Update at 2:50 p.m. — The Courthouse station will be reopened shortly. A “test train” is being used to see if it’s safe for Metro to start using the affected stretch of track again. Metro and fire department personnel tell ARLnow.com that there were no communication or coordination problems during the incident response.
The Arlington County Fire Department and Metro personnel are on the scene at the Courthouse Metro station due to an electrical issue on the tracks.
The fire was reported just before 2:00 p.m. It’s said to be an insulator fire in a tunnel just outside the Courthouse station, similar to the electrical malfunction that caused smoke to fill a Yellow Line tunnel last month, killing one person.
The station was evacuated and riders exiting the station said it was moderately smoky inside but not stifling. A slight haze and an electrical smell of something burning was also present outside the station for a period of time.
Firefighters were “working with WMATA to shut down power and extinguish” the fire, according to the ACFD Twitter account. Numerous Metro and fire personnel are on the scene. Police have shut down 15th Street near the station.
As of 2:32 p.m., ACFD said the track fire was extinguished there were “light smoke conditions” inside the station. Some fire trucks have started leaving the scene.
Orange and Silver Line trains are single-tracking past the station, according to Metro.
No injuries have been reported.
Fort Myer and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority firefighters also responded to the incident.
(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) A large fire department response has been dispatched to the Ballston Metro station for a report of smoke in a Metro tunnel.
Metro called the fire department, reporting smoke in one of the tunnels between the Ballston and Virginia Square stations. Power has been cut to the track as firefighters investigate.
Metro says trains are single-tracking between Clarendon and Ballston stations as a result.
Firefighters in the tunnel are reporting a smoldering pile of trash along the third rail. There’s also a report of an arcing insulator.
The large emergency response comes after Monday’s fatal Metro incident outside the L’Enfant Metro station, in which smoke filled a disabled Metro train in a tunnel.
As of 10:40 a.m., fire department units were starting to clear the scene. Metro maintenance personnel are now working on the track problem. No additional smoke or fire has been reported.
Metro is advising Orange and Silver Line riders to expect delays.
Orange/Silver Lines: Expect delays of approx 30 min due to single tracking at Ballston.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 16, 2015
Update: smoke at Ballston Metro was isolated to malfunctioning insulator, metro maintenance on scene & FD units starting to go in service
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) January 16, 2015
TV Bachelor Arrested in Arlington — John Bonavia, a wealthy bachelor who tried to find love last year on the Bravo show Millionaire Matchmaker, was arrested in Ballston on Saturday, Nov. 1. Banavia was charged with being drunk in public on the 4200 block of N. Fairfax Drive, near the Ballston Metro station. [Radar Online]
Historical Marker for Pharmacy — Arlington County has erected a historical marker for the Green Valley Pharmacy in the Nauck neighborhood. The interactive marker includes audio clips from an interview with 86-year-old owner Leonard “Doc” Muse, who still operates the pharmacy to this day. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
No Blue Line Tomorrow — Metro’s Blue Line will be suspended on Tuesday (Veterans Day) to help with the agency’s effort to accommodate the massive crowds expected to attend the Concert for Valor on the National Mall. Yellow Line trains will replace Blue Line trains on Tuesday. As many as 800,000 people are expected to attend the concert. [WMATA]
County Offices Closed Tuesday — Arlington County offices, schools, courts and libraries will be closed for the Veterans Day holiday on Tuesday. ART buses will operate on a modified holiday schedule. Normal trash, recycling and leaf collection will still take place. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Changes are coming to the plaza surrounding the Ballston Metro station.
Arlington County is in the process of designing improvements to the plaza and gathering public input. The improvements are intended to reduce bus congestion, enhance pedestrian safety, prepare for future population growth and make the plaza more functional and aesthetically attractive.
Metrorail ridership is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent at the station between 2010 and 2020, while bus ridership is expected to increase 20 percent. Cyclist use of the plaza, currently a relatively small percentage of transportation uses, is expected to rise by 200 percent during that time period.
Plans so far include increased bike parking, new bus stops and new sidewalk cafes. The plans call for moving tree planters closer to the curb to improve pedestrian circulation and enhance retail viability.
A public meeting about the changes was held at Arlington Public Library earlier this week. Residents were generally supportive, but objected to a proposal to narrow a side street that’s currently clogged with bus and taxi traffic.
Project engineering is expected to wrap up next fall, with construction beginning in early 2016, according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet. Separately, the county also has a long-range plan for a second Ballston Metro station entrance.
After the jump, a list of goals for the project, from the county’s public presentation.
County Government Open on Columbus Day — Even though it’s a federal holiday, Arlington County government offices will be open for Columbus Day on Monday. Courts, DMV offices, the Sheriff’s Office and other state-related offices will be closed. Arlington Public Schools will be closed for a teacher work day. [Arlington County]
Antique Plane Fly-Over — About 30 World War II-era planes will be flying over the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery around
12:30 p.m. today 11:55 a.m. Saturday. [WTOP]
Higher Charges for DCA Passengers? — Reagan National Airport is expected to have its traffic increase by another two million passengers next year, while overtaking both Dulles and BWI in passengers by the end of this year. To help keep up with the growth, and perhaps encourage use of the recently-upgraded Dulles International Airport instead, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is considering an increase of the passenger fee at DCA from $4.50 to $8.50. [WTOP]
Metrorail Ridership Continues to Slide — Ridership on Metrorail is continuing its five-year-slide. Ridership has slipped from a high of 225 million annual trips in 2009 to just over 200 million annual trips now. A shrinking federal workforce, increased telecommuting and increased bike and bus commuting are said to be the main drivers of the decrease. [Washington City Paper]
Office Buildings as Schools — Converting older office buildings into schools is increasingly being eyed as a two-fold solution to office vacancies and a school capacity crunch in Northern Virginia. In Falls Church, a five-story office building was converted into an elementary school — although a full gymnasium has yet to be built. [Washington Post]
‘Historic’ Garage Move Considered — Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board will meet on Wednesday and consider a proposal to move a “historic garage” from county property onto the now privately-owned Fraber House site in Cherrydale. Preservationists might not be thrilled about the move, which would also require the removal of an oak tree. “Historic preservation advocates had wanted the county to draw the historic district line around the garage so that this wouldn’t have to happen… oh well,” one tipster told ARLnow.com. [PDF]
Photo courtesy @ClarendonScene
Metro Work This Weekend — Arlington’s Metro lines will be impacted by significant maintenance work this weekend. Riders on the Orange Line should expect trains to run every 24 minutes, while trains on the Blue Line will run every 20 minutes. The Yellow Line, meanwhile, will only run between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square. [WMATA]
Bracket Room Expanding to DCA — Bracket Room, the upscale sports bar in Clarendon that opened last summer, is expanding with locations in Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. “The two new restaurants will mirror the Arlington location’s upscale, stylish environment complete with infinity-edge televisions making it the ideal spot to grab a meal and watch a game while waiting for a flight,” according to a press release. No word on an opening date. [PRWeb]
Library Lit Ball Will Have 007 Theme — Library boosters Friends of the Arlington Public Library are planning a James Bond theme for the group’s second annual “Lit Up Ball” fundraiser. The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 18 at Artisphere and will benefit the library’s early literacy initiatives. Tickets are $30. [Friends of the Arlington Public Library]
Clarendon Apple Store Camper — Someone is already camping in front of the Clarendon Apple Store, in anticipation of tomorrow morning’s launch of the iPhone 6. [Twitter]
Metro’s Silver Line is set to officially open on Saturday, with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and other notable officials on hand to watch the first train depart the Wiehle-Reston East station.
The launch of the Silver Line has economic ramifications for Arlington, though there’s some debate over whether those ramifications will be mostly good or mostly bad.
On the pessimistic side, rail transit in Reston and Tysons could enhance the desirability of those areas and present Arlington with stiff competition, especially in the commercial office market.
On the optimistic side, the fact that the Silver Line will run through Arlington on the way to D.C. could actually make the county’s Orange/Silver corridor even more desirable as an economic hub. The video above makes the case that Ballston in particular is well-positioned to benefit from the Silver Line.
Publicly and privately, officials with Arlington Economic Development say they expect Tysons to take many years to develop as a truly desirable urban area, with walkable and active streets and ample housing. Even then, they believe Arlington’s multi-decade head start on transit-oriented development, and its proximity to D.C., will give the county the competitive edge over Tysons.
State Dept. Office Consolidation — The GSA is working with the State Department on a plan for consolidating its two offices in Rosslyn into one office in either Rosslyn, Ballston, Pentagon City or Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal]
Ohio Woman Charged in Arlington Boy’s Death — A 62-year-old woman has been charged in the death of 8-year-old Ashlawn Elementary student Eli Sachar. Police in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, have charged Christine Gregory with aggravated vehicular homicide, reckless operation and failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, after she struck Eli and his family with her car as they were crossing a street while visiting the town. [WKYC]
ACFD Training for Active Shooter at the Pentagon — The Arlington County Fire Department is training with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency on active shooter scenarios at the Pentagon. During an actual active shooter situation, under newly-updated plans, armed Pentagon Force Protection officers would escort unarmed Arlington medics into the area where the shooting was happening so they can begin medically treating the victims. [Washington Times]
Library Sends Erroneous Overdue Emails — Arlington Public Library sent erroneous emails yesterday incorrectly stating that patrons had overdue books. “We apologize for the inconvenience, and are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” the library said on its website. “If you have any questions about what materials are actually checked out to you, you can check by logging in to your account online or at any Library location.” [Arlington Public Library]
Metro: Eight-Car Trains More Effective Than I-66 Widening — Metro says adding all-eight-car trains to the Orange Line is the capacity equivalent of widening I-66 by two lanes. “Plus, it’d likely be cheaper and faster for commuters, too,” Metro planners say. [PlanItMetro]
Fireball Seen Across Mid-Atlantic — Arlington residents and those across the mid-Atlantic saw a fireball streak across the sky last night around 10:15 p.m. Wrote one reader to ARLnow.com: “Was out on my back porch [in Lyon Park] looking west and at exactly 10:15 p.m. I saw a crazy, bright shooting star fall from North Arlington over Columbia Pike and towards the ground near Shirlington. Totally time from sighting to out of sight behind the trees was 4 seconds tops.” [Capital Weather Gang]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Tom Sarris Dies — Tom Sarris, proprietor of former Rosslyn restaurant staples like The Covered Wagon and Tom Sarris’ Orleans House, has died. Sarris died in Arlington on Saturday at the age of 89. [Dignity Memorial]
Sparket Launches Today — Crystal City’s arts and crafts market, dubbed the “Sparket,” launches today on the sidewalk in front of 1900 Crystal Drive. It will open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The market is run by the same management company that runs the flea markets at Eastern Market and on U Street. [Crystal City]
Metro > NYC Subway? — When complaining about Metrorail, many critics like to compare it unfavorably to New York City’s Subway system. However, Arlington County’s Mobility Lab points out that there are at least five ways that Metro beats the MTA. [Mobility Lab]
Photo via Yelp
Lingering Campaign Signs Annoy Arlington Dems — Uncollected campaign signs from the June 10 Democratic congressional primary are irking local Democratic leadership. Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Kip Malinosky says the party has contacted certain candidates multiple times to let them know their signs were still cluttering up local medians. By Arlington ordinance, signs can only be removed by those who put them up. [InsideNova]
Blue Line Crunch Coming — When the Silver Line opens next month, the average headway for rush hour Blue Line trains will increase from 8.5 minutes to 12 minutes. Metro says Blue Line riders can consider taking buses instead of trains to, in some cases, speed up their trip. [PlanItMetro]
Sietsema Reviews Mazagan — Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema has reviewed Mazagan, the new Moroccan eatery and hookah bar on Columbia Pike, next to the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. Sietsema gave the restaurant 1.5 stars, saying the music was too loud and the dishes hit-or-miss. [Washington Post]
New Iwo Jima Bikeshare Station — A new Capital Bikeshare station near the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima memorial, has been enjoying heavy use. The station can hold nineteen bikes but only three were parked there Wednesday morning. [Ode Street Tribune]
McAuliffe: I-66 Widening Outside the Beltway — Speaking to the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said he will press for more lanes on I-66, but only outside the Beltway. The governor “noted ruefully” that the Arlington County Board strongly opposes the widening of I-66 through the county. [InsideNova]
Flags In at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — Soldiers from the Old Guard helped to place more than 220,000 American flags in front of gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day. The annual event has taken place every year for four decades. On Monday the cemetery will host the annual Memorial Day observance and wreath-laying ceremony. [WJLA]
Confusing Metro Maps — New strip maps that incorporate the Silver Line are too complicated, says a writer for the blog Greater Greater Washington. “They confuse many riders with labels that line up in a misleading way, and try to cram too much information on the maps,” the writer opines. [Greater Greater Washington]
Rosslyn, the Brooklyn of Washington — A 1889 real estate ad in the Washington Post describes Rosslyn as “the Brooklyn of Washington.” Editor’s note: This item previously appeared in a previous Morning Notes post. Its inclusion today was inadvertent. [Ghosts of DC]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlingtonian Walter Walsh Dies at 106 — Walter Walsh, a world-class Olympic marksman who had a knack for tracking down and shooting gangsters as an FBI agent in the 1930s, has died just a week shy of his 107th birthday. After battling gangsters in the U.S., Walsh entered combat in the Pacific during World War II, at one point killing an enemy sniper from 80 yards away with a single pistol shot. Walsh died at his home in Arlington. [New York Times]
Orange Line Delays This Weekend — This weekend, starting at 10:00 p.m. Friday, Orange Line trains will run every 24 minutes due in part to fence repairs and work on a communications cable between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. [WMATA]
Arlington Participates in National PrepareAthon Day — Personnel from Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management went around to local coffee shops yesterday morning, handing out flyers on National PrepareAthon Day. OEM employees urged Arlington residents to prepare themselves for strong summer storms and to sign up for Arlington Alert emails. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Death Sentence Recommended for Torrez — A federal jury on Thursday recommended that former Marine Jorge Torrez be put to death for the 2009 murder of Navy Petty Officer Amanda Jean Snell on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. A judge is scheduled to formally sentence Torrez on May 30. [Washington Post]
Van Doren Picks Up Endorsements — Arlington School Board candidate Nancy Van Doren announced over the weekend that she has picked up the endorsements of the Arlington Education Association PAC, which represents Arlington teachers, and of current School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez.
Republicans Pick Congressional Nominee — Marine Corps veteran and former congressional staffer Micah Edmund has captured the GOP nomination for congress in the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D). Edmund won 51 percent of the vote in a party convention held Saturday at Bishop O’Connell High School. [InsideNoVa]
Autistic Boy Punished at Randolph Elementary — The mother of a 7-year-old Randolph Elementary student is crying foul after a teacher moved his desk as punishment for bad behavior. The boy has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and his mom is trying to get him transferred to a different elementary school. [WUSA 9]
Wardian Wins Big Sur Marathon — Six days after his impressive Boston Marathon performance, elite distance runner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian has won the Big Sur International Marathon with a time of 2:27:45. Wardian’s time set a record for the 40-and-over age group in the Big Sur marathon and he also set a record for best combined time in the Boston and Big Sur marathons, with 4:51:17. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
Problems for Potomac Yard Metro — The location of a future Potomac Yard Metro station is in doubt after the National Park Service raised concerns about the station’s visibility from the George Washington Parkway. Changes to the station’s location are expected to cost more than $50 million and delay the project by three years. [WAMU]
Route 50 Courthouse Interchange Update — Several long-term closures associated with the Route 50 Courthouse interchange project have been lifted. Among the routes that have reopened by VDOT are: 10th Street to eastbound Route 50, and Courthouse Road and N. Fairfax Drive to westbound Route 50.
During the Feb. 12 evening rush hour commute, while on an Orange Line train near the Ballston Metro station, the man “allegedly rubbed the inner thigh of a patron as she sat next to him,” according to police. The crime is being described as “assault and battery.”
“Anyone who is able to identify the individual pictured below is asked to call Metro Transit Police Detectives at (202) 962-2121 and reference case #2014-07734,” MTPD said in a press release.
The incident happened just past 8:00 p.m. According to Metro, the man was “apparently trespassing” on the tracks when he was struck by an inbound train approaching Arlington Cemetery.
“Security camera footage shows [the] subject intentionally walk onto the trackbed,” Metro Transit Police said via Twitter.
The man is dead and his body is between the tracks and a fence, according to scanner traffic. The striking train is still on scene with 80-100 people on board, firefighters reported.
The Blue Line is single-tracking and trains are running every 20 minutes as a result of the incident, Metro says. The agency is advising riders to use the Yellow Line as an alternate between D.C. and Virginia.