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Drivers have been blocking a new PBL in search of the perfect PSL.

Last November, as part of a 2022 Complete Streets project, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services replaced two parking spots with a protected bike lane, or “PBL,” on the east side of Clarendon Blvd. It also added new free, 15-minute parking spots at N. Danville Street, to accommodate those who would have used the two former spots when picking up their coffee order from the nearby Starbucks.

“All those legally parked automobiles are actually protecting bikers who are using the bike lane to the right,” noted DES spokesman Peter Golkin.

But illegally parked vehicles caused a different problem. Flouting a no-parking sign, cars — and even a county pickup truck — parked where the spots used to be, partially or completely blocking the bike lane. Local cyclist Jeff Hopp said he saw cars blocking the bike lane “all day, every day,” to access the Starbucks location across the street from the Whole Foods.

“In the area near Starbucks, [the county] created a hazard to cyclists instead of a safe PBL,” he said. “The county removed two parking spaces in the area when creating the PBL but the design of the PBL at this spot allows for drivers to drive into and park in the PBL while they ‘run in’ to Starbucks to grab their drinks.”

Public feedback helped guide the designs, Golkin says, but in response to the reality on the ground, the county recently made it harder to park there.

“Extra bollards were added this month to make such an abuse less tempting and to encourage drivers to look for the free and pay spaces just a few feet down the road,” Golkin said.

Hopp, who had notified the county about the issue, says he appreciates the changes.

“I feel the county was responsive to a conversation about a solution and, in the end, I feel they made the right decision to install additional bollards around the edges,” he said. “With these additional bollards, vehicles will not have enough room to pull into the PBL in this area — unless drivers just mow them down, which I’ll bet has happened before.”

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Employees at the Courthouse Starbucks went on strike in November (staff photo)

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A major rally is being planned for later this week in front of the county government headquarters, in a show of solidarity with recently-unionized Starbucks employees.

The president of the AFL-CIO and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) are both expected to attend, among others.

The rally is one of ten across the county, organized as part of a National Day of Action by Starbucks Workers United. It’s set for this Friday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. outside of the Bozman Government Center at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.

Workers at the nearby Courthouse Starbucks who voted to unionize last month and went on strike a week later.

Organizers say Liz Shuler the president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the country, will be there and speaking. Plus, a number of state and local elected officials are planning to attend, including Beyer, State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30), and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D- 49).

Several County Board members are also expected to attend, including Christian Dorsey, Matt de Ferranti, and Takis Karantonis.

Speeches are planned from Shuler, Beyer, and several regional union leaders — including Arlington and Fairfax County teachers union presidents, who will say they will be rejecting Starbucks gift cards as holiday presents for this year in protest.

This “Day of Action” is also meant to ask Starbucks to stop “bullying” unionized employees and to highlight its workers’ right to organize.

“The purpose of the Day of Action is for the entire community to tell Starbucks to stop its union-busting and respect its workers’ right to organize,” says a press release.

Dec. 9 marks the one-year anniversary of the first Starbucks union election victory in Buffalo, New York. Since then more than 260 stores have voted to unionize, involving more than 7,000 workers.

Over the last year, the coffee behemoth has been hit with hundreds of unfair labor practice charges, including retaliatory firings, closing union stores, and withholding benefits from employees. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is investigating more than 300 of these accusations.

On Nov. 9, Starbucks employees at the Courthouse Plaza location voted to unionize and join Starbucks Workers United. It was the second D.C.-area Starbucks to do so. Union members told ARLnow at the time they were seeking better pay, more consistent hours, and uniformly enforced rules and regulations.

Employees went on strike shortly thereafter.

“Starbucks has been dragging its feet coming to the negotiation table,” employee and union member Sam Dukore said at the time. “And even when they do, their lawyers stand up after like a minute and a half or so and just leave. And that is not negotiating in good faith.”

Since the strike several weeks ago, “the company is still not coming to the bargaining table” a union spokesperson told ARLnow.

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(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) The employees at the Courthouse Starbucks have gone on strike, days after unionizing.

The reason for the strike, per Starbucks employee and union member Samuel Dukore, is that the company is not negotiating “in good faith” when it comes to a contract.

“Starbucks has been dragging its feet coming to the negotiation table,” Dukore told ARLnow, outside of the Starbucks at Courthouse Plaza, near county government headquarters. “And even when they do, their lawyers stand up after like a minute and a half or so and just leave. And that is not negotiating in good faith.”

Unionized employees are asking for better pay, more staffing, and more concern over the health and safety of workers.

It appears that the employees are among the more than 1,000 Starbucks employees that have reportedly gone on strike today, on one of the company’s busiest days.

Earlier this month, on Election Day, Courthouse employees voted to become the third D.C.-area Starbucks to unionize (behind one in D.C. and in Merrifield) and the first in Arlington. The employees have joined Starbucks Workers United.

The Starbucks in Courthouse Plaza remains open. It currently appeared well-staffed with un-unionized employees and managers, and a greeter at the door welcoming customers.

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(Updated, 5:30 p.m.) Yesterday was an election day as well for employees at the Starbucks in Courthouse Plaza, who voted to become the second D.C.-area location of the coffee giant to unionize.

Workers at a local Starbucks won their election to form a union, as first reported by Washington Post reporter Lauren Kaori Gurley. The employees are organizing with and joining Starbucks Workers United.

Arlington Democrats congratulated employees at the Starbucks in Courthouse at 2200 Clarendon Blvd for winning their union election.

Samuel Dukore, a member of the union and a shift supervisor at the Courthouse Starbucks, told ARLnow that he and his colleagues unionized for better pay, more consistent hours, and uniformly enforced rules and regulations.

This marks the 260th Starbucks nationwide to unionize but only the second one in the D.C. area. The other unionized Starbucks is on P Street in the District, which just voted to form its union last month.

As for what’s next, Dukore he would like to see Starbucks come to the bargaining table to “negotiate in good faith” with the union for a contract.

Over the summer, employees at Union Kitchen in Ballston also voted to form a union joining others at Union Kitchen locations across the region. The National Labor Board determined that Union Kitchen management violated a number of labor laws and engaged in illegal union-busting tactics while workers sought to unionize, as DCist first reported earlier today.

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Tis the season for peppermint mochas and Santa photos.

Starbucks, famous for its ubiquity in Arlington, is bringing back its festive cups and holiday season beverages tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 3), the company announced today.

The 2022 Starbucks offerings include Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Irish Cream Cold Brew and Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, in addition to bakery items like Reindeer Cake Pop, Sugar Plum Cheese Danish, Cranberry Bliss Bar and Snowman Cookie.

Meanwhile, Santa Claus is coming to town — sooner than you might expect.

Santa is set to start snapping photos with children at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City on Friday, Nov. 18, according to the mall’s website. Santa will be stationed on the first level of the mall near Nordstrom.

In addition to the daily photo ops, a special “Caring Santa” session for children with special needs is scheduled for Dec. 4 and pet photos with Santa is set for Dec. 11. Santa will also be hosting two breakfasts with kids at the adjacent Ritz-Carlton hotel on Dec. 3 and 17.

Reservations for the Pentagon City mall photo sessions can be made online.

Jolly Ol’ St. Nick will be arriving at the Ballston Quarter mall a bit later than his Pentagon City counterpart. Ballston’s Santa is set to start taking photos with kids on Dec. 3 and reservations can also be made online.

If you’re really jonesing for Father Christmas, there’s an even earlier option than the two in Arlington. Tysons Corner Center mall announced yesterday that Santa will be returning there next week, on Friday, Nov. 11.

Once you pick up your seasonal Starbucks tomorrow, to get in the holiday spirit — despite this week’s relatively warm weather — you might head over to the Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) ice skating rink. The rink officially opened to the public yesterday. As of early this afternoon, no skaters could be seen on the ice.

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Starbucks store at 5515 Lee Highway, prior to opening (staff photo)

Good news for coffee lovers who enjoy not taking extra steps to get their caffeine fix: Arlington’s lone drive-thru Starbucks is only closed temporarily.

The cafe at 5515 Langston Blvd, which opened less than three years ago in a former bank, recently closed and was removed from the Starbucks website and app. But the closure is for renovations, the company tells us.

“As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate our store portfolio, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers,” a Starbucks spokesperson wrote in response to an inquiry from ARLnow. “We are happy to confirm that our store at 5515 Langston Blvd. in Arlington, VA is undergoing a standard renovation, and will reopen on October 10.”

Oct. 10 is next Monday.

“The store will reopen with an updated drive-thru to improve customer experience at the store,” the spokesperson added.

Those reading the tea leaves (or coffee beans) may take that to mean that Starbucks is addressing some of the long drive-thru lines that snake around the stand-alone store’s parking lot and sometimes extend out onto the street.

Starbucks will soon no longer have the vehicularly-accessible coffee market cornered in North Arlington, however. Compass Coffee is planning to open a drive-thru location, also in a former bank building and also along Langston Blvd.

Compass originally hoped to open its 4710 Langston Blvd location this summer but work is still ongoing and an opening date has not been announced.

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You’ll have to walk an extra block to get your pumpkin spice fix in Rosslyn this afternoon.

The standalone Starbucks store on N. Oak Street has been evacuated after reports of elevated carbon monoxide levels in the building. Firefighters are working to determine the source of the apparent leak and Washington Gas crews are on the way to the scene.

So far there have no reports of significant illness as a result of the CO leak.

Drivers should expect some slowdowns in the area due to fire department activity, though that should start thinning out soon. Police blocked a portion of N. Oak Street during the investigation.

For those on the hunt for pumpkin-flavored coffee and baked goods on this first day of September, there’s good news: another Starbucks is located across the street in the Safeway grocery store.

Firefighters are currently working to ventilate the building, which is technically located at 1501 17th Street N.

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Another week, another stretch of temperatures in the 90s and heat indexes near 100.

It’s been a hot and humid summer in Arlington and the D.C. area. With a predicted high of 93, today will likely be the 41st day with the temperature over 90 (the yearly average is 40).

Yet, the outward signs of fall are there: Oktoberfest beers at the grocery store, football on the television, the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte today at Starbucks.

(For what it’s worth, the “PSL” arrived a day earlier than last year and a full week earlier than four years ago.)

https://twitter.com/Starbucks/status/1430152993278627844

ARLnow readers have told us they consider the fall equinox in the latter half of September to be the “real start of fall” in Arlington, as opposed to Labor Day, the first day of September, or the debut of the sweet pumpkin-y goodness at Starbucks. But with a premium put on outdoor activity during the pandemic, maybe this year locals are mentally prepared for an earlier start of fall.

Given the sweltering temperatures, cicadas, itch mites and heavy rains, are you suffering summer fatigue? Would you trade the remaining four weeks of summer for a changeover to cooler and crisper weather? Let’s find out.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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The Penrose Square Starbucks was officially dedicated as the company’s 77th “Military Family Store” yesterday (April 14).

The coffee chain’s Military Family Stores are located across the country and are placed near military bases; in this case the store is only about a mile from Joint Base Myer-Henderson and the Pentagon. The Starbucks at 2413 Columbia Pike is currently the only such store in Arlington, though there’s another one in Fairfax County near Fort Belvoir.

Starbucks Military Family Stores emphasize helping military families with connections and support by holding events and programs. They also play a larger role in the company’s commitment of hiring 5,000 veterans and military spouses annually.

A Starbucks representative tells ARLnow that three of the employees at the Penrose Square store are veterans or military spouses.

As part of the dedication, Starbucks, in partnership with Operation Gratitude, hosted a service project outside the cafe to assemble 500 care packages for military families in Arlington and at other local bases. The care package included handwritten letters of support, handmade paracord bracelets, snacks, candy, and personal care items.

“Military service members and their families across Arlington County can look at this store right here in their own community and know that they are better understood and appreciated,” said Paul Cucinotta, Chief Operating Officer of Operation Gratitude, in the press release.

Arlington police officers and firefighters were among those volunteering to assemble the care packages.

“The Arlington County Police Department has previously been the recipient of Operation Gratitude and are honored to now have the opportunity to pay it forward through service that supports veterans and military families,” ACPD spokesperson Ashley Savage told ARLnow. “By filling these care packages, we hope to show our appreciation for the men and women who bravely served our country and the sacrifices of military families.”

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

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The doors are closed, the lights are off, and all the interior decorations and furniture are gone: Cosi (1801 N. Lynn Street) in Rosslyn is closed.

The fast-casual restaurant chain build on flatbread sandwiches had several closures — of locations in Crystal City, Virginia Square and Ballston — early last year when the company filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving the Rosslyn location as the last D.C. area location on this side of the Potomac River.

A Cosi employee confirmed that the Rosslyn location was closed, but said a D.C. location would still serve Arlington for catering orders. It’s unclear when exactly the eatery closed, but reviews of the location were still being posted as recently as a month ago.

The Starbucks up the block at 1735 N. Lynn Street, meanwhile, will also close soon. A sign in the window says the location’s last day will be Friday, Jan. 29.

“We would like to thank you for being part of our store community; you are the heart of who we are at Starbucks,” a sign written by the store managers said. “It has been a great pleasure to connect with you every day. We are thankful to have played a role in your daily routine and that you have shared these moments of your life with us.”

An existing, standalone Starbucks at 1501 17th Street N. in Rosslyn will remain open, the sign says.

Restaurants in Rosslyn have been hit hard by the pandemic, which greatly thinned out the previously bountiful lunchtime crowds from the neighborhood’s office buildings and hotels. Up the hill from the Cosi and the closing Starbucks, Tom Yum District and Subway also recently closed.

More than two dozen restaurants have closed in Arlington since the last March, when the first local coronavirus cases were reported.

Hat tip to Kevin C.

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The Starbucks at Penrose Square is closed due to an employee testing positive for coronavirus.

The coffee shop at 2413 Columbia Pike closed over the weekend and is not expected to reopen until Wednesday, a Starbucks representative confirmed Monday afternoon.

“We recently learned that a partner (employee) at the store received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19,” company spokesman Jory Mendes tells ARLnow. “As soon as we learned of the diagnosis, we quickly activated our protocols, closed the store and initiated a deep clean (which has already taken place) following all recommended guidelines from public health authorities.”

“The respective partner and all other partners that were determined to have been in close contact with them are currently self-isolating – all partners affected will be compensated for the time they will miss during the recommended 14 days of self-isolation,” Mendes added. “The store is planned to re-open this Wednesday, 7/22 with partners who were not in close contact with the infected individual.”

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