GGW Boosts Gondola — “While [the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola] might not be the one, most important transportation project in the whole region, it’s a worthwhile way to help people reach jobs and shops and reduce single-passenger car trips.” [Greater Greater Washington]
USB E-Cig Banned at APS — “Schools in Arlington, Virginia, have specifically banned a new type of e-cigarette that has gained popularity among local teenagers: the Juul.” [WTOP]
‘Collision’ to Showcase N. Va. Tech — Arlington and Alexandria’s economic development agencies last week “announced their collaboration in showcasing the brightest and emerging startups on a national platform next month at one of the fastest growing tech conferences in the country.” [Alexandria News]
Beyer Unhappy With Military Helo Report — “A 400-page U.S. Army report on military-helicopter noise in the Washington area has failed to satisfy the member of Congress who authored legislative language requiring its compilation.” [InsideNova]
Snow Predicted for Arlington Tonight — “Expect a sloppy mix of precipitation that slowly transitions from rain to sleet to perhaps snow between early Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.” [Capital Weather Gang]
Market Common Redevelopment Approved — The Arlington County Board last night approved a plan to redevelop a portion of Market Common Clarendon. The project is described as “a major renovation and expansion of a commercial-retail block in the heart of Clarendon,” which will preserve the A&R Engravers building and widen the Wilson Boulevard sidewalk at Edgewood Street. [Arlington County]
Gondola Idea Not Dead Yet — “A gondola connecting Georgetown and Rosslyn adjacent to the Key Bridge is still in the works,” with those on the D.C. side of the Potomac continuing to work on it despite Arlington’s public reticence. However, the project now faces an exceedingly complex Environmental Impact Study. [Washington Business Journal]
Man Shot and Killed in Philly IDed — A local man who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in South Philadelphia after allegedly deliberately striking a pedestrian with his car has been identified. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Khalil Lawal, of the 100 block of South Frederick Street in Arlington, Va., was shot early Monday morning by the officer in the face, torso, and legs, police said.” [Philly.com]
Mitten Under Consideration for Michigan Job — Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten is among three candidates under consideration for the job of City Manager in Grand Rapids, Michigan. [Grand Rapids Business Journal]
Ship’s Hatch Under New Ownership — Long-time military gift store Ship’s Hatch has been sold to a new owner. Founder Mary Beth Cox, 73, is retiring after more than three decades of running the store in the Crystal City Shops. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by GM and MB
County Opts to Acquire Hospital Site — Arlington County Board members on Tuesday voted to formally seek a large tract of land along S. Carlin Springs Road in a land swap with Virginia Hospital Center. In exchange, the county is offering to VHC county-owned land next to the hospital, which would allow it to expand. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Bike Thefts Up in Arlington — Bike thefts were up for the first 6 months of 2017, compared to a year prior. No one seems to be safe from the prolific bike thieves, who often target high-end bikes parked in garages and bike lockers; among those reporting recent thefts were Henry Dunbar, the director of BikeArlington and Capital Bikeshare in Arlington, and an ABC 7 employee. [WJLA]
Gondola Project Not Dead — Though Arlington County has moved on from it, D.C. is still budgeting money to advance the proposed Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola project, including $250,000 for an environmental review of a potential gondola site near the C&O canal. One other intriguing factor: should the gondola run north of the Key Bridge, as shown in renderings, it may reach Arlington at the Key Bridge Marriott property, which is in the early stages of a potentially large-scale, mixed-use redevelopment. [Bisnow]
County Buys Office Building — As expected, the Arlington County Board has voted to purchase a low-slung office building at 2920 S. Glebe Road, to house Arlington’s head start program. The program is currently housed in the Edison Center next to Virginia Hospital Center, which is slated to be transferred to VHC in a land swap (see above). Arlington is paying $3.885 million for the Glebe Road property, nearly $1.5 million above its assessed value. [Arlington County]
JBG Has Big Plans for Crystal City — JBG Smith, the newly-formed combination of JBG and the Washington properties of Vornado, says repositioning and enhancing its 7 million square foot portfolio in Crystal City is a “top priority.” Among the changes in the works for the Bethesda-based firm: expanding the vacant office building at 1750 Crystal Drive, converting it to residential, and adding an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and a grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]
Woman Arrested in Williamsburg Murder Case — A 27-year-old Maryland woman has been arrested and charged with being an accessory to last month’s homicide at a house party in the Williamsburg neighborhood. A press release does not specify how Monique Williams allegedly helped the suspect, Jason Allen Johnson, who remains at large. [Arlington County]
Police Looking for Missing Teen — Fairfax County Police are leading the search for Alex Daniel Terceros, a developmentally disabled 17-year-old who was reportedly last seen at the under-renovation Ballston Common Mall, after his mom dropped him off at the mall. [Fox 5]
Georgetown Still Interested in Gondola — Georgetown is pushing forward with studies that would be the precursor for a Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola system, despite Arlington County pledging not to fund any such project. [Bisnow]
Three Running for School Board — Three people are now running in the Democratic school board endorsement caucus. Montessori advocate Monique O’Grady, the mother of Fox TV star Brittany O’Grady, has joined the race, facing off against incumbent James Lander and fellow challenger Maura McMahon. [InsideNova]
VOICE Condemns VOICE — The local social justice group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement has issued a statement condemning President Donald Trump’s proposed Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE). The Virginia VOICE says Trump’s VOICE is “a regrettable attempt to criminalize a whole category of U.S. residents, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding, tax-paying contributors to the country’s economy.” [VOICE]
Parents of Autistic Students File Complaint Against APS — “In Arlington, Va., the Autistic Self Advocacy Network filed a discrimination complaint last spring with the Justice Department on behalf of five nonspeaking students — dubbed the “Arlington Five” — whose requests to use letter boards and trained communication supporters to access general education were denied by the school district.” [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy John Sonderman
The Arlington County Board says it does not support further county funding of the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola.
The project would have cost $80-90 million to build and another $3.25 million annually to operate, according to a study, the findings of which were released in November.
“Given our identified and pressing transportation needs, along with some ongoing concerns about the long-term value of the gondola, the Board is not in favor of any further funding of the gondola project,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a letter to the Gondola Study executive committee.
The full letter, which was released late this week on the county website, is below.
Dear Members of the Executive Committee,
On behalf of the Arlington County Board, I am writing to you regarding the Rosslyn-Georgetown Gondola study and to share our collective position on the project.
First, I want to thank you for giving Arlington County the opportunity to join you and other partners in exploring the potential opportunities for constructing and operating a gondola service in our region.
Board members, along with our staff, have reviewed the conclusions of the feasibility study for the proposed aerial gondola between Rosslyn and Georgetown. The study addressed many of the important components, including ridership demand, cost of installation, cost of operations, engineering, technical issues, and permitting requirements. An estimate of $80-$90 million was included in the study as the order of magnitude construction cost of the project.
Arlington already has a large number of transportation projects in the County’s Master Transportation Plan, including several in Rosslyn that will require substantial resources and attention over the next several years. The Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola is not a project included in our recently approved Capital Improvement Plan. Given our identified and pressing transportation needs, along with some ongoing concerns about the long-term value of the gondola, the Board is not in favor of any further funding of the gondola project.
Thank you again for your joint efforts in exploring this particular alternative transportation option. We look forward to our continued partnership on other regional transportation initiatives.
Jay Fisette, Chair
Police Warn of Jury Duty Scam — The Arlington County Police Department is again warning about a jury duty telephone scam targeting Arlington residents. The fraud involves a caller claiming to be a law enforcement officer and claiming that the call recipient failed to appear for jury duty. The scammer then demands the payment of a fine over the phone. [Arlington County]
Plow Plows Into Bus — Updated at 2 p.m. — One lane of Lee Highway was blocked for a period of time during last night’s evening rush hour after a minor accident involving an VDOT snow plow and an ART bus. [Twitter]
Vihstadt Speaks Out Against Gondola — County Board member John Vihstadt is not a fan of the potential gondola from Rosslyn to Georgetown. “Now is not the time to spend upwards of $90 million on a Disney-like gondola to Georgetown while current modes of public transit need significant new investment,” Vihstadt said earlier this week. [InsideNova]
Crystal House Renovated — Crystal House is a big apartment complex in Crystal City that has been around for a long time. Chances are, someone you know has lived there at one point or another. The 825-unit complex recently completed the first phase of a major renovation project and is showing it off via video and press release. [PR Newswire, YouTube]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Lyon Park Mansion Auction Is Tonight — The huge “Pershing Manor” mansion at 3120 N. Pershing Drive is scheduled to hit the auction block at 5 p.m. tonight. The opening bid is $750,000, though the property is assessed at $4 million. [ARLnow, ARLnow]
McHenry Talks About Towing Spat — ESPN sportscaster Britt McHenry is opening up about the time she berated an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington — and was caught on camera doing so, in a video that would go viral around the world. McHenry says she regrets what she said during the 2015 incident. The fallout has hurt her both professionally and personally, she says. [Marie Claire]
Garvey’s Swearing In Ceremony — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey will be sworn in for her second full term today. The ceremony will take place in the County Board room (2100 Clarendon Blvd) at 5 p.m. It will feature remarks from Garvey and a poem from Arlington County Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young. [Arlington County]
Developers Want Gondola, Boathouse — At a Bisnow event in Pentagon City last week, local developers said they’re generally supportive of the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola, though they’d also be interested in a Rosslyn boathouse to connect with a local water taxi system. Rosslyn, they noted, has fewer opportunities to develop its waterfront than jurisdictions like Alexandria, Prince George’s County and D.C. [Bisnow]
Volunteers Needed for Wreath Laying — The group Wreaths Across America is seeking volunteers to help lay wreaths on gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. The holiday tradition will take place this coming Saturday morning. [Wreaths Across America]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey says the county will be reviewing the findings of a study on the potential for a Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola system, which was released this morning.
The study found that a gondola system would cost $80-90 million to construct and $3.25 million annually to operate. The gondola would have a “projected minimum average daily ridership of 6,500 people (primarily workers and residents) and a capacity of 2,400 people per hour per direction.”
“Like Washington D.C.’s leadership, we find the results of the study interesting,” Garvey said in a statement. “We will be reviewing the report and doing significant analysis before making any decisions. We also will be talking with our regional partners.”
“It is important to note that no proposals have been made yet about how the gondola would be funded,” Garvey continued. “Should we decide to continue to explore whether or not to build a gondola, funding proposals would also affect the Board’s decision on whether to actually build the project.”
The full press release on the gondola study is below.
The Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola Feasibility Study was released this morning on GeorgetownRosslynGondola.com. The study, conducted by a consulting team led by ZGF Architects over a five-month period, identifies and details the demand, financial, regulatory, design and real estate considerations of an aerial gondola lift connecting the Arlington, Virginia Rosslyn neighborhood and Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood.
The consulting team, along with Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) President and CEO Joe Sternlieb and Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick, will discuss the study’s findings and their implications at a public information meeting later today from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Theater on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington.
“The charge for this study was not to sell the idea of a gondola, rather it was to evaluate if a gondola is technically feasible, from a multi-disciplinary approach, and to conceptually define the feasibility parameters.” said Otto Condon, Principal, ZGF Architects. “With our finding that a gondola is feasible, the decision to move forward is a discussion for both sides of the Potomac to have, both individually and collaboratively.”
Key findings include:
- System can operate seamlessly with Metro system, using same fare media and rates, and allowing cost-free direct transfers.
- A projected minimum average daily ridership of 6,500 people (primarily workers and residents) and a capacity of 2,400 people per hour per direction.
- A four minute ride door-to-door with 8-12 people cabins arriving every 20-60 seconds.
- Multiple feasible alignments, with the most favorable station locations along N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn and around the Exxon Gas Station on M Street in Georgetown.
- Significant potential economic benefits on both sides of the river.
- The potential to reduce as many as 100,000 bus trips per year across the Key Bridge
- Estimated $80-90 million in capital costs assuming high-quality design to enhance the public realm.
- $3.25 million in annual operating costs assuming operation 365 days a year.
- Relatively high operating cost recovery from fares.
“To put the study findings in context, as the region grows in population, we need to be exploring new ways to efficiently move people. If the Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola was viewed as Georgetown’s Metro station, ridership would be higher than over half the Metro stations in the DC-area while capital and operating costs would be lower,” said Joe Sternlieb, president and CEO, Georgetown BID. “This could be an attractive, cost-efficient regional transportation option that would give thousands of daily commuters, students, residents and tourists a quick, affordable, and reliable way to travel between neighborhoods.”
Gondola Study Says System is ‘Feasible’ — It is “feasible” to build a gondola that brings riders from the Rosslyn Metro station to Georgetown, according to a study supported by the Georgetown and Rosslyn BIDs and other entities. The gondola system would cost $80-90 million to build and about $3.25 million per year to operate, according to the study. [Washington Business Journal, Washington Post]
Gun Store’s Lawsuit Dropped — Lyon Park gun store Nova Armory has dropped its lawsuit against 64 residents and elected officials who, it claimed, conspired to try to ruin its business. It previously contended that the actions of “local crazies” who spoke out against the store could be a case of “tortious interference.” [Washington Post]
GOP Candidate: Nov. 8 Will Be ‘Sad Day’ — Election Day will be “a sad day for American voters because they have been let down by the system,” says Charles Hernick, the Republican candidate for Congress who’s challenging Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). Hernick said that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump “has brought the bar so low that he’s making Hillary Clinton look like a shining star,” even though Clinton’s presidency would be “damaged goods.” [Telegraph UK]
Commission Members Wanted — Arlington County is looking for residents to serve on a Joint Facilities Advisory Commission that will “provide input on capital facilities needs assessment, capital improvement plans and long-range facility planning for both the County Government and Arlington Schools.” The deadline to apply is Nov. 16. [Arlington County]
Gondola Meeting Held — Local residents attended a meeting last night in Rosslyn about the study into the feasibility of a Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola system. The architecture firm leading the study says its goal is “proving the system isn’t going to be just a toy for tourists” and “to prove that it can be transit and it can be a great experience.” One Arlington resident quoted by WTOP, Dave Schutz, said his goal was “to free my wife from that deepest inner circle from hell, which is the Georgetown Hospital parking garage.” [WTOP]
Tech Startup Moves from D.C. to Rosslyn — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was on hand Wednesday to announce that civic engagement software maker Phone2Action would be moving from D.C. to leased office space in Rosslyn and bringing some 142 jobs with it. [Washington Business Journal, Patch]
Arlington Featured in Book About Walking — Arlington County is one of nine communities features in “America’s Walking Renaissance,” a new book about walkable cities in the United States. [Arlington County]
Arlington Runner Achieves Goal — An Arlington resident with cerebral palsy has achieved her goal of completing 34 races by her 34th birthday. [WUSA]
Locals will get a chance to learn more about the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola project in two weeks.
A public information meeting is being held at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre (1611 N. Kent Street) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 7.
There will be a presentation by ZGF Architects, the firm conducting the gondola’s feasibility study. There will also be a question and answer session after the presentation.
“Learn the basics about a gondola-based transit system and how they have been applied in other jurisdictions,” says the event’s webpage. “The scope of the current feasibility study will also be reviewed for the public”
Free parking is available after 6 p.m. in the building garage and the theater is two blocks away from the Rosslyn Metro station. Attendees can RSVP here.
Cooley Joins DJO Football Staff — Former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley has joined the Bishop O’Connell High School football staff as the offensive line and tight ends coach. Cooley, who currently co-hosts the afternoon drive radio show on ESPN 980, is shifting to a morning slot at the station, thus allowing him to coach. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Arlington Tech Light on Female Students — Only 21 percent of incoming freshmen at the new Arlington Tech high school program are female. That number is “not high enough,” an administrator told community members. [InsideNova]
North Arlington Road Closure — N. Sycamore Street is scheduled to be closed from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today between Little Falls Road and 27th Street due to water service installation work. [Arlington County]
Architect Chosen for Gondola Study — Portland, Oregon-based ZGF Architects has been selected to conduct the feasibility study for a gondola system between Rosslyn and Georgetown. ZGF, which also has offices in D.C., worked on the preliminary concept for the Portland Aerial Tram, which opened in 2006. [Georgetowner, Urban Turf]
Real Estate Firm Raises $100,000 for Free Clinic — McLean-based Stewart Commercial Realty has helped to raise more than $100,000 for Arlington Free Clinic’s dental program. The program provides dental care to low-income, uninsured Arlington residents. The company held a fundraiser for the program in Courthouse last weekend. [Facebook]
Metro Delays This Morning — Metro is experiencing big delays on the Blue and Orange lines after reports that a teenage girl intentionally jumped onto the tracks at the Eastern Market station. The Blue and Orange line is single-tracking between Eastern Market and Federal Center, while the Silver Line is only operating between Wiehle-Reston and Ballston. [Hill Now, Twitter, Twitter]
Gondola Feasibility Study Gets Eight Responses — Eight firms have responded to a Request for Proposals to conduct a feasibility study of a Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola system. The team for the study is expected to be chosen in about a month. The study is expected to be complete by the end of the year. [UrbanTurf]
Fire Danger Today — There’s an enhanced threat of brush fires today, even in Arlington. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the area as low humidity and gusty winds combine for a significant fire danger. “Any fires will have the potential to spread very rapidly,” NWS says. [National Weather Service]
Parking Lots Crowded at DCA — Spring break and the Easter weekend are combining for a busy week and crowded parking lots at Reagan National Airport. As of this morning, the airport’s 2,613-space economy lot is full and there are only a few hundred spaces left in the 5,223-space Terminal B/C garages. [Twitter, Fly Reagan]
AYD Date Auction Next Week — The Arlington Young Democrats will hold their 15th annual charity date auction this coming Tuesday. Eligible bachelors and bachelorettes — along with face time with prominent elected officials — will be auctioned off to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. [Arlington Young Dems]
In Rosslyn: WJLA Stays, Politico Implodes — In Rosslyn yesterday, there were two big pieces of local media news in the same building, on the same day. First, it was announced that Sinclair Broadcast Group signed a five-year, 100,000 square foot lease that will keep WJLA and NewsChannel 8 in the 1000/1100 Wilson Blvd twin towers. Later, it was revealed that Politico — which renewed its lease in the same complex in 2014 — would soon be losing CEO Jim VandeHei, chief political reporter Mike Allen and three senior executives. [Washington Business Journal, Huffington Post]
Arlington OKs Gondola Study Contribution — Arlington County will kick in $35,000 to study the feasibility of a gondola running from Rosslyn to Georgetown. Some County Board members expressed skepticism of the plan, though the county’s economic development director said it would at minimum give local hotels and tourism a boost. [Washington Post]
Apartment Complex Deemed Historic District — The Arlington County Board yesterday voted to designate Cambridge Courts — “a garden apartment complex built from rationed materials to house defense workers during World War II” — a local historic district. The apartment complex along Route 50 will now be protected from redevelopment. [Arlington County]
New Rules for Bus-Only Lanes — New rules have been approved for the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway. After it opens this spring, the transitway’s lanes in Crystal City will be designated bus-only during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Police will issue warning to drivers who violate the rules during the first 30 days, then will issue $200 fines to lane violators after that. [WTOP, Arlington County]
County Board Approves ‘Complete Streets’ Guidelines — The Arlington County Board has approved a set of guidelines intended to “help transform busy neighborhood streets into ‘Complete Streets’ – ones that will be safe for users of all ages and abilities whether they are walking, driving, cycling or using transit.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
The Arlington County Board on Thursday will consider joining a partnership to study the feasibility of a gondola running from Rosslyn to Georgetown.
County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending approval of the multi-party partnership, which calls for Arlington County to contribute $40,000 to the study’s expected $250,000 cost.
Among the parties to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding are the Georgetown Business Improvement District, which first floated the gondola idea, along with the District of Columbia Dept. of Transportation, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, Georgetown University and property owners JBG, Gould Properties and Vornado.
The Georgetown BID would be the biggest contributor to the study, with $75,000 pledged. The other parties, besides Arlington, are slated to contribute between $35,000 and $5,000.
County staff said that an aerial gondola system running above the Potomac could draw more visitors to Rosslyn and could help ease vehicle and pedestrian traffic on the congested Key Bridge. Georgetown is the largest employment center in the District without a Metro system — more than 22,000 people work there, including 10,000 at the university — and the walk from the Rosslyn Metro station across the bridge is about a kilometer, a chilly and windy 0.6 miles in the winter.
“A more efficient and reliable transit connection between Rosslyn and Georgetown would benefit both communities socially and economically,” county staff wrote.
The county’s Transportation Commission voted 6-3-2 in favor of the study. Opponents worried that “the primary purpose of a gondola would be for tourism rather than for transport.”
“The Commission is of multiple minds on this proposal,” wrote Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt in a letter to County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “There is a fear that the gondola proposal does not solve a real transportation need, and many commissioners fear that even contributing to a study will provide substantive fodder for transit-naysayers.”
The gondola study is expected to take seven months to complete and could be complete by October 2016.
Rendering via Georgetown BID