State transportation officials have firmed up their plans for a new bike and pedestrian bridge over Lee Highway in East Falls Church, putting the project on track for construction to kick off next spring.
VDOT unveiled final designs for the planned Washington & Old Dominion Trail bridge at a community meeting last Thursday (Oct. 11), sketching out more details on the bridge that is designed to offer a safer alternative to the trail’s current crossing at the highway’s intersection with Fairfax Drive.
The bridge’s design is largely unchanged from plans that VDOT showed off last summer. Some of the biggest changes include the removal of a barrier with streetlights running down the middle of the bridge and a change to the “piers” holding up the bridge — they now include open space in the middle of their “v” shape.
Officials initially proposed a design for the bridge that featured a trussed roof and red paint, yet some neighbors objected to those features, as well as the bridge’s potential to disrupt long-range plans for the area’s transportation networks.
Planners ultimately changed the bridge’s color and removed the roof, and even agreed to tweak the lighting features on the bridge too. Instead of a barrier lined by street lights, the bridge will now include lighting underneath the v-shaped posts running along its sides.
VDOT also detailed potential traffic disruptions prompted by the bridge’s construction at the meeting. Officials expect that there will be temporary closures on Lee Highway as the bridge’s beams and girders are put in place, and they expect that the fire lane on Fairfax Drive will be closed as construction continues. The W&OD Trail will also be realigned temporarily to allow for the construction, and could also see some temporary closures.
Planners are tentatively hoping to begin work on the bridge early next year, then wrap it up by the fall of 2020. The work will also move in tandem with the I-66 eastbound widening project, which VDOT also hopes to complete in late 2020.
Arlington Gets a New Fire Chief — David Povlitz won the job as the county’s new fire department chief, after James Bonzano retired this summer. Povlitz currently works as an assistant chief in Alexandria, and spent 22 years in Anne Arundel, Maryland’s fire department. [Arlington County]
Arlington Home Values Dip Slightly — The median price of home sales in Arlington County dipped by about 1 percent last month compared to the same time period a year ago, according to new stats. Prices rose slightly in the D.C. region as a whole, though the pace of sales slowed and there were fewer homes on the market. [WTOP]
Civic Federation Backs Park Bond — It took a lengthy meeting and a bit of squabbling, but the Arlington COunty Civic Federation is supporting the $30.3 million bond for parks projects on the ballot this fall. The group did not offer its support for the other bonds on the ballot, however. [InsideNova]
Lee Highway-W&OD Trail Bridge Meeting Tonight — State transportation planners will unveil final designs for the new bridge at Yorktown High School tonight. The bridge is designed to replace the trail’s current crossing at the highway’s intersection with Fairfax Drive. [VDOT]
Rosslyn Cider Fest Delayed — Organizers of the annual celebration of cider are pushing back the event a week to Oct. 18, over fears of inclement weather. [Rosslyn BID]
Trick or Treat at the Pentagon City Mall — Kids can head to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City on Halloween from 5-7 p.m. and snag goodies from select retailers. [Fashion Centre at Pentagon City]
Man Punched Outside Ballston Subway — A man was punched in the face outside the Subway on Fairfax Drive in Ballston yesterday. The assault occurred just before lunchtime and those flocking to the restaurant for footlongs had to step over splatters of blood on the sidewalk. No word yet on what prompted the fight nor whether the suspect, who reportedly fled into the Metro station, was later apprehended. [Twitter]
Tonight: Committee of 100 County Board Debate — The Arlington Committee of 100 will be holding a County Board debate tonight at Marymount University. The program, moderated by ARLnow’s Scott Brodbeck, will start at 8 p.m. after a meet and greet and dinner. [Committee of 100]
History of the W&OD Railroad — Before it was a bike and pedestrian trail, the W&OD was a regional railroad that transported goods and people across Northern Virginia. How would the area and our transportation problems be different if it had stayed a transit corridor, asks a GGW contributor. [Greater Greater Washington]
Local Social Media Influencer Profiled — Clarendon resident and mother of two Angelica Talan “has made a career out of building a loyal following on social media.” She blogs at Clarendon Moms and Angelica in the City and also has done some modeling and acting. [Arlington Magazine]
Tree Group Wants More Trees — The Arlington Tree Action Group replied on Twitter to a posting of the photo above: “Beautiful sky! It would look even better with more trees! #ArlingtonVA #trees.” [Twitter]
Nearby: Alexandrians Worry About Takeout Window — A proposed takeout window for a new Mexican restaurant on King Street prompted a protracted debate among members of the Alexandria city council. Said one opponent on the council, who ultimately lost out on a 4-3 vote: “I think this is maybe one small step in the direction of what we don’t want Old Town to become.” [Washington Business Journal]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick
Transportation planners will soon unveil the final design of a new bike and pedestrian bridge stretching over Lee Highway in East Falls Church.
VDOT plans to show off the finalized schematics for the Washington & Old Dominion Trail bridge at a community meeting next month, capping off a design process that drew plenty of flak from neighbors last year. The new bridge, which is being built as part of widening work on I-66 eastbound in the area, is designed to replace the trail’s current crossing at the highway’s intersection with Fairfax Drive and offer a safer environment for walkers and cyclists.
Officials had initially proposed a design for the bridge that featured a trussed roof and red paint, yet neighbors objected to those features, as well as the bridge’s potential to disrupt long-range plans for the area’s transportation networks.
But VDOT has since tweaked its design to address the most controversial features, proposing a bridge that’s gray in color without a trussed roof, in a bid to address some of those concerns. Even still, some questions about noise walls and public art lingered during a meeting on the project last year.
Planners will look to address those worries and more at an Oct. 11 meeting at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd) from 6:30-8:30 p.m., where they’ll deliver a presentation on “final design plans and aesthetic details.”
If all goes as planned, construction is set to start on the bridge by spring 2019 and run through fall 2020.
If you happen to have been biking down the W&OD Trail a couple of days ago and saw someone who kind of looked like Stanley Cup champ Alexander Ovechkin — it probably was.
The Washington Capitals captain and one-time Arlington resident can be seen biking the trail in a video posted to social media recently.
The Instagram video shows a sleeveless Ovechkin and his personal trainer, Pavel, quietly biking down a straight section of the trail in either Arlington or Falls Church — the video is labeled “Arlington, Virginia” but the section of trail shown also looks like a section just west of the county — apparently as part of a training routine.
— FriendsinColdPlaces (@inColdPlacesDC) September 8, 2018
— BikeArlington (@BikeArlington) September 10, 2018
S. Walter Reed Drive is slated for several changes that, among other alterations, are designed to make the roadway more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
Construction kicked off last month (July) between 11th Street S. and 13th Street S. That work is scheduled to be completed later this year and primarily targets S. Walter Reed Drive’s intersection with 12th Street S., improving crosswalks and building curb extensions and new ADA-compliant curb ramps.
Also included in the project is the reconstruction of three raised medians to run along that portion of the roadway and alterations to an existing bike boulevard, which will be moved from 12th Street S. to 11th Street S. between S. Highland and S. Cleveland Streets.
Drivers should expect one travel lane to be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays to accommodate construction. Pedestrians will see sidewalk detours and temporary crosswalks, and on-street parking will be restricted.
That plan has been in the works for years, and the county awarded a $1.8 million contract for it in May. Construction aims to add ADA-compliant bus stops, new crosswalks and curb ramps, more street lighting and improved signals for drivers and pedestrians.
The project also intends to make travel between the Four Mile Run Trail and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail safer and to realign westbound S. Arlington Mill Drive in an effort to make the crossing more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. The county has been piloting the realignment at the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Arlington Mill Drive with a temporary installation since June 2017.
Additional changes to the designated portion of the roadway will include a slight widening of travel lanes and resurfacing.
Top Chef Alum Opening Clarendon Restaurant — “Former ‘Top Chef’ contestant Katsuji Tanabe, best known for his kosher taco spot MexiKosher in New York, will open his first restaurant in the D.C. area in Clarendon in September. Le Kon, whose name comes from the Japanese word for corn, is taking over the space previously occupied by Park Lane Tavern at 3227 Washington Blvd.” [Washington Business Journal]
Progress on Child Care Initiative — “The county government’s child-care initiative has been under way for a little over a year, focusing in large part on the existing barriers to increasing the supply of day-care providers in the county. Hurdles run the gamut from zoning and parking issues to qualifications and pay of teachers and other staff… Using the most recent data available, county officials estimate there were about 13,500 children under age 5 in Arlington in 2015, but only about half that number of available slots in day care.” [InsideNova]
Flyover Planned Today — A flyover of Arlington National Cemetery is planned to take place at 9:15 a.m. today. [Twitter]
White Supremacist Train Runs Through Arlington — A small group of white supremacists rode Metro from the Vienna station, through Arlington, before arriving in D.C. for a rally. Police tried to keep the group separated from a much larger group of anti-hate protesters, prompting some complaints about the white supremacists having their own “private” Metrorail car, though a reporter was able to board their train car at Clarendon without issue. [Twitter, Twitter]
W&OD Railroad Stopped Running 50 Years Ago — The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad stopped running 50 years ago this month, after 130 years of service. The former rail line was later acquired by the regional park authority and converted into the current W&OD Trail, which runs from Arlington to rural Loudoun County. [InsideNova]
Reminder: Major Metro Work — “Starting Saturday (Aug. 11) and running through Aug. 26, Metro will shut down the Blue Line completely starting at the Arlington Cemetery station, and single-track between the McPherson Square and Smithsonian stations. Officials expect that will result in 20-minute headways on the Orange and Silver lines ‘at all times,’ and it’s urging riders to ‘only use Metrorail if you have no other option.'” [ARLnow, Twitter]
County Twitter Account Pokes Fun at Metro — Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tweeted yesterday: “As a courtesy, the C&O Canal-Alexandria Canal system will be reopen to traffic. Note: two-mule minimum per team.” [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani
The Van Buren Bridge near the East Falls Church Metro station is back open after months of renovation work, complete with a new walkway for cyclists and pedestrians.
The city of Falls Church had been working since last fall to repair and widen the bridge, located near where N. Van Buren Street intersects with 18th Street N. and running over Benjamin Banneker Park.
The bridge previously lacked a sidewalk of any kind, forcing pedestrians into the roadway. Accordingly, the $300,000 construction project won some regional transportation funding for its potential to provide a smoother connection for people looking to reach the nearby Metro station with the new 12-f00t walkway.
Great news! The Van Buren Street bridge has now reopened to all traffic, including pedestrian & bicycle access! The new bridge has a dedicated walkway & improved access to the @WODTrail & the @ArlingtonVA Benjamin Banneker Park. #BikeDC #BikeVA pic.twitter.com/MqexG8vHTs
— City of Falls Church (@FallsChurchGov) July 24, 2018
With the W&OD Trail close by as well, planners also envision the bridge improving conditions for cyclists in the area.
The project’s conclusion also marks the end to detours on N. Van Buren Street, which previously routed drivers onto nearby roads like 19th Street N. and N. Sycamore Street.
County Board to Vote on Arts Grants — “County Board members on July 14 are slated to approve $215,810 in direct support to Arlington arts groups for the coming year. The funding request, which is in line with those of previous years, comes from the Arlington Commission for the Arts.” [InsideNova]
New Building Sign in Rosslyn — The logo for the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business now sits atop one of Rosslyn’s skyscrapers. The school recently expanded its facilities within the building at 1100 Wilson Blvd. [Twitter]
‘Instagrammable’ Sights in Arlington — Stay Arlington, the county’s tourism promotion agency, has a list of the “Most Instagrammable Places in Arlington.” The list includes: the Air Force Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon, murals in Crystal City, Theodore Roosevelt Island, New District Brewing Co. and the Mount Vernon Trail. [Stay Arlington]
Local Young Professionals Spend Wisely — A “money diary” for a married, young professional couple in Arlington has none of the excesses usually found in the genre. Instead, the couple jointly makes $175,000 per year, plus bonuses, and spends it modestly on things like cheddar Chex Mix and a $1,600 per month one bedroom apartment. [Refinery 29]
New Look for Our Homepage — You might have noticed that ARLnow’s homepage has a new look. This is an interim step on our way to launching an entirely new website design. Please let us know what you think about it in the comments. Also, let us know if you find any significant bugs or problems, as we’re still working out the kinks.
Nearby: Dual-Use Path on W&OD Trail — “Within the next year, pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to use separate, parallel sections along the trail in the city of Falls Church.” [InsideNova]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick
Workers are about to kick off construction on one of the most congested sections of eastbound I-66, and VDOT is rolling out its plans to widen the highway early next month.
State transportation officials are holding a community meeting to discuss the project on Tuesday, June 5 at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd). The event will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with a presentation from VDOT set to start at 7 p.m.
VDOT is adding another lane to eastbound I-66 between the Dulles Connector Road and Fairfax Drive (Exit 71), which is routinely ranked as one of the most intensely jammed locations in all of Northern Virginia. The work is taking place within the existing I-66 right of way.
The $85.7 million project will also connect two existing ramps at the I-66 and Route 7 interchange to connect I-66 eastbound directly to the West Falls Church Metro station. Additionally, plans call for a new bridge for the W&OD Trail over Lee Highway.
VDOT is hoping to start construction this year and open the new lane on I-66 by the fall of 2020.
Photo (1) via Google Maps
A 5K fun run starting in Bluemont Park is scheduled for Saturday (April 7) to celebrate the Opening Day for Trails.
The 5K will begin at the Bluemont Park Picnic Pavilion and continue along the W&OD and Four Mile Run trails. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the run itself begins an hour later at 10 a.m. After the race, live music and face painting, among other activities, will last through 1 p.m.
Parking will be available in the lots near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Manchester Street and the intersection of 4th Street N. and N. Manchester Street.
The alleged incident happened early Monday morning near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.
More from the crime report:
ELUDING, 2018-02190017, Columbia Pike at S. Walter Reed Drive. At approximately 1:34 a.m. on February 19, an officer on routine patrol observed a vehicle traveling without its headlights on and attempted a traffic stop by activating their emergency equipment. The suspect continued driving through a red light, before coming to a stop and exiting the vehicle. The suspect disregarded police commands and attempted to flee the area on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was taken into custody, with the assistance of a Virginia State Trooper arriving on scene. During the course of the investigation, the vehicle operated by the suspect was determined to be stolen out of Fairfax County. Kevin Hernandez Gomez, 22, of Falls Church, VA, was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle Theft, Obstruction of Justice/Resisting Arrest, Eluding Police, Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License/No Insurance, Failure to Dim Headlights and Failure to Obey Traffic Lights. He was held on no bond.
On Sunday and Monday, a man — or men — ran up to two women on Wilson Blvd and on the W&OD Trail and grabbed the backside of each.
SEXUAL BATTERY (late), 2018-02190111, 6000 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:35 p.m. on February 19, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 1:50 p.m. on February 18, the female victim was waiting at the bus stop when an unknown male suspect approached her from behind and placed his hands on her back and buttocks. When the victim turned around, the suspect fled on foot. The suspect is described as a male with an average build, approximately 6’0″, wearing a black hoodie. The investigation is ongoing.
SEXUAL BATTERY (late), 2018-02190119, Washington and Old Dominion Trail. At approximately 2:34 p.m. on February 19, police responded to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 12:15 p.m., while the female victim was running on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, a male suspect ran up behind her, grabbed her buttocks and fled on foot. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’6″ to 5’10”, between the ages of 14 and 18, with a slim build, medium length hair, wearing black sweatpants and a hoodie, with black and white shoes. The investigation is ongoing.
On Saturday, D.C. police arrested a man accused of throwing an object at a passing car in Rosslyn and shattering a back window.
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2018-02170116, Fort Myer Drive at Lee Highway. At approximately 9:41 a.m. on February 17, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was driving her vehicle in the area when an object was thrown through a rear window, causing it to break. No injuries were reported. Witnesses followed the suspect as he fled on foot into D.C., where he was apprehended with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department. A warrant for Shooting/Throwing Missiles at Occupied Vehicle was obtained for David Turner, 41, of Washington, D.C.
The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
SHOTS FIRED, 2018-02160270, Lee Highway at N. Glebe Road. At approximately 8:10 p.m. on February 16, police responded to the report of shots fired. No injuries were reported. Arriving officers established a perimeter and a canvas of the area was negative. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
VEHICLE TAMPERING/LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 5100-5200 block of 25th Road N. and 2600-2700 block of N. Florida Street, 5000 block of 24th Street N., 5100 block of 26th Road N., 2018-02160050/02160067/02160077/02160086/02160096/02160100/02160114. At approximately 7:21 a.m. on February 16, police were dispatched to the report of a Larceny from Auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that approximately 15, mostly unlocked, vehicles were entered and contents tampered with overnight by three unknown suspects and numerous items of value were reported missing from some of the vehicles. The suspects are described as three young, black males. Suspect One was wearing all black, Suspect Two was wearing a black jacket or hoodie and light blue jeans and Suspect Three was wearing a black t-shirt, light blue jeans and carrying a dark colored duffel bag. The investigation is ongoing.
VEHICLE TAMPERING/LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02180132/02180137/02180185/220, 5200-5300 blocks of 5th Street N. At approximately 1:47 p.m. on February 18, police were dispatched to the late report of larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that overnight, approximately five, mostly unlocked, vehicles were entered, contents tampered with and items of value reported missing from some of the vehicles. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130043/0046/0057/0061/0065, 3000 block of S. 19thStreet/1500 block of S. Glebe Road/3100 block of S. 15th Street. At approximately 6:37 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto series. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered multiple, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and stole numerous items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130040/0052/0055/0060/0066/0067, 1000 block of N. Kensington Street/1000 block of N. Kentucky Street/800 block of N. Lexington Street. At approximately 7:16 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of multiple larceny from autos. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered numerous, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and tampered with the contents and stole items of value from some of the vehicles. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’6 to 5’10, 150-175 lbs. The investigation is ongoing.
The county is set to formalize an agreement with the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority to make improvements to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
As part of a wider project near Shirlington between S. Arlington Mill Drive and S. Four Mile Run Drive, the county plans to install new sidewalks, lighting and signals where the trail meets S. Walter Reed Drive.
But to do that, it required permission from NVRPA, which controls the 45-mile trail between Shirlington and Purcellville.
Under the terms of the agreement between the county and NVRPA, as outlined in a letter by NVRPA land manager Michael DePue, the county must conform with various conditions.
These include keeping the trail “open, safe and unobstructed at all times during construction,” plus ensuring the new sidewalk has a smooth transition to the existing asphalt, the improvements do not cause drainage issues, that construction zones be safe and that the county’s Department of Environmental Services maintain the improvements once completed, not NVRPA.
The County Board will also vote on a consent agreement with Dominion Virginia Power, which would allow the improvements to encroach on a Dominion-owned easement in the park.
The Board will vote on the agreements at its meeting Saturday (December 16) as part of its consent agenda. County staff recommended approval.
Construction on the wider project is scheduled to begin in the spring. It is hoped the project will improve bicycle and pedestrian access to Shirlington.
Crews will pre-treat the Washington & Old Dominion Trail for the first time this winter when accumulating snow or ice is in the weather forecast.
Officials behind the 45-mile paved trail between Shirlington and Purcellville announced the change in a series of tweets last week.
When snow or ice is in the forecast, crews will pre-treat the trail “in Arlington heading west.” The change comes after discussions with staff from Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, who have been pre-treating trails for at least the past few years.
The Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority, which is responsible for the trail, purchased a tanker trailer to do the pre-treating, which will likely involve putting salt down hours before snow or ice is due to hit. NOVA Parks will continue to use its snow blowers to clear the paths.
“The pre-treatment working in tandem with our snow blowers should help reduce trail down time so to speak with snow & ice on the trail,” the trail’s Twitter account tweeted.
The new regime may be needed later this week. The Capital Weather Gang reports that there will be a “decisive flip to cold,” which may bring snow flurries.
Hi Chris, thank you for your interest in the W&OD. Starting this winter we'll be pre-treating the trail in Arlington heading westward when snow/ice is in the forecast. We've talked with Arlington about snow removal best practices and Arlington County staff have pre-treated……
— The W&OD Trail (@WODTrail) December 1, 2017
….their trail system in winter for some time. After researching suitable equipment and allocating the necessary funds we've purchased a tanker trailer that can hopefully do the job for us. The pre-treatment working in tandem with our snow blowers should help reduce trail……
— The W&OD Trail (@WODTrail) December 1, 2017
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Hot Item for the Holidays: E-ZPass — With tolling set to begin on what are now the I-66 HOT lanes, stores in Arlington and elsewhere in Northern Virginia are having trouble keeping E-ZPass transponders in stock, particularly the E-ZPass Flex devices that will allow carpoolers to continue to use I-66 for free. [WJLA]
W&OD Trail Changes Discussed — Officials are considering options for separating cyclists from those on foot on the W&OD Trail. “I love the potential separation,” Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt is quoted as saying. “I think that will be well-received by both sets of users.” [InsideNova]
Dad Speaks Out After W-L Grad Son ODs — “As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn’t save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction,” writes retired Adm. James Winnefeld, in an Atlantic article entitled “No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic.” Jonathan Winnefeld, a Washington-Lee High School grad, died in Denver this past September “after a long and honorable battle with addiction.” [The Atlantic, Legacy, Denver Post]
More on Accessory Dwelling Vote — A GGW writer argues that while the Arlington County Board is to be commended for allowing the creation of basement apartments that can be rented out, it punted on the issue of backyard cottages at its Tuesday meeting. The Board’s action on so-called Accessory Dwelling Units included instructing the County Manager to study setbacks from the property line for detached accessory structures before any are approved under new rules. [Greater Greater Washington]
New Incentive for Sustainable Buildings — “Arlington County will pioneer Virginia’s first Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program–a public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing for projects to improve the energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings in the county.” [Arlington County]
DCA Tweets at Teigen — Model and social media personality Chrissy Teigen told followers yesterday that she left “a very large mom bra” under her seat on a flight that arrived at a D.C. area airport. Reagan National Airport’s official Twitter account responded by recommending that Teigen stop by the Spanx store in the airport for a replacement. [Twitter]
‘Age in Place’ Tax Deferral Questioned — Mortgage and title companies are reportedly not big fans of Arlington’s Real Estate Tax Relief Program, which allows older residents who meet certain income requirements to defer property tax payments until the home is sold. The system has sometimes sprung large tax bills on unsuspecting heirs, real estate agents and mortgage settlement officers. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman