(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) A two-vehicle collision flattened a traffic signal and caused some traffic disruptions on Lee Highway this afternoon.
The crash happened between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m., on Lee Highway between Spout Run and the I-66 overpass. An SUV and a commercial van were involved in the wreck, which knocked over a traffic light in the median.
“One car was coming from the 66 off ramp and the other was driving on Lee Highway,” a witness told ARLnow.com.
Police on scene believe the slick roads may have been a factor. So far, no injuries have been reported. Police are remaining on scene while tow crews prepare to haul away the vehicles.
The county’s traffic engineering department has been notified of the damaged signal. According to officers, the signal that was knocked down will not significantly affect the intersection’s safety, and no officers will be needed to help with traffic flow.
Blue, Orange, Silver Lines Suspended — Metrorail service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines was suspended during the morning rush hour due to a water main break in D.C. Those in Arlington hoping to get to work via Uber were being charged four times the normal rate, thanks to the company’s “surge pricing” practices. An Arlington Alert, meanwhile, contained an oddly appropriate typo — it noted that service was suspended at “Farragut Wet” due to the water main break. [Washington Post]
Board: Traffic Light Coming in 18 Months — The Arlington County Board had good news for activists at its Saturday meeting: the traffic light they’re seeking at Columbia Pike and S. Frederick Street is coming. The bad news is that it could take up to 18 months. Board member Walter Tejada said that is “too long” and “we have to find a way to make it happen.” [InsideNova]
Zoning Change Advertised for Wendy’s Redevelopment — The County Board on Saturday voted to advertise a potential zoning change for 2026 and 2038 Wilson Blvd, the current site of the Wendy’s restaurant in Courthouse, which is slated for a redevelopment. Developer Carr Properties wants to build a 12-story office building on the site. Public hearings will now be held in advance of Board consideration of the rezoning request. [Arlington County]
Arlington Book Store Wins Grant — East Falls Church bookstore One More Page Books has won a $9,000 grant from novelist James Patterson. The store plans to use the grant to launch a “bookmobile” — a modified food truck that sells books around the community. [Washington Post]
The Columbia Forest Civic Association, Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (V.O.I.C.E.) and residents of the Carlyle House and Columbia Grove apartments have joined together to support the petition. They plan to be in attendance on Saturday morning to present the petition to the Arlington County Board.
A V.O.I.C.E. press release cites police data saying there have been 33 collisions at the intersection over the past five years, including four involving pedestrians and one involving a cyclist.
“A pedestrian-activated flashing yellow light was installed here several years ago but has proven inadequate as many drivers simply ignore it,” the press release states. “Many schoolchildren, seniors, and commuters need to cross here on foot every morning and afternoon. Cars pass through the intersection from 9 lanes and abutting driveways, and drivers attempting left turns are forced to protrude into the lanes. Even for careful drivers it is impossible to navigate safely.”
The petition has 219 signatures from residents of the neighborhood, and the petition says the traffic light now has the support of the county’s transportation staff and the intersection meets state traffic standards for a signal.
“All that remains is for the County Board to agree to expedite the release of the funding necessary — estimated at roughly $400,000 — to have the light installed,” according to the release.
Photo via Google Maps
Update at 10:00 a.m. — VDOT says the change has been postponed: “Please note this new pattern has been postponed until January due to additional signal work. A new date for the shift will be announced soon.”
A new traffic pattern will be in effect at the under-construction Columbia Pike and Washington Boulevard interchange
VDOT says drivers heading eastbound on the Pike will now have a different way of getting to northbound I-395 (toward the District). Now, instead of bearing right after the light at S. Quinn Street, drivers will need to wait to turn left at the light, onto a new ramp to Washington Boulevard.
Those heading to southbound I-395 will still bear right onto the ramp after S. Quinn Street.
“Work to complete the switch will take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday,” VDOT said in a press release. “Message signs will be in place to notify drivers of the new traffic pattern.”
“This new access is part of the $51.5 million project to replace the Washington Boulevard bridge over Columbia Pike,” the press release continued. “The project will be complete in summer 2015.”
As part of the project, the new bridge over Columbia Pike opened last month.
The seven cameras initially were scheduled to be installed in April. At that time, ARLnow.com inquired about the cameras and learned that there would be a 60 day delay. Now, we’re told the new cameras should be operational by the fall.
“We’ve come across a couple of different hurdles and it’s definitely extending our timelines. The plans the county was supposed to have didn’t come through and a private company had to come in. Some information that was needed was not on the plans provided, so they had to go to survey to get the information,” said Red Light Camera Administrator Officer Caroline Allen with the Arlington County Police Department. “Unfortunately, it’s not as smooth as we hoped it would be to get these cameras out.”
The seven traffic cameras will monitor five intersections shown to have high rates of red light violations. There will be two at Columbia Pike and Glebe Road monitoring eastbound and westbound Columbia Pike, two at Jefferson Davis Highway and S. 23rd Street monitoring northbound and southbound Jefferson Davis Highway, one at Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive monitoring eastbound Columbia Pike, one at Lee Highway and George Mason Drive monitoring westbound Lee Highway and one at Washington Blvd and Glebe Road monitoring northbound Glebe Road.
The first two cameras to be installed — those at Jefferson Davis Highway and S. 23rd — could potentially be in by July if all goes well. The remaining five are estimated to be operational by September.
“We’re still waiting on VDOT approval, then we can go ahead with setting up construction plans,” Officer Allen said.
A study released in January examined the red light cameras installed in Arlington in 2010, and found a decrease in violations at those intersections.
“You can clearly see in the videos that people are running red lights. There are some very close calls,” said Officer Allen. “It’s making an impact just based on the reductions in violations. The number has gone down dramatically.”
Intersections are chosen based on surveys examining the rates of red light violations, the number of accidents, pedestrian safety and the safety of police officers trying to apprehend violators at the intersections.
“It’s defnitely a safety aspect,” said Officer Allen. “Those [intersections] selected are not safe for drivers, not safe for pedestrians, not safe for officers trying to enforce those intersections.”
The standard one month warning period will apply for those caught running red lights at the intersections with the new cameras. After that time, violators will be ticketed.
Once the new cameras are installed, there will be another survey to examine which intersections should potentially receive red light cameras next year.
As of 10:15 this morning, only 997 Dominion customers were without power in Arlington, compared to more than 5,000 around the same time yesterday and more than 18,000 at the height of Superstorm Sandy.
Last night, Arlington officials reported that there were no dark traffic lights in the county. Six intersections were using generators to keep the signals functioning, however. There were about 20 non-functioning traffic signals the morning after the storm.
As of 5:30 last night, about 18 streets were still blocked or partially blocked by down trees, but county crews were working to clear the debris, according to a county media update.
Dominion says crews will be working on power lines and equipment at the following Arlington locations today:
- N. Henderson Rd & N. 3rd St
- S. 7th St & Buchanan
- Arlington Ridge Rd & S. 28th St
- Columbia Pike & S Buchanan St
- N 15th St & N Vermont St
- N Inglewood St & 17th St N
- 1st Rd & N Irving St
- N Quinn St & N 12th St
- N Stuart St & N 25th St
- N Underwood St & N 25th St
- N Nelson St & N 10th St
- S 5th St & S Aberdeen St
- S Chesterfield Rd south of Four Mile Run
- S. Glebe Rd. & S 9th St.
- Williamsburg Blvd & N Edison St
- Wilson Blvd & N Randolph St
Flickr pool photo by Afagen
More than 1,500 Dominion customers are reported to be without power this morning in Arlington.
The outage appears to be centered around the northwest corner of Arlington, near the border with the City of Falls Church. A number of readers have been reporting power outages and dark traffic lights along Lee Highway.
Among the traffic signals without power are those at the intersections of Lee Highway and N. Harrison Street and Lee Higway and N. Sycamore Street. The Overlee pool is closed due to the power outage, according to the pool’s Twitter account.
Dominion trucks are reported to be in the area, working to restore power.
(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) At least 150 Dominion customers are reported to be without power in parts of South Arlington this afternoon.
Some traffic signals are dark along the eastern end of Columbia Pike as a result of the outage. Police have set up cones at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce street, preventing traffic on both roads from making left turns.
It’s unclear what caused the outage or when exactly power might be restored.
As of 2:30 p.m, there were 3,960 Dominion customers in Arlington without power. That’s down from 15,654 as of 10:00 yesterday (Tuesday) morning. Dominion says it’s a day ahead of its storm restoration target.
“Service for virtually all customers in Northern Virginia and the Richmond metro area who lost electric service because of the storms should be restored by Friday night,” the company said.
“We have more than 5,000 employees, retirees, contractors and utility crews from 18 states and Canada who will continue to work straight through the July 4th holiday and will not stop until we get the lights back on for everyone,” said Rodney Blevins, Dominion vice president of Electric Distribution Operations, in a statement.
Arlington County, meanwhile, said this morning that 17 County roads remain blocked following the storms. Crews are working through today’s holiday to clear road of downed trees and debris. The county said that two trees came down on roads last night, and cautioned residents to be aware of damaged trees and tree limbs, which can still pose a danger.
Four county intersections are without functioning traffic signals, while five traffic signals are on generator power.
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Qunicy Street) is open until 9:00 tonight for residents who want to seek relief from the heat (or read a book).
Flickr pool photo by alvesfamily
Arlington County says it is making good progress in its continued storm recovery efforts. The county released some updated facts and figures today regarding the storm cleanup.
- 10 county intersections are still without functioning traffic signals, down from 96 immediately after the storm.
- 18 county streets are currently blocked by fallen trees and debris, down from a peak of 45 after the storm.
- County crews have collected more than 395 tons of storm-related debris.
- Tree limbs and other plant debris is being turned into mulch.
- Nine county crews are out collecting brush today.
- Power and air conditioning has been restored the Culpepper Garden senior living center. Dominion had been asked to prioritize power restoration to the facility.
- 911 is now accessible by cell phone, but landline callers are being asked to call the non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
- While those who can’t reach emergency dispatchers via phone are being asked to report the emergency at the nearest fire station, only one such incident has been reported. One person went to a fire station to report a grease fire at the Harris Teeter grocery store on Glebe Road.
- Regular trash and recycling pickup was completed yesterday, except where streets were blocked due to downed power lines.
- “Hundreds” of trees are down in parks, along with other plant debris. Park-goers are asked to “please use caution in County parks, outdoor facilities and trails.”
- Long Branch Nature Center is expected to “remain closed for several more days.”
Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil
A pedestrian walk signal at the intersection somehow caught on fire around 11:30 this morning. The fire was minor and eventually burned itself out, but not before passersby caught sight of smoke coming from the signal. As a result of the fire, power was temporarily cut to all traffic signals at the intersection.
As of 12:10 p.m., the lights were operating on battery power and blinking red. Police were on scene assisting with traffic control.
Arlington County has been working on various ways to help residents prepare for an emergency, to get information during an emergency, and to evacuate in the event of a major emergency.
In the video above, county officials discuss several initiatives, including the Arlington Prepares smartphone app, Arlington Alert emails and text messages, and permanent electronic message signs that will eventually be installed along Route 50 and other major local roads.
Also discussed: the county’s state-of-the-art traffic management center, which can adjust the timing of Arlington 282 traffic signals in the event of a weather emergency or an evacuation.
One light went in this week on southbound Glebe Road at N. 9th Street, and another on the northbound side at N. Vermont Street. According to the Department of Environmental Services, it was part of a site plan development with the new construction on the west side of Glebe Road.
New buildings in the area, including the recently opened residences at The Jordan and the Virginia Tech Research Center building, which houses commercial tenants such as The Greene Turtle, have brought additional pedestrian traffic. It’s expected to increase even more once the office building at 800 N. Glebe is completed.
DES spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel says that’s why it was necessary to put in traffic lights, to establish a safe pedestrian connection between the new construction on the west side of Glebe and the businesses and Ballston Metro station on the east side.
Currently, the lights are still covered up. If all goes according to plan, they should be turned on by the end of the month.
(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) The long-awaited unveiling of the new traffic signals on Wilson Boulevard at N. Pollard Street should be happening soon. In fact, they should be working before the start of the weekend.
The lights were installed a couple of months ago, but have remained covered up. Concerned about pedestrian safety, some residents have been emailing ARLnow.com to ask when the lights would begin functioning. One reader compared crossing the intersection to maneuvering through a video game.
“Too many people play ‘Frogger’ at night trying to go to and from the Gold’s Gym,” the reader wrote.
Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel said the county’s installation of the lights has been completed, and Dominion Virginia Power just needs to supply electricity. Dominion tells us the lights should be turned on either today or tomorrow, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Today a crew was at the intersection repairing the sidewalk that had been torn up to install the lights.
The traffic light sat the busy Clarendon intersection of Washington Boulevard, 10th Street and Fillmore Street is expected to remain dark throughout the morning rush hour following a car accident Thursday night.
Around 7:15 last night a car hopped the curb and took out the traffic signal control box near the Virginia ABC store. One minor injury was reported.
Arlington County crews have been working throughout the night to replace the traffic signal hardware, but the lights are not expected to come back on until after the morning rush hour. Police have set up cones in the intersection in order to keep traffic flowing in an orderly manner.