County Backtracks on Uber Story — Arlington County is in the early stages of considering a plan to replace low-ridership ART service with some sort of partnership with ridesharing services, like Uber. However, the county is backtracking on an official’s statement that the service would be subsidized. “A recent press account quoted a County staff person as saying, incorrectly, that we will be subsidizing this service,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “No such decision has been made at this preliminary stage of analysis.” [Arlington County]
Advisory Group: Change Name of Jeff Davis Highway — An advisory group appointed by the City of Alexandria has recommended changing the name of Jefferson Davis Highway. Alexandria’s “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Confederate Memorials and Street Names” says the Confederate president’s name should be removed from Route 1 in the city. [Patch]
Ultimate Frisbee Vote — Arlington Public Schools is now the first school system in Virginia to make ultimate frisbee an official school sport. The Arlington School Board voted Thursday night to implement ultimate as a sport in middle and high schools, on an initial countywide budget of $90,000. [WTOP]
New ART Bus Route Launching Monday — The new ART 54 bus route will begin serving Dominion Hills, Madison Manor and East Falls Church on Monday. The new bus will run every 24 minutes on weekdays, during the morning and evening rush hours. [Arlington Transit]
Medicine Dispensing Exercise — Arlington residents are being encouraged to participate in the county health department’s mass medication dispensing exercise on Saturday. Volunteers are needed to form a crowd seeking medication (the county will be dispensing two types of candy during the exercise.) [ARLnow]
United Bank Purchasing Cardinal Bank — Two regional banks are coming together to form what may be the “most dominant community bank” in the D.C. area. United Bank, which has four Arlington branches, is purchasing Cardinal Bank, which has five Arlington branches. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
A two-vehicle collision resulted in an SUV overturning on Route 1 (Jefferson Davis) this morning.
The crash happened in rainy weather around 10:15 a.m., at the 27th Street S. intersection in Crystal City. An SUV flipped on its roof and a car suffered heavy front-end damage in the wreck.
Two ambulances have been called to the scene, but none of the injuries are reported to be life-threatening.
Northbound Route 1 is down to one lane as crews continue to clean up the wreckage and spilled fluids.
Hat tip to @SRod17
Arlington County firefighters are responding to a brush fire in Crystal City.
The smoky fire broke out in the median along Route 1, near the 23rd Street intersection.
Police and an Alexandria medic unit are on scene, attempting to use a fire extinguisher to control the blaze.
Update at 3:05 p.m. — The fire is reported to be out.
New Traffic Pattern on Route 1 — There’s a new traffic pattern for the lefthand turn from southbound Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway) to 23rd Street S. in Crystal City. The change was necessitated by operations of the new Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway. [Facebook]
Aurora Hills Library Eyed As School Site — The current Aurora Hills library and senior center is being looked at by Arlington Public Schools as a possible site for a new elementary school. Meanwhile, even though nearby Oakridge Elementary is over capacity, Superintendent Patrick Murphy says there’s actually a more pressing need for additional elementary capacity in north Arlington due to population growth around the Rosslyn-Ballston and Lee Highway corridors. [InsideNova]
Australian Company Says G’Day to Ballston — The Australian investment firm QIC has taken a 49 percent stake in Ballston Quarter, the soon-to-be-renovated shopping center currently known as Ballston Common Mall. The majority of the mall is still owned by Cleveland-based Forest City. [Washington Business Journal, Crain’s Cleveland Business]
Local Named New Jersey Cherry Blossom Princess — The 2016 New Jersey Cherry Blossom Princess is a 24-year-old Hoboken native who now lives in the D.C. area and works at Rosslyn-based CEB. [Hudson Reporter]
CEB Acquires Portland Firm — Rosslyn-based CEB is getting bigger. The company is acquiring Portland, Oregon-based Evanta Ventures for $275 million. CEB will be moving into a new namesake CEB Tower in Rosslyn after construction wraps up in 2018. [StreetInsider]
Arlington’s Top Bond Rating Affirmed — Arlington County has once again earned the highest bond rating from the three major rating agencies. “The County works hard to maintain these AAA ratings to finance critical County infrastructure projects with bonds that carry the lowest interest rates available,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. [Arlington County]
Photo via @WLHSIBProgram
The small street connecting S. Eads Street and Route 1 in Crystal City will permanently close at the end of next week to make way for an upgraded Arlington Rapid Transit (ART) bus facility.
On Friday, Jan. 29, 32nd Street will close. The tiny road is between two existing ART bus parking lots at 3201 and 3175 S. Eads Street. The combined pieces of land will create the new site for the bus facility.
The County Board approved the $14.2 million project in May, and construction began in September. When complete, the new facility will include a two-story building, a bus wash bay, a light maintenance bay, storage, parking and four compressed natural gas fueling stations.
The decision to close 32nd Street was approved at the same meeting as the new ART facility approval. In a report for that item, county staff determined “the Abandoned Street is no longer needed to provide public access from Jefferson Davis Highway to South Eads Street.”
The next closest street connecting S. Eads Street to Route 1 is via S. Glebe Road, which is approximately 0.2 miles south of the construction site.
Construction on the new ART facility is scheduled to take about 18 months and is expected to be completed in 2017.
Photo via Google Maps
County to Invest $55 Million in Ballston Mall — Arlington County is planning its first-ever Tax Increment Financing district to help fund the renovations to Ballston Common Mall. Arlington plans to invest $45 million in the mall with its TIF, which will be repaid over time via increased tax revenue from the property. It also plans to make $10 million in transportation improvements, including improvements to the attached county parking garage and the narrowing of Willson Blvd in front of the mall. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington May Ask for Jefferson Davis Hwy Renaming — Arlington County is considering asking local state legislators to seek a name change for Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington. Also known as Route 1, the highway is named after the Confederate president thanks to state legislative decree in 1922. A draft of the 2016 Arlington legislative priorities list includes a proposal to rename “the Arlington portion of Jefferson Davis Highway in a way that is respectful to all who live and work along it.” [InsideNova]
Room For Economic Improvement — Arlington County’s building approval process remains cumbersome and overly time consuming, and the county lacks the kind of incentive resources — “weapons” — that other jurisdictions have for economic development. That’s according to Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins, at a recent panel discussion. [Washington Business Journal]
Per-Student Spending Down — Arlington County’s per-student spending is down to $18,616, from $19,040 last year, according to the Washington Area Board of Education. Arlington still has the highest per-student spending of any suburban Washington school system. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Southbound Route 1 was closed between 20th and 23rd streets, near Crystal City, due to a multi-vehicle crash this afternoon.
At least 9 vehicles were involved and medics responded for at least two injuries. One of the injured parties, a young mother, was transported to a local hospital after being trapped in her severely damaged Prius. Rescuers cut off the roof of the car to free her.
The crash was caused by a driver in a pickup truck who suffered a medical emergency while driving, according to initial reports.
The truck ran right through a line of southbound traffic approaching the intersection with 23rd Street, slamming into vehicles, losing a wheel and careening across the intersection before striking a pole and coming to a stop across the street from Legal Sea Foods, witnesses said.
“It was like a pinball machine,” a witness told ARLnow.com. The pickup truck driver was evaluated by medics on the scene but declined transport to the hospital, according to scanner traffic.
Southbound traffic was diverted onto 20th Street for about an hour. As of 3:10 p.m. two lanes of traffic were squeezing by, though there was still debris in the roadway and crews were still working to clear wrecked cars from the roadway.
The Prius driver is expected to be okay. She was returning home from work when the crash happened, said the woman’s father, who arrived on scene to pick up a child seat and stroller that had been in the car. Her two-month-old child was not in the car at the time, he said.
Suspicious Vehicle Investigation at Pentagon — An SUV hopped a curb and ran into a pole at the Pentagon’s south parking lot Sunday morning. All three occupants of the vehicle were reportedly sleeping when police arrived, but then tried to drive away. Arlington’s bomb squad helped to check out the vehicle, which was deemed suspicious due to loose wires seen hanging out of it. [MyFoxDC, ABC News]
Va. Advances Potential I-395 Express Lane Plan — Virginia transportation officials are getting closer to announcing a plan to extend the I-95 Express Lanes up through I-395. Arlington officials previously filed suit to block a similar state plan to convert the I-395 HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll lanes. [WTOP]
APS Students Named National Merit Semifinalists — Ten Arlington Public Schools students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington to Seek Route 1 Name Change — Arlington County plans to seek permission from the state to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, according to County Board Chair Mary Hynes. However, one local state lawmaker says it’s highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled state legislature would okay the removal of Confederate leaders from local road names. [Washington Post]
Woman Dies in GW Parkway Wreck — A woman died early Sunday morning in a single-vehicle crash on the GW Parkway. The crash happened after the woman drove off the southbound side of the parkway, between Route 123 and Spout Run, and struck a tree. [WJLA]
Candlelight Vigil for Wakefield Student — A candlelight vigil is planned tonight for Lucas Guajardo, the Wakefield High School student who died Friday. The vigil is being organized by students and is planned to take place at 7:30 p.m. on the George Mason Drive side of the school. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Guajardo’s family with funeral expenses. The junior, who was a running back on the Warriors’ football team, was found dead by his older brother Friday afternoon after an apparent suicide. [Twitter, GoFundMe]
Suicide’s Lasting Impact on Survivors — Bryan Price, a former Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy, shot and killed himself on May 17. His wife found Bryan’s body and says his decision to end his own life has torn her family apart. “If he had any clue what this would put us through… I honestly don’t think he could have done it,” Tara Price told a local TV station. [WHSV]
Grant for New Bikeshare Stations OKed — Arlington County will receive nearly $300,000 from the federal government to install eight new Capital Bikeshare stations along the GW Parkway. Among the locations set for a new Bikeshare station are Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, Gravelly Point Park and Reagan National Airport. [Arlington County]
Jefferson Davis Name Change Unlikely — The Virginia General Assembly is not likely to approve changing the name of Jefferson Davis Highway any time soon. “Jefferson Davis was an avid racist and segregationist… But there’s not a whole lot of people clamoring about it except coffee-shop liberals in Arlington,” Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) told the Sun Gazette. Plus, Arlington County already has numerous streets and schools named after slaveholders. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
APS Honored for Healthy Food Options — Arlington Public Schools has received the top award in the “Healthy School Meals” category of the 2015 Virginia School Boards Association Food for Thought Competition. [Arlington Public Schools]
Lighting Task Force Approved — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved the appointment of a citizen working group that will study the issue of athletic lighting in Arlington. After a public process, the group is expected to come back to the Board in 11 months with a recommendation as to whether all artificial turf fields in the county should have lighting, a controversial issue for many who live near such fields. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington County plans to ask its state legislative delegation to sponsor a bill that would rename Jefferson Davis Highway, the Washington Post reports.
While the likelihood of such a bill passing is slim, County Board Chair Mary Hynes said the county has received “a flurry of letters from residents” asking that the Confederate leader’s name be removed from the highway, also known as Route 1.
(County Board Vice Chair Walter Tejada did not respond to an inquiry from ARLnow.com last month, asking whether a name change resolution for Jefferson Davis Highway was a possibility.)
In 2012, the county renamed the stretch of road formerly known as Old Jefferson Davis Highway “Long Bridge Drive.” This time around, talk of renaming the highway comes amid a national conversation about the Confederate flag and whether it’s more a symbol of southern heritage — or slavery and racism. Last week, South Carolina’s legislature voted to remove the flag from the grounds of the state capitol.
Do you think Jefferson Davis Highway should be renamed?
Photo via Google Maps
Update at 10:25 a.m. — One southbound lane of Route 1 has reopened, according to Arlington County. A tow truck is on scene and all lanes are expected to reopen shortly.
An RV has caught fire on southbound Route 1 in Crystal City, causing police to shut down the southbound lanes to traffic at the tail end of this morning’s rush hour.
The fire started just before 9:00 a.m., according to scanner traffic, on the highway near the intersection with 15th Street S. The Arlington County Fire Department and Virginia State Police were the first responders to the scene.
According to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, three people were inside the RV when the fire started, but they all escaped the vehicle safely and no injuries were reported. The fire is believed to have been caused by a mechanical failure in the engine block, Marchegiani said.
“The driver didn’t notice the fire at first, just that the car was acting funny and he smelled smoke,” Marchegiani told ARLnow.com. “They happened to pass by a Virginia State Police officer who saw that the car was on fire and flagged them down.”
The roadway will remain closed temporarily. Drivers should avoid the area if possible.
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) An accident involving a Metrobus and an overturned vehicle has shut down two lanes of northbound traffic on Route 1 in Crystal City.
Police and medics are on the scene at Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) near 23rd Street S. One person suffered an arm injury in the accident, according to police radio traffic, and was transported from the scene in an ambulance.
Drivers should expect some traffic impacts in the area.
Arlington police have released details of this morning’s pedestrian accident on Route 1 near Crystal City.
In a press release, police say a 38-year-old Arlington resident is fighting for his life after being struck by a taxi in the southbound lanes between 20th and 23rd Streets.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team responded to a pedestrian struck incident at 2:39 a.m. on December 6, 2013 in the 2200 block of Jefferson Davis Highway. The victim, a 38 year-old Arlington man, was transported by emergency personnel to GW Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Police preliminary investigation reveals that the victim was attempting to cross a five lane portion of Jefferson Davis Highway when he was struck by a taxicab driving southbound. A passerby reported the incident and the driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. As a result of the investigation, the driver of the striking vehicle was not charged.
The southbound lanes of Jefferson Davis Highway were closed for several hours during the investigation and were re-opened by 6:00 a.m.
Update at 3:15 p.m.: All lanes are now reported to be back open.
Arlington police are preparing to close Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) at the Reagan National Airport overpass, near Crystal City, due to a report of a downed power line.
Firefighters are on the scene and requested the busy artery be closed in both directions, according to scanner traffic.
No word yet on how long the road will be closed.
A report that Arlington backed out of an agreement with Alexandria to conduct an environmental assessment for the Route 1 transit corridor project is incorrect, according to a county government spokeswoman.
The two jurisdictions have been cooperating on a transit project that will bring bus rapid transit and, ultimately, a streetcar to the Route 1 corridor of Crystal City and Potomac Yard. But today Connection Newspapers reported that Alexandria officials were upset because Arlington supposedly withdrew from an agreement to pay $2.4 million of the $3.4 million cost of an environmental analysis.
In reality, says Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius, the environmental analysis is currently underway and Arlington County is paying its $1.78 million share of the $3.56 million cost. The Arlington county manager and the Alexandria city manager signed an agreement to split the cost of the analysis in 2010, she said.
At issue, according to Curtius, is an “Alternatives Analysis” that was optional under the agreement.
“Arlington recently informed Alexandria that we do not intend to do an Alternatives Analysis,” Curtius told ARLnow.com. “Such an analysis is required in order to apply for federal small/new starts funding. Arlington does not intend to apply for such funding for Route 1. We are continuing to work with Alexandria on how to proceed in a way that enables Alexandria to apply for federal funding for its part of the transit project, should it choose to do so.”
In an apparent effort to dispute the report about rising tensions between the two jurisdictions, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes and Alexandria Mayor William Euille have issued a joint statement regarding their transit partnership.
Arlington County and the City of Alexandria have been transit partners for more than 35 years. Together, we’ve ensured safe, efficient transit options for hundreds of thousands of people … every day.
Throughout our region’s history, federal and state transportation funding has been the backbone of supporting transit projects. Unfortunately, that landscape has changed dramatically in just the last few years, greatly impacting local transit planning across the country. All of us have to reassess transportation projects, determine how we can fund them, and make some tough strategic decisions.
The City of Alexandria has decided to focus its attention and its funding on the planned infill Metrorail station; this investment will benefit not only the City, but the entire region.
Arlington needs a streetcar system in Crystal City to support development there — and has funding available through a special tax district.
We are both committed to providing more transit options for people who live and work in the Route 1 corridor. Our strategies are not exactly the same at this point in time. We look forward to working together collaboratively as we continue to move people efficiently through our communities and the region.