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The man who struck and killed an elderly woman who was crossing Little Falls Road in a crosswalk has received a traffic ticket.

Arlington County police announced the charge Tuesday afternoon, after a month-long investigation, noting that “sun glare” may have prevented the driver of the striking SUV from clearly seeing the victim.

The fatal collision happened the morning of Saturday, Oct. 8 at the intersection of Little Falls Road and John Marshall Drive in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

“Following a comprehensive investigation, which included the review of crime scene evidence and witness interviews, sun glare was determined to be a contributing factor in the fatal crash while other factors, such as speed and alcohol, were ruled out,” police said today. “The driver of the striking vehicle, Kyle Pasternak, 59, of Arlington, VA, has been charged with Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk and released on a summons.”

The original ACPD press release about the crash is below.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash that occurred in the Williamsburg neighborhood on the morning of Saturday, October 8.

At approximately 9:01 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries involving a pedestrian in the 5800 block of Little Falls Road. Upon arrival, officers located the pedestrian in the roadway suffering from serious injuries. She was transported by medics to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased. She has been identified as Gwendolyn Hayes, 85, of Arlington, VA.

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle turned left from John Marshall Drive onto Little Falls Road and struck the pedestrian as she was crossing the roadway in the crosswalk. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective D. Galiatsos at [email protected] or 703-228-4163. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

ACPD traffic enforcement in Virginia Square in 2019 (via ACPD)

Arlington County police are set to conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement tomorrow as part of its “Street Smart” road safety campaign.

The enforcement will take place Thursday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Arlington View neighborhood, just south of Columbia Pike, at the intersection of 12th Street S. and S. Rolfe Street.

A second enforcement campaign is planned for Thursday, Dec. 1 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in front of Nottingham Elementary School, in the Williamsburg neighborhood. That’s near the scenes of three fatal pedestrian crashes that have occurred since 2014, including one last month.

“The Street Smart campaign aims to identify and change unsafe behavior patterns amongst motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, with the goal of reducing the number of traffic related collisions and injuries on our roadways,” police said in a press release.

The full ACPD press release is below.

Fall brings cooler temperatures and less daylight hours, meaning reduced visibility during peak commuting times for all road users. As we adjust to the end of Daylight Saving Time, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is sharing important transportation safety tips to ensure all travelers can reach their destinations safely. ACPD and law enforcement agencies throughout the region will take part in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Fall Street Smart Campaign from November 7 – December 4. The Street Smart campaign aims to identify and change unsafe behavior patterns amongst motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, with the goal of reducing the number of traffic related collisions and injuries on our roadways.

Street Smart Enforcement Activations

As part of the Street Smart campaign, officers will conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement at the following locations:

  • Thursday, November 10, 2022, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – 12th Street S. at S. Rolfe Street
  • Thursday, December 1, 2022, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – 5900 block of Little Falls Road […]

Transportation Safety Tips

No matter how you travel, remember to always be a P.A.L. – predicable, alert and lawful.

Drivers are reminded to:

  • Slow down, drive the speed limit and obey all posted traffic signs and signals.
  • Remain alert for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Use caution when passing buses or stopped vehicles.
  • Yield to people walking or biking when turning.
  • Allow for at least 3 feet when passing bicyclists.
  • Avoid using your cell phone and never text while driving. Holding a hand-held communication device while driving is illegal in Virginia.

Pedestrians are reminded to:

  • Cross the street at the corner and use marked crosswalks when they are available.
  • Use pushbuttons when available and wait for the walk signal to cross the street.
  • Look both ways before crossing.
  • Remain visible, especially after dark and in bad weather, by wearing light colored or reflective clothing.
  • Watch for blind spots around trucks and buses.
  • Avoid using devices that distract you, such as cell phones, while crossing the street.

Bicyclists and shared mobility device operators are reminded to:

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic, using bike lanes when possible.
  • Use hand signals to communicate your intentions with other travelers.
  • Wear a helmet, which is required for all bicycle riders 14 years of age and younger and recommended for all other riders. (Arlington County Code 14.2-64.)
  • Keep your eyes on the road and avoid the use of devices that may distract you.
  • Remain visible, especially after dark and in bad weather, by wearing light colored or reflective clothing.
  • Use headlights and taillights, especially when riding between sunset and sunrise.

MORE: Tips for Safe Operation of E-Scooters in Arlington County

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Vision Zero team representatives during the Arlington County Board meeting on Oct. 18, 2022 (via Arlington County)

Arlington County Board members have indicated their impatience for traffic changes at an intersection where a woman was fatally struck by a driver two weeks ago.

During a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), Board members received a briefing from team members from Vision Zero — the county’s initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries — about all the work they do after a critical crash.

But Board members were less interested in the process and dwelled more on getting answers to questions like “How long will this take?” and “What can we do now?” Part of that motivation, according to Board Chair Katie Cristol, was that the death of 85-year-old Gwendolyn Hayes felt preventable.

“Any fatal crash is unacceptable to our community, as I know you feel deeply, as do we. And what feels so difficult about Ms. Hayes’ death is the sense that this is one that should have been prevented, especially because of those who had been killed at the same location before her,” she said.

Scene of fatal pedestrian crash along Little Falls Road in the Williamsburg neighborhood (staff photo)

This was the second pedestrian death and the third notable crash in recent months, and the rash has prompted residents to demand more action. Viviana Oxlaj Pérez died in early August after being struck by an alleged drunk driver on 2nd Street S. and Old Glebe Road. A man charged with involuntary manslaughter related to her death has hearings set for February 2023, according to court records.

Shortly after, a child on a bicycle who allegedly pedaled into oncoming traffic was struck at the intersection of 3rd Street S. and S. Carlin Springs Road. Then, Hayes died at the intersection of Little Falls Road and John Marshall Drive.

All three crashes were near schools: Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Kenmore Middle School and Nottingham Elementary School, respectively. And while school zones are slated to get speed cameras, possibly later next year, it won’t help safety at the intersection where Hayes died, which is just outside the school zone boundaries.

Scene of pedestrian struck in the Williamsburg neighborhood (staff photo)

In light of these crashes, Board members pressed staff to give timeframes for the police investigation into Hayes’ and Oxlaj Pérez’s deaths. They asked when police will choose a vendor for speed cameras, and asked if more red light cameras could be installed. They urged staff not to let new research into this intersection slow them down.

“We’ve got a lot of data, we’ve got a lot of information that doesn’t require a lot of time to initiate original research and study,” Board Vice-Chair Christian Dorsey said. “I would encourage us to use the data that we have and the analytical framework and tools we have to work as expeditiously as we can.”

County Board member Matt de Ferranti said he visited with a neighbor near Little Falls Road who always has first aid supplies ready to take care of people who get into crashes. There have been a total of three fatal pedestrian crashes along a two-block stretch of Little Falls Road near Nottingham Elementary School over the past eight years.

De Ferranti said he has seen videos showing how hazardous the conditions are. These are examples of “qualitative data” staff should use to prioritize changes to this intersection, he said.

“I really hope we can be thinking in weeks and not months in terms of additional action,” he said.

Staff at Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, which builds and maintains local roads, say they’re working on preliminary designs for safety improvements, but are waiting for the facts of the police investigation to finalize these designs.

“We are prioritizing this [intersection],” Transportation and Operations Bureau Chief Hui Wang said. “We are trying to see if there are other data we can utilize without the fresh collection.”

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“Haute Dogs & Burgers” is moving into the former Smoking Kow space at the Williamsburg Shopping Center (image via Google Maps)

Nationals Park favorite Haute Dogs is coming home to Arlington.

The concession stand that serves up fancy hot dogs at Nats Park, which started in Purcellville before opening a popular location in Old Town Alexandria, is opening a new eatery in Williamsburg Shopping Center.

Dubbed “Haute Dogs and Burgers,” the new restaurant is moving into the space formerly occupied by Smoking Kow BBQ, which closed earlier this year, at 2910 N. Sycamore Street.

It’s a homecoming for the family that owns Haute Dogs.

“We have been seeking a location in Arlington for as long as we can remember. My mother and founding partner, Pamela Swanson, was raised in Arlington and went to Yorktown High School,” co-founder Chloé Swanson wrote ARLnow in an email.”Our family has been rooted in Arlington for 3 generations.”

After being in Old Town Alexandria for a decade, plus two stands at Nats Park and a food truck, the family was looking to bring the business home.

“We knew we wanted a second-generation restaurant in a shopping center with a strong lunch traction, as well as a neighborhood and family friendly location,” Swanson said. “The Williamsburg Shopping Center embodies all of this to us.”

Haute Dogs’ menu consists of hot dogs like the Banh Mi, NY Reuben Dog, and Bruschetta Dog. Like the Alexandria location, the Arlington one will also sell burgers, sausages, and fries. In the summer, Food Network cited the Banh Mi dog at Haute Dogs as one of the best 50 hot dogs in the country.

The restaurant just took over the space last week and is “currently in the waiting game” in terms of obtaining permits. Swanson didn’t provide a hoped-for opening date, beyond saying they hope to open the restaurant soon.

The decades-old shopping center in North Arlington has seen some recent turnover, with a hair salon replacing a frozen yogurt shop earlier this year.

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(Updated at 12:35 a.m.) A pedestrian has died after being struck in the Williamsburg neighborhood this morning.

The crash happened around 9 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Little Falls Road and John Marshall Drive. Initial reports suggest that that an older woman was struck by the driver of an SUV in or near a crosswalk, and that the woman was in cardiac arrest when she was rushed to a local trauma center.

We’re told that the victim was familiar to local residents and is often seen walking in the area.

Police were still on site investigating the crash well into the morning, with the scene surrounded by police tape. The driver of the SUV remained on scene.

At 11 a.m., a police spokeswoman told ARLnow that the victim, who was in her 80s, has died.

“She was pronounced deceased at the hospital and police remain on scene investigating the fatal crash,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Her identity is being withheld pending proper notification.”

This is the third fatal pedestrian crash along a two-block stretch of Little Falls Road near Nottingham Elementary School over the past eight years.

In 2014 a local mother unloading a minivan near the school was fatally struck by a passing dump truck, the driver of which was later charged with a traffic infraction. In September 2019, a 55-year-old Arlington woman was struck while walking her dogs in a crosswalk at the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Ohio Street; she later succumbed to her injuries in the hospital..

ACPD issued the following about the crash Saturday night, with the victim’s name plus a bit more information on the crash and how it happened.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash that occurred in the Williamsburg neighborhood on the morning of Saturday, October 8.

At approximately 9:01 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries involving a pedestrian in the 5800 block of Little Falls Road. Upon arrival, officers located the pedestrian in the roadway suffering from serious injuries. She was transported by medics to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased. She has been identified as Gwendolyn Hayes, 85, of Arlington, VA.

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle turned left from John Marshall Drive onto Little Falls Road and struck the pedestrian as she was crossing the roadway in the crosswalk. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective D. Galiatsos at [email protected] or 703-228-4163. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

Hat tip to Charlie Clark

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The soon-to-be former Navy Federal Credit Union branch at the Williamsburg Shopping Center (via Google Maps)

The Navy Federal Credit Union branch in the Williamsburg Shopping Center is moving.

The branch at 6402 Williamsburg Blvd is expected to close after relocating to a new location at 1919 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn later this month, according to an email sent to customers this week.

It will become a full-service branch at the new location in Rosslyn and is scheduled to open on Monday, Aug. 29, said Amber Southard, a spokesperson for the credit union.

Southard noted that the opening date could change. She did not respond to ARLnow’s question about why the branch is moving.

The branch at the Williamsburg Shopping Center, about a mile north of the East Falls Church Metro station, opened in 2018, next to Eagle Cleaners.

The new location in Rosslyn is on the ground floor of the Deloitte building, near the entrance to Key Bridge.

Navy Federal Credit Union offers banking and loan services mainly to active members of the military, veterans and their families. The company has four branches in Arlington, including branches in Ballston, in Crystal City and inside the Pentagon, according to its website.

Photo via Google Maps

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A trio of Arlington intersections could soon be getting some new traffic signals and pedestrian safety improvements.

This Saturday, the Arlington County Board is set to review a $2.3 million contract to replace traffic signals that hang from wires to those attached to poles, or mast arms. The improvements also include wider sidewalks, accessible curb ramps and high-visibility crosswalks.

The work will be conducted at the following intersections, each in North Arlington:

The traffic signal replacements are part of a county program replacing outdated traffic signals to meet current federal and local standards.

“Signal upgrade projects implement new technologies such as accessible push button stations, CCTV for monitoring, video detection, and improved intersection lighting to improve safety, efficiency, and accessibility for all modes of travel,” according to a project webpage.

Mast-arm traffic signals on Langston Blvd (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Installing mast arm traffic signals on wide streets has been found to be a cost-effective way to reduce collisions, according to the Federal Highway Administration. One study of Virginia Department of Transportation data, however, found crashes decreased, but not by a statistically significant amount.

The FHWA also says span wire signals can have higher maintenance costs and are generally considered less aesthetically pleasing due to the overhead wires. But after these replacement projects occurred elsewhere in Arlington, some residents took to Nextdoor to mourn the loss of the wire-hung signals, which they said were not as bulky as the large poles that replaced them.

The three projects would join a half-dozen traffic light replacement projects already planned for this summer and fall.

Planned street signal replacements (via Arlington County)

The county is lumping in pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements with the replacements, per a county report.

Currently, the intersections lack curb ramps that are accessible to people with disabilities, while pedestrians have to contend with long crossings and narrow sidewalks, the county says.

Widening the sidewalks and adding accessible curb ramps and high-visibility crosswalks will create “safe, accessible, and user-friendly intersections,” the county says.

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Soon-to-be Adil’s Salon and Spa at Williamsburg Shopping Center (photo courtesy of Adil’s Salon and Spa)

A new hair salon is coming to Williamsburg Shopping Center in North Arlington, into the space formerly occupied by Zinga! Frozen Yogurt.

Adil’s Salon and Spa is looking to open at 2914 N. Sycamore Street by the end of February or early March, co-owner Adil Karkas tells ARLnow, despite just signing the lease and receiving keys this week.

“We wish we were going to open by Valentine’s Day,” Karkas says.

Karkas and his wife and co-owner, Nancy, have worked at area hair salons for more than two decades, including in D.C., Clarendon and Vienna. This is also their second salon, having previously opened one overseas. They’ll be joined by Karkas’s sister-in-law Linda, who is a colorist, making this business a family affair.

“Arlington is the place to be,” Karkas says on why he decided to open his own salon in the county.

The previous tenant Zinga! Frozen Yogurt closed in October 2020 after a seven-year run and a management change in that location.

Elsewhere in Williamsburg Shopping Center, a new bank tenant is still being sought to replace United Bank, which closed a year ago. Also in the center is Smoking Kow BBQ, named by the Washington Post in 2019 as one of the best barbecue joints in the region.

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Eagle Cleaners (staff photo by Joseph Ramos)

After its future briefly dangled over a precipice, Eagle Cleaners in Williamsburg will be sticking around.

Last week ARLnow reported that manager of the dry cleaning business, Mathew Srebrow, was given one week to either buy the business for $250,000 or shut it down. He said the directive came from the trustee who controls the ownership interest in Eagle Cleaners and had plans to sell it.

That dispute was resolved — for now — on Friday. The dry cleaning shop can stay put at least until the lease is up in five years.

“Long story short… the landlord presented the trustee with a bill of what it’d cost to break the lease,” Srebrow said. “The trustee has no choice but for us to be here — now he’s begging us to be here.”

Eagle Cleaners has been controlled by a trustee and operated by Srebrow since his father put the business in a trust before he died of cancer in 2019. While Srebrow didn’t disclose the cost to break the lease, he said it was a number that the trustee “would never have been able to afford.”

Srebrow says five years is enough time to hire a lawyer and make an offer on the business.

“We’re going to be here for more than five years,” he said. “Once I buy it, I will get another lease to stay here forever.”

Srebrow will be repurposing the money raised so far from his GoFundMe page toward that end. He started the page five days ago in hopes of raising enough money to buy the business on the trustee’s terms.

So far, the page has collected $8,760 in donations, and Srebrow recently set a new goal of $25,000 to fund his new approach.

“The community has pulled together and shown amazing support,” he wrote on the fundraising page. “We are open for business with our normal business hours. Thank you all who have donated! It’s looking like legal advice with the option to buy the store will be needed to keep the store on [its] current path of staying open. Funds raised will be going towards this effort.”

Srebrow said he wants to hire a lawyer to ensure that his bases are covered, that the GoFundMe passes muster, and that last week’s events are not repeated.

“This was my dad’s store,” he said. “One of his wishes before he passed from cancer was to keep the store running. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

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Update on 8/31/21 — The business is staying open.

Earlier: After operating for 25 years and weathering the worst of the pandemic, Eagle Cleaners in Williamsburg is on the brink of closing.

Manager Mathew Srebrow is pinning his hopes on community support to pull through.

His father opened the store at 6402 Williamsburg Blvd in 1996. Before his father died in 2019, he put the business in a trust — but now, the trustee who took over ownership plans to sell Eagle Cleaners and retire. He said the trustee told him on Saturday that he has until Wednesday, Sept. 1 to buy the business for $250,000, or shut it down so that the equipment can be sold.

“It’s really unfortunate what’s happening,” Srebrow said. “I have a lot of customers in tears, some offering legal advice… The way it’s closing just makes no sense.”

Srebrow started a GoFundMe page yesterday (Wednesday) to raise the money. He said he believes the money can be raised, but emphasized he only has one week to reach the $250,000 goal.

“I refuse to go down without a fight,” he wrote on the page. “Let’s make this goal a reality.”

The dry cleaning industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and loyal patrons have stepped up to help the businesses stay afloat. Last summer, a local veteran started a fundraiser for First Virginia Cleaners and last fall, devoted customers set up a GoFundMe page for Old Dominion Cleaners along Lee Highway.

After pandemic restrictions ended, but before workers began trickling back to offices, Srebrow spoke with ARLnow about how the pandemic and remote work have nearly wiped out 25 years of stable business.

“We had so many people come in [after the article came out], bringing comforters, bedding — no one was using dress clothes, but they were bringing whatever they had, just so we could make it — and we made it.”

Now, Srebrow said he’s hoping the community will help him keep the business open and under his ownership.

“We love all our customers in the community,” he said. “Nobody wants us to go, nobody.”

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The Williamsburg Shopping Center is looking for a new bank to take up tenancy where United Bank once had a branch.

Leasing agent Nora Eways said the bank location at 6500 Williamsburg Blvd shuttered on Jan. 15 but did not give a reason for the closure. The shopping center’s owner is hoping to find another bank to fill the space, perhaps in part due to the large metal bank vault that appears in interior photos.

“The landlord’s main preference is for another bank,” Eways said.

While the search continues for another bank, she said other potential tenants, including medical groups, have expressed interest in the spot.

“This space is in a very affluent area in Arlington,” she said, of the shopping center’s proximity to North Arlington neighborhoods like Williamsburg and East Falls Church. “It’s a great neighborhood center where we’ve had very few vacancies in general.”

Eways said pre-pandemic, the shopping center was fully leased “for a while.” United Bank’s departure was one of two COVID-19-era vacancies, she said, referencing the closure of the Zinga! frozen yogurt spot in October.

“Banks and frozen yogurt shops are two businesses that are decreasing in size throughout the nation,” she said, adding that mobile banking has led some banks to consolidate their physical locations.

Photo (1) via Google Maps, (2-3) via Renaud Consulting

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