(Updated at 11:45 a.m) Arlington is teaming up with some of its neighbors to the north to somehow find a solution to the persistent problem of aircraft noise generated by Reagan National Airport.
County Board members Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt announced last Friday (June 1) that Arlington and Montgomery County, Maryland have agreed to both chip in funds for a consultant to study the issue starting this year.
The Board members wrote in an email that the study’s goal is “to quantify the noise impacts on our community, to determine what specifically is driving the increase in those impacts in recent years and to identify and evaluate all actions that could reasonably be taken to reduce and mitigate them.”
“Despite what look like promising recommendations for operations south of the airport, the fact remains that we do not appear to be any closer to a solution today for those communities north of the airport than we were when this effort was initiated,” Garvey and Vihstadt wrote. “It is our hope that this study will result in concrete recommendations to achieve the county’s and the region’s goal of reducing aircraft noise where possible and to equitably share it where necessary.”
County leaders have been wrestling with the issue of aircraft noise for years now, particularly as National recorded a spike in air traffic in recent years. Nearby residents have become particularly perturbed by the noise as the airport adjusted flight patterns in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration’s “NextGen” modernization initiative for the air traffic system in 2014.
“We continue to hear loud and clear from our residents that the noise impacts have worsened significantly since this action and have had a substantial negative impact on their quality of life,” Garvey and Vihstadt wrote.
Arlington and Montgomery County residents are not the only ones grappling with the issue. Some residential portions of Northwest D.C. have encountered an increase in noise since NextGen was implemented a few years ago, leading one District resident to file thousands of noise complaints over the course of one year.
The county has worked with the FAA on the issue since October 2015, through the “DCA Community Working Group,” and the Board members say they’ll send the results of this new study to that group once it’s wrapped up. They plan to update the community on a timetable for the study in the comings weeks, and work is set to kick off with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) also recently proposed a series of amendments to the new FAA reauthorization bill to address the issue.
Shake Shack, Philz and More Coming to Ballston — “Ballston will beef up its fast-casual restaurant offerings by the end of this year, with Shake Shack, We the Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava all slated to lease space in the newly dubbed Ballston Exchange project. Ballston Exchange, formerly known as Stafford Place I and II, was until 2017 home to the National Science Foundation.” [Washington Business Journal]
Outdoor Lab Squeezed by Rising Enrollment — “A growing student body at the elementary-school level may soon mean there are not enough days in the school year to send the usual cadre of students to the Arlington Outdoor Lab, located in Fauquier County.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Smoker Busted in Falls Church — Falls Church police issued a summons to a 56-year-old Arlington man for smoking in a restaurant in the city. [Falls Church News-Press]
Hamlin Leaving Macedonia Baptist Church — The Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin Sr. is leaving Macedonia Baptist Church in Nauck for a post at the Washington National Cathedral. “To celebrate his 22-year tenure at Macedonia, more than 300 people attended a farewell gala held March 25 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]
Advocates Flock to Open Door Monday — Those seeking more funding in the county budget process flocked to yesterday’s regularly-scheduled Open Door Monday event with County Board member Libby Garvey. Among those bending Garvey’s ear were first responders, who are seeking higher pay, and Arlington Independent Media, which is fighting a proposed budget cut. [Twitter, Twitter]
Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr
More Stuff Coming to Ballston — Even more hip food-and-drink spots are on the way for Ballston. A 3,000 square foot Union Kitchen Grocery store is coming to the ground floor of the revamped Ballston Quarter mall, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, while a Compass Coffee cafe will also be opening in the mall. [Washington Business Journal]
Wheels Stolen Off the Lot at Dealership — Someone stole tires from three vehicles parked in the lot of a car dealership on Lee Highway just after midnight Wednesday. “An unknown suspect(s) removed the tires from and tampered with multiple vehicles in the parking lot of a business,” police said in a crime report. There is no suspect description and no surveillance footage, we’re told. There is a Toyota dealership on the 4000 block of Lee Highway, where police said the crime occurred, but also a Honda dealership nearby. [Arlington County]
Garvey Confident About Amazon — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is optimistic about Amazon coming to the area. “I think Amazon is very likely coming here,” she said at a Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce conference, shortly after it was announced that Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland were among the top 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2. “We have got everything here.” [Washington Business Journal]
Katie Cristol will serve as Arlington County Board chair for 2018, with Christian Dorsey nominated as vice chair alongside her.
Both were nominated and unanimously voted in at the County Board’s organizational meeting (video) last night (Tuesday), where members lay out their agendas for the year. This year’s meeting avoided the political wrangling of last year, when Cristol was elected vice chair.
In her remarks after being elected chair, Cristol said she would focus on protecting and adding affordable housing and work to help Metro return to a “sound footing” financially. The Washington Post noted her relative youth — 32 — and said she is the first millennial to lead a county dominated by those in the 20-34 age group.
One of Cristol’s other priorities is to continue work on the county’s nascent childcare initiative, which began this year and is looking to expand options and the quality of child care available in Arlington.
“Child care accessibility similarly speaks to the foundational values of Arlington County,” Cristol said. “The idea that this place is a place for young families is part of our ‘old story,’ at least since an influx of veteran families in the postwar years made Arlington a ground zero for the Baby Boom.”
Dorsey called on the county to establish its own consumer protection bureau to educate businesses and residents about their rights and settle disputes between the two. Like Cristol, he also said affordable housing and Metro will be key priorities this year. The Board last year hiked property taxes to help, in part, to pay for increased Metro costs.
Dorsey said the consumer protection bureau could be a crucial addition, which he said “does not require substantial new funding.”
“We frequently hear complaints involving predatory towing, billing and service issues with cable and telecommunications companies, predatory lenders, identity theft, hired transportation, rental housing, and general contract enforcement,” he said. “I believe there are beneficial outcomes in dispute resolution and prevention that a consumer protection bureau can promote.”
Libby Garvey, now the longest-serving County Board member after the retirement of Jay Fisette last year, said she wants to work on public discussions and ensuring they remain civil. She urged residents to give feedback on a draft guide on Civic Engagement, which will be finalized this year.
“I believe improving civic dialogue and general civility in our discussions is another challenge for us,” Garvey said in her remarks. “[Perhaps] it is because of the poor examples we are seeing on the national stage, but I’ve been hearing more and more, recently, about inconsiderate and unpleasant interactions in public meetings on County issues right here in Arlington.”
Independent Board member John Vihstadt, who is running for re-election this year, said the county should strive for more transparency in government, have greater fiscal discipline and better mitigate the impacts of development.
Vihstadt said cost/benefit analyses should be required of every new development, something he called a “cardinal recommendation” of the 2015 Community Facilities Study.
“Other jurisdictions do this; so can Arlington,” he said. “Let’s leverage the new political dynamic in Richmond by broadening the scope of community benefits to find new ways to help offset the cost and stress of additional development on our surrounding neighborhoods.”
Erik Gutshall is new onto the Board for this year, having won last November’s election to replace Fisette, who retired after 20 years. He noted in his remarks that the budget “will be rife with difficult choices constrained by a harsh revenue gap,” but pledged to support public education, affordable housing and civic engagement.
“As we catch a glance in the rear-view mirror, check our current speed, and peer up the road ahead, it’s clear that we are blessed with a strong foundation, deeply rooted in our shared values, that will sustain our continued success as we meet the tumultuous challenges brought upon us by outside forces,” he said.
The County Board’s first regular meeting of the year is set for Saturday, January 27.
A Democratic County Board member endorsing a Democratic County Board candidate is not usually noteworthy, but Garvey and Gutshall were engaged in a sometimes bitter primary battle last year. Gutshall later endorsed Garvey after she won the primary.
In today’s endorsement, Garvey said Gutshall — who handily won this year’s primary for retiring Board member Jay Fisette’s seat — will bring a breadth of local experience “to help guide the many difficult decisions that we have to make on behalf of our community.”
More from a Gutshall campaign press release:
Today Libby Garvey announced her endorsement of Erik Gutshall for Arlington County Board. The victor on Election Day this November 7th will fill a vacancy on the board left by retiring County Board Chair Jay Fisette. Gutshall is the Democratic nominee.
“Erik has seen Arlington from many different perspectives: resident, APS parent, small business owner, charity board member, commission chair, and more. He will bring that breadth of experience to the County Board table to help guide the many difficult decisions that we have to make on behalf of our community,” said Garvey in making her announcement. She also noted that, “Erik and I have a shared interest in making county government accessible for all Arlington residents. I look forward to working together with him to ensure that we listen to all residents and communicate effectively with them, and that we streamline public processes so it is easier to engage, and create new channels for residents to observe and participate in their government.”
In response to Ms. Garvey’s endorsement, Gutshall released this statement:
“I am honored and very grateful to have Libby’s endorsement; it means a lot to me. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work with Libby and the other board members to reboot civic engagement. I believe we reach the best decisions when we rely on accurate data, transparent and impartial analysis, and fair consideration of all viewpoints. The chief responsibility of the County Board is to create the environment for good decision-making by ensuring our county government conducts every transaction with our community in a totally honest, transparent, and open manner. Residents should never feel that an answer was already baked into the process. We both agree this is the essence of solving our problems as a community.”
Libby Garvey served 15 years on the Arlington County School Board, including five terms as chair, prior to being elected to serve on the Arlington County Board in 2012. After Garvey’s victory over Gutshall in the 2016 Democratic Primary, he proudly endorsed her for her successful re-election bid to a second term on the Arlington County Board.
The fourth annual Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride will take place this Saturday, August 5, starting from local nonprofit Phoenix Bikes in Barcroft Park )4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive).
Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey helps lead the event, alongside Phoenix Bikes. The ride is in honor of Garvey’s late husband, Kennan, who died of a heart attack in 2008.
He was a supporter of Phoenix Bikes, a nonprofit that aims to educate the community about biking and help make it more affordable. Libby Garvey has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2009.
The race will raise money for the Kennan Garvey Memorial Fund, which will help Phoenix Bikes move to a more permanent site. The organization is set to transition to a new facility on the first floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center later this year.
The ride is open to all ages and experience levels with five different trail routes:
- 15-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Bikenetic (Falls Church)
- 40-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Green Lizard Cycling (Herndon)
- 60-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Spokes, etc. (Leesburg)
- 90-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Bicycles & Coffee (Purcellville)
- 100-mile course: out and back along W&OD Trail from Phoenix Bikes to Bicycles & Coffee (Purcellville), plus portions of Arlington Loop (Custis, Mount Vernon and Four Mile Run Trails)
“You can ride for as little or as far as you like on a great bike path that Kennan and I loved and rode often. Despite the heat now, it has been fairly cool for the ride for the past three years,” Garvey wrote in an email to constituents.
The entry fee is $25, with a minimum fundraising amount of $100. Each rider is encouraged to set a $500 fundraising goal, while children that are registered with Phoenix Bikes get a complimentary entry.
Pre-registered riders will receive a boxed lunch, and all riders and volunteers will receive a free shirt. All those who meet or exceed the $500 fundraising goal will receive a prize.
Police Warn of Fraud Scheme — The Arlington County Police Department is warning that home repair and tree service fraud schemes become more prevalent in the spring. Police say to be wary of would-be service providers who approach or knock on your door unannounced, pressure you to make an immediate decision, claim to have leftover materials or to be working in the area, and only accept cash payment. [Arlington County]
Arlington Restaurant Makes Sietsema’s Top 10 — Ambar in Clarendon has been included in restaurant critic Tom Sietsema’s list of the top 10 new restaurants in Washington. It is the only Virginia restaurant on the list. [Washington Post]
Beyer Supports Budget Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says that while it’s not perfect, he supports the compromise omnibus funding bill that passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Beyer says the bill contained key environmental protections and funding for scientific research. [Rep. Don Beyer]
No Endorsement from Garvey — County Board member Libby Garvey says she will vote in the upcoming Democratic caucus, but so far she is not endorsing any candidate for County Board. [InsideNova]
ACDC Candidate Forum — The Arlington County Democratic Committee held its candidate forum/debate last night, with all four candidates for County Board weighing in on topics from affordable housing to WMATA and transit to diversity in county government. [Blue Virginia]
Trustify’s Swanky Digs — Arlington-based startup Trustify’s new 8,000 square foot office in Crystal City has “a view that arguably is one of the dreamiest” among local startups. The design of the office was “‘film noir’-inspired.” [DC Inno]
Lyon Park Mansion Auction Is Tonight — The huge “Pershing Manor” mansion at 3120 N. Pershing Drive is scheduled to hit the auction block at 5 p.m. tonight. The opening bid is $750,000, though the property is assessed at $4 million. [ARLnow, ARLnow]
McHenry Talks About Towing Spat — ESPN sportscaster Britt McHenry is opening up about the time she berated an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington — and was caught on camera doing so, in a video that would go viral around the world. McHenry says she regrets what she said during the 2015 incident. The fallout has hurt her both professionally and personally, she says. [Marie Claire]
Garvey’s Swearing In Ceremony — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey will be sworn in for her second full term today. The ceremony will take place in the County Board room (2100 Clarendon Blvd) at 5 p.m. It will feature remarks from Garvey and a poem from Arlington County Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young. [Arlington County]
Developers Want Gondola, Boathouse — At a Bisnow event in Pentagon City last week, local developers said they’re generally supportive of the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola, though they’d also be interested in a Rosslyn boathouse to connect with a local water taxi system. Rosslyn, they noted, has fewer opportunities to develop its waterfront than jurisdictions like Alexandria, Prince George’s County and D.C. [Bisnow]
Volunteers Needed for Wreath Laying — The group Wreaths Across America is seeking volunteers to help lay wreaths on gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. The holiday tradition will take place this coming Saturday morning. [Wreaths Across America]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
Metro’s next round of SafeTrack “surge” work begins Monday and it’s expected to have a major impact on Arlington commuters.
Surge #11 is scheduled from Nov. 28 to Dec. 21. The 24-day project will involve track work and single-tracking between the West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations, on the Orange and Silver lines.
The first 14 days of the work are expected to be especially disruptive as Metro will be unable to run additional trains to make up for the reduction in service. That’s due to the location of the track work and Metro’s rail signaling service, officials said.
“There will be a severe reduction in train service,” said Joe Leader, Metro’s Chief Operating Officer. “The first two weeks of this surge will be the worst of anything our riders have experienced so far since we started Safetrack.”
Riders should expect “very crowded trains and platforms.” Trains running through Arlington may be so crowded that riders will be unable to board during rush hour.
Additional ART buses and Metrobus shuttles will run along Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor to help provide additional capacity during the surge. Arlington County is also encouraging commuters to telecommute during the project.
Ultimately, the track work is expected to result in a smoother ride and more reliable service along the Orange and Silver lines.
“It’s going to be intense for the first two weeks,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey, during a press conference at the West Falls Church Metro station. “It’s short term pain for a lot of gain and it’s something that we’ve got to do.”
It’s probably safe to say that “shock and horror” was the predominant reaction among local Democrats to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in Tuesday’s presidential election.
In Arlington, only 17 percent of those casting ballots voted for Trump, while 76 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. Early on, as the results just started coming in, some officials we spoke to at the Democratic victory party in Clarendon refused to even concede that there was even a possibility that Trump could be elected.
Both the surprise over the result and the fear over what a Trump presidency means for Arlington and the nation was on display at Wednesday’s Arlington County Board meeting. Each Board member weighed in with their thoughts on the election. (See video, above.)
Here’s a bit of what Christian Dorsey had to say:
The outcome of this Presidential election was not what I desired, nor what I ever thought possible. This morning, my wife Rachel and I had to tell our budding feminist, 8-year-old daughter, who just a couple of weeks ago dressed as a suffragette for Halloween and explain to her that our candidate lost. That was hard. But harder still was finding answers to her very natural follow up questions, why, how? But I have to tell you that hardest of all, were finding words of reassurance to an outcome that in my opinion has dramatic consequences for our country. I hope to be proven wrong. Tens of millions of Americans, 20,000 Arlingtonians, and for all I know, perhaps some of you in this room chose Mr. Trump. I won’t try to believe it, but I will try to accept it.
County Board Chair Libby Garvey said a Trump presidency will not change the nature of the Arlington community.
At this point, I know we need to not give into fear, we need to not give into anger, we need to not assume that we know why everybody voted the way they did. And we need to continue what we have been doing here. This is a beautiful, wonderful community and we will do everything we can to preserve it and I am hopeful that we can. The rule of law and the rule of our constitution must prevail.
Jay Fisette said he was trying his best to cope with the results and give the new president a chance.
Yesterday was likely the most consequential election in my lifetime, for our country, to our world, to our understanding of democracy, the economy and our environment. Earlier today, I watched Hillary Clinton’s poignant and gracious concession speech and I actually took to heart her advice.
Number one, to respect the orderly transition of power that which is fundamental of our constitutional democracy. Two, to work with ourselves to open our minds and give our President Elect a chance to lead. And three, to continue to believe in our vision, in our values for the community, for the country.
In each of these, the first is easy for me. Everyone must and will come together to respect and accept the election results, as that is how we work, via the example that was set by our very first president, George Washington. So congratulations, Mr. Trump.
The second will be harder for some, like me, to open my mind and give our President Elect a chance to lead, yet we must do that. After we each finish our own grieving, those that supported Mrs. Clinton, and our assessment of what happened and why it happened, we must give the President a chance.
Independent John Vihstadt, the lone non-Democrat on the Board, said he was disappointed by the slate of presidential candidates this year.
Regardless of our political perspective, everyone in the nation and across the globe is still processing the remarkable outcome of yesterday’s election. Many are jubilant, others are apprehensive, or even fearful, and many others no doubt are conflicted. In my view, all four party nominees on the Virginia ballot for President this year fell short of what our nation deserved and needed in 2016. I voted, but did not vote for any of them. Still, the American people have spoken.
I am confident that our democratic institution will heal and endure, and I hope and pray, that people of goodwill will come together, lower our voices, and work together to find common ground to advance the human condition.
I’m reminded of the statement chiseled in stone above the main door to the state capitol of my home state of Nebraska, “the salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.”
Katie Cristol said Arlington County would “navigate the coming days as we have other major economic and political events in the past” thanks to residents, county staff and prudent planning.
Cristol said the county would continue to respect the rights of immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, in the face of Trump’s deportation promises.
I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm what has been a hallmark of Arlington County: inclusion and protection of our diversity and of our residents. I want to reaffirm that my commitment to the safety of our immigrant neighbors, emphasizing as this board did in 2016 that all residents and visitors to Arlington County have a right to public safety protection. That it is our longstanding policy that Arlington County law enforcement does not monitor, detain, interview or investigate people solely for the purpose of determining their integration status, and that the services we provide in Arlington County, including education, public transit, access to our parks and to our libraries are not restricted based on immigration status.
At an Arlington Committee of 100 event Wednesday night, a number of local political figures discussed what the election meant to Arlington County.
Jim Presswood, chairman of the Arlington GOP, told ARLnow.com that “we’re a little bit unclear” on the exact ramifications of a Trump presidency on the county.
“With the new administration you’ll have new people coming in, that will be a change,” he said. “Maybe government is a bit more restrained, so that might have impacts as well.”
Presswood said a more limited government under Trump, with streamlined regulations, will create more business opportunities, which will be good for business and for the working class.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to take a look at this whole segment of our population, especially in the industrial Midwest, which has been facing lots of job losses with manufacturing going overseas,” he continued. “The key thing is jobs, especially for the working class, creating more economic opportunity for them. That’s not something that would have much effect in Arlington, I suppose, given how many folks here have advanced degrees, but there are people here that are part of the working class so that’s not to be forgotten.”
Kip Malinosky, chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, was also a speaker at last night’s event. He told ARLnow.com that he remains worried about Trump’s divisiveness.
I hope that there will be a minimal impact on Arlington, but I am worried that there could be significant harm. Arlington is a welcoming community that thrives with immigrants and residents from all over the world. Trump’s rhetoric and platform could put our diverse community in jeopardy. Furthermore, our ability to attract top businesses from around the world would likely become much more difficult. Again, I hope for the best and that Trump will leave some of his most incendiary rhetoric and policies behind, and concentrate on being President of the entire United States of America.
During our live election night broadcast, from Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon, we asked some local Democrats about a potential Trump victory, which at that point still seemed unlikely.
State Senator Adam Ebbin weighed in on what a Trump presidency might mean for Arlington by focusing on the military.
They both support a strong defense. Clinton has a sensible plan, has the experience and the advisors to do appropriate planning and make sure our military is right-sized. To hear Trump talk about it, he would just invest a lot in the military; I don’t know if he would do that haphazardly or if Congress would go along with that. I don’t know if he has a detailed or well-informed policy plan based on his own knowledge.
ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot, meanwhile, had serious reservations about Trump being elected.
If by some stretch of imagination Donald Trump is elected president, I think you would see a lot of negative reaction in the country, certainly in Arlington, a lot of bitter disappointment.
We’ve got to make sure Hillary gets elected, I hope we’ve done it. I think we would be spending the next four years trying to maintain the rule of law and our constitution, because I don’t think Trump and those supporting him really understand the Constitution, and the rule of law is what makes our nation great. Anytime you’ve got people living together you’ve got disputes. You’ve got to learn to solve them through the law, not who has got the biggest gun or the biggest fists and that’s going backwards.
More investing in our people is what I think we need to do as a nation. Investing in education, healthcare, childcare, all of those things. I think Trump is interested in investing in himself.
Additional reporting by Samantha Moore
“Unofficial turnout was a record high of 121,807 but because of population increases, that represents just 82 percent of our 148,154 registered voters, falling a little short of the 85 percent turnout record set in 1992,” said Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg.
That mirrors the 2012 election, in which numerical turnout set a record in Arlington but percentage-wise the turnout was just short of the record.
Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey won re-election last night. Her swearing-in ceremony has not yet been scheduled but “will likely take place next month,” a county press release (below) noted.
Garvey applauded Arlington voters for approving all four bond issues on the ballot.
“On behalf of County leadership, I want to thank our residents for supporting every bond measure on the ballot, making that commitment to better, safer roads, parks, community centers, fire stations and schools in Arlington,” she said in a statement. “We will work hard to make sure these funds will be invested wisely and managed carefully as a public trust in our shared future.”
For additional election results, see our updated election coverage.
Arlington voters on Tuesday re-elected Libby Garvey to the County Board as she concludes her year as Board Chair. Garvey won 70.11 percent of ballots cast with 72,542 votes in the Nov. 8 election according to 100 percent of results posted this morning by the Virginia State Board of Elections.
Garvey was first elected to the Board in March 2012 in a special election to complete the term of now-state Senator Barbara Favola. Garvey won a full four-year term that fall and now has been re-elected to serve through 2020. Her current year-long role as Board Chair concludes next month with the job traditionally taken up by another member in the new year.
“Thank you Arlington voters for once again taking to the polls in such large numbers and for continuing to place your trust in me,” Garvey said. “Most importantly, on behalf of County leadership, I want to thank our residents for supporting every bond measure on the ballot, making that commitment to better, safer roads, parks, community centers, fire stations and schools in Arlington. We will work hard to make sure these funds will be invested wisely and managed carefully as a public trust in our shared future.”
All bond referenda approved
Voters approved all four bond referenda on the ballot, representing $315,775,000 in investment to fund transportation, infrastructure, parks and Arlington Public Schools projects.
The bond referenda were:
Metro and Transportation: $58.79 million (passed with 78 percent of the vote)
Projects include: Arlington’s share of Metro’s capital program, street paving, bridge renovations, bike and walking safety enhancements, streetlight maintenance and conversions, transportation system and signal upgrades and neighborhood curb and gutter improvements.
Local Parks and Recreation: $19.31 million (passed with 76 percent of the vote)
Projects include: Park maintenance, land acquisition and open space, trail modernization, improvement work for Jennie Dean Park and Tyrol Hills Park.
Community Infrastructure: $98.85 million (passed with 75 percent of the vote)
Projects include: Replacement of old Lubber Run Community Center building, underground parking to expand Lubber Run green space, ADA upgrades for Lubber Run courts and playground areas, parking deck for Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, increased neighborhood conservation support, facilities maintenance, Courthouse Complex renovations and infrastructure, Nauck Town Square and infrastructure, Barcroft gymnastics expansion, expanded childcare for County employees, critical systems infrastructure and replacement of Fire Station 8 facility.
Arlington Public Schools: $138.83 million (passed with 79 percent of the vote)
Projects include: an addition at the Stratford building to add 339 seats, the new school at the Wilson site to add an estimated 775 seats, renovation of the Career Center/Arlington Tech to add 300 seats, planning and design to build an additional 1300 secondary seats at locations to be determined, and HVAC, roofing and other infrastructure improvement projects at existing APS buildings.
(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Local candidates celebrated victories Tuesday night while shocked Democrats watched the presidential election slip out of their grasp.
County Board Chair Libby Garvey will serve another term after defeating independent Audrey Clement. With all absentee ballots counted, Garvey and Clement have 71 and 27 percent of the vote, respectively.
“I’d like to give a shout-out to my opponent, Audrey Clement,” said Garvey in a speech at the Democratic victory party at Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon. It’s important for all voices to be heard in a democracy, Garvey said.
Tannia Talento and Nancy Van Doren, who both ran unopposed, have won seats on the Arlington County School Board.
Arlingtonians have overwhelmingly voted in favor of all four bond referenda. Metro and transportation has 78 percent approval, parks and recreation has 75 percent, community infrastructure has 75 percent and the Arlington Public Schools bond has 80 percent.
Like Virginia voters statewide, Arlington County voters rejected a “right-to-work” state constitutional amendment while approving an amendment providing property tax relief to the spouses of fallen first responders.
Arlington County voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. In that race, Clinton has 76 percent, Trump has 17 percent, Gary Johnson has 3 percent, Jill Stein has 1 percent and Evan McMullin has 2 percent.
Clinton’s net 71,724 vote victory over Trump in Arlington contributed significantly to her 182,954 vote margin over Trump statewide.
An initially optimistic mood at the Democratic event at Sehkraft gave way to anxiety over the results of the presidential race. At 10:40 p.m., CNN called Virginia for Hillary Clinton, lightening the mood a bit. Early Wednesday morning, however, the race was called for Donald Trump, raising questions about how Arlington might fare under a Trump administration.
In the 8th congressional district race, Arlington County voters gave a large margin of victory to incumbent Democrat Rep. Don Beyer, with 71 percent of the vote over Republican opponent Charles Hernick with 25 percent. That margin, however, was narrower than Clinton’s 76-17 margin over Trump in Arlington.
Beyer won the district as a whole 68 percent to 27 percent for Hernick.
County election officials did not receive reports of any major local voting issues. They say there were no lines at any of the county polling places within the last half hour of voting, indicating most residents who intended to vote already had. There were long lines at many polling places this morning, but they largely died down after 9 a.m.
Before the evening rush, Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg had said most precincts reported about 50 percent voter turnout, while another 25 percent or so voted absentee.
Lindberg expects final numbers to be close to those from 2012, when Arlington experienced 83 percent voter turnout. About 118,000 ballots were cast at that time, which was a county record.
ARLnow conducted a live video broadcast tonight from Sehkraft from 7:30-9:30 p.m., in which editor Scott Brodbeck spoke with elected officials including County Board Chair Libby Garvey, County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and Virginia state senator Adam Ebbin. The video from the broadcast is available above.
(Updated at 6:55 p.m.) After fending off a primary challenge from fellow Democrat Erik Gutshall, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey (D) is now running for reelection against independent candidate Audrey Clement.
In this week’s podcast, we asked Garvey about a number of local issues, from development to transit along Columbia Pike to preparations for snow removal this winter.
We also asked Garvey (around 36:30) about her support of Republican-turned-independent John Vihstadt, her colleague on the County Board. It was Garvey’s endorsement of Vihstadt over Democrat Alan Howze that precipitated her temporary expulsion from the local party’s good graces.
“He’s an independent, he’s clearly an independent,” Garvey said of Vihstadt. “It’s basically where a lot of Democrats are moving towards, and in fact where I think the center of this country is: socially liberal and fiscally responsible.”
“That’s where a lot of us are and I think it’s where Arlington is,” she concluded, “which is why I think John won and why I won.”
Garvey said the Board is functioning better as a body with more diverse viewpoints, as opposed to the previous all-Democrat regime that was “accused, somewhat justly I believe, of being in lockstep.”
Check out interviews of other local candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot from our previous podcast episodes: County Board candidate Audrey Clement (I) and congressional candidates Rep. Don Beyer (D) and Charles Hernick (R).
Last week we asked the two candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.
Here is the unedited response from incumbent Libby Garvey (D):
“What an exciting time to be in Arlington!” I said at our January meeting. Ten months on, my excitement about our community’s future has only grown. We have highly educated and incredibly talented people; diversity, which brings much of the world’s experience together in just 26 square miles; beautiful and safe neighborhoods; an outstanding school system; a strong safety net to protect the most vulnerable; and a committed and talented business community.
With our resources, we can solve just about any problem we face. And we’ve solved many. It has been a real privilege to serve you on the County Board for the past four-and-a-half years, and on the School Board for fifteen years before that. This is a wonderful community, but we have challenges. I am running for reelection to the County Board because I know that together we will continue to meet our challenges, and I want to help Arlington achieve our potential.
We must make sure our services work well for residents. We have taken steps this year, such as e-filing of building permit applications, but there is more to do. We must embrace new tools, but innovation and service delivery isn’t only about technology. I will continue to encourage our staff to try new processes to make using public services simple and straightforward.
I will continue my work to help us get around. The Transit Development Plan we approved this summer was a start toward realizing premium bus service on Columbia Pike and throughout the county, but we need to continue to update our transit services so they get riders where they want to go. The crisis with Metro reminds us that we must also deepen our cooperation around the region. I will continue to work with leaders around the region both to improve Metro and to build new regional transit options.
We must make sure that every Arlingtonian can participate in our community processes. We made a good start this year by webcasting and recording County Board work sessions and meetings of the Planning and Transportation Commissions, but we need to expand these webcasts to all commission meetings. I will continue to push for more online tools that both inform residents about what’s happening and allow them to provide feedback to their government. Traditional, time-intensive methods, which often don’t account for family and work commitments, cannot be a bar to resident participation in our community and government.
Arlington must be a place where everyone feels that she or he can contribute. This year, I helped bring people together on different sides of issues like Fire Station 8 and the Stratford school driveway to discuss the options openly before moving forward. Everyone can’t have his or her preferred outcome, and I did not have mine on every issue. But when we have an open dialogue and focus on speaking with – and listening to – each other, we make sure that everyone can contribute to the ultimate decision in some way.
We still need a strategic plan to unify all of our issue-specific master plans. Coming up with an overall strategic plan will take time and must include the whole community so that we hear everyone’s voice. We started down this path this year, and I look forward to building on it in my next term.
Arlington County is a place where residents, business, and government all work to bring out the best in our community. I ask for your vote on Tuesday to continue serving you as we work together to realize our full potential.
Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey says the county will be reviewing the findings of a study on the potential for a Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola system, which was released this morning.
The study found that a gondola system would cost $80-90 million to construct and $3.25 million annually to operate. The gondola would have a “projected minimum average daily ridership of 6,500 people (primarily workers and residents) and a capacity of 2,400 people per hour per direction.”
“Like Washington D.C.’s leadership, we find the results of the study interesting,” Garvey said in a statement. “We will be reviewing the report and doing significant analysis before making any decisions. We also will be talking with our regional partners.”
“It is important to note that no proposals have been made yet about how the gondola would be funded,” Garvey continued. “Should we decide to continue to explore whether or not to build a gondola, funding proposals would also affect the Board’s decision on whether to actually build the project.”
The full press release on the gondola study is below.
The Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola Feasibility Study was released this morning on GeorgetownRosslynGondola.com. The study, conducted by a consulting team led by ZGF Architects over a five-month period, identifies and details the demand, financial, regulatory, design and real estate considerations of an aerial gondola lift connecting the Arlington, Virginia Rosslyn neighborhood and Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood.
The consulting team, along with Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) President and CEO Joe Sternlieb and Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick, will discuss the study’s findings and their implications at a public information meeting later today from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Theater on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington.
“The charge for this study was not to sell the idea of a gondola, rather it was to evaluate if a gondola is technically feasible, from a multi-disciplinary approach, and to conceptually define the feasibility parameters.” said Otto Condon, Principal, ZGF Architects. “With our finding that a gondola is feasible, the decision to move forward is a discussion for both sides of the Potomac to have, both individually and collaboratively.”
Key findings include:
- System can operate seamlessly with Metro system, using same fare media and rates, and allowing cost-free direct transfers.
- A projected minimum average daily ridership of 6,500 people (primarily workers and residents) and a capacity of 2,400 people per hour per direction.
- A four minute ride door-to-door with 8-12 people cabins arriving every 20-60 seconds.
- Multiple feasible alignments, with the most favorable station locations along N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn and around the Exxon Gas Station on M Street in Georgetown.
- Significant potential economic benefits on both sides of the river.
- The potential to reduce as many as 100,000 bus trips per year across the Key Bridge
- Estimated $80-90 million in capital costs assuming high-quality design to enhance the public realm.
- $3.25 million in annual operating costs assuming operation 365 days a year.
- Relatively high operating cost recovery from fares.
“To put the study findings in context, as the region grows in population, we need to be exploring new ways to efficiently move people. If the Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola was viewed as Georgetown’s Metro station, ridership would be higher than over half the Metro stations in the DC-area while capital and operating costs would be lower,” said Joe Sternlieb, president and CEO, Georgetown BID. “This could be an attractive, cost-efficient regional transportation option that would give thousands of daily commuters, students, residents and tourists a quick, affordable, and reliable way to travel between neighborhoods.”
Regional Economic Benefits
The study suggests economic benefits consistent with transit oriented development can be expected such as increased real property values, restaurant, retail and hotel sales, as well as the likelihood of faster office and residential leasing.
“From an Arlingtonian perspective, you can see how the gondola would help attract businesses that want to locate in accessible urban hubs, residents who want to navigate between neighborhood amenities without cars, and tourists who want to see beautiful skylines and views,” said Mary-Claire Burick, president, Rosslyn BID. “I was also pleased that the renderings from the study incorporate high-quality design that enhances the public realm and is mindful of view sheds.”
Regulatory Approvals and Next Steps
The feasibility study also deemed the gondola to be legally permittable – making it feasible from a regulatory standpoint. Although construction of the gondola would require review by as many as 20 local, state and federal agencies, and require a federal Environmental Impact Statement, there were no findings that the project could not be approved and permitted.
“I have long liked the idea of having a gondola to link Georgetown with Rosslyn and the Metro system,” said Mary Cheh, D.C. Councilmember and Chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment. “It is an innovative and forward-thinking way to address transportation issues in the District and our region. This study suggests that the gondola option is both practical and feasible, and I’d like to work with my colleagues to explore next steps toward implementation.”
The gondola project’s next phase will be for leaders on both sides of the river to review the feasibility study and meet to discuss whether and how to proceed to the next phase of planning. The Environmental Impact Study process is estimated to take three to four years. If approved, it would take two years to construct the gondola. Further decisions would need to be made on how the construction and operation of the project would be funded.
“Like Washington D.C.’s leadership, we find the results of the study interesting. We will be reviewing the report and doing significant analysis before making any decisions. We also will be talking with our regional partners. It is important to note that no proposals have been made yet about how the gondola would be funded. Should we decide to continue to explore whether or not to build a gondola, funding proposals would also affect the Board’s decision on whether to actually build the project,” said Libby Garvey, Chair, Arlington County Board.
The Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola idea emerged from the Georgetown 2028 planning process as a potential high-speed transit connection that could efficiently solve many transit issues for the commercial, residential, university, hospital and visitor constituencies in Georgetown and Rosslyn. The gondola project is also consistent with the Realize Rosslyn sector plan, which prioritizes creating a vibrant urban center with multimodal transit options.
The feasibility study was conducted and funded by a partnership that included the District of Columbia Government, Arlington County, Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID), Georgetown University, Gould Property Company, JBG Companies, Penzance, and Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID). Partners contributed more than $200,000 to conduct the study.