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Alexandria Police are investigating two early evening robberies in residential areas near Holmes Run last Thursday (Nov. 10) and Saturday (Nov. 12).

On Thursday at around 5 p.m., a 24-year-old man told police that he was hit by a male suspect and robbed of cash in the 5300 block of Holmes Run Parkway. The victim told police that he was taking a walk when he was attacked. He did not go to the hospital.

Two days later, on Saturday, at around 6 p.m., a 26-year-old man was robbed by two men in the 5300 block of Taney Avenue — less than a mile away.

The victim was walking home when he was hit with an unknown object by a male suspect, and robbed of cash and personal objects. He also did not go to the hospital.

Police said that the incidents are not related. No other information on the suspects was provided by police, and the incidents are under investigation.

Anyone with information on either of these incidents can contact the Alexandria Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

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The Holmes Run Trail has been incomplete and partially inaccessible since floods in 2018 and 2019 badly damaged it, and in a recent update Mayor Justin Wilson said some of the final pieces of that recovery might not be finished until the summer or fall of 2024.

That’s not to say there isn’t progress being made on trail recovery, with other phases completed earlier this year and a bridge replacement planned for later this winter.

In a community newsletter released this morning, Wilson said the next big improvement will be the restoration of the Holmes Run Trail Bridge at 4600 Duke Street.

With pandemic delays behind us and budget available, the City is now working to bring this trail back to our residents. The work has been divided into a few phases. The first phase of work is the restoration of the Holmes Run Trail Bridge at 4600 Duke Street. The demolition of the current bridge was completed a year ago, and the stabilization of the bank completed earlier this year. The full replacement is now anticipated to occur this fall into winter.

Other, more extensive recovery work, however, is still in the design phase.

“The more extensive phase of work involves the trail restoration at Dora Kelly Park, the trail restoration at the Morgan Street cul-de-sac and the trail restoration at North Ripley Street,” Wilson wrote. “The design work is under way and is expected to be complete early next year.”

If the design is completed in early 2023, Wilson said construction would start in summer/fall 2023 and is expected to take a year; completed in summer/fall of 2024.

“It has been frustrating to have the trail unavailable for so long,” Wilson wrote, “but we’re working to build a more resilient trail to benefit our community for generations to come!”

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In an update (page 7) prepared for a Transportation Commission meeting tomorrow night, staff outlined some of the progress made in the Complete Streets program along with a look at what’s ahead for some of the city’s most popular trails.

One of the biggest items is progress on the long-awaited Holmes Run Trail Repairs. Portions of the trail have been closed since flooding in 2019 destroyed much of the creek-adjacent infrastructure. The report for the Transportation Commission outlined what’s ahead for those repairs. Parts of that trail, the report said, could be completed by next spring.

“Design for the bridge at 4600 Duke Street is complete, and the City is in the process of awarding a contract for construction,” the report said. “Construction for this part of the project is expected to be complete by Spring 2023.”

Three other sections of Holmes Run Trail are still at the 60% design stage, the report said. The design is expected to be completed next February.

Elsewhere, the city is working on installing a shared-use path along Old Cameron Run Trail — which runs on the Alexandria side of Hunting Creek between Alexandria and Fairfax — between South Payne Street and Hooffs Run Drive.

“This project is currently at the 60% design stage,” the report said. “The City and its consultants are currently developing right-of-way plans to inform land dedications and/or easements that will be needed. This project is expected to begin construction in 2025 or 2026, after the RiverRenew project, which involves construction activity in the trail area, is completed.”

Another shared-use path will be added to North Beauregard Street in the West End between Fillmore Avenue and Berkeley Street.

“This project is currently at the 60% design stage,” the report said. “Design is expected to be complete in 2023.”

Lastly, the city is working on making some improvements to the Mount Vernon Trail, including some widening to allow for two-way bicycle traffic.

“This project will expand the existing Mount Vernon Trail north of East Abingdon Drive, where the trail is currently too narrow for two-way bicycle traffic,” the report said. “Design is currently at the 30% stage.”

Staff said this summer, the city worked on making some improvements on routes to John Adams Elementary School with the Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) program.

“This summer, staff implemented the Rayburn and Reading Avenue Complete Streets Project,” the report said. “This project involved the completion of 14 SRTS recommendations for John Adams Elementary School. Improvements included the installation of new crosswalks, ADA curb ramps, median refuge areas, sidewalk connections, and pedestrian signage.”

Meanwhile, city staff have started working on similar plans around William Ramsay Elementary School, with design expected to start this fiscal year.

“Ramsay has 11 SRTS recommendations, only one of which has been completed to date,” the report said. “Construction is expected to take place next fiscal year.”

Along with the school-specific programs, city staff is working on curb extensions at multiple schools.

The Transportation Commission is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. in the City Council workroom at City Hall (301 King Street).

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S. Van Dorn Street bridge (photo via Google Maps)

Two projects in Alexandria will receive $5 million apiece from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA).

The NVTA awarded the amounts as part of its six-year budget adopted on Thursday (July 14). The two projects are: to make S. Van Dorn Street and its bridge more transit and pedestrian-friendly for the West End Transitway, and replacement of a fair-weather crossing on the Holmes Run Trail, just behind William Ramsay Elementary School (5700 Sanger Avenue).

The West End Transitway project is needed as significant redevelopment and a new bus rapid transit route are planned for the area.

The South Van Dorn Street bridge near the Van Dorn Metro station is a four-lane crossing that connects the Van Dorn neighborhood with Landmark just to the north. The project will design dedicated transit lanes for the future West End Transitway on S. Van Dorn Street and the Van Dorn bridges between Metro Road and McConnell Avenue, a report states.

This project will also improve non-motorized facilities along the bridges for better connections between new developments and the Van Dorn Metrorail station. The existing Van Dorn Street bridge has a narrow sidewalk along the east side and no bicycle facilities.

The Holmes Run Trail crossing will be replaced with a prefabricated pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

“The project will allow trail users continuous, safe and reliable access to the City’s off-street trail facilities, as well as other regional trails, and the future West End Transitway,” according to the report.

NVTA gave out about $625 million to 20 projects total across the region with its latest program, with more than half the money going to projects in Fairfax County.

Photo via Google Maps

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S. Van Dorn Street bridge (photo via Google Maps)

The city’s hopes to extend the Route 1 Metroway a few blocks north have been dashed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), and now city staff is looking at other transportation projects (page 50) around town that could use state funding.

At a Transportation Commission meeting, city staff is proposing two alternative projects for NVTA funding: improvements to the Van Dorn Street bridge and replacement of a Holmes Run Trail bridge.

Currently, the South Van Dorn Street bridge near the Van Dorn Metro station is a four-lane crossing that connects the Van Dorn neighborhood with Landmark just to the north. But with significant redevelopment and a new bus rapid transit route planned for the area, the city is looking at making the bridge more transit and pedestrian-friendly.

This project will design South Van Dorn Street and the Van Dorn bridges between Metro Road and McConnell Avenue to accommodate dedicated transit lanes for the future West End Transitway as well as improve non-motorized facilities along the bridges for better connections between new developments and the Van Dorn Metrorail station… The existing Van Dorn Street bridge currently includes a narrow sidewalk along the east side and no bicycle facilities.

The city said NVTA funding would cover the design phase of the project.

The second project the city hopes to fund is a replacement of a fair-weather crossing on the Holmes Run Trail just behind William Ramsay Elementary School (5700 Sanger Avenue).

“This project will replace an existing fair-weather crossing for the Holmes Run Trail with a prefabricated pedestrian and bicycle bridge,” the report said. “The fair-weather crossing is located approximately 400 feet north of the intersection of Beauregard Street and North Morgan Street in Dora Kelley Park.”

Like with the Van Dorn Street bridge replacement, the city is looking for design funding. If secured, staff said construction could begin as soon as FY 2026.

Photo via Google Maps

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Police outside the McDonalds where a shooting occurred, staff photo by James Cullum

What a busy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on a juvenile who was shot outside the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center on Tuesday, Sept. 21. There have also been a number of concerning incidents at Alexandria City Public Schools, including a juvenile who was arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School.

Meanwhile, while the COVID-19 transmission rate remains high, public events are still happening in Alexandria.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Police: Juvenile shot at shopping center near Alexandria City High School
  2. Police dispatched three times for fighting at Alexandria City Public Schools in less than a month
  3. Police: Six hospitalized after overdoses on Alexandria-Fairfax border
  4. Poll: What do you think of Metro’s proposed Blue Line crossing to National Harbor?
  5. BREAKING: Flooding reported in Alexandria
  6. Interview: Port City Publius opens up about Alexandria
  7. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  8. Juvenile arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School
  9. Multiple violent charges dropped against Fairfax County man held without bond for assaulting police during arrest
  10. Preserving Arlandria’s affordability against gentrification could cost upward of $100 million
  11. JUST IN: One person injured after shots fired in West End Tuesday afternoon

Have a safe weekend! 

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The City of Alexandria is sending a funding request to the state that could help create a better Holmes Run Trail Bridge and push the West End Transitway into its next phase.

At an upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28, the Council is scheduled to review (item 14) a submission to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) for regional transportation funding in FY 2026 to FY 2027. The request is for funding from the NVTA’s 70% Program, which aims to reduce congestion and increase quality of life with projects of regional significance.

The City is seeking two $5 million grants for two longtime projects in the West End.

Part of the request is for more funding to the West End Transitway, a project that will bring bus rapid transit to the West End, from Van Dorn Metro station to the Pentagon with stops along the West End at locations like Southern Towers and the former-Landmark Mall. The West End Transitway had previously received $4.6 million from the program for the first phase of the project.

Now, the city is hoping for $5 million for part two, which would bring dedicated transit lanes and other transit adjustments to South Van Dorn Street and the Van Dorn bridge between Metro Road and McConnell Avenue.

The staff presentation noted that the dedicated transit lanes in phase two of the project would help increase travel choices in Alexandria and reduce single occupancy vehicle travel. Part of the overall goal of the project is to provide better transit access to the densely populated areas of the West End that aren’t near Metro stations.

Grant funding proposed for FY 2026, photo via City of Alexandria

The second $5 million request is to build a better crossing of Holmes Run Trail at Morgan Street. The new pedestrian and bicycle bridge would replace a current “fair weather crossing” at Holmes Run. The current crossing is a path that runs through shallow water that often becomes dangerous to cross during the city’s increasingly frequent flooding.

A city presentation said the improvement could create a more resilient, safer, and more reliable trail network — though parts of the trail still remain damaged from flooding in recent years.

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Alexandria was spared from significant flooding this week after remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the East Coast. The only flooding found was on lower King Street in Old Town, where businesses laid sandbags at windows and doorways.

“We’re open inside, but if you want to eat you’re probably going to have to come barefoot,” a hostess at Mai Thai told ALXnow on Wednesday.

Our top story this week was, for the second week in a row, on the recent brawl inside Alexandria City High School.

It’s a three-day weekend, and on Sunday the annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style will bring crowds to marvel at classic and beautiful rides along King Street. Monday is Labor Day, and the city will operate on a holiday schedule.

In this week’s poll we asked how satisfied readers are with Alexandria City Public Schools since reopening on August 24. A majority (31%) reported being extremely unsatisfied with the school system, while 29% said ACPS has done a good job, 25% are extremely satisfied and 14% are unhappy overall.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  2. 13-year-old hit by car while walking home from school in Del Ray
  3. Fox put George Washington Middle School into a lock-in today
  4. Man arrested for spending spree after finding wallet in Bradlee Shopping Center parking lot
  5. No injuries or arrests after shots fired on Duke Street
  6. ACPS Superintendent Hutchings asks community to hit the brakes on email campaigns
  7. Alexandria man arrested for beating up ex-girlfriend in Old Town North
  8. Alexandria sees cases rise in August and warns of COVID-19 in schools
  9. Alexandria man convicted for possessing child porn and violating parole
  10. Historic Black cemetery under threat of being washed away in Old Town
  11. Man swallows two bags of drugs and runs from police in Old Town

Have a safe weekend!

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A 19-year-old Prince William County man was arrested after a brief chase near the 5200 block of Taney Avenue in the West End.

The incident occurred on Monday, August 9. An Alexandria Police officer was at a stationary traffic post in the 4800 block of Taney Avenue, when he tried to stop a black Ford sedan, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The suspect then allegedly fled at a high rate of speed for about four blocks before striking several other vehicles and coming to rest in the 5200 block of Taney Avenue.

“(The officer) observed the driver of the black Ford sedan running from the sedan and the scene of the accident before losing sight of him,” police reported.

A witness to the accident also told police that they saw the suspect throw an unidentified object over a fence into the backyard of a home on Taney Avenue. Police went to that address and found two full glass vials and a broken vial of suspected PCP.

The suspect was arrested about a half-mile away in the 5400 block of Richenbacher Avenue. He was released on bond the next day and charged with driving without a valid license, hit-and-run, reckless driving and disregarding/eluding police.

Via Google Maps

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Two years after historic floods wiped out swaths of the Holmes Run Trail, Alexandria is hosting a community meeting next week to provide an update on long-term repair efforts.

Parts of the trail in Dora Kelley Park have been inaccessible since flooding in 2018, but much of the rest of the trail has been in a state of disrepair since floods in 2019 undermined the structural integrity of two of the bridges and three stretches of trail.

A community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Patrick Henry Recreation Center (4653 Taney Avenue). The city said meeting will include a restoration schedule and planned restoration activities, as well as an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

:As part of the design phase of the restoration project the City will study how the flood impacted Holmes Run and determine how the trail, bridges, and slopes should be modified/stabilized to minimize potential damage from future flood events,” the city said in a press release.

Three sites along the trail, including the two bridges, are listed on the city website as Tier 1 repairs — repairs that are most essential and should be prioritized.

“Tier 1 repairs are the most complex and costly to complete due to the structural damage caused by recent floods,” the website notes. “Unfortunately, these are not quick fixes, and substantial civil and structural engineering is required to ensure these repairs are sustainable and not subject to damage by future flood events.”

These repairs are funded with the design phase scheduled to start in September 2021.

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