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by Chris Teale September 19, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A report on the future of the Shirlington Dog Park did not recommend reducing its size, but still left members of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group with plenty of questions.

The report, prepared by a committee of five group members over the summer, made various recommendations for the park’s short, medium and long-term future.

It looks to find ways to manage stormwater runoff into Four Mile Run from surfaces that do not absorb rainwater and to ensure the park remains well-used. The report was drafted after the Arlington County Board sent plans to reduce its size back to the drawing board.

The report said taking down two county-owned warehouses on S. Oakland Street, adjacent to the park, would help manage stormwater runoff and allow a connection between the dog park and a proposed arts district nearby.

“In addition to addressing some adjacent stormwater issues, this would serve an array of complementary objectives such as integrating this new park area and the dog park with the arts district, provide a flexible-use area for festivals and arts events, provide swing space for recreational functions as Jennie Dean Park is developed, and improve connectivity and open up the line of sight from South Four Mile Drive into the park,” the report reads.

But in suggesting those warehouses be taken down, some group members argued the committee exceeded the scope of its study.

“I felt as though the report spent a lot of time on issues that frankly were not in the group’s charge,” said group vice chair Robin Stombler. Others noted that a report on a potential arts district suggested using the warehouses as space for artists.

Longtime civic leader Carrie Johnson expressed her disappointment at what she described as a “disputed space problem,” and urged the group to find a compromise between the warehouses’ use in the arts district or removal for the dog park.

“I would have hoped to hear less fighting over acreage and more about how it could be used for everybody’s benefit,” she said.

In the short-term, the group recommended various small ways to help manage stormwater at the park, including no longer mowing the grass, protecting existing trees and limiting access to the stream.

But in the medium term, the report called on county government to show leadership in managing stormwater runoff from its buildings to help protect the park. They also urged an expansion of a program where businesses receive grants and other incentives to install ways to manage stormwater through green roofs, rain barrels and the like.

The area’s current zoning encourages making changes through redevelopment, as opposed to incentivizing existing businesses to make those environmentally-friendly tweaks.

“There seems to be no answer here, because the county seems unable to change anything for the existing businesses until they redevelop,” said Anne Inman, a group member.

The report noted that the need to balance stormwater with the park’s popularity is a “catch-22,” as “leaving the park in its current condition is not a viable long-term solution, but efforts to mitigate the environmental issues would trigger significant, costly and undesirable changes to the park.”

Group chair Charles Monson said they will not look to endorse any report prepared by a committee, but will instead use them to guide their thinking as planning the area’s future continues.

The report’s full recommendations are after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com September 5, 2017 at 9:50 am 0

A vehicle overturned on the road from Shirlington to Fairlington Monday night.

The crash occurred around 11:30 p.m. on the 4200 block of 31st Street S.

It’s unclear how the crash happened. At least one parked car had visible damage near the flipped car.

It was initially reported that one person was trapped in the car, but that person was able to “self-extricate,” according to scanner traffic. No serious injuries were reported.

The road was closed following the wreck, while police waited for a tow crew to arrive.

by Chris Teale August 28, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Residents can have their food waste composted by the county as part of a pilot program launched earlier this month.

From 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday, any county resident can take their food scraps to the Department of Environmental Services’ Solid Waste Bureau at 4300 29th Street S. in Shirlington, near the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s headquarters.

There, the scraps are being collected in two green carts at the bottom of the scale house, at the top of the Trades Center hill. Staff will be on hand to assist with disposal.

Per a county fact sheet on the program, the following food scraps are being accepted:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • food soiled paper (paper towels, napkins and paper plates)
  • coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
  • breads, grains and pasta
  • meat and seafood (including bones)
  • plate scrapings

Collected scraps are processed at the county’s Earth Products Recycling Yard using a composter. The compost that is produced will then be given to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation to use in landscaping projects and to amend topsoil in public spaces.

DES staff said they launched the pilot program to “address increasing interest from residents to manage food disposal through a more environmentally conscious process.”

by ARLnow.com August 22, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Shirlington’s Samuel Beckett’s is expanding across the river with a new Irish pub at the District Wharf development in D.C.

Kirwan’s on the Wharf is expected to open in October, when the first phase of the massive, restaurant-filled waterfront development is set to hold its grand opening.

The new bar, from Beckett’s Irish-born owner Mark Kirwan, is reported to have seating for 235 indoors and outside. It will feature “live Irish music and genuine décor” while touting itself as “Washington’s only Irish pub on the water.”

by ARLnow.com August 2, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A man was arrested last Wednesday and accused of masturbating in his car near Rosslyn, in view of passersby.

Police have charged the man, a Burke, Va. resident, with “obscene sexual display.”

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-07260139, Wilson Boulevard at N. Rhodes Street. At approximately 11:39 a.m. on July 26, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the reporting party allegedly observed a male subject masturbating in his vehicle. Arriving officers located the subject and took him into custody. Otman El Garras, 37, of Burke, VA was arrested and charged with obscene sexual display.

Also last week, someone stole the airbags from at least seven vehicles along the 4400 block of 31st Street S., the steep road from Shirlington to Fairlington.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2017-260058, 4400 block of 31st Street S. Between 10:00 p.m. on July 25 and 6:00 a.m. on July 26, an unknown subject(s) forced entry into at least 7 vehicles and stole the airbags. There is no subject(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com July 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

A bus stop, fire hydrant and sign were damaged by an errant driver in the Shirlington area this past Saturday evening.

The fire department tweeted a photo of the damage Monday, with a skull-and-crossbones above the fallen hydrant, urging drivers to “keep your wheels on the road and save our hydrants!”

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the driver of the striking vehicle — a Nissan Altima — was cited for the crash.

“At approximately 7:11 p.m. on July 22, police responded to a single vehicle crash in the 2500 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive,” said Savage. “The driver was traveling eastbound on S. Arlington Mill Drive when the vehicle left the roadway and collided with a bus stop, fire hydrant and light pole. The driver was cited for failure to maintain proper control of their vehicle.”

So far, there’s no exact timeframe or cost estimate for repairs.

“The bus stop is on the schedule to be fixed as soon as possible,” said Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “Crews will have to get in there and assess the damage to determine cost and timeline for repair.”

Photo (top) via Arlington County Fire Department/Twitter, (middle) via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com July 17, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

County officials say the reduction of a westbound turn lane on Arlington Mill Drive near Shirlington is a pilot program and the backups it’s causing will be resolved by traffic signal adjustments.

Arlington Mill Drive was recently re-striped at the “T” intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive. One of the two left turn lanes from Arlington Mill to Walter Reed was removed and blocked off with bollards, a move intended to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

There is heavy bike and pedestrian traffic at the intersection, which connects two sections of the Four Mile Run Trail.

But the lane removal has caused traffic to back up during peak times, according to several accounts. Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey wrote about the backups last month, proclaiming the lane reduction to be part of the county’s “semi-official ‘drivers must suffer’ policy.”

Last week a Twitter user also reported significant evening rush hour delays.

(The backups seem to be short-lived; a brief evening rush hour visit by a reporter last week did not reveal any long lines.)

In a statement released to ARLnow.com, officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services said that the lane re-striping is a “test” that is being evaluated ahead of a larger intersection improvement project, slated for next year.

The test will help traffic engineers determine adjustments to the traffic signal timing, which should alleviate any delays, officials say. Potentially complicating the plan, however: there is already heavy traffic on Walter Reed Drive during the evening rush hour, which could be exacerbated by changes to the traffic light cycle.

The full statement from DES, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com June 29, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Turn Lane Removed from Arlington Mill Drive — There is now only one left turn lane from S. Arlington Mill Drive to southbound S. Walter Reed Drive, after the roadway was reconfigured to remove a second turn lane. Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey writes that the need for the change is unclear but the result has been traffic backing up during peak periods. “It does play into a recurrent theme in A-town: Drivers must suffer,” he writes. [InsideNova]

Water Main Break Near Shirlington — Water main repairs are underway along the 2600 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive, near Shirlington, after a water main break this morning. Some 20-50 customers are affected and repairs are expected to take until around 3 p.m. [Twitter]

North Rosslyn Profiled — The Washington Post has profiled the North Rosslyn neighborhood, finding that many of its residents are “empty nesters, couples with young children and working professionals,” who are attracted to the events, businesses and connectivity that Rosslyn has to offer. [Washington Post]

New Mobile Homepage — We’ve revamped our homepage experience for mobile and tablet users to be more like the desktop homepage experience, with full articles and photos. Do you like the new configuration or wish we could go back to the older, simpler setup? Let us know in the comments.

by Katherine Berko June 26, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

If you’ve ever wanted to prepare a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen, your hunger may now be satisfied.

CookDC is a startup based out of Shirlington that delivers ready-to-cook meals to your doorstep. Its stated goal is “turning home cooks into chefs.” Examples of previous meal-kits include grass-fed flat iron steaks with smashed marble potatoes and romano beans as well as more exotic dishes such as homemade tagliatelle with wild stinging nettle pesto.

CookDC differentiates itself from similar food delivery services by prioritizing flavor over convenience and price. CookDC is not designed to be the cheapest or most efficient meal delivery option, but teaches people to cook delicious food comparable to a fancy dinner out.

“Everything is ordered a la carte so it’s not a subscription like the national chains,” said Matthew McCormack, who founded CookDC with his wife, Debbie McCormack. “You go [online and look at the menu] and if you see something you like, you buy it.”

Each meal comes with a written-up explanation of its historical background along with a description of the cooking techniques needed to prepare it.

“[The Food Network or cookbooks] are telling you how to cook it but they’re not telling you where you’re supposed to get wild morels from, [for example],” McCormack said. “They’re not handing it to you and then showing you how to use it, [like us].”

The culinary term for what CookDC does is “mise en place,” French for “put in place.” Professional kitchens spend all day prepping their ingredients and once their restaurant opens, all the chefs do is cook the food.

“As soon as a restaurant service starts, nobody is cutting a carrot,” McCormack said. “We’re giving you the ‘mise en place,’ giving you very clear instructions on how to finish that dish yourself. It’s prepped, it’s packaged.”

Customers do have the option of paying extra to get the meal fully prepared, or they can specify that they do not want to cook it that night. They can also double the portion or request kids’ servings.

Meals are delivered throughout the D.C. region between 2-5 p.m. The night before delivery, customers are told whether or not they need a certain pan for the meal or if they will have to fire up their grill in order to cook it. On the day of delivery, customers are texted when the meal-kit has left CookDC’s kitchen. Meals are delivered in coolers and are packaged in step-by-step compartments. Each meal usually has between three to seven steps.

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by Chris Teale June 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

A Shirlington hotel is set for some major renovations, which are set to start later this summer.

The Hilton Garden Inn Shirlington at 4271 Campbell Ave will receive a refresh worth tens of millions of dollars. The bulk of the work is set to begin on July 30 and is expected to take until October to complete.

General manager Christopher Ng said the entire lobby will get new furniture, as will the bar and restaurant, the convenience store and all 143 guest rooms. Ng said that virtually everything “not nailed to the wall” will get a refresh, including guest beds, televisions and wall tiles.

Already, the hotel’s swimming pool and spa have been resurfaced, with Ng anticipating they will reopen for guest use next week.

Ng said the refresh is typical industry practice, and allows the Hilton Garden Inn to keep up with standards from its corporate office too.

“A renovation or a refresh every seven to eight years is really what the industry standard calls for, and we felt that it was really time for us,” Ng said. “Don’t get me wrong, the property is in fantastic condition compared to other properties that I’ve been to in Arlington and other cities that I’ve worked in, it just needs a little refresh.”

Ng acknowledged that the hotel has an “aggressive timeline” for its work, but said if the county approves the permits for construction, it can be achieved.

Anyone looking to stay in the hotel may find a guest room harder to come by while they are updated. But Ng said there should be minimal disruption to anyone staying in the hotel during construction, which will be staggered from floor to floor.

“The great thing about our hotel, when it was built it was built as a LEED property and the owners wanted to be very conscious of the environment and also build a hotel that would be… made to go through a renovation,” he said.

by ARLnow.com June 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Members and residents of the WeWork and WeLive in Crystal City (2221 S. Clark Street) will get to experience the wonders of the Goat Yoga craze on Friday.

Real, live baby goats will be brought to the office’s beer garden from 6-8 p.m. They will roam around during a yoga class, nuzzle up to participants and sometime climb on top of their backs.

“After the practice we will hold a happy hour where you can mingle and chat about your experience,” says a poster for the event.

For those who’d prefer practicing yoga with pets rather than barnyard animals, Arlington-based yoga instructor Beth Wolfe is hosting a Kitten and Adoptable Pet Yoga session next week at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive), featuring roaming, cuddly pets that are up for adoption.

Wolfe is also hosting “Silent Disco Yoga,” featuring participants listening to music via wireless headphones, at Shirlington’s Energy Club gym rooftop on Friday. Additionally, she hosts a monthly “Beer Yoga” at Capitol City Brewing in Shirlington, with the next session scheduled for Monday.

Photo courtesy C.J. Cross/Facebook

by ARLnow.com June 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A man was stabbed in Jennie Dean Park near Shirlington this afternoon.

The stabbing was first reported just before 2 p.m. Tuesday at the park on the 3600 block of 27th Street S. That’s near Shirlington and the PBS NewsHour/WETA studios.

A man was stabbed in the arm and reportedly bled heavily before medics arrived. He was taken via ambulance to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The attacker was said to be an acquaintance of the victim. He fled on a mountain bike, according to scanner traffic, and remains at large.

Arlington County park rangers and Virginia State Police assisted Arlington County police on the call.

by ARLnow.com June 16, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

Fairlington Named ‘Top Value Neighborhood’ — Fairlington and Shirlington are together the No. 3 “top value neighborhood” in the D.C. area, according to real estate website Trulia. No. 1 is University Park in Maryland and No. 2. is Kingman Park in D.C. [Curbed]

Market-Rate Affordable Housing Disappearing — In 2000 there were 19,740 homes in Arlington affordable to those making 60 percent of Area Median Income. That dropped by 86 percent, to 2,780 units, by the end of 2016. [Washington Business Journal]

Police Focused on Opioid Abuse — Yesterday the Arlington County Police Department “participated in a discussion on regional law enforcement efforts aimed at reducing the growing heroin/opiate epidemic.” There are at least three addiction treatment facilities in Arlington and ACPD “strongly encourages substances users and their family members to seek assistance.” [Arlington County]

Native Plants Return Thanks to Management of Invasives — “Native plants are on the comeback trail in Arlington – particularly along the W&OD Trail in Bluemont and Glencarlyn parks. Last month Dominion Energy mowed green space beneath powerlines along the trail, helping the County manage invasive plants like Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose.” [Arlington County]

Amazon Buying Whole Foods — Arlington’s two Whole Foods stores, in Clarendon and Pentagon City, will soon be owned by Amazon.com. [CNBC, Wall Street Journal]

by Chris Teale June 7, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Members of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group sought to regroup Tuesday night and try to plot a new path forward on the future of the Shirlington Dog Park.

But the need to balance the park needing to manage stormwater while preserving a beloved community asset weighed heavily after a strong backlash against reducing its size.

That community anxiety about the park’s future helped result in the County Board directing staff late last month to go back to the drawing board. Plans drawn up by staff would have shrunk the 109,000 square foot park to as little as 27,000 square feet to accommodate stormwater management.

During their work session, Board members said there must be a better balance between environmental needs and community desires. But some working group members felt the environment was forced to take a back seat.

“I felt extremely distressed with the comments and presentation because it didn’t deal with the environment,” said group member Nora Palmatier.

Several group members also criticized staff for not presenting more options to deal with stormwater beyond a 35-foot buffer near the stream. And while at-large member Keith Fred said it was a “shame” there hadn’t been more conversations about environmental protection at the site a year ago, others said it was an opportunity to put forward new plans.

“We have been challenged as a group and staff as well to think outside the box and look at other alternatives to protect what is a very important economic driver for the Valley,” said group member Adam Henderson.

And Edie Wilson, a member of the working group representing the Shirlington Civic Association, said that despite the community’s strong opposition to any changes at the park, residents care about balancing it with any environmental needs.

Wilson said it is possible to “walk and chew gum at the same time,” and that with staff putting new options forward, she looks forward to seeing what can be done.

“We need to be very careful with the assumption that we don’t care about the environment,” she said. “We have a variety of ways to do both. There’s work to do.”

Later in the meeting, Wilson said more must be done to educate the community about what is being done in the area, and particularly to show them why changes may need to be made to the dog park.

“We really need some public education, and I mean public education in the most civil sense of the word,” she said. “People have a lot of questions.”

County staff said they will meet with County Manager Mark Schwartz later this week to chart a path forward for the park and other projects in the Four Mile Run Valley. No public speakers at the meeting addressed the dog park’s future.

by Chris Teale June 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

The long-delayed Dudley’s Sport & Ale in Shirlington is finally on the road to completion after its owner said the county approved the necessary permits.

Owner Reese Gardner said that with the approval, he will have more of an idea of an opening date for the sports bar at 2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive after a construction meeting next week.

The sports bar was dogged by permitting problems that delayed its construction and prevented its opening, which had been planned for last year.

Approval could mean that Gardner, who also owns Copperwood TavernQuinn’s on the Corner in Rosslyn and Irish Whiskey in the District, may have a chance of hitting his revised target of having Dudley’s open this summer.

A 28-seat bar, a 125-seat dining area, and a “stadium style” viewing area are planned, as well as a rooftop bar — Shirlington’s first — with a game area, a 15-seat bar, and patio seating for about 114 people.

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