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Area of Duke Street closures (image courtesy VDOT)

Anyone driving along Duke Street tonight should be warned that traffic might be heavier than usual.

Intermittent traffic stoppages are scheduled along westbound Duke Street between South Walker Street and the bridge over I-395, along with the westbound Duke Street off- and on-ramps.

“The traffic stoppages lasting up to 20 minutes each will occur between 10 p.m. Thursday and 4 a.m. Friday, Sept. 22 along westbound Duke Street,” the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said in an email, “as well as on the ramp from westbound Duke Street to northbound I-395 and on the ramp from northbound I-395 to westbound Duke Street.”

VDOT said drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The repaving work is part of a project to fix up the bridge over I-395.

“The work is part of the project to rehabilitate the Duke Street bridge over I-395,” VDOT said. “The improvements will extend the overall life of the bridge and improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, and include replacing the concrete bridge deck and beams, upgrading the westbound sidewalk to a shared-use path, and widening the eastbound sidewalk.”

The project is scheduled for completion this winter.

Alexandria Police at night (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria Police Department said one man was arrested after an attempted robbery in 7-Eleven this morning.

The incident occurred at the 7-Eleven at 3023 Duke Street, near the Alexandria Commons shopping center.

According to Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett:

At approximately 3:11 a.m. on August 17, 2023 a 24-year-old Male was approached by Grady Cobb, Jr., 26, no fixed address in the 3000 block of Duke Street. It is believed that a knife was displayed and the suspect demanded money from the victim. The victim was able to get away and call 911. Police arrived on scene and with the description of the subject APD officers were able to apprehend the suspect a short time later and he was charged with Robbery and he also had outstanding warrants. No injuries were sustained in connection with this incident.

Four teens were robbed by six masked suspects at a bus stop near the intersection of Duke and N Donelson Streets on Monday, July 31, 2023 (via Google Maps)

Four Alexandria teenagers were robbed by six masked suspects on Monday (July 31) at a bus stop in the West End, according to police.

The juvenile victims, all 16 years of age, were not injured in the incident. At around 9:15 p.m., the victims were waiting at a bus stop near the intersection of Duke Street and N. Donelson Street when the suspects pulled up in a black Toyota Corolla.

The victims told police that four men and two women wearing ski masks got out of the car and then stole money and personal items. No one was injured and no weapons were used by the suspects, according to police.

A father of one of the victims reported the incident on NextDoor.

Anyone with information on this incident can call the Alexandria Police Department non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Image via Google Maps

The scene of a shooting on the 800 block of W. Glebe Road (staff photo by James Cullum)

It’s been a scorching week in Alexandria, punctuated by two major crime events.

Someone was shot multiple times in an alley several blocks east of the Braddock Metro station last Saturday, followed on Monday afternoon by the city’s fifth homicide this year — the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man on W. Glebe Road in Arlandria.

It is not believed that the incidents are connected.

The Alexandria Police Department is now looking for a silver Nissan Rogue allegedly linked to Monday’s shooting.

No arrests have been announced from either incident, and this week Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Jim Parajon and Police Chief Don Hayes asked for the community’s help in identifying the suspects.

Top stories this week:

  1. Alexandria ditching ‘pay and display’ parking meters citywide (32618 views)
  2. Notes: Many federal employees who report to work Alexandria are still mostly remote (7448 views)
  3. Del Ray Gateway project construction to start before end of year, city says (6510 views)
  4. Construction suspended for Holiday Inn Express at former Towne Motel site in Old Town North (5346 views)
  5. ACPS ignores Gov. Youngkin’s recommended policies on treatment of transgender students (4829 views)
  6. DEVELOPING: Man transported to hospital in critical condition after shooting in Arlandria (4747 views)
  7. Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening before end of year in Old Town North, owner says (3857 views)
  8. Duke Street affordable apartment complex ‘Witter Place’ could be ready by late 2025, developer says (3598 views)
  9. Arlington man busted for allegedly selling stolen car to Alexandria man on Facebook Marketplace (2509 views)

Have a safe weekend!


The Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) is hoping to take a hammer to a dozen later additions to the Freedom House Museum (1315 Duke Street) to take the building back to its mid-19th century look.

The museum was once the Franklin and Armfield Office, a slave trafficking hub that forcibly shipped thousands of Black men, women and children around the country between 1828 and 1861.

In a proposal submitted to the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) for the meeting on Wednesday, July 19, the OHA said the goal is to recreate the look of the building from 1828-1861 based on historic reports and Civil War-era photos.

According to the report, the work includes”

  • Repointing masonry walls
  • Masonry infill of window openings added after the period of significance
  • Removal/replacement or restoration of doors windows and shutters
  • Repaint all previously painted walls
  • Reveal and restore the historic sign
  • Siding replacement
  • Demolition of the south slope of the existing mansard roof and portions of the east and west gable ends

“The overall intent is to repair or restore each massing section of the building to the period of significance of that portion of the building, as defined in the Historic Structure Report,” the report said. “The museum will remain in operation throughout the construction.”

Rendering of center-running bus lanes on Duke Street (image via City of Alexandria)

(Updated 6/29) After nearly seven hours of public comment, Alexandria’s City Council voted to move forward with the Duke Street Transitway.

The gist of the plan is to reconfigure sections of Duke Street to make the road more accessible to public transit, as well as making improvements to the pedestrian and cyclist experience along the arterial road.

The public comment on the topic — one of the longest in recent memory — was mostly divided between some residents near Seminary Road sharing concerns that the changes will make the road more inhospitable to its primary users, car drivers, while others shared their enthusiasm for a more transit, cyclist and pedestrian-friendly Duke Street.

Hillary Orr, deputy director of Transportation & Environmental Services, said one of the drivers behind the transitway plans is the increasing density along Duke Street. It’s universally agreed that traffic is already pretty bad on Duke Street, but Orr said that will only get worse as more development comes to that corridor.

“If we do nothing on this corridor, the region will continue to grow and make this already tough corridor even more unpleasant,” Orr said.

Orr said the Duke Street corridor is one of the “most productive bus routes” in the city’s bus network and the transitway would help bring new mobility options and safety to the street.

The Duke Street Transitway proposal included short-term recommendations, which focus on having center-running bus lanes at either end of the corridor with mixed-traffic buses in a center portion, and longer-term recommendations, which include center-running bus lanes along the entirety of Duke Street.

The project is funded for a total of $87 million.

“We believe the funding we have in hand will build a solid foundation,” Orr said. “We have $87 million now and a great concept we can make a reality. Delaying the project will only reduce the scope with the budget we have in hand now.”

Recommendation for the Duke Street Transitway (image via City of Alexandria)

Several representatives of nearby civic associations spoke in opposition to the project as currently designed and many said they hoped that the project could be delayed for further study.

“It is clear from those briefings and community meetings that residents have far too many unanswered questions to reach an informed decision tonight,” said Carter Flemming, co-chair of the Alexandria Federation of Civic Associations. “Tonight’s vote is an unnecessary artificial deadline. What is the rush for approval? Major changes to service roads and limited access to homes and businesses are planned with details to follow later. What staff categorizes as granular details are in fact major changes that deserve answers now, not later.”

Representatives from several other nearby civic associations shared similar concerns, some of them about the project as a whole and others about specific elements that impacted their neighborhoods.

“There are inconsistencies and unanswered questions,” said Fran Vogel, president of the Strawberry Hill Civic Association. “This project in its current form should not be approved.”

Some said they supported the project but wanted certain pieces prioritized. Lisa Porter, president of the Clover College Park Civic Association, said her association was in support of the project and for the 2B portion if staff prioritized the Cambridge Road redesign.

“We have deep concerns about the center running bus lanes along 2b which cuts off access to Yale Drive,” said Porter. “The Cambridge intersection as it currently exists is unsafe… [and] the proposal will increase traffic volumes by at least 60%.”

More speakers in the public comment section spoke in favor of the transitway and the impact it would have on the communities around Duke Street.

“I take my five-year-old to dance class on Duke Street on rush hour,” one nearby resident said. “We take the bus. To get home, also in rush hour, we must cross six lanes of Duke Street and then stand at an unprotected bus stop… a center-running bus lane with a pedestrian island will help immensely.”

Multiple speakers said the transitway plans would make Duke Street safer for Alexandrians with disabilities. Bob Hart, an Alexandria resident and member of the Seminary Hill Association, said improvements for blind residents could include fully functional pedestrian use signals that include street names at crossings.

“I fully support the recommendations of the Duke Street Advisory Group,” said Hart. “As a blind guide dog user, one who walks along Duke Street as a pedestrian and someone who uses the bus network… I urge council members to adopt near and longer-term recommendations of the Duke Street in Motion Advisory Group tonight. It will make Alexandria a safer and more livable community.”

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Traffic backup heading eastbound along Duke Street (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After years of discussion, the Duke Street Transitway is headed to Alexandria’s City Council this week.

The plan is going to a public hearing at the City Council meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).

The recommended plan, called Concept A, involves a mix of center-running and mixed-traffic along Duke Street. From Van Dorn Street to just past Jordan Street, the transitway would have buses in a pair of dedicated, center-running lanes, but it gets more complicated east of Jordan Street.

For around half of the length of the Duke Street Transitway, the buses will be in mixed traffic on both sides of the street or only have dedicated center-running lanes on one direction. The middle section of the transitway, Segment 2, proved the most restrictive to some of the more ambitious designs of the transitway.

The plan noted the long-term goal would be eventually having center-running bus lanes all along Duke Street, though these plans are dependent on both redevelopment along the corridor and available funding.

Beyond buses, the plans also include recommendations for shared-use paths along Duke Street, making the road more usable for cyclists and pedestrians. The recommendation is to have, at a minimum, uninterrupted sidewalks on both sides of Duke Street. The north side of the corridor, the plan said, should have a separate two-way cycle track for the sections at either end of the corridor.

Recommendation for the Duke Street Transitway (image via City of Alexandria)

Westbound detour around closed Duke Street lanes (image via City of Alexandria)

Westbound drivers may want to avoid Duke Street near Landmark next week as construction will shut down part of the road.

The closures will affect the westbound lanes on Duke Street between the off-ramp to Van Dorn Street and South Walker Street. The westbound lanes are scheduled to be closed from 10 p.m. on Tuesday to 10 p.m. on Friday.

According to a release put out by the City of Alexandria:

The westbound lanes of Duke Street, between the Van Dorn Street off-ramp and South Walker Street, will be closed to vehicle traffic for 72 hours beginning at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6. The ramp from southbound Van Dorn Street to westbound Duke Street will also be closed during this period.

During this construction-related closure, westbound Duke Street traffic will be detoured onto Van Dorn Street, then onto Stevenson Avenue and South Walker Street, before rejoining westbound Duke Street beyond the work area (see map below). Traffic traveling southbound on Van Dorn Street will also be directed by the detour. All businesses along Duke Street will remain open during the road closure.

The westbound lanes are scheduled to reopen at 10 p.m. on Friday, June 9, after the completion of the work, which includes demolition of the existing fly-over into Landmark Mall as part of the Re-Development of Landmark. Working hours and dates are subject to change due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances. The developer will provide written notification directly to Residential Properties within a 3 block radius and/or high-rise buildings visible from to the work area; as equipment will run the full 72-Hours.

Shots were fired in the 6200 block of Duke Street on April 30, 2023 (via Google Maps)

Alexandria Police say that no arrests were made or injuries reported after multiple shots were fired outside a West End hotel late last month.

APD responded at around 9:30 a.m. to the 6200 block of Duke Street for a report of shots fired, and found two bullet casings in the middle of the parking lot, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

Police then followed a blood trail to the Days Inn next door to a room on the second floor of the Days Inn by Wyndham Alexandria (110 S. Bragg Street West), where they found more blood, nine rounds of ammunition, a bottle of Johnny Walker whiskey and cigarette butts, according to the search warrant.

Police interviewed a hotel guest staying below the room, who reported that he’d heard a pop earlier in the day but as it was raining dismissed the sound as transformer.

APD said that the investigation into the incident is ongoing and that no victims of violence were reported. Anyone with information can contact APD’s non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Image via Google Maps

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Stopped traffic along Duke Street near Quaker Lane (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Back-and-forth arguments over the Duke Street Transitway had shades of Seminary Road at discussions during a Transportation Commission meeting last week.

The proposed transitway is part of the Duke Street In Motion project which aims to revamp Duke Street to prioritize public transit and walkability alongside car traffic. The transitway will potentially mix dedicated bus lanes and mixed-traffic lanes for a new system that should make transit more efficient along Duke Street.

At the meeting, criticism came from voices ranging from civic association leadership to a former DASH general manager.

“I love DASH, anything the city can do to encourage ridership… can serve to make the city a better place to live,” said Sandy Modell, an Alexandria Living Legend and former DASH General Manager. “[But] we’re not studying what’s happened since covid and before covid when Metrorail, DASH and Metro bus were all experiencing ridership loss.”

Modell said the city is dedicating a lot of money to a project without a full understanding of how transit ridership will evolve.

Although the city received an $87 million grant from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for planning, design, and construction of a transitway along the Duke Street Corridor from Landmark Mall to King Street Metro Station, some in the audience raised concerns this may not accurately represent the full cost of the project.

“We have an upwards of $100 million project if not more being considered tonight that will significantly impact travel on the corridor both during and after construction, but what we don’t have is a full evaluation and study of the changes that have taken place on that system since we’ve gone fare-free and since we put in a new DASH network,” Modell said.

Carter Flemming, Chair of the Alexandria​ Federation of Civic Associations, likewise said the project seems rooted in outdated assumptions about work and travel patterns.

Bill Rossello, President of the Seminary Hill Association, said there are unanswered questions about the cost of the project and the design.

“So it seems that the city is preparing to commit a huge amount of grant money and inevitably a lot of direct city taxpayer money to a confusing project that most residents don’t want, didn’t ask for, and don’t understand, and one that doesn’t promise to relieve traffic congestion and may not improve travel times for anyone,” Rossello said.

The project also had some support. Ken Notis, Chair of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said there is more cost to further study than gain.

“There have been calls for delay and delay and study and more study,” Notis said. “I have done benefit-cost analysis professionally, I have done transportation analysis professionally: that further analysis isn’t free, it costs money, there will always be something else that someone wants studied. You can’t delay doing something forever because things change. The need for more transit has only grown.”

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