Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Bezos Talks HQ2 — “[Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos was pressed on why Amazon would seek to build its headquarters in a dense area like Arlington, given the potential disruptive impacts of the company’s army of new workers moving into the area. But he reiterated that he’s ‘glad it’s not in the suburbs,’ arguing that the new HQ’s location demonstrates Amazon’s commitment to environmental sustainability.” [Washington Business Journal]

No Plan to Change Lee Highway Name — “Speculation that the currently active Lee Highway Alliance has a name change as part of its planning for re-imagining that major road is unfounded, according to its vice president, Sandra Chesrown.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Pedestrian Tunnel to DCA? — “Plans are slowly coming together for a pedestrian connection linking Reagan National Airport to Crystal City, one of the crucial transportation improvements Arlington pitched when luring Amazon to the area… A crucial decision the county will need to make: whether the pedestrian connection will be a bridge or a tunnel.” [Washington Business Journal]

Solo Commuters on the Decline — “Compared with 2004, the number of [D.C. area] commuters driving alone is down; transit use is up. 58% drive alone — down 13 percentage points.” [WTOP]

Arlington Company Moving to Tysons — Woman-owned consulting firm eGlobalTech moved its headquarters to Tysons after outgrowing its Arlington office. [Tysons Reporter]

Reminder: PARK(ing) Day Today — PARK(ing) Day will transform 13 parking spaces around the county into pop-up parks today. [ARLnow]

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Arlington officials have proposed two preliminary designs for the replacement of Fire Station 8 on Lee Highway.

The designs will be discussed tonight at a 7 p.m. public community meeting in the Langston-Brown Community Center (2121 N. Culpepper Street).

In July, the county asked residents in an online survey which outdoor features they’d like to see at the new station. There were 164 responses, with a “historic map” as the top request.

All of the outdoor features in question — a historic map, seating wall, exterior skin, beacon of light, and virtue monuments — are distributed between two design proposals.

The design process was conducted with the fire station’s history in mind. For decades, Fire Station 8 was the only station in Arlington staffed by African-Americans — members of the Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department.

Designed by the architecture firm Lemay Erickson Wilcox, the firm aims to “pay homage to the past while providing an updated and modern facility for this 21st-century fire department and the community it serves.”

One of the proposed designs, “Plaza Concept A” would feature a salvaged stone wall made from the Hicks family house, memorializing the importance of the Hicks family, which owned businesses along Lee Highway and in 1934 provided the land — at the intersection with N. Culpeper Street — on which the fire station now sits.

Additional “Plaza Concept A” features include the requested historic map, designed as a stone outline of the Station 8 coverage area, plus landmarks of the Hall’s Hill neighborhood.

Alternatively, “Plaza Concept B” would feature a large perforated metal screen on the outside of the station, depicting a historical image of the station to be seen by cars which drive by.

A seating wall wrapped around the edge of the “Plaza Concept B” would provide seating areas for the public and firefighters, with historical dates written throughout.

The county is still a ways away from breaking ground. The $21 million reconstruction project for the 100-year-old station is expected to officially kick off next fall, with full completion slated for fall 2022.

Photos via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Thousands Expected at Today’s Amazon Event — “Thousands of job-seekers are expected to swarm the site of Amazon’s future headquarters at a ‘career day‘ in Crystal City on Tuesday, as the online retail giant begins to accelerate its hiring and presence in Northern Virginia.” The opening time has been pushed up to 8 a.m. [Washington Post, Twitter]

Suspect Chomps on Cop Along Lee Highway — “The officer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and made contact with Suspect One, when he observed Suspect Two attempt to flee on foot. With the assistance of additional officers arriving on scene, Suspect Two was stopped. While officers attempted to remove Suspect One from the vehicle and detain him, he actively resisted and bit an officer.” [Arlington County]

Race No Longer Required on Marriage LicensesUpdated at 8:45 a.m. — “Virginia will no longer require couples to identify by race on their marriage licenses, the state’s attorney general announced this week. Under a new policy — which Attorney General Mark Herring detailed in emails to court clerks and members of the media late Friday — people getting married will be able to select ‘Declined to Answer’ in a box asking about race.” [Washington Post]

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The widened stretch of the Custis Trail through Rosslyn finally opened to pedestrian and cyclist traffic late yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

The new improvements widen the Custis Trail along westbound Lee Highway from N. Lynn and N. Oak streets, a popular stretch of the trail that connects the Metro corridor to the Key Bridge and the Mount Vernon Trail.

After months of passing each other in the narrow confines of the slimmed-down path along Lee Highway, cyclists and pedestrians both immediately took to the new trail. The former travel lane has now been blocked off with orange barriers.

Even with the widening wrapped up, the project website said work will still continue on installing permanent signs along the trail, but with a minimal impact on trail traffic.

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After weeks of remodeling, the Wendy’s at 5066 Lee Highway is back open for business, with a “free food for a year” giveaway this weekend.

The fast food restaurant quietly opened earlier this week, but the grand opening celebration is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) from 9-11 a.m. The first 100 customers in line by 10 a.m. will have a chance to win free food for a year, according to a press release.

Two of the biggest non-decorative upgrades for the new Wendy’s are a new Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage dispenser — a soda machine with a lot of choices — and free Wi-Fi internet service.

“This restaurant has bold curb appeal and features a compelling design — inside and out,” said Arif Islam, Wendy’s region manager, in the press release. “It’s very different from what our customers in Arlington are used to, but we think they’ll really like the fresh look and feel of the new Wendy’s.”

The press release boasts that the new Wendy’s boasts improvements like “large windows” and “multiple seating options,” which in practice means the fast-food restaurant has been brought up to par with other renovated spots like the Taco Bell down the street and fellow renovated Wendy’s locations on Columbia Pike and King Street.

Next door, however, the former Linda’s Diner location remains virtually untouched one year after it was “soon to be replaced” by a Bob and Edith’s Diner.

Diners seemed to be excited to finally have their neighborhood Wendy’s back. Lines for the drive-thru stretched back to Lee Highway during lunch hours yesterday.

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(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Numerous traffic lights are reported to be dark in Arlington` amid severe storms in the area.

Traffic signals along N. Glebe Road, from just north of Ballston to the Old Dominion Drive intersection, were dark as of 5:45 p.m. In addition to the busy intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road, the signal at Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive was also dark, prompting backups on westbound Lee (Route 29) from Cherrydale to the the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

Around the time of the lights going dark, firefighters were dispatched to the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Dinwiddie Street — near the KFC and Taco Bell — for a report of a blown electrical transformer.

As of 6:15 p.m., Dominion’s website reported 2,429 customers in Arlington without power, with the outages centered along Lee Highway

The National Weather Service has let the previous Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for Arlington expire as of 6 p.m., though thunderstorms and rain are still affecting the area.

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Cherrydale’s Subway restaurant — the longest surviving business at the 38 Place condo building (3800 Lee Highway) — has closed.

The chain sandwich shop, which opened on the ground floor of the development in 2012, shuttered its doors sometime last week, according to a tipster.

The franchise has been closing several locations across Arlington over the last year.

The next closest Subway is further west at 4817 Lee Highway.

House of Steep that closed on the same block and is currently undergoing conversion into a Chase Bank ATM location.

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Morning Notes

VDOT Repaving Planned This Month — “Upcoming @VaDOTNOVA night paving into August: Glebe Road, Spout Run Parkway, Washington Boulevard, Route 1 aka Richmond Highway aka the roadway formerly known as Jefferson Davis. Dates tentative, subject to change.” [Twitter]

ACPD Still Not Meeting Staffing Goal — The Arlington County Police Department has, on net, added a few new officers over the past year. But staffing challenges remain, echoing challenges for police departments across the region: ACPD currently has 352 officers despite a staffing goal of 374 officers. [NBC 4]

Arlington Hiring Public Safety Positions — Arlington County is currently hiring school crossing guards and 911 dispatchers.

Lee Highway Apartment Complex Sold — “A 50-year-old apartment complex along Route 29 in Arlington County has traded hands for the first time in 20 years. Connecticut-based Westport Capital Partners, through the entity WM MF Horizons Property LLC, acquired the Horizons Apartments from an entity connected to Dweck Properties to in a deal that closed June 26 for $71M, Arlington County property records show.” [Bisnow]

Rosslyn-Based Firm Buys Clyde’s — “It’s official: Clyde’s Restaurant Group, a 56-year-old institution in Greater Washington’s restaurant scene, is now a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Co. Graham, which is led by members of the Graham family that formerly owned The Washington Post, did not disclose a sale price.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: More People Biking in Alexandria — “More than halfway through this summer’s Blue and Yellow Line shutdown… bicycle volume [has] almost doubled on the Metro Linear Trail, a smaller, along-rail trail which connects the King Street and Braddock Road stations.” [DCist]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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The long-awaited resurrection of the Lee Highway Taco Bell is finally at hand.

The drive-thru Taco Bell next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken reopened today (Tuesday) at 4923 Lee Highway.

The restaurant shut down in September to be torn down and completely rebuilt. The new interior features new self-checkout stations, where staff were helping walk newcomers through the ordering process today. The self-checkout stations feature a wider range of options and customization than what’s featured on the display menus.

Despite little advertising of the reopening visible from the street, the rebuilt Taco Bell still had a steady stream of customers around lunchtime — most of whom were too busy with their meals to indulge interview requests.

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Some 600 homes and businesses along Lee Highway, north of Courthouse, are without water service this afternoon.

Officials say a water main break on the 2000 block of N. Adams Street has partially closed the road and knocked out water service to hundreds. Repairs on the 6-inch line are expected to be completed by 9 p.m.

More from Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services:

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Listing Prices Around HQ2 Skyrocket — “From June 2018 to June 2019, the median asking price for a single-family home in Zip code 22202, home to Amazon’s planned Northern Virginia headquarters, skyrocketed a whopping 99.9 percent–essentially doubling over that period–according to a new report from listings service Bright MLS.” [Curbed, Bloomberg]

Board OKs Child Care Parking Changes — “The Arlington County Board today voted to reduce the parking requirements for child care centers, in keeping with the County’s Child Care Initiative to promote the expansion of accessible, available, high-quality child care throughout the County.” [Arlington County]

New Pizzeria Open on Lee HighwayChicago’s Pizza With A Twist opened a couple of weeks ago on Lee Highway, next to Maya Bistro. The Indian-Italian fusion restaurant serves unique dishes like a chicken tikka masala pizza. [Instagram]

New Pike Bus Stops Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a $1.6 million contract with Sagres Construction Corporation to build the first four of 23 transit stations planned for Columbia Pike. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by fall 2020.” [Arlington County]

Arlington GOP Sitting Out County Races — “For the most part, Arlington Republicans will be sitting out the November general election – the party did not field candidates for the County Board, School Board and most legislative races on the ballot, although there are several non-Democrats who are running that might attract GOP support.” [InsideNova]

Swanson Middle School Teacher Honored — “Congratulations to @SwansonAdmirals teacher Mary Beth Donnelly who was named the 2019 Virginia History Teacher of the Year.” [Twitter]

Injured D.C. Fire K-9 Stops GW Parkway Traffic Updated at 9 a.m. — “Traffic stopped on the George Washington Parkway near Reagan National Airport Tuesday afternoon so a medevac helicopter could land, but the patient wasn’t human — it was a very special dog. The 6-year-old German shepherd named Kylie works for D.C. Fire and EMS as a cadaver dog… [she] seriously hurt one of her hind legs while helping another law enforcement agency conduct a search.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen

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