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Arlington County government headquarters in Courthouse

Most county operations and services, including COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, will be closed or operating on a limited schedule for the Thanksgiving holiday on both Thursday and Friday.

County government offices, courts, community centers and libraries will all be closed both on Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26.  The Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center will also be shuttered, and COVID-19 vaccinations and testing at county facilities will be paused.

Arlington County schools are closed today, as well as Thursday and Friday for the holiday.

Metered parking won’t be enforced on either day, providing Thanksgiving diners and Black Friday shoppers another thing to be thankful about.

Trash, recycling, and yard waste collection will not happen on Thanksgiving, though it will resume on Friday. Thursday routes will be run on Friday and Friday routes will be run Saturday, Nov. 27.

Arlington Transit (ART) buses will operate on a holiday schedule on Thursday, meaning many lines won’t be running. Friday will operate under the Saturday bus schedule.

Metro will be running on Thanksgiving, though at an even further reduced service level due to the pulling of the 7000 series cars after last month’s derailment.

Parking will be free, however, at all Metro-owned garages and lots.

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Morning Notes

Construction cranes for Amazon HQ2 tower over Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Initial Plan Filed for Americana Site — “JBG Smith has filed a conceptual site plan application with Arlington County for 1400 Richmond Highway [the Americana hotel site in Crystal City], proposing a by-right 19-story building with 650 residential units above retail. There will also be 325 parking spaces across two below-grade parking levels.” [UrbanTurf]

Apartment Fire in Ballston — A fire broke out in the kitchen of a fourth floor apartment at the View at Liberty Center building in Ballston yesterday evening. The fire was extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system, but water damage was reported in the apartments and ground floor retail space below. The incident prompted a large fire department response and closed lanes on Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street. [Twitter]

Vax Rate Lags Among Younger Adults — “Pleading, cajoling, finger-wagging and threatening still don’t seem to be doing the trick in getting the 24-to-34-year-old age group in Arlington on board with COVID vaccinations. Data last week show that while 71 percent of county residents in that age group have received at least one jab of the vaccine… Countywide, just under 79 percent of 223,000 Arlington residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose.” [Sun Gazette]

Thanksgiving 5K Along N. Pershing Drive — “The Arlington Turkey Trot 16th Annual 5k Fun Run will take place on Thursday, November 25, 2021. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.” [ACPD]

Arlington Gets Perfect LGBT Equality ScoreUpdated at 8 a.m. — “Arlington garnered a 100-percent rate in the 10th annual Municipal Equality Index, reported by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The average score for 11 major localities in Virginia was 88 on a zero-to-100 scale, compared to a national average of 67. Arlington was among 110 communities earning a perfect rating, up from 11… when the survey debuted.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Woes Extend to 2022 — “Metro customers can expect to see current (reduced) rail service levels through December 31, Metro announced today.  With no timeline established to return the 7000-series fleet in the interest of safety, and 6000-series railcars awaiting parts due to global supply chain challenges, incremental service improvements will be made during December as parts arrive for older model railcars.” [WMATA]

Snow Possibility in Forecast — From the Capital Weather Gang: “DC first flakes? Watching possibility of disturbance/clipper passing thru cold air Sun-Mon timeframe. It could shift or fizzle and probably not a big deal even if it hits, but first feature this season we’re watching with some curiosity.” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Sunny today, with a high near 43. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Sunrise at 7 a.m. and sunset at 4:49 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 47. [Weather.gov]

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A busy street in the East Falls Church neighborhood is slated to get safer crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.

Arlington County has selected N. Sycamore Street between Langston Blvd and 19th Street N. — near the East Falls Church Metro station and not far from the W&OD Trail — as site of a new Complete Streets project. This segment “presents intersection crossing challenges for bicyclists and pedestrians,” according to the project webpage.

The intersection of N. Sycamore Street and Washington Blvd, within the project’s boundaries, was the site of a fatal crash last Wednesday. Prior to the crash, the street segment has seen one serious collision between 2013 and this summer: one with severe injuries in 2019, according to Arlington County crash data.

The webpage for the project went live two weeks ago, says Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien. County staff will soon solicit public feedback that will be used to develop a concept plan.

“Existing Conditions Feedback will kick off later in November,” O’Brien said. “This feedback, along with other data and planning guidance, will help staff formulate a concept design. Once staff have developed a community-informed concept, that concept will be shared for additional public feedback.”

The boundaries of the new N. Sycamore Street Complete Streets project (via Arlington County)

Funding for changes to N. Sycamore Street, first identified as having a need for safety upgrades in 2011, was included in the 2022-24 Capital Improvements Plan adopted this summer. It’s been a long road to get the project on the schedule, however.

Staff developed preliminary plans in 2015 and, in 2016, twice applied unsuccessfully for transportation grants for the 2018 fiscal year, O’Brien said.

In 2017, the county successfully applied for and received $250,000 in Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing funds for the 2020 fiscal year. Then, the pandemic hit.

“This project was deferred as part of the FY 2021 CIP, due to revenue constraints because of COVID,” she said.

Since 2011, staff have studied the street twice and have some hypothetical designs on hand as a result.

In 2015, the county received a grant to study ways to improve pedestrian and cycling access to the East Falls Church Metro station, once a popular station to ride to that is still recovering from the pandemic-era hit to commuting. A new $2 million, 92-spot bike facility to accommodate cyclists made its debut in August 2020.

Four years later, the county received a grant to study a gap in the W&OD Trail, where trail users are routed through Benjamin Banneker Park and residential streets.

The gap in the W&OD Trail in East Falls Church (via NOVA Parks)

Improved crossings at 19th Street N. could be an interim solution to the gap, according to the project page.

Although this transportation project’s scope is bound by 19th Street N. and Langston Blvd, eventually, the county envisions improved bicycle amenities further up and down N. Sycamore Street.

“The 2019 adopted Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan recommends N. Sycamore Street as an enhanced bicycle facility between Williamsburg Blvd and the East Falls Church line,” the project page says.

Arlington will be coordinating the project with planned stormwater improvements to Crossman Run as well as a project to add bus bays and improve bus circulation at the nearby Metro station.

The project is funded with a mix of Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, local and state funding, plus bond funds.

Hat tip to Stephen Repetski

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Morning Notes

A woman standing in a ray of sunlight near Amazon’s under-construction HQ2 in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Vacuum Leaf Collection Starts Today — “The county’s first pass is scheduled to kick off on Monday, Nov. 8 and will likely run through late November. The second pass will likely run through Friday, Dec. 17, according to a new fall leaf collection brochure.” [ARLnow]

Metro Woes Continue — “Metro’s limited train service will continue for the rest of November, officials said Friday, as the transit agency begins tests that it hopes will allow for the reinstatement of more than half of its fleet… Metro is pulling all of its available cars out of storage to help shorten waits, including 32 recently pulled from its Shady Grove yard. Waits between trains are about 15 minutes on the Red Line, 20 minutes on the Green Line and 30 minutes on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines, Metro said.” [Washington Post]

YHS Field Hockey Triumphs — “What already was an outstanding season for the Yorktown Patriots became the best in program history when the girls field hockey team won a region championship for the first time. Yorktown (19-1) captured the 6D North Region tournament with a 3-0 record, blanking the host and defending champion Madison Warhawks, 1-0, in the Nov. 3 title match of the high-school competition.” [Sun Gazette]

Speedy Campaign Sign Removals — “Good news on the campaign-sign-clearing front — it looks like most campaigns and political organizations have decided to remove their signage from medians far sooner than the rules allow. Arlington Democrats estimate they removed 80% of signage from medians on Wednesday, the day after voting took place. And a spot check across the community shows Republicans and independents were getting large chunks of their signs down, too, even though under law they have a week to do so.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — It will be sunny and warmer today, with a high near 66. Sunrise at 6:43 a.m. and sunset at 5 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 69. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Dark clouds move across the region, seen from the Shirlington pedestrian bridge over I-395 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Reduced Metro Service Continues — “Metro continues working to finalize plans in cooperation with safety officials to return the 7000-series railcars to passenger service and fully restore its rail system. As a result, Metrorail service will remain at the current reduced service levels through at least October 31, 2021. During this time, trains will operate basic service every 15-20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30-40 minutes on all other lines.” [WMATA]

APS Online Learning Update — “Arlington Public Schools leaders say they have triaged some of the most pressing fallout from a rocky rollout of the new online-learning initiative, but still have steps to take to ensure the program meets its promises to students and their families. ‘We have had a lot of regretful growing pains – that has been bad,’ frustrated School Board member Cristina Diaz-Torres said after an Oct. 14 update on the situation.” [Sun Gazette]

Charges Dismissed in Police Shooting — “A federal judge in Alexandria on Friday dismissed all criminal charges against two U.S. Park Police officers who fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in 2017, saying that they reasonably feared that one of the officers was in danger and that their actions following a pursuit of Ghaisar were ‘necessary and proper.’ Prosecutors for the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and the Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney said they would appeal the ruling.” [Washington Post]

It’s Monday — ⛈ A chance of showers between 2-5 p.m., then showers and thunderstorms — some potentially strong, with heavy rain — in the evening. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. South wind 6 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Sunrise at 7:27 a.m. and sunset at 6:15 p.m. Tomorrow, it will be mostly cloudy and breezy, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms and a high near 65.

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn skyline, with Tysons in the background (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Update on Shirlington Area Shooting — “At approximately 9:40 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a shooting in the 4400 block of 31st Street S. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect approached the area in a vehicle, exited and fired shots towards two individuals sitting outside a residential building. The suspect then reentered the vehicle and fled the scene. No injuries were reported.” [ACPD]

Passenger Recounts Metro Derailment — From NBC 4’s Adam Tuss: “EXCLUSIVE — we talk to a passenger tonight who was on last week’s derailed Blue Line Metro train. Noelle Purcell says there was smoke, no communication, and she didn’t know if she was going to make it out.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Beyer Pushes for More Buses — From WAMU’s Jordan Pascale: “Rep. Don Beyer out with a statement telling WMATA to ‘maximize bus service’ as 7000-series sidelined for an undetermined amount of time… Metro says no go on bus increase, ‘all of our available operators and buses are already in service.'” [Twitter]

New Restaurant in Pentagon City –“The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City has revamped its restaurant as a Mediterranean place that serves modern meze, small pours of glamorous Napa wines, and an espresso martini built with a brand of chocolate rum owned by Bruno Mars. Santé opened over the weekend at 1250 S. Hayes Street in Arlington, Virginia, for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.” [Eater]

Unusual Protest Outside DEA — “A group called ‘Anonymous Apes’ placed a nine-foot monolith outside the Drug Enforcement Administration’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The protest was staged by criminal justice and drug policy reform activists dressed in ape costumes who wanted to decry the DEA for preventing ‘research into the therapeutic uses of many natural plants and substances,’ the activists said to the District of Columbia Marijuana Justice Organization in a press release.” [NBC 4]

Spotted: Wienermobile — Arlington motorcycle officers spotted the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile while on patrol yesterday. [Twitter]

Howl-O-Ween in Rosslyn — “The Rosslyn BID and the Rosslyn Dog Owners Group (R-DOGS) are teaming up for a Halloween themed evening of dog-friendly activities, treats and fun in celebration of Rosslyn’s new Interim Dog Park at Gateway Park West! Beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 22, Rosslyn’s pet community is invited to enjoy local pet-themed vendors, speakers, a social media dog costume contest and giveaways.” [Rosslyn BID]

It’s Thursday — ☀️ Today will be sunny and just about perfect, with a high near 77. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. Sunrise at 7:24 a.m. and sunset at 6:21 p.m. Tomorrow will be cooler and partly sunny, with a high near 69.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

A man rides a personal watercraft in Boundary Channel near Columbia Island Marina (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

APS Enrollment Down — “Despite intensive efforts to get them back, Arlington Public Schools has about 4 percent fewer students in class than it did pre-pandemic, according to new figures. Superintendent Francisco Durán on Oct. 14 said the school system’s official count for the 2021-22 school year is 26,911 students, based on enrollment Sept. 30 that will be submitted to state officials as is required by law. That’s down slightly from the 26,932 students reported on hand at the start of classes in August.” [Sun Gazette]

Update on Metro Woes — “While Metro aims to provide service consistent with the announced basic service plan through the rest of the week, customers should anticipate trains every 15-20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30-40 minutes on all other lines to account for any unplanned disruptions. There is currently no capacity to fill unforeseen gaps, which will result in longer wait times. Crews are working as quickly as possible to put more trains into service.” [WMATA]

County: Update Your Bookmarks — “With the launch of our new website, your favorite page or service has a new home! While we have redirect links for our most visited and discussed pages, we couldn’t do it for all 5,000+ pages. But the content you want is still there!” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Birds Banging into Arlington Windows — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “We’re starting to see a lot of migratory birds come into the shelter, likely due to hitting windows as they fly. But we are here to help! This little Golden-Crowned Kinglet stayed with us overnight before heading off to a licensed rehabber this morning!” [Twitter]

IPO for Local Multinational Company — “Renewable energy storage firm Fluence Energy Inc said on Tuesday it is aiming to fetch a nearly $4 billion valuation in its U.S. initial public offering, as investor interest in such technologies soars alongside growing calls to limit climate change… Arlington, Virginia-based Fluence serves major utilities, developers, as well as commercial and industrial businesses, promising increased efficiency through its digital platform designed for renewables.” [Reuters]

Event to Mark Genocide Anniversary — “November 4, 2021 will mark exactly one year to the day that the Ethiopian & Eritrean regimes waged a devastating and ongoing genocide on the people of Tigray. You are welcome to visit our Arts & Photo Exhibition ‘Call It A Genocide’ which runs from November 5 to 7, 2021 at the ECDC in Arlington.” [Eventbrite]

Halloween Bike Ride for Families — “The Kidical Mass Arlington Halloween ride is BACK! Meet Sun 10/24 4pm at Zitkala’Sa (nee Clay) Park Costumes and decorations encouraged! Enjoy some pizza from our friends @TrekBikes Clarendon after the ride.” [Twitter, Facebook]

It’s Wednesday — ☀️ It’s another sunny day today, with a high near 76. West wind 5 to 7 mph. Sunrise at 7:23 a.m. and sunset at 6:22 p.m. Tomorrow is will be sunny, with a high near 78.

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Morning Notes

Basketball under the lights at Alcova Heights Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Metro Delays All Week — “Reduced Metrorail service is expected to continue until at least Sunday, October 24, as the investigation into the October 12 derailment continues. Beginning tomorrow, trains will operate every 15 minutes on the Red Line and will continue to operate every 30 minutes on all other lines. Silver Line trains will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Federal Center SW only.” [WMATA]

WMATA Knew About Defects — “Wheel assemblies on Metro rail cars like the one at fault in last week’s Blue Line derailment had failed 31 times since 2017 — and renewed inspections last week identified almost two dozen similar defects, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority pulled the 7000 series cars from service Sunday night, leaving the agency down more than half its fleet.” [Washington Post, WJLA]

Beyer on Metro Mess — From Rep. Don Beyer: “This is going to be a very frustrating week for commuters. I’m maintaining close contact with WMATA and NTSB as we seek a safe return to regular service.” [Twitter]

Issues With New County Website — From Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt: “The new @ArlingtonVA website has broken SSSSOOO many links. The fact that the old link for the County’s IT Advisory Committee is broken and doesn’t redirect is the most ironic though.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Flags Lowered in Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered flags lowered throughout the Commonwealth in honor of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a McLean resident, who passed away from COVID-19 complications on Monday. [Commonwealth of Virginia]

It’s Tuesday — ☀️ Sunny, with a high near 71 today. West wind 5 to 10 mph. Sunrise at 7:22 a.m. and sunset at 6:23 p.m. Tomorrow is will be sunny, with a high near 75.

Join the ARLnow Press Club and get the Morning Notes four hours earlier.

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7000 series Metro train (Photo courtesy Metro)

All of Metro’s 7000 series trains have been pulled from service, following last week’s derailment in Arlington, leading to major delays this morning.

Metro announced last night that its newest generation of railcars was being held out of service. Investigators appear to believe that the 7000 series has an issue with defective axles, which may have led to the derailment between the Arlington Cemetery and Rosslyn stations.

This could be an extended problem for Metro, depending on what’s found upon further inspections of the railcars. The National Transportation Safety Board will be holding a media briefing today at 10 a.m. to discuss its investigation into the derailment.

In the meantime, Metro said that trains will run about every half-hour while the 7000 series is out of service. Via social media, passengers are reporting full trains this morning and even longer delays.

We’re wondering how today’s issues are affecting your commute. Did you stick with Metro, make other plans, or were you not riding Metro in the first place?

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Morning Notes

Major Metro Delays — “Following an investigation into the derailment of a Blue Line train, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission has ordered Metro to put roughly 60% of its rail fleet ‘out of service’ starting Monday. This will bring the total amount of Metro cars available to 40 and shift train service to departures every 30 minutes on all lines.” The delays may stretch beyond today as the 7000 series railcars are inspected. [WTOP, Twitter, Twitter]

County Board Roundup — “The Arlington County Board took action at its October meeting to ensure the safety of its youngest residents and secure quality housing. It also took steps to plan for Arlington’s priorities of housing and land use, transportation, sustainability efforts and more in the 2022 General Assembly legislative session.” [Arlington County]

Composting Program Profiled — “Erik Grabowsky is painfully aware that each time he chucks an overripe avocado, he’s not only lost a dollar; he’s also adding to the roughly 3,000 to 6,000 tons of food waste that residents in Arlington County, Virginia, generate every year. Most of it ends up in a nearby landfill. But Grabowsky, chief of the county’s solid waste bureau, is betting on a new residential composting program to change that.” [Bloomberg]

ACPD Latino Liaison — “ACPD is announcing the appointment of Cpl. Montoya as our first Latino Liaison Officer. He will work proactively with the Spanish-speaking community to build trust and confidence, share information, and conduct proactive engagement.” [ACPD, YouTube, Twitter]

Beyer Seeking Interns — From Rep. Don Beyer: “My office is now accepting applications for paid congressional internships.” [Twitter, Rep. Don Beyer]

Alexandria Police: Don’t Run Us Over — “Public Service Announcement: We recently have had two officers struck by inattentive motorists, so we are asking all who visit, work, and live in Alexandria to take a moment to understand Virginia’s ‘Move Over’ law and ensure you are following it.” [Twitter]

Outlook: Sunny, with a high near 66 today (Monday). Northwest wind 8 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Sunset at 6:25 p.m. Tomorrow it will be sunny, with a high near 71 and sunrise at 7:22 a.m.

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Morning Notes

Blue Line Reopens — “On Friday, October 15, normal service will resume on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. Intermittent delays are possible as the investigation into Tuesday’s derailment continues.” [WMATA, Twitter]

New County Website Launching Soon — “Arlington County Government is launching a new website, the first major refreshment of the County’s online presence in more than seven years. The site will launch Monday, Oct. 18. Users will continue to access the site by visiting www.arlingtonva.us.” [Arlington County]

Spotted: Bizarre Banner Bedecked Bus — From Nicole Merlene: “Outside the Courthouse today… What in the world? Civil service sure ain’t for wimps with crazies like this.” [Twitter]

Reuters Photo Shows Local Apartments — “A man sits on his balcony amid a sea of balconies at an apartment building in Arlington, Virginia. Photo by Kevin Lamarque.” [Twitter]

New Utility Vault Near Clarendon — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Behold the 40-ton concrete utility vault installed under Washington Boulevard yesterday between N Kirkwood and Wilson. That stretch’s big safety upgrades and lane-shift makeover continues into next year.” [Twitter]

National Airport Getting Busier — “New data suggest the airport, which has had one of the most sluggish returns to normal(ish) performance in the COVID era, may be seeing better times for the rest of the year. New data from the trade group Airlines for America suggest that the airport will see just 11 percent fewer flights during the fourth quarter than during the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. That projected performance also is less than the 14-percent drop reported nationally, based on current flight schedules.” [Sun Gazette]

Water Main Break Closes SchoolUpdated at 9 a.m. — Arlington Science Focus School is closed today due to a 6-inch water main break on the 1400 block of N. Lincoln Street that’s affecting about 200 water customers. [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]

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