It’s a new year and, at the Arlington County Board’s annual organizational meeting tonight, Board members will set a new(-ish) direction for 2018.
The Board now has a new member — Erik Gutshall — who prevailed in the Democratic caucus and then the general election last year. He replaces long-time Board member Jay Fisette, who declined to run for another term, while Libby Garvey has become the longest-serving Board member.
With a new County Board and a new year of civic life to contemplate, we wanted to know what your New year’s resolutions are for Arlington.
We’ve taken a bunch of things we often hear from readers and put them the poll below. Select your top 3 from the list, and let us know in the comments if you have any others.
Voting is underway in the contest to decide which vehicle decal design will wind up on on the windshields of more than 150,000 vehicles in Arlington County next year.
Arlington residents can each cast an online ballot on the county treasurer’s website through Monday, Jan. 15. This year, voters are being asked to rank each of the four finalists from 1 to 4, with 1 being their favorite and 4 their least favorite.
(As in previous years, the designs are submitted by local high school students.)
Go get a sense of which design might emerge victorious, we are conducting our own informal poll of Arlingtonians. Vote below for your favorite and we’ll compare our poll results to the final results, when the results are announced late next month.
Tolls higher than $30 — for the trip from I-495 to D.C. — have been reported since the HOT lanes launched on Monday. The new system replaces the former HOV-only rush hour regime with one that also allows solo drivers to pay, while eliminating exemptions for fuel efficient vehicles and those heading to Dulles airport.
Today, lower tolls — peaking around $23.50 — were reported, though that is still well above the $7-9 tolls originally predicted by VDOT. Meanwhile, traffic on alternative east-west arteries, like Route 50, has increased since the tolls went into effect.
VDOT says Route 50 has seen 8-percent increase in traffic since 66 toll began. Here's what traffic looks like on 50 inside Beltway. pic.twitter.com/ISaenPuolT
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) December 6, 2017
VDOT says the toll prices are demand-based, which presumably means that some drivers are choosing to pay upwards of $30 for a one-way trip to the Roosevelt Bridge.
For those of means, along with bus riders and carpoolers, the change has at least resulted in a breeze of a commute on I-66 — higher average speeds during peak times than before the change. The average speed during Monday and Tuesday’s commutes was 57 miles per hour, according to VDOT.
Should VDOT decide to lower toll prices, it might result in slowdowns and congestion, some fear.
So what would be the price most people would be willing to pay? Let’s find out.
(Updated at 5:40 p.m.) The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a
5.1 4.4 4.1 magnitude earthquake — centered near Dover, Delaware — shook the region just after 4:45 p.m. Thursday.
One local resident said via Twitter that her house shuddered and glassware rattled in the home’s cabinets during the quake. But not everyone felt it — here at ARLnow.com HQ in Clarendon, the quake went unnoticed by three employees until tweets started showing up on our feed.
Did you feel the quake?
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 30, 2017
Thanksgiving is a day away and Christmas music is beginning to be played in malls and on the radio.
While it’s not quite frosty enough for a white Thanksgiving, a winter wonderland may be on the minds of local residents after a disappointing season for snow lovers last year.
What are you hoping for this year — a white Christmas and plenty of sledding opportunities, or another winter of not much shoveling and windshield scraping?
Election Day is coming up on Tuesday and quite a few Arlington voters have already “headed to the polls” via absentee voting.
The gubernatorial race has been particularly pitched this year, with gobs of money spent by and on behalf of Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam (above).
Many Arlington residents have likely noticed a barrage of direct mail and local TV ads. But how closely have you, personally, been following the race?
For the New York Times, turning readers into paid subscribers has helped the company buck industry trends and grow its revenue in the face of steep print advertising declines and an environment in which Google and Facebook capture the lion’s share of new digital advertising.
Here in Arlington, we are fortunate to have a great base of advertisers. Thanks to our advertisers, the ARLnow you see today is sustainable and here to stay.
However, we often hear from readers who want more. More long-form stories, more profiles of local community members doing good works, more investigations into neighborhood issues, more accountability and public-service journalism, etc. We do some of that now, but this kind of reporting takes a lot of time to produce and we are stretched thin as it is.
To do more is not possible for us as an exclusively advertising-supported business. It could be possible, however, if just a percent or two of our current readers are willing to subscribe to read it.
Here’s the idea we’re currently batting around:
- Invest in increased long-form, enterprise and public-service reporting, but make most of it exclusively for subscribers.
- Offer subscriptions for $8/mo or $80/year.
- Beyond more news, include other goodies for subscribers like: a new weekly “insider” email newsletter, access to a private Facebook group with ARLnow staff, a quarterly subscriber happy hour, etc.
So what do you think? Would you be willing to pay a small monthly fee for more news about Arlington?
The National Park Service has denied a permit to erect a 45-foot statue of a naked, meditating woman on the National Mall near the Washington Monument.
The group behind the upcoming Catharsis on the Mall festival planned to transport R-Evolution, the statue created by artist Marco Cochrane, from San Francisco to the Mall at a cost of around $100,000.
The event is being held from Nov. 10-12.
Not that anyone has proposed it, but we were wondering whether Arlington might be a more welcoming place for the statue. If it were an option, would you support the statue being erected somewhere in Arlington?
Not a big problem, but one that’s been fairly persistent over the past half dozen years we’ve operated our Arlington event calendar. It’s a two-fold issue that no amount of boldface type on our event submission page seems to solve.
First, even though the event calendar is clearly labeled as being for events in Arlington, we get loads of submissions for events in D.C., Alexandria, Falls Church and elsewhere. We do our best to screen those out and reject any events not in Arlington.
Second, event details have a way of changing after they’re submitted. Whether it’s a submission error or a case of the event being moved to a new time or venue, we regularly get requests to make changes to events (there is no way for those submitting events to edit them later).
Our official policy is that events with incorrect information are removed but the event organizer may re-submit the event afterward. A downside of that is that any links to the original event page would be broken, and it is a bit of extra work for the event submitter.
On the other hand, having our staff make changes upon request would be a drain on our resources and would serve to reward lackadaisical submitters who do not double check their information. Ideally, event information should never change, as the act of putting it on an event calendar means you’re telling our readers they should show up at that day and time and expect the event to take place as described. If such information frequently changes, it would discourage people from using and relying on the event calendar.
We’ve been mulling over changes to both policies for awhile, but wanted to ask you — our readers — about it first. Should we start allowing events outside of Arlington that may be of interest to ARLnow readers, and should we be more accommodating with event information change requests?
There has not been much breaking news in Arlington lately. For those who like to comment on stories with “Slow news day?” — yes, that has been accurate for a good portion of the past month.
But inevitably, breaking news does happen in Arlington. We are a county with some 230,000 residents, a major airport, rail lines, Metro tunnels, highways, bridges, a river, government offices and one of the world’s largest office buildings — things happen here.
We know that one thing readers like about us is that we are often the first to report breaking news. But our email subscribers are often slow to see that breaking news, since by design they only get an update once a day.
Also, those who like our Facebook page are subject to the whims of the Facebook algorithm, and might not be seeing breaking stories.
Today we’re wondering: should we offer an alternative? Should we start sending out breaking news alerts to email subscribers?
Today, Columbus Day, is a federal holiday, which means that a large portion of the local workforce has the day off.
Not everyone gets the day off work, of course. There are essential workers — cops, nurses, bus drivers, etc. — who work no matter what the holiday. Then there are organizations like ours, which swap Columbus Day with the day after Thanksgiving, thus trading today for a four-day Thanksgiving weekend, which many employees prefer. There also might be some who do not treat Columbus Day as a holiday out of principle.
But just how large a portion is off today? Who is enjoying a three day weekend, compared to those who are working?
Despite the fact that those bored at work are probably more likely to respond than those on vacation, let’s try to find an approximate measure for how many Arlingtonians have Columbus Day off.
Autumn might have officially arrived on September 22, but weather in the 80s and 90s since then has had some people still stuck in summer mode. Despite the weather roller coaster, some people are going full steam ahead into fall and embracing fall activities.
A number of events in Arlington over the coming weeks are fall-themed, such as Columbia Pike Fall Fest on Saturday or the Howl O’ Ween Walk to the Rescue on Sunday. But there are plenty of traditional fall activities you might enjoy that aren’t necessarily an organized event, such as looking at the changing colors of fall foliage or picking apples and pumpkins. Or maybe you’re a sports buff and at this time of year you most enjoy watching playoff baseball.
If you frequent Clarendon or other highly-populated Arlington neighborhoods, you’ve likely encountered them: flourescent-vest-wearing young people stopping passersby to solicit support for the environment, civil liberties, or other causes and organizations.
They’re usually friendly, though persistent, working in teams to ensure no one walks by without a pitch. Even intensely looking down at one’s phone and/or wearing headphones does not seem to discourage many from approaching as you walk down the sidewalk gauntlet.
While a majority of Arlington residents may support their causes, the sidewalk signature collectors are seen by some as an annoyance, an obstacle to going about one’s daily business. If you walk around Clarendon often — say, picking up lunch or getting coffee or going to the bank — the forced brush-off routine can get tiresome when practiced multiple times per week.
Canvassing and signature solicitation appears to be perfectly legal in Arlington. One could argue that it’s an example of democracy in action. But should additional restrictions be imposed?
There is a literal north-south divide in Arlington: Route 50, as it runs from Fairfax County to Fort Myer.
But besides the difference in addresses, there is also a bit of a socioeconomic divide separating the two sides of the highway. Neighborhoods south of Route 50 tend to be less wealthy and more diverse than their counterparts in the northern reaches of Arlington.
Arlington’s north-south divide has been subject to quite a few think pieces over the years. One can argue that the inexorable upward march of property prices throughout Arlington has made the divide less pronounced, though it is still there.
Rather than add another think piece to the mix, today we were just wondering: in which half of Arlington do you live?
ARLnow is going to start experimenting with a slightly different approach to our local news coverage later this week, one that is intended increase the depth of some of our coverage while broadening the scope of the rest of our coverage.
As this approach should result in more articles being published each day — if all goes well — we have the opportunity to cover a wider variety of topics.
Which of the following, in your opinion, should we do more of?
Have other ideas? Let us know in the comments section.