Arlington, VA

A business along Lee Highway was robbed by a trio of gun-toting robbers last night, according to Arlington County Police.

Police say two suspects entered a business on the 4500 block of Lee Highway shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday. One of the men pulled out a gun while the other grabbed cash from the register, police said, then the pair ran out and jumped in a getaway vehicle driven by a third man.

Police did not name the business, but the block is home to a 7-Eleven store and the Lee Heights Shops. As of Monday morning, the suspects were still at large.

“The investigation is ongoing,” police said of the case.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2020-03290155, 4500 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 11:15 p.m. on March 29, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that two suspects entered a business and demanded the employee open the cash register. One suspect went behind the counter and brandished a firearm at the victim, while the second suspect began removing cash from the register. The suspects then exited the business with an undisclosed amount of cash and fled in a light colored sedan, driven by a third suspect, prior to police arrival. Suspect One is described as a white male, approximately 5’2″, wearing a black and gray hoodie, khaki shorts and white socks. Suspect Two is described as a black male, wearing a black sweater, black shorts, white socks and slip on shoes. Suspect Three is described as a black male. The investigation is ongoing.

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Inova Urgent Care along Lee Highway in Arlington is now serving as a COVID-19 testing site.

Healthcare workers in protective gear could be seen going in and out of the clinic at 4600 Lee Highway this morning, testing at least one patient in his car. According to Fairfax County, it’s one of three Inova Urgent Care locations to offer the testing service.

The North Arlington clinic, along with the Inova Urgent Care clinic in Tysons, is now only being used to evaluate patients with respiratory illness symptoms who have received testing orders from their physicians. At the Tysons location this morning, our sister site Tysons Reporter saw eight people tested over the course of an hour.

In Arlington, Virginia Hospital Center has also been conducting drive-through testing, at a county-owned site near Washington-Liberty High School.

More on the Inova clinics, from Fairfax County:

Starting today, Wednesday, March 25, Inova Urgent Care (UCC) locations at Dulles South, North Arlington and Tysons will staff Respiratory Illness Clinics to evaluate all patients with respiratory illness symptoms. The three clinics will also be able to collect COVID-19 vehicle-side samples that have been ordered by physicians.

Upon arrival at the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, a clinician will greet the patient at their vehicle to escort the patient into the respiratory clinic for evaluation or to collect samples for a physician-ordered test.

For patients who undergo COVID-19 testing, a UCC nurse will contact those whose results are negative. For patients with positive results, a UCC nurse will coordinate with the patient’s regular physician for notification and further instructions. Patients who are tested can expect results in roughly 4-7 days.

Before visiting any Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic, contact your regular physician for evaluation. For assistance with recommendations, to arrange for a physician appointment, or if you do not have a primary care physician, call 1-855-IMG-DOCS. Your regular physician can evaluate your symptoms to determine if testing is indicated based on COVID-19 testing criteria and provide a testing order, or refer you to the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinic for evaluation.

These clinics will be open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Addresses and contact information for the Inova Respiratory Illness Clinics are:

Inova Urgent Care – Dulles South
24801 Pinebrook Rd. #110
Chantilly, VA 20152
703-722-2500

Inova Urgent Care – North Arlington
4600 Lee Hwy.
Arlington, VA  22207
571-492-3080

Inova Urgent Care – Tysons
8357 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182
571-665-6440

Inova Urgent Care Center at North Arlington and Tysons will operate exclusively as respiratory illness clinics.  All other urgent care centers, including Inova Urgent Care – Dulles South, remain open to see all patients.

Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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A portion of the W&OD Trail is being put back onto a temporary pavement trail and off sidestreets as VDOT continues work on a new trail bridge.

The new detour will take trail users, who previously had to travel on nearby streets, on a 200-foot temporary pavement path adjacent to the new bridge under construction.

The bridge will separate trail users from traffic at the intersection of Lee Highway and Fairfax Drive in the East Falls Church aera, with the aim of enhancing safety for both trail users and motorists.

“This section of the W&OD Trail serves approximately 1,500 trail users on weekdays and over 2,000 on weekends,” VDOT said on its website. “On weekdays, the W&OD Trail is a significant commuter route, carrying a steady flow of cyclists in both directions, tying together much of the region’s trail network. On weekends, the trail is a prime recreational resource for thousands of cyclists, runners, walkers, and more.”

A press release noted that the new configuration will mostly remain in place until the project is completed, though the previous detour onto side streets could come up again during some phases of construction.

Meanwhile, work continues on the bridge with an expected opening this fall. New abutments and bridge beams have been installed, VDOT said, with crews currently working on installing steel onto the deck. Concrete pours are expected to finish by late April.

“W&OD Trail bridge construction is part of the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening Project, which is adding a travel lane along four miles of eastbound I-66 and installing approximately 12,000 linear feet of new and replacement noise barriers,” VDOT said. “The project also includes constructing a new direct access ramp from eastbound I-66 to the West Falls Church Metro Station at the Route 7 Interchange, which is scheduled to begin in spring 2020.”

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(Updated at noon) Arlington’s Lee Community and Senior Center, at 5722 Lee Highway, is set to close after the end of the year.

The center — the portion of the building operated by the Dept. of Parks and Recreation — was flagged for review in last year’s budget process.

“This facility is aging and in need of significant capital investment,” wrote Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz, at the time. “In addition, existing programming at the Lee Center could be evaluated for movement to other locations or programs.”

Schwartz’s latest budget proposal includes six months of funding to keep the center open through the end of the year, before DPR programs move out.

“As part of the County Manager’s proposed FY 2021 Budget that was unveiled last Tuesday, DPR will no longer have a presence at Lee Community Center starting in January 2021,” parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish tells ARLnow. “DPR will be moving all of its existing programs out of Lee to Langston-Brown, the new Lubber Run and Madison Community Centers.”

The move will not affect the Lee Arts Center in the building, which is proposed to remain funded in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, according to county spokeswoman Erika Moore.

“The County has not determined next steps for the building and the Lee Arts Center,” Kalish said.

The following specific changes are planned for programming currently at the Lee Highway facility, per DPR:

  • “Lee 55+ programs will be relocated to Lubber Run, Langston-Brown and Madison Community Centers. 55+ programs will begin transitioning out of Lee in fall 2020; all programs will be moved by the end of December 2020.”
  • “The Lee Cooperative Playgroup will finish its programming next December and will reopen in nearby Langston-Brown in January 2021. The Langston-Brown playgroup area will be refreshed and better outfitted to meet the needs of the program. Current families enrolled in the Lee playgroup will have first priority for playgroup space at Langston-Brown and will be able to tour the new space in November 2020.”
  • “Enjoy Arlington classes will be relocated by summer 2020 to other locations.”

The Langston-Brown Community Center is located a mile east of the Lee Community Center.

“While we understand change is difficult, we believe that this change will allow us to provide the best programs and services we can to our community,” Kalish said of the community center’s closure. “Over the course of the year we will be connecting with community stakeholders about the move so that prior to December, everyone knows about the change and will know where to go to get the programs and services they value.”

Photo via Arlington County

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A 69-year-old Alexandria man is facing a felony charge after police say a minor, two-vehicle crash led to a physical altercation along Lee Highway.

The crash happened shortly before noon this past Friday — Valentine’s Day — near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive. In its aftermath, numerous people called police to report a physical fight in the street.

Police responded and determined that one of the drivers punched a window on the other car several times, then “produced a knife and allegedly attempted to strike the victim,” according to Arlington County Police. The suspect was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding.

More from a new ACPD crime report:

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-02140133, N. George Mason Drive at Lee Highway. At approximately 11:40 a.m. on February 14, police were dispatched to the report of a fight. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim and suspect were involved in a minor vehicle crash when the suspect began yelling obscenities towards the victim. The suspect then pulled his vehicle in front of the victim’s vehicle, exited and approached the victim. The suspect struck the victim’s window multiple times with a closed fist. The victim attempted to push the suspect away by opening his door, however, the suspect produced a knife and allegedly attempted to strike the victim. The victim was not injured. Ralph Graham, 69, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding.

ARLnow posted about the incident on Twitter at the time:

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Arlington County Police are investigating an armed robbery that happened last night in Cherrydale.

The robbery happened around 9 p.m., on the 3500 block of Lee Highway, which is home to a Dunkin Donuts store. Police say a man armed with a gun forced an employee to open a register and stole cash.

The large police presence on the street after the robbery was noted by a local resident.

No injuries were reported. At last check, the suspect remains at large.

More on the robbery from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2020-01290273, 3500 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 8:54 p.m. on January 29, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business and approached an employee behind the counter. The suspect displayed a firearm and threatened the employee, demanding they open the cash register. He stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, then forced the employee upstairs, where the suspect forced entry to a secure office, causing damage. Nothing additional was reported stolen from the office. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 25-26 years old, 5’8″-6’0″, wearing a jacket, gray pants, black boots, black gloves and a black mask. The investigation is ongoing.

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A pair of local restaurants along Lee Highway in Cherrydale has closed, at least temporarily.

Billy’s Cheesesteaks and Bistro 29, located side-by-side in a small shopping center on the 3900 block of Lee Highway, closed earlier this month, tipsters tell ARLnow.com.

In a brief phone interview, owner Kostas Kapasouris said he’s “trying to make the restaurants better” and that they will “remain the same restaurant,” but said he’s not sure when the restaurants will reopen.

Billy’s namesake and former co-owner Bill Hamrock — who opened the restaurant in 2011 — said he has “been out of those businesses for over 4 years.” He currently owns Hamrock’s Restaurant in Fairfax City.

Billy’s closed temporarily in 2014 after a fire. Kapasouris made headlines in 2015 after leasing a space in a nearby shopping center he owns to a gun store, before reversing the decision.

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Someone pulled a gun on a store clerk and stole cash from a business on Lee Highway last night.

The armed robbery happened around 9:15 p.m. on the 5600 block of Lee Highway, a stretch that’s home to several gas stations.

Police say a man made a purchase at a business, then left, came back, and robbed it. He displayed a gun and was wearing a black mask and gloves at the time of the robbery, according to Arlington County Police.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2020-01210255, 5600 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 9:15 p.m. on January 21, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect entered a business, made a purchase and left. He then returned to the business and went behind the counter. The suspect displayed a firearm and stole an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male, wearing grey pants, black boots, black gloves and a black mask. The investigation is ongoing.

Map via Google Maps

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Arlington is once again planning to convert an outside lane on Lee Highway to bus and HOV only.

The Transportation Commission unanimously approved staff’s request to seek $1 million in funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission for pavement treatment, restriping, and signage for a new bus lanes.

The lanes would operate eastbound from N. Veitch Street to N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn during morning peak period, and westbound from N. Oak Street to N. Veitch Street during evening peak periods, staff said in the application. The lane would otherwise be open to general-purpose travel.

The sections with a bus lane are three lanes in each direction, and during peak periods roughly 25 loaded buses travel down that stretch of Lee Highway per hour, according to county documents.

“The section between North Veitch Street and Rosslyn is very heavily congested and sharply degrades bus performance and reliability, which will be improved by the lane conversion,” staff said.

An application for the project was submitted last year, but staff said at the Transportation Commission that funding was not approved because the designs had not advanced enough and were too broad in scope.

“The FY 2021-2022 application has been re-scoped to focus on the portion of Lee Highway with the greatest need,” staff said in a request to file the applications. “That has in turn reduced the estimated cost by one-third compared with the previous application.”

Staff said the deadline for grant submission is the end of January and the county would hear back in the spring. If approved, funding would include a feasibility test and the project could be incorporated into ongoing plans to reshape Lee Highway.

Photo via Google Maps

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After years of study and community conversations, Arlington County is just about ready for its plans to reshape Lee Highway to step into the spotlight.

The plan, generally, involves gradually — through zoning and other policy changes — transforming the car-oriented strips of businesses along Lee Highway into clusters of mixed-use development. It’s a goal of increasing importance as Amazon moves in and puts a strain on the county’s supply of available homes.

Questions have arisen in the planning process about how to simultaneously protect small, local businesses long Lee Highway while redeveloping outdated strip malls that line the road. The process of new development might not only force those businesses to close or relocate, but new development could create higher rents for small businesses.

On Friday, Jan 31, Arlington officials are planning to answer questions from and hear feedback from residents and business owners, as the county hosts a workshop marking the end of the first phase of the planning process. The meeting is event to run from 6:30-8 p.m. at Washington-Liberty High School (1301 N. Stafford Street).

A second workshop is scheduled to be held Saturday, Feb. 1, from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m, also at W-L.

“Come meet with us to learn more about progress and the information we’ve uncovered so far, and share new ideas,” the county said on its website. “Be a voice of your neighborhood as we learn more about community perspectives and priorities by geography.”

“All residents, businesses, community groups and stakeholders that live, work and play along Lee Highway are encouraged to attend,” the county noted.

Image via Arlington County 

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Morning Notes

New Security Measures at ANC — “Arlington National Cemetery is implementing heightened security measures after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general. The extra security will create longer lines at security checkpoints and delays… All visitors over the age of 16 will be required to show a valid state or government photo ID to enter by foot or car, Arlington National Cemetery says. Visitors aged 16 or 17 can show a school-issued ID.” [NBC 4, Twitter]

Office Building Above Rosslyn Safeway Sold — “An affiliate of The Meridian Group has paid $113.15 million for 1525 Wilson Blvd., a Rosslyn office building featuring the colorful sculpture of a dancing couple, after selling another building in the Arlington County office market last summer.” [Washington Business Journal]

Lee Highway Planning Update — “To mark the end of a year collecting ideas for the road’s ‘reimagining‘ by the nonprofit Lee Highway Alliance, its executive director, Ginger Brown, gave an update predicting that phase two — development of land-use and zoning ideas — could be ‘the most contentious.’ […] ‘Lee Highway is stuck in 1950s strip-mall zoning,’ Brown told a Dec. 19 breakfast group.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Local Shop Has Best Cheese Selection in the U.S.? — Arrowine, a long-time ARLnow sponsor, has the best wine selection in the D.C. area and possibly the best cheese selection in the country after its recent renovation, according to local restaurant reviewer Don Rockwell. [DCDining.com]

Pike Lane Closures Are Hurting Local Business — “An employee at Cinthia’s Bakery II on Columbia Pike said the restaurant is seeing a significant drop off in the number of customers and an increase in empty tables all due to the construction.” [WJLA]

Yorktown Boys Improve to 11-0 — “This is the new Yorktown basketball: Take the first available shot, press nonstop on defense, substitute in a whole new lineup every 90 seconds. It’s a strategy some other area schools have tried — Lake Braddock, most successfully — but few have perfected. And it has the Patriots, the worst team in their conference last season, undefeated at 11-0 after a dazzling 86-51 rout of Madison (6-5).” [Washington Post]

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