Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Mayor Hosting Weekly Virtual Town Hall Tonight — “Thursday evening (May 14th) beginning at 8 PM, I will be hosting another virtual Living Room Town Hall Meeting. ‬‪We will discuss the City’s on-going response to the COVID-19 outbreak and address any questions you might have. ‬‪Please post questions and join us Thursday night!‬” [Facebook]

Volunteer Alexandria Needs Household Donations — “Can you donate some canned goods, diapers, or kitty litter? During COVID-19, there is a great need for a variety of goods — many of which you may have around the house or be able to pick up in your next shopping trip.” [Facebook]

Alexandria City Public Schools Not Making Staff Reductions — “While these budget reductions will impact some of our employees’ take-home salary, we are fortunate to not be required to implement a reduction in our workforce at this time. It is important that we understand the budget reduction recommendations that were presented last week may potentially increase in the near future if we do not see an uptick in our economy and revitalization of dollars appropriated to ACPS from city, local, state, and federal funding sources.” [ACPS]

Congressman Beyer Calls President ‘Compulsive Liar’ — “This isn’t complicated. Dr. Fauci is a highly decorated scientist and doctor, a respected medical expert who spent his life leading American efforts to fight infectious diseases. Trump is a compulsive liar who suggested we could fight COVID-19 by injecting people with bleach.” [Twitter]

Scholarship Fund Auctioning Guitar Signed by ‘Collective Soul’ — “Along the way during our Virtual Auction to Support Scholarships we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing and unique donations we received this year. CHECK OUT this QUINTESSENTIALLY ’90s Fender Electric Guitar Signed by COLLECTIVE SOUL. Dude, rock on, this is some quality ’90s memorabilia here…” [Facebook]

Virginia Theological Seminary Hosting Virtual Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. — “Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of our 197th Commencement Ceremony, which will be broadcast on our website, here on Facebook, and on YouTube at 10:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow, May 14. Join us in honoring the Class of 2020!” [Facebook]

‘Mind The Mat’ Hosting Virtual Prenatal Pilates Today at 6 p.m. — “No experience necessary! Start at any stage of your pregnancy. Our prenatal program is designed for pregnancy not modified for it. This course was developed by Megan Brown, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Pilates Instructor and mother of two.” [Facebook]

Buskey Hard Cider Offers Delivery in Alexandria — “Orders for the NOVA Zone run between Ruther Glen, up I-95 up to Arlington and out to Winchester. It’s a big territory! Delivery schedule for this week: start delivering on Friday, and continue subsequent days based on orders! Orders must be placed by 11:59pm on Thursday night.” [Buskey Cider]

Alexandria Library Offers Remote Academic Journal Access — “JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization established with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It provides access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines.” [Zebra]

New Job: Digital Communications Manager — “The ideal candidate has a mix of technical and creative acumen with the ability to think critically and strategically about communications while helping our association move forward with modern communications techniques.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Fairlington UMC Warns Against Phishing Scam — “Remember the phrase ‘fishers of men?’ We have PHISHERS again. They are sending emails and TEXTS from ‘Janine Howard’ asking you to go out and buy ebay cards for them. Don’t do it. If you’d like to make charitable donations, call or go to our website.” [Facebook]

Burke & Herbert Bank Issues More Than 1,100 PPP Loans — “Today Burke & Herbert Bank, which has been serving the northern Virginia business community for more than 167 years, announced that nearly 1,100 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totaling approximately $136 million in aid for local businesses have been approved for the Bank’s customers.  As a result, an estimated 10,000 individuals in the local community will remain employed or return to the businesses’ payroll.” [Zebra]

Inova Alexandria Hospital Gets ‘A’ Safety Rating — “We are so proud Inova Alexandria Hospital was awarded an ‘A’ for The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Grade for the 4th consecutive time and we are thrilled that all five Inova hospitals were awarded an ‘A.’ Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grade is a national distinction which recognizes achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safer healthcare.” [Facebook]

Rotary Club Awards $65K to Local Nonprofits — “The grants seek to improve the lives of children, youth, seniors and those with special needs in the Alexandria community. The grants are traditionally presented at the organization’s annual Contributions Day Luncheon in mid-June. Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, recipients were notified earlier this month and funds were dispersed in an effort to quickly support the needs of each nonprofit.” [Gazette]

ACPS Releases Info on Buying Graduation Caps and Gowns for Virtual Graduation — “Total cost for the cap, gown, and tassel (includes tax and shipping) is $44.47. The cap, gown, and tassel will then be delivered to your home. If you pre-ordered your cap and gown, Herff Jones will be shipping them out next week. You should receive it by May 15!” [Facebook]

Sheriff’s Office Recognizes National Nurses Week — “Today marks the start of National Nurses Week. We work closely together every day so we know how awesome our nurses are but this year, we really can’t say ‘thank you’ often enough!” [Facebook]

Historic Map Comparisons Reveal 18th Century Waterfront Expansion — “This 1749 map shows the minimally altered shoreline of the city running in a gentle arc from West’s Point to the north down to Point Lumley. This 1798 map shows dramatic changes to the shoreline. In 50 years, Alexandrians created several blocks of new land along the Potomac River, changing both the physical landscape and the City’s economic prospects.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Living Magazine Participating in Face Mask Contest — “Alexandria Living Magazine has teamed up with Mission Masks by KH Giving to encourage more Alexandria residents to wear masks while supporting local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Plus, purchasing a Mission Mask will earn you an entry into a raffle where you can win prizes valued at up to $15,000, including jewelry, local restaurant and retailer gift cards, wine from Sonoma Cellar and much more.” [Facebook]

New Job: Harris Teeter Hiring Customer Service Management Assistant — “Supervise up to 120 associates in the Customer Service Department [cashiers, baggers, customer service clerks] and accounting office. Is responsible for assisting the Department Manager with the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of these departments. Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with Harris Teeter’s policies and standards.” [Indeed]

It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week — “It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, and @AlexandriaVAGov is urging the community to be prepared for a potential land-falling storm or hurricane. Making preparations now is the best way to protect yourself, your property and your loved ones.” [Twitter]

Virginia Theological Seminary Panel Discussion on Vacation Bible School at 3 p.m. — “Vacation Bible School is a flagship event for Christian formation and discipleship in many churches. As we live into the COVID-19 pandemic, folks are wondering how to move forward. Do we cancel altogether? Should we offer the full programming via Zoom? Would people use activity bags for pick-up at the church? We feel ourselves wondering, ‘NOW WHAT?'” [Eventbrite]

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Trio Performing at Goodwin House at 4 p.m. — “Residents will open their windows at 4:00 p.m. to be treated to a 30-minute program performed by a trio of brass players led by ASO Music Director James Ross. Some residents will also enjoy the concert via limited seats on Goodwin House Alexandria’s rooftop. Thursday’s Courtyard Concert is just one activity Goodwin House Alexandria has planned to keep residents in high spirits, while maintaining social distancing. Many Goodwin House Alexandria residents are subscribers to the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.” [ASO]

Del Ray Conducting Community Porch Party at 6 p.m. — “The Del Ray Business Association is proud to present the first-ever First Thursday: Porch Party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards. Wear your mask, keep proper social distancing, and participate in these community activities.” [Facebook]

Oakville Triangle Virtual Meeting at 6 p.m. — “The third online engagement opportunity will include a live presentation by the applicant via a Zoom meeting on Thursday, May 7 beginning at 6 p.m. where the community may ask questions directly in the online forum. A link to the virtual meeting can be found below and will also be posted to the project website with accompanying materials prior to May 7. A recording of the meeting and an online feedback portal for community comments will be posted to the project website following the live presentation.” [City of Alexandria]

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Morning Notes

‘Le Refuge’ Restaurant Founder Passes Away — “Jean-Francois Chaufour was born in born in Tavers, France June 7, 1952. He and his wife, Francoise, both hailed from the Loive Valley area and came to the United States together in 1976 and started working as servers in the metropolitan area. After many years of hard work and saving, they pursued the American dream of opening their own establishment.” [Zebra]

Beyer Provides COVID-19 Updates — “I’ve compiled a series of summaries of financial assistance (direct payments, unemployment, paid leave, & more), plus housing, food, and small business resources.” [Twitter]

Tenants and Workers United Hands Out 160 Gift Cards on Giving Tuesday — “This is a GREAT way to share your stimulus check with those who most need it. Any amount helps!” [Facebook]

Mayor Reports Fourth Takeout Order So Far This Month — “Getting wild-n-crazy and doing carryout in the middle of the week. Family walk down the hill for Andy’s Sicilian Pizza and carryout cocktail at Stomping Ground. Support Alexandria Restaurants!” [Facebook]

Campagna Center Distributes Diapers — “The sun ☀️ came out for day two of our diaper distribution… At The Campagna Center we know our #community is stronger when each person has access to the support they need to THRIVE!” [Facebook]

DASH Thanks Drivers on Public Services Recognition Week — “We recognize the hard work of all public servants, including the dedicated transit workers who keep our communities moving.” [Facebook]

Hundreds Participate in Virginia Theological Seminary Liturgies — “Eight hundred and fifty-six people participated in the digital program on Liturgies for Holy Week.” [Facebook]

New Job: The Motley Fool is Hiring a Content Strategist — “Whether it’s analyzing the latest earnings reports or providing jargon-free insight on the business world, our content is designed to help people take control of their financial lives. And now we’re looking for the next Foolishly awesome Content Strategist. If you think you’ve got what it takes to make the cut, enter the gauntlet by applying below.” [Indeed]

Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps Looking For Volunteers — “Join Alexandria MRC to help with staffing the call center and conducting community outreach to our most vulnerable populations. Training will be provided.” [Twitter]

Bishop Ireton High School Senior Accepts Naval Academy Appointment — “We have another exciting college decision for one of our seniors to share. Isabelle Thornburg has accepted her appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Congratulations! We know you will share the BI Cardinal spirit in Annapolis!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Businesses Nominated For 2020 RAMMY Awards — “Del Ray’s own Stomping Ground is nominated for favorite gathering place of the year. While Stomping Ground is limited to takeout during the new coronavirus crisis, it normally sees locals line up on weekends for biscuits and a casual dining atmosphere.” [Patch]

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There are 57 residential students and faculty in self-quarantine at Virginia Theological Seminary since Alexandria’s first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 was contracted in its Immanuel Chapel.

“There are student volunteers delivering the food to those in isolation,” Curtis Prather, the seminary’s communications director, told ALXnow. “The student who tested positive is doing well and is expecting for a full recovery.”

Prather said there have been five people at the seminary who have shown flu-like symptoms, but they have all tested negative for COVID-19 in the last week. There are no restrictions to visiting the campus, aside from those from state, local, or federal authorities that ban large gatherings. Its buildings, including Immanuel Chapel, the Welcome Center, the Bishop Payne Library, and all administrative buildings are all closed until March 23 and are being deep cleaned.

“Most of the self-quarantines were done out of an abundance of caution, and the end dates are different depending on when they believe they could have been exposed – not all of them are from a singular instance,” Prather said, adding that staff are currently working remotely. “We have worked closely with the City of Alexandria to track all of this.”

The city’s first presumptive positive case was announced last Wednesday. A city resident became infected after being in close contact with an infected D.C. resident who spent time at the chapel after being infected at Christ Church Georgetown, which now has 550 parishioners in self-quarantine.

The city said that worshipers and visitors to the chapel between Feb. 26 and March 4 should monitor themselves for symptoms.

The second presumptive positive case in the city was reported on Sunday morning. The resident attended a conference in D.C. and made “close contact with an individual later confirmed to have COVID-19,” according to the city.

“As you can imagine, this is an extremely fluid situation,” Prather said.

Virginia Theological Seminary issued the following press release:

ALEXANDRIA,VA – Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) has closed due to the confirmation of a student testing “presumptive positive” for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“I announced last night that the campus is closed,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president. “We will ask for a deep clean of the campus. Classes will continue online. Membership of the Episcopal High School gym has been suspended. 1823 is closed. The Butterfly House and Library are both closed.”

On March 10, the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) was notified that a resident of Washington, DC, associated with Christ Church in Georgetown, who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, spent time at the Immanuel Chapel at VTS. AHD’s investigation identified and called individuals who had close contact with the Washington, DC resident, to advise them to self-quarantine at home, including students and faculty of VTS. One of those close contacts was the VTS student who tested presumptive positive.

The Seminary was notified the AHD of the test last night and announced the closure of the campus. “Presumptive positive” means the test, conducted by Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Richmond, was positive and is pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the AHD, the student is currently doing well and is isolated at home.

At VTS, we are conscious of the need to protect our community and guests from the virus as much as we are able. Our assumption throughout is that we are seeking to follow the advice of the CDC and other health-related authorities and medical professionals. Effective until Monday, March 23, 2020:

  • All Seminary administrative offices have closed.
  • The Butterfly House (on-site childcare) has closed.
  • The Bishop Payne Library has closed.
  • 1823 has closed.
  • Chapel services remain canceled.
  • Classes will continue online.

“There have been cases of COVID-19 in most states and across the National Capital region,” said AHD Director Dr. Stephen A. Haering. “The Alexandria Health Department and the City of Alexandria have been preparing for this. COVID-19 is an evolving situation, and we will continue to share information as it becomes available. Based on our current investigation, the general Alexandria community is still at low risk for COVID-19.”

The Alexandria Health Department advises that visitors to the campus, who were not contacted directly by AHD and asked to self-quarantine, should consider themselves to be at low risk. Such visitors should self-monitor for symptoms. Self-monitoring includes checking body temperature twice a day and monitoring for symptoms of cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or temperature higher than 100.4 F. If you were potentially exposed at Immanuel Chapel and have any of these symptoms, or if you develop them within 14 days of the visit, call your primary care physician. Guests who do not show these symptoms do not need to call your physician or be tested for COVID-19.

“While uncertainty surrounds us on every side, we are invited to trust in the agency and work of the Creator God,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D. “Let us pray for those impacted by this virus and for those public servants and doctors who are working to ameliorate the situation.”

For the latest information, please visit www.vts.edu/coronavirus.

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The Alexandria City Public Schools will not be tracking student attendance for online learning during its month-long COVID-19 shutdown.

Alexandria City Public Schools announced on Friday that all schools would close until April 14 — after spring break. Every elementary school student was given instructional packets to take home, and students in grades 3-12 went home with Chromebook laptops.

“I don’t think you can [track attendance], except to see if students have completed assignments,” ACPS spokeswoman Helen Lloyd told ALXnow. “The goal of this is not grading assignments, but continuity of learning.”

There are more than 15,700 students in the school system, which will be putting out staff updates at noon every day and notices to families every day at 1 p.m. in ACPS Express. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. will also be hosting a webinar at 3 p.m. during the week.

“We are in close communication with the state superintendent and working through what we would need to do to ensure that our students are getting the right number of days and hours in terms of instruction this year,” Lloyd said. “We may be using some snow days, and we may require a waiver [from the Virginia Department of Education to not make up] our days and hours that have been missed.”

Throughout Monday morning and afternoon, Alexandria City Public School staff also started the now-daily process of handing out meals at the Chinquapin Drive side of T.C. Williams High School to students, regardless of their eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.

ACPS instruction includes three daily half-hour documentaries from the Smithsonian’s “Science How” and “Stem in 30” series documentaries that will be screened on a 24-hour loop on ACPS TV. The schedule includes “Mummy Science – Natural and Cultural Preserved Remains” and “Live from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.” School staff are also in talks with publishing houses to acquire the rights to works that teachers could read to students on ACPS TV, Lloyd said.

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An Alexandria resident has tested “presumptive positive” for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Health Department announced on Wednesday night.

In a late-night press release, the city said that the resident tested positive after being in close contact with an infected Washington, D.C. resident who spent time at the Immanuel Chapel of the Virginia Theological Seminary. The city said that worshipers and visitors to the chapel between Feb. 26 and March 4 should monitor themselves for symptoms.

“The Alexandria Health Department has now confirmed the first presumptive positive COVID-19 test in our City,” Mayor Justin Wilson wrote on Facebook. “The patient is doing well and isolated at home.”

The full press release from the city is below.

On March 11, 2020, the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) announced that an Alexandria resident has tested “presumptive positive” for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The patient is currently doing well and is isolated at home.

“There have been cases of COVID-19 in most states and across the National Capital Region,” said AHD Director Dr. Stephen A. Haering. “The Alexandria Health Department and the City of Alexandria have been preparing for this. COVID-19 is an evolving situation, and we will continue to share information as it becomes available. Based on our current investigation, the general Alexandria community is still at low risk for COVID-19.”

Connection to Previous Case

On March 10, AHD was notified that a resident of Washington, D.C. associated with Christ Church in Georgetown, who now has a confirmed case of COVID-19, spent time at the Immanuel Chapel of the Virginia Theological Seminary (3737 Seminary Rd.). AHD’s investigation identified and called individuals who had close contact with the Washington, D.C. resident, to advise them to self-quarantine at home. One of those close contacts was the Alexandria resident who tested presumptive positive today. AHD was notified of the test earlier tonight. “Presumptive positive” means the test conducted by the state Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Richmond was positive and is pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Self-Monitoring for Visitors to Immanuel Chapel

If you visited the Immanuel Chapel between February 26 and March 4 and were not contacted directly by AHD and asked to self-quarantine, you may have been exposed to the virus but are considered by the CDC to be at low risk. AHD recommends that anyone who visited the Immanuel Chapel on those dates self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from their last visit.

Self-monitoring includes checking body temperature twice a day and monitoring for symptoms of cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or temperature higher than 100.4 F. If you were potentially exposed at Immanuel Chapel and have any of these symptoms, or if you develop them within 14 days of the visit, call your primary care physician. If you develop these symptoms, you should also self-isolate and limit contact with others. If you visited Immanuel Chapel during the above dates but do not have the above symptoms, you do not need to call your physician or be tested for COVID-19.

About the COVID-19 Coronavirus

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness, and most patients who have had COVID-19 so far have recovered on their own. In a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can cause severe illness, and even death, particularly among those who are older or who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

How to Protect Yourself and Those Around You

The entire Alexandria community should stay updated and informed about COVID-19. Everyone can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness with these everyday actions:

  • Wash your hands often by rubbing them together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

For More Information

For more information about the Alexandria Health Department’s response to COVID-19 and additional steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photos via American Guild of Organists/Facebook and Virginia Theological Seminary/Facebook

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A person who tested positive for the coronavirus spent time in a chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary, the City of Alexandria announced Tuesday night.

In a press release, the city said that worshipers and visitors to Immanuel Chapel between Feb. 26 and March 4 should monitor themselves for symptoms.

Separately, ALXnow has learned that Alexandria firefighters held an internal conference call at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday “to provide the department with information for situational awareness regarding coronavirus.” First responders received at least one call earlier in the day for a person with a fever who had been in contact with someone who had the virus.

The full press release from the city is below.

On March 10, 2020, the Alexandria Health Department was notified that a resident of Washington, D.C., who now has a confirmed case of the COVID-19 coronavirus spent time at the Immanuel Chapel of the Virginia Theological Seminary (3737 Seminary Rd.). The Alexandria Health Department’s investigation and consultation with the Virginia Department of Health have determined that all congregants and visitors to the Immanuel Chapel between February 26 and March 4 may have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider this type of exposure to be low risk, the Alexandria Health Department recommends that anyone who visited the Immanuel Chapel on those dates monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days from their last visit.

Self-monitoring includes checking body temperature twice a day and monitoring for symptoms of cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or temperature higher than 100.4 F. Any individual who was potentially exposed at Immanuel Chapel and has any of these symptoms, or develops them within 14 days of visiting, should notify the Alexandria Health Department by phone at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. If they develop these symptoms, they should also self-isolate and limit contact with others.

Individuals who visited Immanuel Chapel during the above dates but do not have the above symptoms do not need to call. The Alexandria Health Department is identifying and contacting individuals who are at higher risk to provide further guidance.

The entire Alexandria community should stay updated and informed about COVID-19. Everyone can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness with these everyday actions:

  • Wash your hands often by rubbing them together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

For more information about the Alexandria Health Department’s response to COVID-19 and additional steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus.

Photo via Virginia Theological Seminary/Facebook

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In a letter to Mayor Justin Wilson, the Virginia Theological Seminary has weighed in on the clong-running argument over the road diet happening at the school’s doorstep.

A letter from Ian Markham, Dean and President of the Virginia Theological Seminary, included support for the reduction in vehicle travel lanes and hints about future expansion plans for the school. The letter was shared in the exceptionally active Facebook group Alexandria Residents Against the Seminary Road Diet.

Markham said the Seminary is the institution most impacted by the changes, with facilities straddling the road.

“We have over 280 residents on the campus,” Markham said. “Now I cannot speak for the additional fifteen to forty people in the private houses, but for the Seminary, we are delighted with the change. With the sole exception of a thirty-minute back up between 8:10 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. (which dissipates quickly), the traffic is slower, calmer, and the whole street is quieter and much more gentle. It has worked wonderfully.”

The letter, predictably, was met with some disappointment from the Facebook group, where responses ranged from polite disagreement to members calling it an “obnoxious, self-serving load of twaddle.” Markham, on the other hand, had previously — and jokingly — called for biblical plagues to convince locals to support the road change, according to the Alexandria Gazette.

It isn’t the first time Markham has spoken up about the issue. During the City Council discussion in September, members of the Seminary showed up in religious garb and Markham said the four-lane arterial road creates problems for the school, according to the Alexandria Times.

Markham said in the letter that he would ideally want a 15 mph limit on the road near the school, but said he didn’t expect that to happen. He also noted that the school could be expanding into five acres on the south side of the Seminary with a new garden complex.

“But I need to be confident that students can move safely back and forward across Seminary Road,” Markham said. “With this change, I think I can look at that area and really develop it to benefit not just the Seminary, but the neighborhood and the city.”

The city admitted that there were significant traffic delays as the road diet was being implemented. Much of the road work has been completed, though the city is still seeking grants to add a permanent sidewalk to the north side of the road near the Seminary.

Mayor Wilson said in an email on New Year’s Day that the road diet produced a 40-100% increase in vehicle travel times along Seminary Road during some peak periods, though delays have since lessened.

City Council Member Amy Jackson riled others on the Council last month over a last-minute proposal to stop all work on the road changes until further study can be done on the traffic impacts. The proposal was shot down by the other members of the City Council, but the discussion led to a request for staff to return sometime early this year with a report on the Seminary Road traffic impact.

The Virginia Theological Seminary could not be reached for comment.

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