Prosecutor: Black Asked for Help Killing Wife — At a bond hearing Monday, prosecutors said that David Black asked a friend to help kill his wife in a classic case of domestic violence. Black was denied bond and will remain in jail, charged with killing his estranged wife Bonnie Black in their home near Pentagon City. The trial is set for Feb. 29. [WUSA 9]
One of the Worst Traffic Bottlenecks — Arlington has one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, according to the American Highway Users Alliance. I-395 between Washington Blvd and the GW Parkway ranked No. 26 on the list, wasting 1.1 million hours and 322,600 gallons of fuel annually. [WTOP]
TSA HQ Move May Be Delayed — The Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters may be staying in Pentagon City past 2017 after all. A judge has halted the TSA’s move to Alexandria in response to a protest of the lease bidding process by a losing bidder. [Government Executive]
Arlington GOP May Ditch Office — In order to save money, the Arlington County Republican Committee is considering giving up the $1,100 per month office it rents in the Dominion Arms apartment building. [InsideNova]
See Something, Type Something — Arlington County’s website has a “Homeland Security Tip Form,” for reporting “suspicious activity that may be related to terrorism” in Arlington. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
VDOT has a new plan for High Occupancy Toll lanes on I-395, the Washington Post reported late Friday.
The news comes nearly five years after the state scrapped plans to build HOT lanes on I-395, following a legal battle with Arlington County. In a lawsuit, the county argued that HOT lanes, as then planned, would exacerbate pollution from and congestion on I-395, negatively impacting Arlington residents.
Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane told the Post that the new plan comes with guaranteed funding for carpooling and transit from private partner Transurban. Construction could start as soon as 2017 and would involve adding a third lanes to the existing HOV lanes while keeping the highway’s overall footprint mostly the same, the Post reports.
No word yet on a reaction from local officials.
Meanwhile, Arlington County has given its endorsement to a controversial plan for adding tolls to I-66 inside the Beltway during peak travel times. By a vote of 3-2 — John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey voted against it — the County Board adopted a resolution supporting the “Transform 66” project.
Last month Fairfax County offered conditional support for the plan, while calling for the widening of I-66. Loudoun County officials oppose the plan, which has faced heavy criticism from suburban commuters.
The plan calls for changing HOV rules on I-66 from requiring at least two people per vehicle during rush hour (HOV-2) to giving drivers the option of either having three people in a car (HOV-3) or paying a toll during peak hours.
In their endorsement, County Board members said they hoped that the changes would prevent the possible widening of I-66 inside the Beltway. The county wants VDOT to at least commit to not considering widening from two to three lanes in each direction through Arlington until 2025 at the earliest.
Lane has previously been quoted as saying the widening of I-66 through Arlington is inevitable.
After the jump, the press release from Arlington County on the I-66 project endorsement.
(Updated at 2:00 p.m.) A VDOT worker is in critical condition after being struck by a car on I-395 Tuesday night.
The crash happened around 10:20 p.m., on southbound I-395 near the Ridge Road overpass. According to initial reports, the worker was setting out traffic cones to warn drivers of an accident ahead when he was struck by a vehicle.
The man was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Weather may have been a factor — it was raining at the time of the crash.
On Wednesday afternoon, Virginia State Police issued the following statement about the crash.
Virginia State Police are investigating a pedestrian crash that occurred late Tuesday evening (Sept. 29) in Arlington County.
At 10:16 p.m., Virginia State Police were on scene of a traffic crash in the right southbound lane of Interstate 395, less than a mile south of the Ridge Road overpass. Safety Services Patrol Supervisor Mike Musgrove responded to the scene to assist the trooper by blocking oncoming traffic and directing traffic safely around the crash scene.
At approximately 10:23 p.m., a 2005 Toyota Matrix traveling south on I-395 lost control and ran through the traffic cones and flares ( that were set up as a perimeter to direct oncoming traffic around the initial crash). The Matrix struck Musgrove, who was standing next to his safety services patrol vehicle. The Matrix then struck the safety truck and guardrail.
Musgrove was transported to GW Hospital in Washington, DC, where he is currently being treated for life-threatening injuries. Musgrove is a VDOT contract employee. His vehicle emergency lights were activated at the time of the crash.
The driver of the Matrix, Charles R. Hepburn II, 39, of Alexandria, Va., was not injured in the crash. Hepburn was charged with reckless driving.
No one from the initial crash was injured in the incident.
Both crashes remain under investigation.
During this morning’s rush hour, major commuter highways like I-395 and I-66 had about as much traffic as they might at 4 a.m. on a Sunday. Those who commute to D.C. from Virginia apparently decided to just stay home while large swaths of the District are closed for Pope Francis’ visit.
It was a similar situation on Metro: even the perpetually critical @unsuckdcmetro Twitter account couldn’t find anything to fault this morning, retweeting the following.
— Leah Grace (@leahkennebeck) September 24, 2015
— Jordan Hirsch (@jordanhirsch) September 24, 2015
— David Fuchs (@davidwfuchs) September 23, 2015
Suspicious Vehicle Investigation at Pentagon — An SUV hopped a curb and ran into a pole at the Pentagon’s south parking lot Sunday morning. All three occupants of the vehicle were reportedly sleeping when police arrived, but then tried to drive away. Arlington’s bomb squad helped to check out the vehicle, which was deemed suspicious due to loose wires seen hanging out of it. [MyFoxDC, ABC News]
Va. Advances Potential I-395 Express Lane Plan — Virginia transportation officials are getting closer to announcing a plan to extend the I-95 Express Lanes up through I-395. Arlington officials previously filed suit to block a similar state plan to convert the I-395 HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll lanes. [WTOP]
APS Students Named National Merit Semifinalists — Ten Arlington Public Schools students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington to Seek Route 1 Name Change — Arlington County plans to seek permission from the state to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, according to County Board Chair Mary Hynes. However, one local state lawmaker says it’s highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled state legislature would okay the removal of Confederate leaders from local road names. [Washington Post]
Woman Dies in GW Parkway Wreck — A woman died early Sunday morning in a single-vehicle crash on the GW Parkway. The crash happened after the woman drove off the southbound side of the parkway, between Route 123 and Spout Run, and struck a tree. [WJLA]
Candlelight Vigil for Wakefield Student — A candlelight vigil is planned tonight for Lucas Guajardo, the Wakefield High School student who died Friday. The vigil is being organized by students and is planned to take place at 7:30 p.m. on the George Mason Drive side of the school. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Guajardo’s family with funeral expenses. The junior, who was a running back on the Warriors’ football team, was found dead by his older brother Friday afternoon after an apparent suicide. [Twitter, GoFundMe]
Suicide’s Lasting Impact on Survivors — Bryan Price, a former Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy, shot and killed himself on May 17. His wife found Bryan’s body and says his decision to end his own life has torn her family apart. “If he had any clue what this would put us through… I honestly don’t think he could have done it,” Tara Price told a local TV station. [WHSV]
The 1-395 overpass above S. Glebe Road will now be known as the Trooper Jacqueline Vernon Memorial Bridge.
Vernon was the first female and black Virginia State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty. She was hit by a commuter bus on I-395 as she stopped a car for an HOV lane violation in 1988. She was 32 years old.
“She was a great person,” said Charles King, III, one of Vernon’s former classmates and coworkers. “I was privileged, and I thank God I got to meet her and she passed through my life.”
The dedication of the overpass, which is near where Vernon was killed, comes almost 30 years after her death.
The bill to dedicate the bridge was brought by Del. Robert Krupicka, who represents the 45th District in the House of Delegates and by Sen. Barbara Favola, who represents the 31st District in the state Senate.
‘This naming of the bridge is also a way to say thank you to our troopers,” Krupicka said.
Vernon was a good trooper and known as someone who had her coworkers’ backs, said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, who was her supervisor.
“I remember them saying after boxing class, ‘we don’t want to get in the ring with [Vernon], so she certainly held her own there,” Flaherty said.
The bridge’s dedication was “personal” to him as someone who knew Vernon. He considers all of the officers under him to be his kids, he said, and Vernon was one of them.
“Now as people pass up and down on 395, they’ll come to know her as well,” he said.
It is one way that people recognize and thank the troopers for their service, Flaherty said.
Virginia State Troopers were joined by Vernon’s family during the dedication. The naming of the bridge was something that both the family and troopers asked to see happen.
“Now when I look around I can say the day is done,” said Vernon’s brother Ronald Vernon. “The struggle is done. It is time to rest. Sleep well, my sister.”
If you were commuting from Arlington to D.C. today, or vice versa, chances seem pretty good that your commute was awful.
Major delays were reported on Metro’s Orange, Blue and Silver lines, after service was suspended through much of downtown D.C. due to a derailed non-passenger train.
As if the Metro chaos wasn’t bad enough, a couple of crashes and perhaps an influx of would-be Metrorail riders has turned the length of I-395 into a virtual parking lot, with slow-moving traffic from the District to Springfield.
Also, Route 50 is reported to be backed up to Pershing Drive.
So, if you commute to or from D.C., just how bad was it this morning?
The motorcyclist was riding southbound on I-395 near the Pentagon when someone in front of him threw a wine bottle out of a Lincoln Town Car.
The bottle shattered on the pavement and a piece of shattered glass flew up and struck the motorcyclist’s left arm, slicing an artery, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“It was bleeding profusely,” Sternbeck said of the freak injury.
The motorcyclist continued down I-395 until he spotted an Arlington police officer on a traffic stop. He stopped and the officer applied a tourniquet to control the bleeding.
The man, a 41-year-old Woodbridge resident, was rushed to Virginia Hospital Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. He is expected to be okay.
“He was happy to see police lights,” said Sternbeck.
So far, police, have not been able to track down the Town Car from which the bottle was thrown.
The chase started around 5:30 p.m. near S. Joyce Street in the Pentagon City area. The suspect led officers on a foot pursuit towards Washington Blvd and then along a southbound I-395 ramp, according to scanner traffic.
The man started running during a traffic stop, and may have had warrants out for his arrest, according to initial reports.
No injuries have been reported, though paramedics have been dispatched to the scene as a precaution.
Fire Station Relocation May Go to Voters — A controversial plan to relocate Fire Station 8 from Lee Highway and the Hall’s Hill neighborhood to a locale further north, in order to improve response times, could be put to voters. Opponents may push for a stand-alone bond issue for construction of the new fire station, which would put it on the ballot. The idea was floated during a well-attended community meeting on the fire station relocation plan last night. [InsideNova]
North vs. South Swimming Pool Divide? — Swimming has always been a significant part of life in Arlington, but current pool options are tilted toward north Arlington, says Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. Building the stalled Long Bridge Park aquatics center could help alleviate the divide, Clark reasons. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Family Kicked off Flight — An Arlington family was kicked off a JetBlue flight from Boston to Baltimore on Monday, reportedly because of a squirming two year old and FAA regulations. [WUSA 9]
DCA Screeners Find Two Guns in Two Days — Screeners at Reagan National Airport found two guns in carry-on baggage over the course of two days this week. The two men who had the guns in their bags are now facing weapons charges. [WJLA]
I-395 Exit to Close Temporarily — The exit from northbound I-395 to Washington Blvd will close overnight Sunday and Monday for paving and lane striping, VDOT says. [Patch]
Arlington residents will have a chance to ask questions and weigh in on upcoming repairs to the interchange of I-395 and Glebe Road.
Virginia Department of Transportation will hold an open house tonight (Tuesday) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Gunston Middle School (2700 S. Lang Street). Attendees will hear from VDOT staff and have an opportunity to ask questions about the anticipated construction.
The roadwork on the three bridges at the interchange is anticipated to begin in April or May 2016, said Brian Morrison, a senior structural engineer with VDOT.
Construction is anticipated to last about four to six months, so the project is predicted to be finished in October or November of next year, Morrison said.
Roadwork on the bridges is expected to include repaving the bridge decks, guardrail improvements, reconstruction of bridge joints, painting bridge beams and fixing the sidewalks and curbs on Glebe Road. The total cost for the project is projected to be $4.7 million, according to VDOT.
The project is currently in its design phase. Once construction begins, there will likely be single-lane and shoulder closures during the night and day, according to VDOT’s website for the project.
The crash appears to involve 2-3 vehicles, including a D.C. taxicab. Initial reports suggest the driver of one car is hurt and may have needed assistance to get out of the vehicle.
Drivers should expect delays in both the HOV lanes and the northbound mainline.
The crash involved a box truck, a van and a car. Three people were brought to the hospital, two with serious injuries and one with minor injuries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.
Numerous emergency vehicle were on the scene as crews worked to clear the wreck. Traffic on I-395 backed up past Landmark.
Changes to the Boundary Channel Drive interchange with Interstate 395 and a new bike trail near Long Bridge Park are on the way.
Arlington residents will have a chance to offer feedback on new designs for the Boundary Channel Drive interchange project on Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Aurora Hills Community Center (735 18th Street S.).
The project is primarily intended to improve safety at the interchange, which is located on I-395 between Crystal City and the Pentagon, said David Kirschner, an Arlington County project manager.
“In this area, Interstate 395 is the most congested roadway in our region,” Kirschner said in an email. “The goals of this project are to improve the operations of the interchange at Boundary Channel Drive and improve safety for all road users.”
The project is also seeking to expand pedestrian and cycling access to and from Washington, D.C., Crystal City, the Pentagon and Long Bridge Park through a new bike trail.
The trail is planned to connect Humpback Bridge to Long Bridge Park but has not been designed yet, Kirschner said. The proposed trail will go from the existing Mount Vernon Trail that connects to the underpass under Humpback Bridge and would extend to Boundary Channel Drive through the interchange that already exists.
“We’re definitely always trying to be more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.
The new connection will make it easier to get to and from D.C. and the Pentagon, Kirschner said, adding that pedestrians currently have to do a lot of backtracking — via Crystal City or the LBJ Memorial Grove — to get into D.C.
As the project is still in its planning stages, the new trail has not yet been designed and which department will oversee the maintenance has not been determined. The trail’s planned path falls under multiple jurisdictions, as the National Park Service oversees the Mount Vernon Trail and Long Bridge Park is run by Arlington County.
“The need to keep the trail clean and safe will be an ongoing concern as we move forward in the design and construction of the Boundary Channel Drive interchange,” Kirschner said in an email.
In addition to the proposed bike trail, the project will look at a complete revamp of the interchange between I-395 and Boundary Channel Drive.
“Based on our analysis so far, the current four-lane roadway is overbuilt for current traffic. The traffic analysis we are performing will determine what lanes and ramps are needed for the final interchange in the future analysis year of 2036,” Kirschner said in the email.
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