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Planning Commission endorses King Street closure despite concerns Prince Street could inherit trouble

Captain’s Row on Prince Street (photo via Google Maps)

The 100 block of Prince Street is impossible to miss. It’s where the one-way street parallel to King Street suddenly becomes a cobblestone lane called Captain’s Row. But with the 100 block of King Street closure getting a Planning Commission endorsement, one of the few remaining concerns is the potential impact on the historic street to its south.

The Planning Commission endorsed making the closure of the 100 block permanent in a pair of unanimous votes, though with some acknowledgment that there are still issues to be resolved down the road, like the need for a better barricade as originally called out at the Waterfront Commission.

While the change to King Street has been broadly popular, Historic Alexandria Resources Commission chair Danny Smith said he hopes mitigating measures can be put into place to protect Prince Street from the anticipated uptick in traffic and parking on the street. Captain’s Row is the oldest cobblestone block in Alexandria and is named for Captain Jack Harper, who built many of the homes there in the late 1700s.

“We on the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission support the incorporation of mitigating measures to protect Captain’s Row,” Smith said.

In a letter to the Planning Commission, Smith said appropriate measures to protect Captain’s Row could include limiting traffic and parking on the 100 block of Prince Street to residents.

Nathan Macek, chair of the Planning Commission, said the city will likely look more into the issue but that he’d be hesitant to further restrict parking and traffic on Prince Street.

“I appreciate comments about spillover effects on Prince Street [and] preserving cobblestone street,” Macek said. “I’d be hesitant to restrict parking or restrict use of the street to residents only. I have philosophical issues with resident-only facilities to the exclusion of use by others. I wouldn’t support that, but I do think we need to do what we can to manage the impacts on the street itself. I would look to the Traffic and Parking Board and Transportation and Environmental Services… it’s an issue that goes beyond the scope of what we control as a Planning Commission.”

Photo via Google Maps

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