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Traffic near the George Washington Masonic Memorial during a storm (staff photo by James Cullum)

Work is finally getting underway next week on a complete overhaul of the busy King/Callahan/Russell intersection.

Work is expected to start the first week of October. Drivers going through the intersection could expect delays and limited access from 9 a.m.-6  p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday. Residents and commuters are warned to plan for potential delays.

“The City of Alexandria will begin construction on the King/Callahan/Russell Intersection Improvements Project starting in October,” Project Manager Reginald Arno said in a letter. “This project will redesign the intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive, and Russell Road to enhance mobility, access, and safety for all roadway users, as well as improve access to Alexandria Union Station and King Street Station.”

Designs for the new King/Callahan/Russell intersection (image via City of Alexandria)

Work on the intersection is scheduled to run through spring 2024.

Plans for the intersection include upgraded sidewalks, new crossings, and a new bike lane. According to a report, changes include:

  • A new pedestrian crossing of King Street on the west side of the intersection
  • Safer, more direct pedestrian crossings across King Street and Callahan Drive
  • Removal of the slip ramp to reduce vehicle turning speeds and improve safety
  • Removal of the concrete median islands
  • Converting the Masonic Temple service road from two-way to one-way southbound
  • A leading pedestrian interval (LPI) for all crossings, a safety measure that provides a head-start for people using the crosswalk
  • Upgraded sidewalks to provide more space, accessible ramps, and connection to the steps that lead to the Masonic Temple
  • Bike lanes on King Street to help people biking safely position themselves and navigate the intersection
  • New pedestrian signals where they are currently missing
  • Signal timing improvements to minimize delay

New parking meters are being installed in Alexandria to ditch the old pay-and-display system.

Earlier this year, the city started moving away from pay and display systems with new pay-by-plate meters installed in the Carlyle and Potomac Yard neighborhoods. But now, those meters are starting to get a citywide expansion to replace the older systems.

Users can either use the parking app ParkMobile or input their license place information into the kiosk directly.

“New parking meters are coming to Alexandria early fall 2023,” the city’s website said. “Simply enter your license plate number and pay using the kiosk or ParkMobile app.”

Area of King Street being resurfaced (image via Google Maps)

It’s been an uncharacteristically busy day for King Street news.

The street could be getting new bike lanes and a sidewalk on the north side of the road in a few years. In the short term, however, a section of the street is getting resurfaced and some stormwater improvements this month.

King Street from Janneys Lane to Russell Road — the stretch west of the Metro station — is being resurfaced this month. West Glebe Road is also being resurfaced from Valley Drive to the Arlington border.

Repaving work started yesterday (Monday) and will run through Saturday, Sept. 30.

“Businesses and residents whose streets are scheduled for resurfacing receive advance notice of paving work — typically by displayed project signs and/or letters,” the city said in a release. “Temporary ‘No Parking’ signs will also be posted before work begins. Please be sure to observe these signs to avoid tickets and potential towing of vehicles.”

Along the same stretch of King Street, new storm inlets are being installed. Storm inlets are also being installed on the 100 block of Monroe Avenue and the 1600 block of Duke Street.

Image via Google Maps

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King Street-Bradlee Safety and Mobility Enhancements Project area (image via City of Alexandria)

Some changes could be coming to the section of King Street near the Bradlee Shopping Center, but they’re at least four or five years away.

The City of Alexandria announced today that it will start a King Street-Bradlee Safety and Mobility Enhancements Project later this month. The project will look at potential improvements to King Street just northwest of Quaker Lane along the Bradlee Shopping Center.

A release from the City of Alexandria noted that the area was previously identified as a priority location for ‘enhanced bicycle facilities’ — likely an extension of the bicycle lanes along King Street to the southeast — and more sidewalks. Along this stretch, there is no sidewalk on the northern side of King Street.

“The Alexandria Mobility Plan identified this corridor as a priority location to install enhanced bicycle facilities and additional sidewalks to complete critical gaps in the existing transportation network,” the release said. “Safety improvements will help the City reach its Vision Zero goal of eliminating all fatal and severe crashes.”

An online survey is set to launch on Wednesday, Sept. 20, to collect feedback from those who have walked, bike, driven or taken transit through the area.

This section of King Street sees significant pedestrian traffic from the nearby Minnie Howard and King Street campuses of Alexandria City High School. The nearby streets were a topic of concern during discussions about getting students back and forth between the two campuses — though a direct route from one school to the other wouldn’t touch the project area in question.

The project’s website said community engagement is set to kick off this fall, with design starting next spring and running through to spring 2027.

Director of Transportation and Environmental Services Adriana Castañeda (image via City of Alexandria)

The City of Alexandria has a new Director of Transportation and Environmental Services to oversee some of the biggest ongoing projects in the city.

City Manager Jim Parajon appointed Adriana Castañeda to lead the department.

“Castañeda joins the organization from the City of Tracy, California, where she oversaw housing, transit, airport, and economic development services as the Director of Mobility and Housing,” the city said in a release. “Previously Castañeda served the City of Dallas, Texas as its Director of Bond, and Construction Management, where she oversaw the capital infrastructure activities of nearly 200 staff and a $23 million operating budget.”

Parajon also joined the City of Alexandria from Texas back in 2021.

Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services has become one of its most high profile sections in recent years thanks to large-scale projects aimed at improving transit infrastructure, stormwater capacity and more.

The release said Castañeda will be responsible for transportation systems and infrastructure, emergency weather planning, and refuse collections for the city.

“The City is set to embark upon new and necessary transportation and infrastructure projects,” said Parajon. “Ms. Castañeda’s expertise and leadership will be exceptionally valuable to our ability to meet the needs of our residents effectively and efficiently.”


While much of the discussion about transportation changes has been focused on Duke Street recently, the city is starting to turn its eyes to Eisenhower Avenue.

The City of Alexandria is now accepting public comment on transportation issues and needs along Eisenhower Avenue. The survey is part of a process aiming to evaluate mobility, access and safety needs along Eisenhower Avenue.

According to the project website:

The expected outcomes of the study are grant applications to fund identified improvements in the program. The project will keenly focus on issues such as the high crash rate between Van Dorn Street and Eisenhower Ave Connector, poor connectivity and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists near Hensley Park, Holmes Run Trail, and Lake Cook, as well as addressing future demand concerns in the Eisenhower east section of the corridor. The State and City expect to complete this study by Summer 2024.

Changes for the street have been in consideration for years, including adding protected bike lanes.

There’s been little rush to make those changes, the street is relatively sparsely populated and mostly known for industrial zones and isolated islands of commercial development, but that could be changing as the Victory Center is replaced with a new townhouse development and more development comes to the east end of the street.

A feedback form with questions broken up into sections along the roadway.

The city is finishing up an existing condition review, scheduled to run from July to October, with preliminary recommendations coming out at the end of that process. More evaluation and refining of recommendations is scheduled to run through March and into a grant application sometime in summer 2024.

Image via Google Maps

Curb extension (image via City of Alexandria)

The City of Alexandria is considering some improvements to sidewalks to make it easier and safer for students to walk to school.

The City is considering curb extensions, which bump out the sidewalk at corners or mid-block to shorten the crossing distance, make pedestrians more visible, and slow turning vehicles. Curb extensions were recommended in the city’s Complete Streets Design Guidelines.

A walk audit conducted in 2017 at 13 schools also recommended curb extensions at multiple intersections.

The city is considering multiple extensions near four different schools:

  • Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 School: N. West Street and Princess Street
  • Mount Vernon Community School: Commonwealth Avenue’s intersections with Uhler Avenue, Mt. Ida Avenue, Groves Avenue and Forrest Street
  • Patrick Henry K-8 School: N. Jordan Street and Taney Avenue
  • Samuel Tucker Elementary School: Cameron Station Blvd

The city is developing a grant application to fund the design and construction of the curb extensions. A survey is available online and the grant application deadline is later this fall. If the funding is approved, the design work could start next year, with construction from 2025-2026.

Mini-roundabout proposed in Warwick Village (image via City of Alexandria)

Alexandria’s Warwick Village neighborhood could be getting the city’s first mini-roundabout.

At the same meeting where they supported a proposal to make changes to the Mount Vernon Trail in Old Town North, the Traffic and Parking Board also backed the implementation of a “mini-roundabout” to be installed at the intersection of Kennedy and Hickory streets in Warwick Village.

The City of Alexandria received multiple requests for an all-way stop to be implemented at the site. Reports filed with the city indicated that the crosswalk is poorly marked and cars tend to “fly through” the intersection. City staff found “poor stop compliance” on Kennedy Street, leading to the recommendation of a mini-roundabout.

Staff noted in the meeting that this would be the first mini-roundabout recommended in Alexandria.

“Mini-roundabouts are great countermeasures due to their lower-cost and high-benefit to address multiple issues,” the report said.

The Traffic and Parking Board unanimously supported the recommendation to turn the intersection into a mini-roundabout. Like the changes to the Mount Vernon Trail, some on the Board expressed an interest in following the implementation of the change and seeing if it can be applied elsewhere in Alexandria.

Changes planned for the Mount Vernon Trail in Old Town North (image via City of Alexandria)

The City of Alexandria could be prioritizing the Mount Vernon Trail at crossings where, currently, trail users are expected to stop for car traffic.

At a Traffic and Parking Board meeting last week, civil engineer Dan Scolese presented plans to change the stop signs from making pedestrians and cyclists stop for street traffic to having cars stop for trail users.

“The unusual nature is because it’s a trail and a street crossing, but the trail is considered a road,” Scolese said. “We gathered volumes during the fall. In all conditions, the trail was always more [used] than the crossing street. The split is usually more than 70%. On weekends there’s a vast difference in terms of volume on the trail.”

Scolese said trail usage at the intersections is usually pretty evenly balanced between pedestrians and cyclists.

The recommendation, supported unanimously by the Traffic and Parking Board, is to change the stop signs to face street traffic where the trail intersects at Canal Center Plaza, Montgomery Street and Madison Street, allowing trail users to continue through that part of Alexandria without stopping. The Traffic and Parking Board members did say, however, that city staff should reach out to nearby civic associations, who were not consulted ahead of the meeting.

Some on the Board said this could be the start of a broader look at how stopping is prioritized at other places where trails intersect with Alexandria streets, depending on how this goes.

“I’m curious to see how this works,” said Traffic and Parking Board chair James Lewis. “Not asking you guys for a report, but once stuff is in, if you don’t mind sharing how it’s working because this is the first time we’ve done something like this.”


Alexandria’s DASH network has set a record high with 4.5 million boardings in a single year, according to the transportation company.

DASH said in a release that the record high boardings exceeded the previous ridership high of 4.3 million in 2015. DASH credited the success to a mix of taking the network fare-free and realigning the system to prioritize frequent service in higher-density corridors.

“To celebrate this milestone and thank our loyal customers, DASH will host a rider celebration event on the morning of Friday, August 18 at the King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station,” the release said. “The event will begin at 8:30 AM and will feature remarks from DASH and City officials, music, refreshments, and DASH giveaways.”

The turnaround is particularly startling compared to the dip to only 1.5 million riders in FY 2021 when the pandemic battered regional public transit ridership.

According to the release:

Since the launch of the fare-free New DASH Network in September 2021, DASH has seen unprecedented ridership growth that helped it become the first transit agency in the region to return to pre-pandemic ridership levels. In the last year, DASH ridership has continued its meteoric rise with the 451,000 passenger boardings recorded in April 2023 representing the highest ridership total for a single month in agency history. Today, DASH carries more than 15,000 boardings on a typical weekday and 7,000 to 10,000 boardings on Saturdays and Sundays. The 4.5 million total boardings in fiscal year 2023 eclipsed the previous record of 4.3 million in fiscal year 2015.

Still, paying for the network to stay fare-free has proven a challenge. DASH had been collecting around $4 million in fares before the fare-free program went into effect. City staff estimated the DASH subsidy will rise from the current $23.6 million to $45 million annually — barring additional grant funding. The DASH network is also working through the expensive process of converting its fleet to electric.

Photo via DASHbus/Facebook


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