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.
- Connection Newspapers managing editor Kemal Kurspahic dies
- City Council approves new plastic bag tax for local grocery and convenience stores
- Electric scooter docks could replace some on-street parking in Alexandria
- City looks to state funding for Holmes Run Trail improvement and West End Transitway
- MacArthur Elementary shut down by water damage
- New Indian restaurant in Old Town eyes late October opening
- School Board to vote on transgender revisions in Alexandria City Public Schools
- ‘Fences’ is a triumph at The Little Theatre of Alexandria
- What’s the difference between Alexandria’s co-living policy and regular apartments?
- Government contractor in Alexandria under fire from Department of Labor for systemic racism in hiring practices
- Police: Juvenile shot at shopping center near Alexandria City High School
- Police dispatched three times for fighting at Alexandria City Public Schools in less than a month
- Police: Six hospitalized after overdoses on Alexandria-Fairfax border
- Poll: What do you think of Metro’s proposed Blue Line crossing to National Harbor?
- BREAKING: Flooding reported in Alexandria
- Interview: Port City Publius opens up about Alexandria
- BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
- Juvenile arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School
- Multiple violent charges dropped against Fairfax County man held without bond for assaulting police during arrest
- Preserving Arlandria’s affordability against gentrification could cost upward of $100 million
- JUST IN: One person injured after shots fired in West End Tuesday afternoon
Have a safe weekend!
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.
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.
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.
- Pedestrian struck and killed on N. Beauregard Street in West End
- City could extend pandemic-support for local businesses into 2022
- City lays out goals for Arlandria-Chirilagua preservation
- Salon Meraki will quadruple in size when it expands this fall in Old Town
- New policy could open up more ‘co-living’ options in Alexandria
- Pets rescued from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana up for adoption in Alexandria
- The Hive is expanding to a new location in Old Town, also planning men’s apparel shop
- Man arrested after brief chase leads to hit-and-run near Holmes Run
- Fire Department pay battle heats up as firefighters say staffing issues put public safety at risk
- Parents concerned in opening days as ACPS works on construction projects at Mount Vernon Community School
- West End school purchase headed to Planning Commission review
- Alexandria man on run from police for more than a year after theft from gym in Carlyle
- Mae’s Market & Cafe opens in Old Town
- BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
- 13-year-old hit by car while walking home from school in Del Ray
- Fox put George Washington Middle School into a lock-in today
- Man arrested for spending spree after finding wallet in Bradlee Shopping Center parking lot
- No injuries or arrests after shots fired on Duke Street
- ACPS Superintendent Hutchings asks community to hit the brakes on email campaigns
- Alexandria man arrested for beating up ex-girlfriend in Old Town North
- Alexandria sees cases rise in August and warns of COVID-19 in schools
- Alexandria man convicted for possessing child porn and violating parole
- Historic Black cemetery under threat of being washed away in Old Town
- Man swallows two bags of drugs and runs from police in Old Town
Have a safe weekend!
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.
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.
It was a cold and news-filled week in Alexandria.
It all started with the report of two public safety incidents over the weekend — a serious car crash in Old Town and another shooting in the West End.
On the coronavirus front, Alexandria is now at 104 fatalities and 9,342 cases. Mayor Justin Wilson said that there is a vaccine shortage in the city, as the waitlist to get inoculated is at more than 25,000. The Alexandria Health Department reported to the Alexandria Times that about 2,000 doses are being distributed weekly.
Our top story this week was on the body that was found last Friday in the water at Holmes Run Trail by Cameron Run Regional Park. In an update, police told us that the death was not suspicious in nature.
Additionally, 630 people responded to our weekly poll. This week, we asked about the proposed Heritage development in Old Town. About 67% of respondents don’t think it’s appropriate for the neighborhood and 33% don’t have a problem with it.
In case you missed it, here are some important stories:
- New Flood Warning Signs Installed in Del Ray
- Initial and Continued Unemployment Claims Go Down in Alexandria
- Despite COVID-19 Contractor Impacts, Potomac Yard Metro Station on Track for Spring 2022 Opening
- City Council Accepts Plan to Double Stormwater Utility Fees
- Victory Center’s Condominium Redevelopment Headed to Planning Commission
Here are our top stories of the week:
- BREAKING: Body Found in the Water Near Cameron Station
- Photos: The Regal Potomac Yard Movie Theater is Being Torn Down
- Citizens Group Vilifies Heritage High Rise Project in Old Town
- Atlantis Pizzeria and Family Restaurant Closing on Jan. 24
- Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
- Police: Shots Fired in West End, Car Crash in Old Town Over Weekend
- Snow in Alexandria: Winter Weather Advisory in Effect Until 9 A.M. Tuesday
- BREAKING: Woman Gets Arm Amputated, Police Investigate if She Was Thrown From Car in West End
- Local Business in Hot Water with City Architects After Unauthorized Paint Job
- Alexandria Mayor Formally Requests Dominion Energy Step Their Game Up
- JUST IN: ACPS Announces No In-Person Schooling For Week of Feb. 1
Have a safe weekend!
There are few details released so far on the man’s body discovered in Holmes Run last week near Cameron Station, but police said the death does not appear suspicious and foul play is not currently suspected.
“[The incident] does not appear to be suspicious,” said Alexandria Police Department Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga.
Paga said the police are still waiting on the results from the chief medical examiner for a final report on the cause of death and other information about the person.
Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted that there was no known danger to the community.
We do not suspect foul play in this matter however, we are waiting for the Medical Examiner to make that final determination. As always we are out patrolling and doing everything we can to ensure the residents (and visitors) of Alexandria are safe.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) January 27, 2021
Edgardo Roman Guevara, 20, was arrested on March 31, and 19-year-old Cesar Loza Castillo was arrested on March 27. Both have been charged with malicious wounding and assault by mob, and are being held without bail in the Alexandria Jail.
Police interviewed the victims on the evening of March 15 at Inova Alexandria Hospital. They admitted to meeting at the park at night to smoke marijuana with the suspects in a secluded wooded area. Once there, however, things took a dark turn.
“At this time, [one victim] saw a hand come across his face and felt his neck being cut. [He] then fled the park heading back towards his vehicle,” notes the affidavit.
The victim pushed away the knife, and was then stabbed in the back. The other victim was then allegedly pinned against a tree by both suspects and stabbed repeatedly. The victims escaped from the scene and were driven to the hospital by another friend.
Police located Guevara’s cell phone at the scene of the crime, and the suspects were positively identified by the victims in a police lineup.
Image via Google Maps
Police say two men were stabbed and robbed by two unknown suspects on Sunday night near the Holmes Run Trail.
The incident reportedly took place around 10 p.m. on the 5700 block of Sanger Avenue on a trail behind the William Ramsey Recreation Center.
“Two people were stabbed and robbed over personal items,” said police spokesman Courtney Ballantine. “They took themselves to the hospital and were treated for non-life threatening injuries.”
No suspect descriptions are available.
Ballantine said a helicopter and a police K-9 were brought in to search but the suspects had fled the scene. He added that the search was partly complicated by a significant delay between when the stabbing took place and when it was reported.
Image via Google Maps
Alexandria may allocate $6 million to reopen closed portions of the Holmes Run Trail.
The trail, which was damaged in last July’s flash flooding after the Barcroft Dam overflowed, in addition to previous flood damage from 2018, is currently closed in four sections. City Manager Mark Jinks has proposed new capital funding to reopen all four sections.
If approved by the City Council as part of this year’s budget and Capital Improvement Program process, trail users will still have to wait a couple of years for it to fully reopen. Repairs will be designed and planned in Fiscal Year 2021 and construction will take place in Fiscal Year 2022.
“The City recognizes the impact these trail closures have on the many residents and visitors who use Holmes Run Trail and appreciates the community’s patience as City staff works to fund, plan, design and construct the necessary improvements to make the trail fully functional once again,” said a press release.
The full city press release is below.
Alexandria City Manager Mark Jinks has proposed $6 million in capital funds to restore public access to the portions of the Holmes Run Trail closed following damage sustained during heavy rainfall.
In July 2019, Alexandria received a month’s worth of rain in approximately one hour, which led to flooding that damaged portions of the trail and left it unsafe for public access. Holmes Run is subject to water surges from stormwater that enters the run from various points, and these surges can be heavy when combined with automatic, controlled releases from the upstream Barcroft Dam.
While some problems have been repaired by City maintenance crews already, four locations (including two bridges) remain closed due to the devastating level of damage. These four sections of the trail suffered severe erosion and are structurally compromised. A map of the current closures and detour routes are available at the Holmes Run Trail Closures page.
The cost to address the current issues and rebuild the trail exceeds existing City resources and available state aid. The City Manager’s February 18 budget proposal funds design and engineering in Fiscal Year 2021, and construction starting in Fiscal Year 2022. City Council will adopt the Capital Improvement Program on April 29.
The City recognizes the impact these trail closures have on the many residents and visitors who use Holmes Run Trail and appreciates the community’s patience as City staff works to fund, plan, design and construct the necessary improvements to make the trail fully functional once again.
While temporary warning signage and barriers have been installed at all trail closures, City staff is actively working to develop more robust detour route signage to help trail users navigate the closures.