Top 10 Stories of 2018

Published on January 07, 2019

My-Post-e1546882975408.jpg From the Stanley Cup to Amazon, it was another good year in Arlington County.

From the completion of Central Library's renovations to the groundbreaking on Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Center; from 13 new ART buses to new trails and bike lanes; from unique and exciting ways to engage the community — including virtual town halls and Big Idea roundtables — to a quality of life in Arlington that ranks among the best in the nation. It was indeed a banner year, full of accomplishments and initiatives that will continue to make Arlington County great.

2018 also ushered in new ways we communicated with Arlington, whether here in our new-look Newsroom, or on Arlington TV's YouTube channel. And you welcomed that shift in storytelling, leading to unprecedented readership last year. So before we fully welcome 2019, we want to share the 10 most popular stories of 2018:

10. Get to Know 5 Women Who Keep Arlington Safe

They fight fires and respond to medical emergencies. They proactively patrol your neighborhoods. They ensure the proper intake and release of inmates at the County jail. They answer 9-1-1 calls. Women in Arlington County's public safety agencies and departments take on a diverse array of roles, and in May, we introduced you to five of them, from a Corporal in the County Police Department to a Firefighter to a Dispatcher in Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management.

9. Watch as a "Yarn Bomb' Transforms Clarendon

Back in April, you may have noticed trees in Clarendon Central Park were welcoming spring in a rather unique way: more than 30 trees were decorated to create a colorful art exhibit known as a "yarn bomb."

The yarn bomb, a type of graffiti or street art of knitted or crocheted yarn, was installed by Stitch 4-Stage IV, a group that uses these displays to help raise awareness of Metastatic (Stage IV) Breast Cancer.  Originally the exhibit was scheduled to remain on display until April 30, but the public response was so overwhelming, the Department of Parks and Recreation approved an extension into May.

8. County Launches Designated Weekend Pick-up and Drop-off Zones for Clarendon Nightlife

The vibrant nightlife scene in Clarendon only got bigger in 2018. And with that growth came the need for safer travel there and back. The Police Department stepped in and, working with Lyft and Uber, along with Red Top Cab, designated weekend pick-up and drop-off locations. In addition to overall safety, the initiative aims to curb illegal practices, such as double parking and stopping in travel lanes, bus stops, bike lanes and crosswalks, to load and unload passengers.

7. Say Goodbye to this Courthouse "Slip Lane"

Remember that "slip lane" — the narrow travel lane for vehicles — connecting eastbound Clarendon Boulevard to 15th Street North? In 2018, it was replaced by an expanded pedestrian plaza with new landscaping, street furniture, and bike racks, and better sidewalks and ramps for persons with limited mobility. It was yet another example of the County working to make Arlington's streets safer and friendlier for pedestrians.

6. Arlington Gets Its Turn With the Stanley Cup

They may play their games in Washington, DC, but the Capitals practice right here in Arlington, at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. So it was only fitting that the Caps' first stop on their victory tour was in the County.

A bit more than a week after winning the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup, the Capitals started their summer celebration with the Arlington County Police Department. It was an opportunity for police personnel to visit with Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and team captain Alex Ovechkin — and, of course, to get their photo with the Cup. It was also a chance for Leonsis to thank the men and women of Arlington's public safety departments — joining ACPD was the Sheriff's Office, Fire Department and Emergency Communications Center.

"We can't thank you enough," Leonsis said. "We wanted to make sure that we had the opportunity to bring the Cup here, get some pictures and share in the joy."

5. Here's Why You're Seeing More Dragonflies in Arlington

dragonfly on reed

It's hardly news that 2018 was a rainy year. In fact, for our area, it was *the* rainiest year on record. But what was certainly newsworthy was all the dragonflies we saw in Arlington. "In general, more rain does result in more dragonflies, and their damselfly cousins," said Alonso Abugattas, Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County.

And despite some folktales about dragonflies — previously, it had been believed they descended from dragons, would sew snakes together and could measure human souls — all those dragonflies were, in fact, helpful, "catching and eating many insect pests, with damselflies in particular eating mosquitoes," explained Abugattas.

4. Wild Turkey Spotted Running in Rosslyn. Yes, Again.

April showers brought May flowers, and in Rosslyn in 2018, April also brought ... turkeys? Yes, turkeys. Two wild turkey sightings in a three-week span, in fact.

Both instances of our fowl friends frolicking in Rosslyn (the Animal Welfare league of Arlington confirmed they were two separate birds) were a sign that wild turkeys continue to make an incredible comeback, thanks in part to restoration efforts from game commissions and hunting groups, wrote the Natural Arlington Blog.

AWLA's Animal Control team determined both turkeys appeared healthy and uninjured, and that it was best to be allowed to continue on their way.

3. Changes Coming to Challenging Clarendon Circle

One of Arlington's most highly traveled and complex intersections started to receive a makeover in 2018. Later this year, when construction is expected to be completed, the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington boulevards ― known as Clarendon Circle — will be a safer and more accessible area for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

VIDEO: Changes Coming to Challenging Clarendon Circle

Improvements to this intersection were identified in the Clarendon Sector Plan, which was adopted by the County Board in 2006. When this project is complete, residents, businesses and visitors can expect a tighter intersection with shorter pedestrian crossings, wider sidewalks and improved alignment of Washington and Wilson boulevards. Most notably, North Irving Street (next to Silver Diner) will be closed at the intersection, and green streets elements will be added. Closing this portion of Irving Street, which has low traffic volumes, will help make traffic operations simpler by reducing the number of streets at the intersection.

2. See Arlington and DC from 31 Floors Up

2018 saw the opening of The Observation Deck at CEB Tower in Rosslyn, and with it, stunning views of Arlington County from 31 stories in the sky. The observation deck is part of a larger plan to bring new energy to Rosslyn. Known as the Rosslyn Sector Plan and adopted in 2015, it calls for transformational improvements over the next 25 years to the area's skyline, streetscapes, transportation network, parks and residential and commercial development patterns.

It's not just views you get from the Observation Deck at CEB Tower. There's little-known history, too — about the CIA, I-66, the Watergate and more, all of which are visible from the deck. And there's a café and bar, offering snacks and drinks while you enjoy the 12,000-square-foot space. Oh, and it's free for Arlington residents.

1. Arlington Selected for Major New Amazon Headquarters

Did you hear this story?

Be sure to stay informed and engaged with the latest news and public events, all of which are detailed on the County's Amazon page.

Relive the best moments from Arlington County in 2018: