After a dip in 2020, Capital Bikeshare use in Alexandria has been on a rapid rebound and this year surpassed pre-Covid ridership.
The network overall hit ridership records this summer. Capital Bikeshare hit an all-time ridership record in Alexandria this July, with 10,652 total trips, according to a new report to the Traffic and Parking Board. There was an average of 343.6 trips per day in July.
“The Capital Bikeshare system has hit record ridership numbers systemwide and in the City of Alexandria in 2023,” the report said. “Four of the highest performing months of all time have been in 2023 so far.”
The report credited some of that success to a new e-bike model.
“High ridership has been aided by a new e-bike model that was introduced to the Capital Bikeshare system in March 2023,” the report said.
A 14-year-old boy on an electric bike suffered non-life threatening injuries after a crash involving a car in Arlandria on Wednesday night, according to scanner traffic.
The crash occurred at around 7:30 p.m. in a parking lot in the 4100 block of Mount Vernon Avenue. The teen was transported to a hospital in an ambulance.
The driver of the vehicle was pulling out of the parking lot and was about to turn onto Mount Vernon Avenue when the crash occurred, though ALXnow could not independently verify which vehicle struck the other.
The driver stayed at the scene and was not charged.
“I was just pulling out of the parking lot and this kid came flying down Mount Vernon Avenue on his bike and bam, hit the car,” the driver told ALXnow. “I stayed here. I had to help the kid.”
The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail is rallying support to get a section of roadway into Old Town North converted into a bike lane.
The plan would be to take the right lane of East Abingdon Drive — which runs parallel to the George Washington Memorial Parkway — and convert it into a two-way buffered cycletrack connected to the Mount Vernon Trail, Patch first reported.
The Mount Vernon Trail branches just north of Old Town, with one part continuing along the waterfront and the other leading onto E. Abingdon Drive. The section on East Abingdon Drive, however, requires cyclists to either ride in the street or on a narrow sidewalk.
“Currently, trail users are advised to use the narrow 4-foot wide sidewalk,” Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail wrote. “On one side, is two lanes of automobile traffic, on the other is a row of cedar trees. Two trail users can not comfortably pass each other in such a narrow space. While northbound cyclists can legally use the street, southbound cyclists would be going against traffic.”
Feedback on the proposal can be submitted online by Sunday, Sept. 17. The project is headed to the Alexandria Traffic and Parking Board on Oct. 23.
Help improve the Mount Vernon Trail by letting the city of Alexandria know that you support Option 2 of the East Abingdon Drive Bike Lane Project. Provide feedback by September 17
Read more here: https://t.co/VzqWBscJFX pic.twitter.com/lHUCzMoVfu
— Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail (@MtVernonFriends) September 10, 2023
The City of Alexandria could be prioritizing the Mount Vernon Trail at crossings where, currently, trail users are expected to stop for car traffic.
At a Traffic and Parking Board meeting last week, civil engineer Dan Scolese presented plans to change the stop signs from making pedestrians and cyclists stop for street traffic to having cars stop for trail users.
“The unusual nature is because it’s a trail and a street crossing, but the trail is considered a road,” Scolese said. “We gathered volumes during the fall. In all conditions, the trail was always more [used] than the crossing street. The split is usually more than 70%. On weekends there’s a vast difference in terms of volume on the trail.”
Scolese said trail usage at the intersections is usually pretty evenly balanced between pedestrians and cyclists.
The recommendation, supported unanimously by the Traffic and Parking Board, is to change the stop signs to face street traffic where the trail intersects at Canal Center Plaza, Montgomery Street and Madison Street, allowing trail users to continue through that part of Alexandria without stopping. The Traffic and Parking Board members did say, however, that city staff should reach out to nearby civic associations, who were not consulted ahead of the meeting.
Some on the Board said this could be the start of a broader look at how stopping is prioritized at other places where trails intersect with Alexandria streets, depending on how this goes.
“I’m curious to see how this works,” said Traffic and Parking Board chair James Lewis. “Not asking you guys for a report, but once stuff is in, if you don’t mind sharing how it’s working because this is the first time we’ve done something like this.”
You have noticed a few more bike racks around Alexandria.
Since May, Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) has installed a little over 200 new bike racks around the city, already more than double the usual amount of bike racks installed each year.
Many of the new bike racks are along major roadways, with some concentrated on Mount Vernon Avenue running up through Del Ray into Arlandria.
“Recent projects have included the installation of bicycle corrals in Old Town, Del Ray, Fairlington, and Arlandria, as well as bicycle parking spaces near Alexandria schools,” T&ES said on the project website.
Take a look at this map that shows where over 200 new bike racks have been installed, making it easier than ever to bike across the city! For more information on how the City is making biking more accessible to residents and visitors of Alexandria, visit https://t.co/mqKjvmMoL7 pic.twitter.com/MRYg5EGVZA
— Alexandria Transportation & Environmental Services (@AlexandriaVATES) July 5, 2023
The store’s final day is set for tomorrow (Saturday) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The store is in the middle of the Montgomery Center, which developer Carr Companies is in the process of redeveloping. Taylor said the writing had been on the wall for a while.
“We were given significant advance notice that the building was being sold,” Taylor said. “My lease happens to run out in December. Demolition of the building is slated for maybe the end of the second quarter of next year, [around] June to October. At that point, all tenants will need to vacate.”
Taylor said he knew the development was coming sooner or later.
“There’s never any question that the Montgomery center will not be developed, we all knew that they had plans for the building,” Taylor said.
Wheel Nuts has been a fixture for local cyclists for over twenty years, with a location easily accessible from the Alexandria portion of the Mount Vernon trail. The business’ website said the shop opened in 1999, but by Taylor’s count it’s been around 25 years.
“We’ve been in business 25 years,” Taylor said. “It’s bittersweet. I’m the owner of the shop — my wife and I own the shop, and my wife just retired from the Fairfax County Park Authority, so it’s nice that we were able to tie it in with when she retired.”
Taylor said since announcing the store’s closure, he’s gotten a flurry of emails and texts and phone calls both from past customers and neighbors sharing just how important the shop was to them.
“I’m going to miss the work, I’m going to miss my staff, going to miss the community, going to miss cyclists that came off the trail,” Taylor said. “I’m saddened by it, but I’m excited for what the future holds.”
Taylor said he’s looking forward to new adventures when the pair move to a new home in West Virginia.
“We’re both into the outdoors and looking forward to mountain biking and skiing,” Taylor said. “We plan to do a lot of traveling and we’re excited to visit national parks, and do biking: we want to practice what we’ve been preaching for many years.”
Rental e-bike company Veo announced that it’s started to deploy 300 e-bikes across the city following a launch in September in Arlington.
The new fleet of new electric bikes all come equipped with throttle assist, meaning the toggle for the level of assistance is available on the handlebar rather than being build into the bike as part of the pedal mechanism.
“Veo offers the shared micromobility industry’s only class 2 throttle-assist e-bike,” the company said in a release, “which features a throttle and pedals to make it easier for riders of varying body types and physical abilities to ride long distances comfortably while maintaining balance and control.”
In an email, a spokesperson for the company said Veo is offering a $5 credit that can be redeemed in the app using the code HIVA5. The credit is available through Saturday, Oct. 29.
Riders must be 18 years old or older to ride — a restriction that has admittedly rarely stopped anyone under 18 from using electric scooters and other devices — and like scooters the riders scan a QR code to unlock the vehicle.
Rides are $1 to unlock and cost $0.39 per minute.
However, residents who receive federal, state or local assistance and students who are FAFSA-eligible can sign up for a discounted $5 monthly fee that waives the unlock fee and provides a free 30-minute ride every day, with additional rides coming in at a discounted $.20 per minute rate.
To end the trip, the bikes must be parked in an approved parking area with an “end-of-ride” photo of a properly parked bike. Recommended parking areas, along with no ride and no parking zones, are highlighted in the Veo app.
“Arlington and Alexandria have long been at the forefront of urban mobility as adopters of the region’s bikeshare system over a decade ago,” said Candice Xie, CEO of Veo. “We’re working closely with local leaders to increase the use of shared mobility in the region and bring new riders into the fold with our class 2 e-bike.”
Photo via Veo/Facebook
Women’s Equality Day is around the corner, and Alexandria is included in a regional historic bike ride to recognize the fight for women’s rights.
The free bike ride is sponsored by the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Alexandria Spokeswomen and Alexandria Celebrates Women.
Perhaps Susan B. Anthony put it best when she said:
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.
The ride starts at the Braddock Road Metro station at 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 27 — the day after Women’s Equality Day.
The initial 6.2-mile route goes through Annie Rose Avenue and Ruby Tucker Park in Potomac Yard, Judy Lowe Neighborhood Park and Pat Miller Neighborhood Square in Del Ray, the Nancy Dunning Memorial in Potomac West, Shirley Tyler Unity Park in Lynhaven and Cora Kelly School in Arlandria.
In 1917, 32 suffragists were freed from the Occoquan Workhouse (now the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton) after a trial at the federal courthouse in Alexandria. The women were tortured and force-fed while in prison.
In recognition of their struggle, the bike ride continues at 10:45 a.m. from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station to the Lucy Burns Museum at the Workhouse Arts Center. Admission to the museum is $5 and includes a guided cellblock tour.
“The round-trip route is approximately 23 miles, with a mix of bike lanes and roads,” event organizers said. “Participants are encouraged to wear (and/or decorate your bike) with the colors of the women’s suffrage movement — purple, gold and white.”
The final segment of the ride starts at noon,and runs 1.3 miles between the Lucy Burns Museum and the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. The cyclists will then get lunch at Brickmakers Cafe before returning to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.
Women’s Equality Day is coming up. BPAC is celebrating by cohosting a ride with Alexandria Spokeswomen and Alexandria Celebrates Women. Sat. 8/27 at 9 a.m. Three ways to participate! Details at https://t.co/G5DMmfHOYS.
— Alexandria Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (@AlexandriaBPAC) August 14, 2022
Photo via Pedego/Facebook
The Mount Vernon Trail is turning 50 and local organizations are planning to celebrate with a birthday party in Alexandria this weekend.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Daingerfield Island (1 Marina Drive). The birthday party will feature a short ceremony, a scavenger hunt for kids, and giveaways. There will also be information on volunteer opportunities along the trail. The party is free and open to the public.
The event is a partnership between the City of Alexandria, Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA), Walk/Bike Arlington and East Coast Greenway.
According to the event website:
On April 15, 1972, the first 4.5-mile stretch of the Mount Vernon Trail opened to the public. The gravel path ran from Belle Haven in Alexandria to the Memorial Bridge in Arlington and was the brainchild of two Alexandria women, Ellen Pickering and Barbara Lynch. In 1971, the two gathered over 700 signatures on a petition to create a trail alongside the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The National Park Service was sympathetic to the plea and agreed to provide the right-of-way, gravel, and tools if Pickering and Lynch could provide volunteers to do the work. So Pickering and Lynch organized 40 volunteers, and every Saturday that winter they spread gravel. In total, 400 recruits spread 4,200 tons of gravel, contributing 5,300 hours of labor to start the trail that would become a vital recreational and transportation corridor in the region.
The cherry blossoms are an annual regional highlight, and Visit Alexandria has announced a suite of new and returning events around the city to experience the season.
Guidance on exploring during cherry blossom season was a little more tepid last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, but such concerns were notably absent from the this year’s announcement and downward-trending case counts.
Visit Alexandria recommends biking or boating for seeing the cherry blossoms.
Unlimited Biking at 421 King Street has cherry blossom packages running from March 20 to April 12, with options for $15 rentals or to join a $44 guided tour.
“Pedal from Unlimited Biking: Old Town Alexandria along the Potomac River to the famous cherry blossoms of Washington DC with Unlimited Biking’s bike rental package that provides you with all that you need for your journey — maps, helmets, bike bags and locks. Hybrid bikes, road bikes, eBikes, kids bikes and kids attachments are available,” Visit Alexandria said.
The guided tours start and end at 998 Maine Avenue SW. Visit Alexandria said the tours are two hours long and run multiple times during the day.
Alternatively, Pedego Electric Bikes (210 North Lee Street) has tours from Old Town up into D.C.
The tour season runs from March 19-April 17, with tours leaving at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on weekends and tours only availably by appointment on weekdays. Tickets are $69 per bike.
“Join a three-hour guided tour from Old Town Alexandria to the cherry blossoms, including a ride through the blossoms around East Potomac Park,” Visit Alexandria said. The views of the blossoms from a Pedego are fantastic, and you don’t have to fight traffic or find a place to park downtown. Tours will run as long as there are blooms on the cherry blossom trees.”
The release said tours can be booked by calling 571-312-5168 or emailing [email protected].
By boat, Visit Alexandria said the best options are the Water Taxi or a monuments cruise.
The Water Taxi runs from the Wharf to Old Town — with other stops at National Harbor and Georgetown — with departures starting at noon and running about 25 minutes. Trips are $23 one-way or $39 round-trip. Trips depart from the Alexandria Marina at 1 Cameron Street.
“From the dock at The Wharf, it is a 10-minute walk to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin,” the release said. “The water taxi docks at the Transit Pier, 950 Wharf Street SW, near the Tidal Basin, the National Mall, Hains Point and a Capital Bikeshare station.”
There is also the Washington Monuments Cruise to the Cherry Blossoms, which starts March 19. It also departs from the Alexandria Marina, with $26 one-way tickets and $42 round-trip tickets. The cruise is 45 minutes and ends in Georgetown.
The release also included information on some local food and drink offerings themed around cherry blossoms:
- Common Plate Hospitality’s Cherry Blossom Cocktails and Murals at Augie’s Beer Garden (1106 King Street) and Mason Social (728 N. Henry Street) — Both restaurants have custom cherry blossom-themed items on the menu: a black cherry Bellini with gold glitter and a cherry pie old fashioned. Items are available through March 31.
- Special cherry blossom blend at Turkish Coffee Lady (1001 King Street) — local coffee shop Turkish Coffee Lady has a special cherry blossom-themed coffee presentation available through April 30.
- Winter in Tokyo menu at Captain Gregory’s (804 N. Henry Street) — The speakeasy will have Japanese gin, whiskey and vodka along with sake cocktails and menu items featuring Japanese-inspired dishes. The Winter in Tokyo menu is available through March 31.
- “The Blossom” cocktail at Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap (401 E. Braddock Road) — The pizza restaurant will have a new cherry blossom themed cocktail that’s a mix of Rhum Barbancourt, plum-rose syrup, Luxardo, lemon juice and a floating edible blossom. The cocktail will be available from March 1 through April 17.
- Cherry blossom cider from Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run Drive) — Starting March 2, Lost Boy Cider will be producing a cherry blossom cider available in-house or from a few local grocery chains like Whole Foods.
- Cherry blossom sangria from Alexandria Restaurant Partners — From March 15-April 15, various Alexandria Restaurant Partners’ locations will have a seasonal sangria with brut rosé, Blanc Vermouth, cherry juice and orange flower water.
- Cherry blossom gelato at Dolci Gelati (107 N. Fairfax Street) — Dolci Gelati is bringing back a cherry blossom gelato in limited supply from March 20-April 20. The gelato is available in-person, for pickup and delivery.
A full list of local cherry blossom experiences is available at the Visit Alexandria website.