Bike and Walk to School Day — Today was Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. The yearly event encourages families to use their feet — rather than cars — to get to school, at least for a day. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Hospital Expansion Meets Some Resistance — Some neighbors are at odds with Virginia Hospital Center over its plan to expand its campus. Complaints include objections to “height and mass in close proximity to single-family homes” and the large number of proposed parking spaces. [Greater Greater Washington]
Machinery Topples Over, Blocking Road — A piece of heavy machinery toppled over on Little Falls Road at N. Sycamore Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood yesterday. The cleanup temporarily blocked Little Falls Road. [Twitter]
Fourth High School Could Cost >$250 Million — “Redeveloping portions of the Arlington Career Center campus near Columbia Pike to accommodate a fourth general high school in Arlington could end up costing a quarter-billion dollars or more depending on amenities, according to preliminary cost estimates being fleshed out by school officials.” [InsideNova]
Another Farmers Market Opens — Arlington County is now home to ten farmers markets, with another on the way. The Arlington Mill farmers market opened over the weekend and hosted a Latin jazz band and Arlington’s Art Truck, in addition to numerous food vendors. [Arlington County]
More on Controversial Favola Auction Item — “Brian White of Winchester was the winning Democratic bidder. He said in an interview Monday that he thought the offer blurred the line of appropriateness, but had an idea: ‘I was looking at how much it was and I was like, Dominion [Energy] pays a whole lot more for this type of access.’ He said he plans to offer the day in Richmond to Theresa ‘Red’ Terry, the Roanoke County woman who spent 34 days living in a tree stand to protest incursion of a natural gas pipeline through her land.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Three separate events will be temporarily shutting down Arlington roads this weekend.
The sixth annual Arlington Festival of the Arts will be held in Clarendon on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The event will shut down the following roads from 4 a.m. on Saturday through 9 p.m. on Sunday:
- Westbound Washington Boulevard from N. Garfield Street to Clarendon Boulevard
- N. Highland Street from Clarendon Boulevard to Washington Boulevard
- 11th Street N. between N. Highland and N. Garfield streets only will be open to delivery traffic
Police are advising motorists that street parking will be restricted and that “No Parking” signs will be enforced.
The Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K race will be held on Saturday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following roads will be closed during that time:
- Williamsburg Boulevard will be closed to eastbound traffic from Little Falls Road to N. Harrison Street
- Little Falls Road will be closed from Williamsburg Boulevard to N. Harrison Street
- N. Ohio Street will be closed from 26th Street N. to Williamsburg Boulevard
Saturday’s Arlington Palooza, at Alcova Heights Park, will close 8th Street S. between George Mason Drive and S. Randolph Street from 9 a.m.-6 p.m, according to ACPD.
Temporary “No Parking” signs will be placed along George Mason Drive to allow vehicles to load and unload items for the event. Vehicles violating the signs will be towed.
Photos courtesy ACPD
Advertising for Capital Bikeshare? — The Arlington County Board has approved a policy that would allow an advertising sponsorship for Capital Bikeshare. A corporate sponsorship of the regionwide system could generate $750,000 over five years for Arlington County, which would be used to support, expand and promote the system in Arlington. [Washington Post, Washington Business Journal]
Board Approves Climate Resolution — The County Board last night approved a resolution expressing the county’s commitment to fighting climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency. The resolution also states “that Arlington County supports the principles of the Paris Agreement and will continue to… advance action in accordance with the goals outlined in [it].” [Arlington County]
Arlington Taking Action to Attract Pollinators — Workers planted flowering plants in Arlington yesterday as part of a joint effort to attract more pollinators — insects like bees and butterflies. The environmentally-friendly effort was sponsored by the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, NOVA Parks and Dominion. [WJLA]
Arlington to Update Resource Protection Map — Arlington County will hold public hearings on updating its Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map. “The more accurate map will help Arlington protect environmentally sensitive lands near streams and ensure that the County can comply with local and State regulations,” said a press release. “It will allow the County to review development projects fairly and provide accurate information to residents and other stakeholders.” [Arlington County]
Photos from Crystal City Car Show — The annual Crystal City Fathers Day Auto Festival was held this past weekend and featured more than 100 cars. This year the show was organized in part by Carsfera.com. [Facebook]
Williamsburg Neighborhood Plan Updated — The County Board has approved an update to the Neighborhood Conservation Plan for Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Per a press release: “Residents made recommendations for improving traffic and pedestrian safety, maintaining the neighborhood’s character, protecting the tree canopy and improving neighborhood parks.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Valerie O’Such
The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to make a stretch of Williamsburg Blvd a so-called “Green Street” at its meeting Saturday.
The section of Williamsburg Blvd, between 33rd Road N. and 35th Street N., would have new trees added as well as two 1,000-square-foot rain gardens in the median. The project is intended to improve local water quality and address permit requirements as part of the county’s Green Streets project for stormwater management.
County staff estimated that installing the trees and rain gardens will treat runoff from 2.2 acres of impervious surfaces that do not allow rainwater to soak in. That water then runs off into the Little Pimmit Run watershed, which leads to the Chesapeake Bay, with Arlington under instructions along with other jurisdictions to reduce pollution in the bay.
If the County Board approves the plan, a contract worth an initial $1.23 million would be awarded, with $246,000 in contingency.
County staff recommends approval of the project, which is being coordinated with the second phase of improvements to Old Dominion Drive. Construction is set to start in June or July.
A car flipped over after a collision near Williamsburg Middle School on Wednesday afternoon.
The crash occurred at the intersection of Williamsburg Boulevard and N. Harrison Street around 4 p.m.
A police officer at the scene said the driver of a Toyota Prius misjudged the speed of oncoming traffic while trying to turn left on a green signal. The car then collided with an oncoming black Toyota, which spun and flipped.
The white Prius sustained major damage to its front and had several pieces ripped off by the impact, but the driver was able to drive it to the side of the road under direction from police officers on the scene.
The officer said that there were minor injuries to the drivers. Police set up traffic cones around the scene and temporarily stopped traffic. The stoppage lasted for a short period, then cars were able to proceed slowly around the crash site.
A nearby resident who declined to be identified said he heard a loud bang, then saw the black car skid for approximately 15 or 20 yards before flipping over.
The crash took place while some students were leaving the school, and the resident said Williamsburg crossing guards were immediately on the scene to keep the children safe, including one from outside the school.
“If I want anyone on my team, I’d want that crossing guard,” the resident said.
Big Changes Coming to DCA — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has revealed updated designs of the coming changes at Reagan National Airport. Among the changes are a new commuter terminal, replacing the outdoor commuter gate 35X, and a new structure to house security checkpoints, which will be positioned before travelers enter the airport’s main terminal B/C hallway. [WTOP, WTOP]
Ethiopian Restaurant Coming to Courthouse — Chercher Ethiopian restaurant is expanding from the District to a new location at 2000 14th Street N. in Courthouse. It will be the first Virginia outpost for the acclaimed Ethiopian restaurant. Its owner says he chose Courthouse because the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor lacks Ethiopian dining options. [Washington Business Journal]
Tornado Drill Today — Yesterday was the first day of spring and today, at 9:45 a.m., Virginia is holding its annual statewide tornado drill. The drill is “a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.” [Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management]
Va. Pols Speaking at Arlington Dems Dinner — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello and state Attorney General Mark Herring will be the headline speakers at the Arlington Democrats’ annual “Blue Victory Dinner,” formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, on April 8. The other Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, “had a conflict and will not be able to make it.” [InsideNova]
School 5K to Close Streets — Roads will be closed in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood Saturday morning for the second annual Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K. [Arlington County, Discovery Elementary School]
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards
A shooting happened around 3:20 a.m. Sunday at a home on the 6300 block of 29th Street N., near Bishop O’Connell High School, according to police.
Authorities say a 23-year-old man was shot during an argument at a house party and later died at the hospital.
TV station WJLA described the party as a housewarming party attended by a group of several dozen friends.
Police are now searching for the suspect, 37-year-old D.C. resident Jason Allen Johnson, who they say should be considered armed and dangerous.
More from an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Jason Allen Johnson, 37, of Washington, DC. Johnson is wanted for Murder for his role in this morning’s homicide in the Williamsburg neighborhood. Johnson is described as a black male, approximately 5’5″ and weighing 145 pounds. He was last known to be heading towards Maryland.
At approximately 3:22 a.m. on February 19, 2017, Arlington County Police responded to the 6300 block of N. 29th Street for the report of shots fired. Arriving officers located one male victim suffering from a gunshot wound and immediately began performing CPR. Arlington County Fire Department medics transported Michael Gray, 23, of Manassas, Virginia to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The initial investigation revealed that this shooting resulted from a dispute that took place during a party at a residence in the 6300 block of N. 29th Street.
Johnson is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call 911 immediately and not approach the suspect. If you have additional information regarding this investigation, contact Detective J. Trainer of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4185 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
The Williamsburg Field Site Evaluation Workgroup, the citizen body charged with weighing in on the thorny issue of whether an athletic field near Williamsburg Middle School should have lights, is set to have its 21st meeting tonight (Wednesday).
The workgroup is preparing to write its draft report, which will be presented to county commissions next month and reviewed with the Arlington County Board in January before a final set of recommendations is presented to the Board in February.
Earlier this month the workgroup held an open house at which those on both sides — for and against lighting the artificial turf field — presented their case. ARLnow.com spoke to a number of people at the meeting.
“I’m for the fields,” said Chris Smith, a nearby resident. “I think it’s fantastic that we have the resources that we do in Arlington, and the utility of the turf fields is only expanded by having them lit at different times during the day. It gives us more time on the fields, particularly give the children more time on the fields, as the days get shorter, through the winter and I think that’s only a good thing.”
“I’m probably one of the four or five houses that are closest… whatever the effects could be I would probably feel them as much as anybody else,” Smith added. “But as a member of the local youth sports community and as a father of three children, two of whom are at Discovery [Elementary], I think it’s a better investment with the lights there.”
A number of supporters said their kids play soccer and having a lighted field closer to home — currently they must travel to Gunston Middle School or Long Bridge Part to play at night — would benefit far more residents than the lights would, potentially, negatively affect.
Opponents, however, said in their presentation that the area around the field is a “historically dark and quiet neighborhood” and lighting the field would be a slippery slope leading, perhaps, to turning “all of Arlington County into a big city with big-city traffic, noise and lights.”
“I live close to the field, my kids went to this school and we already lived through building Discovery school, the elementary school, which has been fine, actually,” said a lighting opponent who did not give her name. “But this will have games going at night, I don’t know how many nights a week, late at night. They already have games it seems, a lot, all day, all weekend. It seems like it’s just too much for the neighborhood and the lights will disturb everybody’s sleep and rest and just the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.”
“I just don’t think you have to play soccer 24/7,” the lighting opponent continued. “You know, enough is enough.”
County Board member Christian Dorsey attended the open house and said the lengthy community process — which started in September 2013 — is intended to give all residents plenty of opportunity to shape the county’s ultimate decision.
“We put together a workgroup because this is not an easy issue to decide or deliberate about,” Dorsey said. “The Board wanted to make sure we gave individuals from communities, affected communities who are also part of interest groups to really go deep into the issues so that they could give us all the perspectives that we needed to make a decision. So, this is kind of a — not the culmination — but it’s nearing the end of their work and this is really a useful way to take what they’ve learned and share it with the wider public.”
“We need to make an informed decision,” Dorsey concluded, “which is what I look forward to.”
The driver of an Arlington Transit bus has been cited by police after a crash in north Arlington this morning.
The crash happened just after 8:30 a.m. near the intersection of Little Falls Road, Yorktown Blvd and N. Kensington Street.
“The ART bus veered off the roadway and struck two vehicles,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The driver was cited with failure to maintain proper control.”
There were several people on board the bus at the time but no injuries were reported, Savage said. The two cars that were struck were parked at the time.
Photos by Samantha Moore
(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) A fire broke out in the basement of a house in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood tonight.
Firefighters were dispatched to the home, on the 6200 block of 30th Street N., shortly before 9 p.m. Fire was reported in the basement, with extension to the first floor of the house.
The fire was brought under control within about 15 minutes. There were no reports of injuries but extensive damage, including a collapsed floor, was reported.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 31, 2016
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) August 31, 2016
*WORKING FIRE* 6200 BLK N. 30th St. E106 with heavy fire from a basement w/ extension to 1st floor.
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) August 31, 2016
*UPDATE* 6200 BLK N. 30th St. Fire knocked. Searches negative. Extensive overhaul w/ floor collapses on #1 floor. #ACFD
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) August 31, 2016
#Update: Fire has been knocked down and searches on all floors were negative. RIT Level 1 on scene.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 31, 2016
Photos courtesy Andrew Pang, @LincolnACFD
Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, someone entered the United Bank in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood through a hole in the wall, but nothing was stolen.
Police are investigating the break-in, in the Williamsburg Shopping Center. Investigators say the suspect was able to gain entry to a room behind the bank’s ATM, but not the main lobby of the bank. The hole was in a wall in a walkway between the bank and a barber shop, we’re told.
Some cuts were found on the ATM, but no money was stolen.
It was business as usual at the bank as of Wednesday afternoon. No holes were visible in the wall, which appeared to be recently plastered over.
From the Arlington County Police Department’s crime report:
BURGLARY, 160214018, 6400 block of N. Williamsburg Boulevard. Between 5:20 p.m. on February 13 and 9:15 a.m. on February 14, an unknown subject(s) forced entry through a hole in the wall of United Bank. No money was stolen and no damage was made other than cuts made to the ATM. There is no suspect(s) description.
Traffic delays are expected on Williamsburg Blvd as the county builds a new water main under the road.
“The County is building new water mains and modifying pipes to the Minor Hill Reservoir site and its four underground storage tanks. The projects will improve the water system’s reliability and redundancy at our most critical and largest water storage area,” said county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.
Construction is scheduled to start today on southbound Williamsburg Blvd. at N. Sycamore Street, Baxter said.
There are potential traffic delays, as the county will be narrowing the existing travel lane to allow for the water main installation. Southbound traffic will be affected for eight to 12 weeks, according to a press release.
The county will also be closing a gap in the water main that runs under westbound Williamsburg Blvd between N. Frederick and N. Harrison Streets.
The westbound lane will be closed to traffic until summer of 2016 while crews work on the water main, according to the county. Cars will be routed around the construction using a part of the eastbound lane on Williamsburg Blvd.
There is no set date for when the county will start working on the main line under the westbound lane, Baxter said.
“Earliest anticipated start date would be Sept. 21, but we’ll update the community when a date is confirmed,” she said.
The water main project will cost $4.1 million and will come from the county’s utility fund, according to the press release. Once the water main line construction is completed, water will be able to flow through storage tanks easier, resulting in fresher water from the tap, the county said.
“The projects will boost the water system’s reliability and redundancy by providing a backup main to our most critical and largest water storage area,” said the press release.
Photos via Google Maps
(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Arlington brothers Henry and Karl Neff spent last Saturday morning doing something that will sound unappealing to most: pedaling up a really steep in hill in Howard County, Maryland.
The two Williamsburg kids were riding in the Highway to Heaven Hill Climb Time Trial as cyclists on the National Capital Velo Club/United Healthcare team, the largest cycling club on the East Coast, according to the club’s site.
The time trial is an individual event, where each rider is trying to complete a course in the fastest time. What made Saturday’s race challenging is that the 0.8 mile-course is majorly uphill at an 18 percent grade.
Despite the hill’s steepness, the race was “not as bad as I thought it would be,” 9-year-old Henry said. He placed ninth in his age group, with a time of six minutes, 24.25 seconds.
For 12-year-old Karl, the race was easier than he expected, he said. His coaches told him it would be mostly uphill but there were more flat areas than he expected. He placed seventh in the 9-14 age group, with a time of 5 minutes, 49.45 seconds.
Karl has been cycling for three years, he said. Henry started last year, following in his brother’s footsteps.
“We first got into cycling because our mom biked to work,” Karl said.
Henry’s favorite part about cycling is winning, and he’s won a couple of races, he said. For Karl, it is the speed.
“The wind going past my face,” he said. “The accomplishment of how I went up this big hill.”
The two attend practices every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. where they learn different parts of racing. Some days they will work on drafting in the pack, sometimes they work on corners, Karl said.
During the school year, the boys fit in homework between school, practice and races. The cycling season can last until the middle of December and then picks up again March. The two spent this season racing all over Maryland and Virginia, competing in over 25 races, many during the school year.
Henry attends Drew Model School in the Montessori program. Karl attends Williamsburg Middle School, which lets out at 2:30 p.m., giving him around three hours to finish schoolwork before practice starts.
“I don’t have anything until 5:30 p.m. so that’s usually enough time to get my homework done,” Karl said.
N. Lexington Street was closed for 45 minutes today after a dump truck caught on fire, causing it to leak hydraulic fluid.
The fire ignited in the truck’s engine compartment around noon, near the intersection of N. Lexington Street and Little Falls Road.
The dump truck leaked about three to five gallons of fluid, said Battalion Chief Matt Herbert, of the Arlington County Fire Department. The fire was started by a mechanical issue, he said.
Hazmat crews had already been to the scene as of 1:15 p.m. They put absorbent on the fluid, which prevented it from going into the storm drains, Herbert said. Most of the fluid was on the right side of the road against the edge.
“The absorbent picks it [hydraulic fluid] up and the company cleans it up and takes it to an authorized dump,” he said.
A hazmat crew and other members of the fire department, including the fire marshal, were still on scene waiting for the contractor to come pick up the absorbent. N. Lexington Street is open, but one lane remains blocked off.
The hydraulic fluid and absorbent are not dangerous to residents Herbert said.
Williamsburg Boulevard is scheduled for a construction project this fall as the county works to add rain gardens, more trees and new pedestrian crosswalks to the street.
A date for construction has not been set, but it should start in the fall and last three to five months, said Jessica Baxter, a spokeswoman for Arlington County.
The county may also hold off on some landscaping, tree planting and final paving until spring 2016 if the weather is bad in the fall, she said.
The road will remain open in both ways during construction, but the bicycle lanes will be closed. Pedestrians crosses will still be available.
The stretch of Williamsburg Boulevard is in a residential area, and the construction will only occur between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays in order to reduce the noise level, Baxter said.
Once construction is completed, a newly paved Williamsburg Boulevard will have new curbs where it intersects with 33rd Road N. and 35th Street N., new crosswalks that are compliant with the American Disabilities Act and more canopy trees between 34th Street N. and 35th Street N.
The street will also have two rain gardens, which will help clean polluted runoff.
Canopy trees will also be added to the stretch of Williamsburg Boulevard between Old Dominion Drive and 33rd Road N.
Old Dominion Drive is currently under construction and the two projects are being coordinated to keep traffic delays to a minimum, Baxter said.
“Construction activities between the two projects will be coordinated to reduce traffic delays as much as possible. Drivers may experience some delays trying to access North Glebe Road from Williamsburg Boulevard, particularly after 9 a.m.,” she said.
Baxter said the exact cost of the project has not been determined.
“Construction plans are still being finalized, and the specific contracting mechanism for the bioretention component is still being determined,” she said. “At this time, the construction cost estimate for the project ranges from $600k to $700k. The County is fully funding the project with the majority of the funding coming from the Stormwater Fund.”