For Arlington, that could mean some wet accumulating snow during the morning commute, forecasters say.
Locales north and west are likely to get the most snow, but VDOT is warning of the possibility of a tough commute.
From a VDOT press release:
Winter weather is far from most minds today, but the Virginia Department of Transportation asks drivers to remain vigilant in monitoring forecasts and planning commutes–a mix of rain, snow and high winds could have major impacts to Thursday’s morning rush.
VDOT asks that drivers monitor forecasts closely for changes, and to stay off the roads during inclement weather. Potential for high winds and isolated squalls will mean limited visibility.
Crews will stage roadside through northern Virginia by midnight tonight, with resources concentrated in Loudoun County. Due to a forecast for rain ahead of snow, crews will not brine roads in advance, but will treat with salt and sand as needed.
Arlington County, meanwhile, says it is monitoring the weather as it turns from springlike warmth today to freezing cold tomorrow.
Snow? But it's sunny outside! We're keeping an eye on the forecast and will respond accordingly, as snow may fall tomorrow morning.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) February 8, 2017
Take a look at tomorrow morning at 7am, could make for a messy morning rush! I've got the latest next at 4 pic.twitter.com/y83Gy0SBGY
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) February 8, 2017
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Bad Morning for Metro — There were significant delays on the Blue, Orange, Silver and Red lines this morning, as various train, power and switch problems were reported. [Washington Post]
The Cable Was Out, Too — Not only were more than 3,000 Dominion residents affected by a power outage on Super Bowl Sunday, but Comcast was having problems, too. Scores of Arlington and Alexandria residents lost their cable TV and/or internet service during the big game. Comcast blamed a “generator fire” at the Ballston mall as well as a “burned fiber.” [NBC Washington]
Lander Lands Primary Challenge — School Board member James Lander has picked up a challenger in this year’s Democratic endorsement caucus. Maura McMahon, an Alcova Heights resident who’s been active in various PTA organizations, says she’s running to provide “fresh thinking and better solutions.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Man Wins Krispy Kreme Challenge — Arlington resident Nick Oltman, 29, has won this year’s Krispy Kreme Challenge in North Carolina. The race involves running 2.5 miles to a Krispy Kreme store, eating a dozen glazed donuts, and running 2.5 miles back. Oltman, a Marine, posted a time of 30:15. [News & Observer]
Why VDOT Was Pre-Treating Roads Last Week — You might have noticed the long trails of brine on VDOT maintained roads and highways last week and wondered why they were pre-treating roads with no snow or ice in the forecast. The agency says their crews started treating roads earlier in the week while some forecasts suggested a possible winter storm on Sunday. [Capital Weather Gang]
Arlington’s New Visitor Guide — The 2017-2018 Arlington Visitors Guide has been released. The 32-page guide highlights attractions, amenities and events Arlington has to offer, specifically geared to tourists. [Stay Arlington, Issuu]
The Arlington County Board over the weekend voted to endorse the goals of a Virginia Dept. of Transportation plan to widen part of I-66, but it also had a few questions.
The Board unanimously backed a resolution that outlines “areas of support and ongoing concern with [VDOT’s] environmental assessment,” according to a press release.
Under VDOT’s “Transform 66” plan, an extra lane would be built within the existing eastbound right-of-way from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston. The lane would stretch about four miles.
The plan would also include the replacement and construction of noise walls along the interstate, a new pedestrian bridge on the W&OD Trail at Lee Highway in East Falls Church and a realignment of the Custis Trail at Bon Air Park.
Earlier this year, the Board endorsed VDOT’s plan to add tolls to I-66 inside the Beltway during peak travel times.
Not everyone who lives in Arlington supports the project as proposed, however. Some East Falls Church residents have recently criticized the part of the proposal that would build a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge on the W&OD trail at Lee Highway. (Bicycling advocates, meanwhile, are organizing to support the bridge plan.)
In its resolution, the Board asked transit officials to “ensure a robust community process will be incorporated into the design process to achieve a context sensitive solution for the W&OD Trail changes.”
The Board also called for more cooperation on other areas of concern such as impacts on right of way, increased traffic at local intersections, noise mitigation and possible effects on stormwater infrastructure.
“Arlington supports the broad goals of this plan, including the focus on moving more people versus vehicles through the corridor. We are also committed to ensure that VDOT mitigates any impacts on our residents and neighborhoods that may result from the mandated eastbound widening,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “VDOT has been responsive to our concerns as the project has taken shape, and we anticipate working closely with them to monitor the project as it moves forward.”
According to VDOT’s estimates, workers could break ground on the project in “mid 2018” and finish by “mid 2020.”
More from the press release:
In its resolution, the Board says it will work to ensure that the Commonwealth monitors and mitigates the project’s impacts on Arlington streets and on cultural or natural resources.
VDOT released the Environmental Assessment for the eastbound widening of I-66 from the Dulles Connector to Fairfax Drive in November. Based on a review of the technical documentation and public testimony, the Board resolution calls for VDOT to continue working cooperatively with the County on addressing the following:
- Impacts on right of way and other resources – VDOT anticipates that the eastbound widening will occur primarily toward the inner portion of the I-66 roadway, but temporary or permanent property easements or acquisitions will be needed along the easternmost portion of the project.
- Traffic analysis and impacts to Arlington streets – The Environmental Assessment identified several intersections in Arlington that will experience increased congestion as a result of the widening. Staff is concerned that the traffic analysis used for the Environmental Assessment does not include any multimodal travel, which is a primary goal of the Transform 66 project and the studies supporting it.
- Impacts to the regional trail network – VDOT has proposed realigning the Custis Trail at Bon Air Park and grade-separating the crossing of the W&OD Trail at Lee Highway. The Board resolution endorses these improvements and asks that VDOT ensure a robust community process will be incorporated into the design process to achieve a context sensitive solution for the W&OD Trail changes.
- Noise mitigation – VDOT will solicit input from property owners and renters who would benefit from noise mitigation as to the desirability of the installation of noise barriers along I-66. County staff will work with VDOT to ensure messaging to the public on the noise barrier selection process is communicated as comprehensively as possible. The Board also encouraged VDOT to work with WMATA, FTA and others to explore options for additional noise mitigation related to Silver Line and new generation of rail cars.
- Stormwater Management Infrastructure – In response to public testimony, the Board reinforced the important responsibility that VDOT has to ensure that existing and future stormwater infrastructure by adequately designed and maintained.
(Updated at 10:31 a.m.) A proposal to build a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge in East Falls Church has prompted complaints from some nearby residents.
The Virginia Dept. of Transportation has proposed building a new bridge over Lee Highway near the W&OD trail as part of its “Transform 66” interstate widening and tolling project.
If built, VDOT says the bridge would improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The trail currently crosses Lee Highway at the busy intersection with Fairfax Drive.
But the idea deserves more thought, according to the East Falls Church Civic Association. Residents voiced concern in a letter the group sent to local officials last week.
“This VDOT project, if not paused, will create problems for holistic future pedestrian and cyclist transit development in the area, as well as create negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood in a way that a more thoughtful design would not,” the letter reads. “Pause this project so the neighborhood and the surrounding areas can fully consider the problems we are trying to address (both present and future).”
East Falls Church Civic Association president Kelly Alexis said locals first heard of the plan in October. Since then, Alexis said she’s received emails from more than two dozen East Falls Church residents, many opposing the idea.
The problem, Alexis explained, revolves around a lack of input from the community. Though VDOT has held a series of public meetings, she said the agency hasn’t adequately weighed the concerns of the people who live nearby the proposed site of the bridge.
Earlier this month, the association met with VDOT officials to discuss the plan and identified a number of concerns. Among them are questions about whether the bridge would disrupt design aspects of the 2011 East Falls Church Area Plan or “lock-in” the alignment of the W&OD trail, which residents say forces cyclists and pedestrians onto neighborhood streets near the East Falls Church Metro station.
The plan also needs more study regarding improving pedestrian access and safety along Lee Highway on the I-66 overpass and at the Fairfax Drive and Washington Blvd intersections, residents said at the meeting.
The association has suggested several alternatives to building the bridge, such as a trail realignment under Lee Highway or rerouting the trail across Fairfax Drive at the same intersection.
“It’s not a bad plan, it’s just the wrong plan,” Alexis said. “We recognize we’re in a transportation hub, but we want to work together to create a better solution.”
Gillian Burgess, chair of Arlington County’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, said she shares some of the neighborhood’s concerns. Still, a bridge is sorely needed to “allow people on two feet or two wheels to use the trail without worrying whether that red car is really going to stop at the light,” she said.
“The neighborhood does have legitimate concerns about the de facto routing of the trail through their neighborhood,” Burgess added. “But there’s no need to delay building this much-needed improvement to this important piece of our transportation network.”
The Arlington County Board is expected to further discuss the I-66 widening plan and the pedestrian bridge at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday).
A local developer is proposing to build a 325-foot Space Needle-like tourist destination, dubbed the Spirit of America Tower, in Rosslyn.
The tower would be built on VDOT land alongside Route 110, near the junction with I-66, and would be designed to be a first stop for visitors to the nation’s capital, according to developer James H. Burch.
From a description of the project:
The Spirit of America Tower is going to be an interactive, introductory museum about Washington, D.C. and the founding principals of our country. People come to Washington, D.C. and rarely get an introduction to the whole city; rather, they see it piece-meal. The Spirit of America Tower will not only give that introduction to the city and its founding principles, but also take note of the fact that every individual has a unique talent or gift, and that this country was founded so that they could fulfill their dream. This monument will be one in which they see the radical beauty in those plans and that they have the opportunity to live up to the founders’ hopes for America.
Burch was a former owner of the land on which National Harbor now sits; he sold it after proposing a mixed-use townhouse-and-office project called the “Bay of America.” Burch also recently bid, unsuccessfully, on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center in New Orleans.
The Spirit of America Tower, Burch says, will feature a modern design — “lofty yet very real, and a visceral experience” — from the firm behind the One World Observatory on the top of One World Trade Center in New York City. Early concept sketches show at least three levels on the tower: an observation deck, a landing deck and an event facility deck.
“It will be designed by the best visionary firms available… with interactive depictions of historic events, and then guides/storytellers who tell the stories of Washington, D.C.,” Burch told ARLnow.com. “It is also a spectacular view.”
“The Tower is projected to be on a VDOT property just outside Rosslyn at the foot of Wilson Boulevard, between River Place and the Potomac River,” he said via email. “It will be 325′ tall, about 100′ lower than the Rosslyn skyline, and below the National Airport height limitation of 328′. It will be one floor of parking (all parking on site), one floor of introductory experiences on top of the garage, and all covered by a 4-acre landscaped public park, with walking and bike paths. There will be one 10,000 sq. ft. floor at the top of a spindle, accessed by glass elevators, and another 10,000 sq. ft. floor at that elevation for events — 650 sit-down dinner or 1,000 for a standing reception.”
“The only way in or out will be via Wilson Boulevard, where a new road will go under the tunnel and into the property via a bridge or a tunnel,” he continued. “The Commissioner of VDOT has said that this will not be an engineering problem, and our traffic engineer has said that we will not cause noticeable traffic congestion.”
Another part of the plan: a possible connection to the Potomac River.
A Virginia Dept. of Transportation plan to widen part of I-66 could soon get the partial blessing of the Arlington County Board.
Under VDOT’s “Transform 66” plan, an extra lane would be built within the existing eastbound right-of-way from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston. The lane would stretch about four miles.
VDOT is also planning to improve two local trails, according to a presentation on the proposed project. The planned improvements include a new pedestrian bridge on the W&OD Trail at Lee Highway in East Falls Church and a realignment of the Custis Trail at Bon Air Park.
Additionally, the project would include the replacement and construction of noise walls along the interstate’s eastbound and westbound lanes.
If all goes according to plan, workers would begin construction on the project in “mid 2018” and finish by “mid 2020.”
The Board is scheduled to vote on whether to “endorse the goals” of VDOT’s widening project during its general meeting this Saturday, Jan. 28.
According to the county:
In the proposed resolution, the Board also says it will pursue goals of ensuring that the Commonwealth monitors and mitigates the impacts on Arlington streets, noise impacts, and impacts on cultural or natural resources. The proposed resolution also calls for VDOT to work collaboratively with all the affected jurisdictions to ensure that the final design of possible noise barriers do not unduly or negatively impact cultural or natural resources and that VDOT will not pursue more widening of I-66 inside the Beltway until after a meaningful evaluation of peak period tolling, conversion to HOT-3, tolling in both directions during peak periods, and implementation of multimodal components.
Arlington has already endorsed VDOT’s plan to add tolls to I-66 inside the Beltway during peak travel times.
Coffee With a Cop Today — The Arlington County Police Department’s district teams are holding “Coffee With a Cop” events today. The event “has no agenda or speeches” and “is a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers and neighbors in your district.” [Arlington County]
Washington Blvd Closure Tonight — Expect lane closures and a 30-minute full closure of Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 overnight tonight. VDOT is replacing an aging bridge over Route 110; the project is expected to wrap up in 2018. [Twitter]
Boulevard Woodgrill Staff to Marble and Rye — Marble and Rye on Columbia Pike has hired “the entire executive staff” from the former Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon, a restaurant rep says. The hires include longtime Boulevard executive chef Paul Murad and longtime general manager Kent Lawson. The hires, we’re told, “will provide a significant upgrade in service and menu options” and will help Marble and Rye “compete with other popular destinations in Clarendon, Ballston and Shirlington.”
Neighborhood College Applications Being Accepted — “Learn how to become a neighborhood advocate and effect change through Arlington County’s free Neighborhood College program, which will meet on eight consecutive Thursday evenings beginning March 16, 2017.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington County brine trucks could be seen pretreating roads around Clarendon earlier this afternoon. VDOT, meanwhile, says it’s preparing for a potentially messy Thursday evening and Friday morning commute.
“Road crews are conducting anti-icing activities today and tomorrow,” VDOT said in a press release. “Please watch for crews as they stage along roads prior to the storm. Crews will treat roads with salt and sand as needed once the storm begins Thursday afternoon, plow in areas where and if snow totals reach two inches, and will remain on duty throughout the course of the storm.”
The snow is not expected to amount to much — maybe just a dusting to an inch. But even a small amount of snow could cause slippery conditions and virtual gridlock.
With snow expected tomorrow afternoon, crews have been pre-treating the roads today and will continue this evening and tomorrow. #ARLwx
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) January 4, 2017
Our first snow is almost here! Expect snow to impact Thurs PM & Fri AM rush. Check wx & modify trip times. https://t.co/nmHVmLCRGN
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 4, 2017
Hmmm, guess what's coming our way! pic.twitter.com/dptq5SHqHy
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) January 4, 2017
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 4, 2017
It might not be necessary with this storm, but Arlington County is urging residents this year to park in a parking lot or on the odd numbered side of local streets when it snows.
The county recently released the following video on the topic.
If you were planning to drive out of town for Thanksgiving this evening and haven’t left yet — good luck.
Highways are already crowding with heavy traffic around the D.C. area, particularly on some of the main routes leaving town: I-95, I-270 and I-66.
In fact, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving from 5 to 6 p.m. has “the lowest average travel speed on the interstates and other prime travel routes” in the D.C. area, according to the regional Transportation Planning Board.
VDOT, meanwhile, says that drivers should expect some of the heaviest Thanksgiving traffic between mid-morning and the evening on Wednesday.
The final America’s 9/11 Ride will be rumbling through Arlington on Friday, and VDOT is warning commuters to expect delays.
A number of major routes will be closed while some 1,500 bikers ride to the area of the Pentagon. In Arlington, the ride will be making its way down I-66 and Route 110, just in time for the evening rush hour.
“Expect delays and heavy local traffic,” VDOT says. The agency issued the following press release.
On Friday, Aug. 19 from 2 – 6 p.m., motorists can expect road closures and delays of up to 90 minutes while 1,500 motorcycles and support vehicles travel from the Maryland/Virginia line in Loudoun County to the Pentagon as part of the America’s 9/11 Ride. State and local police will escort the riders.
The route is as follows:
- Route 15 south to Leesburg;
- Route 7 bypass;
- Dulles Greenway;
- Dulles Toll Road (ramp closures from Route 28 onto eastbound Dulles Toll Road);
- Dulles Connector Road;
- I-66 (ramp closures from I-495, Sycamore Street, N Glebe Road, Lee Highway, and N Lynn Street);
- Route 110 to the Pentagon.
Drivers are advised to use alternate routes and expect heavier than normal traffic on local roads.
Overhead message signs will alert motorists to expect delays from noon to 6 p.m.
VDOT Awards I-66 Contracts — VDOT has awarded $61.3 million in contracts to build tolling infrastructure on I-66 inside the Beltway. “The work is expected to begin by late summer with all construction completed no later than mid October 2017.” [WTOP]
Stop Arm Camera Enforcement Resuming — After having to pause enforcement and seek a legislative fix in order to issue tickets to violators, Arlington’s school bus stop arm enforcement program will resume July 1. Drivers who drive by a stop sign on a school bus will face an automatic $250 fine. [Arlington County, Arlington Public Schools]
Clinton Opening Arlington Office — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is reportedly opening a new office at 6035 Wilson Blvd, in the Dominion Hills shopping center. That’s the same shopping center in which American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was shot and killed in 1967. [Patch]
Local Latino Leaders Talk Trump — At a press conference on Columbia Pike yesterday, former County Board member Walter Tejada said presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may regret his rhetoric on immigration come November. “In a tight election, the Latino community can decide who wins,” Tejada said. “To Mr. Trump, we want to declare a message that hate will not win.” [Washington Post]
Hernick Calls on Trump to Tone Down Muslim Remarks — Republican congressional candidate Charles Hernick, who’s challenging incumbent Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), wants Donald Trump to tone down his “divisive rhetoric” on Muslims, saying it “won’t help us unite with peace-loving Muslims against our common enemy.” He continued: “We need to stand together against hatred, violence and terrorism.” [InsideNova]
Local Startup Expanding — Fast-growing Arlington-based startup ByteCubed, a government tech consulting firm, is expanding with a new office in Crystal City for its now 150 employees. [Technical.ly DC]
The Virginia Dept. of Transportation says it wants to hear from residents about its plan to widen part of I-66.
The plan calls for an extra lane to be built within the existing eastbound right-of-way from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston.
VDOT is inviting feedback at a public meeting in Arlington on Monday, May 9. That meeting is being held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street).
A second meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church.
The public meetings will feature “stations” with informative display boards staffed by knowledgeable project team members where attendees can learn and ask questions about the widening project. Both meetings will also include a presentation addressing items such as the purpose of the widening project and the associated Environmental Assessment, as well as the preliminary project schedule and design concepts.
Previous public meetings focused on tolling and multimodal aspects of the I-66 Inside the Beltway Project, which will not be an emphasis of next week’s meetings.
VDOT Holds HOT Lane Meeting — Last night VDOT gave the first formal public presentation of its plan to expand the I-395 HOV lanes and convert them to High Occupancy Toll lanes. The meeting was held at Wakefield High School and addressed issues from toll pricing to transit improvements to sound walls. [WTOP, Fox 5]
Bike-on-Bike Crashes Problematic for the Law — A new article asserts that Arlington County Police normally do not file reports for bike-on-bike crashes. “This is a bike accident. Life happens,” an officer reportedly told a victim after one recent incident. Incomplete or nonexistent police reports have frustrated victims and attorneys seeking legal redress — and led to the hiring of private investigators who try to gather evidence and find witnesses. [Washingtonian]
Disability Advocates Protest in Arlington — Disability rights advocates made their frustrations personal yesterday by protesting in front of the Arlington home of Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division. [Disability Scoop]
Proposal: Allow Older Cabs in Arlington — The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to consider a policy change that would allow older cabs on the road, among other changes. Currently, cabs entering service may be no older than two years old and then must be retired after reaching seven years old or 350,000 miles. Recognizing advances in vehicle reliability, the new policy would do away with the two year provision and set the maximum age of cabs at 10 years old. [Arlington County]
Free Donuts for Lawyers Today — It’s Be Kind to Lawyers Day and to mark the occasion Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike is offering a free “house donut” to lawyers today. Sugar Shack is also beginning a promotion that will give select customers free donuts to distribute to their favorite local teachers. “To participate, folks just need to use the hashtag #Treats4Teach to tell us on Facebook or Twitter why they should be picked to deliver donuts to their local school teachers and to which school,” said a press release.
Nice Weather at Last — After this morning’s rain, expect clearing skies and pleasant weather that should stretch into next week. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Arlington Asks for I-66 Corridor Grants — The Arlington County Board has selected five transportation projects for state potential grant funding. The county is seeking grants from a pool of $5 million allocated by VDOT for initial improvements along the I-66 corridor, ahead of the tolling of the highway. Among the projects Arlington is submitting for consideration: real-time transportation information screens along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, expanding certain bus routes, and a series of initiatives including vanpools and a travel planning app for smartphones. [Arlington County]
APS to Renovate Fenwick Center for High School Program — Arlington Public Schools will renovate the 50-year-old Fenwick Center along Columbia Pike for use by the soon-to-be-renamed Arlington Mill High School program. Moving the program will make room at the Arlington Career Center, next door from the Fenwick Center, for the new Arlington Tech initiative. [InsideNova]
Remembering James Kimsey — James Kimsey, the co-founder of AOL, died on March 1 at the age of 76. Kimsey spent his childhood in South Arlington and most recently lived at the very northern tip of Arlington, in a $30 million “castle” known as “The Falls,” which he built around the turn of the century. The house, one of the largest private residences in Virginia and one of the priciest properties in Arlington, was so big that it prompted Arlington County to build a new sewage line. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo by Dennis Dimick
We’re in the midst of the pothole season — that bumpy time on local roads as the spring thaw starts and asphalt pockmarks form.
Arlington County says its crews have filled 2,440 potholes this season, a relatively low number compared to last year’s record-setting 12,100 potholes following a rough winter.
They’re not here to save the world but the County’s Pothole Busters are out to prevent some haunting damage to tires, rims and maybe even your car’s pricey suspension.
If there’s a growing rut in your neighborhood, pick up the phone and call the Department of Environmental Services’ (DES) customer care center at 703-228-6570 (after hours, use 703-228-6555) to report the offender. Or complete the County’s online “Report a Problem” form.
Issues related to state routes such as Washington Boulevard are forwarded to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
With the arrival of warm weather, DES Pothole Buster crews have ramped up repairs along Arlington’s 974 lane miles of roads. Some 2,440 potholes have been filled so far this season. Last year the County patched a record-setting 12,100 dips and depressions.
In the words of Pothole Buster deputy director of operations Mike Moon, the goal is for all our streets to be “safe, smooth and durable” after a blizzard’s worth of harm.
Motorists can help by staying cautious and alert as additional trucks and crews are out repairing what at times may look like a supernatural asphalt assault.
For updates on Pothole Busters progress, follow @ArlingtonDES on Facebook and Twitter and look for the hashtag #PotholeBusters.