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“So you live next to where the Taco Bell Cantina is going in. Nice, the ‘TaBeCa’ neighborhood will be jumpin’!”

“Stop. Just…stop.”

This week, Mike Mount is tackling the topic of recently-created neighborhood names.

Mike’s new cartoon pokes fun at modern place name inventions, perhaps given recent media attention for National Landing — the nearly four-year-old collective term for Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — and its self-appointed “NaLa” nickname.

There is an obvious South Park reference to be made here, and the cartoon comes up with its own absurd new place name. But one thing that’s not fictional: there is, in fact, a Taco Bell Cantina coming soon — to Courthouse.

Catch all of Mike Mount’s local ‘toons in the ARLnow Press Club weekend newsletter.

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Neighborhood cut-through traffic near Duke Street in Alexandria (courtesy Jill Hoffman)

Cut-through traffic may not make many headlines here in Arlington, but it has been a big topic of conversation in our neighbor to the south.

Alexandria communities, particularly those along Duke Street, have long complained about drivers trying to beat the traffic on the main road by taking neighborhood streets. The city has even implemented a pilot program intended to cut down on cut-through traffic, which some residents say is made worse by navigation apps steering people around traffic congestion.

Outwardly, there has not been a similar outcry here in Arlington. In fact, the county — at least as of a few years ago — has actually seen traffic volumes decline on many major roads despite population growth.

But that doesn’t mean that cut-through traffic is not a concern for some. Last month a proposed new road segment in Douglas Park was put on hold, in part due to worries about cut-through traffic. Last year, cut-through traffic was brought up as VDOT considered various plans to turn Route 1 in Crystal City into an “urban boulevard,” which raised the possibility of some existing traffic spilling onto neighborhood streets.

In 2017, meanwhile, an Aurora Hills resident said in a letter to the editor that changes to S. Eads Street resulted in cut-through traffic in her neighborhood. (To our knowledge, that particular concern has faded in recent years.)

Typically, when traffic on local roads becomes a significant safety concern in Arlington, the go-to action for the county government is to slow rather than restrict traffic, by implementing traffic calming measures, like speed bumps, narrowed lanes and reduced speed limits. But there are still examples of local streets near schools, for instance, with restrictions intended to prohibit cut-through drivers, as well as other instances in which a road was split into two dead-end sections for similar reasons.

This morning we’re wondering whether, in 2022, Arlington residents consider cut-through traffic to be a significant problem here.

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Sunset cycle on the Mt. Vernon Trail (Flickr pool photo by Emma K. Alexandra)

After a steamy stretch, Mother Nature is rewarding us with a pair of new-perfect days.

We hope you are able to get out there and enjoy the weather tonight and tomorrow. In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to read, the past week’s most-read ARLnow articles are below.

  1. Severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings issued for Arlington (Aug. 10)
  2. Morning Poll: Clarendon gun store now open
  3. Restaurants and other local businesses currently listed for sale in Arlington
  4. Arlington officer arrested after alleged off-duty assault
  5. Arlington County is setting up public monkeypox vaccine clinics as cases rise
  6. Flood Watch in effect for Arlington and most of N. Va.
  7. Arlington eateries gearing up for summer Restaurant Week
  8. Regional park plan calls for expanding capacity of the W&OD Trail in Arlington
  9. Seven-year-old Jaxon Vega is Arlington’s skateboarding phenom
  10. DoD says drone seen flying near Pentagon was ‘security exercise’

Have a great weekend, Arlington! We’ll see you back here on Monday, but in the meantime feel free to discuss any topic of local interest in the comment section.

Flickr pool photo by Emma K. Alexandra

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Pumpkin beer in the Clarendon Trader Joe’s on Aug. 10, 2016

It will be hot again today but things should start cooling off by the weekend, providing an early preview of the season to come.

As the calendar marches inexorably towards September, there’s a certain feeling in the still-humid air: a sense that fall will be here sooner rather than later. And that’s only enforced by what we’re starting to see on store shelves around Arlington.

Exhibit A:

Yes, like it or not, those pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are back. As Arrowine’s Beermonger column discussed last August, it seems that fall beers arrive earlier in the summer with each passing year. And while that outrages some summer stans, those whose vibe is more a hot coffee and a warm sweater seem to like it.

After all, the breweries wouldn’t be pushing their orange-clad cases out the door if people weren’t buying them.

So this morning we’re wondering — with apologies for asking a similar poll question on this exact day in 2016 — when do you typically make your first fall beer purchase?

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Gun store Nova Armory is now open in Clarendon, after moving from its previous Lyon Park location.

The store at 2607 Wilson Blvd opened on the same day that ARLnow reported on the move, according to a Facebook post.

So far, the storefront is not marked from the outside, though there is a sign on the door instructing delivery drivers not to leave boxes outside. Opposition to Nova Armory’s opening in Clarendon was more muted than its original opening in Lyon Park, which was subject to community meetings, a letter from local lawmakers and a lawsuit (filed by Nova Armory against its critics).

The store’s actual time in business has seen considerably less drama, save for several burglaries and large crowds of customers at the outset of the pandemic.

That all said, what do you think of a gun store operating in the Clarendon neighborhood? Does the Metro corridor location change youe opinion compared to the store’s current location near Route 50?

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Ballston at twilight with storm clouds looming (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Our two-day stormy stretch is expected to carry on into Sunday, so make sure you take advantage of any sunny and dry periods as we head into the weekend.

The August news doldrums are here, so please forgive us if the stories we publish are a bit on the lighter side over the next few weeks.

Also, we’ll have one fewer reporter on staff: today is the last day for our summer intern, Mavis Chan, who is returning to the University of Missouri for her senior year. Good luck, Mavis!

Now, let’s take a look at the most-read Arlington stories of the past week. Unsurprisingly, the G.O.A.T. is No. 1. (A different G.O.A.T. story is No. 6)

  1. Serena Williams appears to have paid a visit to El Pollo Rico in Va. Square this weekend
  2. A woman has died after a hit-and-run crash Monday evening
  3. Whitlow’s is coming back — but not to Arlington
  4. Police investigating attack in Shirlington by scooter-riding kids
  5. N. Glebe Road closed after serious motorcycle crash
  6. We now know what is replacing The G.O.A.T. in Clarendon
  7. Lobster roll restaurant opening in Shirlington this month, giving away free lobster
  8. Courthouse’s Taco Bell Cantina expected to open by the end of the year
  9. County returns to pre-pandemic process for outdoor tents, leaving some restaurants frustrated
  10. ACPD: Man runs off with bag of cash as ATM is being filled at Pentagon City store
  11. Police investigating early morning stabbing in Clarendon
  12. Westover’s Stray Cat Bar & Grill has finally reopened after closing at the start of the pandemic

Feel free to discuss these stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Enjoy your weekend, Arlington!

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School Board member Reid Goldstein in 2017

The new chair of the Arlington School Board has nixed the public comment section of board meetings for the remainder of the summer.

The Sun Gazette reported this week that Reid Goldstein is doing away with public comment until September to speed up meetings.

“We are not taking public comment during the summer meetings,” Goldstein said, so the School Board could “focus on conducting the necessary business promptly.”

Public comment will return Sept. 8, said Goldstein, who rotated in for a one-year stint at chairman on July 1.

A number of people have contacted ARLnow about the report, apparently upset at Goldstein’s decision, though the move is temporary and those who wish to provide feedback to the School Board in the meantime can still do so via email and other means.

Both the Arlington County Board and the School Board provide a designated time for members of the public to opine on topics of their choosing. The process can sometimes take upwards of an hour depending on the number of speakers.

The County Board also made Sun Gazette headlines over the past couple of months, as chair Katie Cristol tried to enforce a longstanding rule against multiple speakers weighing in on the same topic, then relented.

After getting pilloried a month before for what critics called a heavy-handed approach to enforcing rules on public comment, County Board Chairman Katie Cristol on July 16 loosened her grip on the gavel just a bit.

Cristol acknowledged that she was being a little more loose in her interpretation of rules for the July board meeting than she had been in June, when she shut down comment on the government’s Missing Middle housing proposal after just two speakers at the public-comment period.

County Board rules for the public-comment period allow for only one speaker per topic on items not scheduled for public hearings (which have their own comment periods later in the meeting). Board members over time have allowed, on topics of controversy, for one speaker on each side of the issue.

Today we’re wondering what the general public thinks of public comments periods at School Board and County Board meetings.

Are you okay with restrictions like this or would you like a more open forum? Alternatively, would you advocate for nixing public comment altogether or moving it to its own dedicated meeting, when agenda items are not being voted on?

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Hawkers, an Asian street food bistro, is opening in Ballston Exchange (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After a cloudy, humid and, well, gross day weather-wise today, sunnier and more pleasant weather is on tap for this weekend.

Enjoy it while it lasts. More storms and then more heat are on tap for next week.

As we head into the weekend, there is a notable traffic situation happening just north of Ballston. A crash has left a vehicle on its side along N. Glebe Road at 16th Street N., as seen in the following tweet by local public safety watchdog Dave Statter.

Weather and flipped cars aside, here are the top 10 most-read ARLnow stories of the week so far.

  1. Gun store coming to former cafe space in Clarendon
  2. Hawkers Asian Street Food set to open next week in Ballston
  3. When the Ballston Silver Diner opens this fall, the long-time Clarendon location will close
  4. Police, prosecutor trade accusations after suspect in botched case is accused of murder
  5. Ballston’s Buffalo Wild Wings appears to be closing
  6. Ballston Quarter to hold free international food festival this weekend
  7. Ruthie’s All-Day and owners of Shirlington’s ChiKo were served up RAMMY wins last night
  8. Arlington ‘newbie’ discovers life’s simple pleasures through popular Facebook group
  9. Eight tasty cold treats to beat the heat in Arlington
  10. Man arrested for randomly pepper spraying people on Columbia Pike

Feel free to discuss these stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Enjoy the weekend!

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Hundred dollar bills (Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash)

The Mega Millions jackpot has crossed the $1 billion mark after no big winner was selected during last night’s lottery drawing.

The estimated $1.02 billion prize is the third largest in the game’s two-decade history, according to CNN. The next drawing is set for Friday night.

This morning we’re wondering: if you won a billion-dollar jackpot, would you stay in Arlington? Or would you move elsewhere?

Assume that living “mostly” in Arlington does not preclude second, third or even fourth homes elsewhere, provided Arlington remains your primary residence.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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Haze and heat over the National Mall, seen from the Netherlands Carillon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s a bit of a conspicuous time to ask, given that we’re at the end of a sweltering heat wave, but do you ever wish Arlington’s climate was a bit cooler?

Or warmer, for that matter?

Many of us live in this area due to the work we do, family considerations, or other good reasons to stay put. So it’s not as simple as saying someone should just move to Miami or Buffalo if they find the local climate too cold or hot for their tastes, even with the more recent remote work trends.

Today’s poll question, however, imagines an opportunity to ask Mother Nature one temperature-related wish for the D.C. area, which would allow you to get the climate of a given eastern U.S. city where you currently live.

(No choosing the more consistently mild and/or dry West Coast climates, that’s cheating, and the do-gooders out there should assume that wishing for a cooler climate locally would not solve climate change globally. Also, to acknowledge the fairly obvious, the “warmer” cities on the list are relatively much warmer than the “cooler” cities are cooler.)

So for those who regularly grumble about the temperature in this area, what are you wishing for? Or, maybe you consider the regional climate a goldilocks scenario and want it to stay as is. Either way, here’s a chance to make your wish.

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Storm clouds over Ballston on Thursday afternoon (staff photo)

It’s going to be a hot end to the week.

We hope everyone plans to stay hydrated, as the temperatures this weekend are expected to reach the upper 90s. It’s going to be sunny and hot tomorrow (Saturday), with a high near 97 and a heat index value into the triple digits. And Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high near 99.

Now, as you contemplate ways to beat the heat, here are the most-read Arlington articles of the past week.

  1. Alexandria double murder suspect was released from jail in Arlington earlier this year
  2. Possible abduction attempt near Ballston
  3. Retired Marine Corps general facing brandishing charge in Arlington
  4. Ground stop at National Airport after report of drone in the area
  5. Longtime Greek restaurant Athena Pallas is planning to close in Crystal City
  6. The Arlington County Fair is returning next month
  7. Only fireworks found after shots fired call at Washington-Liberty HS leads to lockdown
  8. Arlington’s top prosecutor sticks to reforms despite crime concerns
  9. Officials say new pickleball courts are coming as players rally for more county support
  10. Man arrested after alleged shopping spree with credit cards swiped from building lobby

Feel free to discuss these stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Enjoy the weekend!

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