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The intersection of Leesburg Pike (Route 7) and South Jefferson Street in Bailey’s Crossroads (via Google Maps)

A 93-year-old woman died earlier this week from injuries she sustained in a car crash on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) in Bailey’s Crossroads, police say.

Gladys Bilbao, a Falls Church resident, was in the front passenger seat of a 2007 Toyota Corolla when the driver collided with a 2023 Toyota GR86 in the South Jefferson Street intersection around 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

“Preliminarily, detectives determined the driver of the Toyota Corolla turned left onto South Jefferson Street from eastbound Leesburg Pike, in front of the Toyota GR86, which was traveling west on Leesburg Pike, resulting in the crash,” the FCPD said in a news release. “The Corolla and GR86 both had two occupants per vehicle. All four occupants involved were transported to area hospitals for treatment.”

Detectives were notified on Wednesday (Feb. 21) that Bilbao had died from her injuries, the FCPD announced yesterday (Thursday).

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, specifically to determine “whether speed was a factor,” police said.

According to the FCPD, Bilbao is the seventh person to die in a traffic crash in Fairfax County this year, more than doubling the three fatalities recorded at this time in 2023. The count doesn’t appear to include this year’s two pedestrian fatalities, which both stemmed from crashes in the Richmond Highway corridor, where four people have died this month.

A 2022 study conducted by the immigrant advocacy organization CASA and nonprofit Coalition for Smarter Growth identified the Bailey’s Crossroads section of Route 7 as a dangerous road for pedestrians, citing frequent speeding by drivers and a lack of crosswalks and sidewalks. Last year, the Virginia Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit from 40 to 35 mph between the Falls Church and Alexandria city limits.

The speed limit was also lowered on much of Richmond Highway last May.

Image via Google Maps

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Downed utility pole on Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads (via FCPD/Twitter)

Columbia Pike has been closed for more than 12 hours near Bailey’s Crossroads after a vehicle crashed into a house and utility pole last night (Sunday), taking out the pole and, with it, the area’s electricity.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue investigators were dispatched to Columbia Pike at Powell Lane around 7:16 p.m. for the single-vehicle crash, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

Upon arriving at the scene, a responder reported to the dispatcher that one vehicle drove into a house, but there didn’t appear to be any structural damage.

“I do have a major power line blocking Columbia Pike in both directions,” he said.

No injuries were reported in the crash, but the downed utility pole resulted in power outages for 1,893 Dominion Energy customers, Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox said shortly before 10 p.m.

The Fairfax County Police Department warned that the road closure would extend through the morning commute due to “extensive damage” at the Blair Road intersection.

As of 10:20 a.m., Columbia Pike remains closed in both directions, prompting the FCPD to advise drivers to find “an alternate route.” Dominion Energy still has 365 customers in Bailey’s Crossroads without power, according to the utility company’s outage map.

“We expect to bring power back by noon,” Fox said in a tweet. “Thanks for your patience. Avoid the area if possible.”

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Fairfax County police chase a bicyclist on Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads (courtesy Dave Statter/Twitter)

A man allegedly responsible for a series of thefts and larcenies in Bailey’s Crossroads was arrested this morning (Wednesday) after trying to flee from police on a bicycle.

Fairfax County police officers responded to the 5200 block of Leesburg Pike around 7:40 a.m. after a woman reported to 911 that a man on a bicycle had “attempted to snatch her purse twice” about 10 minutes earlier near the Crossroads Place shopping center, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

“Caller is advising he attempted it once, followed her to this location and attempted again,” the dispatcher said.

Upon investigating, an officer determined that the “purse snatching” may be connected to a series of at least four larcenies and robberies in the area, per the police scanner.

A chase began after an officer spotted a man matching the provided suspect description in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods on Columbia Pike. She said on the scanner that she told the man to stop, but he continued bicycling “fast” toward Spring Lane.

A traffic camera video shared by local public safety watcher Dave Statter shows that at least seven Fairfax County Police Department vehicles were involved in the pursuit. They get held up at a stop light in the eastbound lanes on Columbia Pike at the Arlington County border while a bicyclist passes by, headed in the wrong direction in the westbound lanes.

The man was ultimately caught at the Columbia Pike and S. Greenbrier Street intersection in Arlington, according to the police scanner.

“The cyclist matching the description fled from our officers but was detained by our cops with 4 wheels,” the Fairfax County Police Department said in a 10:33 a.m. tweet. “Officers [are] on scene continuing to investigate.”

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Mason District Supervisor Andres Jimenez (courtesy of Andres Jimenez)

For the first time this century, Fairfax County’s Mason District has a new supervisor.

In his first week since succeeding Penny Gross, who retired in December after 27 years in the position, Andres Jimenez says he has been actively engaging with constituents to tackle issues ranging from transportation to art projects and economic development.

An immigrant from Bogota, Colombia, who has now lived in the Falls Church area for 12 years, Jimenez is the first Latino to represent Mason District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He also works as the executive director of the pay equity campaign Green 2.0 and previously served as an at-large member of the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

Winning a decisive victory last November over independent candidate Terry Modglin with 72% of the vote, Jimenez says that, since taking office on Jan. 1, he has been setting up his various social media channels, launching a new podcast and organizing several public forums across the district.

“I think that smart government is when residents don’t just come to you, it’s when the government — when the supervisor’s office — is going into the community and reaching out to residents…and asking them what is working, what’s not working, because only then can you really begin to make change,” he told FFXnow.

The dates for the public town hall and open house events have not been announced yet. However, Jimenez anticipates key areas will include transportation, housing and economic development.

“We do plan to go out into the communities [and] listen to the residents and make sure that we are prioritizing the needs of Mason District,” he said.

Pedestrian and traffic safety

Top on Jimenez’s agenda is addressing pedestrian and traffic safety concerns in neighborhoods like Annandale, Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners.

Last year, the community advocacy group Fairfax Families for Safe Streets published a report showing that pedestrian fatalities increased in 2022 as a result of “underfunding for pedestrian-focused projects.”

“Unfortunately, there have been a lot of fatalities when it comes to the pedestrians,” Jimenez said. “…We need to really start working on figuring out not only why is this happening, but how can we solve this problem.”

In 2021, the Board of Supervisors approved $100 million for county-wide pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements that will be allocated to different projects through 2028. About $30.2 million has been allocated to date, according to the county website.

At the moment, the county is reviewing 69 proposed safety projects proposed for Mason District. Each of the projects originated from resident suggestions through a county-led online survey.

Jimenez emphasized his objective is to ensure that money is promptly allocated to projects in Mason District, adding that the money is “desperately needed.”

Jimenez identified a few intersections — such as Leesburg Pike (Route 7) at both Row Street and Columbia Pike — as high priority, focusing more on signal upgrades and other spot improvements than more comprehensive, long-term solutions.

In the coming months, Jimenez noted that he plans to consult with local stakeholder groups, such as the Bailey’s Crossroads 7 Corners Revitalization Corporation, to help identify projects that need immediate attention.

“We’ve already identified several initiatives — obviously Seven Corners, Bailey’s Crossroads and Annandale — that need help,” he said. “They need signage and they need timers and they need different ways to make sure that pedestrians are safe.”

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Bailey’s Crossroads was one of two communities profiled for Fairfax County’s place-led economic development pilot program (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County is creating commercial profiles of different neighborhoods to guide future economic development and placemaking.

At an economic initiatives committee meeting on Dec. 12, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors discussed a place-led economic development pilot program that will provide snapshots of communities throughout the county.

“It’s really about providing all of us with data driven insights into Fairfax County commercial districts, how that…area is performing and functioning as well as who is being served by the commercial activity,” said Laura Baker, the catalytic development manager for the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives.

In the first phase of the pilot program, staff studied Bailey’s Crossroads and University Mall near Fairfax City. The locations were selected due to their diversity in scale, geography, business characteristics and community, as well as the willingness of stakeholders to take part in the process.

Each template dives into data on users and visitors, retail spending, recent investments, key insights and business highlights.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and Board Chairman Jeff McKay said they were concerned about how the profiles will be updated and what new information they generated — beyond assembling disparate data the county already receives.

“What we don’t want to do is have outdated information out there that kind of works against the marketing of a particular area,” McKay said.

The Bailey’s Crossroads profile, for example, found limited connectivity between the community’s shopping centers, overall healthy commercial performance, and that the population’s median age and income are lower than the rest of the county.

The community also sees strong weekend activity, and there has been a slight increase in visitor growth after the pandemic.

Mike Van Atta, president of BC7RC, a volunteer organization that promotes community revitalization in Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners, said the profiles are particularly helpful because they can guide how partnerships between organizations drive community revitalization.

“Frankly, we think that’s a community health story as much as it is a community development story,” Van Atta said.

McKay noted none of that information was surprising — indicating that the community profiles provided an accurate snapshot.

In phase two, staff plan to study 26 special planning areas — except for those with a specified land use purpose or those that have already been the focus of recent studies.

Baker said Tysons and Reston will likely be excluded from the effort, since they have recently updated comprehensive plans and existing organizations, such as the Tysons Community Alliance and Partnership Reston, that focus on placemaking.

“There’s already a lot of transformation happening there,” she said.

County staff also plan to take a look at an additional 86 shopping centers, like the Pan Am Shopping Center in Merrifield and the Rose Hill Shopping Center.

Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, whose district includes Bailey’s Crossroads, said she wants to see a dedicated section to vision in the profiles and more community integration.

“There’s not the community piece in here and I’m very concerned about that because people are resistant to change,” she said. “They don’t necessarily like what’s there now, but they don’t want much new.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said the community pieces come from the county’s comprehensive plan — which was created with significant input.

“The comprehensive plan really is a document that is highly integrated with the community, and the community in all cases have been involved in the development of that,” he said.

In the coming months, staff will finalize the template for the profiles and criteria to determine exactly which areas are studied before issuing a request for proposals. The second phase will likely begin in the first quarter of 2024.

Image via Google Maps

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The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responds to a utility emergency at Build America Plaza in Bailey’s Crossroads (via FCFRD/Twitter)

An explosion that occurred while firefighters were putting out a blaze at Build America Plaza in Bailey’s Crossroads in early November was caused by a backdraft, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says.

Investigators have determined that the fire and “dramatic” explosion were accidental, resulting from degraded power lines that arced and sparked an “underground fire involving the insulation of adjacent communication lines,” the FCFRD reported today (Tuesday).

Firefighters were called to the shopping center at 3819 South George Mason Drive around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 after 911 received reports of smoke in one of the commercial buildings.

“Crews arrived to find smoke in the building with no fire showing,” the fire department said, describing the incident as a “utility emergency.”

The building was evacuated, but when firefighters opened a door to a shed that appeared to be the source of the smoke, a fiery explosion engulfed them. Sharing a video of the incident, the FCFRD confirmed that the firefighters were okay.

No firefighter or civilian injuries were reported.

Photo via FCFRD/Twitter

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Fairfax County police car with lights on (file photo)

A man was arrested in Maryland earlier this week for allegedly following a woman, assaulting her and trying to break into her house in Bailey’s Crossroads.

Fairfax County police officers and detectives were called to the home in the 5700 block of Poplar Lane near Bailey’s Crossroads at 12:31 a.m. on Dec. 8 for an assault and burglary, according to a news release.

Police say the victim first encountered Antiero Ebai Menyoli, 29, in the parking lot of MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino in Oxon Hill, Maryland, earlier that evening.

“They talked briefly [and] then the victim got in her vehicle and drove home,” the Fairfax County Police Department said. “While driving, the victim noticed a vehicle was following her due to one headlight being brighter than the other.”

Suspecting the other driver was the man she’d talked to in the parking lot, the woman “attempted to lose the vehicle prior to arriving home,” police said. However, Menyoli allegedly approached her as she was walking to the house and assaulted her.

“She was able to break free and run inside her house,” the FCPD said. “Menyoli followed her and broke a glass panel in the victim’s door to gain access to the house. He was unsuccessful and then fled the scene.”

The FCPD says detectives identified Menyoli based on a review of surveillance footage.

He was arrested on Tuesday (Dec. 12) in Prince George’s County and charged with burglary, assault, and property destruction. He is awaiting extradition to Fairfax County, according to the police department.

Police also made an arrest on Tuesday in a string of five burglaries that started on Monday (Dec. 11). The incidents started with a home burglary and the theft of a Nissan Altima in Oakton around 8 p.m. and ended after 9:10 a.m. in Fairfax Station when a 93-year-old woman reported a break-in at her house to 911.

A man engages in a standoff with police on the roof of a Culmore apartment building (via FCPD/Twitter)

A man who kicked off this week with a 21-hour standoff with police in Bailey’s Crossroads is facing assault and abduction charges.

Additional charges are possible against Brian Ramos, 21, for his killing of a cat during the barricade, which began shortly before 4 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 10) and concluded after 1 p.m. yesterday (Monday), the Fairfax County Police Department said.

As previously reported, police were called to the 6000 block of Bellview Drive in Culmore’s Olde Salem Village apartment complex at 3:52 p.m. for a report of a person being assaulted with a baseball bat.

“Two victims were abducted by a roommate [and] then one victim was assaulted with a baseball bat,” the FCPD said in a news release. “The victims were able to escape the apartment and call the police.”

When officers arrived, Ramos had barricaded himself alone in the apartment with his cat and a knife, which he threatened to use, according to police.

The situation remained unchanged until around 12:20 a.m., when officers saw Ramos start a fire inside the apartment, the FCPD said. He then “fatally harmed the cat and proceeded to exit his apartment and climb to the roof.”

It’s unclear exactly how the standoff was resolved, but the FCPD says Ramos eventually climbed off the roof using a ladder provided by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Police announced at 1:11 p.m. yesterday that he had been taken into custody.

The person who got assaulted with a baseball bat — identified by police as a roommate of Ramos — was treated for minor injuries.

After getting taken to a hospital for evaluation, Ramos was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where he remains without bond.

Ramos has been charged with two counts each of assault and abduction. In addition to the possible charges for the cat’s death, the FCPD says a potential arson charge is pending.

“Officers from our Crisis Negotiation Team & our Special [Operations] Division worked throughout a very cold two days to safely take this man into custody,” FCPD communications director Katherine Hayek said in a tweet. “Some incredible work, taking advantage of time & space, and great tactics, brought this scary situation to a peaceful end.”

Photo via FCPD/Twitter

Olde Salem Village apartments in Bailey’s Crossroads (via Google Maps)

Updated at 1:20 p.m.The man who barricaded himself inside a Bailey’s Crossroads apartment is now in custody, Fairfax County police announced at 1:11 p.m.

Earlier: A man has barricaded himself inside a Bailey’s Crossroads apartment for more than 16 hours now after reportedly attacking a roommate with a bat.

Fairfax County police were called to the scene in the 6000 block of Bellview Drive at 3:52 p.m. yesterday (Sunday) by someone who reported that their son hit a neighbor with a bat, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

Several people were evacuated from that unit and other apartment buildings in Olde Salem Village. The man barricaded himself inside a closet with a knife, per the scanner.

“The victim sustained minor injuries,” the Fairfax County Police Department said. “Please avoid the area as officers attempt to negotiate.”

Police confirmed that the man is not related to the victim.

“It was determined they are only roommates,” the FCPD told FFXnow.

The police department said in an update at 10:31 a.m. today (Monday) that its officers and crisis negotiators “continue their efforts to take the man into custody.”

Image via Google Maps

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A mix of commercial and retail uses was approved for the Food Star site in Bailey’s Crossroads (via Fairfax County)

The Food Star site in Bailey’s Crossroads is officially open for redevelopment. 

At a meeting on Nov. 21, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan amendment to allow a mix of commercial and residential units on the 12.7-acre site at the southeast intersection of Leesburg Pike and Carlin Springs Road.

The plan — which was sought by property owner George Hong — calls for building heights ranging from four to 14 stories and a mix of between 900 to 1,300 new apartments, along with 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Hong has said that Food Star, a grocery store at 5521 Leesburg Pike, will be incorporated into the future development, according to Annandale Today.

Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross noted that the original proposal was much more intense than what ultimately came to the board.

“The original concept envisioned more units and much smaller ones,” Gross said. “The language of the plan amendment will accommodate an intensity of units that I think could be successful.”

The board authorized consideration of a plan amendment for the area in May 2022.

The Carousel Court Apartments — a set of 90 affordable residential units on the south side of Seminary Road — will not be impacted by the redevelopment plan.  

Three high-rise multi-family buildings between seven and 14 stories tall with ground-floor retail are planned at the corner of Leesburg Pike and Carlin Springs Road. Another mid-rise multi-family building would be placed on the site of the property on Seminar Road, according to the proposal.

County staff said in their report on the proposed amendment that it was considered in light of the county’s existing vision of the area as a “‘village scale’ mixed-use development.”

Mixed-use centers such as the Baileys Crossroads [Community Business Center] are envisioned to become pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use environments with a more urban character that will complement adjacent residential areas and promote transit usage. The overall land use approach for the Baileys Crossroads CBC envisions a transformation from a predominantly retail environment to one that balances retail, office, residential, civic, and open spaces.

Gross noted that there are other opportunities to redevelop neighboring areas, particularly those “sandwiched” between newer and older development.

“We really think the properties to the east would be well served to be part of a future development because then…it wouldn’t be chopping up so much,” she said.

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