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by Bridget Reed Morawski April 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm 0

Arlington County may be known as a generally pedestrian-friendly place, but you can get ticketed for jaywalking here.

At least 18 citations were issued in 2017 for common pedestrian code violations, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Nine citations were issued for “pedestrian disobey walk/don’t walk,” and another nine were issued for “pedestrian walk in street when sidewalk is available,” according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

(The term jaywalking, while colloquially used to describe those crimes, is technically not an offense code in Virginia.)

“As part of a police officer’s routine duties, they enforce various traffic laws for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists,” Savage told ARLnow.com. “Officers utilize their discretion and take enforcement action when there is a clear danger to the safety of travelers.”

At least one of these enforcement actions occurred yesterday outside of the Deloitte offices in Rosslyn (1919 N. Lynn Street), according to a tipster, who sent a photo of a man waiting near a police cruiser as an officer wrote up a citation.

Pedestrian-related citations, dependent on the exact nature of the offense, can result in fines of $66 (including processing fee).

Recent pedestrian-related fines, including fines for paying attention to a mobile device while crossing the street, have drawn attention from D.C. to Honolulu.

The annual Street Smart regional traffic safety campaign kicks off soon, running from April 16-May 13. The law enforcement effort attempts to encourage safe behavior among pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists “through high visibility traffic enforcement and education while reducing the number of traffic related crashes and injuries.”

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 22, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

The pedestrian tunnel that crosses Route 1 in Crystal City will eventually be removed as part of the 23rd Street alignment project, though a scheduled closing has not been set.

The project, which is several years out, will “accommodate redevelopment on the east and west intersections of 23rd Street S. between Crystal Drive and S. Clark-Bell Street” in two phases. (Clark and Bell streets are also being realigned and merged into one.)

The tunnel may be closed before the project begins, “because it is underutilized” and because of upkeep costs, according to a county spokesperson. The tunnel was intended as a safety improvement, though many locals take their chances at street level due to the tunnel being dark and smelling like urine.

Robert Mandle, Crystal City Business Improvement District’s chief operating officer, cited several reasons for the change, including increased visibility for the row of restaurants along 23rd Street S. and what he called the “surprisingly common misconception that the tunnel will take you to Metro.”

“The interest in closing the tunnel really arises from the fact that most people use the surface crossing because the tunnel is longer, indirect, and uncomfortable,” Mandle wrote in an email to ARLnow. “Recent safety enhancements completed by Arlington County have further improved the existing signalized crossings.”

by ARLnow.com March 7, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Crews are starting construction this week on changes to an intersection in Courthouse.

The $640,000 project is intended to provide pedestrian safety improvements at the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and 15th Street N. One major change is the removal of a slip lane.

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.

Construction hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, according to the county website.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Board approved $1.4 million in additional funding for the N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway esplanade and safety enhancement project.

The Virginia Department of Transportation came to county officials with a cost estimate significantly higher than the initial $7.95 million price tag, which was approved by the Board in December 2016.

The increase is due to lengthened construction time, increased materials and labor costs since the 2016 estimate and design changes relating to traffic plans, according to the county manager’s report. Initially, the call for construction bids in March 2017 only received one bidder, which was rejected “due to previous established restriction on the bidder by VDOT,” according to the manager’s recommendation.

The project will bring pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, such as wider sidewalks and on-street bike lanes, as well as traffic management and street beautification to the N. Lynn Street and Custis Trail area. A public arts project, the long-delayed Corridor of Light project, will also be installed, but only at the four corners of the I-66 bridge.

Safety is a significant component of the project. The intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway, once dubbed the “Intersection of Doom,” has been the scene of numerous vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes over the past few years, though collisions are down since interim safety improvements have been installed

The Board unanimously approved the increase in budget at its Tuesday meeting. Project construction should wrap up by May 2020.

File photos

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm 0

A Crystal City to Reagan National Airport pedestrian connection is feasible, according to a study conducted by the Crystal City Business Improvement District.

The study, released today (Thursday), determined that the connection would allow most Crystal City residents and employees to walk to the airport within approximately 15 minutes. The connection would link the airport’s terminal B/C parking garage with a JBG Smith private office building complex on Crystal Drive near 20th Street S.

Construction is estimated to cost approximately $38 million, with annual maintenance fees of $100,000. Various possible pedestrian connection configurations, including both open air and enclosed setups, were illustrated in the study. One configuration envisions the pedestrian bridge as a park-like destination, akin to New York City’s High Line.

The majority of airport arrivals are via either private car or taxi. Only 12 percent of arrivals are via Metro, according to the study.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 22, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Enhanced crosswalks and curb extensions are coming to S. Walter Reed Drive, just south of Columbia Pike, in an effort to calm traffic and improve intersections for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Storm sewer upgrades and raised medians will also be added to the stretch of S. Walter Reed Drive between 11th Street S. and 13th Street S. The current “bike boulevard” will move from 12th Street S. to 11th Street S. between S. Highland Street and S. Cleveland Street.

County Manager Mark Schwartz has recommended awarding the project to Fort Myer Construction, headquartered in Washington. The County Board is scheduled to consider the contract at its Saturday meeting. The contract cost is $444,575.11, with a change order contingency allocation of $88,915.02.

Photo via Google Maps

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]

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