Arlington, VA

Arlington could finally make progress on a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Four Mile Run near Shirlington that’s been under discussion for nearly two decades, according to county staff.

Staff told the Transportation Commission at a Jan. 9 meeting that the current bridge, which carries two lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction on Shirlington Road, has inadequate bicycle-pedestrian facilities, with only a 3-5 foot sidewalk available.

Pedestrian access on Shirlington Road has been a thorn in the county’s side for years, with efforts made in the past to widen nearby sidewalks and make them more pedestrian-friendly — while the bridge bottleneck remained.

The bridge itself is still in good condition, staff said, so rather than reconstruct the bridge staff said a new bicycle and pedestrian-only bridge constructed 20 feet to the west would provide an alternative transit route without cutting into traffic on the Shirlington bridge.

The project, staff noted, has already been fully funded in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, but not plans have moved forward.

An open house for the pedestrian bridge project is scheduled for Feb. 11 from 6-8 p.m., in which nearby civic associations will be invited, though the location of the open house was not announced. Staff said renderings for the bridge will be available at the open house.

“We are starting to implement what came out of the Four Mile Run area plan,” staff said.

The Four Mile Run plan also considered a, underpass running beneath the bridge, negating the need for cyclists and other trail users to cross busy Shirlington Road, though that was not discussed at the Transportation Commission meeting. Arlington County is currently working on a $15.5 million renovation project for Jennie Dean Park, adjacent to the future bridge.

Photo via Google Maps

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Arlington County Police are investigating another series of vehicle break-ins.

In the latest incident, about 10 cars had windows smashed and airbags stolen in parts of south Arlington. The thefts were reported in the Columbia Forest and Shirlington areas early Saturday morning.

Police say they don’t have a suspect description and are continuing to investigate.

Vehicle break-ins have seemingly become a regular occurance in Arlington. Last week, the police department’s crime reports detailed more than 17 vehicles being broken into and at least one stolen, mostly in overnight crime sprees. On local listservs and in an email sent by a victim to ARLnow, some reported their vehicles being broken into via electronic means.

Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said police are taking a number of steps in response, but still need the public’s help.

“ACPD officers proactively patrol Arlington’s neighborhoods to identify and prevent criminal activity,” Savage told ARLnow. “The department’s efforts are enhanced by the active involvement of residents. Residents are encouraged to report suspicious activity to police for investigation by calling 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.”

“We also encourage residents to reduce the opportunity for crime by participating in the 9 P.M. Routine,” Savage added, referring to the department’s campaign to remind residents to lock their doors and remove valuables from their cars.

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Shirlington restaurant Aroma Indian Cuisine is planning to reopen later this month, immediately adjacent to the carved-out husk of its old space.

The new Aroma at 4044 Campbell Avenue — where Hula Girl Bar and Grill was until it closed in September — is nearly complete, manager Jose Rios told ARLnow. Rios said the plan is for the restaurant to open sometime around Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The new bar will have a totally different alcohol setup, with a full counter for seating, Rios said, and a few new dishes are being added to the menu, though that hasn’t been finalized yet.

Aroma was one of several restaurants on the corner of Campbell Avenue and S. Randolph Street that moved or closed to make way for a new CVS. Ping by Charlie Chiang’s, the restaurant on the corner, closed in 2018 while Cheesetique moved to a larger location down the block at 4024 Campbell Avenue.

Construction is still underway inside the 10,906 square-foot space, but Rios said the CVS is scheduled to open sometime this spring.

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The holiday season can be quite stressful — but even more so when you’re a bird of prey who accidentally flies into an Arlington Public Schools operations building and can’t get out.

That happened this past Monday, at the county and APS yard on S. Taylor Street in Shirlington, but luckily Arlington County Natural Resources Manager Alonso Abugattas was on the case.

APS staff member Lauren Hassel said staffers heading out of the building that day heard banging coming from a covered, outdoor stairwell window, where the bird was seen seen frantically trying to fly out.

“Our building is about 200 yards from the Animal Welfare League but they were closed,” Hassel recounted. “A call to nearby Long Branch Nature Center led to a referral to our next door neighbors at the Dept of Parks and Recreation. Minutes later… Abugattas appeared with heavy gloves and a blanket. He spotted the bird through the window, put on his gloves, walked up the stairs and calmly retrieved the stressed out raptor.”

The county naturalist told a gathered crowd that the bird was a Cooper’s Hawk, and that it appeared to be unharmed. After a few photos, Abugattas unwrapped the bird and it flew off.

“Alonso is the ultimate wingman,” said Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services on Twitter.

According to National Geographic, the population of Cooper’s Hawks is increasing on the East Coast, especially in suburban areas.

Photo provided by Lauren Hassel 

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If fighting horrific traffic and crowds to see the National Christmas Tree Lighting tonight in D.C. isn’t your thing, there’s an Arlington alternative to consider.

The Village at Shirlington will be hosting its annual Light Up the Village event tonight, from 6-8:30 p.m. along Campbell Avenue.

The event will feature a tree lighting hosted by NBC 4’s Adam Tuss. Also on the agenda: “holiday musical performances by Signature Theatre and Bishop O’Connell High School, plus horse and carriage rides with a donation to Arlington Food Assistance Center, photos with Santa, merchant specials, and so much more.”

The schedule is as follows:

  • 6 p.m. — Musical performance by Signature Theatre’s cast of Motown Christmas
  • 6:30 p.m. — Tree lighting hosted by Adam Tuss
  • 6:40 p.m. — Horse and carriage rides
  • 7 p.m.    Photos with Santa (located inside Hardwood Artisans)

The event will also necessitate a number of road closures and parking restrictions. From Arlington County Police:

The annual Light Up the Village at Shirlington is being held on Thursday, December 5, 2019 from 6:00 PM until 8:30 PM.  Set up will begin at approximately 12:00 PM and cleanup should be completed by 9:00 PM.

The Arlington County Police Department will close the following roadways to all vehicular traffic to accommodate the event:

  • Campbell Avenue, from the Harris Teeter to S. Randolph Street — closed beginning at 12 PM
  • Campbell Avenue, from Arlington Mill Drive to S. Quincy Street — closed beginning at 4 PM
  • S. Randolph Street, from Arlington Mill Drive to the alley behind the businesses on the south side of Campbell Avenue — closed beginning at 4 PM

Additionally, vehicles will not be allowed to enter or exit the covered Harris Teeter parking structure onto Campbell Ave after 4 PM. Harris Teeter customers can access the parking garage via the alternate entrance behind the store.

Traffic is expected to be impacted in and around the immediate area. Motorists are advised to allot extra travel time and seek alternate routes to reduce road congestion. Attendees are encouraged to utilize multimodal and public transportation options to reduce vehicular congestion.

Street parking in the area will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

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Someone stole airbags from numerous vehicles in the Shirlington area early Wednesday morning.

Police responded to the 2700 block of S. Quincy Street in Shirlington and along S. Glebe Road and S. Veitch Street in the nearby Long Branch Creek neighborhood on the morning of Nov. 15 for a report of vehicles that had been broken into overnight.

Officers found “approximately nine vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen.” So far, there’s no word on a suspect or suspects.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2019-11130054/11130089/11130115, 2700 block of S. Quincy Street/S. Veitch Street at S. Glebe Road/2700 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 7:38 a.m. on November 13, police were dispatched to the report of multiple vehicles that had been broken into. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that approximately nine vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

File photo

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The Arlington County Board could advance an extensive redesign of Jennie Dean Park during its meeting this weekend.

The Board is scheduled to vote to add dedicated green space to the Shirlington-area park and approve a $15.5 million construction contact during its meeting this Saturday, November 16.

County staff recommends awarding the contract to D.C.-based construction firm MCN Build, Inc., which was also tapped to work on Fire Station 8, per a report to the Board.

The park was first built in 1949 and features two tennis courts, baseball and softball diamonds, a basketball court, a playground, and a picnic area. After a series of public meetings, the county decided to relocate one of the baseball fields near S. Nelson Street, install a bathroom near Four Mile Run Drive, and build basketball and tennis courts near a WETA production facility.

As part of the renovations, the County Board is now considering removing a stretch of 27th Street S. from S. Nelson Street to Shirlington Road “for incorporation into the expanded Jennie Dean Park” per county staffers. The removal of the section of road is not expected to impede access to the WETA building, which serves as the production studio for PBS Newshour.

In addition to vacating the stretch of road, members will also vote on whether to rezone some “service industry” parcels of land to the north of the park as “public” — a move that could add 1.96 acres to the park which would make room for the planned youth baseball diamond, among other amenities.

The design process for the park proved somewhat controversial, with a local civic association calling one proposed design a “non-starter.” The park sits within the boundaries of the Green Valley neighborhood.

County officials are scheduled to discuss the final renovation designs next Thursday, November 21 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Charles Drew Community Center, and on Saturday, November 23 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Shirlington Branch Library.

Construction on the project is due to start by early 2020.

Earlier this year, officials asked residents to share their memories of the park with the Brooklyn-based artist selected to design the public art portion of the project.

The park project is part of larger goals to revitalize the Four Mile Run Valley area and emphasize more storm protections for the floodprone area.

Images via Google Maps and Arlington County

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(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) The Animal Welfare League of Arlington reopened today, but its dog kennels remain closed after a disease outbreak.

The shelter near Shirlington said Thursday it was dealing with parvovirus, described as “a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs.”

Parvo “affects dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces,” according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. It causes dehydration, is potentially deadly, and can only be cured by the dog’s own immune system.

“Out of an abundance of caution, our dog kennels are CLOSED until further notice due to parvovirus,” AWLA said via Facebook. “The affected dogs are being treated and we are currently deep-cleaning our kennels. We will update you all on the situation in the coming days. Our cat room and small companion animal room will remain open as usual for adoptions.”

AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Jones said the shelter hopes “not to alarm the public or stop people from coming in to adopt.”

“We do expect the dog kennels to be open tomorrow,” Jones said.

Dog Kennel Update – now that we have finished a thorough deep clean and cared for the affected animals, we wanted to…

Posted by Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Friday, November 8, 2019

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Wine and cheese store and restaurant Cheesetique has opened its new, expanded Shirlington location.

Situated at 4024 Campbell Avenue, just down the block from its now-former space, signs describe the new Cheesetique location as “bigger, better, cheesier.” New features include two bars, ample seating, and a large outdoor patio.

“Our brand-new space embodies fifteen years of knowledge gained by daily interaction with customers, artisans, and small, gourmet purveyors,” said Cheesetique owner Jill Erber, in a press release.

The new location also includes a large private dining and event space, as well as a small private dining room for meetings and family gatherings.

“[Our] retail cheese and wine shop has been upgraded and expanded as well: more wine, a wider selection of dry goods, and of course, more space for cheese and charcuterie,” said Erber.

Cheesetique first opened its Village of Shirlington location in 2011 nearby at 4056 Campbell Avenue — which remained open until Sunday.

The store and restaurant features dishes such as “grown up” grilled cheese sandwiches, along with ample charcuterie and wine served by the glass. It also has locations in Del Ray and Merrifield.

The new Cheesetique takes over the space of the former Luna Grill and Diner, which closed in 2016.

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Morning Notes

It’s Election Day — Voting today in Arlington will take place between 6 a.m.-7 p.m. at your local polling place. Most of the local candidates in competitive races penned essays describing why Arlington residents should vote for them. [Arlington County]

Almost A Century Since Suffrage — “Tomorrow represents 99 years of women voting in Arlington. Arlington’s celebrating with 19 events this year.” [Twitter, Arlington County]

‘Baby Trump’ Greeting Key Bridge Commuters — Arlington Democrats have inflated a 13-foot “Baby Trump” on the Virginia side of the Key Bridge as part of a get-out-the-vote message. [Twitter]

Anti-Trans Group is Based in Shirlington — “From the 12th floor of a glass office tower in the Washington suburbs, a campaign to sway the governor’s race in Kentucky on Tuesday is being waged with an alarmist claim that has little to do with the race itself: If Democrats have their way, soon boys will be able to compete against girls in school sports.” [New York Times]

Growing Season Over in D.C. Area — “As of this morning, the growing season has been declared to have ended across our entire forecast area. Frost and freeze [watches and warnings] will not be issued again until Spring 2020.” [Twitter]

Pedestrian Enforcement in Clarendon Tomorrow — “As part of the Street Smart campaign, officers will conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement… November 6th from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. [on the] 2700 block of Clarendon Boulevard (Pedestrian Enforcement Detail).” [ARLnow]

Nearby: Va. Tech Unveils Plan for Potomac Yard — “Plans are starting to take shape for North Potomac Yard. Virginia Tech has submitted its first concept plan, showing what its Innovation Campus will look like just as the design of the Potomac Yard Metro station nears its final design phase.” [ALXnow]

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Morning Notes

23rd Street Restaurants Worry About Parking — “Owners and operators along Crystal City’s ‘restaurant row’ are demanding changes to Roseland Residential Trust’s proposed multimillion-dollar expansion of the Crystal House complex, saying the project may irreparably harm their businesses… At issue are 95 pay-to-park spaces in a lot at South Eads and 22nd Street South, around the corner from the restaurants on 23rd Street.” [Washington Business Journal]

Juvenile Detention Facility in Question — “The City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, and Arlington County will host community meetings in November to obtain public input for a study examining the future of the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center (Center). The facility, located in Alexandria, is operated by the three jurisdictions through a regional Juvenile Detention Commission.” [Arlington County]

Wardian Was Also a Weekend Winner — “This was the first year of the MCM ultramarathon, a 50K, and MCM tweeted Sunday afternoon that Arlington marathoner and ultramarathoner Michael Wardian won that event. Earlier this year, Wardian ran the entire Capital Beltway. Wardian, whose first-ever marathon was the MCM win 1996, finished with a time of 3:11:52.” [WJLA]

Neighbors Negotiating With Amazon — “A group of neighborhood activists started discussing a unique joint effort, aiming to set a ‘livability agenda’ for the area and better bargain for the benefits they want to see… The partnership has helped community members take their needs directly to Amazon, and the company’s main developer and landlord in the area, JBG Smith.” [Washington Business Journal]

Crash at Shirlington Bus Depot — “Medics on scene of a crash between a van and a Metrobus in Shirlington. At least one minor injury reported. Not clear how the crash happened.” [Twitter]

Photo for Allison Bredbenner

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