Crews will pre-treat the Washington & Old Dominion Trail for the first time this winter when accumulating snow or ice is in the weather forecast.
Officials behind the 45-mile paved trail between Shirlington and Purcellville announced the change in a series of tweets last week.
When snow or ice is in the forecast, crews will pre-treat the trail “in Arlington heading west.” The change comes after discussions with staff from Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, who have been pre-treating trails for at least the past few years.
The Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority, which is responsible for the trail, purchased a tanker trailer to do the pre-treating, which will likely involve putting salt down hours before snow or ice is due to hit. NOVA Parks will continue to use its snow blowers to clear the paths.
“The pre-treatment working in tandem with our snow blowers should help reduce trail down time so to speak with snow & ice on the trail,” the trail’s Twitter account tweeted.
The new regime may be needed later this week. The Capital Weather Gang reports that there will be a “decisive flip to cold,” which may bring snow flurries.
Hi Chris, thank you for your interest in the W&OD. Starting this winter we'll be pre-treating the trail in Arlington heading westward when snow/ice is in the forecast. We've talked with Arlington about snow removal best practices and Arlington County staff have pre-treated……
— The W&OD Trail (@WODTrail) December 1, 2017
….their trail system in winter for some time. After researching suitable equipment and allocating the necessary funds we've purchased a tanker trailer that can hopefully do the job for us. The pre-treatment working in tandem with our snow blowers should help reduce trail……
— The W&OD Trail (@WODTrail) December 1, 2017
….down time so to speak with snow & ice on the trail. In the meantime enjoy these warm sunny days on the W&OD!😀
— The W&OD Trail (@WODTrail) December 1, 2017
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Construction to expand a federal training facility has closed a walking trail near Alcova Heights Park.
The trail between 6th Street S. and S. Quincy Street closed permanently yesterday for construction on the State Department’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center (4000 Arlington Blvd).
NFATC trains members of the nation’s foreign service, and is seeking to expand its campus in Arlington to include a new training and classroom facility, childcare center and other buildings. The project is expected to be completed in October 2018.
As planned, the expansion would extend the perimeter fence farther south, and, in the process, swallow up a pedestrian path that connects George Mason Drive and S. Quincy Street.
Starting today, the trail between 6th St S and Quincy St S will be closed for construction at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. More Details: https://t.co/RfRqGCfD81 pic.twitter.com/C5Zu2EpRGs
— BikeArlington (@BikeArlington) November 13, 2017
The decision to close the path came under fire earlier this year from local residents, who signed a petition to try to save it. At the time, critics said pedestrians would be deprived of a way to walk from one end of the Alcova Heights neighborhood to another.
The petition was signed by more than 130 people and urged the General Services Administration, which is responsible for the project, to “build a perimeter trail connecting 3rd St. S to the existing trail at Quincy at 6th St. S,” among other demands.
A man was found dead Sunday morning near the Four Mile Run bike trail and the intersection of S. Glebe and W. Glebe roads.
The bike trail is heavily used by those connecting from Shirlington and the W&OD Trail to the Mt. Vernon Trail that runs along the Potomac River. Arlington County Police are investigating the death but do not currently believe it to be suspicious.
“At approximately 11:40 a.m. on October 15, police responded to the area of S. Glebe at West Glebe Road for the report of a deceased male located near the bike trail,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The police department is conducting an active death investigation and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine cause of death.”
“The preliminary investigation does not lead us to consider this death suspicious,” Savage continued. “This appears to be an isolated incident and there is no threat to the community.”
— Jeff (@NoWayProducts) October 15, 2017
Arlington County is set to add a new section of bicycle and pedestrian trail along Washington Blvd.
The Arlington County Board is scheduled this weekend to consider a plan for the second phase of the trail, running north along Washington Blvd from Towers Park — near Columbia Pike — to 2nd Street S. It will then link with the first phase of the trail along Washington Blvd, between Arlington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive.
The project proposes to construct a 10-foot wide paved trail on the western side of Washington Blvd. The trail will be mostly located in the road’s existing right-of-way, but also runs through the U.S. Navy Supply Facility (701 S. Courthouse Road) and Towers Park.
County staff moved the northern section of the trail onto the shoulder of Washington Blvd to reduce the need to build retaining walls and reduce the number of trees to be cut down. Under the current plan, about 84 trees would be removed and as many as 160 replanted after the project is complete.
“The project will serve as a valuable link in the overall trail network as it provides a north-south trail between the Columbia Pike (Towers Park) area and the Arlington Blvd Trail,” county staff wrote in a report endorsing the plan. “Recent improvements to the trails along Arlington Blvd will now be more accessible via this new Washington Blvd trail.”
In a letter to the County Board on September 6, Penrose Neighborhood Association president Maria “Pete” Durgan said members “wholeheartedly support” the project.
The county budgeted just over $2.1 million for the project, with just over $420,000 as contingent in case of change orders. Construction is expected to begin this winter and wrap up late next year.
Walkers, joggers and cyclists soon will have to take a detour on the Four Mile Run Trail as Arlington County works to revitalize the path and the stream that borders it.
Work on the Arlington side of Four Mile Run between Mt. Vernon Avenue and Route 1 tentatively is scheduled to begin tomorrow (Sept. 20) and last until next fall, according to a county notice. During construction, the path in that area will close.
Trail users can take a detour through Alexandria across the stream. Signage on the path will provide directions.
The pathway will get new asphalt and railings, as well as a new observation platform. As for the stream, the county’s notice adds:
The work in the stream will include naturalization of the stream bank and construction of living shoreline features along the edge of the stream. Living shorelines are a more environmentally sensitive way to protect stream banks and coastal areas, with wetland plantings behind small stone breakwaters. They provide numerous benefits including:
- reducing erosion along the bank,
- improving water quality by capturing sediment and utilizing nutrients, and
- providing habitat for fish and waterfowl.
The existing stone rip rap that currently covers the stream banks will be removed and replaced with native vegetation that will improve the habitat quality and aesthetics of the stream channel. Some of the stone will also be reused to create the living shoreline features.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the restoration project is slated for Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m. near Mt. Vernon Avenue and S. Glebe Road.
Arlington County Police are trying to figure out who is responsible for a series of racist and homophobic graffiti along the Bluemont Junction Trail and around the Boulevard Manor neighborhood.
The graffiti was first spotted last night along the trail, with the N-word and the F-word spray-painted on the trail and other graffiti on rocks and on a trampoline at a nearby property, according to scanner traffic. It was reported that a group of teenagers was responsible for the graffiti, but police were unable to locate the group at the time.
This morning, more graffiti was found around the Boulevard Manor neighborhood, immediately west of the trail.
“At approximately 5:30 a.m., an unknown suspect(s) vandalized numerous items in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood of Arlington,” wrote Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The vandalism included destruction of property and graffiti.”
“This series is similar to the vandalism on the Bluemont trail yesterday and detectives are investigating whether or not these are linked,” Savage told ARLnow.com. “The graffiti included various derogatory terms to include swastikas, N-word and homosexual slangs. This is an ongoing and active investigation and will include determining if this could be a hate crime.”
The vandalism was widespread around the neighborhood, including properties on the following streets, according to police.
- 6000 block of 4th Street N.
- 100 block N. Nottingham Street
- Unit block of N. Montague Street (at Washington Blvd)
- 500 block of N. Montague Street
- 400 block N. Lombardy
- 200 block of N. Nottingham Street
- 500 block of N. Lombardy Street
Along the Bluemont trail, neighbors said the vandals damaged the trail and some neighborhood landmarks.
“I’ve lived here for 40-something years and when I saw the blue on the rocks down here, these rocks have been there forever,” said Debbie Cowell. “If I saw somebody doing it, I definitely would have said something.”
“I have no idea who did it, my guess is kids,” said William Pearson. “A couple years ago this wouldn’t have happened. I think because of the influx of families, my guess it that it’s teenagers being teenagers.”
Additional reporting and photos by Adrian Cruz and Jackie Friedman.
Shark Tank Casting in Crystal City — ABC’s “Shark Tank” is holding a casting call today at the 1776 incubator in Crystal City. “Applicants will have roughly 90 seconds to make their initial pitches to casting producers, with about three minutes for a Q&A portion.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Man Is Suspected Serial Bank Robber — Police have identified a serial bank robbery suspect who was arrested Friday in Falls Church as 42-year-old Arlington resident Amin Huie. Police say Huie is the “Forever Loyal Bandit” who has robbed seven banks since 2014, including a Capital One Bank on Columbia Pike last year. [Fairfax County PD, WJLA]
More on Garvey’s Win — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey’s “unorthodox, controversial” strategy of appealing to non-Democrats in the Democratic primary is “likely to alter future campaigns,” writes Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey, in an analysis of Garvey’s decisive primary win last night. [InsideNova]
Repairs to Westover Branch Library — Work to repair water damage and install new windows at the Westover Branch Library will take place from mid-July to late September. The library will remain open during that time. [Arlington Public Library]
County Touts Increase in Trail Usage — “After a week of single tracking along the Orange/Silver Line between Ballston and East Falls Church, automated counters in the County’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor show an increase of between 70 and 90 percent in bike ridership from the same period last year. Capital BikeShare use in Arlington is up between 20 and 50 percent.” [Arlington County]
Washington Blvd Trail Design Approved — The Penrose Neighborhood Association voted to endorse a new design for Phase II of the county’s Washington Blvd Trail project. The trail was originally supposed to be built a few years ago, but residents objected to the loss of trees the trail’s path would have necessitated. [Greater Greater Washington]
Anti-Gun Store Car Towed — Opponents of the planned Lyon Park gun store say the store’s landlord ordered a car towed from the parking lot because it was covered in anti-gun store literature. Despite being covered in the articles, which were held in place by colorful magnets, the car actually belonged to one of the building’s tenants and wasn’t parked illegally, says the group Act4LyonPark. [Facebook]
Female Firefighters in Arlington — In 1974, Judith Livers became the first paid, full-time municipal firefighter in the United States when she took a job with the Arlington County Fire Department. On Friday, a graduation ceremony was held for the county’s latest firefighting recruit class. Continuing Livers’ legacy, four of the 14-member class are female. Nationally, only about 4 percent of firefighters are women, while 9 percent of Arlington’s firefighters are female. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
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]
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
Route 50 Trail Proposed — The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has proposed connecting existing trail infrastructure along Route 50 to create a contiguous trail between the National Mall and Fairfax City. The potential project faces a number of challenges, including its estimated $40 million price tag. [Greater Greater Washington]
‘Arlington Archive’ to Be Studied — Arlington County will assemble a task force that will spend all of 2015 trying to figure out a plan for the county to preserve its history with a digital “Arlington Archive.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Chris
The trail connecting Doctor’s Run Park and S. George Mason Drive to Randolph Elementary School is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
The project, funded with Neighborhood Conservation money, will realign the trail that runs between the park and the school, widening it and decreasing its slopes in several areas, according to its county project page. The trail will be lit until 6:00 p.m. to coincide with Randolph’s after school programs.
The new trail will also connect with the 12th Street S. bike boulevard that goes from street to trail at S. Quincy Street. When complete, county Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager David Goodman told ARLnow.com a HAWK signal will be installed at the intersection of George Mason Drive and 13th Street, where the trail connector meets the road. The improvements will also include a pedestrian
“There are some improvements we’re doing on either end of this connector that are going to tie this all together,” Goodman told ARLnow.com.
Arlington is moving forward with a bike trail along Washington Blvd and has moved the placement of the trail to save trees.
The trail is expected to cost about $1.7 million, according to county Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel, but it has not been put out to bid yet. The trail has been approved and in planning stages for years, but its initial path would have necessitated digging up hundreds of mature trees.
This Saturday, the Arlington County Board is likely to approve a realignment of the trail to put it closer to Towers Park and S. Rolfe Street, north of Columbia Pike. If approved, the county would pay $8,000 to the federal government to acquire the easement for the trail. The trail will then be put out to bid. Construction is expected to begin next year and end by summer 2015.
Phase I of the trail has already been built, between Route 50 and S. Walter Reed Drive, according to the county staff report. The trail segment in question would run from Walter Reed Drive to S. Rolfe Street and Columbia Pike. The trail is being built to “provide a new opportunity for persons in the southeastern part of Arlington to bicycle, walk or run on a route apart from motor vehicle traffic,” according to the staff report.
Waiting for approvals from the Virginia Department of Transportation has delayed the project, McDaniel said. VDOT controls the space adjacent to Washington Blvd where a large part of the trail will be built.
The project was approved by the Arlington County Board in the 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Program. It will include a sidewalk and provide cyclists and pedestrians access from the Columbia Pike area to Pentagon City, according to county Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Manager David Goodman.
“It was originally envisioned as a trail, but ultimately it has more value as an emergency access drive that also allows pedestrian and bicycle activity,” Goodman told ARLnow.com. “Its purpose is to provide an escape valve for getting emergency vehicles between the two sides of I-395. There really aren’t any other connections there.”
The CIP calls for the project to begin the planning phase in FY 2020, and for construction to occur in FY 2022 and 2023. The total project cost is estimated at $5.2 million, and the CIP calls for it to be paid for with state transportation funds. Goodman, who is leading the project, said the $5.2 million is a “back-of-napkin” estimate because there has been no preliminary engineering work done, but it’s possible it will cost less.
The approval in the CIP is the first concrete step toward building the path since the county received the easement for a 30-foot-wide stretch of property along the golf course in 2010. The easement was granted in exchange for zoning approval for a new clubhouse. At the time, members of the country club filed a lawsuit against the club’s leadership trying to block the path from being built.
The road will require a retaining wall because it will be at “a very steep grade,” Goodman said. It will likely have safety bollards on the entrances to block civilian motorist traffic from entering, but allowing the flow of cyclists and pedestrians.
“It’s a very steep and narrow piece of land we were given,” he said. “It’s just a leftover piece of land they were never going to use… Retaining walls are always expensive. We were asked to work with the easement we were given.”
(Updated at 7:50 p.m.) The effects of last week’s winter storm were felt by one group of commuters for days following the last snowflake.
The inconvenience of traveling in the cold and sometimes icy conditions proved not only difficult for those traveling by car, but also for local cyclists. At Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting, resident Gillian Burgess expressed her concerns about clearing bike trails after snow storms occur in the area.
“We only have one car, and we have lots of bikes,” Burgess said. “Unfortunately, it’s not safe to take most of these bikes onto the trails in the state that they’re in. So I leave the car with my kids because I want them to be the safest, and instead I’m left with the choice of biking on very busy streets that are not safe.”
“My husband and I first moved to Arlington years ago because we wanted to live the car-light lifestyle,” she continued. “Now we have two kids and one car, and we love it. And most of the time we love mostly biking and walking around Arlington. Unfortunately after it snows we don’t have that luxury. We have found that both after the storm in December and currently, trails do not get cleared.”
According to county Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel, the county does not have dedicated resources for clearing ice and snow from its shared-use trails.
“Staff have been collaborating this past year to find a viable solution to clear these trails,” McDaniel said in an email. “The Department of Parks and Recreation has made an effort to handle snow clearing on trails after addressing other priorities such as snow clearing for several County buildings, routes to schools and Metro rail stations, as well as assisting in the clearing of streets and walkways at other locations.”
Board Chairman Jay Fisette agreed that the county has encouraged walking and biking to get around — the “car-free diet” — and he said Burgess’ concerns were understandable.
“We have heard over time, increasingly the question about bike trails — and it’s a natural one because we’re promoting walking and cycling,” he said. “It makes complete sense that we [are getting] more questions from those who have drunk the Kool-Aid and participate in that culture and maybe even got rid of that car so that they can bike and walk and use transit more frequently.”
Tim Kelley, the marketing manager for Bike Arlington, wrote in Bike Arlington’s forums that the county’s 25 bike counters on its shared-use trails register “a big dip in usage during and in the days following a big snow storm.”
Fisette, who mentioned he is a cyclist himself, remains “unresolved” on the issue.
“I have probably the full range of questions about this as anyone would, you know, about resources, about prioritization, about effectiveness and the environmental impact,” Fisette said. “So I would just say that from my perspective, to have some sort of coherent input from [County Manager Barbara Donnellan] thinking about… what the options are for Board consideration might make sense.”
Ethan Rothstein contributed to this report. Photo (top) via Bike Arlington.
Officials at Joint Base Ft. Myer-Henderson Hall announced last week that yesterday, Monday, the trail, which runs from the Old Post Chapel to McNair Road’s intersection with Marshall Drive, would be closed.
The trail is closing to accommodate the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery with its “Millennium Project.” Besides the closure of the trail, more than 700 trees are set to be removed for the cemetery expansion, a plan that rankled local activists when the expansion was discussed in March.
The $82 million expansion is expected to add in-ground and above ground burial locations, columbarium space, committal shelters and infrastructure to support it. It will take over a parcel of undeveloped land next to Ft. Myer. The expansion is needed, according to cemetery officials, because the cemetery could run out of burial space within 12 years.
A new jogging path to replace the closed one is expected to be constructed after the project’s completion in spring 2016.
Photo via Google Maps