Arlington, VA

With former Vice President Joe Biden being named president-elect this morning by the Associated Press and others, celebrations in D.C. area leading to traffic on the 14th Street Bridge.

“Expect traffic delays around [northbound I-395] at the 14th Street Bridge due to street closures in DC around the White House,” said an Arlington Alert. The closures were prompted by impromptu celebrations around D.C., including large gatherings outside the White House.

Around Arlington — which voted for the Biden/Harris ticket over Trump/Pence by a margin of 81%-17% — horns honked and people cheered after the race was called.

https://twitter.com/trilly__vanilly/status/1325116257063084032

https://twitter.com/JulieMalear/status/1325122833253425155

A number of local officials have released statements about Biden’s presumptive electoral victory.

From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.):

I extend my warmest congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on their massive victory in the presidential election. Though it is taking time to count, they are on track for major wins in every region of the country, with more votes than any candidate in history. When he is sworn as Commander in Chief in on January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden will have a strong governing mandate.

I recognize that this election has shown we are a divided nation, but we also have grave challenges that require immediate action. The time has come for President Trump to accept his defeat, pass the torch, and ensure an orderly transition of government for the Biden Administration. He has a unique power in this situation to promote national unity and to spare the country further dangerous civil strife by following the example of every American President, beginning with George Washington: the peaceful transfer of power.

We have been bitterly divided, but what unites us – including love of country, the Constitution, and our democratic ideals – must be stronger. Inflammatory rhetoric which undermines Americans’ faith in their national elections threatens lasting harm to our society, and it must stop. The country must come first.

“Our nation faces serious threats, including the pandemic and the stalling economic recovery. At this time of crisis, all leaders regardless of party must come together to support the President-Elect. He must be given the support he needs to take the helm of government, including swift consideration and confirmation of his team, so that he can take the country forward. We have no time to lose – there is serious work to be done.”

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(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) A large group of demonstrators blocked the outbound 14th Street Bridge between D.C. and Arlington during the evening rush hour.

Protesters were sitting down across the main southbound bridge span, according to D.C. police, but then started marching towards Arlington. The group — said to number in the hundreds — previously marched from the area around the Jefferson Memorial, according to scanner traffic.

Arlington County fire department medics were dispatched to the bridge at the request of Virginia State Police for a report of a protester who is dehydrated.

Drivers should expect delays in the area, though the outbound HOV lanes remained open. Police are on scene monitoring the demonstration.

Public safety watchdog Dave Statter broadcast live video of the protest, which as of 4:35 p.m. appeared to be winding down. Demonstrators, holding signs and flags, could be seen marching back toward D.C. Lanes reopened at 4:50 p.m.

The protest is related to the persecution of an ethnic group in Ethiopia, according to social media posts. It does not appear to be associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

https://twitter.com/DCPoliceTraffic/status/1280238440207077377

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) Arlington County Police are now on scene of a big traffic jam on Columbia Pike reportedly caused by a food giveaway.

Initial reports suggest that the Mega Market Express, at 5001 Columbia Pike in the Pike Plaza shopping center, is giving away hundreds of meals as part of a promotion announced on Facebook. Police were not informed of the giveaway in advance, according to scanner traffic.

A large crowd has gathered around the store and Columbia Pike is jammed with traffic in both directions. Streets approaching the Pike like S. Dinwiddie Street are also at a standstill.

“This is absolutely insane,” said ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott, after arriving on scene. “No one is practicing social distancing.”

Officers are working to spread out the crowd and get traffic moving again. As of 5 p.m., the store had closed and was beginning to hand out certificates to let people pick up their giveaway items at a later time, according to scanner traffic.

Arlington’s emergency alert system is encouraging people to avoid the area.

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Arlington has the 25th worst commute in the country, according to a new set of rankings.

The county was ranked just a couple of spots up from cities like Phoenix and San Jose, California. The rankings take into account the average commute time, the percentage increase in commute time over the past five years, percentage of workers with a one hour or longer commute, and median income.

The study by the website SmartAsset found that Arlingtonians have a 30.1 minute commute on average, an increase of 2.4 percent compared to five years ago. Just over 7 percent of Arlington residents have an hour or longer commute.

Surprisingly, New York and Los Angeles — two cities with notorious commutes — only ranked No. 9 and 12 respectively. That’s despite NYC having the longest average commute (42 minutes). The top three worst commutes, according to SmartAsset, belong to North Las Vegas; Hialeah, Florida; and Philadelphia.

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(Updated at 6:45 p.m.) Some local roads around Arlington are becoming snow-covered as moderate-to-heavy snow continues fall into the early evening hours.

Early dismissals for the federal government and local schools resulted in an early rush hour, with I-66, I-395 and Columbia Pike jammed as of 2:45 p.m. Conditions have since improved somewhat, but slow traffic remains on large portions of 395 in Arlington.

Some 1-2 inches of wet snow is expected to fall before the flakes start tapering off around 5 p.m.

“Snow is getting heavier and visibility is dropping,” VDOT said this afternoon. “There’s not much accumulation on the roads, but even a little bit can causes spin outs if people drive like it’s a dry road. We’ve got lots of trucks out treating, but plan for a longer commute.”

ART and Metro buses are continuing to operate on a normal weekday service schedule, though ART warned of “minor delays depending on weather conditions this evening and overnight as snow, and any remaining rain may freeze.”

Most Arlington County facilities and offices remained open this afternoon, though county-run recreational programs after 2 p.m. were cancelled. Trash and recycling collection were suspended for the rest of the day earlier this afternoon.

Though arterial routes and highways were mostly wet, local officials encouraged anyone on the roads to take caution.

“As they head home, commuters and drivers should exercise caution and know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies,” AAA Mid-Atlantic said in a press release. “Some research suggests the first snowy day of the year is ‘substantially more dangerous’ for drivers. What’s more, some earlier research revealed some drivers are ‘more likely to become involved in a crash during the first snowfall of the season compared to other snow days.’ Even so, ‘the first winter storms of the season usually result in numerous crashes because people fail to adjust their driving habits to the road conditions,’ area police and transportation officials advise.”

More from Virginia State Police:

Virginians are still advised to do the following if traveling today:

  • Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, as well as helps other drivers see you better. Also, it’s a state law that if the windshield wipers are active, then headlights must be on.
  • Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during storms, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
  • Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during winter weather are caused by vehicles sliding into guardrails, off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
  • Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.
  • Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.

Forecasters and local officials are warning of a freeze overnight that could turn roads and sidewalks icy, in time for the morning commute.

Some photos above are via users on our Facebook page. Additional snow photos around Arlington, via Twitter, are below after the jump.

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Police and firefighters are on scene of a crash along Route 50 that left two people trapped in an overturned van.

The crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. on the ramp from Glebe Road to westbound Route 50.

The ramp and two lanes of westbound Route 50 are closed due to the emergency response. Morning rush hour commuters should expect slow traffic on both directions on Route 50.

The trapped occupants of the vans were quickly freed by rescuers. They’re injured but expected to be okay.

Earlier this morning a portion of eastbound I-66 was closed at Washington Blvd in Arlington for a reported multi-vehicle crash.

More on the Route 50 crash via social media:

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A woman has been injured after striking a deer along Spout Run Parkway tonight.

The crash happened between the GW Parkway and Lorcom Lane, during a foggy evening commute.

Initial reports suggest the woman was bleeding profusely from the face after the force of the impact shattered the car’s windshield. The deer was found dead nearby.

Traffic maps show increasingly heavy westbound traffic on Spout Run, starting shortly after the exit from the GW Parkway.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

A Few Flakes Expected Tonight — “In the evening, precipitation will probably take the form of scattered snow showers over most of the region, ending before midnight. Little to no accumulation is expected.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter/@NWS_BaltWash]

Kudos to the Leaf Collectors — “Hats of to these guys. Leaf collectors jumping out of their truck to help my elderly neighbor rake her leaves.” [Twitter/@KathieNotnow]

Heavy Traffic at DCA — Sunday, which was said to be the busiest travel day of the year, saw big backups on the roads at and around Reagan National Airport. [Twitter/@LukeBerndt, Twitter/@EvanLambertTV]

Arlington Seeking Park Ranger — “Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) currently has a vacancy for Park Ranger… Park Rangers patrol designated Arlington County Parks; provide visitor information and programming services; support other County programs (maintenance, sports, recreation); and… help ensure park security and visitor safety.” [Washington Post]

Yorktown Falls in Regional Final — “It was no easy path for the Yorktown Patriots finishing second in the region tournament. After a five-point first-round victory, third-seeded Yorktown (11-2) knocked off the host and second-seed Madison Warhawks, 25-10, in the semifinals. Then Nov. 30, Yorktown fell to the juggernaut, top seed, host and undefeated Westfield Bulldogs, 35-7, in the 6D North Region Tournament high-school football title game.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Expect heavy traffic at the airports and on local highways as more than a million people depart the D.C. area for the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to Reagan National Airport, peak travel days include today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday), plus Saturday and Sunday for those returning from their Thanksgiving vacation.

Travelers are advised to take Metro and use terminal garages due to ongoing construction for a new 14-gate concourse at DCA, titled “Project Journey,” that has reduced lane capacity on the Arrivals roadway in front of Terminal B/C. Meanwhile, big storms affecting large portions of the country may bring flight delays and cancellations.

On the roads, AAA Mid-Atlantic is predicting a “big exodus,” with the worst traffic expected tomorrow.

“As a result, holiday travelers exiting the area and those staying put for the holiday, will encounter heavier traffic congestion, as well as travel delays that are almost three times longer than the normal delays — if there is such a thing around here — during the afternoon rush hours on any given Wednesday.”

Another traffic tracking company agrees, saying 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday should bring the worst traffic on D.C. area highways and arterials.

As Thanksgiving is one of the worst times of the year for crashes, Virginia State Police will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. — Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort — starting tomorrow and running until December 1. The program, will increase police visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the five-day holiday period.

The Arlington County Police Department, meanwhile, has partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a high-visibility “Click It or Ticket” campaign, starting today and running until December 6.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority had the following tips for travelers, after the jump.

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Morning Notes

Advocates Pushing for Less Parking at HQ2 — “Amazon wants employees at its new Northern Virginia headquarters to commute car-free to work… So why does the development’s current design include an underground parking garage with nearly 2,000 spaces — guaranteeing that a significant chunk of Amazon’s workforce will drive to work?” [Greater Greater Washington]

Express Lanes Causing 14th Street Bridge Slowdown? — Some commuters have been taking to social media to gripe about what they say is heavier traffic caused by the I-395 Express Lanes: “This morning the express lanes made 395N regular lanes undriveable. The problem is they closed off the 14th street bridge hov to regular traffic, which is creating a tremendous clog point. Its now taking 30 mins just to cross the 14th street bridge.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Northam in Arlington Today — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is scheduled to attend the Governor’s Transportation Conference this morning at a hotel in Crystal City. [Cvent]

‘Feuerwehrmann’ Joins ACFD for Three Weeks — “Two Arlington County Fire Department crews had a unique opportunity recently when they welcomed a fellow firefighter from the Aachen Fire Department in Germany.  Lieutenant Sebastian Ganser, a firefighter, paramedic, and fire instructor in Arlington’s sister city of Aachen, Germany, spent three weeks with Station 5C in Crystal City and Station 2B in Ballston — living and working alongside Arlington’s firefighters and paramedics.” [Arlington County]

Long-Distance Runners Arriving in Arlington Soon — “Josh and Brian will be running roughly 500 miles from Massachusetts National Cemetery to Arlington National Cemetery in VA for your donations. This journey will take between 10-14 days averaging 40-50 miles per day. They will start on November 11th, 2019 (Veterans Day) and will only stop to eat and sleep until they make it to Arlington, VA.” [Mission 22]

Road Closures for Annual 5K — “The 5th annual Jennifer Bush-Lawson Memorial 5K Race will take place on Saturday, November 23, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will implement several road closures from approximately 8:00 AM until 11:00 AM to accommodate this event.” [Arlington County]

Planetarium Boosters to Stay Active During Closure — “The Arlington school system’s lone planetarium will be closed for about a year and a half starting later this month, as construction takes place turning the nearby Arlington Education Center building into classroom space. But leaders with the Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium say they will fill the gap with programming elsewhere during the closure.” [InsideNova]

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