(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) Another pedestrian has been killed on Route 50 (Arlington Blvd).
Tomas Escudero Machado, 76, of Falls Church died at the Westmoreland Blvd intersection in West Falls Church around 5:54 a.m. yesterday (Sunday) after he was struck by a driver who may have been speeding, the Fairfax County Police Department said today.
According to police, Machado was crossing the eastbound lanes of Arlington Blvd, heading toward Westmoreland Blvd, when a 2003 Honda Accord headed east on Route 50 hit him.
“The driver struck Machado in the roadway and continued eastbound on Arlington Boulevard, traveling over two medians and striking multiple street signs as well as a pole before coming to a stop,” the FCPD said.
The Honda driver was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.
The vehicle crash prompted a closure of Route 50 between Annandale Road and Summerfield Road that was later extended further west to Graham Road. The closure lasted almost the entire morning, beginning around 6:50 a.m. and ending shortly before noon.
Police say alcohol doesn’t appear to have been a factor for the driver, but detectives are still investigating whether their speed may have been an issue.
The press release notes that there is no crosswalk at the intersection where the crash occurred.
Arlington Blvd has two travel lanes in each direction at the intersection, along with two dedicated turn lanes on the westbound side. There are also service roads on both sides of the boulevard, separated by grass medians, with no sidewalk on the eastbound side.
Fairfax County’s pedestrian death toll for 2022 has soared past previous heights since at least 2010. State data shows that there have been 26 fatalities so far, but the report doesn’t yet include at least one death in November or any of the four deaths that have occurred so far in December.
This is the second time this month that a pedestrian has been killed on Arlington Blvd in the West Falls Church area, following a crash at the Allen Street intersection near Graham Park Plaza on Dec. 4.
Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives continue to investigate. Rt. 50 will be closed between Graham Rd. and Annadale Rd. for an extended period. Please avoid the area. #FCPD
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) December 18, 2022
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A man died last night after being hit by a vehicle in the Route 50 (Arlington Blvd) intersection with Allen Street in West Falls Church.
The Fairfax County Police Department reported that officers were at the scene of the crash shortly before 8:30 p.m. The pedestrian was transported to a hospital, where he died, police said.
Based on a preliminary investigation, police say 66-year-old Kamrul Hassan from Falls Church was crossing from the north side of Arlington Blvd to the south when a 2010 Toyota Prius going east struck him in the Allen Street intersection.
The driver had a green light, according to the FCPD.
“Preliminarily, speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors for the driver in the crash,” police said.
The driver remained on site when police arrived. The crash triggered a closure of eastbound Route 50 as detectives with the FCPD’s Crash Reconstruction Unit began an investigation.
Officers are on scene of a fatal pedestrian crash at Arlington Blvd/Allen St. Pedestrian, adult man, taken to hospital & pronounced deceased. Driver remained on scene. EB 50 closed as Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives respond. Please use another route. pic.twitter.com/Xueta1SqwE
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) December 5, 2022
Hassan is the 20th pedestrian to die on Fairfax County’s roads this year, according to the FCPD, nearly doubling the 11 pedestrian fatalities recorded at this point in 2021. However, the department only reports crashes it investigated.
By FFXnow’s count, this is the 27th fatal pedestrian crash in Fairfax County this year. Virginia crash data shows 23 fatalities through October, but November saw pedestrians die on Columbia Pike, Route 29, and I-495.
It has been the deadliest year for pedestrians in the county since at least 2010.
Map via Google Maps
If the proliferation of major developments planned around the West Falls Church Metro station is making your head spin, an upcoming community meeting may provide some clarity.
The developers seeking to redevelop the Metro station property and expand Virginia Tech’s nearby Northern Virginia Center campus will present their proposals and answer questions at an informational meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Sponsored by Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust’s office and the McLean Citizens Association, the event will take place at Longfellow Middle School in McLean. It will start at 7 p.m. with an open house, where attendees can look at informational boards and talk directly to the developers.
The main meeting will last from 7:30-9 p.m. and include presentations on both projects, an overview of Fairfax County’s zoning review process, and a Q&A period.
“Participants will have the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions and remote participants will be able to submit written questions or comments during the meeting,” Foust’s office said in a community notice, noting that a Zoom link for those who want to follow virtually will be provided a week before the meeting.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors opened the door for mixed-use development in the West Falls Church Transit Station Area (TSA) with an amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan in July 2021.
The FCGP-Metro Development (RZ-2022-DR-00006) application by EYA, Hoffman and Associates, and Rushmark Properties proposes to rezone the 24-acre West Falls Church Metrorail Station (7040 Haycock Rd, Falls Church) to the Planned Residential Mixed Use zoning district. The proposed development would include up to 810 multifamily units, 90 townhomes, and a 110,000 square feet office building with up to 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail.
The Converge West Falls (RZ-2022-DR-00018) application by HITT Contracting and Rushmark Properties proposes to rezone the 7.5-acre Northern Virginia Center (7054 Haycock Rd, Falls Church) to the Planned Residential Mixed-Use zoning district. The two-block mixed-use project consists of three buildings totaling 820,000 square feet of development and includes a six-floor office building that would serve as HITT Contracting’s corporate headquarters, a 440-unit residential building, and a 2,000 square foot one-story retail kiosk. The office building would include the approximately 40,000-square foot National Center for Smart Construction laboratory space to support Virginia Tech university’s mission as an academic and research institution.
The prospect of approximately 1.8 million square feet of new development — plus the separate West Falls project that’s already under construction in Falls Church City — has some in the community worrying that navigating the area by car and foot or bicycle could become untenable.
In the hopes of finding solutions, the county has been studying the TSA’s pedestrian and bicycle network. The most recent community meetings on the study were held Oct. 26 and 27, and an advisory group met for a seventh time on Wednesday (Nov. 2).
Metro is also accepting public comments until next Thursday (Nov. 10) on its proposal to overhaul the West Falls Church station’s parking lots, which will be partly replaced by the FCGP-Metro development.
The county’s oldest McDonald’s is slated for a facelift.
At Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, commissioners voted to approve a significant refresh of the McDonald’s at 6729 Arlington Blvd in West Falls Church.
It’s the county’s oldest McDonald’s, first built in 1958, and, possibly, the second-oldest in Virginia. This McDonald’s is run by franchise owner Rajesh Sainani, who owns a number of other McDonald’s in Northern Virginia.
The planned improvements for the fast food restaurant in the Mason District include adding a drive-thru, something that this location has never had. Other work also to be completed includes renovating the interior, modernizing the exterior, adding space to the freezer section, and reconfiguring the parking.
The project is now set to go to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing, but a date has not yet been set for that.
This recommendation from the commission came after they initially deferred a decision last month. This was due to some concerns about pedestrian safety, the drive-thru line, and protecting the forested area between the parking lot and the nearby stream Tripp’s Run.
In the intervening several weeks, staff noted that the applicant – Sainani – addressed these concerns. One was by reducing the number of parking spaces to allow for additional landscaping that would create more of a buffer between the restaurant and Tripp’s Run.
Additionally, the applicant made a commitment to add a high-visibility crosswalk to “ensure pedestrian safety.”
There were also some questions about how crowded the drive-thru might get since it would have an entrance and exit to a main thoroughfare (Arlington Blvd).
But, per a department of planning and development staff member, the applicant has agreed to work with county staff on mitigation efforts if the queue does end up impacting the access point. The applicant will provide a reliable contact to Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross’s office if any complaints do arise.
Overall, the commissioners were pleased with the updates and noted that the improvements coming to this McDonald’s could be a model for others along Arlington Blvd.
“I’m very happy about the high visibility crosswalks. I hope other projects follow suit, like other drive-thrus I see coming up,” said Mason District commissioner Julie Strandlie. “I do think.. the way this is laid out and the traffic patterns, this will be a better circulation pattern than at least other McDonald’s drive-thrus on Arlington Blvd.”
The restaurant sits right off Arlington Blvd with its distinctive golden arches, which date to the 1960s per Annandale Today. Those arches are currently not scheduled to be impacted by the renovation.
Another piece of local fast food history also came up during the discussion. The McDonald’s on Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads, which is also planning a revamp, was the site of the first Roy Rogers ever, according to that fast food restaurant’s website.
“We are trying to figure out how to mark that at a competitor’s site since Roy Rogers is still in business,” she said.
A 27-year-old man was arrested in West Falls Church last night after fleeing from and shooting at police officers and troopers in both Fairfax and Arlington counties.
Identified as Ricardo Singleton, the man fired “several rounds” at Fairfax and Arlington officers and Virginia State Police troopers who converged on the Bestway Supermarket shopping center at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and Graham Road, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a joint media briefing.
The center was still busy when the shooting occurred around 8:30 p.m., but no injuries were reported to police, bystanders, or the suspect, according to Davis. One officer with the Fairfax County Police Department fired their gun.
“There’s restaurants here, there’s gas stations here. We’re early enough in the night that there’s pedestrians. There’s folks walking around,” Davis said. “It’s an absolute miracle that no one was struck and injured or killed, and we’re very, very grateful for that.”
Arlington law enforcement first encountered Singleton around 9 a.m. yesterday when he motioned over Arlington sheriff’s deputies to his vehicle, which was parked in front of the Arlington County Courthouse, FFXnow’s sister site ARLnow reported.
“When the deputies came over to the vehicle, they noticed that the person had a firearm in his possession, and shortly after that the gentleman drove off,” Arlington County Police Chief Penn said.
Suspect in custody. Officers are in the area of Arlington Blvd/Graham Rd after a man fled a traffic stop from @ArlingtonVaPD. Suspect reported to have fired shots at police. No injuries reported to officers or to suspect. #FCPD took man into custody. More to follow. pic.twitter.com/37QWnON5VR
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) October 7, 2022
The deputies came across the vehicle again in a nearby garage. The driver “mentioned something about needing help,” but after the deputies approached and saw the firearm, the man again drove off, this time crashing into a parked vehicle, police say.
According to Penn, ACPD identified Singleton as the suspect and obtained warrants for eluding, brandishing, and hit-and-run. Read More
Metro anticipates reducing the parking capacity at its West Falls Church station by over 700 spaces in order to accommodate a planned redevelopment of the property between I-66 and Haycock Road.
Under review by Fairfax County, the project would replace the Metro station’s surface parking lots with 24 acres of mixed-use development, including up to 900 residential units, 110,000 square feet of office, and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
Working with private developers known collectively as FGCP-Metro LLC, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has proposed eliminating a south parking lot off of Falls Church Drive and reducing the number of bus bays and Kiss & Ride spots at the station.
“Proposed changes are intended to promote transit-oriented development, increase Metro ridership, enhance bicycle and pedestrian access to the station, and modernize transit facilities,” WMATA says.
Park and Ride
Taking out the south parking lot will reduce the station’s park-and-ride capacity from 2,009 to 1,350 spots, according to an environmental evaluation by the consultant WSP.
The evaluation found that demand had dropped from an average of 1,500 vehicles per day when the Silver Line opened in 2014 to 850 per day in 2017. Prior to the pandemic, the average rebounded to 950 in 2018 and 1,100 in 2019.
About 1,350 to 1,400 spaces are projected to be sufficient to meet parking demand through 2045, the report says. The station’s existing 1,200 garage will be retained, while construction on the office and multifamily residential buildings planned on the north parking lot won’t begin for another 10 years.
At that time, Metro will “reassess” whether to keep as parking or give the developers permission to redevelop it, on the condition that private garages for the new buildings include 150 to 200 spots for commuters.
“Several factors could affect commuter parking demand, including post-COVID changes in commuter travel patterns, the planned openings of Silver Line phase 2 and the I-66 toll lane project, and efforts by Metro to manage parking demand,” the evaluation says, noting that FGCP-Metro will construct approximately 700 parking spaces. Read More
An artificial intelligence startup is expanding its headquarters in West Falls Church by investing $1.4 million and creating 117 new jobs.
Enabled Intelligence, Inc., a company that provides secure data labeling services to enable artificial intelligence operations, will add more than 10,000 square feet of space to its current offices at 6400 Arlington Blvd, just outside Seven Corners, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced today (Wednesday).
Unclassified space is also planned.
“We are excited to expand our operations here in Virginia,” Enabled Intelligence Inc. CEO Peter Kant said. “Our Fairfax County home is close to our federal customers, and we are able to draw on the highly qualified Virginia workforce of high-tech neurodiverse professionals and military veterans.”
The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with the state’s economic development partnership to secure the project for Virginia.
Here’s more from what state and county leaders had to say about the expansion:
“I am pleased to once again see a major technology innovator expanding its operations in Fairfax County,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “This growth in AI applications from a company that also capitalizes on the tremendous workforce diversity of our County is a perfect example of how next-generation companies headquartered here are leading the way.”
“We are honored to have Enabled Intelligence expand their presence here in Fairfax County,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). “The opportunities they offer to our diverse populations is extraordinary, and their efforts shine as a bright example of the true spirit of inclusion, upon which we continue to build our thriving business community.”
“Accelerating the transition of start-ups is one of my administration’s goals, and the expansion of businesses such as Enabled Intelligence in Fairfax County is key to our economic development strategy,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “We are proud to support this homegrown Virginia business and remain committed to fostering a business climate and training a workforce that supports our corporate partners of all sizes.”
Photo via Google Maps
Updated at 8:35 a.m. on 9/7/2022 — The second occupant in yesterday’s house fire — identified as Patricia Stodrl, 67, of Falls Church — died last night, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department announced.
Earlier: A kid died at the hospital this morning (Tuesday) after a house fire in the West Falls Church area, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported.
According to the department, units were dispatched to a fire at a single-family house in the 6600 block of Barrett Road just west of Sleepy Hollow Road at 1:44 a.m.
Seeing “heavy fire” coming from the back of the house, responders found two occupants and a dog and got them out. One of the occupants, identified as a juvenile, died at a hospital, and the dog also didn’t survive.
The other human occupant remains hospitalized in critical condition, FCFRD spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt told FFXnow.
Hildebrandt confirmed that both people were female, and the juvenile who died was “an older kid.”
“Fire investigators are conducting their investigation to determine cause,” Hildebrandt said.
At 1:44am units responded to a fire in a single family home in 6600 blk of Barrett Rd, Falls Church. 2 occupants & dog removed. One occupant is in critical condition. Sadly, 2nd occupant, a juvenile, died at the hospital. Dog did not survive. Fire investigators remain on scene. pic.twitter.com/1Ezm4XDDm9
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) September 6, 2022
A man taking a nap in his vehicle in Merrifield earlier this month awoke to the startling realization that he was being carjacked, the Fairfax County Police Department reported on Friday (July 15).
According to the department’s recap for the week of July 8-14, a man was recently arrested in a neighboring jurisdiction for the carjacking, which occurred in the 8500 block of Lee Highway around 8:01 p.m. on July 10.
“The victim was asleep in the passenger seat of his running 2021 Toyota Camry,” the FCPD said. “While he was asleep, a man got in the car and drove away. When the victim awoke, the man implied he had a weapon and ordered the victim out of the vehicle.”
Last week, the McLean District Station also handled an assault case in West Falls Church that allegedly involved a vehicle and a handgun being fired.
The incident started around 10:57 p.m. last Tuesday (July 12) at the intersection of Monticello Drive and Labella Walk with two people getting into an argument while driving:
The man demanded the victim to get out of his vehicle while displaying a handgun. When the victim refused, the man parked the vehicle and assaulted the victim. When the victim continued to refuse to get out of the vehicle, the man pulled the victim out of the vehicle while discharging a handgun. The man then left the area in the vehicle.
The FCPD says the individual pushed out of the vehicle was treated for injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
“This does not appear to be a random act,” the department said.
Overall, the FCPD received a total of 8,224 service last week, including 183 for domestic situations, 194 stemming from people experiencing mental health crises, and 572 for vehicle crashes.
The Fairfax County Police Department will release video footage this afternoon (Friday) of a recent incident in West Falls Church where officers pointed their guns at a person who was filming them.
Police Chief Kevin Davis will host a press conference at 2:30 p.m. It was announced almost exactly one hour after the Fairfax County NAACP released a statement urging the FCPD to immediately release all body camera and vehicle dashboard camera footage related to the gun-brandishing incident and fatal shootings in Springfield and McLean.
“We are troubled and deeply concerned by what appears to be a shift to a more aggressive style of policing in Fairfax County — a style that time and time again, leads to needless deaths,” the civil rights advocacy organization said. “Calling law enforcement for assistance should not be a death sentence, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability, age, or gender.”
The FCPD released an audio recording on Wednesday (July 13) with the 911 dispatch call for the West Falls Church incident, which occurred outside an IHOP on Saturday (July 9).
One week earlier, a 37-year-old man later identified as Christian Parker from Reston died at a hospital on June 30 after a confrontation with three police officers at Springfield Town Center. Two of the officers fired their guns, killing Parker, who was wanted by police for allegedly firing a gun in his home four days earlier.
However, based on FCPD records, Parker and Lynch were the first people killed by FCPD officers since Herndon resident Mohammad Azim Doudzai was shot in January 2017. A dog was also euthanized after being shot by an officer in July 2019, and in October 2019, a man died after an officer fired his gun during a hostage situation in Burke, but police said the fatal wound appeared to be self-inflicted.
In its statement, the Fairfax County NAACP argued that police should speed up the release of video footage, given “the magnitude” of the recent gun-related incidents and their close proximity to each other. The FCPD’s policy is to make body camera and other videos public within 30 days of a use-of-force incident.
“We have received numerous calls and written communications from Fairfax County community members expressing their concerns, and in some cases, outrage. The community deserves answers,” the NAACP said.
Internal investigations into all three incidents are ongoing. The department recently updated its press release from the Springfield shooting to name the officers who discharged their weapons, Officer First-Class Daniel Houtz and Officer Ryan Sheehan.
“PFC Houtz is an eight-year veteran of the Franconia Police District Station and OFC Sheehan is a two-year veteran of the Mount Vernon Police District Station,” the release said. “Both officers were assigned to the Summer Crime Initiative Team. The department will release body camera footage and audio recordings of the 911 call for service within 30 days or when it no longer jeopardizes the integrity of the investigation.”
In a statement released Tuesday (July 12), Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who chairs the county board’s public safety committee, acknowledged the growing community concerns about the “series of high-profile incidents” involving the FCPD. His office will hold a virtual town hall next Thursday (July 21) with police officials, including Chief Davis.
“As community members work to process and understand the events of the past weeks, I remain completely committed to providing the transparency required to ensure trust between our community and FCPD,” Lusk said.
Photo via FCPD/Facebook