‘BLM’ on Fairlington Bridge Restored — Residents of the Fairlington area used ties to restore a Black Lives Matters message on the bridge over I-395 over the weekend. The letters “BLM” had previously been placed on the bridge’s fence but later removed by an unknown party. Also this weekend, below the BLM letters someone scrawled “Trump 2020,” but that was later covered and “Black Lives Matter” written over it in chalk. [Twitter]
ACPD Details De-Escalation Training — “In response to community questions, ACPD has created this fact sheet highlighting how we train officers to de-escalate incidents and safely resolve situations.” [Twitter]
Update to Jim Pebley Obit — Per an email from former county treasurer Frank O’Leary: “You will be pleased to hear that, due to the actions of former commanders of our County’s namesake ship, it appears that Commander Pebley’s ashes will be spread at sea by the USS ARLINGTON. This is a singular honor and reflects the high respect the Navy feels for Jim. Nothing less than he deserves. There is an old adage, ‘The Navy takes care of its own.’ Perhaps, the same can be said of Arlington.”
Candidates on the Arts — “Arlington County voters will go to the polls on July 7 to determine who will fill the County Board seat of the late Erik Gutshall. In order to help voters understand each candidate’s stand on the importance of arts and culture in the County, Embracing Arlington Arts sent out a questionnaire for the three candidates to complete covering several issues pertaining to the arts in Arlington.” [Press Release, Embracing Arlington Arts]
TTT Now Serving Unlimited Weekend Brunch — “There’s a new all-you-can eat brunch in town. TTT in Clarendon, which stands for Tacos, Tortas and Tequila, has joined its Street Guys Hospitality brethren, including beloved Ambar, in offering unlimited eats on weekend mornings.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Reminder: Metro Stations Back Open — “Metro plans to reopen the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations in Arlington, starting Sunday.” [ARLnow]
Nearby: Fairfax Teachers Revolt — “A day after one of the nation’s largest school systems announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the plan demands, until officials revise their strategy.” [Washington Post]
With very few people riding Metrorail during the coronavirus pandemic, Metro announced today that it will expand its previously-planned closures and shut down the Silver Line over the summer.
Metro has already been planning to close Arlington’s East Falls Church station, along with the Vienna and Dunn Loring stations, for platform reconstruction work. It’s now also closing the West Falls Church station, which had previously been slated to remain open during construction.
Additionally, Metro says it will be combining the platform work with a separate project to link up the current Silver Line with the new “phase II” stations.
As a result, all stations west of Ballston will be closed from Memorial Day weekend through the fall, and several new shuttle bus lines will replace the rail service.
A number of station closures are already in place as a result of the pandemic and low ridership, including the Clarendon, Virginia Square and East Falls Church stations. Though the normally-busy Ballston station is now the only open station in Arlington west of Courthouse, Metro says ridership is way down.
“As a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, ridership at stations west of Ballston totals about 1,200 customers per weekday — less than 5% of normal ridership,” the transit agency said.
More from a Metro press release, below.
A trio of Metro stations in Arlington will close starting on Thursday, as Metro experiences low ridership and dwindling cleaning supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.
Closing are the Clarendon, Virginia Square and East Falls Church stations, along the Orange and Silver lines. They’re among 17 stations Metro is closing.
More from WMATA:
Metro’s Pandemic Task Force today announced the strategic closing of 17 additional stations, effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, in an effort to conserve critical resources and protect the health and safety of Metro employees and the public. This follows drastic measures already taken to reduce travel on Metro to essential trips only, leading to a Metrorail ridership decline of 90 percent.
These steps will help reduce the risk of exposure to employees and save critical cleaning supplies for the remaining stations. While Metro increased its on-hand warehouse inventory of essential supplies, such as hospital-grade disinfectant, wipes, hand sanitizer, and other items used by Metro’s frontline employees, suppliers are experiencing delivery delays. Metro is taking action to make its current 2-3 week warehouse supply stretch until massive orders placed in late January are received.
Each Metrorail station has multiple escalators, faregates and other high touch surfaces that are being cleaned daily, including some stations with multiple entrances. By reducing the number of entrances, Metro will be able to better protect its workforce and customers and prolong the inventory of these critical supplies needed to keep the system open.
Metro said the Virginia Square station is being closed due to its close proximity to the Ballston station, while the Clarendon and East Falls Church stations are closing due to low ridership — 299 and 239 trips on Monday, respectively.
The Arlington Cemetery Metro station was previously closed due to low ridership.
Starting next month, the parking lot at the frequently-packed East Falls Church Metro station will be completely closed for up to nine months.
The closure is part of planned summer shutdown to rebuild four stations on the Orange Line — including East Falls Church, Vienna and Dunn Loring in Virginia. While the projects aren’t scheduled to start for another three months, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said construction crews will need to utilize several parking lots as a staging ground for equipment and materials starting in March.
More from WMATA:
Beginning Sunday, March 15, the surface parking lots at East Falls Church, West Falls Church, and Vienna stations will be closed for seven to nine months, as construction contractors begin the process of moving material and machines into place. Once these lots close, there will be no parking available at East Falls Church, severely limited parking at West Falls Church, and reduced parking at Vienna Station. Parking at Dunn Loring station is not impacted.
The platform work is necessary to address years of concrete structural deterioration that, left unaddressed, could pose a safety risk to riders. Metro will use the time to make improvements that enhance customer experience with a higher level of safety, accessibility and convenience. Key renovations include new slip-resistant tiles throughout the stations, brighter energy-efficient LED lighting and illuminated handrails, new stainless steel platform shelters with charging ports and digital map/information displays, and new Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) with larger digital screens to improve visibility.
NBC 4 reporter Adam Tuss, a veteran of the local transportation beat, noted that the closure will be especially disruptive given that the parking lot is frequently full.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) February 14, 2020
WMATA said the kiss and ride lot will be open only for pick-up and drop-off, while additional parking will be available at the Dunn Loring Metro station.
Photo via Google Maps
Trackbed lighting installation is prompting the closure of four Orange and Silver line stations in Arlington this weekend.
The Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon and Courthouse Metro stations will be closed Saturday and Sunday, WMATA says on its website.
Shuttle buses will run between East Falls Church and Rosslyn throughout the course of the weekend.
On either end of the Orange and Silver lines, trains will run every 12-15 minutes, as usual. At night, the last train on each of the Orange and Silver lines will run some 35-40 minutes earlier than usual, to accomodate shuttle schedules.
Metro is planning to close the East Falls Church Metro station in the summer of 2020 for a platform rebuilding project.
The station is one of three in Virginia — including Vienna and Dunn Loring — slated to close from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Work will also take place at West Falls Church but the station will remain open.
Trains will single-track past the East Falls Church station, which will be closed to passengers. There will be reduced Silver Line service from McLean to Wiehle-Reston East as a result of the single-tracking.
The project follows this past summer’s shutdown of the Blue and Yellow Line in Alexandria, also for platform reconstruction. Like this year, shuttle service will be provided.
The work will include demolition and rebuilding of aging station platforms as well as “major infrastructure work along the 7-mile rail segment.”
“As the station platforms are reconstructed, Metro will use the time to make improvements that enhance customer experience with a higher level of safety, accessibility and convenience,” Metro said in a press release. “Key customer experience improvements include new slip-resistant tiles, brighter energy-efficient LED lighting, larger digital display screens, new stainless-steel platform shelters with charging ports and new surveillance systems.”
Metro says the shutdown approach ensures safety and efficiency.
“By utilizing an extended shutdown during summer months, Metro can provide contractors with 24-hour access to the work sites,” the transit agency said. “This approach improves safety while significantly reducing project duration as workers do not have to repeatedly set-up and break down equipment.”
After this project, two additional Arlington stations will be slated for a future reconstruction project: Reagan National Airport and Arlington Cemetery.
Photo courtesy Elvert Barnes
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) An entrance to the Pentagon Metro station is expected to close soon, temporarily and during off-peak hours, to allow for water infrastructure work following flooding at the station.
A pipe burst on Nov. 27, filling part of the station with several inches of standing water. Metro says a new water supply pipe will need to be constructed, as repairs are not feasible for the original pipe, which runs under the Pentagon itself and dates back to the station’s original construction.
An exact date for the start of the temporary closure was not given. Shortly after a contract to construct the new water line is awarded, the north entrance to the Metro station is expected to close “outside of weekday rush hours,” Metro said.
More from a press release:
Metro customers entering or exiting Pentagon Station during off-peak travel times will need to use the “South Entrance” escalators or the elevators due entrance configuration changes associated with the construction of a new water supply line to serve the station’s facilities, including employee restrooms and maintenance sinks.
Dating to the station’s original construction, the original water supply pipe failed on November 27, sending water streaming into the station through air ducts and elevator shafts. The rush of water dislodged some ductwork, and caused a partial ceiling collapse in a service room. The station was closed for several hours to remove several inches water that had accumulated on the mezzanine level.
Because the original water line runs beneath the Pentagon — an inaccessible location — Metro engineers have recommended abandoning the original pipe and constructing a new water line on a new route around the building.
The Pentagon has been an active and supportive partner to expedite the construction process and necessary security clearances for workers. Metro has already engaged its contractor community and expects to award a contract as early as next week. Once a construction contract is awarded and a formal schedule is developed, Metro will update customers on the expected duration of the project.
Due to construction activity and security considerations associated with the portable restrooms, Metro is advising customers who use Pentagon Station to expect entrance configuration changes during off-peak travel times. The changes will continue until a new water line is constructed and water service is restored to the station, a process that likely will take several weeks.
Specifically, outside of weekday rush hours, the station’s “North Entrance” will be closed and all customers will need to use the South Entrance, which will remain open at all times.
During rush hours–Monday through Friday, 5:00-9:30 a.m. and 3:00-7:00 p.m.–the North and South entrances will both be open and available for customers. Elevator service to the station will be available at all times.
Rail service on the Blue and Yellow lines is not affected by this project.
‘Moderate Drought’ in Arlington — “A significant lack of rainfall and unusual late season heat has led to flash drought conditions across a large portion of the area.” [Twitter]
Extended Closures Expected at Local Metro Stations — “The next round of work is scheduled to include platform repairs and other station upgrades at Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church, West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza, College Park and Greenbelt…. In summer 2021, Metro plans closures or long-term single tracking… at Arlington Cemetery on the Blue Line in Virginia; and Reagan National Airport on the Blue and Yellow Lines.” [WTOP]
MoCo Worried About Being Lapped By N. Va. — “Ten jurisdictions – Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William counties and Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park cities – are teaming up to market themselves to employers… If these jurisdictions can truly put aside their own rivalries and form a bona fide joint marketing authority, this will be a big problem for suburban Maryland – and especially Montgomery County.” [Bethesda Magazine]
Beyer Champions Ranked Choice Voting Bill — “‘Ranked choice voting can play a significant role in addressing our hyper-partisan, polarized political environment by discouraging negative campaigning and promoting majority support’ said Congressman Don Beyer about… the Ranked Choice Voting Act (HR 4464).” [Press Release]
Real Estate Investor Expects Rent Increases — “‘We believe Amazon’s decision to establish Northern Virginia as its East Coast headquarters location will drive significant future rent growth in nearby markets such as Falls Church and beyond,’ said Blackfin Co-Founder and managing partner Doug Root.” [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A summer of headaches for Blue and Yellow line riders will kick off this weekend with changes along the Blue Line — and more Metro closures ahead.
Arlington Cemetery will close this Saturday and Sunday while crews install a grade crossing. Because of the construction, Blue Line trains will run as Yellow Line trains going to Greenbelt, and riders heading toward or returning from Largo Town Center will need to catch the Silver Line, Metro says.
Free shuttle buses running every 10-15 minutes will ferry passengers between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery.
“To get to Rosslyn from the Pentagon (and stops south) customers should travel across the Yellow Line bridge and transfer at L’Enfant to an Orange or Silver Line train,” Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta told ARLnow.
Jannetta said the station’s shutdown will not affect the opening hours of Arlington Cemetery itself, and is for crews to build a way for rail inspection vehicles to access the tracks.
“This will be especially useful during the summer platform work, which will cut off hi-rail vehicle access to the system from the Alexandria rail yard,” he said.
The summer shutdown referred to will begin next Saturday, May 25, Metro will close the following six stations in Alexandria, below Reagan National Airport, until September 8 for planned reconstruction of the station’s crumbling platforms:
- Van Dorn Street
- King Street-Old Town
- Braddock Road
The airport’s own Metrorail station will remain open during the “summer shutdown,” and passengers who can travel there by rail are encouraged to do so to curb the worsening traffic from ride-hailing cars and ongoing construction that’s expected to last until 2021.
“It’s very key to our success that folks continue using public transit — the normal train service going north and free shuttle buses going south for the summer to be successful,” a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority told WTOP yesterday (Thursday.)
Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP), a division of Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS), is advising commuters to “add at least 30 minutes to their commute times during the shutdown” and consider alternative transportation options like biking or carpooling.
During rush hour, free shuttle buses will run every five minutes between the affected stations and direct shuttles will run to the Pentagon. The shuttles will run every 10 minutes during non-rush hours.
Metro will also be making parking free at Franconia-Springfield, Huntington, and Van Dorn stations during the shutdown.
Arlington did not receive grant money, but has said ART may add bus service during the shutdown.
Merlene Accuses Favola of Sexism — “Normally, Democratic debates in deep-blue Arlington are wonky, congenial, staid, even boring affairs, where the candidates at least pretend to be cordial to each other. And tonight’s 31st State Senate district Democratic debate, between incumbent Sen. Barbara Favola and challenger Nicole Merlene, largely held to that model for the entire debate… until the closing statements, when basically all hell broke loose.” [Blue Virginia, PDF]
Metro Closure This Weekend — “[On] May 4 and 5, Metro will be closed south of Reagan National Airport– six stations in all. Trains will be replaced by free shuttle buses at Braddock Road, King St-Old Town, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield.” [WUSA 9]
Arlington and Amazon Emails Revealed — “Arlington County officials worked closely with Amazon.com Inc. to present a good public relations strategy in the weeks leading to their passage of the company’s $23 million incentive package, emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show. The emails indicate some county officials were trying to develop a cozy relationship and wanted to help Amazon navigate challenges and smooth over some criticism.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Man Donates Flag Tie to New U.S. Citizen — Arlington resident Marc Johnson was trying to sell a patriotic American flag tie on Ebay after cleaning out his closet, but ended up donating it to the would-be buyer when he learned that the buyer was planning to wear the tie to his swearing-in ceremony to become an American citizen. [Washington Post]
Arlington Sheriff’s Office Turning 150 — “The 150th anniversary of establishment of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office will be commemorated on May 7 as part of National Correctional Employees Week. The Arlington Sheriff’s Office was established at a time when Arlington (then known as Alexandria County) was being separated from the town (now city) of Alexandria and into its own self-governing locality.” [InsideNova]
History of Harry W. Gray House — “On this day in Arlington history: May 1, 1881 Harry W. Gray and his family move into their house. He and his family took years to build it and it is the only one of its kind for miles… The house remains a sturdy structure, its longevity a testament to Gray’s workmanship.” [Facebook]
DEA Staying in Pentagon City — “The Arlington County Board today approved an incentive grant that will keep the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, in Pentagon City following a lengthy federal competitive bid process. The agency occupies more than 511,000 square feet of space, and employs about 3,000 people at its Pentagon City location.” [Arlington County]
‘Take Your Child to Work Day’ for Cristol — Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol’s new baby boy made his public debut at Thursday’s meeting for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. [Twitter]
Activists Still Pressing for Tree Removal Explanation — “Remember back last year, when top Arlington officials said they would provide the public – in writing – with the reasons the government would not take further steps to protect removal of a tree that had become symbolic to environmental activists across the county? You may have forgotten, but those activists have not.” [InsideNova]
‘Notable’ Trees Recognized — “Arlington has more than 750,000 trees of at least 122 species that provide $6.89 million in environmental benefits to the County annually in the form of pollution removal, carbon storage, energy savings, and avoided stormwater runoff. The Arlington County Board will designate 24 of these trees as Notable Trees at its April 25 Recessed Meeting. [Arlington County]
Water Main Break in Fairlington — Some 100 Arlington households were without water service for part of Thursday due to emergency water main repairs in the Fairlington neighborhood. [Twitter]
Gerber Incentives Pass — Gerber’s move to Arlington is one step closer thanks to an incentive package unanimously approved by the County Board on Tuesday. The package is divided between money from the state’s Commonwealth Opportunity Fund (COF) — $862,500 — and money earmarked for nearby infrastructure upgrades — another $862,500.
Nearby: Alexandria Peeved By Metro Surprise — “A month after Metro learned additional closures would be needed at the end of this summer’s Blue and Yellow line shutdown, Alexandria’s City Council lit into the agency’s top leaders Tuesday night about why the Virginia city and the public only learned of the extended work through a news release last week.” [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf