Rough Day on the Roads — An already rain-soaked Thursday was made worse after a tree fell across the eastbound lanes of I-66, blocking the highway during the morning rush hour. Later, the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway were closed near the Key Bridge due to a crash. [WJLA, Washington Post]
Arlington Helps Out With Falls Church Graduation — Arlington voluntarily shifted its high school graduation schedule to help Falls Church’s George Mason High School get a graduation ceremony spot at D.A.R. Constitution Hall last month. [InsideNova]
Nearby: Affordable Housing Decline in Alexandria — There was a 90 percent drop in affordable housing units in Alexandria between 2000 and 2017 and the decline is likely to continue without the construction of more dedicated affordable units. [WAMU]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Update at 7:50 p.m. — The number of outages in Arlington is down to 200, according to Dominion.
Earlier: More than 5,500 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington following this afternoon’s storms, mostly in and around the Clarendon area.
The Clarendon outage extends from Wilson Blvd down to N. Bedford Street in Lyon Park, near Route 50. Numerous businesses in the area are without power and the busy intersection of Washington Blvd and 10th Street N.
As of 4:50 p.m. Dominion was reporting 5,542 outages in Arlington, with some smaller outages scattered throughout the county. There have also been reports of trees and utility wires down in the roadway in various locations, and at least one tree that fell and damaged a house.
The Arlington County Police Department is reminding drivers to treat dark traffic signals as a four-way stop.
TRAFFIC ALERT ⚠️: Reports of traffic signal outages in County due to storm. Treat all uncontrolled intersections as 4 way stop @ArlingtonDES
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) June 19, 2017
Power outage map (top) via Dominion. Weather radar via weather.com.
Local Girl Featured on Today Show — Ellie McGinn, the 8-year-old Fairlington resident who’s battling a rare, degenerative disease, was featured on the Today Show on Tuesday. Ellie and her parents have been raising awareness and funds to search for a cure. [Today Show]
Tree Down on Glebe Road — A tree fell across N. Glebe Road this morning, blocking traffic between Chain Bridge and Military Road. Crews were able to clear the fallen tree and reopen the road by 7 a.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
Safety Changes for School Buses — Some Arlington school buses will be retrofitted over the summer with a brake interlock device, which prevents the parking brake from being disengaged before the brake pedal is pressed. The safety measure is being mandated statewide by the Virginia Department of Education. [InsideNova]
Car Break-in Spree Over Weekend — Yet another series of car break-ins was reported over the weekend. Police say more than 20 mostly unlocked vehicles were broken into. Police are reminding residents to lock their cars and to remove valuables from plain sight. [Twitter]
Update at 2:30 p.m. — The fire has been extinguished and Four Mile Run Drive is expected to reopen shortly. The access road is expected to remain closed until the fallen tree is removed.
Update at 2:15 p.m. — Electricity has been shut off to the fallen power lines and firefighters are now working to extinguish the brush fire.
Earlier: A tree has fallen on power lines and sparked a growing brush fire along Four Mile Run Drive.
The incident was first reported by a passerby just after 1 p.m.
Initial reports suggest a large tree fell across the Four Mile Run Drive access road, striking a power line. That sparked a brush fire in the dry grass below, which as of 1:20 p.m. continues to burn.
The fire department cannot extinguish the wildfire around the power line until Dominion Power crews arrive and shut off the power, according to scanner traffic. As of 1:40 p.m. the flames were nearing vehicles parked along the access road.
Residents should expect “a lot of smoke in the area,” according to a police officer on scene. Police have shut down traffic in both directions on the access road near S. Wakefield Street and are preparing to shut down the mainline Four Mile Run Drive.
Photo courtesy Alex Chamandy, John Chandler
Update at 10:40 a.m. — The westbound lanes have reopened.
Washington Blvd is currently blocked in the area of 2nd Street S. due to a large fallen tree, according to scanner traffic.
Police are setting up roadblocks at Columbia Pike and Route 50 to divert traffic.
According to initial reports, the tree — located along the eastbound lanes — fell across all lanes of traffic around 10 a.m. One car was possibly struck by the tree but no injuries were reported.
Police and VDOT crews are working to reopen the westbound lanes; the eastbound lanes are likely to remain closed for an extended period of time.
Image via Google Maps
(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) A severe thunderstorm that ripped through Arlington just after lunchtime has left some debris and damage in its wake.
In Pentagon City, part of the facade and roof of the Macy’s at the Pentagon City mall was damaged and a portion of it fell onto a car. One minor injury has been reported. As of 2:45 p.m., workers were on the roof inspecting the damage.
According to scanner reports, a tree fell on a car near the intersection of Route 50 and Park Drive. The two occupants of the vehicle were shaken up but not injured.
A tree fell into a home on the 1400 block of N. Wakefield Street, a few blocks from Washington-Lee High School, according to a fire department dispatch. The tree caused damage to the front of the house, but did not hit a car parked next door.
A number of other instances of trees and utility lines falling have been reported around the county, including at the intersections of S. Wayne Street and 6th Street S., S. Adams Street and 8th Street S., and 31st Street S. and S. Randolph Street.
As of 2:45 p.m., just over 550 Dominion customers were without power, according to the company’s outage map.
Via Twitter, residents say the storm brought hail in addition to very strong winds.
— Tyler Suiters (@TylerSuiters) April 6, 2017
— Maka (@makalea_b) April 6, 2017
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) April 6, 2017
Today's storms⛈have caused many down trees. These are pics are of a near miss on the 1400 block of N Wakefield. Thankfully no injuries! pic.twitter.com/WpICI0AIE6
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) April 6, 2017
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller_WX) April 6, 2017
— Brendan (@kiteboardr) April 6, 2017
Nearly 900 Dominion customers are still without power in Arlington as of 5 p.m. Monday, with numerous small outages scattered across the county.
That’s down from more than 6,500 outages last night, after an initial line of 60+ mile per hour wind gusts swept through the area. The strong winds continued through this afternoon but have since died down.
Dominion’s power outage map shows the two biggest power outages are in the Highgate/Colonial Terrace community in the Rosslyn area, and along 26th Street N./31st Street N., near Marymount University, where photos (above and via Twitter) show at least one tree down in the roadway and a power pole snapped in half.
Dominion is estimating that power will be restored by 11 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, for each outage.
In all, around 3,000 Dominion customers are still in the dark around Northern Virginia.
Update at 8 a.m. — Thousands of Arlington residents are waking up to no electricity this morning. The number of outages in Arlington is only down to around 4,900. Marymount University is still without power and portions of the Rosslyn/Courthouse area, including traffic signals at some busy intersection, are dark.
Numerous trees, power lines and utility poles are said to be down across parts of Arlington, primarily in north Arlington. Several transformer fires have also been reported.
In some cases, trees are leaning against live lines and catching on fire. In other cases, power lines and poles are down across roadways, blocking lanes. Glebe Road, Military Road and Williamsburg Blvd are among the roads reported to blocked.
On Williamsburg Blvd, a fire department vehicle was damaged, possibly by falling branches or debris.
A large portion of Arlington north of Lee Highway — from Cherrydale up to McLean, including the Marymount University campus — is in the dark, according to a Dominion outage map.
There are also portions of Shirlington, Fairlington and other areas of south Arlington without power, according to the map.
In all, more than 34,000 Dominion customers throughout Northern Virginia are without power, including more than 7,000 in Alexandria. High winds are expected to continue throughout the day on Monday.
— ᴊᴀsᴍɪɴᴇ (@Parks_Jasmine) February 13, 2017
Dominion power estimates 2am-4am for power restoration. Phones and Internet remain operational. Updates will follow.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) February 13, 2017
Power outage on campus. Internal phones remain operational. Updates will follow.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) February 13, 2017
— Russell Imrie (@tweedyBard) February 13, 2017
1121pm: 66 mph wind gust at Reagan Airport!
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) February 13, 2017
Commuters heading westbound on Lee Highway and southbound on the Spout Run Parkway should expect significant delays due to a tree that fell on a car near the Lyon Village Shopping Center.
The tree fell on the car just past 6 p.m., at the height of the evening rush hour. A police officer arrived on scene shortly thereafter and reported that no one had been injured.
A traffic camera appears to show the tree down in the roadway and one lane of traffic squeezing by on the left.
@ARLnowDOTcom Couldn't see how bad it was, but it was across the top of the car
— Travis (@travton) January 26, 2017
On a calm summer night a few months ago, just after the Fourth of July, a big, century-old tree toppled over, blocking a street and knocking out power to much of the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
Fast forward to today and something cool has come from the tree’s unfortunate demise.
Local chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon has turned part of the big tree — the stump of which remains horizontal in a front yard along the 500 block of N. Lincoln Street — into a sculpture of a two-headed dragon.
The sculpture has captured the neighborhood’s imagination and is clearly an object of fascination for the homeowners’ young son, who was outside admiring it with a caretaker when ARLnow.com stopped by yesterday afternoon.
Mallon, who grew up two blocks from the home, says the family was “disappointed” that the tree fell down, but specifically asked whether it could be kept for posterity, in dragon form.
“They asked if a dragon with a horn was a possibility,” Mallon said. “They wanted a carving the kids could play on that also included a bench for the adults to enjoy. I thought it was a great idea and quickly started thinking of different ways to incorporate all the elements the family wanted.”
“This carving has really been an amazing piece to work on and I couldn’t be happier it is living at a great home, with a fun loving family, in my old neighborhood,” continued Mallon. “I have to be honest the 10 year old in me is a little jealous I didn’t have a dragon to play on as a child.”
Before the carving could begin, Mallon said, a crane had to be brought into remove the four-ton tree from the street. After that, the design was finalized: a dragon with two heads and a kid-friendly saddle.
“To fit the design in the log I had to start the carving by leveling out the bottom and removing about 1,000 pounds from it,” said Mallon. “After being properly leveled, I used my largest saw to block out the heads, body, and tail. Once the general shape was there I was able to switch to a smaller saw to begin working on the details. This includes the playful faces, tail, saddle, etc.”
“I still have some details like the scales to complete, but will be waiting to finish them until we can put the dragon in its permanent location,” he added. “Once the carving is finished I will burn it to add depth and color. This will be followed by a nice sanding, to prevent splinters, and finished with an outdoor sealer to protect the carving from the elements so it lasts for years to come.”
A downed tree that’s resting on power lines along Arlington Ridge Road near S. Lang Street has prompted a temporary road closure.
Arlington Ridge Road is currently blocked between 23rd Street S. and S. Glebe Road while crews evaluate the situation and prepare to remove the tree.
Scanner reports suggest that the tree fell just as a bus of senior citizens was driving by. The bus remained on the scene but no significant damage nor injuries were reported.
Dominion says more than 300 customers, in an area centered around the Metro station, are in the dark as a result of a storm-related outage. Power isn’t expected to be restored until this afternoon.
The outage includes large office buildings and traffic lights up and down Crystal Drive. Police are on scene, setting up cones to direct traffic through the uncontrolled intersections, though generators are being brought in to bring the traffic signals back online.
Last night’s storm is causing other issues around Arlington this morning, as well. On the Custis Trail, a large tree has reportedly fell onto and blocked the trail between N. Quincy and Nelson streets.
— AlliMoe (@AlliMoe21) August 18, 2016
A road is closed in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood due to a downed tree and power lines.
The large tree fell this afternoon during calm weather, taking power and utility lines down with it. Thirty-five Dominion customers are without power in the area, according to the power company.
A Dominion repair crew is on scene, but the intersection of S. Joyce Street and 28th Street S., near Glebe Road, is closed. The tree and numerous wires are down in the intersection.
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A downed tree in the Ashton Heights neighborhood is leading to a call to the county ombudsman’s office.
The big tree, said to be more than a century old, fell last night near the intersection of N. Lincoln Street and 5th Street N., knocking out power to the area.
The neighborhood listserv is now abuzz with talk of what might have caused the old tree to fall during calm weather. Paving work on the street, residents are speculating, may have had something to do with it.
“A massive road repaving project brought in heavily vibrating equipment — many thought unnecessarily vibrating — which, according to our neighborhood listserv buzz, may have contributed to the tree’s fall, given very wet soil conditions,” a resident told us. “I lack professional credentials to shed light on that one way or another.”
Whether rooted in fact or not, residents are not content to leave the issue alone. They’re barking up the tree of the county ombudsman, according to a listserv email.
“Scott Sklar is contacting the county ombudsman about this problem today and complaining on behalf of Ashton Heights,” the email says. “The tree was 125 years old. Very sad.”
Sklar, president of the Ashton Heights Civic Association, said residents felt as if there was an “earthquake” when the heavy equipment was in use. One resident even reported that her morning cup of coffee rolled off the kitchen counter and broke as a result of the pervasive vibrations.
There’s “no question” about what caused the tree to fall, he said.
“The County contractors are using percussion rollers to compress the road under-bed — which uses intense weight and sound rather than the usual heavy roller compression approach,” he told ARLnow.com. ” There is no question in my mind, that this new approach is what caused this old tree to fall after the heavy rain we just had.”
“Use of percussion rollers should not be used in areas where there are large trees and old homes (pre-2000),” Sklar said. “Manufacturer’s warnings on percussion rollers explicitly state they should not be used near large trees or old buildings
Meghan McMahon, spokeswoman for the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services, said in a statement that the county is “reviewing the matter.”
DES crews have been performing roadbed reclamation and paving on Lincoln Street over the past week. The roadbed reclamation process, which was completed on June 30, is more disruptive than normal paving or patching. This process uses a machine that churns and mixes the base of the road at a deeper level so more vibrations and disturbance may occur. This process is specifically used for underbuilt, lower volume roads like Lincoln Street. Our paving contractors use vibratory rollers and other heavy machinery during the roadbed reclamation process. These rollers are also used on every street during maintenance and repaving. Rollers are commonly used to gain better compaction in asphalt construction. Yesterday’s work on Lincoln Street was repaving.
We have used these processes for several years in this neighborhood and several others like it that have older trees and houses. This is the first we have heard of such impacts from this type of work. We are reviewing the matter to determine what caused the tree to fall.
As seen in the photos above, some paving equipment was underneath the tree when it fell.
“Two County vehicles were enclosed by the tree canopy when it fell, but neither were impacted or damaged,” said McMahon. “The storm drain was damaged, but we have already put in a work order to fix this. It will be prioritized based on other work we have and safety.”
Photos courtesy Elizabeth Lyon
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]