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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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Kudzu removal on the Mount Vernon Trail (photo via Friends of Mount Vernon Trail/Twitter)

Part of the Mount Vernon Trail through Alexandria has gotten overgrown with kudzu, and locals are needed to help clear it out.

Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail posted on social media asking for volunteers to help remove it this Saturday (Aug. 27).

Those looking to help can register online.

The group’s website said they will meet near the power plant bridge near 615 Slaters Lane. Volunteers are needed to use loopers and clippers to cut vines and pull vines away.

According to the website, volunteers need to bring:

  • Water
  • Gloves (some will be available to borrow)
  • Pruners or loopers (there will be some to borrow)
  • Long sleeves and long pants

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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.

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Morning Notes

Local restaurants to require vaccination proof in January — “At least a few restaurants are asking diners to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination before dining indoors.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

COVID-19 cases more than doubled in past week — “Cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria more than doubled in the seven days ending on Tuesday, apparently fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant combined with indoor holiday gatherings.” [Alexandria Times]

DASH adjusts service due to COVID-19 — “DASH is facing a shortage of workers, including bus drivers and mechanics, due to coronavirus.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Alexandria plans pilgrimage to Montgomery, Ala., to honor its lynching victims — “A national memorial in Montgomery, Ala., has been honoring the victims of lynching since 2018. Now, the city of Alexandria, Va., is planning a pilgrimage to Montgomery to recognize its place in that history, and the public is invited.” [Washington Post]

Partnership to benefit Mount Vernon Trail — “National Landing Business Improvement District has teamed up with the Friends of Mount Vernon Trail to help preserve 18-mile trail.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

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Morning Notes

DASH ridership up 26% — “[DASH] says its Sept ridership was up 26% (215,963 vs 171,589 in Aug) after it launched revamped bus route network, made fares free. Probably got a bump from more reopening/activity.” [Twitter]

Mount Vernon Trail marked for bump removal — “The trail bumps were marked by spray paint with care with hopes that our volunteers would remove them from there. Volunteer to remove trail bumps on 10/23 or 10/30.” [Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail]

Magistrate fired over comments to Times — “Magistrate Elizabeth Fuller, the woman who filed the complaint that ultimately led to the bondsman in the Karla Dominguez homicide case
losing his license, has been fired for comments she made to the Alexandria Times earlier this month.” [Alexandria Times]

Where to drop off unused prescription drugs in Alexandria — “If you have expired or unused prescription drugs taking up space in your medicine cabinet, Alexandria residents will have an opportunity to safely get rid of them later this month.” [Patch]

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The good news for users of the Mount Vernon Trail is that a proposed widening project was selected for state funding. The bad news? It will be 2026 before work even starts on the project.

As anyone who has bicycled or walked along the popular trail could likely attest, there are parts that can feel dangerously narrow. Last year, the National Park Service released a report recommending widening. The report noted that there were 225 reported bike and pedestrian crashes on the trail between 2006 and 2010, many of them at crash hotspots near National Airport and the 14th Street Bridge.

Some spots along the trail are in notoriously poor condition, like the infamous Trollheim Bridge section south of Roosevelt Island, where the trail’s wooden planks often become slick in icy or rainy conditions.

The goal of the approved project is to improve and reconstruct approximately 6.5 miles of the trail, from the access point to Roosevelt Island down to Jones Point Park in Alexandria. One of the most narrow stretches of the trail, a single-lane tunnel under Memorial Bridge, is on Columbia Island, which is technically part of D.C.

According to the application, the project would “widen the trail’s paved surface from between seven and eight feet to 11 where feasible.”

The total project cost is estimated at $33 million, with $29 million funded by the Virginia SMART SCALE grant — which doesn’t fund the needed improvements on Columbia Island. The grant was on the list of projects approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board at a meeting on June 23.

The widening is likely a few years down the road. The National Park Service previously said work could begin on the trail starting in 2026, Greater Greater Washington reported.

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Anyone who has walked or biked along the Mount Vernon Trail is familiar with a few of its scary parts — places where cyclists or runners round corners without having a clear view of what’s on the other side.

Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail is looking for some help clearing up vegetation around one of those spots: the area just north of Old Town but south of Daingerfield Island where two parts of the trail converge.

The clean-up is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, from 9-11 a.m, at 615 Slaters Lane. Volunteers can register online.

The organization said the spot is a “high crash corner” in part due to the vegetation.

“Volunteers are needed to assist with cutting, pulling, bagging and removing vegetation,” the organization said. “No special skills are needed. We’ll teach you how to help in just a few minutes.”

The organization said helpers should bring sunscreen, water to drink, and a face covering. It would be helpful if attendees brought their own pruners and work gloves, but Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail said some will be available.

Photo via Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Elo’s Italian pop-up opens in Live Oak space — “The owners of Live Oak in Del Ray have opened a pop-up Italian restaurant in the Live Oak space in Del Ray. Chef Justus Frank is offering family Italian fare Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Brunch is ‘coming soon’ according to the owners. The menu includes a variety of appetizers, flatbreads, paninis, seasonal pasta dishes, fish, chicken and more. A kid’s menu is available.” [Alexandria Living]

Police asking for help finding robbery suspects — “APD is following active leads and working with neighboring jurisdictions on the investigation into 2 armed robberies that occurred on May 5. One happened at 12:15pm on E. Oxford Ave. The second happened at 12:40pm in the 3900 blk of Courtland Cir… Witnesses and anyone with security video should contact Det. Stephen Riley at [email protected] or 703.746.6225. Even the smallest details can be significant.” [Twitter]

Chamber ALX releases City Council candidate survey results — “The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce recently asked all announced candidates to complete a survey of critical business issues facing our city. In order to ensure our members are informed prior to entering the voting booth, the Chamber is providing the candidate’s responses.” [Chamber ALX]

Alexandria resident Brian Hooks named to Time100 Next list — “Brian Hooks wants to change the country – but not by himself. An Alexandria resident, Hooks was named one of Time Magazine’s next 100 most influential people in the world in February for his work as the chief executive officer of nonprofit Stand Together.” [Alex Times]

City seeks input on American Rescue Plan Act funding — ” The City will host virtual meetings on Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m. and Monday, May 10 at 7 p.m. to review the funding guidelines and discuss project proposals. The input will be used to inform a spending plan, and the deadline to provide feedback is Thursday, May 13.” [City of Alexandria]

Resurfacing work temporarily closes portion of Mount Vernon Trail — “In a step to prepare for an upcoming $6.5 million Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Trail Project on the south end of the Mount Vernon bike trail, a portion has been blocked off to bicyclists while crews resurface a portion of the trail between the Mount Vernon Plantation and Richmond Highway.” [Gazette]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies during the morning hours will give way to cloudy skies and rain in the afternoon. High 66F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch… Rain showers early with clearing later at night. Low 44F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary COVID POD vaccinator assistant — “Are you a hardworking individual who is eager to join our efforts to augment and expedite vaccinations in the community? Does your passion drive you to commit to a cause that could have a positive impact on many? If this is you, we invite you to apply to one of our temporary City of Alexandria Vaccination site opportunities. One of which is the Vaccinator Assistant who assists the Vaccinator in efficiently dispensing COVID-19 vaccine according to existing protocols at PODs (Points of Distribution).” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

ACPS Virtual Helpline Extended to Next Year — “When the Virtual PLUS+ Helpline began in August 2020 to help our families transition into an unconventional school year, it was expected to be a short term endeavour, over in a matter of weeks.” [ACPS]

Volunteers Clear Mount Vernon Trail Bridge — “Friends of Mount Vernon Trail volunteers are the greatest people on earth. Today volunteers removed kudzu from the power plant bridge to improve sight lines and prevent bridge damage.” [Twitter]

Washingtonian Profiles Reception to “National Landing” Name — “Amazon, Arlington, and Alexandria delivered a sharp shock to the world on November 13, 2018, when they announced that not only would Amazon’s much-desired “HQ2” land in Northern Virginia, but that Crystal City and parts of Alexandria would make up a largely theoretical new neighborhood called National Landing.” [Washingtonian]

ACPS Seeking Media Library Specialist — “The Library Media Specialist facilitates the efficient operation of the school’s library services. This position reports to the Principal.” [Glassdoor]

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