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New Alexandria logo by Visit Alexandria (courtesy photo)

Yesterday, the tourism bureau Visit Alexandria presented a new logo to be used in marketing for the city. Reception online was mixed.

The logo features the city’s name in lowercase with the most notable feature being a representation of a sunrise in the middle “a”.

Visit Alexandria presented the new logo at a meeting yesterday morning.

“Our new logo is sophisticated yet inviting and embraces our identity as a waterfront city that is continually evolving,” said Patricia Washington, President and CEO of Visit Alexandria, in a release. “Even as our brand changes, we’re continuing to highlight our city’s historic character both visually and in our storytelling with a bold new destination advertising campaign that will surprise people and offer potential visitors a glimpse at all there is to know and love about Alexandria.”

What do you think of the new Alexandria logo? Is there any aspect of it you would change?

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Alexandria plans to eliminate right turning on red at several intersections along Patrick and Henry street, but some of its neighbors have gone even further.

Allowing right turns on red started along the east coast in the 1970s as a fuel-saving measure and it became nationwide policy in the 80s.

Last year, D.C. announced plans to prohibit right turns on red by 2025 to improve safety in the city.

Alexandria’s current plans aren’t as ambitious: the city is looking at restricting right turns on red at several intersections in Parker-Gray and Old Town where Richmond Highway splits into Patrick and Henry Streets.

“[No turn on red] restrictions are a low-cost safety treatment that protects pedestrians by reducing collisions between pedestrians and people turning right at a red light,” the city’s website said. “These are typically coupled with signal treatments known as leading pedestrian intervals, which give pedestrians a head start into the intersection and further enhance safety.”

Should the city continue expanding “no turn on red” restrictions or stop after the Patrick and Henry street changes?

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Currently, electric scooters are only allowed on city streets. While some say that rule makes sense for a place like Old Town, there has been discussion in city meetings recently that it might not be the best policy for the rest of the city.

At a Transportation Commission meeting last week, commissioners and city staff discussed giving the scooters-on-streets policy a second look.

“There are safety concerns on both sides,” said Hillary Orr, deputy director of Transportation and Environmental Services. “There are safety concerns for scooters riding on sidewalks and safety concerns for scooters not being allowed to ride on sidewalks. That’s something City Council included in a final plan and that’s in the city code.”

Whereas bicycles are allowed on sidewalks outside of certain areas, like King Street, electric scooters are prohibited from all sidewalks in Alexandria.

The area has seen multiple crashes in the region where scooter drivers were killed by car drivers. In Alexandria, a scooter driver was killed by a car driver in August. At the same time, a study from 2020 found that most scooter injuries occur on sidewalks.

“We did have a pretty robust discussion of whether scooters should be allowed to ride on sidewalks outside of Old Town,” said Commissioner Bruce Marsh. That’s something I think Council should revisit… whether it’s safer for scooters to ride on a street like Duke Street, where I’d argue it’s not safe [as compared to] a sidewalk.”

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ARHA and the City of Alexandria host a ribbon-cutting event for the Lineage, a new 52 unit affordable housing complex on North Patrick Street. (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Over the next year, Alexandria will launch an ambitious affordable housing overhaul that could reshape the city’s zoning code with a renewed emphasis on affordable housing.

The overhaul is following in the footsteps of years of zoning reforms in Alexandria that aim to get developers to help produce more housing. The city is pushing for committed affordable housing units — buildings with residences set aside specifically for those making less than the area median income — to try and keep up with the loss of 14,300 market-rate affordable units over the last two decades.

In Alexandria, around 20% of households are paying over 30% of their income in housing, and around 10% are spending more than 50% on housing.

“Alexandria’s 2022 population is approximately 163,400 with approximately 71,500 households,” a report on the new overhaul said. “City and federal U.S. Census data documents 15,000 Alexandria households are paying more than the federal standard of 30 percent of income on housing. Additionally, nearly half of those households with incomes up to $50,000 are paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing.”

But affordable housing has also recently been pitted against other city interests. As the city works to make Old Town North into an arts district, trading density for a public art space is being offered in addition to trading density for affordable housing — though there are concerns that developers could choose to add arts uses in lieu of adding affordable housing.

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Man playing soccer (image via Emilio Garcia/Unsplash)

It’s World Cup season and it’s all anyone seems to be talking about this week.

The major sporting event — built on the backs of brutal working conditions for migrant workers — is heading into the semifinals after some tense games last week.

The opening game has 7.2 million viewers in the United States, with an estimated average 227.7 million viewers of the games worldwide every day.

Have you been watching the games? Did you tune in for a single specific game or team, or have you mostly opted out?

Image via Emilio Garcia/Unsplash

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The Daughters of the British Empire Pimm’s and Poppies Chapter marches at the 50th annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk, one of the biggest events of the year in Old Town, is marching through the city this weekend.

It will be the 51st year for the event, which features Scottish clans, dancers and bagpipes working along a route through the city. The one-mile-long parade starts at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Wolfe and St. Asaph Streets and ends up outside City Hall (301 King Street).

The event, hosted by the Campagna Center and Visit Alexandria, celebrates the city’s founding by Scottish merchants in 1749.

The parade is the centerpiece for a full weekend of holiday activities, including a parade of boats decorated with holiday lights starting at 5:30 p.m. along the city’s waterfront.

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Last week, Alexandria’s City Council voted to permanently expand the King Street pedestrian zone to encompass the waterfront block.

The change is the latest in a push for a more pedestrian-friendly King Street that started in 2019. Now, both the unit block (the one closest to the water) and the 100 block are closed to vehicle traffic except in emergencies, with the streetscape converted into a place for pedestrians to walk and local businesses to expand onto the sidewalks.

An overwhelming majority of respondents to a city survey about the unit block being converted to a pedestrian zone said they saw the change as either “very positive” or “positive”.

No plans have been announced yet for whether the pedestrian zone will be extended.

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Last week, Mayor Justin Wilson said he sands the city to take another pass at renaming streets throughout Alexandria named for Confederate leaders.

The announcement comes around two years after the city’s last major push to de-Confederate Alexandria, an effort that saw the Appomattox statue on S. Washington Street removed. The city renamed Jefferson Davis Highway through Alexandria to Richmond Highway a year before that.

There’s a fairly extensive list of around 31 streets that are confirmed to be named after Confederate leaders. Another 30 are listed as possibly named after Confederates.

Confederate statues and other honors were widely used throughout the south as a method of furthering the Lost Cause mythology and intimidating Black residents. In Alexandria, some of that history of Confederate street naming goes back to an addition to the city code in 1951 that all north-facing streets be named after Confederates.

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Alexandrians making less than half of the region’s area median income could qualify for a new program that will give them $500 per month with no strings attached.

Those living alone and making less than $49,850 per year are eligible, with the income scaling up based on the size of the household.

The program, Alexandria’s Recurring Income for Success and Equity (ARISE), was funded as part of the city’s Covid recovery.

During the pilot phase, 170 randomly selected individuals who meet certain household income limits will be selected. Those selected will be provided with $500 every month for 24 months to spend in any way they choose.

“Guaranteed income pilots have proven to impact poverty and economic inequity by enabling participants to determine for themselves the budgetary strategies that will most benefit them and their families,” the city said in a release. “ARISE will help the city test a bold, new way to ensure people have what they need to make decisions to support their well-being.”

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(Updated 3 p.m.) With Halloween just over a week away, do you plan on wearing a costume?

Some locals have been going all-out on Halloween decorations and even some local restaurants have been getting into the holiday spirit.

There are some costumed events around town, like The Birchmere’s annual Halloween event, but there are also more subdued events where costumes aren’t expected, like the Edgar Allen Poe reenactment.

Do your holiday plans involve getting dressed up in a costume this year or something else? If you are planning on getting dressed up, what is your planned costume?

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