Newsletter
Glebe Road and Potomac Avenue intersection (image via Google Maps)

With bus activity likely to see a significant uptick with the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station, the city is looking at converting a turn lane on Glebe Road into a bus lane (item 5, page 8).

The plan has the dual purpose of benefitting buses and reducing the number of general-purpose lanes pedestrians have to cross.

“To support expanded bus operations and reduce the number of general purpose lanes pedestrians must cross, staff recommend converting the existing eastbound right-turn-only lane to a bus only-lane,” the report said, “and converting the existing eastbound left-turn-only lane to a left-turn and right-turn lane.”

The area has a higher-than-average number of blind pedestrians as well. The staff report said reducing the number of lanes for those pedestrians to cross could improve safety at the site.

“Currently, pedestrians must cross five lanes with limited protection from motor vehicles at the intersection of Potomac Avenue and Glebe Road,” the report said. “There is also a higher-than-average proportion of pedestrians with limited or no sight due to the proximity of the National Industries for the Blind.”

Glebe Road and Potomac Avenue intersection plans (image via City of Alexandria)

Staff said in a report that a traffic analysis estimated no change in traffic delays but could lead to more blocking of the intersection.

“Based on staff findings, there is no significant change in delay for the E. Glebe approach, and the overall intersection performs at an acceptable Level of Service grade B,” the report said. “However, it is important to note, given the proposed shared general-purpose lane on E. Glebe, the queue of vehicles stopped at the intersection is projected to extend just past the adjacent intersection at Dogue Street. This may lead to more occurrences in which vehicles block the intersection, impeding Dogue Street users.”

One of the alternatives considered included a shared bus-bike lane, but staff said adding bikes into the mix could lead to more crashes.

“Because of the expected potential conflicts between people biking, buses, and other motor vehicles as people biking inevitably attempt to maneuver around stopped buses, staff believed this option had a higher risk of crashes than other options,” the report said.

A dedicated bike lane was considered, but ultimately staff said the greater benefit would come from better transit infrastructure.

“Staff strongly considered the needs of people biking on Glebe Road but ultimately decided that the safest option, given the scope of the project, was to maintain consistent expectations for bicyclists based on conditions along the rest of the Glebe Road corridor (two shared motor vehicle/bicycle lanes),” the report said. “The staff recommendation provides a simple, single-file line for people both driving and biking, which would require no last-minute lane-changes or other maneuvering that could lead to collisions.”

The item is scheduled for review at the Monday, June 27 meeting of the Traffic and Parking Board.

Image via Google Maps

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While DASH won’t be able to cover the service gap from the upcoming Metro closures, WMATA announced some new measures yesterday that will attempt to replace Alexandria’s upcoming loss of Metro service.

There are two Metro shutdowns coming to Alexandria that will, together, eliminate or reduce Metro service in Alexandria from September to next May. The first is a shutdown of all stations south of the new Potomac Yard Metro station. The Potomac Yard closure is expected to last from Sept. 10 to Oct. 22. The Potomac Yard closure overlaps with the start of work on the Yellow Line Bridge from Sept. 10 to May. During the much longer Yellow Line Bridge closure, riders will have to take the Blue Line to Rosslyn to cross over into D.C.

During the Potomac Yard shutdown, Metro said in a release that it will be operating additional Blue Line trains, running every seven to nine minutes, from National Airport to New Carrollton stations. At the same time, Metro said customers traveling between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations should plan for approximately 15 minutes of extra travel time.

Metro also notes that if the 7000-series trains remain out of service the trains will operate less frequently.

During this first phase, WMATA said that free shuttle service will be offered in Virginia with three shuttles crossing the Potomac.

Local shuttles will be available during all Metrorail operating hours.

  • Blue Line Local: Local service between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn St, King St-Old Town, Braddock Rd, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations every 10-20 minutes
  • Yellow Line Local: Local service between Huntington, Eisenhower Ave, King St-Old Town, Braddock Rd, and Crystal City stations every 10-15 minutes. Yellow Line shuttles do not stop at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Station

Express shuttles will be available most of the day (from 4:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., 6:30 am to 9:00 p.m weekends).

  • Blue Line Express: Franconia-Pentagon Express service between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon stations every 6 minutes
  • Yellow Line Express: Huntington-Pentagon Express service between Huntington and Pentagon stations every 6 minutes

Limited shuttles will be available during weekday rush hours only.

  • VA-DC Shuttle 1: Crystal City-L’Enfant Service between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes. Shuttle does not stop at Pentagon Station
  • VA-DC Shuttle 2: Pentagon-Archives Service between Pentagon, Smithsonian, and Archives stations every 12 minutes
  • VA-DC Shuttle 3: Mt. Vernon-Potomac Park (11Y Route) Service between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria, and Potomac Park every 20 minutes. Peak direction service only

Meanwhile, during Phase 2, the Potomac Yard Metro station will be reopened but the bridge will remain closed. All Yellow Line stations will be served by the Blue or Green Lines. Blue Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Largo Town Center and Franconia-Springfield stations and every 12 minutes between Huntington and New Carrollton stations. The Green Line trains will operate every eight minutes.

Metro said there will continue to be a limited rush hour shuttle service during this time.

  • VA-DC Shuttle 1: Crystal City-L’Enfant: Service between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes. Shuttle does not stop at Pentagon Station
  • VA-DC Shuttle 2: Pentagon-Archives: Service between Pentagon, Smithsonian, and Archives stations every 12 minutes
  • VA-DC Shuttle 3: Mt. Vernon-Potomac Park (11Y Route): Service between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria, and Potomac Park every 20 minutes. Peak direction service only

Additionally, Metro said riders could opt to take the 16Y Columbia Pike-Farragut Square Line, Metroway, or ride the Virginia Railway Express.

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Potomac Greens neighborhood (image via Google Maps)

The Potomac Greens neighborhood has voted overwhelmingly in favor of new parking restrictions aimed at keeping the residential streets from being overrun by commuters.

The proposed parking district, which would encompass the Potomac Greens neighborhood, is scheduled for review at a City Council meeting  (item 17) on Tuesday, June 14.

A new Residential Permit Parking District 14 for the Potomac Greens neighborhood is headed to the City Council after a survey of the neighborhood came back with 95% of survey respondents expressing support for new parking restrictions. The survey had a roughly 68% response rate — 155 of the 227 mailed surveys.

The staff report said the goal of the project is to protect the neighborhood from the impact of commuters looking for parking before boarding the Metro. A ballot about the parking restrictions said the district would limit on-street parking to two or three hours unless the vehicle has a residential parking permit.

“The intent of this proposed RPP District is to mitigate the impact of commuter parking in the neighborhood that may arise due to its proximity to the future Potomac Yard Metro Station, which is anticipated to open in fall 2022,” the staff report said.

The Metro station is currently scheduled to open sometime this fall.

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated 11:30 a.m.) Three arrests have been made in an attempting carjacking in Potomac Yard on Friday that left one dead and another injured.

Police said that Jordan Poteat, an 18-year-old non-city resident, was shot and killed in the incident. Police initially said they believed the car owner shot the carjackers, though later claimed the investigation was ongoing.

“In connection with this incident, Mikell Morris, an 18-year-old non-city resident, and two juvenile males, both 15 years of age, have been charged with carjacking,” said Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett. “No further details on the juveniles are available.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Alexandria Police Department Detective Matthew Kramarik via phone at 703-746-6650, by email at [email protected], or by contacting the non-emergency line at 703 746 4444. Tips can be submitted anonymously.

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Exxon in Potomac Yard (staff photo by James Cullum)

Update 10:25 p.m. — Police said earlier that it was believed that the owner of the car shot the suspects, but police said later that the incident is still under investigation.

“The only thing we have is it is an ongoing investigation,” said Alexandria Police Department Communications Director Courtney Ballantine. “We are still reviewing all the evidence which includes video to determine what happened. Any further updates will be coming as soon as possible.”

Earlier — The Alexandria Police Department is responding to a shooting at an Exxon station (2320 Richmond Highway) in Potomac Yard.

According to scanner traffic, there were two victims in a car with gunshot wounds. One was killed at the scene and another was transported to a hospital.

Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett told ALXnow that one person was dead on arrival.

“We believe the shooting was due to a carjacking,” Bassett said. “We believe the owner of the car shot the suspects.”

Witnesses told ALXnow they saw two people, both in dark clothing with their faces partially covered, flee the scene heading south. One witness said they heard between seven and nine shots.

“There was a shooting here,” Chief Don Hayes said. “We have one deceased, one en route to the hospital, and we are looking for two suspects. That’s all I can give you at this time.”

Multiple people reported seeing someone arrested outside of George Washington Middle School after the incident, but Alexandria police would not confirm.

2320 Richmond Highway, scene of a shooting near Potomac Yard (image via Google Maps)

Vernon Miles and James Cullum contributed to this story. Image via Google Maps

A rendering of what the view over Four Mile Run will look like after the power lines are undergrounded (via Dominion Energy)

project scheduled to begin this summer will tunnel under the Four Mile Run near the Route 1 bridge to move overhead power lines underground.

As part of the project, Dominion Energy will rebuild its Glebe Substation next year, modernizing the facility that was built in the 1970s and is reaching the end of its service life. The substation serves parts of Arlington and Alexandria.

The project comes after Dominion Energy has promised to invest millions in the area after years of frequent and sometimes devastating power outages.

“Everything will look a lot cleaner, a lot of the equipment will be a lot smaller,” said Ann Gordon Mickel, Dominion Energy’s communication and community lead for the project.

A virtual community meeting will be held tonight (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the status of the project and what to expect during and after construction.

When work begins, a 250-foot by 250-foot area will be fenced off in the Potomac Yard shopping center parking lot in Alexandria to allow for a 40- to 50-foot deep pit for tunneling.

In Arlington, a pit will be constructed at the substation and there may be temporary intermittent closures on S. Eads Street, as well as on nearby sidewalks and pedestrian paths. Electric service will not be affected.

The underground line will run between the substation and the Potomac Yard Transition Station, which will be decommissioned at the end of the project. The rebuilt Glebe Substation will incorporate new technology, requiring less maintenance and making it more reliable, the power company said.

“Any time you address aging infrastructure and replace it with new technology the reliability always enhances,” said Greg Mathey, a manager of electric transmission communications for Dominion Energy. “The transmission system feeds the distribution system, so the more reliable and hardened we can make the transmission system, the better the distribution system can perform.”

The construction to convert to underground lines is scheduled to continue through 2024. The whole project should be completed by late 2025.

A chart showing the timeline for the Glebe Electric Transmission project (via Dominion Energy)

The entire project is expected to cost about $122.8 million. The State Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities in Virginia, approved the project in 2019. It was originally scheduled to be up and running by this month, but due to the nature of the construction, the timeline was pushed back.

Using a trenchless microtunneling method will increase costs by about $16 million — but it shortens the construction timeline, according to project documents.

This type of tunneling will also reduce construction-related impacts to the Potomac Yard shopping center, as it won’t require as much space for pipes above ground.

The overhead lines that can be seen over Four Mile Run will be removed at the end of the project.

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This was a rough week to be on the roads in Alexandria, with at least two road rage incidents escalating into a pepper spray attack and someone brandishing a firearm.

ACT for Alexandria met its goal by raising $2.5 million for 172 Alexandria charities and nonprofits in its 12th annual Spring2ACTion fundraiser on Wednesday. The fundraiser is the largest single day of giving in Alexandria, and donors can give on the Spring2ACTion website until May 1.

“I’m almost speechless in terms of thinking about how to describe just the care and love that people show for our community,” ACT for Alexandria CEO Heather Peeler told ALXnow.

While Old Town can seem a little static at times, there were at least two major announcements this week for changes along King Street — one office building being converted to residential use and another being purchased for $12 million with future upgrades being planned.

One story about a slaughterhouse this week was changed after the city acknowledge it erroneously claimed no complaints had been filed against the slaughterhouse. After the story’s original publication, users on the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria showed that a complaint had indeed been filed in December.

Top stories

  1. Owner wants prime Old Town property converted to residential use
  2. DASH changes for Potomac Yard Metro create concerns for Old Town North residents
  3. JUST IN: West Glebe Road bridge to completely close in two weeks
  4. APD: Woman used pepper spray in road rage incident in Alexandria
  5. No arrests after woman assaulted on S. Van Dorn Street
  6. Slaughterhouse mostly avoids ruffling feathers, but at least one violation reported
  7. Police investigating sudden death in Arlandria neighborhood
  8. Police: Gun pulled on woman during road rage incident in Old Town
  9. Alexandria Mayor proposes trash collection fee increase for new pilot program
  10. Big changes to historic Alexandria housing type headed to Planning Commission
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A Potomac Yard neighborhood could be getting its own residential permit parking district ahead of the opening of the nearby Potomac Yard Metro station.

At a Traffic and Parking Board meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight (Monday), the board will review a staff recommendation that a new parkin district be created in the Potomac Greens neighborhood.

What form that district takes isn’t defined yet, but most respondents to a city survey said they supported the standard parkin restrictions: 2-hour parking 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday except for permit holders.

“The responses received met the Code requirements for creating a new district,” the staff report said. “Staff received 155 responses from a total of 227 ballot letters sent, for a 68% response rate, exceeding the required 50% response threshold. Of these, 95% indicated they support the creation of the new district, exceeding the 60% required support threshold to proceed.

The staff report said the goal of the project is to protect the neighborhood from the impact of commuters looking for parking before boarding the Metro.

“The intent of this proposed RPP District is to mitigate the impact of commuter parking in the neighborhood that may arise due to its proximity to the future Potomac Yard Metro Station, which is anticipated to open in fall 2022,” the report said.

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DASH is making some changes to the bus network in Old Town, including one change that has residents concerned.

At a meeting of the Transportation Commission yesterday, DASH Director of Planning & Marketing Martin Barna outlined plans to adjust DASH service in coordination with the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station. Among those changes is one Barna said has proven contentious to residents along the affected route.

Route 34, which currently runs from the Lee Center to Braddock Road Metro station, will be changed to connect up to the Potomac Yard Metro station instead. As part of that change, DASH is planning to realign the route from N. Fairfax Street to N. Pitt Street.

“This is far and away the most contentious part of our proposal,” said Barna. “We’ve received 30-35 comments from residents along Pitt Street who don’t want to see DASH service along that street for parking and noise concerns.”

Barna said residents along the street have expressed concerns at more congestion caused by the new bus route, while DASH is hoping the shift will provide a more useful route through Old Town North.

“N. Fairfax street is well served by the 30 and 31, which are more frequent,” Barna said. “Nearly all ridership along that stretch are those [lines].”

Without this change, Barna said there will continue to be a four-block gap in DASH coverage between Washington Street and Fairfax Street. With new apartment complexes and grocery stores coming to that area, Barna said DASH saw the change as a good opportunity to potentially provide more service.

One of the other changes for Potomac Yard DASH routes is that the 33 and the 36, which currently go to Potomac Yard, will continue serving the shopping center but will go to the Metro station first.

“We’re trying to make sure the people trying to catch trains can go directly there,” Barna said.

Barna also provided the Transportation Commission with an update on the fare-free and electric bus programs. With DASH ridership going up, Commissioners asked Barna how much money was being taken off the table by the fare-free program.

“Last year council increased budget by $1.5 million to offset lost revenues,” Barna said. “Before the pandemic we were making $3.5-4 million in revenue but we’re not back to that point. It’s hard to say whether riding because fares are free or because they’d normally be riding.”

Barna said that $3.5 million could pay for around three electric buses, which are more expensive than diesel ones, but that DASH doesn’t currently have the infrastructure to support the additional buses anyway. DASH is currently “aggressively pursing grants” to boost the bus system’s electric infrastructure, Barna said, as well as working through the development process for a facilities expansion.

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With Potomac Yard Metro Station coming along, city staff and leaders recently took a look at the rest of the planned development.

At a meeting of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group on Monday, Principal Planner Dirk Geratz took group members on a virtual tour of the development site and outlined how far development in the area has come — and how far some parts still have to go.

A map of the development corridor (meeting documents weren’t posted at time of publication, that’s why it’s so small) showed parts of Phase 1, the area closest to the Metro station where the Regal Cinema had been located, that are under construction. Phase 1 includes 19 acres of potential and planned development.

Furthest along is the Potomac Yard Metro station, which is currently planned to open later this year. Geratz said the north pavilion at the station is nearly complete. Full completion of the station is scheduled for summer 2023, a few months after the station opens. The pump station at the opposite end of Phase 1 is also under construction.

Also under construction is the Virginia Tech innovation campus. Geratz said one of the main buildings for the campus is under construction with a plan to be completed in spring 2024 and open to students that fall.

Geratz said work is starting on the nearby infrastructure, but said that process can be more time-consuming.

“That’s grading for roadway and future pad sites, also importantly installation of utilities: water, sewer, electricity,” Geratz said. “That’s all underground, so it’s a lot of prep work has to be done before you can get started on paving the streets and construction started on the street.”

There are two residential buildings planned adjacent to the Metro station. Geratz said those are in the late stages of the site planning process.

“Once they get the building permit, they’ll be ready to start construction on those two buildings,” Geratz. “I’m guessing close to two years of construction, so those could be completed summer/fall of 2024, it depends on when they start exactly.”

Geratz said the residential buildings’ opening should coincide roughly with the opening of the Virginia Tech campus if all goes according to plan, but the Potomac Yard area has already had its fair share of delays.

But while Phase 1 of the Potomac Yard redevelopment should come online in the next few years, Phase 2 is still several years further down the road. Phase 2 includes the current retail shopping areas and the large parking lot.

The land area for Phase 2 is 50 acres — significantly larger than Phase 1’s 19 acres — and Geratz said there are still some vacant spots around the planned Phase 2 development area.

“Many retailers, including Target, have leases they’re committed to into the late 2020s, so there won’t be any immediate development there,” Geratz said. “There could be partial development on the out-parcels, but that’s maybe out five or seven years.”

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