83°Scattered Clouds

by Andrew Ramonas — July 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Metro SafeTrack Surge 4 service changes (Image via Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)Arlington is set to lose one of its Metro stops on the Blue and Yellow lines for seven days as part of another “SafeTrack surge,” which is set to start tomorrow.

“Surge 4” track repair work is slated to begin Tuesday and will keep the station closed through the following Monday.

Until the Crystal City station’s scheduled reopening on Tuesday, July 19, Metro will have free shuttle bus service to connect the stop with the Reagan National and Pentagon City stations.

Arlington and airport officials are encouraging travelers to avoid driving near the three stations and use buses and other modes of transportation to get around.

An Arlington County website has the following information those affected by the Metro maintenance work and station closure.

Street operations changes for Surge 3 and 4

Supplemental local bus service continued from prior surges

  • The new ART service and additional ART bus capacity on routes that parallel the Blue Line will continue through Surges 3 and 4:
    • Midday, evening and weekend service for ART 43 (Crystal City-Rosslyn-Courthouse) – This route provides a direct connection from Crystal City to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. On weekdays, 40-foot buses will be used to add capacity.
    • 40-foot buses for ART 42 (Ballston-Pentagon) to add capacity – Each 40-foot bus has five more seats and room for more standees compared to 35-foot buses normally used on this route.
  • For changes to bus service operated by Metro and other jurisdictions, visit Metro’s website.

Alternate travel and work options

Image via Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

by Adrian Cruz — July 5, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Starting today, the third stage of Metro’s SafeTrack maintenance plan begins, affecting Blue and Yellow line service in Arlington.

The third stage will begin at 8 p.m. on July 5, continuing until July 11 and it will involve the Blue and Yellow lines being completely shut down between National Airport and Braddock Road, in Alexandria.

Blue Line trains will run every 15 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between National Airport and Largo Town Center.

Yellow Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Huntington and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between National Airport and Greenbelt.

Riders will be able to take Metroway BRT buses for free, between Pentagon City and Braddock Road, to bypass the closure. For airport customers coming from stations below Braddock Road, shuttle bus service will run between the station and the airport.

The fourth SafeTrack stage will run from July 12-18 and the same lines will be shut down between National Airport and Pentagon City. That includes a closure of the busy Crystal City station.

Blue Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and National Airport and every 12 minutes between Pentagon City and Largo Town Center.

Yellow Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Huntington and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between Pentagon City and Greenbelt.

Shuttle bus service will run to National Airport from Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Metroway shuttle service will also be available for free during this stage.

For its part, Arlington County will continue to run the expanded bus service implemented for SafeTrack’s second stage. That includes expanded midday, evening and weekend service on the ART 43 between Rosslyn and Crystal City and additional 4o-foot buses to increase capacity on the ART 42, which runs from Ballston to Pentagon.

Arlington County is encouraging alternative commute options during the surge, such as teleworking, ridesharing, biking and walking if possible.

Video Courtesy WMATA

by ARLnow.com — June 17, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

View from the rooftop of the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City (photo courtesy @rydaka)

Some Developers Are Pessimistic About the Pike — “The mood is not good,” Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization chairman John Murphy said of developers. “Some of them made big investments, big bets based on the county saying we’re going to do the streetcar. They feel betrayed, they’re not happy at all.” [Bisnow]

Board to Buy Bungalow to Bolster Benjamin Banneker — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve the purchase of a $637,500 property on 17th Street N. in order to expand Benjamin Banneker Park, near the East Falls Church Metro station. [InsideNova]

DCA Flight Path Changes — The Federal Aviation Administration is considering changes to flight paths for planes departing Reagan National Airport, in response to complaints from D.C. residents. Meanwhile, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is organizing a community meeting to discuss “recent changes to departure procedures for aircraft taking off to the south of the airport.” [WTOP, Rep. Don Beyer]

Chaplain at DCA Mourns Son — Rev. Nace Lanier, the chaplain at Reagan National Airport, is mourning the loss of his 10-year-old son to a brain tumor. [Washington Post]

Clarendon Salon Closed Due to Flooding — Casal’s at Clarendon, a salon and day spa, has been closed for a week “due to a water pipe breaking and flooding the salon.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Sehkraft Makes ‘Hottest New Bars’ ListSehkraft Brewing in Clarendon is one of the 10 hottest new bars in the D.C. area, according to Zagat, which writes: “This sprawling, pulsating Arlington brewhouse, gastropub, butcher shop, beer garden and live-music venue is powered by the brilliantly colored art on the walls, robust smoked and grilled American fare and curated craft beers.” [Zagat]

Free Smoothies Today — Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which has a location at 3811 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, is celebrating National Flip Flop Day by raising money for charity and giving out some free smoothies. The store will offer free smoothies to customers wearing flip flops from 2-7 p.m. [Tropical Smoothie Cafe]

Photo courtesy @rydaka

by ARLnow.com — June 14, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

A plane on approach to Reagan National Airport, seen from Gravelly Point

Gravelly Point may be renamed after Nancy Reagan, if a newly-introduced House bill passes.

H.R. 5457 was introduced Monday by Georgia Republican Rep. Jody Hice. The bill would rename Gravelly Point Park “Nancy Reagan Memorial Park,” after the former first lady, who died in March.

Gravelly Point is just north of the main runway at Reagan National Airport, which was named after President Ronald Reagan, Nancy’s husband, in 1998. It’s a popular spot for cyclists, runners, recreational team sports, picnics and for those watching planes land and take off.

Hice’s bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources for further consideration.

by ARLnow.com — May 26, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes

Plane Makes Emergency Landing at DCA — An American Airlines flight taking off from Reagan National Airport had to turn around and make an emergency landing after a bird struck and disabled one of its engines. The incident happened around noon on Tuesday. No one was hurt. [NBC Washington]

That’s a Lot of Parking Tickets — Arlington County issued some 109,000 parking citations last year. The two most ticketed spots in the county: the county-owned surface parking lot in Courthouse and the county-owned parking strip next to Northside Social. [WJLA]

Vihstadt Pens Statement of Support for Garvey — County Board member John Vihstadt (I) writes of Board chair Libby Garvey, who’s facing a challenge in the Democratic primary: “While we don’t agree on everything, she continues to be my ally on key priorities like championing open, accessible and transparent County government, adequate schools funding, robust transit solutions on the Pike and elsewhere, and streamlining our business processes.” [Libby Garvey]

GGW Endorses Gutshall — Urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Erik Gutshall, who’s challenging County Board chair Libby Garvey in the June 14 Democratic primary. Writes GGW: “Overall, Gutshall has demonstrated a strong grasp of the challenges facing Arlington and an ability to work with others to find solutions. Libby Garvey, his opponent, has not demonstrated these qualities.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Paving on Columbia Pike — Crews are repaving the westbound lanes of Columbia Pike between S. Glebe Road and S. George Mason Drive, through Friday. [Twitter]

Raising Funds to Help Baby Hear — An Arlington resident has launched an online fundraiser to help pay for travel expenses and medical expenses associated with his baby daughter’s participation in a clinical trial that will help her hear via an auditory brainstem implant. [GoFundMe]

by ARLnow.com — May 13, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs two pieces of legislation at Wakefield High School on 5/12/16 (Photo courtesy Arlington County)

More Metro Issues This Morning — A signal problem near the King Street Metro station has led to significant delays on the Blue and Yellow lines this morning. [Twitter, Twitter]

Big Changes Planned for Ballston Church — The Central United Methodist Church at 4201 Fairfax Drive in Ballston is planning a complete redevelopment of its 30,000 square foot property. Preliminary plans have been filed to build “a new church, a new preschool space, and a seven-story, 132-unit apartment building — 60 percent market-rate and 40 percent dedicated affordable.” [Washington Business Journal]

McAuliffe Signs Bills at Wakefield HS — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed two pieces of education legislation at Wakefield High School yesterday, as pictured above. The new laws “will lead to an overhaul of the state’s high school graduation requirements, aiming to make high school more relevant to the working world” and better supporting students who start a career after high school. [Washington Post, Twitter]

Reagan Airport Bridge Closed This Weekend — Starting at 11 p.m. tonight, through early Monday morning, drivers heading to Reagan National Airport will not be able to access it via the Route 233 bridge over Jefferson Davis Highway. Ongoing construction prompted the planned closure. [Patch]

Solar House for Sale — A “one-of-a-kind luxury home” is for sale in Cherrydale. The five-bedroom house features a 10KW photovoltaic solar panel array, an energy recovery ventilation system, two-story screened porch, two-car garage, third floor loft with wet bar, a 560 square foot rooftop deck, exercise room with yoga/MMA flooring and an outdoor shower. It’s listed at just under $1.9 million. [Truplace]

Reminder: Chamber Hosts Candidate Forum Monday — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is hosting a County Board candidate forum this coming Monday. The forum, featuring a discussion of topics important to the Arlington business community, is taking place from 6-8 p.m. at the Rosslyn Hyatt (1325 Wilson Boulevard). Democrats Libby Garvey and Erik Gutshall, and independent Audrey Clement, are set to participate in the forum, which will be moderated by ARLnow.com editor Scott Brodbeck. Tickets are $10. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Photo via Arlington County

by ARLnow.com — May 11, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Former Mazda dealership in Ballston, now closed

Firings at Peter Chang After Receipt Incident — Three employees have reportedly been fired and the chef’s own daughter is also on the chopping block at Peter Chang restaurant along Lee Highway. The firings come after a server included the insults “i have a small penis” and “im a plad [sic] a**hole” on a customer receipt. Chang has promised to improve service at his restaurant. [Washington Post]

Arlington Restaurants on Cheap Eats List — More than a dozen Arlington eateries have been included in Washingtonian magazine’s list of the top 100 inexpensive restaurants in the D.C. area. Among them: Bayou Bakery, Cheesetique, Pupatella, Ray’s Hell Burger, Yona and Peter Chang. [Washingtonian]

Video of Track Issue at Court House Station — A video taken inside the Court House Metro station shows sparks and smoldering from the track area. The video comes after a number of well-publicized electrical issues at Metro. “It was kind of weird watching infrastructure fail before my very eyes,” said the man who took the video. [Washington Post]

Tech Company Saves the Day for Theft VictimsCourse Hero, a Silicon Valley-based company that provides study materials, has paid for a scholarship for the Penn State student whose mom left her purse, with $10,000 in tuition money inside, in an Arlington Falls Church Dunkin Donuts. Police still have not found the woman who stole the purse. [NBC Washington]

Most of Crystal City Could Change Hands — Vornado, the property owner that owns more than half of the square footage in Crystal City, is considering spinning off its D.C. properties from those it owns in New York. [Washington Post]

D.C. Complaining About DCA Flights — D.C.’s attorney general has sent an email to the FAA asking that flights to and from Reagan National Airport be shifted away from the District. In 2015 the FAA received 8,670 noise complaints from those in the District, 6,500 of them from the same person. [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — April 29, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Reagan National AirportReagan National Airport is holding a large-scale emergency preparedness exercise Saturday morning.

From 9 a.m. to noon, emergency responders will swarm “a remote area of the airfield” as part of a a simulated aircraft accident. The exercise will include a period of fire and smoke, 120 volunteer “victims,” multiple support helicopters and a river rescue response.

Nearby residents can expect to hear and/or see the exercise in progress.

“The full-scale emergency preparedness exercise, which is the culmination of months of planning and coordination across multiple jurisdictions and disciplines, is part of Federal Aviation Administration-mandated safety training to ensure airports are prepared for real-life aircraft emergencies,” notes a press release. “Airports are required to conduct a full-scale exercise every three years in order to be certified by the FAA.”

The rest of the press release is below.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will hold an emergency preparedness exercise on Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to approximately 12 p.m. A simulated aircraft accident will give the airport’s first responders an opportunity to put their emergency plans into action while providing hands-on training to airport and airline staff, hospitals, local jurisdictions and other emergency personnel. During the exercise, emergency personnel will respond as in a real emergency, including the use of sirens, firefighting equipment and helicopters.

The exercise will be held in a remote area of the airfield and will not affect normal airport operations or flights. Although the site will not be visible to most passengers, reminders about the exercise will be announced on Saturday morning via flyreagan.com, @Reagan_Airport on Twitter and public address systems in the airport.

Specifics of the exercise scenario have not been shared in advance with responding participants. The exercise will include the following elements to add realism to the simulated emergency:

  • Participation by Airports Authority Fire and Rescue, Police and Airport Operations personnel
  • Numerous emergency vehicles responding as mutual aid support from surrounding communities
  • A brief period of fire and smoke
  • Conversations between dispatchers and responders on emergency radio frequencies
  • About 120 volunteer role players, moulaged to simulate injuries sustained from the incident
  • Support helicopters responding to the emergency exercise
  • A river rescue emergency response

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the exercise elements may be seen or heard on Saturday morning from areas surrounding the airport – especially in Arlington and Alexandria near U.S. Route 1, George Washington Memorial Parkway, I-395 and along the Potomac River near the airport.

by ARLnow.com — April 4, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Herselle Milliken Park in Ashton Heights

Big Tree Down on Washington Blvd — A large tree fell across power lines on Washington Blvd just south of Virginia Hospital Center during Saturday night and Sunday morning’s windstorm. Washington Blvd was closed between George Mason Drive and N. Harrison Street for much of the day Sunday while Dominion crews repaired the lines. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photos: DCA Airport Strike — DCist has photos from last week’s 24 hour strike of contract service workers at Reagan National Airport. [DCist]

Arlington Signs on to Amicus Brief — Arlington was among more than 50 counties and cities that signed on to an amicus brief in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon emissions from power plants. [Columbia Law School, Twitter]

Capital Improvement Plan Survey — Through April 22, Arlington County is conducting an online survey of residents that will help guide decision-making during the upcoming Capital Improvement Plan process. The CIP helps to plan “major investments in parks, libraries, transportation, community centers, facilities, technology, water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure — along with other areas that support the community.” [Arlington County]

‘The Burbs Are Back’ in Office Leasing — Arlington and other suburban D.C. jurisdictions are showing a bit of strength in the office leasing market. “The suburbs accounted for 69.5 percent of Washington region’s leasing activity in the first quarter, up substantially from a 52.9 percent share in 2015, according to JLL’s quarterly market reports.” [Virginia Business]

TSA Move Delayed Until 2020 — The Transportation Security Administration will be staying put at its Pentagon City headquarters until at least 2020. The TSA had planned to move to Alexandria by 2018, but legal wrangling has delayed the move and forced the TSA to redo its leasing process. [Washington Business Journal]

PSA: Don’t Do This — Spotted in Clarendon: a young woman urinating while sitting on a bench along a busy street, at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com — March 24, 2016 at 9:25 am 0

Spring in bloom in Rosslyn

Metro Delays This Morning — Metro is experiencing big delays on the Blue and Orange lines after reports that a teenage girl intentionally jumped onto the tracks at the Eastern Market station. The Blue and Orange line is single-tracking between Eastern Market and Federal Center, while the Silver Line is only operating between Wiehle-Reston and Ballston. [Hill Now, Twitter, Twitter]

Gondola Feasibility Study Gets Eight Responses — Eight firms have responded to a Request for Proposals to conduct a feasibility study of a Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola system. The team for the study is expected to be chosen in about a month. The study is expected to be complete by the end of the year. [UrbanTurf]

Fire Danger Today — There’s an enhanced threat of brush fires today, even in Arlington. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the area as low humidity and gusty winds combine for a significant fire danger. “Any fires will have the potential to spread very rapidly,” NWS says. [National Weather Service]

Parking Lots Crowded at DCA — Spring break and the Easter weekend are combining for a busy week and crowded parking lots at Reagan National Airport. As of this morning, the airport’s 2,613-space economy lot is full and there are only a few hundred spaces left in the 5,223-space Terminal B/C garages. [Twitter, Fly Reagan]

AYD Date Auction Next Week — The Arlington Young Democrats will hold their 15th annual charity date auction this coming Tuesday. Eligible bachelors and bachelorettes — along with face time with prominent elected officials — will be auctioned off to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. [Arlington Young Dems]

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2016 at 12:25 pm 0

Airport workers protest in New York (photo via SEIU/Facebook)Updated at 3:55 p.m. — Workers “decided to postpone the planned work stoppage in light of the horrific tragedy which unfolded today at the Brussels Airport and subway,” strike organizers say.

Earlier: Airline service workers at Reagan National Airport are planning what’s being described as a first-ever strike starting tonight.

Contract wheelchair attendants, skycaps, baggage handlers, checkpoint agents and cabin cleaners are planning to join fellow airport workers in eight different cities in a 24-hour strike for better working conditions and a $15 per hour minimum wage.

“DCA’s contracted airport service workers are excluded from the airport’s living wage law and earn as little as $3.77 plus tips with few meaningful benefits,” the 32BJ SEIU labor union said, in a press release.

Workers will be striking in the B and C terminals of the airport, 32BJ SEIU said. On Wednesday, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., workers will hold a rally at Gravelly Point Park, near the airport.

Among those planning to address striking airport workers at the rally are Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington), SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and Rev. Graylan Hagle.

The action follows a protest by DCA airport workers in January that blocked traffic near the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in MLK Day.

After the jump, the full press release from 32BJ SEIU.

Photo via Facebook

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by ARLnow.com — March 10, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Tree blossoms in Lyon Park

Police Seek Witness in Pentagon City Investigation — Arlington County Police are trying to find a witness who rendered aid to an injured man found face down in the street in Pentagon City. The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. on February 25, on the 1200 block of S. Eads Street. The 65-year-old man remains in critical but stable condition. [Arlington County]

Group Forms to Oppose Gun StoreUpdated at 11:05 a.m. — A group called Act4LyonPark has formed to oppose NOVA Armory, the gun store that’s planning to open on March 26 at 2300 N. Pershing Drive. So far, Act4LyonPark has raised $6,300 to support its activities. The group says that in a recent vote, 88 percent of residents who responded voted for the Lyon Park Citizens Association to take an official stance against the gun shop.

Board to Consider Relaxed Historic Rules for Schools — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote Saturday on a proposal to make it easier for Arlington Public Schools to make changes to schools within local historic districts. The proposal would remove schools from the oversight of the county’s rigid Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board. Facing a school capacity crunch, APS says going through HALRB adds unnecessary delays and costs to projects. [InsideNova]

One Person Filed 6,500 Noise Complaints Against DCA — A single individual is responsible for 6,500 of the 8,670 noise complaints filed against Reagan National Airport last year, according to the airports authority. [WTOP]

Chamber Savors Hotel Tax Victory — With Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge reinstated, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a long-awaited legislative victory. “Reinstating Arlington’s [Transient Occupancy Tax] was the Chamber’s top priority for the 2016 legislative session, with the funds generated by the additional TOT providing much needed support to ensure that Arlington remains competitive in attracting leisure and business travel,” said Chamber president and CEO Kate Roche. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Local Musician Wins Songwriting Award — Arlington’s Justin Jones has won the $10,000 grand prize from a local songwriting competition in Bethesda. [Instagram]

by ARLnow.com — January 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm 0

Snow traffic cam Jan. 23(Updated at 7:55 p.m.) The federal government will be closed Monday, the Office of Personnel Management announced Sunday evening.

The feds join Arlington County government and public schools in closing Monday due to poor road conditions. Many neighborhood streets remain treacherous, covered with snow and ice that plows have yet to remove.

Arlington County trash and recycling collection service has been cancelled Monday and Tuesday.

ART bus service will be running sporadically Monday. The transit service says ART 41, 51, and 55 routes will run every 30 minutes from noon to 5 p.m. Monday. Other routes will remain suspended.

Reagan National and Dulles International airports, meanwhile, are reopening Monday, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Sunday night.

The National Park Service announced Sunday that the northbound GW Parkway would remain closed between Spout Run and the Beltway until at least noon on Monday.

The full Monday closure message, from OPM:

*FEDERAL OFFICES* in the Washington, DC area are *CLOSED*. Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.

/*Non-emergency employees*/ will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work unless they are:

* required to telework,
* on official travel outside of the Washington, DC area,
* on pre-approved leave (including leave without pay), or
* on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off.

/*Telework-Ready Employees*/ who are scheduled to perform telework on the effective day of the announcement or who are required to perform telework on a day when Federal offices are closed must telework the entire workday or request leave, or a combination of both, in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).

/*Emergency Employees*/ are expected to report to their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

The press release from MWAA:

Reagan National and Dulles International will each have at least one runway open for flight operations beginning Monday morning, January 25.

We expect airlines to operate limited flight schedules at both airports throughout the day on Monday. Passengers should check with their airlines for information about their specific flights.

Snow crews at both Reagan National and Dulles International continue to work around the clock to clear runways, taxiways, roadways and parking lots in anticipation of the resumption of flights on Monday. Our priority is the safety of passengers and employees traveling to and from the airports. Travelers are encouraged to use caution when driving to the airports and plan extra time, as larger than normal crowds are possible.

by Buzz McClain — January 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm 0

It’s the calm before the storm.

Reagan National Airport was surprisingly empty of departing and arriving passengers before lunchtime today, where several airlines have already cancelled flights ahead of the impending snowstorm.

TSA security lines were short, and passengers moved through in unusually quick fashion.

But the tranquility was temporary, according a friendly TSA officer on break who declined to be identified. “We’re about to get slammed,” he said. “Come back around [3 p.m.] and see the difference.”

by Jennifer Currier — December 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm 0

Military helicopter landing at the Pentagon

In the first community meeting dedicated to discussing helicopter operations and noise in Arlington, residents found their concerns stuck between federal air traffic regulations and required military practices throughout the metro area.

Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey hosted the meeting last Wednesday night as part of an ongoing effort to hear and address resident concerns about noise pollution, specifically near Reagan National Airport.

The meeting’s panel included representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and the military, including the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

“It’s definitely our intent to fly friendly and to support the local community as much as possible,” Colonel Timothy Brown said at the meeting. Brown is a Commander in the U.S. Army Air Operations Group.

“This is a great feedback opportunity for us to take lessons and really work on training and communicating with our pilots so that everyone is able to support this goal as much as we can within the restraints of the airspace that we’re operating in,” he added.

However, as residents and representatives from neighborhoods closest to the airport shared their concerns, a disconnect between FAA regulations and military operations became clear, making it difficult for the selected panel to properly address questions.

“We monitor and grant approval in and out of the airspace, but we take care of civil aircraft in that area,” said Rebecca Cointin of the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy. “I want to make it clear that we do not have a lot of regulation over noise produced by military aircraft. The FAA does not control, certify or regulate them.”

According to the panelists, 75 percent of the air traffic in the area is military, and the remaining 25 percent is law enforcement, medical evacuations and the civil aircraft Cointin referred to.

What the FAA does regulate is safe areas in which military aircraft can operate so as to not come into conflict with the civilian aircraft. The military has determined routes in the approved airspace for helicopters flying in and out of Reagan National, including along Route 7 and Route 1.

“We fly the route structure we do because it’s the safest way to fly in that airspace,” the Marine Corps Commander said, using a road analogy to explain why military aircraft tend to fly on either side of corridors like I-395 rather than directly above it. “When we’re flying those routes, they’re like highways in the sky. Unfortunately, we don’t dictate them. We operate via the FAA. We’re just the operators trying to fly in the safest, most efficient manner.”

As the discussion continued, fingers pointed to the U.S. Department of Defense, which regulates military missions, training and how its aircraft operate. It also became apparent that while neither aircraft operators nor the FAA alone could change the flight routes, residents also didn’t have an outlet to share their concerns.

“What I’m looking for is a way for people to let you know when it’s really a problem,” Garvey said. “I’m guessing this might not exist right now, but it might be something we can work on.”

With that in mind, residents shared their ongoing frustrations with noise and accounts of excessive helicopter traffic.

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