The northbound lanes of the parkway were closed just past the Spout Run Parkway after a tour bus engine exploded and leaked oil and diesel fuel on the roadway — at 9:30 last night.
One lane opened reopened just before 1:00 p.m. as crews continue to try to clean up the second lane.
The auto association said the National Park Service, which manages the parkway, is either too underfunded or too inept to effectively run a major commuter route. In a statement, below, AAA says today’s closure and the recent lane closures on the corroding Memorial Bridge demonstrate the park service’s “inability to appropriately manage transportation facilities under its control.”
Enough is enough. Today we have had yet another transportation travesty in our region via the National Park Service (NPS) and its inability to appropriately manage transportation facilities under its control. The closure of the GW Parkway northbound for over 12 hours–through the morning rush–as a result of a crash that happened around 9:30 pm the night before is outrageous and cost tens of thousands of commuters this morning untold hours caught in congestion, as commuters jam packed alternative routes. This fiasco comes only weeks after restrictions were placed on the NPS operated Memorial Bridge because of a failure to properly maintain the structure. This is not a new problem for NPS and its roadways. In 1997, AAA led an effort with local members of Congress to force the NPS to barrier separate the traffic flows on the GW Parkway to end a series of head-on collisions that had taken several lives. We are sure that for today’s outrageous and unnecessary disruption of this morning’s rush, the NPS will once again plead inadequate funding.”
It is time for Congress to either appropriately fund the Park Service’s transportation needs, or get the NPS out of the transportation business. Major unnecessary disruptions to an already over-taxed transportation network that already has some of the nation’s most congested arteries must be avoided. In a region that is currently discussing the need for more Potomac River crossings, having to limit the ones we have because of neglect is unacceptable. In an area that needs more rush hour capacity, closing half of a major commuter artery during morning rush-hour because of poor incident management of a crash that happened the night before is unacceptable. AAA Mid-Atlantic calls upon our regional Congressional delegation to find a prudent solution to the repetitive and costly transportation failures of the NPS in the Washington Metro area.
Memorial Service for Library Employee — A memorial service will be held next week for Lynn Kristianson, an Arlington Public Library employee who died of advanced stage four rectal cancer on June 4, less than a year after her leg was amputated following a bike crash. Kristianson’s was seriously injured in 2014 by a hit-and-run SUV driver who struck her as she was riding her bike in Anne Arundel County, Md. [WJLA]
Famous Dog Moving to S. Arlington — Romo, a 150-pound bull mastiff/pit bull mix who’s known as the “unofficial mascot of Adams Morgan,” will be moving to Arlington with his owners on Friday. Romo will trade his first floor window on Calvert Street NW for the view from a home near Army Navy Country Club. [NBC Washington]
GW Parkway Blocked — The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway were closed and diverted onto Spout Run Parkway during this morning’s rush hour due to the continued cleanup from a bus engine explosion that caused an oil spill and some crashes last night. [WUSA 9]
GOP Endorses McMenamin — The Arlington County Republican Committee has voted to endorse independent County Board candidate Mike McMenamin. A telecom consultant and president of the Arlington County Civic Federation, McMenamin previously ran for County Board as a Republican in 2006. [Twitter]
Metrobus Changes in Arlington — Starting Sunday, changes are coming to a number of Metrobus routes in Arlington, including the 25B, 22A, 22B, 22C, 22F, 15K, 15L, 7A, 7F and 7Y. [Washington Post]
Tour of Politico’s New Rosslyn Newsroom — Politico has posted a video tour of its brand new newsroom in Rosslyn, which includes a fancy hardwood floor cafe area. [Politico]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Greenbrier Learning Center Gets New Home — Facing the loss of its lease at the Greenbrier Baptist Church, the Greenbrier Learning Center has found a new home. The center, which provides after school enrichment to children, will be based at the Arlington Mill Community Center, after the Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a partnership with GLC. [Arlington County]
State, County Incentives Lured Lidl — German discount grocery chain Lidl is setting up its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, near Potomac Yard, and creating 500 jobs in the county. The decision was made after Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe offered $7 million in economic development grants and Arlington County offered $7.5 million in infrastructure improvements and tax breaks, including half off Lidl’s Business, Professional and Occupational License tax. [Washington Business Journal]
Australian Restaurant Eyes August Opening — Oz, a new restaurant coming to the former La Tagliatella and Restaurant 3 space in Clarendon, is expected to open by the end of August, according to a help wanted ad on Craigslist. [Patch]
Rescue on GW Parkway — Arlington County’s technical rescue team helped to rescue a person who fell down a steep embankment along the GW Parkway’s second overlook Sunday night. The victim was loaded on to a fire boat and then transported via an Arlington ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. [Twitter]
Drew Students Make Music Video — A group of 10 Drew Elementary students are getting some local media recognition for a music video they made. As part of an extracurricular project on self-image, beauty and bullying, the group made a video set to Selena Gomez song “Who Says.” [WUSA 9]
Tree Down After Storms — A large tree fell in Towers Park during yesterday’s storms. [Twitter]
Ramps to the 14th Bridge and on and off GW Parkway are also affected by the construction.
Single-lane closures will occur in both directions between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Two-lane closures are expected between 7 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. The lane closures are expected to cause delays.
NPS will work to minimize disruptions to travelers using Reagan National Airport.
Construction is anticipated to be finished by mid-December 2015, barring any inclement weather delays.
“Every effort will be made to minimize traffic delays and accomplish the work in a timely manner. The NPS regrets any inconvenience and appreciates all motorists’ understanding and patience,” NPS said.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) One person died after a vehicle ran down an embankment on the GW Parkway early Saturday morning.
A technical rescue team from the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the single-vehicle crash.
The vehicle was located 100 feet down an embankment, with one person dead inside, according to a fire department spokesperson. No other injuries were reported.
The parkway remained closed between Spout Run and Route 123 for much of the morning while U.S. Park Police investigated the crash. Lanes reopened around 10:00 a.m., WTOP reported.
Tow Driver Hooks Car With Kids Inside — A local dad is upset with Advanced Towing because one of its tow truck drivers hooked his car in the Columbia Pike CVS parking lot while two of his kids were still inside. The tow driver unhooked the car when he realized the children were there. The tow company owner said the car had tinted windows and the dad had parked at CVS but went to other businesses before returning to shop at CVS. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Auto-play video]
Hikers Rescued on GW Parkway — The Arlington County Fire Department, with an assist from the U.S Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter, rescued two hikers stranded on the rocks along the George Washington Parkway last night. [WUSA 9]
Officers Honored at CIT Awards — Several Arlington County public safety officers were honored last night for their extraordinary work to intervene in mental health crises. The officers are specifically trained to deal with mental health issues as part of Arlington’s Crisis Intervention Team program. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Auto-play video]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Pothole-filled roads have been reported around the county and there have also been scattered accounts of flat tires and other pothole-related damage.
Arlington County has an online form for reporting potholes. Yesterday, we asked readers to report, via Twitter, the location of some of the worst potholes in Arlington. Here are some of the responses:
- “All of Wilson Blvd heading towards Ballston from 7 Corners to Glebe. It’s like off-roading.” (@isaachulvey)
- “Sycamore between 26th and Lee Highway” (@aoadair)
- “Courthouse Rd from Clarendon Blvd leading down to 50. Was only it last night and there’s literally craters from 14th down” (@mel_shoe)
- “Veitch St. right near Corner Bakery, nearest cross street is Clarendon Blvd. Absolutely horrendous potholes in a couple spots” (@vizzle311)
- “George Mason and N Pershing, same pothole comes back each time they fill it” (@RobertoClaure)
- “Old Dominion from Glebe to Williamsburg Blvd” (@JohnVasapoli)
- “Henderson Road and Thomas Street has become a nightmare over the past week! 3 potholes in the same stretch, no way to dodge” (@eablack)
- “Spout Run Pkwy between Lee Highway and GWPkwy, both ways” (@michbttx)
- “Construction zone on Glebe from just south of Columbia Pike to the post office. 6+ months now, no improvement. Maddening.” (@Ariadnes_Thread)
- “Nash St in Rosslyn, btwn Key Blvd and Wilson is atrocious. It is just one big pothole after another.” (@kylekeller)
- “The N-B stretch of S. Shirlington Rd. off 395N has been a disaster for over a year.” (@KyleFisherMBA)
- “Four Mile Run Rd between Geo Mason and Col Pike” (@dtwynn)
- “On Barton at 10th, heading toward 9th. As you head up hill, giant trench. Part fixed, but huge hole still there to right side.” (@samerfarha)
- “Fillmore between 10th and Clarendon Blvd. there are 4-5 huge ones!” (@emilylynnwalsh)
- “Corner of 28th Street S and 26th Street S” (@spencer4fsu)
- “On Carlin Springs Road by the bridge over George Mason Dr. Both sides” (@GusMacker1)
One more big problem spot of note: the George Washington Parkway, near Spout Run Parkway, which was partially shut down this morning for repairs after “over a dozen cars” were damaged by potholes.
Arlington County says crews are now tackling potholes on major roads, with plans to get to neighborhood streets a bit later in the spring. From Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter:
It’s been a rough winter season on our roads, particularly with the amount of frozen precipitation and sustained periods of extreme cold temperatures. As we enter this spring season, it is our priority to get crews out there to make potholes repairs. We will do so for the next two months beginning with major arterials. This will include working late into some evenings on non-arterial streets, as well as scheduling teams for Saturday work when weather allows.
AAA Mid-Atlantic issued a press release this morning, suggesting that drivers should file claims for pothole damage against local governments. The press release (reprinted, after the jump) also has tips for avoiding potholes.
Update at 12:10 a.m. — All lanes have reopened.
All lanes of the northbound George Washington Parkway are being temporarily diverted due to an earlier accident, according to D.C. police.
The accident happened this morning just prior to Route 123.
“Recovery operations” related to the accident have prompted the temporary closure. Traffic is being diverted onto the Spout Run Parkway, police said.
Civ Fed: Start Over on ‘Public Land’ Process — The Arlington Civic Federation voted last night for a resolution calling on Arlington County to restart its “Public Land for Public Good” affordable housing initiative. The compromise measure called for a more robust community process to discuss the idea of using publicly-owned land to build affordable housing facilities. The county’s Long Range Planning Committee has made a similar recommendation, as we reported yesterday. [InsideNova]
Stagnant Assessments Poses Challenge — Stagnant real estate assessments are causing problems for local governments around the D.C. region. In Fairfax County, it’s contributing to a $173 million budget gap. Arlington has fared better, thanks to its location adjacent to the District and the higher proportion of commercial real estate in the county (commercial property owners pay about half of all county taxes). Still, the poor state of the regional office market means that localities can’t rely on a rise in commercial property taxes to bail out homeowners. The choice for local governments, says a George Mason University study, is now to raise taxes on homeowners, cut spending or both. [Washington Post]
GW Parkway Reopens After Sinkhole Repairs — The southbound lanes of the GW Parkway reopened early this morning after repairs were made to a large sinkhole that formed between Spout Run and Route 123.
(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) The southbound lanes of the GW Parkway are closed between Route 123 and Spout Run due to a large sinkhole.
The Federal Highway Administration was called to the scene to inspect what’s being described as “washout damage” and a “large depression in the roadway.” According to U.S. Park Police, the sinkhole is 10 feet wide and 5 feet in length.
The parkway remained closed throughout the Tuesday morning rush hour, causing delays for commutes. Repairs are expected to begin later today.
Southbound traffic is being diverted onto Route 123. Northbound lanes of the parkway will remain open.
This morning, Park Police issued the following statement.
On December 1, 2014 at approximately 6:51 pm United States Park Police officers came upon a crash involving 4 vehicles and discovered a large sinkhole on the Parkway the vehicles avoided.
As a result SB George Washington Memorial Parkway is closed between Route 123 and Spout Run Parkway. Determination was made to close both southbound lanes until Federal Highway Administration responds to repair. The National Park Service will be meeting with Federal Highway Administration for engineers to assess the damage and determine next steps.
Southbound traffic has been diverted onto Route 123, and the ramp from 123 onto SB GW Parkway will remain closed until further notice. Parkway is open SB south of Spout Run. NB lanes are open.
The public can use the Clara Barton, 50, Glebe Rd as alternate routes. It is not yet determined how long the roadway will remain closed.
Update at 4:10 p.m. — The southbound lanes are now expected to reopen early Wednesday morning.
A bicyclist was struck and injured by a car near Memorial Circle last night.
The accident happened between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. on a northbound ramp from the GW Parkway to Memorial Circle and Memorial Bridge.
Initial reports suggest a taxicab rear-ended a car that had stopped to let a group of bicyclists cross the road at a crosswalk. The car then struck at least one of the cyclists.
U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods would only confirm that a cyclist was struck and was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Tree Predicts Cold Winter — Local folklore holds that the seeds of the American Persimmon tree can predict how harsh the coming winter will be. According to Arlington County naturalist Alonso Abugattas, the seeds are predicting an especially cold winter. [Arlington County]
‘Purple Out Day’ in Arlington — Today is Arlington’s second annual Purple Out Day, which encourages residents to wear purple to promote domestic violence awareness. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. [Arlington County]
Security Stepped Up at Tomb — The military increased security at the Tomb of the Unknowns yesterday following the fatal shooting at the Canadian war memorial in Ottawa. [WJLA]
Lane Closures on GW Parkway — Between 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. today, a northbound and a southbound lane of the GW Parkway will be closed in the area of the Yellow Line Metro bridge, for underside inspection of the bridge.
Donnellan Wins Leadership Award — Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has been recognized with a Visionary Leadership Award. The award, from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, “recognizes top government officials for their outstanding contributions to metropolitan Washington and their home jurisdictions.” [MWCOG]
Arlington Arby’s Sells Smaller Smalls — The Arby’s restaurant at Ballston Common Mall — and elsewhere, apparently — sells small fountain beverages that are labeled on the outside as “22 oz.” but which actually hold only 21 ounces of liquid. [Consumerist]
The collision happened around 8:30 Sunday night. A driver vehicle heading northbound struck a pedestrian just before the exit to Spout Run. The striking vehicle then drove off, continuing on northbound, according to U.S. Park Police.
The pedestrian, who has not been identified, is “currently being treated at a local hospital and remains in critical condition,” police said Monday night. It’s unclear why he or she was on foot in or along the roadway.
Investigators don’t have a description of the vehicle, and are asking witnesses to come forward.
“Commuters traveling north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway that may have witnessed this crash or may have information is asked to contact the United States Park Police Tip Line at 202-610-8737,” Park Police said.
NPS is preparing a new transportation plan and environmental assessment for the heavily-trafficked zone, Park Service Superintendent Alexcy Romero announced Thursday.
“The purpose of the [environmental assessment] is to reduce conflicts between trail, walkway and roadway users and to increase overall visitor safety around the memorial area,” Romero said in a statement.
The Park Service installed temporary flashing lights last winter at a crosswalk on the northbound GW Parkway, prior to the circle, to urge drivers to slow down for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer 2012, various other safety improvements — pedestrian warning signs, rumble strips for drivers and directional pavement markings — were installed.
The changes were made in response to a series of accidents and near-misses.
Comments on new safety improvements can be submitted through September 30 on the Park Service’s planning website.
The Park Service asks that commenters include their addresses, phone numbers and email addresses in their remarks, warning that “personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time.”
Additionally, park staff will set up information booths at Alexandria farmers markets and near Memorial Circle.
The public will have opportunities to review the transportation plan following its release this fall, according to NPS. The Park Service is expected to make a final decision on the plan by the summer of 2016.
Photo (top) via Google Maps
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters and paramedics responded to a serious multi-vehicle accident on the GW Parkway this afternoon.
The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. near the Windy Run overpass, northwest of Spout Run. Three vehicles collided in the northbound lanes, sending one of the cars off the roadway and down an embankment, nearly to the Potomac below.
Two people were in that car; at least one was trapped following the accident and had to be extricated by a rescue team.
One of the victims was flown to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, via a U.S. Park Police helicopter, with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Sean O’Connell. The other victim in the car was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
A third person was injured in one of the other cars involved in the accident. That individual was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with moderate, non-life-threatening injuries, O’Connell said.
All lanes of the GW Parkway were closed between Spout Run and Route 123 following the accident, according to WTOP. Closures remain in place as police investigate the wreck.
Photo courtesy @CAPT258