FYI Alexandria — June 2010
In This Edition...
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Releases BRAC-133 Draft Transportation Plan
If you’ve traveled through the City’s West End recently, you have probably seen the construction of some new buildings near Alexandria’s Mark Center. These buildings, called BRAC-133, will become the new location for the Washington Headquarters Service and other Department of Defense agencies, starting in September 2011. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently provided the City with their Draft Transportation Management Plan (TMP) for the new facility. Eventually, approximately 6,400 workers will relocate there.
The Draft TMP proposes a variety of options that are aimed at minimizing traffic impacts in the area by achieving a 40 percent reduction in the number of single occupant cars that travel to BRAC-133 daily. Shuttles are proposed to provide commuters with service between Metrorail stations and their work site. Employees will also be encouraged to take advantage of flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and compressed work weeks to minimize traffic during peak travel hours. The plan includes alternatives that will encourage alternate commuter transportation (such as ridesharing, public transit use, and walking or biking to work).
After review of the Draft TMP, the City’s conclusion is that the plan lacks specifics; does not include strategies and measures previously recommended by City staff on parking, bus and shuttle transit options; contains some inaccurate assumptions about local transit use, and lacks a funding plan. The City has also noted that the TMP lacks commitment to improving bus service from King Street Metro and from Franconia-Springfield Metro, and establishing public bus service between BRAC-133 and the Pentagon. In addition, the City found that the plan does not provide an alternative TMP consistent with legislation introduced by Representative James P. Moran and approved by the U.S. House of Representatives that, would limit the number of parking spaces initially used by BRAC-133 to 1,000.
It is clear, City staff have concluded, that the Department of Defense’s experience with developing robust transportation management plans is lacking, in that the Draft TMP does not meet the standards that the private sector customarily achieves in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
A sub-committee of the BRAC-133 Advisory Committee and City staff are holding meetings with the Department of Defense TMP Project staff this month and in July to seek revisions to the Draft Transportation Management Plan to address the issues the City has identified. On July 30, the Army will submit a TMP to the National Capital Planning Commission for review and approval, and it will be presented for final comments at the Commission’s September meeting. For more information, or to review the draft TMP, visit www.alexandriava.gov/BRAC.
T. C. Williams Vision and Action Committee Embarks on Important Journey
s the flagship of the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), T. C. Williams High School has long had the reputation of a school with deep traditions of success, and caring and high expectations for all its students. Recently, however, ACPS received a wake-up call in the form of a new State definition labeling T. C. Williams a persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) school. While the accuracy of this label, based solely on scores from four specific tests, has been questioned by Superintendent Morton Sherman, the need and desire to transform T. C. Williams from a good school to a great school remains strong. To help assess the school’s current state and make recommendations for moving it forward over the next three to five years, staff members, students, parents and community members are serving on the T. C. Williams High School Vision and Action Committee.
This group’s input will serve as the centerpiece of the transformation of T. C. Williams High School, and will reflect the voices of all stakeholders. The committee will consider long-range goals in alignment with the school division’s strategic plan. The Vision and Action Committee, chaired by Academy Principal Peter Balas, will help ACPS transform T. C. Williams from the good school it is today to a great school that
- serves each and every student well
- builds on what is working and adds new ideas and approaches, with the ultimate goal of creating a high school that will enable our graduates to choose from a multitude of post-secondary options
- enhances the delivery of services to students and their families to ensure engaged, rigorous and authentic learning for all
For more information about the T.C. Williams Transformation, visit www.acps.k12.va.us/tcw-transformation.
City Initiates Housing Master Plan Process
In April, the City initiated a community process to develop a comprehensive citywide Housing Master Plan to guide future development with the goals of preserving and enhancing affordable housing opportunities, community diversity, and economic sustainability. Four Advisory Group/Community meetings have been held to date, including a citywide housing tour. Future meetings will cover a wide range of housing topics, including housing economics, homeless and special needs housing, funding and a variety of land use tools such as community land trusts, transfer of development rights, accessory apartments, land swaps, and universal design, among others.
Please participate in upcoming meetings and lend your voice to this important community process!
- July 1, Advisory Group/Community Meeting, T.C. Williams H.S. Cafeteria, 3330 King St., 7 - 9 p.m.
Topic: Homeless and Special Needs Housing
- September 16, Advisory Group/Community Meeting, location TBD, 7 - 9 p.m.
Topic: Housing Economics
For more information about the Housing Master Plan, process, including presentations and materials from previous meetings, please visit www.alexandriava.gov/HousingPlan.
City Evaluates New Signs
Did you see the temporary Wayfinding signs around Old Town last month? The City installed the signs to test and solicit feedback on the size, color and overall design of the signs proposed in the Wayfinding program. It’s not too late to give us your comments! Visit alexandriava.gov/Wayfinding and provide your thoughts online. Comments submitted by July 9 will be used to refine the design concepts in the Wayfinding Design Guidelines Manual, which goes to the Planning Commission for review this fall.
The objective of the comprehensive, citywide sign system is to help residents and visitors find destinations around town; enhance the visibility of parking and historic sites; reduce existing sign clutter; and promote walking, bicycling, and use of mass transit. A Wayfinding Stakeholder Advisory Group was established by the City Manager to provide input to the City and consultant team regarding the project as it develops.
One of the key elements of the program—and the first phase that will be implemented—is consistent parking signage in Old Town. The proposed parking directional and garage signs will establish a clear, recognizable brand, helping visitors find parking quickly so that they may enjoy the City on foot, consistent with the recommendations of the Old Town Parking Study. Once approved, the remainder of the sign system will be implemented in phases as funding is allocated.
To view the mock-up signs, learn more about the program, or leave comments, visit alexandriava.gov/Wayfinding or call 703.746.4666.
Fight the Bite!
Summer in Alexandria brings higher temperatures and frequent rain showers—and that means an increase in the mosquito population, particularly the Asian Tiger mosquito, an aggressive carrier of serious human diseases. Here are some tips provided by the Alexandria Health Department’s Vector Borne Illness Prevention Program to “fight the bite” this summer:
- Source Reduction: Dump standing water around your yard every 5 to 7 days. This includes buckets, toys, flowerpot saucers, birdbaths, and anything else that can hold water for an extended period.
- Modify/Treat Corrugated Piping: Corrugated piping is a primary habitat for the Asian Tiger mosquito to lay eggs. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property:
- Cover the out spout of the pipe with a fine mesh, such as cheesecloth, or even pantyhose. This will keep adult mosquitoes from laying eggs inside the pipe.
- Attach a Mosquito Dunk with string at the point where the gutter empties into the pipe. A Mosquito Dunk can be purchased at your local hardware store; it will kill larvae inside a pipe for 30 days.
- Drill holes along the bottom of the pipe to eliminate standing water in the corrugations. Piping with the holes already drilled in them can be purchased at hardware stores.
- Protect Yourself: Use repellants when outdoors. Always follow the directions on the label. Even products considered “all natural” should not be used on small children.
For more information on mosquitoes and a short video on mosquito control, visit www.alexandriava.gov/MosquitoControl or call 703.838.4400, ext. 326.
Do Your Share for Clean Air!
On May 1, the Air Quality Action season began. Air Quality Action Days are called when air quality in our region is expected to reach unhealthy levels. This happens when hot, humid, and stagnant summer weather contributes to the formation of air pollution. Poor air quality affects everyone, particularly children and the elderly, and individuals with respiratory and heart ailments.
From May to September, regional air quality is forecast for the following day and coded as purple, red, orange, yellow or green (purple and red are the unhealthiest). Look for Air Quality Action Days notifications on local TV and radio news stations, in weather forecasts, or at alexandriava.gov. When a Code Red day is forecast, take the following actions to improve our City and regional air quality.
- Telecommute or take public transit
- Avoid mowing lawns with gas-powered mowers
- Delay painting projects until later in the evening
- Use a gas or electric grill instead of charcoal
- Refuel cars after 7:00 p.m
For more information, contact Erica Bannerman, Senior Air Pollution Control Specialist, at 703.746.4067 or email@example.com.
Water Quality: Keeping Your Yard "Green"
Proper lawn and garden care is an essential part of protecting our local water quality and the health of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Fertilizer contains nutrients that may contribute to algal blooms that kill fish and reduce the productive habitat in the Chesapeake Bay and local tributaries. Plants can only use a certain percentage of applied fertilizer. Excess fertilizer applied before a rain event and fertilizer spread on hard surfaces may pollute water resources. Ultimately, these nutrients end up in our local streams and the Chesapeake Bay and may contribute to algal blooms that harm aquatic life by depleting oxygen levels and creating dead zones.
What can you do?
- Fertilize your lawn in the fall, if at all
- Test your soil first before fertilizing (test kits available from the Alexandria Local Cooperative Extension)
- Don’t fertilize right before large rain events
- Select fertilizers that have low or no phosphorus
- Read and follow instructions on the label
- Avoid spreading fertilizer on concrete or paved areas and sweep excess off of hard surfaces to grass
For more information about water quality, contact Jesse Maines, Watershed Quality Compliance Specialist, at 703.746.4071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National HIV Testing Day - June 27
The Alexandria Health Department offers FREE and CONFIDENTIAL testing on:
- Wednesday afternoons, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.,
- Thursday mornings, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m., and
- Thursday evenings, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
For more information on HIV testing, please call 703.746.4839. Other testing site information is available at www.hivtest.org.
Alexandria's 261st & USA's 234th Birthday Celebration
Saturday, July 10, 2010 — 4 - 10 p.m. — Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St.
(Rain date: Sun., July 11 at 9:30 p.m., Fireworks ONLY)
- 4:00 p.m. Community Exhibitors, Children’s Activities and Refreshment Sales
- 6:00 p.m. Performance by 257th Army Band “The Band of the Nation’s Capital”
- 7:30 p.m. The Town Crier Announces Mayor William D. Euille
- 8:00 p.m. Birthday Cake
- 8:30 p.m. Jazz & the ASO Alex. Symphony Orchestra, Kim Allen Kluge, Music Director
- 9:30 p.m. Grand Finale Fireworks Display!
Alexandria Library SummerQuest 2010 Special Events
June 30 – 4 p.m.
Michael Klee Magic
Beatley Central Library, 5005 Duke St.
Join Michael Klee for his Magic Show for children ages 6-12.
July 8 – 11 a.m.
Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen St.
Sidewalk chalk, bubbles and more! (In case of bad weather, there will be films and a take-home craft). For children ages 2 and older.
July 28 – 3:30 p.m.
Duncan Branch Library, 2501 Commonwealth Ave.
Maryland Science Center presents “Brain Benders.” Some things that look like magic are actually science. For children ages 6-12.
This is a sample of the SummerQuest 2010 offerings. For more information about SummerQuest, SummerQuest Junior, and a full list of events, visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us or call 703.746.1702.