Press Club
The new bridge in Glencarlyn Park (courtesy Dennis Dimick)

A pedestrian bridge in Glencarlyn Park that washed away during a severe flash flood nearly three years ago has been replaced.

On Monday, a contractor installed a new bridge over Four Mile Run in Glencarlyn Park (301 S. Harrison Street). The installation was completed before noon, Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish tells ARLnow.

The new bridge is in the same location as the old one, per the project webpage.

Location of the Glencarlyn Park pedestrian bridge (via Arlington County)

Although the new bridge is in place, pedestrians and cyclists can’t walk or bike over it just yet.

“Our contractor has final work to do that is weather dependent,” Kalish said. “The bridge should be open to the public by the end of March.”

https://twitter.com/WalkArlington/status/1493408479435968512

In July 2019, six pedestrian bridges in Arlington were washed away after torrential rain caused heavy flooding. The Glencarlyn bridge suffered some of the worst damage in the storm, along with two bridges at Lubber Run Park.

The parks department has funds to replace one bridge at Lubber Run, and selected the bridge at the park’s southern end, per a webpage for the project.

Plans for the replacement are in the design stage, and construction could begin late this summer and end next spring.

An illustration of the new Lubber Run Park pedestrian bridge (via Arlington County)
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A coyote was spotted in Arlington Forest, near Lubber Run (courtesy of Amy Cocuzza)

A black coyote was sighted near Lubber Run this week, and she may have pups.

While sighting the shy canine is relatively rare, the dark fur of the Arlington Forest coyote is a touch more uncommon. Its coloration is what helped the Animal Welfare League of Arlington identify she was not new to the area.

One Arlington Forest resident called the AWLA, which runs the county’s animal control operation, to report a sighting on Monday, and said the coyote had pups in tow, although officers couldn’t locate her or the young to confirm. On Tuesday, an ARLnow reader Amy Cocuzza caught her on camera in the neighborhood.

Cocuzza reached out to a USDA wildlife specialist, who said the Arlington Forest coyote’s dark fur is uncommon but not rare. Coyotes in the East have tremendous color variation.

AWLA’s Chief of Animal Control Jennifer Toussaint tells ARLnow the Arlington Forest coyote is not the only dark coyote she’s seen in Arlington. She saw her first on Route 110 near Memorial in 2013. She compared the uncommon coloration — known as melanism — to that of the more prevalent black squirrel.

She said the coyote Cocuzza saw is likely female and they became aware of her in Arlington Forest last year.

Previous coyote sightings reported by ARLnow were all of a grey or lighter brown colored canine. A coyote was spotted multiple times wandering around in the Fairlington area in 2020. Coyotes have also been seen moseying along Washington Blvd, and in Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Lubber Run and Cherrydale. In 2014, a coyote was struck by a car near Arlington National Cemetery.

Toussaint called coyotes “highly adaptable opportunists” and said they thrive living near people in suburban and urban settings like Arlington where scavenging for food is easy — taking advantage of pet food or trash left out. But she said the presence of a coyote, which can be active both day and night, isn’t cause for alarm. In fact, there are some benefits like free rodent control.

“Urban coyotes are born right in our neighborhoods and are generally familiar with us, our pets, and our routines,” she said. “Occasionally, a curious coyote may need to be reminded to be wary of people, especially if someone has been feeding them, which is not advised or legal.”

Toussaint recommends “hazing” techniques, such as clapping your hands, raising your voice, blowing a whistle or shaking an aluminum can with pennies inside. She said, while coyotes don’t pose a risk to humans, they should never be handled and pets should be monitored closely and kept current on rabies vaccines.

“We don’t see many interactions or conflicts between coyotes and people or pets, but when we do, it’s usually because someone was startled, so it’s a good idea to practice hazing techniques before allowing a pet in your yard, as well,” she said.

Arlington’s Natural Resource Manager Alonso Abugattas writes that “the Eastern coyote is bigger than those in the West, about the size of a border collie or even German Shepherd, often between 45 to 55lbs” with males usually larger than the females.

The USDA specialist suggested to Cocuzza that the black coyote may be wandering out because it’s their mating season, and “they do tend to be more bold and wander out at this time.”

Hat tip to Amy Cocuzza 

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(Updated at 10:15 p.m.) President Joe Biden paid a visit to Arlington and the recently-renovated Lubber Run Park, in support of Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia gubernatorial bid.

A crowd of just under 3,000 well-wishers assembled feet from the doors of the Lubber Run Community Center, near Ballston, which just opened to the public earlier this month after serving as a vaccination site.

Biden’s motorcade arrived at the park at 6:50 p.m., after speeding past restaurants and onlookers in Arlington, according to a White House press pool report. There were “a couple dozen protesters” of various stripes outside the event, including those against fracking, oil pipelines, and abortion.

After arriving, Biden spoke with a group of DACA recipients, met with McAuliffe, and took photos with numerous state and local officials. He took the stage around 8 p.m. and spoke for about 30 minutes, highlighting his agreement with McAuliffe on just about every every issue.

The president talked about jobs, increasing the minimum wage, and veteran assistance, while also criticizing McAuliffe’s Republican opponent in the race, Glenn Youngkin. He also expressed concern about rising Covid numbers.

Biden complimented current Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam efforts in helping to “get shots in arms,” but said there’s still work to be done.

“What we have now is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Biden said.

The president also noted, if McAuliffe is elected, he would once again be the First Lady Jill Biden’s boss, due to her being a professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

As the president spoke, uniformed Secret Service members with large binoculars watched over the crowd from the roof of the community center. At least one helicopter also buzzed overhead.

At one point, a group of hecklers started shouting something about a pipeline.

“This is not a Trump rally,” Biden said, according to the pool report. “Let ’em holler. No one’s paying attention.”

Prior to Biden and McAuliffe speaking, Dr. Leonard N. Smith, Senior Minister of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Green Valley, gave an invocation. McAuliffe later came out to Mark Morrison’s 1996 hit Return of the Mack before speaking for about 15 minutes. (“Returnofthemack” was also the event’s WiFi password.)

Other speakers included a bevy of Democrats: Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn, lieutenant governor candidate Hala Ayala, Attorney General Mark Herring, Northam and Rep. Don Beyer.

Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti, County Board members Takis Karantonis and Katie Cristol, Arlington School Board Chair Barbara Kanninen, School Board member Monique O’Grady, Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, and Del. Alfonso Lopez were also in attendance.

“Welcome to Arlington, the healthiest county in Virginia,” Beyer, Arlington’s representative in Congress, declared when he spoke.

This, of course, isn’t the first — nor, likely, the last — time Biden has come across the Potomac, but this is the first time many locals can remember a president has come to their neighborhood.

Ray Payton lives in Buckingham and grew up nearby, graduating from Yorktown High School.

“I don’t know when a president has come to the neighborhood before,” Payton said earlier in the evening. “And I’ve been here all of my life.”

Balvinder Sehmi lives just a few doors down from the community center, in a house she’s lived in for 47 years. This is also the only insistence she can remember of a president stopping by.

“I’m surprised he’s here,” she said excitedly, above the din of the crowd. “I’m going to tell people he was at my house.”

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President Joe Biden and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe will be holding a “grassroots event” near Ballston on Friday.

The campaign event is being held at Lubber Run Park, next to the new Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive). Gates are slated to open at 5 p.m. for members of the public who RSVPed online to attend.

“President Biden and Terry will discuss Virginia Democrats’ commitment to creating good paying jobs, making health care more affordable and giving every Virginia child a world class education,” the McAuliffe campaign said in a press release.

The location was not initially revealed when the event was first announced last week.

McAuliffe, who formerly served as governor prior from 2014 to 2018, captured the Democratic nomination for another term last month. He is running against Republican nominee and businessman Glenn Youngkin.

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The new Lubber Run Community Center, which operated as a vaccination clinic this spring, will open for its intended purpose on Tuesday, July 6.

“After opening the park in fall 2020, and now that the vaccination clinic has ended, it’s time to prepare to open the new center,” the Department of Parks and Recreation said in an email. “Come by the gym, fitness center and indoor track.”

Fitness memberships are required for those working out at the center.

Construction started on the new community center in 2018. It was set to open in late 2020, but due to budget cuts the opening of the community center lagged behind that of the park’s playgrounds and courts, which made their debut last September.

At the time, the county said the community center would open “sometime after July 2021, which is the start of the County’s next fiscal year.”

Before the official opening, the customer service desk will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting next Monday (June 21). Staff will be available to accept forms for in-person summer camp, fee reductions, facility rentals and program and class registrations.

“Shortly after the facility opens, we will host a ribbon-cutting and community celebration,” according to the email, which added that more information on this event will be announced later.

The parks department did not hold a ribbon-cutting for the playground and courts when they opened in September due to the pandemic, Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish previously said.

This summer, the hours for the center will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Those operating hours are set to be extended later this year.

“This fall, the center will be open later, and on Sundays too,” the email said. “Indoor programming, such as the senior center and preschool, will return this fall.”

The community center and park at the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and N. Park Drive is across the street from Barrett Elementary School and is walkable from Ballston. Parking is also available.

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The newly-built Lubber Run Community Center remains shuttered, but the new playground and athletic courts outside of it quietly opened over the weekend.

“After five years of planning and development, the new amenities at Lubber Run Park are open,” Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish confirmed to ARLnow.

“There are multi-purpose lighted courts for pickleball, volleyball and basketball along with a playground featuring a large net climber, sand box and group swings,” Kalish said. “And check out the hill slides, first ever in Arlington! The park also offers a large, open manicured lawn for you to picnic on, toss a frisbee or read a book, great spaces to connect with the neighbors. And the boardwalk brings the community center into the Lubber Run Park forest.”

No ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for the park, as a result of the pandemic, according to Kalish.

The community center and park at 200 N. Columbus Street is across the street from Barrett Elementary and is walkable from Ballston. For those who want to check it out from a distance, parking is available.

“On-site parking is available in the new garage free-of-charge from 8 a.m.-10:15 p.m. through the fall,” Kalish said.

Due to budget cuts, the opening of the new community center building has been delayed to “sometime after July 2021, which is the start of the County’s next fiscal year.”

Photos by Jay Westcott and courtesy of Hannah S. Hat tip to Hannah S.

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