A teenage girl on an electric scooter was seriously injured after colliding with a driver near Washington-Liberty High School earlier this afternoon.
Shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday, police were dispatched to Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street, in the Virginia Square area, for the report of a crash with injury, a police spokeswoman told ARLnow.
“The preliminary investigation indicates a juvenile on an electric scooter was travelling southbound on N. Quincy Street when she proceeded through a red light and collided with a westbound travelling vehicle,” ACPD spokeswoman Alli Shorb said in a statement.
Initial reports identified the person who was hit as a 16-year-old girl. Police, firefighters and EMS personnel were all on the scene this afternoon, treating the teen and redirecting traffic away from the intersection.
Shorb said “the juvenile sustained serious, non-life threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital.”
Though police said a scooter was involved, a blue e-bike could be seen lying on its side near the ambulance that carried the teen to the hospital.
The driver of the involved vehicle remained on scene and was not charged with any crime, based on the preliminary investigation, Shorb said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
In a School Talk email to families, Principal Tony Hall identified the struck teen as a W-L student. He said EMS treated the teen on scene, resulting “in an ambulance and increased police presence near the school.”
“We are in contact with the family of the student,” he said. “There is no cause for concern to the greater W-L community at this time.”
With Arlington getting some warmer weather, George Mason University is opening up the plaza of its Arlington campus to a series of free activities and events.
The weekly programs are hosted at Mason Square Plaza at 3383 Fairfax Drive, in Virginia Square. The weekly events started today (Monday) and are scheduled to continue through May 12.
In addition to the pre-scheduled events, the plaza also offers public amenities like cart of board games and a cart of art supplies available Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
The marquee event this week is Music on the Plaza. The event is basically what it says on the tin, with local cover band Collective performing at Mason Square on Friday, March 24, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Other upcoming events include:
- CreativiTEA (Every Monday from noon to 1 p.m.): A crafting workshop with weekly activities ranging from rock painting to poetry and Star Wars-themed Bingo
- Outdoor Yoga with Mind the Mat (Every Monday from 5-6 p.m. and Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.): A yoga class. Attendees must bring their own yoga mat and water bottle.
- People of Mason Square (Every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m.): A weekly interview session with “a different personality of Mason Square”
- Mason Square Market (Every Tuesday from 2-6 p.m.): A small, locally-sourced marketplace with fresh produce and other goods
- Tuesday Dance Party with Ferocity Dance (Every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m.): All levels of dance experience and all ages are invited to a weekly hour-long dance class, with types of dance ranching from merengue to swing
- Zumba Power Hour (Every Wednesday from 9-10 a.m.): A cardio dance class; all ages, fitness levels and abilities are welcome
- Tiny Stage (Every Wednesday at noon and every Thursday from 5-6 p.m.): A twice-weekly acoustic music session in the plaza, with attendees encouraged to relax and enjoy the music
- Beyond Bullet Points (Every Thursday from noon to 12:45 p.m.): A weekly gathering that invites “bright scholars, local thinkers, and change-makers to share what they are doing, researching, and dreaming”
- Barry’s Bootcamp (Every Thursday from 6-7 p.m.): A high-intensity workout. All levels are welcome, all that’s required is a yoga mat and a water bottle.
El Pollo Rico continues to shine and live on a dream that has kept true for a consecutive 35 years.
If you live in Arlington, there’s a good chance you’ve had or at least heard about El Pollo Rico’s Peruvian chicken.
Regardless of your preference between other Peruvian chicken joints in the area, El Pollo Rico — at 932 N. Kenmore Street in Virginia Square — has built its reputation as being a restaurant with some pretty good chicken. Don’t believe me? Maybe hearing about visitors such as tennis goddess Serena Williams and late food icon Anthony Bourdain, who don’t just walk into any ol’ restaurant, will convince you otherwise.
Starting out in 1984, El Pollo Rico was born from Peru native Victor Solano and his dream idea of bringing a bit of home to the United States. The original location, for those who remember, was on the corner of Washington Boulevard, Fillmore Street and 10th Street N.
“We had to move because they put a building there that is now condominiums,” says current co-owner Ivan Solano.
When El Pollo Rico first opened it only offered coleslaw, fries and the mild and hot sauces. But let’s be honest, your chicken can be the best in the land, but if the sauce is not just as good, you’ll never have a path to the throne for best Peruvian chicken. For El Pollo Rico, however, the sauce is a strength.
“With our sauce, we take pride in making and have a secret recipe for it,” says Solano. “The people seem to love it.”
Fast forward to today and the legacy continues and has expanded, with Victor’s children now running 3 of the 4 Peruvian chicken locations — in Arlington, Woodbridge and Fairfax. And El Pollo Rico still has their original sides, of course, but now also has plantains, rice and beans to go with your order.
Solano highlights the importance of family and the connection to customers just as equally or even more so than the quality of chicken. Of course nothing stays around this long or keeps its popularity without doing something right with the food, but this devotion towards hospitality shows the core values held within the business and how it translates into the food.
“I know everyone keeps telling us that what separates us is the taste of the chicken, I want to hope that our hospitality does too,” Solano says.
Asking about the famous and notable people who come to visit from all over the world, he said the restaurant is more focused on its regular customers.
“Visits from celebrities are always a plus… but we have been very fortunate and blessed to have the customers that we have come in on a daily basis,” Solano said, adding that he is particularly proud to have built relationships with customers that have lasted over 30 years.
Discussing challenges faced through the years, it was no surprise that Covid was mentioned.
“Covid did hit us and made us pretty much rush into having delivery services… we had planned on doing so but this just made us pretty much jump into it right away,” Solano said.
At the height of the pandemic, there were cheers when news broke that El Pollo Rico was finally delivering. What followed was nothing but ringing phones and countless deliveries of chicken orders.
(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) The building that hosts a Ballston area pet store is being offered for lease.
A leasing flyer says the 4,666 square foot, circa-1925 commercial building at 3902 Wilson Blvd is available for new a tenant starting in January 2024. That suggests that the existing tenant, Unleashed by Petco, will be closing later this year after its lease is up.
Unleashed opened in the space in September 2013, about nine-and-a-half years ago. It replaced the quirky, homegrown burger-and-hot-dog restaurant Wiinky’s.
The flyer notes that the free-standing building was renovated in 2013, when Petco moved in, and that the property has 19 parking spaces.
The only other remaining Unleashed store in Arlington is located at 5400 Langston Blvd. It opened in 2011. A Pentagon City location closed in 2021.
Among other pet-related businesses along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, the Loyal Companion pet store at 2509 Franklin Road in Courthouse just closed but is expected to be replaced soon by Dogma Bakery & Boutique.
Hat tip to Ray Caputo
(Updated at 11 a.m.) Arlington County is suing three residents and the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association over their attempt to stop buses from being parked near their homes.
The county charges that they used the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) process improperly to prevent the approval of a special use permit to allow 29 Arlington Transit (ART) buses to park on a county lot across the street from Washington-Liberty High School while a new ART bus facility is built in Green Valley.
The county says the BZA doesn’t have the authority to hear their case and, without an allegation of harm or potential harm not shared by their neighbors, the residents are not “aggrieved parties” and are thus improperly using the appeal process to block the county’s plans.
“The Applicants sought their appeals simply as a way to undermine the County Board’s authority and to prevent the County Board from approving a special exception use permit for the Subject Property, thereby weaponizing the stay required by Va. Code… and in effect usurping the legislative power of the County Board,” per the lawsuit.
But the residents, who live in two of the five homes on a ridge overlooking the parking lot, argue the county is suing them preemptively while running afoul of its own zoning ordinances. Further, they say the bus activity will seriously undercut their property values and quality of life and suggest the county should buy their homes.
The lawsuit says that one resident’s BZA appeal asked the body to “compel the County Board to purchase some of the Applicant’s properties.”
Both the county and the residents declined to comment to ARLnow on the ongoing lawsuit, set for a hearing in Arlington County Circuit Court later this month.
Arlington County bought the largely industrial site, also known as the Buck site after its previous owner, in 2015 for $30 million to serve a variety of needs.
Arlington Public Schools parked “white fleet” vans there and, as part of an agreement in 2022, the county moved the vans from a part of the site zoned for “light industrial” uses to another zoned for “mixed use,” and park the ART buses in the “light industrial” zone.
This violates an ordinance, a site plan and a deed of covenant governing the property dating to 1985, the civic association alleged in a letter to the County Board in May 2022. The letter says county staff made procedural and substantive missteps that should have invalidated the county’s special use permit application and subsequent action to abandon the right-of-way of a former street on the site.
The civic association alleges that this change came after the county already violated zoning ordinances related to parking and landscaping by conducting motorcycle maneuvering training and storing dumpsters in parking areas while, in landscaped areas, letting trees die and English ivy take over.
As for the new use, they say the noise is unbearable, emissions from the Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses are “toxic,” and vibrations shake nearby homes — leading to their properties becoming “unmarketable” and “uninhabitable.” The BVSCA posted the following video of an ART parking exercise on the site last year.
Residents say the county’s real estate office proposed reducing their property assessments by up to $190,000 and heard from four realtors who say they’d be reluctant to list these properties.
Arlington County police are investigating a shooting that happened around 8 p.m. in the Virginia Square neighborhood.
The incident happened around 8 p.m. along Washington Blvd at N. Nelson Street, near Quincy Park.
Initial reports suggest that two cars were driving down the street and at least three gunshots were fired from one vehicle at the other. Responding officers were unable to locate the suspects or any victims, according to scanner traffic.
Update at 2 p.m. — ACPD just released the following about the incident in the department’s daily crime report.
SHOTS FIRED, 2023-02210199, 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 7:59 p.m. on February 21, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the drivers of two vehicles became involved in a dispute, during which the male suspect exited his vehicle, brandished a firearm and discharged rounds, striking the victim’s vehicle. No injuries were reported. The suspect then fled the scene in a gray coupe vehicle. Responding officers canvassed the area yielding negative results.
A Falls Church man allegedly placed his gun in a flowerbox and asked someone to watch it in the midst of an argument in Ballston.
The incident happened around 9 p.m. Saturday along Wilson Blvd, in front of Ballston Quarter mall.
“The male victim had exited a business when the male suspect approached and began acting disorderly,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “The suspect and victim became involved in a verbal dispute, during which the suspect allegedly assaulted the victim and made threatening statements.”
“The victim then walked away and the suspect removed a firearm from his person, placed it into a flowerbox and asked a witness to watch it before reapproaching the victim,” the crime report continued. “Responding officers took the suspect into custody without incident and during a search of his person incident to arrest, located suspected narcotics.”
During the incident 911 callers reported a man with a gun, prompting a large police response. The argument and the response were both caught on camera and posted on Twitter by local public safety watcher Dave Statter.
(1) NEW: Interesting drama played out on the streets of Ballston Saturday at 9 pm. A fight at Wilson & Randolph with a report of a man with a gun. This is what it looked like just before @ArlingtonVaPD arrived. (more) @ARLnowDOTcom #arlington #Crime pic.twitter.com/vH0i5YxVfn
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) February 20, 2023
(3) A 911 caller said he picked up the gun the man in the dispute stashed. Officers appeared to have found that person & got the gun. Witnesses identified the man initially detained as the person originally having the gun. He was handcuffed. Waiting to learn more from ACPD. pic.twitter.com/Qt8B5GhK0M
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) February 20, 2023
The suspect, a 32-year-old man from Falls Church whose first name is Justice, “was arrested and charged with Reckless Handling of a Firearm, Concealing a Weapon, Assault & Battery, Possession of Schedule I/II Controlled Substance, Possession of Schedule I/II Controlled Substance while Possessing a Firearm, and Drunk in Public,” the crime report said. “He was held without bond.”
Also in today’s crime report, a 59-year-old man has been charged with burglary and destruction of property after a series of business break-ins in the Virginia Square and Ballston area.
The suspect was out on bond but wanted for violating pretrial conditions, court records show. He was previously arrested in 2021 for assault and in February 2022 for allegedly throwing a brick through the window of Olive Lebanese Eatery in Ballston, stealing $50 in cash and causing thousands of dollars in damage, as we previously reported.
Our previous reporting also noted that the suspect was wanted at the time for violating the conditions of an earlier release.
More from the crime report:
BURGLARY, 2023-02200040/02200044/02200051, 3800 block of Fairfax Drive/4300 block of Fairfax Drive/4300 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:15 a.m. on February 20, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary alarm in the 3800 block of Fairfax Drive. Upon arrival, it was determined the suspect allegedly forced entry into the business and tampered with two cash registers before fleeing the scene on foot. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the suspect forced entry into businesses in the 4300 block of Fairfax Drive and the 4300 block of Wilson Boulevard, rummaged through items and tampered with safes. Officers located the suspect in the area and took him into custody without incident. Steven Pugh, 59, of No Fixed Address, was arrested and charged with Burglary (x2) and Destruction of Property (x2).
Arlington County is preparing to make street improvements at the busy intersection of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street N.
The project will widen public sidewalks on both sides of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street N., between the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations, and put existing utilities underground so that the sidewalks can be more accessible for people with disabilities.
“The newly constructed, wider public sidewalks will enhance the outdoor ambiance for pedestrians and establishments within the Project alignment,” according to a county report. “The Project limits will also serve to connect previously enhanced sections of Wilson Boulevard.”
The project spans Wilson Blvd from N. Kenmore Street to 10th Street N. and 10th Street N. between N. Jackson Street and N. Ivy Street.
To construct new sidewalks, the county needs an easement from Joe’s Kwik Mart, a convenience store attached to the Exxon gas station at 3299 Wilson Blvd. On Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved the easements.
The county says affected property owners “are supportive of the project’s scope and goals.”
According to the report, the convenience store will receive $11,300 in exchange for the easements, though the owner was fine with granting them without compensation.
“The agreed-to monetary compensation of $11,300.00 for [the] acquisition of the perpetual easement is based upon the appraisal of the fair market value of the property interest by an independent fee appraiser,” per the report. “The owner agreed to convey the aforementioned temporary easement areas to the County without any monetary payment or valuable consideration.”
This project is the last phase of a series of street treatments along Wilson Blvd that began in 2009. Between then and 2019, the county completed work between N. Monroe and N. Kenmore streets.
As part of the project, the county added new curbs, gutters and streetlights, made traffic signal and storm sewer improvements, planted street trees and repaved and repainted the street.
The Wilson Blvd CVS with a large blank, brick wall facing the street is set to open next month.
A new CVS, on the former site of the Highlander Motor Inn at 3336 Wilson Blvd near Virginia Square and Clarendon (and next to Mario’s Pizza), is aiming to open in a few weeks, we’re told.
“Barring any unexpected delays, we plan open in mid- to late-February,” a company spokesperson told ARLnow.
What makes this CVS notable to many passersby is the nearly 20-foot-tall windowless, brick rear wall of the building facing Wilson Blvd, one of Arlington’s main commercial corridors.
When it first went up in August, ARLnow received emails from locals calling the wall an “eyesore, “unfit for the area,” and “The Great Wall of Clarendon.”
This was just the latest dust up about this particular site.
In 2016, the county sued long-time property owner and local businessman Billy Bayne about what exactly could be built on the site after he signed a lease with CVS.
That was the beginning of a multi-year legal battle that eventually led to the Virginia Supreme Court declining to consider an appeal from the county, effectively allowing Bayne to move forward with his plans to bring a CVS to the site and handcuffing the county in terms of regulation.
The court fight didn’t sit well with Bayne, who said he lost nearly $2 million while the project stalled.
“It’s not okay to do this to somebody,” Bayne told ARLnow in 2018. “There will be ramifications for this.”
(When Bayne’s Highlander Motor Inn became a Covid quarantine location in 2020, however, there appeared to be a warning of relations. County officials praised Bayne for “stepping up” in a time of need while Bayne said the deal helped him pay bills with the county being “very good” to him.)
The motel finally closed in early 2021 and was demolished later that year, but not before one final party. Then, the CVS began to be built and neighbors saw a huge wall go up. The store also has a sizable surface parking lot between the building and Wilson Blvd.
CVS spokesperson told ARLnow at the time that the wall was “included in the overall construction and design plan approved by Arlington development officials.”
But that didn’t soothe some unhappy locals or put to bed the unsubstantiated rumors that this was the long-awaited revenge against the county.
“After the long court battle with the owner of the Highlander, CVS is throwing its ‘f you very much’ by placing a blank wall along Wilson Boulevard,” one resident told ARLnow back in August. “Can’t wait for the future graffiti — I mean, community arts project!”
Billy Bayne told ARLnow that he had no say in the construction project or the wall, but he also had a few other things to say about upset neighbors, the county, and other matters.
“CVS can do whatever they want. This is not the People’s Republic of China. Who do [locals] think they are telling local businesses what to build?” he said. “If people think they can tell CVS what to do, I must be missing something. Does CVS tell them what they can put on their front lawns?”
He continued, blasting the county for not being “business-friendly” and reiterated that he still felt personally attacked by the county for its multi-year legal fight with him.
“This isn’t revenge, but I do think what [the county did to me] was personal,” he said. “I blame [the wall] on Arlington not working with CVS. I call them the ‘socialist government of Arlington.’ And CVS is just trying to do good for the neighborhood.”
There’s a Korean fried chicken restaurant coming to Virginia Square.
A new location of bb.q Chicken is planning to open in April at 3503 Fairfax Drive, franchise co-owner Lydia Om confirmed to ARLnow.
It’s opening along Fairfax Drive at the corner of N. Lincoln Street. That’s the former location of Cosi restaurant, which closed about three years ago.
It’s also about half of a block from the Virginia Square Metro station and just down the street from the Arlington campus of George Mason University.
There are more than 130 locations of Korea-based bb.q Chicken in the United States, specializing in Korean-styled fried chicken. Among them: five locations in Northern Virginia, including in Chantilly and Falls Church.
However, those are run by different franchisees than that which is opening in Virginia Square.
The location in Virginia Square, Arlington’s first, is set to be run by Om and her husband Harrison Om. This will be their first restaurant after running a grocery store in D.C. for years. They’ve decided to open their restaurant in Arlington because they “love” to come to eat here and know there is a crowd hungry for Korean fried chicken.
Om and bb.q Chicken have applied for a Virginia ABC license and are set to serve alcohol.
Nearby, the Arlington campus of George Mason University is currently undergoing a $250 million expansion.
(Updated at midnight) The driver of a pickup truck struck a pedestrian at a busy Ballston area intersection this afternoon.
The crash happened around 3 p.m at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Quincy Street. Initial reports suggest that the pedestrian, a woman, was in the crosswalk when she was struck.
The woman was said to be injured and in the roadway, but conscious and breathing, per the medic dispatch. A man is also reported to be in medical distress after the crash, though it was not immediately clear whether he was struck by the truck.
A small crowd could be seen gathered around the crash scene.
Arlington County police tell ARLnow that the driver was cited for the crash.
“At approximately 3:01 p.m., police were dispatched to N. Quincy Street at Fairfax Drive for the report of a crash with injuries involving two pedestrians,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The two pedestrians, an adult male and adult female, were transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and was cited for failure to yield to the pedestrians in the crosswalk. “
Eastbound Fairfax Drive and northbound N. Quincy Street was blocked for a time by the emergency response.