Arlington could soon kick off work on improvements at one of the county’s trickiest intersections for pedestrians and cyclists.
The County Board is set to approve a $2.5 million contract for the overhaul of the “Clarendon Circle” — the area where Clarendon, Washington and Wilson Boulevards all meet, just past the Metro station.
Planners have hoped for years now to add improvements to the intersection, like shortening the distances pedestrians have to walk across roads. The work will also include the installation of additional bike lanes, the widening of Washington Boulevard to four lanes — while nixing the current reversible lanes — and the addition of upgraded traffic signals.
Plans also call for adding a “green streets” element to better manage stormwater on N. Irving Street, next to the Silver Diner.
The Board is scheduled to vote on the construction contract at its Saturday, June 16 meeting as part of its consent agenda, which is typically reserved for non-controversial items. Should Board members approve the deal, the county estimates that work could begin this fall and wrap up in the winter of 2020.
The Clarendon Circle project is designed to move in conjunction with the county’s plans to do away with the reversible lanes on Washington Boulevard and create a “T” intersection with 13th Street N. That construction is projected to kick off in the winter of 2019, after the Board voted on May 22 to let the redevelopment of the nearby Red Top Cab properties move ahead.
A water main break at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park is taking longer to repair than first expected.
An 8-inch water main burst along Washington Blvd this morning, causing hundreds of water customers in Lyon Park to either lose water service or experience low water pressure.
Traffic is being diverted around the work scene, causing slow traffic. Shortly before 3 p.m., Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said via social media that repairs would continue into the evening, after initial estimates were that work would wrap up by 4 p.m.
“Traffic will remain slow,” DES said. “Thanks for continued patience.”
UPDATE Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working the 8-inch main break in Washington Blvd-Pershing area have encountered more extensive damage. Repairs will likely continue through p.m. rush hour. Traffic will remain slow. Thanks for continued patience. #vatraffic pic.twitter.com/xLEF59uH6J
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) May 31, 2018
UPDATE Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews continue working on 8-inch main break in Washington Boulevard – Pershing area. Scores of customers are without water. Others are experiencing low pressure. Repair completion estimate still 4 pm. Thanks for your patience. pic.twitter.com/hff3WoPjbn
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) May 31, 2018
(Update at 10:50 a.m.) More than 10,000 Dominion customers are currently without power in Arlington, according to the company’s website.
Numerous reports of downed trees, branches and power lines around the county have been rolling in over the past few hours as today’s “high impact” wind storm continues to roar across the D.C. region.
As of as of 10:45 a.m., Dominion was reporting 11,409 customers without electricity in Arlington. Parts of the county affected include large portions of residential North Arlington neighborhoods, as seen on the map about.
Among a growing list of road closures around the county due to downed trees, police are blocking the 6000 block of Washington Blvd, just west of Westover, for a large tree across the road. Another significant road closure is N. Harrison Street between 26th Street N. and Lee Highway.
The fire department has kept busy, calling for staff to volunteer to work a double shift into the afternoon and making frequent trips to buildings where power outages have resulted in stuck elevators.
The Arlington County Police Department is advising residents to steer well clear of downed power lines and trees and to “remain aware of your surroundings and secure your belongings” today. The National Weather Service says the strongest wind gusts are expected through noon, though damaging winds are expected to continue into Friday night.
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) March 2, 2018
Have winds peaked? Many places may have already seen the highest gusts of the event, but damaging wind potential persists at least through the morning and into afternoon. https://t.co/uD731yCX26 pic.twitter.com/lU7LZBLFNU
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 2, 2018
🌬️🌳 ACPD responding to numerous calls for downed power lines and trees. Stay clear, even if you believe that the lines are dead or have been de-energized by the power company. Additional info: https://t.co/kWBow4Ewio pic.twitter.com/JPubcXr9CP
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) March 2, 2018
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 2, 2018
Opinions seem to be divided about the house in Arlington’s Highland Park neighborhood with the chalk message declaring “F–k the NRA.”
On one hand, many people — even those who are not fans of the National Rifle Association and pro-gun policies — object to writing a large profanity on the front of a house along a busy road. There are children in the neighborhood who walk by this house, those who object to it say.
On the other hand, the resident who wrote the message is exercising his or her right to free speech and addressing an important topic. When guns are being used to kill children in schools, supporters say, the “F-word” should be the least of people’s concerns.
What do you think?
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) An Arlington resident decided to voice an opinion on gun control via a message scrawled in chalk onto the front of their house, after the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida two weeks ago, but the message is causing some controversy not related to politics.
The house is located along busy Washington Blvd, roughly between East Falls Church and Westover Village. Despite Arlington’s deep blue political leanings, the words have been a hot button conversation among neighbors because the message — “F–k the NRA” — includes a profanity in plain sight of anyone driving or walking by.
“I have no issue with their freedom of expression, but I am concerned that my young kids are going to see the profanity as we drive by and ask what it means,” one resident said on the local NextDoor message board. “I also tend to think it’s possible to express the same sentiment without public profanity. Is this kind of thing even allowed under Arlington code?”
“Regardless of how you feel on the issue, it’s highly offensive and inappropriate,” another said. “But we can explain to kids that vulgarity is evidence of a weak mind.”
“I’m no fan of the NRA but it’s outrageous and counterproductive to boot,” said yet another peeved resident. “Freedom of speech and expression does not need to sink to this level,” echoed a neighbor.
One resident who lives nearby told ARLnow.com that he contacted police, to no avail.
“I called ACPD non emergency number as kids shouldn’t be seeing that kind of language in my opinion,” he said. “Their response, ‘police have been out and there is nothing that they can do.’ First Amendment protection is needed absolutely but it was shocking that there was no profanity law that was being broken.”
Some message board posters, however, said they did not have a problem with the sign.
“I pump my fist in the air every time I drive by,” said one, “in case the owners are reading this and think everyone is against their statement.”
“That house usually has pretty artwork or other positive statements. Obviously the profanity is pushing the limits for some neighbors but personally I don’t have a problem explaining the use of profanity to my kids because the intention behind it is good,” said another supporter. “The artist isn’t promoting violence, unhealthy or dangerous behavior. Has anyone close to the neighbor talked to them and explained how the language is affecting them?”
A 60-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being struck by a car on Washington Blvd earlier today (Tuesday) near Washington-Lee High school.
A driver in a white SUV struck the man just before 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Stafford Street. According to scanner traffic, he had a head wound but was conscious, and was attended to by nearby construction workers before police and medics arrived.
Officers from the Arlington County Police Department canvassed witnesses nearby but did not close any roads, and traffic appeared to be flowing as normal.
Washington Blvd has had well-documented issues with pedestrian-vehicle conflicts in recent years, despite various safety improvements being installed. A teen was struck by a car in 2016 at its intersection with N. Utah Street and suffered a serious head injury.
A shared-use path is now open on eastbound Washington Blvd near the Pentagon, part of a bridge rehabilitation project in Arlington County.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said a 14-foot wide path for bicycles and pedestrians along eastbound Washington Blvd (Route 27) over Route 110 opened yesterday (Tuesday).
The path is now 14 feet wide on the bridge and replaces a narrow concrete sidewalk that pedestrians and cyclists used to use. It is 10 feet wide on the approaches to the bridge.
Drivers in the area can expect some delays starting tonight (Wednesday), as eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd will shift onto the newly-constructed portion of the bridge. The traffic shift allows construction crews to demolish the middle portion of the bridge and rebuild it.
Work is expected to last from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes.
VDOT said it still believes the $31.5 million project is on track to wrap up next year. It will replace the existing bridge, built in 1941, with one that is wider, longer and taller.
Photo via VDOT
A nail and beauty studio is set to move in to Clarendon.
According to building permits filed with the county, Salon Lofts will move into 3001 Washington Blvd, in the long-vacant first floor of an office building in the neighborhood.
On its website, Salon Lofts says it allows beauty professionals to be independent business owners. The company provides tools, technical support and education to those interested in owning a studio, known as a “loft” by the company.
Owners can then customize their lofts and offer various beauty services.
It will be the third Salon Lofts in the D.C. metro area. The company also has locations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.
Getting hit by a car seems like it would be a rare event, but it’s happened to at least three people who work in one Clarendon office recently.
None of the collisions have resulted in serious injuries, but it is nonetheless remarkable that so many people on one floor — in the MakeOffices coworking space at 3100 Clarendon Blvd — have been struck by cars in the past few months.
Zack Armstrong, who works at MakeOffices and lives nearby, told ARLnow his story. On a Saturday morning late last month, he was running along Washington Blvd near the Giant grocery store in Virginia Square when a woman struck him as he tried to cross the street.
Armstrong said it was only a minor collision, and that the driver stopped immediately, got out of her car and was hyperventilating with the shock of hitting a person. He said he was able to get right back up and walk over.
“I wasn’t really injured,” he said.
Another MakeOffices member who wished to remain anonymous said she was struck by a car and had a near-miss another time, both when she had the right-of-way at crosswalks and within weeks of each other.
The collision happened at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Clarendon Blvd, as a car turned onto N. Highland Street and clipped her as she crossed at the crosswalk. The near-miss happened as a car came too quickly out of the parking lot underneath the 3100 Clarendon Blvd office building as she crossed from beside the building.
A third person who works at MakeOffices was struck by a car in Maryland on Memorial Day, and had to wear a protective boot while her ankle healed.
Nanette Bass said she was crossing at a crosswalk when a car ran a red light and clipped her as she tried to get out of the way. The impact sent her spinning in the air, and she landed on her leg. The car did not stop.
A new Italian restaurant is open in Lyon Park, replacing a pizza chain.
Troy’s Italian Kitchen replaced Zpizza at 2710 Washington Blvd in April. The eatery is located between a Discount Tobacco & Phone Cards store and the El Charrito Caminante Mexican and Salvadorian restaurant in a small strip mall.
Troy’s opens each day at 10 a.m. and has garnered mostly positive reviews online so far. An employee at the restaurant said Monday that demand has been good for its customizable pizzas, pastas, paninis and salads.
“People need to eat at different times,” he said of the earlier-than-usual opening hours.
Troy’s stays open until midnight Sundays through Thursdays, and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Inside, there is seating for around a dozen people.
Already, a small collection of art by younger customers is starting to grow on the wall, as well as a review written on a plate.
“Great pizza, great atmosphere, love the thin crust,” it reads. “Can’t wait to try out other pizzas.”
Arlington County is set to add a new section of bicycle and pedestrian trail along Washington Blvd.
The Arlington County Board is scheduled this weekend to consider a plan for the second phase of the trail, running north along Washington Blvd from Towers Park — near Columbia Pike — to 2nd Street S. It will then link with the first phase of the trail along Washington Blvd, between Arlington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive.
The project proposes to construct a 10-foot wide paved trail on the western side of Washington Blvd. The trail will be mostly located in the road’s existing right-of-way, but also runs through the U.S. Navy Supply Facility (701 S. Courthouse Road) and Towers Park.
County staff moved the northern section of the trail onto the shoulder of Washington Blvd to reduce the need to build retaining walls and reduce the number of trees to be cut down. Under the current plan, about 84 trees would be removed and as many as 160 replanted after the project is complete.
“The project will serve as a valuable link in the overall trail network as it provides a north-south trail between the Columbia Pike (Towers Park) area and the Arlington Blvd Trail,” county staff wrote in a report endorsing the plan. “Recent improvements to the trails along Arlington Blvd will now be more accessible via this new Washington Blvd trail.”
In a letter to the County Board on September 6, Penrose Neighborhood Association president Maria “Pete” Durgan said members “wholeheartedly support” the project.
The county budgeted just over $2.1 million for the project, with just over $420,000 as contingent in case of change orders. Construction is expected to begin this winter and wrap up late next year.
Plans for the redevelopment of a seven-acre site in Virginia Square — which include a new apartment building, YMCA facility and affordable housing — are slated to come before the Arlington Planning Commission this fall.
The plans, for several properties around the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, could result in a new six-story apartment building; a rebuilt, 100,000 square foot YMCA building; and a 161-home affordable housing project. The plans call for retaining American Legion Post 139 on the property.
On its property — the largest parcel on the site — the YMCA says it “intends to redevelop its site to allow for an expanded, world class, modern athletic and community YMCA facility as part of a mixed use project which would also allow for new residential uses on, or adjacent to, the Property.”
Within the site is the Ball family burial ground, designated as a local historic district in 1978 and the resting place of several family members. Given the desire to study the site, individual site plans and construction are still years away from coming to fruition.
The county and its Long Range Planning Committee has spent several months discussing land use planning for the parcel and the area as a whole, in advance of a site plan process.
The committee met on July 25 to discuss the latest round of suggestions for land use. Anthony Fusarelli, principal planner in the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, said in an email “it was suggested” that be the final meeting on the topic, and that the study be advanced to the full Planning Commission.
Ahead of that Planning Commission meeting, which could be as early as September, Fusarelli said an updated study document will be released for community review, incorporating the feedback of LRPC members and the public.
At the meeting of the LRPC last month, county staff presented various options for the site’s land use, while taking into account how buildings’ heights decrease as they get further from a Metro station.
Among those options, staff presented two that would create a so-called “Special District,” which would help coordinate development in the area and set clear guidelines for projects. The area would be designated as the Washington/Kirkwood Coordinated Mixed-Use Development District.
And in terms of density, staff has several options left on the table, including several that would allow for varying types of housing, which they said reflected local residents’ desire to have a transition between the dense Metro corridor and the neighborhood.
Staff also provided an option that would not change any land uses on the site, which they said would allow some development, including a hotel by right that would not require Arlington County Board approval. But they said only “limited improvements” could be made to the YMCA under that plan.
A local YouTube personality waited at a red light near Virginia Hospital Center for 20 minutes earlier this week, and posted his experience to his channel.
Angelo, who describes himself as the creative director of the FlyingOverTr0ut channel, says he makes “sketches, commercial parodies, music videos, short films, drama, 9 hour videos of me sleeping, unauthorized T-Mobile commercials, and videos about my easily confused Greek mom.”
But a video posted July 18 shows him having a more troubling experience. It shows Angelo waiting at a red light at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive in Waycroft-Woodlawn for more than 20 minutes.
A timer in the bottom-right corner shows he waited 20 minutes and 30 seconds for the light to change at approximately 2:30 a.m.
The full video is below, although be warned there is strong language and it may not be suitable for viewing at work.
— Mike Lewan (@mlewan3) July 21, 2017
And for those with slightly less time to spare, Angelo posted an edited version of what he describes as his “expose of this intersection,” edited by fellow YouTube user gr18vidz14kidz.
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said they responded to his inquiry on Twitter, and that crews “improved the signal timing this week and will continue to monitor the timing at the intersection.”
Photo via Google Maps.
Lanes will close on Route 110 near the Pentagon next week for up to two months as part of a state construction project.
The right lane of northbound Route 110 at Washington Blvd will close Wednesday night and the right lane of southbound Route 110 will close Thursday night at the same interchange.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said the closures are to remove and rebuild the bridge piers on the shoulders. Message signs alerting motorists to the lane closures are in place.
The left lane of northbound Route 110 and the left lane of southbound Route 110, which have been closed since early April to reconstruct the bridge pier in the median, will reopen Tuesday night.
The work is part of the Route 27 over Route 110 project, which is scheduled for completion next spring. The project will modify and repair the Washington Blvd bridge, including widening it and making it longer, wider and taller than the existing bridge.
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