King Street Bike Lane Project Update
Based upon a submitted petition appealing the decision of the City’s Director of Transportation and Environmental Services to approve the installation of bicycle lanes on four blocks of King Street between West Cedar Street and Janney’s Lane, the City has decided to hold public hearings pursuant to City Code section 10-2-8. City staff will present an update to the Traffic and Parking Board at its regular January 27 public meeting. The first public hearing will take place at the Traffic and Parking Board meeting on February 24, and City Council is expected to hear the matter at a public hearing on March 15.
King Street Trolley Ridership Tops 3.5 Million
The King Street Trolley serves more than 2,000 passengers daily, and has served a total of 3.5 million passengers since service inception. Introduced in 2008, the King Street Trolley provides a high frequency free service along King Street between the King Street Metro Station and the Waterfront. Ridership has increased since DASH took over operations from the original private contractor. New environmentally friendly Hybrid Low Floor Trolleys and increased reliability has improved customer service.
The Alexandria Library Celebrates Historic Civil Rights Sit-In
The 1939 sit-in at Alexandria’s Queen Street library is America’s earliest known civil rights sit-in at a library. Alexandria Library will commemorate this event throughout 2014, as it hosts events honoring the 75th anniversary of that peaceful protest. The little-known historical event involved leadership from a native Alexandrian, attorney Samuel W. Tucker, and six African Americans who demonstrated civil disobedience at the Barrett Branch after being denied library cards. The commemorative events at Alexandria Library locations will center around civil rights, human rights and the African American diaspora. Honoring the sit-in gives the opportunity to shed light on a Civil Rights act that took place more than 15 years before the Civil Rights Movement.
AHDC Moves Forward with Renovation of Arbelo and Longview Terrace Apartments
After two years of diligent work since the transfer of three multifamily affordable rental properties from financially troubled RPJ Housing, this week, the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) completed the refinancing of the Arbelo (Bashford Lane) and Longview Terrace (Seay Street) Apartments. The refinancing is in keeping with a plan that allows the 75 units to remain sustainable, long-term committed affordable rental housing for households with incomes up to 60 percent of Area Median Income. The refinancing also facilitates a substantial rehabilitation, which includes building systems upgrades and energy enhancements, as well as unit modernizations and exterior improvements at both properties. Funding for the project includes a Virginia Housing Development Authority mortgage of $8.2 million, $5 million in private equity generated by low income housing tax credits, $1.5 million of deferred developer fees from AHDC, and existing City loans of $4.5 million that will remain secured on the two properties. A portion of existing debt was exchanged for a right of first refusal that allows the City to control the future disposition of the properties in order to recapture its full investment over time. Renovation will begin immediately with work to be completed this fall. During renovation, residents will be temporarily relocated to other Alexandria properties.
Since presenting its refinancing and renovation plan to City Council in June 2013, AHDC decided to defer the permanent refinancing and renovation of the 44-unit Lacy Court Apartments (Commonwealth Avenue) until 2016 in order to take advantage of additional tax credit equity that will be available. In the meantime, the AHDC will undertake some exterior improvements with funds generated from the Lacy Court cash flow.
Health Department, Office of Emergency Management and Fire Department Assist with Evacuation Planning
Over the past several months, the Alexandria Health Department has been collaborating with the Alexandria Office of Emergency Management and Alexandria Fire Marshal to work with long-term care and senior high rise facilities on their emergency evacuation planning. To date, the team has met with property management from two senior high rise facilities--Ladrey and Annie B. Rose--and plans to work with Claridge House soon. The goals are to provide assistance in their fire evacuation and other emergency response plans, to assist them in training their staff and residents, and to provide support for regular drills and exercises that will test their response plans. The team has also been working over the past three years with staff from the long-term care facilities in the City. A tabletop exercise was conducted in April 2013 with Goodwin House and another similar exercise is being planned for Envoy in April 2014. The team is meeting with staff from the Fountains at Washington House and will begin planning for an evacuation exercise there in 2014. This partnership is vital to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and businesses in the City of Alexandria.