of time. Seek alternate routes. pic.twitter.com/rTxxxNFRMc
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) September 21, 2022
LOCATION: 400-blk N. Glebe Rd.
INCIDENT: Power Outage
IMPACT: Power is out in the area of the 400-blk N. Glebe Rd. due to a traffic collision involving a power pole. There is no expected repair time. pic.twitter.com/qpWQcKqHaF
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) September 21, 2022
A new Japanese barbeque restaurant is coming Ballston.
New window stickers are announcing the arrival of Gyu San Japanese BBQ at 715 N. Glebe Road. That’s the Ballston Point building at the corner of Glebe and Wilson Blvd — the same one where the new coffee shop Slipstream is also going, albeit on the Wilson Blvd side.
Gyu San is moving into the space formerly occupied by Bangkok Bistro, which appears to have closed during the back end of 2020.
Last month, ARLnow reported that a retail leasing chart for the building showed a different Japanese BBQ restaurant looking to move into that location. That now appears to either be an error or a case of something changing.
There’s no word yet on when Gyu San might open, though interior construction does appear to have begun.
There does not seem to be a website or social media for a restaurant going by that name based in Arlington or, even, the United States. ARLnow has reached out to a leasing rep for the building but has yet to hear back as of publication.
Gyu San will compete with at least one other Arlington Japanese barbeque restaurant. Gyu-Kaku opened its first Virginia location about four years ago in Clarendon.
Beyond Gyu San and Slipstream, Ballston Point is also home to Which Wich, Chipotle, and World of Beer.
(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) A portion of N. Glebe Road between Ballston and Langston Blvd was blocked this morning after a serious crash.
A car appears to have collided head-on with a motorcycle, seriously injuring the motorcycle rider. The exact circumstances around the crash are unclear.
The motorcyclist was reported to be conscious but “pretty banged up” when he was rushed to a local hospital. Both the striking car and the motorcycle were heavily damaged by the force of the collision.
Detectives remain on scene investigating. No charges have been filed as of yet.
The motorcyclist is expected to survive, according to police.
“At approximately 8:57 a.m. on August 3, police were dispatched to N. Woodrow Street at N. Glebe Road for the report of a two vehicle crash with injuries,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The motorcyclist has been transported to an area hospital with injuries considered serious but non-life threatening. The driver of the sedan remained on scene. Police continue to investigate the cause of the crash.”
Glebe Road was expected to remain at least partially blocked between N. Woodrow Street and Langston Blvd for much of the morning as a result of the investigation and the crash cleanup effort. It reopened shortly after 10:30 a.n.
It appears that the Buffalo Wild Wings in Ballston will close next month.
Earlier this month, a request was submitted to the county on behalf of the building owner JBG Smith to amend the site plan for the office building at 950 N. Glebe Road. In that request, it’s noted that the 7,318 square foot space on the ground floor of the building that currently is home to Buffalo Wild Wings is set to be vacated when the lease is up at the end of August.
“The [building] has never enjoyed strong street frontage for retail or restaurants, which led to lower sales for the existing tenant and contributed to their decision to vacate at the end of the lease in August 2022,” the statement of justification letter reads.
Upon learning of the restaurant’s intent to close, JBG Smith attempted to find a replacement tenant but was “unsuccessful.” In response, the developer is moving on and asking the county to add “retail equivalent uses” as a permitted use.
The hope is to turn the large space once home to the beer, wings and sports chain into an assortment of “lounges, conference rooms, co-working spaces, and a fitness center” as a way to “substantially upgrade the ground floor experience” for office tenants at 950 N. Glebe Road.
ARLnow has reached out to both Buffalo Wild Wings and JBG Smith to confirm the chain’s departure from Ballston. We’ve not heard back from either as of publication.
Ballston’s Buffalo Wild Wings opened a decade ago based in part on the success of the Crystal City location. It was expected to be one of the company’s top-performing restaurants in the country, per the regional manager at the time.
That does not seem to be the case, at least today. Recent reviews of the restaurant on both Google and Yelp say that it is often devoid of customers, that food items are frequently out of stock, and that the establishment is understaffed. A lack of customers has plagued many — though not necessarily all — restaurants on the western side of Glebe Road, as the Metro station entrance, plus most of Ballton’s businesses and foot traffic, are on the eastern side of the busy artery.
Overall, JBG Smith seems to be looking to spruce up 950 N. Glebe Road. The proposed updates include a 410-square-foot bump out for a fitness center, landscape changes, and an “indoor/outdoor tenant café-style area with operable windows,” along with more conference rooms and co-working spaces.
“These proposed amendments to Site Plan #331 will allow the [building] to compete in a struggling office and retail market,” the request says. “Securing new retail and office tenants during the uncertain economic environment of the last two years has proven difficult for the Applicant, especially given that it lacks tenant amenities (which are now proposed).”
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
When the new Ballston Silver Diner opens, the Clarendon location will close.
Silver Diner is now planning to start serving at 750 N. Glebe Road in October 2022, a company spokesperson tells ARLnow. This is bit of push from its initial “summer 2022” debut that’s still being advertised on its storefront throughout construction.
When it does open, though, the long-time Silver Diner at 3200 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon will shutter after 26 years.
“The current Clarendon location will close the day after the new location opens,” a spokesperson said, confirming what has long been expected given redevelopment plans for the Clarendon site. “Their lease is ending so they’re moving as close as possible to their current location.”
The new Silver Diner is about a mile from the current location. What’s somewhat surprising, perhaps, is that it will shutter as soon as the new diner opens. The closure will make way for a new development that’s set to include a hotel, gym, and a 286-unit residential building.
The Ballston Silver Diner was first announced five years ago as part of the new Waycroft apartment building, which also includes a Target store that opened on the ground floor in the summer of 2020.
The new 6,700-square-foot restaurant is set to have a 68-seat outdoor cafe, which was just given a thumbs-up by the Arlington Planning Commission this month.
While last year’s application noted that “the applicant anticipates operating the restaurant 24 hours a day,” the spokesperson said this won’t be the case. The Ballston restaurant will keep the same hours as the Clarendon location, which operates 21 hours a day — from 7 a.m. to 4 a.m. — on Fridays and Saturdays, while closing 2-3 hours earlier on other days of the week.
“Many restaurants apply for permitting for longer hours, just in case anything changes in future but none of the Silver Diner restaurants operate 24 hours,” the spokesperson wrote.
The outdoor seating, meanwhile, will be open “seasonally.”
Construction is ongoing at the future diner, with fences protruding into the sidewalk and wires dotting the side of the building.
Upgraded traffic lights, roads and bus stops are expected at the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road.
The Arlington County Board approved awarding a $1.6 million contract to the D.C. firm Fort Myer Construction Corporation for the project during its meeting on Saturday (July 16).
As part of a larger county program to upgrade “outdated” traffic lights, this project will change the span wire currently holding the traffic signals at the intersection to mast arms.
Other upgrades to be carried out include constructing curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, adding high-visibility crosswalks and renovating bus stops at that location.
Currently, the intersection near the Four Mile Run Trail and the Alexandria border has narrow sidewalks, long pedestrian crossings and outdated bus stops. The project aims to “improve pedestrian safety and accessibility at the intersection,” according to the report.
The contract approved by the Board includes at 15% contingency on top of the construction firm’s $1.4 million bid, which came in lower than the county engineer’s construction cost estimate. Funding for this project was included in the adopted Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2022 to 2024.
The project is expected to be completed by fall of next year, according to the county’s Traffic Signal Upgrade Project website.
Saturday night’s severe storms caused significant tree damage in parts of northern Arlington.
The southern reaches of the storms that flooded portions of D.C. and suburban Maryland also packed a punch in Arlington, ripping through the northern corner of the county with heavy rain and high winds. Other parts of Arlington only received moderate rainfall.
“Large trees were blown down along George Washington Parkway at Spout Run Parkway, some up to 4 feet in diameter and up to 50 feet tall,” the National Weather Service noted in a damage report. “Several trees blew down near the intersection of VA-120 North Glebe Road and Military Road.”
The tree damage along Glebe shut down lanes between Military Road and Chain Bridge for several hours that night and again on the morning of July 4.
LOCATION: N Glebe Rd/Military Rd
INCIDENT: Trees Down
IMPACT: All SB lanes of N Glebe Rd at Military Rd are blocked due to trees down in the area. The lanes will remain blocked until further notice. Seek alternate routes. pic.twitter.com/4qsYDAhqtF
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) July 3, 2022
A reader also reported tree damage near the corner of Military Road and 38th Street N.
“I heard what sounded like a jet engine speeding up, then came an acceleration of tremendous wind and rain,” Marcia Nordgren told ARLnow. “I had zero visibility. Then my trees and branches came down. It appears that they twisted.”
Nordgren said she thought it might have been a tornado that came through, but there was no tornado observed on weather radar — which would have prompted a Tornado Warning — and the National Weather Service tells ARLnow that it is not planning to send a storm survey team to Arlington to investigate the damage.
Meanwhile, the area is set for another series of active weather days between today and Thursday. This afternoon and evening scattered strong to severe thunderstorms are expected in the D.C. region, NWS says.
With an anticipated significant weather system rolling into the region today, make sure you follow @ReadyArlington for important information as well as tips to prepare. As always, we will be here 24/7/365 to respond to any emergencies, no matter the weather. https://t.co/auvWh51w7g
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 5, 2022
Update at 9:40 p.m. — All lanes have reopened, Arlington County says.
Update at 6:40 p.m. — The southbound lanes have reopened but the northbound lanes are expected to remain closed for several hours.
LOCATION: N Glebe Rd/Chain Bridge Rd
INCIDENT: Traffic Collision
IMPACT: SB lanes of N Glebe at Chain Bridge are reopened. NB lane closure expected to last for three hours. Avoid the area if possible. pic.twitter.com/wO1fH4W7Ll
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) May 17, 2022
Earlier: All lanes of N. Glebe Road near Chain Bridge are reported to be blocked during this evening’s commute, due to a combination of a disabled vehicle and a large pothole.
The large pothole is in the northbound lanes, on a steep portion of the road between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road, according to initial reports. A VDOT crew is now on scene assessing possible repairs to the roadway.
“Traffic is being diverted to Military Road,” the county said in an Arlington Alert message. “Seek alternate routes.”
Drivers should also expect heavy traffic on Chain Bridge as a result of the closure.
The closure is not far from where an SUV overturned earlier today.
(Updated, 12:05 p.m.) Tesla is opening its first Arlington sales and service center today.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held this morning at the nearly 64,000 square foot space at 2710 S. Glebe Road, just east of Shirlington. Several local officials are expected to be in attendance, including state Senator Barbara Favola and County Board member Takis Karantonis.
This is Tesla’s fourth Virginia sales center. Prior to the Arlington location, the closest was in Tysons.
ARLnow reported in early March that the electric car company was charging up to open a store on S. Glebe Road near I-395. It’s the former location of a Maserati dealership and, before that, seafood seller M. Slavin & Sons.
Tesla had to first get approval from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to open this and two other stores in the Commonwealth.
Under state law, automobile manufacturers like Tesla are generally not able to sell their cars directly to customers. This law was originally passed, in part, to encourage competition. In fact, for a time, Tesla couldn’t sell cars at its Tysons mall showroom and employees were forbidden from even discussing purchases.
However, that changed last May when the state DMV commissioner approved the company’s request to open three sales centers in Virginia. The reasoning the commissioner gave is that there are no independent dealers in Arlington — or in Charlottesville and Norfolk, where the other stores are opening — that could operate a Tesla franchise “in a manner consistent with public interest,” according to the hearing decision provided to ARLnow.
The Arlington store will employ about 20 people initially with “plans to grow as needed to meet demand,” a company spokesperson said.
In addition to its sales and service location, there are more than 400 Tesla “supercharger” stations in Virginia, where drivers can get a quick recharge of their car’s batteries.
That number includes eight such stations in Arlington, according to a company map. Rosslyn, Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City, Crystal City, and the new Tesla store on S. Glebe Road all have at least one publicly available charging station.
A new Afghan restaurant is looking to open in Ballston this summer.
Grill Kabob, a local chain of family-owned Afghan kabob eateries, is working on opening its 15th location at 708 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, co-owner Wais Shoja confirms to ARLnow. It will be only a few doors down from the new Silver Diner that’s also planning to open this summer in the neighborhood.
The aim is for Grill Kabob to start serving in June.
The chain currently has more than a dozen locations across the D.C. area, with the closest right now being at Tysons Corner Center in McLean. That number is likely to increase this summer, says Shoja, as the owners are planning to open several new locations, including the one in Ballston.
With lots of offices, new apartment buildings, and a Metro stop, the neighborhood makes for a great location for a new Grill Kabob, the co-owner says. Plans were originally in the works pre-pandemic to open a restaurant in Ballston, but Covid paused the owners’ expansion efforts.
The first Grill Kabob opened in the Springfield Mall in 1999, with subsequent restaurants also mostly in malls. Over the last seven years or so, explains Shoja, the family-owned operation has put more focus on opening locations near office and residential areas.
The new location will closely reflect Grill Kabob’s updated design and decor. As for the restaurant’s menu, it includes an assortment of meat and veggie kabobs, sandwiches, and salads.
The location’s menu will be very similar to the others, though there are certain items sell better at different locations. Shoja says they will take some time to see what’s popular in Ballston and perhaps “play around” with the menu to best reflect the wants of the neighborhood.
Ballston is likely to see a host of new restaurants opening up in the coming months. Besides Grill Kabob and Silver Diner, there’s also Pirouette Cafe, Hawkers, and Salt Pot Kitchen all aiming for spring or summer openings this year. Just this past month, The Union and Quincy Hall both opened their doors.