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S. Eads Street Construction Set to Snarl Traffic Near Pentagon Parking

Construction around one of the Pentagon’s parking lots kicking off this week could produce some big headaches for drivers and bus riders alike.

Starting this morning (Monday), work will shut down the west side of S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to where it nears the Pentagon’s south parking lot at S. Rotary Road.

That will shift both northbound and southbound traffic to the east side of the street. In the mornings, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., that will cut off access to I-395’s northbound HOV lanes and Army Navy Drive from S. Rotary Road. Crews will post a detour and drivers should follow signs. In the same time period, access to northbound S. Eads Street from the right lane of S. Rotary Road will be reserved for anyone heading for I-395’s southbound HOV lanes.

Construction will include “median reconfiguration, road widening, pavement and drainage work,” according to VDOT, prompting some major traffic snarls.

“As current traffic volume along Eads Street is near capacity during peak periods, we expect significant traffic congestion and delays along Eads Street,” VDOT wrote in an advisory. “Periodic nighttime/weekend closures may also take place to complete the construction activities.”

VDOT is recommending that drivers looking to reach the I-395 HOV lanes during the construction to use the ramps near the Pentagon’s north parking lots at Boundary Channel Drive instead.

Arlington Transit is also warning bus riders looking to reach the Pentagon to expect “significant delays for ART buses entering and exiting” the facility’s lots. ART plans to issue service advisories as needed.

VDOT says work will shift to the east side of S. Eads Street sometime this fall, then last for an additional two months. The construction is included as part of the broader project focused on the I-395 express lanes.

Photo via VDOT

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Planners Nearing Final Designs for Complex Long Bridge Overhaul

(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Transportation planners have nearly finalized designs for a long-awaited effort to overhaul Virginia’s only railroad connection to D.C.

Officials from Virginia, D.C. and an alphabet soup’s worth of federal agencies have spent years working on plans to replace the Long Bridge — which runs roughly parallel to the 14th Street Bridge — and improve rail capacity over the Potomac River.

Officials say they are almost ready to commit to more concrete plans to guide the redesign. The project still needs millions of dollars in funding to move ahead, and construction wouldn’t start until 2020 at the earliest, yet planners are pushing to have engineering and environmental analyses drawn up by summer 2019.

State rail officials told the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission at a meeting last night (June 7) that they’ve managed to narrow down a long list of alternatives for replacing the bridge, which stretches from near the Pentagon in Arlington to Southwest D.C., to two final possibilities.

Both plans involve building a new, two-track bridge alongside the existing structure, which was first built back in 1904. One alternative calls for the current bridge to stay in place; the other would involve fully replacing it.

Either way, officials believe the project is critical for initiatives like ramping up Virginia Railway Express and Amtrak service between Virginia and the District.

“It is really a bridge of national significance,” Jennifer Mitchell, the director of the state’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation, told the commission. “It carries a tremendous amount of traffic with commuters that would otherwise be on I-66 or 395.”

Doug Allen, the CEO of VRE, stressed that increasing rail capacity across the Potomac will be particularly critical for his trains. Commercial freight trains from the company CSX, which owns the bridge, often have to compete with commuter trains for space on the tracks, and Mitchell suggested that running a second bridge alongside the Long Bridge would help avoid that sort of conflict.

“For us to be able to add more service to our trains, we need to add more tracks there,” Allen said.

But even with so many people invested in seeing the project finished, Mitchell was sure to note that the whole effort is “very complex.” The bridge stretches just past historic resources like the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, not to mention other, “sensitive areas dealing with security” in D.C. itself, Allen said.

The project will also require extensive conversations about how exactly officials can include bike and pedestrian options alongside the new bridge, a key point of concern for Arlington’s representatives on the commission.

Allen noted that officials are considering two options for bike and pedestrian crossings that would not be attached to the Long Bridge, running closer to the bridge for Metro trains nearby, but still included in the overall project. But he said planners could decide to add bike and pedestrian options on the new bridge itself, though he did note that could prompt some “security concerns.”

Whichever option officials choose, Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol urged Allen to keep bicyclists, walkers and runners in mind throughout the planning process, given the unique opportunity this project presents. After all, she noted, the current crossing along the 14th Street Bridge does not offer a connection to the regional trail network on the D.C. side.

“By tying the regional trail network together, this would allows hundreds or even thousands of commuters to get off our roads,” Cristol said. “Trying to come back and do this at a later date… would be incredibly difficult due to the sensitivity of the assets here.”

Mitchell says officials hope to have more public meetings on the project this fall, with cost estimates, preliminary engineering plans and an environmental impact analysis all ready by next summer.

Then, leaders will have to somehow find funding for the project. She says the state rail agency and CSX have committed to chip in a total of $30 million for the effort, and she fully plans to ask state lawmakers for more money by the General Assembly’s 2020 legislative sessions.

“We are trying very, very hard to get this schedule completed on time,” Mitchell said.

Photo via Google Maps. Graphics via the Long Bridge Project.

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Rolling Thunder Set to Return to Arlington for Memorial Day Rally

Thousands of motorcyclists are gearing up for the 31st edition of the annual “Rolling Thunder” ride through Arlington and D.C. in a few weeks.

Bikers with the veterans group are scheduled to gather in Arlington once more this Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27. The Rolling Thunder headquarters is again set for the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, with events planned throughout the weekend.

On Friday, May 25, riders will roll into town and then gather for a “Blessing of the Bikes” at the National Cathedral and a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Sunday, May 27 will feature the main event, as bikers convene in the Pentagon parking lots early that morning before riding across the Memorial Bridge into D.C. for a rally, which will include speakers and musical performances around the Reflecting Pool. Country artist Rockie Lynne is set to headline the concert.

The group’s mission is to raise awareness about American prisoners of war and service members who remain missing in action, according to the Rolling Thunder website.

Anyone looking to celebrate Rolling Thunder’s arrival can also gather for free outdoor concerts hosted by the Crystal City Sports Pub for the entire weekend.

Come celebrate Memorial Day weekend and Rolling Thunder on 23rd Street! We’ll have live music, cold beer and good food all weekend from 4-8pm on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday.

The legendary Roadducks will be jamming all weekend, so come by for a bit, or party for three days straight. Either way, a good time will be had by all!

This outdoor event is FREE to attend and there will be a cash bar and food available for purchase.

Location: 536 23rd St. S (the parking lot across from the Crystal City Sports Pub)

Rolling Thunder typically causes road closures around Arlington the day of the main rally, not to mention the occasional noise complaint from neighbors. County police have yet to release exact details on the changes in traffic patterns.

Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray

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Proposed County Budget Would Eliminate Two ART Bus Routes

The County Manager’s fiscal year 2019 proposed budget includes service eliminations to Arlington Transit bus routes 92 and 54.

The reductions would save the county $356,771 in 2019, according to the proposed budget. Public hearings on the budget and tax rate are scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 5, respectively.

The routes “are not meeting minimum service standards,” according to the budget document, and “service delivery can potentially be met by other transit or other modes such as Capital BikeShare.”

ART Route 92 runs weekdays from the Crystal City Metro station to the Pentagon Metro station via Long Bridge Park. Several WMATA routes also run through that area.

According to the ART Route 92 web page, “the route also serves as a shuttle for those working at Boeing and the U.S. Marshals Service.”

ART Route 54 operates weekdays during the morning and afternoon rush hours from Dominion Hills to the East Falls Church Metro station via Madison Manor neighborhood.

Both routes have “experienced low ridership (3 passengers per hour) and [have] performed below the established minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour and a 20 percent cost recovery ratio,” according to budget documents.

The County Board is expected to adopt its final budget on April 21.

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Pentagon Slug Lines and South Parking Lot To Be Reconfigured

Slug lines at the Pentagon are being temporarily relocated as part of ongoing work that includes creating new bus-only travel lanes.

The relocation was slated to start Monday at the Pentagon’s South Parking Lot “Pork Chop.”

More from a VDOT press release:

Work to reconfigure slug lines and create new bus-only travel lanes at the Pentagon Reservation’s South Parking Lot “Pork Chop,” located east of Eads Street and north of I-395, will begin on or about Monday, March 19. Pedestrians and motorists should exercise caution while traveling in the area.

The work is part of the I-395 Express Lanes Project, a public-private partnership project between VDOT and Transurban that is extending the existing I-95/I-395 Express Lanes eight miles from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road in Alexandria to the Washington, D.C. line.

As part of this change, crews will temporarily relocate the slug lines in the order shown in the diagram. Temporary signage will direct drivers and pedestrians.

Privately owned vehicles will no longer be able to use the exit to VA-110 and will enter and exit the “Pork Chop” from Eads Street.

In addition to the South Parking Lot work, the 395 Express Lanes Project will convert the South Rotary Road drop-off/pick-up lane to a right-turn Express Lane entrance ramp. As part of the South Rotary Road work, crews will install gates along the South Rotary turn lane, and install traffic signals on Eads Street at North and South Rotary Roads.

The I-395 Express Lanes are scheduled to open in fall 2019, while other elements of the project are expected to be completed by summer 2020. For additional information about the project, go to www.395expresslanes.com and www.virginiadot.org/395express.

Map via Virginia Department of Transportation

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Morning Notes

County Aims to Fix Boring Columbia Pike Architecture — “Arlington County Board members on Dec. 16 approved amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance that revamps existing regulations for Pike properties that are built under the Form-Based Code, a 15-year-old process that aims to speed the development timeline but has had the unintended consequence of rendering architectural creativity persona-non-grata on the Pike.” [InsideNova]

McAuliffe Proposes Metro Funding Plan — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is proposing a $150-million-per-year state funding plan for Metro. The plan includes using a portion of Northern Virginia’s regional transportation sales tax and increasing three other regional taxes. [WTOP]

Gutshall to Be Sworn In Today — Erik Gutshall, the newest Arlington County Board member, will be sworn in today at 5 p.m. at county headquarters in Courthouse. [InsideNova]

Pentagon Had UFO Office — The truth is out there, in Arlington —  at the Pentagon, specifically. It was revealed this past weekend that the Pentagon had a secretive program that investigated reports of Unidentified Flying Objects. The “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program” officially ended in the 2012. [Politico, Washington Post]

Phoenix House Renovation and Expansion — “On time and on budget – and without a dollar of government funding – Phoenix House Mid-Atlantic on Dec. 12 unveiled new and updated facilities in Arlington aimed at giving an extra boost to patients moving through the addiction-recovery process.” [InsideNova]

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Morning Notes

Belmont TV Closing — Belmont TV, located at 4723 King Street on the Arlington-Alexandria border, is planning to close its doors at the end of the month, after about 75 years in business. [Washington Business Journal]

APS Having Trouble Hiring Bus Drivers — “The strong local economy is creating some challenges for Arlington Public Schools’ efforts to fill out its bus-driver and bus-assistant ranks. There are still ‘nine routes that don’t have permanent drivers,’ said John Chadwick, the school system’s assistant superintendent for transportation, at the Oct. 19 School Board meeting.” [InsideNova]

Northam, Roem Speak at Freddie’s — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem spoke last night at an LGBT-focused campaign event at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City. Also attending the event were state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Mark Levine and Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. [Washington Blade]

History of the Pentagon Cable Crossing — A cable crossing, marked with large signs along the banks of the Potomac River, dates back to the construction of the Pentagon in early 1940s. [Atlas Obscura]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Marine Corps Marathon Will Close Arlington Roads, Highway Lanes

The 42nd Marine Corps Marathon and MCM 10K will bring a bevy of road closures to Arlington County this coming Sunday (Oct. 22).

Opening ceremonies for the races begin at 6:30 a.m., with the wheelchair race starting at 7:45 a.m. and the marathon and 10K beginning at 7:55 a.m. Around 30,000 people are expected to take part in the races, which run through parts of Arlington and D.C.

There are a number of good vantage points in Arlington to watch the runners, including the beginning and end of the marathon in Rosslyn and some of its final miles in Crystal City.

Per an Arlington County Police Department press release, the following roads will close on Sunday:

4:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  Marshall Drive from North Meade Street to Route 110

4:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  North Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Lynn Street

4:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  Route 110 from I-66 to Jefferson Davis Highway

4:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  Wilson Boulevard from North Nash Street to Route 110

4:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  Lynn Street from North Meade Street to Lee Highway

4:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  Fort Myer Drive from North Meade Street to Lee Highway

4:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  North Moore Street from Wilson Boulevard to Lee Highway

4:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.  19th Street North from Lynn Street to North Nash Street

4:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Route 110 ramp from Washington Blvd. to Pentagon North parking

5:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.    Exit 8B, Southbound 395 exit to Southbound Route 1. Motorists seeking to enter Crystal City are advised to continue south, take exit 7 (Glebe Road), and make a left at the traffic signal to travel south on Glebe    Road.  Continue south for approximately 2 miles, where Glebe Road intersects with both S. Eads Street and Route 1. Both thoroughfares lead into Crystal City.

7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.  Lee Highway (eastbound) from Lynn Street to North Kirkwood Street

7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.  Spout Run Parkway from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) to Lee Highway

7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.  GWMP from Spout Run to Memorial Circle Drive

7:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.  Francis Scott Key Bridge (all lanes)

7:35 a.m.-2:00 p.m.  HOV lanes from 14th Street SW to HOV ramp at South Eads Street

7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.  South Eads Street from South Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive

7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.  Army Navy Drive from South Fern Street to 12th Street South

7:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.  15th Street South from Crystal Drive to South Eads Street

7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.   12th Street South from Army Navy Drive to Crystal Drive

7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  Crystal Drive from 12th Street South to 23rd Street South

7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  23rd Street South from Crystal Drive to North Clark Street

7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  Long Bridge Drive from 12th Street South to I-395

7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  Boundary Channel Drive from I-395 to Pentagon North Parking

7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  Washington Blvd. from Columbia Pike to Memorial Circle (southbound lanes will reopen at approximately 9:30 a.m.)

While roads will close for the race, Metrorail will open two hours early at 6 a.m. and have extra trains on the Blue and Yellow Lines. Metro said the extended hours, now a rarity compared to years past, are “funded through an agreement with event organizers.”

Travel tips from a Metro press release, after the jump.

  • The closest Metrorail station to the start of the race is Pentagon Station on the Blue and Yellow lines. To accommodate the large crowds expected for the start of the race Pentagon Station will be exit only until 8:30 a.m.
  • To avoid crowding at Pentagon Station with riders traveling to the start line, consider using Pentagon City instead.
  • Arlington Cemetery Station will be closed Sunday until approximately 8:30 a.m.
  • Additional Yellow Line trains will operate between Huntington and Mt Vernon Sq from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m.; and additional Blue Line trains will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. and from 11:15 a.m. until 4:15 p.m.
  • The closest Metrorail stations for the start of the MCM 10K on the National Mall are Archives and L’Enfant Plaza.
  • Please take note of service changes on the Red Line.
  • Metro recommends purchasing a SmarTrip card in advance loaded with enough value for the entire day to avoid long lines. SmarTrip cards can be purchased at fare vending machines located at station entrances.
  • Please sign-up for MetroAlerts to receive service updates.

Metrobus service

Pentagon Bus Terminal – Due to the event, all Metrobus service that normally operates to/from the Pentagon will be diverted to Pentagon City on Saturday, October 21, until 2 p.m. to accommodate the MCM Kids Run and all-day Sunday. Additional staff will be on hand at Pentagon City Station to assist bus customers.

Rosslyn Bus Terminal – All Metrobus service will be relocated from the Rosslyn Bus Terminal to Oak Street from 4 a.m. until approximately 6 p.m. to accommodate the MCM Finish Festival.

Image via Marine Corps Marathon

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Roads Will Close for 9/11 Memorial 5K Race

The annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff Memorial 9/11 5K race is set for Saturday, September 9, and will result in a number of road closures near the Pentagon.

The race is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel (300 Army Navy Drive) in Pentagon City. The race route follows Army Navy Drive, S. Joyce Street, Washington Blvd, looping around the Pentagon on Route 110 before returning to the finish line at the DoubleTree.

The following closures will be in effect, from the Arlington County Police Department:

From 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.:

  • Army Navy Drive closed between 12th Street S. to S. Eads Street

From 5:45 p.m. until approximately 6:30 p.m.:

  • Westbound Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to S. Joyce Street (All streets crossing Army Navy Drive, including access to southbound I-395, will be closed for approximately 20 minutes)
  • S. Joyce Street from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
  • Columbia Pike from the Pentagon South parking lot to S. Joyce Street
  • I-395 Northbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street

From 5:45 p.m. until approximately 8:00 p.m.:

  • Westbound Washington Blvd closed from Memorial Bridge to I-395
  • Southbound Route 110 closed from Rosslyn to 15th Street S.
  • Marshall Drive closed at Route 110
  • S. Eads Street closed from Army Navy Drive to 11th Street S.

The 5K was founded by three Arlington police officers: retired Capt. Matt Smith, Detective Dan Borriello and Sgt. Sean Bryson. All of the officers worked as first responders at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

After the attacks, the group was inspired by other police 5Ks that they had participated in and decided to start their own race.

Proceeds from the race are donated to three organizations that support law enforcement: the Pentagon Memorial FundProject Enduring Pride and the National Police Suicide Foundation. The goal is to raise $1 million over the course of 20 races. So far, the 5K has raised $650,000 in its first 15.

Registration is still open and is $40 for individuals.

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Morning Poll: How Worried Are You About Nuclear Annihilation?

As tensions with a nuclear-armed North Korea escalate, it may be prompting some who live here in the D.C. area to reflect on the threat of nuclear conflict.

While experts say nuclear war with North Korea is unlikely, and both the North Koreans and the United States continue to talk about deterrence rather than aggression, there is no denying that the nation’s capital is a prime target for anyone who wants to attack the U.S.

Even in the event of a conflict, North Korea’s intercontinental missiles would not be able to reach D.C., according to news reports. Still, given our proximity in Arlington to places like the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon, how worried are you — in the back of your mind — about nuclear warfare given the latest escalation in rhetoric?

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

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Arlington 9/11 5K Race Returns for 16th Year

Registration is open for the 16th annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K, a race organized by the county’s first responders.

The race this year is taking place on Saturday, September 9. Registration is $40 and is open to teams and individuals.

The 5K was founded by three Arlington police officers: retired Capt. Matt Smith, Detective Dan Borriello and Sgt. Sean Bryson. All of the officers worked as first responders at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

After the attacks, the group was inspired by other police 5Ks that they had participated in and decided to start their own race.

“We started with mailing applications and sending letters to the police and fire chiefs,” said Bryson. “We really got a following.”

The race is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel (300 Army Navy Drive) in Pentagon City. The race route follows Army Navy Drive, S. Joyce Street, Washington Blvd, looping around the Pentagon on Route 110 before returning to the DoubleTree, where there’s an after party featuring food and drink.

Proceeds from the race are donated to three organizations that support law enforcement: the Pentagon Memorial FundProject Enduring Pride and the National Police Suicide Foundation. The goal is to raise $1 million over the course of 20 races. So far, the 5K has raised $650,000 in its first 15.

“This is a moment to reflect and a moment to be together. That we never forgot what happened,” said Bryson.

Registration is open through race day. All registered runners will receive a long sleeve commemorative race shirt.

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Morning Notes

D.C. and Arlington: Tech Towns? — The Greater Washington area has ranked third on a major real estate firm’s list of “Tech Cities 1.0.” The area received high marks for its educated workforce and pace of startup growth. Arlington, meanwhile, is continuing to land tech firms from D.C. and Fairfax County, in part thanks to active outreach and an incentive program from Arlington Economic Development. State incentives helped keep Applied Predictive Technologies in Ballston; the firm has a new office and is now expanding and creating 350 jobs.

Exotic Pet Ban Vote Delayed — The Arlington County Board is expected to delay its consideration of a new exotic pet ban until the fall. The proposal has garnered strong reactions from both sides of the issue, including from the D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute, which is urging the Board to approve the ban. [InsideNova]

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Gets Architect — Denver-based Fentress Architects has been selected as the designer of the $75 million 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center. The center will be built near the intersection of Washington Blvd and Columbia Pike, which is set to be realigned as part of an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery.  [Washington Business Journal]

DJO Standout in Running for National Recognition — Bishop O’Connell High School softball standout Kathryn Sandercock is in the running for USA Today’s ALL-USA High School Softball Player of the Year. She is currently second in an online poll. Sandercock was also just named to the 2017 Spring All-Met first team. Other Arlington high school students named to the first team All-Met in their sports include three boys soccer and one girls soccer player. [USA Today]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Riders Shake Off Health Issues to Compete Again at Armed Forces Cycling Classic

The 20th Armed Forces Cycling Classic will take place in Arlington this weekend, and one of its former champions is set to get back in the saddle.

Jake Keough, a three-time winner of the Crystal Cup race, will be cycling in it for the first time since he was forced into retirement three years ago due to an irregular heartbeat.

“After being a professional for 10-plus years, I began to have heart arrhythmias…I had major complications,” Keough wrote in an email.

Keough will be cycling with Team Skyline, run by the acclaimed bicyclist Ryan DeWald. DeWald, like Keough, suffers from another chronic medical condition: Type 1 diabetes. Both were diagnosed in 2014 and took time away.

“I got thin. I got sick. I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” DeWald said. “I missed one weekend of racing then I got back on my bike, I got on insulin, I re-sorted out how to race my bike on insulin. I worked with some of the best doctors in the world.”

When DeWald re-entered the cycling realm after his brief hiatus, he made an immediate impact. In 2015, he was ranked third nationally as a Category One rider, out of 1,475 cyclists.

Despite that impressive statistic, DeWald remembers when everybody told him to stop biking. He refused to take their advice.

“I had nothing to lose so I just kept racing the bike. Now, I’m turning more into an inspirational athlete with dynamic speaking skills,” DeWald said.

He hopes to eventually transfer out of bike racing and take on more leadership roles.

DeWald started the foundation, Winning the Race with Diabetes, to help people manage Type 1 diabetes while also engaging in athletic lifestyles. In addition to running Team Skyline, he runs a team bike shop in Reading, Penn.

While DeWald was getting back on his bike, Keough underwent cardiac ablation surgery. The procedure caused him to go into cardiac arrest.

“I was told by the best sports cardiologists in the world that I could never be an athlete again and that I should live a sedentary life,” Keough wrote.

Yet, Keough persisted. He takes medication to keep his heart rate low and has a sprinter plate on his chest.

“I’m back racing on my own terms and trying not to let my health issues dictate how I live my life,” Keough wrote.

“I think he’s taking his life into his own hands every time he sprints…I think he’s a few steps away from winning a big one,” DeWald said of his teammate. And after years apart, the men rekindled their friendship via social media this past winter.

“He was telling me about what happened to him, he asked me about my condition and we started comparing notes,” DeWald said.

Shortly thereafter, Keough joined DeWald’s team. Team Skyline rides about 15,000 miles per year and races 50-60 events annually.

This weekend’s race will not be Keough’s first since leaving retirement. However, he remains surprised by his recent success.

“I didn’t really plan on making a comeback. But, after racing Speed Week this spring and finishing fifth at Athens Twilight and fourth overall, I realized I could still be a factor at the top level of the sport I love,” Keough wrote.

Skyline is hopeful for this weekend. Keough’s youngest brother, Luke Keough, will also be participating this weekend, on a different team.

“Obviously, as a former winner, the goal is to get back to the top step. But, more importantly, it’s to have a blast,” Keough wrote.

“We’re going to try to win,” DeWald said. “Jake has just got to beat his brother [in the race]. How hard can it be to beat your younger brother?”

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic consists of two days of races: the Clarendon Cup on Saturday, in Clarendon, and the Crystal Cup and non-competitive Challenge Ride on Sunday, in Crystal City. The pro-am races, along with corresponding kids races and the Challenge Ride, are open to spectators.

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UPDATED: NWS Confirms Thursday Tornado

Update at 11:20 p.m. — The National Weather Service confirms that an EF-0 tornado tracked through Arlington and into the District on Thursday.

Earlier: The storms that whipped through Arlington and the D.C. region yesterday brought power outages and damage, and more trees toppled today, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

But now the Capital Weather Gang believes the storms caused something else: a rare tornado in Arlington.

As CWG reported, the National Weather Service officially confirmed tornadoes in Herndon and in Southeast D.C. on Thursday. But the CWG team lists several other areas where they believe small tornadoes may have touched down, including in South Arlington near the Pentagon.

Radar indicated rotation there around 1:40 p.m., as noted on Twitter by weather enthusiast Ian Livingston.

Photographic evidence of damage near the Army Navy Country Club is consistent with tornadic activity, according to CWG. That’s also close to where one person was hurt when part of the Macy’s facade and roof at the Pentagon City mall was damaged and fell onto a car yesterday.

The National Weather Service reportedly is assessing damage near the Tidal Basin to determine if a tornado occurred there and along the H Street Corridor; the same storm caused the Arlington circulation. The Capital Weather Gang indicates the possible Arlington tornado may have been a separate occurrence from the one at the Tidal Basin, or that one tornado may have passed over the entire area in question.

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Trump Budget Plan Worries Local Lawmakers

Aerial view of the Pentagon (Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman)President Trump’s first budget proposal and its ramped-up defense spending could help Arlington’s economy, according to experts, but local lawmakers worry that cuts elsewhere in the federal government could hurt.

Trump’s budget blueprint for fiscal 2018, entitled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” calls for $54 billion in additional defense spending.

The budget plan would cut federal funding to a swath of programs to help offset the increased defense spending, including a number that help lower-income residents.

That would likely mean a spending boon at the Pentagon, which has approximately 25,000 military and civilian occupants daily.

In addition, defense contractors based in the county could see more work go their way, as well as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an Arlington-based Department of Defense agency.

Frank Shafroth, director of the Center for State and Local Government Leadership at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, added that DARPA work can be just as lucrative. DARPA “often subcontracts up to $7 for every dollar spent in house,” Shafroth said.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said the effects of decreased defense spending under President Obama, the result of the federal budget sequester, must be tackled but not in this way.

“We should be serious about addressing the fiscal issues in our country and work together to address the impact that the across-the-board spending cuts have had on the military and our national security,” Warner said in a statement. “However, the roadmap the President has laid out does not meet those goals.”

Of concern in Arlington is reduced spending on the State Department, which operates three D.C.-area field offices in Arlington. Trump’s plan would cut $10.1 billion from State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. That cut could force the closure or downsizing of those field offices, which handle security and investigations among other roles.

“Budgets show us a President’s priorities, and based on what President Trump released today, I’m concerned that he’s continuing to push policies that would hurt Virginians,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement last week. “While I support the Administration’s commitment to investments in defense, deep cuts to the State Department jeopardize our national security.”

White House logoRep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Trump’s cuts could hurt Northern Virginia and the rest of the country.

“President Trump wants to spend more on defense and border security while making huge cuts to what they defend: our people, our health, and our environment,” he said. “These extreme cuts will hit my constituents particularly hard, including many federal workers at the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency. But their pain will be felt across the entire country.”

Any gains on the defense side may be offset by losses elsewhere, as Trump’s budget plan seeks to shrink the federal workforce. With a hiring freeze already in place, further cuts could be coming.

Analysis by the Stephen S. Fuller Institute at GMU found that Northern Virginia could lose as many as 3,600 federal jobs, under the assumption that between 5.4 and 6.6 percent of all federal jobs in the region are lost.

And the analysis found that any gains in DoD and other departments may not be enough to lessen the impact of losses elsewhere.

Despite others’ gloomy predictions, Shafroth said he is optimistic that Arlington can weather any storms, given how central it is in defense spending.

“On net, especially given the serious situation with North Korea, I believe there will be major job disruption, but, at the end of the day the county’s critical role in national defense and the very large increase in federal spending will lead to disruption, but close to a net overall wash,” he said.

Flickr pool photo (top) by Michael Coffman

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