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.
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.