(Updated 10:25 p.m. on 11/22/22) The roadways in Old Town North are set to get an upgrade, thanks to the massive GenOn Power Plant redevelopment.
The 18-acre power plant site has no internal transportation infrastructure, and on Wednesday night (Nov. 8) Hilco Redevelopment Partners revealed its concept designs for the street network.
Over the next decade, the development will convert the power plant site into a new mixed-use neighborhood with residential units on the upper floors, and commercial and artistic spaces on the ground floors.
“The site has no internal infrastructure today, so we’ll be investing a substantial amount to create new roads, sidewalks, bicycle accommodations, and the public walk route, as well as utilities,” said Michelle Chang, HRP’s vice president of mixed-use development, in a virtual meeting on Wednesday. “All of these will promote walkability, provide new bus stops and decrease reliance on personal vehicles. Additionally, HRP will make offsite improvements along Slater’s lane and intersections with the George Washington Memorial Parkway to improve vehicular bicycle and pedestrian connections. All told, we estimate these will (cost) $177 million.”
Plans call for a complex network of public and private streets, all of which will be publicly accessible. The roadway is designed to minimize cut-through traffic with a main public road, or spine street, going straight through the property.
HRP’s development special use permit concept submission will have to undergo a community review process next year before going to the city for final approval.
More than 14 acres of the site is devoted to open space, and the property even incorporates Dutch design with the inclusion of a woonerf, a “people-focused” street facing the waterfront that will allow for easy closure for events.
Demolition for the site is slated to begin next year on the 18-acre site in Old Town North, and construction is expected to take between 18 and 31 months. In fact, the entire development may take 10 years to complete.
HRP is also proposing these roadway changes:
Bashford Lane at the George Washington Memorial Parkway
- Pedestrian crossings need improvement
- Traffic signals currently prioritize north-south traffic, which will have to be balanced for east-west movements for all modes of transportation
Slaters Lane at the George Washington Memorial Parkway
- Balance signal operations for east-west traffic
- Improve pedestrian crossings
- Extend bike facilities through the intersection with GWMP and connect to the Mount Vernon Trail
GW Parkway to go on road diet next month — “The restriping program will alter lane configurations in an effort to make the Parkway safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. The NPS will restripe the road between the City of Alexandria and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate to create just one southbound lane instead of two, a turning lane and two northbound lanes between Stratford Lane (near Mount Vernon Estate) and Tulane Drive (just south of Belle View).” [Alexandria Living]
Couple donate Edward R. Murrow World War II microphone to National Press Club — “Casey Murrow’s father, broadcaster Edwin R. Murrow, used this microphone for his legendary radio broadcasts from London rooftops to describe live Germany air raids during World War II.” [Gazette]
Rental arrears up in Alexandria — “More than 1 out of every 10 Alexandria rental households are behind on rents as of early August, according to a new analysis.” [Patch]
Lee-Fendall House chronicles the history of the cocktail — “The Lee-Fendall House Museum celebrated the origins and history of the humble yet mighty cocktail in a fun event over the weekend called Cocktail Chronicles, focusing on the Golden Era of the Cocktail, 1860s-1920s. The event included a silent auction of an important photograph of the home’s previous owners, to add to the fundraising efforts to rebuild the crumbled brick wall on the property.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Mostly sunny skies. High 81F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Mostly clear (in the evening). Low 62F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Entry-Level Maintenance Technician (Oil, Tire & Lube) $3,000 Sign on Bonus — “The Mechanic C is an entry level position with the Hertz Corporation and is the launching point for our maintenance team. In this role you will be performing preventative maintenance, with a focus on Oil and Tire Changes. Must be a quick learner, and have an assortment of tools, including oil filter wrenches, socket set, and a toolbox to keep them in.” [Indeed]
Some changes are coming to the George Washington Memorial Parkway to make it safer for travelers between Alexandria and the eponymous President’s home at Mount Vernon.
According to the National Park Service (NPS), part of the change will be a road diet — a term that could trigger flashbacks for veterans of the 2019 Seminary Road Comment Wars.
“The NPS will restripe the road to implement a road diet while maintaining driving capacity,” NPS said in a press release. “On the parkway between Tulane Drive and Stratford Lane, the NPS will change markings so that there will be three travel lanes (2 northbound, 1 southbound) and one turn lane.”
All changes on the parkway are taking place in Fairfax — not Alexandria — but will affect travel to and from the city.
NPS also announced that it will be making some changes to improve visibility on the Parkway.
“[NPS will] increase visibility of lane markings and Mount Vernon Trail crosswalks,” NPS said, “[and] remove vegetation at intersections to improve visibility.”
NPS said in the press release that the changes came after public outreach and traffic modeling, which NPS claimed indicated the changes would not diminish the GW Parkway’s ability to accommodate current traffic. Once the changes are put into place, NPS said it will continue to monitor traffic for changes.
“We are being responsive to comments from the public and the expert advice of transportation professionals,” Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said in the press release. “Whether you are a park visitor or commuter, these changes will make driving, walking and bicycling between Alexandria and Mount Vernon safer and more enjoyable for everyone.”
The dieting is scheduled to start going into effect later this year.
AFD Extinguishes Fire on N. West Street — “Engine 205 and surrounding companies made quick work of a small kitchen fire in the 300 Block of N. West Street.” [Twitter]
Health Department Warns Against Misinformation — “Along with our city partners and fantastic Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, we need you, community members, to help share accurate information and dispel the fear that can be seductive and paralyzing.” [Alex Times]
Parkway Classic Postponed — “Considering the current uncertainty and plausibility of continued restrictions on events, we are working closely with our partners on an alternate date for our 36th Annual PNC Parkway Classic originally slated for April 26th.” [PNC Parkway Classic]
West End Fitness Center to Open this Summer — “A dedicated and certified fitness expert will guide you through our workout, which changes daily to keep the body guessing and prevent plateau.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria YMCA Suspends Operations — “The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington will suspend operations at all YMCA facilities located in Maryland at 5pm today, Monday, March 16th; and in Northern Virginia and in the District of Columbia at the close of business, Monday, March 16, 2020. At this moment, we plan to reopen all YMCA facilities as soon as it is permitted by the government officials and upheld by the guidance of health organizations.” [YMCA]
Mayor Asks Landlords to Ease Restrictions — “Although it is still a couple of weeks before April rents will be due, I would ask that you consider now what you can do to ease burdens for tenants who will have difficulty paying their next rent because of illness or financial hardship related to ongoing business disruptions and closures.” [Facebook]
Several Alexandria Fire Department units responded as mutual aid to a crash on the GW Parkway in Fairfax County this afternoon.
The crash happened just before 1:30 p.m. at the GW Parkway intersection with Belle View Blvd. At least one of the victims was initially reported to trapped in their vehicle, potentially requiring extrication.
An ALXnow photographer arrived as one of the vehicles involved, a red sedan with heavy passenger side damage, was loaded onto a flatbed tow truck.
The intersection is likely familiar to many who commute to and from Alexandria and points south. It, along with the nearby intersection of the GW Parkway and Belle Haven Road, are among the most dangerous and crash-prone in the area — prompting the National Park Service to hold recent public meetings and consider new safety improvements.
Particularly for those turning left at both intersections, to head north on the Parkway, the maneuver requires dodging fast-moving southbound traffic and then waiting in a barely-wide-enough median for fast-moving northbound traffic to clear. Turning left from the northbound lanes of the Parkway onto either road is similarly death-defying.
More from a December article on Covering the Corridor on potential safety improvements:
Recent Park Police efforts to improve speed enforcement along the entire Parkway between I-495 and Mount Vernon have led to a 35 percent reduction in motor vehicle accidents between 2018 and 2019, Cuvelier said. The superintendent added that public opinion about installing speed cameras was about evenly divided, but that the cameras raised a larger issue involving data requirements.
More than half the comments submitted so far have been related to the Belle View Boulevard and Belle Haven Road intersections, where nearly 125 crashes occurred over a five-year period.
To help improve intersections that are currently difficult to navigate — especially when making left turns — the Park Service proposed solutions like road diets and roundabouts, including ones at Morningside Lane. Some of these proposals will require more investigation, Cuvelier acknowledged, due to potential downsides like queuing.
Thus far, no serious injuries have been reported following this afternoon’s crash.
Street view photos via Google Maps
Alexandria Home Sale Prices Rise Above Arlington — “The Amazon HQ2 effect on home prices in Northern Virginia continues and, at least by one measure, the Alexandria housing market is now more expensive than Arlington County. At least it was in October, the most recent month for which data is available.” [WTOP]
Trampoline Park Hoping to Open By End of Year — “Management for Get Air Trampoline Park, an indoor recreation and amusement park, confirmed that the Alexandria location is scheduled to open in the second half of December. The space Get Air is occupying at 340 S. Pickett St. was formerly a U.S. Post Office in the West End Village shopping center.” [Alexandria Living]
Trash Will Be Picked Up on Thanksgiving — “Thursday trash/recycling routes: your trash and recycling WILL BE collected starting at 6AM this Thursday so the route can be completed in advance of the Turkey Trot. If you are not up that early, please set your material out Wed. night!” [Twitter/@AlexandriaVATES]
Meeting About Southern GW Parkway Safety — “On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the National Park Service will host a meeting to discuss George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) visitors’ recommendations about how to improve safety at key intersections between the City of Alexandria and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” [National Park Service]