by ARLnow.com — October 2, 2015 at 10:30 am 432 0

Flooding and rain on 10/15/14It’s expected to be a rainy and windy weekend.

While Hurricane Joaquin is looking like less of a threat to the East Coast, a nor-easter is bringing heavy rain to the region today and showers throughout the weekend.

Is the forecast changing your plans? Let us know how you’re coping with the lousy weather.

by ARLnow.com — September 30, 2015 at 11:00 am 535 0

Fire Station 8 (Courtesy of Arlington County Fire Department)The saga over the proposed relocation of Fire Station No. 8 continues.

Following resident outcry from those who didn’t want the Lee Highway fire station to move from their neighborhood, and from those who didn’t want it to move to theirs, last week the Arlington County Board approved the creation of a task force to study the issue and come up with a recommendation.

Now, the county is also conducting a survey of residents via its “Open Arlington” website. The survey, which closes on Oct. 6, is intended to “gather input on the proposed project criteria and the possible direction this task force may take.”

Those who argue in favor of relocating the fire station further north — including fire department officials — say it would improve fire response times to the northern reaches of Arlington, while allowing for a larger and more advanced fire station to be built within budget. Keeping the station where it is would require pricy renovations and potential land acquisition that would be more expensive than simply building the station new on exiting county land.

Those who argue against the station say that it’s a community fixture with an important history, and they like it where it is. Further, some residents around the proposed relocation site near Marymount University say the fire station would disrupt their quiet neighborhood.

We’re conducting our own survey this morning: do you think it’s a good idea to relocate Fire Station No. 8?

by ARLnow.com — September 14, 2015 at 10:15 am 1,939 0

KeyboardWhen we talk to ARLnow readers, they invariably bring up the comments section of the site.

Most people say they enjoy reading the comments, even though they might not agree with what’s being said. A vocal minority, however, say they dislike the comments — they don’t like the general tone and disagree with many viewpoints.

The one constant: everybody seems to have an opinion and no one can be dissuaded from reading the comments, even if they profess to not liking them.

ARLnow believes in giving readers a relatively open forum to discuss the news of the day. The comments are often a force for good: providing valuable tips, first person insights into breaking news and some useful corrections.

However, there are some unresolved issues with the comments: consistent negativity that’s not reflective of the views of the general populace, petty back-and-forth fighting that discourages substantive discussion and occasional comment spam.

One possible solution to these problems could be to require that commenters be registered in order to post comments. That would effectively shut out some trolls and spammers, while allowing us to more effectively manage and moderate comments.

(We are not considering shutting off the comments altogether. We believe that a reader dialogue about the news is a good thing, as long as discussions don’t get out of hand.)

What do you think?

by ARLnow.com — September 2, 2015 at 10:30 am 645 0

Plane taking off at Reagan National AirportAAA Mid-Atlantic came out with its annual Labor Day travel forecast earlier this week, predicting that 850,700 D.C. area residents will head out of town for the holiday.

That’s a paltry 0.4 percent increase from last year, with 743,200 residents expected to drive to their vacation destinations, 62,500 expected to fly and the rest expected to take trains and other modes of transportation.

AAA says there would have been more locals traveling this year, had Labor Day not fallen on Sept. 7, the latest possible day it can occur. Historically, that dampens holiday travel.

“While increasing travel volume is great news for the industry and economy, our survey shows a decidedly ‘un-laboring’ take on the Labor Day holiday,” said AAA’s John Townsend II, in a press release. “Many would rather spend the holiday at cookouts, relaxing or simply at home to avoid heavy holiday traffic congestion or additional spending, especially if they have already taken a vacation this summer.”

Are you planning on skipping town for one last summer trip — or staying put and firing up the grill?

by ARLnow.com — August 27, 2015 at 10:35 am 2,190 0

JPod renderingThe Columbia Heights Civic Association will meet next month to discuss the possibility of a pod transit system on Columbia Pike.

Such a system could help ease congestion on the Pike, which is currently choked with tightly spaced and frequently stopping buses, particularly during the morning and evening rush hours.

The Columbia Pike streetcar was supposed to be a solution to that problem, but many Arlington residents objected to the system’s cost and the fact that it ran in mixed traffic. Ultimately, the project was canceled.

While a cost-effective, monorail-like transit system that runs above traffic seems ideal in theory, there are questions about the system’s real-world feasibility, cost and the trustworthiness of the company that’s proposing it.

(The system, as conceived, would be built with private funds and would be privately owned.)

Overall, what do you think of the pod transit idea that the civic association will be proposing?

by ARLnow.com — August 10, 2015 at 10:30 am 764 0

ARLnow mobile websiteTwo weeks ago ARLnow.com launched a new website experience for users of smartphones and tablets.

This responsive website design allows mobile users to easily read our articles without having to zoom in and out. It also reduces mobile load times for readers.

While we kept key features on mobile, like our swipe-able photo galleries and Disqus comments section, mobile users may find it a bit more difficult to navigate to some of our pages — like our event calendar or real estate listings — which are now accessible via a mobile menu (button, top right).

Also, in the interest of faster load times and quicker navigation, the homepage now only displays excerpts from articles instead of the articles themselves with photos and full text. Some tablet users have told us they prefer seeing the full homepage.

What do you think? If you’ve checked us out on mobile in the past two weeks, please let us know what you think of the experience below. Also, please use the comments to offer any specific suggestions or requests you might have regarding mobile functionality.

by ARLnow.com — August 6, 2015 at 8:30 am 2,972 0

Heavy traffic on I-395 at Glebe Road on 8/6/15Update at 9:35 a.m. — ART buses are delayed too, Arlington County says, due to Metro-related traffic delays.

If you were commuting from Arlington to D.C. today, or vice versa, chances seem pretty good that your commute was awful.

Major delays were reported on Metro’s Orange, Blue and Silver lines, after service was suspended through much of downtown D.C. due to a derailed non-passenger train.

As if the Metro chaos wasn’t bad enough, a couple of crashes and perhaps an influx of would-be Metrorail riders has turned the length of I-395 into a virtual parking lot, with slow-moving traffic from the District to Springfield.

Also, Route 50 is reported to be backed up to Pershing Drive.

So, if you commute to or from D.C., just how bad was it this morning?

by ARLnow.com — July 13, 2015 at 10:55 am 5,370 0

Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington (photo via Google Maps)

Arlington County plans to ask its state legislative delegation to sponsor a bill that would rename Jefferson Davis Highway, the Washington Post reports.

While the likelihood of such a bill passing is slim, County Board Chair Mary Hynes said the county has received “a flurry of letters from residents” asking that the Confederate leader’s name be removed from the highway, also known as Route 1.

(County Board Vice Chair Walter Tejada did not respond to an inquiry from ARLnow.com last month, asking whether a name change resolution for Jefferson Davis Highway was a possibility.)

In 2012, the county renamed the stretch of road formerly known as Old Jefferson Davis Highway “Long Bridge Drive.” This time around, talk of renaming the highway comes amid a national conversation about the Confederate flag and whether it’s more a symbol of southern heritage — or slavery and racism. Last week, South Carolina’s legislature voted to remove the flag from the grounds of the state capitol.

Do you think Jefferson Davis Highway should be renamed?

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — May 6, 2015 at 9:25 am 3,677 0

Quincy Street propertyArlington County announced yesterday that it has agreed to buy a six-acre light industrial property on N. Quincy Street, across from Washington-Lee High School.

In announcing the $30 million deal, County Board Chair Mary Hynes said it was “a rare opportunity for the county to acquire a significant piece of property in North Arlington… at a time when our community is struggling to find public land to accommodate our many facilities’ needs.”

There are a number of priorities for public property in Arlington that have been discussed lately. Of those, which two do you think are the most important priorities for the N. Quincy Street property?

by ARLnow.com — April 30, 2015 at 9:05 am 2,048 0

On approach to Reagan National Airport (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Elementary Student Fascinated by Fallout Shelters — Nathan Eberhart, a McKinley Elementary student, has been trying to unravel the mysteries of school fallout shelters for his school’s student newspaper. Eberhart thinks the Cold War relics could be better put to use nowadays “as a community-activities storage area for things like Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, recreational sports and enrichments.” [InsideNova]

Protest Planned in Rosslyn — The Mayday Project will be protesting outside the Infectious Diseases Society of America headquarters in Rosslyn today and tomorrow. The organization wants Lyme disease recognized as a chronic illness. The protest will be held from about 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the 1300 block of Wilson Blvd. [Twitter]

Four Mile Run Cleaning Planned — Starting in a few days, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria will begin a joint project to remove excess vegetation from the Four Mile Run flood control channel, which extends from I-395 to the Potomac River. “Residents will see crews working in or near Four Mile Run, removing trees, shrubs, and other vegetation growing in the channel,” the county noted in a press release. [Arlington County]

Washington Blvd Lane Closure — A northbound lane closure on the Washington Blvd bridge over Route 110 was put in place overnight, according to VDOT. A southbound lane closure, similarly reducing the number of lanes on the bridge from three to two, is expected to be put in place next week. The lane closures were originally planned for this past Monday.

Another County Board Straw PollAnother straw poll in the race for the Democratic County Board nomination was held last night at Del. Alfonso Lopez’s campaign kick-off event at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse. The reported results were: Christian Dorsey 27%, Peter Fallon 23%, Katie Cristol 22%, James Lander 15%, Andrew Schneider 12%, Bruce Wiljanen 1%.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — April 29, 2015 at 9:45 am 1,673 0

Polling place in Arlington (file photo)Over the weekend, a straw poll was conducted at a birthday party and fundraiser for County Board member Libby Garvey (D).

The results, which reflect the preferences of Garvey’s supporters, broke heavily for “crowd favorite” Christian Dorsey.

With the exception of the bottom two of the field, the results are an inverse of first quarter fundraising figures.

The straw poll results are:

  • Christian Dorsey — 43
  • Peter Fallon — 15
  • Katie Cristol — 15
  • Andrew Schneider — 8
  • James Lander — 4
  • Bruce Wiljanen — 3

A primary will be held in the race June 9. With just over a month left, ARLnow is conducting its own unscientific poll about reader preferences for the six Democratic candidates.

If you are a likely voter, which of the candidates do you prefer? Given the two available seats, pick two candidates.

by ARLnow.com — April 24, 2015 at 10:00 am 3,092 0

Sign at the Rosslyn ChipotleIt was revealed this week that Chipotle has begun offering an officially-sanctioned delivery service.

The food deliveries are being offered in a number of U.S. metro areas, including the D.C. area, through online delivery service Postmates.

While the idea of an on-demand burrito may sound appetizing, the cost of the service is less so. USA Today reported that the cost starts at $5, on top of the cost of the food. Re/code, which broke the story, was being asked for $12 in delivery and service fees, bringing the cost of an $8 order to $20 delivered.

ARLnow.com tested the ordering process using the Chipotle in the Pentagon City mall and was asked for $7.16 in fees for delivery to an address a couple of blocks from the mall, nearly doubling the cost of a steak burrito.

Can you see yourself ever using this delivery service for your Chipotle meal?

by ARLnow.com — April 16, 2015 at 10:15 am 2,366 0

A dog (photo courtesy Rena Schild)In Arlington County, residents who own dogs must pay a for a license.

The license costs $10 per year or $25 for every three years. Despite the abundance of dogs in Arlington, the tax only brought in $59,664 from about 7,000 licensed dogs during a recent fiscal year, according to the Sun Gazette.

That has prompted enquiries from County Board member John Vihstadt.

It also led the president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, who fervently advocates for lower taxes, to suggest that the fee might be raised to help pay for the county’s dog parks.

What do you think should be done with the county’s dog license fee?

by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2015 at 9:15 am 1,098 0

MoneyToday is Tax Day across the nation. Meanwhile, next week, the Arlington County Board will set the Fiscal Year 2016 real estate tax rate.

Last year, in advance of the Board’s FY 2015 budget vote, we asked what you think about the county’s tax rate.

Only 6.5 percent of respondents said the tax rate should be raised, while 27 percent said the tax rate should be held steady and 66.5 percent said it should be lowered.

(The Board ultimately lowered the rate from $1.006 per $100 in value to $0.996.)

This year, the Board advertised a tax rate of $1.011, giving itself the flexibility to raise the rate by up to 1.5 cents. Such a tax hike could be used to help fully fund schools, which are facing a $6.2 million funding gap.

On the other hand, because of higher residential assessments this year, the Board may consider lowering the rate to ease the increasing tax burden on homeowners.

What do you think should be done this year?

by ARLnow.com — April 6, 2015 at 10:20 am 5,636 0

A towing standoff outside Ray's Hell BurgerTowing in Arlington has again been in the news lately.

Last week a driver with Advanced Towing hooked a car at the CVS parking lot on Columbia Pike, before realizing that there were children inside. The driver unhooked the car but the car’s owner still told his story to a local TV station.

After that story came out, other towing complaints have emerged in our comments section and in our forums.

Towing has historically been a hot topic in Arlington. Last year we reported that food delivery vehicles were being towed off private property by Advanced. In past years it was towing fee increases, towing disputes and crimes against tow companies that have made headlines.

Then, last night, more towing drama: ESPN sportscaster Britt McHenry had her car towed by Advanced during dinner in Arlington. She was not happy about it.

Apparently McHenry wasn’t the only television personality to be towed from that lot in Clarendon recently.

Throughout it all, there’s typically a debate: are tow truck drivers predators who employ shady methods to tow your car away and collect your cash? Or are they simply doing the job that they’re hired to do: protecting private property owners from drivers who park on their lots against the property’s rules?

Inherent in that question is another question: when the towing company does mistakenly tow a car that parked without violating the rules, is it an honest mistake or a cynical “mistake.”

Putting aside the above cases in the Hunan lot, sometimes the emotions of being towed can cloud a simple fact: that you were, in fact, violating the property owner’s parking rules, no matter what was in the car or how short your intended stop.

What do you think?


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