48°Fog

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 22, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Enhanced crosswalks and curb extensions are coming to S. Walter Reed Drive, just south of Columbia Pike, in an effort to calm traffic and improve intersections for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Storm sewer upgrades and raised medians will also be added to the stretch of S. Walter Reed Drive between 11th Street S. and 13th Street S. The current “bike boulevard” will move from 12th Street S. to 11th Street S. between S. Highland Street and S. Cleveland Street.

County Manager Mark Schwartz has recommended awarding the project to Fort Meyer Construction, headquartered in Washington. The County Board is scheduled to consider the contract at its Saturday meeting. The contract cost is $444,575.11, with a change order contingency allocation of $88,915.02.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com February 5, 2018 at 10:15 am 0

An elevated portion of S. Clark Street is closing today ahead of a planned demolition project.

The $6.3 million project will remove the existing roadway and create new open space, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting, while also creating new development opportunities adjacent to Route 1.

The S. Clark Street overpass was underutilized, according to county traffic studies, but it was useful for those seeking a faster way to get from one side of Crystal City to the other.

Major work on the demolition project is expected to begin in March and wrap up in the summer of 2019. More from Arlington County about what to expect during the project:

The demolition project will generally work from north to south starting with the removal of the 15th Street overpass, scheduled to start in March.

  • Throughout the project, some detours will be in place to accommodate removal of the bridge structure. The first of these closures will be on 15th Street in early spring 2018. Details will be shared on the project webpage and in this email update as the temporary street closures are scheduled.
  • The at-grade portions of 14th Road South (between 12th and 15th Streets) and South Bell Street (between 15th and 18th Streets) will remain open throughout and after the demolition.
  • East-west pedestrian access under elevated Clark Street will be maintained throughout the duration of this project.
  • During removal of the bridges over 15th Street and 18th Street, one side of the sidewalk under the bridge will be closed but the other side will remain open.

Photo via Google Maps

by Chris Teale January 29, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

A section of Army Navy Drive could go down to one lane for cars in each direction under a Complete Streets plan being considered by the county.

County staff wrote that the project would rebuild Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City as a street “featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, environmental and pedestrian facilities.”

The lane reduction would take place between S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., and staff said it would help connect various local neighborhoods and landmarks.

“The goal of the project is to improve the local connections between the Pentagon and the commercial, residential and retail services of Pentagon City and Crystal City,” staff wrote.

Other changes include planted medians instead of raised concrete medians, and new bike lanes.

“The reconstruction will provide a physically separated two-way protected bicycle lane facility along the south side of Army Navy Drive, in addition to shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, and will accommodate future high-capacity transit,” said the county’s website. “Motor vehicle travel lanes will be reduced in number where appropriate and will be narrowed to dimensions appropriate for a slower urban context.”

The project would also extend the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway into Pentagon City by adding a dedicated bus lane on Army Navy Drive, and link to the bike lanes planned for S. Clark Street between 12th Street S. and 15th Street S.

Staff will host an Army Navy Drive Complete Streets Workshop on Wednesday, January 31 from 4-7 p.m. at the Aurora Hills Branch Library (735 18th Street S.). The meeting will be an open forum to discuss the project.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020, and be complete in spring 2022.

Image No. 1 via county staff. Image No. 2 via Google Maps.

by Chris Teale December 27, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

A shared-use path is now open on eastbound Washington Blvd near the Pentagon, part of a bridge rehabilitation project in Arlington County.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said a 14-foot wide path for bicycles and pedestrians along eastbound Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 opened yesterday (Tuesday).

The path is now 14 feet wide on the bridge and replaces a narrow concrete sidewalk that pedestrians and cyclists used to use. It is 10 feet wide on the approaches to the bridge.

Drivers in the area can expect some delays starting tonight (Wednesday), as eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd will shift onto the newly-constructed portion of the bridge. The traffic shift allows construction crews to demolish the middle portion of the bridge and rebuild it.

Work is expected to last from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes.

VDOT said it still believes the $31.5 million project is on track to wrap up next year. It will replace the existing bridge, built in 1941, with one that is wider, longer and taller.

Photo via VDOT

by ARLnow.com December 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm 0

A big hole on the side of a road in the Waverly Hills neighborhood has been damaging cars that fail to steer around it.

At least one car was disabled and more damaged by the hole, according to police scanner traffic. No damaged cars were seen when an ARLnow.com reporter stopped by later in the day.

Located at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Woodstock Street, the hole appears to have been cut as part of road, curb and sidewalk work along Woodstock Street. While there are orange traffic cones around it, cars turning onto the residential street seem to have trouble squeezing by the hole when another is waiting at the stop sign to turn onto Glebe.

by ARLnow.com December 7, 2017 at 10:20 am 0

A plan to detour some traffic through the Bluemont neighborhood during a weekend bridge demolition has prompted a letter to the County Board.

In the letter, the Bluemont Civic Association’s president singles out one of the four detours — which would send southbound traffic down 6th Street N. — for criticism.

Residents say they have been trying for more than a decade to get an all-way stop at the intersection of 6th Street and N. Edison Street. The intersection is dangerous and has been the scene of crashes, according to residents, and sending additional traffic through it is “concerning.”

During the work — set to start Friday night and end early Monday morning — the civic association is asking for 12-hour-a-day traffic enforcement at the intersection. That’s in addition to requests for new traffic studies and permanent intersection changes.

The letter is below.

Dear Chair Fisette, Honorable Members of the Arlington County Board, and County Manager,

First, thank you for your service and for your attention to Bluemont Civic Association matters. I am following up on the below request for safety improvements for 6th St N and N Edison St. I learned this afternoon, through ARLnow, that Carlin Springs Road Bridge traffic will be routed through 6th St N and N Edison St. This is concerning for three reasons:

  1. No notification was provided to the residents or the Bluemont Civic Association that thousands of vehicles will flood our already problematic streets this weekend when our kids are most likely to be outside playing
  2. No plan for targeted enforcement and safety considerations have been made, and if they were, they have not been communicated
  3. Previous requests for regular targeted enforcement, stop signs, and other traffic control/calming measures have received little or no measureable action even with the resulting density from the Ballston Quarter and local construction projects

On behalf of the Bluemont Civic Association and residents that live on N Emerson St, 6th St N, and N Edison St, I request the following:

  1. Permanent safety improvements as outlined in the previous Bluemont Civic Association letter (attached) and as detailed in the original thread to this email
  2. Targeted enforcement from 7AM – 7PM at the intersections of 6th St N and N Edison St, the intersection of Bluemont Dr and N Emerson St, and 6th St N and N George Mason from 8-11 DEC
  3. Ongoing traffic studies effective immediately at the intersection of 6th St N and N Edison St to measure the impact to our neighborhood
  4. A detailed plan of action & milestones for all safety improvements and targeted enforcement for this named area of interest

Last, I invite you to the intersection 6th St N and N Edison St to meet with parents at the bus stop during drop-off time Friday and Monday. The bus drop off typically occurs between 4:00-4:07 PM. Please let me know in advance if you can make it and I’ll email the neighborhood letting them know.

I have copied the neighborhood distro for 6th St N, N Emerson St, and N Edison St. These are past and current residents who may want to weigh in on this conversation directly. I have also copied ARLnow and thank them for providing real-time local news and alerting us to the traffic diversion.

I look forward to a continued open and solution oriented dialogue. I hope that the aforementioned request can be brought to fruition.

Thanks,

Nick Pastore
President, Bluemont Civic Association
http://www.bluemontcivic.org/

The permanent changes to the intersection requested by the civic association are:

  • “Add stop signs to stop Eastbound and Westbound traffic on 6th St N at the intersection of 6th St N and N Edison St to make a 4-way stop”
  • “Paint crosswalks across all four street crossings at 6th St N and N Edison St”
  • “Add pedestrian crossing signage to the intersection of 6th St N and N Edison St”
  • “Bump out each corner curb at 6th St N and N Edison St to enhance the visibility of pedestrian traffic and encourage complete stops with resulting slow turns”

Photos via Google Maps

by Chris Teale November 27, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Voting is underway among some Fairlington residents on whether new sound walls should be added as part of the I-395 Express Lanes project.

Ballots have been mailed out to some neighborhood residents on whether sound barriers should be installed to mitigate the noise from the extended High Occupancy Toll lanes. The toll lanes will be extended for eight miles north from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road to the vicinity of Eads Street in Arlington, near the Pentagon.

The first round of ballots went out to residents in the north of the neighborhood in late September.

But Guy Land, president of the Fairlington Citizens Association, told ARLnow it was his understanding that a second round of ballots were mailed out earlier this month as less than 50 percent of the first round were returned. The results of the second round of balloting will be final, regardless of turnout.

AECOM Engineering Company is the contractor behind the sound walls, and is running the vote. An AECOM spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

In a presentation to FCA last year, the Virginia Department of Transportation said approximately 4.7 miles of highway in Arlington is eligible for the sound barriers, in addition to 3.4 miles in Alexandria.

Residents are eligible to vote based on their proximity to the proposed walls, and the noise the highway creates. Renters vote as well as homeowners, although the votes of owners have a higher weight.

FCA’s November newsletter detailed some of the concerns residents have with the sound barriers.

“The proposed walls are 25 feet high, which will impact sight lines and sunlight for residents on lower floors,” the newsletter reads. “The walls also require 10 feet of clear space on either side, which will require the destruction of a fair number of trees and shrubs around the neighborhood perimeter. And the walls themselves may only provide five decibels of noise reduction, according to designers.”

Image via VDOT presentation

by ARLnow.com October 23, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Arlington County will spend just over $640,000 to re-configure an intersection in Courthouse neighborhood.

The County Board unanimously approved the construction project at its meeting Saturday.

The plan is to remove a one-way portion of roadway that serves as a shortcut to 15th Street N. in front of county government headquarters, and instead have Clarendon Blvd traffic access 15th Street via a 90 degree turn at the traffic signal-equipped intersection a bit farther down the road.

As currently configured the triangle of roadway leads to conflicts between cars and pedestrians, county staff says. The goal of the project is to improve “pedestrian safety, circulation and access in and around Courthouse Plaza.”

The new intersection will include additional trees, green space and other amenities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

More from a county press release:

Clarendon Boulevard is a key arterial street in the R-B corridor, and the intersection of 15th Street is central to the busy Courthouse Metro Station. The intersection is currently designed primarily to funnel automobiles onto 15th Street North, which often results in conflicts between pedestrians, vehicles and transit users.

New safety and streetscape improvements, which will include new concrete curb and gutter, ADA compliant sidewalks, storm structures and streetscape amenities, such as benches and bike racks, will make this area safer for all travelers. The project also will improve the circulation of the Courthouse Plaza parking garage and provide better access to the surrounding street network by extending the parking garage’s entrance to Clarendon Boulevard. The bus stop waiting area along 15th Street North will be expanded and the existing bus stop at Clarendon Boulevard/N. Wayne Street will be relocated to the far right of the intersection to facilitate safer pedestrian crossing along this street segment.

“These are the kinds of projects that make Arlington such a great place to walk,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “This intersection is going to function better for all who use it – and look a lot better – as a result of the improvements the Board approved today.”

Photo (1) via Arlington County, photo (2) via Google Maps

by Chris Teale October 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A major road construction project in Leeway-Overlee has drawn the ire of some nearby residents, who say there appears to be “no end in sight.”

The project by the county’s Department of Environmental Services involves adding a new sidewalk, curb and gutter to 24th Street N. between N. Illinois and N. Kensington streets, as well as new pipes to help with stormwater management. At the same time, similar work is being done on N. Illinois Street from 22nd Street N. to Lee Highway.

According to a preliminary construction schedule, completion had been scheduled for Friday, July 28.

But when an ARLnow reporter dropped by this morning (Wednesday), the new sidewalk was only partially installed, with numerous sections of pipe standing nearby waiting to be added. And the 5500 block of 24th Street N. was still closed to all traffic except residents.

One anonymous tipster said the work has been “going on for four months with no end in sight.” Another tipster who lives on the street said even worse things have been happening during construction.

“There has been flooding in neighbors’ yards,” the tipster wrote. “Toilets blown up and sewer drains put on people’s property without even giving them a courtesy heads up… Damaged cars. Houses full of mud. Flat tires and the list goes on.”

A DES spokeswoman disputed the claim that construction caused the flooding issues. Instead, she blamed a “high-intensity storm” on August 15 that “overwhelmed the drainage system in the neighborhood.”

“This is a low-lying area that has experienced flooding issues in the past,” the spokeswoman said. “The benefit of this Neighborhood Conservation Project is that we are improving the drainage system and providing additional capacity, which will reduce the likelihood of flooding in the future.”

Residents claimed the project has been put on hold in part due to budget overruns and in part because the project manager recently passed away. But the DES spokeswoman said the hold up stems from crews coming across underground utility lines.

“The county’s project manager did pass away recently, but this has not stopped construction,” she said. “We have encountered unexpected underground utility lines, which is a very common construction risk in urban environments such as Arlington, as most utility lines were installed more than 50 years ago (and some are privately-owned), so records are not always accurate.”

Neighbors said they are looking at retaining legal counsel to try and force some reimbursement from the county for the inconvenience.

The DES spokeswoman said county staff will meet with neighbors on Friday to discuss progress, and that work should be done “by the end of the year.”

by Chris Teale August 29, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Drivers in Westover and East Falls Church can expect traffic delays and detours in the coming weeks as the state and county repave and add bike lanes to Washington Blvd.

The project by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the street, is set to begin in the next couple of weeks with repaving between Lee Highway and N. McKinley Road.

After that repaving is complete, staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services will install green bicycle lanes, bollards and way-finding signs for bicyclists. At some points, the lanes will have a buffer as wide as two or three feet from traffic. The county and VDOT coordinated on a design plan for the new striping earlier this year.

At one stage, the plan had been for continuous bike lanes along Washington Blvd. But those plans were nixed earlier this year and revised.

Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to shorter stretches. Westbound the lane will run between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets. Eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.

Staff said they anticipate between 16 and 19 parking spaces on the street will be lost out of around 150 in total. In turn, Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church (6201 Washington Blvd) is expected to increase its parking capacity to 15 spaces.

DES staff said the project has a number of benefits for those in the area:

  • Enhance bicycle infrastructure where it does not currently exist
    • Help stitch together the expanding Capital Bikeshare system (a new station was installed at the East Falls Church metro station in 2016 and two new stations will be installed in Westover in 2017 and 2018).
    • Connect to existing bicycle lanes on Washington Boulevard between Westover and Lacy Woods Park.
    • Create a nearly two-mile stretch of bicycle lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.
  • Narrow unnecessarily wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.
  • Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.
  • Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bicycle lanes.
  • Pedestrian safety improvements at key intersections with highly visible markings for crosswalks (pending VDOT approval). Center line “Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk” signs may also be installed.

During the work, DES says parking will be prohibited on Washington Blvd and detours will be in place.

Next year, staff will collect additional usage data to track cars, bicycles, pedestrians and parking.

Image (top) via VDOT, (middle) via Google Maps

by Chris Teale August 24, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Arlington County has completed a series of modifications to Wilson Blvd between N. Patrick Henry Drive and Glebe Road, with the goal of improving pedestrian safety along the corridor.

The changes over the past year include “re-striping, sign installation, concrete work for curb ramps, bollards installation… marking additional crosswalks with marked median/islands, and other short-term improvements.”

The changes, which are within the Bluemont, Boulevard Manor and Dominion Hills neighborhoods, follow a lane reduction that provoked criticism from some residents who said they made traffic congestion worse. Others, however, said the reduction from four lanes to two travel lanes and a turn lane improved safety without much of a traffic impact.

The recent changes included extending the two-lane configuration — which includes new bike lanes on either side of the road — one extra block, from N. Manchester Street to N. Larrimore Street.

Going forward, the plan is to hire a contractor to conduct a long-term transportation study of Wilson Blvd from N. Glebe Road to the county line, to “create a long-term vision for the physical configuration” of Wilson Blvd. Following the study, more extensive changes to the road configuration may be made, including making the recent improvements — described as a “pilot” program — permanent.

County staff said the study will look to collect data on usage on Wilson Blvd and adjacent streets, and seek residents’ input to identify changes to the road.

by Chris Teale August 10, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Emergency repairs to a 6-foot-deep sinkhole near the under-construction Ballston Quarter mall could cause traffic headaches today (Thursday).

The sinkhole opened suddenly yesterday near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, but was quickly covered ahead of repairs to allow cars to keep driving over it.

A contractor at the scene said the hole is about 3 feet wide and 6 feet deep.

To accommodate contractors’ vehicles and tools, the westbound right lane of Wilson Blvd and the parking lane are closed, while the eastbound left-turn lane at the intersection will be used as a westbound lane. With renovations to the former Ballston Common Mall on the other side of the street also closing lanes, it means Wilson Blvd will be down to one lane in each direction.

Originally, there had been plans to close one lane in each direction on N. Randolph Street too, but the contractor said that would no longer be the case.

Complicating matters in that area of Ballston will be the construction crew’s removal of a stoplight just outside the mall. The contractor on the sinkhole repairs warned that the two projects could combine to make traffic a little “hectic” in that section of Wilson Blvd.

Work on repairing the sinkhole is expected to be complete around 4 p.m.

by Chris Teale August 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

The project to extend the Interstate 395 Express Lanes from Fairfax County through Alexandria and Arlington to the D.C. line celebrated its ground-breaking ceremony this morning.

The toll lanes will be extended for eight miles north from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road to the vicinity of Eads Street in Arlington, near the Pentagon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation partnered with toll road manager Transurban and contractors AECOM Engineering Company and Lane Construction to deliver the project. Construction is now underway and scheduled for completion in fall 2019.

The project will add a third reversible HOT lane on I-395, accessible for free by vehicles with three or more occupants and an E-ZPass Flex transponder, or for a toll by all others.

The lanes will generate funding for other transportation options in the region. Using toll money, Transurban will pay $15 million each year to local jurisdictions to help them pay for improvements. Among other projects, the south parking lot at the Pentagon is set for an overhaul, as are several nearby bridges.

The ceremony, atop a Pentagon City parking garage, marked the official start of construction. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) was joined by Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne and elected officials from across the area, including Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette and fellow Board member Libby Garvey.

Layne said such partnerships between state government, local agencies and federal stakeholders have been crucial to move the project along, heralded as the largest in the United States.

“We knew what the construction was going to be, but it took collaboration and trust to get this project underway,” Layne said.

McAuliffe hailed the project for solving a “major headache for so many commuters going into and out of the District, and going to and from our great Pentagon.”

He added that as Virginia’s population continues to grow — with people attracted by its low taxes, strong business environment and other amenities like breweries and wineries, McAuliffe said — projects to improve congestion on the Commonwealth’s roads are vital.

“This is finally going to be solved, and this is going to be a game-changer for residents of Northern Virginia,” McAuliffe said.

For its part, Transurban promised to be good partners throughout construction and beyond.

Jennifer Aument, Transurban’s group general manager for North America, said workers are committed to the safety of all road users during work, and urged drivers in the area to avoid distractions, wear their seatbelt and watch their speed around the construction zone.

Aument also said Transurban would be a “good neighbor” and work with nearby neighborhoods to minimize any other disruptions.

“Now, we’ll get to work,” she said.

Work has already got underway in the existing I-395 high-occupancy toll lanes. On Monday, August 7, VDOT announced full night-time closures of the lanes in both directions from the southbound HOV exit ramp near Boundary Channel Drive to the northbound exit ramp from the 95 Express Lanes near Edsall Road.

And weather-permitting, some southbound regular lanes of I-395 will be closed overnight this week between Duke Street and Edsall Road. VDOT advised drivers to travel safely and pay attention to signs posted on the road.

by ARLnow.com August 2, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

‘Open Road’ Coming to Rosslyn — A new location of Open Road, from the restaurant group behind Circa, is expected to open in Rosslyn next year. Open Road is expected to have a large, covered outdoor patio area. [Washington Business Journal]

Milkshake Shipped from Cleveland for Cancer Patient — Using dry ice and overnight shipping, a popular Cleveland restaurant shipped one of its famous milkshakes to a terminal cancer patient in Arlington. A photo of the patient, Emily Pomeranz, enjoying the shake in her hospice room has gone viral. [Facebook, Fox 8 Cleveland]

Street Work Schedule — Arlington County will be performing micro-sealing work on a number of streets this month as part of its preventive maintenance program. Among the roads with planned nighttime closures: Shirlington Road, Washington Blvd, N. George Mason Drive, N. Pershing Drive, S. Arlington Ridge Road and Army Navy Drive. [Arlington County]

Arlington Had a Little Italy — Arlington County once had its own Little Italy, a “makeshift village occupied by Italian quarrymen and their families on the banks of the Potomac, accessible only by footpath.” The former quarry site is located along the Potomac Heritage Trail, according to an article posted earlier this summer on WETA’s Boundary Stones local history blog. [WETA]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by ARLnow.com July 17, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

County officials say the reduction of a westbound turn lane on Arlington Mill Drive near Shirlington is a pilot program and the backups it’s causing will be resolved by traffic signal adjustments.

Arlington Mill Drive was recently re-striped at the “T” intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive. One of the two left turn lanes from Arlington Mill to Walter Reed was removed and blocked off with bollards, a move intended to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

There is heavy bike and pedestrian traffic at the intersection, which connects two sections of the Four Mile Run Trail.

But the lane removal has caused traffic to back up during peak times, according to several accounts. Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey wrote about the backups last month, proclaiming the lane reduction to be part of the county’s “semi-official ‘drivers must suffer’ policy.”

Last week a Twitter user also reported significant evening rush hour delays.

(The backups seem to be short-lived; a brief evening rush hour visit by a reporter last week did not reveal any long lines.)

In a statement released to ARLnow.com, officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services said that the lane re-striping is a “test” that is being evaluated ahead of a larger intersection improvement project, slated for next year.

The test will help traffic engineers determine adjustments to the traffic signal timing, which should alleviate any delays, officials say. Potentially complicating the plan, however: there is already heavy traffic on Walter Reed Drive during the evening rush hour, which could be exacerbated by changes to the traffic light cycle.

The full statement from DES, after the jump.

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