Monday, November 26, 2012
Arlington cyclists benefit from a vibrant, informative and open online community.
Last week I had a chance to sit down with a local government agency that has a lot of responsibility for maintaining some of the area's busiest paths. The agency occasionally had trouble finding out, in a timely way, about the latest trail blockages. As they put it to me — if they don't know about it, they can't fix it. And sometimes it takes days. While that makes sense, and no institution is omniscient, I was a bit surprised by this. Every day, I get timely and reliable reports on cycling trouble spots, be they crashes, bad signals or flooded trails. I'm not special — anyone can get them. Over the past few years, as both cycling and Twitter use have increased, an organic online community of Washington-area cyclists has grown into …
Monday, November 19, 2012
Taking a moment to thank those who make Arlington a better place for cycling
I'm not much of a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving, but I do think it's good to stop and appreciate what we've got from time to time. A recent outside view of what makes Arlington good for cycling reminded me that we've got a lot to be thankful for here. I wrote a bit last year about some of the people making Arlington a great place to ride, and now's a good time to update that. A lot has happened in the past year. Capital Bikeshare's long-anticipated expansion really took off, with stations now saturating the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Arlington also developed a very smart analysis and plan for Capital Bikeshare's future. There was also progress on infrastructure. Some of it was standard bike lane striping, completing gaps in …
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The STEM conference took place earlier this month.
More than 200 Arlington middle school girls learned about careers in science-, technology-, engineering- and math-related fields at a STEM conference this month. The conference, which took place Nov. 3 at Kenmore Middle School, brought 19 professional women from a variety of STEM fields to talk to the girls about possible career paths. The event was sponsored by the Arlington branch of the American Association of University Women and Arlington Public Schools. Read more on the STEM conference for Arlington girls.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Now's a very good time to reassess your visibility on Arlington's streets and trails.
It's time for that semi-annual get-your-lights-out reminder. Eastern Standard Time is here, Bike Arlington is doing light-giveaways, and it's well past sunset when most of us are heading home from work. So what's the point of a reminder column? As BikeHugger recently asked — Do people not realize that it's time for lights? Well, no, they don't. Not enough of them, anyway. And by people, I mean everyone using our streets and trails. Cyclists and pedestrians are not as visible as we think we are, and this leads to unsafe situations. Ask any driver or cyclist who's happened upon a "ninja" runner — dressed all in black, save perhaps a small reflective stripe on his shoe — crossing the street or sharing the trail with them. It should go without…
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Rain and snow are in the forecast today.
Cold rain and a possibility for some rain mixed with snow are in the forecast for this afternoon in Arlington, according to the National Weather Service. The high temperature will be near 40 degrees. The weather service says snow accumulation will be less than half an inch and the chance of the snow sticking around is low. Evening temperatures will reach 34 degrees and with a northwest wind around 34 mph. Roads may be slick for your evening commute. Thursday's forecast calls for wind and temperatures in the low 50s.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Arlington voters found long lines at precincts Tuesday morning.
Arlington voters were met with long lines this morning, followed by an afternoon lull that still left many waiting an hour to vote. “It’s impossible,” said Marcela Ayon, who was voting at the James at Riverhouse apartment building and polling station for the day in Pentagon City. “I live in the building so I thought I could get in and go.” The lines at the Riverhouse location went through the building’s basement level and wrapped around the facilities parking lot just after 8 this morning and continued through the early afternoon. Just before 11:30 a.m., a woman waiting in line to vote at the Pentagon City location collapsed and was taken away by stretcher by the Arlington County firefighters to a nearby hospital. She was awake and …
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
You need not wait for change at the oft-glacial pace of institutions. You can make a difference tomorrow.
This weekend, I took a risk — I braved the suburban wilds of Fairfax to attend the Fairfax Bike Summit. All kidding aside, it was encouraging to see so many efforts — from the institutional to the individual — being made to improve cycling in Fairfax. Fairfax County staff talked about the new bike plan, which sets goals for the next decade. A major Tysons developer presented its plans for remaking Tysons in a pedestrian- and bike-friendly area. Heady stuff, to be sure. But the most inspiring? Came near the end, when one of the presenters — Fionnuala Quinn of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling — talked about how to bring more individuals into cycling. I’ve long thought that the most important benefits for cycling come through cultural …
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The latest restaurant reports for the Arlington area based on inspections from Virginia Department of Health inspections since Oct. 10.
Check out the Virginia Department of Health’s most recent restaurant inspection reports, which reflect visits from inspectors during the last few weeks. The full reports can be accessed on the health department's website: Restaurants in Clarendon/Courthouse/Rosslyn: Taste of Morocco 3211 Washington Blvd. Date of inspection: Oct. 13 Food is not protected from cross contamination from equipment and utensils. Breads were stored in blood (from raw meats) stained chest freezer. American Tap Room 3101 Wilson Blvd. Date of inspection: Oct. 16 Cheese was observed holding at the improper temperature. Northside Social 3211 Wilson Blvd. Date of inspection: Oct. 15 When tested, no sanitizer or a low concentration of chemical sanitizer was found …
Monday, October 22, 2012
The Arlington transportation chief’s response to last week’s concerns over temporary paving highlights the challenges of keeping a growing community’s streets safe.
Last week this column illustrated the dangers of a poorly maintained street construction site. The accompanying video showed a cyclist taken down by a dangerous parallel ridge cut in the pavement that was left in place and unmarked for months. Arlington Patch followed up with an interview of Dennis Leach, the county's transportation director, about Arlington’s street construction policies and practices. It was useful to hear about the systems Arlington has in place to manage street construction. But they’re clearly not working well enough. To be clear up front — Mr. Leach is to be commended for his leadership of the transportation department. Having had many conversations with him about cycling and Arlington, I think that this county is …
Monday, October 15, 2012
With so much construction involving Arlington's streets, the county must do a better job of ensuring that they remain safe for all users.
Last month, this column touched on the idea that pavement condition isn’t just a concern of motorists, but also of cyclists. In fact, bad pavement condition holds significantly more danger for the individual cyclist than motorist. In that column, I used the example of a recent crash caused by a temporary patching of a utility cut along Quincy Street. It turns out I’ve got video of that crash, and I’d like to show you what happens when Arlington County fails to ensure that those working on its streets fail to do so safely. What you’ll see in the video embedded at the right are a number of riders who have just crossed Lee Highway on Quincy Street heading south. A car comes up from behind, and a rider in front of it moves to the right to let …