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by Chris Teale September 8, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Metro is seeking feedback on proposed changes to numerous bus lines, including the plans for new Columbia Pike service as well as other services that run through Arlington County.

Under a series of proposed changes put forward for Metrobus in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, Metro has put forward a plan to “restructure” service on Columbia Pike, in keeping with Arlington’s transit plan for the Pike.

A so-called “Premium Transit Network” is planned for the Pike and is set to open next summer instead of the cancelled streetcar. It will offer limited-stop service and “new or enhanced connections between Crystal City, Pentagon City and Skyline City.”

The buses are set to have a unique look, have additional service in Arlington to keep up with demand and consolidate all current Metrobus routes — the 16A, 16B, 16G, 16H, 16J, 16K and 16P — under the new network.

Other proposed changes to bus lines that run through Arlington are:

  • 4A, 4B (Pershing Drive to Arlington Blvd)

Provide additional 4B trips in response to ridership, with the 4A operating only during weekday rush hours, with weekday midday and evening service eliminated. The county has proposed the 4A become a local ART bus route in FY 2020.

  • 7A, 7F (Lincolnia to North Fairlington)

Modify service to operate via Pentagon City between the Pentagon and Shirlington to serve Pentagon City. New timetables will reflect an increase in the time between buses of approximately five minutes to accommodate additional travel time between the Pentagon and Pentagon City.

  • 10E (Hunting Point to the Pentagon)

Eliminate 10E service to Rosslyn, and have the route operate between Pentagon and Hunting Point in Alexandria only.

  • 22A, 22B (Barcroft to South Fairlington)

Modify Route 22A to operate via Pentagon City between the Pentagon and Shirlington to serve Pentagon City.  New timetables would reflect an increase in the time between buses of approximately five minutes to accommodate additional travel time between the Pentagon and Pentagon City. Route 22B would be eliminated, with alternate service on Metrobus 22A and 22C.

  • Metroway

Service would be every eight minutes during rush hour between Pentagon City and the Braddock Road Metro station on all trips to better match Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines.

Per a Metro press release, there are several ways community members can have their say:

  • Complete an online survey.
  • Fill out a paper survey and drop it in collection boxes located near the fare gates at Metrorail stations closest to the impacted routes. There is no need to take multiple surveys.
  • Provide feedback to outreach staff September 6 – September 21, at designated times and locations on-board buses or at Metrorail stations.
  • Attend an open house Tuesday, September 26, 2017, beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by a public hearing from 6 – 7 p.m. Speaker registration is onsite only. Venue: Metro Headquarters Building (600 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001)

The deadline for providing feedback is 9 a.m. on Monday, October 2.

by Chris Teale August 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Arlington County is updating the section on bicycling in its Master Transportation Plan, and is asking residents to help shape how it should now look.

The Bicycle Element of the plan last received an update in 2008, and now staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the time is right for a revamp given the new “technologies, facilities and best practices” around bicycling. Staff said they will get feedback from a wide range of people, including those in civic associations and business organizations.

Currently, the plan looks to increase bicycle usage, make bicycling safer in the county, add to the network of bike trails and paths and integrate biking with other methods of transit.

“The wealth of expertise in our community, and among our County staff, will help us improve mobility, safety, comfort and convenience for bicyclists and make it even more attractive to ride a bicycle as a way of getting around for people of all ages and interests,” staff wrote.

Anyone can have their say at the monthly meetings of the Master Transportation Plan Bicycle Element Working Group, as well as via an online survey through September 22. Included in the survey is a question about what the county can do to encourage more bicycle riding, with the following answers offered as options.

  • Offer community bike rides.
  • Educate drivers.
  • Add more Bikeshare stations.
  • Add more bike parking.
  • Add more separated bike lanes.
  • Improve the condition/maintenance of the existing bike lanes and trails.
  • Educate bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Improve the connected bike network.
  • Add more wayfinding signs to help people find destinations.
  • Add more bicycle or multi-use trails.

County staff and working group members will also hold a series of meet and greet events at various locations, including today (Wednesday) at the Clarendon Metro station farmers market from 3-7 p.m.

There, residents can discuss the plan updates, take the survey and give feedback in person. Other meet and greets beyond tonight’s event are as follows:

The County Board is likely to carry out an initial review of the update at a work session in late fall. Afterward, county staff will begin community outreach on how to implement the new plan, and finding projects for new or improved bike facilities in the county. An updated plan is expected to be adopted in summer 2018.

by Chris Teale August 3, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Millennials in Arlington appear most concerned about adding more transit options, removing on-street parking and finding new locations for public meetings, at least according to a county-run online forum.

The findings come from the county’s Engage Arlington website, which launched a millennial-focused forum about county issues earlier this summer.

The forum is part of a wider push by the county to get more millennials involved in local government and civic life. Arlington was named the best city for millennials in the U.S. by the website Niche, with the millennial generation making up between 30-40 percent of the county’s population of just over 220,000.

The most popular suggestion on the forum — as determined by a Reddit-style up-voting system —  is to expand transit options in North Arlington, which has nine “likes.”

I’d love to embrace “Millennialism” and be car-free, but the inconsistency in transit options in parts of North Arlington is difficult — there is minimal bus service and a lack of bikeshare stations, even near Marymount University. Adding bikeshare locations along the northern portion of Glebe Road from Lee Highway up to Chain Bridge would be helpful in continuing to connect this area with other parts of the County!

Just below that is a proposal to remove on-street parking, to encourage more walking and biking in neighborhoods.

Along the major corridors we should remove subsidized on-street parking, to encourage walk-able and bike-able neighborhoods. Many of these on-street parking spots reduce visibility at cross walks and cause dooring and blocking situations for bike lanes, increasing danger and reducing foot traffic. Remove a few strategic parking spaces along the pike and Roslyn [sic] Ballston corridor and use that space to widen the sidewalks or add bike lanes.

Following that, two suggestions are tied for third with seven likes: requests to change the locations of public meetings to “places millennials frequent,” as opposed to always at community centers or schools, and to find a “transit solution” for Columbia Pike after the canceled streetcar project. (The Pike’s “Premium Transit Network” is set to launch next summer.)

A request to “figure out how to bring reasonably priced housing to Arlington” was among those with six up-votes.

A full list of suggestions and the number of likes they received, in parentheses, is below.

  • Expanding transit options (9)
  • Remove on-street parking (8)
  • Different public meeting locations (7)
  • A transit solution for Columbia Pike (7)
  • Reasonably priced housing market (6)
  • More multi-use properties (6)
  • Replacing the parking lot next to Whole Foods in Clarendon with a multi-story parking garage (6)
  • Affordable child care options (5)
  • More public art along Columbia Pike (5)
  • More programs for renters who want to be more energy efficient (4)
  • Programming for those aged 20-50 at county buildings (4)
  • Dedicated bike lane on Washington Blvd (4)
  • Engaging the county’s LGBTQ population (3)
  • Better advertisement of the county’s performing arts groups (2)
  • Expanding Arlington Alerts to include community news (2)
  • More transparent policing (2)
  • A dog park for Crystal City (2)
  • Bike paths on westbound Arlington Blvd (2)
  • A bridge on the Bluemont Trail at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive (1)
  • Add sidewalks to encourage more walking (1)
  • Reclaim some community centers to use as elementary schools (-1)

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Chris Teale July 27, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

A draft plan aims to build a clearer approach for county officials engaging Arlington residents on new projects.

Staff in the county’s Office of Communication and Public Engagement put together the plan over the past four months, with the goal of enhancing the engagement process, building more trust and getting a more diverse range of participants having their say.

They met with members of the community and took feedback on the public engagement process — sometimes referred to as the “Arlington Way” — particularly around new capital projects.

A survey is now open for county residents to share their concerns on how previous processes have gone and their priorities for how public engagement can be improved. Based on staff’s preliminary sessions with community leaders, concerns have been raised about communication around projects, how costs change and the impact on nearby neighbors and businesses.

That follows a number of instances in which residents complained about a botched engagement process for projects in their neighborhoods. Examples include opposition to new baseball and softball field at Bluemont Park, which was eventually built with little controversy after a compromise was reached, and stringent opposition to the proposed relocation of Fire Station 8, which was scrapped after neighbors of the current station and the proposed new site both spoke out against it and said they were “blindsided” by the plan.

As it stands now, the draft plan would develop a template for public engagement that would better lay out the details of a project early on while also identifying stakeholders like civic associations, residents and commissions.

Throughout, the county would look to use a range of tools to communicate “early and often” about a project, including on signs, its website, newsletters, emails and postcards among others. Staff would also make an effort to show how feedback from the community influenced a project, and show a wider range of opinions on a project, including when briefing the Arlington County Board.

The plan would also look to establish a “common set of ground rules” for in-person and online discussions, all to encourage “civil dialogue and respect.” An engagement boot camp is mooted for spring or summer next year for staff, civic associations and commissions.

To increase the diversity of participants that get involved in public dialogue about county projects, staff recommended partnering with organizations to engage with “hard to reach” communities, and establishing liaisons to help out. There will also be an effort to ensure diversity on county boards and commissions.

The new plan is scheduled to launch this fall.

by Chris Teale June 6, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

With the county’s Public Art Master Plan set for a revamp in the coming months, residents are being asked for their feedback on the various installations around Arlington.

Those interested can fill out an online survey, which includes questions on which current artworks people are familiar with; which they find memorable; and goals and approaches for public art.

The survey is open until 5 p.m. on June 19.

“Adopted in 2004, the PAMP outlines a strategy for how public art will improve the quality of Arlington’s public spaces and facilities,” the survey reads. “We invite you to help inform the update by filling out this questionnaire.”

The update is the plan’s first since 2004, and will look to take into account the findings from the 2016 Arlington Arts strategic planning process and other plans expected to be completed this year, including on public spaces, the Four Mile Run Valley and Lee Highway.

In addition to the questionnaire, public artist Graham Coreil-Allen has conducted a series of “County Wandering” walking tours to explore and reimagine local areas, while the county has a social media education campaign on public art using the hashtag #ARLPublicArt.

In recent years, the County Board approved the $1 million “Corridor of Light” public art project in Rosslyn, the installation of various pieces to the fence separating the Four Mile Run trail from the county’s sewage plant and a project by artist Linda Hesh for local people to say what the word “civic” means to them.

Other upcoming public art projects — which typically take several years to develop — include an installation at Columbia Pike’s western gateway, the design of the upcoming Nauck Town Square park, and a stainless steel sculpture that will be placed next to a new apartment building in Courthouse.

by ARLnow.com January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Happy New Year gear lying on a Clarendon sidewalk on a rainy day

Heavy Traffic, Metro Issues — Commuters were welcomed back to work and back to school with a soaking rush hour rain, heavy traffic and delays on Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines. [Washington Post, Twitter]

Are We In a Restaurant Bubble?At last count, more restaurants closed than opened in Arlington last year. There’s talk that certain parts of Arlington’s restaurant scene — sit-down restaurants in particular — are oversaturated. While there’s always room for top-notch restaurants, Arlington’s restaurant woes are seemingly consistent with the assertion that we are in a national restaurant bubble. [Thrillist]

Take Our 2017 Reader Survey — Once a year, we give our readers a chance to weigh in on how we’re doing and what we might do to improve. We also over-share potential changes that we’re considering (some more seriously than others). Now is your chance to share your insights and opinions about ARLnow. [SurveyMonkey]

by ARLnow.com April 4, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Herselle Milliken Park in Ashton Heights

Big Tree Down on Washington Blvd — A large tree fell across power lines on Washington Blvd just south of Virginia Hospital Center during Saturday night and Sunday morning’s windstorm. Washington Blvd was closed between George Mason Drive and N. Harrison Street for much of the day Sunday while Dominion crews repaired the lines. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photos: DCA Airport Strike — DCist has photos from last week’s 24 hour strike of contract service workers at Reagan National Airport. [DCist]

Arlington Signs on to Amicus Brief — Arlington was among more than 50 counties and cities that signed on to an amicus brief in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon emissions from power plants. [Columbia Law School, Twitter]

Capital Improvement Plan Survey — Through April 22, Arlington County is conducting an online survey of residents that will help guide decision-making during the upcoming Capital Improvement Plan process. The CIP helps to plan “major investments in parks, libraries, transportation, community centers, facilities, technology, water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure — along with other areas that support the community.” [Arlington County]

‘The Burbs Are Back’ in Office Leasing — Arlington and other suburban D.C. jurisdictions are showing a bit of strength in the office leasing market. “The suburbs accounted for 69.5 percent of Washington region’s leasing activity in the first quarter, up substantially from a 52.9 percent share in 2015, according to JLL’s quarterly market reports.” [Virginia Business]

TSA Move Delayed Until 2020 — The Transportation Security Administration will be staying put at its Pentagon City headquarters until at least 2020. The TSA had planned to move to Alexandria by 2018, but legal wrangling has delayed the move and forced the TSA to redo its leasing process. [Washington Business Journal]

PSA: Don’t Do This — Spotted in Clarendon: a young woman urinating while sitting on a bench along a busy street, at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com March 24, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

A newly-released survey on recreational needs in Arlington may help the case for building an aquatics and fitness facility at Long Bridge Park.

Arlington County scrapped plans to build a Long Bridge Aquatics Center in 2014, after construction bids on what was supposed to be a $79 million project came in well over budget. Since then, the county has sought public input on community recreation needs and considered partnering with the City of Alexandria on a facility.

The new survey asked about county-wide parks and recreation needs, as part of the update to the county’s Public Spaces Master Plan.

Survey respondents ranked a swimming pool and fitness equipment as the county’s two top indoor recreation needs. That corresponds to the county’s goals for a new indoor “Aquatic, Health and Fitness Facility” at Long Bridge Park.

Furthermore, the survey asked specifically about potential amenities at such a facility. Seventy percent of respondents said they had an interest in amenities at a Long Bridge Park facility, ranking their three “most important” amenities as:

  1. 50 meter pool,
  2. Health/fitness space with cardio/strength training
  3. Leisure pool with water slide, lazy river

County Board member Jay Fisette said he was “hopeful” the county could move forward on the Long Bridge Park facility.

“This seems to suggest to me that it validates the same or more interest in Long Bridge Park than we thought there was before,” he said. Fisette pointed out that in 2012 nearly two-thirds of Arlington residents approved a bond issue that was intended primarily to pay for the aquatics and fitness facility.

John Vihstadt, the lone non-Democrat on the Board, took a more restrained view.

“It really boils down to what sort of facilities and at what cost,” Vihstadt said. “I look forward to the discussion.”

Other survey findings include:

  • Hiking trails, natural areas and paved multi-use trails are the top outdoor recreation priorities
  • Nature, fitness and wellness programs, as well as special events and festivals, are the top parks and rec programming priorities
  • Most people would support food and beverage — including, potentially, alcohol — options in local parks and public plazas

The full county press release about the survey results, after the jump.
(more…)

by ARLnow.com March 22, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Daffodils on the edge of a patch of woods in Fairlinton

APS Considering Elementary Options — Arlington Public Schools is considering a number of options for increasing elementary school capacity in South Arlington. Among the options are moving current Patrick Henry Elementary students to a new building while moving Drew Model School Montessori students to the current Patrick Henry building. APS is also considering the construction of a new elementary school in Pentagon City. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Tornado Drill Today — At 9:45 a.m., Virginia will hold its annual springtime tornado drill. The Commonwealth experiences 15-20 tornados per year on average, usually between April and September. [Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management]

Local Startup Featured on MSNBC — Arlington-based moving crate startup ValueCrates was featured during a business segment on MSNBC over the weekend. [American Express]

2016 ARLnow Reader Survey — ARLnow.com is conducting our first annual reader survey. We’ve designed a survey that should take only 10 minutes to fill out, but could help ARLnow better serve the Arlington community for years to come. We would greatly appreciate your time in filling it out. [SurveyMonkey]

by ARLnow.com October 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm 0

County insights websiteArlington County wants to develop new online and smartphone-based services, but is first seeking feedback from the public.

Arlington has set up a text line and a new website to gather suggestions for digital tools that could “make it easier to communicate and do business with the County.” The website says the suggestion-gathering effort will wrap up by Nov. 15.

From a press release:

The County is always looking for new opportunities to engage its residents and gain their input on the issues that matter. Today, we’re launching a month long outreach effort to ask Arlingtonians what future mobile or online services they think would make it easier to communicate and do business with the County.

Participants should visit http://insights.arlingtonva.us or or send a text to 703-270-0070 to share their ideas for a new mobile or online service. Once we conclude the input period, we will gather the ideas, develop insights and then use the information as part of our overall decision making process. We’ll be sharing our findings with participants and others along the way.

by ARLnow.com September 16, 2015 at 9:10 am 1,520 0

D.C. sunrise, as seen from Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Brief Ebola Scare at EPA HQ — Hazmat and EMS teams were dispatched to the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Crystal City this morning for a possible Ebola patient. After an assessment by a doctor, it was determined that the patient — a man in his 50s — did not have the likely symptoms of Ebola.

Arlington Launches Startup Competition — Arlington County is partnering with the website Tech.Co to run a contest to attract new startups to Arlington. Starting today, startups can apply for the chance to receive three months of free work and living space, plus free legal advice and public transit funds. [Tech.Co, Arlington Economic Development]

Orange, Silver Line Delays — Inbound trains on the Orange and Silver lines are delayed due to a train with a door problem at the East Falls Church Metro station. [Twitter, Twitter]

Stolen Car Crashes in Fairlington — A stolen car crashed in a quiet Fairlington neighborhood early Tuesday morning, after fleeing from a traffic stop. The suspects fled the scene and police were unable to track them down. [Patch]

Arlington Artist Survey — Arlington Cultural Affairs is surveying local artists about their needs for space to create art. “We would like to understand the space requirements of artists so that we can optimize the use of our current facilities and plan for future growth… Arlington Cultural Affairs is working both internally and externally to ensure that Arlington’s cultural scene remains vibrant and engaging.” The survey deadline is Sept. 30. [Arlington Arts]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com August 5, 2015 at 9:00 am 2,711 0

Construction on the Central Place project in Rosslyn

Deal With Hospital Expected — Arlington County is expected to hold a public meeting next month to discuss a land deal with Virginia Hospital Center. The county is reportedly ready to sign a memorandum of understanding with the hospital for a five-acre, county-owned parcel of land adjacent to it, which would then allow the hospital to expand. Details of the deal were not yet available. [Washington Business Journal]

County History Survey — To help county leaders understand which aspects of local history are especially important to residents, Arlington is conducting an online survey, asking for “ideas on collecting, preserving, sharing our history.” An Arlington Historical Task Force will take the survey into account when presenting recommendations for historic preservation priorities later this year. [Arlington County, Preservation Arlington]

When the KKK Marched Through Arlington — In 1922 about 400 members of the Ku Klux Klan, including some prominent local citizens, marched through Arlington neighborhoods like Clarendon, Ballston, Cherrydale and Rosslyn. At the time, the Klan was a powerful organization that claimed 60,000 members in Northern Virginia, sponsored youth baseball teams and owned a field for cross burnings on what is now Ballston Common Mall. The Klan’s message was that of racism and intolerance, but it also advocated for law and order and against corruption in government and vices like drinking. [Falls Church News-Press, Our Redneck Past]

Theodore Roosevelt Island Profiled — USA Today has published a profile of Theodore Roosevelt Island, near Rosslyn. Included in the profile are notable facts about the island, including the fact that what now appears to be a natural forest was “clear-cut, trampled and even bombed by 1931.” [USA Today]

by ARLnow.com May 20, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,275 0

View of the Potomac and Roosevelt Island from Rosslyn

Survey Says: Resident Satisfaction High — Resident satisfaction with Arlington County is high, according to Arlington County. The county’s fourth Resident Satisfaction Survey, conducted by an outside research firm, suggested an 89 percent overall satisfaction rate with the quality of county services. “Just two percent of residents were dissatisfied with the overall quality of County services,” said a press release. One notable area for improvement: maintenance of county streets, with a satisfaction level of only 42 percent. [Arlington County]

Peak Memorial Day Traffic Expected Thursday — Contrary to conventional wisdom, the worst Memorial Day holiday traffic in the D.C. area will be Thursday evening, not Friday. According to an analysis of average travel speeds, drivers hoping to escape local holiday traffic should leave at night, around lunchtime Wednesday or Thursday, or Friday morning. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]

Split Board Approves Reeves Farmhouse Sale — The Arlington County Board voted 3-2 last night to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse. “The County worked with the community for six years to find a way to retain public ownership of the house, or to create a public-private partnership to restore the house and open it to the public, but we were unable to achieve such a partnership, and the cost of restoring the property and bringing it up to code for public use was prohibitively expensive,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. Much of the land around the house will remain publicly-owned. [Arlington County]

County to Outsource Volunteer Program — The County Board also last night voted 3-2 to outsource Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer management program. The county will now seek a nonprofit with which to form a public-private partnership. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com April 24, 2015 at 8:45 am 2,706 0

Dark clouds over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

ACPD Patrolling Trails — Auxiliary officers with the Arlington County Police Department will be increasingly patrolling trails around the county this spring, to help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe. [InsideNova]

Arlington Transit Survey — Arlington County is conducting an online survey of residents as part of its update of Arlington’s Transit Development Plan. The 10-year-plan is intended to identify transit goals and prioritize improvements. This latest update will include recommendations for future transit on Columbia Pike. [SurveyMonkey]

Blue Goose Mostly Torn DownDemolition of the above-ground portion of the Blue Goose building in Ballston in nearly complete. [Twitter]

Forums Shut Down — Due to an influx of uncontrollable spam and an unresolvable technical glitch with the latest version of WordPress, ARLnow.com has made the decision to shut down our message board indefinitely. Thank you to our forum participants for four years of vigorous community discussion.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com March 24, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,854 0

Early spring in Westover Village

Advocates Decry Proposed Bike Cut — An optional budget cut floated by Arlington County Manger Barbara Donnellan in her proposed FY 2015-2016 budget is attracting some push back from cyclists. Donnellan said the County Board should consider a $800,000 cut in funds for the county’s BikeArlington program if it wants to make additional cuts beyond her base budget. Bike advocates say the cut “would be a huge mistake.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Condo Fence Mowed Down — A car ran through the fence of a condominium complex next to Long Branch Elementary School Sunday evening. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Resident Survey to Be Mailed — Arlington County is planning to mail its fourth resident survey to 3,600 randomly selected residents. “This survey will help us find out how we’re doing across many different service areas – and also pinpoint where we need to improve,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement. [Arlington County]

Custis Trail Added to Beer Guide — A guide intended to show D.C. area cyclists where they can grab craft brews near local trails has added Arlington’s Custis Trail to its directory. [Bikeable Brews]

A-SPAN To Help Meet Homeless Goals — Arlington County has signed on to a pair of ambitious goals: to house all homeless veterans in the community by the end of 2015 and end chronic homelessness by 2016. The Arlington Street People’s Network, the nonprofit organization that will be running Arlington’s soon-to-open year-round homeless shelter, is preparing to do its part to help achieve those goals. [InsideNova]

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