Arlington, VA

Route 1 may have a new name, but users of Apple Maps still need to enter the old name lest they be led astray.

Arlington County placed new “Richmond Highway” signs along Route 1 in Crystal City last week. During a ceremony marking the occasion, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey and Del. Mark Levine stomped on the old signs honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

However, the vestige of the Old South remains alive and well on Apple Maps. Users of Apple’s mapping app need to keep using “Jefferson Davis Highway” for now as it doesn’t yet recognize the new “Richmond Highway” name for the stretch of Route 1 in Arlington.

When entering a Richmond Highway address into the app today, Apple Maps redirected users to either Route 1 in Alexandria or a Richmond Street in Hopewell, Virginia.

The confusion comes 8 months after Google Maps unilaterally re-named Arlington’s Route 1 stretch as “Richmond Highway,” and a year after Alexandria officially renamed its portion of Route 1. Apple Maps does list Richmond Highway addresses along the Alexandria section of the road.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

State and local officials vied for years to strip the Confederate name from Crystal City’s main commuter thoroughfare, renewing efforts last fall in the wake of Amazon’s arrival. This year, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion allowing local leaders to sidestep state legislators and perform the change on their own, with approval from Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Image via Apple Maps and Google Maps

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) County crews replaced the first “Jefferson Davis Highway” sign this morning as officials work to complete Route 1’s renaming to “Richmond Highway” in Arlington.

Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey and Del. Mark Levine stomped on the sign honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis, folding it up as crews placed the first new “Richmond” signs in Crystal City this morning at the 23rd Street S. intersection.

“It felt great,” Dorsey said afterward. “We are at a point now where we don’t have to have these monumental signs hanging over the streets of Arlington.”

Arlington’s lawmakers have pushed for the change for several years, but were stymied by conservative representatives in Richmond. The county renewed its efforts last year in the wake of Amazon’s arrival.

Earlier this year, at the prompting of Del. Mark Levine, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion that local leaders could sidestep Richmond entirely. The opinion clarified that the Arlington County Board had the authority to change the name on its own.

In an statement Wednesday, Levine wrote that today’s event was important because the General Assembly named the highway after Davis long after the Civil War — in 1922 — and Davis himself few connections with Virginia.

“The purpose instead was to terrorize Virginia’s black population into submitting to unconstitutional second-class legal status under Virginia law,” said Levine. “In 1922, Jim Crow laws, lynching, and the KKK were at their peak power, while poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses kept the descendants of the courageous African-Americans who fought Davis and died for the Union from exercising their constitutional right to vote.”

“While it is necessary for us to honestly discuss and interpret Virginia’s history, I feel strongly that commemorating the president of the Confederacy through the name for a major thoroughfare is not appropriate,” Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board Secretary said after approving the name change in May.

The highway was named after Davis at the request of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group which sponsored confederate monuments across the south in the 20th century, including a now-removed plaque in Bluemont Park. In 1946, the group also commissioned a stone marker along the highway bearing Jefferson Davis’ name, which county or state transportation officials are not quite sure what to do about.

“I’m proud of Mark Levine for getting this through,” said Freddie Lutz, owner of longtime Crystal City LGBT bar Freddie’s Beach Bar, who attended this morning’s ceremony. “It’s a great, progressive move. I’m all about celebrating diversity.”

“It’s been a long time coming,” Levine said. “It’s a sign of oppression. It was wrong to put it up [then] and it was wrong today.”

Levine added that having himself and Dorsey personally take the Jefferson Davis sign down “wasn’t planned that way, but it’s wonderful symbolic justice.”

Officials previously estimated that total cost of changing Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway in Arlington would be around $17,000, and that work would continue through October.

Alexandria voted to nix the name last year. Earlier this year Google Maps began display the new name on the Arlington portion of the highway.

“We are thrilled about the overdue name change,” Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, President of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, told ARLnow. “It’s much more consistent with our values — and provides a progressive and inclusive environment to live and work.”

Jay Westcott contributed to this report.

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A crash involving at least two vehicles, including one with heavy front-end damage, is causing significant backups in the Crystal City area.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. at the busy intersection of Richmond Highway (Route 1) and S. Glebe Road. Multiple lanes of southbound Route 1 and eastbound Glebe are blocked and early rush hour traffic on Route 1 is backed up to the airport ramp.

A flatbed tow truck is on scene, working to clear the wreck, while police direct traffic. No word yet on injuries.

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Morning Notes

SB Route 1 Blocked by CrashUpdated at 8:35 a.m. — Southbound Route 1 was blocked by a crash involving an overturned vehicle at 23rd Street in the Crystal City area. All lanes reopened shortly after 8 a.m. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington Real Estate Still Hot — “In July, Arlington had the most brisk trip between listing and contract – just nine days – followed in the local region by Alexandria (10), Fairfax County (17), Falls Church (20), Loudoun County (23) and Prince William County (24).” [InsideNova]

AWLA Seeking Adoptions, Cheese — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is holding its annual “Clear the Shelters Day” event this Saturday, with adoption fees waived for all animals. Also, the league is seeking donations of Easy Cheese spray, which is used as a treat for dogs. [Facebook, Facebook]

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A pedestrian tunnel under Route 1 in Crystal City is too difficult to maintain, county officials say, so the Arlington County Board is considering a plan to close it.

The closure has been in the works for several years. County staff, VDOT, Arlington police and local business owners are all in support of closing the tunnel, citing “maintenance costs, underutilization, loitering, perceived safety concerns, and the realignment of 23rd Street per the Crystal City Sector Plan.”

That’s in addition to complaints that the tunnel is “aesthetically displeasing,” infrequently used for its intended purpose, and often confused for a Metro station entrance.

At its Saturday meeting, the County Board will consider approving resolutions and agreements with VDOT that would lead to the tunnel being permanently closed and dismantled, at a cost of about $300,000 to the county and $87,500 to VDOT.

County staffers say the tunnel, which links either side of busy Route 1 at the 23rd Street S. intersection, costs Arlington about $20,000-25,000 to maintain annually. The maintenance costs include pressure washing areas where people have urinated and repairing “occasional vandalism.”

“The 23rd Street Merchants and the Crystal City BID have routinely complained to County staff and the County Board concerning loitering, public urination, and the unattractive nature of the 23rd Street Tunnel and canopy,” the staff report says. “Observations by County staff showed over 95 percent of users cross at grade as opposed to using the tunnel.”

“The tunnel is generally avoided by pedestrians due to the perception of it being a public safety risk,” the report goes on to note. “Merchants believe that this is having a negative impact on their business district.”

Not everyone is in favor of closing the tunnel, however. From the staff report:

The Aurora Highlands Civic Association submitted written comments requesting that the tunnel remain open with increased cleaning, improved lighting and signage, and added security. The Chair of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee also expressed reservations about closing the tunnel unless improvements to the at-grade crossings were made at the same time. As an additional note, there have been two reported pedestrian/vehicle crashes in the past five years at the intersection. Both were classified as “non-incapacitating injury” crashes.

Despite pushback from the nearby neighborhood association, officials say planned improvements to the intersection over the next few years, detailed below, will further negate the need for the tunnel.

DES has identified some minor improvements to the at-grade crossings that will be implemented during the construction of the 23rd Street capital improvement project between Richmond Highway and South Eads Street, scheduled for late 2019.

  • 23rd Street will be narrowed between South Eads Street and Richmond Highway to decrease crossing distance at the intersection with Richmond Highway;
  • The crosswalk on the west side of Richmond Highway at 23rd Street will be upgraded to current standards: asphalt and high-visibility thermoplastic markings; and
  • Curb ramps will be upgraded on the west side of Richmond Highway at 23rd Street to be accessible per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Additional improvements will be made when 23rd Street between Richmond Highway and Crystal Drive is reconstructed, scheduled for 2022.

  • The Crystal City Sector Plan anticipates the realignment of 23rd Street to the south, creating a shorter crossing distance at the intersection of Clark Street and Richmond Highway;
  • New pedestrian respite areas will be installed in the median of Richmond Highway;
  • Curb ramps will be upgraded to be accessible per ADA standards at all crossings (not previously improved by phase 1 above); and
  • New traffic signals will be installed per the new roadway geometry and include pedestrian push-buttons at each ADA ramp location
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The future of a highway marker on Jefferson Davis Highway is uncertain after state and local officials voted to rename the roadway.

The monument was erected in 1946 on the shoulder of the highway, which soon will be named Richmond Highway in place of the name of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The stone marker is located along Route 1 near the Pentagon. An Arlington County spokeswoman told ARLnow that it is on VDOT land and that “unless VDOT has information otherwise, the County Manager’s Office has no information at this time on how the marker will be handled.”

When reached for comment, a spokeswoman for VDOT said the department didn’t have specific details about the marker’s future, “but we are working with the County to determine the next steps for this particular piece.”

The renaming is part of a broader movement to strip Confederate references from neighborhoods, public schools, and a special education program in Arlington.

The county agreed to pay $17,000 to cover the cost of new street signs for Route 1 — the updated signs are expected to be placed in October — after the Arlington County Board approved the renaming in April. It’s unclear if any of those funds will be used for the marker.

An inscription on the Route 1 marker indicates the United Daughters of the Confederacy was the organization that placed it along the highway.

Arlington County also removed a Confederate memorial after requests from residents in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville white nationalist rally. The plaque commemorated a Civil War lookout post and was also placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Photos courtesy of Twitter user 202FSUNole

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(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Police and firefighters are on scene of a potentially serious motorcycle crash at the busy intersection of Route 1 and S. Glebe Road, near Crystal City.

The driver of a car struck a motorcycle shortly before 11 a.m. Images from the scene show medics treating the injured motorcycle rider and preparing to place him or her on a stretcher, while a car with a shattered windshield and significant front-end damage sits nearby.

Drivers should expect delays near the intersection due to blocked lanes. As of around 11:30 a.m., southbound Route 1 is currently blocked and eastbound S. Glebe Road is being diverted onto S. Eads Street, according to scanner traffic. A traffic camera at the intersection that initially showed the crash scene appears to have been turned off.

The rider’s injuries “are considered critical but non-life threatening,” according to Arlington County Police. Detectives are in the process of documenting the scene and investigating the cause of the crash.

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) Arlington will now join Alexandria and Fairfax in renaming Jefferson Davis Highway as “Richmond Highway.”

Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board unanimously approved changing the name for the highway, which is also known as U.S. Route 1, earlier this morning.

The state Board’s approval was the last step in the months-long process to strip the Confederate president’s name from the roadway. The Arlington County Board unanimously approved a renaming resolution last month.

One of the attendees at this morning’s meeting asked the CTB “what the direction was for the future” considering that renaming one highway may lead the Board to “be overrun with requests for the future.”

CTB Secretary Shannon Valentine responded by sharing a passage from a letter Gov. Ralph Northam sent the group urging them to approve the name change.

“While it is necessary for us to honestly discuss and interpret Virginia’s history, I feel strongly that commemorating the president of the Confederacy through the name for a major thoroughfare is not appropriate,” Valentine read.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce shared the news on social media, calling it an “action to support businesses.” The Chamber said hotels along Route 1 have lost business due to the Jefferson Davis Highway name, according to WTOP.

In their request to the state Board, Arlington County requested the CTB change the name to either Richmond Highway or Richmond Blvd.

The county argued to CTB that renaming would help “to avoid confusion and promote consistency” for motorists and businesses.

It’s the same argument local officials used before their own vote last month and one that potentially counters the historical preservation arguments that opposed other local Confederate renaming resolutions like changing Washington-Lee High School to Washington-Liberty.

The county estimated last month that the costs involved in rolling out the new name would be around $17,000.

“No street numbers will be changed, and the United States Postal Service will, in perpetuity, continue to deliver mail to the businesses and residences along the highway addressed to Jefferson Davis Highway,” an April county press release on the name change read.

The General Assembly renamed the highway to honor Davis in 1922. Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey spoke at the CTB meeting, which was held at a Crystal City hotel, and told the Board that the Jefferson Davis’ name “symbolized white supremacy in a Jim Crow south,” reported WTOP.

The Crystal City BID thanked the Board for its Wednesday vote in a tweet, sharing applause symbols with the message.

Google Maps already renamed the highway on its maps several months ago.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, whose legal opinion in response to an inquiry from Del. Mark Levine allowed Arlington County to seek the renaming, called the CTB’s vote “a step in the right decision.”

Near the end of the meeting, Valentine said the CTB is considering forming a “task force” to handle future Confederate re-naming requests and create guidelines.

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Morning Notes

Police Memorial Service in Courthouse — “N. Courthouse Road will be closed between 14th Street N. and 15th Street N. from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on May 10 to accommodate the Observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day.” [Twitter]

New CPRO Director Sets Vision for Pike — “‘My greatest fear is we are going to be completely gentrified,’ [new Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization director Kim Klingler] said. ‘The market will drive [redevelopment], but at the same time, we want to be able to control what we’re able to control.'” [InsideNova]

Another N. Arlington Power Outage — “More than 1,000 Dominion customers without power in parts of North Arlington [Wednesday] morning, per outage map. Marymount U. Is within the outage area. Power restoration expected this afternoon.” [Twitter]

Arlington Offers Larger Apartments — The median income for renters in Arlington affords an apartment nearly twice the size as the equivalent in D.C. [CNBC]

Column in Va. Paper Bashes J-D Highway Renaming — “In response to Arlington County, Virginia’s proposal to rename its Jefferson Davis Highway, local man Max Perrine has written a very questionable column for Virginia newspaper The Roanoke Times.” [The Week]

Mr. Knick Knack Facing Child Porn Charges — Children’s performer “Mr. Knick Knack,” a 58-year-old Reston resident named Steven Rossi, is facing 10 felony counts of possession of child pornography. Rossi performed a number of shows in Arlington over the past few years. [Reston Now]

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Arlington County is asking a state transportation board to rename Jefferson Davis Highway.

As expected, the Arlington County Board voted last night to approve a resolution asking that Jefferson Davis Highway, also known as Route 1, be renamed Richmond Highway within Arlington’s borders.

In doing so the Board is following the lead of Alexandria, which last year also voted to change the name.

The unanimous vote was framed in a county press release as a move that will make driving on Route 1 through Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County — which also uses the Richmond Highway name — less confusing for motorists.

The costs and disruption, according to the county, would be minimal.

“Arlington would pay for the new street signs (estimated to cost about $17,000),” says the press release. “No street numbers will be changed, and the United States Postal Service will, in perpetuity, continue to deliver mail to the businesses and residences along the highway addressed to Jefferson Davis Highway.”

Google Maps, meanwhile, already renamed Route 1 “Richmond Highway” in Arlington a few months ago.

More from the press release, after the jump.

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The Arlington County Board is wasting no time in exercising its newfound ability to push for a new name for the portion of Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) within county limits.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion last month that gives Arlington the ability to request the change from the Commonwealth Transportation Board, rather than relying on the state legislature to make the change — something that was unlikely to happen with Republicans in power.

The County Board is scheduled to vote next week — at its Thursday, April 25 meeting — on whether to adopt a resolution requesting Jefferson Davis Highway be renamed “Richmond Highway” in Arlington, following the lead of Alexandria which last year also voted for the Richmond Highway name.

According to a county preview of the upcoming Board meeting, below, Arlington is requesting that the name change take effect on October 1 of this year.

The Board will hold a public hearing and consider adopting a resolution asking that the Commonwealth Transportation Board change the name of the portion of Jefferson Davis Highway that lies within the boundaries of Arlington to “Richmond Highway.” The Board’s consideration of a proposed resolution follows neighboring Alexandria voting in 2018 to rename its portion of the state-owned Jefferson Davis Highway “Richmond Highway,” and the Attorney General’s March 22, 2019 advisory opinion that the Commonwealth Transportation Board has the legal authority to change the name of the portion of the highway that runs through Arlington, provided the Board passes a resolution requesting the change. The resolution, if adopted, would ask that the name change, if approved, would take effect Oct. 1, 2019.

Google Maps has already unilaterally renamed the main thoroughfare “Richmond Highway” in Arlington, though it’s unclear if that was a mapping error or a deliberate decision on Google’s part.

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