Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Residents Want Second Pentagon City Metro Entrance — “Some longtime residents have spent years agitating for just such a study of their roads and public transit options, seeing a need long before HQ2 was a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’ eye. They’re eager to see an evaluation of how much new density the area can bear, and what solutions could make it easier for Pentagon City residents to get around — perhaps most notably, they’re pressing to see a second entrance for the neighborhood’s Metro station.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall Seeking Sidewalk Cafe Upgrades — Simon, owner of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, is seeking to make some additions to the sidewalk cafes in front of the mall on S. Hayes Street. Proposed upgrades, to be considered by the Arlington County Board this weekend, include: “light poles, light strings and fencing with tray tops.” [Arlington County]

No, Crystal City Is Not Named for a Chandelier — “According to Robert P. Kogod, the former co-CEO of the Charles E. Smith Companies — which developed Crystal City — the name for the neighborhood’s first building, Crystal House, came first, and the chandelier came afterward.” [Washingtonian]

County Board to Consider Incentives to Keep PBS HQ — “Arlington County Board is considering offering up to $500,000 to retain the Public Broadcasting Service, nearly a year after PBS already committed to doing just that. The Arlington County Board is expected to consider the Economic Development Incentive grant at its meeting Saturday, along with a $450,000 grant to the Incentive Technology Group, which is also staying in Crystal City under a new lease.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Pike Affordable Housing Building Opens — “A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of Gilliam Place, a former church, and its 173 affordable housing units in Arlington Thursday morning. The complex is aimed at helping lower income and special needs families, and… it’s already home for a nonverbal woman living with autism.” [NBC 4, WJLA]

New Scooter Corral in Rosslyn — “Yee-haw!! New ‘Shared Mobility Device’ corral for Rosslyn’s North Moore Street.” [Twitter/@ArlingtonDES]

Live Action ‘Clue’ Planned in Arlington — “Time to solve a murder mystery while taking part in an incredible game and Scavenger Hunt as we bring the game of CLUE® – without a board – to our own backyard!” [Facebook]

Reminder: I-395 HOV Becoming Express Lanes — “The time has come for big change for local commuters: after two years of work, the I-395 HOV lanes inside the Beltway are becoming express toll lanes… The switch over is slated to take place on Sunday, Nov. 17.” [ARLnow]

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Morning Notes

One Year Since HQ2 Announcement — “I cannot believe it’s been one year since I had the privilege of announcing our Arlington, VA HQ2! It’s been amazing to work with all of the government officials and the community on this project. It’s just Day One and I look forward to many more successful years together!” [Twitter]

Crystal City Office Market Tightening Up — “There’s still an awful lot of empty office space in Crystal City, but a year after Amazon.com Inc. picked National Landing for its second home, conditions have already started to become less favorable for non-Amazon tenants in the Arlington County submarket.” [Washington Business Journal]

Lots of Amazon Employees Elsewhere in the Region — “Amazon’s biggest base locally is miles from HQ2. Some 2,500 corporate employees, not connected to the second headquarters, work in its D.C. and other offices. In Herndon, where the company already has a significant and growing footprint, there are nearly 800 job openings. For much of this year, many of Amazon’s Arlington job openings were allotted for Ballston, where the company leases some 52,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]

Video of the Big Water Main Break — “Dramatic early footage from Friday’s break. Fast-acting crews were able to restore pressure to the water system within a few hours through a bypass. Repairs starting tonight” — N. Glebe Road is closed near Chain Bridge during the morning rush hour — “will allow renewed use of the main and then long-term resurfacing of Glebe Road.” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Renovation Mean Changes for Local Barber — “When it’s done, Rosslyn City Center will boast a new food hall, reimagined workspaces and experiential activated environments. And Rosslyn Metro Barber Shop will move to a highly visible, first-floor location where would-be customers are sure to take notice.” [Rosslyn BID]

W&OD Trail Upgrades Proposed in Arlington — “Arlington County Board members on Saturday will be asked to add their voices in support of a request from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks) for $5.65 million in regional funding to improve and expand the Washington & Old Dominion Trail over a two-mile stretch in the western part of the county. NOVA Parks aims to replace the existing 12-foot-wide, shared-use trail with a 12-foot-wide bicycle trail and an 8-foot wide pedestrian trail.” [InsideNova]

New Scanner for County Jail — “A new security measure that will help prevent the smuggling of prohibited items into the Arlington County Detention Center by people who are arrested is now in use, Sheriff Beth Arthur announced.” The announcement follows the death of a homicide suspect in the jail. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Yung Chen

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(Updated 11/3) A ten-year plan for the future of transportation in Rosslyn has been finalized after county officials spent two years of gathering public feedback.

Major projects in the final proposed plan include incrementally converting Fort Myer Drive to a two-way street, removing the Fort Myer Drive tunnel, widening sidewalks and adding protected bike lanes.

In 2015, the Arlington County Board adopted the Rosslyn Sector Plan, which included a vision for what the neighborhood’s street networks could look like by 2030. Later in 2017, the Core of Rosslyn study was introduced as an effort from the County Board to analyze the feasibility and potential impacts of the Sector Plan’s proposed changes.

“With the understanding of all of the future developments coming to the area, we wanted to make sure private developments would not be affected by this plan,” county transportation spokesman Eric Balliet told ARLnow.

After two years working on the study, county staff have finalized their “Preferred Alternative Plan,” which outlines several substantial projects to be built by 2030.

Per the study’s website, these projects include:

  • Removal of the Fort Myer Drive tunnel under Wilson Blvd to improve pedestrian crossing options and access to Metro, and to help reduce vehicle speeds in the Rosslyn urban core.
  • Incremental conversion of Fort Myer Drive to a two-way street once the tunnel is closed.
  • Enhancing the bicycle network within the Rosslyn core by including continuous, protected bicycle and scooter lanes on Fort Myer Drive, N. Lynn Street, N. Nash Street, and Wilson Boulevard.
  • Enhancing the pedestrian experience through the removal of slip lanes, improvements to 18 existing or new crosswalks, and inclusion of wider sidewalks.
  • Reconfiguration and signalization of the intersection of westbound Route 50 and N. Meade Street “to allow for northbound traffic flow on Fort Myer Drive and to improve pedestrian and bicycle access.”

Funding for the projects will be determined when the County Manager Mark Schwartz updates Arlington’s Capital Improvement Plan in May, Balliet said. County Board adoption of the plan is expected later in the summer.

County staff will continue to engage with the community on each project and each new project will have its own webpage, according to Balliet.

The study itself cost about $1 million, Balliet said.

One project outlined in the “Alternative Plan” is already underway: the first stage of the Dark Star Park (1655 N. Fort Myer Drive) slip lane closure and park expansion occurred in July, funded through county operating funds and a partnership with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.

Photo (top) via Arlington County, (below) via Google Maps

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(Updated at 10 a.m.) Firefighters are on scene of a possible apartment fire at the River Place residential complex in Rosslyn.

Heavy smoke was reported on a lower floor of one of the high-rise buildings, on the 1000 block of Arlington Blvd. A second alarm was dispatched as a precaution, according to scanner traffic.

“Expect a large fire department response in the area,” ACFD said via social media.

Firefighters investigating the source of the smoke now believe it was from a small kitchen fire, which has since been extinguished.

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(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A fast-casual rock-and-roll themed taco restaurant is now open in Rosslyn.

“Taco Rock,” from chef Mike Cordero of Don Tito and The G.O.A.T. fame, opened last week at 1501 Wilson Blvd in the former Spinfire Pizza space.

The approximately 2,500-square-foot establishment serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Menu highlights include a $4 speciality tacos such as the “Piggy Mac” featuring eight-hour slow roasted pork brisket, topped with mac and cheese and bacon sour cream. The “We Jammin” taco is made with jerk grilled chicken, cabbage, and mango pico de gallo.

All items on the extensive taco menu can be served on house-made “Blue Rock” corn tortillas.

At the bar, Taco Rock offers a variety of tequila-based cocktails and imported Mexican beers. Its michelada, an traditional beer cocktail made with beer, lime juice, and chili, features a serving of shrimp ceviche.

Yvette Irene Design, the same interior firm behind nearby Barley Mac — another Cordero restaurant — and Detour Coffee, designed the Taco Rock space. Special design touches to the restaurant to play into the rock and roll theme, such as a giant guitar hanging from the ceiling and faux-snake skin banquets at the bar.

“We know the Rosslyn community will welcome our new concept as a neighborhood spot for a quick bite or to socialize around our tequila bar,” said Cordero in a press release. The full press release is below, after the jump.

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A new group is pushing the county for more space dedicated to its four-legged residents in Rosslyn’s growing neighborhood.

R-Dogs, LLC was one the groups at last week’s Cider Fest — the new group set up a table to hand out treats and dog waste bags, while advocating for a new dog park.

“R-Dogs is working with Arlington County and Rosslyn BID to build a top of the line park to be renamed Rosslyn Community Park,” the group said in a statement to ARLnow. “The new park will include a dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs. A separate area will also be built for individuals in the community to sit, socialize and enjoy watching their dogs play.”

The seven-member group has yet to pick a spot for the park, but for now is calling for a temporary, gated one to be set up in the western half of Gateway Park at the corner of N. Nash Street and Lee Highway.

In its application to the county, R-Dogs is also proposing the park incorporate several features, such as:

  • A shaded shelter with benches
  • Separated sections for large and small dogs
  • Drinking fountains (for humans and dogs)
  • A water misting station for dogs to cool off under
  • A water-washing station
  • A raised seating area with the area underneath “sealed off to prevent dogs from hiding and being difficult to impossible to catch.”
  • A bulletin board

The group argues in the application that Gateway Park is an ideal location for a dog park because it’s lightly used, in need of repairs, and it’s not close to homeowners who might be bothered by barking.

The land on which the park sits is owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and managed by the county. It’s situated next to Key Bridge Marriott site redevelopment (1401 Lee Highway) which plans to add 451 housing units and renovate the hotel.

“Parks, and especially dog parks, are a magnet to draw the community together, increase housing values, and attract new businesses and builders,” the group wrote in its application.

John Hummel, president of the North Rosslyn Civic Association, wrote in a letter of support that North Rosslyn has “witnessed a gradual but significant loss of walkable green space” in recent years and Gateway Park’s state of disrepair means some residents don’t feel comfortable using it.

“While NRCA has no idea of the design nor expected lifetime of this Temporary Dog Park, NRCA is in support of improvement of Gateway West to provide an attractive walkable space where residents can safely meet neighbors, chat, and let dogs run unleashed,” wrote Hummel.

The group held a public meeting last month to review the architectural plans for the site, per an Instagram post, and is asking for signatures of support for the project.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

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(Updated at 10 a.m.) The 44th Marine Corps Marathon returns to Arlington and D.C. this Sunday, October 27, bringing thousands of runners to the area along with lots of road closures.

Opening ceremonies for the races begin at 6 a.m. along Route 110 between the Pentagon and the Arlington National Cemetery. The 5oK race kicks off at 7:30 a.m., then the wheelchair/hand cycle race starts at 7:40 a.m., and finally the marathon and 10K begin at 7:55 a.m. Approximately 30,000 runners are participating in the race.

MCM events in Arlington include a finish festival in Rosslyn and opportunities to cheer the runners on along the streets of Crystal City.

Many of Sunday’s road closures begin in the early morning and last until later in the day.

Per a press release from the Arlington County Police Department, the following county roads will close on Sunday:

  • 3:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Marshall Drive from North Meade Street to Route 110
  • 3:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. North Meade Street from Marshall Drive to North Lynn Street
  • 3:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Route 110 from I-66 to Richmond Highway
  • 3:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Wilson Boulevard from North Nash Street to Route 110
  • 3:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Lynn Street from North Meade Street to Lee Highway
  • 3:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Fort Myer Drive from North Meade Street to Lee Highway
  • 3:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. North Moore Street from Wilson Boulevard to Lee Highway
  • 3:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. 19th Street North from North Lynn Street to North Nash Street
  • 3:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Route 110 ramp from Washington Blvd. to Pentagon North parking
  • 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Lee Highway (eastbound) from North Lynn Street to Kirkwood Road
  • 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Spout Run Parkway from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) to Lee Highway
  • 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. GWMP northbound from Spout Run to Memorial Circle Drive
  • 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Francis Scott Key Bridge (all lanes)
  • 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. I-66 Westbound ramp for Exit 75
  • 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. I-66 Eastbound ramp for Exit 73
  • 6:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. HOV lanes from 14th Street Southwest to HOV ramp at South Eads Street
  • 5:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. South Eads Street from South Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive
  • 5:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Army Navy Drive from South Fern Street to 12th Street South
  • 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. 15th Street South from Crystal Drive to South Eads Street
  • 6:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 12th Street South from South Eads Street to Crystal Drive
  • 6:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Crystal Drive from 12th Street South to 23rd Street South
  • 6:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Long Bridge Drive from 12th Street South to I-395
  • 6:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 6th Street South from Long Bridge Drive to South Ball Street
  • 6:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 10th Street South from Long Bridge Drive to South Ball Street
  • 6:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. South Ball Street from 6th Street South to 10th Street South
  • 3:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Boundary Channel Drive from I-395 to Pentagon North Parking
  • 3:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Washington Blvd. from Columbia Pike to Memorial Circle

In addition, per an agreement between marathon organizers and WMATA, Metro will be open two hours early on Sunday and provide extra service on the Blue and Yellow lines.

Additional travel tips from the press release, after the jump.

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(Updated 9:40 p.m.) A press conference on the front steps of a Rosslyn townhouse drew noisy protesters Monday afternoon, which in turn prompted a call to Arlington County Police.

Several ACPD officers responded to the 1500 block of N. Colonial Terrace for a noise complaint around 3 p.m. They arrived near the end of a press conference involving a trio of conservative provocateurs — Jack Burkman, Jacob Wohl and Milo Yiannopoulos — outside of Burkman’s home.

Burkman and Wohl have organized a recent series of press conferences, mostly to accuse prominent Democrats of sexual malfeasance. Today’s event focused on similarly lurid-but-lacking-in-evidence accusations against Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The 2:30 p.m. press conference featured the claims against Cruz being read by the female accuser, while Burkman and Wohl stood nearby and Yiannopoulos sat to the side, checking his phone and smoking a cigarette.

During the press conference, a protester played a banjo while another shouted, blew an air horn and tossed donuts at the participants. A live stream of the event shows about two dozen people, including journalists, protesters and curious onlookers, in attendance.

Police responded to the area after receiving a report of disorderly protesters, arriving around 3 p.m.

“Is anybody in charge of the protest that wants to talk?” an officer asks. Attendees answered that there was no organized protest.

With police still on scene, a man who identified himself as a resident started to yell at the bystanders, complaining about the noise.

“I want all of you out of this f—ing neighborhood now,” he said. “You are bothering me.”

“Seriously, can you make them leave?” he asked police, who continued keeping watch near a street corner.

“This is such a s—show circus,” commented one of the people standing on the sidewalk.

Police could be seen starting to leave at the end of the livestream, as the attendees started to disperse. An ACPD spokeswoman told ARLnow the event “disbanded without incident.”

According to ACPD spokeswoman Kirby Clark:

At approximately 2:48 p.m. on October 21, police were dispatched to the report of loud noise and traffic obstructions in the area of North Colonial Terrace and North Ode Street related to an event being held in the area. Upon arrival, officers made contact with parties on scene and the event concluded without incident.

ACPD has not been made aware of community concerns regarding other similar events at this location. Residents who have specific community concerns regarding this event or others are advised to contact the Community Outreach Team for this area by email ([email protected] arlingtonva.us) or phone (703-228-4184).

Burkman was previously in the news locally after he was shot in the parking garage of the Key Bridge Marriott hotel in Rosslyn.

Screenshots via Ford Fischer/Twitter

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A new Japanese restaurant is coming to Rosslyn in conjunction with the upcoming Gong Cha Tea Shop.

Permits have been filed for Toryumon Japanese House at 1650 Wilson Blvd, across from the new Arlington Public Schools facility The Heights.

The Japanese restaurant already has a location in D.C. at 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue. Its menu features a wide variety of traditional and speciality sushi rolls, along with ramen and hibachi.

Additional permits at the same address have been filed for national bubble tea chain Gong Cha Tea Shop.

A spokesman from Gong Cha confirmed the location with ARLnow and said it would open by December, though no construction activity was evident as of this morning.

Toryumon Japanese House could not be reached for comment.

The ground floor of 1650 Wilson Blvd was formerly home to Ray’s Hell Burger.

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More than 300 instances of vehicles blocking bike lanes were recorded during yesterday’s data collection project in Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City.

A map of the violations from the D.C.-based ‘How’s My Driving?’ app indicates volunteers spotted 307 bike lane violations on sections of N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn, Fairfax Drive in Ballston, and Crystal Drive in Crystal City yesterday (Thursday).

“We knew the bike lanes monitored yesterday were a problem anecdotally, but now we have data to back up those claims that will hopefully help drive changes to enforcement practices and improve built infrastructure,” app co-creator Mark Sussman told ARLnow.

Most of the violations appear to have occurred along Crystal Drive.

Vehicles parked in bike lanes can force cyclists to swerve into traffic on the street, creating dangers for cyclists and drivers.

Arlington’s County Code prohibits people who “stop, stand or park a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane, nor shall any person drive a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane for a distance of more than one hundred (100) feet.”

Despite some targeted enforcement efforts, the county has long-struggled to consistently enforce the rule, and activists have increasingly pushed for more protected bike lanes to prevent the problem, while criticizing new transit plans for not prioritizing cyclists’ safety.

In the meantime, engineers have also tested new lane-protecting barriers, and ACPD has conducted enforcement “blitzes” as recently as July.

Sussman previously told ARLnow he’d like to expand his crowd reporting app to Arlington after the the D.C. service attracted thousands of submissions for cars blocking bike lanes.

A particularly popular part is a Twitter bot that fetches DMV data on how many fines the cars in question have racked up. But this feature won’t work for Arlington drivers until the county allows Sussman and his partner Daniel Schep access to the public databases.

Three years ago, Arlington Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt created a crowdsourced reporting tool — ParkingDirty.com — for bike lane blockages that relied on users monitoring traffic cameras. On one day, it found that a stretch of bike lane along Crystal Drive was blocked about 65% of the time.

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Morning Notes

Heavy Seas Alehouse to Close — “Heavy Seas Alehouse, the restaurant affiliated with the Baltimore-area brewery, will close its doors in Rosslyn by the end of October, one of its principals said Thursday. The restaurant plans to close Oct. 27, said Mike Morris, a partner in Monogram Hospitality, which operates Heavy Seas Alehouse.” [Washington Business Journal]

Real Estate Costs Going Down? — “In every major jurisdiction of the local area, the median per-square-foot price for housing for the January-through-September period declined, in many cases by double digits, according to new figures reported Oct. 11… Arlington led all local jurisdictions for the nine-month period, but its median per-square-foot cost of $436 was down 6.8 percent from $468.” [InsideNova]

Kaine to Talk Vaping at Arlington School — “On Friday, October 18, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable discussion on efforts to address the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The discussion at Montessori Public School of Arlington will include students, teachers, counselors, parents, health experts, and Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.” [Press Release]

Road Closures for Festival in Shirlington — “The Shirlington Shucktoberfest, sponsored by the Copperwood Tavern, will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Set up will begin at approximately 6:00 a.m. and cleanup should be completed by 7:00 p.m. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures…” [Arlington County]

Arlington Woman’s Alleged Killer Charged — “The killer of Pamela Butler, a Washington, D.C., federal worker who disappeared before Valentine’s Day in 2009, has been charged in the 1989 death of his wife. Marta Haydee Rodriguez-Cruz disappeared from Arlington, Virginia, in 1989. Her remains were found along Interstate 95 in Stafford County in 1991 but weren’t positively identified until 2018. Her husband, Jose Angel Rodriguez-Cruz, also dated Butler for a time.” [NBC 4]

Arlington Man Convicted in Child Sex Sting — “An Arlington man is among more than 300 people arrested worldwide in connection with a website that authorities describe as the largest child sexual exploitation operation of its kind ever discovered in terms of the volume of content. Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.” [Patch]

Nearby: Birding Store Near Fairlington Closing — “After 33 years, birding and nature store One Good Tern (1710 Fern Street) near Fairlington is closing as longtime owner Charles Studholme faces a grim kidney failure diagnosis.” [ALXnow]

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