If you like the arts, 5Ks or family- and earth-friendly events, Arlington is the place to be this weekend.
Three separate events in the county will make it bit harder to get around by car.
The Arlington Festival of the Arts will take pace on Saturday and Sunday (April 23-24), shutting down several roads in the Clarendon area. The outdoor event offers art for display and sale over several blocks, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
The Arlington County Police Department announced the following road closures for the event.
The following roads will be closed from approximately 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 through 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 24:
- N. Highland Street will be closed from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be allowed to access the public parking garage to 3033 Wilson Blvd.
- N. Hartford Street will be closed from N. Highland Street to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be able to access the parking garage for 1210 N. Highland Street.
- The alleyway between N. Herndon Street and N. Hartford Street will be closed at N. Hartford Street
Meanwhile, starting at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, the Bunny Hop 5k Race will close streets in the Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods. The race kicks off at 8 a.m. and involves the following road closures, according to ACPD.
The following roadways will be closed in order to accommodate the event:
From approximately 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
- N. Irving Street, between 7th Street N. and 5th Street N.
From approximately 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
- N. Irving Street, between 2nd Road N. and 5th Street N.
- N. Pershing Drive, between N. Piedmont Street and N. Edgewood Street
- N. Fillmore Street, between 3rd Street N. and Pershing Drive
- N. Garfield Street, between Pershing Drive and 3rd Street N.
- 4th Street N., between N. Fillmore Street and N. Garfield Street
- 2nd Road N., between N. Irving Street and the Columbia Gardens Cemetery
A portion of the course winds through the Columbia Gardens Cemetery. The Cemetery will be closed to vehicular traffic and have a delayed opening at 10:00 a.m.
Finally, on Sunday, the 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will be held off Langston Blvd in front of the Lee Heights Shops. The event will include various family activities, live music, sidewalk sales, food and drink specials, and its own art market.
“Let’s come together as a community to celebrate the beauty and promise of our local environment and the planet,” says the website for the Earth Day event. “Every year, communities worldwide uplift Earth Day to mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It reminds us all to do what we can, in ways small and significant, restore, conserve and protect our environment.”
The 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will take place on Sunday, April 24, 2022 and will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The following roadways will be closed from approximately 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. in order to accommodate the festival:
- Cherry Hill Road, between N. Woodstock Street and N. Woodrow Street
- Northbound N. Woodrow Street, between 20th Road N. and Cherry Hill Road will be restricted to local traffic only
Community members should expect to see an increased police presence in the area around these events, and motorists are urged to follow law enforcement direction, be mindful of closures, and remain alert for increased pedestrian traffic. Additional closures not mentioned above may be implemented at police discretion in the interest of public safety.
Residents of the affected neighborhood areas will be escorted through the road closures to minimize the impacts on the community, only when safe to do so. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No parking” signs, as street parking in the area around these events will be limited. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.
A day after a carjacking was reported in the Buckingham neighborhood near Ballston, another was reported this morning in the Lyon Village area, north of Clarendon.
This time two — rather than three — suspects took a man’s car along Langston Blvd after he checked to see if the suspects, who were in an idling vehicle nearby, needed assistance. The carjacking happened around 5 a.m., around the same time of day as Wednesday’s carjacking.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
CARJACKING, 2022-04080027, 2600 block of Langston Boulevard. At approximately 5:15 a.m. on April 8, police were dispatched to the report of a grand larceny auto just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 5:00 a.m., the victim was inside his parked vehicle when he observed the suspect vehicle idling in the area. The victim exited his vehicle to see if the driver needed assistance, when the two unknown male suspects exited their vehicle, grabbed the victim and demanded money. The victim refused, during which the suspects rummaged through his pockets, stealing his keys. Suspect One returned to the suspect vehicle, while Suspect Two entered into the victim’s vehicle and both drove away from the area. No injuries were reported.
This is the third reported carjacking in Arlington so far this year. Eight carjackings were reported in 2021, after 16 the year before.
Map via Google Maps
The two nightlife venues replacing Whitlow’s on Wilson are gearing up to open over the next few months.
Taking over the long-time local watering hole, which closed in June after more than 25 years in Clarendon, are B Live and Coco B’s.
“We are thrilled to open B Live early spring, and Coco B’s late summer,” Bramson tells ARLnow. “We do not have anticipated opening dates yet, but construction and design are well underway for both concepts.”
Additional details will come soon, he said.
Building permits indicate B Live will occupy the first floor and possibly the basement of the space and Coco B’s will be the name of the old rooftop tiki bar at Whitlow’s. (The name Coco B’s could be a nod to the tiki bar theme, or to the noted local TikTok personality whose spats with two Arlington bars attracted considerable attention last summer.)
Bramson’s updates come after last Tuesday’s County Board approval of use permits for live entertainment and dancing at the two spots, as well as for a 48-seat outdoor café at B Live. The approvals came despite opposition from some neighbors over noise concerns.
The County Board approved the following operating hours: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Sundays, which a county report says are similar to those of neighboring bars.
The Lyon Village Civic Association proposed earlier cut-off times of 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, the report said.
Board members instead approved a recommendation from county staff to review these permits this November and evaluate how successful the bars are at mitigating sounds.
Bramson says the spots will have sound panels and dampening curtains and speakers will be strategically placed to lessen noise levels.
“We are a neighborhood spot and want the community to be comfortable whether they are within the spaces or living nearby,” he said. “We hope our proactive response and action have served to allay any residential apprehension and show that we are taking their concerns very seriously.”
Noise from Whitlow’s was a source of consternation for neighbors that resulted in operating hours being curtailed from 2 a.m. to midnight, plus a requirement to install sound dampening panels and curtains, county planner Cedric Southerland told the County Board last Tuesday.
“That came after years and years trying to work with them to remedy their sound impacts on the neighborhood,” Southerland said. “Additionally, that issue is what preceded the formation of the Clarendon Live Entertainment Group (CLEG), along with other bars and restaurants coming online at that time.”
Established in 2002, the CLEG brings together county staff, restaurant owners and neighbors to address concerns and coordinate code enforcement. Southerland says recently, the CLEG has been meeting fewer times per year, which he takes to be a sign that the group is addressing the concerns that led to its creation two decades ago.
But not all neighbors say mechanisms like the CLEG actually help residents enjoy their homes. Julissa Marenco told the County Board on Tuesday that staff are not sufficiently enforcing noise violations and these organizations do not actually go to bat for neighbors.
“We are all in support of music, we are all in support of living in an urban dwelling, we understand the considerations that come with living in these neighborhoods,” she said. “But it’s now at a point on Wilson Blvd, in Clarendon, that it’s having a tremendous impact on individuals.”
Two eastbound lanes of Langston Blvd (Route 29) are blocked as a result of an extended, emergency water main repair in the Lyon Village area.
The work has been taking place just east of the intersection with N. Kirkwood Road/Spout Run Parkway since at least 8:30 p.m. last night. Inbound traffic on Langston Blvd experienced minor delays as a result of the lane closures during this morning’s rush hour.
Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said around 200 water customers are affected by the break in the 6-inch water main. Crews are now hoping to wrap up repairs by 3 p.m. today.
“Pipe and vault required extensive reconstruction at break point,” DES said in a tweet this morning.
Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crew working on 6-inch main at 3000 Langston Blvd. Some 200 customers could be affected. Estimated time for completion: 3/14/2022 9:00 PM. Traffic diverted around work site. Questions: 703-228-6555. https://t.co/i3mMGFOQ1z pic.twitter.com/6IGlVWIiIZ
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) March 15, 2022
Update: Estimated time for completed repairs now 3pm at the latest. Pipe and vault required extensive reconstruction at break point. Two lanes on Langston Boulevard closed. #VaTraffic
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) March 15, 2022
A Lyon Village homeowner’s attempt to deter dogs from peeing on his prized bushes has prompted a major controversy on the local Nextdoor social network.
A post about the plastic “spikes” placed between the bushes and the sidewalk prompted outrage, hundreds of comments and even — reportedly — calls to police, despite the fact that it turned out to be a commonly-used product.
Eric Wang says he first became aware of the Nextdoor post when he noticed an ARLnow photographer taking photos of the blunt, somewhat bendy spikes, “as well as a number of people passing by and checking out the mats through the day.”
“I figured something was up, so I looked on Nextdoor and it was at the top of my feed,” he said in an interview over email. “I had stopped using Nextdoor for several months because of toxic content like this.”
The initial post alleged that the spikes — actually a product sometimes called a “scat mat” that’s advertised as an “gentle [way] to scare or irritate animals without harming them” — were “sharp” and could “do some damage to [dog] paws.”
Quickly, dozens of people piled on in condemning the homeowner, who Wang later identified as himself.
Among the comments that followed: “What a nut,” “what a sicko,” “clearly DGAF about anyone besides himself,” “just horrible,” “pure evil,” “pretty sick behavior,” “sociopathic behavior,” “what an ass.”
Wang’s modern home near the intersection of Key Boulevard and N. Adams Street, in the affluent neighborhood north of Clarendon and Courthouse, is distinctive. It has also caught the attention of local residents due to the prickly-worded signs Wang previously posted about dogs peeing on his bushes.
“Dear dog owners: your dog’s piss is killing these shrubs!” said the sign, a photo of which was posted in the Nextdoor thread. “Each of these shrubs costs $300. If you’ve been allowing your dog to piss on these shrubs, please kindly remit compensation for the damage you have caused.”
“After my first set of signs was not well-received, I relented and created a second set of signs (which nobody on Nextdoor bothered to post, which shows an intent to shade the facts here),” Wang told us, recounting how he finally decided to buy the mats.
“The second set of signs was meant to be humorous, and included a graphic of a smiling urinating dog with a red circle and slash through it and the words, ‘Please, no pissing on the shrubs.’ Neither set of signs was particularly effective, and they also weren’t very weatherproof,” Wang wrote. “So I went online and did some research and purchased the scat mats based on the product reviews I read — many of which were posted by pet owners.”
On Nextdoor, numerous people — who post using their verified full name and neighborhood — fretted that children, seniors and those with disabilities could fall and injure themselves on the spikes. They called for the mats to be reported to the authorities, for Wang to be sued, and for other forms of retribution.
- “I called ACPD”
- “Needs to be reported and the owners put on notice”
- “The Animal Welfare League needs to pay this homeowner a visit”
- “[An animal control officer] said he’ll check it out and make contact with the homeowner to inform them that there are concerns within the community.”
- “If somebody sent pictures to this guy’s insurance company that might have faster results”
- “I reported it to Arlington County. If more people do so, we would have a better chance if them doing something about it!”
- “Has ‘sue me’ written all over it. Hope it happens!”
- “We could all pee in bottles for a week and pour the contents on their bushes”
At least two people posted that they called police and were told nothing could be done. An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman said she could find no record of calls regarding the spikes.
“The reaction is completely unhinged,” said Wang, an Ivy League-educated lawyer. (The person who started the thread is also an attorney, according to his LinkedIn profile.)
“The over-the-top… online pile-on represents the modern-day dangers of the Internet mobocracy,” continued Wang. “The knee-jerk reactions show a complete intolerance for facts and hatred for rational thinking. While this is a relatively minor example compared with phenomena like January 6, COVID denial, and anti-vaxxers, it is part of the same social pathology.”
Shortly after Wang started posting comments defending himself — “I’m sorry, but my property is not a public bathroom for the neighborhood dogs,” he said in one — many were removed and Wang was suspended from Nextdoor for not being “respectful to your neighbors,” according to screenshots reviewed by ARLnow.
Other comments that defended him were also removed, though accusations that those residents were somehow in cahoots with Wang, or were Wang using a false identity, remained. (Wang denied that he knows one particularly vehement defender, who posted dozens of comments before disappearing.)
The number of comments on the post were about 300 earlier today, down from 350 yesterday.
The criticism of Wang extended to commentary about his custom-built home.
“That house is an eyesore,” wrote one person.
“House as ugly as sin,” wrote another
“That house is heinous… our eyes are offended,” said a third.
(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado caused the widespread damage seen in several North Arlington neighborhoods today.
The tornado struck around 9 p.m. Thursday night, touching down near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road. It was rated as an EF1 — the second-lowest on the Enhanced Fujita scale — and cut a 125 yard-wide path of damage as it made its way east through several neighborhoods, before moving into D.C. Maximum winds were estimated at 90 mph.
The twister’s 4.4 mile path ended on the National Mall, between the Washington Monument and the White House. A second tornado, rated EF0, struck near H Street NE in the District, according to forecasters.
In Arlington last night, the tornado uprooted trees, tore siding and shingles off houses, and turned trampolines and branches into projectiles.
Residents tell ARLnow they had just seconds from when their phones started blaring the Tornado Warning, shortly before 9 p.m., and when the rotating storm struck and caused havoc.
Much of the reported damage happened along the well-defined, roughly west-to-east line from the City of Falls Church and through Tara-Leeway Heights, Waverly Hills, Cherrydale and Lyon Village, before crossing the Potomac into D.C. along the National Mall.
Waverly Hills and Cherrydale suffered the worst of the storm’s fury, starting around Woodstock Park and moving along an easterly route just south of Lee Highway. The extent of the damage was evident this morning after the sun came up and chainsaws started buzzing over a large stretch of the neighborhoods.
At Woodstock Park this morning, children were playing despite the tree carnage that littered the park with fallen trees, branches and leaves. Jill Rabach was out surveying the damage to her house, just south of the park. An oak tree was leaning on her home’s roof and her next door neighbor’s fence was crushed by multiple falling trees.
“We heard the Tornado Warning and went to the basement,” Rabach recounted. “About 15 minutes later when all the noise died down we came upstairs and saw a little bit of damage not much. Power was out. By morning it was clear there was much more damage. All the houses on the street lost significant trees.”
“We’ve lived here for 15 years and there haven’t been many storms that blow that hard, that fast,” she added.
The damage continued along 20th Road N., east of the park, with tree crews hard at work clearing branches. Turning right onto N. Utah Street, the road was still blocked by a large fallen tree at 19th Road N.
Heading back up the street, more signs of a violent storm: Multiple downed trees damaged roofs, broke windows and crushed fences; siding from an unknown house lay next to a sidewalk; trash cans were lifted up and blown into neighboring yards. And stuck in a tree near the road was an unusual sight — a large trampoline.
A family in the area said their storm door swung upon so violently it became lodged into and damaged a railing.
“We got the Tornado Warning and within 30 seconds, our front door burst open. And the whole house shook and rattled,” said René Madigan. “Like it all had to have all happened at once. It pulled down all of our power lines… the house next door, it blew their door wide open, too. They have a lot more damage to their home than we have. We were blessed.”
Madigan recounted the sound of the storm as it struck the normally quiet residential neighborhood.
“I heard a horrible sound. Like it was a really horrible sound. And then the whole house just was doing this,” she said, shaking her arms. “And it just happened so fast.”
“Tornado! Get in!” Madigan recalled shouting as the family took cover.
“I heard it and I was in the basement,” Madigan’s husband said of the noise. “First I thought like a big china cabinet fell down. It sounded like… a really loud explosion.”
One street over, and also to the east, residents were out cleaning up. One house had a blue tarp on the roof, but a neighbor said nothing fell on it — shingles were ripped off at the height of the storm.
Over on N. Stafford Street, Jeff Jackson was picking up tree branches across the street from St. Agnes Catholic School in Cherrydale. The Arlington native now lives in Portland, Oregon, but is home taking care of his mother. He was at a friend’s house nearby as the storm approached.
A man was stabbed early Saturday morning in the Lyon Village neighborhood near Clarendon.
Police were called to the 3100 block of Key Blvd, a quiet residential area about 3-4 blocks from the Clarendon nightlife spots along Wilson Blvd, around 1:30 a.m.
“Upon arrival, officers located the male victim suffering from stab wounds and immediately rendered first aid until the arrival of medics,” an Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman said. “He was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.”
A neighborhood witness tells ARLnow the group had recently left a local bar.
“There were two men and two women involved at the intersection of Key and Hartford,” the witness said. “One woman was screaming hysterically that her boyfriend was dying and the police arrested one of the guys.”
Police say the stabbing started as a dispute between two men who knew each other.
“The investigation determined that the victim and known suspect became involved in a verbal dispute which escalated into a physical altercation, during which the suspect allegedly produced a knife and stabbed the victim,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The suspect remained on scene and was taken into custody without incident by responding officers.”
A 25-year-old Herndon resident, Michael Hill, was arrested and held without bond, Savage said. He has been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Drunk in Public.
A food pantry operating out of a residential garage in Lyon Village is closing down, after exactly a year of providing food to needy families.
On March 22, 2020, David Knepper was like many of us when the world shut down — housebound and unable to focus.
The 75-year-old had recently retired from being a home remodeling contractor and was using his garage near the corner of N. Cleveland and 18th Streets as a workshop for small projects.
But he was growing restless and wanted to help others who were struggling. So, he turned his garage into a makeshift food pantry.
“I decided… to share what I have with the people who are losing their jobs and can’t afford food to put on the table,” he tells ARLnow.
Knepper filled his garage with beans, rice, canned vegetables, peanut butter, tuna, oats and other non-perishables. He put out signs written in English, Spanish, and Arabic (thanks to a tenant from Saudi Arabia). People came immediately.
“Quite a few people came to pick up food right from the start,” he says. “Word just spread.”
Over the past year, he estimates that he’s gone through about 950 pounds of rice and hundreds of cans of vegetables.
Knepper declined to share exactly how much money he spent on the food, but estimates it was about the same amount he would have spent if he was feeding a family of seven or eight on a regular basis.
Despite its start as an individual initiative, the food garage became a community effort.
Knepper says dozens of people have dropped off food for donation, including a core group of 15 or 16 who did it on a regular basis.
“They would bring food, sometimes quite a lot of it,” he says. “I’d go out there and the shelves would be absolutely loaded with food.”
There’s one story of the man who caught sight of the garage on the way to visit his daughter. He worked at a Chevy Chase soup kitchen that was getting regular shipments of food but wasn’t using all of it. So, he dropped some off at Knepper’s garage.
Over the last year, Knepper has gotten to know a number of families who regularly picked up good.
“They are always so grateful,” he says.
More than once, a family would come get food and then, a bit later ,would come back after they’ve gotten a paycheck and donate food themselves, Knepper said.
Knepper has lived in his house with his wife Sally for more than three decades but has never seen his neighborhood come together like they have during the pandemic.
“The neighborhood is very supportive,” he says. “My neighbors are great and even better during the pandemic. I’ve gotten to know neighbors I’ve never known before.”
After 365 days, however, Knepper is finally shutting the pantry down. He believes it’s time: the pantry is not being used as often and economic impact payments are in the midst of being sent.
“The last two months, I’ve noticed people are not picking up as much stuff as they did before,” he says. “One year is a good time to close it down.”
He started taking down signs and reclaiming his garage on Monday. All the leftover food is being donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Knepper says he feels good about the community banding together to help to those in need.
“It’s been such a heartwarming experience,” he says. “Everybody pitched in.”
A 94-year-old water main that runs under the residential area north of Clarendon to Courthouse is finally set to be replaced.
On Saturday, the County Board approved a contract for the construction of a new water main along Key Blvd, running from N. Jackson Street to N. Danville Street in Lyon Village. It passed as a consent item, meaning it was deemed non-controversial and was acted upon by a single vote.
The new water main will replace the existing one, which was built in 1927. The new main will improve fire flow capacity and meet neighborhood demand, county staff wrote.
The staff report notes that the aging water main has “had an excessive number of breaks in the past few years.” This includes most recently in July, Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services (DES) confirms.
This project is one of a number of recent efforts to replace old, unlined cast iron pipes, which can more easily break and become corroded.
The contract for the Key Blvd water main was awarded to the lowest bidder, Crown Construction Services, which provided an estimate under the county engineer’s estimated cost. As approved, the authorized contract total is $1.4 million, including contract contingencies.
The county has previously worked with Crown Construction on the Glencarlyn Park renovations.
Construction is expected to start this spring, a DES spokesperson tells ARLnow, with completion set for fall 2022. Water disruption notices will be sent to all affected residents.
Planned water service disruptions will “typically less than a day,” according to the county staff report, and will be limited to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Map via Arlington County
The soft opening this week will culminate in an open house on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with coffee and pastry samples. The shop is open from 8 a.m.-p.m. this week, and this coming Monday will transition to its regular hours of 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sweet Science founder Sandra Wolter told ARLnow on Tuesday that she is ready to kindle in her customers a love of great coffee. Her philosophy can be taste-tested at 2507 Franklin Road, where she said the unpretentious space will make high-quality coffee feel approachable.
“We are doing the best we can to show a good variety of complex flavors while being open and welcoming,” she said.
In November 2019, Wolter announced her plans to move in after the community hub, owned by Commonwealth Joe, said it would close by Thanksgiving. But the road to opening was bumpier than Wolter anticipated.
The acclaimed coffee shop closed its basement location in Adams Morgan and moved to D.C.’s NoMa district in January 2020. Wolter planned to open in the Lyon Village neighborhood last March or April, but renovations and the coronavirus delayed the opening for 10 months.
First, the building needed new plumbing and electricity. By the time the unanticipated construction ended, summer was over, cases and restrictions were mounting and her NoMa location was struggling. She once more pushed off the opening.
“But hey, now we’re here,” she said.
Once Wolter receives her outdoor seating permit and a wine and beer license, she will extend her weekend hours so people can visit for coffee and a pastry, before slowly transitioning to a glass of wine and a snack — a nod to her European roots.
“I grew up like that,” said the Berlin native. “Over there, it’s so normal.”
The shop offers house drip coffee and espresso drinks as well as seasonal roasts. The beans are sustainably sourced, sometimes directly from farmers. A chef makes the pastries in-house and from scratch.
Still, Wolter is careful to avoid intimidating people into uncomfortably ordering “just a cup of coffee.”
“I don’t want people to walk in and feel like they need a code word to order,” she said. “If [a coffee] piques your interest, we’re more than happy to talk about it.”
She only wishes she can devote less time to surviving and more time to sharing flavors and menus with others.
“That would be really nice,” she said.
(Updated at 3 p.m.) Arlington had an unusual occurrence this morning: two drivers in two separate parts of the county struck parked cars, flipping their vehicles over, within 5-10 minutes of each other.
The first incident happened on N. Danville Street, in the Lyon Village neighborhood near Clarendon. The driver of a white Toyota sideswiped a parked SUV, flipping the sedan on its side.
By the time ARLnow arrived on the scene, a crowd of neighbors had gathered and a tow crew had already placed the car back on all four wheels. No injuries were reported.
Minutes later, police and firefighters were called to the 200 block of S. Barton Street, in the Penrose neighborhood, for another overturned vehicle.
This time, a young male driver of a black Jeep sideswiped a parked vehicle, flipping the Jeep on its roof.
The driver was able to get out but was in a daze, a neighbor said. He was transported to a local hospital after initially refusing medical treatment, we’re told.
Police closed both sections of road while the wrecks were cleaned up. Officers could be heard remarking at the uncanny timing of the two crashes.