After seven years in Del Ray, Ascend Cycle (2417 Mount Vernon Avenue) is permanently closing by the end of the month.
Owner Kat Zajac made the announcement this week on social media, and said that the effects of the pandemic proved too much for her business.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I write this announcement,” Zajac wrote. “The impact of the pandemic has continued to be very real across this year. While this decision may come as a shock to some of you, it has been something that I have been working to avoid for quite some time.”
Zajac thanked customers and staff, and said that the closure was not due to a lack of effort.
“From creating an outdoor studio, to online programs, to moving our location to save on rent, to being as frugal as possible, we made every effort imaginable to stay alive,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, our efforts have proven to not be enough – the time has come to let go. This decision comes with a whole host of emotions. Despite it all, I feel grateful to have been surrounded by an amazing community of people. So with that, I want to say thank you.”
In the midst of everything else that’s happened over the last year, the Seminary Road debate can feel like a relic of another age, but there was a time when the Complete Streets program was at the center of a community-wide debate.
Complete Streets is an Alexandria program that aims to redesign roadways for the benefit of all users, with pedestrians and cyclists in mind along with motorists. The program stirred up some local controversy over plans to reduce travel lanes on Seminary Road in favor of bike lanes. A form put out by the city allowed locals to weigh in on street resurfacing.
“In 2018, the City began issuing an annual Citywide feedback form for residents to provide input on streets that are being resurfaced,” staff said in a report. “Feedback is usually collected for non-local streets where striping improvements are potentially feasible. Staff analyzes all public comments and produces a report for each street to summarize resident feedback.”
A staff report said that each Complete Streets announcement often comes with significant feedback.
“Every year, staff develops a repaving feedback form to solicit community input on streets that are scheduled to be repaved in the coming paving season, accompanied by an eNews release, webpage updates, and social media engagement,” the report said. “Staff receives hundreds of community comments related to repaving each year, which are then analyzed and summarized in a report for each street. The intention is that this feedback would then be used to inform potential changes to those streets via repaving. The original of this effort was to garner feedback to improve service delivery.”
At a Transportation Commission meeting tomorrow, the city will consider a proposal (page 36) from staff to eliminate a form that allowed locals to offer input on the project, saying the form was often misused and wastes staff resources:
- Much of the community feedback is related to issues beyond the scope street resurfacing
- This results in wasted staff effort and a potential erosion of trust between City staff and
- Much feedback does not end up getting used
- The repaving form sometimes creates speculation about what the City is planning to do to
streets that are repaved, which can increase tensions in the community
- This approach fails to set accurate or reasonable expectations
Staff are recommending that the form but eliminated in favor of more targeted local outreach.
The report also recommends longer-term planning for the Complete Streets program to help make implementation occur on a more reliable timeline.
“Staff recommends the development of a five-year work plan for Complete Streets with input from the Transportation Commission,” the report said. “This approach would generate clear expectations for residents, City Council, City boards and commissions, and staff for what Complete Streets improvements will be done. Staff anticipates this work plan would be developed in Fiscal Year 2023 and would consider crash data and equity to support and align with Vision Zero efforts.”
New Capital Bikeshare stations have recently been installed in Alexandria, with more on the way this month and next.
On Friday, Capital Bikeshare installed a new dock at S. Pickett Street and Shillings Street, near the Contempo NOVA (né Modera Tempo) apartments at 5760 Dow Avenue.
Later this month, Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) said new Capital Bikeshare stations are scheduled to be installed at:
- S. Jordan Street and Venable Avenue just off Duke Street, near Aldi
- Peyton Street and King Street in Old Town
Next month, T&ES said stations will be installed at:
- Edison Street and W. Reed Avenue in Arlandria
- King Street and Kenwood Avenue near Alexandria City High School
- S. Washington Street and Wilkes Street in Old Town
- E. Glebe Road and Main Line Blvd. in Potomac Yard
- Commonwealth Avenue and W Reed Avenue between Potomac Yard and Arlandria
A full map of all Capital Bikeshare locations across Alexandria is available online.
The City recently began its @bikeshare installation project! Check out this new station installed Friday on S. Pickett St. & Shillings St. This expansion project will add 17 new stations to the system and is funded by @VaDOT. For more information, visit https://t.co/oH2RzAW2Np. pic.twitter.com/NlYp3PL7rT
— Alexandria T&ES (@AlexandriaVATES) November 15, 2021
Photo via Capital Bikeshare
Capitol officer who committed suicide was from Alexandria — “Very sad news: @MikevWUSA @wusa9 reports MPD Officer Kyle DeFreytag died by suicide in July after defending the US Capitol on January 6. His obituary says he was a hiker, drummer, motorcyclist, and resident of Alexandria, who served with MPD for five years” [WUSA9]
Alexandria, neighboring health directors recommend wearing face masks indoors — “Today, all five Northern Virginia Health Directors issued a joint letter of interim recommendations for mask wearing in Northern Virginia. The letter was issued by Health Directors from the City of Alexandria, as well as Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties to Northern Virginia Mayors, Chairs and Chief Administrative Officers with the recommendation that individuals wear masks while indoors in government and other public settings, regardless of vaccination status.” [City of Alexandria]
Olympics update — Noah Lyles races today in the 200 meter final at 8:55 a.m., and Tynita Butts-Townsend competes in a high jump qualifier at 8 p.m. [ALXnow]
City makes September feedback deadline for making outdoor business programs permanent — “Programs include the closure of the 100 block of King Street to vehicles, the use of on-street parking spaces for dining, retail and fitness use and the curbside loading zones for customer pick-up of food and merchandise. City Council approved the initiatives in 2020 to provide safe opportunities to patronize and support City businesses during the challenging economic times associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary programs are in effect until January 1, 2022.” [City of Alexandria]
Traffic and Parking Board to vote on expanding Capital Bikeshare — “The existing bikeshare stations are located mostly in the eastern and northern regions of Alexandria, with plans to not only add more stations in Old Town but to also add several stations in the West End. In regard to the final seven bikeshare locations that have yet to be determined, Casey Kane, a member of the board, encouraged staff to prioritize locations around Holmes Run.” [AlexTimes]
Cat cafe sees 180 felines adopted in first year — “Mount Purrnon, Alexandria’s only cat café, has found fur-ever homes for 180 cats in its first year in business… The cafe area, separated from the cats (for obvious reasons), serves a variety of food, coffee and drinks. There is also free Wi-Fi and day/monthly passes for those who wish to telework from there. Regular special events include Jeopurrdy, meditation, and wine tastings.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s weather — “Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 81F. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph… Mostly clear (in the evening). Low 62F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Entry level computer programmer — “As the fastest growing employer of emerging tech talent across the U.S, Revature looks to hire over 300 innovative Entry Level Computer Programmers in the next 4 weeks.” [Indeed]
National search begins for new City Manager — “City Council has chosen the firm POLIHIRE to conduct a nationwide recruiting search. Members approved initial recruiting materials, including a recruitment brochure and timeline, during a closed executive session during the July 6 meeting.” [Patch]
Free food distribution this Saturday — “On Sat, July 17, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food at 3 sites from 8:30-10:30am. Drive-up: Cora Kelly Elem School & NOVA-Alexandria (lot B-1). Walk-up: Ramsay Rec Center.” [Twitter]
Alexandrians biking in 211-mile charity ride — “Three residents from Alexandria will be among more than 6,000 riders participating in the 211-mile Pan-Mass Challenge on Aug. 7 and 8.” [Patch]
Today’s weather — “Sunshine and clouds mixed (during the day). High 93F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 74F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Office manager — “Looking for someone proficient in word, office,Excel, and QuickBooks, to manage multifaceted Catering Company. Timely response to e-mails, seamless communications with 2 kitchens, as well as front of the house. Flexible hours, with potential for health benefits.” [Indeed]
ACPS wants input on how to spend COVID relief funds — “Feedback on use of the American Rescue Plan Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief can be provided through June 18, while the Equity for All Climate Survey is open through June 20.” [Patch]
Memorial bike ride Sunday at for bicyclist killed — “Join FABB’s memorial ride in honor of Fatima Del Carmen Alvarez Romero this Sunday, June 13, at 10:00 am at Huntington Metro kiss and ride lot. Ride to crash site for a moment of remembrance and to call for much-needed safety measures. Please wear white and bring signs.” [Twitter]
Karma Modern Indian Eyes Expansion into Old Town — “Karma Modern Indian, a Michelin-recognized destination for fine Indian cuisine in downtown Washington, D.C., is opening a sister restaurant in Alexandria. Dubbed Kismet Modern Indian, the restaurant will be at 111 N. Pitt St. and is set for a fall opening. The location was formerly home, for a short time, to BurgerFi and before that, Ireland’s Own. The late Pat Troy presided over the legendary spot for more than three decades.” [Alexandria Living]
Mayor Wilson named president of Virginia Transit Association — “VTA is a nonprofit corporation of transit professionals from public and private organizations; it includes transit systems from across the state, businesses that serve transit systems and local government officials and organizations concerned about transportation, mobility, affordable access to employment and quality of life issues.” [Zebra]
Alexandria to start nominating committee for collective bargaining labor relations administrator — “The City has been notified that each of the following groups are interested in having a representative on the nominating committee: American Federation of State; County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF); International Union of Police Associations (IUPA); and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association (PBA). To participate on the nominating committee, any employee organization interested in representing a bargaining unit must notify the City Manager by email at [email protected] by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16.” [City of Alexandria]
West End Business Association hosting COVID meeting for restaurants — The Alexandria Health Department will update restaurant owners on how to open post-COVID. Homegrown Restaurant Group’s “Mango” Mike Anderson will also speak at the event, which will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23, at Glory Days Grill. [Facebook]
Today’s weather — “Rain (during the day). High near 70F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch. Locally heavy rainfall possible… Rain early (in the evening)… then remaining cloudy with showers late. Low around 65F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Dog daycare playroom attendant — “If you are a hard and reliable worker looking for a fun and rewarding job, we encourage you to apply. We are also offering a limited-time signing bonus to those who can reliably commit to the job for at least 4 months.” [Indeed]
City responds to recent overdose increase — “The number of opioid overdoses rose about 36% in Alexandria during 2020, reflecting statewide and national spikes in both fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data collected by the Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services, there were 105 total opioid overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal, in 2020. In 2019, there were 73 total opioid overdoses in the city.” [Alex Times]
Bicyclist struck and killed by vehicle in Alexandria area of Fairfax County — “The incident happened around 11:45 a.m. at Telegraph Road and Franconia Road in the Alexandria area. Police say the driver remained at the scene.” [FOX 5 DC]
First Thursday rescheduled to June 10 in Del Ray — “The Del Ray Business Association presents First Thursday: Unmask Your Superhero on Thursday, June 10 from 6 p.m. to dusk along Mount Vernon Avenue. The event features a wide range of activities that promote community while supporting the Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys & Girls Club.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Scattered showers and thunderstorms (during the day). Storms may contain strong gusty winds. High 82F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 64F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Seasonal marina dock assistant ($18.99 hourly) — “The Seasonal Marina Dock Assistant works on the City’s Historic Waterfront at the City Marina. The City Marina provides for recreational and commercial boating operations while receiving more than 2,000,000 visitors annually. The Marina Dock Assistant performs journey-level tasks of more than ordinary difficulty and must be able to perform heavy physical labor safely and efficiently.” [Indeed]
Zero COVID-19 cases in Alexandria for two days, then cases jumped by 18 cases — “The latest update on COVID-19: 77,613 Alexandrians with at least 1 dose (56.4% of 12+ pop.) 58,200 fully vaccinated (42.3% of 12+ pop.) Positive tests up 18 to 11,817 (35 in last week) 7-day Positivity Rate up to 2.4% 1 new hospitalization.” [Twitter]
Today is Bike to Work Day — “Bike to Work Day is free and open to all commuters, but registration is required.” [City of Alexandria]
Virginia Department of Health warns of tick season — “CDC research shows that the use of advanced molecular detection (AMD) techniques may help improve diagnostic testing of tickborne disease and enhance disease detection and discovery.” [Twitter]
Today’s weather — “Plentiful sunshine. High 86F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy (in the evening). Low 59F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Server, host, bartender, busser — “$500 Sign-On Bonus – $100 once training is complete and $100 every 30 days for 4 months. This isn’t just your next job – it’s your opportunity to be part of an amazing team that delivers on our promise to meet and exceed our guest’s experience the moment they walk through our doors! We offer structured programs for growth and career advancement and consider our employees to be our greatest asset.” [Indeed]
A new group of Alexandria businesses has launched an effort to support local teachers with discounts, perks and donations in recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week.
From May 3-8, discounts will be posted on the new ALX Business Gives Back Facebook page.
The group launched on Monday, May 3, and the following businesses in Old Town and Del Ray are participating:
- Hops N Shine
- South Block
- Del Ray Psych & Wellness
- Salon deZEN
- Ascend Cycle
- The Vital Body Massage and Bodywork,
- Explanation Kids
- Alexandria Makers Market
- A|VA Apparel
- Acupuncture In Del Ray
- Dental Excellence Integrative Center
Additionally, 165 people have bought gift cards for teachers at T.C. Williams High School.
💙 It's Teacher Appreciation Week and we want to hear all about your child's favorite ACPS teacher! Give them a shout out and tell us why they're the best!#TeachACPS #ThankATeacher #TeacherAppreciationWeek pic.twitter.com/rmzeLG9tOc
— Alexandria City Public Schools (@ACPSk12) May 3, 2021
Photo via ACPS
Spokes Etc. reopened at 1506 Belle View Blvd. last Tuesday, making it their sixth open location in Northern Virginia. It has been in Belle View for more than 20 years.
“We really are trying to emphasize helping out the customer,” store manager Ryan Maurer told ALXnow. “First and foremost, we really want to have that really personal relationship. We’re not just here to sell bikes, and 99% of people who work with Spokes ride bikes, they live bikes, and we really pass on our experience to the customers.”
Spokes Etc. is a full-service bike shop where customers can buy new or get old models repaired.
The fire completely gutted the business.
“After further inspection of our unit, we’ve realized that the extent of damage is beyond our initial findings, including some structural issues that need to be dealt with,” the company wrote on Oct. 21, 2019 on Facebook. “We appreciate your patience as we work through the process of re-opening, and we will be re-opening, with a clean, new store to serve the Belle View community!”
The shop is open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed Monday.