Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Free Cinco de Mayo Rides — “Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2021 Cinco de Mayo SoberRide program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 pm this Wednesday, May 5, 2021 (Cinco de Mayo) and operate until 2:00 am on Thursday, May 6, 2021 as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.” [Press Release]

Extra ACPD Traffic Enforcement — From the Arlington County Police Department: “As part of the regional Council of Governments StreetSmart campaign, officers conducted high visibility speed enforcement along Lee Highway today. With warmer weather upon us, there is increased pedestrian and cyclist traffic in the County. Remember to slow down, obey posted speed limits and remain alert for other travelers.” [Facebook]

School Board Hopefuls On Math Controversy — “With the Virginia Department of Education under attack – fairly or unfairly – for what critics say is an attempt to dumb down math instruction across the commonwealth, the two candidates for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board gave state officials neither a rousing endorsement nor a ringing denunciation in a recent forum.” [Sun Gazette]

Critic Praises Local Restaurant — “Every once in a while, a restaurant comes along that checks off so many boxes, you wonder if it had taken a poll of diners’ wishes. Right now, that restaurant is a place in Arlington that combines a warm welcome with good food in a spot that locals might recall as a former paint store or a chocolate factory… Ruthie’s All-Day.” [Washington Post]

Covid Concerns for Local With India Ties — “Singh, a 28-year-old consultant, walked her dog in her Arlington, Va., neighborhood where people lined up to get inside a rooftop tiki bar and a group pedaled by on a party bike, drinking beer. She returned to her apartment and stayed up until 2 a.m. scouring Instagram for phone numbers of Indians who might have oxygen and getting no replies to a flurry of messages. Singh is among thousands of Americans struggling to help Indian relatives survive a catastrophic coronavirus surge that has caused the health care system to collapse.” [New India Times]

Nearby: Fairfax Co. Lowers Tax Rate — “Fairfax County adopted a budget Tuesday that lowers the residential property tax rate… the tax rate drops by a penny to $1.14 per $100 of assessed value. Prince William County officials also recently shaved a penny from their tax rate, now at $1.115 per $100 of assessed value. Loudoun County lowered its rate by 5 .5 cents, to $0.98 per $100 of assessed value, while Arlington County froze its rate at $1.013 per $100 of assessed value.” [Washington Post]

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Going to a bar or a party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during a pandemic might not be the best idea, but drinking and driving is an even worse idea.

To help prevent the latter, the D.C. area SoberRide program will be offering free Lyft rides from 4 p.m. today to 2 a.m. tomorrow.

The free rides will be available on the Lyft app via a promo code that will be revealed on the SoberRide website at 3 p.m.

If you have already been vaccinated and want to head out for a pint or two today, there are a number of options for celebrating at Arlington’s Irish pubs. Due to capacity restrictions, however, there may be long waits or reservations required at some venues.

More from a SoberRide press release, below.

While stating unequivocally that “we’re all safer at home” this St. Patrick’s Day during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, a local nonprofit organization today announced that – as a “necessary safety net” to this week’s high-risk, high-alcohol consumption period — free safe rides will be offered to would-be drunk drivers throughout the Washington-metropolitan area on St. Patrick’s Day.

Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2021 St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide® program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 pm this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (St. Patrick’s Day) and operate until 2:00 am on Thursday, March 18, 2021 as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.

“While we’re all safer at home, we are also a public safety organization which regularly looks to mitigate risk,” said Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s President. “We therefore urge all Greater Washington area residents to respect public health restrictions this St. Patrick’s Day. However, if persons do venture out and alcohol is involved, we are all benefited from the safety net role which the region’s SoberRide program plays to remove drunk drivers from area roadways.”

During SoberRide’s hours of operation this St. Patrick’s Day, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download the Lyft app to their phones, then enter a SoberRide® code in the app’s “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. The St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide® promo code will be posted at 3:00 pm on March 17th on www.SoberRide.com.

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Morning Notes

Beyer on Impeachment Vote — “Voting for these articles of impeachment is the only moral course of action, the only way to honor our oath of office. I have no doubt that the votes I cast today will stand the test of time.” [Press Release]

Car2go Bye Bye — “Share Now, the German company that manages the car rental company until recently known as Car2Go, has announced it will exit the North American market effective February 29, 2020… There are currently 150,694 users in D.C., according to a company official who isn’t authorized to speak on the record.” [DCist, Share Now]

Volunteers Read to Babies in NICU — “Studies show private neonatal intensive care unit rooms can be too quiet, with premature babies not getting enough sound and stimulation, so Virginia Hospital Center uses trained volunteers to read popular children’s books to its tiniest patients when their parents can’t be there.” [NBC 4]

Free Lyft Rides Starting TomorrowUpdated at 9 a.m. — “A regional nonprofit is again planning to offer free rides through Lyft to help keep drunk drivers off Alexandria streets during the holidays. Starting on Dec. 20, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will offer its annual Holiday SoberRide program nightly from 10 p.m.-4 a.m., until Jan. 1.” [ALXnow]

Water Main Break in Bluemont — Updated at 9 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a leaking 6-inch valve at 5650 4th St N. Some 100 water customers could be affected. Traffic is diverted around the work site. Estimated time of completion: no later than 7pm.” [Twitter]

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The Arlington County Police Department is hosting an anti-drunk driving event this week ahead of this year’s Halloween celebrations.

Tomorrow (Friday) police officers will kick off the event highlighting what alcohol does to motor skills at 8 p.m., at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon.

To make room for the event, ACPD is planning to close N. Hudson Street from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. between 7-11 p.m. Friday night and post temporary no-parking signs in the area.

“The Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens that nothing is scarier on Halloween night than an impaired driver,” the county wrote on its website. “Don’t let drunk driving haunt your celebrations — if you plan to drink, designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, rideshare or public transportation.”

The most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that 158 people were killed by drunk drivers on Halloween between 2013 and 2017. About half of those deaths included the drivers themselves, but the federal agency notes that three pedestrians were also killed in 2017.

One way Halloween party goers can secure a designated driver is through the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s annual Sober Ride program, which is offering coupons for a Lyft home this weekend.

The coupons codes will be posted on the nonprofit’s website this Saturday, October 26 at 9 p.m. Lyft users can use the codes to knock $15 off the price of a ride home between Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 4 a.m.

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(Updated at 1 p.m.) There are a number of ways to celebrate America’s independence in Arlington this year.

This year’s federal firework show on the National Mall was moved because of President Trump’s “Salute to America” rally at the Lincoln Memorial from 6:30-7:30 p.m., which will likely include a speech, military flyovers, and protestors.

The national fireworks display will blast off from West Potomac Park instead. It is scheduled to run from 9:07-9:27 p.m. and will be visible from most places across the Potomac that Arlington residents are used to.

If the president’s planned Fourth of July rally in the District isn’t for you, here are some places in Arlington to watch the show:

  • Long Bridge Park, which is open for viewers but no longer hosting a large, county-sponsored extravaganza due to cost-cutting measures. The county is cautioning people to make time to go through security checkpoints on Thursday, July 4, and to be prepared for crowding due to ongoing construction closing the north end of the park’s esplanade. Attendees to the Long Bridge Park festivities are not allowed to bring food, spiked chairs, or fireworks of their own on the field, per the county’s website.
  • The View of DC observation deck at CEB Tower (1201 Wilson Blvd) in Rosslyn is hosting a fireworks viewing event 31 floors up. Those who want to attend can enter their name in a lottery for tickets.
  • Gateway Park in Rosslyn is hosting its usual, popular viewing.
  • Gravelly Point is another popular viewing spot, though parking may be limited.
  • U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn has a sweeping vantage of the monuments, the river and the fireworks..
  • Key Bridge also offers picturesque views for those who don’t mind standing during the show.
  • The Air Force Memorial which will host a free concert by the The United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants at 8 p.m. before the fireworks.
  • The Washington Golf & Country Club also confirmed to ARLnow that it is again hosting its own fireworks this year, but won’t have any seating on the golf course due to the ongoing renovations.

Several neighborhoods are also hosting parades for those who prefer to eschew the crowds at fireworks, including:

The Arlington County Fire Department is asking residents who plan to light their own fireworks or have their cookouts to follow these safety tips for fire and injury prevention.

SoberRide will continue its holiday tradition of offering free Lyft rides to prevent drunk driving. The organization said 746 people in the Greater Washington area used the service during Fourth of July last year.

Users can check the SoberRide website on Thursday, July 4 at 6 p.m. for the promotion code that will give free rides between 7 p.m Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday.

Photo via John Sonderman/Flickr pool

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Morning Notes

Kaine Event at Federico’sUpdated at 8:55 a.m. — “On Monday, May 13, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable in Arlington with fair housing advocates to discuss the work ahead to ensure equal access to housing for all Americans and address discrimination that LGBTQ Americans continue to face as they search for homes.” The event is now being held at 9 a.m. at Federico’s Ristorante Italiano (519 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, per an updated media advisory.

Amazon Hiring for Alexa Job in Arlington — Among other open job positions for Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the company is now hiring a “Principal Product Manager” for its Alexa Experience team. [Amazon]

Puppy Recovering from Pike Crash — “Earlier this week Yoda ran into oncoming traffic after escaping his leash. I ran after him in attempt to save him, which resulted in both of us getting hit by a car. I am okay but Yoda was not so lucky. He has two major fractures in his back leg which lead him into surgery. He is resting but having a difficult time.” [GoFundMe]

Satisfaction with Metro Rebounds — “Metro’s reputation in the region has improved dramatically in the past two years and has almost reached the positive levels it enjoyed before a fatal smoke incident in 2015, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll… A 68 percent majority of Washington-area residents rate Metrorail positively, up from 42 percent in 2017. In 2013, 71 percent had positive ratings of the subway system.” [Washington Post]

Post Endorses Tafti — The Washington Post has endorsed challenger Parisa Dehghani-Tafti over incumbent Theo Stamos in the Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney primary. [Washington Post]

SoberRide Record for Cinco de Mayo — “Nearly 800 (792) persons in the Washington-metropolitan area used the free safe ride service, SoberRide, this Cinco de Mayo as opposed to possibly driving home drunk.” [WRAP]

Flickr pool photos by John Sonderman and GM and MB

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This weekend, Cinco de Mayo revelers can score a free Lyft ride home thanks to a partnership aimed at reduced drunk driving.

The nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program has partnered with ride-hailing service Lyft to provide free rides home from 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 through 4 a.m. Monday, May 6.

WRAP announced instructions for how Lyft users can access the free rides:

During this twelve-hour period, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download Lyft to their phones, then enter a SoberRide code in the app’s “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. WRAP’s Cinco de Mayo SoberRide promo code will be posted at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 on www.SoberRide.com.

This year marks the fifth in a row that the organization has organized free ride-hailing for party goers during the holiday.

WRAP said in a statement last month that 897 people in the Greater Washington area used the free rides they organized during Cinco de Mayo last year.

“Over one-quarter (28%) of all U.S. traffic fatalities during Cinco de Mayo 2016 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s president, said in a statement. “Nearly one-fourth (20%) of U.S. drivers in fatal crashes during the 2016 Cinco de Mayo period had BACs of .15 or higher.”

Steve Taylor, Lyft’s D.C. general manager, said in a statement that the company was “proud” to help reduce drunk driving in the D.C. area.

“Here in the D.C. area, partnering with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program allows us to take our commitment to providing reliable, convenient, and responsible transportation a step further, particularly during times of the year when people are out celebrating and in need of a ride home,” Taylor said.

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The Arlington County Police Department revealed a new tool today (Monday) to discourage drunk driving as the region gears up to celebrate the Fourth of July: a bright pink BMW.

The “SoberRide Vehicle,” developed in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program and ride-hailing service Lyft, is a redesigned 2004 BMW 330ci, seized following a drug conviction. Wrapped partially in eye-catching pink, courtesy of Lyft, the vehicle will be on display at community events and areas with nightlife to remind Arlington residents not to drive under the influence.

The vehicle complements the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide campaign, which will offer up to 1,500 free Lyft rides on Independence Day.

Riders will be able to request a free ride home worth up to $15 from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. by using a Lyft promo code that will be posted to the SoberRide website 5 p.m. Wednesday.

WRAP’s SoberRide program has previously provided free rides home to area residents on holidays like St. Patrick’s DayCinco de Mayo and Halloween. Last year, 513 people in the Washington metropolitan area used the Independence Day SoberRide promotion, according to WRAP president Kurt Erickson.

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A local nonprofit is again partnering with Lyft to offer free rides for Cinco de Mayo.

As it does for other holidays, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is sponsoring the free rides to prevent drunk driving by revelers who may have had a few too many beers or margaritas.

The service will be available from 7 p.m. on Saturday (May 5) until 4 a.m. on Sunday for trips worth up to $15. The promo code for the complimentary rides will be available on WRAP’s website starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

WRAP says that 676 people across the D.C. region took advantage of its Cinco de Mayo Lyft partnership last year.

WRAP routinely offers free or discounted Lyft and taxi rides on other drinking-heavy holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and Independence Day.

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Free Lyft rides will be available to those looking for a safe ride home on St. Patrick’s Day this weekend.

The promotion is being offered by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, a local nonprofit, and will run from Saturday, March 17 at 4 p.m. through March 18 at 4 a.m..

“During this twelve-hour period, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download Lyft to their phones, then enter a SoberRide code in the app’s ‘Promo’ section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home,” the organization said in a press release. “WRAP’s St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide promo code will be posted at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 17 on www.SoberRide.com.”

Last year, 460 people used WRAP’s SoberRide Lyft services on St. Patrick’s Day in the D.C. area.

“Almost three-fourths (69%) of all U.S. traffic deaths occurring during the six evening hours following St. Patrick’s Day [in 2016] involved alcohol-impaired drivers,” noted WRAP President Kurt Gregory Erickson.

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Arlington Chamber Seeking State Help — Possibly in response to the push for housing conservation districts, “the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is asking the General Assembly to ‘serve as a backstop and a safeguard’ against overreach by localities on planning and zoning matters.” [InsideNova]

Reminder: SmarTrip Change Next Week — As of Monday, Metro riders will no longer be able to run a negative balance on their SmarTrip cards. [WMATA]

‘Meet the Chair’ Scheduled — Arlington residents will be able to meet newly-minted Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol on the evening of Jan. 18, when the Leadership Center for Excellence holds its annual Meet the Chair event. [Leadership Center for Excellence]

SoberRide New Year’s Record — A record 1,225 people used the free safe ride service SoberRide on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Thanks to its new partnership with Lyft, SoberRide’s organizer says it “has removed well more than two times as many would-be drunk drivers from Greater Washington’s roadways as compared with the previous year.” [PDF]

District Taco Continues to Expand — Five Guys may be given a run for its money as the most successful Arlington-born restaurant chain. District Taco is now opening a location in the Center City section of Philadelphia. [Eater]

Snow Shovel Contest Winner — “This is Susan. She won our snow shovel, writing that her favorite phase of snow treatment/removal is Phase 1. Brine makes her giddy. Susan’s old shovel is from Nebraska and cracking. Way to go, Susan.” [Twitter]

Photo courtesy @BoccatoGelatos

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