What’s it like racing around an expansive Crystal City parking garage on a bike?
Kind of like a videogame, as a video (above) from this week’s edition of Crystal City’s Wednesday Night Spins demonstrates.
The events are taking place on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m., on the G3 and G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S., through the end of March. The races are free for spectators and around $15 for participants.
A community meeting is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) to discuss a road re-striping plan that would add bike lanes but remove some parking on the western portion of Washington Blvd in Arlington.
The meeting is set to take place at the Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) from 5-8 p.m.
“We invite community members to provide ideas and insights on how we achieve the maximum benefits for bicycle access and pedestrian safety, while minimizing potential impacts in the area,” says the meeting’s web page.
Among the changes being proposed:
- “Create nearly a two-mile stretch of bike lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.”
- “Narrow unnecessary wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.”
- “Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.”
- “Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bike lanes.”
The restriping, as proposed, would add bike lanes in both directions to where they don’t already exist on Washington Blvd between Westover and East Falls Church, but at the expense of some on-street parking.
The project is being planned by Arlington County but will be performed and funded by VDOT, which maintains that stretch of Washington Blvd.
Photo via Google Maps
Monday is George Washington Day in Virginia. Others know the holiday, long associated with mattress and appliance sales, as Presidents Day.
Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed Monday. Parking meters will not be enforced.
Trash and recycling collection, however, will go on as normal.
Arlington County brine trucks could be seen pretreating roads around Clarendon earlier this afternoon. VDOT, meanwhile, says it’s preparing for a potentially messy Thursday evening and Friday morning commute.
“Road crews are conducting anti-icing activities today and tomorrow,” VDOT said in a press release. “Please watch for crews as they stage along roads prior to the storm. Crews will treat roads with salt and sand as needed once the storm begins Thursday afternoon, plow in areas where and if snow totals reach two inches, and will remain on duty throughout the course of the storm.”
The snow is not expected to amount to much — maybe just a dusting to an inch. But even a small amount of snow could cause slippery conditions and virtual gridlock.
With snow expected tomorrow afternoon, crews have been pre-treating the roads today and will continue this evening and tomorrow. #ARLwx
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) January 4, 2017
Our first snow is almost here! Expect snow to impact Thurs PM & Fri AM rush. Check wx & modify trip times. https://t.co/nmHVmLCRGN
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 4, 2017
Hmmm, guess what's coming our way! pic.twitter.com/dptq5SHqHy
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) January 4, 2017
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 4, 2017
It might not be necessary with this storm, but Arlington County is urging residents this year to park in a parking lot or on the odd numbered side of local streets when it snows.
The county recently released the following video on the topic.
Park(ing) Day 2016 is in full swing in Arlington.
Described as “an annual international event where the public collaborates to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into small parks to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space,” Park(ing) Day is taking place on the side of the road in five separate locations in Arlington this year.
Among them: in front of 4075 Wilson Blvd and 4245 Fairfax Drive in Ballston; 2200 Wilson Blvd and the N. Uhle Street parking lot in Courthouse; and 2847 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon.
We stopped by two today: in Clarendon, the Lululemon store was hosting yoga lessons, demonstrations and other feats of flexibility. On Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, staff from the Arlington Community Planning, Housing and Development office were giving away free schwag and encouraging passersby to play games they had on hand.
The county tweeted photos from two of the other events:
— Plan Arlington VA (@planArlingtonVA) September 16, 2016
— brett wallace (@bretthwallace) September 16, 2016
“Events like PARK(ing) Day enrich our community life by creating an inviting streetscape and by promoting activities that allow for social exchange, fun, creativity and critical thinking,” the county said on its website. “PARK(ing) Day in particular can furthermore promote a rethinking of the usage of the public-right-of-way and may motivate the public to more actively participate in the civic processes which shape our urban environment.”
The tiny temporary parks will remain open until around 3-3:30 p.m.
Arlington Named No. 11 Best Place in America — The same folks who named Arlington the best city to live in America earlier this summer have named it the 11th “best place to live in America.” Los Alamos, New Mexico topped the list and locally Merrifield, Virginia placed fourth. [Niche]
APS Schools Earn State Accreditation — All Arlington public schools, save one that is still being considered, have earned state accreditation. The final school is expected to be accredited later this fall, school officials say. “I want to congratulate all of our dedicated teachers and school leaders as well as our students and families on achieving full accreditation in all of our schools once again,” Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy said in a statement. [InsideNova, Arlington Public Schools]
Park(ing) Day Returns Tomorrow — The annual Park(ing) Day event in Arlington will be held tomorrow (Friday). At least five metered parking spaces around Arlington will be blocked off and converted into pop-up parks, “to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space.” [Arlington County]
After interning for the past three months at ARLnow, we all had different experiences working in and learning about the area.
The three of us came in from different backgrounds: One of us is an Arlington native (Jackie Friedman), another is a New Yorker who moved last year to the D.C. area (Adrian Cruz) and the other (Omar DeBrew) commutes from Maryland.
As a result, we all had different experiences and opinions to share about our summer covering news in Arlington.
While I had lived in Arlington for most of the past year, there were still a lot of places and areas I had no idea existed. Because I lived in Lyon Park, I tended to stick around the Orange Line corridor, wandering into Pentagon City and Columbia Pike once in a blue moon. Throughout the summer, my work has sent me to all corners of the county, allowing me to explore and learn about neighborhoods I had never even known existed. Now, I can say with confidence that I know my way around the county and that names such as Cherrydale, Buckingham and Fairlington aren’t just stereotypical names for small English towns.
Arlingtonians as a people are an interesting bunch. The county is extremely diverse with people from all walks of life and one never knows what to expect. Just in my time working here, I have encountered people ranging from a lawyer who’s a finalist on “American Ninja Warrior” to a grumpy British man. Also, by reading our comments section, I’ve also learned they’re an opinionated and sarcastic bunch, with lots to say.
As a place to live in, Arlington is what I’d like to call Washington’s Disneyland. What I mean by that is that it’s cleaner, safer, quieter than anywhere I’ve ever lived in, almost as if it was designed by Walt Disney himself. Coming from New York City, I’m used to a dirty, gritty city with lots of crime and weird stuff going on. In contrast, the weirdest things that happen in Arlington are weekends in Clarendon. I currently live in Buckingham, an area that many call “Arlington’s ghetto.” I come from the South Bronx. Buckingham is no ghetto. What it does have is a thriving Latin American community with many amazing restaurants. The only drawback about living in Arlington is that it’s expensive! Finding a decent meal under $10 in Clarendon is close to impossible, and as my fellow interns will attest to, finding cheap parking is just as difficult. Nonetheless, this is definitely somewhere I could see myself living in the future.
While I have lived in Arlington my whole life, I wasn’t really aware of everything that goes on in the area. It’s amazing how someone can live in the same place their whole life, but have no clue about the people living around them. Your next door neighbor could be a craftsman like Jeff Spugnardi or the person working out next to you at the gym could have starred on “America Ninja Warrior” or even be 100 years old. Interning this summer at ARLnow allowed me to meet different people living in my community and learn about their interesting stories and lives. Everyone has an interesting story, especially in Arlington, so I encourage you to get to know the people around you. Maybe if you strike up a conversation with a stranger about how sad you are about Minh’s closing (I’m still mourning the loss), you could find out that the person you are talking to happens to be an Olympic gold medalist. But beware that person could go on and complain to you about the Clarendon stores that keep their doors open during the heat or how their child’s swimming instructor has man boobs.
Covering Arlington as a videographer is easy with all the history and new development taking place. Any issue big or small has some meaning to the community, such as a restaurant closing, a new 7-Eleven, or a fire station about to be demolished. The coverage helps Arlingtonians form opinions and decide for themselves. My only advice to those driving in Arlington is to take Metro when possible, and if you have to drive, find 24-hour parking areas near parks. Some spots are free; with others, you’ll have to pay. But that parking is cheaper than city areas.
Starting Friday, visitors to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be able to use the mall’s new valet parking service.
“A valet service has been something we’ve wanted to implement for many years now,” said Todd Jerscheid, the mall’a director of marketing and business development. “As we prepare for the renovation completion later this summer, we couldn’t think of a better time to launch the program. We know this will be a huge hit for our shoppers, especially around the busy holiday season and as they begin to really experience all of our new features and services!”
The service will cost five dollars on top of the garage’s usual parking rate and it will be available from 10 a.m.-midnight from Friday to Saturday and from 11 a.m.-9 p.m on Sunday.
The Fashion Centre, which is starting to wrap up an expansion project, will hold a launch event on Friday. The first 50 customers to use the service will receive complimentary “swag bags” and two randomly selected shoppers will also win a $150 Simon gift card. Valet shoppers will also receive special promotions throughout the month of June.
Those who work and shop in Clarendon have a new parking option.
A new surface parking lot opened earlier this month in the empty lot along Wilson and Clarendon Blvd, between the Whole Foods and PNC Bank.
The lot is being operated by Crystal Parking, a local parking firm owned by Abraham Melles.
Melles said the new parking facility will allow the otherwise empty lot and eye sore generate revenue and help to alleviate parking issues in the neighborhood. He said the company will also consider offering a car wash service for customers.
The rate for parking is $2 for 0-30 minutes, $5 for 30-60 minutes or $6 for all day.
Melles has other local parking ventures he’s working on. In the “near future” he’s hoping to open a 400-500 space lot in the Shirlington area — no word yet on where, exactly. And in January Melles plans to launch Vaalio, an “on demand valet parking app” that will allow users to request a valet to show up, park and then bring back their car wherever they’re going.
Justin Funkhouser contributed to this report.
Arlington Man Arrested for Murder — A 51-year-old Arlington man has been arrested and charged in the strangulation death of a man in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The alleged crime happened Saturday afternoon. The suspect was arrested by U.S. Marshals and Arlington County Police in Arlington; we hear the arrest took place at a McDonald’s restaurant, but so far that has not been confirmed. [WHAG]
Couple Hopes to Find Owner of Lost Ring — A school custodian and his girlfriend are searching for the owner of a lost gold wedding ring. Dennis Avery found the ring in June following an event at Glebe Elementary School. The ring has engravings that offer clues as to who the owner may be, including a date and a pair of initials. [WJLA]
Self-Driving Cars Come to Arlington — State officials, Virginia Tech researchers and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) demonstrated self-driving cars for the media on the closed-off I-395 HOV lanes yesterday afternoon. A press conference for the event was held in Pentagon City. [WTOP, Fox 5]
Part of Park Is Being Used for Parking — A portion of the 22-acre Jennie Dean Park along Four Mile Run near Shirlington is being used as a temporary parking lot for ART buses and vehicles from Shirlington-based public TV station WETA.County officials have promised residents that the portion of the park used will go back to being a park, but admitted they didn’t have any other good options for ART bus parking at the moment. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Samer Farha
(Updated at 10:50 p.m.) Street parking in Arlington will now cost an extra quarter.
Rates for short-term, two hour parking are now $1.50 per hour, up from $1.25. Four hour, or long-term, parking rates are $1.25 per hour, instead of $1.
The increase does not apply to meters with reduced rates of 50-75 cents per hour. Areas with lower parking demand, such as near Virginia Hospital Center, were also not affected by the change, said county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.
All digital, multi-space parking meters have been switched to the new rates, Baxter said. Parkmobile, a mobile app that allows users to pay for meters through their phones, has also been updated to reflect the new prices.
Older, mechanical parking meters for individual space will most likely reflect the changes by the end of the week, Baxter said.
“County staff is working diligently to convert the older mechanical meters (this requires a manual effort where staff physically reprograms each individual meter to the new rates),” she said in an email.
The 25 cents increase is predicted to bring in $1 million in revenue per year, but was prompted by higher demand for street parking, according to a county press release from May.
“Raising the rates to levels closer to the rates charged in nearby parking garages and closer to those of the rest of the region will help level the playing field ensuring that businesses that need short-term parking spaces on the street for their customers are more likely to have them available,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a May statement.
The County Board is also expected to discuss a proposal to extend the hours that paid parking is enforced by two hours. If approved, people will have to pay to park until 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a 25 cent-per-hour rise in metered parking rates. The rate increase is expected to be implemented in September and bring in nearly $1 million per year in extra revenue.
(The increase won’t apply to some reduced-rate meters, currently priced between $0.50-0.75 an hour.)
The Board unanimously approved the rate increase and also voted unanimously to delay action on a proposed extension of metered parking hours from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A public hearing on parking hours is now planned for September.
In a press release (after the jump), the county said that the rate increase is being being made due to increased parking demand. The higher rate will help ensure “that businesses that need short-term parking spaces on the street for their customers are more likely to have them available,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes.
Pentagon City residents are worried about the potential for nightmare traffic and parking woes now that a large portion of the busy Costco parking lot off S. Fern Street has been blocked off for construction.
About half of the parking spaces in Costco’s surface parking lot have been fenced off over the past day or so. Kimco — which owns the Pentagon Centre big box mall and its parking lot — is beginning construction on a seven-story parking garage at the corner of 15th Street S. and Fern Street.
When the parking garage is complete, it’s expected to provide 394 spaces and include 5,919 square feet of ground floor retail as part of a larger development plan. About 260 parking spots were blocked off yesterday, according to George Ronetz, the general manager of Federal Parking, which manages the lot.
The lot will be blocked off until October, Ronetz said, after which time construction crews will repave and reopen it to accommodate the holiday shopping season. In May 2016, construction will resume on the new structure and that portion of the lot will close again.
Shoppers and area residents may worry about a “Costcopocalypse” — the lot is usually packed on evenings and weekends — but Ronetz said he will have staffers direct cars to the parking garage next to the Costco, which has about 520 spaces.
“There’s ample parking spaces, it’s just a matter of parking in a different area,” Ronetz told ARLnow.com today.
Of course, whether drivers who frequent Costco and its notorious parking lot listen to Ronetz and his staff remains to be seen.
“I was literally standing on the street today encouraging people to park in the garage on the roof, and people will flip me off and say ‘No, I will park where I want to park,'” he said. “I’ve been out there personally and have been hit by cars because I’m trying to show a little old lady a place to park and out of nowhere a car hits me in the leg and knocks me down.”
The parking garage has two entrances, off 12th Street and the Fern Street lot. Customers can either park on the roof or a level below it.
If the County Board votes in favor of the motion, meter rates will go from $1.25 to $1.50 an hour, while hours will be extended from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. County transportation staff estimates the measures would generate an additional $1.6 million in combined revenue in FY 2016.
The changes would go into effect on Sept. 7, 2015.
“County fees are intended to recover the costs of the respective programs,” staff report reads. “The proposed increase in parking meter rates and the proposed extension of hours will cover more of the costs for providing, administering, and maintaining curb-side metered parking spaces than is presently the case, thereby reducing the subsidy currently being provided by General Fund revenues.”
The 181 metered spaces in the county that currently cost 50 or 75 cents an hour would not be affected by the change. Raising the rates, according to the staff report, would bring Arlington more in line with the rest of the region. The District charges $2 an hour in most locations, Alexandria charges $1.75 an hour in most spaces and Bethesda charges $2 for on-street parking, $1.25 for public lots.
If the County Board elects to extend the hours of meters and keep rates flat, it would still provide the county an extra $550,000 in revenue in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
County Treasurer Carla de la Pava announced today that the county is offering EasyPark devices to its residents, the “successor” to the iPark devices it stopped selling because the manufacturer declared bankruptcy in 2013.
The devices are currently available to be ordered online and can be used immediately, we’re told. Anyone, not just Arlington residents, can purchase the devices and use them to park in the county.
“The iPark was very popular, and EasyPark is even better,” de la Pava said in a press release. “It makes metered parking simple and easy. We are pleased to partner with the manufacturer, OTI America, to make EasyPark available to everyone who parks in Arlington.”
The EasyPark device costs $30, and comes with $10 of parking pre-loaded. The device works like the former iPark devices: customers enter which parking zone they are in, turn the pre-paid device on and leave their car. When they return, the driver turns off the device, paying only for the time he or she parked.
The devices can be refilled online at EasyPark’s website and at the treasurer’s office at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, window 215. Each time a device is refilled, EasyPark charges users a $2 fee.
The devices will be displayed on the driver’s side window, and sound a tone every 60 seconds to prevent drivers from paying for unused parking. In addition, meters can be set to “on” overnight, and will automatically turn on at 8:00 a.m. and off at 6:00 p.m.
For those still clinging to their iPark devices, those can still be used and refilled at the treasurer’s office.
Image via EasyPark