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Arlington County will be soon implementing an additional $200 fine for speeding on eight mostly residential streets.

The additional fine was approved by the County Board last January, but it has taken a year to fully implement due to the need for collecting speed data, as well as pandemic-related installation delays.

It’s part of the county’s Vision Zero program, first adopted in July 2019, designed to take a holistic approach in eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Signage is expected to go up over the next couple of months for the first four street segments, discussed at last night’s County Board meeting:

  • 28th Street S. from S. Meade Street to Army Navy Drive
  • N. Ohio Street from 14th Street N. to Wilson Blvd
  • 23rd Street S. from Army Navy Drive to Fern Street
  • John Marshall Drive from Little Falls Road to Lee Hwy

Then, come the spring, four more streets will receive signage and enforcement, according to the county Transportation Engineering and Operations Bureau Chief Hui Wang. They include:

  • N. Harrison Street from Lee Hwy to 37th Street N.
  • Patrick Henry Drive from N. George Mason Drive to Wilson Blvd
  • S. George Mason Drive from S. Dinwiddie Street to S. Four Mile Run Drive
  • 7th Road S. from Columbia Pike to S. Carlin Springs Road

All of these streets have a 25 mph speed limit, except for S. George Mason Drive from S. Dinwiddie Street to S. Four Mile Run Drive (which is 30 mph).

The eight new streets are in addition to those that were instituted early last year:

  • S. Carlin Springs Road from Columbia Pike to S. George Mason Drive
  • Military Road from Old Glebe Road to Nelly Custis Drive
  • Lorcom Lane from Military Road to Spout Run Parkway

The installation of these signs began in February 2020 and was completed in April, in the midst of the pandemic.

The $200 fine is in addition to the standard $6 for every mile per hour above the speed limit and the $66 in court fees. So, for example, if a motorist is given a ticket for being 10 mph over the speed limit in one of these corridors, the fine would be $326.

Wang explained the corridors were chosen based on five years worth of data that showed a “documented speeding issue.” Those are mostly near residential, school, park, and other pedestrian-heavy areas.

She also said that this a relatively cheap method to deal with speeding.

“This is a low cost measure to address speeding,” Wang said. “It’s just additional signage.”

There’s also potential for other coordiors to be chosen for this increased fine, but further data collection and analysis is ongoing.

Spurred by a question from County Board member Libby Garvey, Wang said that placards or warning flags are being considered for the new speed signs to ensure they are catching the attention of motorists. Those will be taken down after residents get used to the new fines and signs.

“Yeah, which may take a few fines,” said Garvey.

File photo

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A 33-year-old man has been arrested and charged with dragging an Arlington County police officer with his car after being pulled over for speeding on I-66.

The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on eastbound I-66, near Spout Run Parkway, and drew a large police response.

A motorcycle officer pulled over a driver for traveling 88 mph in a 55 mph zone. Then, after smelling marijuana, the officer requested the driver get out of the vehicle and sign the speeding ticket, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

“The driver initially complied but became uncooperative and attempted to enter the vehicle after commanded not to do so,” the department said. “A brief struggle ensued, during which the officer advised he would deploy [pepper spray] if the suspect continued not to comply.”

“The officer deployed their OC Spray in an attempt to gain control of the driver, however he was still able to re-enter the vehicle,” the report continues. “As the suspect fled the scene in the vehicle, he dragged the officer for a short distance. The officer suffered minor injuries and was treated on scene by medics.”

A lookout for the vehicle was broadcast, but police were unable to find it. Then, after using “various investigative tools,” police were able to get in touch with a family member of the suspect, who subsequently turned himself in last night.

“Ahmad Rahim, 33, of Chantilly, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious/Unlawful Wounding of Law Enforcement, Eluding, Reckless Driving, and Obstruction of Justice,” police said. “He was held on no bond.”

Update on 12/17/20 — The officer who was dragged is Officer Adam Stone, a well-liked veteran of ACPD’s Motor Unit. Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage declined to provide additional details about the incident, “to ensure the integrity of the investigation and prosecution.”

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Arlington wants to deploys speed cameras and to lower speed limits in residential and business districts below 25 miles per hour.

Those are among a list of state legislative priorities the Arlington County Board unanimously approved on Saturday before the upcoming session of the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond.

Board member Christian Dorsey said at Saturday’s meeting that speed cameras allow for equitable law enforcement while reducing public interaction with the police.

“We want to reduce the amount of times that potential conflicts can turn into something that’s unintended,” Dorsey said.

“Automated ticket enforcement has the potential to improve safety… and further advance equitable outcomes by reducing or eliminating race-based disparities in speed enforcement,” the county said its legislative priority list.

Board Chair Libby Garvey said Arlington also needs discretion on reducing the speed limit in residential and business areas.

“There’s just so much in this state that we find we have responsibility for things and we don’t have the authority to actually do what we need to do sometimes, so this is just a never-ending stream of things that we’re trying to correct and get control over that we ought to have control over,” Garvey said.

Pat Carroll, Arlington’s liaison to Richmond, told the Board that recent leadership changes within the legislature “noticeably helped the fate of Arlington’s legislative priorities.”

Other approved priorities include:

  • “More state funding for localities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic”
  • “Seeking full funding for K-12 education, including ensuring state funding for Arlington Public Schools reflects pre-pandemic levels”
  • “Protecting existing Northern Virginia Transportation authority revenues”
  • “Allowing individual retail customers to buy 100 percent renewable electricity from any licensed competitive supplier of electric energy”
  • “Supporting legislation to provide greater incentives for tree canopy preservation and planting”
  • “Enacting authority for a local option to develop incentives or regulations to decrease or regulate the distribution and sale of polystyrene food-service containers”
  • “Permit localities and public bodies to set their own rules regarding ‘virtual’ [meeting] participation

Arlington’s full list of legislative priorities is below the jump.

Read More

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Amid a nationwide epidemic of speeding on highways emptied of traffic by the coronavirus pandemic, Virginia State Police are urging drivers to slow down.

Two incidents on I-395 in Arlington last week illustrate the need for less speed.

First, state police say speeding was the main factor in a crash involving a 23-year-old driver last Wednesday. Despite a photo that shows the car heavily damaged — after striking a construction trailer sign, a crash impact attenuator, and an SUV — police say the driver only suffered minor injuries.

Over the weekend, VSP posted a photo of a speeding ticket issued to a driver accused of going 115 mph along I-395, where the speed limit it 55 mph. A trooper issued the ticket Saturday morning.

“Would this make your mother proud?” state police asked, ahead of the Mother’s Day holiday.

https://twitter.com/VSPPIO/status/1259214444275605504

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If you’ve got a lead foot, you should probably slow down, especially — soon — on three particular Arlington streets.

In January the Arlington County Board voted to start imposing an additional $200 fine for speeding on certain residential streets.

At the County Board meeting on Tuesday, County Manager Mark Schwartz announced the first three streets that would be subject to the new fine.

  • Carlin Springs Road from Columbia Pike to George Mason Drive — through the Glencarlyn and Arlington Forest neighborhoods
  • Military Road from Old Glebe Road to Nelly Custis Drive — through the Bellevue Forest and Donaldson Run neighborhoods
  • Lorcom Lane from Military Road to Spout Run Parkway — through the Maywood and Woodmont neighborhoods

The $200 fine would be in addition to standard $6 for every mile per hour above the speed limit and the $66 in court fees.

Schwartz said the meeting was the first announcement of which streets would have the new fines, but emphasized that there would be more public notification before the change goes into effect. Schwartz did not specify when the new fines would be implemented.

“We will put more out there,” Schwartz said. “People should not think today, all of a sudden, we flipped the switch.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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The Arlington County Board voted last night to approve tacking on an extra $200 to speeding tickets in certain residential neighborhoods.

Those hoping the fines will lead to people driving slower on residential streets will have to wait awhile for it to take effect, however.

The zones for the $200 additional fine have yet to be established and will only be created after county staff document speeding issues on a given segment of road. That documentation includes a data collection process and written confirmation from the police department that “speeding has been observed through enforcement activities.”

Only once that process concludes, and signs are posted on the street, will the speeding fine zone be established. More from a county staff report:

Once the evaluation concludes that a road segment is suitable for implementation of the “$200 Additional Speeding Fine Zone,” a “$200 Additional Speeding Fine” sign will be attached to the speed limit signs along the road segment to alert drivers of the posted speed limit and the additional penalty for speeding. A speeding citation issued within a “$200 Additional Speeding Fine Zone” is subject to this additional penalty.

County Board members touted the new ordinance as an example of Arlington getting “serious about pedestrian safety,” amid the county’s ongoing Vision Zero process.

More from a county press release:

The Arlington County Board today voted to establish a $200 additional speeding fine zone for residential neighborhoods that meet certain criteria. The move came in response to complaints from residents about speeding and pedestrian safety.

“Arlington is serious about pedestrian safety and serious about enforcing speeding laws,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “The Board is taking this action to help deter drivers from speeding down residential streets, endangering people who are walking, cycling and using scooters to get around.”

The Board voted unanimously to approve the ordinance change, adopting Virginia State Code 46.2-878.2. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 29 on the agenda for the Jan. 28, 2020 Recessed County Board Meeting.

The Chair noted that speeding fines are just one of many methods the County uses to make streets across Arlington safe for all who use them, including protected bike lanes; signage; traffic signals; enforcement campaigns, and the Vision Zero traffic safety strategy, adopted by the Board in July 2019.

How a road will be designated for the $200 additional fine

The Transportation Division of the County’s Department of Environmental Services will take speeding complaints and existing traffic data into consideration when deciding which residential streets should be considered for the additional fine.

To qualify for the designation, a road must be in a residential area; must be classified as a neighborhood principal, minor arterial or major arterial street on the County’s road classification map and must have a documented speeding issue. A documented speeding issue exists when the County has speed data, collected within five years from the day of the “$200 Additional Speeding Fine Zone” evaluation, showing speeding on the segment; there is a recorded traffic evaluation produced within five years from the day of the “$200 Additional Speeding fine Zone” evaluation, that includes speeding as one of the issues and the County has written confirmation from the Police Department that speeding has been observed through documented transportation safety activities.

Once a road is found to qualify, a “$200 Additional Speeding Fine” sign will be attached to the speed limit signs along the road to alert drivers.  The fine will be added to the current fine for speeding in a residential neighborhood, which is $6 for every mile-per-hour above the 25 miles-per-hour speed limit (plus the state-mandated $66 in court fees). The County Manager said staff will widely communicate the new fine.

Background

Imposition of the fine depends on the data-supported speeding confirmation. Any additional revenue generated by the additional fine will be added to the County’s Operational Budget.

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Morning Notes

Pentagon City Redevelopment on Pause — “Brookfield Properties has suspended plans to launch a major redevelopment of the Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters in Pentagon City once the federal agency moves to its new home in Springfield in mid- to late 2020… it’s a reflection of the new reality that Amazon’s HQ2 has created in the neighborhood.” [Washington Business Journal]

Vote on Add’l Speeding Fine This Weekend — “Currently, a ticket for going 10 mph over the speed limit in a residential zone is about $80. The additional fine would bring that ticket to $280. ‘People drive like maniacs around here. It’s about time they got some punishment,’ Arlington resident Jack Feegel said.” [NBC 4]

Arlington Resident Helps Return Lost Dog — “A lost dog was reunited with its owner thanks to a passing motorist, who noticed something unusual on their way to work, and a fellow driver farther along the road. Dashcam footage shows the unnamed motorist, from Arlington, Virginia, driving to their workplace in Silver Spring, Maryland, on January 13.” [Daily Mail]

ACFD Responds to Calls in Maryland — It’s rare for the Arlington County Fire Department to respond as mutual aid to an incident in Maryland, but it happened Wednesday morning, with several units dispatched to Prince George’s County. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington Tourism Tax May Be Made Permanent — “The Arlington County government looks ready to get a major present from the new Democratic majority in the General Assembly. The state Senate has passed and sent to the House of Delegates a measure that removes the sunset provision on Arlington’s authority to impose a 0.25-percent surcharge on hotel taxes to support tourism promotion.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: No Streetcar in Georgetown — “Plans to extend the DC Streetcar to Georgetown have been effectively scrapped. The District Department of Transportation is halting all work on the project ‘for the foreseeable future,’ according to documents submitted to the D.C. Council.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Rex Block

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Arlington County is taking steps that would allow it to impose a supplemental $200 fine for speeding on certain designated, residential streets.

The County Board will consider a request to advertise the addition of an “Additional Speeding Fine Zone” to its traffic ordinance at tomorrow’s Board meeting.

County staff said residents have asked for stricter speeding enforcement. If approved, traffic studies will need to be conducted to determine which roads have “documented speeding issues” and are thus eligible for the additional fines. Less than 20% of county streets are expected to qualify.

More details from portions of the county staff report:

The Code of Virginia allows localities to post signs for and enforce an additional $200 fine for speeding on residential streets which meet a certain criteria as stated below. Arlington County residents have asked for staff to implement these additional fines for multiple neighborhood street segments. […]

The “$200 Additional Speeding Fine Zone” targets Arlington County’s residential streets that carry relatively higher traffic volumes and have documented speeding issues. Arlington has approximately 88 centerline miles of arterial streets and neighborhood principal streets. They account for about 20% of total centerline miles owned by Arlington County. However, since data-supported speeding confirmation is required by the proposed criteria of this ordinance, the actual impact is expected to be less than 20% of County-owned streets. […]

The “$200 Additional Speeding Fine Zone” is an addition to the County’s full transportation safety toolbox and the Vision Zero initiative and does not replace the consideration and implementation of any other suitable tools.

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