This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
By Tara Palacios
Recently, Arlington has been featured in the news for its collaborative approach to innovative alcohol safety measures.
The Arlington Restaurant Initiative (ARI) was developed as a voluntary accreditation program to increase the overall safety of customers, businesses and neighborhood residents in areas with nightlife and entertainment.
Through a collaborative approach between government agencies and businesses that serve alcohol, Arlington County has improved the strategies and standards of establishments serving alcohol while building positive community relations, reducing crime and recognizing responsible businesses.
Restaurants, many of those that are small local businesses earn accreditation in ARI by writing and adopting employee policies that meet the ARI standards to reduce alcohol-related harm and increase safety. Restaurants that display the ARI Accredited Restaurant decal on their door demonstrate their commitment to the safety of their patrons and the community.
Patrons, restaurant staff, and those interested in maintaining Arlington as a safe destination for entertainment are encouraged to attend a community conversation on nightlife safety. The event will feature panelists from various Arlington County departments speaking about how they collaborated to build trusting relationships with restaurant staff and improve safety.
‘A Conversation about Nightlife Safety’ will take place on Wednesday, May 1 from 7-9 p.m. at the John T. Hazel, MD Conference Center, 1701 N. George Mason Drive Arlington, Virginia 22205.
To learn more about ARI or to register for our conversation about Nightlife Safety visit here. We hope you can join us to learn more about Nightlife Safety.
Arlington County Police this week launched the 2019 version of the regional spring “Street Smart” safety campaign.
The campaign “aims to reduce the number of traffic related crashes and injuries on our roadways by identifying and changing unsafe behavior patterns among travelers.”
Two “high-visibility traffic enforcement” events are planned — one from 4-6 p.m. next Friday (April 26) along the 3200 block of Washington Blvd, near Clarendon, and another from 7-9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7 on the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd, next to the Clarendon Metro station.
More from an ACPD press release:
Spring is here, and more people are taking advantage of the warmer weather by walking, biking and operating shared mobility devices. To ensure all travelers safely share our roadways, law enforcement throughout the region will participate in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Spring Street Smart campaign from April 15 – May 10. The campaign aims to reduce the number of traffic related crashes and injuries on our roadways by identifying and changing unsafe behavior patterns among travelers.
Street Smart Activation
As part of the Street Smart campaign, officers will conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement at the following locations:
- May 7th from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard
- April 26th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – 3200 block of Washington Boulevard
Members of the media are invited to attend the activation events.
Traffic Safety Tips
Whether you’re on two feet, two wheels or four wheels, make our roadways safer by being a PAL – predicable, alert and lawful.Drivers are reminded to:
- Obey posted speed limits, traffic signs and signals
- Have all vehicle occupants wear their seat belts
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and use caution when passing stopped vehicles
- Look before opening your door
- Allow 3 feet when passing bicyclists
Pedestrians are reminded to:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light
- Look both ways before crossing the street
- Walk on designated sidewalks or paths, never along the side of the road
- Stay visible after dark and in bad weather with light-colored clothing, reflective gear and lights
Shared Mobility Device operators are reminded to:
- Obey posted traffic signs and signals
- Ride in the same direction as traffic
- Communicate your intentions by using hand signals
- Keep your eyes on the road and avoid the use of devices that may distract you
- Stay visible after dark and in bad weather with light-colored clothing, reflective gear and lights
For additional safety tips, visit the Street Smart website.
Capital Bikeshare is currently removing electric bikes after concerns about the brakes.
The bikeshare provider announced on Sunday it had “received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel” and decided to remove the black bikes from its fleets “out of an abundance of caution.”
Several D.C. riders shared experiences on social media of CaBi’s strong brakes causing their e-bikes to flip, or come close to doing so.
Also happened to me. Flipped over the bars while going 6 mph.
— Judd Lumberjack Isbell (@JuddLumberjack) April 14, 2019
New York City’s bikeshare program “Citibike” also pulled its e-bikes from the streets on Sunday, citing the same braking problem.
The Arlington Department of Environment Services (DES) shared the news by continuing its repartee on social media with actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame.
DES retweeted CaBi’s weekend announcement, writing, “We’re bummed too, @WilliamShatner.”
Shatner, who is a brand rep for e-bike Pedego, responded by saying, “They should get Pedego bikes!”
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) April 14, 2019
Previously, the actor sparred with DES over the county banning e-bikes on trails — a policy he called “barbaric.” The e-bike ban was lifted on NOVA park trails last month. A DES spokesman told ARLnow at the time that officials were also considering lifting it on county trails.
CaBi first debuted 80 of the bikes in September as part of a pilot program with the District Department of Transportation.
Within two months, data showed that the electric-pedal assist bikes were twice as popular as the normal CaBi bikes, with the e-bikes making up only 2 percent of the total CaBi fleet, but generating 4 percent of total trips, according to data analysis by Greater Greater Washington.
The new recall is not affecting dockless bike providers, such as Lime which added 150 e-bikes to Arlington in December.
Read below for the full statement from CaBi:
Since Capital Bikeshare first deployed electric bikes last year, riders have taken thousands of rides and shared with us incredibly helpful and overwhelmingly positive feedback.
However, we recently received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively removing the electric bikes from service for the time being. We know this is disappointing to the many people who love the current experience — but reliability and safety come first.
In the meantime, we will temporarily replace the electric bikes with pedal bikes.
Thank you for being a member of our community.
Image via CaBi website
Rosslyn is set to see a few more pedestrian safety improvement over the course of the next year or so.
The neighborhood’s Business Improvement District, which advocates for Rosslyn businesses by collecting a small property tax, is planning a variety of short-term fixes to make the bustling streets a bit safer for walkers.
In plans delivered to the County Board Saturday (Feb. 23), the BID says it hopes to use some of its tax revenue to work with county police on the fixes, as part of a broader initiative to make the area more walkable. County officials have even contemplated the more drastic step of make certain roads in Rosslyn “car-free,” though they have yet to settle on a precise strategy for the neighborhood beyond some guiding principles.
In the short term, the BID plans to build new “crash-grade planters to help delineate safer pedestrian crossings” at several intersections. Many of the roads crossing Wilson Blvd are often the site of robust crowds in the morning and evening rush hours.
The BID also hopes to expand some of its “wayfinding” efforts “that will eventually encompass not only pedestrian signs, but also traffic signage” to better brand each section of Rosslyn. The BID has already done some work in that department, setting up area maps, and even rolling out efforts to improve green space in the area, including the county’s first “parklet.”
In the long term, the BID plans to continue to work on efforts to someday convert streets like N. Fort Myer Drive, N. Lynn Street and N. Kent Street into two-way roads, though those changes are still a ways off.
Other, more ambitious efforts could someday remove the Fort Myer Drive tunnel under Wilson Blvd, or replace the existing Rosslyn skywalk system in favor of an all-pedestrian and cycling corridor leading up to the area’s Metro station. Some new developments in the area could help spur progress on the latter effort.
But all of these changes won’t be on the way until the new fiscal year, according to the BID’s proposal. The group is also asking the Board to hold its tax rate on local businesses level at $.078, though ever-rising real estate values will send the BID an extra $166,000 in revenue from a year ago.
Photo via Rosslyn BID
E-scooters have been proliferating around Arlington over the past few months, but their growing ubiquity has brought with it some challenges.
A new public service announcement from Arlington County seeks to answer some key questions that can improve safety for scooter riders and those around them: Who can ride e-scooters? How can you ride safely? Where do you park after riding?
Murder Case Advances After Court Ruling — “The Maryland man charged with brutally killing his lover’s ex-boyfriend laid in wait at his Arlington town house before strangling, shooting and stabbing the man to death, prosecutors said.” On Monday, an Arlington judge “ruled there is probable cause [Jitesh] Patel killed 40-year-old John Giandoni in March 2018.” [WTOP]
Food Safety Tips for the Holidays — Arlington’s health department has compiled a list of safety tips for those cooking holiday meals at home. Regarding turkey, which has been blamed for a recent salmonella outbreak, the department notes that “food handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated food-borne disease outbreaks in the United States.” [Arlington County]
Car Safety Tips for the Holidays — “This Thanksgiving season, the Arlington County Police Department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to share an important lifesaving reminder: whether you’re traveling across the country, or across the County, Buckle Up–Every Trip. Every Time.” [Arlington County]
Airport Tips for the Holidays — Per Reagan National Airport on Twitter: “Peak holiday travel continues today. Roadway delays are likely. To avoid congested roadways, use Metrorail. Or use Terminal Garages A, B or C for pick-up/drop-off and park for up to 60 minutes.” [Twitter]
Commuters Still Angry About Veterans Day Mess — Many who were stuck in traffic or waiting in long shuttle lines on Veterans Day are still not buying “Metro’s explanation that the day’s rain, and not Metro’s own planning, was the main culprit for what the agency acknowledged on Twitter was ‘a disastrous commute.'” [Washington Post]
Amazon News Roundup — A local think tank argues that “when put in the context of the Metro region’s history, the ‘Amazon effect’ is an unimpressive flare in the region’s chronic housing crisis.” One local urban planner thinks “Amazon choosing a second-tier city could have been more destructive.” Alexandria leaders say Amazon will be an “economic boom, not traffic nightmare.” Finally, there’s more information on the Amazon-fueled deals to build a second entrance to the new Potomac Yard Metro station and open a new Virginia Tech campus in Alexandria.
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
Street Smart Campaign to Start Up Next Week — “As part of the Arlington County Police Department’s overall traffic safety program, the Special Operations Section is again participating in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Fall Street Smart campaign. This region-wide public safety campaign, which runs from November 5 – December 2, 2018, aims to educate drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and scooter operators about existing traffic laws and how to safely share our roadways.” [Arlington County]
County Board Lauds County Staff — In a video posted on YouTube, County Board Chair Katie Cristol and Vice Chair Christian Dorsey said “thank you” to Arlington County staff for the hard work that helped propel the county to high resident satisfaction ratings. “We are really proud of you… of your commitment to excellence and the role you play in making Arlington a terrific community.” [YouTube]
Bicycling Meetups This Fall — “Fall has arrived in Arlington, leaves have started to change colors, and temperatures are dipping overnight… If you’re looking for a good excuse to ride bikes and drink coffee this fall, like I do, there are plenty of local opportunities to make that happen.” [BikeArlington]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick
The average warning time for a tornado is 13 minutes. Would you be able to get your family to safety in 13 minutes? Would more time help?
The National Weather Service issues weather Watches when the potential for a weather incident exists, but how would you find out?
Be informed by signing up for Arlington Alert, the emergency notification system in Arlington County. It’s more than just notifications during major emergencies; you can also choose to receive alerts for weather, traffic closures and severe transit delays.
Currently, there are 25,763 people signed up for Arlington Alert; that’s less than 10% of the Arlington County population. Of those people, only 4,769 opted in to receive Flash Flood Warnings. These types of floods happen quickly, and have been happening in our area recently.
Would you be ready if that happened right now?
By Staying Aware, You Are Better Prepared!
September is National Preparedness Month and we challenge you to do one thing each week to get you and your family prepared.
- Week 1: Sept 1-8 Make and Practice Your Plan
- Week 2: Sept 9-15 Learn Life Saving Skills
- Week 3: Sept 16-22 Check Your Insurance Coverage
- Week 4: Sept 23-29 Save For an Emergency
Make an emergency plan and talk to your kids about it.
Learn first aid or sign up for ‘Until Help Arrives’, our hands-on training with the Arlington County Fire Department that teaches participants how to help until first responders arrive. Get an insurance check-up and set aside funds for an emergency.
Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can. Prepare now!
Arlington County police are gearing up for a new traffic safety enforcement push.
As part of this year’s 2018 Spring Pedestrian & Bicyclist Safety Awareness Program, police officers will be out enforcing traffic laws in Virginia Square and along Columbia Pike this week.
Tomorrow (May 1), officers will be enforcing traffic laws at Fairfax Drive and N. Kenmore Street from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. On Thursday (May 3), officers will conduct the same enforcement at Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street from 1-2:30 p.m.
Anyone spotted violating traffic laws in those areas — motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike — will be ticketed.
The bike safety campaign aims “to change pedestrian, driver and bicyclist behavior while reducing the number of traffic related crashes and injuries.”
More from the press release:
Each year, pedestrians and bicyclists account for a quarter of the traffic fatalities in the region, nearly 90 deaths per year. The Arlington County Police Department participates in numerous enforcement campaigns throughout the year in support of its commitment to improving transportation safety in the County. These campaigns combine public education and high-visibility enforcement to ensure that all travelers share the road safely.
Updated Columbia Pike enforcement timeline at 9:04 a.m. on May 2 due to updated press release sent from the ACPD that morning.
The Arlington County Board approved $1.4 million in additional funding for the N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway esplanade and safety enhancement project.
The Virginia Department of Transportation came to county officials with a cost estimate significantly higher than the initial $7.95 million price tag, which was approved by the Board in December 2016.
The increase is due to lengthened construction time, increased materials and labor costs since the 2016 estimate and design changes relating to traffic plans, according to the county manager’s report. Initially, the call for construction bids in March 2017 only received one bidder, which was rejected “due to previous established restriction on the bidder by VDOT,” according to the manager’s recommendation.
The project will bring pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, such as wider sidewalks and on-street bike lanes, as well as traffic management and street beautification to the N. Lynn Street and Custis Trail area. A public arts project, the long-delayed Corridor of Light project, will also be installed, but only at the four corners of the I-66 bridge.
Safety is a significant component of the project. The intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway, once dubbed the “Intersection of Doom,” has been the scene of numerous vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes over the past few years, though collisions are down since interim safety improvements have been installed
The Board unanimously approved the increase in budget at its Tuesday meeting. Project construction should wrap up by May 2020.
A D.C. taxicab drove onto the Custis Trail yesterday and the incident was caught on video.
The taxi was seen driving onto the bike path Monday afternoon near the MOM’s Organic Market on Lee Highway. A passerby saw it happen and ran to make sure the driver, who was apparently lost, was able to safely get off the trail and back onto the road.
“I followed him right away to make sure he backs up,” said Wael Salha, who also took the video.
Salha says that he frequently uses the path and believes that a narrower trailhead and more car-blocking bollards could have prevented the driver from mistakenly turning onto the path.
“I always use that trail and I was really worried,” he said, adding that he’s not trying to get the driver in trouble.
“I hope that this will not affect the driver’s job,” he said. “This is not my intention, I was only concerned about the people’s safety and [want] more precaution on the county’s end.”
A V.I.P. Cab Company phone operator was unable to connect ARLnow.com to the driver with partial plate numbers, but was able to confirm that all cab drivers with V.I.P. are required to use G.P.S. while driving passengers. The operator added that normally the cab company stays within Washington, so the driver was in unfamiliar territory.
Photo (bottom) via Google Maps