Press Club

Morning Notes

The U.S. Air Force Memorial and surrounding construction at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Cristol Calls Out Displacement ‘Lie’ — “Time will tell, as it always does, but Arlington elected officials say the public and some activists are mistaken if they believe there will be wholesale displacement of residents of the Barcroft Apartments complex in South Arlington. At a May 14 meeting, County Board Chairman Katie Cristol – not one normally known for getting rattled while on the dais – decried as a ‘lie’ the displacement rumors at the sprawling, 1,334-unit apartment complex.” [Sun Gazette]

Crash Last Night on GW Parkway — From Alan Henney: “Another auto went over the wall on the northbound side of the GW Pky prior to the Key Bridge in Arlington. Amazingly driver is out uninjured after his auto slid down the embankment.” [Twitter]

Marymount University Commencement — From Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S.: “It was my tremendous privilege to give the commencement at @marymountu, a university that like many around the U.S. hosts Saudi students. It was my absolute honor to receive an honorary doctorate, thank you to the faculty and Dr. Becerra for this special day.” [Twitter, Sun Gazette]

Metro CEO and COO Resign — “The WMATA Board of Directors has accepted Paul Wiedefeld’s decision to make his retirement effective today. In addition, Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader has resigned, effective immediately.” [WMATA, DCist]

New Skyline Development Proposal — “Madison Marquette has filed plans to convert two Baileys Crossroads office building into live/work lofts, advancing a vision to resuscitate the huge multibuilding cluster known as Skyline Center. By repurposing the mostly emptied office spaces — which meet planning and code requirements to serve as apartments and/or offices for small firms — Skyline can once again become ‘the gravitational center for the area.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Body Cams for Falls Church Police — “Police officers with the City of Falls Church will now be equipped with body-worn cameras beginning this month.” [WJLA, City of Falls Church]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 77 and low of 59. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A kite stuck up a tree in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Another Malfunctioning Walk Signal — Just over a week after this, another reported crosswalk signal issue: “Instead of telling you when it’s safe to cross the street, the walk signs in Crystal City, VA are just repeating ‘CHANGE PASSWORD’. Something’s gone terribly wrong here.” [Twitter]

School Board Meeting Was Mostly Maskless — “For those playing the ‘how many Arlington School Board members will go mask-free at the first board meeting after requirements were lifted?’ home game, the winners were those who had put their money on four out of five. Board members David Priddy, Cristina Diaz-Torres, Reid Goldstein and chairman Barbara Kanninen were maskless at the March 10 meeting, as was Superintendent Francisco Durán. School Board member Mary Kadera kept her mask affixed.” [Sun Gazette]

Survey Work on GW Parkway — ” A $161 million ‘complete rehabilitation‘ of the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway is being planned… Through Friday, March 18, there will be single-lane closures along the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway for bridge surveys. Drivers should proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes, according to an NPS alert.” [WUSA 9]

Arlington Doc Helping Refugees — “An Arlington doctor is not only battling the pandemic in Northern Virginia, but he also travels across international borders to help those in need. The current refugee crisis that began with Afghans in 2021, now includes Ukrainians facing a similar fate of displacement and an uncertain future. For three years before COVID-19 spread across the globe, Dr. Ali Karim helped build wells in Nigeria, aided orphans and women in Kabul, Afghanistan and filmed a documentary about his solo journey.” [WJLA]

Days Inn Redevelopment Update — “The plans to replace the Days Inn at 2201 Arlington Boulevard with 262 multi-family units and around 3,000 square feet of retail were filed with Arlington County last week. The eight-story project will also have surface and underground parking. STUDIOS Architecture designed the building.” [Urban Turf]

Social Sports Return to Crystal City — “Sand Volleyball is BACK in National Landing starting this May with a few fun new additions – Bocce and Corn Hole!” [Twitter]

Yes, It’s Getting Windier — “Our analysis of wind data shows that the strongest gusts have become more frequent recently. Last year featured more big wind gusts than any recent year, a trend that has continued into this year. Wind advisories, issued by the National Weather Service when gusts are expected to top 45 mph, have also been on the increase since the mid-2000s.” [Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 40. Sunrise at 7:21 am and sunset at 7:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Overturned vehicle and police activity on the Spout Run entrance from the GW Parkway (Photo courtesy @airwolf782)

A vehicle possibly involved in a robbery in Georgetown has overturned on the GW Parkway.

The wreck happened around 3:15 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the Parkway, near Spout Run, leaving the vehicle on its roof.

Two occupants are out and said to be in police custody. An Arlington police K-9 unit was dispatched to the scene, initially to search for a person still believed to be on the run, though it’s unclear whether that is still the case.

Firefighters and medics, as well as police from several jurisdictions, are now on scene.

Public safety watcher Alan Henney reports that the people in custody are suspects in a robbery of an optical store in D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood. There have been a number of such robberies across the region in recent months, including at least two in Arlington.

The exit from the northbound GW Parkway to the Spout Run is currently closed as a result of the emergency activity.

Photo courtesy @airwolf782

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Closure due to crash on the GW Parkway (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) Northbound lanes of the GW Parkway were closed before Key Bridge today due to a serious crash.

The crash happened shortly before 11:45 a.m. and reportedly involved a vehicle that ran off the side of the roadway and overturned, injuring several people.

Northbound traffic was at a near-standstill for nearly a mile, between the Roosevelt Bridge and the crash.

All lanes reopened by 1:45 p.m., according to WTOP.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Wednesday’s sunset in Westover (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

County Covid Testing Booth Still Closed — From Arlington County: “The @curative #COVID19 testing kiosk at Arlington Mill Community Center will be closed tomorrow, Jan 6, due to COVID-related staffing shortages. The kiosks at Court House Plaza and Virginia Highlands Park are scheduled to open at 9 AM. Thank you for your flexibility.” [Twitter]

APS Orders Tests for All Students, Staff — “We have ordered a supply of KN95 masks, particulate filters for an APS provided mask, and at-home rapid antigen test kits for every staff member and student. Supplies for these items are limited but we anticipate them soon and will send additional communication when available.” [Arlington Public Schools]

APS Custodians Clear School Sidewalks — From Arlington Public Schools yesterday afternoon, before the announcement that today would be another snow day: “Thank you custodians and grounds staff for clearing our walkways, roadways and buses to ensure a safe return to school!” [Twitter]

Flight Cancellations at National Airport — From NBC 4’s Adam Tuss yesterday: “MAJOR problems at @Reagan_Airport right now as flight cancellations and delays have piled up. One traveler just told me their flight was cancelled 5 times over 3 days. Airlines tell me there are staffing issues and the winter weather didn’t help. This is a SIGHT!” [Twitter]

Florida Men Stopped With Guns at DCA — “During a search of a Florida man’s carry-on bag on Dec. 28, TSA officers using an X-ray machine discovered an unloaded .40 caliber handgun and 116 bullets. On Saturday, TSA officers stopped another man at a DCA checkpoint with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets. In both unrelated cases, TSA officers alerted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police, who arrested the men and confiscated the guns an ammunition.” [Patch]

No County Board Tie-Breaker This Year — “State law allows the Arlington board to appoint a tie-breaker from within the ranks of the public. It also requires that, if the board does not want to do so, it must hold a vote to that effect at the start of each year. Board members dutifully voted down a tie-breaker at their Jan. 4 organizational meeting, which had been delayed a day due to inclement weather.” [Sun Gazette]

Photos of Aftermath of GW Parkway Crash — “#DCsBravest Fireboats assisted @ArlingtonVaFD as they conducted an extremely difficult rescue of a victim trapped in a car 70 feet down a cliff. Our Fireboat returned in daylight to retrieve gear and check vehicle stability. Photos show how challenging this rescue was.” [Twitter, Twitter, Patch]

It’s Thursday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 39. Sunrise at 7:27 a.m. and sunset at 5:01 p.m. Snow tonight and overnight, 2-4 inches of accumulation. After the snow, Friday will be sunny and breezy, with a high near 32. West wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. [Weather.gov]

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Fire department rescue unit (file photo, courtesy Arlington County Fire Department)

A man is being brought to safety by fireboat after his car careened a couple of hundred feet off the GW Parkway in Arlington.

The crash happened just before 6 p.m., on the Parkway near Donaldson Run, amid treacherous driving conditions from today’s winter storm. The driver — the only occupant of the vehicle — was trapped inside the car and suspended upside down, with a broken arm and leg, according to initial reports.

First responders were able to reach the vehicle despite “complex access issues,” using ropes to lower themselves down the embankment while fire boats assisted near the shoreline.

After being extricated from the vehicle, the man is now being brought to a waiting ambulance at Columbia Island Marina via D.C. fire boat.

More via Twitter:

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The busy exit from northbound N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn to the GW Parkway may remain closed to start the new year.

The lanes that allow drivers to exit onto the Parkway just before the Key Bridge are closed after a crash that took out a traffic signal, just before Christmas.

Arlington’s public works department was hoping to have a temporary pole up today or tomorrow, allowing the exit to reopen, but a lack of staffing around the holidays may foil those plans.

“The signal pole might not be up until Monday [Jan. 3] because, among non-technical issues, contractor staffing is thin as a result of the holidays and Covid,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin.

“The permanent pole, equipment cabinet and related items were completely knocked out by a driver last Thursday so it’s not a simple repair job,” Golkin noted. “The temporary fix will have to be replaced at some point for new permanent equipment.”

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GW Parkway between Spout Run and Chain Bridge (photo via Google Maps)

For the first time since it was built in the early 1960s, the northern section of the GW Parkway will be getting a major overhaul.

The National Park Service announced yesterday that it had awarded a $161 million contract to rehabilitate the Parkway from Spout Run in Arlington to the Capital Beltway in McLean. After a design process in 2022, construction is expected to take place between 2023 and 2025.

Drivers are being cautioned that there will be traffic impacts during construction.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) touted the project in a statement, saying such work is overdue. This stretch of the Parkway has had to close at least three times over the past seven years due to sinkholes.

“The contract to repair G.W. Parkway’s northern section is a huge infrastructure win for our region,” Beyer said. “Northern Virginians have been pleading for major repairs to this section of the G.W. Parkway for years, as potholes and other damage accumulated over the past six decades put the parkway in ever-worsening shape. Thanks to legislation we passed in Congress and the Department of the Interior under Secretary Haaland’s leadership, we are finally going to get that fixed.”

“I also deeply appreciate the ongoing efforts of the National Park Service to improve safety on G.W. Parkway’s southern stretch,”  Beyer added. “Together these projects deliver a top transportation objective for my constituents: making the historic G.W. Parkway as safe as it is scenic. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will lead to so many projects that will benefit Virginia and the rest of the country as we deliver on the promise to rebuild America’s infrastructure.”

The full press release from the National Park Service about the coming rehab project is below.

Read More

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Morning Notes

People walking near the Amazon HQ2 site in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Woman Struck, Killed on GW Parkway — “A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle on the George Washington Parkway near the Key Bridge early Saturday morning, according to police. Shortly before 3 a.m., U.S. Park Police responded to a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway south of the Key Bridge.” [WTOP, Patch]

Beyer Blasts ‘Anti-Vax Shutdown Plot’ — “Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), who represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the U.S. House, today issued the following statement on Republicans’ publicly stated plan to shut down the government in an attempt to block the Administration’s Covid vaccination measures: ‘Republicans’ plan to shut down the government on purpose to sabotage our pandemic response is extraordinarily cynical and dangerous.'” [Rep. Don Beyer]

Arlington Firefighters Get to the Choppa –– “Recently 2 members from the ACFD had the unique opportunity to participate in a rope rescue course with regional law enforcement partners. Come take a ride with one of our members on their flight over the region, just don’t look down if you are afraid of heights.” [Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Following overnight showers, today will be relatively warm. There will be increasing clouds, with a high near 66. Southwest wind 7 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Sunrise at 7:09 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 62. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Expect heavy traffic on the southbound GW Parkway just after Spout Run due to a crash following a police pursuit.

Initial reports suggest that Virginia State Police troopers chased a fleeing suspect in a Dodge up the Spout Run Parkway and then back down onto the southbound lanes of the Parkway, when the suspect crashed.

Arlington medics were requested to the scene to evaluate possible minor injuries.

Numerous police cruisers were still on scene of the crash as of 5:30 p.m. The wreck appeared to involve the red Dodge, which ran up an embankment on the right ride of the Parkway, and a second non-police vehicle, which had its airbags deployed after crashing into the left-hand stone wall.

One center lane of traffic was squeezing by the police response. As of 5:45 p.m. Google Maps shows traffic on the Parkway backed up to Route 123 in McLean.

Map via Google Maps

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Update at 3:25 p.m. — The driver has successfully been rescued and is being transported to a local trauma center with serious injuries, per scanner traffic.

Earlier: Firefighters are working to rescue an injured driver after their car careened off the northbound GW Parkway and into a thick patch of woods, just north of Spout Run.

The vehicle is reported to be some 50 feet into the woods, on the embankment that leads down to the Potomac River. Firefighters had difficulty locating it after Arlington County’s dispatch center received a 911 call from the driver, who reported having a leg injury; the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter helped to locate it, according to scanner traffic.

The driver is said to be conscious and alert as rescuers figure out the best way to get him or her to safety.

Fire boats from Alexandria and D.C. also in the area, ready to assist if rescuers need to bring the driver down to the river instead of up to the Parkway.

The northbound GW Parkway is closed in the area as a result of the emergency activity, according to an Arlington Alert. Google Maps shows heavy traffic on the GW Parkway backing up to the Roosevelt Bridge.

This is not the first time a car has driven well into the woods between the Parkway and the river. Earlier this year the Parkway was partially closed to allow for the removal of two crashed cars in the woods.

Map via Google Maps

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