(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) A driver was pulled from their overturned vehicle after reportedly running into a gas pump.
The unusual incident happened shortly before 11 a.m. at the Sunoco station at 5501 Langston Blvd, across from the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. Employees hit the emergency gas shut off after the crash, per scanner traffic.
The driver, an elderly woman, was extricated from the Chrysler coupe by firefighters after they stabilized the vehicle. She and a second vehicle occupant were transported to a local hospital via ambulance with unspecified injuries.
“At approx. 10:54am the Arlington County Fire Department was dispatched for a report of a single vehicle crash in the 5500 block of Langston Blvd,” Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow. “Crews arrived on scene and found a single vehicle crash with 1 occupant trapped inside. The vehicle was stabilized and the individual was extricated. Two adults were transported from the scene with non-life threatening injuries.”
There were no reports of the crash sparking a fire nor causing a significant fuel spill.
After two years of permitting and renovations, a business along Langston Blvd may be able to swing open its doors.
Two years ago, Page Global, also known as Page After Page Business Systems, put up signs indicating it would be moving into the old TitleMax location at 5265 Langston Blvd, the corner of Langston Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.
The company bills itself as “an award winning industry provider of office solutions, strategic communications and information technology.” On its website, it lists various government agencies as clients.
This retail space, in a Virginia Hospital Center-owned building, used to be home to a 7-Eleven. Page Global leased the building in November 2020, per a VHC spokeswoman.
Around the same time, Augustine Roofing signed a lease and moved in next door (5267 Langston Blvd), filling a vacancy left when the decades-old Sam Torrey Shoe Service closed down.
But Page Global hasn’t been able to move in yet, due to ongoing renovation construction, according to an employee next door.
“The company won’t be open for a least another couple months,” said the employee. “They’re doing a ton of work in there… It looks amazing inside over there now — from what it was.”
He said construction has taken longer because of permitting and issues that crop up during construction. Currently, permits for electrical and plumbing work, issued early last year, are posted to the door of the building.
Page Global, headquartered in D.C. at 800 Maine Ave SW, was not immediately available for comment before publication. The company is led by James Page, high school-dropout from the Bronx turned businessman of 30 years, per a 2020 profile by the Washington Informer.
But it was just the recipient of a very uncommon honor.
Washington Post food critic Tim Carman last week ranked Charga Grill as No. 1 on his list of the D.C. area’s 10 best casual restaurants of 2022.
He wrote of Charga’s eclectic menu and marquee dish:
Charga specializes in street food from around the world, with an emphasis on plates of chicken. Peruvian pollo a la brasa. South African peri-peri. And two specimens from Pakistan, Chaudry’s homeland: brined-and-smoked sajji chicken, and skinless charga chicken, which is steamed and flash-fried. The latter two birds alone are worth a trip to Charga. But Chaudry, along with his uncle Iqbal Chaudry, doesn’t stop at chicken. They also serve kebabs, curries, quesadillas and more. Their free-form approach might confound those who prefer tidy categories for their restaurants. But as with the customers who enter their establishment, Iqbal and Asad commit themselves to each and every dish on the menu.
Carman expounded upon Charga’s origins in a glowing January 2022 review.
Asad Chaudry still remembers the first time he tried charga. He had flown to Pakistan for his brother’s wedding in 2012, and as part of the trip, Chaudry’s mom took him to her former neighborhood in Lahore, where they waited, and waited, in line at one of the city’s famous street vendors for a chance to bite into its singular chicken.
Chaudry knew enough about the dish, sometimes spelled chargha, to know how to eat it: He used a piece of naan to tear off a generous hunk of meat from the bird. He garnished the combination with masala onions and then dunked the bite in mint chutney. “When I tried it, I was like, ‘Man, this is amazing,'” he tells me one afternoon over the phone. “I was like, ‘I got to learn how to make it.'”
Chaudry tried to learn as much as he could on the ground in Lahore, but he admits his grasp of Pakistan’s mother tongues is shaky. But he established one important fact during his brief educational tour nearly a decade ago: The chicken is typically steamed and flash-fried, not cooked on a rotisserie as he had initially guessed. From there, Chaudry and his uncle, Iqbal Chaudry, researched and tested recipes until they had exactly what they wanted: their own take on one of Lahore’s signature dishes.
Charga is also highly rated among diners on Yelp, with a 4.5 star review average between today and the first review in 2017.
Carman’s 2022 casual restaurant list included another Arlington-connected restaurant: La Tingeria — which got its start as an Arlington food truck and was nearly shut down by the City of Falls Church after setting up its brick-and-mortar location at 626 S. Washington Street — ranked No. 4.
(Updated on 12/24/22) A serious crash blocked Langston Blvd at the intersection with N. Harrison Street.
Dispatchers received numerous calls about a head-on crash at the intersection around 2:15 p.m., according to scanner traffic. One driver was reported to be unconscious and in critical condition, though it was not immediately clear whether that was from the crash itself or a medical emergency.
The intersection, adjacent to the busy Lee-Harrison Shopping Center, was closed while police investigate and document the scene. It reopened around 4 p.m.
On Saturday, Arlington County police confirmed that a driver, age 84, suffered a medical emergency and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. From ACPD:
The Arlington County Police Department is conducting a death investigation after a driver suffered an apparent medical emergency on Friday, December 23.
At approximately 2:12 p.m. on December 23, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with unknown conditions at the intersection of Langston Boulevard and N. Harrison Street. Upon arrival, officers located the two-involved vehicles in the westbound lanes of Langston Boulevard.
The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle was traveling eastbound on Langston Boulevard when he suffered an apparent medical emergency before continuing into the westbound lanes of traffic and striking the other vehicle. Medics performed lifesaving measures before transporting the driver of the striking vehicle, an 84-year-old male, to an area hospital where he was pronounced deceased. No other injuries were reported. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine cause and manner of death.
This remains an active investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Unmarked or temporarily marked crosswalks along Langston Blvd are slated to be painted today (Friday), weather permitting.
The repainting activity comes nearly two months after the Virginia Department of Transportation paved Langston Blvd from Washington Blvd to N. Glebe Road, in East Falls Church, and from Military Road to N. Kenmore Street, in Cherrydale, according to a paving map.
VDOT, which manages the road, finished the repaving projects at the start of September, as part of its annual road repaving and repainting schedule.
According to the state transportation department, the lag between paving and painting is not uncommon.
“As the line painting contractors are different than the milling/paving contractors, sometimes schedules don’t line up as smoothly,” VDOT spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis tells ARLnow.
Arlington County and some residents tell ARLnow they have raised concerns about the lag with state transportation department.
“VDOT is aware of our concerns and are working to complete the markings on Langston Blvd,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien said.
The repainting comes while pedestrian safety occupies the minds of Arlington County Board members, local advocates and residents. In recent months, drivers struck and killed two pedestrians: one woman near Thomas Jefferson Middle School was killed by an alleged drunk driver and a woman near Nottingham Elementary School was killed in a crash, which police are still investigating.
While VDOT repaves state routes, Arlington County does take advantage of the state’s schedule to consider changes to the streets under its purview through its Resurfacing for Complete Streets program, O’Brien said.
“For roadways maintained by VDOT, Arlington does coordinate with VDOT on improvements,” she said. “For example, this year VDOT will be adding crossing enhancements on Langston Blvd at our request.”
These include high visibility crosswalk markings, advance yield signs and markings, she says.
She added that the county coordinated with the state to “upgrade the two uncontrolled crosswalks at the intersections of Langston Blvd and N. Oakland Street and Langston Blvd and N. Nelson Street, as well as marking all side streets with high-visibility crosswalks instead of standard crosswalks.”
On Langston Blvd between Military Road and N. Kenmore Street, VDOT will be installing bike lane skip marks through intersections, high-visibility crosswalks along side streets and additional directional markings, according to the county’s first annual Vision Zero report, released this spring.
Arlington County is a year and a half into its Vision Zero initiative that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Between January 2021 and March 2022, the county updated 238 crosswalks to high-visibility crosswalks, according to the report.
It also “added new warning signage, pavement yield and high visibility crosswalk markings, and other minor improvements at 12 multilane crossing locations,” after a review of multi-lane crossings, per an August newsletter.
Compass Coffee has opened its first drive-thru location.
The D.C.-based coffee chain has officially started brewing at its newest location at 4710 Langston Blvd in the Waverly Hills neighborhood.
The shop’s hours are 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
This is Compass’s third Arlington location, joining Rosslyn and Ballston. The company also opened a cafe in Fairfax back in March. Its first location was in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, opening back in 2014.
Compass’s decision to open its first drive-thru was driven by the pandemic and changes in locals’ working habits, per the Washington Business Journal. The location also has an indoor cafe, similar to the other 14 Compass locations spread out across the region.
Construction started earlier this year on the new, approximately 2,700-square-foot space that formerly housed a SunTrust Bank. The bank closed in 2020.
This is not the only coffee drive-thru on Langston Blvd. Just about a mile from the new Compass, Starbucks has its own drive-thru, also located in an old bank. It attracted long lines throughout the pandemic and closed for renovations earlier this month.
Wait… did we just open a Drive Thru? 🚗💨 pic.twitter.com/3FICzpPLtb
— Compass Coffee (@CompassCoffeeDC) October 27, 2022
Hat tip to Mike W.
(Updated, 10/18) Bob and Edith’s Diner, known for being open 24 hours a day, has cut its hours at the Langston Blvd location.
Late last week the diner announced on social media that the hours at its 5050 Langston Blvd location were being reduced “temporarily” to 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When the restaurant first opened in 2020, it was initially 24 hours but has since gradually reduced hours due to a “lack of staff” a Bob and Edith’s spokesperson told ARLnow, and getting cooks and servers to work overnights have “proven to be a challenge.”
The evening shift “wasn’t doing much business” another employee shared with ARLnow, and keeping it open those hours was wasting “money and energy.” The diner will be open for breakfast and lunch, though the whole menu will continue to be available.
This change is considered temporary for the moment, but it could become permanent.
The Bob and Edith’s on Langston Blvd opened just over two years ago. It was a bit of a long road to the opening from when the restaurant announced it had purchased the building that was formerly Linda’s Cafe back in the spring of 2018. When the two-decade-old restaurant finally closed in July, Linda’s had earned a reputation for “excellent burgers” and a spicy Twitter account.
The building was knocked down in late 2019 to make way for a gleaming, modern glass and steel Bob and Edith’s. Construction took a bit longer than expected due to the pandemic, but it finally opened in August 2020.
Most of the other Bob and Edith’s — including the flagship on Columbia Pike — remain open 24 hours. The Crystal City location is open 24 hours Wednesday through Sunday, 6 a.m to 10 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesday
Good news for coffee lovers who enjoy not taking extra steps to get their caffeine fix: Arlington’s lone drive-thru Starbucks is only closed temporarily.
The cafe at 5515 Langston Blvd, which opened less than three years ago in a former bank, recently closed and was removed from the Starbucks website and app. But the closure is for renovations, the company tells us.
“As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate our store portfolio, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers,” a Starbucks spokesperson wrote in response to an inquiry from ARLnow. “We are happy to confirm that our store at 5515 Langston Blvd. in Arlington, VA is undergoing a standard renovation, and will reopen on October 10.”
Oct. 10 is next Monday.
“The store will reopen with an updated drive-thru to improve customer experience at the store,” the spokesperson added.
Those reading the tea leaves (or coffee beans) may take that to mean that Starbucks is addressing some of the long drive-thru lines that snake around the stand-alone store’s parking lot and sometimes extend out onto the street.
Starbucks will soon no longer have the vehicularly-accessible coffee market cornered in North Arlington, however. Compass Coffee is planning to open a drive-thru location, also in a former bank building and also along Langston Blvd.
Compass originally hoped to open its 4710 Langston Blvd location this summer but work is still ongoing and an opening date has not been announced.
Police are investigating a pair of so-called “mob” assaults by groups of teens.
Both occurred Friday evening along separate sections of Langston Blvd. It’s unclear whether there’s any connection between the two.
The first happened inside a business along the 4800 block of Langston Blvd and involved 10 juvenile suspects, according to police.
The name of the business was not listed, but the block includes a McDonald’s, tattoo and piercing shops, and an Indian grocery store.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
ASSAULT BY MOB (Late), 2022-09300231, 4800 block of Langston Boulevard. At approximately 11:23 p.m. on September 30, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that earlier in the evening, the juvenile victim was inside a business when he was approached by Suspect One who unsuccessfully attempted to remove his hat. When the victim refused to give his hat, Suspect One struck him in the head. Approximately nine other juvenile suspects then began to physically assault the victim with Suspects Two and Three being the primary aggressors. The victim was able to safely leave the area on foot. He sustained minor injuries and declined the treatment of medics. Suspect One is described as an Asian male with short black hair, approximately 5’8″-6’0″ tall, 16-18 years old, wearing a black hoodie and gray pants. Suspect Two is described as a White male with brown hair and a beard, approximately 5’8″-6’0″ tall, 16-18 years old, wearing a gray sweater, light-wash black jeans and gray sneakers. Suspect Three is described as an Asian male, approximately 5’8″ – 6’0″ tall, approximately 16-18 years old with short brown hair wearing a navy blue hoodie and black shorts. The investigation is ongoing.
The second incident happened on the same block as the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. It reportedly involved a juvenile suspect who was known to the victim saying that the victim wasn’t allowed to walk along the sidewalk near then, then striking the victim.
ASSAULT BY MOB (Late), 2022-10010041, 2400 block of N. Harrison Street. At approximately 4:11 a.m. on October 1, police were dispatched to the police station for the late report of an assault. The investigation determined that at approximately 10:00 p.m. on September 30, the juvenile victim was walking in the area when he approached the known juvenile suspect who was standing on the sidewalk with two friends. The suspect allegedly told the victim he couldn’t be there before striking him. The two friends then also assaulted the victim before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and later self-reported to an area hospital for medical treatment. The investigation is ongoing.
A new Laotian restaurant has moved into Cherrydale.
This is the owner Sak Vong’s first restaurant, he told ARLnow via email, and he believes it’s the only Laotian eatery in Arlington. A quick internet search backs up this claim, with the closest other Laotian restaurant being in Falls Church.
Vong said the aim is to serve modern versions of traditional Laotian cuisine like “flying Lao noodles” and Laotian sushi. He also said he envisioned a “revitalization” of that section of Cherrydale.
Laotian cuisine, similar in some ways to its neighbors Thailand and Vietnam, is gaining popularity here in America. Meals typically revolve around sticky rice, larb, and papaya salad.
ARLnow has reached out to Maneki Neko about when and why it closed its Cherrydale location but has yet to hear back.
There have been several relatively recent openings and closings in Cherrydale.
Across the street from Tuna, Gaijin Ramen Shop closed several weeks ago after seven years of business citing the reason as “irrecoverable business losses” due to the pandemic. Around the corner is long-time local Italian restaurant Pines of Florence, which reopened in that location about ten months ago. A half block away is an Uyghur restaurant Bostan, which opened about a year ago.
(Updated 09/30/22) As Arlington County continues collecting feedback on the preliminary concept plan to turn Langston Blvd into a “Green Main Street” over several decades, a few disagreements have emerged.
Some say county staff need to coordinate more with existing plans for two neighborhoods along Route 29, as well as the Missing Middle Housing Study. Others say the building heights should be taller — to allow for more affordable housing — or are too tall already.
Late in August, Arlington County released a draft plan showing what Langston Blvd, formerly Lee Highway, could look like if the county encouraged denser housing and more walkable, greener streets, and planned for future infrastructure, transportation and facility needs. Since then, the county posted an online feedback form and launched in-person feedback opportunities called Design Studio sessions and virtual neighborhood meetings.
More than 200 people have attended the three virtual community meetings and Design Studio sessions, and more than 200 people have responded to the feedback forms, Rachel LaPiana, a staff member with the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, tells ARLnow.
“We encourage the community to provide feedback on a set of specific questions about what is proposed in the PCP and attend one of the upcoming community events,” she said.
There are still a number of opportunities to learn more about Plan Langston Blvd and provide feedback, which staff will collect through early November. This Saturday, the Langston Boulevard Alliance will host a walking tour, during which county planners will be able to answer questions. Another tour will be held on Sunday, Oct. 16.
The Langston Boulevard Alliance is also hosting three Design Studio sessions, held from 12-2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7 and 21 and Nov. 4 at its office (4500 Langston Blvd). A fourth virtual community meeting discussing housing, stormwater and transportation will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 7-9 p.m.
It’s too soon to summarize the substance of the feedback that has been collected, LaPiana said.
“Once the engagement period ends, we will compile and analyze all of the community feedback,” she said.
Differing takes have since surfaced during a debate for County Board candidates held by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, as well as during this month’s County Board meeting.
“I’ve largely heard muted feedback, and that is not always the case with plans,” said County Board member Matt de Ferranti, who’s running for re-election this November, during the debate earlier this month. “I have heard a number of compliments. I actually think the plan is in decent shape.”
But, he said, the plan challenges the county’s ability to advance multiple planning fronts simultaneously, including the controversial Missing Middle Housing initiative, in which the county is considering whether to allow townhouses, duplexes and other low-density housing types in residential areas zoned exclusively for single-family homes.
“We have to, at least in my view, do them separately, because we can give our community full chance for engagement,” he said.
Independent candidate Audrey Clement questioned why upzoning is needed at all, with the bevy of new housing units proposed in Plan Langston Blvd and envisioned in the approved Pentagon City Planning Study, which, like Plan Langston Blvd, calls for significant, mostly residential redevelopment and more designated green spaces.
“We have something called a siloed process, where we have three plans, each ignorant of each other, that will increase housing on a massive schedule. That doesn’t make sense,” Clement said. “These plans should not be developed in a vacuum, but that appears to be what is happening right now.”
East Falls Church homeowner Wells Harrell told the County Board this month that Plan Langston Blvd ought to examine why development has lagged in East Falls Church and Cherrydale, despite the fact both underwent planning efforts in 2011 and 1994, respectively.
“Metro today remains surrounded by parking lots at the East Falls Church Metro station, and so far, there’s only been one — one — residential development since the plan was adopted in 2011,” Harrell said. “We need to take stock of why we haven’t achieved the goals set forth in the Cherrydale and East Falls Church area plans… in order to not just learn from the lessons we had there, but to guide us going forward and make sure we achieve the visions for Langston Blvd.”
County planners previously told ARLnow that they need the County Board’s go-ahead to revisit the East Falls Church plan. Further discussion about encouraging development in the area could come after the Board adopts a final Plan Langston Blvd document.
For now, plan authors say a final Plan Langston Blvd draft will recommend whether the existing redevelopment roadmaps for East Falls Church and Cherrydale need to be reviewed and refined.
Building heights are another source of disagreement. Plan authors write that building heights were lowered in response to some critical community feedback. That criticism also suggested the changes would diminish the stock of market-rate affordable apartments, lower property values, change neighborhood character and push out small businesses.
County staff say that lower heights may satisfy some residents, but it will slow down redevelopment.
“Staff believes the proposed concept plan will offer incentives for redevelopment, however, the levels are only moderately different from what is allowed for by-right development and site plan projects,” county planner Natasha Alfonso-Ahmed said in a video introducing the plan. “This means that we may see more by-right development, and improvements such as streetscape enhancements may take longer to be realized or happen in a fragmented way.”
And the changes dismayed pro-density advocates, including Harrell and independent County Board candidate Adam Theo.
“I am disappointed to see that the most recent draft has scaled a lot of that back,” Theo said.
De Ferranti, meanwhile, says there is one neighborhood where the heights may still be “a touch too high” — the area near Spout Run Parkway, where plan calls for buildings 12-15 stories tall.
“That decision is one we have to engage as a community on,” he said.