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Rainbow over the Weenie Beenie near Shirlington (photo courtesy Nicole Waldeck)

Happy Friday, Arlington. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

Today might have been a light publishing day for us, but rest assured: we’re not hearing of much news happening locally, so you’re not missing much. Wish we could say the same about the stock market and the pandemic.

We’ll be back Monday with a full slate of stories. In the meantime, below are the most read ARLnow articles of the week.

  1. Making Room: Stop using leaf blowers*
  2. Police pursue fleeing suspects in Pentagon City
  3. Police: Group of five robbed two kids in Ballston, near W-L High School
  4. Wharf developer announces major residential project in Ballston
  5. Korean rice hot dogs are coming to Arlington, perhaps as soon as next month
  6. APS modifies snow day procedures ahead of colder weather
  7. Two severe crashes prompt countywide look at alley safety in Arlington
  8. EXCLUSIVE: Airbnb is not paying a required lodging tax in Arlington County
  9. Don’t be surprised to see a helicopter lifting stuff from a roof in Pentagon City on Tuesday
  10. Former Clarendon Ballroom once again turning into a winter wonderland
  11. Yorktown student petition about sexual misconduct grabs attention of administration
  12. Happy Thanksgiving, Arlington!

Feel free to discuss those stories — or anything else of local interest — in the comments. Have a nice rest of your holiday weekend!

* Currently, this is the No. 2 most-read article of the year

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Blowing leaves (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement about the strong winds that are currently gusting in Arlington and across the region.

Forecasters are cautioning that the gusts may fell tree branches and cause power outages. The strongest of the gusts are expected through mid-afternoon.

As of publication time, no outages have been reported in Arlington, according to Dominion’s outage map.

More from NWS:

1106 AM EST Fri Nov 26 2021

…GUSTY WINDS LEADING TO MINOR TREE DAMAGE…

Gusty northwesterly winds up to 45 mph will be possible through this afternoon and may result in sporadic tree and power line damage.

Remain alert if traveling through wooded areas, and avoid them if possible.

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2136 S. Monroe Street

Happy Black Friday to those who were up early searching for deals! We have a chilly weekend ahead so if you’re looking to stay warm check out a few open houses in Arlington.

According to Homesnap, there are 584 homes for sale. There have been 151 new listings in the past 4 weeks and 268 sales.

Take a look at a few open houses in Arlington this weekend:

  • 1817 N. Tuckahoe Street
    4 BD/3.5 BA single-family home
    Noteworthy: Additional morning room, large kitchen island
    Listed: $1,624,900
    Open: Sunday, 12-4 p.m.
  • 2215 N. Albemarle Street
    3 BD/2.5 BA single-family home
    Noteworthy: Hardwood floors, detached garage
    Listed: $915,000
    Open: Sunday, 1-3 p.m.
  • 1118 S. Highland Street #3
    3 BD/2.5 BA townhome
    Noteworthy: Reserved off-street parking, hardwood floors, chrome fixtures
    Listed: $864,900
    Open: Sunday, 1-4 p.m.
  • 851 N. Glebe Road #1704
    2 BD/2 BA condo
    Noteworthy: Corner unit, custom tile shower, gas fireplace
    Listed: $729,000
    Open: Sunday, 12-2 p.m.
  • 2136 S. Monroe Street
    3 BD/1 BA single-family home
    Noteworthy: One story ramble, new roof and stove
    Listed: $585,000
    Open: Sunday, 1-4 p.m.

Image via Google Maps

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This sponsored column is by Law Office of James Montana PLLC. All questions about it should be directed to James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq., and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at The Law Office of James Montana PLLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact us for an appointment.

Traveling to the U.S. for the holidays? Here’s the info on new COVID-19 requirements!

Citizens! Readers! Fellow disease vectors! We are approaching that time of the year when we travel to be with loved ones, eat overrated food and consider throwing a turkey drumstick at Uncle Billy. Last year, very few people traveled, but this year has looked a bit more “normal” according to the TSA checkpoint travel numbers.

What does the new normal look like for those traveling to the U.S.?

On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued Presidential Proclamation 10294 rescinding the geographic COVID-19 travel bans which restricted travel for those from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, UK and Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India, and adopted COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all international air travelers to the United States (with few exceptions).

According to the new Presidential Proclamation, all international air travelers must be fully vaccinated to enter the United States. Air travelers are now required to provide proof of vaccination before boarding a plane to the United States; but beware, not all vaccines are accepted. The CDC has published a list of vaccines that are approved or authorized by the FDA or on the World Health Organization emergency use list. The following vaccines are accepted:

  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Single Dose)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Covishield
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Covaxin

The Proclamation provides some exceptions to the vaccine requirement (spoiler alert: no religious or moral convictions exceptions are included). These are as follows:

  • Children under the age of 18
  • Those who have participated in clinical trials for covid-19 vaccination
  • Those for whom covid-19 vaccines are medically contraindicated
  • Those who are granted humanitarian and emergency exceptions by the Director of the CDC
  • Those citizens of a country with less than 10% of the population vaccinated
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children
  • National interest exceptions
  • Diplomats or persons on official government travel
  • United Nations travel
  • Sea crew members
  • Airline crew members

It is important to note that anyone subject to these exceptions will have rigorous testing requirements upon arrival, and will have to self-quarantine for 7 days (even if the test results are negative), or self-isolate (in the case of a positive result). Moreover, if these individuals intend to stay for longer than 60 days, they may be required to become fully vaccinated within 60 days of arrival or as soon as medically appropriate.

For more detailed information about the requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination for air passengers, please visit this link.

As always, we are happy to answer any questions from our readers. Happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

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30 Minute Hit Arlington OPEN HOUSE

Come check out Ballston’s newest gym at our December 4 OPEN HOUSE! Take advantage of Founder Member discounts or sign up for a Free Trial. Bring the family; we’ll have a face painter and crafts, plus food and music.

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Morning Notes

Ballston Development Has a Bike Benefit — From Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt, about a just-proposed residential development in Ballston: “The lynchpin of that alternative access is easy access to Wakefield Street from Fairfax Drive for bikes, which could be achieved through this redevelopment.” [Twitter]

Arlington Ranks No. 17 for Life Expectancy — “While the national trend is alarming, there are parts of the country where life expectancy is far higher than the national average. In Arlington County, Virginia, for example, life expectancy at birth is an estimated 85.9 years — about seven years longer than the comparable national average of 79.2 years.” [InsideNova]

TV Station Comes to Local School — “Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff visited Ashlawn ES in Arlington, VA for our Lunchbox Weather program. He had a lot of fun with the students, showing them the our StormTrak7 vehicle decked out with weather instruments. We hoped they enjoyed seeing themselves in our roof cam and learned a little bit about the weather on a COLD day!” [WJLA]

It’s Black Friday — The most-hyped shopping day of the year is going to be breezy. There is slight chance of showers before 10 a.m., otherwise it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 46 and a northwest wind 17 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph. Saturday will be sunny, with a high near 44 and wind gusts as high as 24 mph. Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 51. [Weather.gov]

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Andors Real Estate Group.

Happy Thanksgiving Arlington!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year for many reasons. First, it is almost always spent with family, and I cherish time with family, especially because of how caught up in the fast pace of Northern Virginia things can get.

Second, the food is always amazing, and good food always brings people together. Third, tradition — there is just something to be said for a predictable meal with familiar people, coupled with plenty of relaxing afterward. Fourth, and I’ll elaborate a bit on what I’m grateful for below, but just the reminder that we all have so much to be grateful for and a day dedicated to just that!

I have much to be thankful for and it’s amazing how focusing on that can improve moods and outlooks on life. My three children are growing up fast, and it is truly a joy to be a part of it and watch as they learn and transform. My wife Laura and I moved our family into a lovely new home this year (I know a great Realtor, if you need one) and this year the Andors Real Estate Group helped 55 families with their real estate needs! Laura’s health coaching business has really taken off as well, and we’re both thrilled to be helping others through our work in different ways.

As you can imagine, even real estate agents look forward to the slower pace this week, where the market really does take a breather and we can all rest and reset. Some homes will go under contract this week, but very few new listings will hit the market. The expectation from sellers is that buyers are out of town or otherwise preoccupied, so it’s better to wait a week or two.

I’ll keep it short and sweet this week so that you can enjoy the time this weekend however you see fit. Whether it’s large family gatherings, travel, staying in or maybe you’re stuck working, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and I look forward to resuming a normal schedule next week for Just Listed!

Click here to search currently available Arlington real estate. If you see a home that you’re interested in purchasing, give us a call!

Call the Andors Real Estate Group today at (703) 203-1117 to talk more about buying or selling Arlington real estate. Below are eight new listings that I think you might like to check out.

5049 9th Street S.
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Happy Thanksgiving, Arlington!

It’s late on a Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you’re starting to get ready for a Wednesday night out at the bars with your fellow locals. Or mentally preparing for a long day of parades, football, cooking, eating and dishwashing with family.

Whatever you’re doing, ARLnow hopes you have a fun and safe Thanksgiving. Lest anyone forget, here are some turkey frying safety tips from ACFD:

Cooking safety aside, we were also wondering around Covid safety.

Though our planned morning poll on the topic got preempted by the unexpected Ballston development news, we’ll ask it now: given that vaccines are widely available, but the virus is still infecting people, how has the pandemic affected your Thanksgiving plans this year?

ARLnow will not be publishing tomorrow unless there’s major breaking news. We’ll have a lighter-than-normal publishing schedule for Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Modern Mobility is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

Arlington prides itself on its public engagement, but when there is a fundamental disagreement on the basic design of our streets, public engagement becomes a frustrating, repeated rehashing of the same arguments rather than a productive and collaborative conversation about what might make a particular street unique.

Arlington needs a Street Design, Operations and Maintenance Guide — a set of localized standards, tools, interventions and policies that reflect not just professional engineering standards, but also community-driven values.

As someone who attends a lot of transportation project public meetings, I’ve heard the same feedback directed at the County in meeting after meeting: people wanting real, physical protection for bike lanes, not just paint; folks concerned that we are building wide lanes that encourage speeding; a desire to not have to push a button in order to safely cross the street; frustration with sidewalk curb cuts that seem to direct pedestrian out into the middle of an intersection rather than into a crosswalk; a desire for shelter and seating for bus stops, not just a signpost on a sidewalk.

None of these pieces of feedback is really location-specific. These requests were not because of a particular feature of the street or neighborhood where the project was being built; instead, they represent a fundamental disagreement between how Arlington currently designs and operates its streets and how residents wish them to be.

This disconnect creates a frustrating experience for both residents and for staff. Residents are frustrated, feeling like they need to go to every single transportation project engagement session and give the same feedback over and over, often with no visible results. Staff are frustrated because their engagement session, meant to help inform them about unique conditions and needs in a particular location is instead overrun with feedback about bigger, over-arching design issues that are unlikely to be changed as the result of feedback on a single project.

It’s past time for Arlington to have a community conversation about how we design, operate and maintain our streets and then put it all down in a frequently-updated, publicly-accessible guidance document. Many of Arlington’s peer localities (and nearly all larger cities) have a street design guide (Examples: Montgomery County, MD; Austin, TX; Seattle, WA; New York, NY)

An Arlington Street Guide could cover design issues (lane widths, protected bike lane materials, corner radii, etc.) as well as operational issues (signal timing policies, right-turn-on-red restriction policies, etc.) and maintenance issues (snow removal, street sweeping, pothole filling, keeping traffic calming features in good shape, etc.) and be a useful resource for county transportation staff, engineers for private developers, as well as Arlington citizens and advocates.

Providing an appropriate venue to have these broader design, operation and maintenance conversations would free up project-specific public engagement time for its intended purpose: discussing site-specific conditions that local residents may be more familiar with than County staff. On top of that, it would give an opportunity for community values and priorities to be inserted into existing county operational decisions like signal timing, pedestrian recall, etc. which are currently made entirely based on staff judgement.

With Arlington preparing to work through the “Multimodal Safety Toolkit” it promised as part of the Vision Zero Action Plan, now is the time to get started on Arlington’s Street Guide. Arlington has already started releasing for public review some of their existing guidance and the toolkit will further set out design guidance for the sort of interventions Arlington is willing to install on our streets to improve safety. With that great starting point, the County should prioritize codifying guidance on operational and maintenance procedures to create a one-stop-shop for understanding how we design, operate and maintain these critical parts of the public realm.

Chris Slatt is the current Chair of the Arlington County Transportation Commission, founder of Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County and a former civic association president. He is a software developer, co-owner of Perfect Pointe Dance Studio, and a father of two.

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