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The Old Bike Shop in Lyon Park is closing next month after a decade in business.

Owner Lawrence Behery told ARLnow that he’s shuttering the used bike repair and sales shop on N. Pershing Drive because of a decline in business and family health challenges.

While Behery said he doesn’t know the exact date of the closure yet, he expects it to happen at the end of February. Additionally, the shop is now only open three days a week from Friday through Sunday. The Old Bike Shop first opened in 2013.

It’s been a bumpy road for Behery and the Old Bike Shop over the last two years.

The pandemic was “crazy” for the bike business and sales were good at first, Behery said, but then his mom was diagnosed with cancer and business began to decline. Last year was particularly tough with sales dropping to the point where the shop “cost me money.” Then, his mom suffered a stroke and Behery became her caretaker.

“Learning to do that with the business not doing so well… it was really tough,” he said. “I really love serving the community, but it’s a delicate balance. I’m trying to fight the fight, but I have both hands tied behind my back and I’m just a little guy.”

Another reason for the closure is the soaring costs related to warehousing and storage. Behery said that storage unit prices have “skyrocketed” leaving him making tough decisions about what parts and inventory to have on hand.

Rent at 2647 N. Pershing Drive, however, has stayed consistent, something that has allowed the shop to survive as long as it has. Behery called his landlord “fair” and a “very decent human being.”

Over the last several days, ARLnow has received notes from readers and loyal customers, asking about how the community could help to keep the shop around. Behery said while that’s a very kind sentiment, he needs to take a step back to help his loved one.

“This is hard for me because I love it, but can’t digest it all… running a business and taking care of mom,” he said. “I just want one hand free. I can’t concentrate on everything.”

He does hope that someday he’ll be able to return to selling and repairing bikes for the Arlington community. As Behery put it, now is the time to take care of his family so that he can come back stronger in the future.

But he’ll always have the memories and is thankful for the community support.

“It feels like that little shop is sorta like a neighborhood bar… I’ve seen kids grow up, from their first bike to the one they take to college,” Behery said. “I have had gratitude to this community since day one.”

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Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

Arlington police are investigating a violent robbery in the Lyon Park neighborhood last night.

The robbery happened around 11 p.m. on the 200 block of N. Wayne Street, in the area of the Washington and Lee Apartments, and resulted in gunfire and a serious injury.

“At approximately 11:07 p.m. on December 27, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Upon arrival, officers made contact with the victim who had sustained serious, non-life-threatening injuries and declined the treatment of medics. The investigation determined the victim was inside his residence when approximately three male suspects entered, physically assaulted him and stole his personal belongings, including a firearm, before fleeing the scene on foot.”

“During the course of the investigation, officers recovered evidence of a firearm being discharged and located property damage to the floor of the residential building,” the report continues. “There are no descriptions for the three suspects. The investigation is ongoing.”

The crime report does not specify who fired the gunshot nor the nature of the victim’s injuries.

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A woman was groped, followed and pulled to the ground by an unknown suspect in the Lyon Park area, police say.

The incident happened last night (Wednesday) around 5:30 p.m.

The suspect initially grabbed the victim’s buttocks as she was walking along the Arlington Blvd trail at 10th Street N., not far from Courthouse, according to Arlington County police.

He then re-approached on the 2500 block of N. Pershing Drive and pulled her to the ground by the shoulders, but ran off when she screamed, police said.

From an ACPD crime report today:

SEXUAL BATTERY (Late), 2022-12070193, Arlington Boulevard trail at 10th Street N. exit ramp. At approximately 7:32 p.m. on December 7, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined approximately two hours prior, the victim was waiting at a crosswalk when the unknown male suspect approached her from behind and touched her buttocks before fleeing the area on foot. The victim continued traveling and was in the 2500 block of N. Pershing Drive when the suspect reapproached her from behind and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, causing her to fall to the ground. The victim yelled and the suspect fled the area on foot. The victim sustained minor injuries and did not require medical attention. Responding officers canvassed the area for the suspect yielding negative results. The suspect is described as a Black male, approximately 20-30 years old, 5’8-5’10, medium build, wearing a black hoodie and black pants. The investigation is ongoing.

The suspect description is a bit different than that of a man who groped a woman in Courthouse last week, though the victim in that case wrote that she “didn’t get a good look at the guy.” Both suspects were reported to have been wearing a black hoodie and black pants, according to police.

“Both incidents remain under investigation and detectives will work to determine if they are linked,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Construction on an upsized home on N. Dinwiddie Street in Halls Hill (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

In Green Valley, resident Portia Clark says she and her neighbors are bombarded with calls and letters from realtors and potential investors about buying their homes.

“We were once a very stable community of homeowners who bought our homes to live here and pay them off,” she said. That increasingly seems to be changing.

There, as in Halls Hill — also known as High View Park — homes are being changing hands as the older generation passes away and their inheritors decide to sell. Some want to buy in more affordable areas, while others cannot afford to make necessary repairs or take over the mortgages, she said.

“At one time, we were the last affordable neighborhood in Arlington to buy a house in,” said Clark, president of the Green Valley Civic Association. “Investors are buying affordable homes, to tear them down and rebuild or have been building townhomes, condos or homes they are renting out.”

Green Valley and Halls Hill — both historically Black communities — are among a handful of Arlington neighborhoods with higher investment rates, according to a home ownership report published by the county in October. The report analyzed home-ownership market trends and barriers to buying.

The county report looked at the number of home loans for investors versus the total loans lent out for every census tract in Arlington. Pentagon City and Aurora Highlands, Radnor-Fort Myer Heights and Halls Hill had investment rates exceeding 12.5%. Investor purchases made up between 10% and 12.5% of financed purchases in Green Valley and Lyon Park, while other neighborhoods had lower rates of investor interest.

Loans issued to investors in 2021 by neighborhood in Arlington (via Arlington County)

Neighborhoods like Clark’s are have lower owner-occupancy rates and higher rates of property purchased for investment purposes, but overall 86% of Arlingtonians in single-family homes are owners, according to Erika Moore, a spokeswoman for the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development.

Reasons for higher investment rates vary by neighborhood, per the report. The county attributes investment in Pentagon City and Aurora Highlands to Amazon’s HQ2, and investment in Radnor-Fort Myer Heights to interest in the River Place co-op, where an expiring ground lease makes properties more attractive to investors than to individual homebuyers.

When asked if staff had any guesses as to why Halls Hill, Green Valley and Lyon Park attracted more investors, Moore said the data staff collected was unclear.

Realtor Eli Tucker says these neighborhoods all have “pockets” of less expensive properties, typically multifamily homes, and many of the investors in Arlington are builders. That tracks with Arlington’s consistent rate of homes torn down, rebuilt and sold at a premium.

Tear-down and rebuild trends since 2012 (via Arlington County)

In Halls Hill, Green Valley and Lyon Park, the less expensive options include apartments and smaller duplex and townhouse properties, which often have no or low HOA fees. These neighborhoods also attract renters.

“[These] are very good rental locations and properties, but tend to be passed over more by principal buyers,” he said. “They can generate higher return-on-investment for investors than many other locations and property types that generate a lot more competition from principal buyers.”

Owner-occupancy rates by neighborhood (via Arlington County)

As for River Place, Tucker says it attracts investors whereas most cooperatives tend to restrict investors looking for rental income. The ground lease set to expire in 2052 creates two investor-friendly conditions.

First, the timeline means fewer mortgage options, which means buyers must pay with cash, which favors investors. Second, it means unit values are going down, instead of up.

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Arlington County police responded to a number of notable incidents over the past few days, including a serious stabbing in Rosslyn.

The alleged stabbing took place in the River Place complex around 1 a.m. Friday.

From yesterday’s ACPD crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-12020042, 1100 block of Arlington Boulevard. At approximately 1:10 a.m. on December 2, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with a weapon. Upon arrival, officers located the male suspect in his apartment and detained him. The male victim was subsequently located in a separate apartment suffering serious, non-life threatening injuries. He was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. The investigation revealed the known suspect came to the victim’s apartment and a verbal dispute ensued over a missing cell phone. The suspect then entered the victim’s residence and allegedly stole the victim’s electronics. The victim then went to the suspect’s apartment to help locate the missing cell phone. While inside the apartment, the suspect allegedly assaulted the victim with a knife, causing lacerations. The victim was subsequently able to exit the apartment and yell for help. [The suspect], 48, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Abduction and Grand Larceny.

Over the weekend, a group of 3-4 suspects rummaged through cars in several locations in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, near Pentagon City.

They ended up successfully fleeing from arriving officers in cars stolen from Fairfax County and from Arlington’s Lyon Park neighborhood, according to the crime report.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said ACPD.

VEHICLE TAMPERING (Series), 2022-12040058/12040064/12040068/12040078, 2600 block of S. Lynn Street, 1000 block of 21st Street S., 1000 block of 16th Street, 900 block of N. Cleveland Street. At approximately 6:41 a.m. on December 4, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined the witness allegedly observed three unknown male suspects attempting to open the doors of parked, unoccupied vehicles. The witness yelled at the suspects and they fled the scene in a dark colored sedan. In total, approximately seven vehicles were determined to have been entered and nothing of value was reported stolen at the time of the report. At approximately 7:10 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering in the 1000 block of 16th Street S. While enroute, responding officers observed two vehicles flee the scene at a high rate of speed. The vehicles were later determined to have been stolen out of Fairfax County and one stolen out of the 900 block of N. Cleveland Street described as a black Honda Civic with Virginia License Plate: UBV8712. Five additional vehicles were determined to have been entered and rummaged through.

In today’s crime report, five teens — one adult and four juveniles — are expected to face charges after allegedly breaking into a home in Lyon Park, just south of Clarendon.

The incident happened late Monday morning. Residents of the home were away at the time but saw the break-in happening on a video surveillance system, according to scanner traffic.

More from ACPD:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2022-12050077, 700 block of N. Edgewood Street. At approximately 11:37 a.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, officers established a perimeter and took an adult male suspect into custody as he exited the home. Officers then observed additional suspects inside the home, gave them commands to exit and took four juveniles into custody. [A suspect], 18, of Alexandria, Va. was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. He was held on a $1,000 bond. Petitions were sought for the four juvenile suspects for Unlawful Entry.

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Arlington County planners say designs for the Days Inn redevelopment on Route 50 don’t pay sufficient homage to the motel’s mid-century modern bones.

Applicant and owner Nayan Patel — doing business as Arlington Boulevard LLC — proposes to replace the 128-unit, 2-story motel across the street from the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall with apartments and 3,000 square feet of retail.

Possible community benefits include a slow-speed, shared-use drive that provides a pedestrian and cycling connection to the Arlington Blvd Trail, protected bike lanes and on-site committed affordable housing units. Residents of the the 251-unit, 8-story building at 2201 Arlington Blvd will have access to an off-leash dog run.

The Arva Apartments will borrow its name from the 67-year-old building’s original name, the Arva Motor Hotel — a portmanteau of Arlington, Virginia. It will feature reconstructions of the hotel’s triangular sign and glassy lobby exterior.

But the county says the project designers, STUDIOS Architects, can do more to emphasize this history.

The Pershing Drive General Land Use Plan study, a 2021 document that outlines the community’s vision for this site, says architectural features should honor the motel’s mid-century design or the history of the adjacent Washington-Lee Apartments. It also says the developer should incorporate the existing triangular sign and the two-story, glassy lobby at the corner of Pershing Drive and Arlington Blvd.

The motel was formerly the Arva Motor Hotel, a portmanteau of Arlington, Virginia

“While the proposal incorporates a recreated sign and a lobby area that resembles the original lobby, the structures themselves are not actually preserved,” county planner Peter Schulz said in a presentation. “Staff also believes that the architecture above the ground level does not do enough to honor either the mid-century design of the existing motel or the historic Washington-Lee apartments.”

STUDIOS Architecture Principal Ashton Allan said in a presentation that the designs embrace the Moderne and mid-century modern styles and blends them with other styles in Lyon Park to do something new.

“As we set out to add our design to this collection, we wanted to draw inspiration from history, but also make our own statement in this chorus of voices,” he said.

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Mark Riley as Chief Turkey (photo courtesy of Arlington Turkey Trot)

Arlington Forest native Mark Riley has been managing the Arlington Turkey Trot for a decade and enjoys being called “Chief Turkey.”

“It’s fun. And if you are having fun, you can do great things,” Riley (or Chief Turkey) told ARLnow. “If you are not having fun, it’s very difficult to get people to want to do anything.”

The annual Thanksgiving 5K is set to take place on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 8 a.m. this year, starting on N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. The race is likely returning to the course — through the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights neighborhoods — that was run prior to the pandemic, per the event’s website.

Wherever this year’s race may trot through, Riley plans to be there donning a turkey costume as he has since 2013.

“This community loves to get together in a festive, heartening, helpful, friendly, joyous atmosphere. [The turkey trot] has become a tradition in Arlington County over the years,” Riley said. “People keep coming over, over, and over again. They bring their kids. Then, the kids who grow up bring their kids. And it just keeps going on and on.”

The Arlington Turkey Trot was first started in 2006 by Christ Church of Arlington Pastor Brian Webster and his wife Diane. That first run had about 300 joggers, runners, and walkers. This year’s race is expected to attract about 4,000 trotters and raise about $120,000 for assorted local charities, equivalent to pre-pandemic numbers.

Riley said that initially the trot only supported a few organizations, but last year they expanded the number of charities that received funds to 18. Those include Path Forward, Arlington Thrive, R.E.A.D., Phoenix Bikes, and others.

“A number of nonprofits, typically smaller budgeted non-profits, have been knocking on [our] door to say we want to be included,” said Riley. “We did not know how to say no to any of them. So, we included them all.”

For his work over the years, Riley is being presented with a “Spirit of Community” award by the Arlington Community Foundation next week. The acknowledgment had him “tearing up,” he said because it’s a reminder of how passionate the community is about helping others.

There was some gobbling that Riley may be hanging up his feathers as the Chief Turkey after this year’s race, but he said those rumors are fowl.

Yes, 2021 was particularly tough due to the lingering impact of Covid and a shortage of police officers, but this year has proven ​​Riley still has the energy of a poult. With a bit of extra support and taking on fewer tasks, he said that the plan is to keep on gobbling as Chief Turkey “for the foreseeable future.”

Besides being able to provide for those less fortunate in the community, what Riley really loves about the trot is seeing the joy it brings so many people. On often-chilly Thanksgiving mornings, watching families run together and kids darting across the finish line fills him with warm feelings.

Adding to the good vibes, every kid that finishes gets a medal.

“The thing that really resonates for [me] when I think of the trot is… joy. I think of joy probably more than anything else,” Riley said. “People who have big, joyous smiles on their faces. They love the turkey trot.”

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Clarendon and Lyon Park power outage (via Dominion)

Update at 3:20 p.m. — The number of outages is down to just over 600, according to Dominion. Police are in the process of removing cones from intersections with traffic signals that are working again.

Earlier: More than 3,500 homes and businesses are currently without power in Arlington due to a reported transformer fire.

The outage is centered around the Clarendon and Lyon Park neighborhoods. Initial reports suggest that a tree fell on power lines somewhere in the area and sparked the transformer fire that is causing the large outage.

Traffic signals are said to be dark at numerous busy intersections. Police are responding to assist with traffic control.

Another several hundred Dominion customers were initially reported to be in the dark around Courthouse, though power is back on in most of the neighborhood.

One office worker in Courthouse described experiencing 3-4 power surges that “went through the building like a wind blowing… about 2 minutes from start to finish.”

In addition to calls about non-functioning traffic lights, police and fire radio channels have been busy with reports of smoke coming from sidewalk grates — a normal occurrence in commercial areas during outages, caused by diesel generators starting up.

As of 2 p.m., Dominion’s website estimates a timeframe of between 5-8 p.m. for restoration of power.

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Update at 2:25 p.m. on 8/19/22 — Arlington police have released additional information about this incident in Friday’s daily crime report. A 34-year-old man was arrested and a knife — not a gun — recovered from the scene, ACPD said.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY (Significant), 2022-08180122, 2400 block of Washington Boulevard. At approximately 1:22 p.m. on August 18th, a plain clothes officer was in the area when he observed the male suspect allegedly brandish a weapon during a dispute with another individual. Additional officers responded to the area and located the suspect who refused to comply with the offices’ commands and fled the scene on foot. Officers canvassed the area, located the suspect in the unit block of N. Bedford Street and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, a knife was recovered. No injuries were reported. Saul Leal, 34, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery. He was held on a $1,000 bond.

Earlier: Police have a suspect in custody after a man allegedly seen with a gun ran from officers in the Lyon Park area.

Officers and at least one K-9 unit on the ground, as well as the U.S. Park Police helicopter in the air, were looking for the man, who reportedly brandished a weapon at an officer along the 2400 block of Washington Blvd, near the Route 50 ramps, and then ran off.

After a search of the area, a suspect was taken into custody without incident, according to scanner traffic.

Residents should expect to see continued police activity in the area, though the response is now being scaled down. Nearby Long Branch Elementary School was placed in “secure the school mode” during the search, according to scanner traffic. Some roads were also blocked during the search.

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With temperatures rising and summer now here, the county’s spraygrounds and interactive water features are all now open except for Mosaic Park.

Arlington has four spraygrounds and two interactive water features that are typically open Memorial Day until Labor Day. Among them:

Spraygrounds

Interactive Water Features

As of this past weekend, they are all open with varying hours — save for the water feature at Mosaic Park. It’s currently closed for repairs, Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish says, but it should be open in about a month.

“We are still waiting for essential components to repair the Mosaic water feature,” Kalish writes, “It will be open before July 4th.”

The Ballston park underwent a $6 million renovation in 2019 after years of delays. It finally reopened to the public in late 2020.

Spraygrounds and water features are actually two different things, with spraygrounds specifically designed to be a play area for kids.

“A sprayground is a playground for children to get wet. An interactive water feature was designed for people of all ages to have fun viewing and getting wet,” Kalish notes. “Interactive water features do not meet Playground Safety Guidelines.”

The water features at Penrose Square and Mosaic Park are, despite the the all-ages designation, popular with children and families.

Of course, there are rules to follow while using the county’s spraygrounds and water features: No running, horseplay, or climbing on features is allowed. Pets are also prohibited and, please, avoid drinking the water, the parks department says. Enjoyment, though, is allowed.

“Having fun is permissible and highly encouraged,” reads the county’s website.

Just last month, Arlington’s park system was ranked number three in the nation by the non-profit Trust for Public Land. The availability of spraygrounds was cited as one of the reasons for the high ranking.

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Trapped coyote that was freed by animal control officers (photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington)

(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Coyote sightings are not uncommon in Arlington, but it’s also not every day that a coyote gets stuck in someone’s yard.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington says its animal control officers were able to free a coyote that recently became stuck between two fences.

In a social media post, AWLA said the frightened coyote was able to run away unharmed after being being freed.

When two local residents went out to see what their dogs were both barking at near their fence line, they were NOT expecting to find a coyote stuck in between their fences! Thankfully, they called us right away and Officer Elpers was able to safely maneuver him out and he ran away unharmed. While residents don’t spot coyotes often in Arlington, they are naturalized to the area. If you catch a glimpse of a coyote in your neighborhood, there’s no need to be alarmed, but you can always give us a call if you spot an animal that is injured or in distress!

The coyote incident happened south of Clarendon, well away from Arlington’s more wooded areas.

“It was on the border of the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights neighborhoods,” AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Jones tells ARLnow.

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