(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) This week, the Arlington County Police Department is holding its annual Spring Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Awareness campaign.
This morning and for part of the day Thursday, police will be conducting targeted, high-visibility traffic safety enforcement and public education in Clarendon and Crystal City.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) April 26, 2016
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) April 26, 2016
But is that enough to truly improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists in Arlington? In just the past week alone, two young people have been struck and seriously injured — while crossing in marked crosswalks along the pedestrian-heavy Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.
In both instances, nearby residents complained that drivers were chronically ignoring crossing pedestrians, driving too fast and driving while distracted — and that police enforcement is virtually non-existent.
Those two incidents aside, local drivers will tell you that pedestrians in Arlington make a habit of darting out into the road mid-block and crossing against traffic lights, often oblivious to oncoming traffic.
So what should be done about this, to improve safety for all? Should the Arlington County Police Department issue more tickets to drivers and pedestrians in an effort to curb serious accidents and bad behavior on both sides?
(Note: this poll and discussion concerns drivers and pedestrians only. Say what you want about cyclists — and the drivers who sometimes cut them off — but the most pressing issue here is about what to do specifically about pedestrian and vehicle conflicts.)
Today is the final day for online comments on the current draft of the Lee Highway Community Vision.
The draft plan envisions a tree-lined Lee Highway that’s more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, with mid-rise development concentrated in “mixed-use activity nodes.”
The rationale behind the plan, and the community process that helped inform it, is to set an aspirational vision for future development and transportation improvements along the Lee Highway corridor. The community can thus have more of a voice than if it were to just let piecemeal development take place along the corridor without a unified plan.
So, what do you think of the plan?
In an unprecedented step, WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld shut down the entire Metrorail system on a weekday for emergency inspections.
Those inspections found more than two dozen damaged power cables along the tracks, the kind which caused a deadly fire and smoke incident in a tunnel outside of the L’Enfant Metro station last year.
With the damaged cables repaired, Metrorail service resumed this morning. Do you think the disruption to hundreds of thousands of people’s daily commutes was worth it?
In the eyes of some, Arlington Public Schools students have already had enough days off school this year. Still, there are some murmurs that Arlington should follow the lead of other school systems and give students an off day on March 1 — the Super Tuesday primary election in Virginia.
Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford counties have all decided to close schools on March 1 while voters go to the polls in the contentious presidential primary.
Arlington has no such plans.
“March 1 is still a school day for students,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
Those who support students getting the day off typically say that the flood of voters could disrupt the normal school day and could pose security concerns. Those who want school to go on as usual say the election could be a backdrop for a hands-on civics lesson.
What do you think?
The blizzard of 2016 is long gone, but reminders of it are still piled high on the side of local roads and parking lots.
Life has largely returned to normal — students went back to school today for the first time since Wednesday, Jan. 20 — though there are scattered reports of continued mail delivery issues.
It was a Herculean task to clear two feet of snow from local roads. Though major arteries were plowed and made passable pretty quickly, as usually happens with large snow storms in Arlington the residential streets remained snow-covered and treacherous for days, prompting complaints.
Overall, how would you grade Arlington’s snow removal effort?
The latest forecast suggests a “crippling” blizzard is headed for the region, with snowfall totals in the double digits and strong winds possible. And before we go any further, let us remind you that you asked for this just one week ago.
With any winter storm comes a lot of excitement and plenty of panic. How have you prepared thus far? Snowblower gassed up? Are your shovels sharpened? Did you buy the bread, eggs and milk?
It also comes with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, how many times have we woken up to a light dusting when we were promised snowmageddon?
So, we want to hear from you: Are we snowtally doomed? Or does the hullabaloo surrounding the latest forecast make you want to tell people, “snow way, Jose.”
State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) has again proposed a bill to decriminalize marijuana for personal use in Virginia.
Ebbin, who has won the endorsement of the pro-pot group NORML, proposed a similar bill last year, but it failed in the conservative Virginia General Assembly.
The bill, SB 104, would reduce marijuana possession to a civil offense punishable only by fines, like a traffic ticket, rather than jail time. It would also reduce the criminal penalties for marijuana distribution and possession with the intent to distribute.
Would you like to see marijuana decriminalized in Virginia?
Where are those plans taking you? Many, no doubt, will stay in Arlington — either at home or at a bar, although Virginia ABC laws preventing establishments from offering an open bar puts a damper on the kind of parties one can attend at bars and clubs.
Many will also likely head into the District to take advantage of the myriad NYE parties, although transportation back is always a challenge. Wait for Metro, try to get one of the few available cabs, pay Uber’s top surge price, or designate a driver and try to find parking — the decision isn’t always ideal.
Others may be headed out of town, or headed to other suburban D.C. locales. Which one describes your plans?
Gas prices around Arlington are dropping as the price of crude oil continues to fall.
The price of a gallon of regular gasoline at the BP station, pictured here, has dropped to $1.91 from $1.97 just last month.
It’s tied for second-lowest price in the county, according to GasBuddy.com, with only Arlington Auto Service on Columbia Pike cheaper, at $1.83 per gallon.
With gas prices continuing to drop to levels reminiscent of the 1990s and, more recently, depths of the recession, do you find yourself driving more?
Holiday parties are in full swing, holiday cards from friends and loved ones are arriving by the truckload and a potentially record-breaking holiday travel period is upon us.
How are your fellow Arlington residents doing, in terms of embodying the holiday spirit of patience, generosity, positivity and concern for one’s fellow man?
Rank the holiday spirit in Arlington on a scale of 1-5, with five being the most full of holiday cheer.
Just over a year ago, the Arlington County Board voted to scuttle the county’s controversial streetcar project.
The next day we conducted a poll, asking whether the County Board made the right decision. About 62 percent of 3,280 respondents said yes, while 38 percent said no.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post published an article entitled “How D.C. spent $200 million over a decade on a streetcar you still can’t ride.” The article details a decade-plus-long string of delays, questionable decisions and cost overruns.
Meanwhile, Columbia Pike — for which the streetcar was to provide an enhanced transit experience — continues to be clogged by traffic and long lines of buses at rush hour. The Pike is continuing to develop, albeit slowly.
Given the continued bad news about the crash-prone and long-delayed D.C. streetcar — or a year of reflection on the current state of traffic and development on Columbia Pike — we’re wondering whether any Arlington residents have changed their minds.
A year later, do you agree with the decision to cancel Arlington’s streetcar project?
You see them on local streets, usually in commercial districts: double-parked trucks making deliveries to local stores and offices.
Sometimes the trucks completely block traffic, as can be seen in the photo above, taken yesterday in Rosslyn. Other times, just a lane of traffic. In both cases, other drivers are inconvenienced and forced into a potentially hazardous situation: switching lanes mid-street or driving into an opposing lane of traffic.
A hazard at worst and an annoyance at best, double-parked delivery and mail trucks are a fact of life in urban areas around the world. The need to deliver mail and packages to offices, food to restaurants and inventory to stores is not going away, and short of local governments eliminating street parking for non-commercial vehicles there are few good options for truck drivers making quick deliveries.
In your opinion, just how bad is the problem of doubled-parked trucks in Arlington?
(If a truck is illegally parked and truly presenting a hazard, it can be reported to Arlington County Police via the department’s non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.)
Photo via @dnak17
In actuality, the Saturday before Christmas is usually the biggest shopping day of the year. And with Cyber Monday and e-commerce encouraging online shopping, and Small Business Saturday encouraging shoppers to support local businesses, Black Friday may be losing its luster.
We wanted to check with those who are actually heading out to the malls and shopping centers today: how big are the crowds?
Alternatively, if you had to head into work today instead of shopping — like us — there’s an option for you.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, holiday travel will be virtually unchanged this year, down 0.2 percent compared to 2014.
That’s despite lower gas prices and better weather — it’s supposed to be mostly sunny and cool this week, compared to the snowstorm that was predicted around this time last year.
About 90.5 percent of all D.C. area travelers will travel by car, compared to 7.3 percent traveling via air and 2.2 percent via other modes of transportation.
Will you be among those traveling outside of D.C. this year?
The reaction to the news that Arlington County is ready and willing to help resettle Syrian refugees was largely positive on social media.
Despite a mixed bag of comments, our post on Facebook garnered more than 600 likes, making this one of our most-liked stories of all time.
What do you think of the idea of bringing Syrian refugees to Arlington?
Update at 2:15 p.m. — Arlington County released the following statement about Syrian refugees today:
Our collective conscience has been shaken by both the refugee crisis resulting from the ongoing conflict in Syria and the terrorist attacks across the world that threaten the security of the United States and our allies. The ongoing debate regarding our country’s response to these issues at the federal, state and local level is an opportunity to demonstrate the true character of our nation. While local governments have no role in the refugee admissions process or relocation decisions, we feel compelled to lend our voice to this important discussion.
The County is no newcomer to refugee resettlement activity. Over the past four decades we have welcomed those fleeing the Vietnam war, civil wars in Central America, the Ethiopian/Eritrean conflicts and the Bosnian war. We have confidence that the federal process of application, screening, placement and resettlement coupled with partnership with our regional resettlement agency, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, can once again lead to the successful integration of refugees into our community.
We firmly believe that responding to today’s urgent humanitarian crisis by serving as a new home for those seeking refuge is in keeping with both our nation’s tradition and with the Arlington County Board Resolution Supporting Arlington’s Newcomers, passed on September 18, 2007.
We support the need for strong security and screening reinforced by recent events, yet we are confident that America can continue to serve as a land of hope and opportunity that welcomes those seeking a better life for themselves and their loved ones while also ensuring our own security. In fact, the ideals and values upon which our nation was founded require it.
Photo via Wikipedia