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by ARLnow.com — July 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm 0

It appears that the threat of Memorial Bridge closing by 2021 due to deterioration and neglect has been averted.

The Northern Virginia and D.C. congressional delegation announced today that a proposed Memorial Bridge restoration project has been awarded a $90 million federal transportation grant.

“While additional federal resources will be needed to complete this $250 million project, this funding will allow [the National Park Service] to move forward with planning and contracting immediately so that construction can begin early next year,” lawmakers said in a joint statement (see press release, below.)

“This is a wonderful step forward,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) told ARLnow.com shortly after the announcement Tuesday afternoon. “It is certainly enough to get started, enough for the people who drive over that bridge every day to feel like the government can actually work and we can actually respond to some of the most important infrastructure projects.”

Beyer said the National Park Service, which is responsible for maintaining the bridge, has committed $50 million for the project. Another $30 million is in the works from a U.S. Senate appropriations bill, Beyer said, thanks to Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

(While it connects Virginia and D.C., Memorial Bridge is technically located entirely within the boundary of the District of Columbia, which begins at the western shoreline of the Potomac River.)

Built in 1932, Memorial Bridge is well past its 75-year life expectancy, yet it is a vital, heavily-traveled link between the District and Virginia. That it has taken such a concerted effort to arrange financing for an extremely necessary project is symptomatic of both congressional gridlock and the current, deteriorated state of transportation infrastructure throughout the United States.

“It’s taken a lot mostly because there are so many infrastructure projects around the country,” Beyer said. “But I think we were ultimately effective in saying closing down the major route between the north and the south in Virginia and D.C. would be a disaster for the country and certainly a disaster for the effectiveness of the federal government.”

“We still have to get the other 80 million or so… once the project is rolling we have all the credibility we need to get the rest of the money,” Beyer added. “Now all we have to do is get Metro all fixed and we will be happy campers.”

The full press release on the grant funding, from Sen. Warner’s office, is below.

Congressional representatives from Virginia and the District of Columbia today announced that the National Park Service (NPS), jointly with the District Department of Transportation, has been awarded a $90 million FASTLANE Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for repairs to Arlington Memorial Bridge, which carries 68,000 vehicles daily. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly and Barbara Comstock jointly issued the following statement:

“We are very pleased to announce that the Department of Transportation has selected Arlington Memorial Bridge to receive a $90 million FASTLANE grant. While additional federal resources will be needed to complete this $250 million project, this funding will allow NPS to move forward with planning and contracting immediately so that construction can begin early next year. This significant federal investment will go a long way towards ensuring that Memorial Bridge remains open, which is welcome news for the region’s commuters.”

“We are proud that the entire National Capital Region delegation worked together to make sure that the National Park Service submitted a strong application for this FASTLANE Grant. This would not have been possible without the crucial support of Mayor Bowser and the District Department of Transportation.”

“The congressional delegation looks forward to working with all local jurisdictions and our colleagues in Congress to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to fully repair the Bridge and keep this 84-year-old icon of American infrastructure standing strong.”

Today’s funding announcement will go toward Phase 1 of the reconstruction of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. The Memorial Bridge, which was originally built in 1932, has exceeded its 75-year design life and is structurally deficient, having never undergone a major rehabilitation. It is currently posted with a 10-ton load limit and buses are prohibited from crossing. Without a major overhaul, the project will be closed to vehicular traffic in 2021. Phase 1 will focus on the approach spans, which are the most in need of repairs, at a total cost of $166 million. Completion of Phase 1 will allow the bridge to remain open until 2030 while additional actions are taken to complete Phase 2, the reconstruction of main bascule span.

Closing the Memorial Bridge would cost local governments a projected $168,000 per day ($75 million per year) in transportation outlays alone, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Transit studies suggest that traffic from the bridge would spill over onto other area bridges, particularly the 14th Street Bridge and Roosevelt Bridge.

In April, the congressional delegation wrote to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to endorse the FASTLANE application. Last month, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined NPS on a tour for a firsthand look at the rapidly deteriorating state of Memorial Bridge.

by ARLnow.com — April 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm 0

Arlington National Cemetery will brief Arlington residents next week on its plan to expand around the Air Force Memorial and realign the eastern end of Columbia Pike.

The “scoping meeting” is being held at the Sheraton hotel at 900 S. Orme Street from 5-9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27.

The cemetery, which recently embarked on another expansion project, says it needs “additional space that is contiguous with the existing cemetery in order to maintain future operations beyond 2037.” It is planning a land swap with Arlington County and VDOT that will create burial space on either side of the Air Force Memorial, including on the former Navy Annex site.

“The cemetery has been working with the owners and operators of the adjacent road network, Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation, to pursue a roadway realignment and land exchange agreement that will also support the short- and long-term multimodal transportation system for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Arlington County,” the cemetery said in a press release.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on an environmental assessment ahead of the project.

“The Environmental Assessment will evaluate the proposal to increase the cemetery’s contiguous acreage, realign roadways, and maximize burial space by utilizing an area adjacent to the existing cemetery (formerly known as the Navy Annex site) located south of the existing cemetery,” said the press release.

The Corps of Engineers has set up a web page to provide information about the project. The event next week will allow residents “to learn more about and provide comments on the proposed project.”

A new 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is also planned in conjunction with the project.

by Jennifer Currier — January 19, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

32nd Street (via Google Maps)The small street connecting S. Eads Street and Route 1 in Crystal City will permanently close at the end of next week to make way for an upgraded Arlington Rapid Transit (ART) bus facility.

On Friday, Jan. 29, 32nd Street will close. The tiny road is between two existing ART bus parking lots at 3201 and 3175 S. Eads Street. The combined pieces of land will create the new site for the bus facility.

The County Board approved the $14.2 million project in May, and construction began in September. When complete, the new facility will include a two-story building, a bus wash bay, a light maintenance bay, storage, parking and four compressed natural gas fueling stations.

The decision to close 32nd Street was approved at the same meeting as the new ART facility approval. In a report for that item, county staff determined “the Abandoned Street is no longer needed to provide public access from Jefferson Davis Highway to South Eads Street.”

The next closest street connecting S. Eads Street to Route 1 is via S. Glebe Road, which is approximately 0.2 miles south of the construction site.

Construction on the new ART facility is scheduled to take about 18 months and is expected to be completed in 2017.

Photo via Google Maps

by Jennifer Currier — November 9, 2015 at 11:15 am 0

Taxicabs in Courthouse, protesting Uber (file photo)

The Arlington County Board is considering amendments to the County Code’s section on taxicabs that would raise taxi fares and surcharges.

The proposed amendments include raising the initial charge on all taxi trips from $2.75 to $3 and raising the mileage and waiting charge from $0.35 to $0.36 for every one-sixth of a mile or 56 seconds.

The amendments also include a new $25 cleaning fee, “to be imposed when passengers dirty or foul a cab such that it needs to be removed from service for cleaning.”

One surcharge will be removed under the proposed changes: a special $2 fee for handling footlockers — small trunks often used by members of the military. The report from county staff notes that no other local jurisdiction charges such a fee.

At its meeting this coming Saturday, the Board could authorize advertisement of these changes, which would then be discussed and voted upon next month.

That meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12. If the Board votes to approve the amendments, they are expected to be placed in effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

About this time last year, the Board approved licenses for 60 wheelchair-accessible taxis, bringing the total number of licensed taxis in the county to 847.

Saturday’s meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the Board Room at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. This month’s regular meeting was also extended to a third day due to the large number of agenda items, with recessed meetings scheduled for next Tuesday and Thursday.

File photo

by Heather Mongilio — September 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Car2Go at the Village of Shirlington (courtesy photo)(Updated at 9:10 a.m.) Car2Go’s trip to Arlington has been delayed.

The car-sharing service will now arrive in October, said Car2Go spokesman Brad Ducey.

Car2Go planned to launch last Saturday, Sept. 19, with a fleet of 200 new vehicles that would unlock using the Car2Go smartphone app. Due to production delays, the new cars are not ready, Ducey said.

“We’re committed to bringing one-way car sharing to Arlington as soon as possible, so in the meantime, we’ll launch in Arlington next month with classic Car2Go vehicles,” he said.

To start and end a trip with a “classic” car, users tap their membership cards to the front windshield or unlock it with a smartphone app. Upgraded cars that are managed using a smartphone app, have an upgrade navigation system and phone charging cables are expected to roll out at a later time, Ducey said.

Members can locate or reserve a car online or by using the Car2Go smartphone app.

Once Car2Go arrives in Arlington, members will be able to start and end trips in the Arlington “home area,” which does not include the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery or Reagan National Airport.

Car2Go costs $0.41 plus tax per minute of driving, with maximums of $14.99 plus tax per hour and $84.99 plus tax per day. Trips that start in Arlington must end in the county — cross-jurisdiction trips that end in D.C., which also offers Car2Go service, are not currently supported. To end a trip, users just park the car in any county-metered parking spot or on a residential street.

“Arlington has shown an increasing appetite for more flexible and convenient mobility options, such as bike sharing and the Metro’s new Silver Line, and we’ve heard consistent requests to add Car2Go to the mix,” said Car2Go D.C. General Manager Adam Johnson in a statement last month. “We’re excited to make Car2Go an important part of the evolving transit landscape in Arlington, enhancing existing transit options and offering residents greater choice and flexibility in their day-to-day lives.”

by Heather Mongilio — August 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,628 0

Car2Go at the Village of Shirlington (courtesy photo)(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) Car-sharing company Car2Go is coming to Arlington this September with a fleet of 200 cars.

Starting Saturday, Sept. 19, people will be able to rent Car2Go vehicles for trips that start and end Arlington, Car2Go’s latest “home area.” The Arlington area does not include Reagan National Airport, the Pentagon or Arlington National Cemetery.

“Arlington has been at the forefront of expanding and improving transportation options, and our new year-long demonstration study with Car2Go is another opportunity to show residents, workers and visitors how easy it is to travel without owning a car,” Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach said in a statement.

To celebrate the car-sharing service’s arrival in Arlington, Car2Go is offering membership registration for $10 and 30 minutes of free driving time if new customers use the code DRIVE703.

“With access to a network of 200 Smart Fortwo vehicles, Arlington residents, workers and visitors will be able to experience a true complement to existing transportation options as they move throughout the city,” the company said in a statement.

car2go in Arlington (via car2go)

Car2Go costs $0.41 plus tax per minute, with $14.99 plus tax per hour and $84.99 plus tax per day maximums. A $1 “driver protection fee” is also added for each trip. Gas, parking and insurance are free in the “home area.”

To find a Car2Go, Arlington users can use the Car2Go website, app or call the company’s customer service line. Users tap their membership cards to a card reader on the front windshield to start and end a trip.

Once the Arlington users are done, they can park the car at any county metered space or on any residential street in Arlington. While users can drive outside of the county, cars borrowed in Arlington must be returned in Arlington. When parking, users must follow Arlington parking rules.

There are currently 1,200 Arlington Car2Go members, according to the company.

“Arlington has shown an increasing appetite for more flexible and convenient mobility options, such as bikesharing and the Metro’s new Silver Line, and we’ve heard consistent requests to add Car2Go to the mix,” said Car2Go D.C. General Manager Adam Johnson. “We’re excited to make Car2Go an important part of the evolving transit landscape in Arlington, enhancing existing transit options and offering residents greater choice and flexibility in their day-to-day lives.”

Car2Go first came to the Washington area in 2012, when it launched in the District.

“Car2Go gets Arlington going: Arlington is a city rife with energy and innovation, and here’s an innovation that fits the active, always on the go Arlington lifestyle,” says Car2Go’s website.

by ARLnow.com — August 17, 2015 at 9:20 am 1,616 0

A weather station in Fairlington

Arlington No. 1 in Public Transit to D.C. — Among suburban D.C. counties, Arlington has the highest percentage of commuters who travel to the District via public transit. In Arlington, 53 percent of D.C. commuters take public transit, while 36 percent drive alone and 8 percent carpool. Montgomery County was second, with 43 precent of D.C. commuters taking public transit. [WTOP]

Vihstadt Campaign Website Hacked? — County Board member John Vihstadt’s campaign website has apparently been hacked by online porn purveyors and its homepage now displays a profane message. That message is also visible when you search for “John Vihstadt” on Google. Vihstadt was elected to a four year term last November and won’t be up for reelection until 2018. [Twitter – NOT SAFE FOR WORK]

County Ranked Top 50 Event Destination — Arlington County has been ranked No. 36 on a list of the top 50 U.S. localities for meetings and events. The District ranked No. 6 and National Harbor ranked No. 35 on the list, from event software provider Cvent. The ranking “reflects Arlington’s appeal as a vibrant urban destination in the heart of the nation’s capital – one that offers the convenience of downtown D.C. with hotel rates averaging up to 20 percent less,” a county official said. [Arlington County]

Columbia Pike Parking Mishap — A car ran partially over an embankment in a shopping center parking lot at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street on Sunday evening. [Twitter]

Pike Photography Book — “Living Diversity: The Columbia Pike Documentary Project,” has been published by the University of Virginia Press. The book “is the extraordinary result of a team of five insightful and highly skilled photographers and interviewers portraying the contemporary life of people and sites along the exceptionally ethnically-diverse and rapidly-changing Columbia Pike corridor.” The hardcover version is selling for $39.95 on Amazon. [Preservation Arlington]

by Heather Mongilio — June 29, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Arlington County might have a tech-driven answer for commuters looking to save money and help the environment.

Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) and D.C.-based tech firm Conveyal have developed CarFreeAtoZ, a new website that help commuters plan their trip to areas around Northern Virginia and the D.C. area by looking at the different transit options available including Metro, buses, driving, Capital Bikeshare and personal cycling.

CarFreeAtoZ screen shot“Arlington is really thought of as the leader in public transportation in the country,” said Paul Mackie, the communications director at Mobility Lab, the research arm of ACCS.

CarFreeAtoZ plans trips in a manner similar to Google Maps or Mapquest, but it combines different transit options, such as walking, using the Metro and biking. The website is mobile friendly, so users can pull it up on their phones while on the go.

“It’s got more modes than any brand of app,” Mackie said.

Users plug in their current location’s address, the address of where they want to go and the time they’re planning to leave, and then the website calculates the different travel methods. At the moment, the users need to have the exact address as the website cannot find places such as the U.S. Capitol or a specific Metro station.

Commuters can sort the different travel methods by total time, total cost, calories and walking distance. They can also see the cumulative estimated benefits of making the trip via a non-car method on a yearly basis.

For instance, CarFreeAtoZ recommends biking from Fairlington to Rosslyn, estimating that it would save $3,242 plus result in 21 lbs of potential weight loss and a gain of 138 hours of “productive time.” The bike trip takes 36 minutes during the morning rush hour, compared to 18 minutes via car or 43 minutes via transit.

“It actually ranks what would be best for you,” Mackie said.

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — May 12, 2015 at 10:00 am 1,517 0

The ART bus facility on S. Eads Street (photo via Google Maps)This Saturday, the Arlington County Board could take a large step toward solving one of its pressing issues: transportation facility space.

The County Board will vote on a $14.2 million contract to build a new facility to store and maintain is Arlington Rapid Transit (ART) buses on S. Eads Street in Crystal City, right next to the current bus facility already there.

The site, at 3201 and 3175 S. Eads Street, would include a two-story building, a bus wash bay, a light maintenance bay, storage and parking and four compressed natural gas fueling stations.

“Services currently provided by ART are limited by a size-constrained storage facility that provides no capability for on-site fueling or light vehicle maintenance,” the staff report reads. “The construction of the ART Bus Facility will improve transit facilities, reduce costs, and increase utilization of mass transit services in the County, and assist with the integration of transit facilities into surrounding communities.”

In a separate County Board agenda item, county staff proposes to eliminate 32nd Street S. between Jefferson Davis Highway and S. Eads Street, which would allow two existing ART bus lots to be connected. The county has purchased, or already owns, the land on either side of the street, and transportation staff has determined “the Abandoned Street is no longer needed to provide public access from Jefferson Davis Highway to South Eads Street.”

The total cost of the new facility is estimated at $17.6 million, $5 million more than the county had budgeted in the 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Plan. County staff said that discrepancy was caused by a revised site concept with added capability for maintenance and fueling, roadway improvements to Route 1 and S. Eads Street and the increasing price of construction materials in the region.

The county plans on covering the funding gap using $1.3 million in state funding and $3.7 million through a rebalancing of ART budgets and dipping into contingency funds.

Once approved and built, the new facility is expected to save the county $57,000 a year thanks to ART buses no longer needing to use a nearby WMATA fueling and washing facility.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — April 23, 2015 at 9:00 am 2,492 0

Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike in the spring (photo courtesy @TheBeltWalk)

Police Answer Resident Questions About Murder — Arlington County Police held a community meeting in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood last night to answer questions about the murder of Bonnie Black. Police said that Black was stabbed in the chest and neck. Officers have been conducting extra patrols but police say no immediate danger to the community. Meanwhile, it was revealed that police are searching the home of Black’s estranged husband, who so far is not being named as a suspect. [MyFoxDC, WTOP]

Judge Considering Deaf Inmate’s Suit — A federal court judge is considering testimony in the lawsuit against the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office by a deaf inmate who says he was denied access to an American Sign Language interpreter during a jail stay last year. [Associated Press]

TDM For APS Teachers — Arlington County has launched the first transportation demand management (TDM) program in the U.S. for public school faculty and staff. The program is “aimed at reducing the drive-alone rate of the more than 5,000 employees of Arlington Public Schools (APS), one of the top employers in the county.” [Mobility Lab]

No ‘Bells and Whistles’ for Lubber Run — Arlington County is in the early stages of a plan to renovate the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive), but the officials are already tamping down any expectations of gold-plated features. “We’re not going to build everyone’s wish list,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes on Tuesday. A community forum about the renovation project is scheduled for next Wednesday at 6:30 at the community center. [InsideNova]

Arlington Native Named People’s ‘Most Beautiful’ — Actress Sandra Bullock, a 1982 graduate of Washington-Lee High School, has been named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman of 2015. [Patch]

Photo courtesy @TheBeltWalk

by Ethan Rothstein — October 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm 1,448 0

Road construction in ClarendonArlington County could soon be getting an influx of state transportation dollars in the tens of millions.

The Arlington County Board will vote on Saturday to apply to the Virginia Department of Transportation for $4.2 million in funds to help complete seven transportation projects. In addition, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority is ready to reimburse the county for four transportation projects worth a combined $18.8 million.

The Board is expected to request $4.215 million in matching funds from VDOT for the following projects:

  • $1.45 million for rehabilitation of the Shirlington Road bridge over Four Mile Run
  • $800,000 for reconfiguration of the Boundary Channel Drive/I-395 interchange
  • $530,000 for sidewalks and bike lanes on S. Walter Reed Drive from Arlington Mill Drive to Four Mile Run Drive over Four Mile Run (with a $591,000 local match)
  • $245,000 for sidewalks on N. Carlin Springs Road from Edison Street to Vermont Street
  • $500,000 for reconstruction of the intersections of Arlington Ridge Road at S. Lang and S. Lynn Streets (with a $595,000 local match)
  • $235,000 for sidewalk and crossing improvements to Pershing Drive between N. Barton and N. Piedmont Streets (with a $245,000 local match)
  • $455,000 for sidewalk and crossing improvements to Military Road from Nellie Custis Drive to 38th Street N.

The NVTA, which manages the allocation of funds from last year’s HB2313 transportation funding bill, already approved the four projects for which Arlington will receive funding, but NVTA spokeswoman Kala Quintana that the project agreements have recently been reached, and the authority is finally reading to start “mailing some checks.”

The four projects: $12 million toward the Columbia Pike Multimodal Project; $4.3 million for the Boundary Channel Drive interchange; $1.5 million for significant improvements to the Crystal City Multimodal Center on 18th Street S. between Bell and Eads Streets; and $1 million to purchase four buses for the ART 43 route, to mitigate the impacts the Silver Line has had on Blue Line commuters.

“[Arlington] can submit bills for reimbursement once they start turning dirt, purchase the bus, etc.,” Quintana said. “The project list was approved last year but the Authority needed to work with the jurisdictions to create the funding agreements… We are now ready to distribute, or have distributed these dollars. All they have to do is send us the bill and we will send them the money.”

Quintana said the NVTA is beginning work on the next two years of its six-year funding plan, which will distribute an estimated $203 million in FY 2015 funds among all the jurisdictions in Northern Virginia: Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park.

The NVTA estimates Arlington will receive an additional $11.2 million in direct funding through the transportation package, which is likely to be allocated to its Transportation Capital Fund.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — October 14, 2014 at 9:00 am 2,146 0

Roadside campaign signs (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Seeking Fed Funds for Transportation Projects — Arlington County is seeking $840,000 in federal grant funds for three transportation projects. The projects include: bicycle and pedestrian improvements near McKinley Elementary School, Americans with Disabilities Act improvements along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, and an expansion of the Capitol Bikeshare system. [InsideNova]

D.C. More Expensive than NYC, SF? — In terms of housing-related costs, it’s more expensive to live in the D.C. area than New York City or San Francisco. That’s according to a new study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [Washington Post]

Cyclists Facing ‘Bikelash’ — Bicyclists don’t like being called “bullies” and “terrorists,” but the county’s Mobility Lab blog argues that it’s best not to respond with reason and logic to the increasing amount of “bikelash.” Instead, the blog encourages cyclists to act more strategically by organizing, publishing their own media outlets and engaging in the political process. [Mobility Lab]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Ethan Rothstein — August 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm 1,333 0

Car2Go D.C. (photo via Facebook)Crystal City will soon be a “home area” for Washington D.C.’s car2go carsharing service.

The Crystal City Business Improvement District announced today that the carsharing service would be launching in Crystal City in the coming weeks. It allows users to park their borrowed car anywhere in the “home area” and find an available car via a GPS-enabled smartphone app.

The service costs $35 to register and 41 cents per minute, with a $14.99 per hour and $84.99 per day maximum. The car’s insurance, gas and parking fees are free (in the home areas), and car2go says it has hundreds of cars in the D.C. area. They can be driven anywhere as long as the user finishes his or her trip within the “home area.”

Crystal City is the first home area outside of the District for car2go D.C., and will offer at least four car2go spaces at the launch of the program. According to the Crystal City BID, any of the service’s 33,000 members may use the cars. The service will be the second carsharing option in the area, in addition to Zipcar.

Crystal City BID President and CEO Angela Fox boasted about the new service and hopes it spreads to other areas of the county.

“We sought it out but hope and expect they will launch in other nearby neighborhoods ASAP, because that makes the whole system more robust. The more options, the better,” Fox said. “Car2go is very popular, and we wants its users to know that they can get to and from Crystal City with ease.”

Photo via Facebook

by Morgan Fecto — August 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm 4,242 0

Update on 8/7/14 at 11:30 a.m. — D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Reggie Sanders says the love locks will be removed from Key Bridge today. “Locks are being removed because we don’t want to establish a precedence where our structures could become polluted with these types of campaigns. Also, it could jeopardize the functionality of the railings,” said Sanders.

Earlier: Lovers have started keeping their love under lock and key by latching padlocks bearing their names to the Key Bridge’s railings.

These “love locks” are meant to memorialize romantic relationships, but they can cause damage to fences and railings. At the Pont des Arts footbridge in Paris, thousands of couples latched love locks to a fence along the bridge. It was so weighed down by the locks that the fencing collapsed in June.

“This is the first time we’ve encountered this,” D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Reggie Sanders said.

Last week, there were three combination locks on the railing on the left side of the Key Bridge (as seen from Arlington) and 45 combination and padlocks on the right side’s railing. Many of the locks had couples’ names or initials on them, and some included an anniversary date or an additional sentiment.

One lock says: “alex & andi 26 november 2011,” with an engraving of wedding bands.

With love locks, the owners lock them to a railing, fence or lamppost, discard the key, and hope their love will last as long as their lock.

Love locks have also been seen on the Hague Bridge in Norfolk, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin, the Luzhkov Bridge in Moscow and the Ponte Milvio in Rome.

New York City officials claimed last May that the more than 5,000 locks on the Brooklyn Bridge put it at risk for damages, the New York Daily News wrote, and endangered motorists driving under the pedestrian walkway.

According to the Irish Times, last February in Dublin, city officials put signs on the Ha’Penny Bridge to dissuade couples from putting locks there. Transportation officials removed approximately 661 pounds of locks from the bridge the previous year.

After Rome removed 825 pounds of locks from Ponte Milvio‘s lampposts in 2007, the BBC reported, the mayor of Rome imposed a 50-euro fine (about $67) on anyone who put a padlock on that location.

There are far fewer locks on the Key Bridge than those other bridges, seemingly not yet enough to cause damage. Sanders currently is looking into measures his department may take to remove the locks, and is researching which D.C. laws may change this practice.

by ARLnow.com — July 8, 2014 at 9:20 am 3,331 0

View of the Odyssey building in Courthouse (photo courtesy James Mahony)

Arlington Man’s Death Ruled a Homicide — The death of Arlington resident Michael Hrizuk in D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood has been ruled a homicide. Hrizuk, 57, died of a “blunt impact head injury” during a reported assault. [Washington Post]

De la Pava Takes Over As Treasurer — After more than 30 years in office, Frank O’Leary stepped down as Arlington County Treasurer Monday. Stepping up to replace him is his chief deputy, Carla de la Pava, who was sworn in to serve as treasurer in a ceremony at county government headquarters. De la Pava is so far unopposed in an upcoming special election that would allow her to continue serving out O’Leary’s term, which runs through Dec. 2015. [InsideNova]

TDM Is the ‘Secret to Arlington’s Success’ — The man who heads Arlington County Commuter Services, the county’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) agency, says TDM is the “secret to Arlington’s success.” Commuter Services Bureau Chief Chris Hamilton says ACCS programs like BikeArlington, WalkArlington, The Commuter Store and the Car-Free Diet campaign have helped to keep cars off the street even as Arlington’s population has grown. [Mobility Lab]

‘Orange Line Disaster’ at Courthouse — The Orange Line was a “disaster” at the Courthouse Metro station this morning, commuters reported via Twitter. According to various reports, delays started when a train with a door problem offloaded at Courthouse. Passengers crowded onto the platform at the station, which was reportedly un-air-conditioned. At some point, a passenger on a train fainted, prompting that train to hold at the station while medical personnel responded.

Photo courtesy James Mahony

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