For years, visitors to our country’s most recognizable military monument have had but one nearby option should they need to use the restroom: a line of green porta-potties.
The porta-potties near the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington might be convenient, but they were also “unsightly and they smelled,” says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). Plus, they presented big challenges for disabled veterans visiting the memorial.
Luckily, the local philanthropist David Rubenstein stepped up last year with a pledge of $5.4 million to rehab the monument, the lighting and the landscaping around the 62-year-old monument, colloquially known as the Iwo Jima memorial. Rubenstein’s gift will now also fund permanent restrooms.
A bill sponsored by Beyer passed last week, authorizing the construction of the restrooms. The bill had bipartisan support, although its passage came a year after Rubenstein’s donation was first announced and it was made necessary by a provision that stemmed from a debate over the location of the Air Force Memorial 14 years ago.
“It’s a small victory but it moves us in the right direction,” Beyer said.
Amid congressional gridlock on important issues like the budget, immigration and gun safety, Beyer said there is still plenty of work getting done in Congress — provided the work is politically uncontroversial.
“There are places where we really can’t get things done,” said Beyer. “But those are all places where there are significant philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans. On things where there is consensus, we can actually move pretty quickly.”
But the fact that this pretty obvious improvement is getting done mostly because a billionaire ponied up for it may make a larger point about the current state of American governance and budget priorities.
“We’re fortunate to have the David Rubensteins of the world,” said Beyer, “but it is sad that we can’t free up more money for investments in public infrastructure.”
Beyer cited figures that suggest the U.S. is $3 trillion behind on needed infrastructure work due to deferred maintenance. The U.S. Park Service alone has $11 billion in infrastructure needs, including the funding still needed for repairs to Memorial Bridge.
For needs not deemed essential enough to receive taxpayer funding, private donations may be the only way to get it done in the near term.
“Until we get our arms around entitlement reform, finding ways to grow our discretionary resources for things like infrastructure, we’re going to be dependent on good folks like David Rubenstein,” Beyer said.
Though Beyer said he had not seen a timetable yet, he expects that the Iwo Jima improvements will take at least 12-18 months to complete.
“Arlington is a wonderful place to live — it gets all these awards for best suburb or best small city — and hopefully getting rid of the porta-potties at the Iwo Jima memorial will be another small step in improving the livability of Arlington.”
Photo (below) via Google Maps
The FAA wants to shift the northbound flight path for planes taking off from Reagan National Airport directly over Rosslyn, a change that many residents expressed skepticism about during a public meeting last night at Washington-Lee High School.
“What we’re asking people to look at is a new proposed route that is an effort to relieve noise in the Foxhall Village section of [D.C.] and put planes more over the middle of the river,” said FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown. Residents of Northwest D.C. have been complaining about airplane noise for some time now, culminating in a letter to the FAA from D.C.’s attorney general earlier this year.
But the new proposed flight path could result in more noise for parts of Arlington, particularly the Rosslyn, Courthouse and North Highlands neighborhoods. (The new flight path would slightly shift planes away from some far northern Arlington communities.)
Some residents questioned why Arlington should be subject to more noise so that D.C. residents could have more peace and quiet.
“The problem with downtown airports is that they’re convenient and they’re noisy,” said Arlington resident and retired Naval aviator Jim Pebley. “You can have one, but you can’t have it without the other. The best we can do is distribute the noise equally between the District and us.”
Arlington County Board members Libby Garvey, Katie Cristol and John Vihstadt were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. Garvey on Monday wrote a letter to the FAA asking why data shows aircraft noise increasing in Arlington over the past couple of years. The letter asks the FAA to be more responsive to concerns from residents and localities about aircraft noise; it also asks the agency to propose alternatives for reducing noise.
“Arlington County firmly believes that improvements for both those on the ground and the flying public are possible and necessary,” the letter says. However, “it does not seem reasonable to the County that local communities, who are not experts on the needs, constraints and opportunities with regards to aviation, should be tasked with solving this problem.”
Another issue raised at the meeting: the safety implications of having jetliners flying even closer to Rosslyn’s tall buildings. The recently-released film ‘Sully,’ which recounted the Hudson River landing of US Airways Flight 1549 after striking a flock of geese on takeoff, was brought up.
“I’m worried about what this is going to do for a single engine out operation over Rosslyn,” Pebley said. “I ran the calculations. If you take off on a warm summer day and climbed up the best you could, you might make it a couple hundred feet over the tallest building there. That’s really scary.”
The FAA will be holding two additional public meetings — in Georgetown tonight and Bethesda tomorrow — and will weigh public feedback at each of the three meetings, Brown said. A final decision on the flight path could be make as early as January 2017.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) This is at least the second morning in a row that people have called Arlington County Police to report gridlock at the intersection of Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
Officers did not respond to the intersection today, saying that little could be done to ease the traffic. A traffic detail that was assigned to the intersection last year was discontinued, the department said, because it did not receive funding for it.
@fraziecb We did not receive funding to continue that detail in 2016.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said that officers will be dispatched to the intersection as needed, but will not be assigned there on a regular basis.
Arlington offers were posted at a different intersection today — Washington Blvd and N. Utah Street, in the Ballston area — for high-visibility pedestrian and traffic enforcement. Despite a painted crosswalk, the intersection has been deemed a particularly dangerous one due to past crashes as well as fast-moving traffic and a high volume of pedestrians crossing the street.
Keep pedestrians safe by yielding to those in crosswalks! Officers conducting enforcement at Washington Blvd/Utah. pic.twitter.com/N7E8VnbefQ
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
Common failure to yield excuse: didn't see the pedestrian. Slow down and be alert for those walking and biking. pic.twitter.com/9SK2hyyKXD
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 14, 2016
The Board is set to consider a request to advertise hearings on the change at a meeting later this month, according to a draft proposal.
The proposal would add “Pedestrian Street” to the MTP’s existing four defined street types. A pedestrian street is described as “a car-free travel corridor that provides public pedestrian access to adjacent buildings and properties fronting the street and serves as a public meeting place and location for commerce, communication and other community activities.”
“A pedestrian street is [predominantly] paved with a hard surface suitable for walking and includes physical measures that prevent regular access by motor vehicles,” the proposal says.
There are currently no pedestrian-only streets in Arlington, but a few are proposed, including a new 18th Street corridor in Rosslyn that would replace the neighborhood’s aging skywalk system with a several blocks of a new pedestrian-only street between N. Oak Street and N. Lynn Street, with the Rosslyn Metro station in between.
In addition to pedestrian-only streets, the proposal updates the definition of an existing street type — a pedestrian and bicycle priority street. The newly-defined “shared streets” are intended to “allow people to comfortably walk within the roadway” thanks to “implicitly slow traffic speeds through the mixing of travel paths, physical measures and visual cues.”
A recently-approved plan for the Courthouse neighborhood calls for portions of 14th and 15th streets to be shared streets, primarily intended for pedestrians but open to slow-speed vehicular traffic.
If the request to advertise the changes is approved in September, the Planning Commission and the County Board are likely to hold hearing on the change in October.
Hat tip to Jim Hurysz
The blaze was reported just after 10:15 a.m. on the B1 level of the Waterview building garage, at 1919 N. Lynn Street. The building is home to companies like CEB and Deloitte.
As of 10:35 a.m., firefighters on the scene reported that they had the fire under control. Sprinklers in the garage helped to keep it contained, according to scanner traffic.
Two people are being evaluated for possible injuries.
Firefighters are currently checking to make sure the fire didn’t spread to other levels. They’re also assessing smoke conditions in the garage.
Between the fire and lane closures due to construction, drivers should expect significant traffic delays on Lynn Street in Rosslyn.
Cemetery to Start Screening Visitors — Arlington National Cemetery will begin security screening of visitors and random inspection of vehicles in November. Visitors, particularly those in large groups, are being advised to allow extra time to go through screening. [Dept. of Defense]
Police: Dog Walker Stole from Residents — A dog walker who served clients in Arlington has been charged with stealing from them. Police say 34-year-old Margarita Denison and an accomplice stole valuables from watches to jewelry to baseball cards from homes in Arlington and Fairfax. Denison worked for the dog walking service Time for a Walk, which said it runs background checks and checks references but will be tightening security. [NBC Washington]
NPS Recommends Trail Projects in Arlington — Among the 18 regional trail-related projects recommended by a new National Park Service study are two in Arlington: connecting the Roosevelt Bridge path to the Mt. Vernon Trail, and improving safety at the so-called Intersection of Doom in Rosslyn. [Greater Greater Washington]
ACPD Lauded for Crisis Intervention — A father whose son spit and cursed at police as he was taken into custody in Arlington has written an op-ed to praise the Arlington County Police Department for its crisis intervention training. The father called police after his neurologically-disabled son got drunk and left the house. Officers could have hurt the son and threw him in jail, but instead used the minimum amount of force necessary and took him to a hospital, the man said. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The Bureau says the man robbed a CVS in Seat Pleasant, Maryland and an Exxon in Northwest D.C. Tuesday morning, before robbing the Sunoco around 11 a.m. The man implied that he had a gun and then fled with cash, the FBI says.
The suspect, who’s considered to be “armed and dangerous,” is described as “a black male, approximately 5’10” tall, between 40 and 50 years of age, with a medium complexion and a black and gray colored beard.”
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the suspect’s identification, arrest and conviction. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FBI Washington Field Office at 202-278-2000.
The road rage incident happened around 9 p.m. on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The man was later located by police and arrested.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
BRANDISHING, 160902041, 1300 block N. Wilson. At approximately 9:07 p.m. on September 2, a male suspect brandished a firearm after the victim attempted to merge his vehicle into the same lane as the suspect. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival but was later located and positively identified by witnesses. Sergio Martinez, 52, of Arlington VA was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm. He was held on a $5,000 secure bond.
A recognizable part of the Rosslyn skyline is set for redevelopment.
The RCA building at 1901 N. Moore Street is in the very early stages of a redevelopment plan.
Though still a few years away, the building is expected to be torn down and replaced with a new residential tower.
Local architecture firm Hickok Cole is working with property owner Weissberg Corp. on an “iconic” initial design that will balance “elegance and cost,” we’re told.
A site plan application is expected to be filed by next spring.
The robbery happened just after 11 a.m. at the Sunoco at 1830 Fort Myer Drive, underneath the Arlington Temple United Methodist Church.
A man armed with a gun robbed the station, making off with hundreds of dollars in cash, according to initial reports. He was last seen fleeing southbound on N. Nash Street, on foot.
The suspect is described as a black male with short black hair, wearing a red shirt and black pants. He is said to be of medium height and medium build.
So far, police have been unable to locate the suspect.
Photo via Google Maps
A Grammy Award-winning Latin jazz ensemble is slated to headline the 26th annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival next week.
The festival will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at Gateway Park. Thousands of people are expected to attend the event, according to the Rosslyn BID, which helps organize the festival.
Grupo Fantasma, a Latin funk ensemble from Austin, Texas, is this year’s headlining act. The band’s 2010 album, “El Existentia,” won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album in 2011.
Other acts scheduled to perform in the festival include vocalist Akua Allrich, guitarist Vieux Farka Touré and the Glen David Andrews Band.
“The Rosslyn Jazz Festival has something for everyone in the community,” said Mary-Claire Burick, president of the Rosslyn BID. “The festival takes a very modern and accessible approach to jazz with musical groups that have a strong millennial following.”
Along with musical performances, this year’s festival will feature a special where kids can create their own musical instruments and an “art jam” session where attendees can draw, paint or write poems inspired by the festival.
The event will also have beer and wine from local bars and a variety of snacks from area food trucks.
The Arlington County Police Department says it will shut down some roads in the area, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., for the jazz festival. Those road closures include:
- Eastbound lanes of Lee Hwy between Fort Myer Drive and Lynn Street
- 19th Street N. between Fort Myer and N. Moore Street
“Heavy pedestrian traffic is anticipated between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.,” the police department said. “Be prepared for delays if you do not detour prior to Fort Myer Drive.”
Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID
New Invasive Species Found in Arlington — A county contractor has found Wavyleaf Basketgrass, a particularly prolific invasive species, in Donaldson Run Park. The plant was removed but the county is now on the lookout for more. [Arlington County]
Murky Coffee Owner Still Owes County — Nicholas Cho, the proprietor of Murky Coffee, which closed six years ago in Clarendon, recently repaid his tax debts to the District of Columbia but still owes Arlington more than $84,000 in unpaid meals taxes and interest. [Washington Post]
Lyft Sees Lift in Arlington Corporate Customers — For some reason ride hailing service Lyft is seeing a relatively large increase in business from corporate customers in Arlington. [Pymnts]
Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi
The attempted sexual assault happened in a grassy area near the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Key Bridge about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, police say.
The woman and the man were walking past each other on the bridge when he grabbed her and forced her into the nearby grass, police said. The man then covered the woman’s mouth and tried to get his hands under her shorts.
But the victim was able to get away, and the man fled. Police described the suspect as:
A white male, in his late 20’s to early 30’s, approximately 5’8″ to 5’10” with a medium build. He is described as having fair skin, dirty blonde hair and was clean shaven at the time of the incident. He was wearing a dark t-shirt with tan shorts or possibly pants. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot along the Key Bridge towards Washington D.C.
“If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident, please contact Detective R. Icolari of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4240 or at [email protected],” police said in a press release. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
APS Testing for Lead in Pipes — Arlington Public Schools has been testing systemwide for lead in pipes. Already, the school system has replaced a water fountain in Jamestown Elementary School found to have lead levels above a level considered safe by the state health department. [InsideNova]
Bayou Bakery Raising Money for Flooding Victims — Bayou Bakery in Courthouse is raising money for Louisiana flooding victims. The restaurant is offering a special Shrimp Creole appetizer for $9 this week; half the proceeds from that dish will benefit flood victims, including chef/owner David Guas’ own aunt, whose home in Abbeville, LA flooded with two feet of water. [Bayou Bakery]
Arlington Names New Communications Director — Dr. Bryna Helfer has been named Arlington County’s new Director of Communications and Public Engagement. She joins county government from the federal government. “Helfer currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Transportation and also serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Accessibility and Workforce,” a press release notes. [Arlington County]
Crystal City Boxing Recap — It was a nine-bout, nine-knockout night at the Crystal City Hilton Friday night. [Fight News]
Transport Nerds ‘Playing With Traffic’ — A big group of “transportation techies” gathered recently at WeWork in Crystal City to discuss creative and tech-based solutions to transportation problems. The group is sponsored by Mobility Lab, the research arm of Arlington County Commuter Services. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Fox 5 personalities Erin Como, Annie Yu and Tucker Barnes will be broadcasting from Rosslyn as part of its “Zip Trip” morning news feature.
The live broadcast will take place in the small park on the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Oak Street. Local notables including Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey and District Taco co-founder Osiris Hoil will be interviewed, and local restaurants like Barley Mac, Pancho Villa, Heavy Seas Alehouse, AllSpice Cafe & Catering and Bistro 360 will be featured.
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District is encouraging Rosslyn residents and workers to stop by the park during their commute to meet the anchors and, perhaps, appear on live TV.
From the Rosslyn BID website.
Rosslyn will be featured on Zip Trip on August 19 when Fox 5 broadcasts live Friday morning from 7 to 11 a.m.
Fox 5 anchors Erin Como, Annie Yu and Tucker Barnes will visit local restaurants and talk about the fun activities going on in the neighborhood.
The Monday Properties’ Park at the corner of Oak Street and Wilson Boulevard (1401 Wilson Boulevard) will be the scene for the live broadcast. Feel free to stop by for a free coffee from Dunkin Donuts and check out the live set! The anchors are excited to meet residents and employees from Rosslyn and may ask you to appear on TV on your way to work.
Special guests during the live broadcast will include Arlington County Board’s Chair Libby Garvey, Co-founder and CEO of District Taco Osiris Hoil, the Happy Whistler and staff from the Art Institute.
Local restaurants including Barley Mac, Pancho Villa, Heavy Seas Alehouse, AllSpice Cafe & Catering and Bistro 360 will also be featured.
So make your morning commute more interesting and stop by Oak and Wilson between 7 and 11 a.m. on Friday the 19th. We can’t wait to see you!