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Speed camera locations around Alexandria (image via City of Alexandria)

If you speed near an Alexandria school zone, you’ve been warned: starting next Monday, you could get a ticket from the speed cameras.

Speed cameras were installed earlier this year near Francis Hammond Middle School, John Adams Elementary School, Ferdiannty T. Day Elementary School and George Washington Middle School.

“An initial warning period was conducted in June at the end of the 2022-23 school year,” a staff report said. “The City issued over 3,500 warning notices during this time.”

After a second waring period, which started Aug. 21 and will end on Sunday, Sept. 17, the program will go live on Monday, Sept. 18 and begin issuing paid citations.

The staff report to the Traffic and Parking Board noted that there were some technical hiccups at the start of the most recent warning period:

During the warning period conducted at the start of the 2023-24 school year, staff faced a technical issue resulting in some flashing school zone signs not operating properly during school hours. This was the result of an equipment issue as part of parallel project to upgrade all of the City’s flashing school zone signs to current technology. Staff was able to resolve this issue quickly, and speed camera warning notices were not issued to drivers where the flashing school zone sign was not active

The maximum fine for a speed camera violation is $100, payable online, by mail or by phone.

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Speed camera locations around Alexandria (image via City of Alexandria)

Alexandria’s new speed cameras have already issued over 3,500 warnings. Soon, the city says those will become speeding tickets.

The City ran a two-week warning period at the end of the last school year and will start another one beginning Monday, Aug. 21, as the new school year starts. The City warned that the speed cameras will begin ticketing starting Sept. 18.

There are five cameras set up in school zones around the city:

  • Francis Hammond Middle School (Seminary Road, between Kenmore Avenue and North Jordan Street)
  • John Adams Elementary School and Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School (North Beauregard Street, between North Highview Lane and Reading Avenue)
  • George Washington Middle School (Mount Vernon Avenue, between Braddock Road and Luray Avenue)

“The City selected the above locations using a data-driven process that considered factors such as crash history, traffic volumes, vehicle speeds, and age and number of students,” the City said in a release. “Each school zone is approximately ¼ mile in length and has a 15 MPH speed limit when school signs are flashing, which is when the speed cameras will be active.”

The release noted that signs have been installed to inform drivers they are entering a speed camera zone.

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Map of speed cameras across Alexandria (image via City of Alexandria)

Drivers should always keep it slow in school zones but there’s a new incentive starting today: new speed cameras across Alexandria are issuing warning tickets starting today.

The new cameras have been installed near John Adams Elementary School, Ferdinand Day Elementary School, Francis Hammond Middle School and George Washington Middle School.

Speed cameras are also in use in Arlington, Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax, but these are the first in Alexandria. The cameras will have a “warning period” at first before switching over to issuing full tickets.

Last year, City Council approved the $400,000 speed camera program, after a child was struck and seriously injured at an intersection just outside of Jefferson Houston Elementary School (200 block of North West Street). City Manager Jim Parajon then reduced speed limits in a number of residential, business and school zones from 25 miles per hour to 15 mph.

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Alexandria City Hall (staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Personal security cameras, speed cameras in school zones, summer youth employment programs and eviction prevention funding are just a few of the final additions included in the fiscal year 2024 budget by the Alexandria City Council on Tuesday.

Council approved funding a $20,000 program to encourage businesses and homeowners with a “small incentive” to set up security cameras to deter crime, as well as increase their coordination with the Alexandria Police Department.

“I like the concept,” Mayor Justin Wilson said. “I think we want our residents to partner with us in providing this kind of neighborhood visibility.”

Other additions include $490,000 for five speed cameras at school crossing zones around the city. Last year, Council approved $400,000 for the speed camera program in five school zones.

Not all of the requests made the final cut. Vice Mayor Amy Jackson’s request to give the Alexandria Commission for Women $20,000 for it’s 50th anniversary event failed to gain consensus.

Council also took $657,629 from the budget that was intended for the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center (200 S. Whiting Street), pending proposals from City Manager Jim Parajon to find alternative uses for the facility, pursue regional partnerships for facility use and optimize capacity for the underutilized space.

The full list of additions to the budget are below.

  • Out of School Time Program (OSTP) staffing ($200,000) This increases paid leave and benefits for part-time staffing with the city’s Out of School Time program.
  • Fee waiver for OSTP participants ($15,000) — This would fund a waiver for program participants eligible for SNAP and TANF.
  • Speed cameras in school zones ($490,000) — This adds five photo speed cameras to school crossing zones prioritized by the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services
  • Childcare services ($50,000) — This will provide child-minding services at City COuncil town hall events, as well as select board, committee and commission meetings.
  • Additional eviction prevention funding ($150,000) — This would increase the current funding level of $100,000, all of which will “reasonably assist 40 households in FY24,” according to the city.
  • Central coordinator for immigrant affairs/refugee settlement ($110,000) — This would explore a new position or series of positions that could advance efforts to connect immigrant communities with information, resources and services and address the city’s challenges with immigrant populations.
  • RPCA Mental Health Pilot position ($75,000) — These funds would go toward developing a Department of Recreation Parks and Cultural Activities pilot program for youth mental health services.
  • Summer youth employment program ($214,943) — This would expand the program by 50%, to serve 255 children (85 more than the current program).
  • Study for local housing voucher program ($250,000) — This would add funding for a study on a voucher-like program that stabilizes housing and enables access for low-income housholds across the city’s private rental market.
  • City library security ($70,000) — This funding maintains library security staffing at current levels.
  • Department of Aging and Adult Services ($19,000) — This fills the gap created by Virginia budget formula changed related to the Older Americans Act.
  • DASH service line expansion on Line 33 ($120,000) — This would expand DASH Line 33 service from once every 60 minutes to 30 minutes on Sundays, easing connections to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station.
  • Visit Alexandria advertising ($78,000) — This additional funding can be used by Visit Alexandria for any sort of media, online or print advertising, either regionally or nationally at their discretion.
  • City Council aide compensation increase ($5,300) — This is a 2% scale compensation adjustment.
  • Private security camera incentive program ($20,000)
  • Continuation of AEDP economic recovery manager ($147,208) — The ERPM is responsible for creating and administering AEDPs Business Association Grant program, which supports Alexandria business associations as well as other ARDP rogramming to promote economic recovery.
  • Rental inspection program enhancement ($136,000) — This allows staff to evaluate non-compliant multi-family rental properties.

The budget will be approved on May 3 and go into effect on July 1.

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Speed cameras will soon be installed in three school zones in Alexandria (via ACPS)

Four Alexandria school zones have been selected for a pilot program to install speed cameras, according to a presentation prepared for a joint City Council and School Board meeting.

This is the first time Alexandria will use speed cameras, and the following locations were agreed upon by Alexandria City Public Schools, the police department and the Department of Transportation & Environmental Services:

  • Francis Hammond Middle School (Seminary Road, between Kenmore Avenue and North Jordan Street)
  • John Adams Elementary School and Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School (North Beauregard Street, between North Highview Lane and Reading Avenue)
  • George Washington Middle School (Mount Vernon Avenue, between Braddock Road and Luray Avenue)

“The cameras are expected to be installed this spring, after which the program will undergo a testing period,” city staff said in a report. “The program is expected to be fully active for the 2023-24 school year. The City will advertise the camera locations to the public over the next several months in advance of the program going live.”

The areas are all within 15 mile-per-hour school zones.

Reviewing the proposed school zone speed cameras is on the agenda for a meeting of the City Council and School Board this afternoon (Monday) at 5 p.m. in City Hall (301 King Street).

Last year, City Council approved the $400,000 speed camera program, after a child was struck and seriously injured at an intersection just outside of Jefferson Houston Elementary School (200 block of North West Street). City Manager Jim Parajon then reduced speed limits in a number of residential, business and school zones from 25 miles per hour to 15 mph.

Virginia authorized the use of speed cameras in 2020, and they are currently used in Arlington, Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.

School zones in Alexandria (via ACPS)
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Tomorrow, Alexandria’s City Council is set to review a proposal to bring speed cameras to the city for the first time.

Though scattered across nearby D.C., until a few years ago Alexandria was prohibited from utilizing speed cameras by state ordinance. Now, the city is looking at installing five cameras at various school zones across the city.

The city has seen an overall 10-year decline in car crashes.

“Crash totals from 2011-2020 show a downward trend for all crashes, including those that involved fatal or severe injury,” a city report (page 31 of the pdf, page 4 of the docket) said. “The 2016-2020 annual crash averages by all modes (vehicle-only, pedestrian, bicyclist) and crash type (all and KSI) are less than those seen during 2011-2015. Year over year, vehicle-only crashes had the highest number of KSI crashes followed by pedestrian and then bicyclist crashes.”

Despite the progress, Alexandria has still struggled toward its Vision Zero goal. In addition to speed cameras, Alexandria has also filed for grants to work on overhauling some of the city’s most crash-prone intersections.

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A plan to install Alexandria’s first speed cameras is headed to final review at the City Council later this month.

The ordinance will authorize the installation of five cameras across Alexandria school zones with the goal of reducing speeds in those zones.

The ordinance doesn’t specify where those cameras will be placed but adds “photo speed monitoring devices” into the city code.

The ordinance will allow cameras for use both in school zones and in highway work zones.

The new ordinance comes after Virginia code was amended in 2020 to allow limited use of speed cameras in the aforementioned school zones and highway work zones. The five cameras installed will be the first speed cameras in Alexandria.

A presentation to the City Council presented a few parameters for the program:

  • A sworn police officer must confirm the violations
  • Signs must clearly be placed alerting drivers in advance of the speed camera enforcement zone
  • Fines cannot exceed $100

Staff recommended approval of the new ordinance. The proposal is scheduled for first reading next Tuesday, Oct. 11, and final review on Saturday, Oct. 15

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The scene of a crash outside Jefferson Houston Elementary School, March 29, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria is moving forward with plans to install new speed enforcement cameras with public meetings planned this fall ahead of implementation next year.

In a release, the City of Alexandria said the approved speed cameras in school zones are expected to launch in early 2023. The release said the city will provide updates on the program at the:

  • Sept. 26: Traffic and Parking Board public hearing
  • Oct. 11: City Council legislative meeting

The release said the city is planning to install five cameras in school zones next year.

The new cameras were approved after a driver struck a child at an intersection just outside of Jefferson Houston Elementary School (200 block of North West Street). A state law passed in 2020 authorized the use of speed cameras in school and work zones, and both Arlington and the City of Fairfax have been working on implementing cameras in school zones.

“Speed cameras may be fixed or portable,” the release said. “They are placed along the roadway and automatically record speed limit violations. After a sworn law enforcement officer affirms the violation, a speeding citation is mailed to the vehicle’s owner, lessee, or renter. The maximum fine is $100.”

The city said the speed camera locations will be selected through a data-driven process that considers vehicle speeds, vehicle volume, and the history of crashes nearby.

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