Heavy Traffic, Metro Issues — Commuters were welcomed back to work and back to school with a soaking rush hour rain, heavy traffic and delays on Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines. [Washington Post, Twitter]
Are We In a Restaurant Bubble? — At last count, more restaurants closed than opened in Arlington last year. There’s talk that certain parts of Arlington’s restaurant scene — sit-down restaurants in particular — are oversaturated. While there’s always room for top-notch restaurants, Arlington’s restaurant woes are seemingly consistent with the assertion that we are in a national restaurant bubble. [Thrillist]
Take Our 2017 Reader Survey — Once a year, we give our readers a chance to weigh in on how we’re doing and what we might do to improve. We also over-share potential changes that we’re considering (some more seriously than others). Now is your chance to share your insights and opinions about ARLnow. [SurveyMonkey]
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Following the rush hour mess at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Lynn Street earlier this week, the Arlington County Police Department says it’s working to better coordinate its response to construction-related traffic issues.
This week’s issues, the police department explained, were caused in part by road paving that’s part of a big development project.
“Heavy traffic in Rosslyn this week was [exacerbated] by street paving as part of the ongoing construction at Central Place,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “The paving is now complete and we are seeing a return to normal traffic volume in the area.”
Savage said the department has a detail that directs traffic at the congested intersection on weekday mornings, but doesn’t have a similar detail for the evening rush hour.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to address traffic issues in Rosslyn, the police department funds a special detail in which two officers direct traffic during the morning rush hour at the intersection of Wilson Boulevard and Lynn Street in order to keep traffic from blocking the box,” she said. “This has a positive impact on the immediate area but traffic still backs up at the intersections west of that location due to infrastructure capacity.”
“While our detail has specific hours, our officers do conduct additional enforcement at the intersection on a random rotating basis with the goal of compliance with traffic laws even when police are not present,” Savage added.
ACPD says it is working with county development officials to improve the department’s construction traffic response.
“The police department is coordinating with the Development Services Bureau to better address traffic issues related to the construction,” said Savage.
However, Savage added, “We must balance our available police resources with all requests for traffic enforcement throughout the County.”
Traffic congestion at DCA is expected to be at its worst from 7-9 a.m. and 2-6 p.m. The peak holiday travel period is expected to last through Wednesday, Jan. 4.
From a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority press release:
Travelers using Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport this holiday season are advised of possible roadway congestion associated with record volumes of travelers flying at the airport. Drivers on airport roadways experienced delays during the 2016 Thanksgiving travel rush. Airport officials urge the public to plan ahead and consider alternatives to driving when making plans to use Reagan National between December 16, 2016, and January 4, 2017.
Suggested strategies and alternatives include:
- Riding Metrorail to and from the airport
- Using the second airport exit from the George Washington Memorial Parkway coming south from Washington, D.C. This route provides more direct access to Terminal A and Economy parking.
- Allowing extra travel time to reach terminals, lots and garages
- Avoiding airport roads if the airport is not your destination
Airport roadway congestion often peaks from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 2 to 6 p.m., coinciding with local rush hours and the busiest movement of airline passengers. Congestion often extends beyond these times on days immediately before and after major holidays.
Customers parking at Reagan National are advised to reserve parking in advance at flyreagan.com/epark and check parking availability on overhead signs or at flyreagan.com/parking.
Yesterday’s evening rush hour brought traffic chaos to the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn.
All week traffic problems have plagued the intersection, one of Arlington’s busiest, during peak driving times. The culprit: Lynn Street is down to two lanes, due to construction on the Central Place project.
With traffic backing up, drivers jockeyed for position in the intersection, often “blocking the box” in the process when the light changed. Road rage would often ensue.
The Arlington County Police Department has been getting a high volume of calls from frustrated drivers seeking a police presence at the intersection, according to scanner traffic, but most of those pleas are not being answered with action.
“I’m here and there’s nothing we can do,” one officer said after responding to the scene.
A supervisor, earlier in the day, instructed dispatchers to clear calls complaining about heavy traffic — as long as the lanes were closed, traffic would remain heavy. Police would only respond to incidents in the intersection like accidents or road rage disputes that might become full-fledged physical fights.
It was the same story two years ago. As we reported in Oct. 2014, Central Place work had Lynn Street down to just one lane, leading to lots of horn honking and tempers flaring. Eventually, the issues cleared up as lanes were reopened a day or two later.
Post-Election Harassment in Arlington — Among the incidents of “harassment and intimidation” reported across the country following the election was one in Arlington. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a woman was crossing the street when two men in a car yelled, “you better be ready because with Trump, we can grab you by the p***y even if you don’t want it.” [Independent UK, Southern Poverty Law Center]
GOP Wants Va. Electoral College Change — Following another year of Virginia being a blue state in the presidential election, state Republicans are pushing to change Virginia from a “winner take all” state to one that allocates Electoral College electors by congressional district. [InsideNova]
Heavy Traffic This Morning — With rain and fog slowing things down, heavy traffic has been reported on local highways throughout the morning rush hour. [Twitter]
Chamber Threatens to Go to Richmond on Towing — If Arlington County follows through on a proposal that would make it harder for property owners to have trespassing cars towed off their lot, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce says it may go to Richmond to lobby for a law superseding Arlington’s regulation. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Drew H.
If you were planning to drive out of town for Thanksgiving this evening and haven’t left yet — good luck.
Highways are already crowding with heavy traffic around the D.C. area, particularly on some of the main routes leaving town: I-95, I-270 and I-66.
In fact, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving from 5 to 6 p.m. has “the lowest average travel speed on the interstates and other prime travel routes” in the D.C. area, according to the regional Transportation Planning Board.
VDOT, meanwhile, says that drivers should expect some of the heaviest Thanksgiving traffic between mid-morning and the evening on Wednesday.
A van caught fire in the HOV lanes near Shirlington Circle around 2:45 p.m. The fire was extinguished by firefighters, who are still on scene examining the van’s engine compartment.
Currently, two mainline lanes and one HOV lane is squeezing by the scene, with HOV backups extending to the Pentagon.
Separately, there are currently significant delays on westbound Columbia Pike due to a reported three-vehicle crash just past Glebe Road. At least two injuries were reported in that crash, while no injuries were reported as result of the vehicle fire.
Tonight’s evening commute was much worse than usual for many local residents.
A combination of factors — track problems on multiple Metrorail lines and a fuel spill that blocked the Outer Loop of the Beltway in Maryland — led to very crowded Metro stations and trains and very heavy traffic, particularly on I-395.
The latest Metro woes come as WMATA is reportedly considering raising fares to close a big anticipated budget shortfall.
Currently: There are significant Metro delays, traffic is a nightmare, the outer loop of the Beltway is blocked and the Nationals are losing pic.twitter.com/yGU5Pxbzec
— Arlington News (@ARLnowDOTcom) October 11, 2016
Yellow Line: Expect residual delays in both directions due to an earlier switch problem at National Airport.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) October 11, 2016
Orange Line: Single tracking btwn Smithsonian & Federal Ctr due to a track condition outside Smithsonian. Add'l delays in both directions.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) October 11, 2016
— Yumi Kim (@YumiKimSK) October 11, 2016
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) This is at least the second morning in a row that people have called Arlington County Police to report gridlock at the intersection of Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
Officers did not respond to the intersection today, saying that little could be done to ease the traffic. A traffic detail that was assigned to the intersection last year was discontinued, the department said, because it did not receive funding for it.
@fraziecb We did not receive funding to continue that detail in 2016.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said that officers will be dispatched to the intersection as needed, but will not be assigned there on a regular basis.
Arlington offers were posted at a different intersection today — Washington Blvd and N. Utah Street, in the Ballston area — for high-visibility pedestrian and traffic enforcement. Despite a painted crosswalk, the intersection has been deemed a particularly dangerous one due to past crashes as well as fast-moving traffic and a high volume of pedestrians crossing the street.
Keep pedestrians safe by yielding to those in crosswalks! Officers conducting enforcement at Washington Blvd/Utah. pic.twitter.com/N7E8VnbefQ
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
Common failure to yield excuse: didn't see the pedestrian. Slow down and be alert for those walking and biking. pic.twitter.com/9SK2hyyKXD
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
Unsurprisingly, traffic is pretty heavy for this morning’s rush hour.
In the D.C. area, the Tuesday after Labor Day is sometimes called “Terrible Traffic Tuesday.” That refers to the extra cars and buses on the road due to the first day of school and most people being back from their summer vacations.
In reality, the traffic is usually worse the following Wednesday, and even worse still the week after that.
As of 8:45 a.m., there were big delays on I-395 and the southbound GW Parkway in Arlington, as per usual. So far, no major traffic issues have been reported in Arlington.
Image via Google Maps
It’s September, which means that those who drive to work in the morning can expect to spend more time in traffic this month.
You might have heard the term “Terrible Traffic Tuesday,” which refers to the supposedly awful traffic on the Tuesday after Labor Day, when kids are back in school and workers are back from vacation.
But researchers at the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board say that Terrible Traffic Tuesday is, on average, not that terrible. The days after and the following week, however, are usually quite a bit more congested than at any time in August.
TPB dubs it the “September Shock.”
“Expect to see more traffic and increased travel times,” the organization said. “For everyday travelers, the extra delay can add up to hours of extra time spent in the car each week. Regionally, added up across all travelers, it amounts to a drain on productivity and economic competitiveness.”
“The annual jump is so consistent from year to year that the TPB analysts say it’s one of the most predictable and pronounced traffic events the region sees. Their analysis also revealed that September is consistently one of the region’s top two or three worst traffic months.”
TPB’s full report is available online.
One interesting and perhaps counterintuitive observation: the increase in traffic is “mainly a morning phenomenon” — there’s only a relatively small increase in traffic during the afternoon rush hour.
Maps provided by TPB show that in Arlington, the most severe increases in traffic congestion — upwards of 50 percent increases travel times — typically happen later in the morning rush hour, around 8-10 a.m., on major routes near the Potomac River crossings into D.C.
The final America’s 9/11 Ride will be rumbling through Arlington on Friday, and VDOT is warning commuters to expect delays.
A number of major routes will be closed while some 1,500 bikers ride to the area of the Pentagon. In Arlington, the ride will be making its way down I-66 and Route 110, just in time for the evening rush hour.
“Expect delays and heavy local traffic,” VDOT says. The agency issued the following press release.
On Friday, Aug. 19 from 2 – 6 p.m., motorists can expect road closures and delays of up to 90 minutes while 1,500 motorcycles and support vehicles travel from the Maryland/Virginia line in Loudoun County to the Pentagon as part of the America’s 9/11 Ride. State and local police will escort the riders.
The route is as follows:
- Route 15 south to Leesburg;
- Route 7 bypass;
- Dulles Greenway;
- Dulles Toll Road (ramp closures from Route 28 onto eastbound Dulles Toll Road);
- Dulles Connector Road;
- I-66 (ramp closures from I-495, Sycamore Street, N Glebe Road, Lee Highway, and N Lynn Street);
- Route 110 to the Pentagon.
Drivers are advised to use alternate routes and expect heavier than normal traffic on local roads.
Overhead message signs will alert motorists to expect delays from noon to 6 p.m.
The trouble started tragically this morning just before 5 a.m., when motorcyclist crashed on the Roosevelt Bridge. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at a local hospital and the bridge was closed to traffic for a crash investigation.
Route 110 and the GW Parkway have been backed up all morning as a result of the closure. Lanes have since reopened, but residual delays remain.
As of 8:30 a.m., there was also heavy traffic on I-395, Washington Blvd, and on Route 50 and I-66 from Glebe Road to D.C.
May be worst Monday a.m. commute of the summer on west side of DC region after crashes on Legion & Roosevelt bridges.
— Dr. Gridlock (@drgridlock) August 15, 2016
All lanes now reopened but traffic is still impacted throughout County. Allow for extra travel time this AM. https://t.co/PB0STkXvGi
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) August 15, 2016
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) August 15, 2016
Meanwhile, on Metro, as of 9 a.m. the Yellow Line was only running from Huntington to the Pentagon due to a switch problem causing heavy congestion on the Green Line. Yellow Line riders heading into D.C. are being forced to continue their commute either via the Blue Line or buses.
Yellow Line: Trains operating btwn Huntington & Pentagon due to Green Line congestion.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) August 15, 2016
Metrobuses in Arlington are also experiencing delays, due to the heavy traffic.
4B, 38B: Due to traffic congestion along Clarendon Blvd, buses to Rosslyn/Farragut Sq are experiencing up to 35-minute delays.
— Metrobus Info (@Metrobusinfo) August 15, 2016
W-L Defeats Yorktown for Soccer Title — Washington-Lee captured the 6A North boys soccer title last night with a 3-0 win over Yorktown. Both teams are still in the state soccer tournament: “The Generals face Virginia 6A South runner-up Grassfield in a state semifinal on Friday at Robinson while Yorktown will play First Colonial.” [Washington Post]
SafeTrack and Traffic Latest — I-395 and I-66 were jammed this morning and some local roads were similarly backed up with traffic as Metro’s SafeTrack work on the Orange Line continues. An ARLnow poll yesterday showed that 56 percent of respondents had a slower than usual commute during the first weekday of WMATA’s maintenance surge. Meanwhile, Metro says its was “pretty much at the maximum of what we could move” through the track work zone on Monday. [DCist]
Higher D.C. Minimum Wage Could Benefit Arlington — A conservative group claims in a new report that 1 in 5 D.C. businesses would consider moving to Arlington if the District enacts a $15 minimum wage. There are reports that the D.C. Council is poised to approve a measure today that would raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020. [Washington Free Beacon, Washington Post]
Board to Consider Fire Station No. 8 Plan — The Arlington County Board is set to consider the recommendation of the Fire Station No. 8 task force that the station should remain on Lee Highway rather than moving to public land near Marymount University. The existing fire station would need to be renovated and a temporary fire station constructed for use during the renovation, raising costs compared to the original plan to move the station. [InsideNova]
County Home Building Records Digitized — Arlington County has digitized its printed home building and alteration records, known as “house cards.” The records are now available online, searchable by address. [Arlington County]
Church Celebrates Final Service Before Demolition — About 80 members of the 86-year-old Arlington Presbyterian Church gathered for the final Sunday service before the congregation leaves for a temporary worship space down the block and the church is demolished to make way for affordable housing. [Washington Post]
Photo by Jackie Friedman
Memorial Day Traffic to Peak Thursday — Heading out of town for Memorial Day? Try to avoid driving Thursday afternoon or evening, which is expected to have the worst traffic of the holiday period. A better time to leave is between 8 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Friday. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]
Ideas for Making Arlington More Bike Friendly — Chris Slatt, chair of the Arlington Transportation Commission, has 10 “big ideas” for making Arlington even more bicycle friendly. [Greater Greater Washington]
French Program at Wakefield Honored — Wakefield High School’s French program is one of 10 such programs in the country this year to receive the Exemplary Program Honors award from the American Association of Teachers of French. Enrollment in Wakefield’s French program has reportedly doubled since 2011. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman