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by Anna Merod February 8, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

The emergency lights are on at the Pentagon City Metro station’s underground pedestrian tunnel, but nobody’s there.

The third entrance to the Metro station is still closed despite an Arlington County staff report scheduling a March 2017 opening. The tunnel is now supposed to open sometime this spring, wrote Catherine Matthews, communications specialist for the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services, to ARLnow.com via email.

The pedestrian tunnel connected to the Metro is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S. The tunnel opening was initially scheduled for 2015.

The county made an agreement last year with WMATA to claim responsibility for maintaining and operating the $1.3 million tunnel.

“Over the past year the connection, operations and maintenance agreement with WMATA has been amended and a separate letter agreement with Brookfield Office Properties has been executed; specifically to confirm and finalize procedures for the opening and closing of the tunnel each day,” Matthews said.

WMATA and Brookfield Office Properties are responsible for finalizing the procedures for opening and closing the tunnel, according to Matthews, and once that has been done the tunnel will open, she added.

When it does open, the tunnel will be available to pedestrians weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

by Chris Teale January 23, 2018 at 11:15 am 0

A 60-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being struck by a car on Washington Blvd earlier today (Tuesday) near Washington-Lee High school.

A driver in a white SUV struck the man just before 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Stafford Street. According to scanner traffic, he had a head wound but was conscious, and was attended to by nearby construction workers before police and medics arrived.

Officers from the Arlington County Police Department canvassed witnesses nearby but did not close any roads, and traffic appeared to be flowing as normal.

Washington Blvd has had well-documented issues with pedestrian-vehicle conflicts in recent years, despite various safety improvements being installed. A teen was struck by a car in 2016 at its intersection with N. Utah Street and suffered a serious head injury.

In the aftermath, police stepped up traffic enforcement at the intersection to enforce traffic laws on scofflaw drivers. Still, reports of drivers ignoring pedestrians in the crosswalk continued.

by Chris Teale December 27, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

A shared-use path is now open on eastbound Washington Blvd near the Pentagon, part of a bridge rehabilitation project in Arlington County.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said a 14-foot wide path for bicycles and pedestrians along eastbound Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 opened yesterday (Tuesday).

The path is now 14 feet wide on the bridge and replaces a narrow concrete sidewalk that pedestrians and cyclists used to use. It is 10 feet wide on the approaches to the bridge.

Drivers in the area can expect some delays starting tonight (Wednesday), as eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd will shift onto the newly-constructed portion of the bridge. The traffic shift allows construction crews to demolish the middle portion of the bridge and rebuild it.

Work is expected to last from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes.

VDOT said it still believes the $31.5 million project is on track to wrap up next year. It will replace the existing bridge, built in 1941, with one that is wider, longer and taller.

Photo via VDOT

by Chris Teale December 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

A bill in the Virginia State Senate would require that drivers come to a complete stop when yielding to pedestrians crossing the street.

The bill, SB 46 introduced by state Sen. Barbara Favola (D), adds language to state law telling motorists what constitutes yielding to a pedestrian: “by stopping and remaining stopped until such pedestrian has safely crossed,” per the bill text.

Favola’s bill would require drivers to stop and remain stopped at the following places:

  • Clearly marked crosswalks, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block.
  • Any regular pedestrian crossing included in the boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block.
  • Any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway where the maximum speed limit is 35 miles per hour.

Language on when drivers must yield to pedestrians is included in the Virginia Criminal and Traffic Manual, but does not include the line to have drivers stop.

“Under this bill, a car would have to stop. Right now all you have to do is yield,” Favola told ARLnow.com. “So if a pedestrian is crossing and is on one half of the crosswalk, a car can go through the other half. This would make them stop completely.”

Favola’s district includes sections of Arlington County. The new legislation comes on the heels of a recent enforcement effort by the Arlington County Police Department, during which officers cited more than 30 motorists at several intersections for failing to yield.

The bill would not change the fines for violations: $100-$500 when street signs require drivers to yield and no more than $100 at crossings with shared-use paths like trails.

by Chris Teale December 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Police Department cited 20 drivers yesterday (Thursday) on Columbia Pike for failing to yield to pedestrians, as part of an active enforcement effort.

Officers stationed themselves at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street in Alcova Heights and an officer in a bright orange shirt crossed the street as cars in the distance started to approach. ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said they cited 20 people for failing to yield.

The enforcement effort is part of its 2017 Street Smart Pedestrian, Driver, and Bicyclist Safety Campaign. A similar enforcement by police officers took place in mid-November.

The program aims to change road users’ behavior while reducing the number of crashes and injuries. Officers ticketed motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violated traffic laws.

by Chris Teale November 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Arlington County Police cited 11 drivers in two places earlier this week for failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the tickets were issued from two locations: the intersections of Washington Blvd and 4th Street N. in Lyon Park; and Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street in Alcova Heights.

Police said the program is part of its 2017 Street Smart Pedestrian, Driver, and Bicyclist Safety Campaign from November 6 through December 3.

The program aims to change road users’ behavior while reducing the number of crashes and injuries. Officers ticketed motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violated traffic laws.

Officers will conduct another high-visibility enforcement effort on November 30.

by Chris Teale November 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Construction to expand a federal training facility has closed a walking trail near Alcova Heights Park.

The trail between 6th Street S. and S. Quincy Street closed permanently yesterday for construction on the State Department’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center (4000 Arlington Blvd).

NFATC trains members of the nation’s foreign service, and is seeking to expand its campus in Arlington to include a new training and classroom facility, childcare center and other buildings. The project is expected to be completed in October 2018.

As planned, the expansion would extend the perimeter fence farther south, and, in the process, swallow up a pedestrian path that connects George Mason Drive and S. Quincy Street.

The decision to close the path came under fire earlier this year from local residents, who signed a petition to try to save it. At the time, critics said pedestrians would be deprived of a way to walk from one end of the Alcova Heights neighborhood to another.

The petition was signed by more than 130 people and urged the General Services Administration, which is responsible for the project, to “build a perimeter trail connecting 3rd St. S to the existing trail at Quincy at 6th St. S,” among other demands.

by Chris Teale November 14, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

The findings of a study on the feasibility of a pedestrian link between Crystal City and Reagan National Airport are set to be unveiled at a public meeting Wednesday.

The Crystal City Business Improvement District and civil engineering firm VHB will host a public meeting from 1-2:30 p.m. and again from 6:30-8 p.m. on November 15, on the 11th floor of 2011 Crystal Drive.

There, they will present the findings of a feasibility study on the project commissioned earlier this year, as well as several renderings of possible pedestrian links.

Those unable to attend can watch the presentation on Facebook Live, while the presentation slides will be uploaded to the project website after the meeting.

Crystal City BID CEO Angela Fox has said previously that a “new pedestrian connection will bring the airport even closer, from a 15-minute walk to a four-minute walk.”

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com November 9, 2017 at 8:40 am 0

ACPD Urges Caution on Roads As Days Get Shorter — “The days are getting shorter and there’s increased pedestrian and bicyclist traffic after dark,” the Arlington County Police Department said in a public service tweet last night. “Slow down, remain alert and proceed with care and caution.” [Twitter, Twitter]

History: Fort Myer During World War I — A Library of Congress collection includes 100-year-old photographs showing what life was like on Fort Myer during World War I. The photos show a visit from President Woodrow Wilson and the famous “Three Sisters” radio towers. [Pentagram]

Redskins Visit Fort Myer, Play Video Games — Former Washington Redskins players Santana Moss and Fred Smoot visited Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and engaged in a Madden 18 video game tournament with some of the men and women in uniform. [WUSA 9]

Notable Tree Nomination Deadline Approaching — November 15 is the application deadline for submitting a tree for consideration as a 2018 Arlington County “notable tree.” [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com October 23, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Arlington County will spend just over $640,000 to re-configure an intersection in Courthouse neighborhood.

The County Board unanimously approved the construction project at its meeting Saturday.

The plan is to remove a one-way portion of roadway that serves as a shortcut to 15th Street N. in front of county government headquarters, and instead have Clarendon Blvd traffic access 15th Street via a 90 degree turn at the traffic signal-equipped intersection a bit farther down the road.

As currently configured the triangle of roadway leads to conflicts between cars and pedestrians, county staff says. The goal of the project is to improve “pedestrian safety, circulation and access in and around Courthouse Plaza.”

The new intersection will include additional trees, green space and other amenities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

More from a county press release:

Clarendon Boulevard is a key arterial street in the R-B corridor, and the intersection of 15th Street is central to the busy Courthouse Metro Station. The intersection is currently designed primarily to funnel automobiles onto 15th Street North, which often results in conflicts between pedestrians, vehicles and transit users.

New safety and streetscape improvements, which will include new concrete curb and gutter, ADA compliant sidewalks, storm structures and streetscape amenities, such as benches and bike racks, will make this area safer for all travelers. The project also will improve the circulation of the Courthouse Plaza parking garage and provide better access to the surrounding street network by extending the parking garage’s entrance to Clarendon Boulevard. The bus stop waiting area along 15th Street North will be expanded and the existing bus stop at Clarendon Boulevard/N. Wayne Street will be relocated to the far right of the intersection to facilitate safer pedestrian crossing along this street segment.

“These are the kinds of projects that make Arlington such a great place to walk,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “This intersection is going to function better for all who use it – and look a lot better – as a result of the improvements the Board approved today.”

Photo (1) via Arlington County, photo (2) via Google Maps

by Katie Pyzyk October 4, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Parents of Thomas Jefferson Middle School students are petitioning for traffic calming measures on a stretch of road near the school where they report witnessing a number of vehicle-pedestrian close calls.

They’re asking for a crossing guard and a traffic-calming measure — such as a four-way stop — at the intersection of 2nd Street S. and Irving Street, which is a heavily traveled pedestrian thoroughfare for students going to and from school.

The entire stretch of 2nd Street S. near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, from Irving Street to Old Glebe Road, is well-traveled by vehicles and does not have four-way stops. Parents chose to ask for traffic calming at the Irving intersection because of the significant amount of both pedestrian and vehicle traffic at that particular spot. Plus it’s one of the few streets in the neighborhood that runs uninterrupted all the way from Columbia Pike to Washington Blvd., making it easier for motorists to speed than on adjacent streets.

The intersection, like the others on 2nd Street, may not have four-way stops, but it does have painted pedestrian crosswalks. Neighborhood residents say motorists ignore people in the crosswalks, though, especially during morning and afternoon rush hours. “That’s prime commuter time and prime school time,” said TJ parent Alisa Key.

Key saw a girl nearly get hit while walking in the crosswalk to school, and that prompted her to take action. “I couldn’t walk away from that without doing anything,” she said. “In the past two weeks, we have had multiple near misses and countless instances of motorists… disregarding kids in the crosswalk. We have taken it upon ourselves to help the kids cross safely because APS and the county have not.”

The group of concerned parents invited county officials to visit the site to see the dangers that students and other pedestrians face. The group reports that a number of representatives showed up from Arlington Public Schools, the county’s Department of Environmental Services, the police department and the county board.

DES currently is collaborating with APS and police on reviewing the intersection and will report the results of the study next week. According to a DES spokesperson, “The traffic study consists of collecting additional traffic volume, speed and pedestrian volume data to determine whether a four-way stop meets federal standards (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices).”

Parents are hopeful that the results next week indicate the need for increased safety measures, including a crossing guard. In the meantime, they’ve been taking turns positioning themselves at the crosswalk in the morning to make sure children get to school safely. They’ve also started an online petition requesting traffic calming measures, which has more than 400 signatures.

Parents are particularly worried about what happens when the volume of students increases upon completion of a new elementary school at the TJ site.

“The intersection at S. Irving & S. 2nd Street is a magnet for kids, bikers, walkers, etc. because there are currently three community attractions at this site — TJ Park, TJ Recreation Center, TJ Middle School and soon to be coming Fleet Elementary School,” said concerned parent and Arlington Heights resident Colleen Godbout. “This intersection needs calming measures immediately.  We can not wait for the accident that is inevitable here.”

by Katie Pyzyk September 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Starting in October, a construction project will close the Van Buren Bridge near the East Falls Church Metro until next spring.

The bridge expansion and replacement project is scheduled to begin the week of October 16, and all bridge access will end at that time. In a letter to residents, the City of Falls Church indicated that construction is expected to continue at least through March 2018.

During construction, Van Buren Street will be closed between 19th Street North in Arlington and East Columbia Street in Falls Church. Northbound vehicles will be rerouted from Columbia Street to Roosevelt Street and 19th Street North. Southbound vehicles will be rerouted from 19th Street North to Sycamore Street and 16th Street North. Cyclists and pedestrians will detour on an existing bridge along the W&OD trail in Benjamin Banneker Park.

Construction is expected to take place most weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and some weekend work may also be necessary. Residents in the affected area will still have access to their driveways and homes when the closure is in effect.

The project to remove and rebuild the existing Van Buren Bridge will repair structural deficiencies and add pedestrian access along the corridor to the East Falls Church Metro. The new bridge will have two lanes for vehicle traffic and cyclists in addition to a 12-foot wide pedestrian walkway.

by Chris Teale September 1, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A series of public meetings will be held next week to discuss a possible new pedestrian connection between Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.

The meetings are scheduled to take place Tuesday, September 5 on the 11th floor of 2011 Crystal Drive, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Both meetings will have the same agenda, with staff from the Crystal City Business Improvement District looking to gather public feedback on the proposed pedestrian link.

RSVPs for either meeting are requested but not required.

“Imagine walking from Crystal City’s main street to the airport in just under 5 minutes,” the meetings’ event page says. “The CC2DCA Pedestrian Connection Feasibility Study that is investigating this possibility.”

Earlier this year, the BID issued a Request for Proposals asking for consultants to study a possible connection. The deadline for sending those proposals, which included the studying of optimal alignments, real estate, regulations, costs and necessary approvals, has since passed.

BID officials say a new pedestrian crossing would help leverage various transportation improvements in Crystal City, including the revamped VRE station and a proposed new Metro station entrance on Crystal Drive. Reagan National is also set for a $1 billion refresh, with construction there expected to conclude in 2021.

Anyone unable to attend in person can watch the presentation on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/crystalcityva or send comments and feedback by email to [email protected].

Map via Google Maps

by Chris Teale August 10, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Arlington County Board vice chair Katie Cristol said the plan to make a stretch of a Rosslyn street pedestrian-only could attract more people to the neighborhood.

The county’s long-term plan for Rosslyn includes a multi-block, pedestrian-only stretch of 18th Street N. to replace the skywalk system that extends east to N. Arlington Ridge Road.

The Board laid the foundations for that plan last year when it approved adding pedestrian-only streets and low-speed “shared streets” for bicycles, pedestrians and other transit options to its transportation repertoire.

And in a conversation with WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi this afternoon (Thursday) about a proposal to make a street in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood pedestrian only, Cristol said pedestrian-only streets could help Rosslyn draw more non-residents to the area.

“It would foster and facilitate the conversion of this urban core from an area that people travel through to an area that people travel to, and participate in commerce and can live and work and recreate and shop and patronize businesses in a safe and lively environment to do that,” Cristol said of the pedestrian-centric plan.

She added that such pedestrian-only streets are influenced by wanting to see a “European or pre-1920s U.S. vision of city uses other than vehicular.”

The plan has already had an impact on future development in that area. In July, the Board deferred a plan to reconfigure the nearby Rosslyn Metro Center shopping mall after staff found it would “hinder achievement” of the so-called 18th Street Corridor.

Cristol said that while it is important to think about making streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, the county is not looking to punish those who would prefer to drive.

“This conversation for us in Arlington is a little bit less about how do we restrict people’s ability to use their cars, and how do we expand travel options and safety for everyone using our streets,” she said.

Cristol said the county’s use of shared streets, which encourage more pedestrians, bicyclists and transit as well as cars traveling at lower speeds, is something it will continue to explore. Shared streets have features like different paving materials, larger sidewalks and improved crosswalks, and already exist in places like Penrose Square off Columbia Pike.

Almost every project approved in the county has elements of that in its streetscape, and Cristol said there are “definitely a lot of opportunities for this kind of shared street category” in areas like Courthouse. Sections of 14th and 15th Streets N. in the neighborhood are slated to become shared streets.

by Chris Teale July 17, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The Crystal City Business Improvement District announced today (Monday) it is looking to study the feasibility of a new pedestrian link between Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.

In collaboration with other stakeholders in the neighborhood, the BID issued a Request for Proposals asking for consultants to study a possible connection.

Respondents will need to study optimal alignments, private and public real estate considerations, regulatory requirements, costs and financing and implementation, including the necessary agency and stakeholder approvals that would be required. Proposals are due August 4.

“Crystal City is the area’s most accessible neighborhood – with Metro, [Virginia Railway Express], connections to every major area highway, bike paths and an airport you can literally walk to,” said Angela Fox, Crystal City BID president and CEO, in a statement. “A new pedestrian connection will bring the airport even closer, from a 15-minute walk to a four-minute walk and transform the area into a unique multimodal transportation hub serving as a major economic development catalyst for Crystal City, Arlington County and the Commonwealth.”

In their announcement of the RFP, BID officials said the new pedestrian crossing would help leverage various upcoming enhancements to Crystal City’s transportation infrastructure, including the revamped VRE station and a proposed new Metro station entrance on Crystal Drive. Reagan National is also set for a $1 billion refresh, with construction there expected to conclude in 2021.

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