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.
— HT Gold (@Skywarpgold) July 11, 2017
Also, only half of that line got through the light before it turned red. Before the single line was two, and all cars could get through.
— HT Gold (@Skywarpgold) July 11, 2017
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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]
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.
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 Tavern, Quinn’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.
Construction is set to begin this winter on improvements to S. Walter Reed Drive between S. Arlington Mill Drive and S. Four Mile Run Drive near Shirlington, a plan in the works since 2014.
S. Arlington Mill Drive will get new left and right turn lanes to make crossing easier for pedestrians and bicyclists. The realignment will be installed temporarily to allow residents to test out the proposed changes, and will remain in place until the work begins.
During the test period, staff will monitor the intersection’s usage to determine signal timings and markings prior to construction.
In addition, the project will include new crosswalks and curb ramps, ADA-compliant bus stops, upgraded traffic and pedestrian signals and new street lighting, among other improvements. S. Walter Reed Drive’s lanes will be restriped and widened slightly.
It is hoped the project will improve bicycle and pedestrian access to Shirlington. The intersection serves as an access point to the neighborhood’s commercial area, while county vehicles are also based at nearby facilities.
The funding for this project is provided through a slew of county sources as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Revenue Sharing Program.
At a work session last night of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group, Board members said that staff must return with new options that would either keep the 109,000 square foot dog park the same size or reduce it slightly.
Previous alternatives put forward by staff would have cut the park’s size by as much as 75 percent to comply with stormwater management requirements in the area of Four Mile Run.
But County Board members said more study is required on other possible options to comply with stormwater management and not lose what vice chair Katie Cristol said is a “well-loved” dog park.
“There is more that we don’t know about alternatives,” Cristol said. “Perhaps [staff] feel confident that you know them. I do not yet feel confident enough to recommend or approve or direct such significant changes to such a well-loved community amenity without a better sense of the alternatives for stormwater remediation.”
There was unanimous agreement among Board members on how to move forward. John Vihstadt said he wants it to stay “substantially as-is for the longest possible time,” while Christian Dorsey argued for a “programmatic approach” that ensures a community amenity is protected while complying with stormwater needs.
In a letter to the County Board ahead of the meeting obtained by ARLnow, Shirlington Civic Association president Edith Wilson and vice president Richard Adler said the Four Mile Run Valley working group needs subcommittees to deal with a slew of issues including the dog park. Not all options have been explored, they said.
The pair, who both sit on the working group, said the dog park has an economic benefit to the neighborhood as well as community and environmental value.
“The [May 17] proposals are remarkably insensitive to the economic and marketing value of the dog park — how could the county possibly think to make public a proposal to reduce it from 109,000 square feet to 27,000?” the pair wrote. “How would we replace the jobs, businesses and real estate sales this would affect?”
After the meeting, supporters were jubilant, including on a Facebook page dedicated to saving the Shirlington Dog Park.
“Our advocacy clearly made a difference as the Arlington County board members were all convinced of how deeply we love our dog park and how impassioned we are about saving it,” wrote one supporter. “All of us should feel a great deal of pride today that we successfully mobilized to save our beloved dog park!”
The much-loved Shirlington Dog Park could get much smaller under plans being discussed by the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.
Three alternatives have been put forward for the park along Four Mile Run, including one that would reduce it by 75 percent to approximately 27,000 square feet, known as Alternative 1. The park would be cut in half at the current S. Oxford Street entrance, with the area west of Oxford Street reforested and the park running between S. Oxford and Oakland Streets.
The other two proposals would have the park at around 55,000 square feet (Alternative 2A) or 47,000 square feet (Alternative 2B). Both incorporate a proposed, expanded portion of parkland along S. Oakland Street.
A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation said that new plans are being explored for the dog park due to concerns around stormwater management. Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Park are also being planned as part of the working group’s wider look at Four Mile Run’s future and a parks master planning process.
The possible reduction in size of the dog park is not quite as drastic a change as earlier rumors — that the county was planning to “move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it” — had suggested. It has, however, sparked loud opposition from supporters of the dog park on social media, including on the park’s unofficial Facebook page.
“Just out of curiosity, what happened to the chorus of reassurances we got from the board reps just a couple of weeks or months ago about them not touching the park?” wrote one supporter. “I don’t know what bothers me more; the fact they continue to push initiatives that put the park at risk or that they misled supporters to believe the park was safe as-is.”
An online petition against the proposal has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.
“4 Mile Run Shirlington Dog Park is the best dog park in Northern Virginia,” wrote one signee. “One of the biggest reasons is its current layout. The small dog area, the water access, and the lengthy, open run area, as well as the seating, provide the best experience. Please do not alter this dog park!”
“It is an all too rare NOVA stress reliever that should be protected, not changed or reduced in size,” wrote another.
A separate Facebook group has also been started dedicated to saving the dog park and energizing supporters.
Parks department spokeswoman Martha Holland said there are no “short term” plans to change the park, but didn’t rule out longer-term changes due to state water runoff rules.
“Currently there is no immediate funding or intention on changing the configuration of the Shirlington Dog Park in the short term, however as capital renovations happen in the future or significant maintenance is needed in the parks, state mandated stormwater management standards will need to addressed,” she said. “County staff is working with the County-Board appointed Four Mile Run Valley Working Group on developing a plan for the park to meet state requirements and community interests.”
“The county recognizes that the Shirlington Dog Park, one of eight Arlington County dog parks that residents and their pets enjoy, is a tremendous and much-beloved resource for the county and there has never been any intention to remove it from the area,” she said.
The County Board is set to adopt the parks master plan for the three parks early next year. Public input on the draft concepts will be taken in July.
The men, all in their 20s and all residents of the District, are being charged in federal court as their alleged crime spree took them across state lines.
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:
A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging four Washington, D.C. residents for their alleged roles in 19 separate armed robberies in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
According to allegations in the indictment, from Nov. 1, 2016 to April 12, Desmar Rashad Gayles, Andrew Bernard Duncan, Anton Durrell Harris, and Lamont Kortez Gaines committed a total of 19 armed robberies of commercial establishments and three carjackings, allegedly using two of the vehicles that they carjacked to commit some of the armed robberies. In ten of the armed robberies, the defendants used an Intratec 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. That firearm was recovered in Harris’ residence on April 13 with the extended magazine fully loaded and a round in the chamber.
Among other jurisdictions, the men are accused of seven robberies and a carjacking in Alexandria and one armed robbery in Arlington.
That robbery happened in March, at a store near Shirlington, according to Arlington County Police.
From an ACPD crime report:
ROBBERY, 2017-03190011, 4000 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 12:35 a.m. on March 19, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred. Three masked male suspects entered a store and confronted the employee and a customer inside. One suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money from the register, while another suspect demanded money from the customer. The suspects then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’10”-6’00” tall and weighed 140-170 lbs. He was wearing a black winter coat, dark jeans, dark colored shoes, black gloves, and a black mask. The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’03”-5’06” tall and was wearing a black coat, black pants, black shoes, black gloves, and a black mask. The third suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’03”-5’06” tall and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants, dark shoes, black gloves, and a mask. The investigation is ongoing.
The long-awaited and long-delayed Dudley’s Sport & Ale in Shirlington appears to still be far from ready to open.
Owner Reese Gardner had hoped the sports bar would be open in either June or July, but in a brief email he said the planned sports bar at 2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive is still plagued by the same permitting problems “as before, unfortunately.”
Gardner said the county has still not approved all of its necessary permits. 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.
A spokeswoman for the county’s department of community, planning, housing and development confirmed the project has been going through the administrative change process. The spokeswoman referred further questions to the county’s lead planner on the project, who did not respond to requests for more information.
Gardner, who also owns the nearby Copperwood Tavern, Quinn’s on the Corner in Rosslyn and Irish Whiskey in the District, said he would have further information on an opening date once permits are approved.
Next Friday, thousands of area commuters will celebrate Bike to Work Day, including at sites across Arlington.
The free event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region and ride bicycles to work in a commuter convoy.
In Arlington, seven sites will provide food and drink, as well as nearby Capital Bikeshare stations for the easy docking of bikes. In the mornings, the pit stops will be open from 6:30-9 a.m., while those open in the afternoons will last from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Rosslyn’s morning pit stop will be hosted at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway), while in the afternoon it will be at the Heavy Seas Alehouse (1501 Wilson Blvd). Shirlington will also hold pit stops in the morning at the Shirlington Library (4200 Campbell Ave) and in the afternoon at New District Brewing (2709 S. Oakland Street).
Pit stops can also be found in the mornings at FreshBikes Bike Shop (3924 Wilson Blvd) in Ballston, Penrose Square at 2503 Columbia Pike, the East Falls Church Metro station (2001 N. Sycamore Street) and the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive).
Registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a free Bike To Work Day T-shirt.
The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.
“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”