Monday, May 6, 2013
If it's May, it's Bike Month in Arlington.
Arlington celebrates Bike Month in a big way every year. From a massive regional event like Bike to Work Day to the small group discussions at Bike Arlington's Two Wheel Tuesdays, Bike Month events aim to show just how easy and enjoyable it is for anyone to use a bicycle. The easist time to learn how to ride a bike is when you're a kid, of course, and Arlington Public Schools will join in the national celebration of Bike to School Day. This year, it will take place on Wednesday, May 8. Arlington’s an especially good place for kids to bike to school, with lots of multi-use paths connecting low-traffic streets to neigbhorhood schools. So while the adults are still aruging about who can and can't take the bus, the kids can just enjoy the fun …
Saturday, April 6, 2013
The visit was part of an ongoing investigation, according to USA Today.
FBI officials visited the Arlington home of David Petraeus on Friday as part of an ongoing investigation, USA Today reported. The newspaper reported that the visit was part of an investigation into the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s biographer Paula Broadwell. The FBI is investigating whether Broadwell, who had an affair with the retired general, had access to classified documents, according to USA Today. Read more about the investigation on USA Today’s website.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Arlington has seen about an inch of snow overnight, more then during the 'snowquester.'
While the snowquester failed a significant amount of snow to Arlington, snow lovers woke up to a surprising amount of Monday morning just a few days after the official start of Spring. "I can't believe it actually snowed!" wrote Twitter user @VTjawo, of Vienna. According to the latest data available from the National Weather Service, about an inch of snow has fallen in the couny as of 5 a.m. The weater service has issued a winter weather advisory in the area in effect until noon today, with an accumulation of up to 2 inches expected. Arlington County officials have not announced any closures. Arlington Public Schools are on spring break this week.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Valentine's Day is Thursday.
Valentine’s Day dates are seemingly planned in advanced or else rushed at the last minute. Bridget Mulcahy, a Web producer at Rosslyn-based Politico, has had her plans in place for nearly a week. She and her boyfriend Blake will spend their very first Valentine’s night ice skating and eating dinner. “I am very selfish,” Mulcahy said with a giggle. “He does not know how to ice skate.” Mulcahy met her beau at a bar and, over the subsequent conversation, they clicked. A week later he called. Have you made plans? If you’re stuck, here's a few ideas to get you started: Looking for a free show? Brother-and-sister-owned IOTA Club & Café in Claredon will host DJ Sam Snow. The bar will have Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Stout on tap. The event is …
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Octo has become a staple of library's annual puzzle festival.
If KenKen hadn’t become a mainstay in the puzzle section of newspapers and magazines in recent years, Arlingtonian Doug Gardner’s Octo may have very well been the Next Big Thing. It still may be. And Gardner, a computer security specialist for the U.S. Defense Department, is trying to launch America’s next puzzle sensation. “KenKen came out at about the same time that I first started approaching people with Octo,” Gardner said. “One of the companies even told me that they weren’t looking for another puzzle because they were rolling out the whole KenKen puzzle.” Gardner invented Octo in July 2007 when he was seeking to combine the mathematical logic of kakuro with the positional logic of sudoku. An Octo puzzle consists of 16 octagons with …
Monday, December 31, 2012
Ride through the winter? Yes you can. Just be careful about it.
Icy roads and snowy paths. They’re not here yet, but they’re coming. We almost had them this past weekend. While riding in Arlington’s winter conditions does require a bit of extra effort and care, it’s still quite doable. There are plenty of great resources for learning more about winter riding. A couple of years ago I wrote about dealing with extended darkness, the potential for slick surfaces, and extra debris on the streets. The Washington Area Bike Forum continues to be a great place for Arlington-specific cold weather clothing and equipment advice. There’s plenty of discussion of the question of when to use studded tires (ice) or big knobby tires (snow) for the neophyte at the forums. I’m done belaboring the plowing issue — well, …
Monday, December 24, 2012
Arlington County temporarily shuts down a major walking/cycling commuter route with no detour.
No doubt many regular readers of this column will be expecting me to tee off on last week’s inexplicable and unannounced closure of a very busy part of the Custis Trail — with no detour. It sent cyclists and pedestrians onto Lee Highway against traffic. The drivers themselves had no warning that the lane in front of them would be filled with cyclists and pedestrians simply trying to get to their own destinations. It was more than half a day before the county, in response to complaints, put a detour in place. Some, quite understandably, see this as a failing of Arlington County to follow through on its promise to be a cycling- and walking-friendly community. And, I suppose, in a way it is a failure. But it’s not a failure of intent. I’m …
Monday, December 17, 2012
Almost three years after a major snow storm closed Arlington's main commuter trails for more than a week, the county still doesn't have a plan to deal with snow on our trails.
Clearing snow from Arlington's primary trails became a topic of public conversation again last week. Arlington County's Department of Environmental Services (i.e., the department of transportation) hosted a public chat on Facebook about Arlington's snow plowing and removal plans. Among other things, DES staff explained how they prioritized streets, who was responsible for sidewalks, and which streets depend on VDOT for plowing. When a number of Arlington residents — myself among them — asked about Arlington's plans to clear trails, DES said they had no plans to clear trails, and that in any event, it was the responsibility of the Department of Parks and Recreation. In other words, we've had zero progress on the matter since the last time I…
Monday, December 10, 2012
Arlington cycling traffic greatly outnumbers automobile traffic at some intersections — and it's time the streets and signals reflect that.
One of the basic principles of road design and traffic management is that — at intersections, at least — bigger roads trump smaller roads. Streets with higher traffic get priority over less-travelled roads. This is why, for example, the lights on Glebe Road are generally set to accommodate the traffic travelling the length of Glebe and not the traffic trying to cross it. The idea is that priority is given to what benefits the most people. It’s just common sense, some would say. Perhaps, then, we should consider applying that principle to the Custis Trail in Arlington. Thanks to Arlington County’s trail counters, we know that thousands of people a day use the Custis to commute. Unfortunately, we also know that several of the intersections …
Monday, December 3, 2012
Arlington County's efforts at collecting hard data on bicycle use helps guide and evaluate the effectiveness of its planning for bikes.
Even the most casual of observers could tell you that cycling has been on the rise the past few years in Arlington. But as encouraging as that observation may be, it's not a particularly helpful one, especially if you’re trying to make sure that the streets are safe for increasing numbers of cyclists. Arlington County recognized this problem a few years ago and has built a network of automated counters that recognize bikes and pedestrians at key points on our streets and trails. Traffic engineers have been using automated data collection for years, but almost exclusively for vehicles. Those looking for better data about cycling traffic have usually relied on staff or volunteers actually standing along a trail or road and counting bikes as …