Friday, February 25, 2011

Tree Down Utah Street at 17th St

Winds bring down a tree on N Utah Street, Arlington, VA

Monday, February 14, 2011

Time to Act to Support PBS and NPR and fight Congressional Budget Cuts

Year after year studies review that NPR and PBS are the must trusted sources for unbiased news and information. News and information - the life blood of democratic discourse. NPR and PBS are part of the 4th Estate - the media which provides reporting, coverage and facts that makes our political system work. A democracy depends on this good type of reporting - and not the partisan hijacked rabble of cable network punditry.

We are Arlington, the home of WETA - a truly great public radio and public institution, serving our community and democracy for decades.

We are Virginia, home of Jefferson, who believed in education, libraries, and the academics necessary for our democracy.

We know the necessity of media and who know how misinformation can lead us astray.

Support public radio and public television today. Tell Member of Congress James Moran (Arlington) or your member of Congress to fight cuts to NPR/PBS funding, and to keep our democracy strong.

For more information, see WETA Make Your Voice Heard

Friday, February 11, 2011

"You Gotta Keep 'em Separated!" Support the 3 feet passing law in Virginia for Bikes

You know the old Offspring song "Come Out & Play" with the line - "You gotta keep 'em separated." Well, never mind that - but it comes to mind when talking about cars and bikes. For all the bickering that you here between drivers and bikers (and I one to add to the bickering), one thing that people tend to agree on is "you gotta keep 'em separated." The more separation between a car and a bike, the better. Me, when I can, I ride on the bike path. And that's most of the time.

But same is true on the road. Between one ton of four wheel steel and maybe 200+ pounds of bike and human, the one ton of steel will always crush the bike and the human. Kind of like rock paper scissors, where biking beats pollution and cars beat bikes.

When a bike and a car must share the road - "you gotta keep 'em separated." And by "separated," weeze mean 3 feet. Hell, when you park your car your would not park closer to another car or a brick wall for fear of chipping your paint. So how about it, you think maybe not killing a biker is worth three feet?

From the Virginia Bicycle Federation

SB 928 ‘Three Feet’ Bill Needs Your Support Now

by admin on February 9, 2011

As we reported yesterday, SB 928, the three feet passing bill, was passed unanimously by the Senate on Monday. It’s now headed to the House, where it must get through committee and then a full House vote.

This bill increases the minimum passing distance from 2′ to 3′ for motorists passing bicycles, and adds bicycles to the list of vehicles that a motorist shall not follow more closely than is reasonable (prohibits aggressive tailgating of bicycles).

It may be heard in committee as early as Thursday morning, Feb. 10; or it could be heard by the full Transportation Committee next Tuesday morning, Feb. 15.

Please write to your delegates now, and ask them to support SB 928 — especially if your delegate is one of the committee members listed below.

The Who’s My Legislator page will tell you who your delegate is.

BikeWalk Virginia has posted an alert too, along with a sample letter.


May, Joe T. /Loudon 804 698-1033

Vice Chair:

Oder, G. Glenn/Newport News — PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT


Carrico, Charles W., Sr. /Galax 804 698-1005

Cosgrove, John A./Chesapeake 804 698-1078

Rust, Thomas Davis/Herndon 804 698-1086

Hugo, Timothy D./Fairfax 804 698-1040

Scott, Edward T./Culpeper 804 698-1030

Tata, Robert/VaBeach 804 698-1085

Villanueva, Ronald A./VaBeach 804 698-1021

Comstock, Barbara J./Fairfax 804 698-1034

Garrett, T. Scott/Lynchburg 804 698-1023

Cox, John A./Hanover 804 698-1055

Cleaveland, William H./Roanoke 804 698-1017

Habeeb, Gregory D.

Ward, Jeion A./Hampton 804 698-1092

Ebbin, Adam P./Arlington 804 698-1049

BaCote, Mamye E./Newport News 804 698-1095

Brink, Robert H./Arlington 804 698-1048

Toscano, David J./Charlottesville 804 698-1057

McQuinn, Delores L./Richmond 804 698-1070

Carr, Betsy B./Richmond 804 698-1069

Filler-Corn, Eileen/Fairfax 804 698-1041

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Child Got Hit by a Car Today Near Her School

Today, while crossing the street next to her school, a child was hit by a car. It was an early release day. The girl was hit just before 1:20 pm.

There is a lot to be said about what happened yesterday. I will let others talk about those things.

But I will note this. It was an early release day from school. The kids know that. The drivers do not. Early release dramatically changes traffic patterns around schools. Particularly where a school is located near a heavy traffic area, this can be significant. If 99% of the year the school releases at 2:20 pm, then all those cars that drive in that neighborhood get to know and anticipate the school release. Like it or not, we are creatures of habit, and people tend to commute at the same time in the same place on the same day. And if school release is part of their traffic pattern, they learn to watch out for children.

1% of the year, schools release early - for a reason that eludes me. This places the children in an entirely different traffic pattern, with drivers that are not use to and do not anticipate children being in the street.

As annoying as rush hour is, I always find rush hour to be safer. Everyone knows their route. They know where they are going. They know the danger spots. They know what to do. Its the Saturday morning, the out of pattern traffic, that I always find the most difficult.

Early release causes out of pattern traffic. It puts children in danger. Is it worth it?

On an early release day, students go to all their classes - only the classes are pretty much cut in half. The students sit down. Attendance is taken. And in a few minutes the students get up again. There is never enough time to get anything done. Early release days are always a wasted day for the students.

Whatever is gained by early release days seems to be lost by the risk created from out of pattern traffic.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Traffic Wars: Oppose Legislation Aimed at Taking Away Arlington Authority

Adding asphalt has been tried and failed. Increasing capacity has simply resulted in people taking advantage of that capacity to live further away and shift the cost of commuter transportation on others (like those that live close in). The solution is not more lanes to support more foreign-petroleum-dependent-$5-a-gallon-single-occupancy cars -- the solution is smart growth. Trains. Subways. Bike paths. Living closer to where you work. Telecommuting.

Arlington has invested decades in establishing a smart growth, smart transportation system. We do not need Arlington turned into a gigantic asphalt mixing bowl for the convenience of those who work in Washington DC but want to have a mansion an hour west of the city.

Oppose these two bills....

Coalition for Smarter Growth

Taking Away Your Power in Northern Virginia

Take Action by 2pm Thurs, Feb 10 -- Two Bad Bills in Transportation Committee

There are two bad bills crossing over from the House to the Senate Transportation Committee in the Virginia General Assembly, and we need your help to stop them.

These bills -- HB 1998 and HB1999 -- would require Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to make widening highways a higher priority than smart land use and transit solutions. They would also undermine the authority of local elected officials to make decisions. Our local elected officials travel our roads, walk, bike and ride transit with us, and are best equipped to determine the range of transportation solutions for northern Virginia.

Voice your opposition to these bad bills by emailing the Senate Transportation Committee.

HB1998 – This bill, spearheaded by highway lobbyist Bob Chase, would ignore the plans and priorities set by local elected officials in their long-range transportation plan for northern Virginia. It would apply a very narrow performance measure and a new round of traffic modeling that would favor unaffordable widening of highways across northern Virginia. The bill would also revive controversial Potomac River bridge proposals through neighborhoods in Fairfax and Loudoun, rejected in a number of studies since 1989.

HB1999 – Also spearheaded by Bob Chase, this bill would make funding of highway widening a higher priority than land use, transit and local road solutions in northern Virginia, further undermining decision making by local elected officials. Proponents of the bill use homeland security to argue for the bill, implying that evacuation of D.C. is both likely and possible, and highway widening is necessary for this purpose. In the mean time, there hasn’t been a single security study citing the need for a massive evacuation of the District.

Take action here

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ultimate Frisbee Camp this Summer

Arlington's Dynamic Duo are at it again. Dale Soles (HBW) and Will Smolinski (WMS) are once again offering Ultimate Frisbee Summer camp. This summer its

7/11 - 15 11 - 14 Williamsburg Middle School Arlington, VA Day (9am - 4pm)

7/18 - 22 13 - 16 Williamsburg Middle School Arlington, VA Day (9am - 4pm)

8/1 - 5 11 - 16 St. Andrew's Episcopal School Potomac, MD Day (9am - 4pm)

8/13 - 16** 14 - 18 St. Margaret's School Tappahannock, VA Overnight**

These guys are great - and a great sport!

Monday, February 7, 2011

WMATA Opens Bags

Tired of the Security Theater that WMATA has become? Apparently, according to Maryland group fighting the bag searches, the WMATA board will take up the issue thursday. Seems like its time to show the WMATA Board your love - and let them know how you feel about intrusive searches that provide, in fact, no increased or improved security. Here is the information from the Maryland group:

The WMATA Board of Directors will consider on Thursday morning whether or not to halt the random bag search program.

We're pulling out all the stops to convince them the program is unconstitutional, ineffective, inconvenient and an insult to Metro riders.

We need your help!

It is vital that each board member gets our message loud and clear. We have two ways to help you deliver your message:

Most effective way:
Each WMATA director's name below links to a lobbying sheet with contact and background information. Please take a minute to call or write directors from your state and tell them to end the random bag search program now. Then use the link provided to let us know what you've learned.

MD: Elizabeth Hewlett, Peter Benjamin, Kathy Porter
MD: please also contact federal directors Marcel Acosta and Mortimer Downey
DC: Tommy Wells, Thomas Downs, Michael Brown, Arthur Giancola
VA: Catherine Hudgins, Mary Hynes, Jeff McKay, William Euille

OR, Quickest way:

Click here to send a message to the entire WMATA Board of Directors at once.

Thank you,

Thomas, Sue, Kit, Martine, Karen, Shahid, Ann, Malachy, Gael, and Pat,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vote in the Arlington Vehicle Decal Competition

Arlington looks for opportunities everywhere. One excellent opportunity has been turning the Arlington Vehicle Decal into an opportunity for High School Students. For the seventh year, Arlington County has invited Arlington high school students to submit designs to the competition. Last year the county received sixteen submissions from sixteen students. A panel selects the best for to be four for a competitive vote before the residents of Arlington; these four finalists each receive a savings bond award, but probably more importantly they receive important recognition of their work which can be useful as they advance towards college applications. Last years winner reflects a vision of a snow covered bridge during snowpocalypse.

This years vote is well under way and ends February 13. There are four excellent submissions reflecting the diversity of life in Arlington.

Of course as a biker and a frequent utilizer of the Custis Trail and the W&OD trail to commute to work, my favorite is "Multi-Faceted Arlington" reflecting a bike, bike path, and the sky line of Rosslyn.

Tip of the hat to Arlington County for the program, and for Arlington Public Schools which encourages students to participate.

Whose Your Favorite Teacher

It's been an "interesting" week for Arlington Public School. One thing is for sure, Arlington Public Schools has some incredible teachers, Arlington students excel in testing and in state-wide and national competitions, and Arlington teachers volunteer to run one of the best high school Ultimate Frisbee teams!

Give a shout out to your favorite teacher. Nominate an Arlington teacher for Super Teacher through the VA Lottery.