PenPlace Plan Revived with Apartments — JBG Smith plans to revive its stalled PenPlace project in Pentagon City by building apartment buildings rather than office buildings in the first phase of the project. The updated plans will be open to community input during a new site plan review process. The original plans were approved in 2013 over the objections of some nearby residents. [Washington Business Journal]
Traffic at DCA to Get Heavier During Construction — “Drivers heading to Reagan National Airport might soon begin to feel the impact of a major project to transform the facility. Construction crews will begin overnight work in the lower-level roadway in the next couple of weeks, and that work will spill into daytime hours come spring.” [WTOP]
More Dirt Coming to DCA — Another portion of the expansion project at Reagan National Airport will bring a big mound of dirt to the airport grounds. The dirt is needed to support the weight of a new regional jet concourse. DCA was built on land reclaimed from the Potomac River. [InsideNova]
Photo by Anna Merod
The early dismissals did create an early rush hour on local highways, as workers and students headed home, but here in Arlington roads and sidewalks remained passable and largely free of slick spots, despite a wave a sleet earlier this afternoon.
The precipitation is over for now, but more is possible this evening. A re-freeze is also threatening to make tomorrow’s morning commute treacherous.
The following tweets show activity during the two-hour-or-so span from the start of the sleet to the heaviest of the traffic.
Due to inclement weather, Marymount will close at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 8. Shuttle service will run on a regular weekend schedule until 5 p.m.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) January 8, 2018
Trucks throughout the district have begun patrolling and treating roads (where needed). People have also headed home from work early. Factor in extra time to get home and pls be patient.
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 8, 2018
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) January 8, 2018
Rain and sleet in Clarendon as well. So far, sidewalks are wet but not slippery. https://t.co/M3NUeIee3f
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 8, 2018
Runways remain open for landing/takeoff, and airfield surfaces have been treated in advance of possible freezing rain. Airlines are deicing planes. Expect some flight delays and cancellations. https://t.co/tYs3n9HI8p
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) January 8, 2018
Traffic not too bad in Arlington as sleet arrives and workers head home, with the exception of heavy westbound traffic on I-66 pic.twitter.com/Pm16A1ftyV
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 8, 2018
For those trying to decide whether to leave now — it might actually be a good idea to just stay and work the day. As sleet exits, temperatures will warm. Refreeze possible later after the sun sets, but evening commute should be okay on treated main roads.
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 8, 2018
Commuters can expect Heavy Traffic conditions/Early Rush Hour due to Weather-Related Advisory/ Early dismissals. Slow Dow and use Caution
— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) January 8, 2018
The department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share the reminder: “Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time.”
More from ACPD:
Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes. As we approach the winter holiday season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement from November 20 to December 1, 2017.
According to NHTSA, during the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend, 301 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, and 53 percent were not their wearing seat belts at the time of the fatal crash. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 57 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. That’s why one focus of the campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
To learn more about the campaign, visit the NHTSA website.
In a similar effort, Virginia State Police will be be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and not wearing seatbelts.
State police will have increased enforcement from tomorrow (Wednesday) through Sunday.
“Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, said in a statement. “We’ve seen an 11 percent increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”
And while traffic may be busy along the I-95 corridor, as it has been historically at this time of year, the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to make life a little easier.
During the Thanksgiving travel period, VDOT will suspend most major highway work zones and lift lane closures on Virginia interstates and major streets from Wednesday through noon on Monday, November 27.
VDOT’s Thanksgiving traffic trends map shows that Tuesday evening and midday Wednesday are among the busiest times on Virginia highways for heading out of the D.C. area.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) November 15, 2017
Similarly, Metro has no scheduled track work on Thanksgiving Day, with trains and buses operating on a Sunday schedule. The system opens at 8 a.m., and will close at 11 p.m. On Friday, November 24, the system will be open on a normal weekday schedule.
The following letter was written by Aurora Hills resident Ashli Douglas about the county’s Complete Streets Program and traffic congestion in her neighborhood that she said was exacerbated by changes to S. Eads Steet.
To the Editor:
Arlington has embarked on a transportation vision of providing a safe environment for all travel modes, also known as the Complete Streets Program. Today I’m sharing a story of how this transportation vision for complete streets has played out in one Arlington County neighborhood, Aurora Hills.
As I reread the Arlington transportation presentation for our project on S. Eads St. from 2014, it occurred to me how benign and utopian the project seemed. That should have been the first clue. Arlington was going to move more people without more traffic and they were going to protect our single-family neighborhood. All good, what’s not to like?
And then came the medians, protected bike lanes, bike rental rack and central to all of this, the complete removal of two lanes of a four-lane street – S. Eads Street. What could possibly go wrong?
So now we have the same (but probably more) number of cars on the same road with less lanes. This is where the fairytale turns to a nightmare…enter aggressive driving and cut-through traffic.
I live on what Arlington refers to as a Minor Neighborhood Street, in which the distinctive feature of these streets is the nearly exclusive orientation to providing access to residences. It also happens to be a one lane yield street!
One block away is S. Eads Street, an Arterial Street, by definition, the street primarily provides through travel rather that solely for access to adjacent properties. According to Arlington’s street elements policies that are part of the county wide master transportation plan, streets should “…improve the efficiency of vehicular operation on arterial streets to minimize diversion of traffic onto neighborhood streets.”
So you see where this is going. Since our arterial street has reduced capacity, the cars all cut-through our neighborhood street. And just to be clear, we are not talking about a few cars. We are talking over 1,300 commuters a day.
How do we know? Since the county refused to share data or provide any form of relief to our neighborhood, we hired a certified traffic data collection firm to conduct traffic counts on November 1 and 2, a Wednesday and Thursday. The counts were 1,347 and 1,369 respectively.
Our one lane section of S. Fern St. simply cannot handle this traffic. According to Arlington County historical traffic counts, last performed in 2011 on our street, they measured 500 cars on a daily average. What a difference a “Complete Street” makes. We now have approximately 600 cars who rip down the same street in a three-hour period our school bus is dropping off children.
It is no longer safe for our children to play even near the street due to the cut-through traffic. We have experienced over 160 percent increase in vehicles, the majority with DC and MD tags that simply cut through our neighborhood to avoid the congestion morass on S. Eads Street.
As frustrated parents, neighbors and Arlington county citizens, we, individually as neighbors in an eight-block area, and collectively through our civic association have been engaged with the county for over a year to no avail. We have requested that the county protect our neighborhood, and specifically, mitigate the cut-through traffic that originates on S. Eads Street and cuts through our neighborhood on S. Fern Street between 26th Street S. and 23rd Street S.
Our eight-block area has become a virtual highway of dangerous cut through traffic with constant stop sign running, speeding and hit and run accidents, and fearful and angry parents at Arlington county elementary school bus stops.
The S. Eads Complete Street project has been a complete disaster for the residents in our neighborhood and despite our continual pleas for help for nearly a year to protect our single family neighborhood; we have had no relief.
We will not give up our neighborhood and we demand the county remedy the problem they created. And for anyone else that may be facing a complete street project – consider yourself forewarned.
Ashli Douglas has lived in Aurora Hills for 16 years and is the mom to two elementary school-aged children.
ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters about issues of local interest. To submit your thoughts for consideration, please email [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.
Today Is ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, when students in Arlington and around the region go back to school. As a result of the extra school buses, parents and students on the roads, and the end of summer vacations, it is also dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid-Atlantic. In reality, however, the day after — which now has a name: “Woeful Wednesday” — is worse in terms of commuting times, and next week should be even more woeful. [Washington Post, WTOP]
Chili’s Dying Out in D.C. Area — The Chili’s in Bailey’s Crossroads has closed. The restaurant chain closed its Crystal City location last year and its Reston location the year before that. The nearest Chili’s to Arlington is now along Route 1, outside the Beltway, in Fairfax County. [Twitter]
Roosevelt Profiled by Conservative Media — GOP candidate Adam Roosevelt is getting some attention from conservative media outlets. Roosevelt “is a moderate Republican running for the Virginia House of Delegates against current Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who has never before faced a GOP opponent during his six years in office,” writes the Daily Caller, calling the district he’s running in, which includes part of Arlington, “far left.” The lead sentence in Newsmax’s article about Roosevelt has a different focus: “A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.” [Daily Caller, Newsmax]
Webb Removed from Civ Fed Debate — School Board candidate Mike Webb has had his invitation to tonight’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate — the unofficial kickoff to campaign season in Arlington — rescinded because he reportedly “failed to return required paperwork in time to allow participation.” Allison Dough, the other candidate to challenge Democratic endorsee Monique O’Grady, has said she has other commitments and will be unable to attend the debate. [InsideNova]
Arlington Man Evicted From ‘Big Brother’ House — Arlington resident Matt Clines, 33, has been evicted from the Big Brother house. Clines had advanced about half-way through the CBS reality show before being voted off. [Reality TV World, Parade, Hollywood Reporter]
DeVos to Make Big Announcement in Arlington — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is reportedly planning to make a “major announcement on Title IX, the campus gender equality law,” from George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington on Thursday. [BuzzFeed]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster
Update at 3:25 p.m. — One person has died as a result of the crash, which involved two construction vehicles, according to an updated statement from Virginia State Police.
At 2:21 a.m., Tuesday (Aug. 22), Virginia State Police Trooper A.J. Santiago responded to a fatal crash in the southbound Express Lanes of I-395 near Exit 10C in Arlington County.
At the time of the crash, the Express Lanes were closed to the public because of an active highway work zone for pavement repairs. A dump truck had just entered the work zone and was traveling south to deliver its load of paving material. Another work zone vehicle, a pickup truck, was traveling north in the closed southbound Express Lanes and as it came through a bend in the highway collided head-on with the southbound dump truck.
The driver of the pickup truck, Brian S. Kilburne, 55, of Fredericksburg, Va., was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died later Monday morning. His two passengers were transported to George Washington University Hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
The driver of the dump truck was not injured in the crash.
The Virginia State Police Fairfax Division Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and is assisting with the ongoing crash investigation.
Earlier: The inbound HOV lanes of I-395 have been closed during the morning rush hour due to a crash investigation.
The investigation is taking place just before the 14th Street Bridge, following an early morning crash involving a pickup truck and a dump truck. Three vehicle occupants were transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital.
Police typically conduct accident investigations when a victim of a crash has life-threatening injuries.
The closure of the HOV lanes is causing major backups on the entire stretch of northbound I-395, particularly in Arlington. One driver, on Twitter, reported a 1 hour, 45 minute commute from Woodbridge.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 22, 2017
Here's a pic of it! pic.twitter.com/5AlvJontYB
— Keith P. (@Keith_Alan1) August 22, 2017
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) August 22, 2017
— Barb Fraze (@bfraze) August 22, 2017
Photo (top) via Google Maps
Tens of Thousands of Bees Found in Nauck Building — An elaborate series of bee hives were found in a now-county owned building set for demolition in Nauck, prompting the county to call a husband-and-wife beekeeping team that lives in the area. The couple helped “rescue” the hive — estimated to contain 70,000 bees and 100 pounds of inedible honey — and transport it to the community park at 10th Street and N. Barton Street near Courthouse. [Arlington County, Washington Post]
‘Oz’ Owners Splitting Up — “Real Housewives of Potomac” cast members and Oz restaurant owners Ashley Darby and her husband, Michael Darby, have reportedly split. Ashley Darby said she moved out of the luxury Courthouse condo she shares with Michael, but also “dangled the possibility of reconciliation” on a “reunion” show for the series. Despite the drama, the pair were all smiles when they jointly hosted a tasting dinner at Oz in Clarendon on June 27. [Washington Post]
County Wants CSX to Consider Fewer Train Horn Blasts — Arlington County has been working with CSX to try to encourage the railroad to cut down on trains blowing their horn while traveling through densely populated Crystal City. CSX has rules in place that require a horn blast on certain sections of track at certain times for safety reasons. [InsideNova]
County officials say the reduction of a westbound turn lane on Arlington Mill Drive near Shirlington is a pilot program and the backups it’s causing will be resolved by traffic signal adjustments.
Arlington Mill Drive was recently re-striped at the “T” intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive. One of the two left turn lanes from Arlington Mill to Walter Reed was removed and blocked off with bollards, a move intended to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
There is heavy bike and pedestrian traffic at the intersection, which connects two sections of the Four Mile Run Trail.
But the lane removal has caused traffic to back up during peak times, according to several accounts. Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey wrote about the backups last month, proclaiming the lane reduction to be part of the county’s “semi-official ‘drivers must suffer’ policy.”
Last week a Twitter user also reported significant evening rush hour delays.
— HT Gold (@Skywarpgold) July 11, 2017
Also, only half of that line got through the light before it turned red. Before the single line was two, and all cars could get through.
— HT Gold (@Skywarpgold) July 11, 2017
(The backups seem to be short-lived; a brief evening rush hour visit by a reporter last week did not reveal any long lines.)
In a statement released to ARLnow.com, officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services said that the lane re-striping is a “test” that is being evaluated ahead of a larger intersection improvement project, slated for next year.
The test will help traffic engineers determine adjustments to the traffic signal timing, which should alleviate any delays, officials say. Potentially complicating the plan, however: there is already heavy traffic on Walter Reed Drive during the evening rush hour, which could be exacerbated by changes to the traffic light cycle.
The full statement from DES, after the jump.
Construction Accident in Rosslyn — An accident on the parking garage level of the construction site at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street in Rosslyn prompted a large fire department and police response this morning. A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, which occurred around 8 a.m., and needed to be carried via rescue basket to a waiting ambulance. The response closed lanes of Key Blvd and exacerbated traffic delays caused by construction nearby on Lee Highway.
Sex Assault Suspect May Have Tried Other Buildings — The suspect in a violent sexual assault in Rosslyn may have unsuccessfully tried to get into other Arlington apartment buildings before somehow entering The Atrium building, where the assault occurred, through the front entrance, NBC 4’s Jackie Bensen reports. The suspect then knocked on doors, claiming to be a maintenance worker, before the victim opened her door and a struggle and the sexual assault ensued. [NBC Washington]
Wakefield Senior Named Top Entrepreneur — “Wakefield High School senior Tasnim Alam was named one of the top six entrepreneurs in the country at the the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholarship Competition in Rochester, N.Y. Tasnim is the founder and CEO of Heatless Hotness, a business that sells heat-free hair curlers that are convenient to use and create salon-like results, which she launched while participating in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s YEA! program.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
When Do Pools Open in Arlington? — Patch has an answer to the question, “When Do Arlington Swimming Pools Open in 2017?” — and that answer is: Memorial Day weekend. More specifically: Saturday, May 27. Unless it’s an indoor pool, in which case it’s open year-round. [Patch]
Expect additional traffic headaches through the fall on Columbia Pike, now that a project to relocate an underground gas main is underway there.
Crews with Washington Gas started the construction Monday between the Fairfax County line and Four Mile Run, ahead of several streetscape improvements the county has planned for the future.
At least one lane of Columbia Pike in each direction will remain open at all times during construction, and work could be possible on nights and weekends.
Washington Gas crews will store equipment and other materials at four locations along the Pike during construction. Although nearby properties still can be accessed, adjacent bus stops could be temporarily moved or closed.
This is the latest phase of a project approved in 2014 by the County Board that included new bike boulevards on 9th and 12th Streets S., as an alternative route to Columbia Pike, which runs parallel. Once the gas main work is complete, county workers will install wider sidewalks, new street lights, upgraded traffic signals, trees and bus shelters. A piece of public art will also be added at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Jefferson Street.
Traffic Lights Dark in Rosslyn — Due to power outages, several traffic signals at busy intersections in Rosslyn were dark during the morning rush hour. Police were stretched for resources as they tried to direct traffic and deal with wind-related issues elsewhere in the county. [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlington’s Child Care Shortage — “In Arlington, Virginia, Erika Gibson, child care supervisor for the Arlington County Department of Human Services, said most of the county’s 50 licensed care centers have waiting lists for children under 2.” [WTOP]
Grocery Association Coming to Rosslyn — On the heels of food and beverage giant Nestle’s announcement that it is moving to Rosslyn, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has announced it is going to move from D.C. to Rosslyn, leasing 34,000 square feet at 1001 19th Street N. [Washington Business Journal]
New 2017 Commission Chairs — The Arlington County Board has approved the new 2017 chairs of more than a dozen county commissions and boards. [InsideNova]
Obit: Bill Hurd, Jr. — Arlington resident Bill Hurd, Jr. died Jan. 27 at the age of 66 after “aggressive battle with prostate cancer.” The last decade of Hurd’s life was eventful: his first wife died in 2010, shortly after they moved to her hometown in Minnesota. He became active in the community there and was elected mayor. A native of Northern Virginia and a fan of politics, sports, cigars, dogs and Texas Hold’em poker, Hurd later remarried and in 2015 moved back to Arlington. [Legacy]
Commuters heading westbound on Lee Highway and southbound on the Spout Run Parkway should expect significant delays due to a tree that fell on a car near the Lyon Village Shopping Center.
The tree fell on the car just past 6 p.m., at the height of the evening rush hour. A police officer arrived on scene shortly thereafter and reported that no one had been injured.
A traffic camera appears to show the tree down in the roadway and one lane of traffic squeezing by on the left.
@ARLnowDOTcom Couldn't see how bad it was, but it was across the top of the car
— Travis (@travton) January 26, 2017
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.